Saturday, June 21, 2003, Chandigarh, India


P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



Foolproof evidence against Badal: CM
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 20
Continuing his tough stance against former Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal, Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh said today that not one but several “challans” would be filed against Mr Badal.

The Akali leader was involved in several scandals and “We have irrefutable evidence which will be put up in the courts concerned for legal action against Mr Badal,” the Chief Minister said.

Investigating agencies had been collecting evidence against Mr Badal and other members of his family for the past 16 months to prepare foolproof cases for presentation in courts. Moreover, police officers had not been depending on Mr Badal’s close relations and aides, who were arrested recently, for collecting evidence. Police officers were doing their job silently to collect documents etc, he added.

“We will present such solid evidence against Mr Badal that his conviction would be upheld up to the Supreme Court,” he asserted. The state agencies were also looking into the violations regarding foreign exchange regulations etc by the Badals. Besides, there were allegations of money laundering against the Badal family.

All allegations that the state agencies were being pressured to implicate Mr Badal in various scams were false. “We have been working on the basis of solid documentary evidence against Mr Badal”, he asserted. The misuse of powers by Mr Badal was widespread.

Mr Badal should not threaten officers by issuing statements against them. “I have ordered action against Mr Badal and he should address his threats to me”, the Chief Minister said.

Mr Badal yesterday stated that if his involvement in the drainage scandal was established in the court, he would admit all other charges being levelled by the Chief Minister against him.


Badal: govt has been exposed
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 20
The former Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, while addressing a conference here today alleged that the Punjab Government and its investigating agencies had been exposed following the refusal of Mr Harjinder Singh today to become an approver against his (Badal) family.

Mr Badal said Mr Harjinder Singh, a driver with Wimpy International, was arrested by the Vigilance Bureau from Delhi a few days ago. He was produced in the Kharar court today to record his “confessional statement”. However, he refused to record the statement saying that he had been tortured by police and was being forced to record the statement. Mr Harjinder Singh was again sent to judicial custody following his refusal to make the statement.

Mr Badal alleged that there was a “board” of five police officers “headed” by the Chief Minister, who prepare schemes to “fix” and arrest people close to the Badal family. Warning these officers, he said when his party would form the Government, these officers would also be taken to task for “playing in to the hands of the ruling party”.

Mr Badal also alleged that the vigilance police was also trying to involve his nephew, Mr Manpreet Badal in some “false” case. Mr Manpreet Badal got a message last evening that he had received Rs 15 lakh from someone and should appear before the SP (Vigilance) at Ferozepore to give explanation in this connection.

Mr Badal said he had now come to know that the case that was registered at Lambi against Mr Narotam Singh Dhillon alleging his links with the ISI and terrorists had been dropped. Mr Baltej Singh, on whose complaint a case regarding drainage scam was registered in the Muktsar area, has already denied that he had made any such complaint.


Wimpy’s driver admits pressure

Kharar, June 20
A local court today remanded Harjinder Singh, a driver with Wimpy International Limited (WIL), an international fast food chain owned by a London-based Kanwal Singh Sidhu, a close family friend of former Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal, in judicial remand till July 2.

Duty Magistrate Harinder Sidhu directed to produce the accused before a Special Court on July 2.

Harjinder Singh, who was one of the five WIL employees arrested by the Punjab Vigilance Bureau on Saturday from Delhi for allegedly recycling Badal OSD’s black money into white and further passing it on to political bigwigs, including Badal family, was produced before the court for recording his statement under Section 164 of the CrPC.

On Sunday, all five WIL employees, including Harjinder Singh, were sent to police custody till Wednesday, by a Kharar court, but the vigilance bureau sleuths produced him before a Kharar court on Tuesday with a request to record his statement under Section 164 of the CrPC, which the bureau sleuths claimed, Harjinder Singh was ready to give.

However, the court on Tuesday sent him in judicial custody till today, with directions to produce him before a Kharar court today.

Harjinder Singh’s father Jeet Singh had moved an application before a Kharar court on Wednesday through his counsel Tara Chand Gupta for not recording the statement of Harjinder Singh. The applicant had alleged serious threat and pressure from the police besides torture of his son for making him agree to give statement as desired by the vigilance bureau. This application was also kept for today for consideration.

When Harjinder Singh was produced before the court he reportedly admitted pressure for giving statement. — PTI


SAD for panel to look into corruption cases
Tribune News Service

Nanakiana Sahib (Sangrur), June 20
Instead of registering “false” and “fabricated” corruption cases against former SAD ministers and sitting MLAs of the SAD only, the Punjab Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, should immediately set up a commission, headed by a sitting Punjab and Haryana High Court Judge, to inquire into the corruption cases against politicians of various political parties.

In reply to a query of mediapersons here today, the secretary-general of the SAD and the Union Minister for Chemicals and Fertilisers, Mr Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa, said the party would welcome the setting up of such a commission and also cooperate with it to bring the truth on the record in various corruption cases. Mr Dhindsa said the proposed commission should examine complaints against the allegedly corrupt politicians, including the Akalis and Congress men. In case the commission declared any SAD leader as a “tainted” person, the party would also take action against him. He also alleged that the Amarinder government was framing cases against the Akalis by procuring “false” affidavits.

Mr Dhindsa, who also addressed a district-level meeting of the SAD (the first such meeting after unity with the SHSAD) at Gurdwara Nanakiana Sahib here today, called upon the Akali workers to evolve consensus. Mr Gobind Singh Kanjhla, MLA from Sherpur who was a member of the SHSAD before unity, Mr Gobind Singh Longowal, SAD MLA from Dhanaula, Mr Parminder Singh Dhindsa, SAD MLA from Sunam, and Mr Nusrat Ali Khan, from MLA from Malerkotla, also warned the Amarinder government against weakening the SAD.


Narotam case: Ghuman denies involvement
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 20
“I am related to Narotam Singh - Nims - Dhillon. His wife is my cousin brother’s sister-in-law. He has been more of a friend and both of us, along with Bhupinder Goyal of Panchkula, entered the flopped Punjab Online lottery business,” reveals Capt Gurdeep Ghuman denying that he was responsible for the Vigilance case against Narotam.

“Rather, I am facing problems. Since I live in Panchkula, the Haryana police has been keeping a watch on me. I apprehend that I may be implicated in some false case. As such I have already applied for an anticipatory bail,” he told The Tribune here today.

Mr Joginder Singh Dhillon, brother of Narotam Singh Dhillon, at a press conference recently had alleged that a civilian — Captain Ghuman — was present during the interrogation of his brother by a DIG of the Punjab Vigilance Bureau.

“Yes, both Captain Ghuman and my brother are related and have been very good friends. But unfortunately, they have fallen apart. What Captain Ghuman is saying about the money he has given to my brother may be true, but we have no information. Narotam has denied that he owes money to Captain Ghuman. All I can say is that it is very sad that they have lost faith in each other,” Mr Joginder Singh told The Tribune over the telephone, holding that the method adopted by Captain Ghuman does not behove a close relative and a friend.

“Yes I was present there, but only for a while. I had approached the DIG, Mr K.S. Pannu, who is my partner in golf, and requested him to allow me to see Narotam in police custody. As soon as I met him in police custody, he started yelling at me and accused me of engineering his arrest. He threatened me with dire consequences,” Captain Ghuman said.

“When he, along with Narotam and Bhupinder, joined hands for Punjab Online lottery contract, he paid Rs 17.3 lakh on August 8, 2002, for Narotam Dhillon which he promised to reimburse within two days. But he did not return the amount,” Captain Ghuman said.


VB moves court to attach Bhamra’s properties

Kharar, June 20
The Punjab Vigilance Bureau today moved an application before a court here seeking orders for the attachment of movable and immovable properties owned by former Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal’s Officer on Special Duty (OSD) Hardeep Singh Bhamra in a case of corruption and disproportionate assets registered against him on August 29 last year.

Duty Magistrate Harinder Sidhu, however, kept the orders on the application reserved for tomorrow.

The VB sleuths submitted before the court that even after the denial of pre-arrest bail by the Sessions Court and high court, Mr Badal’s OSD was evading arrest.

The prosecution also attached a list of four properties, which, it claimed, were owned by Mr Bhamra. These properties, which included two SCFs, a kothi and a plot in SAS Nagar, were estimated to be worth Rs 1,28,64,337.

Mr Badal’s NRI nephew Narottam Singh Dhillon and five employees of Wimpy International Limited have already been arrested in Mr Bhamra’s case for giving “asylum” to Mr Bhamra and “conniving with him to recycle Mr Badal’s black money into white before forwarding it to the political bigwigs, including the Badal family”. — PTI


Bhindranwale ‘continues’ as Damdami Taksal chief
Prabhjot Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 20
By claiming that Sant Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale continues to be the chief of the Damdami Taksal, its officiating chief, Baba Thakur Singh, in a statement from San Jose in California today has not only refuted the claim of Bhai Ram Singh as the 15th chief of the taksal but also given a new twist to the controversy over the grant of “martyr’s status” to the sant.

Only a couple of weeks ago, various sects and organisations, including a section of the taksal, had accepted Sant Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale’s “sacrifice for the Panth” and granted him the status of a “Sikh martyr”. Even members of the family of the sant had accepted that he was no more.

In a written statement faxed to The Tribune and his subsequent telephonic conversation with this correspondent Baba Thakur Singh maintained that Bhai Ram Singh was never appointed chief of the taksal.

Bhai Ram Singh is currently in the USA and expected back on July 2 when he is scheduled to take over. Only yesterday, various Panthic organisations and sects, including the descendants of Sant Kartar Singh Bhindranwale, had hailed the appointment of Bhai Ram Singh as the next chief and held that there would be no “formal dastar bandi” to mark his taking over as taksal chief as all such rituals and formalities had already been completed in the USA in the presence of Baba Thakur Singh. Bhai Ram Singh is a nephew of Sant Kartar Singh Bhindranwale.

“He was only appointed a caretaker of a few gurdwaras run by the taksal. Bhai Ram Singh, members of his family and some aides, however, twisted the facts and declared himself to be the 15th chief of the taksal. Bhai Ram Singh is greedy and selfish. He should not have done that,” said Baba Thakur Singh holding that even the “dastar of the Damdami Taksal chief is still with Sant Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale.

“It is only he who can appoint his successor. I am only officiating in his place,” he added.

“Keeping in view the manner in which Bhai Ram Singh has conducted himself, we have decided to withdraw the caretaker’s charge given to him. All gurdwaras for which the charge was given to him would now be looked after by other taksal workers.

Taksal leaders maintained that since Sant Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale was “alive”, there was no question of accepting him as a “martyr”.

Baba Thakur Singh, by reiterating his claim as the real acting chief of the Damdami Taksal, warned Bhai Ram Singh and members of his family “not to indulge in this kind of low activities.”

“I appeal to the entire Sikh world not to be misguided by a few traitors and assure you that the taksal is discharging its religious duties under the existing setup,” Baba Thakur Singh said.

Talking to The Tribune over the telephone from the USA, Bhai Ram Singh said it was Baba Thakur Singh, who had offered to appoint him as the next acting chief of the Taksal.

“I was in Los Angeles when some Taksal workers at Tracey Gurdwara requested Baba Thakur Singh to name his successor. They had in fact proposed names of Bhai Manjit Singh, Bhai Ishar Singh, Bhai Mohkam Singh, Bhai Ajaib Singh and Bhai Satbir Singh. Babaji said he would think about it. On June 16 when I reached Tracey from Los Angeles at midnight, Baba Thakur Singh called me in the morning and told me that he wanted to entrust me the sewa of the Taksal and extracted an assurance from me that I won’t say no to him.

“Later, Baba Thakur Singh, in the presence of all those who were at the gurdwara presented a siropa, a shawl and a dastar and appointed me as the acting chief of the Taksal and promised to support me,” he said revealing that after his formal appointment, certain people started working against him.


Paddy ‘depresses’ water table
Punjab to frame water management policy
Sarbjit Dhaliwal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 20
The over-exploitation of ground water has become Punjab’s bane. As many as 84 of the 138 blocks have been rendered “dark” meaning that the situation on the ground water front in these areas has turned critical.

There are 16 blocks which have been declared as “grey” where the situation is alarming. In the remaining 38 blocks, which are called “white” by ground water experts, the situation is comfortable.

Paddy has been the main culprit for creating a serious imbalance in ground water resources in the state. “The situation is so bad that we are now draining out water in certain areas from our reserves,” says Dr S.K. Mittal, Joint Director (Hydrology), Agriculture Department, Punjab.

Chief Secretary Rajan Kashyap told The Tribune today that the government had also realised the gravity of the situation. “Soon we will come out with a water management policy. A meeting of all departments would be called soon. The state Council of Science and Technology has been made the nodal agency to prepare the policy,” said Mr Kashyap.

The building by-laws under the policy would be reframed to make roof water harvesting mandatory in the state. Effective measures would be taken for the retention of rain water in the areas where the water table was constantly falling. Village panchayats and the Irrigation and Agriculture Departments would also be involved in this process.

The worst affected is the Moga area where the water table has been going down by 80 cm every year for the past one decade, followed by Patiala district where the depletion in the water table has been 70 cm per annum for the past 10 years. The third place goes to Sangrur, where the fall in the water table is 60 cm every year.

In Amritsar district, the fall in the water table is 25 cm every year, Kapurthala 25 cm, Jalandhar 40 cm, Ropar 20 cm, Nawanshahr 25. However, there are certain pockets in various districts, especially in the Kandi area, and certain parts of south-west districts such as Bathinda, Ferozepore etc where a rise in the water table has been recorded. For instance in the Balachaur area, a 25 per cent rise in the water table has been recorded. Water harvesting dams seem to have proved good for that area. Likewise, a rise in the water table in the Abohar-Fazilka-Lambi-Malout belt, near Muktsar, has been noted. In fact, in most parts of south-west districts, ground water is saline and farmers do not use it for crops.

According to official sources, ground water recharging from all sources in the state is to the tune of 13 million acre feet (m.a.f) per year. And that much water is pumped out every year. However, an imbalance has been created in vast areas because recharging of ground water is far less than its withdrawal there. Whereas in the saline water areas, the recharging of ground water is more than its withdrawal.

In Moga district, the annual withdrawal of ground water is 1 maf against .42 maf of recharging in Sangrur, the withdrawal is 2.12 maf and the recharging only 1.36 maf. In Muktsar recharging is .73 maf and the withdrawal .28 maf. In Bathinda the recharging is . 50 maf and the withdrawal .35 maf. In Ropar, the recharging is 54 maf and the withdrawal .28 maf.

The only way to save Punjab is to get rid of the paddy crop at the earliest, say ground water experts.


Water shortage belies MC claims
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, June 20
Even as the corporation claims to be operating more than 200 tubewells to provide water, the city residents complain about severe shortage in water supply as many of the tubewells are not fully utilised.

Outer areas of the city are the worst hit with one sixth of the total tubewells in a state of disrepair. While corporation officials use fund crunch as a ready excuse to dodge any responsibility, residents have to bear hardships owing to shortage of water.

Occupants of first floors in many of the colonies such as Kabir Park, Kot Khalsa, Guru Hari Rai Avenue, near Khalsa College, are particularly affected as they are at the mercy of their landlords or ground floor residents for getting their share of water. Shanti, a teacher, complained that now she had an added chore of lifting of buckets of water in addition to her teaching job. “It seems like medieval ages”, she comments. It is also learnt that a former minister “uses his clout” to divert the supply of water to the colony where he lives.

Added to this the fact that the corporation here possess not a single generator with any of the tubewells to operate these during power failure.

Colonies like Gobindpura, Putlighar area, Majitha Road, Guru Arjun Dev Nagar, Gopal Nagar, Guru Amardass Guru Ramdas too are facing severe shortage in the supply of water. Residents in Ajanala Colony Jhujar Avenue, Defence Enclave, Friends Colony revealed that while tubewells had been installed in their colonies during the Akali-BJP rule no pipelines had been provided to carry the water supply.

Even in the Dashmesh Colony where the residents hoped to have all civic facilities as Mayor, Mr Sunil Datti, lives in the colony, there have been complaints of supply of contaminated water.

The corporation authorities here admit that 40 per cent of the population here was facing acute shortage of potable water. The situation is worse in about 60 slum areas in and around the city where for several the daily routine starts at 4 a.m. with collecting water from municipal taps.

Even ambitious schemes drawn up by the corporation to provide water to 85 per cent of city residents have failed to meet their deadlines. This leaves residents at the mercy of indigenous or an illegal method of using ‘tullu’ pumps, submersible or jet pumps for fetching water that continuously disturb the depleting water table. In addition to that particular usage of ‘tullus’ that use air-lock procedure leads to severe contaminated. The situation is grim in areas such as Verka, Mustafabad, Krishan Nagar, Sandhu Colony where the water level has become so low that new bores are needed to uplift the water.


2 scribes held on complaint of minister’s wife
Scribes deny charges
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, June 20
The district police has registered a case against three persons, including two scribes of Fatehgarh Sahib, Mr Jaswant Singh, editor of ‘Sirhind Fatehgarh Sahib Today, a weekly newspaper, Ranbir Kumar Jajji of Hind Samachar and Gurmail Singh, on a complaint by Mrs Prem Lata, wife of the Forest Minister, Dr Harbans Lal, alleging that these three trespassed in her residence at Sirhind, threatened her and had a scuffle with her. But when the neighbours gathered they fled from there. She alleged that they had come to tell her that they had affidavits in their possession against the minister and started threatening her. The police has registered a case under Sections 352, 452, 506, 34, IPC, at police station Sirhind. Two of them have been arrested, while Mr Jaswant Singh is still at large.

Meanwhile, some journalists under the presidentship of Mr Ashok Malhotra of Amar Ujala hold a meeting and condemned the registration of false cases against the scribes and raids at their residences. They also met the SSP and the Deputy Commissioner in this regard and demanded cancellation of the FIR registered against scribes. Mr Manpreet Singh, a journalist and relative of Jaswant Singh distributed the photocopies of the affidavits to mediapersons given by Gurmail Singh to the accused scribes.

In the affidavit it had been claimed by Gurmail Singh that he had sat on dharna in front of the district administrative complex demanding a Vigilance probe against the corrupt practices followed by Dr Harbans Lal, Minister for Forest and two of his PAs. In the evening of that day he (Gurmail) was forcibly taken to the minister’s residence at Sirhind and was beaten up there. The family of the minister also got his signatures on certain blank papers. He later managed to escape from minister’s residence. Gurmail Singh had demanded probe into the incident.

On the other hand Dr Harbans Lal, told The Tribune that both these scribes had been blackmailing him and hatching a conspiracy against him just for monetary gains. He alleged that both these scribes had misguided Gurmail Singh and forced him to sit on dharna against him in front of DC’s office, so that he (the minister) could be defamed and lured Gurmail with a job, monetary gains and wide publicity in newspapers and TV channels. The minister said that some of his friends brought Gurmail Singh to his residence in the evening and he had pacified him.

The minister claimed that Gurmail Singh gave him a affidavit to narrating the sequence of events and alleged that both these scribes had forced him (Gurmail) to sit on dharna and both the scribes had called the TV teams for coverage. The minister alleged that both of the scribes, along with Gurmail Singh, came to his residence later and threatened his wife, so she lodged the complaint.

Mr Jaswant Singh, told The Tribune on phone that Gurmail Singh had given him an affidavit against the minister and the minister had called him to his residence and demanded to hand him over the original affidavit. But when he (Jaswant Singh) refused to oblige, the minister got agitated.

He denied that he had misbehaved with the minister’s wife. He alleged that a false case had been registered against him to silence him. He said that he would meet the CM, Mrs Sonia Gandhi and Mr H.S. Hanspal against the atrocities committed by the minister.

When contacted Mr B. Chandra Sekhar, SSP, said that the wife of the minister had lodged a complaint against the three. He said that law would take its own course and investigations were on. He said that two of the three accused had been arrested. He denied that he had received any affidavit from these two scribes against the minister. He said that if they would submit any affidavit, the matter would be investigated and action would be taken as per law.


Frontier Mail fire still a mystery
Report rules out sabotage; no clue to exact cause yet
Jupinderjit Singh
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 20
The much-awaited forensic examination report in the Frontier Mail fire incident that consumed 36 lives has ruled out the possibility of any sabotage as the cause of the incident. The report, however, has failed to pinpoint the exact cause of fire. The mystery over the cause of fire still remains as a probe by the Railways Safety Department had also remained non-conclusive.

The report, finalised by the forensic experts and sent to the Railways and police officials investigating the case, states that no explosive material was found in three packets of samples, gathered by the experts from the burnt coaches of the ill-fated train and sent for chemical examination to the forensic experts in Chandigarh.

The report, details of which are available exclusively with The Tribune states, “On the basis of the physical and chemical examination of the three samples sent for analysis, no petroleum or any other material could be detected from the traces of the samples.”

The three samples contained traces of a black bag, some clothes, including a sari, and some plastic objects. The samples also contained traces of some bags, which were collected after some injured persons reported that they had seen smoke coming out from some bags kept in the centre of the S-4 coach.

Sources said the forensic experts were yet to finalise the report regarding the examination of a stove or traces of some badly burnt mattresses. But that is not going to have an effect on the ruling on the sabotage theory. Sources said the theory of sabotage centred around the black bag and the sari and it was being safely deduced that the fire incident was not because of any sabotage.

The cause of fire according to the experts now centres on the possibility of a short-circuit or fire caused by some cigarette stub thrown carelessly by some passenger in the coach.

The forensic report was being eagerly awaited by the government and the Railways. Mr Bhupinder Singh, Commissioner, Railway Safety (North-Eastern Circle), had reportedly told reporters at New Delhi that his investigation had failed to find any conclusive cause of fire and he would wait for the report of forensic experts in the matter. He had said he was certain of only one thing that the fire started in S-4 coach and spread towards S-5 and S-6 coaches.

He had said he wasn’t sure what caused the fire but it spread within minutes and engulfed the three coaches.

Railway sources said the police was seeking the forensic experts’ opinion on their investigation of the coaches. This investigation was conducted on the spot but no report has been filed in this regard. The Frontier Mail had caught fire near Laddowal in Ludhiana early morning on May 15. As many as 36 persons had died and several others were injured . Detailed investigations have been carried out by the Railway police, Railways Safety Department and other experts but the cause of the fire remains a mystery so far.


Train fire due to cigarette stub: report

Ferozepore, June 20
Divisional Railways Manager Hukum Chand Punia here today said the fire in the coach of the stationary train at Amritsar railway station was caused due to a smouldering cigarette stub thrown by somebody.

Talking to reporters here, Mr Punia said the three-member committee constituted by him had submitted its report.

He said though he was sending the report to the Railways headquarters in Delhi, he may re-order the probe.

He said the report of the forensic team of the Punjab police was still awaited. — UNI


Administration gears up for panchayat elections
Our Correspondent

Ferozepore, June 20
Amidst apprehensions of violent clashes among workers of the rival political parties, the district administration is sparing no effort in making foolproof arrangements for the panchayat elections to be held on June 29. To take stock of the arrangements being done to prevent any untoward incident during the panchayat poll, the Deputy Commissioner, Mr Vikas Pratap, and the SSP, Mr Praveen Sinha, held a review meeting with all SDMs, DSPs, BDPOs and Panchayat Officers of the district.

The administration has decided to establish a control room in one of the villages of each block in the district and all tehsildars and other electoral officers will be provided with wireless sets.

Mr Sinha said 285 villages in the district had been identified as sensitive and extra security arrangements were being made there. He said the police teams would be deputed at all the 1,321 polling stations in the district and, in addition to it, mobile police teams had been formed to patrol 10 to 20 villages each. He said extra force had been demanded from the government to maintain peace and law and order on the day of polling.

The Deputy Commissioner, in special orders passed by him, has made all SDMs responsible for maintaining the law and order situation in their respective jurisdiction. He had accorded all tehsildars and the naib tehsildars the status of Duty Magistrate of their respective areas.

Mr Pratap said a total of 1,323 polling booths had been set up in the district and more than 8,600 officials had been assigned with various electoral duties. He said the 10 blocks of the district had been divided into 74 zones for the smooth conduct of elections. Giving further details, he said 15 villages had been included in a single zone, which would be looked after by a Returning Officer and an Assistant Officer.


Sunam village elects all-woman panchayat
Tribune Reporters

Sunam, June 20
The residents of Bishanpura Akalgarh village, near here, have created a record of sorts by unanimously electing all six members, including the Sarpanch, to the village panchayat.

According to reports Ms Jagpal Kaur, a close relative of Punjab Agricultural Minister Rajinder Kaur Bhattal has been elected as Sarpanch while Labh Kaur, Jagmail Kaur, Hardev Kaur, Ranjit Kaur and Amarjit Kaur have been unanimously elected as panches.

Mr Anand Kumar Chauhan, Returning Officer, said this evening that the nomination papers of all six women candidates had been found to be in order during scrutiny today.

The newly elected Sarpanch said the women members of the panchayat would leave no stone unturned in performing their duties especially with regard to the development of the village. She said the newly elected panchayat members had also decided to work as a team so that more development grants could be brought for the village in future.

PATHANKOT: In Pathankot block only 653 candidates have been left in the fray seeking election to the posts of village Sarpanch.

According to information received from Block and Panchayat Development Office, out of those 167 are from the Scheduled Caste category. As many as 119 women candidates are also contesting the panchayat election of which 67 are from SC quota. In total 135 panchayats fall in the Pathankot block.

Nominations of 1,631 candidates were found to be in order. Out of these 485 men and 136 women candidates are from the Scheduled Caste category for panches election. Nine returning officers have been appointed in the block to monitor free and fair election which scheduled to be held on June 29.

AMRITSAR: As many as 5,903 aspirants had filed nomination papers for posts of Sarpanch and 20,399 for posts of panch at their respective block headquarters till late last evening. This was informed by Mr Raminder Singh, Deputy Commissioner, in a press note here today. Mr Raminder Singh said about 14,12,196 voters would vote in the panchayat elections. June 21 is the last date for the withdrawal of nomination papers.


7,141 file papers for panchayat poll
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, June 20
As many as 7,141 nominations for the panchayat elections to be held on June 29 were received in the district. Out of these 1665 have filed nomination papers for the posts of Sarpanch while 5476 have filed papers for the posts of panch.

Maximum nominations for posts of Sarpanch (376) and panch (1244) have been received in the Bathinda block of the district. The number of poll aspirants who filed their papers for the panchayat elections in other blocks in the district is as follows — Bhagta — Sarpanch 138, panch 519; Phul — Sarpanch 133, panch 418; Maur — Sarpanch 186, panch 544; Talwandi — Sarpanch 259, panch 809; Raman — Sarpanch 153, panch 501; Sangat — Sarpanch 251, panch 801; and Nathana — Sarpanch 169 and panch 640.

Although the filing of nomination was over by last evening, the department concerned could compile the data this afternoon only.

Meanwhile, Mr Chiranji Lal Garg, a senior Akali leader and former Punjab minister, today alleged that some of the members of the Congress were trying to get the names of some persons included in the voters list illegitimately.

He alleged that the Congress was using undemocratic means and was misusing the state machinery to win the panchayat elections.


‘Defaulters have filed papers for panchayat poll’
Our Correspondent

Dera Bassi, June 20
Residents of over 12 villages in this subdivision have alleged that returning officers have admitted that certain candidates for panchayat elections have applied in violation of the guidelines of the state Election Commission.

The residents, who gathered at the centre for the submission of nomination forms, alleged that certain candidates had filed their papers though they were defaulters.

Various cases of candidates not going through the proper channel for getting no-objection certificate from panchayat secretaries and other authorities were pointed out.

They alleged that certain candidates had taken unauthorised possession of panchayat land, others had taken panchayat land on lease and a few had applied without clearing their dues to the panchayat.

Mr M.S. Sidhu, SDM, said he had not received any such complaint and added that the returning officer concerned would be answerable for any irregularity during scrutiny.


42 panchayats elected unanimously
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, June 20
After the completion of the process of filing of nomination papers for the panchayat elections, 42 panchayats in the district were declared elected unanimously.

Giving details, Mr S.K. Ahluwalia, Deputy Commissioner-cum-District Electoral Officer, said that 13 panchayats in Amloh block, 12 in Sirhind, six in Khamano and 11 panchayats in Bassi Pathana block were declared elected. He congratulated the residents of these villages for making unanimity in the elections.

It is worth mentioning that the government had declared Rs 2 lakh each grant for all those panchayats which would be elected unanimously and in most of the villages the youths took keen interest in making unanimity so that the village may get a grant of Rs 2 lakh for development.


Poll duty for retired teacher!
Our Correspondent

Pathankot, June 20
Authorities concerned in Gurdaspur have assigned election duty in the panchayat poll to Mr Sampuran Singh, a Punjabi language teacher who had retired from the government service on February 23, 2003.

Meanwhile, Mr Subhash Sharma, general secretary Government Teachers Union, Gurdaspur, has criticised the decision of the government to assign election duty to women teachers at most sensitive and far-flung areas in the Kandi and border belt of the district.


Amarinder’s bid to mollify Jagmeet
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 20
The Punjab Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, today made a serious effort to give “extra” importance to Jagmeet Singh Brar, an MP, who differed with the Chief Minister on several issues.

Capt Amarinder Singh has not only appointed Mr Ripjit Singh Brar, younger brother of Mr Jagmeet Brar, as Chairman of the Punjab Energy Development Agency but also made it a point to “bless” him by visiting his office this morning at the time of his installation as the Chairman. Mr Jagmeet Brar was also present there.

It was a shrewd political move on the part of Capt Amarinder Singh to bring Mr Jagmeet Brar closer.


CM writes to Mayawati
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 20
The Punjab Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, has written to Ms Mayawati, Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh, not to attend the BSP rally at Talhan village on July 7.

Capt Amarinder Singh has stated that the peace has been brought to that area after a lot of efforts. It would not be advisable to hold a rally at that place at this stage. He said that once complete normalcy returned to Talhan and Jalandhar, the BSP would be free to hold as many rallies as it wanted there.

Capt Amarinder Singh said that Ms Mayawati was a well-meaning person and a mature politician. She would certainly accept his view point regarding Talhan and stay away from the rally.


Durgiana Temple ‘toshakhana’ to be opened
Varinder Walia
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, June 20
The ‘toshakhana’ (where precious articles, including gold jewellery, are kept) of the ancient Durgiana Temple, which was sealed by the local administration after the pro-Congress committee took over from the BJP-dominated committee last year, would be opened in the presence of the sangat (devotees) shortly.

A decision to this effect was taken at an emergency meeting, presided over by Mr Arjun, working president of the Shree Durgiana Committee, here today. Talking to TNS, Mr Arjun said after the re-opening of the ‘toshakhana’ goldplating of the domes which was stopped last year would be started. He said an inventory of the precious articles, including gold, would be made by the committee constituted by the Durgiana Committee with a view to maintaining transparency.

A deputation of the Durgiana Committee, led by Mr Arjun also met Mr H.S. Hanspal, president of the Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee, Prof Darbari Lal, a State Minister, and senior functionaries of the state government for expediting the much-awaited ‘galliara yojna’ (beautification of the surroundings of the temple).

Ms Ratna, chairperson of the local Improvement Trust has also agreed to start the ‘galliara yojna’ under which some houses and shops would be demolished for the facelift of the temple.

Mr Arjun claimed that the state government had assured the Durgiana Committee that the police chowki on the premises of the temple would be removed at the earliest.

Meanwhile, under the Central Government scheme of recharging the water of the holy tank of the Durgiana Temple, a high-level committee of the state government, headed by Mr S.K. Mishra, visited the temple. Mr Arjun said under the scheme, the water of the tank would be re-charged and purified.

However, he admitted that the Durgiana Committee was facing a financial crunch as the bank accounts were sealed due to the controversy with the previous committee. He, however, said the financial constraints would not come in the way of the overall development of the temple. The flooring of the ‘parikarma’ and serai was being changed, he said.


MP announces 7 lakh grant for Talhan
Varinder Singh
Tribune News Service

Talhan (Jalandhar), June 20
Elated over the success of both Dalit and Jat communities in reaching an amicable solution at Talhan village, Mr Balbir Singh, MP, has announced a grant of Rs 7 lakh for the development of the village.

A large number of people are expected to attend tomorrow’s bhog of akhand path being organised at Shahid Baba Nihal Singh Gurdwara by villagers and the police.

Talking to The Tribune, Mr Balbir Singh said the amount would be extended to the panchayat out of the MP’s Local Area Development Scheme.

Mr Balbir Singh, who had met the villagers on June 16 along with actor Sunil Dutt and had listened to their grievances, applauded the resolution of the problem by the villagers “on their own”. He said he had issued directions to Mr Ashok Gupta, Deputy Commissioner, for the release of grant.

The village is under a tight security ring in view of tomorrow’s congregation. Mr Brij Lal Rinwa, BJP president, Mr Avtaar Singh Karimpuri, president of the state unit of the BSP, Mr Vijay Sampla (BJP) and several Congress MLAs and ministers are likely to attend the bhog.

The Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, was also to visit the village, but his visit is said to have been put off following inputs by police and administrative officials who apprehended trouble on the lines of June 11 when he was shown black flags during his visit to the village along with Dr Manmohan Singh and other Congress leaders.

Meanwhile, the situation in the village remained peaceful even as the curfew was relaxed for 13 hours today.


No entry tax on new vehicles
Tribune News Service

Patiala, June 20
Punjab Finance Minister Lal Singh today said new vehicles entering Punjab would be exempted from the local area development tax which was proposed to be levied at all entry points in the state to create a corpus to run the municipal corporations and committees following the abolition of octroi.

Speaking to newsmen here, the Finance Minister said earlier the government wanted to initiate the scheme which proposes a 2 per cent entry tax on all goods coming into Punjab from July 1. He said the scheme had been delayed following representations that the State may lose out to the neighbouring states as far as the sale of some costly goods, including vehicles, was concerned as even a 2 per cent tax would make a substantial difference on their pricing.

He said besides cars and two-wheelers, tractors and farm machinery would also be exempted from this tax. The Finance Minister said a sub- committee had been formed which would look into other items which could also be exempted.

On the financial health of the state, the minister said the non-plan expenses had been reduced from 16 per cent to 2 per cent. He said the financial health of the state was improving with the gap between revenue and expenditure being reduced. He said while the Treasury had been closed for 145 days last year, this year the closure had been limited to 52 days.


Farmers steal canal water
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, June 20
Even as the flow of water in canals and distributaries in the Malwa region has improved, farmers have been resorting to theft of canal water to irrigate their paddy fields.

Official sources said hundreds of cases pertaining to canal water theft had been reported since May. The theft of canal water was still going on despite the fact that officials of the Canal Irrigation Department had stepped up vigil and had started organising “thikri pehra” along the banks of canals and distributaries.

Mr Gurmeet Singh, Superintendent Engineer (Canal), when contacted, said theft cases were being reported from the Jagraon, Raikot and Sindhwan areas. Stray incidents of water theft were being reported from other pockets of the region.

Mr R.K. Chaudhary, Executive Engineer (Canal), pointed out that in the Bathinda division alone 50 cases of theft of canal water had been reported in the past over a month. He said most of the cases had been reported from the Barnala and Sangrur area’s. He said theft was going on despite the fact that all canals and distributaries had been cleared of weeds to ensure a smooth flow. The quantity of the water had also been increased so that it could reach the tail end.

A section of farmers said though the authorities concerned claimed that the flow of water had improved, the trend of siphoning off water upstream by the farmers was continuing and the fields that were situated at the tail end had been getting less water. They added that most of the distributaries were in a bad shape and were not carrying water to their capacity.

The farmers said the demand for canal water had increased manifold in this region as most of the deep-bore tubewells had become non-functional due to the drastic fall in the level of groundwater. They said the groundwater was unfit for irrigation.

Mr Gurmeet Singh said he had directed heads of canal division falling in the Ludhiana circle to make arrangements for reducing the theft of canal water.

He had asked the divisional heads to provide vehicles to field staff for patrol.


SAD women protest against foeticide
Our Correspondent

Jalandhar, June 20
While expressing concern over the recent spurt in the cases of female foeticide, the SAD has decided to launch an awareness campaign in the state, particularly in the rural areas, to effectively promote the important role of women in building a civilised society. During a meeting of women activists of SAD, presided over by former SGPC Chief and senior Akali leader Bibi Jagir Kaur, here today, it was unanimously decided to work against female foeticide by keeping a tab on the medical practitioners, who were allegedly involved in sex determination during pregnancy.

The meeting expressed concern over increase in imbalance of sex ratio in Punjab and appealed to the people of Punjab to follow the path shown by saints and gurus, who had given high status to women. The meeting also condemned the decision of the state government to withdraw the facility of free education up to plus II level to the female students. Terming the decision as anti-poor and anti-women, the meeting demanded that state government should immediately restore the facility as it was against the provisions of the Right to Education.

In another development, most of the women activists raised voice against the NRIs, who ‘desert’ their wives after getting married here. Terming it as a major threat to the social fabric the meeting urged the Centre to enact a special law to prosecute NRI husbands, who were responsible for such a heinous crime.


SAD candidate in judicial remand
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, June 20
Even as candidates for the June 29 panchayat elections have started canvassing in their respective villages, Mr Teja Singh, a candidate for the post of Sarpanch and brother of the Jathedar of Takht Damdama Sahib, Mr Balwant Singh Nandgarh, could not campaign as he is in judicial remand till July 5 in connection with a criminal case registered against him in 1999.

Mr Teja Singh, who is an accused in the infamous neela thotha (copper sulphate) throwing case, was sent in judicial remand by a local court yesterday. The case was registered against him in March 1999 for allegedly throwing copper sulphate into the eyes of a resident of Nandgarh village, Mr Gurmail Singh. Mr Teja Singh, who was the Sarpanch of the Nandgarh village at that time, had some property dispute with Mr Gurmail Singh.

While activists of the Shiromani Akali Dal alleged that the arrest of Mr Teja Singh in a case registered in 1999 was linked the panchayat elections, the authorities concerned refuted the allegation. They said Mr Teja Singh was arrested as part of a routine legal procedure.

On May 5, the court had issued non-bailable warrants against Mr Teja Singh and had directed the police to present him in the court before July 5.

Mr Teja Singh was arrested on June 17 from near the office of Block Development and Panchayat Officers, Sangat Mandi, in the district, where he had gone for filing nomination papers for the post of Sarpanch. On June 19, he was produced in the court of Judicial Magistrate Poonam Ratti, who remanded him in judicial custody.


Abandoned wife sent back to USA
Poonam Baath
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 20
The Lok Bhalai Party, which has launched a major campaign to support distressed women married to NRI men, has achieved a major victory by sending one such aggrieved wife, Ms Virpal Kaur, back to the USA.

While the party headed by former MP, Mr Balwant Singh Ramoowalia, had taken up her case on May 16, her plight was highlighted by the media, including The Tribune, when she was presented before mediapersons at the Chandigarh Press Club few weeks back. She had then expressed her inability to go back to the USA as she was eight months pregnant and had been abandoned by her husband, Napinder Singh of the USA. Her travel documents, including the passport, green card etc were in the possession her brother-in-law, Jaswant Singh, a jail warden in Central Jail, Bathinda, she had alleged. However, she had expressed her keenness to go back to the USA for her delivery and give her new born his or her due. Virpal Kaur had appealed to the authorities concerned to intervene and help her get back to the USA.


“Missing” person
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 20
Disposing of a petition filed by a “missing” sarpanch’s father seeking directions to the state of Punjab and other respondents against holding elections of Patarai Kalan village in Fatehgarh Sahib, the High Court on Friday asked him to approach the State Election Commission.

In his petition, the alleged victim’s father — Ajit Singh — had earlier contended that the police was deliberately not tracing his son so that he could not contest the elections.

Taking up another petition filed by Ajit Singh alleging the disappearance of his son, the court had earlier directed the station house officer of a police station in the district to file his report in the matter.

Giving details, he had submitted that his son Raghbir Singh had gone to a police station following some altercation in April, but had failed to return. He had added that a case of kidnapping was registered against certain accused in the case, but the police was pressuring him to compromise the matter before helping him in the search for his son.


Samples of stinking water taken
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, June 20
The health authorities today took samples of drinking water from the truck operators union complex and adjoining colonies as complaints regarding the supply of stinking water had been received.

The truck operators had written to the municipal authorities, the sewerage board and the health authorities regarding this.

Mr Atma Singh, president of the union, said the water was emitting foul smell for the past about a week.

He said some drivers and helpers had complained of stomach-ache.

He said there were two reservoirs on the union premises which were used by hundreds of drivers, helpers and labourers, besides several others.

Dr A.S. Sekhon, District Health Officer, said nothing could be said about the foul smell yet. He said the report of the samples would be received in a few days.


166 flood-prone villages identified in Patiala distt
Our Correspondent

Patiala, June 20
The district administration has identified 166 villages as flood-prone in the district, besides 19 sensitive points where control rooms with wireless sets have been established.

This was stated by Deputy Commissioner Tejveer Singh at a meeting of the District Flood Control Committee held here yesterday. Officials of various departments took part in the meeting.

Mr Tejveer Singh said control rooms would also be established in all tehsils of the district.

He said these would function round the clock from July 1 to September 30. Officials of departments concerned have been instructed to take preventive measures in all flood-prone areas.

The Drainage Department has been asked to complete all work till June 30.

The DC said efforts were also being made to arrange five engine boats for all flood-prone areas. Officials of the Public Health Department and the Municipal Corporation have also been instructed to ensure proper water supply.


6 undertrials injured in  group clash
Tribune News Service

Patiala, June 20
Six undertrials in Central Jail were injured following a fight over a smoking incident in Central Jail today. They have been admitted to Government Rajindra Hospital.

According to sources, a fight had occurred on the same grounds two days back when one Iqbal Mohammad of Hanumangarh and Balbir Singh of Anandpur Sahib quarrelled on the same issue. Both the persons were admitted to the Rajindra Hospital yesterday.

The sources said one person today started reading a religious book after smoking which was objected to by another undertrial. They said the latter brought a number of other undertrials to the spot and beat up the complainant following which a group clash occurred. The injured have been identified as Amarjit Singh, Teja Singh, Varun Kumar, Dharmapal, Shahbaz Khan and Abdul Ahmed Ali. They have suffered injuries, which include wounds on the head and other parts of the body by utensils which were used as weapons.


Cong leader, son get bail
Our Correspondent

Kapurthala, June 20
Mr S.S. Gupta, Sessions Judge, yesterday ordered the release of Mr Mohinder Kumar Aggarwal, Congress councillor, and his son Pawan Kumar Aggarwal on bail in the Rs 1.71-crore paddy milling scam of the Punjab State Warehousing Corporation on their furnishing bail bonds worth Rs 70,000 each and a surety of the like amount.

Mr Aggarwal and his son were arrested by Vigilance on May 30. A case under Sections 420, 406 and 120-B, IPC, has been registered against them.


MP leaves for Pakistan

Amritsar, June 20
Mr K.M. Khan, MP and general secretary of the All-India Peace and Solidarity Organisation, today left for Pakistan via Wagah border here today. Mr Khan, who is a member of the parliamentary delegation which is visiting Pakistan on a peace mission, could not accompany the delegation earlier as he was in Dhaka for a seminar. Talking to mediapersons at the Circuit House here, he said even as Pakistan had taken some steps to stop infiltration, it should take concrete steps to pave the way for peace talks. He said the public should press the governments of both countries to generate a conducive atmosphere for the talks. — OC


Writer finally paid dues
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 20
A Punjab Government official today handed over a draft for Rs 42,000 to noted Punjabi writer Santokh Singh Dhir as dues for the past seven years.

Dhir had been reminding the state government time and again regarding the clearing of his dues at the earliest. With the intervention of Chief Minister Amarinder Singh, Mr Dhir’s dues were paid The state government was to give Rs 500 per month as a special aid while Rs 1500 was to be given by the Union Government.


Punjab police team scales peak
Our Correspondent

Jalandhar, June 20
Mountaineering history was made by the Punjab police when members of the Punjab Police Adventure Sports Club successfully scaled the hitherto unclimbed 6,325-metre-high Lampak-I peak in the Garhwal Himalayas in Uttaranchal. The team comprising woman Head Constable Nari Dhami, ASI Inder Kumar, Head Constable Mohal Lal and porter Sangram Singh achieved the milestone under the leadership of Dr P.M. Das, IG (Indian Reserve Battalion). Lampak-I was a virgin peak and attempts made by expeditions from Scotland, the paramilitary and Army teams climb it had been unsuccessful.


35 pilgrims hurt as bus overturns
Our Correspondent

Pathankot, June 20
As many as 35 pilgrims were injured early morning today when a mini bus in which they were travelling met with an accident near Jakolahri village.

According to sources at the local civil hospital, where the injured were admitted, the bus was on its way to Guru Harsahaipur from Vaishno Devi.

Sources revealed that the bus overturned around 1 a.m. as the driver of the bus lost control.


Goods train wagon derailed

Ferozepore, June 20
A wagon of a goods train derailed at the Dandari Kalan railway station yard in Ludhiana district here today.

Confirming the derailment, Divisional Railways Manager Hukum Chand Punia said the wagon derailed during shunting. A probe had been ordered.

He said the guilty, if any, would not be spared and action would be taken against them. A report regarding the derailment had been sent to the railways headquarters. — UNI


Licences of 11 chemists suspended
Our Correspondent

Hoshiarpur, June 20
The Punjab Health Department has directed civil surgeons to ensure the presence of qualified persons at retail chemist outlets. These persons are legally bound to wear white aprons with nameplates.

Dr Dharambir Kapur, president of the District Chemist Association, stated here yesterday that pharmacists must comply with the instructions otherwise action under the Drugs and Cosmetics Act would be taken against them.

He said teams of the Drugs Department conducted surprise checks and suspended the licences of 11 chemists. The State Drugs Control Department has appealed to the public to bring discrepancies to the notice of the Health Department.


Ex-MLA booked in assault case
Our Correspondent

Jalalabad, June 20
Former SAD MLA Sher Singh Ghubaya and a correspondent of a vernacular daily, besides four others, have been booked in an attempt to murder case under Sections 307, 323, 324, 148 and 149, IPC, and Sections 25, 27, 54 and 59 of the Arms Act. The case has been registered on a report of Balvir Chand of Arianwala village.

A scuffle had taken place between workers of rival panchayat election candidates here yesterday. People from both groups received injuries and two SAD workers had to be admitted to Faridkot Medical College. Mr Ghubaya was also present at the time of the incident.

According to an FIR, Balvir Chand had said his wife was the sarpanch and in the ensuing election his family was supporting Raj Baksh, a Congress candidate. Four persons along with Mr Ghubaya equipped with sharp-edged weapons allegedly surrounded him and started beating him up. Later, Mr Ghubaya attempted to kill him by strangling him with his turban. Raj Baksh came to his rescue and was also injured in the scuffle.

A police team has gone to the medical college to record the statements of the injured.

Refuting the charges, Mr Ghubaya has stated that the scuffle took place when certain Congressmen attempted to snatch nomination files from Amir Chand. He then took the files and left the place as there was little time left for the filing of nomination papers. He alleged that the Congressmen followed him to the returning officer’s office and hit him before taking away the files. He alleged that he had been implicated at the behest of the ruling party.

B.S. Ranu, a correspondent, too denied his role in the scuffle. He stated that he was present at the site of the scuffle and had taken pictures with his camera.


Five booked in fraud case
Our Correspondent

Pathankot, June 20
Economic offences are on the rise in the town, inspite of several offenders being arrested or booked by the law enforcing agencies.

Today the local police booked five persons, who had allegedly in connivance with officials of Pathankot Primary Co-operative Agricultural Development Bank, got a loan of Rs 1.4 lakh sanctioned in the name of the complainant, Sukhdev Singh of Chhoarian village.

Sukhdev Singh complained that he had not applied for the loan, nor had he ever mortgaged his land for obtaining it. He said, Ajaib Singh, Santokh Raj, Sarpanch, Bansi Lal Buta Singh and Field Officer of the bank had obtained the loan in his name.

The police has registered a case under Sections 419, 420, 465, 467, 471 and 120B of the IPC.

In yet another case of fraud registered at police station division No. 1 yesterday Joginder Singh of Malikpur village allegedly executed an agreement to sell a three kanal plot which he never owned.

According to the FIR, Puran Chand had complained to the police that on August 7, 2000, the suspect had received a sum of Rs 1 lakh to sell a piece of land and an agreement to this effect was executed. As per the terms of the agreement October 30, 2001, was fixed for the execution of the sale deed. The land was to be sold for a sum of Rs 9 lakh.

On inquiry it was revealed that the land agreed to be sold was actually owned by some other person.

A case under Section 420 of the IPC was registered against Joginder Singh.

The police has also arrested Gurmel Singh, a local resident, for duping people on the false assurance of giving a high rate of interest.

In another case two financiers — Vikas Nijawan and Kasturi Lal Babuta — had collected crores of rupees from people here after launching various schemes and had fled with the money.

The police has registered cases in this connection. According to sources, the police has formed a special team to deal with economic offenders.


One killed in road mishap
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, June 20
One person was killed today when a vehicle hit him on the Bathinda-Naruana road, about 3 km from the city.

Volunteers of a local NGO took the victim to hospital, where he was declared brought dead. The victim has been identified as Gurmail Singh of Naruana village. The body was handed over to the family members of the deceased after the post mortem. A case under Section 304 A of the IPC has been registered.

The volunteers of the NGO also fished out a mutilated body from a water channel near the railway tracks near Goniana Mandi. The letters “JS” were tattooed on his hand while a figure resembling a human heart was engraved on his arm. A post-mortem of the body was conducted at Civil Hospital after which it was handed over to the NGO. The NGO cremated the body as there was no claimant for it.


Two poppy husk smugglers held
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, June 20
The police has arrested Manjit Kaur and her accomplice Jugraj Singh for smuggling poppy husk.

Mr Ishwar Singh, SSP, in a press note issued said Manjit Kaur, alias Gejo, and Jugraj Singh, alias Balkaran Singh, both residents of Dabwali in Haryana, were arrested today from near a level crossing near Burj Kahan Singhwala village in the Nathana area of the district. They were allegedly carrying 120 kg poppy husk in a car.

A case under Sections 15, 61 and 85, NDPS Act, has been registered against them.

The police has also arrested 13 other persons for allegedly carrying or storing narcotics and 10 cases have been registered against them at different police stations during the past one week.

The police has seized 1.5 kg opium, 205 kg poppy husk from their possession, while one car and four two-wheelers used in the crime have been confiscated.

Under the Excise Act, 11 persons have been arrested and the same number of cases registered against them. The police has seized 40 bottles of illicit liquor, nine bottles of country liquor, 225 kg of lahan and four illegal distilleries from their possession.


One stabbed in prisoners’ scuffle
Our Correspondent

Jalandhar, June 20
An inmate of the Central Jail was injured when a group of rival inmates attacked him with a sharp-edged weapon on the jail premises here today.

The inmate, identified as Ravinder Singh (25) of Hazooriwal village in Ludhiana, is in judicial custody after being arrested by Noormahal police in an abduction case last month. Ravinder, who was admitted to the local Civil Hospital for treatment, told this correspondent that he was put up in a barrack along with a group of around 40 inmates, most of them involved in drug smuggling.

The ring leader of the group, Kala, always threatened them to obey his orders or face consequences. When Ravinder refused to accept him as leader, he threatened to teach him a lesson. He alleged that the jail officials had failed to control the activities of Kala.

This morning, a group of 12 inmates led by Kala attacked Ravinder and gave him a severe bashing. One of them stabbed a sharp-edged weapon in his stomach.

A case has been registered.


190 bottles of liquor seized
Our Correspondent

Phagwara, June 20
The local police has seized 11 “petis” of whisky and 58 bottles of another brand of whisky that were being smuggled from Chandigarh to Jalandhar. One “peti” contains 12 bottles.

A press note issued by SP Harmanbir Singh Gill today stated that the liquor was kept in car that was being driven by Manjinder Singh of Chandigarh. Daljit Singh, from Chandigarh was a co-passenger in the car. A naka party, headed by SHO Manjit Singh, signalled the car to stop but the driver tried to escape. The car was made to stop and on searching the liquor was found. It was to be sold to Goldy of Jalandhar at a premium.

The SP claimed that a special drive had been launched against smuggling of liquor in view of the forthcoming panchayat poll. Both the smugglers were nabbed under Sections 61, 1, and 14 of the Excise Act.

In another case, 28 kg of poppy husk was seized from three persons — Vijay, Kamal and Angoori — residents of Bhadhon in Madhya Pradesh. The three adivasis were nabbed under Sections 15, 61, 85 of the NDPS Act, added the SP.


PO travel agent arrested
Our Correspondent

Phagwara, June 20
A travel agent declared proclaimed offender and wanted in three cases of fraud and criminal breach of trust, was nabbed from Chachoki village under Sadar police station.

A press note issued by SP Harmanbir Singh Gill yesterday said the PO, Sukhdev Singh of Paddi Khalsa village under Goraya police station, was arrested by SHO Sarabjit Rai.

Sukhdev Singh was wanted in three cases under sections 420 and 106, IPC. In the first case he allegedly defrauded Kuldip Rai of Jagapur Janttan village of Rs 5.70 lakh for sending him to Italy. Instead, Kuldip was deserted in Georgia.

In the second case, Rs 1.30 lakh was allegedly taken from Amarjit Singh of the local Khalwara Gate for sending him to Greece. Instead, he was left in the jungles of Georgia from where the Ankara police nabbed him and sent him to jail. Amarjit came back to India through the Indian ambassy.

In the third case, he allegedly duped Gurinder Singh of village Narur of Rs 1.50 lakh for sending him to Italy, but left him in Moscow.


Panel to update technical education
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 20
The Department of Technical Education and Industrial Training, Punjab, has constituted a high-powered committee to bring about reforms in the existing curricula syllabi in the technical institutions.

Mr Sukhdev Singh, a former Agriculture Commissioner, Government of India, has been appointed Chairman of this committee constituted to update the technical education system in the state.

The Vice-Chancellors of Punjab Technical University, Jalandhar; and Punjab Agriculture University, Ludhiana; the Chairman of the Punjab School Education Board, Mohali; and the Chairman Punjab State Board of Technical Education and Industrial Training, Chandigarh, have been nominated as members of the committee.

Mr Jasjit Singh, Deputy Director, will be the convener. The committee will incorporate entrepreneurial-cum-self-employment inputs into the syllabi/curricula for the purpose of vocational training.

By reviewing the curricula syllabi of various trades /courses of vocational training and technical education, the committee would help provide new avenues and opportunities of employment to the youth. It will submit its report within six months and will also monitor the implementation of its recommendations on a continuous basis. To begin with as many as 16 members have been nominated to this committee from diverse fields.


Engg college proposal gets CM’s nod
Tribune News Service

Patiala, June 20
Punjabi University today claimed that its proposal to set up an engineering college on its campus had been cleared by state Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh.

According to an official press note, Vice-Chancellor Swaran Singh Boparai had met the Chief Minister at Chandigarh and Patiala on the issue today, It said the Chief Minister had expressed satisfaction over the steps taken by the university to set up the engineering college.

During the meeting here the Chief Minister told the Vice-Chancellor to submit the proposal report to the Syndicate, which is the right body to take the decision in the matter, the press note said.

Meanwhile, the university has now admitted that it received a letter from the Chief Minister today on the subject of setting up of the engineering. The press note issued late in the evening said the Chief Minister had desired in the letter that the Vice-Chancellor should reconsider the matter as nearly 2000 seats had remained vacant in engineering colleges of Punjab last year. The Chief Minister had desired that there should not be any deviation by the university in propagation of Punjab studies and development of Punjabi language and literature.

The university authorities said following the receipt of the letter, the Vice-Chancellor had met the Chief Minister in Chandigarh and at Patiala. He had explained to the Chief Minister that not a single seat of the university engineering college had remained empty during counselling by Punjab Technical University. Capt Amarinder Singh was also apprised of the fact that PTU had sanctioned 660 additional seats in the state’s engineering college with the approval of the state government.

Besides this, the authorities said the Chief Minister was apprised of the steps taken by the varsity in propagating Punjabi, which included setting up of the Gurmat Sangeet Chair, the Guru Tegh Bahadur Chair of National Integration, Encyclopedia of Sikhism and printing Punjabi translation of Nobel prize winning literature.

Earlier in the day, the Vice-Chancellor held a meeting with senior varsity functionaries to discuss the letter received from the Chief Minister. The varsity authorities however refused to acknowledge that it had received any message from the Chief Minister.

Earlier, the proposal for establishment of the college had come under flak on the basis that it flouted the Act under which the varsity was established. Education Secretary N.S. Rattan had written to the varsity asking it to ensure that it was not violating the varsity calendar by setting up the college. The Education Secretary had also pointed out that the government had not been informed about the move and that the college could be set up only after it was approved by various varsity bodies. The varsity had recently got the project approved by the Academic Council of the institution.


Pbi varsity VC may find himself in a spot
Jangveer Singh
Tribune News Service

Patiala, June 20
In a disclosure which is likely to embarrass Punjabi University Vice-Chancellor Swaran Singh Boparai, it has been revealed that the present Registrar, Dr Param Bakshish Singh, had been punished by the varsity Syndicate in 1978 for misbehaving with the then Registrar.

The issue of where teachers who have been punished stand as per the university rules came under focus recently, with the University taking serious view of the fact that former Registrar Dr Karamjit Singh Sidhu had been punished by the Syndicate while considering his application for attending a seminar in Austria in December this year.

The university Vice-Chancellor, while scrutinising the application of Dr Sidhu, had asked the Pro-Vice-Chancellor to give his comments as to whether cases of persons who had been punished by the Syndicate could be taken up. Dr Sidhu had been punished by the Syndicate, which had stopped his increment for a certain period following a complaint that he had conducted the checking of girl students as a member of a flying squad team in the eighties.

Now, the anti-VC lobby is bringing up the case of Dr Param Bakshish Singh, who was appointed by Mr Boparai as Registrar after Dr Sidhu was unceremoniously removed from the post. The lobby has taken out the minutes of the Syndicate meeting of 1978 to prove its point.

According to the documents, show-cause notices were issued to four teachers, Dr Param Bakshish Singh, Dr K.C. Singhal, Dr Mukhtiar Singh Gill and Dr J.S. Puar, following a complaint by the then Registrar that they had misbehaved with him. The notice said the teachers misbehaved with the Registrar in the latter’s office on March 3, 1978, in the presence of some other university officers and tried to intimidate the Registrar in respect of a loan obtained by Mr Gill from his provident fund which he had not utilised for the purpose within the admissible period.

Following this, the Syndicate, which met subsequently, noted that the replies filed by the teachers were not satisfactory and resolved that one graded increment of all these teachers should be stopped with cumulative effect.

Though the Registrar could not be contacted, Public Relations Director Dr B.S. Dhillon said the punishment given to Dr Param Bakshish Singh and Dr Sidhu could not be equated.

Dr Sandhu said Dr Sidhu had been charged with moral turpitude as he had reached a girls’ college though he was not a member of the flying squad team and had started checking girls. He said this was objected to by the Superintendent, concerned who had complained to the university, following which the Syndicate had taken action against him.


B.Com, BBA results today
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, June 20
The results of B.Com (Part-I) and BBA (Part-II) examinations of Guru Nanak Dev University will be declared on June 21. The results would be available on after 7 pm the same day.

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