Friday, March 21, 2003, Chandigarh, India


P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



SAD, BJP MLAs walk out
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 20
In the afternoon sitting of the Punjab Assembly, the SAD-BJP MLAs walked out after the Speaker turned down Mr Balwinder Singh Bhunder’s request to extend his time for speaking on the Governor’s Address. Mr Balwinder Singh Bhunder had already exceeded the allotted time and asked for a further increase as he wanted to make a point on the SYL canal.

Earlier, Mr Bhunder criticised Punjab’s economic and agricultural policies. He said the government was inviting multinational companies and such companies would ruin the state. The government was busy building castles in the air with regard to the diversification of agriculture. He opposed the move to private the PSEB.

Mr Avinash Khanna (BJP) alleged that corruption had spread during Congress rule, adding that the present government had failed on all fronts.

Defending the government Rana Gurjeet Singh said the state was progressing under the leadership of Capt Amarinder Singh. The new approach of the Chief Minister, he claimed, would resolve all problems of the state. The previous government had played havoc with the economy of the state.

Earlier, Mr Balwinder Singh asked about the fate of the substantive motion moved by him and three others with regard to the son of Congress MLA Rana Gurmeet Sodhi. Mr Bhunder said that in an interview conducted by the PPSC, Mr Sodhi’s son got 75 marks out 75 but no action had been taken against him while others were facing criminal cases and police investigations in this connection. He sought discussion on the motion. However, the Speaker did not allow the discussion, taking the plea that the matter was sub judice.

Meanwhile during question hour, justifying the appointment of 87 law officers in the office of the Advocate-General, Chief Minister, Amarinder Singh said they were required to handle over 1.04 lakh cases pending in the high court and other courts. There were only 58 law officers during the SAD-BJP Government. He was replying to a question by Mr Avinash Khanna (BJP).

Not satisfied with the Chief Minister’s answer, Mr Khanna said even after appointing so many law officers why the government was engaging private advocates for fighting its cases. Capt Amarinder Singh said these advocates were engaged to contest important cases.


No move to restore free power, water
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 20
It was a day of non-official business in the Punjab Vidhan Sabha today which saw a resolution on technical education and loans at a low rate of interest for students moved by nine Akali MLAs talked out.

The House saw a thin attendance on both Treasury and opposition Benches once the resolution was moved by Mr Surjit Singh Rakhra.

The sum and substance of the resolution was that the House recommend to the government to take effective steps by imparting technical education and giving loans at comparatively lower rates of interest with a view to generating alternative jobs and avenues in place of government jobs in order to eradicate unemployment.

Earlier, the House did not have the usual zero hour, as no member from the Opposition raised any issue.

Though the call-attention motion of three Akali MLAs — Mr Balwinder Singh Bhunder, Mr Ranjit Singh Brahmpura and Mr Gobind Singh Longowal — was aimed at drawing attention of the Minister of Agriculture to the dharnas by farmers at Patiala and Chandigarh had lost much of its relevance as the same had been called off following talks with the government, Mr Bhunder insisted on a reply by minister. Thereafter, Ms Rajinder Kaur Bhattal read out a lengthy reply and even chided the members.

The Speaker, Dr Kewal Krishan, did not allow Mr Bhunder to ask more than one supplementary as per the rules. In fact, the other two members were conspicuous by their absence and Mr Bhunder had no written authorisation from the two of them to ask questions on their behalf.

The Minister in charge, Choudhary Jagjit Singh, laid on the table of the House the annual reports of 13 boards/corporations.

In question hour, the Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, reiterated that there was no proposal to restore free power and water to agriculture. To another question, he said three vacancies in the Punjab Human Rights Commission would be filled by April 30. At present there are only to members, Justice N.C. Jain and Mr N.K. Arora.

In reply to a question the Chief Minister said there were at least 23 seasonal “nullahs” into which industrial effluent were dumped. The Punjab Pollution Control Board had also identified 135 industries which released toxic waste into these “nullahs”. Most of these were paper, dyeing and leather units. In the afternoon sitting, discussion was resumed on the Governor’s Address.

The House will take up supplementary demands, 2002-03, tomorrow along with the Appropriation Bill. Also, the discussion on the Governor’s Address will conclude with the Chief Minister replying to the same.


Three dead in building collapse
Two junior officials suspended
Varinder Singh
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, March 20
Even as the death of three labourers and grievous injuries to eight others in the sudden collapse of an upcoming multi-storeyed building in the crowded Sheikhan Bazaar here yesterday has shocked the residents, the incident has once again exposed the inability of the local municipal corporation authorities in curbing the illegal construction of scores of such buildings which were coming up in different parts of the city with the alleged connivance of civic body officials.

Meanwhile, the civic body authorities today tried to shift the buck by deciding to suspend two junior officials of the building branch and by asking the police to register a case against the building owner. Interestingly, since the civic body also virtually failed on the rescue front, the Army had to be called to speed up the rescue operations, which continued till this afternoon.

The incident occurred at around 11 am when the building structure, allegedly being constructed without getting the mandatory building plan approval from the civic body, caved in as soon as scores of labourers tried to remove the supports. With in seconds, almost all of them got buried in the debris, which in turn created panic in the busy bazaar and the city as well. A large number of people engaged themselves in the rescue operations launched by the fire brigade of the civic body.

The labourers who died on the spot were identified as Maheshwar (25), Malkit Singh (40), Nazar Mal (40). Those who received serious injuries included Bishambar Nath, Raju Chopra, Parmjit Singh, Pradip Kumar, Chitranjan, Surjit, Anil Kumar and Mukesh Kumar. They were admitted to the civil hospital for treatment.

As the fire brigade failed to speed up the rescue operations, the Deputy Commissioner, Mr K. Siva Prasad, summoned the Army authorities to assist the rescue operations, which were more difficult for the area being congested. Army jawans of the 11 Corps led by Col P.S. Jamwal and equipped with the AV-15 Heavy Rescue Vehicles removed the debris with the help of residents and the fire brigade officials. To monitor the rescue operations, the Civil Body Commissioner, Ms Sarojini Sharda, remained at the spot till 3 a.m.

Meanwhile, the incident has exposed the nexus between influential builders and the civic body officials, who have allegedly given a clean-chit to a number of them for construction of such high-rising buildings, in stark violation of the building bylaws and without getting the building plans approved. The Tribune had reported that at least 200 such buildings were being constructed in different parts of the city without the prior procurement of the mandatory civic body approval.

When contacted, the Mayor, Mr Surinder Mahey, said two officials of the building branch were being suspended for the lapse. He was non-committal on action against any senior official of the civic body. Interestingly, though more than 2000 files pertaining to cases of violations of building by-laws were missing from the civic body office and though the case was brought to the light by The Tribune last year, no concrete action had been taken by the civic body so far. Ms Sharda said action would also be taken against erring architects, found indulging in irregularities in the construction of such buildings.


Hola Mohalla concludes
Our Correspondent

Anandpur Sahib, March 20
The five-day annual Hola Mohalla in Kiratpur Sahib and here concluded yesterday evening amid cultural and religious ceremonies.

The religious ceremonies on the concluding day of Hola Mohalla started with the performing of ardas at Takht Sri Keshgarh Sahib. After the ardas, a nagar kirtan led by Panj Piaras was taken out from Takht Sri Keshgarh Sahib. The Jathedar of Akal Takht, Giani Joginder Singh Vedanti, the acting Jathedar of Takht Sri Keshgarh Sahib, Giani Tarlochan Singh, the head granthi of the Golden Temple, Giani Puran Singh, were among the prominent religious leaders who participated in the nagar kirtan.

The nagar kirtan visited Kila Anandgarh, passed through the Anandpur Sahib town and proceeded to Mata Jitoji gurdwara and Holgarh gurdwara in Agampur village. After paying obeisance at the gurdwaras Panj Piaras led the nagar kirtan back to Takht Sri Keshgarh Sahib, where it ended.

In the evening, Nihangs of various groups in their traditional attires took out a procession through the Anandpur Sahib town. The district administration succeeded in persuading the Nihang groups in jointly taking out the procession. Earlier, the Nihangs used to take out separate processions increasing the chances of conflicts among them.

Baba Budda Dals led by Baba Santa Singh and Baba Balbir Singh, Taruna Dal and Harian Belan were among the prominent Nihang groups which took out the procession.

The procession of the Nihangs ended at the Charan Ganga stadium where they performed the cavalry duels to enthral thousands of pilgrims who had gathered there.


No notification on MBBS seats despite HC order
Chander Parkash
Tribune News Service

Faridkot, March 20
First, procedural lapses on part of the Baba Farid University of Health Sciences (BFUHS), here spoiled the carrier prospects of aspiring medicos in the state and, now, the Punjab Government has failed to issue the notification authorising the university to full up vacant seats of the all-India quota for the MBBS courses. The Punjab and Haryana High Court had told the state on February 27 to issue the notification within seven days of the order.

Besides, playing with the careers of aspiring medicos, the government schemes to be defying the High Court as well as no notification has been issued in spite of the court orders on the writ filed by Amandeep Kaur and others,” say the parents of the aspirants, who have high hopes after this decision.

The High Court had also ordered that immediately after the issuing of the notification, the university should fill up the vacant seats in accordance with the notification issued on May 10, 2002.

For the past eight months or so a number of students who scored good ranks in the 2002 PMT have been suffering on account of the authorities’ failure to fill vacant seats in various medical colleges of state. The aspirants said the BFUHS had failed to fill the seats in spite of a Supreme Court order given on January 27. The order said all vacant seats for the all-India quota be filled from the state PMT merit list.

Dr P.S. Sandhu, Registrar of the BFUHS, when contacted, said the university had written to state government for issuing the notification. He also said there were about 13 vacant seats in the all-India quota.

He said he hoped the notification would be issued within day or so and the admissions would be over by the end of this month, as it would take about seven days to complete the formalities.

No senior functionary of State Health Department concerned with medical education could be contacted.


2 held for helping units steal power
Tribune News Service

Patiala, March 20
Electronic meter, installed by spending crores in industrial units in Chandigarh and Punjab, seem to have been out done by an electronic remote system which can jam meters meaning loss of crores to the Union Territory Administration and the Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB).

The police here has arrested two persons who made their services available to stealing power. Jaswant Singh of Saidpura in Dera Bassi Sub-Division, and Ashok Kumar, of Panchkula, have been arrested for helping people steal power. Senior Superintendent of Police Paramraj Singh Umranangal said the arrests were made following a tip off that a deal had been struck to install the device in a factory in Samana, 30 km from here. He said the owner of Vijay Plastics in Samana had struck a deal following which the police arrested them.

The SSP said Rs 40,000 were seized from the arrested besides eight remote-controlled meter jammers drills fake seals and a mobile phone. He said a criminal case and another under the Electricity Act had been registered against the accused at the Samana Police Station and they had been remanded in police custody till March 23. According to sources the police picked another member of the gang from Delhi following the arrest of the two from Samana. The sources said this person used to supply the remote control system.

The SSP said the remote system was installed inside the electronic meter and a remote plug to operate the system was installed within 25 yards of the meter. He said the meter could be induced to start working whenever a meter reader came by switching off the remote system. In case of industrial units other fitments were also used, including installation of an underground wire which was sometimes taken far away from the factory to avoid detection.

The SSP said owners of Vijay Plastics and Harbans Plastics of Samana were caught using the remote system by the PSEB authorities. He said interrogation of the accused had revealed that they had caused a loss of Rs two crore to the UT Administration. He added the gang was charging a one time cost of Rs 40,000 from small industries and Rs one lakh from large industrial houses to install the system.


Kalam to visit DAV College
Our Correspondents

Amritsar, March 20
The President Dr A.P.J. Abdul Kalam will inaugurate the golden jubilee celebrations of DAV College here, on March 23.

Principal M.L. Aeri said here today that the President had promised to visit the college in December 2000 and he had redeemed his promise to interact with the faculty and the students.

It was a pleasant surprise for the management, staff and students when the college received the call from the Rashtrapati Bhavan on March 17 that President would visit the college. Principal M.L. Aeri said that the visit of the President was a recognition of the progress made by the college during the last 50 years.

KAPURTHALA: Kapurthala is eagerly awaiting the arrival of President A.P.J. Abdul Kalam, who will spend a considerable time here during his visit to Punjab on March 23.

He will interact with students at Science City, pay his obeisance at Moorish Mosque, visit the erstwhile Royal Palace and address first convocation of Punjab Technical University.

He will visit Moorish Mosque, which is only the second of its kind in the world for its architectural design.


PM ‘appeasing’ Muslims
Our Correspondent

Phagwara, March 20
The Vishwa Hindu Parishad “Dharam Jan Jagarn Yatra” reached here yesterday as a run up to the March 27 — April 2 gherao of Parliament to press for the construction of Ram Temple at Ayodhaya. Swami Surya Partap of the VHP’s Pradesh Marg Darshan Mandal alleged that the Vajpayee government wanted to convert Hindustan into an Islamic country and with his appeasement of Muslims.

Already the ISI was becoming more powerful day by day, Muslims’ number was growing and conspiracy to subvert Indian “sanskriti” had been manifested in attacks on Parliament and Godhra, he said.

Swami Nar Hari Deb of the VHP’s Kendriya Marg Darshan said that we did not oppose judiciary, but were opposed to judicial delay in matter of Ayodhya. Sant Prem Das alleged that those sitting in Parliament were henchmen of Muslims and their sell-out in the hands of Muslims was causing delay of justice. Swami Atul Krishan Ji Maharaj, Pradesh Marg Darshan Mandal, who led the ‘Yatra’, warned the Union Government either to allow the construction of Ram Temple at Ayodhya or face consequences. “We have waited for 12 years and now enough was enough, he warned. He pooh-poohed PM Atal Behari Vajpayee’s suggestion to leave the issues of Kanshi and Mathura for facilitating the PM for a talk with Muslims on Ayodhya issue.

We have started our movement with “Janmat” and public cooperation and the matter of Ram temple related to “astha” (faith) and not to courts, he said. We will gherao Parliament from March 27 to April 2 to awaken the Vajpayee government on Ram Mandir issue and were mobilising public opinion through this yatra on the issue, he added. The yatra was received in Talab Arorian.


Cong meetings

Chandigarh, March 20
PPCC President H.S. Hanspal has convened a meeting of the presidents of district and block Congress committees here for March 22. The meeting will also be addressed by Capt Amarinder Singh and Ms Mohsina Kidwai, General Secretary of the AICC, in charge of Punjab affairs.

According to Mr Upender Sharma, General Secretary, PPCC, the meeting has been called to hold discussions on preparations for the national-level conference of the district block presidents to held in New Delhi on March 28 and 29.

The problems of the farm sector, industry, women, youth and the weaker sections of society and the remedial measures will be discussed at the conference.

Haryana Congress chief Bhajan Lal has also convened a meeting of the presidents of district and block committees here for March 22 for the same purpose. TNS


Kamboj elected MC president
Our Correspondent

Fazilka, March 20
Mr Hari Chand Kamboj of the Congress has been unanimously elected President of the local municipal council. His name was proposed by Mr Surinder Kalra and seconded by Mr Joginder Lal Setia. He has been elected unopposed as a municipal councillor before the Civic Body poll on March 9 for the second time. He belongs to the Backward Class. The post of Civic Body chief of A Class municipal council of Fazilka has also been reserved for the Backward Class. Mr Joginder Lal Setia and Mr Babu Ram have been unanimously elected senior and junior president, respectively. All names were proposed in the presence of Dr Mohinder Kumar Rinwa, MLA, and Parliamentary Secretary Punjab.

In 21-member civic body house there are 19 members belonging to the Congress. The party has wrested control of the municipal council from the BJP after five years. Earlier all 21 newly elected municipal councillors were administered oath by Mr Bhupinder Singh Saharan, SDM-cum-Returning Officer.

Later on Dr Rinwa while addressing a press conference said the priority of the municipal council should be to provide basic amenities to the people which include construction of roads, laying of sewerage mains in localities beyond railway crossing and ensure canal water to filter project. Dr Rinwa outrightly rejected the allegations of rigging in the municipal poll and described such charges are malicious as the Congress had won four seats unopposed and 15 of its candidates had won with convincing margin. He said the victory of party in the municipal poll had once again proved its popularity amongst voters of Fazilka.

Barnala: Mr Suresh Kumar and Ms Rajvir Kaur were elected president and vice-president, respectively, of the Tapa Municipal Council today.

Giving this information here, Mr N.S. Walia, SDM, disclosed that in the elections of the Dhanaula Municipal Council, Mr Surjit Singh, alias Seeta, was elected president whereas Mr Santosh Kumar was elected vice-president.

Mr Walia said the elections of president and vice-president of the Bhadaur Municipal Council were deferred today because of administrative reasons.


Puri elected civic council President

Pathankot, March 20
Mr Naresh Puri and Mr Balbir Minhas of the Congress were unanimously elected President and Vice-President respectively, of the Sujanpur Municipal Council here yesterday.

All 13 members of the council were present at a meeting conducted by Mr Puneet Goel SDM Pathankot, as the presiding officer.

The Congress has won 10 of the 13 seats in the civic council.


Strike by petrol dealers
Our Correspondents

Amritsar, March 20
The Amritsar District Petrol Dealers Association went on strike today. Serpentine queues were seen at petrol-filling stations since early yesterday. However, many small outlets were open in spite of the strike call.

Mr V.S. Chatwal and Mr Sushil Verma, president and vice-president, respectively, of the Association, said VAT had encouraged “inspector raj”. The Centre had excluded petroleum products like the LPG, kerosene oil and the AFS from the purview of VAT till 2005, so, it was unfair of Punjab to impose the tax on petrol dealers, they said.

PHAGWARA: The panic and bulk purchase of petrol and diesel here yesterday resulted in long queues of vehicles outside all filling stations here and drying up of stocks.

This purchase happened due to the call for indefinite strike from today given by the Petroleum Dealers Association against VAT.

“The call was, however, withdrawn late yesterday,” said Mr Charan Singh Jaswal, member of the state executive of the association, here today. 


Labourers beat up ‘outside’ contractors
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, March 20
A protest by labourers forced the authorities here today to postpone allotting contracts for hiring labourers for loading and unloading of crop procured from various mandis in the district.

The situation remained tense in the area surrounding Circuit House, where the tenders were to be opened, as hundreds of labourers assembled here and boycotted the opening of tenders. They said anyone who got the contracts would be thrashed. They even pasted boycott posters near Circuit House.

The labourers had virtually laid siege to Circuit House, as they feared that contractors from outside the district would not follow the boycott call and come to get the contracts. Later, they even thrashed some persons who they said were associates of a contractor from Haryana. Two of them, Jatinder and Manjit, were admitted to Civil Hospital with serious injuries.

The police was present in large numbers inside and around Circuit House when some contractors, said to be from Haryana, entered it early today. At the conclusion of the process, the police escorted them out, as they feared the wrath of the labourers.

Mr Kaka Singh, president of district unit of the Palledar Union, said the body was opposed to the awarding of contracts, as the rates for hiring labourers had been decreased. While, earlier, they were paid 47 paise per gunny bag, the labourers would, now, be paid 22 paise instead. Though contractors belonging to the district supported the labourers’ agitation, they feared that contractors from outside might get the contracts, so, labourers would not allow any contractor from outside to enter their district, he said.

The contracts were to be given for one year.

Only one Haryana contractor had filed the tenders, that too, only for the work at four mandis of the district.

In all, 30 tenders were received for the work at various mandis , out of which, contracts for Raman town and three village mandis were awarded, while the awarding of the rest of the contracts was postponed till March 27.

Meanwhile the tenders for contracts for transporting the crop were also opened today, which led to a scuffle between various transporters early in the day. Mr Krishan Singh, owner of a private transport company, said two of his associates had been beaten up by members of a truck union who did not want him to file the tenders.

Ms K.P. Brar, ADC, and Ms Gurmeet Kaur, District Food and Supply Officer, supervised the awarding of contracts. Mr Anurag Vema, Deputy Commissioner, when contacted, said higher officials in Chandigarh had been informed about the postponement.


BKU to support PSEB staff stir
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, March 20
Mr Joginder Singh, state president of the Bharatiya Kisan Union, (Ekta) in a statement here today said that activists of the BKU would reach Chandigarh tomorrow to support the stir of the state Electricity Board Employees against the privatisation of the PSEB.

He said that the activists would reach the Parade Grounds and from where they would march to the rally of PSEB employees in front of the state Assembly. He alleged that the Congress government was bent on selling Government institutes and offices to private parties at throw away prices.

He said that all offices of the government should not be run on profit and at least basic facilities should be given on no-profit, no-loss basis. Decrying the new economic policies, he said that political parties would never bother to work for the betterment of poor farmers and pointed out that while the bottled water from natural resources of the country was being sold at Rs 12 per litre by multinational companies, the farmers were not able to sell their milk for Rs 10 a litre every litres.


SKP to publish ‘White Paper’
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, March 20
The Shiromani Khalsa Panchayat (SKP) today vowed to continue its “peaceful struggle” till the removal of Giani Joginder Singh Vedanti, Jathedar, Akal Takht, who was allegedly facing charges of corruption.

The SKP also decided to release its “White Paper” on the incident of February 22 in which activists of the Shiromani Panchayat were injured in the SGPC complex.

Addressing a press conference here today, Mr Rajinder Singh, convener, SKP, said the “White Paper” would be released on March 28. He held the SGPC responsible for the clash.


Accidental poisoning kills kid
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, March 20
Seven-year-old Happy of Talwandi Sabo subdivision of this district died after consuming some insecticides he had accidentally mixed in Holi colours.

Sources said here today that, while playing with colours yesterday, the child had put water and colours into a discarded container of insecticides and, later, consumed this water accidentally. As the condition of the kid became serious, he was rushed to the Talwandi Sabo hospital but he could not be saved.

His body was handed over to his relatives after a post-mortem examination here.


Gold-plating of Temple interiors

Amritsar, March 20
The SGPC today handed over seva of gilding of the interiors of Golden Temple to the Guru Nanak Nishkam Sewak Jatha Birmingham, UK, which would be completed by next year.

The completion of the gold-plating of the interiors will coincide with the 400th anniversary of the installation of Guru Granth Sahib. TNS


ST evasion: Commissioner proposes, juniors dispose
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, March 20
Even as the Additional Excise and Taxation Commissioner directed his Assistant Excise and Taxation Officer (AETC) to get a criminal case of ‘impersonation’ and floating of ‘bogus firms’ registered against the owner of an influential air conditioner dealer, junior officers of the department have claimed that there was no such provision as the matter could be dealt under the Sales Tax Act only.

In his communication to the AETC, the State’s Additional Excise and Taxation Commissioner, Mr Krishan Kumar said, Harinder Singh, a partner of a Amritsar Air Conditioner House, had evaded tax on a turnover of Rs 2.40 crore by purchasing a large number of AC compressors in the name of bogus firm — Shiva Air Conditioner from Kirloskar Copeland Ltd, Chandigarh.

According to the official letter, received in the office of the AETC, Mr Krishan Kumar, was directed to frame the assessment by March 31. He alleged that the owner of the Shiva Air Conditioning had fraudulently prepared ‘the applied for certificate’, issued by Sohan Lal, ETO. However, inquiry conducted by the department revealed that the document was fabricated.

However, Mr Harinder Singh refuted the charges and stated that he had nothing to do with the Heera Air Conditioning or Shiva Air Conditioning and never opened ‘factitious accounts’ in Dena Bank. He alleged that the department was trying to implicate him in the false case. He said the Sales Tax Department had not recorded the entry of goods at the Mohali barrier. He alleged that it was the Chandigarh-based firm which had sold the goods in connivance with the Sales Tax Department.

When contacted, Mr K.S. Bajwa, AETC, refused to divulge the details saying that the case was under consideration. However, Mr K.K. Bedi, ETO, who was deputed by Mr Bajwa to give information about the case said the department could not get the criminal case registered against Mr Harinder Singh. He said the department would deal the case under the Punjab General Sales Tax Act only.

However, the four page inquiry report obtained from the local office alleged that Mr Harinder Singh, a partner of Amritsar Air Conditioning was purchasing AC compressors of huge amount in the name of Shiva Air Conditioning. On further inquiry it was found that the record of Shiva Air Conditioning was ‘fake’. A handwriting expert, Mr A.K. Singhal, took the photographs of the samples pay-in slips.

The report of the expert clearly states that pay-in slips used for purchasing goods tally with the handwriting of Mr Harinder Singh and Mr Sunil Kumar. The inquiry report further reads, “In this case forgery of preparing a registration certificate, forged signature of the assessing authority had been done with an intention of cheating the state government of its legitimate revenue”.

However, Mr Harinder Singh said he would sue the official concerned of the department for allegedly implicating him in the false case and causing harassment.


Income tax staff hold protest

Bathinda, March 20
Employees of the Income Tax Department today held a demonstration to express their resentment against the non-acceptance of their demands.

Mr Rajinder Singh, zonal secretary of the gazetted services federation said their demand for revision of pay scales had not been accepted. OC


Murder on court premises: 11 held
Varinder Walia
Tribune News Service

Batala, March 20
The police here arrested 11 persons today, including six women in the daylight murder in the court complex last month.

Dr Naresh Kumar, SSP said that the culprits had confessed that they were involved in the killing of Hardev Singh (34), brother of Jagdev Singh, of Khujala village who had married Rajwant Kaur against the wishes of her relatives two years ago. The marriage was solemnised at Satkartaria gurdwara.

However, Jagdev Singh had sent his wife to Singapore to evade the wrath of her relatives. On January 5, Rajwant Kaur returned to India and started living with Jagdev Singh in New Delhi and Chandigarh. Both came back to the village on February 6. They were presented before the SDM Batala on February 8 by the police.

They remanded in judicial custody.

They were released on bail on February 13. Rajwant Kaur had gone to the SDM’s court to record her statement in favour of her marriage with Jagdev Singh. All relatives of Rajwant Kaur had also reached the SDM’s court to bring the girl back home.

However, when the girl refused, they injured the girl and killed Hardev Singh on the spot.

The 11 persons, arrested in connection with the murder included Jasbir Singh and Surinder Kaur (father and mother of Rajwant Kaur), Harpal Singh, Jaspal Singh, Hardip Singh, Bachiter Singh, Veero, Mohinder Kaur, Gurmit Kaur, Satinder Kaur and Kuljit Kaur.


3-year boy murdered
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, March 20
The body of a three-year-old boy was recovered from the fields of Dialpura Mirja village in a badly mutilated state.

Sources said the body of Harpreet was found on Tuesday morning in the fields and handed over to the police. The father of the deceased, Mr Sira Singh, told the police that his son was kidnapped on Monday evening.

The post-mortem examination of the deceased was conducted. A case has been registered.

Police sources said the possibility of the child being murdered by someone on some tantrik’s advice could not be ruled out.


6 drug peddlers arrested

Jalandhar, March 20
The police has arrested six drug peddlers on charges of possessing smack, opium and poppy husk. Mr Varinder Kumar, SSP, in a press note issued here today said six drug peddlers had been arrested. They were identified as Arvinder of Patel Nagar in Phagwara, Joga of Sarakpur village in Nakodar, Manjit Singh of Jandiala village, Opinder Singh and Naresh Kumar of Nurmahal and Paramjit Singh of Ringra Chowala village. OC


Liquor vends auctioned for Rs 119 cr
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, March 20
In all, 469 Punjab medium liquor (PML) vends and 90 Indian-made foreign liquor (IMFL) vends in Sangrur district were auctioned today for Rs 119.7 crore for the financial year 2003-4. Last year, these vends had been auctioned for Rs 110.54 crore.

The auction was conducted by Mr Suresh Kumar, Excise and Taxation Commissioner of Punjab.

The circle-wise auction amounts are as follows: Sangrur — Rs 12.11 crore; Sunam — Rs 9.01 crore; Longowal — Rs 5.51 crore Mehal Kalan — Rs 8 crore; Amargarh — Rs 5.51 crore; Bhawanigarh — Rs 7 crore; Dirba — Rs 7.92 crore; Sherpur — Rs 5.51 crore; Tapa — Rs 6.10 crore; Malerkotla — Rs 10.52 crore; Dhuri — Rs 9.68 crore; Lehragaga — Rs 8.76 crore; Dhanaula — Rs 4.43 crore; Barnala — Rs 12.08 crore; and Ahmedgarh — Rs 7.5 crore. 

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