Friday, July 5, 2002, Chandigarh, India


P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



Entrust job scam to central agency, says Badal
Prabhjot Singh
Tribune News Service

Mr Badal also had a dig at Mr G.S Tohra for singing songs of praise for Capt Amarinder Singh’s so-called drive against corruption. “What does he have to say now?”, asked Mr Badal, alleging that Mr Tohra had struck a deal with the Congress before the Assembly elections and got repaid in the form of help in the DSGMC elections.

Mr Badal dismissed as the “Congress- sponsored brainwave” Mr Tohra’s call for starting a new Akali Dal without him. “What is wrong with his SHSAD? Is that not an outfit without Badal? What happened to the Panthic Morcha? Was that not an outfit without Badal? he asked and suggested that Mr Tohra should instead concentrate his energy on starting a party minus Amarinder . It was why the Panthic Morcha went to pieces and even its leaders like Mr Simranjit Singh Mann openly accused Mr Tohra of having sold himself out to the Congress. “History will judge Mr Tohra as the single most destructive and destablising force in Sikh affairs in modern times rather than as a builder of institutions or organisations”, the SAD leader said.

Chandigarh, July 4
Expressing dismay over the manner in which the Punjab Government was handling the multi-layered job-for-cash scam, SAD President and former Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal today demanded that the investigations be handed over to an independent central agency.

“The role and motives of the state government are both suspicious and controversial,” said Mr Badal criticising the state government for targeting its own intelligence machinery instead of answering the issues raised by it.

The recent controversy that started with the arrest of banker Kuldip Singh Bedi and fuelled by both total revamping of the intelligence wing and the disclosures made by the previous ADGP (Intelligence) had not only put the government in a tight spot but also provided a lever to political opponents of the ruling Congress to hit back.

The damage-control exercise undertaken by the state government had failed to make any impact. Instead of concentrating and taking the job-for-cash scam to its logical conclusion, the government appeared to be bogged down by controversies.

“The role of the Vigilance Bureau and the leadership of the ruling party has got mired into serious and credible allegations of complicity with the accused. Therefore, the state agencies can no longer be trusted to conduct the probe in a fair and impartial manner. The whole case needs to be looked afresh by a central agency,” Mr Badal said.

“This has become absolutely unavoidable in view of the observations of the Chief Justice of the Punjab and Haryana High Court as also of the sensational disclosures made by ADGP A.P. Bhatnagar, who enjoys the reputation of being an upright and efficient officer. The charges of a massive cover-up conspiracy, that too at the highest level, have been made both by responsible people within the government as well as by a section of the media that has followed the whole issue closely. All this can be ignored only at the expense of truth and justice in this case,” said Mr Badal.

Mr Badal wondered about the mysterious disappearance of Rs 2 crores from the lockers of Ravi Sidhu. Who took that money and with what motives and incentives? Why is the government shy of interrogating key witnesses in the case and why has it taken months even to respond to the demands for interrogation of the persons who were closely linked with the scam? And why the arrest of a bank manger has spread so much panic in the government as to force it to embark on the summary transfer of the entire intelligence top brass? The Chief Minister owes an answer to the people of Punjab and the country on all this, more so as these questions are not raised by politicians but the judiciary, the media and independent and reliable sections of the government itself, the former Chief Minister said.

Mr Badal said that key witnesses in the case had been treated with kid gloves by the government, especially by the Vigilance Bureau. He expressed surprise that even after the Chief Justice of the Punjab and Haryana High Court brushed aside the version of the Vigilance Bureau, the Chief Minister had chosen to pat his vigilance team. Instead of punishing the vigilance team, the Chief Minister went after the Intelligence top brass whose version stood vindicated both by the stand taken by the high court and by independent media reports.

The Akali leader said as layers after layers of this scam opened, they would reveal greater and greater degree of Congress involvement. “The scandal, which was touted as the biggest and the only achievement of Capt Amarinder Singh is now threatening to blow up in his own face. The chickens are coming home to roost,” he said.


Sidhu, teachers’ remand extended
Tribune News Service

Patiala, July 4
Local courts today extended the judicial remand of the suspended PPSC Chairman Ravinderpaul Singh Sidhu till July 17 and that of two teachers who were arrested two days ago on charges of increasing award numbers on PCS (Judicial) answer-sheets by overwriting on original awards.

Besides this another teacher, who has allegedly been named by key accused Sidhu, Amarjit Singh Kang, Head of the Department, Kurukshetra University, applied for an anticipatory bail. In another development accused Randhir Singh Dheera also applied for the same.

PPSC Chairman Ravi Sidhu was today remanded in judicial custody till July 17. Sidhu also filed an application requesting that he be sent to the PGI, Chandigarh, for medical examination. The case would be heard tomorrow. In case of the two teachers — Prof Gurpal Singh of Punjabi University and Mr Jagdish Kalra of Panjab University — there were much arguments in the first case. Additional District Attorney G.S. Sandhu argued that Prof Gurpal Singh had admitted during questioning that he had made changes in the answer books of PCS (Judicial) answersheets which had been sent to him for correction. The attorney argued that the Vigilance Department needs time to ascertain why the changes had been made and at whose behest. Professor Gurpal’s counsel N.P.S. Waraich pleaded that this client’s role had been completely investigated and that he should be sent to judicial lock up.

In case of Mr Jagdish Kalra the Vigilance Department asked for the judicial remand which was given till July 17.

In another related development Kurukshetra University’s Punjabi Department Chairman Amarjit Singh Kang moved an application for grant of anticipatory bail in the court of the Sessions Judge. 


PPSC lists were tampered with: experts
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 4
Investigations into the PPSC’s jobs for sale scam have established that not even a single list of candidates those, finalised by Ravi Sidhu as well as those by the examiners is without tampering.

Private forensic (handwriting and document) experts - engaged by the state Vigilance Bureau - have established that besides other lists, at least in one case the signatures of a sitting High Court judge were allegedly forged on certain lists prepared for the selection of judicial officers. As per rules, a judge has to oversee the interviews held for the selection of judicial officers.

Reliable sources told The Tribune that the experts have found several instances of overwriting or erasing on the answersheets and other lists. Services of private experts have been requisitioned as investigating officers felt that government experts could be approached by the accused, the sources said.

The answersheets or selection lists were allegedly fudged, and signatures of the Judge on certain selection lists were also reportedly forged by the accused. This probably was done as the judge could not be “roped in” to favour a few in the money-for-jobs scam, the sources revealed. Two Patiala-based teachers have already been arrested for making “alterations”, while two other persons from Chandigarh reportedly are absconding.

Vigilance sources informed that even several members of the interview board will also be “in the dock” since there is evidence of over-writing and erasing on the lists of marks and grades prepared by them.

The members allegedly used a code sign in the form of a star against the names of some of the candidates - whether this means the candidates were to be favoured or discriminated against - will be established after a perusal of the list of the successful candidates.

The experts also found that there was tampering of three lists prepared for every examination be it Judicial or Executive or PCMS selection or Lecturers. Under the system three lists are made. The first was rough list prepared separately by different interviewers. Then they shared the grading and made the second list. The third list made by adding marks scored by the candidate in different stages of the examination.

It has been found that the interview lists contained a several overwritings and erasing marks. In several instances the number 3 was changed to 8 conveniently but could not escape the eye of the experts. Same was the case with grades, which were also changed, the sources revealed.


PPSC ex-secy ‘influenced’ examiners
Tribune News Service

Patiala, July 4
Needle of suspicion in the PPSC’s jobs for-sale scam today again pointed towards former PPSC Secretary Pritpal Singh with accused Professor of Law Dr Gurpal Singh stating he had made overwritings and increased score in some answer sheets of PCS (Judicial) examination at the behest of Pritpal Singh.

The focus of the case has now shifted to what is called the “answer key” in the PPSC jargon. The accused teacher has claimed, according to sources, that after he had corrected the question papers of the PCS (Judicial) examination and sent these back to the Commission he was contacted by the then PPSC Secretary telling him that he had not followed the “answer key” and asked him to recheck some question papers.

The Vigilance department yesterday produce photocopies in a local court of answer sheets showing inflated marks with tampering and overwritings of four candidates, including Amol Gill, daughter of Justice Amarbir Singh Gill. All these candidates appeared for the PCS (Judicial) examination conducted by the PPSC in 2000 and 2001.

Accordingly Prof Gurpal Singh rechecked the anwersheets of three papers and marks were increased in some cases. According to the Vigilance department, the “answer key” is supplied to the evaluator and there should have been no question of rechecking some question papers.

The Vigilance department has now decided to take the “answer key” of the paper into its custody by checking the PPSC record. Former Secretary Pritpal Singh was summoned to Patiala today and he will be questioned along with Prof Gurpal Singh so that the “circumstances “under which the overwriting was done and numbers increased could be crosschecked. Police remand of Prof Gurpal Singh was also sought in this connection and a one-day police remand was given by the court.

Sources said the former Secretary was likely to be grilled in connection with the entire issue as Prof Gurpal Singh has also alleged that the state government was unnecessarily soft with him even though his name had been listed in the FIR. Reliable sources disclosed that the former Secretary had been made to join investigations since the past two days when he was questioned in Chandigarh and that he would be questioned again in this regard today and tomorrow.

Meanwhile Gurpal Singh while talking to The Tribune said he had been provided the “answer key” by the paper setter. Disclosing that he had been given three papers for checking, including Civil Law - 1, Civil Law -2 and Criminal Law, he said “ we have to go by the key and cannot give less or more marks so there is no question of any wrongdoing in paper checking”, he added. He said action could be taken against him if he had indulged in any corrupt practice adding “the real culprits” should be pursued. “The inquiry should involve those who have given and taken money”, he said adding it was being deliberately digressed.

The other accused teacher Jagdish Kalra, who is a teacher of English at Panjab University, claimed he was being victimised due to a higher game. Admitting that he had made overwritings in the answer sheets and changed the award of numbers, he said there were “genuine revisions” due to earlier oversights which had to be corrected. “ I have put my signatures alongwith the overwritings and stand by them “, he said adding “I would love it if an impartial CBI inquiry is held into the question paper evaluation”.


Petitioner told to approach Sessions Court
Bank manager’s pre-arrest bail application
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 4
Disposing of a petition for the grant of anticipatory bail filed by a bank manager accused of sending illegally earned money to foreign countries through the hawala channel in the PPSC scam, a Division Bench of the Punjab and Haryana High Court today asked him to “approach the Sessions Court in the first instance”.

Claiming to have been implicated in the case, Gurdip Singh, in his petition taken up by the Bench, comprising Mr Justice S.S. Nijjar and Ms Justice Kiran Anand Lall, had earlier contended that his name was being dragged in the controversy at the instance of another bank employee in order to save his own skin.

Giving details, his counsel had contended that the employee, in an attempt to shift burden on the petitioner, had named him and his wife as conduits for the transfer of Rs 1 crore from India to USA for PPSC’s under-suspension Chairman Ravinderpal Singh Sidhu. Soon after the incident, the police had raided the petitioner’s premises, but nothing was recovered.

Notice of motion

A Division Bench of the High Court on Thursday issued notice of motion for July 30 on a petition filed by a Fazilka resident challenging the order passed by the Punjab Education Department whereby her appointment as SS Mistress was cancelled on the ground that she had failed to join her place of posting within the stipulated period of 30 days.

In her petition taken up by the Bench, comprising Mr Justice Jawahar Lal Gupta and Mr Justice S.S. Grewal, Arti Rani had earlier submitted that her name was not mentioned in the result declared on December 11 last year. However, later on she received a letter that her name was at serial number 26 on the merit list but as she had failed to join her place of posting as per the conditions of the appointment letter, the same stood cancelled.

Challenging the orders, counsel for the petitioner contended that there was no question of Arti Rani joining the place of her posting as he had not even received the appointment letter.

Mobile chakkis

Taking up a petition filed by the Mobile Atta Chakki Workers Union of Jalandhar district seeking directions for restraining the state of Punjab and other respondents from interfering in the running of mobile chakkis, a Division Bench of the Punjab and Haryana High Court on Thursday issued notice of motion for October 11.

In their petition, taken up by the Bench, comprising Mr Justice S.S. Nijjar and Ms Justice Kiran Anand Lall, the union workers had also sought directions for formulating a rational policy within a specific period of time regarding the regularisation of mobile atta chakki trade. Licence fee or cess could be charged for the purpose, counsel for the petitioner had added.

Arguing on behalf of the petitioner, counsel had further stated that penalty, unlawfully charged by the District Transport Officers from the union members from January 1 till date, should also be refunded.


Issuing notice of motion to the state of Punjab and other respondents for September 27 on a petition filed by a Rampura Phul resident challenging the selection of Senior Assistants (Accounts) by the previous Akali government at the fag end of its tenure, a Division Bench of the High Court on Thursday directed the respondents to produce the record of the selection.

In his petition taken up by the Bench, comprising Mr Justice Jawahar Lal Gupta and Mr Justice S.S. Grewal, Mr Narinder Kumar Gupta had earlier contended that though the posts were advertised in 1995, the selection was made in December 2001 and that too solely on the basis of the interviews. This was done despite the fact that a written test was conducted in 1999. The marks of the tests were not included, he had claimed.

Counsel for the petitioner had submitted that the interview was merely an eye-wash and the favourites of the government were appointed on the next day of the declaration of result which was illegal and arbitrary.

Records sought

A Division Bench of the Punjab and Haryana High Court on Wednesday directed the Indian Oil Corporation to produce the record, including the criterion for giving marks regarding the allotment of a petrol pump at Badali Alla Singh in Fatehgarh Sahib. The allocation was made by the Dealer Selection Board.

In her petition taken up by the Bench, comprising Mr Justice N.K. Sodhi and Mr Justice Varinder Singh, Ms Saroj Devi of Mandi Gobindgarh had alleged that the allotment was not made as per the rules and as such was liable to be set aside. Arguing on her behalf, Mr Mohan Jain and Mr Raksesh Aggarwal had submitted that the allottee had furnished wrong information. She had mentioned her parental address in spite of the fact that she was married to an Army personnel.


Vigilance seizes documents from PAU
Kanchan Vasdev
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 4
Following the submission of a memorandum by certain MLAs of the state to the Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, to look into the working of Punjab Agricultural University (PAU) and some appointments made in the last few years, a vigilance team is learnt to have seized certain documents from the administrative branch of the university.

Some of the seized material allegedly pertains to the appointment of Dr K.S. Aulakh first as Pro-Vice-Chancellor and then as Vice-Chancellor. Documents of certain other appointments made in the university have also been seized.

University officials are, however, keeping mum on the latest development. While the Vice-Chancellor, Dr K.S. Aulakh was not available for comments, the Secretary to the Vice-Chancellor, Mr Satish Kumar Goswami, denied the visit of any vigilance team on the campus. He said no such team had ever visited the campus. The Acting Registrar of PAU, Dr V.K. Sharma said no team had visited the Registrar’s office. He, however, said he had no knowledge about any such development in any other office of the university.

Vigilance sources while stressing that the visit should not be viewed as a raid confirmed that a team of local and state vigilance officers along with some government officials from Chandigarh had visited the university early this week. They said no regular inquiry had been initiated so far.

As many as 10 MLAs, led by Mr Sucha Singh Chottepur, had submitted a memorandum to the Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh a week ago. They had demanded an impartial inquiry into the working of the PAU.

In their memorandum, a copy of which is with The Tribune, Mr Chottepur had said that the PAU-Vice-Chancellor, who is not a prominent scientist, is unable to provide a sound leadership to the agricultural university, known for bringing green revolution in the state. The MLA had also said an autocratic environment was prevailing on the campus and the scientists were not happy with him.

Stating that Dr Aulakh was appointed as Vice-Chancellor due to his alleged clout with some politicians during the SAD-BJP regime, Mr Chottepur alleged that he was also appointed the Pro-VC of the varsity even as the post was not provided in the constitution of PAU. “Surprisingly after Dr Aulakh was elevated to the post of Vice-Chancellor, the Board of Management of PAU abolished the post of Pro-VC stating that it was illegal and arbitrary,” alleged the MLA demanding an inquiry into the entire episode.

Further demanding an inquiry into the appointment of Dr G.S. Kalkat and Dr D.S. Sidhu, Mr Chottepur said the Vice-Chancellor had of late got his relatives inducted into the Board of Management. Alleging that the Vice-Chancellor had been misusing his post as per his whims and fancies. He demanded the cancellation of the appointment of his two relatives. He also alleged that Dr Aulakh was instrumental in getting his daughter-in-law, Ms Randip Kaur, appointed as Assistant Entomologist in the varsity against a leave vacancy, after allegedly tailoring the requirements for the post. “While she joined her office on April 30, 1999, she proceeded on maternity leave on May 10, 1999 although she was appointed against a leave vacancy,” he added.


PSEB engineers seek govt help
Power theft by senior officers
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 4
PSEB engineers have sought the help of the state government to catch senior civil and other officers resorting to “kundi connections”. The issue of power theft by officers at certain places in the state has been brought to the notice of Chief Minister Amarinder Singh and Chief Secretary Y.S. Ratra.

Informed sources said the issue of power theft by officers was taken up by PSEB engineers at a meeting with the Chief Minister. They told the Chief Minister that without the help of the State Government, it was not possible for the board field staff to catch “powerful officers” resorting to “kundi connections” to operate airconditioners in their official residences. Mr Ratra has reportedly assured that he will write to all Deputy Commissioners to extend help to the PSEB staff to check the theft of power and to take action against those resorting to “kundi” connections. Mr Ratra has stated that he would make available copies of the letter to the Deputy Commissioners to the board authorities also.

The engineers have told the Chief Minister that power worth Rs 2 crore was stolen daily in the state. The annual worth of power theft is nearly Rs 730 crore, close to the figure of the board’s annual projected loss of Rs 950 crore.

The engineers had given to the Chief Minister copies of the Acts, enacted by the Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka Governments to deal with theft of power. The Andhra Act is more suitable to Punjab, according to a top PSEB engineer. The engineers have urged the government to set up special courts manned by a judge, two technical officers, two civil officials and one police official to hear cases of power theft. They have sought prohibitive fines on those found guilty of pilferage of power. They have also sought a provision in the Act for dismissal of the board employees found conniving with those resorting to power theft.

The Chief Minister has been informed that in certain cases, especially Industry, theft of power was not possible without the connivance of officials of the board. “Such officials who sell the interests of Board should also be taken to task and removed from service”, said a senior engineer who was present at the meeting with the Chief Minister.

Andhra model
In Andhra Pradesh, special police stations have been set up to deal with the cases of power theft. An officer of the DIG rank has been posted to supervise the functioning of these police stations. Technical assistance to the police to prove cases of power theft in courts is provided by engineers of the board there. Even the Delhi Government is considering to adopt the Andhra model.


Lashkar ultras behind blast in bazar: SSP
Our Correspondent

Hoshiarpur, July 4
Mrs Gurpreet Deo, local SSP, in a press conference here today said the interrogation of Lashkar-e-Toiba militant Abdul, alias Vijay Kumar, resident of Karachi Pakistan, who was recently arrested by the Khanna police, had revealed the active involvement of the group in the bomb blast on February 23 last year in a shop in the local Sheesh Mehal Bazar.

The police had prepared computer sketches of the accused. The other associates of the group are Kamalu Din alias, Joginder Singh Hoshiarpuri, Iqbal of Pakistan and Rashid of Jammu and Kashmir.

His interrogation had revealed that Abdul, Kamalu Din, Iqbal and Rashid had boarded a bus from Pathankot to Dasuya a day before the blast. In Dasuya they stayed for a night at a roadside dhaba and hid the RDX fitted with time pencil in the nearby sugarcane field.

Next day they reached the local bus stand from where they proceeded on foot to the Sheesh Mehal bazar.

Later on as planned by Abdul, Joginder and Rashid also went to another cassettes shop in the Sheesh Mehal bazar and also placed packet which were noticed by the shopkeeper three days later. According to the FSL report, trigger of the time pencil failed to work and therefore the RDX was not activated.


It is Sonia’s victory, not Tohra’s: Mann
Varinder Walia
Tribune News Service

Batala, July 4
Mr Simranjit Singh Mann, President, Shiromani Akali Dal (Amritsar) and member of Parliament, has alleged that the Delhi Gurdwara Management Committee (DGMC) elections was a contest between the Congress and the BJP. Hence, Ms Sonia Gandhi, Congress President, deserved congratulations on the landslide victory of the Sarb Hind Shiromani Akali Dal.

Talking to TNS here today, Mr Mann said while senior leaders of the BJP and the RSS campaigned and funded for candidates of the Shiromani Akali Dal, officials of the Punjab Government and senior leaders of the Congress worked for SHSAD candidates.

In response to a call made by Mr Gurcharan Singh Tohra to ‘true Akali leaders’ of different factions to come on a single platform with a view to resurrecting the ‘real Shiromani Akali Dal’, Mr Mann said he would continue to maintain a separate identity of his faction. He could not shake hands with leaders who were ‘hand-in-glove’ with the Congress.

Giving reasons for the humiliating defeat of his candidates in the DGMC elections, Mr Mann claimed “drugs, liquor and cash mattered during the elections”. He said while his candidates did not compromise on anything which was ‘anti-Panthic’, the SAD and the SHSAD used all resources to woo the voters.

Mr Mann said the leaders of all Akali factions should put the ‘Tohra-Nirankari’ or ‘Bandungar-Bhaniara’ issues on the back-burner as clouds of war still loomed large. “We must tackle the threat of external danger before discussing the non-issues”.


No-confidence motion against councillor
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, July 4
The councillors of Municipal Council, Sirhind, Fatehgarh Sahib, have submitted a no-confidence motion to the Executive Officer against the Senior Vice-President of the council. The councillors have written to the EO that they have lost faith in the Senior Vice-President due to his style of working, so he should fix the date for the meeting of the councillors at the earliest.

While talking to the Ludhiana Tribune a delegation of the Councillors led by Mr Gurdev Singh Khalsa alleged that since the Senior Vice-President of the council has taken over, the corruption has increased man fold in the council and lot of embezzlement cases were being reported in the Press daily.

He said the corruption case detected in the House Tax Department has not only damaged the hard earned reputation of the council but of the councillors also.

He said they had no other option than unseating him by bringing no confidence against him to restore the reputation of the council.

It is worth mentioning that earlier the President of the council was removed by no confidence and the Senior Vice-President had become acting president few days ago and with in a short span the councillors got annoyed from his working.

When contacted the Municipal Council officials they confirmed that a no-confidence motion has been received against the Senior Vice-President. They further refused to comment.


Boy rescued hours after abduction
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, July 4
A 17-year-old plus two student of Ajanta School, Navin Surekha, who was kidnapped yesterday was rescued hours after his abduction. One of the kidnappers, Mangat (23), a painter, was arrested while the other, a property dealer, Manish (23), managed to escape.

The kidnappers first slammed a car into Navin’s scooter, a resident of Joshi Colony, in a lonely lane that connects the colony with Lawrence Road, while he was on his way to a gym in Ranjit Avenue. They gagged and pushed him inside the car. The incident took place at 5.30 p.m. yesterday.

Immediately afterwards father of Navin, Nirmal Kumar, owner of Surekha Overseas received at least three calls on his mobile phone.

The father of Navin in the presence of the SSP, Mr Narinder Pal Singh, told mediapersons that a ransom of Rs 10 lakh was demanded by the kidnappers.

The SSP said the police with the help of its technical wing traced the calls. All entry and exit points of the civil lines area were sealed.

Plaincloth policemen along with the DSP, Mr R.K. Bakshi, surrounded a house near the Joshi colony.

The DSP entered the house and arrested the kidnapper. 


Police delaying arrest of millers: DFSC
Our Correspondent

Faridkot, July 4
Mr Sukhdev Singh Aulakh, District Food and Supply Controller (DFSC), Muktsar, has expressed shock over the attitude of the district police in probing the matter against district Food and Supply Department for not honouring the agreement and partnership deeds of two rice millers based at Malout and Muktsar, who had allegedly committed a fraud of more than Rs 1 crore by misappropriating the government rice in 1999-2000 in the district.

He said the case was entirely related to his predecessor and he had nothing to do with it. However, he had apprised the matter to his superiors and awaiting the reply. Mr Aulakh was making his comments on a report published in this connection in a section of press recently.

Talking to the reporter on telephone from Muktsar yesterday, the DFSC regretted that the police had twisted the issue only to hide its weakness following the delay in registering cases and apprehending the rice millers.

Mr Aulakh claimed that after joining the duty in August last year he personally made physical verification of the stock available with rice millers and detected the fraud. The DFSC regretted that inspite of his repeated requests to the senior police officials for taking stern action against the erring persons, no positive response was received from them. Citing an instance in this regard the DFSC said he had detected the fraud allegedly committed by a reputed rice miller of Muktsar but the police took no action. He also refuted that a DSP rank official had contacted him to inquire into the details of fraud.

The DFSC wrote the letter to Mr P. Ram, Secretary, Food and Supply, Punjab, twice for approaching the higher police authorities for taking necessary action against the rice shellers. Later, Mr Ram brought the matter to the notice of Mr N.K. Arora, the then state Chief Secretary, for seeking his help in resolving the issue. Mr Aulakh also brought the matter to the notice of Mr Mohammad Mustafa, DIG, Ferozepore, for seeking his help in nabbing the millers and registering cases against them. The DFSC said the Muktsar police took action against 22 out of 34 millers who were involved in the fraud. In spite of all the odds, Mr Aulakh claimed for the recovery of rice of more than Rs 3 crore from different rice millers in the recent past. Giving more details about the corrupt practices of the rice millers in the district the DFSC said he had written letters to the Managing Directors of Punsup, Markfed and the Warehousing Corporation besides the district managers of the agencies for conducting physical verification of the stock of some rice millers. He expressed hope that with this step some more frauds would be exposed. When contacted, Mr Kanwaljeet Singh, SSP, Muktsar, said he had resumed his duties five months ago and the issue came to his knowledge about two months ago. He immediately deputed Mr Sukhdev Singh Bhatti, SP (D) Muktsar, for investigating the matter and arresting the erring rice millers.


NHRC tells Punjab to check bonded labour
Tribune News Service

Ferozepore, July 4
The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has asked the Punjab Government to strictly implement the Bonded Labour Prevention Act and bring about awareness among the people of the state regarding this.

The Chairman of the NHRC called upon Mr Sanjay Kumar, Labour Commissioner, Mr Tejbir Singh, Deputy Commissioner of Patiala, and Mr D.K. Tiwari, Deputy Commissioner of Ferozepore, on Tuesday at his office in New Delhi to discuss the social evil widespread in the rural areas of the state and issue guidelines for its remedy.

Mr Tiwari disclosed this while addressing a district-level meeting of the Bonded Labour Prevention Committee here yesterday. He said the NHRC had asked the Punjab Government that the DC, ADC or the SDM would probe the complaints pertaining to bonded labour. No other officials, particularly from the Police Department, should be entrusted with probing such complaints. While probing the complaints, it has been made mandatory that the representatives of self-help groups formed for the welfare of labour class should be included to bring about transparency.

It was decided in the meeting that a special move, would be started in the backward border district to implement the Act and bring about awareness among the people regarding this evil.

The Deputy Commissioner asked the members of the committee to help the local administration in the eradication of bonded labour. He said paying labourers more than the total salary of two months under a certain written agreement before the work started was a violation of the Act.

The administration has asked all industrial units of the district to comply with the Labour Act in the payment of salaries to their employees. Small units cannot delay the salary of any employee after more than the seventh of each month. However, big units can enjoy certain relaxation till the 10th of each month.

The industrial units and other business set-ups coming under the Labour Act have to pay a minimum of Rs 2,125 per month or if the employees are on daily wages, they have to pay not less than Rs 81.70 per day. Assistant Labour Commissioner of Ferozepore was asked to implement the Act in accordance with the guidelines of the NHRC.


Attack incident: 6 Cong councillor’s supporters booked
Our Correspondent

Jalandhar, July 4
The district police has finally registered a case against six supporters of a Congress councillor, who allegedly attacked Balbir Singh at his residence in the Baldev Nagar locality here on July 1 and injured three persons, including two women.

Buckling under pressure from residents, the police today booked six supporters of Congress councillor Balkishan Bali after three days of the incident.

Though Congress supporters allegedly attacked the house of Balbir Singh and inflicted serious injuries with sharp-edged weapons on three persons following which the son of the latter attacked the councillor in his office, but the police, under pressure from Congress councillor, was refraining from registration of an FIR against the Congress workers for the past three days.


Patialvis discover off-beat spots to beat heat

The scorching summer sun has forced people to remain indoors but Patialvis seem to have discovered new places to defeat the heat.

Located on the Patiala-Sangrur highway, people could be witnessed swimming in the sub-canals of the Bhakra canal while the more adventurous could be seen diving in the canal itself. The canal, however, also has a reputation of being a ‘suicide point’ .

The stream in Jalalpur village near the Bhadurgarh commando complex is an attraction for both the villagers and the urbanites. Not just by the residents of adjoining areas, these water features are also visited by people from the city, couples and students of the university and the many colleges located here, although the members of the fairer sex prefers to come either with families or in groups to get a feel of the ice cold water.

It also provides the nearby shopkeepers with brisk business. Unlike others, the rehri-wallas selling ice-candies and chaat ; dhaba owners and the wine shop proprietor near the Bhakra are thanking the weather gods for this heat. Visibly pleased with the crowd, a dhaba owner says, ‘‘With little police presence here, people comfortably guzzle a few bottles of beer sitting at the banks of the canal before a good meal and after a quick dip, some even come at night’’.

A favorite with the students from the Punjabi University, the stream at the Jalalpur village provides a much needed break from the suffocating hostel rooms. A regular visitor here, Paramjeet Singh, a research scholar who generally comes with a group of friends says ‘‘the rising mercury and small rooms leaves almost no alternative but to go to a place which gives some respite from this weather.’’

His friend adds, ‘‘A place near a water source is incomparable in this weather although sometimes you may have to tolerate cows as your swimming companions.’’

Many fountains in the city, which are supposed to provide a cool ambience, however, by some sheer quirk of coincidence, spring to life only when the Chief Minister’s motorcade whizzed its way through city.

Regular hang-outs like the 22 No. Phatak wear a deserted look in this heat as most of the youths seem to be attracted to the newly found water body. Clubs, which organised regular dance parties and pub owners at the Shera Wala Gate and 22 No Phatak lamented that their cash registers were ringing a month back, but now even their regular customer base has shrunk, due to places which attract people even long after the sun has set.

Sukant Deepak


Haryana Governor, CM pay obeisance
Our Correspondent

Saidpur (Amritsar), July 4
It was a quiet visit of Babu Parmanand, Haryana Governor, devoid of any politics to the ‘dera’ of Baba Teja Singh to this remote border village.

The Governor had come here, along with Mr Om Prakash Chautala, Chief Minister, Haryana, on the occasion of the 103rd birth anniversary of Baba Teja Singh, founder of the dera. Interestingly, Sant Raseela Ram, present head of the dera, is the brother of the Haryana Governor. Sant Raseela Ram blessed both Mr Chautala and Babu Parmanand.

When mediapersons tried to ask questions about the interstate river waters, completion of the Sutlej-Yamuna canal, Sant Raseela Ram directed Mr Chautala not to discuss any politics at his dera. 


Convention against graft mooted
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 4
Dr Dharminder Singh, president of the Unemployed Union, Punjab, said today the union had held conventions at several places to highlight the menace of corruption which had hit unemployed youth the most in recent years. A state-level convention would be held by month-end at Patiala.

It was impossible to think about the development and generation of more employment avenues for the youth in the state when corruption had assumed such high proportions. His organisation would extend its full support to Chief Minister, Amarinder Singh, who had launched a crusade against corruption, the union leader said.

The Government should not single out employees by freezing their DA and LTC etc and abolishing vacant posts. The government should think about other options to bring the state out of the financial crisis. 


Women protest against manch chief
Our Correspondent

Abohar, July 4
A large number of women demonstrated outside a three-star hotel when Mr Jagdish Rai Dhosiwal, president, Ekta Bhalai Manch for SCs, BCs and STs, was holding a meeting with media and workers here today.

Women led by Ms Surender Kaur, district president of the women wing of the Manch, shouted slogans and levelled allegations against Mr Dhosiwal for collecting funds for the proposed construction of Dr Ambedkar and Vishwakarma memorials at Muktsar. Mr Dhosiwal while refuting allegations charged Mr Bhatti with misusing organisational funds. Interestingly, the rebels had at a recent meeting of different districts elected Mr Bhatti as working president of the Manch and started election process after “dismissing” Mr Dhosiwal as President of the organisation.


Nanak Singh’s 105th birthday celebrated
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, July 4
“Father of Panjabi novel” noted novelist Nanak Singh’s 105th birth anniversary was celebrated in an unusual way by commemorating two research projects on the novelist in record time under the auspices of the Nanak Singh Chair by the Guru Nanak Dev University here today.


Power shutdown
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, July 4
The power supply to some parts of the city will remain suspended on July 6 between 7.30 a.m. to 12 noon for repair and maintenance work.

The areas affected would be Veer Colony, Shakti Nagar, Mela Ram Road, Kamal Cinema Road, Santpura Road, Amriksingh Road, Navi Basti, Sirki Bazar, Jhutika Mohalla, Telianwala Mohalla, Post Office Bazar, Gandhi Market, Godown Road, Heera Chowk and Fort Road.


Wheat diversion in PWHC: 3 held
Our Correspondent

Abohar, July 4
The city police has arrested three persons in connection with alleged siphoning off wheat from godowns of Punjab Warehousing Corporation (PWHC).

Sources said the DSP, Mr Rakesh Aggarwal, had ordered investigation into complaints which suggested that government agencies had been selling wheat in the market by adopting various tactics. The police conducted a raid and found that 53 bags of wheat were being taken out from the PWHC godown in a tractor-trailer near the Kandhwala road. Three persons Sunil Kumar, Ramesh Kumar and Paramjit Singh Pammi were arrested. Preliminary investigation reportedly indicated that hundreds of wheat bags had allegedly been siphoned off in the same way. Involvement of senior officers and a flour mills owner of Anand Nagri was reportedly established. However, none of them could be picked up for interrogation, sources said.

A case has been registered under Sections 379, 409 IPC and 13(1) of the Anti-Corruption Act. All those arrested were remanded in judicial custody by a local court. Reports also indicated that certain commission agents could also be involved in the scandal. Interestingly, similar case had been registered against officers and junior employees of the PWHC in 2000 also but the culprits managed to go scot-free, thanks to their reported links with the political workers of the ruling parties then. None of them was even transferred from this place.


Rice scandal: mill owners booked
Our Correspondent

Moga, July 4
The city police today registered cases against several owners of local rice mills who were allegedly involved in a scandal in shelling of rice belonging to Markfed which had been given to them for shelling.

According to a press note issued here today by the police, it had registered cases against Kamal Raj son of Hari Chand, Attul Kumar son of Makamal Raj for their alleged involvement in misappropriating Rs 28,43,884,00. The police has also registered cases against Madan Lal, Bharat Bhushan, Gopal Krishan, of Messers Amin Chand Madan Lal Rice Mills who had allegedly misappropriated Rs 69,05,332,00. The police has also registered cases against Prem Sagar son of Kundan Lal of Messers Kundan Rice Mill who had allegedly misappropriated Rs 1,18,21,965,00 of Markfed during rice milling. Cases have also been registered against Surinder Pal of Messers National General Mills who had misappropriated Rs 51,15,317,00. Cases were also registered against Rakesh Kumar who had allegedly misappropriated Rs 1,68, 67,277,00 of Markfed .


2.25 lakh intoxicating capsules seized
Tribune News Service

Patiala, July 4
In a major seizure, a special team of the Health Services accompanied by the police today confiscated 2.25 lakh capsules of various intoxicants from a chemical factory by Bahadurgarh, near here.

Stating this here today, Civil Surgeon Inderjit Kaur Walia said the department had got a tip-off that the factory situated at Rurki village was making capsules to be used as intoxicants. She said following a directive from the Director, Health Services, a raid was conducted on the factory.

Dr Walia said 2.25 lakh capsules of various intoxicants were seized adding that the factory owners fled and the factory was later sealed.

The Civil Surgeon said raw material and packing material of different brands of medicinal capsules were also seized. Four samples of other medicines which were made by the company had been sent to a chemical examiner at Chandigarh. A case had been registered under Sections 22, 61 and 85 of the NDPS Act. 


3 killed in separate incidents
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, July 4
As may as three persons, including an Army personnel, were killed in two incidents in the district last night.

The first incident occurred on the Bathinda-Barnala road, near the Cantonment area, in which a jawan and a rickshaw-puller were hit by a vehicle last night. The rickshaw-puller died on the spot while the jawan received serious injuries and was admitted to the Military Hospital, where he succumbed to injuries after some time. The identity of the rickshaw-puller could not be ascertained, while the jawan has been identified as Naik Deepak Kumar from Himachal Pradesh. The police station, cantonment, has registered a case under Sections 304-A, 279 and 427 of the IPC.

In another incident, a 70-year-old person died at the local railway station last night. The cause of death could not be ascertained.

The police handed over the body of Deepak Kumar to the Army authorities while the bodies of the rickshaw-puller and the other person were handed over to an NGO.


ADO held on bribe charge
Our Correspondent

Abohar, July 4
Mr Sukhdev Singh, Agriculture Development Officer (ADO), Khuiyansarwer, was arrested by the vigilance team led by DSP Jagir Lal Chawla while accepting illegal gratification here today.

Sources said Mr Sat Pal who had been running a pesticides shop here at the new grain market wanted to open another shop at the sub-tehsil headquarter Khuiyansarwer, 15 km from here. He had applied for a licence. An application was pending with ADO Sukhdev Singh for recommendation to the Chief Agriculture Officer, Ferozepore.

Mr Sat Pal lodged a complaint with the SP (Vigilance), Ms Anita Punj, on June 29 that the ADO was demanding illegal gratification. Ms Punj sent a team here today following preliminary investigation.

A case has been registered under the Anti Corruption Act.


Mother-in-law, husband held in dowry case
Our Correspondent

Barnala, July 4
Ms Gurmit Kaur, a resident of Bhadaur, about 25 km from here allegedly tried to commit suicide by jumping into Tallewal village canal yesterday. She was being tormented by her in-laws for bringing insufficient dowry.

According to reports reaching here today, some person saw her jumping into the canal and rescued her.

According to sources, the Bhadaur police  has registered a case under Sections 498-A, 306, 511, 416 and 34 of the IPC against Nasib Kaur, mother-in-law, and Harmail Singh, husband of Ms Gurmit Kaur.


Man held on murder charge
Our Correspondent

Gurdaspur, July 4
Barjinder Kumar of Bihar has been arrested for murder of associate Sultan Yadav. His associates, Paswan and Anmol Mehta, also from Bihar, are however, still at large. The information was given here today by the SSP, Mr B.K. Uppal.

He said Sultan Yadav, a labourer from Bihar, came to Paswan, Anmol Mehta and Barjinder Kumar on the night of June 12. Paswan owed Rs 5000 to Sultan. He also found Rs 4000 in cash with Sultan. Paswan and Anmol planned a conspiracy and killed Sultan Yadav the same night. They buried the body in the fields near a tubewell in Bathwala where all of them had been staying.

Mr Uppal said the body was unearthed from the fields.


Strike by ITI students
Our Correspondent

Sunam, July 4
Students of the local ITI went on indefinite strike and marched in procession through main bazaars of the city demanding acceptance of their demands.

Agitating students were raising anti-principal slogans and demanding the transfer of Mr Kulwant Singh Kaul, Principal of the local ITI. The principal reportedly has been transferred to Budhladha but he was not leaving here.

Students alleged that the principal was harassing them and demanding money from them for allowing them to copy in the examination starting from July 22.

The Students Federation of India (SFI), the local ITI, alleged that principal usually marked them absent when they went outside the class to take water in summer. They also alleged that the principal also forced them to sit in the ground in hot days.

Home | Punjab | Haryana | Jammu & Kashmir | Himachal Pradesh | Regional Briefs | Nation | Editorial |
Business | Sport | World | Mailbag | In Spotlight | Chandigarh Tribune | Ludhiana Tribune
50 years of Independence | Tercentenary Celebrations |
122 Years of Trust | Calendar | Weather | Archive | Subscribe | Suggestion | E-mail |