Friday, December 6, 2002, Chandigarh, India

L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


70 illegal structures razed in Kulliewal
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, December 5
Political pressure notwithstanding, the district administration today demolished atleast 70 illegal structures in Baba Jiwan Singh Nagar in the second phase of demolitions in Kulliewal village here.

The second phase came 20 days after the first phase when on November 16 some structures in Puneet Nagar were razed to the ground. The third phase would include demolitions in Swatantar Nagar and Sawan Vihar next week.

The demolitions started at around 10 a.m. when officials of the district administration including SDM, Bhavna Garg, SP, City-II Naunihal Singh Executive Magistrate Navdeep Singh Sidhu, and DSPs Snehdeep Sharma and Manjit Singh Dhesi reached the spot with JCB machines and a police force of over 100. The force from three police stations, including Vardhman, Focal Point and Basti Jodhewal were pressed into service.

A large crowd gathered at the site as the JCB machines started razing the illegal structures. Residents of the area, who were not even facing demolitions as the drive was only to demolish recent structures, were apprehensive and panicky as the administration had not cleared its stand on the old houses.

Anger and disappointment was writ large on the faces of residents, who had bought plots on instalments from some private persons. Some residents said when they used to visit officials of the Revenue Department to ensure that the sellers were actual owners they used to answer in the positive. They demanded action against these officials.

Some of the residents alleged that those who had sold land to them fraudulently were still seen in the crowd even as cases were registered against them at Focal Point police station under Sections 420, 447, 467, 468, 471, 120-B of the IPC in the same land scam. They demanded that the houses of these persons, who had sold the government land, should also be demolished.

The demolition squad today razed foundations and constructions till the plinth level besides some kutcha houses and abandoned rooms. The residents were seen asking mediapersons as well as officials of the administration about the fate of their houses.

The police had made elaborate arrangements to maintain peace in the area as cops were positioned all around. Even the PCR men had blocked the main route.

It is worth mentioning here that a demolition squad had also reached the area yesterday but had to return due to some technical problems. The visit of the Mayor, Mr Nahar Singh Gill, to these colonies day before yesterday is also being seen as reason for recalling the demolition squad.

The Deputy Commissioner, Mr Anurag Aggarwal, however, stated that he was not facing any political pressure. He said the demolitions were delayed because there was no force available.



Convict, wife to withdraw plea
Jupinderjit Singh
Tribune News Service.

Ludhiana, December 5
The case of life-imprisonment convict Dr Sunil Daniel and his Yamunanagar-based wife Kalpana Daniel, who had submitted a highly controversial application popular as a unique‘ right to motherhood’ plea today took a complete U-turn, when the couple decided to withdraw the application.

The decision of the couple was conveyed to TNS in an exclusive interview at Central Jail here today by Dr Sunil Daniel himself. Investigations, meanwhile, reveal that the couple already has a two-year- old daughter. The couple got married in 1999. The convict lived with his wife for about eight parole leaves or 36 weeks. The application to the commission had stated that the woman wanted to bear a child of her husband and wanted parole leave. The Tribune had, however, exposed that the couple had ‘hidden’ relevant facts about the case while submitting the first ever application of a woman seeking ‘right to cohabit’ with his convicted wife. The case was evoking immense interest among the media and social workers for the past 10 days.

Dr Sunil Daniel reached Central Jail here late last evening after completing a fresh four-week long parole leave, in which he lived with his wife. Admitting the folly of submitting a controversial application of ‘right to motherhood’ before the Punjab Human Rights Commission (PHRC) Dr Sunil Daniel said his wife would be writing to the commission regarding their fresh decision.

A nervous Dr Daniel said his wife had written the application at the behest of some non-governmental organisations. He said the controversy was unwarranted. They had filed the application in August to verify if something of this sort could be done. He claimed they had no intention of hiding the facts and it just happened.

Meanwhile, as per the directions of the PHRC, the ADGP(Prisons) Mr R.S. Chalia has started the process of filing a reply to the commission regarding the application. Mr G.S. Sidhu, Superintendent, Central Jail, has been told to send the case details.

Mr Sidhu told TNS that for them the case was of no consequence. ‘‘No doubt, the application has raised several important questions but it was not applicable in Punjab. The convicts here can have two parole leaves of six weeks or four weeks each term. They can have emergency parole leaves also.’’

Mr Sidhu said the application was wrong. ‘‘We have nothing against Dr Daniel. In fact, we hold him high esteem because of his conduct in the jail. However, he has concealed relevant facts. He has been out on parole for over eight weeks since his marriage three years ago and also have a daughter as well ’’.

Dr Daniel was a picture of confusion and nervousness today. Though convicted to life imprisonment or 14 years as the case may be, he’ll only have to live in jail for about three years more, if he gets all remissions. He was worried about the adverse effects of the application filed before the commission.

‘‘It was all misunderstanding. We had no intention to hide the facts and just made the plea without much thought ’’ he maintains.

Dr Sunil Daniel was working with Christian Medical College and Hospital (CMCH), when he murdered his first wife and was convicted some years ago.

Ms Kalpana Daniel, who works in the clinic of her sister in Yamunanagar had moved the PHRC seeking cohabitation with her incarcerated husband. The complaint was the first of its kind, which was being seen as a unique case posing serious constitutional questions. The PHRC calling for a debate on the issue called the plea as ‘‘quite interesting and having relevance on basic human rights’’. The commission had also directed the Additional Director General of Police (Prisons) Punjab to study the matter from all possible angles, keeping in view the Jail Manual.

It had also observed that the manual provides the prisoners permission to go on parole leave for harvesting or sowing purposes or for some domestic work for urban prisoners. It is to be seen if the prisoner can be let off on parole for cohabitation or not.



Infant’s body does a vanishing act
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, December 5
An unidentified and badly mutilated body of an infant vanished from the abandoned premises of the old jail near the civil hospital minutes after its recovery late last evening.

A massive search operation conducted by the police and residents of the area last night as well as this morning didn’t result in any trace of the body. The police stopped the search operations late in the afternoon, announcing that the maximum possible search had been conducted, but the body could not be traced.

The greatest proof of the recovery of the body was its pictures taken by some mediapersons late at night. These were published in some vernacular newspapers today.

Interestingly, the police did not register any case regarding the mysterious recovery and disappearance of the body.

DSP Sandeep Goel said the police had not received any complaint in this regard. He refused to admit the photographs as evidence. He claimed that the police could not register a case on its own and no case could be registered on the statement of a policeman.

According to eyewitnesses, which included some press photographers, who did not wish to be identified, the body, having only the torso intact and without any legs or limbs was spotted in bushes on the abandoned jail premises. The eyewitnesses added that a cloth was tied around its neck.

They further said after they reported about the body to the police, it was already late and the police could not find anything in the bushes of the jail because it did not have a proper lighting system.

The residents said a few minutes earlier, some children had spotted the body in the jail and had reported it to some elders, who had also seen it in the bushes, but when the police arrived on the scene, there was nothing at the spot.

The thick bushes and wild vegetation on the jail premises has always been a favourite haunt for criminals, especially those who commit crimes against children. A few months ago, a number of bodies of children were recovered from the premises one after the other, who had been killed by a serial killer.

The police had set up a post here to discourage anti-social elements after the sodomy and killing incidents of young children. Last year, the area was cleaned and all vegetation was removed. The residents said the police had started ignoring the area and so the incident had occurred.



Of planned insolvency and betrayal
Vimal Sumbly
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, December 5
The city-based financier who duped hundreds of investors and businessmen of several crores had planned his reported insolvency so well that he did not even leave his property for the creditors to benefit from. In the process, he even ruthlessly betrayed his friends whom he contacted for financial help. After receiving money for distress sale he lodged complaints with the police and later even obtained a stay on the transfer of possession of one such property on the ground that he had never sold it.

Apparently, the said financier masterminded his insolvency after he realised that he could not recover the money he had lent out on high rate of interest. The bubble burst when nearly 100 investors panicked and demanded their money back. Conveniently, to get the investors heat off himself, he pointed at the people who had purchased his property, saying, “I do not own anything, get the property back and you can share its value”.

Preliminary investigations reveal what can only be termed as the tip of the iceberg. Information at this point shows that there are at least 12 persons in the city alone to whom the financier lent heavily. The figures cross the Rs 20-crore mark. Some lendings are as much as Rs 8 crore to one individual. There are many others who owe the financier over Rs 1 crore each. Interestingly, these people are the happiest with the financier’s insolvency as they will not have to pay back now. Many of them, when approached by the said financier, refused to pay back, forcing the financier’s business to collapse.

On the other hand, those who invested with the financier find themselves cornered as most of the investments are black money and cannot be accounted for. A city businessman and financier, who had invested with the tainted investor, has lost Rs 7.3 crore, while a weighbridge owner has lost Rs 5.5 crore. There are many individuals who had invested over Rs 1 crore with the financier after collecting money from people on smaller interest rates.

Revenue officials, it is learnt, have drawn out a list of 27 persons whom it wants to interrogate in connection with the scam. But what is intriguing is that the list has been made in consultation with one of the persons who has lost the most in the scam. People who have lost money suggest that some understanding has been reached at between the officials and the victims, with the latter allegedly promising some gratification to the officials out of the money they are able to recover from the financier and the people who owe money to the financier. One such person is believed to be having close business ties with a senior revenue official.

There are serious allegations over the manner in which the tainted financier managed to get a stay over taking of possession of his house by the person who had purchased it after getting the sale deed of the house registered before the registrar. Photographic and other evidence shows that five persons, 3 women and 2 men, including the tainted financiers, had voluntarily signed the transfer papers of the house before the officials, but denied having done so later.

It is also learnt that a lot of money procured by the tainted financier has found its way into Mumbai, where some of it is being used to finance Bollywood movies. Again, one of the financier’s girlfriends on the city has reportedly got a role from the silver screen directly due to the financial help offered to a film director by the tainted financier.

During October and November this year, the said financier is said to have collected over Rs 20 crore from Ludhiana alone by luring people through his touts, who brought potential investors to the financier’s farmhouse, where he through lavish parties. Several politicians, bureaucrats, police personnel and doctors are said to be among those who have lost large amounts of money in this scam.



Lecturer urged to resume duty
Tribune Reporters

Ludhiana, December 5
Assuring strict action against culprits, the Principal of the Government College for Boys today urged Ms Anurag Gill, a lecturer in the Department of English, to resume duty and withdraw her resignation.

Trying to strike a cordial note, the letter said, “You are an honourable member of the faculty. I fully understand and appreciate your state of mind that prompted you to pen down your resignation.” The letter added that a probe was in progress and the guilty would be punished.

The letter said, “It is needless to say that your association with the Alma Mater spreads over more than four years. You have been a student in the English faculty which holds you in high esteem. Please resume your duty. I assure you full cooperation and look forward to welcoming you in the college.” However, Ms Gill is learnt to have declined the offer. The letter which was delivered by hand to her was reportedly returned saying, “Sorry I won’t be able to resume my duty.”

Meanwhile, Mr K.B.S. Sodhi, a former president of the Punjab and Chandigarh College Teachers’ Union (PCCTU), has urged Ms Surinder Kaur Grewal, Chairperson, Punjab State Women’s Commission, Chandigarh, to take action against culprits responsible for the resignation of Ms Gill. In a letter sent today, Mr Sodhi said sexual harassment of women lecturers, serving in boys and co-educational colleges was rampant. Obscene caricatures and scribblings on blackboards, walls, desks and even lecturer stands put them in embarrassing situations and caused mental torture. 



Probe misappropriation of funds: PCMSA
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, December 5
The PCMS Association has demanded a high-level inquiry into the alleged misappropriation of funds to establish the Punjab Health System Corporation (PHSC) and to disband the same.

Dr Hardeep Singh, president of the association, in a press note, said today that the PHSC had been established with a loan of Rs 418 crore from the World Bank for upgrading secondary healthcare in the state. He said, “Fragmentation of secondary healthcare from primary healthcare (that was comprehensive, supported by secondary and tertiary levels) is clear-cut deviation from the Alam-Ata declaration of “Health for all” without any economic discrimination to a large population caught in vicious cycle of poverty and ill health. A derivation from a functional comprehensive welfare sector to only preventive primary-level care (in isolation from all other supportive services) and privatisation of the existing curative infrastructure through the introduction of user fees and the opening up of public sector institutions, especially hospitals, to private investment, the PHSC, for curative healthcare is not in the ultimate interest of the people of the Punjab, the doctors or other Health Department employees”.

Dr Balwinder Kumar, general secretary of the association, said there had been no improvement in patient care and the healthcare delivery system after the establishment of the PHSC. In fact, the money had been wasted on unnecessary renovation of the buildings which required only some repair. An unavoidable expenditure was being done on the establishment of luxurious offices. He alleged, “An undue heavy non-medical establishment has been created, giving larger salaries and re-employment to several personnel, although there is no dearth of experienced health professionals available with the Health Department.”

The PCMSA suggested that the remaining World Bank loan should be utilised through the Directorate of Health Services. Fragmentation of secondary healthcare curative from comprehensive primary healthcare should be stopped, with increase in health budget allocation for this service sector to fulfil the goal of health to all.

A foolproof drug purchase policy conducive to the needs of the people should be framed so as to purchase the commonest of commonly used drugs of best quality at the most competitive market rates. The members also demanded decentralisation of purchases upto the level of Civil Surgeons of the districts and SMOs of civil hospitals, community health centres and primary health centres. 



Recruitment on compassionate grounds restored 
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, December 5
The Municipal Corporation has restored the facility of providing job to an eligible member of the family on compassionate grounds in case of death of a serving employee. This assurance was given by the MC Commissioner, Mr S.K. Sharma, to a deputation of Sangharsh Committee of MC employees, which met him at his office today under the leadership of its convener, Mr Hans Raj Gagat.

The policy of recruitment on compassionate grounds in death cases was being followed in all government departments and local bodies in Punjab but the government had imposed a ban a couple of months ago, causing widespread resentment among civic employees all over the state. The Sangharsh Committee, representing major unions of the MC employees, according to Mr Gagat, had been agitating against the government decision and responding to the genuine demands of the employees the ban on such recruitment was withdrawn by the government.

However, pending some clarifications and guidelines of the government in this regard, the MC had not given effect to the revised policy and a large number of cases of employing a family member each of the deceased employees were pending. The delegation of the committee was given an assurance that the pending cases that could be decided at local level would be disposed of immediately and for others approval of the Local Bodies Department would be sought.

The activists of the committee also raised the issue of the system of contract labour for sanitation in the city and demanded that the policy be immediately scrapped.



PSEB engineers up in arms
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, December 5
Engineers of the Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB) in this region abstained from their offices between 12 and 1.30 pm to voice their protest against the unceremonious transfer of Er. Padamjeet Singh, Chief Engineer (System Operations), at Patiala and ‘victimisation’ against Er. M.S. Bajwa, president, PSEB Engineers Association.

According to Er. Paramjeet Singh Dhaliwal, regional secretary of the Ludhiana region, all officers from the rank of SDO to Chief Engineer participated in a protest meeting held at the rest house in the main office here. Speakers accused the PSEB management of playing into the hands of the corrupt ‘bureaucracy’. Er. Jaswant Singh Zaffar, member of central executive of the association, said that Er. Padamjeet Singh had to face the wrath of management for giving preference to the interest of the board and the nation and his refusal to ‘dance to the tune’ of bureaucrats.

Activists of the PSEB Engineers Association further observed that the ‘victimised’ Chief Engineer was known for his integrity and sincere working in the power sector.



Donate generously on Flag Day: DC
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, December 5
The Deputy Commissioner, Mr Anurag Aggarwal, has appealed to residents of the city to donate generously on Flag Day, which would be observed on December 7 to make the day a big success.

In a statement here yesterday, Mr Aggarwal observed that Ludhiana district had the proud privilege of producing finest soldiers, who had valiantly fought to safeguard the frontiers of the country and thus, had been responsible for preserving the freedom, sovereignty and integrity of the nation.

“Flag Day” is an occasion for the entire nation to honour its uniformed martyrs, for their supreme sacrifices as well as to salute the valiant members of armed forces, both serving and veterans. The days collections are utilised for the welfare of serving soldiers, ex-servicemen and war widows, Mr Aggarwal added.



Couple hurt in kitchen fire
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, December 5
Raju, 26, and his 22-year-old wife Deep Mala sustained burn injuries after a kerosene container fell accidentally on a burning stove in their Kishore Nagar house here on Tuesday . The injured couple has been admitted to the Civil Hospital.

According to information, the kerosene container fell on the stove from the hands of Deep Mala who immediately caught fire. The husband got injured when he tried to put off the flames with his hands.



Manch takes up helmet issue

LUDHIANA: The International Sikh Dharam Parchar Manch has taken strong exception to the directions of the Punjab and Haryana High Court making it compulsory for all women driving two-wheelers to wear helmets.

Manch president Gurdeep Singh Leel has submitted memoranda to the President of India, the Union Home Minister and the Chairman of the Minorities Commission, demanding exemption to all Sikh women from wearing helmet on religious grounds. OC


Major power cut on Dec 7
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, December 5
Power supply to the areas fed by the extension feeder in Model Town Extension, including Shastri Nagar, Nehru Nagar and Pritam Nagar, would remain shutdown on December 7 from 9 am to 2 pm. Similarly, 11 kv Daba Road feeder, 11 kv Kot Mangal Singh feeder and 11 kv estate feeder in Janta Nagar division would also be shutdown on December 7 from 9 am to 5 pm for urgent maintenance work. As a result, power supply to New Janta Nagar, Daba Road, Daba Colony, Ranjit Nagar, Kot Mangal Singh, Gurpal Nagar, New Amar Nagar, Guru Angad Colony, Durga Nagar and Dashmesh Nagar street nos 8, 12, 13 and 14 would be affected during this period.



Gang selling fake stamp papers busted
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, December 5
The CIA staff on Wednesday nabbed four members of an inter-state gang which was involved in selling fake stamp papers and recovered fake 100-rupee stamp papers worth Rs 25,000 from them. The arrested men include Deepak Chaudhery , the kingpin of the racket who ran his countrywide operations from Delhi. Preliminary interrogation of the arrested men has revealed that the gang was active in Chandigarh, Delhi, Punjab and Haryana where the members had established a fine network of agents and sub-agents who bought a fake 100-rupee stamp paper for Rs 10 only and sold the same to stamp paper sellers for Rs 50. These fake stamp papers have been used extensively in several sale deeds that have taken place in Punjab in the recent past.

Others who have been arrested along with Deepak Chaudhery are Balraj Gupta, Pritpal Singh and Rakesh Bansal, all of whom belong to the city. The arrests were made at a naka at the Sunet bridge where a that was being car driven by the accused was intercepted.

Suicide: Hira Masih, a resident of Chander Nagar and employed in the DMC Hospital, who had been admitted to the hospital in a serious condition after he tried to commit suicide by consuming some poisonous substance on Sunday, breathed his last here on Tuesday. The deceased was reported to be under heavy debt.

Doctor booked: The Model Town police has registered a case against a Model Town- based private practitioner for misleading a rickshaw puller about the treatment of his daughter suffering from burn injuries. Yash Pal, a rickshaw-puller, who lives in Karnail Singh Nagar, had complained to the police that the doctor had struck a deal with him for Rs 10,000 for treating his daughter's burn injuries. He alleged that so far, he had spent more than Rs 20,000 and his daughter was still undergoing treatment not fully cured.

Security beefed up: The police has been posted outside Shri Satyanarayan Mandir on the Jassian Road in Haibowal following reports of tension between two groups wanting to take possession of the temple. The situation is still reported to be tense although attempts to diffuse tension by striking a compromise between the warring factions are also under way. The police would continue to be deployed till an amicable solution to the current imbroglio is found .

Three injured: Three persons were injured in separate road accidents yesterday. The Division Number five police registered a case against an unknown car driver who allegedly knocked down the scooter being driven by Mr Jagdeep Singh, a resident of Dhamot village, and injured him.

The Focal Point police registered a hit-and-run case against an unknown car driver who allegedly hit Chamkaur Singh , a resident of Dhandari Kalan, and fled after injuring him. The case has been registered on the complaint of Mr Pargat Singh, brother of the accident victim.

On the complaint of Mr Ajit Singh, a resident of Kitchlu Nagar, the Division Number eight police has registered a case against an unknown car driver who allegedly hit his scooter and injured him.



Gold necklace stolen from temple
Our Correspondent

Machhiwara, December 5
A gold necklace weighing 50 grams was stolen from Sri Durga Shakti Mandir, located near Triveni Chowk, here today. The necklace was part of the jewellery on the idol of Durga Mata.

Talking to Ludhiana Tribune, the priest of the mandir, Mr Jawahar Lal, said he found the necklace missing when he came to worship the idol after the “aarti” in the evening.

The local police visited the temple after the incident. Mr Anil Sood, president of the Nagar Panchayat, and other members of the Mandir Committee also visited the scene. It is reportedly the first incident of theft in any temple here.



Youth commits suicide
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, December 5
Unemployment and poverty forced a 20-year-old wrestler to commit suicide in his village, Dholanwal in Kum Kalan police station here last night.

The youth, Lakhbir Singh Lakhi, committed suicide by hanging himself from a tree. According to family sources, Lakhbir was a matriculate and wanted to join the Indian Army as a soldier. But he could not get recruitment and was disillusioned.

His father, a poor farmer in the village, got him the job of a watchman after talking to the villagers. But it was very difficult for him to make both ends meet with his meagre salary. So he committed suicide.

His family members said he was upset over the joblessness for the past some days. He was trying to secure a job at a number of places but to no avail. He had shared his feelings with his father who could not make out that he actually wanted to end his life. Last night he hanged himself from a tree and his body was found in the wee hours today. A post-mortem was conducted.


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