Thursday, July 18, 2002, Chandigarh, India


P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



Dheera gets bail, may turn approver
Tribune News Service

Patiala, July 17
Vigilance Bureau officials today took Randhir Singh Dheera, key accused in the PPSC’s jobs for sale scam, into custody allegedly without authority immediately after he was released from the Central Jail here.

Vigilance officials, including DSP, Vigilance, Ludhiana Sarup Singh, and DSP, Vigilance, Mohali Surjit Singh Khosa today posted themselves outside the Central Jail in early morning. Another alleged tout of suspended PPSC chief Prem Sagar, recently released from jail on bail was also seen outside the jail premises.

Questioned by The Tribune Prem Sagar said, he had been brought from Moga by Vigilance officials to persuade Dheera to turn approver in the case registered against suspended PPSC Chairman Ravinderpaul Singh Sidhu and members of his family besides others at Patiala on April 30. He said both, he and another accused Pammi were being harassed since their release from jail and they could not even stay at their own homes.

Immediately after Dheera was released from jail at 10 a.m. his new Ford Ikon car was cammandered by DSP Khosa who sat on the back seat along with him (Dheera) and proceeded to the PWD Guest House in the city. The DSP’s vehicle followed Dheera’s car.

At the PWD Rest House Dheera disclosed that Vigilance personnel were pressurising him to turn approver in the case. Prem Sagar, who was also brought to the Rest House, said he and another accused in the case Paramjit Singh Pammi were also under pressure to turn approver. Dheera said he feared that the police would haul him up in either of the two cases registered against him at Mohali and Ludhiana and could also involve his sons in fresh cases.

Dheera’s lawyer said his client would not turn approver in case he was assured that he would not be harassed by the Vigilance staff. He said it was due to this reason that Dheera earlier had shown reluctance in coming out of jail adding that Vigilance personnel had been following his client’s every move outside the jail.

Dheera was questioned by Vigilance personnel at the PWD Rest House till noon and then he was whisked away again with Khosa sitting in his vehicle. Dheera’s counsel claimed that Dheera had been taken to Chandigarh for meeting with Vigilance officials there.

The key accused had got bail in FIR number 24 registered here on July 10. He, however, could not be released from the jail immediately because some Sections had been listed wrongly in his release warrant. Though the wrong was rectified later, he deliberately did not furnish his bail bonds in a case registered against him at Ropar.

According to a PTI report Randheer Singh Dheera, a Markfed employee, today denied that he had any plans to turn approver in the alleged cash-for-job scam of the Punjab Public Service Commission (PPSC) in which he had been arrested along with suspended Chairman Ravinder Pal Singh Sidhu and 10 others.

Dheera also alleged that he was kept in a cell for four days in the jail before he made the confessional statement under Section 164, Cr PC, under pressure of Vigilance Bureau officials


High Court Bar supports CJ’s action
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 17
Accusing the Punjab government of pushing the PPSC recruitment scandal under the carpet of secrecy, the Punjab and Haryana High Court Bar Association today demanded that the officers transferred out of the intelligence wing should be shifted back immediately.

In a “stormy” general house meeting, the association members asserted that the officers, honest to the core, were transferred soon after they provided “relevant material” to the High Court Chief Justice which facilitated him to take action against three Judges.

Congratulating the Chief Justice for withdrawing work from the Judges after conducting a thorough inquiry, the members also resolved to seek the transfer of all local Judges. They further decided to meet the Chief Justice of India and the Union Law Minister for the purpose. The justice delivery system would not improve till the local Judges were transferred out, they insisted.

The convening of a “national conference” of the High Court Bar Associations spread all over the country was also demanded. Action on a “second list” of Judges reportedly being “prepared by the Chief Justice” was also sought by one of the members.

Addressing the gathering of over 700 advocates in the afternoon today, advocate Tahar Singh claimed that the entire exercise of unearthing the scam was initially undertaken by the intelligence wing. After the government realised the involvement of certain Judges, it reacted by saying that the intelligence wing could only do the job of “sniffing” and the investigation was to be carried out by the Vigilance Bureau. The Bureau, he stated, was now involved in “Operation Close-up”.

The Bar Association, he added, should resolve to meet the authorities concerned for ensuring the posting back of the officers. “Although I am sure they will continue to work with utmost dedication and honestly wherever they are posted, their transfer back to the intelligence wing will be in the interest of justice”, he asserted.

Describing the withdrawal of work from the Judges as the “first victory in 25 years of the Bar and the media”, advocate Bhim Sen Sehgal maintained that page-one editorials in The Tribune injected a powerful dose in the advocates encouraging them to stand up against the corruption in the judiciary.

Alleging the adoption of a “pick and choose policy” in the elevation of Judges, Mr Sehgal suggested that the Constitution should be amended to ensure that Judges above the age of 55 were appointed and were permitted to continue for a period not exceeding seven years. They should also be asked to give details of their assets at the time of taking oath and demitting the office, he added.

Seeking action against other Judges “named in another list”, advocate Navkiran Singh said, “We believe that the CJ has prepared another list, it is necessary that action should be taken against them also”.

Mr Navkiran further claimed that the advocates should not react if some member claimed that lawyers close to the Judges were being favoured, as it was an “open secret”.

Today’s proceedings were disturbed when a member named a retired High Court Judge. The reference was objected to by some of the advocates, leading to chaos. The situation was brought under control only after Bar Association President Hawa Singh Hooda, along with other members, intervened.

Others who supported the Chief Justice’s action included Mr H. S. Gill, Ms Daya Chaudhary, Mr Surinder Lamba and Mr I. S. Balhara. They also demanded the transfer of local Judges.


Sidhu’s remand extended
Tribune News Service

Patiala, July 17
Suspended PPSC Chairman Ravinder Pal Singh Sidhu’s judicial remand was extended till July 26 by District and Sessions Judge S.N. Aggarwal here today.

Sidhu’s advocate Sahib Singh Dhindsa filed an application, seeking permission to meet his client for two hours before he was taken back to jail whenever he came for court hearing, but the Sessions Judge allowed him to meet Sidhu for one hour after every hearing.

Meanwhile, in another case, the court decreed that Prof Gurpal Singh and Dr Jagdish Kalra, who were out on bail, could be summoned as and when the need arose by the court as the challan had been presented in the court.

The Vigilance Department also briefed the court of the steps taken by it to know about the whereabouts of Pritpal Kaur, Sidhu’s mother, and his brother Reetinder and sister-in-law Ajinder. It said advertisements had been placed in newspapers in this regard.


Tohra echoing CM’s views: Dhindsa
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 17
Senior Akali leaders, Mr Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa and Mr Balwinder Singh Bhunder, today regretted that Mr Gurcharan Singh Tohra has allowed himself to become “his master’s voice” in his dealings with the Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh. “Mr Tohra seems to have even forgotten the fact of his being a veteran compared with the CM and has confined his role to implementing the Congress agenda in Punjab at the behest of the Captain.”

“However, even after openly springing to each other’s defence against Mr Parkash Singh Badal, both Mr Gurcharan Singh Tohra and Capt Amarinder Singh have failed to carry conviction with the masses, failing to answer any of the serious charges levelled against them by highly respected and non-political individuals,” said Mr Dhindsa and Mr Bhunder, Secretary-General and General Secretary of the SAD, respectively.

In a statement here today, the Akali leaders said the strategy of the Tohra-Amarinder nexus was quite simple. Mr Tohra would defend the Chief Minister against charges of corruption by blaming everything on Mr Badal. Capt Amarinder Singh, for his part, would bail out Tohra on charges of complicity with intelligence agencies by blaming militancy on Mr Badal. The strategy, however, had boomeranged on both. “Mr Tohra has mortgaged his soul, mind and body to Amarinder Singh to such an extent that he cannot even think of words different from those used by the Chief Minister.

“If Capt Amarinder Singh calls Mr Badal a coward and blames militancy on him, Mr Tohra echoes not only the same views but even the same words. Even a cursory look at the reactions of the two leaders on the Judicial Commission issue, the DSGMC poll, vendetta against Akali workers or the mystery of the missing crores is enough to establish that the former SGPC chief had been reduced to echoing his master’s voice.”

The two leaders alleged that even the arrangements for Mr Tohra’s failed press conference were made by the Chief Minister’s personal staff. “It is amusing how Mr Tohra has become a spokesman for the Chief Minister in the scandal involving the disappearance of crores of rupees from bank lockers in the recruitment scam. The Akali leaders reminded Capt Amarinder Singh that he had himself been among the first to make such allegations against Mr Tohra in the past.

Mr Dhindsa and Mr Bhunder further observed that the parallels in the situation and stands of these “stalwarts” were truly amazing. “Captain Amarinder Singh is facing serious allegations from his own officers regarding financial corruption amounting to crores in the Ravi Sidhu affair. Now Bhai Ranjit Singh has also come forth with conclusive evidence that Tohra men bought Congress support in the Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee elections by giving the party ticket to ‘killers’ of innocent Sikhs in 1984. Neither Mr Tohra nor Captain Amarinder Singh have been able to answer these charges or to give any convincing explanation on why their own men have turned against them on issues of integrity and political morality.”

When Operation Black Thunder came, Capt Amarinder Singh’s suspicious role in joining the Akali Dal had already been exposed through his open friendship with the Rajiv Gandhi clan. “He is the last person from whom Tohra should seek support on issues concerning issues of the Sikhs versus the Congress. Similarly, Amarinder Singh could also do without certificates of honesty and war against corruption from Tohra and his lieutenants like Mr Prem Singh Chandumajra, Mr Dhindsa and Mr Bhunder said. But the unholy alliance was doomed from the start as the two men share nothing except their opportunism and disregard for values,” the Akali leaders said.”

Mr Dhindsa and Mr Bhunder further said it was a tribute to the incomparable stature of Mr Badal that Mr Tohra and Capt Amarinder Singh do not even have the confidence to take on Mr Badal without each other’s help. By alleging that Mr Badal was the only stumbling block in the way of a resolution of the Punjab problem, both have indirectly conceded that they could not push their pro-Congress agenda because of Mr Badal’s towering presence. “The real stumbling block, however, was the Congress leadership in Punjab and in Delhi which wanted to punish Punjab for its role during the Emergency days,” the two leaders added.


Amritsar ex-DC ready to appear before Akal Takht
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, July 17
Mr Sarbjit Singh, former Deputy Commissioner, who is the author of the controversial book “Operation Black Thunder — an Eyewitness Account of Militancy in Punjab” has offered to appear before Akal Takht to clarify his position on the facts mentioned in the book.

Addressing a press conference at his residence here today, Mr Sarbjit Singh said, “Let Mr Gurcharan Singh Tohra be installed as Jathedar, Akal Takht, and even then he was prepared to appear before him”. He said the book was “first-hand information” and hence could not be contradicted.

However, he said Mr Tohra was not the only one who knew about the impending Operation Bluestar, but Mr Parkash Singh Badal, Sant Harchand Singh Longowal, Sant Jarnail Singh Bhinderanwale too had an inkling about it. This was why Sant Longowal recruited one lakh “marjiwras” (do-and-die squad) and Sant Bhinderanwale called Gen Shubeg Singh to fortify Akal Takht. He denied that he had written the book to malign anybody as alleged by Mr Tohra.

Meanwhile, Mr Tarlochan Singh, Vice-Chairman, Minorities Commission, described the allegations of Mr Tohra as “baseless” that the book was written as his behest. He said the fact was that he had not met Mr Sarbjit Singh for quite sometime. However, he welcomed the book and said such books must be written by all those who were directly involved in Operation Bluestar and Operation Blackthunder.

On the other hand, Mr Harmindner Singh Gill, President, All India Sikh Students Federation, alleged that the publication of the controversial book was part of a big conspiracy. He said Mr Badal wanted to defame Mr Tohra.


MLA’s car challaned, Speaker to be approached
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, July 17
The challaning of the newly purchased car of the MLA of Rampuraphul, Mr Gurpreet Singh Kangar, by the Sangrur police on July 15 has snowballed into a controversy, with a section of Independent MLAs deciding to take up the matter with the Speaker, Vidhan Sabha, for taking action against the official on whose behest the vehicle was allegedly challaned.

Mr Kangar told TNS that while he was going to Chandigarh on July 15 to cast his vote for the election of the President, he overtook the vehicle of a police functionary of Sangrur. After that, his vehicle was stopped at Bhawanigarh by some policemen and checked. On finding nothing objectionable, he was allowed to proceed ahead.

But then, his vehicle was again stopped at Channo village by 20 policemen who told him that his vehicle was being challaned on the directions of a senior police man whose vehicle he had overtaken. The vehicle was challaned for having a red light fixed on its top and the absence of a registration certificate. He clarified that there was no registration certificate as the vehicle was purchased about 10 days before the incident and the permission to use red light was shown to the police personnel.

He reported the matter to the Chief Minister, Mr Amarinder Singh, who talked to the Sangrur district police chief, Mr A.S. Rai. He said that matter would be brought into the notice of Speaker also so that action could be taken against the official on whose direction the vehicle was challaned.

Mr Rai, when Contacted, said that what happened was an outcome of misunderstanding which had been cleared. The challan had been cancelled, he added.


Langah case: next hearing today
Our Correspondent

Kharar, July 17
Mr Roahan Lal Chouhan, Judicial Magistrate, Kharar, has fixed July 18 as date of hearing in a case of handing over possession of 23 vehicles, which allegedly were owned benami by Sucha Singh Langah, former PWD minister, Punjab, and asked the applicants to bring documents to prove their claim.

An application for handing over possession was moved by Mr Ajit Singh and Mr Sher Singh that they were actually owners of these vehicles. On the other hand the Public Prosecutor had alleged that these vehicles which were taken into custody by the police on May 31 were actually owned benami by Langah.


Tota Singh’s bail plea
Tribune News Service

Ropar, July 17
Mr A. S. Kathuria, Special Judge, today fixed July 24 as the next date of hearing on the bail application of former Education Minister Tota Singh in a case registered against him. The next date of hearing was fixed due to the non-production of police record by the Vigilance.


Cong going back on poll promises: Tandon
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 17
Mr Balramji Dass Tandon, a senior BJP leader and former Local Government and Labour Minister, has blamed the Congress government for “chaotic conditions” prevailing everywhere in Punjab.

In a signed statement issued here today , Mr Balramji Dass Tandon said the presentation of the state Budget and decisions taken by the Council of Ministers speak much louder about the “treacherous and contradictory role being played by the ruling party against the interest of the people in general and employees, under privileged, dalits, senior citizens, and farmers in particular.

Mr Tandon said compared to the tall promises made on the eve of the assembly elections early this year, the Congress Government had been working in the opposite direction.

Mr Tandon said the Congress government had failed so far to honour its commitment of paying a bonus of Rs 30 per quintal of paddy . Similarly, the Congress government has not honoured its commitment on triple old age pension, doubling shagun scheme, implementing 4-9-14 promotion policy, abolition of octroi and creation of employment opportunities.

Instead, the government had enhanced the power tariff, put new levies on farm inputs, failed to control the deteriorating law and order situation and its failure to abolish octroi. On the other hand, the government has levied tax on dhabas.

Mr Tandon said employees were up in arms. Instead of creating new job opportunities, those employed were being thrown out. Employees were agitating not only over withdrawal of granted perks and facilities but also because of harassment caused to them by the Vigilance Bureau.

In this hour of crisis, the BJP was with the people and would do everything to mitigate the sufferings of the people of the state, he asserted.


Bhai Ranjit Singh, SHSAD differ
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, July 17
Differences have cropped up between Bhai Ranjit Singh, a former Jathedar of Akal Takht and Sarb Hind Shiromani Akali Dal leadership even as Mr Paramjit Singh Sarna, president of Delhi unit of the Shiromani Akali Dal alleged openly that the former (Bhai Ranjit Singh) indirectly helped the Shiromani Akali Dal (Badal) at the time of co-option of members for the Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee today.

Mr Sarna said that while the SHSAD had been fighting for the re-installation of Bhai Ranjit Singh as Jathedar of Akal Takht, today’s development had disappointed the Delhi Sangat.

All six members of the DSGMC, who were confidants of Bhai Ranjit Singh did not vote at the time of co-option with the result that the Sarna and the Badal groups got one co-option each.

Mr Harinder Paul Singh, a confidant of Mr Tohra, who was defeated at the time of co-option, said he was pained to learn that all six members loyal to Bhai Ranjit Singh let their votes be treated as ‘invalid’ at the time of co-option.


Councillor leaves SAD for SHSAD
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, July 17
Even as Mr Gurcharan Singh Tohra, former SGPC chief and President of the Sarb Hind Shiromani Akali Dal (SHSAD), is working to revive “the original” Shiromani Akali Dal, the party got a shot in the arm in the district today when an SAD municipal councillor joined the party.

Mr Mahinder Singh Sohal, announced his decision to join the SHSAD at a function today.

Mr Toga Singh state general secretary, claimed that the popularity of their party was increasing ever since they won the Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee elections and many members of the SAD wanted to join the SHSAD.


The man who ushered in the Green Revolution
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 17
Dr Amrik Singh Cheema, the harbinger of post-independence agriculture era and of the green revolution fame was born on December 1, 1918 in Badhai Cheema village in Sialkot District, now in Pakistan. His 20th death anniversary falls tomorrow.

A pioneer in agricultural extension in India, he organised many food and extension campaigns on behalf of the respective governments in Punjab and India. Punjab and the country as a whole witnessed spectacular increase in agricultural production during his tenure as Director of Agriculture, Punjab, and Agricultural Commissioner to the Government of India.

During his tenure as the Agricultural Commissioner to the Government of India, the country achieved self-sufficiency in food.

The state’s linear growth rate of agricultural production during 1952-53 and 1964-65 was not only higher than the all-India growth rate for the same period, but also exceeded the growth rate of countries like Japan, USA and UK for the same period. Mr Partap Singh Kairon, the then Chief Minister of Punjab, honoured him with a gold medal for doubling agriculture production in the state.

Dr cheema displayed considerable foresight and initiative in the planning and execution of the new agricultural strategy designed to achieve the major ‘leap forward’ in the country’s agricultural production and implemented it with great success and speed in Punjab. When other states were hesitant to introduce the Mexican varieties of wheat, Dr Cheema boldly lifted the major stock of the imported seed for use in Punjab at considerable personal risk, which enabled the Government of Punjab (now Punjab and Haryana) to cover 18 lakh acres under high-yielding varieties during 1967-68. The year 1967-68 was designated the “Wheat Revolution Year”, with maximum contribution from Punjab with a production of 50 lakh tons which came to 30 per cent of the total production of the country.

In recognition of his above contribution to the success of the green revolution the Government of India honoured him with Padma Shri, which was presented by Dr Zakir Hussain then President of India on April 10, 1969.

As Vice-Chancellor of the Punjab Agricultural University, he proved to be an able and understanding administrator. He decentralised research work by setting up new regional research stations and strengthening existing ones.


Desperate for rain, people turn to gods
Tribune Reporters

Gurdaspur, July 17
Six youths of Kalanaur have been on an indefinite fast since July 15. They have said that they will continue their fast till it rains.

Yajna is being organised at various temples of the town and of surrounding areas to please the rain gods. The monsoon has been eluding the area for nearly three years.

NAWANSHAHR: The local Mandi Merchants Association performed ‘havan’ and organised ‘langar’ here on Tuesday to appease the rain gods. Local residents started burning dolls to mollify the gods.

PHAGWARA: Yajna was organised at a village near here on Wednesday to placate the rain gods. Teachers of a local school asked the students to pray to God for rain.

ROPAR: Residents of several villages, including Takhatgarh, Jhandian and Jatwahar, have been pouring water on the “Shivalinga” at the Sri Jateshwar Mahdev Temple at Jatwahar village about 20 km from here, since Tuesday. They have been praying for an end to the dry spell.

The priest of the temple said a “havan” would be organised at the temple on Thursday. A villager said this was the first time devotees had been pouring water on the ‘Shivalinga’ for such a long time.


Youth electrocuted
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, July 17
A youth was electrocuted while trying to remove a cable network wire from his TV at his house in the Newan Sarajganj locality here today. Residents of the locality blocked traffic in protest against the incident.

Gagandeep Monty, a 22-year-old youth, was electrocuted while he was trying to remove the cable wire from his TV. The PSEB officials, who reached the house of the deceased, said that the fault was on the part of the cable operators. Residents maintained that they heard the shrieks of Bittu, brother of the deceased, who also got shocks while he tried to rescue his brother lying in an unconscious state near his bed.

“Actually Monty was removing the cable wire when I found him lying on the floor. As I tried to help him and touched him I also got shocks,” said Bittu.

Monty was later taken to the Civil Hospital where he was declared dead. Residents blocked traffic in protest against the alleged dilly-dallying by the police to register a case against the cable operators. Later, a case was registered against cable operators Nanha Gupta, his father Avinash Gupta and partner Bharti under various Sections of the IPC.


Medical cover mooted for border areas
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, July 17
Mr Rajan Kashyap, Principal Secretary, Punjab, Department of Health and Family Welfare paid a visit to the local mental and civil hospitals here yesterday.

A meeting was subsequently held at the office of the Director, Mental Hospital, Dr B. L. Goel, Mr S.S. Puri, Mr Narinder Pal Singh, SSP, Dr K.K. Sharma, Civil Surgeon, Amritsar, Dr J.C. Garg, Civil Surgeon, Gurdaspur and Mr D. P. Bajaj, Chief Engineer, Punjab Health Systems Corporation, attended the meet.

A contingency plan for providing comprehensive and regular medical cover to the population residing in vulnerable areas near the border districts of Amritsar and Gurdaspur was mooted. It was decided to provide doctors and paramedical staff at the Civil Hospital here.


Police action at DMC criticised
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, July 17
Various social associations and employees’ unions of different departments have criticised the incident at Ludhiana in which employees of the DMC were injured due to the police action.

In separate press notes the office-bearers of such associations and unions said the police action was uncalled for. They alleged that the management of the hospital was behind the incident. However, all of them kept mum on the beating up of police personnel, including a DSP, by the employees.

Those who condemned the incident included state president of Revolutionary Centre Mukhtiar Singh Poohla, secretary of Rural Labourers Union Jeet Singh, BKU (E) leaders Shingara Singh Mann, district secretary, and district president, Jhanda Singh Jethuke, Mr Jagjit Singh of the TSU, Mr Kesho Ram of Para-Medical Employees Union.

They urged the state government to interfere in the matter.


PCMS staff claim NOCs issued
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 17
The PCMS Association, Punjab, today claimed that the state government has issued instructions to the Director of Health Services (DHS) to issue “no objection certificate” for admission to post-graduate courses to all PCMS doctors.

In a joint statement, Dr M.S. Randhawa, Dr D.S. Gill and Dr Manjit Singh, Patron, President and General Secretary respectively of the association said they had a meeting with the Director of Health Services , Dr D. P. S. Sandhu, who confirmed that he had received instructions from the authorities concerned to issue NOCs.

The association has also submitted a memorandum to the Chief Minister urging him for continuation of non-practising allowance in case of government doctors.

The other PCMS Association headed by Dr Hardeep Singh, claimed that the Health Minister, Dr Ramesh Chander Dogra, had told the representatives of his organisations that there was no decision to remove whole batches of doctors recruited during the tenure of Ravinder Pal Singh Sidhu as PPSC Chairman.


9 injured in clash at gurdwara
Tribune News Service

Ropar, July 17
Nine persons of two groups of Phul Khurad and Rattanpur Chupki villages were injured in a clash in the langar hall of Gurdwara Jag Takht Sahib at Surtapur village, about 10 km from here, yesterday. Though the police said the cause of the clash could not be known, but the sources alleged that differences over the ousting of a family from the gurdwara which had been serving there for the past several years could be the reason.

A case under various Sections of the IPC had been registered against Jagmittar Singh, Inderjit Singh, Harinder Singh, all from Phul Khurad village and some others.

A deputation of Surtapur village met the SSP today regarding the dispute. The SSP deputed the DSP (D) to look into the matter.


Minor alleges rape, inquiry on
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, July 17
A minor girl working as a dancer with a local music group has alleged that she was raped by a person known to the group. The SP (City) has been entrusted with an inquiry into the incident.

Mr Naval Kishore, SP (City), when contacted, said the girl had complained that she was raped about a month ago at Dabwali in Haryana. He said only after a medical examination of the girl could it be ascertained whether the charge was true.

In that case the local police would prepare a report and inform the Haryana Police as the alleged crime had been committed in the later’s jurisdiction. He said as per the allegation of the girl, a member of the music group had harassed her.


Two farmers buried, rescued
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, July 17
Timely action by the Deputy Commissioner saved the lives of two farmers, Harbans Singh and Harpal Singh, of Balahra village who were buried alive while digging a well in the village, 10 km from here, last night. They were rescued with the help of a JCB crane after a struggle for 3 hours.

Mr Vikas Partap, Deputy Commissioner, said at around 5pm, he got information that two persons had been buried alive under the earth, while they were digging at the tube-well of Rajwinder Singh of the same village. The SDM, Fatehgarh Sahib, Civil Surgeon, DSP and SHO were directed by the DC to reach the spot. A JCB crane was summoned to move the earth. After a struggle for more than 3 hours, the two farmers were rescued. The driver of the JCB crane, Satnam Singh, was given a cash reward of Rs 1,000 for doing a commendable job.


Police remand extended
Our Correspondent

Kharar, July 17
Mr Roshan Lal Chouhan, Judicial Magistrate, Kharar, today extended till July 20 the police remand of Kulbir Singh Randhawa, a former member of Punjab Subordinate Services Selection Board (PSSSB), who was arrested by the Punjab Vigilance Bureau.

Mr Jatinderjit Singh Punn, Public Prosecutor, pleaded for a further remand of five days of the accused and alleged that he selected some candidates not on merit and who had scored less marks and ignored those candidates having higher marks. He said this information was yet to be collected from the accused about these candidates.

The defence counsel opposed the demand of police remand and said that the accused was already in the police custody for the past 10 days.


Front protests against killings
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, July 17
The district unit of the All-India anti-Terrorist Front, headed by Mr Mahinder Singh Sidhu yesterday burnt the effigy and flag of Lashkar-e-Toiba and Pakistan, respectively, at the Hall Gate here.

The front was protesting against the militants’ attack on slum dwellers in Jammu in which 27 persons were killed.

Earlier, a rally was organised by the front workers which started from PBN Senior Secondary School. The rallyists held banners and raised slogans against Pakistan President General Musharraf.

Mr Sawinder Singh Shah, Punjab vice-president of the front, addressed the rally, besides Mr Sidhu.


3 labourers injured
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, July 17
Three labourers were buried under earth when they were digging a ditch in connection with some sewerage work at the local Janta Nagar today.

Residents informed a social organisation, Sahara, which sent its volunteers for pulling out the labourers. They received minor injuries and their condition was stated to be out of danger.


PPCC member honoured
Our Correspondent

Dera Bassi, July 17
For this outstanding contribution to social services and rising to a position from a common man to a member of the Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee (PPCC), the Rotary Club, Dera Bassi, honoured Mr Krishan Pal Sharma at a function here.

Mr Bhupinder Singh Saini, Assistant Governor of Rotary International 3090 of Punjab, Haryana and Rajasthan, honoured Mr Sharma with a shawl, a memento and Rs 21,000.


Lawyers to strike work today
Our Correspondent

Phillaur, July 17
Lawyers of Punjab will observe a state-level strike on July 18 in protest against the registration of a false case and attack on local advocate Jatinder Kumar Aggarwal. This was stated by Bar Association member Lalit Chopra, advocate, here today.


More power supply to farmers: CM
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 17
The Punjab Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, today expressed concern over the drought conditions prevailing in the state and said this was beginning to affect paddy sowing operations and the availability of power.

“My priority right now is the paddy sowing operations”, said the Chief Minister in a talk with mediapersons. “Therefore, we are curtailing power supply to the industry and domestic sectors so as to make more power available for the agriculture sector for the operation of tubewells.”

The Chief Minister said that Punjab was also buying an additional 100 MW of power to tide over the current crisis.


7 promoted Home Guard district commanders
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 17
After a gap of four years, the Punjab Government today promoted seven company commanders as district commanders of the Home Guards. A ceremony of the newly promoted officers was held at the Punjab Police headquarters here. The Commandant-General of Home Guards and Director of Civil Defence, Mr S.V. Singh, who performed the ceremony, said the promotion of junior ranks would be ordered next week. The officers promoted today were Mr Bachan Singh, Mr Krishan, Mr Ajit Singh, Mr Subash Chander, Mr Jasbir Chadha, Mr Inderjit Singh and Mr Didar Singh.

Speaking to mediapersons after the ceremony, Mr S. V. Singh said the Home Guard had been playing an excellent role on various fronts that includes duty for the state and the country along the international border. Since January this year, 4000 officials of the Punjab Home Guard were performing duties in border areas under the operational control of the Army. Besides,10,000 Home Guard volunteers were deployed on security duty to maintain law and order in the state.

Mr S.V. Singh pointed out that in spite of various infrastructural problems, they were a disciplined lot and no complaint of dereliction of duty had been received against them. The problems include delay in payment of salary, inadequacy of funds for transport and other administrative requirements, and non-employment of the next of kin of those killed while fighting against terrorists in the state.

Only 34 dependents out of the 400 home guards jawans killed by terrorists have got jobs so far. Mr S.V. Singh said there were certain technical problems to give jobs to the dependents of “shaheed” jawans and the government had been requested to remove such hurdles to provide employment to at least one person each from such families.

He said civil defence exercises had been held in the past months in the areas. But now there was need to change the civil defence policy. There were towns like Ropar where lot of industry had come up but it was not included in the list of civil defence towns.


7 cops suspended for concocting inquiry reports
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, July 17
A sub-inspector and six other officials of Batala police district have been suspended on the charge of giving fake inquiry reports on those who had applied for passports. The racket was unearthed on a tip-off received by the Batala district police chief.

According to information Batala SSP, Ms Neerja received complaints that certain police officials of Security Branch, Passport wing, were making fake passport inquiry reports for issuing passport. She marked an inquiry in this regard to DSP (headquarter) Mr Sajjan Singh in May.

The inquiry report submitted on July 10 indicted sub-inspector Swarn Singh, an assistant sub-inspector, head constable Balbir Singh, Hardip Singh, Manohar Singh, Ajay Nayyar, Paramjit Singh, all constables.

Police sources in Batala disclosed that the accused policemen absconded reportedly after their indication in the inquiry. All accused police persons have been suspended.


Kharar SDM appointed  Sub-Registrar
Our Correspondent

Kharar, July 17
As per the orders passed by Mrs Seema Jain, Deputy Commissioner, Ropar, regarding appointment of the SDM Kharar as Sub-Registrar for doing registration work in Kharar, the work of registration of documents started here today which had been lying pending due to strike by the revenue officers.

Mr Sukhwinder Singh Gill, SDM, Kharar, today registered 12 documents. Mr Gill said that he would be visiting sub-tehsil Majri in the morning and Kharar tehsil in the afternoon for this work.

Meanwhile, Mr Balwant Singh, secretary, CPM, Punjab, has declared his party’s support to the revenue officers of Punjab if they make public various properties purchased by the officers of the Vigilance Bureau in the state. He was addressing a press conference here.

But criticised the action of the revenue officers of going on strike and said that if they did not stop taking bribe from the people then his party would gherao them and would make the anti-corruption drive started by this government a movement of the masses.

He said that the act of these officers not to register various documents was like bureaucratic ‘goondagardi’ as they were getting salary from the state exchequer. He said that if they knew about various properties purchased by the officers of the Vigilance Bureau being government officers they should bring it in open.

He was demanded a high-level inquiry into huge properties purchased by some revenue officers in Punjab. He demanded these properties should be attached immediately as these were purchased out of bribe money.

He alleged that a top leader of the SAD party was responsible for the ongoing corruption in the Revenue Department as it was only during his time the corruption reached at such a high level started in the state.


Encroachments removed from below overbridge
Our Correspondent

Patiala, July 17
In a joint anti-encroachment drive, the PWD and the district administration today removed, “rehris” and ramshackle “dhabas” built below the overbridge opposite the bus stand here besides other encroachments along the boundary of the bus stand adjoining Rose Market.

The drive, which started at noon, was led by Sub Divisional Magistrate Manjit Singh Narang who was accompanied by PWD officials and police personnel.

The demolition men confiscated more than a 100 “rehris” on the spot besides lifting benches and other material of a few makeshift “dhabas” which had opened there. They also confiscated several cigarette kiosks. The drive continued for more than two hours during the course of which the entire area was cleaned up. The sources said some “rehris” were also confiscated along the other side of the bus stand adjoining the Rose Market.

The eviction of encroachers from below the overbridge had been a major issue since the past few years but the Akali-BJP government had not taken any steps to remove them. The land below the overbridge belongs to the PWD and there were plans earlier to develop it as a parking space for taxi owners and private vehicles besides landscaping a part of it. Meanwhile, the Overbridge Parontha Association has decried the demolition drive and accused Congress MP Preneet Kaur and Mayor Vishnu Sharma of betraying them despite assurances that their “rehris” would not be removed. The association has given a call for a dharna at the spot tomorrow and demanded that in case they were to be evicted from the site they should be given some alternate site to carry on their livelihood.

The space beneath the overbridge had become a busy “parontha market” in the evening besides a place to have cheap food. On the other hand the road along the bus stand had been taken over by a long line of “rehris” selling fruit, chicken and fish snacks besides cigarette kiosks.


Special scheme for Banur: DC
Tribune News Service

Banur, July 17
The district administration has formulated a special scheme to ensure that Banur town is saved from the fury of floods during the coming season with drains being built on both sides of the road, besides construction of small bridgeheads, to ensure water did not collect near the town.

Disclosing this here today, Deputy Commissioner Tejvir Singh said steps would be taken to ensure neither the residents of the town suffered due to floods nor the shopkeepers were affected who had built shops alongside the road.

Mr Tejvir Singh, who was accompanied by Rajpura Subdivisional Magistrate Amrit Kaur Gill, also listened to the grievances of the people. He also inspected the flood protection works in the town and assured the people that they would be completed soon.

The Deputy Commissioner also informed that Rs 92 lakh had been spent on strengthening the bundhs on both sides of the Ghaggar river and other flood protection works. He said the entire schedule of work would be completed by July 20.


Revenue officers call off stir
Our Correspondent

Phillaur, July 17
All 380 revenue officers, members of the Punjab Revenue Officers Association have withdrawn their eight-day-long state-level strike, following an assurance by Punjab Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, to review and withdraw false cases allegedly registered against some revenue officers.

This was stated by association state general secretary Kanwaljit Singh Randhawa here today.


Photography banned within 5 km of border belt
Our Correspondent

Gurdaspur, July 17
Mr G. K. Sabharwal Additional District Magistrate, issued orders here today banning photography, video filming and media coverage within 5 km of the border belt with immediate effect.

By another order Mr Sabharwal directed all owners of marriage palaces to produce no-objection certificate within 15 days for running them before their respective Sub-Divisional Magistrates. Those constructing new marriage palaces should also submit no-objection certificate to SDM within 15 days from today and a similar certificate seeking permission to operate them.

He also directed the owners of marriage palaces not to operate loudspeakers and orchestra without the permission of the SDM.

These orders will remain in force till September 15.


Punjab postings
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 17
The following postings and transfers were today ordered in Punjab with immediate effect. Mr Sukh Pal Singh Gill is now Special Secretary, Forests and Wild Life against a vacant post while Mr Kulbir Singh, is state Transport Commissioner.

Mr Rahul Tiwari (on return from training), is Sub-Divisional Magistrate, Gidderbaha, and Miss Alakhnanda Dayal is SDM, Zira, vice Mr Jaswant Singh who is SDM Ferozepur. Mrs K.P. Brar is Administrator-cum-Additional Controller, Printing and Stationery, Patiala.


3 cops held on rape charge
Our Correspondent

Tarn Taran, July 17
Three policemen, Head Constable Gurmukh Singh, Constable Daljinder Singh and SPO Raman Kumar, have been held and booked on the charge of raping a Scheduled Caste widow of Barraran village under Lopoke police station.

Police sources said the victim, aged about 35 years, in her complaint to the police, had stated that the three policemen were on duty at a naka at Bucher Khurd last night. She and her brother-in-law Baldev Singh were going to the village when the accused stopped them, caught hold of her brother-in-law and raped her, she had reported. The Chabal police, with which they were working, arrested them.


Ex-police ‘cat’ arrested
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, July 17
The police today arrested a former police ‘cat’ who used to make fake affidavits to blackmail government employees.

A trap was laid, whereby Kashmir Singh, a Punjab Roadways supervisor was approached by Balwinder Singh ‘bomb’, a former police ‘cat’. According to Kunwar Vijay Partap Singh, S. P. (city), Balwinder Singh told the supervisor that an inquiry had been initiated against him by his department and that if he paid Rs 6,000 to him, he could stop the inquiry.

On being asked for proof, the former police ‘cat’ showed him an affidavit, following which Kashmir Singh paid him the amount. The police caught Balwinder Singh red-handed and seized the fake affidavit from him. A case under various sections of the IPC was registered.


Khalsa College teacher assaulted
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, July 17
A senior handicapped teacher in the Department of Commerce Khalsa College, Prof Baljinder Singh, was assaulted by five youths at about 1 p.m. today.

According to a complaint registered at the Sadar police station, it is alleged that the Professor was hit with iron rods and given blows. He alleged that he was attacked at the behest of the Principal of the college. The reason for the attack was stated to be a pending inquiry in connection with the irregularities committed in contributory provident fund.

The victim, who was accompanied by senior professors of the college, told the police that the attack was engineered as he had refused to withdraw the complaint pertaining to the irregularities.

However, the Principal of the college, Mr M.S. Dhillon, was not available for comments.


3 arrested for smuggling liquor
Tribune News Service

Rampura Phul, July 17
Acting on a tip-off, the local police has arrested three persons, including a commission agent and his son, for their alleged involvement in the smuggling of liquor and seized 108 bottles of different kinds of liquor.

Mr Ishwar Singh, SSP, said the accused Krishan Kumar, his son Navneesh Kumar and nephew Vikramjit were today caught while they were bringing liquor in a car from the Bhadaur side at the police checkpost on the Phool road.

Nine boxes containing 12 liquor bottles each were seized from the car.

A case had been registered against them Section 61 of the Excise Act.

The accused were remanded in police custody for one day and they were produced before the Judicial Magistrate.

It was revealed that the three had been allegedly selling liquor at the doorstep of the customers in rural and urban areas after buying it at low prices from the liquor shops located outside the jurisdiction of Rampur Phul.


IT college to be merged with SSDGC
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, July 17
Even as confusion prevails among students due to the de-affiliation of single-faculty IT colleges, students of the SAD Women Institute of Technology (SSDWIT) have requested the authorities to merge their institute with SSD Girls College (SSDGC).

The managing committee of the SSDWIT and the SSDGC passed resolutions on July 12 that these institutions should be merged so that the new direction of Punjabi University would not be applicable to the SSDWIT.

On July 13, the parent body of these institutions, Shri Sanatan Dharam Sabha, approved the resolution of both colleges and allowed the SSDWIT to merge with the SSDGC.

Mr Nourang Lal Mittal, president of the SSDGC, has written to the Vice-Chancellor of Punjabi University, informing him about the merger and requesting him to take action as per university rules.

Mr Mittal said henceforth the institutions would be called the SSD Girls College and would have one management and one principal. He said the college would run the courses of the SSDWIT.

Mr Manohar Lal Gupta, president of the sabha, talking to mediapersons said the directions of the university would not be applicable to their institutions as it had become a multi-faculty college. He said both institutions were working from a single campus.


Punjabi University results today
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 17
The Punjabi University authorities said today that results of examinations of B Tech (Electronics Communication) Part I, first Semester B. Tech (Information Technology) Part I, First Semester, MSc Food and Nutrition Part II, BPEd III, B A (Honours School) Course in English, Part I BA (Honours course in History and Punjabi Part II and B.Com (Honours School) Course in History and Punjabi, Part II, and B.Com. (Honours) Part III, conducted by the University in April 2002, will be declared tomorrow .


Traders oppose privatisation of octroi
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, July 17
The district unit of the Beopar Mandal has warned that if the Municipal Council Sirhind-Fatehgarh Sahib, gives the collection of octroi to private contractors, it will oppose it tooth and nail. In the meeting of the councillors held on July 15, the councillors had passed a resolution to give the collection of octroi to private traders, whereas a few days ago the same councillors had refused such a move, it pointed out.

In a letter to the Executive Officer of the council, the Mandal has mentioned that on the one hand the Punjab Government is preparing a case to file a petition in the Supreme Court against the decision of the High Court regarding the imposition of octroi, and on the other it is giving the collection of octroi to private contractors.

It demanded that the council should reconsider its decision and keeping in mind the interests of the traders, the collection work should not be given to private contractors.

Mr Varinder Rattan, Secretary of the Mandal said privatisation of collection of octroi had not been listed on the agenda item, but still a resolution had been passed as the two main opposing councillors. Mr Ashok Sood, the outgoing president, and Mr Gurdev Khalsa were absent.

The traders said had both members attended the meeting the resolution could not have been passed. The traders said they would give a call to boycott all those councillors during the coming elections, who had favoured this resolution.

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