Thursday, June 26, 2003, Chandigarh, India


P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



Mystery over case against Badal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 25
Has the Punjab Vigilance Bureau registered a case against the former Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, and his family for possessing assets disproportionate to their known source of income ?

There were indications of the registration of a case against the Badals today among top Punjab Police officers. However, neither any officer concerned confirmed the registration of case nor denied it. Mr A.P. Pandey, Chief Director of the Vigilance Bureau, could not be contacted.

However, a confidant of the Badal family revealed that he had definite information that a case against the Badals had been registered.

Sources said two options would be available to the Bureau after the registration of the case. Arrest warrants against the family members of Mr Badal could be obtained after putting the relevant papers before court. Second, his family members could be asked to join police investigations.

It may be mentioned that last week, Chief Minister Amarinder Singh had repeatedly stated that Mr Badal would not be arrested, but after registering various cases after investigations, challans against him would be filed in court for legal action. He had stated the Badals were involved in several scams. Last week, Mr Badal was also questioned regarding the alleged drainage scam.

Recently, the Bureau had interrogated certain close family friends of the Badals regarding investments made in Orbit Resorts located near Gurgaon. A vigilance team had also searched farm house of the Badals in Balasar (Haryana) and had reportedly got prepared a video film of the house. That search was primarily undertaken to assess the value of property there.

Besides, a police team from Punjab also visited the Sirsa area to secure revenue records of land and other property allegedly owned by the Badals in Haryana, it is learnt.

Meanwhile, informed sources said Mr Manpreet Badal, an MLA and nephew of Mr Parkash Singh Badal, had been making efforts to seek pre- arrest bail. He was recently summoned by the Vigilance Bureau at Ferozepore for questioning in a separate case.


Warm welcome to MPs’ team by Jamait-e-Islami
Varinder Walia
Tribune News Service

Wagah (Amritsar), June 25
In a major shift of stand, fundamentalists in Pakistan accord a warm welcome to delegates of Indian parliamentarians at Karachi and expressed desire to initiate peace talks with India.

Describing the invitation extended by the Jamait-e-Islami to the Indian delegates for the first time as “the most significant”, Kuldip Nayar, leader of the Indian delegation, said that this would have a far-reaching impact for creating thaw between the two nations in the coming days. Prof Gafoor, a Senator and senior leader of the Jamait-e-Islami had stated categorically that the war would bring only devastation and all bilateral issues could be sorted out through dialogue. Jubilant Nayar said that the word “Jehad” was un-heard during their eight-day visit to Pakistan. The members of the delegation said that they never expected such a warm welcome at all levels. Nayar said that the leaders of the Muslim League (Qaid-e-Azam) which is a coalition partner in the National Assembly also hosted a dinner last night and offered all possible help to normalise relations with India.

Nayar claimed that the leaders of the Jamait-e-Islami had insisted on meeting the Indian parliamentarian in spite of tight schedule. The “welcome banners” were also put up at the venue of the dinner which was clear shift from their earlier hard stand on ‘Jehad’ against India’. Such a development would pave the way for early resumption of talks.

However, the Indian delegation felt that the Pakistan government’s stand was not congruous with the stand of the general people who wish to have cordial and harmonious relations with India. The Indian delegates had desired to meet Mr Zaffarulla Jamali, Prime Minister, but the meeting could not take place. When asked, Nayar said that the perceptible change in the attitude of the common man and intellectuals could be due to attack on Iraq by America and its allied forces. “Perhaps, common Pakistani thinks that India is lesser enemy than America”.

Apart from Nayar, five other members of Parliament, including Mr Pawan Bansal, Mr Kartar Singh Duggal, Mr A.K. Khan, Mr Abdul Rashid Shahin and Mr Shahid Siddiqui returned from Pakistan after the eight-day visit. They were welcomed by Mr Talwinder Singh, president, Janwadi Lekhak Sangh, Mr Ramesh Yadav and Mr Bhupinder Singh Sandhu, senior vice-president and general secretary of the Folklore Research Academy, respectively. Dr R.K. Bedi and Dr Kuldip Singh from Guru Nanak Dev University at Wagah joint check post.

Talking to the Press, Mr Shahid Siddiqui said that common people in Pakistan gave a patient hearing to the Indian delegation this time. He said he had visited Pakistan many times but used to be shouted down when he would try to plead the cause of Indian Muslims. “Now there is perceptible change in their approach and I could convince them that Pakistan could not afford to ignore the 18 crore Indian Muslims for pursuing the case of one crore Kashmiri Muslims.

Mr Pawan Bansal from Chandigarh said that during their dialogue with general public and intellectuals, they wanted to improve relations with India by opening land, rail and air links at the earliest. He said they (people of Pakistan) wanted that the formalities for issuing visas should be relaxed so that journalists, writers and artistes could visit each other’s countries frequently.

Mr Kartar Singh Duggal, however, said that Kashmir continued to be great irritant between the two countries. However, he said that more autonomy should be given to Kashmir for bringing normalisation in the region. Mr Duggal, said that a large section of Pakistanis wanted that violence should be stopped for the creation of thaw in the region. Giving details of his visit Mr Duggal said that he asked noted Punjabis to create software to download ‘Gurmukhi script’ in ‘Persian script’ to propagate Punjabi language in India and Pakistan.

The Indian delegation has also extended invitation to Mr Imran Khan, noted cricketer and a member of the National Assembly of Pakistan to visit India in the near future.


6 Pak nationals released
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, June 25
The six Pakistani nationals, including two non-working journalists, who had crossed over to India without valid documents and were lodged in jails here, were deported after the completion of their sentences through the Wagah joint check-post.

BSF officials gave sweets to the Pakistani nationals before they crossed over to their country. Mr H.S. Chabba, Jail Superintendent, said they had been arrested for entering India without valid passports and visas.

For two non-working journalists, Mr Rao Akram and Mr Asif Ali — both employees of daily “Khabren”, published from Lahore, it was curiosity to see the Indo-Pak border which landed them in an Indian jail on November 6 last year. The two entered India on a motor cycle and were arrested by the BSF. Their vehicle was impounded. Another Pak national, Amir Salim, was arrested from a goods train which reached Attari railway station on May 12, 2000. He said he wanted to meet Hindi film actors in Mumbai.

Sajjan (46) was arrested by the BSF in the Khemkaran area when he inadvertently entered India.

The six were handed over to the Pakistani Rangers.


Plan to widen roads, build overbridges: CM
Varinder Singh
Tribune News Service

Mehli (Nawanshahr), June 25
To boost the development process in the state and to enable people to undertake smooth and efficient journey, the Punjab Government has planned to widen 935 km of roads and construct 12 overbridges at vital points in the state.

The Punjab Government was also committed to waive octroi in the state but this would be effected only after finding alternative resources.

This was stated by the Punjab Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, who dedicated the 9.53-km-long Mehli-Chaheru bypass to people. The bypass on the North-East of the Phagwara town would allow smooth flow of traffic and enable motorists going from Jalandhar to Chandigarh or vice versa to avoid the congested Phagwara town.

Capt Amarinder Singh, who was accompanied by the Phillaur MP, Ms Santosh Chaudhary, Mr Joginder Singh Maan and Mr Santokh Singh Chaudhary, both Punjab ministers, the area MLA Mr Tarlochan Singh Soondh, said the priority of the government was to ensure allround development, but it was aware that the process of development could not take off at a fast and desired pace without good roads. “We are going to give you another 935-km of widened roads and 12 overbridges at congested points in the state within this year. The total number of planned bridges is 40, while five bridges would be built at various points on rivers to connect people of both sides of rivers,” said the Chief Minister. Alleging that no repair of any link road was undertaken during the five years of the rule of the SAD-BJP combine, the Chief Minister announced that all link roads built in 1994, 1995 and 1996 would be repaired within this year through the Punjab Mandi Board.

Expressing concern over dwindling landholdings and growing unemployment, the Chief Minister said the total number of unemployed youth in the state was around 20 lakh and 57 per cent of farmers had less than three acres.

Talking about development of rural areas, the Chief Minister said that the state government was committed to empower village panchayats in the light of the 73rd and 74th constitutional amendments which were effected by the then Rajiv Gandhi government.

Earlier, talking to mediapersons at the JCT complex helipad in Phagwara, the Chief Minister said that the state government had taken up the issue of grant of extension to the Punjab Chief Secretary, Mr Rajan Kashyap, with Centre. “We feel this more important as he is also looking after the ongoing power reforms process.

He said his government was committed to the abolition of octroi from the state, but this could take sometime as the government was looking for alternative arrangements as directed by the Punjab and Haryana High Court. An alternative could be the imposition of 2 per cent Local Development Tax. The Chief Minister also repeated that the government had no immediate plans to arrest the SAD chief, Mr Parkash Singh Badal. “We are gathering evidence and it would be handed over to court,” said the Chief Minister.

Our Correspondent adds: It was a surprise for everybody that the inauguration of the 9.53 km-long Mehli-Mehtan bypass was chosen to be done by the Chief Minister from the Mehli point on the Phagwara-Banga road of the Banga area although 99 per cent of the stretch of the bypass passed through the Phagwara block and most of the 113 acres was from the villages of the Phagwara block. It was learnt that the Mehli point was selected because it was here that the than CM Beant Singh had laid the foundation stone of the bypass over eight years ago.

The Mehtan side of the bypass on the GT road had another stone laid by Sukhbir Singh Badal, MP and General Secretary, SAD. Naturally, the Congress party won’t select a site that had a foundation stone laid by the Badal junior! The process of acquiring land had started laid by the Badal junior! The process of acquiring land had started sometime Badal had laid the foundation stone in the fag end of 2001 even though the ruling party stole all the credit today.


BSP changes rally venue
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 25
Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh may heave a sigh of relief as the BSP today announced shifting the venue of its rally from Jalandhar to Chandigarh in protest against the Talhan clashes and “anti-Dalit” attitude of the state government.

“The ‘Dhikkar’ rally that was supposed to be held at Buta Mandi in Jalandhar on July 7 will now be held at parade ground in Chandigarh on July 15. It has now been renamed as ‘Swabhimaan’ rally because the sentiments of the Dalit community in Punjab have been hurt by an anti-Dalit approach adopted by the Amarinder government,” senior BSP leader and party in-charge for state affairs Narendra Kashyap told mediapersons here.

He announced that Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mayawati would address the rally.

In reply to a question, he said the BSP’s decision to shift the venue of the rally had nothing to do with Punjab Chief Minister’s request to Ms Mayawati in this regard.

Challenging the Punjab Chief Minister, he said, “We will be holding our ‘Swabhimaan’ rally right under his (Amarinder’s) nose in Chandigarh, the capital of Punjab”. It may be mentioned that Capt Amarinder Singh has restrained the BSP from holding the rally at Jalandhar by imposing Section 144 of the CrPC.

Lashing out at the Congress, the BSP leader accused the Punjab Government of being behind the Talhan violence and shielding the accused in the incident that claimed life of a Dalit youth earlier this month.

“The Congress government politically designed the attack on Dalits because they want to suppress our voice in Punjab. We want to make it clear that we have nothing against the Jat Sikh community in particular, but want to warn that some vested interests are out to ruin the peaceful atmosphere of Punjab”, he added.

He also appealed the Dalit community of the state for social boycott of all ministers of Punjab, including the Chief Minister.


Vedanti to continue after 60: Badungar
Tribune News Service

Patiala, June 25
Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) President Kirpal Singh Badungar said today the condition of superannuation of service did not apply to Akal Takht Jathedar Joginder Singh Vedanti and that he would not be asked to leave the post.

Talking to newsmen here, the SGPC chief said though age of retirement at 60 years had been fixed for all SGPC employees, this condition did not hold for the Akal Takht jathedar. When told that Jathedar Vedanti was also functioning as Head Granthi with the SGPC, Mr Badungar said a decision on this issue would be taken shortly.

The SGPC chief speaking on the issue of the right of women to do ‘’seva’’ in Harmandar Sahib, said former officiating Akal Takht Jathedar Manjit Singh had taken a wrong decision in this regard. He said the issue was a complicated one and should have been put before the “sikh sangat” instead of being decided in a hurry. He said the SGPC was firm in its resolve to take a decision on the matter after collecting all shades of opinion and assessing the mind of the people on the issue.

Mr Badungar also disclosed that the SGPC had sent an English translation of the Nanankshahi calendar to the Centre. He said this was done on a request. The SGPC chief said the recent permission given to a Sikh ‘’jatha’’ to visit Pakistan according to the Nanakshahi calendar proved that the centre had no objection to the move and was ready to recognise the Nanakshahi calendar.

Meanwhile the martyrdom of Banda Bahadur was commemorated at a function presided over by the SGPC chief. He announced that the SGPC would give an award of Rs one lakh to the best written book on Banda Bahadur followed by prizes of Rs 75,000 and Rs 50,000 respectively.


Join poll duty or face  action, warns DC
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, June 25
Talking a serious note to the absence of about 200 employees from the election duty on the day of second rehearsal, Mr S.K. Ahluwalia, Deputy Commissioner-cum-District Electoral Officer has warned the absentees that they should report for duty up to June 26 or criminal cases would be registered against them and they would be brought on duty forcibly by the police, besides this disciplinary action under the election rules would also be initiated. He also warned the polling staff that if any one was found drunk and missing from his polling booth on the intervening night of June 28 and June 29 he would be handed over to the police and criminal case would be registered. Mr Ahluwalia along with Mr B. Chandra Sekhar, SSP, was addressing a special meeting of the polling staff including all SDMs, Returning Polling Officers and Assistant ROs at Bachat Bhavan here today. The meeting was convened to take stock of the poll arrangements and to issue directions to the poll staff.

Mr Ahluwalia, directed the poll staff to ensure free, fair and peaceful election so that democracy could be strengthened at the grassroots level. He said any officer found indulging in corrupt practices or committing an error knowingly would not be spared. He urged the officials not to succumb to any pressure. He said if in any cluster any irregularity was found, it would be taken seriously and the in charge of that cluster along with the Returning Officer and Assistant Returning Officer would be held responsible. He urged the polling staff and officials not to accept liquor or any other favour from any candidate. He said he along with the SSP would visit all polling booths.

Addressing the meeting Mr B. Chandra Sekhar, SSP, said 82 polling booths have been identified as most sensitive booths in the district and special security arrangements would be made on these polling booths. He said that besides this strict security arrangements had been made in the entire district for elections and police patrol parties had been constituted to ensure peaceful election.


Move to privatise PSEB ‘disastrous’
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 25
The Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD), President Parkash Singh Badal, today described the Punjab Government’s decision to privatise the power sector as “financially disastrous and morally criminal” and alleged that the decision was dictated by Capt Amarinder Singh’s desire to fulfil his commitments with some “big business houses”.

In a statement here, Mr Badal has asked the Chief Minister to explain “as to what is it that he expects the private houses to do over and above what the PSEB was already doing’’.

Accusing the Chief Minister of playing havoc with the economy of the state, Mr Badal has stated that “on one hand, the Chief Minister keeps talking of the poor fiscal health of several boards and corporations in the state, on the other hand he keeps loading the same institutions with the burden of new appointments of chairmen and directors.”

Akali leaders said the experiment of power privatisation had “already failed” in many states like Delhi and Maharashtra.

“Even some of the advanced countries had reverted to the state-governed power regime. Capt Amarinder Singh was aware of this but his personal compulsions and questionable past commitments forced him to take a decision that ran against all established norms of economic management,” he alleged.

The Punjab Communist Party of India Secretary, Dr Joginder Dayal, has also flayed the state government’s decision to privatise the PSEB, by saying that this was being done under the garb of words like restructuring and unbundling of the PSEB.

In a statement issued here today, Dr Dayal said in reality the state government had accepted Gajendra Haldia Committee’s recommendation which meant increased private participation in distribution and later on in other sectors in power, increase in power tariff for farmers and consumers, and leaving thousands of PSEB employees on the mercy of private companies.

PSEB unions flay govt decision
Tribune News Service

Patiala, June 25
Various trade unions, comprising the PSEB Employees Struggle Committee, Employees Federation (Surinder Singh), Council of Junior Engineers, Bijli Mazdoor Sangh, Workers Federation (INTUC) and Bijli Mulazim Front, while condemning the decision of the state government to dismantle the Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB) today decided to hold protest rallies tomorrow and on June 27 on the issue.

In a statement here, employees Federation (Surinder Singh) deputy general secretary Manjit Singh Chahal and Council of Junior Engineers general secretary, Davinder Singh said it was surprising that the government was bent upon implementing the so-called power reforms, despite the fact that they had failed in seven states of the country.

The leaders said all trade unions of the board had served a two-day strike notice for July 9 and 10 and decided to hold dharnas in front of the Deputy Commissioner offices across the state on July 7.


Students told not to pay fees
Tribune Reporters

Sangrur, June 25
The Joint Students Front (JSF), comprising the Punjab Radical Students Union, the SFI, the PSU and the AISF, has asked the students to refuse to pay the fees and funds hiked by the Punjab Government in colleges and universities. The front has also asked the students to participate in a convention to be held at Patiala on July 9 in this regard.

The decision was taken at a meeting at Chamak Bhavan here last evening.

Swaranjit Singh Dalio, general secretary of state unit of the SFI, said it had decided to involve other sections of society in its struggle. A meeting had been convened in Ludhiana on July 1 in this regard.

AMRITSAR: Principals of government aided-colleges have said the tuition fee will go up from a meagre amount of Rs 25 to 350 per month while the annual admission fee will be hiked from Rs 25 to Rs 750 from the current academic session.

The increase will affect the lower middle class and the weaker sections of society who may not be able to educate their wards, they said.

However, the Vice-Chancellor of Guru Nanak Dev University, Dr S.P. Singh, disagreed with their claims, pointing out that aided colleges had been collecting almost Rs 8,000 to Rs 9,000 annually on account of various charges, besides collecting Rs 25 as tuition fee. He said the government had now intervened to bring about a balance and would not allow colleges to charge more.

He pointed out that the government on its part should clear a large number of “uncovered posts” which had remained vacant for the past more than 20 years. He said the government must provide more funds and clear the backlog for the appointment of permanent teachers.

The college principals said they would not remitting approximately Rs 5,000 per student annually to the government on tuition and admission fee from the current academic session. The government should reciprocate by clearing all pending posts which had fallen vacant during the past 20 years.

They were also critical of Guru Nanak Dev University for claiming around Rs 900 per year from students on account of sports, youth welfare and NSS charges. They said the university had been arbitrarily increasing these charges during the past five years and added that the university was providing very little services against these charges.

Dr S.P. Singh said fee structure of the 17 courses being run on the campus had not seen any hike this year, although the charges had been increased two years ago. However, the reduction in the fee for NRI students was announced last month had also been withdrawn.


15 teachers suspended
Our Correspondent

Fazilka, June 25
The Punjab Government has suspended 15 teachers, who were found absent from duty on May 2 during a checking by the state Vigilance Department.

The orders issued on the June 16 by Ms Tajinder Kaur, Principal Secretary, Education Department, Punjab, were received here yesterday. The suspended teachers include 12 teachers and an officiating headmaster, which comprise the total staff of Government High School, Behak Bodla, of the subdivision and one teacher each of schools at Mamdot, Lakhoke Behram and Silhani.

Surprisingly, the list of suspended teachers includes a social studies teacher who was present on his temporary duty in an adjacent school.The suspended teachers are: Ram Kumar, officiating headmaster, Gurcharan Singh, Rajesh Kumar, Sushma Rani, Santosh Kumar, Rita Rani, Sarita Rani, all social studies teachers, Vishal Gupta, Hitesh Kumar, both science teachers, Seema Gupta, math teacher, Roshan Gumber, Punjabi teacher and Anju Rani, Hindi teacher, of Government High School Behak Bodla.

Ram Ravinder Singh, Kuljit Kaur, and Manpreet Kaur, teachers of Government Senior Secondary School, Mamdot, Lakhoke Behram and Government High School, Silhani, respectively.

The Principal Secretary (Education) has sent a copy of the order instructing, Director, Public Instructions (SE), Punjab, to chargesheet the suspended teachers.

Mr Raj Kishore Kalra, spokesman for the Government Secondary Teachers Union, Punjab in statement today criticised the government decision of suspending the teachers without seeking their explanation.


23.27 per cent panchayats elected unopposed
Our Correspondent

Ropar, June 25
Ropar district has achieved the distinction of electing highest percentage of panchayats unanimously in the state. Deputy Commissioner, Ropar, Ms Seema Jain, stated this to newsmen here yesterday. She added that after the withdrawal of nomination papers 206 of 851 panchayats were elected unanimously which come to about 23.27 per cent. The percentage was highest in the state, she added.

The Rs 2 lakh reward announced by the state government for the unanimously elected panchayats has been the major motivating factor for the villagers to elect the panchayats unanimously in the district. Last time just 130 panchayats were elected unanimously, she told.

For the rest of 646 panchayats 654 polling booths would be set up. Out of these 165 polling booths have been declared sensitive.

The sensitive polling booths include 19 in Anandpur Sahib block, 18 in Nurpur Bedi block, 28 in Ropar, 11 in Chamkaur Sahib, 24 in Morinda, 46 in Kharar and 19 in Majri block.


Railways ordered to pay Rs 1,000 relief
Our Correspondent

Mansa, June 25
The District Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum Mansa has ordered the Indian Railway to pay compensation of Rs 1000 and refund Rs 335 to a passenger Mr Surinder Kumar of Mansa while accepting his complaint with cost of Rs. 300.

According to to the order received today Mr Surinder Kumar got reservation for himself and his family from Mansa to Surat on train No. 9024 Janata Express running from Ferozpore to Mumbai Central. In the reservation form, the complaint had shown himself as  male (M) but the computer of the Railway showed him as F (female).

On July 17, 2002 Train Ticket Examiner (TTE) Kishore Kumar checked the complainant at Ratlam Railway station and charged Rs. 335 from him on the pretext that he was male while the computerized ticket shows the reservation for a female. The complainant told the TTE that he was travelling along with his family and all are his family member. It is a computer’s mistake for which he was not liable, but the TTE did not oblige. The forum found the Railway Department deficient in services and accepted the complaint. In an another order the forum has ordered the railway to pay compensation of Rs 1000 and to refund Rs 38 charged by the Indian Railway from a passenger Mr Bharat Bhushan of Bathinda with cost of Rs 300.

According to the copy of the order received today Bharat Bhushan is a permanent bona fide orthopaedically handicapped /paraplegic person and a certificate in this respect was issued by Dr Rajinder Garg, Orthopaedic Surgeon of Civil Hospital Bathinda on March 10, 1999 as per rule 506 part 1 No. 24, a railway concession  under Coaching Traffic Rules for handicapped. The complainant was eligible for free travel in train and his attendant was entitled to travel with him by paying 50 per cent of the fare. He and his assistant were obtaining the above concession from the Railway Department on various routes. On September 22, 2002, the complainant and his assistant Mr. Neeraj Kumar came from Bathinda to Mansa on the concessional ticket.

In the evening when they were returning from Mansa to Bathinda, the complainant gave photocopy of his handicapped certificate to the booking clerk at Mansa and produced the original for his inspection and requested for concessional ticket. The booking clerk misbehaved with the complainant by saying that such beggars travel daily and tore the photocopy of the railway concession form and dumped the same in the waste paper basket. The complainant submitted another concessional form and requested again for concessional ticket but the booking clerk gave a vague note on the form and returned the same  to the complainant. The complainant had to pay for himself half ticket and full for his attendant  to reach home at Bathinda. The forum found the Railway Department deficient in service and accepted the complaint.


Hardeep’s bail plea: notice issued
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 25
Acting on a bail petition filed by Punjab’s former Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal’s officer on special duty Hardeep Singh, Mr Justice Amar Dutt of the Punjab and Haryana High Court today issued notice for July 1.

Pronouncing the orders in the open Court, Mr Justice Dutt also directed that the petition would be put up before the High Court Chief Justice, Mr Justice B.K. Roy, on that day. Mr Justice Dutt added that the state would not seek adjournment and would argue the matter.

Earlier during the proceedings, Punjab’s Advocate-General Harbhagwan Singh was called to the Court. Arguing before the Judge, he opposed the petitioner’s plea for the grant of ad-interim relief. The arguments continued for over one-and-a-half hour.

In his petition filed to bring the correct facts in the High Court’s notice, Hardeep Singh had earlier stated that the investigating agency was proceeding in the matter in a malafide manner. Giving details, he had asserted that the action against the Wimpy officials and Badal’s relative Narottam Singh was testimony to this effect. The intention, he had asserted, was to force him into making a confession against Badal.

His counsel had added that Hardeep Singh’s custody was not required as he had joined the investigations at least 11 times. Moreover, he had tendered the entire record.

Going into the background of the case, counsel had added that the Supreme Court had permitted the petitioner to bring correct and relevant facts to the notice of the High Court and as such the bail plea was being filed.

Hardeep Singh had moved the Apex Court following the rejection of his bail plea by High Court Chief Justice, Mr Justice B.K. Roy. 


CRPF withdrawal irks Punjab
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 25
The abrupt withdrawal of the only CRPF battalion from Punjab by the Centre has irked the state government.

Various companies of this battalion have been strategically deployed to perform sensitive duties, including VIP security and security of vital installations in the state.

“There is a great sense of concern as this order has created anxiety in the state,” reveal highly placed sources in the Police Department holding that the “law and order situation is not that comfortable as it is being made to appear.”

“There are definite inputs from various sources about the nefarious designs of anti-social and anti-national forces to foment communal violence and tension in the state. Then some militant outfits have been trying desperately to regroup. The sudden withdrawal of the CRPF would give a wrong signal,” they said.

Though no official reasons were given for the withdrawal of the CRPF, it is presumably because of the recent sanction given by the Union Government for yet another India Reserve Battalion (IRB) in Punjab in addition to the one already sanctioned. At present, Punjab has a 70,000-strong police force.

As of now, Punjab has limited presence of the central paramilitary forces. Besides covering the Civil Secretariat building in Chandigarh, the Central the Industrial Security Force (CISF) is deployed at Raja Sansi International Airport in Amritsar.

A couple of senior political leaders, including SAD President and Leader of the Opposition Parkash Singh Badal, have NSG commandos attached to their security staff.

The sources maintain that this withdrawal was done by the Union Home Ministry on its own without consulting the state government at any level.

Until a couple of years ago, Punjab had strong presence of the Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) as it was assigned the task of guarding currency chests and major branches of all nationalised branches in the state, besides extending security cover to the Civil Secretariat building here. The ITBP was withdrawn from Punjab a few years ago.

The CRPF has the longest stay in Punjab. The deployment of this force in Punjab in strength started in the early 80s and continued until the end of the 90s when its presence was considerably reduced. For the past couple of years, only one battalion was retained in the state to provide both static and mobile security to some VIPs, besides protecting vital installations.


Kidney scam: Sareen taken to Delhi
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, June 25
June 25, Dr P.K. Sareen, main accused in the multi-crore kidney sale scam and his three associates, Dr P.K. Jain, Dr Bhupinder Singh Sandhu and Dr Bhushan Aggarwal have been taken to New Delhi by the Delhi Police for producing them in a court there tomorrow.

According to information, a fresh case was registered in New Delhi on a complaint lodged by one Sikandar Ali who had alleged that his kidney was fraudulently taken by Dr Sareen and his associates without his consent. Sikandar Ali had alleged that he was lured by the recipient for getting him a job in Amritsar. However, his kidney was removed and was not paid anything in lieu of that.


Honorarium for Punjab writers
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 25
The Punjab Government has decided to release Rs 45 lakh as honorarium for writers. Besides, Rs 50 lakh has been sanctioned for the upkeep of Writers Home at Patiala.

Mr Harnam Das Johar, Minister for Higher Education and Languages, said here today that the Languages Advisory Board would shortly be set up for the purpose of identifying these writers for the payment of honorariums. Eminent writers and representatives of the media would be members of the board.


MC staff plea for pension
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, June 25
The local unit of the Retired Municipal Council Employees Union has urged the state government to give pension to employees who retired before April 1990.

Mr Jagdish Rai Bansal, president of the Union, said in a press note here today that the government had divided the retired employees of the municipal council into two categories depending upon their date of retirement and as a result all of them were not eligible for pension.

He said as per the decision of the government, the employees who retired from service in municipal councils before April 1990 were not entitled to pension while those who retired after that date, were eligible for it.

He said although the employees who retired before April 1990 and were in the age group of 70 to 75 years, were given some special benefits as senior citizens.


Grant disbursed among gaushalas
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 25
Mr Jagmohan Singh Kang, Animal Husbandry, Fisheries, Dairy Development, Sports and Youth Services Minister, Punjab, distributed cheques worth Rs 4 lakh among gaushalas at a meeting here yesterday. This grant-in-aid was distributed under the National Calamities Scheme for welfare of gaushalas.

Mr Kang said the government would help gaushalas get financial help from the central government. He advised the unregistered gaushalas to get themselves registered with the Animal Welfare Board of India so as to become eligible for the grants from the Centre. 


3 electrocuted

Gurdaspur, June 25
Three persons, including two women, were electrocuted in nearby Avankha village this afternoon. According to reports, Raunaki Ram of the village was working on the rooftop of his house when he accidentally came in contact with a live high-voltage wire. His wife Kamlesh Kumari and Surjit Kumari tried to rescue him but they too were electrocuted. — UNI


Residents block traffic
Our Correspondent

Hoshiarpur, June 25
Residents of Daduwal village and Mahilpur, led by Chaudhary Ram Rattan, vice-president of the PPCC, and Mr Sada Ram, blocked traffic on the Hoshiarpur-Chandigarh road at Mahilpur, 24 km from here, today for three hours to show their dissatisfaction over the interrogation of an accused, Sanjay, who was arrested in connection with the rape and murder of Ramtirath Kaur, whose body was found in an abandoned house at Mahilpur on June 22. 


Blind murder case solved
Our Correspondent

Ropar, June 25
The Ropar police is stated to have solved the murder case of seven-year-old Mala Kumari. The body was recovered from the Guru Ravi Dass Gurdwara on June 4.

The Ropar SSP, Mr G.P.S. Bhullar, in a press note issued here today said the blind murder case was solved after the confession of Prem Kaur mother of a youth, Sanjay Kumar, who committed suicide on June 6. Sanjay Kumar was the neighbour of Mala Kumari in the local Chandigarh locality. His mother told the police that before his death Sanjay Kumar confessed to her that he had tried to rape Mala Kumari on June 4. She, however, raised the alarm. He then killed the girl and dumped her body in the gurdwara.

The mother said that he committed suicide because of a sense of guilt and fearing that his family might be arrested.


PRTC cashier held for graft
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, June 25
The Vigilance Bureau has arrested Amrik Singh, a cashier with the PRTC, allegedly for accepting bribe of Rs 2000 from the conductor of a mini-bus for getting him favours from the General Manager of the PRTC. Mr Baljinder Singh Grewal, SP (Vigilance) told The Tribune that Amrik Singh told the conductor, Mr Navtej Singh that he (Amrik) had good relations with the General Manager of the PRTC.

It is learnt that Mr Navtej Singh told Amrik that he wanted to get rid of the frequent checking of documents of the bus by the General Manager of the PRTC. Amrik Singh reportedly assured Navtej that he could stop alleged harassment by the General Manager if he (Navtej) bribe him.

The conductor told the cashier that he was ready to pay the money, but in the meantime he informed the Vigilance Bureau. The bureau team lead by Mr Baljit Singh Buttar, DSP (Vigilance) laid a trap and arrested the cashier in presence of witnesses.


Robbers strike at 2 villages

Moga, June 25
More than 10 robbers allegedly committed dacoity at Bhateki and Jindra villages and decamped with more than Rs 17,000 and gold ornaments in the wee hours today, the police said.

The armed men first entered the house of Parlok Singh of Bhateke village at gun point and decamped with Rs 15,000, gold ornaments and eight wrist watches, the police said.

After this, the same gang entered a dera at Jindra and took away Rs 2000 and two rings. — PTI


Varsity moots action against girls college
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, June 25
The Punjabi University authorities have reportedly contemplated serious action against the local SSD Girls College for the alleged violation of university rules committed by its management regarding the appointment of the officiating principal.

Taking notice of a complaint lodged to the Vice-Chancellor, Punjabi University, Patiala, Dr S.S. Boparai, by a section of faculty members of the college in connection with the appointment of a junior lecturer as officiating principal of the college, a letter has been sent to the college management by the Dean (Colleges), Punjabi University, Dr S.P.S. Virdi, urging it to set things right and run the affairs of the college as per the rules.

“If the college management does not make a senior lecturer as officiating principal as per the university rules, strict action will be taken against it. The college, which is affiliated to Punjabi University, will have to conduct its business as per the rules and no laxity in this connection will be allowed”, pointed out Dr S.P.S. Virdi, while talking to TNS on phone.

A section of faculty members alleged that the management had forced one of the senior lecturers to take leave to facilitate the junior lecturer to get the post of the officiating principal. They also urged Dr Boparai to visit the college to make an on-the-spot assessment of the situation and take action accordingly.

Dr Anil Bansal, president of the college, however, claimed that only eligible and capable candidate had been appointed the officiating principal. He said that no rules of the university had been violated in connection with the appointment, adding that a regular principal would be appointed shortly.

Dr Virdi pointed out that the university authorities could not interfere in all the issues of the management and faculty members of the college as the university authorities were concerned only whether the management was running the college affairs as per the rules. He added that a letter had been written to the college management to set things right.

Meanwhile, Dr Bansal said that the management had not received any letter from Dean (Colleges) of Punjabi University, Patiala, in connection with the appointment of a junior lecturer as officiating principal.


Bhatlan girl makes it to IAS
Tribune News Service

Garhdiwala, June 25
Avantika Gautam, a 22-year old engineering graduate from Bhatlan village in Hoshiarpur district, has qualified for the Indian Administrative Service (IAS) securing 15th position at the all-India level in the civil services examination conducted by the Union Public Service Commission.

Inspired by her parents, Avantika started preparing for the IAS examination from a young age. A brilliant student, she has an impeccable academic record. While she got 88 per cent in the CBSE matric exams, she topped in Delhi in the plus two examination by securing 93.4 per cent. She did her BE from Delhi’s Netaji Subhash Institute of Technology and stood third.

Avantika’s father Ashok Kumar Gautam, is a Colonel, while her mother, Renu Gautam, is a teacher in Kendriya Vidyalaya.


B.Ed test now on August 24
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 25
Panjab University has rescheduled the entrance examination for B. Ed (Correspondence Studies), an official press note said here today. The examination, earlier scheduled for July 20, will now be conducted on August 24. The date of acceptance of forms has also been extended up to July 23. The prospectus and forms will be available at the SBI branches at Panjab University, Civil Courts, Hoshiarpur, Civil Lines, Ludhiana and Old Abohar Road, Muktsar.


Counselling schedule
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 25
The counselling for admission to the postgraduate medical and dental courses will be held at Baba Farid University of Health Sciences, Faridkot, from July 8 to July 10 on the basis of the postgraduate entrance test, 2003.

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