Saturday, May 31, 2003, Chandigarh, India


P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



CM rejects proposal to re-employ Rampal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 30
The Punjab Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, has rejected a proposal to re-employ Mr R.K. Rampal, Director, Agriculture. He is to retire tomorrow.

Official sources said today that the Department of Agriculture had recommended re-employment of Mr Rampal in the same capacity for six months after retirement. However, the Chief Minister had disagreed with the proposal. The charge of the Director is expected to be given temporarily to an IAS officer as was done earlier also.

The government has also decided to post Mrs Raji P. Srivastva, Additional Managing Director, Markfed, as Managing Director of Milkfed. She would replace Mr B.B. Mahajan, who will retire tomorrow.

Meanwhile, informed sources said that the government had started an exercise to replace all the Divisional Forest Officers belonging to the provincial cadre in Punjab. The Union Government has instructed all the state governments to post officers of the Indian Forest Service (IFS) only as DFOs. Presently, at certain places officers of the provisional cadre are posted as DFOs. The sources said that the officers of the provincial cadre would be accommodated elsewhere in the department.

The Centre has also instructed the state government to implement its order on the posting of IPS officers as district police chiefs and other cadre posts. In several other states, including Punjab, there is the practice to post officers from the state services as district police chiefs. In Punjab, in a number of districts PPS officers of the Superintendent rank have been posted as police heads.

However, no officers from the provincial civil services (PCS) is posted as Deputy Commissioner in Punjab. Informed sources said that there was practice to post PCS officers as Deputy Commissioners till 1970s. However, after that the practice was discontinued. Now, only IAS officers are posted as Deputy Commissioners.


Presence at Takht: relaxation for Tohra likely
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, May 30
The Sikh clergy have decided to give relaxation to the ailing Gurcharan Singh Tohra, President Sarb Hind Shiromani Akali Dal (SHSAD), Mr Parkash Singh Badal, president, Shiromani Akali Dal would visit Akal Takht secretariat for ‘consultation’ on June 5.

Giani Joginder Singh Vedanti, Jathedar, Akal Takht, clarified that Mr Badal or Mr Tohra were not summoned at Akal Takht as reported in a section of the press. They (Mr Badal and Mr Tohra) were invited for a discussion on the letter written by Mr Badal. He further clarified that the Sikh high priests were not trying for rapprochement between Mr Tohra and Mr Badal, the Sikh High priests were concerned about the violation of the edict only.

Meanwhile, a meeting of the Sikh Advisory Committee, attended by all five members, Jathedar Akal Takht and SGPC chief failed to take any decision on Giani Iqbal Singh, Jathedar Patna Sahib who along with four other Sikh High priests had declared Mr Mohinder Singh Romana, president, Takht Patna Sahib Management Committee ‘tankhaiya’ (guilty of religious misconduct), earlier, Jathedar Vedanti and the SGPC had alleged that Sikh clergy had violated the Sikh tradition as Akal Takht had the sole right to pronounce the edict. According to sources, the members of the Religious Advisory Committee were of the opinion that the Sikh clergy should not confront Jathedar Patna Sahib, instead they should find a way out.

However, certain members told the meeting that Jathedar Patna Sahib had violated the ‘maryada’. If no action was taken by the Sikh clergy, then a wrong precedent would harm the interests of the Panth in the long run.


Tohra’s illness will not ‘affect’ unity
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, May 30
Prof Prem Singh Chandumajra, general secretary of the Sarb Hind Shiromani Akali Dal (SHSAD) and a close confidant of Mr Gurcharan Singh Tohra, today said that due to the illness of Mr Tohra, the proposed unity between the SHSAD and SAD would not be affected. However, the unity might be delayed for some time, he added.

Talking to TNS, Prof Chandumajra said he did not think that Mr Tohra would be able to visit the Akal Takht secretariat on June 5 due to health reasons. He said Mr Tohra was recovering fast and might be discharged from the hospital in two or three days.

He evaded a direct reply to the question whether Mr Tohra would replace Prof Kirpal Singh Badungar as the SGPC chief after the completion of the unity process. However, Prof Chandumajra stated that all modalities would be chalked out later.

Prof Chandumajra also stated that the Akali Dal would not field its candidates in the ensuing panchayat elections. The candidates would be fielded by the people at the local level, but the Akali Dal would support all those candidates who rise above factionalism and dedicate themselves to serve the people, he added.


Unity move not off: Badal

Sangrur May 30
Despite hurdles created by the Congress the unity of the Akalis is near final, however the declaration in this regard would be made after the recovery of SHSAD president Gurcharan Singh Tohra. Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) President Parkash Singh Badal stated this today at Tapa in Barnala subdivision while talking to reporters.

Mr Badal was optimistic of defeating the Congress in the Panchayat elections. PTI


Samra shot at: counsel
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 30
Dr Gurvinder Singh Samra, complainant in a bribery case registered against two judicial officers, today caused ripples in the Punjab and Haryana High Court after his counsel informed the judges that his client had been shot at near Balachaur after an accident.

As soon as the information regarding the presence of an injured Samra with a bandage across his forehead spread, personnel of the Chandigarh Police swung into action. Within minutes, police Gypsies rushed to the high court. The matter was made worse after a news channel reportedly said that Dr Samra had been shot at outside the Punjab and Haryana High Court premises.

On the directions of the high court, Dr Samra was escorted to the PGI amid tight security arrangements. Apart from a Gypsy of the Sector 3 police station, two Gypsies of the Police Control Room escorted two Gypsies of the CBI.

The security staff of the PGI was on high alert as the CBI complainant was taken to the emergency. Till late this evening, doctors were busy conducting routine investigations on the directions of the high court. The Head, Forensic Sciences, Dr Dalbir Singh, and the Medical Superintendent of the hospital, Dr A.K. Gupta, were also present on the spot.

Sources said an X-ray of the CBI complainant had been done as the injuries were of a minor nature.

According to information, the CBI complainant was left at the CBI office by the escort vehicles of the city police at around 9 pm. The sources said a CBI team was expected to visit the spot where the accident had taken place. The high court has already directed the CBI to register an FIR regarding the incident.

Inquiries reveal that the accident took place under the jurisdiction of Nawanshahr police. After the CBI complainant’s vehicle was involved in an accident with a truck, he was taken to a Ropar hospital by staff of the highway police patrol. Blood was oozing out of Dr Samra’s head when he reached in the city at around 11.30 am. The CBI was recording the statement of the victim before registering an FIR. The sources said Dr Samra had alleged that a senior Punjab police officer was behind the incident.


Samra shooting incident: CBI asked to probe
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 30
Soon after Gurvinder Singh Samra — complainant in a bribery case registered against two judicial officers — claimed that he had been shot at, a Division Bench of the Punjab and Haryana High Court today directed the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) to register a first information report regarding the incident.

Pronouncing the orders, a Division Bench, comprising Mr Justice Amar Dutt and Mr Justice Varinder Singh, also asked the CBI to investigate the case. The Judges also fixed June 2 as the next date of hearing in the case.

Earlier during the day, the Judges directed High Court Civil Dispensary’s Medical Officer to take Samra to the Post-Graduate Institute of Medical Education and Research. The Judges further asked the institute’s Director to have the petitioner “examined medico-legally by a forensic expert with a view to see whether the wound could have been caused by the grazing of a bullet”. Haryana’s District and Sessions Judge (Vigilance) was also directed to record the petitioner’s statement in relation to the incident in which he sustained the injury.

Appearing before the Court, counsel for the petitioner had initially stated that the bullet had grazed his forehead. Giving details, he had asserted that Samra was on way to Chandigarh from Kartarpur when his vehicle was hit by a truck between Balachaur and Ropar at about 9 am. He had added that the petitioner was shot at after he got off the vehicle to inspect the damage caused to his vehicle.


MC ex-chairman held for embezzlement

Kapurthala, May 30
The vigilance police today arrested former Municipal Council Chairman Mohinder Kumar Aggarwal and his son Pawan Kumar on the charges of embezzlement and criminal breach of trust with the Punjab State Warehousing Corporation to the tune of Rs 1.71 crore.

The Vigilance police, led by Deputy Superintendent of Police (Vigilance) Rajwant Kumar, arrested Aggarwal and his son from their residence here on the complaint of the Managing Director, of the Corporation, against the four partners of Bansal Rice Mills.

The DSP told mediapersons that a case under sections 406, 409, and 120B of the IPC had been registered against Mohinder Kumar Aggarwal, Pawan Kumar and two women partners of the firm.

He said the firm was given the stocks of paddy for custom milling in 1999-2000 by the district Manager of the corporation but the firm did not deposit the levy rice to the Food Corporation of India(FCI) on behalf of the warehousing corporation causing a loss of Rs 1.71 crore to the corporation.

On the other hand, Mohinder Kumar Aggarwal told mediapersons that he had regularly deposited the levy rice to the FCI on the behalf of the corporation. He said he had even reported the refusal of IR-8 quality of levy rice by FCI to the warehousing corporation and the warehousing released the same IR-8 quality of levy rice to some other firms.

He claimed that he had not committed any embezzlement with the corporation. He also claimed that the corporation had always found the stocks of paddy and rice lying in his firm as intact and never reported any losses. UNI 


Veerpal’s in-laws ready to accept her
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, May 30
Another twist was added to the story of Ms Veerpal Kaur, a resident of the district, who was allegedly deserted by her NRI husband, when her in-laws today refuted the allegations of dowry demand and said they were ready to accept her in the family.

Family members of Mr Napinder Singh, husband of Ms Veerpal Kaur, today held a press conference here. They said they had never demanded dowry from the parents of Ms Veerpal Kaur.

They said it was a matter of happiness for the family as Ms Veerpal Kaur was pregnant.

They claimed that while they were preparing to celebrate the arrival of the first child after more than 20 years in the family, some political persons were damaging their image.

They said Ms Veerpal Kaur was residing with her parents on her own will as it was a custom in rural Punjab that a woman delivered her first child at her parents’ home.

Ms Harpal Kaur, mother of Mr Napinder Singh, said she felt very happy when she heard about the pregnancy of Ms Veerpal as neither her other son nor her daughters, who were married about 10 to 12 years ago, had any child.

Ms Balwinder Kaur, sister of Mr Napinder Singh, alleged that some political persons had offered to work as mediators for a patch up between both families, if they (family of Mr Napinder) paid them “party fund”.

Mr Jaswant Singh, a jail warden and husband of Ms Balwinder Kaur, said he was unduly dragged into the controversy.

He claimed that he did not have the passport, green card or other documents of Ms Veerpal Kaur as was alleged in the media.

He claimed that he was not the “vichola” in the marriage of Mr Napinder and Ms Veerpal. He said he would meet senior officials of the Jail Department to “clear his position”.

However, he said, he was ready to face action, if he was found guilty.

The family members also played some audio cassettes for the mediapersons, which they claimed were recorded by a friend of the younger sister of Ms Veerpal Kaur.

They said the cassettes were of conversation between that friend and Ms Veerpal.

The family members alleged that Ms Veerpal wanted to get divorce from Mr Napinder and wanted to marry some other person.

They said some friend of Ms Veerpal had sent some documents and photographs to Mr Napinder in the USA about the life of Ms Veerpal before her marriage.

They claimed that these “revelations” had upset Mr Napinder and he had even attempted suicide at his residence in the USA.

They claimed that Mr Napinder Singh had recorded the telephone conversation of some politicians who demanded money from him.

They alleged that these politicians had told Mr Napinder Singh that they could solve the controversy, if they were given some money.


Jail warden told to return papers of NRI’s wife
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 30
With the intervention of the Punjab Minister for Jails, Mr Malkiat Singh Birmi, the case of Mrs Virpal Kaur, who is married to an NRI in Virginia (USA), took a new turn today.

Mr Birmi yesterday issued directions through the official channels to a warden posted in a Bathinda jail to return the passport, green card and other documents of Mrs Virpal Kaur in a week or face consequences.

Mrs Virpal Kaur had told mediapersons here that she wanted to return to the USA, but said her passport and green card had been taken away by the jail warden, who is a close relative of her husband Napinder Singh.

Mr Birmi told ‘The Tribune’ that he had asked the ADGP ( Jails) to direct the warden to return all papers. “We have received a complaint against the warden regarding the snatching of papers such as passport etc. The complainant in the case is a former Union Minister, Mr Balwant Singh Ramoowalia”, said Mr Birmi.

The warden has reportedly told the Jail Department authorities that documents were taken by Napinder Singh on return to the USA. 


Dalit fears threat to life in Haryana
Varinder Walia
Tribune News Service

Dadwan (Dhariwal), May 30
Mr Harbans Singh, a Dalit youth from this village, feels insecure even in the presence of security guards, provided to him by the Gurdaspur police on the directives of the Punjab and Haryana High Court, whenever he attempts to go to Haryana to collect his cash and gold ornaments.

Mr Harbans Singh, who fought a long legal battle against certain Haryana police officials who had allegedly abducted him from this village in November 1999 and was meted out ‘inhuman torture’ on the way to Panipat, now fears threat to his life in Haryana. A police party from Panipat had bundled him into the jeep in the wee hours on November 20, 1999, and later booked him for possessing counterfeit notes. He was allegedly tortured during police remand on the pretext that he will have to tell the machine where ‘fake currency notes’ were published. However, the Reserve Bank of India later found the notes genuine.

An FIR was registered against Haryana police officials (two of them by name) on October 2001 under Sections 395, 365, 506, 148, 149 and 120-B of the IPC following directives of the Additional Director-General, Vigilance. Despite a number of inquiries conducted by the Punjab police no action had been taken against the Haryana police officials so far. The FIR was lodged after proper inquiry conducted by the then DSP, Mr Jaswant Singh Cheema, who found the police party of Panipat guilty.

Mr Harbans Singh claimed that he and his friend Jasbir Singh went to Samalika in Panipat district with Rs 7.33 lakh to strike a deal for a piece of land on November 1999. The deal was struck for Rs 9.33 lakh and Mr Harbans Singh had to come back to his village to manage remaining amount leaving Rs 7.33 lakh with his friend at Panipat. However, when he was going back with Rs 2 lakh he was ‘abducted’ by the police in two jeeps from this village.

Following the order of the high court, the SSP, Gurdaspur, directed the SHO, Dhariwal, to provide security to Mr Harbans Singh on the day when he has to go to the Panipat police station to collect the amount. The order of the SSP reads: “Applicant Harbans Singh has prayed that SHO Rajinder Singh Rathi (Panipat) has recovered Rs 9.33 lakh by alleging that this currency is fake but subsequently it has been found that the currency is not fake. The applicant is to collect amount from the police station Panipat but he has the apprehension that whenever he will go there for collecting the amount a false case will be registered against him”.

Talking to TNS, Mr Harbans Singh said he had been financially ruined due to the legal battle fought against the Haryana police. He, however, said the management of Sukhjindera Memorial Academy came to his rescue and had decided not to charge fees from his three children, including two daughters, till he recovered money and a gold bracelet from the police.


Ex-Dean threatened me: VC
Jangveer Singh
Tribune News Service

Patiala, May 30
Punjabi University Vice-Chancellor Swarn Singh Boparai today accused a former Dean and senior university teacher, Dr Dalbir Singh Dhillon, of threatening him during a meeting with him yesterday and told the teacher that he would not be able to grant an audience to him in future.

Dr Dhillon had led a delegation of around 25 teachers to meet the Vice-Chancellor yesterday evening. The delegation had protested against the recent suspension of two university teachers — Dr Saroj Rani and Prof Gurpal Singh, besides claiming that the Vice-Chancellor was favouring a particular set of teaches belonging to a rival teacher faction.

Sources disclosed that Dr Dhillon received a letter through a special messenger today. The letter said, “You had led a deputation of teachers to meet me today (Thursday). During the meeting you had said every Vice-Chancellor has to undergo the same fate. Charges are always levelled and agitations organised. These words imply a threat and amount to intimidation. It does not behove of a senior teacher to use such language while talking to the Vice-Chancellor. It would be difficult for me to grant an audience to you”.

Supporters of Dr Dhillon said he was not expected to take the incident lying down and was in the process of writing back to the Vice-Chancellor. The teachers, who were part of the delegation, said Dr Dhillon was being targeted by the Vice-Chancellor even though he did not make any offensive or intimidating remark. They said Dr Dhillon had only highlighted the grievances of a large number of teachers and that the Vice-Chancellor should have taken the meeting in the right spirit. They said he had himself remarked on joining duty that he was open to discussion.

Dr Dhillon said he would write back to the Vice-Chancellor shortly. He said he was the Governor’s nominee on the Senate and it was his duty to apprise the Vice-Chancellor of the happenings in the university. He said he was shocked that the Vice-Chancellor, instead of taking the discussions held with him in the right spirit, was trying to browbeat senior teachers.

Meanwhile, the University Public Relations Director, Dr B.S. Sandhu, said the letter written by the Vice-Chancellor to Dr Dhillon was neither a show-cause notice, nor a letter of displeasure.

The sources disclosed that yesterday’s meeting in which Dr Dhillon led a delegation of teachers to meet the Vice-Chancellor was the first official protest by teachers belonging to the United Teachers Front (UTF) which had earlier aligned with a former Vice-Chancellor, Dr Jasbir Singh Ahluwalia. The sources said teachers of this faction had been unhappy ever since the departure of Dr Ahluwalia. This, they said, was because most of the important administrative posts had been given to those who had led the agitation to oust Dr Ahluwalia.


Police gets university records
Chander Parkash
Tribune News Service

Mansa, May 30
The case pertaining to the admission racket in Khalsa Dental College, Nangal Kalan, took a new turn after the police succeeded in obtaining the records of Punjabi University relating to the admissions in the BDS course after making efforts to get the same for four years.

After the examination of the records pertaining to the admission of students in the BDS course by the police authorities, some startling facts are likely to come to light, and many bigwigs, who have served various universities in different capacities in the past more than four years, might fall into police net for their alleged involvement in the fake admission racket.

Dr Naginder Singh Harika, managing director, Khalsa Dental College and Hospital, Nangal Kalan, was booked by the local police about four years ago for defrauding students by making admission in the BDS course without taking the approval for the same from the Dental Council of India (DCI). This was done following a complaint lodged by a retired bureaucrat of Delhi, Mr Suresh Kumar, whose daughter got admission in the college. However, before the registration of the case, Dr Harika had managed to get affiliation for the college from Punjabi University, Patiala, and approval to run the course from the Punjab Government despite the fact that there was no approval from the DCI to run the same.

Mr Suresh Kumar in his FIR alleged that Dr Harika took capitation fee worth lakhs of rupees for admitting students on the pretext that his college was approved by the DCI to run the BDS course. He added that later he came to know that the college was having no such approval. Another case of fraud was registered against Dr Harika on the complaint of Ms Ravinderjit Kaur, as she was also cheated by him by admitting her in an unapproved course of B.Sc (nursing) by claiming that the course was duly approved by the authorities concerned.

Official sources said that although the district police authorities had examined all other aspects of the fraud committed by Dr Harika, these failed to examine the role of the Punjabi University authorities as it could not get the record pertaining to the affiliation granted to Khalsa Dental College by it despite repeated efforts made by it.

The unavailability of records of Punjabi University made it difficult for the police authorities to complete their investigation into the case.

Sources added that though the records pertaining to the affiliation of the college were lying in Punjabi University, the authorities concerned kept on telling the police authorities that the same were missing during the tenure of former vice-chancellor, Dr Jasbir Singh Ahluwalia.

Police sources said that this was being done to save those from legal action, who were involved in granting affiliation to Khalsa Dental College and Hospital by violating the norms.

The relevant records were obtained by the police authorities after prolonged correspondence with the current university authorities.

Sources added that during the preliminary examination of the records, some irregularities on past of those officials of Punjabi University, who were involved in granting the affiliation, had come to light. A thorough probe was likely to reveal some startling facts.

Mr S.S. Srivastva, SSP, while confirming the fact that the records of Punjabi University relating to Khalsa Dental College had been obtained, declined to comment further.


Cong leader’s call to party workers
Our Correspondent

Faridkot, May 30
Mr Bal Mukand Sharma, vice-president, Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee (PPCC) and former minister, has exhorted party workers and leaders to sink their differences to strengthen the party at the grassroots level.

He said that after the victory of the party in the last Assembly elections in Punjab, a large number of “opportunists” had entered the party to create factionalism among the Congress leaders and workers to achieve their personal political gains. However, the party high command was fully aware of their activities.

Addressing a block-level convention here yesterday, he reiterated the determination of state government to check corruption at all levels.

Highlighting the achievements of the state government, he said during its short tenure, over 30000 tubewell connections, distribution of Rs 950 crore as subsidy to the poor and uninterrupted power supply to 5544 villages had been ensured. Similarly, a grant Rs 177 crore for different development schemes had also been distributed in rural areas. In the education field, Rs 133 crore had been given for the mobilisation of the Sarb Shiksha Abhiyan.

Mr Avtar Singh Brar, vice-president, PPCC, and ex-MLA Faridkot, and Mr Surinder Iqbal Singh Brar, president, DCC, also addressed the function. Later talking to mediapersons, Mr Sharma said the party would not contest the panchayat elections on party symbols but support the candidates in this connection, keeping in view their prospects. All district MLAs, ex-MLAs, DCC presidents and chairmen of zila parishads and block samitis have been authorised to finalise the list of the aspirants in this regard.

Regarding the alleged involvement of several senior officials of various departments, including sarpanches and panches, in the misutilisation of funds distributed by former Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal during sangat darshan programmes in the state, he said the matter was under the purview of the government .


PSEB to save Rs 350 cr: Ratra
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, May 30
The Chairman of the Punjab State Electricity Board, Mr Y.S. Ratra, has said that the Board will save Rs 350 crore during the current year on account of improved efficiency and cutting down losses.

Addressing a press conference after interacting with senior officials of the border range, Mr Ratra said that the Board had taken a series of measures to improve its working and provide quality power to the consumers. He said the increase in the power tariff recently announced by the Power Regulatory Commission would help the Board to overcome the financial crisis.

He said government would be asked to review again the decision to enact a fresh legislation against taking deterrent action against power theft and also take serious action against the erring officials involved in arranging theft.

Mr Ratra said the power reforms as recommended by the Haldea Committee would soon be implemented. He said the Board had learnt from problems faced by Orissa, Delhi, Andhra Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh with regard to the privatisation of power and added that the PSEB would learn from their mistakes and would not take any hasty decisions, which may affect the Board. He said that although their losses were around 24 per cent which were quite low in comparison to states like Delhi and Haryana, he assured that the Board would try its best to bring the losses down by at least 2-3 per cent every year. He said that energy meters had been installed at all feeders in the state and the in charge of that area would be responsible for theft or losses as all areas would be made profit centres. He said he would reward efficient and honest officers who make the Board profitable.


Raju exploited Cable TV operators’
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, May 30
The Cable TV Operators Welfare associations today criticised the statements of Dolly, wife of Mr Sarabjit Singh Raju alleged prime accused in the multi-crore sex scandal scam. Ms Dolly in a press conference at Chandigarh on May 29 alleged that the Punjab Human Rights Organisation and the police have falsely implicated her husband in the scam.

In a press note here today the association’s general secretary Mr Raman Kumar alleged that Mr Raju had started exploiting cable operators on the name of copyrights since 1990. However, he added, when the association took the matter to the high court, he (Raju) allegedly left the city after failing to prove his rights. But in 1995 he again came here with the assistance of Mr Hari Om Dhanuka, another accused in the case. Mr Raman further alleged that despite the fact that Raju did not have a cable network in the city, even then was made the chairman of cable operators, Thereafter at least for the next seven years the accused never held annual elections of cable operators body and no bill was issued to 123 operators against their payments, he alleged.


Police remand for electrical inspector
Tribune News Service

Patiala, May 30
A local court today remanded Punjab Chief Electrical Inspector Tirlok Nath Sharma in police custody till June 4. Mr Sharma was nabbed red-handed while accepting a bribe of Rs 20,000 from a businessman, and a raid on his house had led to the recovery of cash worth 22 lakh.

The Vigilance Department requested that Mr Sharma be remanded in police custody for 14 days. It said registries of number of properties had been recovered from the residence of Mr Sharma in the Ajeet Nagar of the city.

It said the department needed to identify the properties and also calculate their worth.

Besides, the department also claimed that blank cheques had been recovered from the residence of the Chief Electrical Inspector and it need to be investigated as to who sent these. Sixty tolas of gold and expensive electronics items were also recovered from the residence of Mr Sharma.

Twentynine scotch bottles has also been recovered from his house and a case under the Excise Act had also been registered against him.

The court also directed that the accused be medically examined at Government Rajindra Hospital.


Sex racket: Chawla for CBI probe
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, May 30
“Shakti” an organisation of women has come to the help of the women victims of sex scandal. President of the organisation Mrs Lakshmi Kanta Chawla told newsmen that with the unearthing of the sex and extortion racket has brought into focus the plight of poor girls who became victims of machinations of the rich and the powerful who exploit them for business.

The former BJP MLA has urged the government to hand over the probe of the racket to the CBI to lay bare the nexus between the administration, cable operators and businessmen exploiting the customers and buying disputed properties.

Mrs Chawla has requested the police to hand over these poor girls to her organisation for protection. She said they would help them get justice and expose the big people who had used them for their selfish hands.

“Shakti” has also brought to light the role of the then SSP who had allowed prime accused Sarabjit Singh Raju to hold a fashion show at his Suncity Amusement Park though the Deputy Commissioner had cancelled the permission granted to the organisers holding the show. She alleged that the then DIG had also a confidential report against the SSP held him guilty of defying the order of the Deputy Commissioner. 


Report filed to rights panel in bribe case
Our Correspondent

Malerkotla, May 30
The state Vigilance Bureau has submitted its report to the Punjab State Human Rights Commission regarding the bribe money demanded by a doctor of the local Civil Hospital for the treatment of a patient. In the report, the Vigilance Bureau has indicted the doctor, who is of the rank of SMO.

In the inquiry report submitted by the Senior Superintendent Police, Vigilance, Patiala, it was mentioned that the doctor had taken Rs 7000 as bribe from Darshan Singh, son of Surjit Singh, and a resident of Hathoa village.

After this, the doctor demanded Rs 5000 for the further treatment of the patient. Darshan Singh’s relatives approached the doctor and threatened to go to the higher authorities.

After this the bribe money taken by the doctor was returned and the patient was discharged from the Civil Hospital without proper treatment.

It may be mentioned here that in an affidavit to the Human Rights Commission, Punjab, Mr Darshan Singh had earlier alleged that he had been forcibly discharged from the Malerkotla hospital as he had got back Rs 7000 given to the doctor of the hospital.

After his discharge from the hospital, Mr Darshan Singh approached the Human Rights Commission.


Mann to meet Aziz
Our Correspondent

Phagwara, May 30
Mr Simranjit Singh Mann, MP, president, SAD (A) will soon meet the Pakistan High Commissioner designate, Mr Aziz Ahmed Khan. He said our party hoped that one day the Sikhs would directly deal with Pakistan diplomatically through Wagah without Delhi’s meddling.

Mr Mann , who is also a member, of the Consultative Committee, Ministry of External Affairs, opposed the move to send armed troops to Iraq.

No Sikh was on the Cabinet Committee on Security and the panel of nuclear command and control system, he rued. For all this, held the Shiromani Akali Dal Chief , Parkash Singh Badal responsible.


NGOs urged to check female foeticide
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, May 30
“Sex ratio in the state is a matter of concern and it is all the more alarming in the district, which has 751 females for every 1,000 males between the age group of 0-6, where as the ratio of state is 783, which is lowest in the country,” said Ms Daisy Walia, district president of the Association for Social Health in India, while addressing a seminar organised by the association to create social and health awareness among women.

She called upon the NGOs, social, religious and political organisations to make combined efforts to curb the menace of sex determination and female foeticide. She said women were contributing equally and playing important role in shaping up the society. She urged women to provide proper diet to their growing children. She announced the holding of a healthy baby competition on Bal Divas, November 14, during which healthy babies would be honoured.

Dr Balwinder Singh, Medical Officer, gave information on balanced diet, health and AIDS. He urged the society to curb social evils and childhood marriage.


Illumination of 12 km of road is company’s centenary gift
Our Correspondent

Ropar, May 30
As a novel gift to the people of the area and its employees Asron-based multinational company DSM Anti Infectives India on its 101st anniversary has decided to provide street-light on the 12 km stretch of the Ropar-Nawanshahr road from Ropar headworks to Paniali village. Company officials yesterday evening provided 50 electricity poles on the 1.5 km stretch. A spokesperson of the company said that the employees of the company wanted the area illuminated.

Employees suggested to the company that light be provided for the stretch of the road that was accident prone in darkness and heavy traffic. The company accepting the suggestion of the employees decided to have 400 electricity poles each with 150 watt halogen lamp on the said road.

The company has decided to spend Rs 1.5 crore on the project to be completed by July this year. The electricity poles will get power from the power plant of the company, he said.


Survey to identify physically challenged
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, May 30
The District Red Cross Society has initiated a special survey to identify the physically challenged in the district to provide them artificial limbs, tricycles, hearing aids and the other equipment to make them self- dependent, said Mr S.K. Ahluwalia, Deputy Commissioner. He was presiding over a meeting of representatives of NGOs and voluntary organisations of the district at the Bachat Bhavan here today.

He said there were more than 350 social organisations in the district and if these unite on one platform they could play an important role in the welfare of human beings.

He assured them they could approach any official at any time for the redressal of public grievances.

Appreciating the good work done by the District Red Cross Society, he said the society had been directed to arrange clean drinking water at bus stands in all towns of the district and also to make immediate arrangements to provide medicines, particularly to the poor patients of the district. He said workers from the villages would be made part of the activities of the Red Cross.

Addressing the gathering, Capt. R.S.Bawa, Secretary, Punjab Red Cross Society, said in Fatehgarh district all physically challenged persons would be provided aids. He also announced a grant for buying an ambulance for accident victims on the G.T.Road.

Representatives of various social clubs and organisations also addressed the gathering.


33 pc seats for women in village poll
Our Correspondent

Faridkot, May 30
The district administration here has reserved 33 per cent seats for women, including that of Scheduled Castes category for sarpanches in 181 gram panchayats in Faridkot district. In the women’s category 23 seats have been earmarked to the Scheduled Castes category women which include villages Ahal, Bholuwala, Daggo Romana, Dhilwan Khurd, Golewala, Jahriwala, Kabalwala Kler, Machaki Mal Singh, Marar, Pakka, Sadiq, Veerewala Kalan (Faridkot block), Dal Singh Wala, Gandhara, Guru Ki Dhab, Khara Matta, Nathewala, Panjgrain Kalan, Phidde Kalan, Romana Albel Singh and Ramuwala (Kotkapura block).

In addition to it 46 seats have also been reserved for men of Scheduled Castes category said Mr Hussan Lal Deputy Commissioner while releasing a list here today. As many as 1800 government employees including teachers will be deployed oversee the election. 


CSIO Director opens conference
Our Correspondent 

Fatehgarh Sahib, May 30
Dr R.P. Bajpai, Director, Central Scientific Industrial Organisation (CSIO), Chandigarh, inaugurated a two-day national-level conference on “Open Source Software and Technologies — Bridging the digital divide” at Baba Banda Singh Bahadur Engineering College here today. Dr S.K. Salvan, Adviser to the Vice- Chancellor, Punjab Technical University (PTU), was the chief guest on the occasion.

Technocrats from Karnataka,  Maharashtra, Uttaranchal, Chandigarh, Himachal Pradesh and Haryana, besides Australia, participated in the conference.  

The official spokesperson for K-Desktop Environment, Australia, Mr Sirtaj Singh Kang, and the Manager, Glide, Chandigarh, Mr Arvind Jalota, attended the conference to review the papers.

Addressing the conference, Mr Bajpai said if India could take the lead in biotechnology, it would bring about a revolution in the country. Delivering a lecture on “Biomolecular Electronics Nano Technology”, he said that biotechnology was a combination of different fields of science like chemistry, physics, zoology, botany and electronics. He said there was  a need to design and develop DNA software. 

Dr Salvan said PTU was spreading awareness among the technical community about the potential of biotechnology. He said the university was encouraging engineering colleges to generate infrastructure for this field so that B.Tech courses in biotechnology could be started in the state.

Mr Gurpal Singh, coordinator of the conference, said young technocrats must contribute to society by developing software to meet local needs. 


BKU (E) to hold dharnas
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, May 30
The Bharatiya Kisan Union (Ekta) said today that it would hold dharnas against the anti-farmer policies of the Punjab Government, under which farmers of various villages were being arrested for not repaying the loans taken from agricultural development banks.

In a press note issued here today, Mr Joginder Singh Ugrahan, state president of the BKU (E), claimed that nearly 25 farmers of Bathinda and Muktsar had been arrested for not repaying their loans. He said the agriculture development banks were set up to meet the financial demands of farmers, but officials were exploiting farmers by taking major part of the loan in the form of bribes while giving the loans to farmers for various purposes. He alleged that in some cases 30-50 per cent of the loan was paid as bribes to bank officials.

He alleged that the government was misguiding the public by saying that only those farmers were booked who had taken loan from the banks for non-agricultural purposes and not repaid the same now.

He said farmers had to take loans to make both ends meet due to successive crop failures and the loans taken for agriculture-allied business should also be taken as loans for agriculture purposes. He demanded that the government should waive off the loans taken by farmers for agriculture purpose.

He said the BKU would protest against the policies of the Punjab Government and agricultural development banks by holding dharnas to press for their demand of no arrest of farmers who had failed to repay their loans.

He said the BKU (E) state committee meeting on June 3 would decide the further course of action against the arrest of the farmers.


On alkaline water for seven years
Our Correspondent

Faridkot, May 30
As many as 8000 residents of Beehlewala and Maansingh Wala in this district have been drinking alkaline water for the past seven years. Three filters of water works at Beehlewala village constructed 25 years back, got damaged in 1996.

The public health department hasn’t repaired. Mrs Rajinder Kaur sarpanch Beehwala, said two years ago the residents of the village dug a bore near the water works, but they got alkaline water of the handpumps in the village was also unfit for consumption added.

Mr Hussain Lal, Deputy Commissioner, has issued directions to the district Public Health Department to sort out the matter. 


Blood donors honoured
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, May 30
The district administration will publicly honour all those, who have donated blood more than 50 times, so that the coming generations could be motivated to adopt this noble cause, said Mr S.K. Ahluwalia, Deputy Commissioner, while addressing a gathering after inaugurating a blood donation camp at ITI Bassi Pathana town today. The camp was organised by students as well as by the Blood Donor's Society Bassi Pathana.

Highlighting the need to donate blood, the Deputy Commissioner said the blood collected by the society saves precious lives and it was the best donation. He called upon people not to shed blood but one could make donate it.

Addressing the function Mr Mohinder Singla, president of the society highlighted the achievements and history of the society. He said the society had been organising regular blood donation camps after every three months since it was set up. He said till today 68 blood donation camps had been organised.


Reinstate staff: CITU
Our Correspondent

Ropar, May 30
The state unit of CITU has threatened to launch an agitation against the DCM if the management fails to reinstate its five union leaders

The management on May 21 suspended five leaders namely Surinder Singh, Joginder Singh Rana, Rama Shankar, Arjun Singh and Surinder Guhoon on charges of beating up company’s official R.V. Singh for not participating in the strike. 


Singla, DC visit slum areas
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, May 30
Mr Surinder Singla, Chairman of the High-Powered Finance Committee and local MLA, Mr Anurag Agarwal, Deputy Commissioner, and Mr D.K. Tiwari, Commissioner of the local municipal corporation, today visited various areas in the city to chalk out programme for the removal of slums, so that Bathinda could be made first slum-free city of Punjab.

They visited slum areas near Urban Estate, Phase II, Patel Nagar and Teachers Colony. The authorities had taken the decision some days ago to remove the slum areas and jhuggis as part of the beautification drive launched after the city was made the fifth municipal corporation of the state.

The task of removing slums would be completed in a few months and PUDA, Improvement Trust and municipal corporation have started working in tandem with each other to accomplish the task at the earliest.

Mr Singla said slum-free city did not mean that the slum-dwellers would be asked to leave the town. 


FCI staff threaten stir
Our Correspondent

Barnala, May 30
The Punjab unit of the Bharatiya Khaadiya Nigam Karamchari Sangh (BKNKS) has threatened an agitation if harassment of Food Corporation of India (FCI) employees of Barnala was not stopped by the police. Mr K.K. Sharma, Secretary of the Punjab State Bharatiya Khaadiya Nigam Karamchari Sangh said here today that the police was trying to implicate FCI employees of Barnala in false cases. Mr Sharma alleged that Durga Rice Gram Udyog Samiti Barnala had allegedly stored wrong rice in agency’s godowns. Following detection of this fact, the police registered a case against the Samiti.

He regretted that after three or four months, the police was trying to implicate FCI employees in this scam.

He clarified that at the time of storage of rice in agency’s godowns, FCI staff ensures storage of rice in godowns after approval of rice by the staff but after that the keys of godowns were always with the agency in charge. I during loading of rice process, rice is found to be of sub-standard quality that rice is not allowed to be loaded.


8-hr power supply for paddy transplantation
Tribune News Service

Patiala, May 30
The Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB) has decided to start eight-hour uninterrupted power supply to Bathinda, Ferozepore, Faridkot, Muktsar and Amritsar districts from tomorrow to facilitate the early transplantation of paddy in these districts.

At a meeting held at the PSEB headquarters here last month, which was attended by representatives of farmers’ organisations and experts from Punjab Agricultural University, it was decided that farmers should be discouraged from going in for transplantation of paddy before June 10. Accordingly, the PSEB had restricted power supply for agricultural tubewells to four to five hours a day only. However, the Board has been forced to make a change in its strategy after seeing that farmers had gone ahead and started transplanting paddy in border districts as well as areas prone to waterlogging in May end itself.

The Board will, however, continue to give four to five hours of power supply to other parts of the state till June 10 to discourage farmers from going in for early transplantation. The Chief Engineer, Systems Operations, Mr Padamjit Singh, said the change in strategy, besides catering to the needs of the waterlogged and border areas, would also have a cushioning effect as the Board would be better able to manage power distribution. The eight-hour uninterrupted power supply to all parts of the state would be started after June 10.

In another decision, Board decided to come down heavily on those farmers running tubewells on single-phase supply. The problem was arising in mixed rural feeders of 11KV where single-phase supply and agricultural supply were being provided on the same lines. There were many complaints of farmers installing capacitors to run their tubewells on single-phase supply. The Board had accordingly taken a decision to cut off all over-loaded single-phase lines from the grid.

Mr Padamjit Singh said that presently the Board was receiving an additional 16 per cent unallocated power of 120 MW from the central sector stations, besides power from Uttaranchal, Jammu and Kashmir and Himachal Pradesh under the banking scheme. He said the Board was also purchasing power from the Delhi Vidyut Board for running rural feeders.

He said the Board appeared to be comfortable as far as its thermal stations were concerned. Some of the units had been closed for maintenance so that they could run on optimum capacity during the paddy season. He said the closure of units had also led to the building up of the coal stock at all three thermal plants in the state.


Poor seeds for contract farmers 
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, May 30
Mr Ajmer Singh Lakhowal, state president of the Bhartiya Kisan Union (Lakhowal), said here on Wednesday the seeds being supplied to a section of farmers under the contract farming scheme were of poor quality.

Mr Lakhowal, talking to mediapersons here, alleged that the seeds of ‘sarson’ and ‘makki’ (brassica and maize) were of poor quality and the matter had been brought to the notice of the Punjab Agriculture Minister, Ms Rajinder Kaur Bhattal, during a meeting held recently. He claimed that officials of the Punjab Agro Industries Corporation failed to tell the place and company that had manufactured the seeds and whether the same was certified or not.

He claimed that the cultivation of “arind” (castor oil seed) in the region would prove harmful for cotton as the castor crop was heavily infested with pests, which could also attack the cotton sown near castor fields. He claimed that agriculture experts had warned against the cultivation of castor in the area of cotton. He said the farmers should tread with caution and multi-national companies should not be trusted blindly as a section of such companies had backtracked from their contracts of procuring peas and tomatoes in Hoshiarpur and some other districts of Punjab.

He alleged that a section of traders selling seeds had been cheating the farmers by marketing inferior and fake seeds under the brand of famous companies. He alleged that some traders had been selling the seeds under the name of Bt cotton and hybrid cotton seeds by procuring the same from fly-by-night companies and officials of the Agriculture Department had been sleeping over the issue.

He demanded that the farmers, who have submitted the requisite fee and test reports for their equipment with the PSEB, should be given tubewell connections immediately and minimum 12 hours power supply be ensured. He said the supply of canal water for irrigation should also be improved.

Replying to a question, he said he was not in favour of delaying or not paying any loan raised from the commission agents but added that due consideration should be paid to the economic condition of the farmers. He advocated the use of passbooks to record financial transactions between farmers and commission agents and said the prices of agriculture produce should be linked to the price index and 1967 should be taken as base year.


Kashyap, Lakhanpal leave for USA
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 30
The Punjab Chief Secretary, Mr Rajan Kashyap, and the Principal Secretary (Finance), Mr K.R. Lakhanpal, have left for the USA to participate in the fourth annual conference on economic reforms in India to be held in Stanford University on June 6 and 7. On the way to the USA, they will also hold meetings with eminent Indians in England, it is learnt. 


FCI official arrested
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, May 30
The Vigilance Bureau today arrested Gurjant Singh, a Technical Assistant of the FCI, posted at Kotkapura, for accepting a bribe of Rs 50,000 from rice mill owners.

Mr Baljinder Singh Grewal, SP, Vigilance, Bathinda range, while addressing mediapersons here this evening said rice mill owners led by Mr Harpal Singh Sandhu, president, Rice Millers Association, Kotkapura, had approached the bureau alleging that an official of the FCI was demanding bribe.

Mr Grewal said the rice millers alleged that the official had demanded Rs 1 lakh for permitting them to store the rice (20 trucks) in the FCI’s advance buffer godown. He said the rice mill owners struck a deal with the official for Rs 50,000, which was paid today. He said the bribe was paid as per the plan of the bureau and the accused was arrested red-handed.

He said the accused belonged to a village in the Abohar area in Ferozepore district and had joined the FCI in 1976.

The bureau also raided his residence and seized passbooks, gold items and cash. A case under Sections 7, 13(2) and 88 of the Prevention of Corruption Act was registered.


Murder accused kills self, body found
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, May 30
Bhushan, a resident of Rampura town of the district, who was an accused of murdering one-and-half-year-old son of his friend, committed suicide and his body has been found from a distributary near Lehra Bega village.

Police sources said about three days ago a body was found floating in the distributary, falling under the jurisdiction of Bhucho police chowki. The body was taken out of the distributary and cremated by a voluntary organisation.

However, when it was suspected that the body was of Bhushan, his kin were called who recognised the clothes, ring and bracelet of Bhushan.

Bhushan and Jagmohan were friends. On May 22, Bhushan came to the house of Jagmohan and started beating up his (Jagmohan) wife, Lalita. After that he snatched baby boy Shivam, from Lalita and ran away.

He threw the boy into a canal near the Kuitya bridge situated near the town. The boy was spotted by two persons who were washing their vehicle on the banks of the canal. They managed to pull out the boy and after finding that he was alive they took him to a hospital. However, the boy died after reaching Civil Hospital.

A case in this connection was registered under Section 302 of the IPC at the local police station.

The local police was making efforts to arrest Bhushan from the moment he had committed the crime. But it seemed that he committed suicide a few days after he had murdered the boy as his body was in a bad shape when it was taken out from the distributary.

A case in this connection was also registered at the local police station.


Robbers injure 4 of family
Our Correspondent

Samana, May 30
At Chauhant village on the Samana-Patiala road 14 km from here a few persons, entered the house of Hazoor Singh (80) at midnight and injured him, Jaswinder Kaur his daughter-in-law, Jaskaran grandson and Paramjit Kaur granddaughter grievously with iron rods and looted the house. Neighbours woke up at 1.30 a.m. after hearing the cries and had them admitted to Rajindra Hospital Patiala. Mr Jaspreet Singh DSP, reached the spot. All members of the family were in hospital and unable to make a statement. Dog squad has been pressed into service.

A case has been registered. 


One killed in attack
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, May 30
Gurcharan Singh, a resident of Mehlawala village, was hacked to death while seven persons were injured when several armed persons attacked the house of Ramesh Kumar at Ramnagar in the Islamabad area here late last night.

The incident occurred at midnight. Some guests of Ramesh Kumar, including Gurcharan Singh, were present at the house when Gursharan Singh along with some persons armed with kirpans attacked the house. Gurcharan Singh died on way to hospital.


PCMS opposes medical teachers on contract

Chandigarh May, 30
Terming the Punjab government’s move to fill 400 vacant posts of teachers in various medical colleges in the state on contract basis as unjustified, the Punjab Civil Medical Services (PCMS) Association has said that this would go against the interest of the patients as well as medical education.

In a statement issued here today, the President of the association, Dr Hardeep Singh, said that with 50 per cent of the posts of medical teacher cadre in the state lying vacant, the standard of medical education was being seriously affected. “Various medical colleges in the state face the threat of de-recognition by the Medical Council of India, due to this large-scale vacancy,” he stated.

He said the recent announcement made by the Minister for Medical Education, Choudhary Santokh Singh, that these posts would be filled on contract basis, had shocked the PCMS Association. “The government move would deny all the PCMS doctors serving in the rural areas, the chance to serve in tertiary level health care hospitals and be involved in teaching,” said Dr Surinder Singh, General Secretary of the Association.

The association urged the Chief Minister to stop the filling of the vacant posts on contract basis. They also demanded a high level probe into the illegal promotions done by the previous regime. TNS


SHO ‘beats up’ student leaders
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, May 30
Leaders of the Punjab Radical Students Union (PRSU), led by Sanjiv Mintoo, state secretary of the union, today met the Sangrur SDM here and demanded strict action against the Bhawanigarh SHO Sukhminder Singh for keeping allegedly Bahal Singh and Harbans Sonu, leaders of the PRSU, in “illegal” custody last night and “beating up” them.

Sanjiv Mintoo, state secretary of the union, and Sukhwinder Singh, district secretary, this evening alleged that Bahal Singh and Harbans Sonu had been held by the Bhawanigarh SHO last night when they had been writing slogans on walls in protest against unprecedented hike in fees of colleges and universities. They alleged that both leaders had also been “beaten up” by the police.

When contacted, Mr Manpreet Singh Chhatwal, SDM, Sangrur this evening said he had talked to the SHO who had told him that four persons, including a girl, had been roaming at midnight at Bhawanigarh. The SDM said the SHO also told him that he had held two persons but were let off at night on the assurance of a local persons. Both persons had been called again this morning to the police station for investigations as per the SHO, the SDM added.

Mr Chhatwal also said the SHO had told him that both persons, Bahal Singh and Harbans Sonu, had been let off this afternoon.

Sanjiv Mintoo said the girl, who accompanied the PRSU leaders for writing slogans, was the wife of Harbans Sonu. He said Sonu's wife worked for the union.

However, the Bhawanigarh SHO could not be contacted.


US scholarship for SLIET student
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, May 30
A scholarship has been awarded to Vikas Garg, a student of Sant Longowal Institute of Engineering and Technology (SLIET), by the American Welding Society (AWS) Foundation. The award carries a sum of $ 728.33.

A spokesman of the SLIET said here today that Vikas Garg was doing the Bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering with specialisation in welding technology and had planned to work as a welder.

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