Saturday, July 6, 2002, Chandigarh, India


P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



Vigilance Bureau raids 20 Revenue Dept offices
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, July 5
Teams of the Vigilance Bureau made surprise raids simultaneously on offices of 20 revenue officials, including tehsildars, across Punjab in the afternoon today.

The raids, ordered by top Vigilance Bureau authorities to check corrupt practices in the Revenue Department took off at 4.30 p.m. and were till late in the evening. According to bureau sources the offices of revenue officials about which specific complaint had been received were raided. A number of deed writers, stamp paper vendors were also detained for questioning. As bureau officials reached various tehsil complexes, stamp paper vendors fled at several places.

The bureau officials laid seize to about 20 Tehsil Complexes across the state, sources said. The Tehsil Complexes raided three fell in Jalandhar district, three in Amritsar, two in Ferozepore, two in Ludhiana, Bathinda and Patiala respectively.

In Jalandhar district, tehsil Complexes were raided in Jalandhar city and Phillaur and Bholath in Kapurthala district by bureau teams led by DSPs — Rajwant, Vipin Chaudhary and Brij Bhushan. In Jalandhar Tehsil Complex, four persons, including deed writers and Stamp Paper vendors identified as Somnath, Sardari Lal of Madhuban Colony, Parkash Singh Chadha of Sarajganj locality and Ashok Kumar of Dashmesh Nagar were detained for questioning. A large amount of money was also seized from them for investigation in due course. As the raids were on, it was not clear whether anyone was caught red-handed taking bribes. Jalandhar Range Vigilance Bureau Chief Ishwar Chander said the raids were made as part of the Bureau campaign against corruption.

He said records of all offices, where raids were being made would be sealed after the raids were over.

Earlier, the bureau had made similar raids on teachers, taking tuitions, and on government-run health centres in the state last month. Jalandhar Bureau officials arrested Dr Avinash Manghotra, the Medical Officer, posted at Primary Health Centre, Jandiala village in Jalandhar district, today for accepting bribe of Rs 2000 from Sukhdev Singh of Ibban village of Kapurthala district for issuing him medical fitness certificate. A case has been registered against Dr Manghotra.


PPSC scam: process to remove tainted ones on
Sarbjit Dhaliwal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 5
The process to remove the entire batch of the PCS (Executive) and allied services of 1999 and other tainted batches of candidates selected to various cadres during the tenure of suspended PPSC Chairman Ravinder Pal Singh Sidhu has been set in motion.

The file of this case is with Chief Minister Amarinder Singh, which can be cleared any moment. The case has been moved by the Department of Personnel, according to informed sources.

As many as 91 persons had been selected in the PCS (Executive) and allied services in 1999. Already 28 PCS officers of this batch have been removed while 18 others, who had been nominated to the PCS from various government departments, have reverted to their original cadres on May 23.

As many as 3,446 candidates for different departments had been selected during the tenure of Mr Sidhu. While others had joined government service, 639 were yet to be issued appointment letters as their cases were being processed when the recruitment scam was uncovered.

Informed sources said the government had weighed three options for the removal of tainted candidates. First, under service rules; second, by enforcing Article 311-A of the Indian Constitution and third by issuing an ordinance which can later be converted into an Act. The last option is considered to be the best. The sources said Punjab Advocate General Harbhagwan Singh had been assigned the task of vetting such an ordinance.

In the case of first and second options, there was a possibility that the candidates concerned might be able to get stay from the court, scuttling the entire effort of the government, says a senior officer. Chief Secretary Y.S. Ratra said: “We are on the job and we will soon come out with legal provisions to initiate the necessary action required for the removal of the candidates concerned.”

Meanwhile, another dimension has been added to the PPSC recruitment scam with the report of the forensic experts in handwriting and documents. They have revealed that all lists of selected candidates prepared by Mr Sidhu were tampered with, making suspect all selections made by him. However, during the course of inquiry by the Vigilance Bureau, the names of only 40-50 candidates, who bought jobs, have come to light while the number of candidates selected during Mr Sidhu’s tenure is in hundreds. In the light of the report of the forensic experts, the government would have to remove all candidates selected by Mr Sidhu and not only tainted ones.

The government has also started legal action against those who paid money in lakhs to buy jobs. As many as 45 such candidates have been issued notices by the Vigilance Bureau in this connection.

It was pointed out to the Chief Minister that the government had not put those behind bars who paid money to buy jobs but had arrested only those who received the money — Sidhu and his touts like Randhir Singh Dhira and Jagman Singh etc.


PPSC case: teacher’s arrest stayed
Our Correspondent

Patiala, July 5
A local court today stayed the arrest of Kurukshetra University Punjabi Department head Amarjit Singh Kang, who has allegedly been named by suspended PPSC Chairman Ravinderpaul Singh Sidhu, for allegedly committing irregularities in PPSC exam, award list till July 8.

The teacher’s counsel, Mr H. V. Rai, today argued that Kang had not been named in the FIR nor did he have any role in the case. The counsel said his client apprehended that the Vigilance Bureau wanted to implicate him in the case after arresting him even though he was ready to join the investigation. Mr Rai said his client apprehended his arrest as his house had also been raided.

Staying the arrest till July 8, District and Sessions Judge S. N. Aggarwal also issued a notice to the state for the same day.

Meanwhile, Prof Gurpal Singh was today remanded in judicial custody till July 17 by a local court. 


Labour scam: Vigilance cell begins scrutiny of records
Lalit Mohan

Ropar, July 5
The Vigilance cell of the Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB) has started scrutinising records of the Guru Gobind Singh Super Thermal Plant (GGSSTP), Ropar, in connection with the contract labour scam. Sources said taking cognizance of the reports published in The Tribune, a team of Vigilance officials was now camping at the thermal plant and scrutinising the attendance sheets of contract labourers. The attendance sheets were the main source of misappropriations in the scam.

The General Manager of the GGSSTP, Mr Mohindroo, when contacted on phone also admitted that Vigilance officials were scrutinising the records of the contract labourers. He said the Vigilance officials had requisitioned certain records from them pertaining to labour contractors and these had been supplied to them.

Due to an inquiry initiated by the Vigilance cell, the controversial decision of the PSEB to increase the commission of labour contractors from 45 to 50 per cent in the GGSSTP has also not been implemented. The decision of board to increase the commission of the labour contractors, despite allegations of misappropriations against them, had evoked strong protests from the Engineers Association.

The association had said if an unjustified increase was made in the commission, it would add to the losses of the board to the tune of crores. Later, the sources said, the Finance Department of the PSEB had also raised serious objections to the increase in commission of the labour contractors.

Mr R. K. Jindal, FA and CAO of the plant, when asked admitted that the Finance Department had raised objections to the increase in the commission of the labour contractors here. The preliminary objection of the increase was that the Finance Department was not consulted at all while effecting the increase. Moreover, the labour contractors were bound to work at old rates till the expiry of the agreement. There was no provision to effect a mid-term increase in the commission of labour contractors as per the agreement, he said.

The General Manager of the plant, Mr Mohindroo, when asked to comment on the issue said the decision regarding the increase in the commission of labour contractors would be taken at the next meeting of the Public Works Committee of the board.

The sources also said the Vigilance cell of the PSEB was also planning to chargesheet about 25 officers of the GGSSTP in the scam. The charge-sheets had been prepared by junior officials and presented before the ADGP, Vigilance, for further action.

The ADGP was, however, not available for comments as he was out of station.

The Vigilance officials had detected several cases of misappropriation in the employment of contract labour at the GGSSTP. The alleged misappropriations in the contract labour scam include, showing labour to be present on all days in a month irrespective of their rest or casual leave, making double payment per labourer to contractors, ignoring the work order instructions, making payment to contractors without checking the vouchers and making payments in certain cases where even attendance was not marked, the sources said. 


SHSAD plans no-trust move against Badungar
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, July 5
After securing a convincing victory in the Delhi Gurdwara Management Committee elections, the Sarb Hind Shiromani Akali Dal has announced that it would bring a no-confidence motion against Mr Kirpal Singh Badungar, President, Shiromani Gurdwara Prabandhak Committee in the near future.

A jubilant, Mr Manjit Singh Calcutta, a former Secretary of the SGPC and a senior leader of the SHSAD while addressing a press conference here yesterday said many SGPC members have decided to desert the Shiromani Akali Dal (Badal) and Mr Badungar could be toppled any time. He also claimed that many former Akali ministers, MLAs, former MPs, especially from Malwa would join the SHSAD in the coming days.

He further claimed that some of the members of the political affairs committee of the SAD (Badal) were in constant touch with his party. “Many leaders of the Badal faction were waiting for the volcano to erupt”, he said. Mr Calcutta asked Mr Badal to immediately withdraw from the gurdwara politics as the Sikh voters had given a clear verdict in favour of SHSAD during the DGMC elections.

He alleged that the SAD (Badal) was no more Panthic as its leadership had indulged in denigration of Akal Takht. The jathedars were removed unceremoniously on political considerations for which Mr Badal should be summoned at Akal Takht.

He alleged that family members of Mr Badal were also not following the Sikh traditions as Ms Surinder Kaur Badal, wife of Mr Badal, was allegedly found performing “black magic” at her native village, Badal during the Majitha byelection. Mr Manpreet Singh Badal, a nephew of Mr Badal who got baptised at Akal Takht before the Gidderbaha byelection had allegedly started trimming his beard, he alleged.

Mr Calcutta said Union Minister Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa should also be summoned at Akal Takht for publicly announcing that SAD (Badal) indulged in distribution of liquor during the DGMC elections in violation of the directive of the Jathedar of Akal Takht.

The SHSAD leaders said the SGPC had taken no action against its senior member, Sadhu Singh Raagi, who was caught by the police for selling smack. Similarly, Mr Sucha Singh Langah, district president of SAD and the then Akali minister who was also a member of the SGPC had organised 501 “paths” of Ramayana at Dhariwal for political purposes which was in gross violation of the Sikh "rehat maryada".

Replying to a question, Mr Calcutta announced that after proving majority on the floor of the SGPC House, the SHSAD would re-instal Bhai Ranjit Singh as Jathedar of Akal Takht.


Bhaur: Badal has lost credibility
Our Correspondent

Phagwara, July 5
SHSAD secretary general Jathedar Sukhdev Singh Bhaur today claimed that Shiromani Akali Dal president Parkash Singh Badal had lost credibility and anybody who sided with him would end up like Mr Avtar Singh Hit and his group who lost heavily in the DSGPC poll.

Addressing a press conference here, Mr Bhaur declared that there could be no rapprochement with Mr Badal even if the latter presented himself before Akal Takht and atoned for his sins. He took Mr Badal to task for saying that the Tohra group had won the DSGPC elections with the support of the Congress.

He regretted that the Akal Takht Jathedar had failed to summon Mr Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa, Union Minister and SAD general secretary to Akal Takht even though Mr Dhindsa made a statement that the voters did not vote without liquor.

The convention to be held in August or September would decide several crucial issues confronting the Panth, added Jathedar Bhaur.


Gurdwara judicial panel may be reconstituted
Varinder Walia
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, July 5
Capt Amarinder Singh, Chief Minister, may accept the demand of the Sarb Hind Shiromani Akali Dal to reconstitute the Sikh Gurdwara Judicial Commission.

A senior leader of the SHSAD said yesterday that during his tenure as Chief Minister Mr Parkash Singh Badal had “unconstitutionally” reconstituted the Sikh Judicial Commission and appointed men of his choice as president and members.

Mr Kashmir Singh Patti and two other members of the commission were replaced by the state government by issuing a controversial notice when Mr Badal parted company with Mr Gurcharan Singh Tohra, senior Akali leader. Mr Patti, however, alleged that he was replaced by Mr Badal as he had refused to show favour to his men. Mr Patti had also handed over two letters written by Mr Badal on the official letterhead of the Chief Minister seeking personal favours.

The Sikh Judicial Commission is a full partner in the management of Sikh shrines. It is basically a judicial body which directly and substantially controls the functioning of gurdwara managements, according to the Sikh Gurdwara Act, 1925. Any Sikh who is a serving or retired district judge or subordinate judge or a barrister of not less than 10 years’ standing can be a member of the judicial commission. Complaints pertaining to the management of Sikh gurdwaras are disposed of by following the procedure laid down in the CrPC.

After the reconstitution of the commission by the Badal government, an unprecedented number of cases were filed against Bibi Jagir Kaur, the then SGPC chief. The proposed move to reconstitute the Sikh Judicial Commission will go a long way in helping the SHSAD after the replacement of Mr Kirpal Singh Badungar as SGPC chief.


Sehajdharis decry Vedanti, write to PM
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, July 5
In a letter, faxed to Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee the national president of the Sehajdhari Sikh Federation Dr Paramjit Singh Ranu has urged that the demand of Giani Joginder Singh Vedanti, Jathedar Akal Takht, for debarring Sehajdharis from voting in the general elections of the SGPC was bound to create communal tension.

Dr Ranu said that 90 per cent of the Sikhs were ‘Sehajdharis’ and hence it would be great injustice to debar them from participating in the Gurdwara elections.

Jathedar Vedanti had written a letter to the Prime Minister seeking his personal attention to debar the ‘Sehajdharis’ from the voting in the SGPC elections.

Dr Ranu said disfranchising the ‘Sehajdharis’ would also divide the Sikh Panth which already was in minority. Moreover, the matter was sub judice as the case was pending before the Punjab and Haryana High Court in this regard.


Supplementary charge sheet against scholar
Tribune News Service

Patiala, July 5
In a significant development, the local police today filed a supplementary charge sheet against Ms Amandeep Kaur, a research scholar of the Fine Arts Department of Punjabi University, who is a co-accused alongwith the ousted Punjabi University Vice-Chancellor, Dr Jasbir Singh Ahluwalia, in the attempt to rape case registered against the latter.

The Sadar police today filed the charge sheet along with an FIR which was registered against Dr Ahluwalia, Fine Arts Department Head Saroj Rani, Technical Assistant Jaspal Singh and Amandeep Kaur at the instance of Saru Rana against the research scholar. It has also appended a list of 20 witnesses against Amandeep along with the chargesheet.

The chargesheet was filed in the court of Chief Judicial Magistrate Sanjiv Berri. The CJM while accepting the chargesheet has issued notice to the accused to present herself in the court on July 8. The charge sheet has been filed under Sections 376, 511, 294, 354, 341, 506, 34 and 120 (B).

Earlier, the Sadar police had registered the FIR against the four accused following a complaint lodged by Saru Rana on February 19. The police had filed a charge-sheet in court against the former VC, Saroj Rani and Jaspal Singh on April 19. This case is also set to be heard in the same court on July 8.

The sources said a charge sheet could not be filed against Amandeep Kaur in the case earlier as she had procured anticipatory bail from the Punjab and Haryana High Court. The accused had subsequently filed her bail bonds in the local court.


PRD recovers VCD system from Sekhwan

Gurdaspur, July 5
The District Public Relations officials here, after a lot of persuasion yesterday managed to recover department’s VCD-system from one of their former ministers and Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) leader Sewa Singh Sekhwan.

According to Public Relations officials, the former Minister, who lost the last assembly polls, after a lot of persuasion handed over the Department’s-property to a employee of the department at his house in near-by Sekhwan village yesterday. The employee brought the VCD system to the office of the District Public Relations office.

The District Public Relations officials were, through a written letter from the state headquarters, were directed to recover the system.

Mr Sekhwan had the system installed at his official residence in Chandigarh during his tenure as Minister of State for Information and Public Relations in the Badal government.

After his elevation as Minister for Revenue in 1999, he did not hand over the system to the Public Relations Department and after vacating his official residence at Chandigarh following the victory of the Congress in February the VCD system was transported to Sekhwan village along with other household items. UNI


Poll petition dismissed
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 5
Dismissing a petition filed by two voters from Abohar tehsil in Ferozepore district seeking directions for setting aside the election of Mr Parkash Singh Bhatti from 90-Balluana (SC) assembly constituency, Mr Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel of the Punjab and Haryana High Court today ruled that limitation, as per the relevant Act, for filing a poll petition was 45 days from the date of elections.

Pronouncing the orders, Mr Justice Goel ruled that the elections had taken place on February 13 and as such the last date of filing the election petition would be April 10. In his detailed order, the Judge added: “Application for the condonation of delay filed by the petitioner is not maintainable. The application is accordingly dismissed. The election petition is also dismissed being barred by limitation.”

Mr Kour Singh and another petitioner had earlier alleged that the nomination papers of the returned candidate had been illegally accepted. Giving details, the two had stated that after going through newspaper reports they came to know that Mr Bhatti was initially employed with the Punjab State Electricity Board and was holding an office of profit under the state government. Regarding the delay in filing the election petition, they had added that being “ordinary citizens”, they were not aware of the illegal acceptance of the nomination papers.

Notice of motion

Taking up a petition filed by an Amritsar-based social organisation seeking directions to the state of Punjab, the Chief Minister, the Education Minister and another respondent for improving the standard of primary education, Mr Justice S.S. Nijjar and Ms Justice Kiran Anand Lall of the High Court on Friday issued notice of motion to the respondents.

In their petition, Amritsar Vikas Manch had also sought directions to improve infrastructure facilities available at the primary schools. Directions for changing the government policy regarding the transfer, adjustment and deployment of teachers during election duties were also sought. The petitioners had added that the students in Punjab primary schools were being neglected and denied the right to education. The case will now come up for further hearing on October 16.

MC resolution

A Division Bench of the High Court, comprising Mr Justice N.K. Sodhi and Mr Justice Virender Singh, on Friday issued notice of motion on a petition filed by acting President of Malerkotla Municipal Council Kewal Krishan Jindal, along with 13 other councillors, challenging a resolution allegedly passed by 12 members, along with MLA Razia Sultana, electing Mr Faqir Mohammad as President.

It was alleged by the petitioners that on July 1 — the day elections were held — they were physically prevented from entering the main entrance by anti-social elements at the behest of the MLA. In the meantime, the remaining 12 members elected Faqir Mohammad as the President.

Salary cheques

Issuing notice of motion for September 30 on a petition filed by 11 aanganwari workers posted in Sangrur district challenging the action of the Punjab state in not releasing their salaries since November last year, a Division Bench of the High Court directed the state to bring salary cheques on the next date of hearing.

In their petition taken up by the Bench, comprising Mr Justice Jawahar Lal Gupta and Mr Justice S.S. Grewal, the petitioners had earlier submitted that they were selected and appointed by duly constituted departmental selection committee and joined their duty in November 2001. However, till date they had not been given salaries despite representations to the authorities.


PSSF dharnas from July 9
Our Correspondent

Patiala, July 5
The Punjab State Services Federation will organise dharnas at all district headquarters in the state on July 9 followed by a fast by employees of different departments from July 16 to August 15 to protest against the Punjab Budget proposals.

Disclosing this, President of the Punjab State Services Federation and former member of Parliament, Mr Charanjit Singh Walia said that at a meeting of nearly 50 government departments’ employees and boards/corporations’ employees held on July 1 here, it was decided to form a common platform to oppose the “anti-employee” Budget by organising protests at different places in the state. Demanding immediate withdrawal of recent government decisions, including the freezing of D.A, abolition of vacant posts, ban on fresh recruitments, closure of 29 boards/corporations, suspension of LTC and reduction in pensioners’ benefit, Mr Walia stressed that the government must ensure that all employees enjoyed equal pay and emoluments for the same category and qualifications in all departments. He also said that to form a common platform for an effective struggle, an 11-member committee has been constituted to coordinate with other employee unions for a joint programme. It was also informed that various employees bodies will support and take part in the strike call given by the Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB) on July 9.

Mr Walia stressed that the state government must raise the fixed medical allowance of the employees from Rs 250 to Rs 500 and ad hoc, daily wage workers and employees on contract serving in any government organisation for three years be regularised immediately.


Mill staff demand salary
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, July 5
Even as the Punjab Government has not been taking any interest to revive Bathinda Cooperative Spinning Mill (Bacospin) which has been lying closed for the past about 10 months, its employees, who have not been paid their monthly wages for the past eight months held a rally and dharna near the mill today.

Employees, including women, said that they had been facing hardships due to non-payment of salaries but the authorities were not paying any heed to their problems.

Set up at cost of Rs 30 crore with the World Bank aid, the costly machinery imported from Germany and the USA has started gathering dust and if the mill was not started within reasonable time, the machinery would become non-functional.

Official sources said the Bacospin was commissioned in 1992 and was closed in 2001 when the authorities found it difficult to run it in profit due to repeated increase in overhead expenses on one hand.

An office-bearer of the Bacospin Staff Welfare Association said at least 500 employees had been left without any job.

The association had held a dharna at Chandigarh on June 24 to press the authorities to accept their demands. They said they would intensify their struggle if they were not given any assurance by the authorities.

Another office-bearer of the union said in coordination with employees of other cooperative mills in the state they would launch an agitation. He said they would start a “do or die” agitation.


8 LIC agents die in road mishap
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, July 5
Eight LIC agents belonging to Bassi Pathana, Mandi Gobindgarh and adjoining villages died on the spot and two were seriously injured in an accident near Saharanpur town in Uttar Pradesh today. These agents were going to Mussoorie as part of an LIC incentive scheme for agents.

According to information, Mr A.S. Chahal, Development Officer of the Mandi Gobindgarh LIC branch, took 10 LIC agents to Mussoorie on an outing as they had completed the allotted business. They all left in a Qualis from Bassi Pathana. On their way, their vehicle had a head on collision with a bus near Saharanpur. Eight of them died on the spot while two others were seriously injured and rushed to a hospital.


Four killed in road mishap

Moga, July 5
Four persons were killed and 13 others injured in a head-on collision between a private bus and a truck near Dharamkot on the Dharamkot-Jalandhar road today, the police said. All injured, including bus driver, Ajmer Singh, and conductor Surrinder Mohan have been admitted to the local Civil Hospital. Of the four dead, two have been identified as Satpal and Darbara Singh.

Meanwhile, the district administration has announced an ex gratia grant of Rs 4,000 each to the next of kin of those killed. PTI


ADM to probe tubectomy death
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, July 5
Mr Anurag Verma, District Magistrate, today ordered a magisterial probe into the tubectomy death which took place at the Raman Mandi Civil Hospital after Rani, a 24-year-old woman of Raman Mandi died a few hours after she was operated upon for tubectomy on July 3.

Mr Verma, while talking to TNS, said Mr G. K. Singh, Additional District Magistrate, had been appointed the inquiry officer and he had been directed to submit his report within three weeks.

Dr S. K. Goyal, Civil Surgeon, claimed that a post-mortem examination was not conducted as the kin of the deceased did not make a request in this regard and also no complaint had been made regarding the negligence of the medical staff.

However, Mr Verma pointed out that the Civil Hospital authorities had committed a mistake by not conducting the post-mortem examination. He added that during the magisterial probe the responsibility for this would also be fixed.


1,200 AIDS cases in Amritsar
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, July 5
The Health Department has detected 1,200 AIDS cases in the district till June this year making the district most prone to this infectious disease.

This was informed by Dr K.K. Sharma, Civil Surgeon in a press note here today.

As many as 21 food samples out of a total of 226 samples collected in the last six months failed the test, he said.

At least 19 samples of ice and drinking water failed test out of 157 samples collected from the city.


Bathinda Sessions Judge quits
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, July 5
Bathinda’s District and Sessions Judge, Mr B.C. Rajput, submitted his resignation to the Punjab and Haryana High Court late in the afternoon today. Although the high court authorities are tight-lipped about it, highly-placed sources confirm that the District and Sessions Judge submitted his resignation at about 4.30 p.m.

The sources claimed that “family circumstances” had been cited as a reason for his inability to function as a Judge. The sources also added that the authorities concerned, after taking into consideration Mr Rajput’s request for the acceptance of his resignation, had already forwarded it to the government for “necessary action in accordance with law”.


BJP dharna: police not to relent
Our Correspondent

Pathankot, July 5
Mr Bachan Singh Randhawa, SP, has said the police will not succumb to the tactics of the local BJP leaders and activists who had been holding a dharna for the past one week here.

Talking to mediapersons here today, Mr Randhawa said both councillors, Mr Gulshan Mahajan and Mr Vikram Mahajan had been “interfering” in the day-to-day functioning of the police. He alleged that the councillors and their supporters created hindrance during a raid conducted by the police on a chemist shop.

Mr Ravi Gupta, senior leader of the BJP, said that the dharna would continue till the cases registered against the party councillors were withdrawn.


PRTC men to protest on July 8
Our Correspondent

Patiala, July 5
At a meeting of the Pepsu Roadways Transport Corporation (PRTC) action committee held under the presidentship of Mr Bacchan Singh Arora it was unanimously decided to oppose the proposed government move to disinvest PRTC by wearing black badges to work on July 8.


Strict action against traffic offenders: DC
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, July 5
The directions of the High Court regarding transportation will be strictly implemented in the district and no vehicle carrying schoolchildren more than the prescribed limit will be allowed, said Mr Vikas Partap, Deputy Commissioner, in a press note issued here today.

He warned that overloaded vehicles would be severely punished and the vehicles with blaring music, black films and pressure horns would be challaned. He urged the drivers to carry proper documents and obey the directions of the court. He said special drive was also being launched to medically examine the drivers, particularly truck drivers, to check drug abuse among drivers.

Meanwhile, on the direction of the Deputy Commissioner, the District Transport Department in association with the Lions Club, Bassi Pathana, organised a medical check-up-cum-driving licence camp at Nandpur Kalaur village today. The drivers were examined and educated about the rules.

Driving licences were also issued on the spot.


Dr S. K. Mittal promoted
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 5
Dr S.K. Mittal has been promoted as Joint Director of Agriculture (Hydrology) by the Punjab Government.

An order in this connection was issued today by Mr P.K. Verma, Financial Commissioner (Development), Punjab.

Dr Mittal has been associated with ground water development in the state for the past 31 years. He has also worked for about 10 years in the Punjab State Tubewell Corporation.


4 killed, 3 hurt in group clash
Our Correspondent

Sunam, July 5
Four persons were killed and three injured in a clash which took place among the families of two brothers. The cause of the clash was stated to be a land dispute.

Mr Gurmeet Singh Chauhan, DSP, while addressing the media here today said Sadhu Ram Mahant, his wife Mukhtiar Kaur, his son Krishan Dass (members of the complainant family) and his nephew Tarsem Lal (member of the accused family) were killed when members of both families attacked each other with sharpedged weapons at Gandua village, about 15 km from here, last night.

Mr Chauhan further said in the preliminary investigation it was found that Sadhu Ram had got transferred 7 acres, registered in his mother’s name, in the name of his sons Krishan Dass and Khushi Ram through registered title deeds.

The brothers of Sadhu Ram expressed resentment over the transfer and demanded equal distribution of their mother’s land among them. When Sadhu Ram refused they threatened him with dire consequences.

Mr Chauhan further said to avoid any mishap the police had taken precautionary measures and registered a case against Sadhu Ram and his brother on May 24 and the next date of hearing was fixed for today.

A case has been registered under Sections 302, 148 and 149 of the IPC in this regard.


4 booked for outraging girl’s modesty
Our Correspondent

Abohar, July 5
Khushal Chand and his four sons were today booked by the police for trying to outrage the modesty of a Rajasthani girl at Gidderanwali village in this subdivision last week.

Even though the residents of the village were tight-lipped over the incident news appearing in regional dailies prompted the police to investigate the matter. As ASI who visited Gidderanwali village early this week was disappointed to know that the affected family had gone back to their native village in Sri Ganganagar district to avoid humiliation.

Sources said the girl yesterday appeared before the DSP, Mr Rakesh Aggarwal, and on being persuaded by her relatives narrated the incident. It was initially reported that the girl’s brother had allegedly teased Khushal Chand’s daughter when she was going to fetch drinking water. When she told her brothers about this, they went to the fields where girls’ family was reportedly working as daily wagers. On not finding the guilty boy they overpowered the girl, allegedly tore her clothes and tried to outrage her modesty. Though news reports had suggested that she was paraded naked. But preliminary inquiries revealed that the allegation was unfounded.


300 bottles of whisky seized
Our Correspondent

Hoshiarpur, July 5
The local Excise and Taxation Department launched a campaign against liquor smugglers today. Mrs Neelam Chaudhry, Assistant Excise and Taxation Commissioner, told this correspondent that on the very first day, the department achieved a breakthrough when a naka party headed by Mr Piyush Kant Sharma, Excise and Taxation Officer, along with Mr Balbir Sharma and Mr Surinder Singh Heer, both Excise Inspectors, tried to stop a Maruti car at Handowal on the Hoshiarpur-Chandigarh road. The occupants of the car did not stop and tried to escape.

After giving a chase for more than 10 km, the naka party overtook the car and caught two liquor smugglers Gulshan Kumar, son of Mela Ram, of Mazakri village under Kharar police station and Rajiv Kumar, son of Iqbal Chand, of Sante Mazra village and seized 2,25,000 ml (300 bottles) whisky of various brands, from the car. Both were booked under Sections 61, 1 and 14 of the Excise Act.

Mrs Chaudhry said the country-made foreign liquor was being smuggled from Chandigarh for sale in Punjab.


Man ‘kills’ brother, injures father
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, July 5
Surjan Singh of Jhumba village, 18 km from here, was allegedly murdered by his elder brother while he along with his father was working in the fields today.

The father of the deceased, who was severely injured in the attack, was shifted to local Civil Hospital. The doctors attending on him said his condition was critical.


3 travel agents held for duping 9 youths
Tribune News Service

Moga, July 5
The local police has arrested three travel agents on charges of duping nine youngsters Rs 5.40 lakh on the pretext of sending them to Libya.

According to Mr Varinder Kumar, SSP, the three travel agents-Sukhchain Singh, alias Lali, son of Mr Harjinder Singh, a resident of Moga, Gurvinder Singh, alias Lucky, son of Mr Joginder Singh, a resident of Cheema Bath village of Amritsar district, and Satnam Singh, son of Mr Balwinder Singh, a resident of Kaleka in Amritsar district — have been arrested on the complaint of Mr Nachattar Singh, son of Mr Arjan Singh, a resident of Kapoore village of the district. Mr Nachattar Singh, had alleged that these agents had duped nine youngsters of Kapoore and Daya villages of Rs 5.40 lakh by promising to send them to Libya but all of them landed up in Thailand.

A case has been registered under Sections 406 and 402 of the IPC and further investigations are on.


1 held in scribe assault case
Our Correspondent

Faridkot, July 5
The Kotkapura police yesterday arrested Pushpraj Singh of Mohalla Tibbi, Kotkapura, on the charge of assaulting and threatening Mr Naresh Kumar Sehgal, a press reporter of Kotkapura town.

According to Mr Harinder Singh Chahal, SSP, a case under various Sections of the IPC has been registered in this connection. Prominent among the other accused include, Mr Sukhbir Singh Badal, Member of Rajya Sabha and son of former Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal, and his two associates Ram Pal Bargari and Ghugi.

Mr Sehgal had filed a writ petition in the Punjab and Haryana High Court against these persons accusing them of assaulting the reporter on August 11, 1998, May 5, 1999, and Sept 25, 2000. The high court directed the police to take necessary action. 


Teachers meet DEO regarding scam
Tribune News Service

Ropar, July 5
A mass deputation of the district unit of the Government Teachers Union, Punjab, led by Mr Sucha Singh Khatra, district president of the union, today met Dr Malti Batra, District Education Officer (Primary), Ropar, at her office here and sought a clarification from her as to how three leaders of the union were involved in scam in the Education Department. Mr Khatra alleged that Dr Batra had levelled baseless charges against three union leaders with regard to their “involvement” in the scam.

After a two and a half hour long meeting with the DEO (Primary), Mr Khatra said despite repeated requests, the DEO (Primary) could not tell the members of deputation anything about the involvement of the three leaders of the union in the scam.

On the other hand, Dr Batra said as the matter, regarding the scam in the Education Department was subjudice, she was not in a position to comment on the issue or say anything in this regard at this stage.


Agitating students burn CM’s effigy
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, July 5
Even as the Punjab Government has closed down the only government-run boys college of the city due to the shortage of funds, students today burnt effigy of Capt Amarinder Singh, Chief Minister, and the Punjab Government here today.

Mr Suraj Bhardwaj, Secretary, Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad claimed that students from many colleges had extended support to their agitation. Mr Bhardwaj said if the state government failed to withdraw its decision to close down the college, they would be forced to intensify the agitation.

Ms Laxmi Kanta Chawla, a former BJP MLA, said most of the students of government college belonged to the poor strata and could not afford the exorbitant fees of private colleges. Hence, the state government should reconsider its decision. Mr Manjit Singh Calcutta, a former Education Minister, during whose tenure the government college was opened, condemned its closure.

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