Monday, August 19, 2002, Chandigarh, India


L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Fake-marriage racket busted 
Accused bitten by snake in police custody
Mahesh Sharma

Ahmedgarh, August 18
A resident of Nathumajra village, near here, who ran a marriage bureau and allegedly duped “innocent” persons by organising fake marriages of their sons and daughters to send them abroad has been caught by the Malerkotla police. In a strange twist of fate, the man was bitten by a snake in Chowki Kup, near Nathumajra village, while he was being taken to Ludhiana from Malerkotla by the police in connection with further investigations into the case.

Sources reveal that the accused, Samsher Singh, had hired the services of two residents of nearby Nathumajra village to catch him a “fish” to be sent abroad on the pretext of marriage. A deal was settled and Manpreet (changed name) of Moga was trapped by the marriage bureau owners.

The marriage would have solemnised had the police not got a tip-off from a taxi driver in whose car the accused had travelled. He had overheard the conversation and he informed the police about the racket.

The main accused, Samsher Singh, was caught along with a huge sum of money. He later named the marriage bureau owners who were also arrested by the district police. When a police party was taking Samsher Singh to Ludhiana in connection with investigations, the police vehicle broke down and the party had to stay at Chowki Kup falling under Ahmedgarh police station. The accused was asleep on the ground between two cops when a snake allegedly bit him and he was taken to some vaid at Gopal Pur village who cured him.

Further investigations in the case revealed that Samsher Singh along with other persons has been booked by the Malerkotla police under Sections 420 and 120-B, IPC. Ekam Singh of Patiala had reported to the police that he had been duped of Rs 50,000 in the name of marriage with a Canadian girl.

According to him, he had contacted Darshan Singh of Nathumajra through a matrimonial advertisement about two and a half months earlier. He was introduced to a Canadian girl by Darshan Singh at a hotel at Malerkotla. The girl had been brought by Samsher Singh who is himself a Canadian immigrant.

They demanded Rs 5 lakh for the marriage, of which he paid Rs 50,000 to Hardip Singh in the presence of Beant Singh and Darshan Singh. After this the Canadian girl eloped and whenever he approached bureau owners he was told that she had gone to Jammu and Kashmir for a weather change and he would get married when she returns.

About 10 days earlier when he contacted the bureau owners at the hotel he saw Samsher Singh there who was making another deal with Sukhwinder Kaur who had come along with two persons from Dehlon village. Samsher Singh also asked for Rs 5 lakh for the marriage with Sukhwinder's younger sister and she paid Rs 1 lakh to Samsher, thus the other marriage which was to be solemnised on Sunday, came to an end before taking place.

Doraha: A girl was ditched by her husband and her in-laws when she went to England six months after her marriage in India.

Darshan Singh, son of Rattan Singh of Jandiali village, has complained that his daughter, Shavinder Kaur, has been married to Ranjot Singh of Harnampura, a village under Sadar police station. He said that as the boy was settled in England, he called his daughter too after six months, but after some time he began to torture her to the extent that she was forced to come back to India.

A case under Sections 406, 498-A and 420 of the IPC has been registered at Sahnewal police station against her husband Ranjot Singh and other members of the in-laws' family, Charanjit Singh, Sarabjit Kaur, Imphal Singh, Ranjot Kaur and Gursharan Singh, including the mother of the accused, yesterday.

The police has arrested two accused, Charanjt Singh and Imphal Singh, from Bijalipur village, while the others have absconded.



Adams turning to Adams for the apple
Vimal Sumbly
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 18
Robin (not his real name) is a handsome man in his early twenties, who belongs to an affluent business family of Ludhiana. He is a fashion choreographer with the looks of a bachelor who has all the luxuries of life — kind of a son whose parents should have no reason to be ashamed of him. However, that’s not the case with him, for he does not want to marry a girl, but a boy, his partner for a year, now. Robin is a gay, a homosexual.

Recently, he attempted suicide after his parents resisted his plans to marry his partner, but he has no regrets and wears the gay badge with pride. Having a brilliant academic background and being well-informed, he presents his case strongly. “What is wrong if a man marries a man? It has been happening in many other parts of the world,” he says.

He is the only son of his parents, about whom he says: “They are still living in a primitive age and behaving conservatively.” He told this to a psychologist, who is counselling him after his attempted suicide. He seems to be too firm in his resolve to get influenced by his parents. “Come what may, I will marry of my own choice; otherwise...,” he stops short of threatening another suicide bid, which he would blame on his father.

Even the law does not deter him. When told that what he was doing was an unnatural offence and punishable, he said: “Laws can be changed, like these have been changed in the West.” Robin is in touch with the other gays of the city and the country as well. He can tell you about all Indian gay websites.

According to Robin, there are 590 gays in Ludhiana, who have not formed any club, but been in constant touch with each other. Most of these gays come from well-to-do families, who have had maximum exposure and opportunities to travel abroad. Not unexpectedly, these men are well-educated and converse with each other in chaste English only. Robin says that, of them, 360 are active partners and the rest passive. Robin can tell all about his community and count the names of all gay clubs that have been formed in India. He says that there is such a club in Chandigarh as well.

If Robin is to be believed, there are a number of lesbians also in Ludhiana, many of whom are his friends. However, being an active partner, he usually prefers the company of men, which leaves us with the question: what does he consider himself to be — a male or a female. “In the traditional and biological sense, I am a man, but not with conservative instincts,” he says with confidence.

His doctors have told him that he runs the risk of contracting various sexually transmitted diseases like AIDS. Robin’s current partner is his fifth. He did not carry on well with the earlier ones. Psychologists say that Robin is not an exception and the number of gays and lesbians in Ludhiana is much more than what he says — at least ten times more.



Villagers demand CBI probe
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 18
Residents of Jagirpur village near here have demanded a CBI inquiry into an encroachment on the Panchayati land. This controversy, has been confronting the village for the past several years but no permanent solution has been found so far.

The land was given to the village panchayat in 1973 under the national project, Indira Vikas Yojna. This 55-acre piece of land is worth crores of rupees but has been grabbed by some private persons since years. Various inquiries have been initiated into the case but to no avail as the land grabbers are allegedly influential people.

Sick of knocking at various doors, the villagers have now demanded an independent inquiry into the case. They claim that only an inquiry by an independent agency can bring the guilty to the book.

The Bharati Bhalai Morcha has been virtually running from pillar to post to get the land vacated but to no avail. The morcha had alleged that the land having mutation number 729 and 730 as per the revenue records (dated 24.7.1984) belonged to the panchayat of Jagirpur village and some people had illegally occupied it.

The morcha had further alleged that despite the land belonged to the village panchayat as per the revenue records, the local administration was not doing anything to get it vacated and to hand it over to the original owner. The president of morcha, Mr Tarsem Singh, said that the fight between the village panchayat and occupants was on for the past more than 10 years. He said that the morcha had approached a former Chief Minister and Rural Development and Panchayat Minister over the issue but despite promises nothing was done.

He said that the former government had, at a number of times claimed, that the land would be handed over to the panchayat but no action was taken by the successive state governments or the local administration. He demanded that the land should be given to the panchayat which should generate funds from it instead of the illegal occupants.

Mr Tarsem Singh, in his letter to the Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, alleged that whenever the matter was highlighted by the morcha its members were falsely implicated in various criminal cases. He claimed that the morcha would not rest till the land was freed of the encroachment and restored to the village panchayat. He demanded that an inquiry should be initiated as soon as possible and justice should be meted out to the village panchayat.

The former Deputy Commissioner, Mr S.K. Sandhu, in April last year had assured that an inquiry would be initiated into the Jagirpur village panchayati land encroachment issue. He had said that an inquiry would be conducted into the issue and about allegations levelled by representatives of the Bharti Bhalai Morcha, fighting the illegal land occupation issue, that they were harassed by the police and the district administration for taking up the issue. 



DMCH standoff resolved
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 18
The long-drawn-out standoff between the employees and management of the DMCH was resolved following the signing of a memorandum of understanding in the presence of top brass of the local administration under Section 18 (1) of the Industrial Disputes Act, 1947. The agitators achieved a victory of sorts as the management decided to pay them during the strike period and also revoked the suspension orders with immediate effect.

According to a copy of the memorandum, the parties have agreed that the Hero DMC Heart Institute is an independent division of the DMCH Managing Society. So the land and building housing Hero DMC Heart Institute belongs to the DMCH.

The memorandum further states that the management may shift or relocate any department of any building as per the same conditions of the circular of the DMCH dated April 15,2002, and that the MoU dated February, 2001, will be implemented in true letter and spirit within a period of two months. Both parties will remain by terms of the MoU and will adhere to the commitments and follow the law of the land.

Any difference of opinion will be referred to a standing committee consisting of two representatives each of the managing committee and the administration besides four representatives of the employees union.

The committee shall decide the issue referred to it within two months and its decision would be binding on the parties. In case the issue is not resolved, the same shall be referred to the president of the committee who will decide after hearing both the parties. It is the prerogative of the management to recruit the employees on terms and conditions best suitable for the institution. However, the terms and conditions of employment of the DMCH regular employees shall remain the same.

The MoU further states that the demand of one-to-one contract employees would be referred to the standing committee for an early decision. However, service conditions for security staff and lift operators shall remain the same.

The cardiac unit, as it was earlier, will be operative at the DMCH within a period of two months. The treatment will be at the existing terms for regular employees. The treatment at Hero DMC Heart Institute will be at 50 per cent of the fixed charges for the regular employees. There will be no victimisation of any employee due to the agitation and the suspension orders will be withdrawn today itself.

The management also agreed to pay ex-gratia towards distress equal to 60 per cent of the pay / wages of the agitational days i.e, 54.5 days to regular employees. Twenty five per cent of this amount will be paid within 15 days and the balance in four equal monthly installments starting from next month.

It was, however, stated that this MoU will not be quoted as a precedence. Those who signed the memorandum on behalf of the administration included the Deputy Commissioner, Senior Superintendent of Police and Additional Deputy Commissioner. The management was represented by Mr Balraj Kumar, Mr S.K. Munjal, Mr G.C. Dhawan, Mr Satish Sanwalka, Mr Prem Gupta, Mr D.B. Bector, Mr Amrit Nagpal and Dr S.C. Ahuja.

The DMCH Employees Union was represented by Ms Amardeep Jakhoo, Ms Kusum, Mr Sarup Sharma, Mr Bhupinder Singh and Mr Gurdeep.



Cheery times ahead for city tipplers!
K.S. Chawla

Ludhiana, August 18
It is a bonanza for the boozers. Cheap scotch and Indian-made foreign liquor (IMFL) is available in this industrial hub of the state thanks to the competition between the two liquor kings Mr Mann Singh Garcha and Mr Ponty Chadha. Big size banners have been put up at different places in the town depicting the prices of various liquor brands and the liquor shop from where scotch whisky in particular is sold at reduce rates.

Mr Mann Singh Garcha, who is a brother of Mr Jagdish Singh Garcha, a former Akali minister, got the liquor shops in the old city at a premium of more than Rs 8 crore while Mr Ponty Chadha controlled the shops in the posh colonies like Sarabha Nagar, Aggar Nagar, Civil Lines and Model Town. Scotch is consumed in quite a sizeable quantity in the posh localities where the rich businessmen live whereas their industrial units are located in the industrial area and focal point. In order to attract their attention and increase the sale of scotch, the Garcha group took the initiative of reducing the prices of scotch and IMFL whisky while Ponty Chadha group first reduced the price of country made liquor.

All premier and delux scotch whisky, including Black Dog, Vat 69, 100 Piper and Johnny Walker Black Label are available in the city at reduced rates. Scotch premier is being sold for Rs 1,200 per bottle against a price of Rs 1,800 per bottle last year and deluxe scotch like 100 Piper is sold for Rs 800 per bottle against Rs 1,200 last year. A case of scotch consisting of 12 bottles was sold for Rs 16,000 to Rs 18,000 last year and this year it is available for Rs 14,000 per case. Both the groups have fixed shops for selling scotch at cheap rates.

Similarly prices of IMFL whisky like Peter Scot, Royal Challenge, Royal Stag and Antiquity have also been reduced. Antiquity is available at Rs 450 against Rs 550 per bottle, while Royal Challange is Rs 300 against Rs 350 last year and Royal Stag is available for Rs 225 against Rs 250 per bottle, respectively.

Country-made liquor which is priced at Rs 100, Rs 55 and Rs 30 per bottle, pint and nip is being sold for Rs 80, 45 and Rs 25, respectively. Enquiries show that liquor is being smuggled to different places in Punjab from Chandigarh where it is cheaper. However, with the reduction in the prices of liquor in Ludhiana, its smuggling has come down. Royal Challange which is priced for Rs 3,400 for a case (12 bottles) is available for Rs 2,800 per case. Bagpiper is available for Rs 900 per case against the price of Rs 1,500 per case from Chandigarh.

Smuggled whisky is being supplied to the residents in their homes as some of the smugglers of liquor have started home delivery which is prevalent in Chandigarh. They get a benefit of Rs 100 per bottle.

The liquor contractors allege that these smugglers are in league with the police and they make monthly payment to the police personnel. During the SAD-BJP regime, Garcha group had organised police nakas on the periphery of Ludhiana town and the district and all routes used to be blocked by the police personnel because of the political clout of Garchas. Now such nakas are not there to check the smuggling of liquor from Chandigarh.

The liquor contractors admit that they are losing exise revenue and the state government is also losing excise revenue because of the competition and the smuggling of liquor from Chandigarh and other states. Ludhiana, being a rich city, has the maximum consumption of scotch and other liquors. It is estimated that about 20,000 cases of scotch whisky are sold in Punjab annually and out of the same 50 per cent are consumed in Ludhiana alone. Ludhiana also has the highest quota of country liquor, in the state.

Enquiries further show that IMFL is being sold at hither prices in other towns of Punjab like Amritsar, Moga, Jalandhar, Faridkot and Bathinda compared with Ludhiana as there is no competition in these towns and districts. Royal Challange is being sold for Rs 400 against the price of Rs 285 per bottle, Peter Scot - Rs 400 against Rs 285, Red Knight Rs 250 against Rs 100 per bottle, McDowel Rs 210 against Rs 190 Bagpiper Rs 170 against Rs 150 per bottle respectively. Similarly country-made liquor is also being sold at higher price - Rs 100 per bottle against the fixed price of Rs 80 per bottle.

Reports suggest that country-made liquor is also being smuggled to Punjab from Haryana where it is cheaper as there is less duty on the same. It is available for Rs 30 to Rs 40 per bottle. In Chandigarh country-made liquor is sold in pouches which are smuggled into Punjab. Banur distillery liquor is supossed to be sold in Chandigarh as it is mentioned on the pouches ‘for sale in Chandigarh’ but the same are available in Punjab.

Country-made liquor from Madhya Pradesh is also being smuggled into Punjab, it is alleged and the quality of the same is also reported to be inferior . Beer, which is priced are Rs 40 per bottle, is being sold at higher rate of Rs 50 to 60 per bottle. Extra strong beer is priced at Rs 45 and this is also being sold at high prices. These rates are prevailing all over the state. The State Excise and Taxation Department is supposed to take action if the beer is sold at higher price against the fixed price.



Project to manage solid waste introduced
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 18
To ensure a cleaner environment and check the littering of the solid waste in residential localities, a solid waste management project has been introduced in the urban areas of all the 17 Municipal Councils in Ludhiana and Ropar districts.

Chairing a meeting of the Executive Officers of these MCs, Mr S.R. Kaler, Deputy Director, Local Bodies, directed them to involve the voluntary and social organisations in ensuring the proper management of the daily waste.

He said under the project, proper arrangements would be made for the collection, removal, transportation and finally disposal of the daily produced solid waste at a proper place in every town. The work would be carried out with the active involvement of the people by forming mohalla sanitation committees in the different localities within the period of one week.

To collect the waste from each house in a particular locality, the mohalla sanitation committee and municipal council would engage a person each for all the mohallas in the committees to collect the waste from house to house. This worker would be provided with a wheel barrow by the municipal councils to collect the waste, which the people would keep in covered dustbins inside their houses and further cart the waste at a central collection centre provided by the council.

Mr Kaler further informed that from each collection centre, the tractor-trailer of the MC would transport the waste to the main dump of the council. The trolley, carrying the waste, would be covered with plastic covers to avoid the exposure of the waste in the environment and littering on the roads enroute.

The dumps would be properly barricaded to avoid the entry of stray animals. At the dumps, the solid waste would be properly settled in the big pits and covered with a 10 cm layer of earth daily, so that, the foul smell could not spread into the air and pollute the environment. He also told the EOs to spread a 40 cm thick layer of earth on these dumps keeping in view the rainy season and to avoid any kind of spread of disease.

He also asked the officers to accord full attention towards the cleanliness and disposal of the waste from the markets of fruits, vegetable, meat and fish etc. in the towns to avoid any kind of health problems. At the meeting, it was also decided to create awareness among the general public regarding the cleanliness and solid waste management and associate them in the process of improvement in the environment.

The Executive Officers have been asked to approach the heads of the educational institutions to organise the lectures during the morning assembly for the students regarding the importance of the cleanliness and the solid waste management project started in their town, so that, the students could convey the message to their parents to keep their surroundings clean and to segregate the waste at their homes.

He also appealed the people not to throw waste out in open or in the drains and always pour it in the bins or plastic bags and hand over it to the person employed for this purpose. Mr Kaler also asked the owners of the hotels, restaurants and other big establishments to keep their waste covered properly, arrange to put in the nearest collection center and never to throw it in the open, as it attracts flies.



TV personalities honoured
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, August 18
In a function organised by the Northern Motion Picture Producers Artistes Association today, producer Balkar Singh and comedian Gurpreet Ghuggi of Guggi Express fame were honoured by the association for their contribution in the world of entertainment.

Balkar Singh congratulated president of the association, Jay Thakur, and said the formation of the association was a step in the right direction as all the artistes can come on the same platform to discuss their problems. He said unity of the artistes could be maintained by the association. He also felt that neither society nor the government was paying any attention to their problems.

He appealed to the Punjab Government to exempt Punjabi films from entertainment tax to give a boost to the Punjabi film industry.



‘Selfishness cause of social problems’
Our Correspondent

Muni Vinay Kumar addresses a gathering
Muni Vinay Kumar addresses a gathering at a function organised by the Punjab Prantiya Terapanth Parishad in Ludhiana on Monday. — A Tribune photograph

Ludhiana, August 18
The Terapanth Youth organised a two-day function in Lala Brij Lal Aggarwal Dharamshala to show the youth the right path. Muni Vinay Kumar gave discourses at the function, in which, he blamed selfishness for all social problems.

“The youth will have to curb one’s desires and become selfless for a strong social system,” Muni Vinay Kumar said.

He said jealousy was a negative emotion that curbed personality growth and, while donating money, one should do it selflessly. Lala Lajpat Rai, a Member of the Rajya Sabha, said, without youth, no nation could advance. He urged the youth to follow a righteous path and praised the Terapanth youth for working towards character building.



Viklang Punarvas Bhavan opens
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, August 18
The inauguration ceremony of Viklang and Punarvas Bhavan was held this morning in the Viklang Sahayata Kendar. Mr S. N. Jasitya, Minister of Social Justice, Government of India, inaugurated the building. Mr Jitender Veer Gupta, former Chief Justice, Punjab and Haryana High Court, and Lala Lajpat Rai, member of the Rajya Sabha, were also present.

The centre is located in the basement of the existing structure of the Viklang Sahayata Kendar, Rishi Nagar, Ludhiana. It is run by the Bharat Vikas Parishad Charitable Trust. The minister was pleased with the work of rehabilitation already being done by the kendar. The physically handicapped are being trained to make candles, learn various courses on computers and attending tailoring classes. The focus is on making them earn their living and develop confidence in themselves. "Already many handicapped persons have either become self-employed or found jobs after learning these courses," said B.R. Maria, secretary of the kendar.



Wife, bodyguard hired Nihang leader’s killers
Illicit relationship cost leader his life
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 18
The Ludhiana police today afternoon officially announced the arrest of five persons in the contract killing of a Nihang leader Malkiat Singh Pahula, including an accused woman Harjit Kaur, the Nihang leader’s bodyguard, Garjinder Singh, and three contract killers.

The woman was arrested last night in a raid at a hideout while the four others were arrested yesterday only.

The Ludhiana Tribune had, quoting reliable sources, reported the arrest of four persons yesterday.

Disclosing the story behind the murder the police said an illicit relationship between his wife and a bodyguard was behind the over three-year-old murder of the Nihang leader Malkiat Singh Pahula.

Both of these persons allegedly developed an illicit relationship and hatched a criminal conspiracy to eliminate the ‘block’ in their way.

The SSP Ludhiana, Mr Harpreet Singh Sidhu, said in a press release the CIA Wing-I of the local police had been credited with solving the murder case.

The release said the local police had achieved success in solving the murder case, which had become a headache for the police since the last three years.

Giving further details, Mr Sidhu said the deceased and his wife were not having good relations and often used to quarrel.

The Nihang leader allegedly used to beat up the woman. The woman in her confessional statement before the police today said she subsequently developed illicit relationship with Garjinder Singh, the leader’s bodyguard.

The deceased, when learnt about the relationship, beat up his wife.

The alleged lovers than hatched a conspiracy to eliminate him. They hired three other persons as contract killers for the job.

On February 17, 1999 accused Garjinder Singh, along with his brother Harwinder Singh and two persons from Sirhind — Daljit Singh and Yadwinder Singh — went to the Nihang leader’s house with a box of sweets.

Garjinder Singh was armed with .303 pistol while Daljit Singh had a .12 bore pistol. Both of these went to the victim’s door while the other two waited for them outside on two scooters.

The shots killing the Nihang leader, were fired by Daljit Singh, the police release said.

Some relatives of Nihang leader had tipped off the police about the possible killers.

The woman had got married to a Chandigarh-based man Harmit Singh but allegedly continued the relationship with the accused bodyguard.

The police worked on this lead and succeeded in cracking the case.

The arrest of all accused has put an end to the speculation among the police and the media in the past three years that the Nihang leader was gunned down because of some political reasons.

His brother Ajit Singh was a state leader of a sect banned by Akal Takht. 



Scooterist crushed under car
Our Correspondent

Doraha, August 18
A scooterist coming from Khanna was crushed to death under a car near Society petrol station this morning.

The deceased has been identified as Kehar Singh, son of Beer Singh of Mahilpur village in Doraha. He was on his scooter (PB-55-248) when a car coming from the opposite side (JK-02-Q-7725) crushed him. He was hospitalised in a serious condition where he died. The car owner absconded. No case has been registered so far.

In another incident, Jarnail Singh, son of Maghar Singh of Gurthali village, was injured by an unidentified truck due to which he was admitted to hospital. His condition is said to be stable.

Poppy husk: The Payal police seized 26.5 kg of poppy husk from the house of Sadhu Khan, son of Ramzan Mohan, Molodaud in Maloud, on Sunday.



Industry opposes entry tax
Our Correspondent

Mandi Gobindgarh, August 18
The proposed levy of 4 per cent entry tax and sales tax at the first stage in Punjab was flayed by Gobindgarh Steel Chamber of Commerce and Industry, stated Mr B.B.Jindal, president of the chamber, to the mediapersons here today.

The president in separate memoranda to Capt Amarinder Singh, Chief Minister, Punjab, and Mr Avtar Henry, Industries Minister, have sought their intervention to withdraw the proposed tax keeping in view the recession prevailing in the local industry.

Mr Jindal pointed out that the ever-increasing cost of petroleum products and freight charges have increased the cost of production which has already made the plight of the patrolling industry and iron and steel trade very precarious and now it is nearly on the verge of total collapse. With the result, about 60 per cent industry has closed down.

The industry hoped some protection from the new government, but was shocked to know about the proposed 4 per cent entry tax on iron and steel scrap and the levy of sale tax at the first stage.

It was urged in the memorandum that the entry tax be replaced with VAT system which is adopted by the Rajasthan and Maharashtra Governments which will be useful both for the industry and the government to earn more revenue.


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