Tuesday, September 10, 2002, Chandigarh, India


L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Ex-SSP Pherurai booked in corruption case
Possesses wealth, property much beyond his means
Jupinderjit Singh and Vijay Bansal
Tribune News Service

Raikot, September 9
Two days after the state Vigilance Bureau registered cases against the son and daughter of former SSP Gurcharan Singh Pherurai for using money to get a job through the PPSC, the Raikot police has registered a fresh case against the former SSP under the Prevention of Corruption Act. The case was registered today on the recommendation of Mr Amarjit Singh PPS, SP(HQ), Jagraon, who after an inquiry found evidence against the former police officer of amassing huge wealth beyond his known sources of income.

The FIR (No 113) registered at Raikot police station said the former SSP has been booked under section 13(1)(e) of the Prevention of Corruption Act. It said there was enough evidence that the former police officer had property in his name as well as benami at Ludhiana, Jagraon, Chandigarh and Mohali. Its total value has been estimated at Rs 15 crore or more.

The police officer was yet to be arrested. He is tipped to be very close to Akali leaders. The FIR said the former SSP had just over six acres land as ancestral property. But in his 30 years of service, he is alleged to have amassed huge chunks of property.

The accused along with one another officer figure among the top police and civil officers, in the PPSC “cash-for job scam”. Pherurai’s son was selected as DSP in the Punjab Police while his daughter was selected in PCS (Executive).

Some of the property is in the name of his relatives — Inderjit Kaur (wife), Lal Singh (father), Daljit Singh (nephew), Inder Mohan Singh (maternal uncle’s son), Gurpreet Singh (a relative) , and Hardyal Singh (his brother-in-law).

The former SSP allegedly owns three plots in Sarabha Nagar bearing No 133A, 134A, 149A covering a total area of 1075 yards and one plot on Ferozepore Road Madowal opposite of octroi post measuring 1,000 yards and two other plots of 1250 yard and 800 yard, respectively in Sunet village in the district.

The FIR also states that the former SSP owned a 1500 yard plot in Jhande village and a kothi (No 64) in Adarsh Nagar in Badewal Ludhiana, alongwith plots bearing No 27, 29, 30, 59, 74 in grain market Raikot and three bungalows in Pherurai village.

The FIR said a one kanal house (No 3349) in Sector 23, a 2 kanal residential plot in Sector 16, 1 kanal kothi in Sector 18 and two shop-cum-office in Sector 35 and Sector 20 in Chandigarh were also allegedly owned by the accused.

He also allegedly owns an industrial plot, one shop-cum-office in Phase V, Mohali. The former SSP also owns a Swaraj tractor 735, another tractor HMT 5911 and Mohindra 575 and Ford 5630 apart from a combine Swaraj 8100 and many other luxurious cars. The FIR said the accused had huge amounts in cash deposited in banks, bank lockers and with various commission agents alongwith gold ornaments in the said lockers.



Udham Singh Trust claims owning Lions Club land
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, September 9
Even as the Ludhiana Improvement Trust has asked the local Lions Club to clear the dues of the land on which it is built and has closed it, the Shaheed Udham Singh Memorial Trust has claimed that the land belongs to the trust and has been earmarked for Udham Singh’s memorial.

The trustees claimed that when Udham Singh Nagar was created, the plot was reserved for Udham Singh memorial, which remained unoccupied for a long time.

According to Mr Balwant Singh Chatrath, chairman, and Mr Jaswant Singh Chamak, secretary-general of the Trust, the plot was reserved, but later its utilisation plan was changed. A bust of the martyr was also installed, but was allegedly destroyed by the Lions Club and the land was illegally occupied by the authorities.

Mr Chamak further stated that the president of the Ex-Servicemen League of Punjab, Colonel Chanan Singh Dhillon (retd), also a resident of the same area, had been protesting against the illegal occupation of the land, but no action had been taken by the authorities concerned.

He said the administration had rightly cancelled the possession of the Lions Club on the plot. On the 62nd martyrdom day of the martyr, the trustees and participants at the ceremony had requested the administration to hand over the plot to its legal owner.

The trustees requested the Administrator of the Ludhiana Improvement Trust to hand over the land to its rightful owner and help in raising a community hall, a library and a dispensary.

The trustees also said while the original site for the memorial was being used for commercial purposes, the Shaheed Udham Singh Memorial library was in a rented building. They appealed to the public to support their cause.

Mr Chamak said he had a copy of the revenue records, according to which the piece of land had been given to the Shaheed Udham Singh Memorial Trust.

Meanwhile, officials of the Ludhiana Improvement Trust refuted the charges of the memorial trust and said according to revenue records, the land was given to the Lions Club in 1970 and since then it had been its sole occupant. The officials further said the Lions Club had been temporarily closed as it had failed to clear the dues over the years. They claimed that the trustees of the memorial trust had never raised the issue earlier.



Migrant labourer awaits justice
Tribune News Service

Raikot (Ludhiana), September 9
Even after eight months of getting a case of abetment to suicide registered against a local Akali leader, a migrant labourer here is awaiting justice as the Raikot police has allegedly failed to arrest the accused.

The wife of Raj Kumar Mallah, the labourer, had committed suicide allegedly after she was terrorised by the said Akali leader eight months ago. The police had registered a case and the bail of the accused was rejected. He is roaming freely in the town and the police has failed to arrest him.

Talking to the Tribune here today, Mr Raj Kumar said he had complained to the police that he and his family was being terrorised by the leader and had beaten up his wife, who used to work as a domestic servant at the leader’s house.

The labourer was living on a plot owned by the leader and his wife was working at his house and was never remunerated in cash. Mr Raj Kumar used to look after and guard the leader’s godowns. He alleged that the leader wanted to get the plot vacated by him as its price had gone up. So he allegedly beat up Mr Raj Kumar’s wife, who was scared of him.

Mr Raj Kumar further said he had complained to SHO Pirthipal Singh, but the police had failed to do anything. Consequently the terrorised wife of Mr Raj Kumar committed suicide.

Mr Raj Kumar said the case had been registered, but the police allegedly did not do anything as there was pressure from the top not to arrest him. He said he was hopeful after the Congress took over, the accused would be arrested.

“But nothing has changed for me. The accused is roaming freely. My wife has been killed and I have not been able to bring the guilty to book.” said the labourer.



Third census of SSI units in Ludhiana
Naveen S. Garewal
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, September 9
The district administration has taken a decision to conduct a fresh census to evaluate the incidence of sickness and its causes in the small-scale industry (SSI).

The last census was conducted 12 years ago. The third census comprises complete enumeration of the SSI units registered up to March 31 last year and a sample survey of the unregistered SSI sector. The unregistered SSI sector comprises all SSI units permanently registered up to March 31,.2001. For this sector, the unregistered SSI units will be listed in each of the selected sample village/urban block and a sample of a few units will be selected for a detailed survey.

The information collected from the SSI units will be kept confidential. Effective publicity will be given to this effect through official media and newspapers and all entrepreneurs would be requested to furnish factual information to the enumerators.

Since it is proposed to bring out the rests of the third census by the end of March, 2003, it will be ensured that all activities, are completed within the prescribed time schedule.

For Punjab, 880 data enumerators, 33 data inspectors and 88 supervisors have been provided for carrying out 153571 registered SSI units and 215 village and 384 urban blocks for survey of the unregistered sector.

A training programme for the General Manager and officers of the District Industrial Centres of Punjab was arranged in August this year in the District Industries Centre, here . The information was given by Mr Bakhshish Singh, Chief Coordinator, Udyog Sahayak, Department of Industries and Commerce, Punjab and Officers of the SISI, Ludhiana.



SAD plans anti-Cong movement
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, September 9
The Shiromani Akali Dal (Badal) would launch a mass movement against the Congress government in the state headed by Capt Amarinder Singh to focus on “betrayal of the masses” by the ruling party and its vindictive policies against political opponents in general and the activists of erstwhile ruling coalition in particular.

Announcing this at a news conference here today, the District President of the SAD, Mr Avtar Singh Makkar, said a series of protest demonstrations at district headquarters all over the state will be organised and, the party workers would also organise a protest march to Mini Secretariat here on September 11, where a massive rally would also be held. “The party will submit a memorandum to the Governor through the district administration calling for a review of the ‘anti-people’ policies and an end to police repression against activists of SAD and BJP.”

The Former Minister for Technical Education, Mr Jagdish Singh Garcha, the President of All the India Youth Akali Dal, Mr Sharanjit Singh Dhillon, the President of the District Akali Jatha (Rural), Mr Daya Singh, Mr Gurmel Singh Sanghowal, Member, SGPC, Baba Ajit Singh and Mr Harjinder Singh Laati, vice-president, All-India Youth Akali Dal, were also present on the occasion.

Mr Makkar charged the Congress government with not only backing out from all its poll promises but virtually reversing the process to the extent that several concessions and facilities, that had been granted to various sections of the people by the erstwhile government, were being withdrawn. “Welfare schemes like “Shagun Scheme” and 100 units of free power to poor families have been scrapped. The farming community has been inflicted a fatal blow in the form of withdrawal of free power facility at a time when it is facing the worst ever crisis due to drought like situation in the state.” Other sections of the society like employees, traders and industrialists were also suffering at the hands of the government due to freezing of DA, denial of allowances, reimposition of octroi and imposition of new taxes and levies.

The SAD district chief lambasted the government for its ‘anti-corruption’ drive which had now assumed scandalous proportions. It was not only being used a tool to settle political scores and cause harassment and humiliation to SAD and BJP leaders but had also come handy to certain elements in police and vigilance bureau to run a notorious extortion racket under the threat of implicating political activists in corruption cases. “In gross violation of democratic norms, the government had virtually politicised the police, the vigilance bureau and the entire administration,” he added.

Giving details of the elaborate arrangements being made for the proposed protest on Wednesday, Mr Makkar told that meetings were being organised in villages as well as at the ward and block level in the major towns in the district to mobilise the people for the protest march. “The city has been divided into five zones with specified assembly points from where the party workers will march towards the Mini Secretariat from different directions.” The assembly points would be Gurdwara Nanaksar at Ferozepore Road, Gurdwara Model Town Extension, Sabzi Mandi Gurdwara on Old G.T. Road (Jalandhar side), Gurdwara Shaheed Pheruman, Near Chowk Dholewal and Chowk Div No 3.



Tohra playing into Cong hands, says Garcha
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, September 9
Taking strong exception to remarks of the former SGPC president, Mr Gurcharan Singh Tohra, holding the erstwhile SAD-BJP government responsible for the reimposition of power charges on the farming sector, senior SAD leader and former Minister for Technical Education, Mr Jagdish Singh Garcha, has said Mr Tohra had lost his mental balance and was making wild and unfounded accusations against the former Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, just in order to please his ‘friends’ in the Congress.

A staunch Badal loyalist, Mr Garcha, while taking dig at Mr Tohra, described him as the other side of the Congress coin. “Mr Tohra stands thoroughly exposed now and rather than becoming a stooge in the hands of Congress leaders, he should join the Congress to prove the charge that all through his long political career, he has been spearheading the nefarious activities of ‘anti-panth’ lobby.”

According to Mr Garcha, as president of the SGPC for a long time, Mr Tohra was guilty of violating ‘religious and panthic’ norms. “He has been misusing the highest temporal body of the Sikh community — the Akal Takht — for political purposes and the jathedars (high priests) of the holy takhts were reduced to the status of ‘pawns’ in the game of politics during the tenure of Mr Tohra as president of the SGPC.”

Former legislator Bikramjit Singh Khalsa, however, observed that hue and cry being raised by Mr Badal and his close supporters against the Congress government was in fact an attempt to cover up their misdeeds and corrupt activities during their five-year rule. Mr Khalsa said it was unfortunate that the Akali Dal, which was earlier known to be a champion of the cause of Punjab and its people, had been branded as a party of corrupt leaders and corrupt followers during past five years when Mr Badal held the reins of the state.

Mr Sukhwinderpal Singh Garcha, secretary general of Sarb Hind Shiromani Youth Akali Dal said Mr Badal and his coterie had virtually made a mockery of the administration during their term and for all practical purposes corruption in high places had been accorded legal sanction by the then government functionaries. He further observed that overwhelming response of the people to party conferences at Issru, Sherpur and other places in Punjab in the recent past had more than proved that the people were once again looking towards Mr Tohra to provide an able and dynamic leadership to Akali ranks and the masses. 



Bitta writes to Sonia about Sibal
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, September 9
The chairman of the All-India Anti Terrorist Front (AIATF) and former president of the Indian Youth Congress, Mr Maninderjit Singh Bitta, has urged the Congress President, Ms Sonia Gandhi, to ask the party spokesman, Mr Kapil Sibal, not to plead the case of Davinder Pal Singh, who has been convicted by the Supreme Court and awarded the death sentence.

In a letter addressed to Ms Gandhi and released by Mr Bitta at a press conference here today, Mr Bitta apprehended some deep conspiracy in getting Mr Sibal hired for a dreaded terrorist who has been convicted by the apex court.

The letter pointed out that Davinder Pal Singh was convicted by the apex court after finding him guilty of masterminding the attack on a rally of the Indian Youth Congress in New Delhi on September 11, 1993. He claimed that he was the target of the attack as he was the IYC president at that time. Although he escaped the attack after getting seriously injured, 35 persons were killed in the attack.

The former IYC president questioned the argument that Mr Sibal was performing only his professional duty by trying to get justice for a convict who had been awarded death penalty, He asserted, “One must draw a clear line between professional ethics and duty towards the nation and the Congress, which has always fought against terrorists’ designs”.

Apprehending a deep conspiracy in Mr Sibal’s pleading Davinder Pal’s case, Mr Bitta said, “In fact the access of a terrorist to a senior Congress leader like Mr Sibal is a dangerous thing. It is an indicator of imminent threat to the security of important functionaries of the Congress party. Who knows whether terrorists’ godfathers — whether in India or Canada or somewhere else abroad — may try to reach top targets in the Congress. It could be you, it could be Ms Priyanka Gandhi Vadra or Mr Rahul Gandhi or any other high-up in the party”.

Mr Bitta pointed out that the Congress should take a lesson from the BJP, which had expelled Mr Ram Jethmalani from the party after he decided to plead the case of the assassins of Indira Gandhi. He said it was quite unfortunate that Mr Sibal despite being a senior Congress leader and Rajya Sabha member was pleading the case of a terrorist who was responsible for the killing of 35 Congress workers in 1993. 



We are harassed by govt officials: INA veterans
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, September 9
A large number of freedom fighters, who gathered at Jagraon recently for organising a function to commemorate the anniversary of INA supremo Gen Mohan Singh, rued the harassment they were made to face at the government-run offices.

Taking to mediapersons at the function, INA veterans criticised the functioning of the country and said they were disillusioned the way the country was being run. The freedom fighters rued that they were not able to get any work done without bribing employees concerned.

Narrating his experiences, Mr Charan Singh, a freedom fighter whose father and grandfather had also contributed to the freedom struggle, said the SDM of his block had mistreated him at the behest of certain disgruntled elements, who had implicated him in a false case. He said the SDM was conducting an inquiry into the case and he had even allegedly threatened him to throw him behind the bars.

He said he was 12 when he was jailed by the Britishers. He said the SDM had even threatened him that he would get his pension discontinued. Many other freedom fighters said that they had to pay Rs 5 to the employees concerned while they have to submit the form requesting for the pension and Rs 100 when they get their arrears.

The general secretary of the Freedom Fighters Association, Mr Hansraj Bhatia, said their genuine demands were not met by the government and only Mr I.K. Gujral, a former Prime Minister, had paid some attention to them. The president of the association, Mr Tejinder Singh Thind, demanded that the anniversary of Gen Mohan Singh should be observed as a state function.

He appealed to the families of freedom fighters to form an association and fight for their rights. He demanded from the state government that the children and wives of the fighters should also be given due respect and benefits.



621 widows given relief
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, September 9
Shri Gyan Sthal Mandir Sabha and Lala Jagat Narayan Nishkam Sewa Sangh jointly organised the 61st monthly function on the temple premises near Subhani building here yesterday, in which relief was distributed among 621 widows in the form of rations and household items of daily use.

The temple management also presented Lala Jagat Narayan Awards to seven persons and organisations. These are Mr Vijay Chopra, Editor-in-Chief, Hind Samachar Group of Newspapers, Jathedar Pritpal Singh, president, Managing Committee of Gurdwara Dukh Niwaran Sahib, Mr Ashok Janeja from Jalalabad, Mr Kunwar Hari Singh from Una, Mr Sheetal Vij from Jalandhar, Mr Avinash Mahindru of Chinmaya Mission, Amritsar, and Shri Geeta Bhawan Ashaye Hitkari Sabha, Fazilka.

Earlier, Mr Khushal Behl, Education Minister, lit the flame to mark the beginning of the function. It was also attended by Mr Tej Parkash Singh, Transport Minister, Punjabi and Mr Rakesh Pandey, Printing and Stationery Minister.

Mr Tej Parkash Singh donated Rs 50,000 for charity to the temple management. He said the Punjab Government would spend Rs 204 crore during the current fiscal year on pensions to widows, the disabled and the aged.

He said the government was investigating cases in which undeserving candidates had been getting various pension benefits from the state government. Pensions for deserving candidates would be released soon, he added.

Mr Khushal Behl, lauded the services of the temple management in setting up the sewa sangh. Paying tributes to Lala Jagat Narayan, he said he was an institution who sacrificed his life for the unity and integrity of the country.

The Education Minister also paid tributes to Beant Singh. He warned that certain anti-national forces were pushing the youth into the world of drugs. He appealed to all social organisations to work for a drug-free and dowry-free society.



Kheri-Jhameri phones dead
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, September 9
Telephones of Kheri-Jhameri village, 10 km from here have not been functioning for the past more than 10 days causing inconvenience to villagers.

According to Mr Ashok Kumar of Kheri-Jhameri village despite repeated complaints to the Telecom Department, the snag has not been rectified. Residents said this was not a new thing for the village where the telephone lines usually got disrupted and the snag was removed after several days. The condition worsened in case of rain and they had to repeatedly request the authorities to get the phones working.

The villagers also complained about the operational problems. They said most of the time the lines were not clear and there was disturbance. 



One killed, three injured in accidents
Our Correspondent

Sahnewal, September 9
One person was killed and three others were injured in two accidents that took place near Sahnewal on Sunday.

A scooterist, Baljit Singh of Rampur village was going along with his cousin, Pritam Kaur, when a truck PB11K-8257 hit them, thus injuring the two. Both were taken to a hospital in Doraha where Pritam Kaur breathed her last. Baljit Singh is said to be out of danger. The truck driver absconded from the place of accident. A case has been registered against him under Sections 279,337,338,427 and 304 of the IPC at Sahnewal police station.

In a similar case, Amar Singh of Chandran village was going along with Mohinder Singh on his scooter PB 10AM-6353 on the G T Road near Pawa Khagat village when a white Maruti car HR 0803-6365 allegedly hit them and injured the two. The injured have been admitted in a serious condition to Christian Medical College and Hospital at Ludhiana and a case registered against the accused under Sections 279, 338 and 427 of the IPC at the Sahnewal police station on Sunday.

70 kg of poppy husk seized:
The Doraha police claimed to have seized 70 kg of poppy husk from Malkit Singh and Surjit Singh of Landa village near Doraha .

ASI Ashok Kumar had imposed a naka near Doraha when they stopped the two and caught them red-handed. A case under Sections 15, 61 and 85 of the NDPS Act has been registered at Payal police station.

A sack of scrap weighing 40 kg was stolen from Nandpur village. The owner of the sack Sham Lal told the police that he had kept four sacks of tin scrap outside his house, out of which one was stolen by some unidentified persons at night.

A case was registered under Sections 379 and 411 of the IPC at the Sahnewal police station.



Kisan Sabha member robbed
Our Correspondent

Ahmedgarh, September 9
A state committee member and district general secretary of the Zamhuri Kisan Sabha, Mr Baldev Singh Latala, was attacked by three unidentified persons on Sunday night when he was returning home from a campaign for joint action against the recent decision of the government to withdraw free power to farmers. Miscreants snatched his cash and valuables including gold rings and a wrist watch.

According to Mr Latala, he was attacked by the miscreants near his native village at around 8.30 pm on Sunday. Miscreants, who were three in number, came on a scooter and stopped his scooter on the outskirts of the village. They were armed with crude weapons, including lathis, and asked him to part with his belongings .

When Mr Latala tried to call for help by shouting , they pulled him to the fields and gave him a thrashing. The miscreants fled in the dark after snatching his belongings, including Rs 2030, gold ring and wrist watch. The victim reported the matter to the Latala chowki.



Theft in shop
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, September 9
Unidentified persons broke into an Amartex showroom at Ferozepore road here last night and decamped with cash and jewellery worth Rs 35,000. The police suspects that the number of the burglars may be more than three as they took away a heavy locker kept in the shop. There was more than Rs 10,000 in the locker.



‘Review power hike structure’
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, September 9
The Apex Chamber of Commerce and Industry (Punjab) has alleged that the State Electricity Regulatory Commission has made some hidden provision for large supply consumers above 100 KW in the power tariff revision.

Mr P.D. Sharma, president of the chamber, in a statement today alleged that power tariff for those units consuming above 100 KW was Rs 3.56 per unit and not Rs 3.42 per unit, which would be applicable from August 1 to March 31, 2003.

Mr Sharma maintained that these consumers would be badly hit by this discriminatory hike as the hike would be raised further by 5 per cent due to electricity duty. The tariff for the large units from August 2002 to March 2003 would be Rs 3.56 per unit plus 18 paise duty in addition to 4 paise octroi. The net tariff for large units would be Rs 3.75 per unit, he said.

Mr Sharma said the regulatory authority had found an indirect but secretive method to levy additional 14 paise for eight months. They were also concerned as the tariff would result in rise in steel prices. For the medium and small consumers, the issue of minimum charges was very crucial and the regulatory authority had not touched this issue. The consumers had pleaded for abolition of the minimum charges. Mr Sharma urged the PSEB and the regulatory authority to reconsider the entire hike structure as the announced structure would take a heavy toll on Punjab’s industry.



Coin distribution mela
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, September 9
Punjab National Bank, Industrial Area, Ludhiana, yesterday organised a coin distribution mela to improve the availability of coins to the public. Mr H.L. Arora, Deputy General Manager, Punjab Zone, inaugurated the mela. While speaking on the occasion, Mr Arora, stated that due to persistent demand for coins, the bank had organised the mela. He further said in Punjab, there was sufficient stock of coins to cater to the needs of the public.

Mr J.S. Jas, Assistant General Manager, PNB, Branch Office Industrial Area, Ludhiana, welcomed the guests and customers and reiterated the commitment of the bank to provide excellent services to its customers. Coins of Re 1, Rs 2 and Rs 5 amounting to Rs 10 lakh were distributed on the occasion. Soiled and mutilated notes were also exchanged as per the RBI guidelines.

Mr Chand Singh, Deputy Zonal Manager, said the branch had also opened a special counter for coin distribution on a regular basis. 


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