Friday, December 6, 2002, Chandigarh, India

C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Alarm bells for ‘marriage business’
IT officials raid 10 premises, seize account books
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 5
Current marriage season may be bringing joy and happiness to hundreds of couples and their near and dear was, but not anymore to those who do not bother to disclose their income to the Income Tax Department. Parents of those newly married couples, who had made payments for the marriage and reception parties out of their undisclosed income, and owners of resorts and tent houses are in for a tough time, if the move of the Department against them started here today, is any indication.


  • Leading marriage resorts on the Chandigarh-Zirakpur road, Panchkula and around Kharar doing business worth crores annually.
  • Charges per party vary between few thousands to lakhs.
  • Payments, mostly in cash, are shared by the parents of bride and bridegroom.
  • Designer tent houses charge up to Rs 10 lakh for a function.
  • Sometimes designers are called from other cities to prepare special gates and halls.

According to information available, officials of the Income Tax Department were keeping a close watch on the business activities of tent houses and marriage resorts in the region for the past many days. They had also reportedly prepared a directory of the leading tent houses, marriage resorts and restaurants, that were fudging income records despite doing brisk business. The Intelligence Wing of the department had done a survey of modus operandi of these operators and mode of payments by the parties.

After collecting sufficient evidence, disclosed a top official of the department, the IT teams landed today on the premises of about 10 giants, which included Mahajan Group, Bhasin Group, Sher-e-Punjab Restaurant, Forest View farm house, Panchvati and 7th Mile Stone Resorts, in the name of extensive survey of their account books and financial records. Officials have reportedly taken into possession all the records maintained in dubious account books. Though he declined to disclose the details of income tax evasion, but admitted that the department was expecting to unearth income tax evasion worth crores.

Officials said it had come into their notice that marriage resorts were functioning as ‘one-stop shop’ for marriages and other parties, where all the facilities including serving meals at the rate of Rs 500 to Rs 700 per plate, in addition charging for drinks, arrangement of pandits, granthis for marriage ceremonies and other facilities. Resorts, which were charging to the tune of lakhs per function, were showing their annual business volumes worth a few lakhs only.

He said it had come into their notice that some of the leading tent houses in Sector 35 were charging between Rs 50,000 to Rs 5 lakh for providing catering and tent services for the parties. Since they were accepting payments in cash, in most of the cases, both the parties were able to save tax.


Friend held for drug addict’s murder
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 5
The three-day old gruesome murder of a 19 year-old drug addict in woods behind the Punjab and Haryana Civil Secretariat was cracked late last night by the Chandigarh Police. The victim was killed by his friend, Ankur, alias Ganja, son of an employee in the FCI, who often accompanied him while taking drugs.


  • The victim's mother, who works as a nurse with the General Hospital, Sector 16, also identified the body from the tattoo on his left arm.
  • The doctors at the General Hospital, Sector 16, found 16 stab wounds on the victim’s body.
  • The watchman, Nand Kishore, who informed the police about the presence of the body, would be honoured and awarded by the Administration on the recommendation of the police.
  • The Chandigarh Police to take up the matter of the cops of the PAP Battalion not reacting to the distress call of the watchman who informed them about the incident.
  • The police was verifying the allegation of the suspect that the victim was wanted in some criminal cases.

The SSP, Mr Parag Jain, said it was a planned murder over a loan of Rs 8000 which the deceased had failed to return to Ankur, a BA (Part-I) dropout. The theory of physical intimacy between the two was also being investigated, he said.

Another friend of the victim, Vipin Kumar, who had last seen him with Ankur on the evening of December 3, had also given a clue about the identity of the victim. Both, Vipin and Laxman, had got their arms tattooed from Sector 20. On the day of murder, all three friends, residents of Sector 19, Panchkula, Laxman, Ankur and Vipin, had approached a chemist in Baltana to buy some drugs. But the drugs were not available there so they went to a shop in Naya Gaon and bought a vial of morphine and heist.

While, Vipin Kumar left after taking some capsules, Ankur took the victim to the woods on his LML Vespa scooter to inject a mixture of the two drugs. The victim was then stabbed several times before the suspect took out petrol from his scooter to burn his body. However, the police could not verify the motive behind the suspect returning again to burn the body of Laxman. The police had found blood stains on the scooter of the suspect.

The victim was brutally stabbed before being set ablaze. The police had also found marks of struggle on the body of the suspect which confirmed that the victim had struggled before being breathing his last.


Degree, diploma may go together
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 5
Panjab University is planning to allow students of first degree courses to join diploma courses alongside. The issue comes up for debate in the Syndicate, following a resolution by Prof P.P. Arya, a fellow of the university.

The resolution reads: “Colleges affiliated to the university be allowed to permit students of first degree courses to join diploma courses as value-added add-ons, instead of allowing diploma courses to be studied only after graduation.” A number of diploma and advanced-diploma courses introduced at the postgraduate level by the University Grants Commission have failed to enhance the professional skills of students and the response to these is on the wane.

Prof Ramesh Kapoor, Dean College Development Council, said introducing diploma courses at the undergraduate level was a novel idea. Undergraduates can well afford to spare time for supplementing their academic qualifications.

A number of diploma courses have been introduced in affiliated colleges, but these can only be pursued after graduation. Diplomas in chemical analysis of food, personnel management, marketing management and international trade are some of the good ones.

Professor Kapoor said the introduction of these courses at the undergraduate level had also been appreciated by the UGC. A number of other courses could also be modified for introduction at the undergraduate level. These include courses in forensic science and criminology, chemical laboratory techniques, ‘health, family welfare and population’, maintenance and service of electrical and electronic goods, ‘refrigeration and air-conditioning’ and taxation.

Professor Arya, in his explanatory note, says: “It will help students add professional qualifications to their first degrees. It will facilitate students to pursue regular courses in morning classes and diploma courses in the evenings. It will not be a burden on colleges, since the existing faculty can be used by providing it with incentives.” The proposal also says: “Postgraduate diploma courses are no longer sought-after. Undergraduates should also be allowed to pursue these courses.”

A research scholar said: “Already, college students are going in for courses in computers and other studies, that they pursue in the evenings. These courses are run largely by private institutes. If the university introduces these courses on the campus, students will not only save money, but also get access to better training.”


Cops call pops to ‘lovers’ parks’
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, December 5
In a special drive, the police played nanny to over 40 bench lovers who were being “private in public” here today and let go only after their parents had been called.

The Superintendent of Police, Mr Ranbir Sharma, had formed a special team led by the Deputy Superintendent of Police, Mr Desh Bandhu, and the Station House Officer of the Sector 5 police station, Mr Phool Chand, for the drive. The police cracked its whip on these youngsters when they were sitting coyly, enjoying the winter breeze, while holding hands and showing other manners of affection.

The Town Park, Yavanika Open Air Theatre and Vatika were raided and boys and girls, mostly teenagers, were rounded up.

The ordeal of these young lovers, already shaken by the police stick, did not end here; after they had been rounded up in public parks, their parents were rung up and given details of what their wards had been doing and where.

The parents fumed and scolded their children, while some were surprise how their wards had ended up in the parks.

Most of the youngsters, especially girls, had excused themselves out of home on the pretext of going for tuitions and extra classes to prepare for the December examinations.

The SP, Mr Ranbir Sharma, when contacted, said the police had received several complaints, from senior citizens who frequented these parks for evening walks, of the indecent show of affection in public by youngsters. “The drive was aimed at telling youngsters that such indecency would not be tolerated,” he said.


Elusive phone bills found in a heap
Our Correspondent

Lalru, December 5
Residents of over 10 villages, apprehending disconnection of their Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) telephones, rushed for the collection of their bills, piled in a heap in front of the local post office here for the past two days.

Due to the negligence on the part of the BSNL and the Postal Department, the telephone bills did not reach the subscribers. Telephone subscribers of the area complained that the bills had not been delivered by the Postal Department though the last date for payment of bills was on Thursday.

News spread in the villages after some residents, who had gone to the post office, noticed the bills piled up on Tuesday afternoon, said Mr Kalli Ram, a resident of Lalru village.

Employees of the Postal Department said they received the bills on Tuesday before noon and placed these in front of the post office so that the subscribers could collect these and make payments within the due date. In the absence of any postmaster, distributing the bills among the subscribers was not feasible, they added.

“Five counter have been set up in the post office for the convenience of the subscribers,” an official at the post office claimed.

Mr Ram Singh, an ex-serviceman, criticised the BSNL for harassing the subscribers. He alleged that the BSNL had deliberately released the bills late.

Those who could pay their bills today would have to go to Ambala. This would put the residents to hardship for no fault of theirs, said Mr Prem Singh, a resident of Lalru Mandi.


Phone bill payment
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, December 5
The online cash counters of Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) failed to accept telephone bills due to technical reasons today. In a press note, the Principal General-Manager, Telecommunication, stated that the subscribers having bills (due date December 5) could be accepted up to December 9 and those wearing December 9 as expiry date would be accepted till December 13.


Fund-raising campaign launched
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 5
A fund-raising campaign to commemorate the Armed Forces Flag Day was formally launched here today by the Punjab Governor and UT Administrator, Lieut-Gen J.F.R. Jacob (retd), by contributing money towards the cause.

This year, the pinning of flags was carried out today as December 6 and 7 are closed days.

Speaking on the occasion, General Jacob said, “The Indian Armed Forces have brought glory to themselves and the country with their exemplary record of service, in times of war as well as peace.”

He said the day provided us an opportunity to express our solidarity, through our liberal contribution, towards their cause. He said, “This day is a solemn reminder of nation’s obligations towards armed forces for their glorious achievements.”

He said it was a day of introspection, of remembrance, of gratitude and renewal of our pledge to live up to our responsibility toward the kith and kin of those who sacrificed their today to safeguard our tomorrow.

Appealing to the people to contribute liberally towards this fund, General Jacob said the Flag Day fund was utilised for providing financial assistance to the families of war-wounded, aged and ailing ex-servicemen, their widows and dependents.

He said the Punjab Government had already announced a package for the families of martyrs from January, 1999, under which ex gratia for disabled (75 per cent to 100 per cent disability) had been increased to Rs 2 lakh. Last year Rs 1.57 crore had been released as ex gratia to 172 beneficiaries, he said.

A decision had been taken by the government to provide ex gratia to the martyrs of operation Parikarma, which was not available earlier. Even battle casualties, resulting from mine blasts, would entitle soldiers to get ex gratia under the new policy. He said the government had already provided jobs to the dependents of martyrs.

The Governor said the Punjab Government had announced a package for gallantry award winners according to which Parmveer Chakra, Ashoka Chakra, Mahaveer Chakra, Kirti Chakra, Veer Chakra, Shourya Chakra and Sena Medal winners would now get Rs 25 lakh, Rs 22.5 lakh, Rs 15 lakh, Rs 12.5 lakh, Rs 10 lakh, Rs 7.5 lakh, Rs 5 lakh, respectively. In order to strengthen the Sainik Welfare Department, five district Sainik Welfare Officers and three Assistant District Sainik Welfare Officers were issued appointment letters today.

The Governor said the war heroes from Punjab had made largest number of sacrifices to defend the unity and integrity of the country and the Punjab Government was offering maximum concessions to the families of martyrs and ex-servicemen. Speaking about the Union Territory, Chandigarh, the Administrator said a war memorial was being planned for the city. “Students of the College of Architecture have designed it,” he said.


3rd Cav celebrates Sehjra battle honour
Tribune News Service

Somewhere in the Western Sector, December 5
It was on December 1971, that 3rd Cavalry, a distinguished regiment of the Indian Army, under the command of Lt-Col Padamjit Singh, then Commandant of the regiment, created history when it ousted the enemy from the Sehjra bulge in West Punjab. The feat added another feather to its cap — the Sehjra Battle Honour and Theatre Honour — Punjab.

Today, 31 years later, the regiment celebrated its battle honour in a befitting manner. The highlight of the occasion was a wreath-laying ceremony in memory of the brave soldiers who laid down their lives for the nation, earning laurels for the regiment. This was followed by a special sainik sammelan. The celebrations culminated with a barakhana under the able guidance of Col Kulpreet Singh, Commandant of the regiment.

The lineage of the regiment dates back to 1841 when the 17th and the 7th Irregular Bengal Cavalry regiments were raised which were later renamed as 5th and 8th Irregular Cavalries. In 1911, these two regiments amalgamated to form the 5th/8th Cavalry and subsequently rechristened as 3rd Cavalry in 1923 at Bolarum, near Secunderabad.

Since raising, the regiment has taken part in numerous battles and demonstrated outstanding valour, earning for itself laurels all the way. It was for this long outstanding history that the regiment was conferred with the Guidon by the President in 1989.

In 1971, the Regiment was deployed in the Punjab sector. An operation was planned in the Mandot bulge wherein the fortified village of Sehjra was to be captured. The Regiment undertook various roles of attack and support for this operation. On December 5, the attack commenced and the next day the village was captured. The fast conduct of the operation earned it the name ‘Op Lightning’.

It was this regiment that destroyed/captured 103 enemy tanks in 1965 and created the historic Patton graveyard, smashing the belief that the Pattons were invincible. This glorious action in 1965 in the Khem Karan sector won the Regiment the battle honour of Asal Uttar.


Navy Day celebrations
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, December 5
A get-together of naval fraternity at No. 1 Chandigarh Naval Unit NCC, naval activities at the Sukhna Lake and a social engagement at the DSOI marked the Navy Day celebrations yesterday by the Indian Navy officers and sailors.

Cdr Gursharan Singh, the seniormost serving naval officer in the station, while addressing the audience, explained about Navy Day. It was on December 4, 1971, that the missile boats of the Indian Navy designed for a purely defensive role destroyed Pakistani warships, set ablaze oil tank farms and refinery.

The chief guest, Col Ashwini Sharma, NCC Group Commander, Chandigarh, while speaking on the occasion listed the contribution of the Indian Navy and mentioned about the onerous task of defending 2.2 million sq. km. of exclusive economic zone, which extends 200 miles into the sea from our 6,500-km-long coastline, besides over 1,100 island territories.


Search & seizure operation in Gymkhana Club
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, December 5
The Excise and Sales Tax Department today conducted a search and seizure operation in the Gymkhana Club this afternoon. The operation was reportedly conducted following complaints of sales tax evasion here.

The operation began at about 1 pm and lasted over an hour. The accounts section of the club and the accounts of the contractor for the club restaurant were examined. A few documents were taken away by the officials.

The excise and sales tax officials said that several members of the club had complained to the department regarding sales tax evasion by the contractor for restaurant. Sources said that the contractor, whose term expired two months ago after a two-year stint, had never charged sales tax (at the rate of 12 per cent ), thus causing loss to the state exchequer.

The new contract for catering in the restaurant has been awarded to Sip ‘n’ Dine. However, the department had received a complaint that the said contractor was also not charging sales tax. The officials have now taken printouts of various bills by the contractor to ascertain if there was any evasion.

It is also learnt that the accounts of the bar were also examined. Meanwhile, the HUDA authorities, when contacted, maintained that there was no sales tax evasion in the bar of the club as they had procured a L-12 licence and tax was deducted at source. They, however, clarified that the sales tax evasion in restaurant, if any, was responsibility of the contractor.


Raids to catch NK Jain prove futile
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, December 5
Armed with non-bailable arrest warrants, the Chandigarh police raided several places here and outside to arrest N.K. Jain, Haryana bureaucrat charged with trying to frame M.K Jain in the Shimla girl rape case.

Sources, however, said N.K. Jain had already left the city and gone underground. When asked about the possibility of this being true, the UT Senior Superintendent of Police, Mr Parag Jain, said the possibility could not be ruled out. Family members of the bureaucrat could not be contacted.

On November 20, the police had served a notice on N.K. Jain, telling him to cooperate in the investigations, but he did not turn up. The police has also received the report of the DNA-test of the Shimla girl from the Central Forensic Science Laboratory. The report shows that the DNA samples taken from the girl match with those taken from Surinder Shamra, but do not match with the DNA samples of M.K. Jain, whom she accuses of having raped her.

Surinder Sharma had, earlier, claimed he had seen the girl being thrown out of the car of M.K. Jain late on August 14. However, later, the police accused him of being the actual rapist.


Cinema manager murder case: police gets ‘clue’
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 5
The Chandigarh police is learnt to have got a vital clue in the case of the murder of Harjinder Singh, manager of Kiran and Jagat Cinemas. Harjinder, who was shot at outside his Sector 21 house, had, later, succumbed to his injuries in the PGI.

The Senior Superintendent of Police, Mr Parag Jain, said here today that the police, working on three theories, had got some vital information during the interrogation of the suspects. However, he gave no other detail of the progress in the case, but said the police was close to solving the case. The police, reportedly, quizzed some employees of Jagat Cinema here today.

Some dispute on the rented premises in the Jagat complex may come out to be the motive and some influential persons may turn out to be the culprits. Harjinder Singh had, reportedly, told the police in the GMCH that he had been shot at point blank by two clean-shaven youths. One of the assailants had been wearing green jacket and the other a black coat.


W.R. Rishi cremated
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 5
The mortal remains of W.R. Rishi, Founder President of the World Romani Congress, who died here on Monday at the age of 87, were consigned to flames here this afternoon. His elder son Veerendra Rishi, settled in London, lit the pyre amidst the chanting of Vedic hymns. His funeral was largely attended.

A Padma Shri awardee, W.R. Rishi had devoted his life to the study of the Roma people, the so-called Gypsies of Europe, Russia and Central Asia.

He was the author of the first Russian-Hindi dictionary, with a foreword by Jawaharlal Nehru and published by the Indian Sahitya Academy. He also wrote many other books on Russian language and literature. He was awarded the Padma Shri in 1970 for his contribution in the field of linguistics.

He was given the Soviet Land Nehru Award for his book “India and Russia — Linguistic and Cultural Affinity”, copies of which were presented to Russian President Vladimir Putin by the Prime Minister of India and the Russian Ambassador to India, Mr Alexander M. Kadakin, during Mr Putin’s visit to India in 2001.

Mr Rishi was posted in the Embassy of India in Moscow from 1950 to 1952 during Stalin’s regime when Dr S. Radhakrishnan was the Indian Ambassador in Moscow. He worked as interpreter with the Soviet dignitaries from 1955 to 1960 and accompanied Dr Rajendra Prasad, President of India, during his official visit to the USSR in 1960.

Mr Rishi’s interest in the Gypsies was kindled when he translated Pushkin’s poem “Tsignai” (Gypsies) in 1955. He then had no knowledge of the Romani language and did not know that his future life would be devoted to the Roma, their language and culture.

On April 8, 1971, when he was working as Attache in the High Commission of India, London, he went to attend the First World Romani Congress held at a village near London. The wheatish complexion of their skin and Punjabi features of their faces surprised Rishi, who even without having any knowledge of the Romani language, could understand the speeches made by the Roma leaders.

He started research on the subject and produced the first Romani/ Hindi/ Russian/ French dictionary and later the Romani/Punjabi/English dictionary and a conversation book and proved that the Romani language was a dialect of the Punjabi language, born and developed outside India.


Kids quiz Jacob
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 5
The Chandigarh Administration may not have fielded such straight forward questions as faced by the UT Administrator, Lieut-Gen J.F.R. Jacob (retd) today from a gathering of children.

The General and the kids met as part of a special recording session at the local All India Radio on the occasion of Children’s Day of Broadcasting (ICDB) that is to be celebrated every year on the second Sunday of December.

This day provides an opportunity to children around the globe to talk about their rights. It also enables them to become broadcasters for the day. The key to the day’s success has been children’s participation.

An enthusiastic kid from Chaman Lal DAV Public School, Sector 11, Panchkula, asked the General that what he was doing for youngsters. A straight-faced kid even asked the General that why his officers did not go on surprise raids as he did. After this the Administrator was quizzed by another child as to why offices of the Administration were dirty. Another youngster brought up the issue of rash driving.

In his own fashion, the General replied all of them. Girls from Paragon School, SAS Nagar, presented giddha much to the delight of the General as he enjoyed the lively beats of the drums.


Clean your shoes please!
By Jaspal Bhatti

HARBHAJAN Singh and Virender Sehwag, members of the Indian cricket team, were fined 200 New Zealand dollars on reaching Auckland Airport because their shoes were not clean. Initially I thought that the Auckland Airport authorities had probably just cleaned up their floors after a long time and our two sporting heroes had stepped on the wet, cleaned floor with dirty shoes. But on going through the entire news I came to know that the shoes were in the luggage and were found dirty.

Bhajji and Sehwag are players, and for players to have their shoes dirty is an indication of their hard work. Instead, those players who were cleared with clean shoes should feel ashamed as they have not probably worked that hard in the field in the last series against the West Indies.

The Ministry of Agriculture in New Zealand has very strict rules and they do anything to prevent germs from coming through the dirt in shoes. They insist that visitors declare their dirty shoes.

India should also insist on checking the shoes of every visitor coming from New Zealand at the airport. Apart from this, any foreigner caught at New Delhi Airport without a bath should be fined heavily and forced to take a bath at the airport itself.

But I fear that someone might escape with gold or RDX in his shoes because our securitymen were busy checking only the cleanliness of the shoes.


3 villages included in Kharar MC
Our Correspondent

Kharar, December 5
The Delimitation Board for reorganising the wards of the local municipal committee for the coming municipal election scheduled for January 2003, finalised its report at a meeting held here yesterday. Mr Bir Devinder Singh, MLA, Kharar, said three villages Desumajra, Chajumajra and Fatehulapur had been included in the limits of the committee ever since the last municipal elections. He, too, was present at the meeting.


CBM flays police action

Chandigarh, December 5
The Chandigarh Beopar Mandal (CBM) today criticised the action of the police yesterday and justified the blocking of the Chandigarh-Panchkula road. The mandal also demanded FIRs registered against their members be immediately withdrawn and an inquiry into the use of force by the police for causing injuries to traders. TNS


Bid to snatch cash; cop booked
Tribune News Service

SAS Nagar, December 5
The SAS Nagar police today registered a case against a head constable of the Punjab police and his accomplice for trying to snatch a large amount of cash from a lottery shop-owner here today.

According to the information provided by Mr Harcharan Singh Bhullar, SP, head constable Harinder Singh, alias Harry, is posted in the police headquarters in the wireless department and is a son of a retired SP, Mr Balkar Singh. While Harinder Singh is at large, his accomplice Balwinder Singh, alias Bawa, a resident of Kajehri village, has been arrested by the police.

The two, according to Mr Bhullar, met the lottery dealer, Bittu Kumar, in Phase I today and taking advantage of the situation snatched Rs 45,000 from him. Bittu raised the alarm following which the police caught Balwinder Singh, while Harinder Singh ran away.

A case under Section 382 of the IPC has been registered against the two.


Flesh-trade racket busted; 4 held
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, December 5
The police today busted a flesh trade racket operating in Sector 16 here and arrested four persons, including a brother-sister duo.

The police had received information that Varinder, alias Neetu, and his sister, along with Rajiv Chaddha, were involved in this racket. Varinder would strike a deal with customers and they would charge anything between Rs 1,000 and Rs 5,000 from a client, informed DSP Desh Bandhu.

A client, Arun, was also arrested and a mobile phone and car (DL-3C-7110) were seized from them. A decoy customer was sent to the woman in house No. 221, Sector 16, with Rs 1,000 in cash. After the decoy had struck a deal, the raiding party led by DSP Desh Bandhu nabbed them. All suspects were booked under the Prevention of Immoral Trafficking Act.


CII village dismantled
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 5
The model village set up by the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) at the Circus Grounds as a part of its mega agri show, Agro Tech 2002, has proven to be a four-day wonder.

Set up at a cost of several lakhs, the model village has been dismantled within a couple of days of the conclusion of the four-day Agro Tech. At one time, the CII toyed with the idea of approaching the Governor, Lieut-Gen J.F.R. Jacob, who is also the Administrator of UT, for permission to allow it to showcase the model village for another month. But many of the exhibitors who had put up stalls at the village wanted their equipment back immediately. This forced the CII to fold up the show immediately.

The model village was created in response to the repeated criticism in the past that it had little to offer to the average farmers at its biennial AgroTech fairs. It sought to demonstrate how science and technology could be effectively and efficiently employed to create viable and prosperous Indian villages.

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