Friday, September 13, 2002, Chandigarh, India


L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Woman tries to kill self, 2 kids
Kanchan Vasdev
Tribune News Service

Meenakshi narrates her tale of woe
Meenakshi narrates her tale of woe. — Photo Inderjit Verma

Rara Sahib (Ludhiana), September 12
A middle-aged woman attempted suicide at the Abohar feeder canal near here along with her two children today, but was rescued by some passers-by. A Ludhiana Tribune team which was near the spot by chance was witness to the incident. As it was raining heavily, the woman, finding nobody on the road, plunged into the fast-flowing canal along with her two children.

Some persons passing by in a car saw her and raised an alarm. They were joined by owners of some kiosks at a distance from the site. They saved the woman and her children. Her daughter and son were shaken after the incident. They were crying and shivering.

Mother of three, Ms Meenakshi took the extreme step reportedly due to marital discord. She refused to name her husband or give the names of her children. She said she had started living in this village two three years back.

She and her children were given first-aid and tea by the rescuers. She said she wanted to end her life as there was nobody to fend for her and her three children. “I was killing myself and my children as they cannot survive without me. The eldest one can at least beg, so I left him back,” she said.

She said her husband had gone missing some days back when she visited Ambala on her father’s death. When she came back after 15 days, she found nobody at the rented room. The landlord had told her that her husband had died after jumping into the same canal. She searched for him everywhere, but he could not be traced.

The villagers said after her return from Ambala, she used to keep lying under a tree only. A tea stall owner had given her shelter in his jhuggi, but she had refused to stay there. He had put up another jhuggi for her, but she had stayed there only for two or three days.

She said she did not want to stay in the slum near the canal as all men who had kiosks nearby stayed there and there were no women. “How can a woman stay here alone,” she asked.

The villagers said she had been sent to the local gurdwara, but she had come back. Her husband used to perform tricks while cycling continuously for three or four days, but he was not making enough money, they added.

The villagers further said the man’s parents had sent their younger daughter-in-law to stay with him as his brother had died some days back. They added that his wife had been making an issue out of it and he might have left home with his sister-in-law.



Anil Jain acquitted
Rajneesh Lakhanpal

Ludhiana, September 12
Mr V.B. Handa, Sessions Judge, Ludhiana, has acquitted Anil Jain, alias Micky, on the charge of murdering his younger brother, Sunil Jain, owner of M/s Addishwar Spinning Mills Limited, as the prosecution failed to prove its case.

“I have no hesitation to hold that the investigation conducted in this case by the police was not only tainted one but irresponsible also,” remarked the judge while delivering the verdict.

It may be recalled that the body of Sunil Jain was found under mysterious circumstances near the Dhandari Kalan railway crossing on December 23, 1999.

Thereafter on the complaint of Ms Reema Jain, wife of the deceased, an FIR under Section 302 of the IPC was lodged on April 10, 2000, at the Focal Point police station wherein she had alleged that Anil Jain had fallen in bad company and wasted huge money, whereas the business of her husband was flourishing. The accused usually borrowed money from his younger brother to run his business. It was alleged that at one time, when her husband refused to help the accused financially, he threatened that he will make his children orphan on December 23, 1999, Anil Jain came to the factory of Sunil Jain and took him along in the car. According to the complainant, her husband told her on telephone that they are going somewhere.

When they had left the factory, they were seen by Prem Sharma, Devinder Grewal, Rajinder Kumar etc., according to the prosecution.

On the other hand, the accused alleged that in order to grab the entire property his ‘Bhabhi’ falsely implicated him in the case. He also claimed that his brother was to pay lakhs of rupees to him.

After hearing the arguments and appreciating the medical evidence on record, the court came to the conclusion that it is not proved that death of Sunil Jain was homicidal.

“As far as the motive on the part of the accused to kill the deceased is concerned, the same appears to have been not established, when, it was admitted by Reema Jain that the deceased owed money to the accused and not vice versa,” the judgment says.

It is pertinent to mention here that during the cross-examination she admitted in court that her husband owed Rs 27,57,589 to the accused, which she paid in the month of March 2001.

According to the prosecution, the accused made extra-judicial confession before a councillor, Charanjit Kala, while the said witness stated in the witness box that he never stated before the police that the accused had come to him or made any confession of murder.

Apart from it the prosecution examined other witnesses to prove that the last time the accused and the deceased were seen together. But failed to prove the last seen evidence of the deceased and the accused, as all the material witnesses, except one, retracted from their earlier version recorded with the police.

The judge also took serious note of the fact that the prosecution failed to place on record the report of the enquiry, conducted by the SP (City), the DSP and one inspector on the direction of the then SSP, Ludhiana, vide order dated January 22, 2000.

No explanation regarding the long delay in recording the statements of the material witnesses by the investigating agency also proved fatal, which resulted in the acquittal of the accused.



‘Agent’ of Pherurai arrested
Computer of former SSP seized
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, September 12
Tightening its noose around former SSP of Ferozepore, Gurcharan Singh Pherurai, the Raikot police is learnt to have arrested a commission agent (arhtiya), who reportedly used to finance the accused’s money in the market.

The police has also recovered a computer from the accused’s house in Pherurai, which allegedly contains information that could be helpful to the police in strengthening the case against the absconding cop. Some vehicles have also been recovered from the house. A police team also swooped down on a brick-kiln at Burj Hakimi village, allegedly owned by the former SSP.

Two workers with the commission agent, Baldev Singh, have also been arrested from an undisclosed place. Police sources said they would give details only after complete interrogation of the accused.

A police team headed by Mr Harjit Singh Brar raided the former SSP’s house in the village late last night and recovered a Swaraj Combine, a tractor-trolley, a scooter and a computer. The scooter had neither the number plate nor any papers. The other vehicles had some papers, but their veracity was under doubt. The police said they had sent the documents for verification.

The major recovery, according to the police sources, was of the computer. Sources said they had information that the former cop used it personally and stored information about his property and financial position besides other matters. The police has sought the services of some computer experts to access all information stored in the computer.

The police sources said there was also possibility that the entire exercise may be futile. Village sources said the raid and the police search continued for several hours. The police also questioned some villagers about the ex-cop’s property or his whereabouts these days.

There was no one in the house as all his relatives had already left the place. The police sources declined to give the exact reasons for impounding the trucks and said only senior officers could comment. The trucks were full of bricks. The sources said the move could hit all business activities of the accused cop.

The sources said the commission agent had been absconding for the past several days fearing police action. He was nabbed from a place near Raikot. The sources said during the investigation of the Jagraon police and the state Vigilance Department, it was learnt that the commission agent was used by the former cop to finance his allegedly ill-gotten money. The sources said they hope to crack the case with the questioning of the two workers, who according to preliminary questioning were not the main accused, but knew a lot about the case.

Gurcharan Singh Pherurai was booked by the Raikot police for amassing wealth disproportionate to his known sources of income. His total wealth is estimated at Rs 15 crore. The police has set up a special task team, including the Jagraon SSP, two SPs and a DSP, to catch the former cop, who is suspected to be hiding in a neighbouring state.



Two PAU engineers sacked
K.S. Chawla

Ludhiana, September 12
The Vice-Chancellor of Punjab Agricultural University, Dr K.S. Aulakh, has ordered the termination of services of Mr Harnek Singh, Subdivisional Engineer and Mr V.K. Saggar, Extra Assistant Engineer, and issued show-cause notices to four officials of the engineering wing of the university for allegedly committing gross irregularities in the execution of works.

The services of Mr Harnek Singh and Mr Saggar have been terminated after inspection of the works of maintenance unit part I. The other officials punished include Mr Harbhajan Singh and Mr T.K. Verma, Junior Engineers.

According to Dr V.K. Sharma, Registrar of the university, Mr R.C. Kalra, Junior Engineer, and Mr Ved Parkash, Extra Assistant Engineer, have been exonerated. Mr P.S. Gill, Executive Engineer, now retired, Mr A. K. Garg, Subdivisional Engineer, Mr V. K. Saggar, Extra Assistant Engineer, Mr Yashpal Singh, Junior Engineer, have been issued show-cause notices after an inquiry against them by a retired Superintending Engineer in the case of renovation of university hostels.

Renovation worth Rs 50 lakh was executed by them in the case of hostels of the university. Under the proposed punishment, one-third of the pension of Mr P.S. Gill would be reduced while the services of Mr A.K. Garg and Mr V.K. Saggar would be terminated. One increment with cumulative effect would be stopped in the case of Mr Yashpal Singh.

They were issued show-cause notices on August 19 and replies were awaited. They had been asked to submit the reply to the notices within a month.

Dr Sharma said action against Mr Harnek Singh, Subdivisional Engineer, Mr Ramesh Chander, and Mr H.S. Sidhu, Junior Engineer, was also being taken in the case of construction of a swimming pool. Show-cause notices were issued to them after the receipt of the inquiry report. Increments of the three officials would be stopped.

According to Dr Sharma, the reply to the notices to the three officials had been received and the same was under process. The charge sheet against Mr P.S. Gill and Mr S.S. Gupta, retired Executive Engineers had been withdrawn.

Dr Sharma said the charge sheet on the basis of preliminary inquiry has been issued to Mr Harnek Singh, Executive Engineer, Mr V.K. Saggar, Mr Harbhajan Singh, Mr T.K. Verma, Mr R.C. Kalra, Junior Engineer, and Mr Ved Parkash Kathuria, Junior Engineer, in connection with the inspection of maintenance unit part II. Replies from these officials had been received and an inquiry officer would be appointed, said Dr Sharma.



Heart-rending scenes at funeral
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, September 12
A week ago, the Nahria family would never have thought that a tragedy was awaiting them. And it was no small tragedy with three of the family dead, while four are struggling for life in a hospital.

Heart-rending scenes were witnessed at the Civil Lines cremation grounds here today when the last rites of Sajjan Kumar Nahria, a shawl manufacturer, who along with two other close relatives died in the Rajdhani Express accident at Rafiganj in Bihar on Monday, were performed.

The other two deceased relatives were cremated in New Delhi yesterday. Sajjan Kumar was an influential personality in the city and commanded immense respect among different sections of society. Hordes of mourners joined the family in its hour of grief.

Four other family members were injured. They have been identified as Babli and Mithlesh, both daughters, Ranjit Bansal (Mithlesh’s husband) and Rajinder Prasad (Kailash Rani’s husband). The former three were brought to Ludhiana late last evening while the fourth one is in New Delhi.

The body of Sajjan Kumar reached here late last night after it was airlifted to New Delhi from Rafiganj. It was brought here by two of his sons — Munish Kumar and Kishen Kumar. Hundreds of mourners were waiting for them to arrive. Sajjan Kumar’s wife was yet to arrive as she had stayed back in Kolkata to attend her ailing mother.

It was literally celebrations turning into the grief for the Nahrias. He along with his wife and two daughter and sons-in-law had gone to Kolkata to attend the birthday celebrations of his brother-in-law’s son. Being a close-knit family, they travelled all the way from Ludhiana, New Delhi and Bhiwani.

The injured were, too, shocked. One of the survivors has broken her spine.

But still they feel lucky for being alive.



Two more Rajdhani victims from city
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, September 12
Reports of two more persons from Ludhiana having died in the Rajdhani accident near Rafigunj in Bihar have come to light. They have been identified as Ms Manjit Kaur (63), wife of Lt-Col J.S. Aneja (retd), and their daughter Shaminder Mahajan, residents of Dugri Phase II Urban Estate.

According to family sources, they had gone to Kolkota to attend a family function. Lt-Col Aneja has been injured in the accident and is reported to have suffered fracture in his ribs.

It was learnt that Shaminder Mahajan died on the spot, while her mother died in the Darbanga Medical College and Hospital, Gaya.

While the body of Ms Kaur reached here today, that of her daughter has been flown to Jammu where she was married. She was working as a lecturer in Jammu University. The last rites of Ms Kaur will be performed tomorrow.



EO in soup over release of payment
Our Correspondent

Khanna, September 12
The Executive Officer, Municipal Council, Mr Lachhman Singh Saini, has allegedly disbursed an amount of Rs 1.8 lakh to a contractor for the machinery declared unfit by the municipal engineering branch. A requisition in this regard was given by some councillors to the acting president, Mr Nirmal Singh, who has taken it as an item on agenda for the meeting scheduled for September 16. When contacted, the executive officer said he had released the payment against the machinery purchased by the council.

According to the report submitted by the municipal engineering branch, two motors of 51 HP KSB brand with pump sets of 45 meters head discharging 2000 LPS were purchased by the council from a contractor, Mr Harinder Kohli, belonging to Patiala. The contractor was summoned on the telephone for fitting one of the motors at tube-well no. 1. But he did not turn up and the council staff later fitted the motor that failed to work as per specifications by discharging water less than the specified amount. The contractor failed to come for repair and the MC staff fitted the old motor after repair.

The second motor, which was fitted in the presence of the contractor and as advised by his mechanic, also failed to discharge the specified amount of water.

In the report, which was signed by plumber Lakhbir Singh, sectional officer Om Parkash Gupta and Assistant Municipal Engineer Rajiv Sharma, it was recommended that no payments should be released till the motors started working satisfactorily. The forfeiting of the earnest money was also recommended.

Interestingly, despite the report, the executive officer released the payment last month.

When contacted, the acting president said he had written a letter to the executive officer in this regard.



IHRO convenes meeting on SYL issue
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, September 12
The International Human Rights Organisation (IHRO) has convened a joint meeting of all state political parties, including the BKU, at Circuit House here on September 14 to reach a consensus on the SYL issue. The Supreme Court deadline for the completion of the SYL canal is January 15.

The IHRO chairperson, Mr D.S. Gill, and its chief coordinator, Mr Mohinder Singh Grewal, said here today that invitations to all parties and groups had been sent to participate in the discussion and to find out means and methods for securing Punjab’s constitutional and riparian rights over its river waters which, according to them, was being grabbed by the non-riparian states of Haryana and Rajasthan illegally.

Besides stopping this ‘loot of 75 per cent of Punjab waters or to get compensated for this, the immediate need of the hour is to dismantle the illegal and unconstitutional project of Haryana in Punjab, the SYL, as we are in great need of the remaining water,” said the IHRO activists.

They added: “To achieve this goal, we need to fight at least on two fronts. One, we should start political lobbying in India to protect our constitutional and riparian rights and secondly, we need to approach afresh the Supreme Court, challenging, in a writ, the very vires of all so-called awards and agreements on Punjab river waters.”



Telecom officers resent demotion
Vimal Sumbly
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, September 12
Widespread resentment prevails among general category telecom officers working in Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) as some of whom have either been refused promotion or even demoted for making way for Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe officers. Moreover, the officers have also been alleging disparity in fixing the seniority and giving promotions.

A section of the Telecom officers said the department had issued fresh orders regarding the promotions (of the Scheduled Caste Officers) and the demotion (of the general category officers) despite a stay on the issue by the Supreme Court of India.

According to some of the aggrieved officers, by virtue of the 85th amendment to the Constitution of India, the Scheduled Caste officials were to be given the benefit of reservation in promotions also. However, following a writ petition by some aggrieved persons, the apex court stayed the operation of the amendment.

Earlier, in case the SC officers were not available for the post, it was filled from the general category. So over a period a number of general category officers got promotions against the vacant SC posts. However, the BSNL is learned to have issued the promotion orders with retrospective effect leading to several of the general category officers facing demotions.

The aggrieved officers maintained that according to the policy of the government, the seniority of the officers was fixed according to the year of their having passed the departmental examination and not from the date of joining. If a person had joined his service in the year 1975 but passed his departmental promotion examination in 1978, his seniority would be fixed according to the latter date.

However, in case of SC officers the seniority is being considered on the basis of their joining the services and not on the basis of the year of their qualifying of the departmental examination. This has obviously led to resentment among the officers belonging to the general category. Some of them pointed out that they had to work as subordinates to the same officials who at one stage were their own subordinates.

Moreover, they have been maintaining that when the operation of the 85th amendment has been stayed by the apex court, the BSNL was still releasing the promotion and demotion lists, which they pointed out is contemptuous of the court orders. 



Rain rings alarm bells
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, September 12
The widespread rain starting around this noon has set off alarm bells in the agriculture sector, with farmers beginning to worry about the fate of their standing paddy crop which has almost ripened.

Though the region has been having sporadic rainfall in the past week, the same had not caused any harm to the paddy crop so far as the spells have been of short duration. Today’s downpour is not showing any sign to halt. The sky is totally overcast with dark clouds hovering over the region.

Worried farmers are of the view that if the current spell of rain does not come to a halt for another six hours or so, their paddy crop will not be worth harvesting.

In fact, the clouds have been gathering both from the south and the north since last evening, which by night time thickened further.

Because of the continuous downpour, the city roads, particularly GT Road, where digging work has been done for the construction of the elevated road, presented a view of slush. The Chaura Bazar, the Saban Bazar, the Katchehri Road and several other roads in the old city became a virtual hell for pedestrians. Low-lying areas beyond Kundan Puri in the Civil Lines and Daresi Grounds were water-logged.

Rains did not come in the month of sawan when these were needed most by the farmers but now at the fag end of bhadon, when the farmers are looking forward to clear skies, rain gods have again started tormenting them.



Theatre personality dead
Our Correspondent

Ahmedgarh, September 12
A pall of gloom descended on the town as Kewal Dhand, the doyen of local theatre, who was associated with acting since his youth, passed away after a brief illness at his residence here last evening.

Several old friends and stage colleagues broke down at his cremation this morning, which was largely attended. Dhand, who was in his mid-seventies, had devoted his life to holding the annual Ram-Lila and staging various social plays which depicted the plight of the poor and the evils of the dowry system. He had also tried to venture into the film world by making a Punjabi film, ‘Yaari Umran Di’, which, however, did not click with the audience as it lacked established names in the film industry. He produced and directed another film ‘Kaun Dillan Diyan Jaane’.



One killed in accident
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, September 12
Mr Pawan Kumar, a commission agent of Nabha, was killed and his wife injured when the car in which they were travelling hit a tree near Amargarh. The deceased is the brother-in-law of a senior vice-president of the Pradesh Youth Congress, Mr Pawan Dewan.

Mr Dewan said Pawan had gone to Ferozepore to drop his daughter, Anchal, there. When the accident occurred, his son was driving the car. Pawan Kumar died on the spot, his wife has been admitted to the DMC Hospital here.



Vehicles recovered
Our Correspondent

Samrala, September 12
Three persons, Sukhwinder Singh of Majra village, Kamaljit Singh and Kulvir Singh, residents of Lalheri village, have been arrested and a Maruti car (DL-3CB-5014), a motor cycle (PB-26B-6379) and a scooter (PB-55A-4268) have been recovered.

Six proclaimed offenders have been arrested and over five quintals of poppy husk, 740g of opium, 627 bottles of country-made liquor, 170 bottles of English liquor and 11 bottles of illicit liquor have been seized.

The police has appealed to residents to cooperate with the police, to appoint chowkidars in their mohallas and to start thikri pehras keeping in view of the recent thefts.


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