Wednesday, August 28, 2002, Chandigarh, India


L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Seven booked for assault after 16 months
Jupinderjit Singh
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 27
More than 16 months after a woman of Bhutta village was allegedly kidnapped and beaten up by seven persons, including her estranged husband, all close to an Akali MLA and belonging to his village, the Jagraon police has finally booked these persons, on charges of kidnapping a woman and attempting to grab her land by forging property papers.

The police action in the sensational case, full of political overtones, came on the orders of the Punjab Human Rights Commission, which recommended the registration of the case based on an inquiry report by Mr Parmod Ban, former SP (Headquarters), Ludhiana. The inquiry was entrusted to him by the commission as it felt that the then Jagraon police authorities were not carrying out a fair probe in the matter and were under the pressure of the Akali MLA.

Kulwant Kaur, the complainant, was married to Darshan Singh of Rattanpalo village for some years but had started living separately early last year and had accused him of trying to grab her land. She was allegedly kept in illegal confinement for over two weeks by her husband and others in April last year. Ex-MLA Tarsem Singh Jodhan, who supported the woman’s cause was also ghearoed and illegally detained for several hours in Rattan Palon village last year. All this was allegedly done with the help of the Akali MLA.

The case under Sections 365, 467, 468, 471 and 384, IPC has been registered against the complainant’s husband Darshan Singh, Sohan Singh, Mohan Singh, Pargat Singh, Jeet Singh of Bondli village, and Jagtar Singh, Shingara Singh of Rattan Palon village. Of these Darshan Singh has been arrested while the other accused were absconding.

The case had hogged media limelight because of the alleged direct intervention of the Akali MLA on the accused side and the support of the complainant by political rival Tarsem Singh Jodhan. Incidentally, the complainant, her relatives and their supporters were virtually running from pillar to post to get police action since the incident occurred in April last year. The shift in police stand, however, coincides with the change in the government.

The case had even come up during the sangat darshan programme of the former Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal in Sarabha Nagar last year, but the police officials allegedly prevented the complainant and her supporters from meeting the Chief Minister.

However, no case has so far been registered against the Akali MLA or his brother. The woman’s complaint specifically mentions their name but no action has been taken against them. The FIR does mention that the woman accuses the Akali MLA, then a minister, of not only supporting the accused but also trying to grab her piece of land in Bhutta village.

Jagraon police sources said the name of the politicians did not figure in the inquiry conducted by Mr Parmod Ban. Moreover, the case is being investigated further and if some evidence of the politicians’ involvement comes up, due action would be taken against him.

Mr Tarsem Jodhan, former MLA, has welcomed the police action. He claimed the justice was delayed because of open support of the accused by Dehlon police under the pressure of the Akali MLA. He demanded action against the accused policemen also.

Giving further details of the case, the victim Kulwant Kaur said they were three sisters and their mother had died. All were married but as her father was not keeping good health she with full consent of her husband had decided to live in her maternal house only.

She said she had 24 kanal plot in her name at Bhutto village. Early last year her husband allegedly started beating her and demanded that the land should be transferred to his name.

When she refused she was subjected to regular beating and mental torture. Her husband then started forcing her to leave her father which she refused. Due to the marital discord she filed a writ petition for divorce in a district court. On April 19, last year at 6 p.m. her husband, brothers and some other persons kidnapped and took her to Rattan Palon, village, where she was beaten and was forced to sign on some blank papers.

Her sister Baljinder Kaur, who tried to stop them was also beaten. She was pregnant and doctors just managed to save her and her child. She filed a complaint with the police but no action was taken.

Her sisters then approached the High Court and got orders for the Jagraon police to immediately recover her from the illegal confinement and submit inquiry within two months.

On May 4, 2002, ASI Sukhdev Singh recovered her but the Dehlon police allegedly forced her to sign some papers. She alleged that the Akali MLA also forced her to transfer the land in his name. A “mukhtiarnama” of her land was allegedly got prepared from Nabha tehsil which she got cancelled after the intervention of the court.

She said her ordeal ended this July only when Mr Parmod Ban submitted his inquiry report and subsequently the PHRC recommended police action.


More victims come forward
Amarjit Thind
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 27
The victims of a 75- year - old swindler, Dr Amar Singh Preet, who reportedly duped scores of people on the pretext of sending them abroad, are coming forward to register their complaints with the police. His arrest has come as a shock to the people of Ahmedgarh, Malerkotla and Jagraon areas.

It is pertinent to mention that Ludhiana Tribune broke the story of his arrest in these columns on August 24. Subsequently, the victims - who till now were sure of their travel plans — are overcoming their disbelief and contacting the authorities for necessary action. Initially, it had come to light that his victims were confined to a particular area, but this has been proved false since a large number of people from Jagraon are coming forward to cooperate with the cops.

Police sources said scores of persons have approached them so far alleging that Dr Preet charged varying sums from them on the pretext of sending them abroad in the guise of preachers. The accused had lived in the Agwar Gujjran locality for two to three months and had promised many people that he would arrange jobs for them in gurdwaras abroad.

A victim, Tarlochan Singh, said “ I gave Rs 45, 000 to him for sending my son abroad. I was so taken in by his immense knowledge about Sikhism and Gurbani, polite speech and suave manners, that I also gifted a gold ring to him to speed up things. All is lost now,” he added resignedly.

Tara Chand, another victim, said “ I was highly impressed by his saintly appearance and when he told me that he could manage passage for my son abroad, I did not hesitate for a moment before handing over Rs 30, 000 to him. That was the last I saw of the money and was shocked to learn from the newspaper that he was a swindler. I will cooperate with the police so that such people do not take advantage of simple people like us,” he added.


Gangs duping youths busted
Our Correspondent

Ahmedgarh, August 27
The local police has busted gangs which allegedly duped youths on the pretext of sending them to Gulf countries.

The gangsters include women and politicians.

A case under Sections 420 and 120-B of the IPC has been registered against six persons including a former SAD sarpanch and his two sons. Yet another case has been registered against the brother of a Congress leader and sarpanch of a village.

According to Mr Amandeep Singh Rai, SSP, Sangrur, he had received written complaints against the gang members. The complainants had alleged that they had been duped on the pretext of sending them to Gulf countries, including Dubai. The police chief deputed Mr Rajbachan Singh Sandhu, DSP, Malerkotla, to investigate the cases. Enquiries revealed that at least two gangs were active.

During investigations following a complaint lodged with the police by Hari Singh of Pandori village under the Jagraon police station, it was found that a Congress leader, Bheekha Khan of Rodiwal village, was the mastermind of the gang that included women also. Hari Singh was lured to be sent to Dubai for a good job. He reportedly paid Rs 70,000 to Bheekha Khan in December, 2001, but was never sent to any of the Gulf countries.

Bhikha had even bid Hari Singh goodbye from the Ludhiana railway station to Bombay on December 23, 2001, and he was told that Dogar, manager of a company, would receive him at Bombay. Hari had taken all his luggage with him as he had been told that his flight would take off the next day. He was made to pay another sum of Rs 1,500 as medical fee and Rs 500 as airport fee at Bombay.

According to planned programme, when he reached the airport he was been told that he had been declared medically unfit. Another medical examination was held against on his own payment, the next day. He stayed at a rest house engaged by the gangster for 25 days, after which he had to return. He was also threatened by three musclemen of the gang. He was not given money for food even. He virtually had to beg and borrow to come back.

Bhikha again sent him to Bombay, this time along with Akhtar and Salamdeen, other victims. This time they were “entertained” by Dogar of Hoshiarpur and Surinder Kaur of Patran. After waiting for 10 days, they returned to Punjab and asked for return of their money, which the gang refused. Salamdeen, an ex-serviceman, who had earlier been to Dubai was duped of Rs 11,000, but Akhtar had been duped of Rs 40,700. Complainants have told the police that a particular taxi-driver and a guest-house owner at Bombay were also involved with the gang.

In another case, an Akali leader and a former sarpanch and his two sons have been booked under the same section of the IPC. Mr Devinder Singh of Kuthala had given Rs 60,000 to a former sarpanch of Jitwal Kalan, Amar Singh, and his two sons Bhinder and Ninder. He was made to stay at Pune for about one month and he was also given the same treatment. He had to live without food for many days there. On persistent pressure, Amar Singh repaid him Rs 30,000, but refused to pay the balance. Investigations in this case revealed that two other farmers — Karnail Singh and Jit Singh — were duped of Rs 55,000 and Rs 30,000, respectively.

The police has registered different cases in this connection after getting legal opinion. No arrests have been made so far. Police suspects that these gangs might be having links with those involved in sending youths abroad on the pretext of forced marriages.


MC staff to agitate against ban on recruitment
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, August 27
The Sangharsh Committee of Municipal Corporation employees has threatened to launch an agitation against the government decision of slapping a ban on recruitment on compassionate grounds in death cases.

A meeting of the committee, comprising representatives from various unions of MC employees, held here today observed that the state government had failed to respond to a one-week notice given by the committee to the Chief Minister through the Commissioner of the civic body to revoke the ill-conceived decision which had created a sense of insecurity among the family members and dependents of lower-level employees.

Those present at the meeting deplored the callous and indifferent attitude of the government towards the genuine demand of the employees for restoration of the facility of recruitment for next of kin in death cases on humanitarian grounds, particularly because in most of the cases the deceased employee being the sole breadwinner of the family. It was further decided to convene another meeting of the committee in a day or so to chalk out the modalities of the proposed agitation if the government continued to maintain its adamant and ‘anti-employee’ attitude.

Meanwhile, the Bhartiya Valmiki Sabha, while welcoming the statement of the Punjab Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, to put an end to contract system of labour in the state, has urged the government to open recruitment of class IV and safai workers in the local bodies, which had been under a ban for quite sometime now.

Addressing a meeting of the sabha, its vice-president, Lala Jiwan Kumar, observed that despite manifold increase in the population and area of several cities and major towns in Punjab, the number of safai workers remained the same.


Bank ‘withdraws’ credit cards
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, August 27
The ICICI Bank has reportedly withdrawn credit cards issued to a number of its customers. Without giving any reasons, the customers were told that they should not use their cards. When contacted, local officials claimed that they had no idea about the matter since the cards were directly issued from the head office in Mumbai.

It may be mentioned that recently the bank had issued credit cards to a number of people in the city despite the fact that most of them had not even applied for these.

A customer said he received the ICICI Bank credit card, along with an add-on card for his wife even thought he had never applied for one as he possessed a number of cards of other banks.

He reportedly contacted the local office of the bank where he was told that they could not help him since credit cards were issued from Mumbai after a verification of the credentials of the applicant, though documents were processed at the local branch.

However, yesterday he received a call from an official telling him not to use the card as there were some problems.



IT is a typical case of the pot calling kettle black. Like elsewhere in the country, leaders of the Bharaitya Janata Party (BJP) and the Congress in Ludhiana are also embroiled in heated exchange of charges and counter-charges over various omissions and commissions. After the NDA government’s favours in allotment of petrol pumps were exposed, the BJP workers in Ludhiana started collecting data of various petrol pumps and gas agencies owned by the Congress workers, leaders or their relatives in the district and circulated them across the media. Day in, day out, these allegations continue to keep on emanating from both sides. Interestingly, the content and the issue remains the same, only the names are changed.

Dubious distinction

Ludhiana must be having the dubious distinction of having maximum number of bank defaulters in Punjab, with maximum amount of money turning into the non-performing assets. One particular group, headed by a single man, is learned to owe a whopping Rs 330 crore to various banks and financial institutions. There are hundreds others who owe to various banks more than Rs 1 crore, without any concern or intention to return it. And not surprisingly, most of these people are living a luxurious life. And any law or legislation to affect recoveries is always resisted by these defaulters, whose number keeps on increasing. And no wonder all of them are urging the government to release fresh subsidies and sanction fresh loans. This trait may not be exclusive to Ludhiana, but the huge amount of money involved here is certainly quite high as compared to other places. This dubious distinction may only be possible for one reason that there is lot of progress in Ludhiana as someone put it nicely, “the amount of non-performing assets is directly proportional to the amount of the performing assets”.

Gone with the bridge

The demolition of the Lakkar bridge to make way for the construction of yet another flyover connecting the old city with the Civil Lines marks the end of not only a historical passage but also that of a self-employment opportunity. The handful of men, who made a meagre living by lifting bicycles on their shoulders from one end of the bridge to the other and vice-versa, would have now to look for other self-employment opportunities of which there is no dearth in the city. While some of these poor men have already taken to picking rags and collecting junk, which they can sell to waste-dealers, the oldest of them all, a tall and lean Bengali, who has spent major part of his life traversing the bridge, can be still seen hanging around the old district courts. Since he is well-known in the area for his honest and humble ways, he is offered food respectfully by various shopkeepers near the courts. Because even if the Lakkar bridge is rebuilt and the practice of manual transportation of cycles is restored, the camera-shy old man will not be able to resume work . He has grown too weak to do that. After the ‘demise’ of the Lakkar bridge, he has nothing to do but wait for his own. The old man, like the old bridge, would surely be remembered for a long time to come.

Selective rain

Kal rat ajab ik bat mere sath hui, mera ghar chhod ke kul shahar mein barasat hui . This couplet seems to be haunting the Ludhianvis these days. Literally. Although the rain played truant mostly through the monsoon season, but still it did lash different places in the region here or there once in a while. However, Ludhiana city remained an unfortunate exception. Surprisingly even on Tuesday, while heavy rains lashed the surroundings of the city as close as six kilometers on the Chandigarh Road, there was no rain in the city. People have started thinking that may it is some natural retribution for the people over here that they are denied the rain.

Banana buzz

Banana is considered to be one of the tastiest fruits that not many people are ready to resist. Despite the medical advice against it for the people who are calorie conscious, as it is supposed to increase your weight, the bananas always taste too good to be resisted. Ludhiana, with a population of over 35 lakhs is considered to be one of the biggest consumers of this fruit which comes here mostly from Maharashtra and is available round the year. And no wonder banana business is considered to be one of the most profitable one in the fruit segment. Every day scores of trucks, trolleys, tempos and horse driven carts come out of the local fruit market with huge quantities of this fruit. It is profitably the banana business.



Anju is ‘Summer Queen’
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, August 27
Anju Arora was chosen ‘Summer Queen’, while Vandana Dalal and Vanita Trehan were declared first runners-up and Honey Batra second runner-up at the ‘Summer Queen Contest’ organised by the Roopika Ladies Club, here yesterday.

Ms Anju Kapoor, convener of the club, said Vijay Nagrath and Sangeeta were given consolation prizes. More than 20 participants took part in the contest. The judge on the occasion, Ms Neelam Khosla was welcomed by Ms Renu Bembi and Ms Anju Kapoor.


Minor girl abducted
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, August 27
The Shimlapuri police yesterday registered a case of alleged abduction of a minor girl under Sections 363 and 366 of the IPC on a complaint registered by Mustafa Hussain of New Azad Nagar, against Umat Khatan of Gian Chand Colony in Lohara village.

According to the complainant, the accused abducted his daughter Abhitosh Nisha, 16, on August 24.

No arrest has been made so far.

Chain snatched

The Model Town police yesterday registered a case under Section 356 of the IPC on a complaint by Bindia Handa of Model House against an unidentified scooter-borne person.

The victim said that while she was on her way home, the accused snatched a gold chain from her neck near Phase-I of Urban Estate, Dugri, yesterday. No arrest has been made so far.

One held for assault

The Jodhewal police yesterday arrested Bishambar Malhotra, a resident of Sardar Nagar, and booked him under Sections 323,452 and 506 of the IPC on a statement of Pawan Kumar , a resident of Sunder Nagar chowk.

The complainant alleged that the accused entered his shop and threatened and assaulted him.

Fraud alleged

The Shimlapuri police yesterday registered a case under Sections 406, 420,471,452 and 380 of the IPC on a complaint of Harpal Singh , a resident of Sector 39 , Jamalpur colony, against Bhupinder Singh of Industrial Area-B.

The complainant alleged that Bhupinder Singh sold him his shop for Rs 13,15,000 following which he gave Bhupinder Singh an advance of Rs 50,000 and took possession of the shop.

Her alleged that on July 27, Bhupinder Singh broke into the shop and stole Rs 25,000 from the cash counter.

Besides this, Bhupinder Singh also did not transfer the shop in his name and refused to go ahead with the sale deed, Harpal Singh alleged. No arrest has been made so far.

Man kills wife

A man allegedly killed his wife by setting her ablaze at Daulatpur village in Payal, yesterday.

The victim, Jasvir Kaur, got married to Inderjit Singh five years back. It is being alleged that Jasvir Kaur was ill-treated by her husband from the very beginning of their marriage, which changed from bad to worst after the birth of their child.

Her mother Surjit Kaur alleged that Jasvir Kaur was burnt to death by her husband. She died on the spot.

The body has been sent for a postmortem examination and a case registered under Section 304-B of the IPC at the police station in Payal against Inderjit Singh who is reportedly absconding.


In the fifth such incident in the town during the past two months, a tyre shop situated at the Samrala road was burgled yesterday night.

The unidentified persons stole 16 truck tyres and two tractor tyres, costing about Rs 1.75 lakh.

According to the owner, Mr Irwin Luthra, he learnt about the theft today morning. Interestingly, the shop is situated at a distance of 75 m from the local police station.

A case under Sections 457 and 380 of the IPC has been registered.


3 booked under Arms Act
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, August 27
The CIA staff at Dhandari Kalan has apprehended three persons, two with countrymade pistols and one with a prohibited knife, and booked them under the Arms Act.

Mr H. S. Sidhu, SSP, said here today in a press note that parties led by Mr Dilpreet Singh, SI, nabbed Des Raj, son of Dharam Pal, a resident of Balmiki Nagar falling under Jodhewal police station, and recovered a .12-bore countrymade pistol along with live cartridges.

The other man, from whom a .315-bore countrymade pistol was recovered after the arrest, was identified as Naresh Kumar, son of Hazari Lal, a resident of Lakkar Bazar, and a knife was seized from the possession of Karam Singh, a resident of Janta Nagar. Cases have been registered at Focal Point, Jodhewal and Division No 7 police stations, respectively, against the accused, added Mr Sidhu.

The SSP further said a large number of migrants arrived in Ludhiana daily from Bihar and UP where countrymade pistols were easily available. The criminals among these migrants smuggle the same and sell these to criminals in the city who use these desi weapons in incidents of snatching and robbery.

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