Thursday, June 13, 2002, Chandigarh, India


P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



Akalis protest, House adjourned
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 12
The Punjab Vidhan Sabha was today adjourned two hours before schedule, as the Akalis continued to disrupt the proceedings of the House. They were protesting against the Speaker’s rejection of their adjournment notice on the panchayat samiti and zila parishad elections.

No sooner was question hour over than Capt Kanwaljit Singh stood up to speak on the ‘’excesses’’ committed by the government during the panchayat samiti and zila parishad elections that concluded on Sunday last. He dubbed these ‘’murder of democracy’’.

As he uttered these words, Treasury Bench members, including several ministers, stood up to shout down Capt Kanwaljit Singh and others, as the Speaker, Dr Kewal Krishan, announced that he had already rejected the Akalis’ adjournment notice on the subject and he would not reconsider the decision.

What followed this initial ‘’free-for-all’’ led to complete chaos with Opposition members parading in the well of the House, raising slogans and “jaikaras”. Repeated appeals by the Speaker asking them to resume their seats and allow the business listed for the day to be conducted, as per the decorum of the House, were ignored with impunity. Interestingly, several Congressmen also trooped into the well and raised counter-slogans.

In the din nothing was audible, as the Speaker called upon Mr Darbari Lal to move that the House take up discussion on the Address of the Governor, delivered on March 22. The motion was seconded by Mr Malkiat Singh Dakha. While the watch and ward staff formed a security ring around the Speaker’s dais, the Akalis continued to raise slogans, squat on the floor and later changed their strategy to walk close to the person called by the Speaker to speak on the Address of the Governor. It was obvious that the volume of the public address system was raised several decibels to drown the slogan raising by the Akalis.

The handful of Congressmen, who were called upon to speak, did not mention a word about what the Governor had said in his customary Address. The occasion was solely used to attack and condemn the Akalis, recalling their past (mis) deeds, the way they evoked religion and the name of the Panth to play with the sentiments of ‘’innocent’’ people, squandered ‘’sangat darshan’’ money, indulged in nepotism, corruption, etc. Or they eulogised Capt Amarinder Singh and his crusade against corruption in the past over 100 days.

In fact, Congress MLAs were so vitriolic in their comments that these amounted to “personal” allegations and attacks on Akalis, including Bibi Jagir Kaur and some other former ministers. Their caustic vocabulary and expressions were not expunged by the Speaker.

The Speaker was time and again heard asking the Akalis to resume their seats and ordering that whatever the Akalis spoke or shouted should not be recorded. He took little note of the unparliamentary language repeatedly used by Congressmen, as they trained their guns on the Akalis.

The Leader of the House, Capt Amarinder Singh, who sat for quite some time watching the Akalis parade up and down displaying their lung power, later left the House.

At one stage, the Speaker asked the Leader of the Opposition, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, to contain his men asking them to resume their seats and say what they wanted to while speaking on the Address of the Governor. Mr Badal said that even in a murder case there was provision to make an appeal. The Speaker’s rejection of the Akalis’ adjournment notice was not something irrevocable or that could not be reconsidered. He was immediately shouted down. The Speaker again ruled that he would not reconsider his decision. This created a deadlock.

From what the Congressmen spoke, it was apparent that they were levelling the same charges against the Akalis as the latter have all along been making against the Congress. A discernible common denominator was that both sides charged the police with registering false cases against their leaders, workers and supporters. This showed that the police is used by politicians as an ‘’instrument’’ to settle personal scores.

It was quite a sight to see both Capt Amarinder Singh and Mr Badal facing each other across the well watching how their respective supporters were trying to score a point.

The Treasury Benches used every arrow in their quiver to shoot point blank at the Akalis, making all kinds of accusations, engaging in name calling, throwing challenges and asking them to do some introspection, as they had, in fact, committed ‘’murder’’ of democracy during their time and were doing the same even now inside the House.

There were comic moments as well when, for instance, Mr Jasbir Singh Dimpa was called upon to speak. He started his diatribe against the Akalis from wherever he happened to be sitting talking to a colleague. The Speaker took cognisance of this and asked him to go to his seat and then speak.

Thus the second day of the second (budget) session of the 12th Vidhan Sabha was cut short due to ‘’Akalisi disruptions’’, as the Speaker put it, before announcing the adjournment of the House till 9 a.m. tomorrow. The first day, Tuesday, saw only obituary references being made.


Vigilance Bureau probing medical items purchase
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 12
The purchase of medical, including surgical, items worth about Rs 2.04 crore during 2001-02 is under investigation by the Punjab Vigilance Bureau.

This was stated by the Minister, Mr Ramesh Dogra, in reply to a question by Mr Balwinder Singh Bhunder in the Punjab Vidhan Sabha here today.

In a detailed reply, the Minister listed the 13 firms from which the purchases were made. He also gave a complete picture of the committee constituted for the purpose of making purchases, the meetings held and who all attended. There was no departmental committee in 2001-02. But two such committees were constituted in 1996 and 1997 and were carried over in the year under question.

* * *

Under the “shagun” scheme, the following expenditure was incurred in the state: Rs 73.43 lakh (1999-200); Rs 3,486.34 lakh (2000-01) and Rs 1,820.17 lakh (2001-02). The number of applications rejected during the same period were 3,856, 3,136 and 3,735, respectively.

This was stated by the Minister, Ch Jagjit Singh, in reply to a question by Mrs Harbans Kaur.

* * *

In a written reply the House was told that against a total quota of 42 IAS officers in the service of the Union Government, the number of officers working at present was 21.

* * *

Meanwhile, the Governor has given his assent to the following two Bills passed in the first session of the Vidhan Sabha held in March. These are The Punjab Appropriation (No.1) Bill, 2002, and The Punjab Appropriation (Vote-on-Account) (No. 22) Bill, 2002.

Earlier in the day, besides several annual reports, the following papers were laid on the table of the House: The Punjab State Legislature (Prevention of Disqualification) Amendment Ordinance, 2002, and the Punjab Panchayati Raj (Amendment) Ordinance, 2002.

As per the revised schedule of the sittings of the House decided upon by the Business Advisory Committee, the Budget will now be presented on June 19 at 9 a.m. and the session will conclude on June 26. In between, there will be non-official business on June 20 and three holidays. After its sitting tomorrow, non-official business day, the House meets on June 17, Monday, at 2 p.m.


Akalis make their point

A two-hour discussion on the subject of the panchayat samiti and zila parishad elections will take place in the House on June 20

This was disclosed by Capt Kanwaljit Singh. He said after the House was adjourned, the Speaker had called a delegation of the Akalis. He was told that as custodian of the House, his role should not only be impartial but also seen to be impartial. The issue of ‘’excesses’’ had generated tension in the state and the matter must be sorted out. ‘’We believe in democractic functioning, not in stalling the working of the House. Let there be no confrontation’’, the Speaker was told, he added.


Cong captures more ZP, samiti seats
Tribune Reporters

Pathankot, June 12
The Congress has won 54 out of 68 in zones of block samitis and zila parishad election in the Pathankot block. The zone-wise results are as under: zone 1 Saidipur — Ms Raj Kumari (Congress); zone 2 Parmanand — Mr Surinder Singh (Congress); zone 3 Akhrota — (Congress); zone 4 Dhobra — Mr Romesh Singh (Congress); zone 5, Zangal — Mr Jaghar Ram (Congress); zone 6 Kataru Chak — Ms Jyoti (BJP); zone 7 Farida Nagar — Ms Rattan Kaur (Congress); zone 8 Narot Mehra — Mr Pankaj Kumar (Congress); zone 9 Bhoya — Mr Gagan Vidhu (BJP); zone 10 Kotli Muglar — Ms Indu Sharma (Congress); zone 11 Sunder Chak — Mr Shashi Bhushan (Congress); zone 12 Manwal — Sathi Roop Lal (Congress); zone 13 Mirthal — Ms Pushpinder Kaur (Congress); zone 14 Gura Kalan — Mr Jasbir Singh (Congress); zone 15 Kontarpur — Mr Yudhvir Singh (BJP); zone 16 Nangal — Mr Hans Raj (Congress); zone 17 — Congress; zone 18 Ajij Pur — Mr Avtar Singh (Congress); zone 19 Mr Rattan Lal (Congress); zone 20 — Ms Sudesh Kumari (Congress); zone 21 — Mr Krishan Lal; zone 22 — Ms Ranjana (BJP): zone 23 Daulat Pur — Mr Jagdish Raj Bhajwa.

In Sujanpur block, the Congress has made a clean sweep by winning all 15 seats. The winners are Mr Kilraj from Jugial, Mr Narinder from Chhani, Ms Nirmla from Merra, Mr Arjun Singh from Gho, Mr Mukesh, Mr Joginder Pal, Mr Ranjit Pathaina, Mr Madan Gopal, Mr Raghuvir and Mr Kuldip Singh.

In Dhar block, 11 out of 15 seats have been won by Congress candidates.

ABOHAR: The results of repolling yesterday at three different booths here have been declared. The Congress has won the three more seats in the local Panchayat Samiti. As per the results of counting declared this afternoon, Mr Bogi Devi (Kular), Mr Ravinder Kumar (Rajanwali) and Mr Amandeep (Bhangala) have won. Thus, the Congress has captured 18 of the 25 seats in the council, six have gone to SAD and one has been occupied by an independent candidate.


Maluka, five others booked
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, June 12
A criminal case was registered against former Punjab Power Minister Sikander Singh Maluka, his son Gurpreet Singh Maluka, Charanjit Singh Jatana, president of the Rampuraphul Municipal Council, and three others at the Dialpura Bhaika police station late last evening for their alleged involvement in violence at Maluka village during voting for the panchayat samitis and zila parishad elections held on June 9.

Police sources said a case under Sections 188, 323 and 506 of the IPC was registered against them for beating the complainant Mr Resham Singh, and threatening him on the day of the polling. They also carried firearms during the polling. The other persons booked in the case were Prem Kumar, a businessman of Bhagta Bahi Ka, Gogi Brar and Satnam Singh Dhiman. Prem Kumar’s kin and Maluka’s wife were once partner in a brick kiln located in the Bhagta Bahi Ka area. Maluka was also district president of the SAD.

The incident had generated tension in the area and senior civil and police official reached the spot to monitor the situation and prevent any untoward incident.

An inquiry into the complaint was conducted by senior police official before registering the case. Resham Singh was covering candidate of Maluka in 1997 Vidhan Sabha elections and in the last Assembly elections. Mr Resham Singh supported Mr Gurpreet Singh Kangar, who gave a crushing defeat to Maluka, despite the fact that Mr Kangar contested as an independent candidate.

The police sources said the former minister and others would also be booked under Sections 148 and 149 of the IPC as they were six in number when they committed the crime. No arrest had been made so far.


Cong victory ‘police mandate’
Our Correspondent

Faridkot, June 12
Many senior leaders of the Congress and the Shiromani Akali Dal have levelled serious charges against each other for their performance in the block samiti and Zila Parishad elections which concluded in the district on Monday. While the Congress representatives have attributed their victory to the party’s constructive policies and the adamant attitude of the opponents towards resolving the problems of Punjabis, the SAD leaders have blamed the police for committing atrocities on their party workers, stopping them from casting votes and capturing booths during polling.

Addressing a press conference here yesterday, Mr Avtar Singh Brar, former Education Minister, claimed that the Punjabis had given a sweeping verdict in favour of his party after watching the 100 days’ performance of the Congress government, led by Capt Amarinder Singh.

Categorically denying capturing of booths or stopping the SAD supporters from casting votes, he said if this had happened his party would not have lost the elections from Jhotiwala and Deep Singh Wala block samitis in the district by a narrow margin of 16 and 42 votes, respectively. He said the Akali leaders were in the habit of launching morchas whenever they found themselves facing any political problem.

Mr Kushaldeep Singh Dhillon, local MLA, SAD, has termed the victory of the Congress as a police mandate wrested by capturing booths, deleting termed votes of SAD workers from the voters list and other unfair means. He said the Punjabis will not forgive the state government for its acts. Moreover his party had already chalked out a programme to protect the interests of the people of the state.

Meanwhile, the Congress has trounced the SAD by 39 to six seats out of 46 in the block samiti polling process. One seat had gone in favour of an Independent candidate. Similarly, the Congress has bagged all 10 seats of the Zila Parishad zone in the district.


Corruption ‘crime of choice’
Prabhjot Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 12
If the recent trends are any indication, white-collar corruption has become a “crime of choice”. Those committing professional, financial and business frauds now hit the headlines more often than known hardened criminals, including those of the underworld.

The busting of the country’s biggest-ever recruitment scam and reports of “kickbacks” in government and public sector procurements, frauds in financial institutions, intellectual property piracy and identity theft are only indicators of the boom in white-collar crime not only in Punjab but throughout the northern region.

Not a day passes without a new scam or a scandal hitting the headlines. Coupled with white-collar crime in the illegitimate run to huge piles of money are heinous crimes related to snatching, robbery and dacoity, leading at times to the killing of victims, which, too, have been witnessing an unprecedented increase.

Interestingly, the increase in the number of cases of murder, robbery, assault and other types of violent crime appears to be just marginal as compared to the manifold rise in economic offences, including cases of corruption, cheating and fraud.

If one looks at newspapers over the past three months, except for mass murders at Bhikhiwind and Midhu Khera and the abduction of a minor daughter of a police officer of Haryana, no other serious case of heinous crime has been in the headlines. But the heightened frequency of cases of white-collar corruption indulged in by persons who are otherwise supposed to watch and safeguard the social and economic interests of society speaks volumes for a rapidly growing disturbing social trend.

Take, for example, recruitments. Almost all recruitments made by various bodies, including the Punjab Public Service Commission, the Punjab Subordinate Services Selection Board, the Punjab School Education Board, Punjab Technical University, the Punjab Rural Development Department and the Punjab Education Department, are now being viewed with suspicion.

“We have been receiving numerous complaints and representations about the selections made by the Punjab Subordinate Services Selection Board. Prima facie, every appointment made by the board appears to be tainted,” says Mr A.P. Pandey, Additional Director-General of Police-cum-Chief Director, Vigilance Bureau.

Never has the Punjab Vigilance Bureau had so much work on hand. At present, it is working on at least 20 major scams, including the procurement of 100-odd JCB (earth moving) machines by the Department of Rural Development.

This is not the only case of its type. “Kickbacks” in almost every government or public sector procurement are an accepted reality. Such scams hit the headlines only when the quantum of “kickbacks” is substantial.

Vigilance officials feel that not only were there alleged kickbacks in the procurement of the JCB machines, even the drivers or operators recruited to run these are “tainted”. The then Minister himself issued orders for the recruitment of most of these drivers, recommending a monthly salary of Rs 5,000 each against the normal salary varying between Rs 2,500 and Rs 3,500 for such positions. Some of the drivers so recruited are either under age or physically incapable of operating the machines.

Take the case of the recruitment of employees of Punjab Technical University. Of 128 employees working on an ad hoc basis there for periods varying from one year to five years, many have not been given any formal appointment letter.

Then the university resorted to giving franchises without ensuring the availability of basic infrastructure at certain academic centres.

These cases just give an indication of the new trends in white-collar crime. Though economic offences, cases of cheating, corruption, deceit and bribery are nothing new, the nature and type of present-day white-collar crime differs significantly from those of earlier periods, say 20 years ago.

Fortunately, there has been very little white-collar crime related to plastic money, i.e. misuse of credit and debit cards, though bank frauds are high on the list.

Though sociologists agree that there have always been “crooks” such crimes have now spread to people holding high positions, who go to prison wearing three-piece suits, maintaining that there have been “critical differences between cheats of yesteryear and cheats of today. Instead of Charles Shobhrajs, we have Harshad Mehtas and Ravi Sidhus”.

The perpetrators of present-day white-collar crimes are more from the class of people holding high positions and power than from that which indulges in economic or financial malpractices for sustenance and survival. (To be concluded)


Charges against Sidhu framed
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, June 12
A local court today framed charges against suspended Punjab Public Service Commission (PPSC) Chairman Ravinder Pal Singh Sidhu under the Arms Act. The charges against Sidhu were framed by the UT Judicial Magistrate (First Class), Mr Sanjay Sandhir, under section 25 of the Arms Act.

Sidhu was produced before the Magistrate at about 2 p.m. Thereafter, his counsel moved an application before the Magistrate to direct the Manager of the Punjab and Sind Bank, Sector-17 C to issue 10 lose cheques to Sidhu in order to fulfil his daily needs. After hearing the counsel’s plea the Magistrate remanded the accused to judicial custody till June 18 under the Arms Act and also fixed the same date for reply on the plea moved by the accused. The Magistrate also fixed hearing for July 1 for prosecution evidence.

Earlier, the UT police had filed the challan against the accused on June 8. As per the challan all the 19 witnesses mentioned in the challan belong to the police department. The UT police had registered the case against the accused under the Excise Act and the Arms Act on a complaint lodged by the DSP Vigilance, Mr Jora Singh. The police had recovered 14 bottles of foreign liquor, 250 rounds of .12 bore gun and 225 rounds of Springfield rifle from the house of the accused in Sector 39.


PCMS doctors wear black badges
Our Correspondent

Patiala, June 12
In response to a call given by the PCMS Association, Punjab, PCMS doctors here wore black badges yesterday in protest against the possible blanket decision by the Punjab Government to terminate the services of all 872 doctors selected during the tenure of PPSC chairman Ravi Sidhu and also against the possible decision of the Finance Committee to abolish non-practice allowance (NPA) from their pay.

In a press note issued here today, Dr Hardeep Singh, president PCMS association and Dr Surinder Singla, general secretary, said not a single doctor had been indicated in the “pay for job” scandal and the candidates selected during Sidhu’s tenure had like their predecessors, passed through a screening test and interview by the Medical Expert Board. Hence some positive declaration should be made by the Chief Minister in his regard.

Regarding the possible decision by the Finance Committee to abolish non-practice allowance from the pay of PCMS doctors, the association stated that NPA was a right of doctors for their 24-hour duty schedule and contributed towards pensionsary benefits given by all Pay Commissions in the state as well as at the Centre. The association also demanded that 600 posts of doctor lying vacant in the border areas be filled immediately.



Restrain on nominating Markfed Chairman
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 12
Restraining the state of Punjab and other respondents from nominating the Chairman of Markfed till further orders, a Division Bench of the Punjab and Haryana High Court today issued notice of motion for June 17.

Seeking the quashing of the orders issued by the Punjab Government on May 30, Markfed Chairman Jagdish Singh Walia and other elected directors had earlier stated that the same had been passed with an oblique motive to pave the way for the government to appoint their nominee as the Chairman thereby replacing Mr Walia. This, they added, was an attempt to do “indirectly what could not be done directly”.

Challenging the taking over of IAS officer, Mr S.S. Channy, as the Markfed Managing Director, the petitioners had added that the action was “illegal and ultra vires of the Punjab Cooperative Societies Act of 1961”.

Going into the background of the case, the petitioners had submitted that immediately after coming to power, the Congress government issued an order placing the services of Mr Channy at the disposal of the Board of Markfed Directors for his appointment as the Managing Director. This action of taking over of charge by Mr Channy was “wholly illegal and was liable to be declared so and quashed”.

Giving details, they had added that the issue pertaining to Mr Channy’s appointment was placed before the Board in its meeting held on March 26. The Board members, except the government nominees, resolved that the government had neither appointed any chairman nor any managing director. It was further resolved that there was already an elected Chairman and as such it would be appropriate to nominate Mr Channy on the Board of Directors “under Section 26 (2) of the relevant Act and appoint him as Managing Director. The relevant section, they asserted, “empowered the government to nominate another member and appoint him as a Managing Director”

The Punjab Government nominees on the Board, however, disagreed with the views of the other members and approved the appointment of Mr Channy as the Managing Director.

As there was a difference in opinion among the nominated and other members, the matter was referred to the government for final decision. This reference, they contended, was “without jurisdiction”. Counsel for the petitioners added that as per the relevant sections and the bye-laws there was no provision for the government nominee to be represented at the Board meeting by proxy. “It is not understandable how a representative of the government nominee could attend the Board meeting and record his dissent”, he claimed.

Counsel further submitted that “if in case of difference in opinion between the government nominees and other Board members on each and every issue, the matter was required to be sent to the government for decision, it would sound the knell of the cooperative movement and the societies would end being nothing but government departments. This was not intended by the Cooperative Societies Act”. 


Scam in Education Deptt unearthed
Our Correspondent

Gurdaspur, June 12
The district Vigilance Bureau claims to have unearthed a scam involving members of a departmental selection committee for appointing general category applicants against reserved posts as teacher in the Education Department.

The Punjab Government had advertised 7,230 posts of teacher during the last year. As many as 300 candidates were selected by the committee. The selection committee, headed by Ms Raj Kumari, Deputy Circle Education Officer, Jalandhar, was accused of various irregularities.

An applicant, Mr Haresh Kumar, who had sought appointment in ex-serviceman category but could not make it, pleaded with the Education Department to appoint him against the reserved post under ex-serviceman category, but in vain. Following this, he moved the High Court.

He met ADGP (Vigilance) at Chandigarh and submitted him an application detailing the alleged lapses committed by the committee. The ADGP directed the local Vigilance Bureau to conduct inquiry into the alleged irregularities as mentioned in the application of Mr Haresh Kumar.

The charges included the selection of Mr Subesh Chander under the category of ex-serviceman. He said Subesh Chander was serving in the Army and could not claim reservation under the ex-serviceman category. Similarly, Kuldip Singh, who had served in the BSF, was selected under ex-serviceman category against rules.

A team of the Vigilance Bureau, headed by Inspector Harbhajan Singh, conducted a raid on the office of the DEO (Primary) here and seized all relevant records pertaining to the selection of teachers.

Meanwhile, Mr Haresh Kumar was selected in place of Mr Subesh Chander but is still awaiting appointment.

When the office of the DEO (Primary) was contacted for comments, the Deputy DEO (Primary) said the department was waiting for directions regarding giving appointment to Mr Haresh Kumar.


Promotions by Ahluwalia to be reviewed
Gurvinder Kaur

Patiala, June 12
A circular issued by the Punjabi University Registrar’s office inviting teachers to submit objections, if any, against promotion carried out under the Career Advancement Scheme (CAS) during former Vice-Chancellor Ahluwalia’s tenure has created a divide among the teaching section. While one faction has welcomed the decision, the other has threatened to hold a dharna against the order.

The university authorities had issued a circular to the Heads of all teaching departments two days ago, asking all teachers to submit in writing their objections regarding such promotions. This decision has come in the wake of complaints made to Vice-Chancellor N.S. Rattan that some of the aforesaid promotions had been carried out by bypassing proper rules and some eligible teachers had been wrongfully sidelined.

The last date for receiving written objections is June 13. It may be recalled that in the last months of Dr Ahluwalia’s tenure and prior to the Punjabi University Teachers Association (PUTA) elections, a number of teachers were promoted under the scheme at a meeting of the university syndicate held on December 23. A few more promotions were proposed after the initial list was finalised at the meeting, permission for which is yet to be taken. The issue will come up at the syndicate meeting to be held on the 20th of this month.

The promotions had created a controversy as the anti-Ahluwalia faction in PUTA had alleged that the promotions hitherto pending for a long time were carried out en masse only to benefit the pro-Ahluwalia faction while other deserving teachers had been ignored.

Meanwhile, a PUTA delegation, led by its president, Dr D.S. Dhillon, has condemned the circular and termed it anti-teacher and a step to divide the teaching section. Dr Dhillon, along with the association’s vice-president, Dr Manjit Singh, and joint secretary, Dr S.M. Verma, have demanded that the circular be withdrawn immediately.

However, the other faction of PUTA led by the secretary of the association, Dr N.S. Attri, has hailed the move. Dr Attri, along with association members Dr R.S. Ghuman and Dr Jaswinder Singh, met the Vice-Chancellor and requested him that previous promotions and selections, in which irregularities had been allegedly committed, be thoroughly reviewed. The members, however, requested the Vice-Chancellor to clear those pending cases of promotion and selection done by Dr Ahluwalia in which proper procedure had been followed.

The delegation also welcomed the move to wind up Maharaja Ranjit Singh Institute of Information Technology as they allege that the institute was set up by flouting university and UGC norms.



Dowry death: police station gheraoed
Our Correspondent

Faridkot, June 12
More than 1,500 residents, including representatives of various organisations of Kotkapura town, gheraoed the local police station and blocked traffic on the Faridkot-Ferozepore road for more than two hours here yesterday in protest against the alleged indifferent attitude of the local police regarding the arrest of the in-laws of Kulwinder Kaur of Kotkapura. They also raised anti-police slogans to register their resentment.

Talking to the reporters on this occasion, Mr Mohinder Singh, father of the deceased said he married Kulwinder Kaur to Jasbir Singh, son of Jarnail Singh of Bazigar Basti, Faridkot, on December 9 last year and spent about Rs 4.50 lakh on dowry and the function.

However, after the marriage, her in-laws, including her husband Jasbir Singh, father-in-law Jarnail Singh, mother-in-law Jagir Kaur and brothers-in-law Tehal Singh and Kulbir Singh, allegedly started harassing her for bringing less dowry. They also asked her to bring more money from her parents.

On receiving a message in this connection, Mr Mohinder Singh visited his daughter’s in-laws and gave them Rs 50,000 in cash to meet their demand. However, he alleged that they continued to harass and beat her and asked for more dowry.

On June 6, Kulwinder Kaur telephoned her parents and apprised them of the situation. On getting the information Kulwinder’s brother, along with a companion, visited her in-laws’ house, where he came to know that his sister had left the house under mysterious circumstances. They immediately started to search her and found her moving towards a canal. However, before they could reach the spot she jumped into the canal, leaving her footwear and purse on the bank.

Mr Mohinder Singh alleged that on the same evening, he filed a complaint with the police, but it had failed to take any action till date. He alleged that his daughter took the serious action due to the undue pressure and atrocities by her in-laws. The protesters suspended their agitation temporarily after an assurance by Mr Des Raj Bhatia and Mr Tara Singh, DSP (Headquarters) and SHO, respectively. But they threatened to intensify their stir if the suspects were not arrested.


60 SGPC workers taken into custody
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, June 12
The land dispute between the SGPC and agricultural labourers took a serious turn when the Majitha police rounded up all 60 employees of Gurdwara Ramdass.

A press release, issued by the SGPC alleged that the police action had resulted in the desecration of the gurdwara premises. The SGPC held the administration and the state government responsible for the violation of the ‘maryada’.

A spokesman for the SGPC warned the administration of dire consequences if it failed to release all employees who were taken into custody.

The spokesman described the incident as ‘direct interference’ of the state government in the Sikh affairs the Secretary, SGPC alleged that though the court had decided the land dispute case in its favour yet the police had done this at the behest of the Congress Government.


Girl alleges molestation, probe sought
Our Correspondent

Hoshiarpur, June 12
The Punjab Civil Medical Services (PCMS) Association today demanded a probe by an independent agency into the allegations by a girl, on the basis of which an FIR had been registered against Dr Tikkam Singh, Medical Officer working at Hariana in this district.

It may be recalled that the girl had gone to the health centre for a medical examination where the doctor allegedly by tried to molest her.

In a joint press statement issued here today, Dr Ajay Bagga, press secretary of the PCMS Association, and Dr M.L. Puri, president of PCMS Welfare Association, said the girl had come for examination in the day alongwith her mother and employees of the health centre and a number of patients were present at the time. It was hard to believe that something like this could have happened.

Representatives of the association said if such an incident had occurred the doctor should be given exemplary punishment but if the doctor had been framed those responsible for it should be taken to task. Nobody should be allowed to tarnish the image of this noble profession to settle scores, they said.


Winding up of PSTC opposed
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, June 12
Even as the Punjab Government is yet to take action on the report of the State Disinvestment Commission, the Engineers Association of the Punjab State Tubewell Corporation (PSTC) has termed the decision to wind up the operations of the PSTC as unwarranted.

Reacting to media reports on the winding up of the PSTC, the adviser to the Engineers Association, Mr Sukhwinder Singh, today said that though the corporation had been reduced to a financially unviable project, it was not the fault of employees.

He pointed out that during 1974 the government had fixed water rate at 52 paise per unit of electricity, while the rate of electricity charged at that time by the PSEB was only 19 paise. However, the government in 1986, transferred its 906 tubewells and about 1,000 employees to the corporation and reduced the water rate recoverable from beneficiaries to 25 paise per unit while the electricity board was charging Rs 1.19 per unit of electricity.

The government had said the losses incurred by the corporation on this account would be given as subsidy to the PSTC for operations and maintenance of tubewells, but no funds for depreciation were allowed. “This is the main cause of the losses in the accounts of the PSTC.


2 SDO brothers issued warrants in Langah case
Our Correspondent

Mansa, June 12
The Punjab Vigilance Bureau has issued arrest warrants of Nimratdeep Singh and Gagandeep Singh, Subdivisional Officers of the Public Works Department (Bridges and Roads) in the May 14 case registered against former Public Works Minister, Sucha Singh Langah and others under Sections 420, 467, 468, 471, 120-B of the IPC and Sections 13(I) a c d e and 13(2) 88 of the Prevention of Corruption Act 1988 in the police station of Mohali.

Both the SDOs, who are brothers, were not available for arrest. It is learned that Nimratdeep Singh had not joined duty at Mansa after he was relieved from Pathankot on May 9 and Gagandeep Singh had been absent from duty since May 17.


Plea to fill vacant posts of nurse
Our Correspondent

Patiala, June 12
District president of the Punjab Nurses Association Jeewan Preet Kaur and general secretary Gurcharan Kaur have condemned the decision of the state government to abolish all vacant posts and stop fresh recruitment in government hospitals.

Condeming the decision of the government to establish a separate directorate for disinvestment demand that the process of hiring employees on a contractual basis should be stopped.

Ms Jeewanpreet Kaur stated that there was a shortage of nursing staff at Rajindra Hospital here and around 100 posts for Class IV employee, 60 posts for staff nurse, 10 posts of Nursing sister and two posts of matron had been vacant at the hospital.

Besides filling new posts, promotions should be awarded and dearness allowance should be paid in cash to the employees. 


Soccer mania scores over Bollywood charm
Our Correspondent

Patiala, June 12
If plan of certain cinema owners of the town to screen the Football World Cup matches from the pre-quarter final stage onwards is any indication, then the ‘high octane, high profile’ soccer extravaganza has certainly caught the fancy of the residents of this sports-conscious city.

At last the residents, particularly the youngsters, have finally realised that Rani Mukherjee’s and Shah Rukh Khan’s of Bollywood are wonderful, but while their world is pure fantasy, the Bekham’s and Figo’s of modern soccer are different because their art is real.

Even as certain cinema owners have made arrangements to show the round of 16 live, other owners, in a strategic shift, have decided to show movies either in the early afternoons or late evenings as most of the matches are being telecast in the afternoons and extend till the evening. The logic behind this move is to avoid a clash between the movies and matches.

Thus the star war between Bollywood stars and soccer stars is going to hot up in the coming weeks and once the round of 16 begins, there are chances that Bollywood heroes will be relegated to the background with the sweet fragrance of soccer thick in the air.

With the first round matches giving topsy turvy results, soccer fans are getting more and more enthusiastic with the some weird and some wonderful moments ‘ of the world’s biggest sporting extravaganza.

The daily afternoon soap operas too are being sidelined with more and more people tuning in to TEN Sports to watch and savour every happening on the football field.

Neha Srivastva, a computer science student, says: “There is absolutely no choice between soccer and films. At any moment soccer wins hands down.”

Somewhat similar sentiments were expressed by Suman Chowdhury, who was waiting for her turn in a queue to procure a ticket for the afternoon show of the Bobby Deol starrer — ‘23 March, 1931, Shaheed’. I would never have been here had a quality match been on the World cup.”

Going by the kind of movies being shown in city theatres it becomes evident that some of the cinema, owners have become panicky. Two theatres — Capital and Malwa — are screening those fly-by-night third grade English films while yet another cinema, Rakhra Palace is screening an old Hindi movie that is drawing little or no crowds. A cinema owner said: “We have asked distributors to put new films on hold till the soccer mania fades away.”

So far the next couple of weeks, people will be following the exploits of real life soccer heroes and will concentrate less on the reel life ones.



Vishnu Sharma is Mayor of Patiala
Our Correspondent

Patiala, June 12
Mr Vishnu Sharma was sworn in as Mayor of the Patiala Municipal Corporation at the Municipal Corporation auditorium here today after being unanimously elected by 50 councillors.

He was administered oath by Commissioner, Patiala, Mr Chandra Sekhar Srivastava along with Mr Kabir Das and Mr Inderjit Boparai who were elected Senior Deputy Mayor and Deputy Mayor respectively.



Woman killed in car-train collision
Our Correspondent

Batala, June 12
A car was hit by a train at an unmanned railway crossing at Faizpura Road here yesterday.

In the collision a passenger of the car, Parminder Kaur, 25, wife of Mr Gurpinder Singh of Padda village, died on the spot whereas her son Harsaffel and car driver Rinku were seriously injured. The injured have been sent to Amritsar for treatment.

Parminder Kaur was working as a temporary lecturer in botany at R.R. Bawa DAV College for Girls here.

The Ravi Express 4633 train was coming from Amritsar and was going to Pathankot.


New Secy of State Election Commission
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 12
The Punjab Government has ordered the following postings, transfers and adjustments with immediate effect:

Mr Kulbir Singh has been posted as Secretary, State Election Commission, vice Mr Kulbir Singh Sidhu, whose new posting is not mentioned in the orders issued today.

Mr Raj Kamal Chaudhary is the new Additional Deputy Commissioner, Jalandhar, and is also the Director, Land Records, Settlement, Consolidation and Land Acquisition, vice Mr Surjit Singh, who becomes Director, Technical Education and Training.

Mr G.R. Bansal has been posted as Additional Secretary, Higher Education, Mr Ajeet Singh Pannu goes as Additional Secretary, Cooperation, Mr Prabhjot Singh Mand is now Additional Secretary, Education, and in addition Chief Executive Officer, Anandpur Sahib Foundation.

Mr Harmesh Singh Pabla is Additional Secretary, Food and Supplies and Public Distribution, vice Mr Surjit Singh, who has been posted as Joint Commissioner, Municipal Corporation, Patiala.

Mr Ravinder Kumar Kaushik is Additional Secretary, Political, and in addition Director, Hospitality.

Mr Roshan Lal Kapoor gets additional charge of Special Secretary, Vigilance, in place of Mrs Ravneet Kaur, who is on leave. Dr Swarn Singh is Managing Director, Sugarfed. Mr Amrit Lal Garg goes as Additional Director, Industries and Commerce.


Three cops suspended
Our Correspondent

Mansa, June 12
Mr Sudhanshu Shekhar Srivastva, SSP, Mansa, has placed under suspension Mr Jagjit Singh, Assistant Sub Inspector, Mr Suresh Kumar Sharma and Mr Bogh Singh both Head Constables as they were found absent from duty. Mr Srivastva said during a surprise check these officers were found absent.

He said Mr Harcharan Singh, SHO, city, had been transferred to Police Line and charge of the city Mansa police station had been given to ASI Mr Suraj Bhan.


Robbers raid ex-JE’s house
Our Correspondent

Pathankot, June 12
Robbers armed with swords and iron rods raided the house of a former Junior Engineer (JE) at Ranjit Sagar Dam and looted a petrol station yesterday.

The robbers entered the house of Mr Uttam Singh Bhatti, a former JE at Ranjit Sagar Dam, and injured three members of his family. They attacked Mr Bhatti, his wife Jaswant Kaur and son Jagdeep and after injuring them seriously, they decamped with valuables. The injured have been hospitalised.

The gang, comprising eight to 10 robbers, again struck at a petrol station located at Jugial and looted an amount of Rs 1,000. In another incident, the robbers looted an octroi post at Dinanagar and seized a sum of Rs 1,000 after injuring the octroi clerk, Mr Ajay Kumar.


BJP ex-MLA gets police remand

Gurdaspur, June 12
Former MLA of the BJP Roop Rani, who was arrested yesterday in a case of corruption, was today remanded in police custody till June 16 by the local Chief Judicial Magistrate.

The case under the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988, was registered against her, her husband Muneshwar and son Rahul, on April 26 by the Dinanagar police on the complaint of former sarpanch of Khera Kotli village.

The complainant alleged that the BJP leader during her tenure as MLA in the Badal regime in Punjab had taken Rs 2.10 lakh for getting jobs to his two young relatives. The former sarpanch further alleged that cheques for the like amount returned by the former MLA after she failed to get his relatives employment in the government services had bounced.

The complainant is understood to have submitted to the police a recorded conversation with her, her husband and son relating to the deal after the cheques had bounced.

While Muneshwar and Rahul had been granted anticipatory bail by Additional Sessions Judge K.K. Garg, the bail plea of Roop Rani had been rejected by the subordinate, high and Supreme courts.

After the apex court rejected her bail plea on June 7, Roop Rani got admitted to the local civil hospital on June 10, complaining of chest pain. She was arrested at the hospital after she got discharged yesterday by a police team headed by DSP Sardul Singh. UNI


Wife stabbed

Moga, June 12
The husband of a 27-year-old woman allegedly stabbed her to death with a sharp-edged weapon following an altercation between the two at Landheke village in this district last evening, the police said today.

Lakhwinder Kaur, mother of three children, was stabbed by Iqbal Singh after she alighted from a three-wheeler and refused to accompany him. Iqbal Singh, who was accompanied by some other persons was apparently waiting for his wife when she alighted from the vehicle. PTI


Son, wife held for murder
Our Correspondent

Barnala, June 12
The police has solved the murder case involving two brothers, Purshottam Singh and Binder Singh, who allegedly killed their father Ram Singh alias Rama of Dhilman village with the help of their mother Harbans Kaur following an altercation.

According to Mr Gurinder Singh Dhillon, SSP, Barnala, a brawl took place among the familymembers, on June 8 after which Purshottam Singh, Binder Singh and Harbans Kaur allegedly killed Ram Singh with a ‘gandasa’.


Sarpanch booked
Our Correspondent

Mansa, June 12
The Joga police of the district has registered a case under Section 409 of the IPC and Section 13 of the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988, against Mr Charanjit Singh and Mr Pawan Kumar, Sarpanch and member, panchayat, respectively, of Aklia village in the district.

The case has been registered on the directions of the local Deputy Commissioner, Mr Alok Shekhar, after an inquiry conducted by the Additional Deputy Commissioner (Development) revealed that the accused had collected more than Rs 1 lakh in cash and kind in the name of a relief fund for the victims of Gujarat violence but did not send the amount and other articles to Gujarat and misappropriated the same.

It is pertinent to mention here that the Sarpanch of the Akila gram panchayat, Mr Charanjit Singh, is already in Central Jail, Bathinda, in a case registered against him under the NDPS Act


Teachers seek action against Principal
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, June 12
The Giani Zail Singh College of Engineering and Technology Teachers Association, in a complaint filed with the Director-General of Police, has alleged that the district police had refused to register a case against the Principal of the college, even as serious allegations had been levelled against him.

Mr Lalit Mohan Sharma, secretary of the association, alleged that a complaint against the Principal was lodged with the district police on December 28, 2001, but no action had been initiated in this regard.

Mr Sharma alleged that facts regarding certain irregularities being committed by the Principal were brought to the notice of the police authorities and at least an FIR should have been registered by this time but the police authorities did not initiate any action on their complaint.

Mr Sharma pointed out that in a case, a student was given admission to third semester of electrical engineering (paid seat) for which he was to deposit Rs 86,505, as per the rules, but the Principal allowed the student to take admission by depositing only Rs 25,000 and the balance amount was not deposited with the college.

He alleged that a software costing Rs 6 lakh, purchased by the college authorities in June, 1998, remained packed and was never used until July, 2000 as no compatible computer system to run the software was available in the college. Interestingly, the college authorities also paid Rs 1.5 lakh as annual maintenance charges without even installing or using the software.

He pointed out that the Principal was staying in a residential building of the college without paying any rent for the same, which was against the bylaws of the college. The Principal was also paying the personal electricity bills from the funds of the college, Mr Sharma alleged, adding that the Principal was using air conditioners, computers, printers etc of the college for his personal work at his residence.

Dr Narinder Singh, Principal of the college, when contacted, said the allegations levelled against him were baseless and departmental probe into these had been conducted earlier, in which he was found to be innocent. He said no Principal of any engineering college in the state was paying house rent for official accommodation and no amount had been paid for the maintenance of the software that was not installed.

Dr Narinder Singh pointed out that the student referred to in the complaint had sought admission in the said course and had paid full fee but later rejoined the same course under the lateral entry scheme of Punjab Technical University. As per the university guidelines, the fee for a course was to be charged only once and as the student had neither changed the semester nor the course, he was not required to pay the fee again. The amount of Rs 25,000 received from the student had been kept as a security, he said.


PTU to declare CET results today
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 12
Punjab Technical University will be declaring the results of the Common Entrance Test held for admission to its affiliated colleges tomorrow.

Informing this the PTU Vice-Chancellor, told The Tribune that the admission process which was to start on June 26 had been postponed to some date in the first week of July. “This has been done as approval to certain courses in some colleges are still awaited from the All India Council of Technical Education which will be available by the end of this month”, he said.

PTU is the affiliating university for 17 engineering colleges in the state which includes one Regional Engineering College at Jalandhar. After the admissions start in the first week of July, the first counselling will continue for at least 20 days after the date of admission. After a few days, gap the second counselling will continue for another nine days.

Joint Admissions to the Punjab Engineering College, the Chandigarh College of Engineering and the Chandigarh College of Architecture will be starting only after the result of the All India CBSE Examination on the basis of which admission to these colleges are being done, is declared. The result is likely to be declared before or on June 25. The sale of forms and the admission process is likely to start on June 27 and the last tentative date of receipt of filled forms is July 16. The forms will be available from the colleges by post and also in the leading State Bank of India branches in the main cities of the states. However the exact dates will be notified by the college in a newspaper advertisement.

Admission to Thapar Engineering College which too will be admitting students on the basis of the All India CBSE result, will start the process of admission from July 7. The first counselling is to continue till July 10 after which the NRI seats admission will be taken up on July 11. Single day second counselling will take place on July 28.

Admission to the six engineering courses is being offered by Panjab University on the basis of the Common Entrance Test conducted by the university, the result of which has been declared. The forms are available from the university. The admission starts from July 4 and will continue till July 11.

The 37 polytechnics affiliated to the Punjab Technical Board will be conducting admissions for various diploma courses starting on July 16 and the process is likely to continue for 22-25 days. The forms for admission to 35 polytechnics in Punjab and two in Chandigarh will be available from June 18.


Re-examination of cancelled papers
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, June 12
The re-examination of the cancelled theory paper -III (data based management system) and paper IV (PC-computing -II) of diploma in computer application (full and part time-part II) of Guru Nanak Dev University will be held on June 26 and June 29, respectively, at the examination centres located in the district headquarters.

According to official information released to the press yesterday, centre No. 79 Amritsar has been created on the Guru Nanak Bhavan University campus; centre No. 10 on the University Regional Campus, Gurdaspur; centre No. 41 at Guru Nanak Dev University College, Basti Nau, Jalandhar, centre No. 6 at R.K. Arya College, Nawanshahr, and centre No. 9 at Hindu Kanya College, Kapurthala.


UGIT entrance test redesigned
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, June 12
Guru Nanak Dev University has redesigned the UGIT-2002 entrance test scheduled to be held on June 13 for admission to BCA and B.Sc. (IT) courses.

Stating this, Dr Kulwant Singh, coordinator, said the university will not hold this test and those who have already applied or want to apply for admission to these courses should contact the principals of the colleges where they want admission by June 20.

He said the candidates who have been issued admit cards will be preferred.

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