Wednesday, June 26, 2002, Chandigarh, India


P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



Finance Minister offers no relief to employees
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 25
Contrary to expectations, the Punjab Finance Minister, Mr Lal Singh, today did not withdraw any of his Budget proposals pertaining to employees, etc, in the state Assembly.

There was expectation that Mr Lal Singh might make an important announcement in the House withdrawing certain proposals which have led to unrest among various sections of society, especially employees. Among the proposals are those relating to user charges, toll tax, Re 1 per litre as cess on petrol and the freezing of certain allowances and perks of employees.

The process of determining the user charges would start immediately after the Budget session, according to Mr Lal Singh.

While replying to various points raised by members in the House and winding up the discussion on the Budget proposals, Mr Lal Singh said the government was committed to fulfilling the promises made to the people by the Congress before the elections, but this would be done when the financial situation improved.

Taking potshots at the previous SAD-BJP government in his over one-hour-long speech, Mr Lal Singh said it harmed the credibility of the state to such an extent that no lending institution such as the World Bank was prepared to advance any loan to the state. The first job of the present government was to bring the state out of the financial mess. It had tried do so in the current year’s Budget.

He said Shiromani Akali Dal leaders were inciting employees to resort to agitation against the Congress government. Urging the employees not to be misled by the Akali leaders, Mr Lal Singh assured them that the government would restore their benefits and provide other allowances after an improvement in the financial situation. The Congress government had fulfilled its main promises like those relating to the removal of corruption from the state, good governance, etc.

The Disinvestment Commission was set up by the previous government. It had not given its final report yet. Before the implementation of the final report, the government would take all sections of the employees into its confidence by holding talks with them, he added. Having a dig at certain Akali MLAs, Mr Lal Singh said they were now offering advice to the new government, but wondered why they did not give the same advice to their own former Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal.

There was pun, satire and wit in Mr Lal Singh’s reply. He cited facts and figures to hammer home the point that the previous government created financial turmoil in the state. There was only 58 per cent implementation of the last Annual Plan by the SAD-BJP government, he added.

While welcoming the suggestions made by members, especially Dr Upinderjit Kaur, on efforts to broad base capital formation in the state, Mr Lal Singh said there was a temporary ban on new recruitment. A new proposal to give Rs 4,000 per acre as subsidy to farmers who would be prepared not to sow wheat and paddy was being discussed with the Union Government, he added.

He replied to certain clarifications sought by the former Finance Minister, Capt Kanwaljit Singh, who also challenged Mr Lal Singh’s statement that power supply was being given to farmers for eight hours daily. Capt Kanwaljit Singh said there was no substance in the Minister’s statement and a committee of the House should be set up to verify the actual position on power supply in the rural areas. The Speaker said he had taken note of Capt Kanwaljit Singh’s point and would take a decision on the matter.

Among those who participated in the discussion were Mr Balwinder Singh Bhunder, Mr Avinash Khanna (BJP), Mr Jasbir Singh Dimpa, Mrs Razia Sultana, Mrs Gurkanwal Kaur, Mr Kushaldeep Singh Dhillon, Prof Darbari Lal, Mr Adesh Partap Singh and Mr Gurjant Singh (CPI).


SAD MLAs stage walkout
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 25
Led by the leader of the Opposition, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, Akali legislators today walked out of the Punjab Assembly as the Speaker, Dr Kewal Krishan, disallowed discussion on the substantive motion moved by 12 Akali legislators.

Through the motion, Mr Badal and his colleagues wanted that the House should discuss the report of the Lok Pal pertaining to indicting of four Congress ministers in the last Congress government (1992-1997). The Lok Pal’s report was tabled in the House when the SAD-BJP was in power in the state.

Immediately after question hour, Mr Badal raised the issue of the motion that was submitted by the Akali legislators to the Speaker. Responding to Mr Badal’s request in this connection, the Speaker said no discussion could be allowed as the matter was sub-judice. Moreover, there was a requirement of seven days’ notice for allowing a discussion on such a motion. However, Mr Badal said it was within the power of the Speaker to allow discussion on such a motion, waiving all other conditions.

Mr Badal also said the matter was only sub-judice in case of Mr Lal Singh, who had got a stay from the Punjab and Haryana High Court against the Lok Pal’s report. But the discussion with regard to three other former ministers should be held. However, the Speaker did not budge and disallowed the discussion, that led to the walkout by the SAD legislators. It was the first time during the current session that the Akalis staged the walkout by making corruption an issue.

However, the BJP legislators did not join the walkout. They stayed in the House. It was the first time during the current session that the BJP did not join the SAD in the walkout. It appeared that the BJP had decided to have its independent way and strategy in the House.

Meanwhile, the Punjab Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, replying to a question regarding the recruitment scam in the PPSC, said government agencies were still investigating the case. He said appropriate action would be taken against those who had secured the job via PPSC by paying cash to the PPSC Chairman. The Chief Minister said the Vigilance Bureau had recovered Rs 18.16 crore during the course of investigating the PPSC scam.

He said 2379 persons had been either recruited or recommended by the PPSC when Mr Ravinder Pal Singh Sidhu was its chairman. However, this number was at variance with the earlier disclosures made by the Chief Minister and the Vigilance Bureau in this connection. Earlier, the government had stated that 3446 persons had been recruited during Mr Sidhu’s tenure. The question was asked by Mr Harnam Dass Johar.

Replying to a question by Prof Darbari Lal, the Minister of State for Revenue, Mr Amarjit Singh Samra, said during the SAD-BJP regime, the government had sold or transferred government property worth Rs 125.65 crore. He said there were reports regarding bungling in the sale of such property and assured that the matter would be investigated.

Responding to Mr Birdevinder Singh’s question regarding allotment of sites to private schools by PUDA in SAS Nagar, Mr Raghunath Sahay, Housing and Urban Development Minister, said a senior officer, Mr D.S. Kalha, was preparing a report in this regard. Mr Birdevinder Singh said there was a big scandal in such allotments, which required to be investigated at a high level. He said property worth crores had been allotted in SAS Nagar to bogus organisations in the name of opening schools.

Replying to a question by Mr Hans Raj Joshan, the Social Security Minister, Mr Santokh Singh, admitted that old-age pension had not been paid for the past four months. It would be paid after the passing of the Budget. He said 824,071 persons had been getting pension in the state. He said a survey had been ordered to find out how many ineligible persons had been sanctioned pension by the previous government. He said there were reports of irregularities in approving cases of old-age pension.

Mr Lal Singh, Finance Minister, said there was slow movement of foodgrain from Punjab to other states. The Punjab Government and the FCI held a stock of 198.97 lakh tonnes of wheat in the state. The question was asked by Mr Joginder Singh Mann. Responding to a supplementary question, the Transport Minister, Mr Tej Parkash Singh, said the government was considering a proposal for the privatisation of Punjab Roadways.


Local bodies Secy writes to minister
Varinder Walia
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, June 25
Describing the violation of building bylaws and suppressing of legal notices as criminal conspiracy, and grave misconduct, the Secretary, Local Bodies, Mr Sarvesh Kaushal, wrote to the Local Bodies Minister that an urban mafia consisting of builders, architects and civic body enforcement officials made them immune from the law.

Mr Kaushal in a letter urged the minister to take up the case with the Chief Minister for handing it over to the Vigilance Bureau.

On the basis of the letter, Chaudhary Jagjit Singh, Minister, Local Bodies, is likely to make a strong case for initiating a Vigilance inquiry.

The Secretary wrote: “What ultimately surfaced after an intensive departmental spadework had the ingredients of a copy book open and shut criminal case under the Prevention of Corruption Act and Indian Penal Code”.

The Secretary in his communication to the minister wrote: “The office of the Commissioner, Jalandhar Municipal Corporation, had reported on May 21 that a total of 8,494 notices to defaulters of unauthorised constructions were issued during the past five years (from 1997 to 2002), out of which as many as 7,085 were reportedly kept pending.”

The Secretary said the higher degree of criminality by way of destruction and disappearance of the notice files stare at our face in Jalandhar when the department’s internal vigilance inspected the Jalandhar corporation office to check the pending notices files and found 2013 files missing and 298 unreported cases were detected.

The Amritsar corporation office had reported that out of the 6,911 notices issued in the past five years, 3,856 notices were pending without any follow-up action. However, unlike the Jalandhar corporation it divulged that out of the 3,856 notices, as many as 2,240 files were missing from the office.

An order to lodge an FIR against all custodians and supervisory officers within three days yielded results as the corporation reported that various officials had surrendered 2,138 files from their “personal” custody.

The corporation officers flouted the orders to lodge FIRs. As many as 102 files are still untraceable. However, it is on record who returned how many files.

The letter further reads: “Conclusive proof of culpable criminality has been rendered”.

Many cases are also missing from the record of the municipal corporation of Ludhiana.


7 killed in road mishap near Bunga Sahib
Tribune News Service

Ropar, June 25
Seven persons were killed and four seriously injured in a road accident when a TATA Sumo and a truck collided near Bunga Sahib, about 26 km from here, on the Ropar-Anandpur Sahib road today. All dead and injured persons were the occupants of the TATA Sumo and were reportedly going to the Mata Naina Devi temple in Himachal Pradesh from Sunam in Sangrur district. The truck was coming towards Ropar from Kiratpur Sahib. However, the driver of the truck managed to escape.

According to the police and hospital officials, four of the seven persons died on the spot while two, a 40-year-old woman and a three year-old girl, died on way to the Local Civil Hospital. A 25-year-old man reportedly died on way to the PGI in Chandigarh. He was referred to the PGI by the local Civil Hospital along with three other injured persons. An injured woman was sent to the PGI by the police from the site of the accident. Among the seven deceased persons four were men, two women and a baby girl.

The names of six persons who were killed in the accident are: Soloshan Sharma and his wife Swarna Rani; Bhupinder Singh, driver of the ill-fated TATA Sumo, (all from Sunam); Amrit Pal, his wife Renu Bala and daughter Babbu, residents of Chunga village near Malerkotla. The name of seventh person, who died on way to the PGI, is still unknown.

Mr Tarlochan Singh, SHO of the local Sadar police station, said a case had been registered against the driver of the truck under Sections 279, 337, 338, 340 and 304-A of the IPC.

He added that the police had recovered gold and silver ornaments and Rs 10,000 in cash from the site of the accident.


Sufferer at hands of militants, cop
Our Correspondent

Tarn Taran, June 25
A head constable of the Punjab Police threw out the household goods and other belongings of widow Gurbachan Kaur whose husband Chanchal Singh was gunned down by militants in 1990.

Gurbachan Kaur has been living in the house of Jetha Singh, who has died some time back, as a tenant for the past more than 30 years. Seven days ago Head Constable Avtar Singh posted at Harike police station threw out the belongings of Gurbachan Kaur with the help of 50 armed persons. Gurbachan Kaur who was sitting by side of her belongings yesterday at the local Noordi adda near residential quarters of SGPC employees said that she had all documents to show that she had been a tenant for the past more than 30 years but seven days ago Head Constable Avtar Singh with the help of 50 supporters threw out her belongings out and since then she has been approaching to the authorities including the local SDM, the SHO of the local police but none is ready to hear her grievance.

According to information Head Constable Avtar Singh had good relations with Jetha Singh for the past several years but Jetha Singh being addicted to liquor Head Constable Avtar Singh taking advantage of this got all property of Jetha Singh registered in his name which includes six acres of land at Warrian village falling under Sarhali police station. When Jetha Singh came to know this he wrote a will in the name of his nephews Joginder Singh and Inder Singh. Jetha Singh also recorded his statement at the local court about all what happened and on the basis of his statements a case under Sections 420, 467, 468, 120B of the IPC was registered against Avtar Singh and others at the local city police station.

Husband of Gurbachan Kaur was killed by militants in 1990. The Punjab government released the amount due to her. Gurbachan Kaur added that the day when Head Constable Avtar Singh and his supporters forced entry into her house to throw her goods out they also took away Rs 1.03 lakh she had withdrawn from bank to settle her son in business. She added that none was prepared to hear her grievance. She is not in a position to move court. Gurbachan Kaur has approached the Human Rights Commission and the other human rights organisations to help her to get back her goods and dues from the illegal possession of Head Constable Avtar Singh.


Bathinda MC chief booked for selling land
Chander Parkash
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, June 25
The case pertaining to the alleged auction of a piece of land, located in the heart of the city, belonging to the Public Works Department (PWD), by the authorities of the Municipal Council at a throwaway price has taken a new turn with the police authorities booking the Municipal Council’s President, Mr Bhupinder Singh Bhuller, the then Executive Officer (EO) and Tehsildar, in a criminal case registered in 2001 at the local police station, yesterday evening.

Police sources said Mr Bhuller had been charged under Sections 408, 409, 467 and 471 of the IPC though an FIR was registered under Sections 427 and 447 against the auction purchasers only.

The police sources said these three persons had been booked along with the auction purchasers as they had been found guilty of committing breach of trust by using fabricated documents while holding the auction. After the auction of the piece of land, where the Milk Bazar was situated, Mr N.K. Garg, an advocate, filed a writ petition on the basis that the council had auctioned the PWD’s property at a throwaway price.

On the directive of the Punjab and Haryana High Court, a case under Sections 427 and 447 of the IPC was registered against the auction purchasers for demolishing the wall of a government school located adjacent to the Milk Bazar.

After investigations the police authorities moved an application in the court of the Chief Judicial Magistrate for the cancellation of the FIR registered under Sections 427 and 447 of the IPC. The CJM while not agreeing with the cancellation report moved by the police authorities ordered it to reinvestigate the matter.

The sources said during the reinvestigation it came to light the auction was not held properly and the signature of a district official was taken on auction papers after a considerable delay and some of the documents were also fabricated.

Mr Bhuller whose arrest had been stayed by the Additional Sessions Judge, Mr Karnail Singh, while hearing his application moved in connection with the anticipatory bail today when contacted alleged that the case registered against him was politically motivated. He added that an open auction was held in presence of a representative of the district administration after cancelling the auction three times earlier. The highest bidder was given the land.

A resolution was passed by the council approving the auction and then the same resolution was approved by the then state government. The possession of the land was given to the auction purchasers after they deposited 50 per cent amount of the total price.

He pointed out that the land, which had been auctioned by the council was owned by it. A case was pending in the Punjab and Haryana High Court in connection with the auction of that piece of the land. Mr Karnail Singh has put the hearing on the application on June 29.


Sidhu’s judicial remand extended
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, June 25
The suspended PPSC Chairman, Ravinder Pal Singh Sidhu, was today further remanded in judicial custody under the Arms Act till June 30 and under the Excise Act till July 8, respectively, by the UT Judicial Magistrate, Mr S. S Bhardwaj.

Meanwhile, the Manager of the Punjab and Sind Bank, Sector-17 did not file reply in a plea moved by Mr Sidhu for issuing 10 loose cheques to him to fulfil his daily needs.

Mr Sidhu was produced before the UT Judicial Magistrate, Mr S. S Bhardwaj, at about 12.15 p.m. Thereafter the counsel for Mr Sidhu sought one hour time in order to discuss some important matter relating to cases registered against him. Accepting the plea the Magistrate directed the Punjab police to produce him again in the court after one hour.

He was again produced in the court at about 1.25 p.m. The defence counsel argued that the Punjab and Sind Bank, in Sector-17 be further directed to issue 10 loose cheques to fulfil the day to day needs of Mr Sidhu and his family. But the magistrate, Mr S. S Bhardwaj, said that only the Illaqa Magistrate could take note of the plea moved by Mr Sidhu regarding issue of cheques.


Judicial remand for Sidhu’s aide
Our Correspondent

Kharar, June 25
Ms Harinder Sidhu, Duty Magistrate, Kharar, today remanded Kuldeep Singh Bedi, a close associate of former PPSC Chairman Ravi Sidhu and manager of a bank, in judicial custody till July 6.

Mr Jatinderjit Singh Punn, public prosecutor and Mr Bachan Singh, Inspector, Vigilance, appeared in the court. The accused was arrested by the SAS Nagar police for his involvement in hawala transactions after registering a case under Sections 471, 467, 468, and 120, IPC, and he was remanded in police custody till June 25 by the court. It was alleged that the accused was helping Ravi Sidhu in hawala transactions to transfer his money abroad.

He was produced in the court by the Vigilance Department.


Tota Singh’s aide in Vigilance net

Moga, June 25
A team of Punjab Vigilance Bureau officials today rounded up Mr Ram Singh, Chairman, Market Committee, Ajitwal, after raiding his house at his native village Madoke.

Mr Ram Singh was later taken to Vigilance Bureau State Headquarters at Chandigarh, sources in the bureau said.

Mr Ram Singh is closely related to former Punjab Education Minister Tota Singh, who was arrested from here on June 14 and is currently under judicial custody till July 3.

Mr Tota Singh is facing charges regarding illegal recruitment of teachers and clerks, accumulation of assets worth crores of rupees and transfer of huge sums of money through hawala channel during his tenure as Education Minister in the erstwhile Parkash Singh Badal regime.

Three days ago, BJP leader and local Improvement Trust member Rakesh Bhalla was rounded up by the bureau and taken to questioning. He was released yesterday.

The Vigilance sleuths had on Saturday last raided houses of two local nagar council members and some other aides of the former minister. Sources in the bureau said they were searching for six of Mr Tota Singh’s aides, including his PA and a nagar council member. PTI


Former Akali minister gets pre-arrest bail
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 25
Acting on a petition seeking the grant of anticipatory bail filed by Punjab’s former minister Nirmal Singh Kahlon in a cheating and corruption case, Mr Justice Ashutosh Mohunta of the Punjab and Haryana High Court today ordered that the petitioner would be released on bail in the event of his arrest.

Pronouncing the orders, Mr Justice Mohunta also asked the former minister to join investigation as and when required. The Judge added that the petitioner’s counsel may accompany him during the investigation.

The former minister was apprehending arrest in a first information report alleging cheating and forgery registered by the Punjab police at SAS Nagar on May 16 under Sections 420, 467 and 120-B of the Indian Penal Code, besides under the provisions of the Prevention of Corruption Act.

Claiming to have been implicated in the case, Mr Kahlon had alleged that the present government had adopted a revengeful attitude towards its opponents, particularly towards the members of the Akali Dal. The Chief Minister, counsel for the petitioner had added, had openly declared that the Dal members and supporters would be taught a lesson.

Refuting the allegations of cheating levelled against Mr Kahlon, he had asserted that the petitioner was competent to take decisions regarding the purchase of material for the Department of Rural Development and Panchayat as he was the minister-in-charge.

Terming as false the allegation that certain digging machines, purchased during the period in question, remained idle due to non-employment of labour, he had asserted that the drivers were hired on contract basis but their services were terminated without the petitioner’s approval two months before the Assembly elections.

Notice of motion

On a petition filed by Senior Vice-President of Sirhind Municipal Council, Mr Justice J.S. Khehar and Mr Justice Jasbir Singh of the High Court on Tuesday ordered that the petitioner shall not be dislocated from his office, in case he had not already been removed, till further orders. The Judges also issued notice of motion for June 27.

In his petition, Rakesh Kumar Verma had earlier contended that he was elected Senior Vice-President on June 29 last year, but on July 2, 2001, the President, after tampering with the record, had claimed that the elections hadn’t taken place due to disturbances. Soon after, the Director of Local Government had sought a detailed report. On January 1 this year, a letter was sent to an executive officer stating that the elections had been carried out in accordance with the rules, counsel for the petitioner had added.

He had further claimed that the petitioner, after taking over charge on February 7, had sent a representation to the Director of Local Government for granting him a period of one year from the date of his taking over the charge, but his grievance had not been redressed.


Mohali granted bail
Tribune News Service

Ropar, June 25
Mr Maghar Khan, Sessions Judge, today granted bail to Amrik Singh Mohali, Municipal Councillor from SAS Nagar and alleged “tout” of former Punjab PWD Minister Suchha Singh Langah, in a case registered against him and others by the Vigilance Bureau under various Sections of the IPC and the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988. Amrik Singh Mohali is already in judicial custody.

In his order, the Sessions Judge has observe: “As he (Amrik Singh Mohali) is no longer required by the prosecution for the purpose of investigation and nothing is to be recovered from him, so he is ordered to be released on bail on his furnishing a bail bond in the sum of Rs 1 lakh with a surety in the like amount to the satisfaction of the court.”

The Sessions Judge also granted bail to Gurcharan Singh, another accused in the same case, who is also in judicial custody.

The Sessions Judge, in his order, has said: “The applicant (Gurcharan Singh) is ordered to be released on his furnishing a personal bond of Rs 1 lakh with a surety in the like amount to the satisfaction of the court.”

A case was registered against them on May 16 by the Vigilance Bureau under Sections 420, 467, 468, 471 and 120 of the IPC and provisions of the Prevention of Corruption Act.


5 cops suspended for beating up 5 persons
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, June 25
Four policemen and an ASI were suspended for allegedly beating up five persons, including two women, following a traffic challan here today.

Enquiries have been ordered into the alleged, misbehaviour of the policemen leading to a traffic jam for nearly two hours near Ganda Nullah close to Fatehpur police chowki.

Six persons Surinder Kumar Kakkar, his wife Madhubala, brother Rajinder Kumar, his wife Sandhya, Rajesh Kumar and driver Kashmir Singh, who were travelling by car from Bhikhiwind to Amritsar were stopped by ASI Karamjit Singh and five policemen. On being asked to produce their licence and RC of the vehicle the police allegedly asked for Rs 200 for letting them go, as the licence of the driver had expired. On refusal to pay a challan was registered against them. Surinder Kumar and his brother Rajinder told to The Tribune.

A scooterist who allegedly paid Rs 100 to them for some discrepancy in his licence was let off. When the car passengers protested this the police started beating them. When the females intervened they too were slapped and hit.

Following this the car was parked in the centre of the road and blocked traffic, raising slogans against the police high-handedness.

On the intervention of the SSP, Mr Narinderpal Singh, who deputed DSP Ashish Kapoor to deal with the situation, things cooled down.

The SSP told The Tribune that the erring policemen had been suspended and an inquiry instituted into the case.


Rice scam: truck drivers’ memo to CM
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, June 25
While the main accused in the recently unearthed FCI rice export scam are yet to be arrested, a section of the local truck operators who have been arrested by the police allegedly for aiding the culprits have submitted a memorandum to the Punjab Chief Minister pleading innocence and seeking their release.

Mr Atma Singh Chahal, president, Bathinda Truck Operators Union, who, along with other truck operators submitted a memorandum to Punjab Chief Minister, Amarinder Singh, through the Deputy Commissioner alleged that the police had arrested certain truck drivers and owners on flimsy grounds. Mr Chahal said that the drivers and the owners had no role in the scam. They had just given their trucks for hire.

Mr Chahal added that nine truck drivers and nearly 36 trucks of the union were impounded by the police on June 18 and had not been released. He added that certain trucks were still at the shellers and the rice loaded in them had become moist due to rains that lashed the region a few days ago. The impounding of trucks by the police had made it difficult for drivers and owners to keep their kitchen fire burning.

He said that the union gave 30 trucks on hire on June 17 to Mr Gurpreet Singh, a rice mill owner for transportation of rice/paddy within 10 km of the city at Rs 6.50 per quintal. He said that the union does not issue any special documents for local transport of goods and only the gate pass issued by the union to the respective vehicles is used for the purpose. He said that the police had registered cases against the truck drivers and owners under Section 420 of the IPC and various other sections of the IPC. They were not at fault, he claimed.

Mr Chahal demanded a high-level probe into the entire episode and added that the false cases registered against the members of the union should be withdrawn.

He said that the traders who had forged the documents relating to the transportation should be dealt with and made to compensate the truck operators for the losses, suffered by them.

The employees of the FCI on the other hand have extended their pen-down strike till June 28 and threatened to hold a rally to protest against police high-handedness on June 27. The police had not made any further arrests and at least six rice mill owners and main accused are at large.


Excise men observe ‘black day’
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 25
Wearing black badges , members of the Confederation of the Employees of the Excise and Taxation Department organised gate rallies throughout the state to protest against the work environment in the department.

The confederation claimed that a complete “black day” was observed throughout the state.

The rallyists vehemently demanded the immediate removal of the Excise and Taxation Commissioner and the Additional Excise and Taxation Commissioner-I to pave the way for the creation of conducive atmosphere for the smooth functioning of the department.

Confederation leaders urged the employees to maintain decorum and assured the state government that they would continue to work achieve the revenue targets. M S.S. Cheema, President, Excise and Taxation Officers’ Association, claimed that the protest rally at Ludhiana was successful.

An emergency meeting of the confederation has been called for tomorrow at Patiala to chalk out the future line of action, Mr Cheema added.

Meanwhile, the Punjab Excise and Taxation Commissioner, Mr Suresh Kumar, yesterday held meetings with several officers of the department at Ludhiana after visiting the family of Mr Navdeep Tuli, an inspector in the department, who died on Saturday night.

Assuring all members of the staff of full security, Mr Suresh Kumar, said the truth behind the recent “unnatural deaths of ETO and inspectors” would be brought to lights. “During my interaction with staff members, I found that they were apprehending involvement of an outside agency to look into the working of the department. After talking to the Chief Secretary, Mr Y. S. Ratra, I assured them that no external agency would be allowed to interfere in the working of the department,” he said.

Mr Suresh Kumar also clarified that the death of Mr Pardeep Malhotra, an inspector, was because of some illness as he was a diabetic patient and was under treatment at Amritsar where because of some drug reaction his condition deteriorated and he died.

“Mr Navdeep Tuli was fine until Saturday morning as he went to Phagwara in his car to bring his grandparents from there. At night he complained of severe headache and collapsed in the bathroom and died,” Mr Suresh Kumar said.

“I have invited all leaders of the confederation to my office and they have agreed to come. We will sort out all their problems and if anyone has passed any wrong orders or harassed anyone, action would be taken against him.


Contempt plea against Animal Husbandry Deputy Director
Our Correspondent

Tarn Taran, June 25
Mr Parminder Singh, Veterinary officer, posted at the local veterinary hospital, has filed a contempt of court plea in the Punjab and Haryana High Court against Dr Tejinder Singh Bedi, Deputy Director, Animal Husbandry, Amritsar, who has not released salary of Mr Parminder Singh for six months from June 2000 to November 2000 despite orders of the high court to this effect.

Mr Justice V.K. Bali and Mr Justice Jasbir Singh of the high court on Mr Parminder Singh’s plea in January, 2002, issued orders directing the release of salary of Mr Parminder Singh for the period mentioned in petition.

The Director, Animal Husbandry, Punjab, forwarding the copy of the court orders to the Deputy Director, Animal Husbandry, Amritsar, asked him to comply with the orders of the court vide order no. 7527-28/legal cell at April 10, 2002.

Mr Parminder Singh said here yesterday that the departmental inquiry too should be initiated against Dr Bedi for not complying with high court’s order and that of higher departmental authorities.


Implement quota policy for SCs/STs: commission
Tribune News Service

Ropar, June 25
Mr C. Chellappan, a member of the National Commission for Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes, Government of India, stressed on the implementation of the reservation policy in letter and spirit in the state in the interest of the SCs and the STs. He also asked the police authorities to ensure that there should be no atrocities on the members of the SCs and the STs at any level.

Mr Chellappan along with Mr Tanzia Wangyal, Director of National Commission for SC and ST, Chandigarh, was here to monitor the welfare schemes.

Mr Chellappan also urged the district authorities to improve the basic amenities like potable drinking water, medical facilities and supply of electricity for the communities. He also stressed upon the need to arrange training programmes for the SC/ST members of the panchayats, panchayat samitis, zila parishad and municipal councils to impart them knowledge regarding the functions and rules of the local bodies.

Mrs Seema Jain, Deputy Commissioner, assured the member of the commission that the district administration would implement the welfare programmes for the SCs/STs.


Police ‘trying to hush up’ corruption cases
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, June 25
In a letter to the Chief Minister, veteran CPI leader Satya Pal Dang has said while he (the Chief Minister) had made fighting corruption his main plank, one district police authorities seemed to be trying to hush up some cases of embezzlement and corruption. He said the police was trying to hush up the fake admission racket and embezzlement of Gujarat relief fund.

Mr Dang alleged that the then Principal of Lakshmi Narain Ayurvedic College had imposed a compulsory levy on students to send funds to Gujarat for relief. According to student leaders, Rs 15,000 were raised but not sent by the college authorities. The president of the college managing committee at one stage conceded that the amount had not been sent, but nothing was done. A complaint was lodged with the police, but it allegedly refused to register an FIR in this regard. Instead of taking action against the guilty, a DSP shielded the “culprits”, Mr Dang alleged.

Mr Dang said after a prolonged inquiry, a case was registered in admission racket in which Rakesh of Chhehtra had to pay Rs 2.75 lakh for securing a seat in the MCA course of Guru Nanak Dev University. The then PA to the Dean and a Head of Department had been specifically named as accused in the FIR, but they have not been arrested even after a month of registration of the case despite concrete documentary evidence against them.


Over 3 lakh scavengers rehabilitated
Our Correspondent

Gurdaspur, June 25
Mr Ganga Ram Teja, member of the National Commission for Safai Karamcharis, talking to newspersons here today said the Central and state governments were making efforts to uplift the safai karamcharis.

The Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment had released Rs 671.19 crore to the states and union territories and 394638 scavengers had already been rehabilitated.

The Centre had released Rs 277.2 crore as loan and Rs 245.41 crore as subsidy under the integrated low caste sanitation scheme.

Mr Teja said union territories of Andeman and Nicobar Islands, Chandigarh, Dadar and Nagar Haveli, Daman and Diu, Lakshwadweep, Pondicherry, Goa, Gujarat, Kerala, Manipur, Mizoram, Sikkim and Tripura had been declared scavengers free.

He said the commission had already submitted four reports to the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment of which two reports had been tabled in Parliament.

He said the government was running a pre-matriculation scholarship schemes for children of those engaged in scavenging under the national scheme for liberation and rehabilitation of scavengers and their dependents.


ISBTI honours blood donors
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, June 25
The Punjab chapter of the Indian Society of Blood Transfusion and Immunohaematology (ISBTI) honoured those blood donors and motivators at a programme organised on Sunday.

This was stated in a press note issued here yesterday by Ms Raj Gupta convener of the Punjab chapter of the ISBTI. She said that Mr Parminder Singh ASI, Punjab Police was honoured for donating blood to an emergency patient.

Ms Sangeeta Sodhi, and Dr HS Sodhi was honoured as donor as he had given blood to serious patient. She said that besides this Mr Vijay Bhatt, founder of the United Welfare Society was honoured for being blood donation motivator. She added that Mr Naresh Kumar, a senior clerk in the district Red Cross Society was honoured for his participation in blood donation camps. All above five persons were given mementos by the Deputy Commissioner, Anurag Verma, chief guest of the function.

Ms Raj Gupta said that some other blood donors and motivators were also honoured at the function. They included, Mr Vinod Bansal, Mr Hardeep Singh, Mr Vijay Bareja from city, Mr Pritam Singh, Mr Pawan Mehta and Mr Anil Saraf from Rampura Phul, Dr Dayal Sarup from Nawanshahr Mr Bahadur Singh from Hoshiarpur. Mr Surinder Saini and Mr Vijay Kumar from Jalandhar, Gursharanjeet Singh from Khanna, Mr Satwinder Singh from Panchkula, Mr Satpal Bansal from Patiala who has donated blood for 106 times. Mr Gurinder Singh Toor from BDC Nawanshahr and Mr HS Bedi from Dhariwal. They were given citations by Mr Yudhvir Singh from Haryana.


Kin refuse to cremate body
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, June 25
The body of a married woman, Sunita Rani, who allegedly committed suicide yesterday, could not be cremated today. Her kin, including her husband and her parents, refused to accept the body and perform the last rites.

Sunita Rani, a resident of Goniana Mandi, about 15 km from here, allegedly committed suicide by consuming celphos last evening at the local railway station. She was shifted to the local Civil Hospital immediately. However, she died before she could give a statement before the police.

Information gathered by TNS revealed that after Sunita Rani died, volunteers of an NGO, the Sahara Jan Seva, informed her husband. However, he refused to accept the body. The parents of Sunita Rani also did not turn up at the hospital despite being informed about the incident.

Though the post-mortem examination of the body has been conducted, it is still lying in the mortuary of the hospital. Sources said volunteers of the Sahara Jan Seva have been requested by the police to cremate the body tomorrow.


PSEB extends disclosure scheme
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 25
The Punjab State Electricity Board ( PSEB) has decided to extend the last date of the voluntary disclosure scheme (VDS) for tubewell connections to July 1, 2002. This will provide a chance to the farmers in the state to regularise their loads and save themselves from heavy penalties.

This was decided after a meeting here today between the Board management and the Kisan Wing of the Shiromani Akali Dal headed by Mr Satnam Singh Behru. Mr Sudhir Mittal, Chairman, PSEB, assured the delegation that eight to nine hours of power supply to all the tubewell connections in the state would be ensured during the paddy season.

Regarding action on complaints, he said that control rooms had been set up at all zonal circles and regional headquarters to monitor the supply position. The officials would not be allowed to leave the headquarters to ensure action on complaints. 


Moroccan woman missing
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, June 25
Mystery shrouds the disappearance of a Moroccan woman who was reportedly put on a train to Delhi for the Moroccan Embassy by the police but has been missing.

The police which made her board the train and the family she was married into are clueless about her whereabouts.

The woman had alleged that she was being detained by her family in a statement to the SDM, Mr Dilraj Singh Sandhawalia. The SDM got an FIR registered against Kitu Jaggi and directed that the girl should be lodged in the nari niketan. However, the nari niketan refused to let her stay and she was directed to be put on a train to Delhi for the Moroccan Embassy.

Kavita Jaggi, mother of Kitu, told The Tribune that her son and nagma Tarikh had been living together in Morocco for the past over a year before they came to India. Their marriage took place on April 24 as per Hindu rites.


Seminar on untouchability
Our Correspondent

Muktsar, June 25
Even after 53 years of independence members of high castes behave in an improper way with those belonging to dalit society in some states.

This was stated by Deputy Commissioner Babu Lal at a seminar organised in connection with the celebration of Kabir Jayanti here yesterday. The seminar was organised on untouchability.

He said that untouchability was a crime. He said that stern action would be taken against those who indulged in such practices.

The DC said that in the district Welfare Department would encourage inter-caste marriages. He said that additional grants would be given to the panchayats which would work to end untouchability.

He said that true tribute to Saint Kabir would be to launch a campaign against untouchability.


Freedom fighter’s widow dead
Our Correspondent

Faridkot, June 25
Maya Devi, widow of freedom fighter Chetan Dev, died here today. She was 93. She was bedridden for the past month due to ill health. People from all walks of life attended her cremation here today.

Maya Devi was a force behind her husband who, along with Giani Zail Singh, launched the Parja Mandal Movement against the excesses of the Maharaja of Faridkot state in 1942.

She had to face numerous hardships following the exile of her husband in 1945 to the frontier areas of the country due to his participation in the freedom struggle.

Maya Devi led a group of women who courted arrest in support of Indira Gandhi’s agitation against the Central Government in 1978.


BKU demands arhtiya’s arrest
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, June 25
The Bharatiya Kisan Union (Ekta) has demanded the arrest of an arhtiya of Rama Mandi who allegedly forced Jagroop Singh, a farmer of Chatte Wala village, to commit suicide.

Mr Joginder Singh, block president, BKU (E), who chaired a meeting of the workers at Maiser Khana village near here in a press note issued here yesterday, claimed that the suicide note found from the pocket of the deceased had named an arhtiya for his death. He alleged that the arhtiya was a relative of a senior police officer posted at Jalandhar and hence the district police was not initiating any action against him.

Mr Jhanda Singh Jethuke, district president, BKU (E), who also addressed (arhtiya) workers said that two debt-trapped farmers of Chatte Wala village committed suicide this month and the authorities concerned had failed to take any action against them in the matter and the government had not announced any relief for the bereaved families.

He alleged that the Congress government had not fulfilled its poll promise of announcing Rs 30 per quintal bonus on paddy and failed to announce concrete plans to help the farmes to get out of the debt-trap.

The police official concerned when contacted said that the relatives of the deceased had cremated the body without getting a post-mortem examination done and so the reasons of death were unknown. He added that after some days of the death of the deceased the family members had pointed out that a suicide note was obtained from the pocket of the deceased. The letter has been sent to handwriting experts to check authenticity and further action would be taken after the receipt of reports.


MC official accused of misusing power
Surinder Bhardwaj

Fatehgarh Sahib, June 25
Certain councillors from Sirhind and Fatehgarh Sahib have accused the Executive Officer (EO) of the municipal council (MC) of misusing his powers and causing financial loss to the council by settling a 12-year-old house tax dispute of a private party without taking the approval of the House Tax Assessment sub-committee. They also said the matter was sub-judice.

The Executive Officer, however, has denied the charges.

The councillors in a complaint to Mr A.P. Pandey, ADGP, Vigilance, have demanded in inquiry.

The party had filed a petition in the high court and got stay on the recovery of house tax but the MC continued to serve notice for the recovery of the tax. In the meantime, the party closed its business activities and approached the MC for settlement.

The councillors alleged that they had been approaching the then MC President, Mr Ashok Sood, and the then Executive Officer Charanjit Singh to settle the matter out of court, but they refused as they were not competent to settle the 12-year-old issue at their level as it had to be decided at the Director’s level.

They said Mr Sood was removed through a no-confidence motion and Mr Charanjit Singh was transferred. Just after two days the new Executive Officer decided the case and got Rs 20,400 deposited in place of Rs 5 lakh and gave clearance to the party, which sold the land to some other party.

They said the matter was still pending in the court and the EO had no power to decide the case.

Mr Yash Pal Lahoria, Chairman, House Tax Sub-committee, expressed ignorance about the old case, saying that the EO had not put up the case before the committee.

Mr Surinder Kumar, EO, said the court had stayed the recovery of new assessed house tax in 1994 whereas before 1990, the house tax was imposed at the rate of Rs 1700 annually. Hence he received Rs 20,400 as per the old rates because the new assessment was stayed by the court. He said it was within his power to decide the case


MC postpones decision on octroi
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, June 25
The Municipal Council, Sirhind, Fatehgarh Sahib, has postponed the decision to give the collection of the octroi to private contractors for further period.

At a meeting of the councillors held here today, the issue could not be decided as a majority of the councillors were against giving the collection of octroi on a contract to private traders.

Only six members out of 28 supported the move. The traders have been protesting against the re-imposition of the octroi and further giving it to the private contractors. The traders allege that contractors, employees unnecessary harassed them on one or the other pretext.

The another item on the agenda was the construction of stadium at the council land, which had been got vacated from the encroachers put it was kept pending, as certain villagers had alleged that the council has also encroached upon their land meant for cremation ground.


Generation incentive restored by PSEB
Tribune News Service

Ropar, June 25
The Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB) today held in abeyance a recently issued controversial circular regarding reduction in the generation incentive (GI) of the engineers and employees working at the thermal plants in the state. After the issuance of the revised circular, the employees and engineers had been holding gate rallies and processions for the withdrawal of the same for the past more than three weeks.

Talking to The Tribune tonight, Mr V. K. Mohindru, General Manager of the Ropar Thermal Plant, said the Secretary of the PSEB today issued orders in this regard after a meeting with the Chairman of the PSEB. He said now the old system of granting generation incentives to the employees, including engineers, would continue.


Man posing as CBI official held
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, June 25
The police has arrested Parveen Kumar Sabarwal, who posed as a CBI Assistant Director and FCI Labour Director and reportedly defrauded people of Rs 50 lakh on pretext of providing jobs.

Surprisingly, Sabarwal had succeeded in getting security from the Punjab Police. The police is verifying whether he got the security guards on the orders of the Punjab and Haryana High Court or got fake orders prepared.

The police seized an MLA vehicle permission card issued by the Assembly from his possession. The police also seized a fake identity card of the FCI, fake permissions for red light and black films on car glasses and Rs 2.50 lakh in cash from his possession.

Addressing a press conference here today, the district police chief, Mr Narinder Pal Singh, said Sabarwal had been arrested on a complaint of Harinder Singh of New Partap Nagar that the accused had claimed to be a high-ranking, CBI official who was “empowered to arrest and release anybody in any case.”

The accused had succeeded in getting bail from the Punjab and Haryana High Court on the basis of fraudulent documents prepared by forging the signatures of the then DSP, Mr Manminder Singh, who had conducted an inquiry into the recruitment scam.

The wife of Sabarwal had lodged an FIR in November last year, stating that her husband had been kidnapped. After the inquiry, the police found that Sabarwal had duped some unemployed persons of lakhs of rupees on the pretext of getting them “lucrative” jobs in the FCI. The accused had introduced himself as Labour Director of the FCI. The Inquiry Officer, Mr Manminder Singh, DSP, had reportedly found that Sabarwal had indulged in fraudulent activities. But the accused forged the signature of the DSP and succeeded in getting an anticipatory bail from the high court and continued his fraudulent activities.


Two murdered by kin over water dispute

Moga, June 25
Two persons were allegedly murdered by their close relatives in separate incidents during the past three days in Bagha Purana area of the district.

According to the police, following a dispute over the sharing of irrigation water, Jarnail Singh allegedly murdered his brother Gurmail Singh by drowning him in a tubewell tank on June 22. The police has arrested the suspect on the complaint of Gurmail’s son.

In another incident, Chuhar Singh, a resident of Jaimal Wala village, was allegedly murdered by his two sons, Chhinda and Gurdeep Singh, and Gurjant with sharp-edged weapons over a family dispute on June 23, the police said here yesterday. UNI


Two die as bus hits scooter
Tribune News Service

Moga, June 25
Two persons died in a road accident yesterday evening near Nihal Singh Wala in the district.

According to information available from the police, Jora Singh (40) and Iqbal Singh (35), both residents of Nangal village, were on their way to Machike village on a scooter when it was hit by a bus belonging to Walia Bus Service, Barnala.

Both died on the spot. The police has registered a case.


11 kg opium seized
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, June 25
The Jalandhar police today seized about 11 kg of opium from the Phillaur area.

A press note issued here today by the SSP’s office said that a police party, which had laid a naka on the canal bridge of Tehang village, arrested Prem Singh of Sri Ganganagar district in Rajasthan and 11 kg of opium seized from him. His accomplice ran away

A case has been registered at the Phillaur police station and the preliminary interrogation of the accused revealed that they had brought the opium from Rajasthan for selling it in the Doaba region.


GND varsity results today
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, June 25
The results of MA-II (religious studies), B.Com-III (Hons school), PG diploma in computer maintenance and Networking, PG diploma in computer based arts and designs, PG diploma in information technology and diploma in commercial art examination of Guru Nanak Dev University held in April will be declared tomorrow. This was stated today by a university spokesman.

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