Saturday, January 4, 2003, Chandigarh, India

N C R   S T O R I E S


Was the leopard a farmhouse pet?
Smriti Kak
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, January 3
The Delhi Police are trying to ascertain whether the leopard that was carted out of a plywood factory in Neb Sarai yesterday was being kept as a pet in one of the farmhouses in Mehrauli.

According to the Forest Department sources, there is evidence to suggest that the animal may have been a pet. “ The animal had clipped nails, for instance, which is an indication that it was a pet,’’ said the sources. It is also pointed out that the animal was, “well-fed and strong” and not as agile as wild leopards are deemed to be.

The police have begun questioning a few farm house owners to verify the facts. Deputy Conservator of Forest and Wild Life Officer, Delhi Government, Dr Vipin Behari, told the NCR Tribune that the paws of the animal have been sent for forensic examination to ascertain whether it was a pet animal. The forensic report would be submitted soon.

One question that has everyone baffled is where did the five-and-a-half-year-old male leopard come from.

“The animal may have come from the Asola mines, which is close to the place. There is another possibility that the animal might have escaped from any of the farmhouses in the area where it might have been kept illegally,” said Mr. Ashok Kumar, Trustee and Senior Advisor, Wildlife Trust of India (WTI).

Kumar added, “The wildlife habitat of Delhi is improving, there is a strong possibility that the animal came from the region around the Mangar hills in Haryana. The hills are known to have a leopard population. In fact, about 10 years ago, a forest officer, Tarun Kumar, had pointed out that there may be leopards in Asola mines as he had seen some pugmarks in the area”.

Many are also of the opinion that the leopard might have been an illegal detainee. “Some people like to bring up cubs and once they grow up there are caged. Instances of wild animals fleeing captivity are rare, but not impossible”, said Kumar. 



Sedated leopard was shot at thrice, allowed to die
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, January 3
The leopard that made a startling entry into a farmhouse yesterday succumbed to bullet injuries this morning. According to the zoo authorities, the leopard was hit by stray bullets fired by the police personnel who had been summoned to catch the wild animal.

The zoo authorities however maintain that they found out about the bullet injuries only after the post-mortem was conducted. “There were no external injuries that could have revealed the bullet shots. No blood was oozing, except from the thigh, where the animal must have grazed himself. We treated the external injury and waited for the tranquilliser to wear off,” said Dr Panneer Selvem, the Delhi Zoo veterinary official.

The animal was reportedly shot at least thrice, but only one bullet was recovered after the post-mortem examination. “The animal had more than three internal bullet injuries, but we could locate just one bullet that was embedded in the thoracic cavity. The intestines and the lungs were ruptured and the liver and kidneys also bore injury marks,” said Dr Selvem said.

“After giving him the necessary medical aid, we left the animal to sleep at about 11.30 in the night. This morning, when we went in to check on him, we found him dead”, said Dr Selvem.

However the claims are being questioned. “This is rubbish, how can there be no external injuries if a bullet has pierced the body of an animal. There is something fishy about the whole thing”, said former Environment Minister, Ms. Maneka Gandhi.

Senior Advisor, Wildlife Trust of India (WTI), Ashok Kumar pointed out, “A bullet always leaves a mark on the body. The region around the wound is burnt and acquires a blackish colour. Even the blood changes colour.’’

The police had fired the shots after the animal tried to jump off the wall. The authorities maintain that the bullets and the tranquilliser were fired simultaneously. “When the tranquilliser shot was given, the animal jumped and tried to leap. The police fired at that moment and stray bullets hit the animal,” said the Zoo Director, Mr. D S Bonal.

He went on to add, “We all tried our best to save the animal and the intention was not to kill him. However, it is sad that stray bullets, which were fired by the police, hit the animal. The police fired to stop the animal from escaping into the city, after all we can’t afford to have a wild animal running loose”.

Additional Deputy Commissioner of Police (South district) Praveer Ranjan said that the police fired three to four bullets at the leopard as it had become violent.

Under the Wild Life Act, the police should have taken permission before firing at the leopard. But last evening permission was not taken from the authorities even though they were present on the spot.

The Wild Life Department will conduct an inquiry into the case and, if need be, a case can be registered against the police.



‘It was like finding an elephant in an oven’
Smriti Kak
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, January 3
Dr Kartick Satyanarayan, who runs a NGO, Wildlife SOS, refused to believe that a leopard had been spotted in a farmhouse. “ It’s like saying that an elephant has been found in your microwave. I was just not prepared to see a leopard. In fact, I went with my dog catchers, thinking it will probably be a big cat or something”, recalled Satyanarayan, who incidentally received a bullet injury in his leg.

The leopard jumped at the group that had assembled to rescue him. “We were wearing bullet-proof jackets and combat gear to save ourselves but the leopard managed to rip off my jacket”, he added.

The leopard, after escaping from the farmhouse, went in to a furniture factory, where it was eventually shot. “There was this huge corridor with a small room at the end. This is where the leopard went in and hid himself behind a generator”, said Satyanarayan.

He adds, “We had taken a high wooden door with us and wanted to stop the animal from escaping. The leopard tried to jump over a wall, they can easily jump as high as eight feet”.

Satyanarayan received a stray bullet in his thigh. “ I was hit by a bullet when the police fired to prevent the animal from escaping. It is really sad that we lost the animal”. 



Cops attempt to water down rape case
Parmindar Singh

Noida, January 3
A young woman raped in Nangla Uggersen village in Bulandshahr was not sent for a medical examination by the local police who had allegedly tried to dilute the crime from ‘rape’ to an ‘attempt to rape’.

The police had felt that by not sending the victim for a medical examination, they could perhaps get away with filing a case of mere ‘attempt to rape’. The young girl was reportedly raped at gun-point by the accused.

In fact, two young girls were raped within 24 hours in two villages under Bibi Nagar police station. The cases have not been registered so far. The police have an indifferent attitude when it comes to filing cases, the local villagers alleged.

This has angered the people who held a massive dharna at the office of the SSP Bulandshahr, demanding strict action against the Bibi Nagar police station incharge for allegedly winking at the crime.

In a memorandum given to Addl. SP Beena Mukesh, the villagers have called for strong action against the cops ‘siding’ with the culprits.

The villagers alleged that in response to the Chief Minister’s orders to check crime, the police decided not to register cases at all which included heinous crimes like rape, murder, loot etc.

The policemen of Bibi Nagar police station reportedly got jittery when the report of a rape in Akapur Tiyana village was followed by yet another report of rape of a young girl of Nangla Uggarsen village.

The police felt that by not sending the victim for a medical examination, they could perhaps dilute the case.

Besides, the police had allegedly made the girl’s father sign on some papers.

The father alleged that the police station incharge had been calling his daughter to the police station for many days on the pretext of getting her medically examined. The policeman would make her wait throughout the day and then eventually send her back in the evening, telling her to report the next day.

Now, SP Bina Mukesh has issued orders for getting the victim medically examined and filing of a relevant case under sections of rape in the Bibi Nagar police station.



Mewat women find it easier now to bring 
home the bacon
Ravi S. Singh

Energy cakes.Nuh (Gurgaon), January 3
The production and usage of ‘energy cakes’ have brought cheer to the women of Mewat, one of the most backward areas of Haryana.
The energy cakes are being produced by Self-Help Groups, constituted exclusively by women with the help of non-government organisations and under the auspices of Mewat Development Agency (MDA), a body created by the Haryana government for speedy and integrated development of Mewat.

The MDA chairman, Mr S.A. Khan, said that the production and usage of the cakes could have a revolutionary effect on the women, both in terms of their health and economic regeneration. The concept of SHGs was devised by the MDA to train women in various vocational courses. The philosophy behind the scheme, financed by International Fund for Agriculture Development (IFAD), a body of the United Nations Organisation (UNO), was to empower the women socially and financially.

The MDA provides the training with the help of voluntary organisations and also helps them procure loans from banks to set up business. It also intervenes to help the groups market their products.

According to Dr A.K. Singh, the chief of Energy Research Application, a voluntary organisation listed with the MDA and which provides technical advice to the SHGs on the issue, production of energy cakes, a value-added product from agricultural wastes, is a simple and clean technology capable of generating income and employment. Apart from being easy to handle, transport and use, this technology gives an enhanced quality of clean energy source for cooking, heating, drying, etc, he added. With several SHGs getting involved in the production, consumption and usage of energy cakes, many people appear to be coming into the fold of the experiment. The fact that the SHGs are active in all the five blocs of Mewat, has helped the MDA’s cause.

According to Mrs Bhagwani Devi, a leader of one such SHG, the usage has helped the women and children save time on looking for twigs and woods for burning ‘chullahs’. With already finished fuel goods available, they save that much more time for some recreational activity. Moreover, it saves them from toxic elements in the smoke emitted from burning the traditional fuels of cowdung and woods in the chullahs. The energy cakes do not emit any smoke. Also, the villagers cut trees and plants as fuel. With the trend of using the energy cakes, there are reports of less drain on the flora of the area.



Industry lukewarm to drive against illegal settlers
Pradeep Sharma
Tribune News Service

Panipat, January 3
The drive to flush out illegal Bangladeshis, launched by the police with much fanfare in October last year, seems to have come a cropper due to the lackadaisical attitude of the police and, more important, due to the alleged unwillingness of the powerful exporters and manufacturers of the handloom products to register the Bangladeshis workers under the Foreigners Registration Act.

Employing Bangladeshis labour has certain inherent advantages. Besides being proficient in their trade, the workers are cheaper to hire than their Indian counterparts. As mostly they are illegal immigrants, they can be sacked without difficulty. At least, there are no labour unions to take up their case. The police, it will be recalled, had arrested 21 illegal Bangladeshis from an export house on October 7 and released some of them on personal bonds. When the media focussed on their illegal sojourn, the police again rounded up a few immigrants and produced them in a local court.

At that time the SP, Ms Mamta Singh, had directed the DSPs and the SHOs to get tough with the illegal immigrants and flush them out of factories. However, no illegal immigrants seem to have been booked by the police even three months after the drive was launched.

Speaking to the ‘NCR Tribune’, a middle-rung police official conceded that flushing out the immigrants was not top priority as their hands were full.

He also discounted their role in disruptive activities. Intelligence agencies like the IB and the CID do keep a track of their movement, he disclosed. There was a knee-jerk police reaction in 2001 when five Bangladeshis were burnt alive in a factory on the GT Road. But the drive to identify the settlers soon fizzled out.

It is learnt that a majority of the Bangladeshis are living under assumed names. While a large number of illegal immigrants were staying on the factories premises, others put up in rented accommodation. As landlords are not obliged to furnish details about the tenants, there is no check on the settlers.

A top exporter contended that since labour was supplied by the contractors, they had no inkling about the workers’ nationality. Also it was difficult to distinguish them from their West Bengal counterparts.



No bar on impounding autos without e-meters
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, January 3
The Delhi High Court on Friday stayed the impounding of those autorickshaws in the city that have not been converted to CNG mode. The court, however, allowed the Government of NCT of Delhi’s agencies to seize those autorickshaws not fitted with electronic meters.

Justice A.K. Sikri granted the partial stay on a petition by some autorickshaw drivers who had alleged that the government was threatening to impound their vehicles for failing to convert them to CNG mode. The court sought the government’s reply by January 29 limiting it to the issue of conversion to CNG mode. “The authorities shall be entitled to impound those vehicles which are not fitted with electronic meters,” the court said and clarified that the stay in respect of conversion to CNG mode was given because a petition on the issue was pending before the court.



Huge haul of spurious drugs
Our Correspondent

Ghaziabad, January 3
In one of the biggest haul of spurious drugs in recent months, the Ghaziabad Police have seized drugs worth Rs 2.5 crore following a raid in Loni in Sahibabad area and arrested one person, claiming to be the owner of the drug manufacturing unit.

Ghaziabad SSP Chandra Prakash said the police raided the unit located on the Tilla Moad-Nitauli Road, about 50 yards from the police check post, following the arrest of one Jitender, alias Jeetu, on a tip-off.

Police sources said Jitender was arrested on Nitiual Road while he was driving a Maruti car (DL3C 3762) to deliver a consignment in Delhi and Agra.

During questioning, sources said he informed the location of the manufacturing unit, from were the drugs of popular brands were recovered. The police also found a number of bags packed for delivery, wrappers, printers and other equipment.

Police sources said Jitender appears to be only a small fry in the whole operation.



Hooda sees Cong making waves
Our Correspondent

Sonepat, January 3
Mr Krishan Moorti Hooda, a former Haryana minister and spokesman of the Haryana Pradesh Congress Committee, has claimed that a Congress wave is sweeping the state as people were fed up with the Indian National Lok Dal (INLD) government, headed by Mr Om Prakash Chautala, and they were rallied behind Mr Bhajan Lal, former Chief Minister and the HPCC president.

In a signed press statement issued here, he alleged that Mr Chautala was in the habit of misleading the people against the Congress but he would never succeed in his attempts to cause a rift in the party.

He claimed that the base of the Congress has been strengthened under the leadership of Mr Bhajan Lal.

Mr Hooda claimed that the Congress was an alternative to the INLD and it would come into power on its own in the next assembly elections in the state.

He also predicted that the Congress would win all the 10 Lok Sabha seats in Haryana and would form its own government under the leadership of Mrs Sonia Gandhi, president of the All India Congress Committee (AICC).

He said that the Congress could alone deliver goods and provide corruption-free government in the state.

Mr Bhajan Lal, he said, was the leader of 36 biradaris and the people of the state were rallied behind him.

Referring to the foreign tours of the Chief Minister, the Congress leader alleged that Mr Chautala was befooling the people in this regard as none of the foreign industrialists has shown interest to set up his unit in the state.

He alleged that Mr Chautala had misused the public funds for taking the party legislators to foreign countries.

He reminded Mr Chautala that the entrepreneurs of his state had already closed down their units and shifting them to other states to save themselves from the wrath of Mr Chautala who was minting money by threatening them with dire consequences if they failed to give money as ‘bribe’.

He urged the Chief Minister to issue a white paper on his foreign tours during the past three and a half years and provide detailed information about the public funds used on these tours.

The Congress leader alleged that the state government had failed to allot adequate funds for giving compensation to the drought-hit farmers for their kharif crops.

Expressing concern over the increasing unemployment in the state, Mr Hooda said that if the Congress came into power in the next election, it would create more job opportunities for the educated youths.

He predicted that Haryana would become the first state in the country in providing jobs to lakhs of jobless persons if the Congress came to power.



South Haryana leaders to rally behind Bhajan Lal
Our Correspondent

Rewari, January 3
Almost all prominent Congress leaders of South Haryana have joined hands and resolved to work for the success of the HPCC president Bhajan Lal’s rally in Rewari on January 12. In an announcement here yesterday, they claimed that it would be a historic rally.

These leaders included Capt. Ajay Singh Yadav, MLA (Rewari) and deputy leader of the Haryana Congress Legislature Party (HCLP), Rao Narendra Singh, MLA (Ateli and general secretary of HPCC, Rao Dharam Pal, MLA (Sohna) and senior vice-president of HPCC, Mrs Anita Yadav, MLA (Salhawas) and president of Haryana Mahila Congress, Mrs Shakuntala Bhagwaria, former minister and vice-president of HPCC, former Union minister Col. Ram Singh, former minister Rao Nihal Singh and a host of other state and district level functionaries.

At the invitation of Capt. Ajay Singh Yadav, principal organiser of the rally, they all came to participate in a largely attended party activists’ meeting here yesterday.

Describing the SYL canal as the lifeline of South Haryana, speaker after speaker at the meeting, emphasised the urgency of making the rally, a massive show of strength and unity of the people of South Haryana to secure for their cause the espousal of the HPCC chief Bhajan Lal who, they claimed, was making earnest efforts to seek the intervention of the Union government for an expeditious solution to the SYL tangle. Former Union minister Col Ram Singh wanted the rally to be on the pattern of the historic Rewari rally of late Rajiv Gandhi on May 14, 1991.

Without naming South Haryana’s two other Congress legislators—Rao Inderjit Singh (Jatusana) and Rao Dan Singh (Mahendragarh), who had so far remained aloof from the rally organisers, HPCC senior vice-president Rao Dharam Pal told the party activists that their ‘negative’ approach would be thwarted by the people’s massive participation in the rally.



Yet another all-party meet on SYL 
Tribune News Service

Faridabad, January 3
The Haryana Chief Minister, Mr Om Prakash Chautala, has convened an all-party meeting on the ‘SYL issue’ on January 14, but will it bear fruit, seems to be the question hogging the minds of the people, aware of the problem.

Though the state government has announced to hold the meeting on January 11, a day before the last day (January 15) for completing the pending work of SYL, as directed by the Supreme Court, the authorities are yet to release the agenda.

It may be recalled that the Haryana government had also held a similar meeting last year but it ended without any result, claimed various leaders.

Moreover, there was also no agenda prepared before the last meeting. The Haryana Janata Dal president, Mr Ved Prakash Vidrohi, had described the last meeting as only a political ‘drama’ enacted by the ruling INLD government.

He said that only 108 persons, which included 57 leaders of the INLD, had attended the so-called meeting, just to have tea. He said that an all-party meeting should have only one leader (president or general secretary) invited for discussions and not all the political workers be asked to complete the quorum.

He also claimed that leaders of the JD, the SP and Lok Jansakti were not invited in the earlier meeting. Commenting upon the proposed meeting, he said it seems that the Chief Minister wants to gather the crowd again to get political mileage.

He said that the Chief Minister should come out clearly as to what he plans to do if the Punjab government fails to do its work.

The announcement of the Congress leaders Mr Bhajan Lal and Mr Bhupinder Singh Hooda, the Haryana Vikas Party and the RPI MLA, Mr Karan Dal to boycott the meeting seems to have put a question mark on the success of the proposed meeting. Political experts feel that none of the leading parties appeared serious on the issue.

Quoting some examples, they say when there was SAD (Akali)-BJP government led by Mr Prakash Singh Badal, the Haryana government failed to take up the issue properly despite the fact that both the INLD and the SAD were partners of the NDA government at the Centre. And now when the Congress government had taken over in Punjab, the Chief Minister had been speaking in the same tone. The Punjab Chief Minister’s ‘hostile’ stand has not only exposed the political will of the Congress but has given embarrassing moments to the Haryana Congress leaders, who dare not speak to the party high command in this regard.

The JD leader Mr Vidrohi has asked the Haryana Congress to take up the issue with Mrs Sonia Gandhi if they really wanted a solution as there was a Congress government in Punjab.

While the Congress, the HVP and the INLD leaders have been claiming that the work on SYL done so far had taken place during their regimes, the present situation speaks volumes of the ‘mess’ they had created and that was why the issue had been pending so far, says S S Lamba of ‘Punarjagran Sanstha’, a voluntary body here.

He charged that ‘SYL’ had been made an issue to criticise each other and using it to distract the attention from other problems.

He said the proposed all-party meeting was an eyewash as the case had been pending in the Supreme Court.



The albatross of unemployment in Haryana
R.D. Sapra

Sonepat, January 3
Unemployment has assumed alarming proportions in this district and elsewhere in the state.
In Sonepat district, it has had a devastating impact on the educated youth. Even highly qualified youths— postgraduates, engineers, both degree and diploma holders, and draftsmen are struggling to get jobs.

Although the official figures were not made available to the media persons, the number of unemployed youths is increasing every year.

Though the Chief Minister, Mr Om Prakash Chautala, during his campaign in the last assembly elections, assured that his government would create more jobs in various government departments of the state, nothing concrete has been done so far. Instead, a large number of employees have been retrenched from various boards and corporations in the state.

In the absence of a clear recruitment policy, the jobless are exploited by the unscrupulous officials of different departments who promise them government jobs on payment of a “fee” but the hapless youths do not get any job and ultimately, suffer losses as they have no proof of the payments made.

Besides, the unreasonably long time taken by the Haryana State Subordinate Selection Board and other agencies in completing the selection process as well as delay in issuing of appointment order is disheartening.

It is disappointing that the selection list of government teachers and other employees has been declared, but the appointing authorities have not issued the appointment orders as yet. Thus, the future of the selected candidates hangs in the balance.

The employment exchanges have failed miserably to help the jobless get the jobs in government or private sectors.

Another reason for unemployment is the backdoor entry, the scourge of meritorious candidates for they seldom have links with those in power. They cannot afford to bribe officials. There are several instances of suicide by the unemployed youths in the district.

It is sad that the government does not pay much heed to the growing problem.

Although the Central and the state governments have introduced various schemes for the unemployed youths like Prime Minister’s Rozgar Yojna, self-employment scheme, Indira Awas Yojna and other schemes, they have failed to make the desired impact, particularly in the rural areas.

It is alleged that in service selection, highly qualified youths have been ignored while those having less qualification recruited. Simple graduates are selected sometimes while at times graduates and postgraduates with B.Ed. are given the go-by. This has put the unemployed educated youths on tenterhooks. To remove this anomaly in recruitment, the government should adopt a policy to give employment to the unemployed educated youth in year-wise batches and under this scheme, almost all the educated youth should be provided with jobs.

It is distressing that even 50 years after Independence, educated youths still find it hard to get a job. Unemployment is the main cause of crime and militancy and it is painful that neither the state nor the Central government has been paying attention to this problem.

Meanwhile, the Non-Employed Persons Sangh has urged the state government to provide jobs to all the educated jobless youths whose names had been registered with the employment exchanges. If it is not possible, the exchanges should be abolished.

In a press release, the Sangh has warned the state government that if it was not done, the educated jobless youths will have no alternative than to take to criminal activities to meet their needs.



Still sleepless over Dulina lynching

Jhajjar, January 3
Lynching of five Dalits in Dulina was the most sensational crime in this district in 2002, a year that saw the overall crime rate registering a marginal increase as compared to 2001. However, heinous crimes like murder, dowry death and rape declined.

According to the data compiled by the district police, a total of 2,162 cases were registered during the year while the number was at 2,091 the previous year. The data showed that 41 cases of murder (Section 302, IPC), 14 cases of dowry deaths (Section 304-B) and 17 cases of rape were registered this year, which were at 47, 19 and 18 respectively during 2001.

However, the cases of theft, death in accidents and seizure of illegal arms soared. As per the official figures, 89 vehicles were stolen, 96 persons died in accidents and 93 illegal arms were seized in the year as compared to 68 cases of vehicle theft, 89 accident deaths and 50 cases of arms recovery in 2001.

In the incidents of crime against women, 45 cases of molestation and sexual harassment of women under Section 354 of the IPC, 13 cases of elopement of girls, 117 cases of dowry harassment, 14 cases of murder for dowry and 17 cases of rape were reported in the year.

Among other major crimes, there were 26 cases of attempt to murder, two cases of unintentional murder, two cases of dacoity and 18 cases of looting.

The district police claimed to have solved all the major crimes. The police spokesman said here today that 40 cases of murder had been solved. He informed that 14 out of 18 cases of looting had been solved, while girls in two out of 13 cases of elopement had not been traced so far.

The lynching of five persons in Dulina was the most tragic incident in the district. However, the arrest of most of the accused in the case was a major success of the district police.



BJP asks Centre to challenge 
Sajjan Kumar’s acquittal 
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, January 3
The Delhi BJP today demanded that the government must challenge the acquittal of Sajjan Kumar in a higher court claiming that the recent acquittal of the Congress leader in the 1984 anti-Sikh riots case was based on the witness of two police officers who gave him a “clean chit”.

Delhi BJP chief Madan Lal Khurana told reporters on the sidelines of a sit-in at Raj Ghat, organised to express “anguish and anger” of the minority community, said: “We have urged Deputy Prime Minister L. K. Advani to ask the CBI to appeal in the high court against the acquittal and he has promised to seek legal advice on the same.” The BJP, he said, would continue its fight against these people outside the court.

A delegation of BJP leaders had met the Union Home Minister, Mr L. K. Advani, on Thursday, who had assured them that the Centre would seek legal opinion on filing an appeal in the Delhi High Court.

Additional Sessions Judge Manju Goel had on December 23 acquitted Sajjan Kumar and others saying the prosecution had failed to produce enough evidence to link them to the killing of Sikhs.

The case was instituted on a complaint by one Anwar Kaur, who had alleged that a mob instigated by Sajjan Kumar had killed her husband in Sultanpuri, West Delhi on November 1, 1984. Sajjan Kumar is the last of Congress politicians to be acquitted of the charges. H. K. L. Bhagat was also accused of instigating the riots but was acquitted by the courts.

Mr Khurana said he had also urged Mr Advani to initiate an inquiry against the investigating officers and those police officials who had allegedly made the case “weak”. He claimed that the acquittal was based on the witness of two police officers who gave a clean chit to Sajjan Kumar and others. Senior Advocate H. S. Phulka, who has been closely associated with the 1984 riot cases, said the courts did not show activism then unlike now when judicial pro-activism was seen and heard. Mr Phulka said the Delhi Police and the CBI were equally responsible for the acquittal of the accused. “The police and the investigating agency did not address the matter in the proper perspective,” he alleged.



Suicide in CP: Katyal had reached 
Capital on January 1
J. T. Vishnu
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, January 3
Investigations into the suicide case of Raman Katyal, who was found dead inside his car in the Connaught Place area yesterday near Marina Hotel, has revealed that the deceased had reached Delhi on January 1.

Police sources said that Katyal, after murdering his brother’s three business associates in Rohtak, reached the Capital the same evening and checked in to a hotel, Jhukaso Inn, at Connaught Place around 9.30 pm.

He entered a fake name in the hotel register and told staff that he was from Hardwar. Upon entering room No 111 in the hotel, he even tried to make an STD call to his brother-in-law but could not reach him, said the sources.

Yesterday by around 10.30 am, Kaytal, succeeded in reaching his brother-in-law Sudhir Mahto on the number 223232 and informed him about the murder in Rohtak. According to the sources, Katyal told Sudhir that he was very happy about their death and would celebrate the same.

Around 11.30 am, Katyal also spoke to his wife Alka and his 11-year old son Raju and informed them about the incident. He was later found dead in his Santro car with a bullet injury on his right temple. The post-mortem examination also confirmed that it was a suicide. A pistol, which was in his right hand, and 26 live cartridges were recovered by the police from the car.



Transport officials, traffic police to meet today
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, January 3
Officials from the Department of Transport would meet with their counterparts in the Delhi Traffic Police on Monday to take stock of the situation arising out of the strike by autorickshaw operators.

Transport Minister Ajay Maken today told mediapersons that the meeting would re-examine the three-member committee’s report that has recommended an upward revision of fares.

The committee comprised Sales Tax Commissioner Rahul Khullar and representatives from the National Centre for Applied Economic Research (NCAER) and Tata Energy Research Institute (TERI).

Mr Maken ruled out any immediate hike in autorickshaw fares unless operators agreed to install electronic meters. “Unless they install electronic meters, no increase in the rates is possible,” he said. The discussions, he clarified, would be limited to the recommendations of the report. No decision would be taken on the revision of fares by that meeting.

On the issue of unified timetable for buses, the minister said all the departments concerned had agreed to the timetable. The timetable is expected to be put in force anytime now.

The Government of NCT of Delhi had invited objections to the draft unified timetable drawn up by the State Transport Authority (STA) and the Delhi Transport Corporation (DTC). 



Speaking out


Do you have a grouse against the apathetic attitude of the authorities? Are you fed up with the dilly-dallying tactics of officialdom and the stranglehold of red tapism? If so, please write to us. We have a full half page every week reserved just for you. The letters should be clearly marked, Speaking out, NCR Tribune, First Floor, Dyal Singh Library Building, 1 Deen Dayal Upadhaya Marg, New Delhi-110002.

The sensibility of the BCCI is being questioned this time not due to any absurd team selection but because of their irresponsible conduct regarding the contract issue. With the World Cup 2003 just round the corner, this entire controversy surrounding the contracts issue is doing no good to the spirit of the game. The players are bound to get affected by these non-cricketing matters taking centre stage.

The BCCI should have thought over the matter before signing the ‘Participating Nations Agreement’ and should not have signed the agreement without taking the players into confidence.

However, after making the mistake, instead of complying with their contractual obligations, they are trying to shift the blame on the ICC and are making unreasonable claims on the sponsors.

They have also gone to the extent of threatening the ICC with legal action, the sponsors with future relationships with the BCCI and the players with selection policies, all under the garb of the spirit of the game.

Here, one may question the contribution of the BCCI to the spirit of the game?

If the BCCI wants to keep the spirit of the game alive, then it should fulfil its contractual obligations towards the ICC as done by the other boards, it should offer compensation to the sponsors/players for the losses they suffer and should give the players body the status it deserves.


Inculcating civilised behaviour 

It is a matter of great shock that four youths in a Santro car allegedly harassed and teased a schoolgirl and later tried to drag her into their car in Noida. Such anti-social elements and ruffians need severe punishment. The police force can play a vital role so that such incidents are not repeated.

However, parents should be vigilant about the activities of their children, particularly their sons, so that they are brought up in a civilised manner. They must be checked and given the right directions before it is too late in life.

I feel that the media, particularly the television channels, are adding to this vulgar culture by showing such programmes that celebrate such a culture. It is time that programme which create bad impact on the impressionable minds should be withdrawn.


Woes of aged

Shakespeare divides human life into seven stages. The seven stages of human life have prominently been divided into four parts: infancy, childhood, youth and old age. Of the four stages of human life, old age is the most helpless. Only the most fortunate can find support/succour from their children.

Consequently, many of the old people in our country are forced to work, beg, flock at charitable houses, temples, gurdwaras, mosques, churches etc. to manage their daily life.

For the retired people, the paltry old age pensions, no doubt, are small means to manage their lives. However, in a time of growing expenses, they are too small to adequately meet their daily expenses. There are few medical facilities available for them. The government hospitals are often at a distance where it is difficult for them to reach. The authorities have no patience to listen to their problems.

They have no source of entertainment. Young people have no time to interact with them. Life is so hectic that their sons, daughters and other relatives have no spare time for them. Often, they live and die unattended.

The government has also not been sympathetic to their cause. Finance Ministers have not provided them relief on their hard-earned incomes.

It is said that old people are repository of wisdom. Old people have probing minds and are insightful. They are the best judges of men and matters. No matrimonial relation is successful without them.

It is correct that they lack dynamic energy. However, it is also true that they are the checks and balances on youthful energy and their enthusiasm.

However, it is a tragedy that in our country, which is well known as the fountain of wisdom, the old people are a condemned lot.


Ecological Balance in hills

Rama Sharma in the article “An SOS to preserve Kalka-Shimla rail line” (Windows December 21), has suggested the need to create awareness about the deteriorating environment around Shimla hills by keeping the rail track clean and green.

The writer has, however, failed to mention that more than the rail track, it is the Kalka-Shimla highway that needs the immediate attention of the environmentalists.

During the last 15 years, high-rise concrete buildings, hotels/restaurants, tourist resorts, commercial buildings and Dhabas have come up along the entire highway, in most cases by destroying the greenery around the hill station.

With thousands of vehicles running on this highway every day, there is widespread air pollution. All these man-made intrusions have, in fact, adversely affected the ecological balance of the hills around Shimla.

In the above context, I wish to suggest that apart from formulating strict laws for regulating construction activity along the Kalka-Shimla highway, the Himachal Pradesh Government should ensure that only CNG vehicles are allowed to ply on the highway.

Furthermore, plantation drives should be undertaken around the hills and along the rail track and the highway on a priority basis.

O P SHARMA, Faridabad

Secretariat for Panipat

While the mini secretariat at Sonepat is all set to be occupied, the Haryana Government has failed to complete the similar building at Panipat. The site for the mini secretariat has long been acquired opposite the Tahsil Office, on the GT Road. Moreover, the possession has also been taken. Reportedly, the funds have also been allocated for this project by the government. However, uncertainty prevails regarding the commencement of the building structure itself.

The Haryana Government is paying lakhs of rupees as monthly rent for the different government offices scattered all over the city. Apart from the unnecessary expenditure being incurred on this account, the people including litigants, lawyers and the trading community have to face lot of problems going from one corner of the city to another (from GT Road to Court’s complex in Kabri Kothi, to Gohana Road-Pruthi Chowk-Model Town etc.).

It is difficult to understand why the construction work on this much-needed building is not being commenced? Will the Haryana Government look into this matter, which has become an important issue for the people in the city?

A N BHANDULA, Narain Singh Park, Panipat

Indifferent HUDA

I am a poor and helpless lady, a victim of callous and indifferent attitude of officials of HUDA, Sector-13, Panipat.

Due to the marriage of my daughter, I applied for the refund of my deposit regarding plot no. 858, Sector-18, Panipat, at the office of Haryana Urban Development Authority (HUDA), Sector-13, Panipat.

Despite several reminders and innumerable personal visit, I have not received the refund order till date.

Even letters from the office of the Prime Minister (PMO) (dated November 5, 2002) could not get adequate response from the callous and indifferent officials of HUDA, Panchkula.

I hope the authorities realise their responsibility and help me in this hour of crisis.

POOJA, Shakti Nagar, Delhi



Fog plays havoc with traffic
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, January 3
A foggy morning for the third consecutive day in the national Capital delayed trains and air services by several hours even as the Met office predicted a further dip in the temperature tomorrow.

The city recorded a minimum temperature of 8.21 degree Celsius during the last 24 hours, the Met office said, forecasting a colder morning tomorrow with the minimum temperature at around six degrees Celsius.

Though the fog cleared as the day progressed, it delayed several outgoing and incoming flights and the arrival and departure of trains from the Capital. The motorists and commuters had a hard time on the roads.

All flights to Chandigarh, Bombay and Bangalore, scheduled to take off after 0800 hrs, were delayed by at least three to four hours, an Indian Airlines spokesperson said.

Jet Airways, which operates 38 flights from Delhi, had to reschedule several outgoing flights.

According to a release issued by the company, flight number 9W 308 from Delhi to Mumbai was delayed by more than one hour. Flight number 9W 2305/2306 (Mumbai-Delhi-Mumbai) could not take of. Several other flights bound for Mumbai, Chennai, Lucknow and Indore were combined due to bad weather.

Several Delhi-bound trains were running late by two to eight hours while the Brahamaputra Express and the Inter-city Bhatinda-New Delhi Express have been cancelled, a Northern Railway press release said here.

The Patna-New Delhi Shramjeevi Express was running 16 hours behind schedule. Other trains running behind schedule included the Lal Quila Express, the Muri Express, the Farakkha Express, the Poorva Express, the Lucknow Mail, the Awadh Assam Express and the Magadh Express.

Two die in cold wave

Sonepat: Intense cold wave conditions in the region have claimed the lives of at least two persons, one each in Sonepat and Panipat, and those of over 60 sheep in the Noida area so far. A thick blanket of fog enveloped almost all areas of the region yesterday night and in the morning hours of today disrupting rail and road traffic.

In Sonepat, an unidentified beggar was found dead at the railway station here today. It is stated that the beggar died of severe cold wave sweeping the city and other parts of the district for the last four days. The government railway police (GRP) have sent the body for the post-mortem examination. The body was handed over to the officials of the Sonepat Municipal Council for cremation as his whereabouts were not known.

Panipat: The intense cold wave has claimed first victim in this city. According to sources, the body of an unidentified man, aged about 65 years, was found from near the bus stand by the police. The body of the old man, probably a beggar, has been sent to the local civil hospital for post-mortem examination.

Goats, sheep perish

Noida: Over 60 goats and sheep are reported to have perished in Noida and Greater Noida areas in the severe cold wave sweeping the region. Besides, a dozen more sheep have reportedly died due to some unidentified disease in the Jahangirpur area.

One Gopinath Mangu and his companions had crossed over to the state from Rajasthan with a large number of goats and sheep for grazing. They had come during the rains and used to stay in a city park during nights. Due to the constant drizzling and cold wind on December 31, the earth had become sodden. Almost 60 goats and sheep had perished by the next morning.



Infant dies in Nangloi house fire
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, January 3
An infant was charred to death here today when a fire broke out in a house in the Nangloi area of West Delhi. The one-year-old victim has been identified as Meenu. She was rushed to Sanjay Gandhi Hospital with severe burns where he was declared brought dead, fire brigade sources said. The report about the fire was received at about 7.50 am. and it was soon brought under control, the DFS claimed.

Two Liquor smugglers held: The South-West district police today claimed to have nabbed two persons for smuggling liquor allegedly in connivance with the officials of DSIDC officials.

The police received a secret information that a tempo had been transporting illicit liquor. The cops nabbed the driver, Puram Bahadur (23), a resident of Chirag Delhi, and a salesman of Oasis Distributor, Pradeep Sharma (26), resident of Bhajanpura. During a search in the tempo, the police recovered 768 half bottles and 384 quarter bottles of liquor.

Mobike thief nabbed: The East district police arrested Brij Mohan (20), who is a resident of Vishwas Nagar and who hails from Ghaziabad, and seized one Hero Honda motorcycle. On interrogation, he disclosed that he had stolen the motorcycle from the Kamla Nagar area in October 2001 and the original number of the vehicle was DL-7-SC-5777.

ISO certification for NTPC HQ:  New Delhi: The National Capital Region headquarters of the National Thermal Power Corporation has now been certified with ISO-9001, with regard to “continual improvement” processes being followed in an organisation.

The philosophy of “continual improvement” takes into account the process approach and continuous improvement with respect to previous performance involving each employee of the organisation, a release said today.

Rajput dubs bid to review books as sham: The Indian History Congress’s move to review the new history and social sciences textbooks came in for a sharp criticism from the NCERT, which described the move as a “drama.”

NCERT Director J S Rajput said these historians have all along been criticising the national institute and the textbooks. He said students, teachers, parents and academics would do the ultimate evaluation of the textbooks.

Nine MCD officials charged with graft: The Central Bureau of Investigation has charged nine officials of the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD), including seven engineers with corruption in the purchase of bitumen for tarring the roads during 1998-1999. The chargesheet filed in a special court named the nine engineers for conspiring with a contractor and a bitumen supplier to cheat the MCD. They have been charged under various sections of IPC and Prevention of Corruption Act. TNS



Mystery shrouds death of two
Tribune News Service

Panipat, January 3
Mystery shrouds the death of two persons at Raksheda village in the district late Wednesday night. According to information, the condition of five persons, Ilyas, his granddaughters, Farmana and Farmina, his grandson, Farman and his daughter-in-law, Hasina, deteriorated around noon. While Ilyas and Farmana died on their way to hospital, the others were discharged after being administered first aid. Both were laid to rest last night. The police are investigating into the matter.

New SP takes over:
Mr Sukhdev Singh, ASP, took over the charge of Superintendent of Police, Bhiwani today. The outgoing SP, Mr Rajender Singh Gehlot, has been transferred at the same post at Yamunanagar. Mr Singh is quite familiar to Bhiwani district and has served as City Inspector here and as DSP at Charkhi Dadri.

Talking to this correspondent after taking charge, Mr Sukhdev Singh sought whole-hearted cooperation from the residents and averred that criminals would not be spared and security would be tightened during nights by increasing night patrolling. He said that the crime graph, which had been declining these days, would be further contained.

Girl commits suicide:
A 17-year-old girl, Jyoti, was reported to have committed suicide by taking sulphas tablets in her house in Vishal Nagar area here last evening. According to a report, she took this extreme step following a family quarrel. However, the people of the area say that her love affair with a youth is stated to be the main cause of her suicide. The police are still investigating into the case and her body has been sent for the post-mortem examination.

Shops looted: The spate of thefts has caused panic among residents and shopkeepers in this city. According to a report, the police have failed to solve any case of theft committed during the past one month or so.

Thieves are reported to have broken the locks of a paint shop on the old DC road here last night and decamped with goods worth about Rs 1 lakh. According to another report, the thieves also broke open the shutters of a mobile phone shop in the Hem Nagar area here last night and took away goods worth about Rs 35,000. The owners of these shops have lodged FIRs with the police and further investigations are in progress.

Buffalo electrocuted:  A buffalo worth about Rs 25,000 was electrocuted at Pai village, about 20 km from here, last evening. According to a report, most of the houses suddenly had high voltage of power and the people rushed out of their houses in panic. Some of them succeeded in switching off the transformer installed in the village. 



Man run over by truck
Our Correspondent

Jhajjar, January 3
One person was killed as a truck ran him over in Bahadurgarh town of the district last night. According to the police, driver of a truck Karamvir Singh reported to the police today that he along with his helper Satyavir Singh was tightening the ropes of the loaded truck after parking the vehicle along the road on the National Highway 10, when a truck coming from Delhi side hit his helper. He was rushed to the nearby hospital where doctors declared him brought dead. The driver of the offending truck fled the spot. The police registered a case under Sections 279, 337 and 304-A, IPC.

Dowry: Woman shown the door

Meena Devi, daughter of Bhoop Singh of Bahadurgarh, reported to the police that her husband and other members of his family had thrown her out of their house in

Rohtak for not fulfilling their dowry demands. The police said that the in-laws of the victim demanded Rs 2 lakh as dowry from her father. However, when the demand was not fulfilled, husband Rajender and other family members threatened Meena Devi and shown her the door. The police have registered a case in this connection.



Mystery behind school owner’s death solved
Our Correspondent

Bhiwani, January 3
The CIA branch of the district police claimed of having solved the mystery behind the death of a private school owner, Surender Singh, who was found dead near Prehladgarh village on the Charkhi Dadri-Bhiwani road. The police have arrested two persons in this connection.

The deceased had been running S D Senior Secondary School at Barsana village for the last nine years. Earlier, the police had considered it as a road accident but later when the relatives of the deceased met the SP and demanded extensive probe into the murder, the case was handed over to the CIA branch.

One of the arrested persons, Vinod, is the owner of a private school in Satnali village and a resident of Kochi village. He said that Surender and he were going on a motorcycle at midnight on December 15. Surender fell down when their motorcycle crossed a speed breaker near Prehladgarh village and was run over by a truck (HR 37-8789). He noted down the truck number but did not disclose the incident to anyone. 


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