Friday, January 10, 2003, Chandigarh, India

N C R   S T O R I E S


Raid nets python, wildlife trophies
J.T. Vishnu
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, January 9
In a joint operation, conducted by the Wildlife officials and the local police today afternoon in Mehrauli, ostensibly to ferret out the owner of the leopard that was shot at in a plywood factory in Neb Sarai, the sleuths came up with a booty in ivory tusks and wildlife trophies, apart from a live python. The officials swooped down on the Mehrauli farmhouses, where some of the Capital’s bigwigs reside, at around 12.30 pm. After scouring some 30 farmhouses, they stumbled over the wildlife booty in a farmhouse belonging to an industrialist who owns a five-star hotel in the Capital and a sugar mill near Hardwar. The owner was later taken into custody; he is likely to be quizzed by the wildlife officials and the police about the source of the seized items.

The confiscated goods included two deer trophies, one trophy of a spotted deer, a pair of ivory tusks, a live python and some 82 bottles of foreign liquor.

Deputy Commissioner (South) S S Yadav said that the industrialist could be prosecuted, if he has committed any violations under the Wildlife Prevention Act. It is alleged that the python had been in captivity at the industrialist’s farmhouse for the last one year.

The wildlife officials, in tandem with the local police, were recently stumped by the origins of the Neb Sarai leopard. It was reported in the NCR Tribune that the leopard was most likely a farmhouse pet, which had been reared in captivity.

The robust size of the leopard and the clipped claws seemed to suggest that. It was also speculated that the leopard might have come from the Asola mines or strayed from the surrounding wilderness.

Says Praveer Ranjan, Additional Deputy Commissioner of Police, South: ``We had identified the farmhouses in south Delhi as the most likely places to have housed the leopard. After the Neb sarai incident, our intelligence department had immediately started investigating the lead.”

Commenting on the joint operation, Mr Ranjan said: “The Wildlife Department is far better equipped to handle this kind of an investigation. They are usually aware of such wildlife crimes and the likely places where one can find the offenders.”

Adds S Prashant, Deputy Conservator of Forest, South, “We have identified Mehrauli as the most likely area where the leopard could have come from.”

Two years back, the Wildlife Department had raided a farmhouse in Mehrauli and found a pet leopard there.’’

The recovery of the python is likely to shed some light on the mystery of the leopard, though the police are yet to establish that the leopard was reared in the industrialist's farmhouse.



Coldest night of the season
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, January 9
The city yesterday witnessed the coldest night of the season even as the Met office predicted a rise in temperature. The Met office sources said that mercury plummeted to a low of 4.5 degree Celsius, which is two degrees below normal.

The minimum temperature was recorded at 4.5 degrees Celsius, which is 0.2 degrees less than the last coldest night of the season when mercury dipped to 4.7 degrees. Though chilly winds continued to blow, the Capital got respite from the dense fog. Vehicular movement was smooth and no major disruptions were reported.

Air and rail traffic however continued to remain disrupted. The departure of several trains was rescheduled with some trains were running five hours behind schedule.

The Met office maintains that the intense cold in the national Capital is likely to end as the temperature is expected to increase by a few degrees within the next 48 hours. Meanwhile, schools in the national Capital have been closed till the 13th of this month on account of the extreme weather condition.



A day all roads lead to gurdwaras
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, January 9
Thousands of Sikhs, including women and children, dressed in their Sunday best, today braved the icy winds and thronged the various gurdwaras in the Capital on the occasion of the birth anniversary of the 10th Guru, Guru Gobind Singh. The biggest congregation was at Gurdwara Rakab Ganj, which was tastefully illuminated to mark the Prakash Utsav of Guru Gobind Singh. Akhand paths and langars (community lunches) were organised in the various gurdwaras with the members of the Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee (DSGMC) personally supervising the arrangements.

The Shabad Kirtan – Asa Di Var – was performed by Gurmej Singh of Amritsar, which mesmerized the devotees. The Shabad vichar by Giani Sarbjit Singh from Ludhiana, recalling the preachings and teachings of Guru Gobind Singh, moved the audience which listened to the Giani with rapt attention. Addressing the devotees, the Andhra Pradesh Governor, Mr Surjit Singh Barnala, said the 10th Guru was a prophet-warrior and a remarkable poet- scholar, who had 52 poets in his court.

He said Guru Gobind Singh brought a revolution when Indian society was miserably divided. The Guru wanted to change the very outlook of the society for which on the Baisakhi of 1699 he created the Khalsa. Mr Barnala was presented a siropa by the DSGMC on the occasion. Others honoured at the function were Sardani Surjit Kaur Barnala, Manjit Singh Calcutta, Baldev Singh and Ajaypal Singh Meenakot.

The DSGMC president, Mr Paramjit Singh Sarna, in his address, recalled the Guru’s significant contribution and the birth of the Khalsa. Mr Sarna also highlighted the achievements of the DSGMC.



Mystery deaths baffle doctors
Pradeep Sharma
Tribune News Service

Panipat, January 9
Medical science may have achieved many milestones, but it has failed to diagnose the mystery disease that has claimed five lives in the Raksheda village, about 22 km from here.

And with the doctors at the Pt Bhagwat Dayal Postgraduate Institute of Medical Sciences, Rohtak, also expressing their inability to diagnose the disease, the mystery of the killer ailment has only deepened. The institute doctors have sent back two patients–Farmina and Hasina–to their village, saying that they were able to diagnose the disease.

Both of them have gone to the western UP for some ‘desi’ medication.

In fact, panic has gripped the region after the death of five members of a single family in the last nine days.

The death dance started when two members of the family–Ilyas and his granddaughter Famana–died recently and three persons, later discharged from hospital, had been taken ill.

It is believed that the family had prepared ‘ladoos’, which might have been peppered with some poisonous substance.

It was only after taking the ‘ladoos’, the condition of five members of the family deteriorated. They died later, villagers believe.

However, some others are of the opinion that a poisonous insect might have fallen into the utensil, used for making tea, which led to the deaths. What has complicated the matter is the fact that one-and-a-half-year-old Sahil, who had not consumed the ‘ladoos,’ also died on Tuesday. Furthermore, the condition of the first victim of the disease, Hasina, is stated to be stable, thus further compounding the confusion.

Even as rumours make rounds, the doctors had failed to diagnose the cause of the deaths. Since the postmortem of the four bodies was not performed, the doctors are not sure of the cause of the death.

Only the postmortem on the body of Sahil was performed.

Preliminary investigations have shown that Sahil died of ‘poisoning’. His viscera has also been sent to a forensic lab in Madhuban (Karnal) and only after that, the cause of the death would be known.

It may be recalled that it takes years for the examination of the viscera at the lab.

Only sensitive cases, where the viscera examination is specifically sought by the authorities concerned, are taken ‘out of turn’ by the lab. The lab is reported to be facing an acute shortage of staff. So far, the laid-back district administration has not pressed the panic buttons and not sought the ‘emergency examination’ of the viscera. This would mean that the viscera would continue to gather dust at the tab until another tragedy wakes up the administration.



When gangsters dabble in abracadabra
Prem Pal Singh

Meerut, January 9
The business of tantriks in the name of astronomy is at its peak in Meerut. Even some gangsters are also improving the shining hour and joined this trade. The ‘astronomers’ run their businesses in several cities, including some metros, while having their ‘headquarters’ in Meerut. Some of the history sheeter tantriks chose even Mumbai for their operation, the Senior Superintendent of Meerut Police, Mr Mukul Goel, revealed this after the income tax raid on the premises of a tantrik Satya Prakash Sharma.

In the raid, Rolex watches and several other valuables were seized, besides some costly lingeries. Even the income tax director (investigations), Mr B K Gupta, was shocked to see the treasure which proved that the business of tantriks was growing. Some of the history sheeters of Meerut city are also making hay and made ‘abracadabra’ their vocation.

Senior police officials have a list of the history sheeters who became tantriks.

Most of them fall under Lisari Gate police station. They are pulling the wool over the eyes of people in many cities.

The SSP confirmed that many of them cheated even some film personalities.

According to the police sources, a notorious criminal Shahid fled to Mumbai after killing a rickshaw-puller and became a tantrik in Mumbai, changing his name. He became ‘crorepati’ there, cheating the people in the name of astronomy. He even opened a luxurious office in the big city. He cheated several gullible people. Later, SHO Lisari Gate Gajendra Singh arrested him in Mumbai.

Another man Aabad, wanted by the city police in several cases of murder, moved to Dehradoon and became a tantrik. He, too, raked in moolah. Yet another man, Badru a.k.a. Badruddin, is a history sheeter and carrying his tantrik shenanigans in Delhi. While a local goonda Salim Sufi has his network in several cities of Punjab state.

SSP Mukul Goel told the ‘NCR Tribune’ that police tried several times to arrest these self-styled tantriks. But failed as whenever the police team was sent to arrest the culprits, local people protested since they do not want to hear a single word against these ‘godmen’.

Some of them even have links with politicians.

Many of them are earning a packet at Tarapuri and Shastri Nagar in Meerut.

They have their residences in post colonies. The residents said that the tantriks charge a fancy price to provide ‘relief’. Many cases of love and sex are ‘solved’ by them. They take full advantage of the marital discords.



CM dedicates 2003 to water conservation
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, January 9
Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit has declared 2003 as the year of power and water conservation and called for “desperate” measures to ward off a severe water crisis. Therefore, she urged the public to shed its “consumer psyche.”

While inaugurating the International Workshop on Waste Water Treatment: Decentralised Technologies for Effective Management, she said that there was a limit to the exploitation of resources; if the unbridled use of resources persists beyond this point, the ecological apparatus would go awry.

Population has increased in the national Capital manifold and “if desperate steps are not taken to counter the looming threat, we may be heading for really bad times”, Dikshit said.

The national Capital depends on neighbouring states for water and lacks its own resources. This makes it all the more necessary for citizens of Delhi to conserve water. Wastewater treatment should also be decentralised and small treatment plants set up at locality levels. This may necessitate commercialisation of water, though at the moment we are not in the process of privatising water, she said. Municipal Commissioner Rakesh Mehta said the Jal Board and the MCD would take steps at the earliest to separate sewerage and storm water drainage, which has complicated the wastewater treatment process.

The workshop was organised jointly by the MCD and the DJB, the Infrastructure Development Finance Company and the Indian Institute of Technology; it was aimed aiming at exploring and evaluating modern technologies in recharging water for reuse economically to prevent water pollution. Several national and international delegates attended the workshop to address water problems generated by urban conglomeration. A highlight of the event was an interface between the service managers (civic bodies), technology providers, financiers and consumers.



Baby slips from mother’s lap, dies

New Delhi
A newly born baby died after falling from the lap of her mother in Lady Harding hospital. Mrs Bably Goswami (27), who was admitted to the hospital, delivered a baby girl after a major operation a few days back. In the intervening night she felt uncomfortable in the ward because of the convector. She came out in the veranda on the fifth floor along with her eight-day-old baby. While she was standing there, the baby suddenly slipped from her lap and fell on the roof of the first floor of the building. The baby was admitted to the hospital where she later died, the police said. TNS

Probe into tax holidays

A large number of units had been given a tax holiday in Noida industrial development area. Realising that some of them had availed themselves of the facility wrongly, the state government has decided to hold an inquiry, it is learnt. The Additional Commissioner, Trade Tax, Noida, has been ordered to conduct the inquiry and submit the report at the earliest. OC

Fire from ‘angeethi’ consumes 3 kids

New Delhi
Three children died of burns and their mother and other sibling are battling for life in a hospital after a fire from an ‘angeethi’ engulfed their house in Nangloi last night. In the Bhim Nagar area of Sonepat too, three members of a family were burnt alive in sleep in their house last night. It is stated that they had kept an ‘angeethi’ in the room to ward off the cold. It is suspected that the quilt caught fire from the ‘angeethi.’ TNS

Delhi cop found dead

A Delhi Police constable was found dead in mysterious circumstances here on NH – 8 at 12.30 am today. Interestingly, though the Gurgaon police informed their counterparts in Delhi about the accident in the night itself, the body kept lying on the spot till morning. By the time the Delhi Police personnel reached the spot, the post-mortem examination had already been conducted. The Gurgaon police have attributed the death to an accident and lodged an FIR.



MCD JE, SI arrested for taking bribe
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, January 9
The CBI has arrested a junior engineer of the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) for allegedly demanding and accepting a bribe of Rs 10,000 from a contractor.

S. C. Goel, posted with the MCD at Kashmere Gate, was caught red-handed while accepting the bribe money from the contractor for clearing bills relating to work done by him, a CBI release said today.

The agency later raided his residence and recovered Rs 1.4 lakh, it said adding Rs 3.1 lakh was recovered from his locker, besides documents relating to bank balance and other investments of more than Rs 2.5 lakh.

In another incident, CBI sleuths nabbed Sub Inspector Raj Kumar of the Delhi Police posted at Badarpur police station for allegedly taking a bribe of Rs 1,000 from a man for not involving him in a murder case, the release added.


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