Saturday, March 1, 2003, Chandigarh, India


L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Car dealers duping buyers
Vigilance recommends registration of case
Jupinderjit Singh
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 28
The Ludhiana Vigilance Bureau has unearthed a statewide scandal of lakhs in which car dealers were allegedly duping hundreds of buyers of new Maruti cars by concealing a Rs 14,000 free insurance policy per car. Some dealers had even allegedly got the amount from the buyers to give them free insurance. Such buyers were thus duped of double the amount.

Highly-placed Vigilance sources said the bureau had sent a detailed investigation report regarding the allegation and had recommended registration of criminal cases against some car dealers. These dealers were reportedly found guilty in the preliminary inquiry.

The Vigilance move is all set to stir a hornet’s nest as there are hundreds of buyers and car dealers in the state who could be the probable victims. The sources said the department was expecting to receive more complaints once a case was registered.

The most-affected dealers may be in Ludhiana which is one of the biggest car markets in the region.

A senior Vigilance official, confirming the development, said he was shocked to learn about the scandal. He said that the scandal came to light when two relatives of a police official and one of a reporter were cheated. He claimed that a panicky dealer even returned Rs 28,000 to two buyers.

According to him, the Maruti company had introduced a scheme of giving free insurance worth Rs 14,000 to buyers. The company had also offered an attractive “scratch and win” scheme.

The car dealers were, however, pocketing the amount by not informing the buyers of the scheme. They also made money by informing the buyers that if they went in for insurance, they could avail of the “scratch and win” scheme. Those not availing of the insurance scheme were not given the “scratch and win”.

The Vigilance official said the department had got a written confirmation from the officials in the Maruti company, that they were offering the free insurance and scratch prize scheme to the buyers of models other than 800 cc.

The official said the names of the victims and the dealers could be made public only after senior Vigilance officials give a green light for the registration of the case.

Meanwhile, some dealers claimed that the free insurance scheme was on Zen (diesel) car only. They were aware of the Vigilance move, saying that the buyers were not willing to avail of the free insurance scheme as they were interested in getting the insurance done from their own agents. The amount was thus adjusted in the car bill, they claimed.

The dealers also said Zen (diesel) was until recently available at a premium as the waiting list was long. He said the dealers used the insurance amount as a premium for the buyers customers who did not want to wait and were willing to pay the premium.

Regarding the scratch scheme, the dealers said they had even advertised it through newspapers and there was no chance of duping people.

The Vigilance official said the department did not recommend the registration of a case without any basis. “We will give the evidence when the case is registered”, he said.



Cricket fans seek God’s blessings
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 28
The fans of Indian cricket team are leaving no stone unturned to ensure India’s victory against arch-rivals Pakistan tomorrow, even if it means invoking the Gods. A ‘havan’ was organised at Tapovan Ashram in Dandiswami here to seek heavenly blessings for victory in the “big-game” against Pakistan in Centurion tomorrow.

The excitement that is no less than the joy of winning the World Cup has forced Ludhianvis to pray for the team. At the ‘vijay havan’, the ashram head had gathered some well-known faces of the city as well. The ceremony was performed by Pandit Mahananda Shastri, a look-alike of Sachin Tendulkar, wearing the team uniform. Accompanying him were five other youths in similar attire.

The havan began early today, with the recitation of ‘mantras’ and continued for about 45 minutes. Earlier, the ‘mantras’ were scribbled on a cricket bat decorated with rosary beads.

Pandit Mahananda Shastri had also performed a similar havan after the team had lost to Australia, following which, the team had done well against Namibia and England.

Mr Sohan Handa, tapovan head, said, like a billion other Indians, he, too, wanted India to win against Pakistan.

The look-alike of Sachin said he wanted Sachin to play well, as he had high hopes from him. He also predicted a record for Sachin in this match.

The match is being hyped like it was the final. Several hotels and clubs in the city have put up giant screens on the premises and arrange food on concessional rates, is being offered to cricket fans. Cinema halls have planned to arrange special shows of the match.

Mr N.S. Nanda, president of the Ludhiana Hotelier Association, at a press conference here today, showed a giant screen and a cricket-ground-like ambience he had created in his hotel. He said he had timed the inauguration of the facility to clash with the beginning of the Super Six Series.

For the day of match against Pakistan, a cricket pitch, has been created in the hotel and the hotel employees are wearing the Indian-team uniforms.



Police office has Single Window System
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 28
A special Single Window System (SWS) building complex, adjoining the office of the SSP was inaugurated by Mr M.S. Bhullar, DGP, here today. The SWS has been introduced for the convenience of those visiting the district police office.

Mr Bhullar and the SSP Ludhiana, Mr H.S. Sidhu, told mediapersons that the SWS would offer a single point of contact for police-related work, thereby, eliminating the need for frequent visits for routine work.

It would ensure a time-bound response by the police department to each request or application. The applicant would be able to enquire about the status of his request by simply quoting the reference number given to him on his first visit. The applicant would get quality service in the minimum possible time, he said.

The chief guest also inaugurated a stolen or recovered motor vehicles information window at the SWS developed by the National Crime Record Bureau, New Delhi. Mr S.K. Jain, Deputy Director of the bureau, gave a computer presentation, highlighting the main features of the information window. This is the first of its kind in Punjab.

The building having the SWS has been built by the PWD at a cost of Rs 8 lakh. It has been furnished by funds provided by the police department. The second phase of the building will house a community resource centre and a victim relief centre that is likely to be operational within a month.



Jail Superintendent appears in court
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, February 28
Following the directions of the court, the Vigilance Bureau served a two-day notice on the Jail Superintendent at Ludhiana, Gursharan Singh Sidhu, here today, saying that they wanted to arrest him in a case of embezzlement of government funds. Sidhu appeared in the court today as directed by the court entertaining his anticipatory-bail application.

Mr Inderjit Kaushik, Additional Sessions Judge of Ludhiana, thereafter, adjourned the hearing for March 3. Meanwhile, the Vigilance Bureau also served notices on the co-accused, a former Jail Superintendent at Ludhiana, Amarjit Singh, a retired DIG Prisons and Dr Ravinder Kumar, who were also present in the court today. However, Dr Surinder Kumar, one of the accused, did not appear in the Court, but a notice was served on him through his counsel.

During the proceedings, the defence counsel urged the court that the accused were ready to join the investigation, so, the Vigilance Bureau be directed to allow them to do so.

The Additional District Attorney opposed the defence counsel by saying: “Custodial interrogation of all the accused is warranted to probe the scam completely. They need not join the investigation now, as their statements have already been recorded during the inquiry conducted by the Vigilance Bureau.

The Judge gave no direction in this regard and adjourned the hearing on all anticipatory-bail applications. The regular-bail plea of accused Daya Shankar will be heard on March 3.



Controversy over trust founder
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, February 28
The 104th birth anniversary of Justice Gurnam Singh was celebrated on the campus of Guru Nanak Girls College today. Justice Gurnam Singh was the founder of the college. Justice Kuldeep Singh, a former judge of the Supreme Court, was the chief guest.

Justice Kuldeep Singh said Justice Gurnam Singh had desired that intellectuals should participate in politics.

He released GNG newsletter “Amazing Grace.”

Principal Charanjit Mahal read out the annual report. Avneet, Ramanpreet, Amandeep Kaur, Daljit Kaur and Navraj Kaur were given prizes.

Mr Gurcharan Singh Ghalib, paying tributes to Justice Gurnam Singh, said he was made Chief Minister twice and set up a clean administration. He donated Rs 6 lakh to the college.

Mr Jagdev Singh Talwandi, Father Roby, Chairman, United Christian Forum, paid tributes to him. Mr Ajmer Singh Lakhowal, president, Kisan Union, said he was the first one to fix minimum support price for farmers.

Mr Tej Parkash Singh, Transport Minister, also spoke on the occasion.

Meanwhile, controversy marred the celebrations as the Guru Nanak Education Trust in a press note issued today said the trust was founded by late Master Lakhmi Singh on August 1969 and not by late Justice Gurnam Singh as claimed by the college management.

The statement signed by Dr G.S. Grewal and Mr Jagdev Singh Grewal, president and secretary of the trust, respectively, said some vested interests were trying to convert the trust into a family property.



Duty Magistrates deputed
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, February 28
The Chief Judicial Magistrate, Mr Arunvir Vashisht, has deputed Duty Magistrates at Khanna, Samrala, Jagraon and Ludhiana for duty work during March.
Mr Balwinder Kumar, Judicial Magistrate, (First class), will work as Duty Magistrate from March 1 to 5, Mr Sanjay Agnihotri, Judicial Magistrate, (First class), from March 6 to 10, Mr Ashok Kapoor, (JMIC) from March 11 to 16, Mr R.K. Sharm, (JMIC), from March 17 to 21, Mr D.P. Singla, (JMIC) from March 22 to 26 and Mrs Anshul Berry, (JMIC) from March 27 to 31.

At Khanna, Mr Munish Arora, (Judicial Magistrate) shall perform duty work for the entire month while at Samrala, Mrs Asha Kondal, SDJM, will perform duty work from March 1 to 15 and Mr Ravinder Kumar, (JMIC) from March 16 to 31.

In Jagraon, Mr H.S. Grewal, Judicial Magistrate, will work as Duty Magistrate for the entire month.

The CJM has further clarified that in case any Judicial Officer is unable to attend to the duty work, it shall be his own responsibility to make prior adjustment and alternative arrangement with some other officer under prior intimation in writing to him.

In case the officer at Samrala happens to be on leave, then the duty work of Samrala shall be attended to by the duty Magistrate, Khanna, and in the same eventuality the work of Khanna shall be attended at Samrala. If the officer at Jagraon happens to be on leave then their duty work shall be attended to by the duty the Magistrate, Ludhiana.



Shobha yatra taken out on Shivratri eve
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, February 28
An elaborate function was organised by the Shivratri Mahotsav Committee here today on the eve of Shivratri and later a shobha yatra was taken out which passed through several busy commercial centres before concluding near chowk division no 3. Several religious bodies and traders had organised langar.

The yatra was led by Jagadguru Shankaracharya Swami Madhwashram and other prominent members of the Sant Samaj. Comprising tableaux, depicting scenes from Hindu mythology, the yatra included schoolchildren, volunteers from social and religious groups and women in large numbers.

Earlier, at a function, the Shivratri Mahotsav Committee conferred Kalpana Chawal awards upon several personalities for excellence in their respective fields. The function was inaugurated by Mr S.K. Sharma, Municipal Corporation, Commissioner.



Economic survey makes BKU sore
Our Correspondent

Samrala, February 28
Mr Balbir Singh Rajewal, general secretary of the Bharti Kisan Union, said here today that the suggestions for freezing the MSP of wheat and paddy given in the economic survey before the Budget were anti-farmer. “Farmers have never sought any favour from the government, though it has been increasing the prices of agricultural inputs continuously,” he said.

Mr Rajewal also said the HSD prices in the past year had gone up by 75 per cent and the prices of fertilisers, pesticides, weedicides and insecticides etc had gone up by more than 40 per cent. “Farmers seek only the cost incurred on production plus a little profit for their own livelihood, he said. “If the Budget, has been affected by heavy subsidies to consumers, is it farmers’ fault. The economic survey also shows decreasing food-grains production due to drought.

If the MSPs of wheat and paddy are freezed, farm economy will be shattered, resulting in a severe food crisis in the country, he said. 



Hike in medical allowance sought
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 28
Resentment prevails among more than seven lakh Punjab Government employees, including those employed in various boards and corporations, over the failure of the state government to raise the medical allowance as promised in the Congress election manifesto released before the Punjab Assembly elections in February last. This was stated yesterday by Mr Yash Pal Ghai, additional general secretary of the Government Pensioners’ Association, who said the government should have honoured its commitment.

He said that the fixed medical allowance of Rs 250 per month being paid to the Punjab Government employees and pensioners since January 1, 1998, was inadequate to meet the ever-increasing cost of medicare these days. During the past five years the medicare cost had registered a rise of 39 per cent as per the Consumer Price Index, medicare cost data. 



Sack Vedanti: Khalsa Panchayat

Ludhiana, February 28
A demand that the Akal Takht head priest, Giani Joginder Singh Vedanti, be sacked has been raised by the Khalsa Panchayat that has also flayed the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) president, Prof Kirpal Singh Badungar, for making “wrong statements”.

The panchayat has taken a strong note of the violent attack on members of the organisation in the Golden Temple Complex. Mr Bhupinder Singh Nimana, one of the panches of the body, said in a statement here today that, till recently, Mr Badungar had been giving a clean chit to Prof Manjit Singh, head priest of Kesgarh Sahib, but, after the allegations against him had been substantiated by the Khalsa Panchayat, the SGPC had ordered his removal. “A similar treatment should be given to the head priest of the Akal Takht”, he said. OC



Owner hurt in factory fire
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 28
Fire broke out in a hosiery unit in Dal Bazar here today, leaving the owner injured and goods stocked in the building reduced to ashes. The fire gave a tough time to the firemen also who had to rescue 12 members of the family of the owner from the first floor of the unit.

The firemen, on reaching the spot, found the family members, including some children, stuck up in the upper storey of the building. Reaching them using wooden staircases, the firemen rescued them.

The firemen said the reason of the fire was, probably, short-circuit. The fire was reported at 6.25 a.m. and it took five fire engines to douse the fire. The owner of the factory, Mr Amarjit, was the one who was injured in the fire. 


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