Thursday, July 24, 2003, Chandigarh, India


C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Jagraon SSP’s security guard rains bullets at car
Booked for attempt to murder; occupants escape unhurt
Tribune News Service

SAS Nagar, July 23
Three occupants of a car escaped an attempt on their lives when a security guard, attached with the Senior Superintendent of Police, Jagroan, fired six shots at the car outside the SSP’s residence in Phase V here last night. He has been booked for attempt to murder, but according to police sources, the cop mistook the occupants of the car as someone who was trying to attack the SSP’s house.

According to the police, the cop, Sarup Singh, a constable with the 30 Battalion, PAP, is attached with the SSP Jagraon, Mr Mukhvinder Singh Chhina, whose family lives in Phase V here. The incident took place at 11.30 pm when Sarup Singh, along with another security guard, was on duty outside the SSP’s residence, who resides in Jagraon.

“A Maruti Esteem came close to the house and Sarup Singh who was on duty at the gate got blinded with the headlights. He thought that the car was coming directly towards the gate of the SSP’s house. In panic, he immediately started firing at the car. He had a carbine and since it is an automatic weapon, all six shots were fired one after the other without giving the constable any opportunity to stop or rethink if he was targeting the right people,” said Mr Harcharan Singh Bhullar, SP, SAS Nagar.

All six bullets hit the car straight damaging the car but luckily the occupants, who were on their way to a house in Phase V, escaped unhurt. The three occupants, Mr Amardeep Singh, his mother-in-law, Harkiran Bains, and sister-in-law, Smita Bains, original residents of Patti district in Amritsar are now settled in Canada for the last two years and were on their way from Amritsar to a relative’s house in SAS Nagar.

“Amardeep who was driving the car got out of the car and confronted the constable asking him why he had fired at them and then called the police,” said Mr Bhullar.

The police also informed that a medical test of the constable was done immediately but he was found not to be under the effect of liquor. ‘‘He, according to our information, is mentally stable. It was his duty to stop the car first, question the occupants and in case of a complete surety that the people are here to cause harm should have fired. He could have caused great harm. Its sheer luck that the occupants are safe and sound,’’ said the SP.


HSBC cheated of Rs 19.5 lakh
Two employees of hired firm arrested
Nishikant Dwivedi

Chandigarh, July 23
The local branch of Hongkong Shanghai Banking Corporation (HSBC), Sector 9, has been cheated of Rs 19.5 lakh by some employees of two local firms, which the former had hired to distribute loans under its ‘personal loans’ scheme for government employees. The police today arrested two persons in the connection and more arrests are likely.

The bank has ruled out the possibility of involvement of their own employees in the fraud. The loans were given to persons who were posing as government employees on the basis of forged documents. The police was yet to verify the actual status of the persons who were given the loans. The police is even suspecting that persons by the name of the loanees may be existing but they could be unaware about the loans or forged documents.

As per information, the HSBC had hired Sector 8-based Star Consultancy as its ‘direct sales associate to distribute loans to government employees under its personal loans scheme. A Sector 16, Panchkula-based firm, the NCCB, was also hired by the bank for the verification of documents of the loan applicants.

Those who have been arrested are Varun Sharma, Manager of Star Consultancy and another employee, Rajesh Kumar. Sources said more arrests were likely. The police has registered a case under Sections 420, 467, 468 and 120 of the IPC. Some employees of the NCCB are also involved in the fraud, said police sources.

Star Consultancy had forwarded loan applications of 11 persons persons to the bank and the latter issued loans worth Rs 19.50 lakh. However, after some time, those who had been given loans stopped paying the installments. An inquiry found that the documents like PAN card, identify card, Form No 16, salary slips and bank statements were forged. The matter was reported to the police.

Police sources said after investigations it was revealed that Varun Sharma in connivance with Rakesh Sharma, Aman Kumar and others forged documents for the applicants and forwarded the forged documents to the bank.

On the other hand, Varun Sharma had refuted the allegations levelled against him. He maintains that he had put his signatures on the applications after verifying the original documents.

The police will book the loanees if their involvement is proved.

The police is also suspecting the involvement of certain bank employees in the matter. However Ms Malini Thadani, Head of Public Affairs, HSBC, Mumbai, categorically denied the involvement of any HSBC employee. ‘‘In fact it were we who lodged the complaint with the police and I am delighted that the police has made progress in our complaints, ’’ she added while speaking on the phone. 


Brother identifies youth’s body
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, July 23
The youth who had shot himself to death at the PGI last night has been identified as Uma Kant (25) of Majra village in Ropar district. His brother, Chander Kant, after reading newspaper reports approached the police and identified the body. However, it could not become clear what was the provocation behind the extreme step taken by Uma Kant or from where he got the country-made pistol.

It is learnt that Uma Kant, a college dropout, was earning livelihood by driving vehicles of other people, but these days he largely remained unemployed. He has also worked as driver with a resident of Sector 41 but he had to quit after his employer sold the car.

Sources said there was at least one criminal case registered against him in Ludhiana where he earlier used to work as driver. He had reportedly entered into fight with a girl’s family.

Uma Kant had shot himself with a country-made pistol near the Administration block of the PGI at around 10.30 pm yesterday. A suicide note was found from his pocket, which said he was ending his life because of personal reasons and wanted to donate his organs after death.

Uma Kant had reportedly returned home yesterday after two days and left for Chandigarh at about 5.30 pm.

The police has initiated inquest proceedings under Section 174 of CrPC. His brother, Mr Chander Kant, is a BMS doctor by profession.Back


His last wish remained unfulfilled
Pratibha Chauhan
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 23
It is a suicide gone waste, as the last wish of 25-year-old Uma Kant, who shot himself at the PGI last night, could not be fulfilled due to legal, medical and ethical wrangles. His last wish of donating body organs for a noble cause, found scribbled on the suicide note, could not be fulfilled due his delayed identification.

It was only in the afternoon that his brother after seeing Uma’s photograph in newspapers, he got in touch with the police. His body is still lying at the General Hospital mortuary, with the stipulated deadline for possible organ donation having passed much earlier. His post mortem will be conducted tomorrow.

Apart from citing personal reasons for ending his life, he had desired that his organs should be donated after his death. “Even if the person who is dead had left a written note or filled the official donor card, we cannot take his organs till the consent of the family is obtained,” remarked Dr K. Vij, head of the Forensic Medicine Department at the Government Medical College and Hospital.

Dr Vij said the only way the wish of Uma could be fulfilled was by cadaver donation, where the entire body and organs are used for medical research and study. He, however, added that during summers, the body starts decomposing very fast, so any further delay would dim these chances as well.

He said donating one’s organs or body after death was a fairly uncommon practice in India, which needs to be popularised in the interest of medical science. “Though doctors do make an appeal to the family and relatives of patients who are brain dead for organ donation, but it is rare that they agree for it,” said Dr Vij.

Dr Yogender Bansal, Assistant Professor in Forensic Medicine at the PGI, said though there was no specific deadline for taking the organs from the body, but the sooner it was done the better it is. Ideally, organs like eyes must be removed within six hours after the death of the person and stored in the eye bank.

Till now it is only eye donation which is being done by a small percentage of people in India. Medical colleges and research institutes generally use unclaimed and unidentified bodies of persons who die in hospitals.

Organs which can be donated include heart, lungs, kidneys, liver, pancreas, eyes, skin, bones, bone marrow, connective tissue, middle ear and blood vessels. To popularise organ donation, so that a new lease of life can be given to terminally ill patients, an Organ Retrieval Banking Organisation (ORBO), has been set up at AIIMS. Doctors feel that setting up of a similar organisation at the PGI, could come as a ray of hope for many patients, who die due to want of organs.


Transaction valid, even if stamp papers are fake
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 22
If you have purchased fake judicial papers for buying movable or immovable property, the documents can be impounded as evidence. This is not all. Ten times the penalty can be imposed on you. But the transfer would still be valid, not “bad in law”, according to legal luminaries.

Talking to The Tribune a day after a news report published in these columns revealed that 90 per cent of the stamp papers being sold all over the country were fake, the experts assert that the transaction, being genuine, would remain unaffected.

“The buyer cannot be held responsible if he has purchased the papers from a genuine source, specially when he was not even aware of the fact that the papers were fake,” says Punjab’s Advocate-General Harbhagwan Singh.

Agreeing with him, Punjab and Haryana High Court advocate Surinder Kumar Garg adds: “In the absence of knowledge about the papers being fake, the act of buying the same from a genuine source approved by the government can at the most be termed as irregularity, not illegality”.

He adds: “The purchasers have no need to worry. In any case not till they use the document for any purpose like resale of property. Once the fact regarding the documents being fake comes to the knowledge of the authorities, they can impound the papers as evidence, nothing else, before initiating the penalty proceedings. The fake documents, in any case, would be treated as papers without stamps”.

In case the documents are impounded, “fresh ones” would have to be prepared. If the other person is no more, his legal heirs would have to be contacted for the purpose.

To be on the safer side, advocate Bhim Sen Sehgal advises: “The papers should be bought from the state treasury instead of the vendors”. Giving details, he asserts, “Under the Stamp Act, the money is to be deposited with the state through the treasury. After the completion of the process, the voucher has to be taken to the Treasury Officer for the supply of the stamp papers”.

The Tribune, in its report on Tuesday had stated that nine chargesheets had been filed against 44 persons in the nation-wide racket. 


On a mission to check violence against women
Poonam Batth
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 23
She has lent voice to a number of battered South Asian women in the USA. A renowned woman activist, Ms Shamita Das Dasgupta, believes that the focus should not be on spoon-feeding women as is the ritual but on empowering them to handle their problems.

Settled in New Jersey (USA), she is a pioneer in focusing on cases of violence against women in South Asian communities. She is one of the founding members of Manavi, a New Brunswick-based non-profit organisation for women who trace their cultural heritage to Bangladesh, India, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka. Manavi aims at creating awareness about women’s rights and providing supportive services to battered women.

Ms Dasgupta is here on a visit to Punjab as a resource person to help the Punjab Police with its ambitious plan of setting up community policing resource centres (CPRC), particularly women helplines, in various districts. She is accompanied by Ms Chitra Bhanu, a co-ordinator for the Vera Institute of Justice, New York.

Her mission is to end all forms of violence against women for she believes that “violence against women begins before birth with female foeticide and extends to the murder of girls and women”. The common problems faced by women in any society pertain to domestic violence, discrimination at work place and sexual assault.

A former Professor of psychology at Rutgers University, Newark, discloses that family violence is the most important issue facing the female community today. A study undertaken recently in Boston ( USA) also brought out that nearly 35 per cent of the highly educated women had been experiencing violence (beating by their life partners) during the past one year.

She points out that South Asian women in the USA are especially vulnerable to abuse due to their cultural socialisation and recent immigration. The loss of traditional family support, lack of proficiency in English, as well as unfamiliarity with the laws and services of their adopted land may keep many of them captive in their abusive situations.

Ms Dasgupta says that organisations like Manavi are sensitive to women’s needs and provide a diverse range of services, which include 24-hr hotlines, counselling, legal clinics, advocacy programmes to help figure out resources and options available, interpretation and transportaion services, besides helping them visit various agencies such as hospitals, courts and police departments. Arrangements have also been made to provide shelter to such women in Ashiana, a transitional home — where stay, food, security and counselling are made available to such women.

Unlike India, where the solution in most cases of domestic violence hovers on reconciliation, the focus should be on sustained safety of a woman by finding out what she wants and not what society wants her to do. 


Varsity job cell a non-starter
Sanjeev Singh Bariana
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 23
Panjab University’s placement cell for information-technology students in affiliated colleges, which was started this year has no communication with the member-colleges.

The colleges which have sent information for the preparation of a brochure to be sent to more than 200 industries, also do not seem to be interested in the following-up.

Sources in the College Development Council of the university said the college authorities had not bothered to enquire about the status of the scheme. The college authorities, however, said they had not received any plan of action from the university.

Under the circumstances the university cell alone is left with the responsibility of contacting industry. The cell is starved of staff due to lack of sufficient aid from the college. This would mean the university merely forwards the brochure to the industry. This is against the original plan of sending a team comprising teachers and students directly to contact the industry.

Rajeev Sharma, a student, said they did not know whether to contact the college or the placement cell directly for correspondence.

Prof Ramesh Kapoor, Dean, College Development Council, said the brief bio-data of students was being accompanied by their e-mail address. The industries could contact the candidates directly.

The university was making a common brochure of 213 students in 13 colleges which would be forwarded to the industry.Back



Criterion for bail different, rules HC
Saurabh Malik
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 23
The criterion for granting anticipatory bail is materially different from regular bail granted after arrest, the Punjab and Haryana High Court has ruled in a significant judgement.

In a ruling on a bunch of petitions filed by president of the Sujanpur Nagar Council Vinay, Mahajan, Municipal Commissioner Surinder Kumar and another petitioner, Mr Justice Virender Singh further held that the grant of anticipatory bail to the co-accused in a case would not be a ground to extend the benefit to the other accused in the case.

The Judge asserted: “Introduction of Section 438 of the Criminal Procedure Code for the grant of anticipatory bail was with an object. No doubt, sometimes influential persons try to implicate their rivals in a false case with a view to disgracing them or for the purpose of some political or oblique motive”.

The Judge added: “The intention of the opponent is that the person should be behind bars for one reason or the other. No doubt the liberty of the person is very valuable in the light of the constitutional safeguards, but at the same time the courts would not allow any person holding any office on account of his status of a government servant to squander public money... The totality of allegations on the face of it has to be taken into account”.

Dismissing Mr Mahajan’s bail plea the Judge held: “Keeping in view the magnitude and the seriousness of the offence, the custodial interrogation of the petitioner would be really result oriented and effective... The petition is dismissed being devoid of merit”.

Seeking the grant of bail, Mr Mahajan had asserted that he was being implicated due to political rivalry as he was against a sitting MLA holding a portfolio in the present Cabinet. Opposing the plea, Mr Mansur Ali — appearing for the state of Punjab — had earlier contended that Mr Mahajan had misutilised public land. A large sum of money had also been misutilised in making the area pucca. Moreover, no sanction was obtained from the canal department for carrying out certain works even though it was mandatory. This was not all. Straightway, a loss of about Rs 33 lakh was caused by him in octroi collection.

Meanwhile, allowing bail to Commission Surinder Singh and Junior Engineer Vinay Kumar, the Judge ruled: “I am of the considered view that the two deserve the concession of anticipatory bail... In the event of their arrest, the two are directed to be released on bail to the satisfaction of the arresting or the investigating officer, they would abide by the conditions....”Back



VIP number fetches 1.30 lakh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 23
The craze to have registration number ‘0001’ was evident today as a Sector 36 resident bid for Rs 1.30 lakh to get the number CH-03-M-0001for his vehicle.

He was among the three bidders who participated in the auction held in the office of the RLA. The successful bidder was M/s Saraya Industries of Sector 36. The two others were Messers Guru Nanak Engineering and Sadshiv Structures. All the three biddders deposited a fee of Rs 25,000 to participate in the auction.

The Administration has introduced the system for the first time in which the entire payment has to be made within three days. Mr Naresh Narwal, Registering Authority, said some preferred numbers from previous series which were lying unused would be de-listed and put up for routine allocation against the payment of Rs 5,000. Meanwhile, a notice has been sent to person who bid for CH-03-K -0001 for his Mitsubishi Pajero but did not get the vehicle registered.


ADGP seeks more time for probe
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, July 23
Even after recording the statements of 238 witnesses in the Ranbaxy fire incident, the Additional Director-General of Police (ADGP), Punjab State Human Rights Commission (PSHRC), today sought more time to complete the inquiry.

While seeking more time, Mr S.K. Verma, ADGP, PSHRC, informed the bench of the PSHRC that non-availability of documents was causing delay in the completion of the inquiry. The PSHRC has granted him a week's time to complete the inquiry and submit the report by July 30.

Sources said that document concerning the extent of damage caused due to the blast at the factory on June 11, videography of the cracks on the walls and statements of a number of witnesses had been made. The Director of Factories has already submitted an inquiry report on the incident giving reason of the fire and suggested 17 ways to prevent such incidents in the factory. The ADGP has to receive a report from the Forensic Science Laboratory on the sample of burnt articles collected from the factory, a report from Ranbaxy Laboratories Limited and the Lawyers for Human Rights International (LHRI) on the incident in order to complete his inquiry.

It is learnt that although officials of Ranbaxy submitted documents relating to the case on Monday, the ADGP, finding them incomplete, has sought more documents. 


PSEB staff remove kundis from two colonies
Our Correspondent

SAS Nagar, July 23
Employees of the Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB) removed kundis from two colonies of the town here today.

The PSEB team, headed by Mr K.S. Sidhu, Additional Superintending Engineer, targetted Guru Nanak Colony in Phase X and Jhujhar Nagar Colony, near Dara Studio in Phase VI, and removed about 200 kundis.

The drive in Jhujhar Nagar Colony was a follow up action as kundis had been removed from colonies a few days ago.

About 50 kundis were removed from Guru Nanak Colony. At certain places they had to take the help of a ladder to reach the roof -top for removing kundis. Most of the residents here had got their power meters fixed.

Krishan Pal, a resident of the colony, complained that his connection had been cut by PSEB employees even when he had got a proper meter fixed. The employees, however, said the connection must have been removed by mistake and added that it would be restored. Another resident complained that the PSEB employees had taken away the meter after removing it from his jhuggi.

Though the PSEB team, comprising 35 employees and two SDO’s, was accompanied by a large number of police personnel and the Executive Magistrate, no major resentment was shown by residents of both colonies. In Jhujhar Nagar Colony some persons tried to snatch the wires from the PSEB employees but the drive in Guru Nanak Colon- y was peaceful.

Ms Seema Jain, Deputy Commissioner, Ropar, had directed the PSEB authorities on July 17 to remove the kundi connections from Guru Nanak Colony.

Mr Sidhu said two meters had been removed from Guru Nanak Colony as the owners were taking the power directly from the line instead of using it through the meter. He said he had earlier asked the police to register a case against Gorakh Nath of Jhujhar Nagar Colony on charges of helping residents to use kundi connections. He said he would again send a reminder to the police for registering a case.


Start newspaper for kids: Verma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 23
A daily newspaper for children should be started to educate them and to improve their reading habits, suggested the Punjab Governor and UT Administrator, Justice O.P. Verma (retd), while speaking after inaugurating film festival and a magic show here today.

Justice Verma said in this era of global economy, it was imperative that children improve their reading habits. Children tend to avoid newspapers meant for adults as they had different requirements and needs. “Somebody should start a daily newspaper for the children, which should present the stories in their own lingua franca”, Justice Verma commented. Justice Verma said though there were separate website for the children on Internet but no media company had tried to start a daily newspaper for the children.

Earlier, Justice Verma honoured famous magician Samrat Shankar. Samrat Shankar entertained children with his magic tricks. Justice Verma formally inaugurated the film festival by lighting the traditional lamp.


Power shutdown to hit water supply
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 23
The water supply to certain parts of the city is likely to be affected due to a major power shutdown on the Morinda main line.

The main waterworks in Sector 39 is likely to receive only 30 mgd of water against 60 mgd received every day. However, the Public Health Wing of the municipal corporation has stored water to make up for the loss and will supply water through diesel pumps, Superintendent Engineer Swarn Singh Kanwal said here today.


Pen-down strike by bank employees
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 23
Employees of the Punjab State Cooperative and Land Mortage Bank here went on a pen-down strike today as part of their statewide agitation. They are protesting against the anti-employee policies allegedly followed by the Additional Registrar and the Registrar of Cooperative Societies, Punjab. Employees’ leaders alleged that the government had cut down their salaries, apart from indulging in victimisation of employee leaders.

Addressing a rally, Mr Gurdev Singh Badocchi, president, Land Mortgage Bank Workers Union, Punjab, said “Both officials have created obstacles in the promotion of employees with or over 28 years of service. They have also passed orders resulting in reduction of the existing pay scales. Each employee had suffered a loss of Rs 1,000 per month due to their decision.”

He lamented that the Chief Minister of Punjab at a meeting with the employees’ representatives held on July 26, 2002, in the presence of Mr Lal Singh, Minister of Finance, had promised that the government would not implement any decision to cut down their pay scales or allowances, but without any result.

Among others, Mr Baljit Singh, Mr Munshi Dass, Mr Ramesh Chander, Mr Bua Singh and Mr Gurdeep Singh addressed the rally.


A happening market of southern belt standing on its sheer size
Sanjay Sharma


* Haphazard parking.

* Erratic and fluctuating electricity supply.

* Shortage of drinking water.

* Traffic congestion at school hours.

* Almost non-functioning street lights.

A well-carpeted parking lot of a football ground's size and more than 150 shops and as many offices make it one of the biggest and happening markets in the southern belt of the city.

Surprisingly, the shopkeepers here feel their competition is either with the defence canteen in general items and Sector 46 in food articles.

Shopkeepers here say with a large number of defence personnel concentrated in these sectors, it is the defence canteen with which the market is forced to compete on very unequal terms. But it is a gain of customers who can make purchases at reasonable prices.

The market association has at least 125 members in the Sector 32 D alone and Sector 32 C shopkeepers are fighting for their problems alone.

The chemists and dhabas in the sector have earned a name for themselves in the area stretching from Sectors 32, 31, 33, 46 and 48.

A market virtually starting from a scratch with 60 odd booths, has as many as 12 chemist shops and seven or eight doctors running their private clinics.

The market started looking up with the foundation laying of the medical college by the then Prime Minister Chandra Shekhar as the hostels and staff of the hospital found the market the nearest and most accessible.

Shopkeepers here feel that they have a captive market of doctors, medical students and nurses and the collection in the market seems catering to this clientele.

The recent recarpeting of parking lots has made market even more attractive but the mismanagement in the parking arrangement has been causing customers and shopkeepers problems of sometimes getting stuck in the market.

They complain that in the absence of parking spaces not being marked, vehicles are parked in a haphazard manner saying similar experiment in Sector 35 has been able to help bring order to the parking arrangement.

The market has as many as seven branches of different banks to provide the business activity a boost. Bank of India, Bank of Punjab, State Bank of Patiala, Indian Overseas Bank, Canara Bank, Punjab State Cooperative Bank and Central Bank have branches in the market.

Golkonda, Highway, Nukkad Dhaba and Annapurna are popular eateries of the market. Annapurna is known for South Indian dishes.

The market welfare association claims it is the best mixed-market in the entire market southern sectors' line stretching from Sector 38 to 31 as it is the largest one market unit in the area.

Batra Auto Centre, a big tyre dealer, has been drawing customers from the entire city to get the world's number one tubeless tyre brand of Michelin. Batra is the lone dealer of the brand in the city, Mr Rajeev Batra claimed.

Mr Batra said the tubeless tyre, preferred due to its running capacity despite a puncture, has now caught up with the customers.

Popular amongst offices in the market are three advertisement companies -- Nandi Advertisement, Speedways Advertisement and Shree Advertisement .

The proximity of the Government Medical College and Hospital has led to the mushrooming of chemist shops in the market.

Manoj Medicos, Rajinder Medicos, Capital Medicos, Shree Balaji Medicos, Santosh Medicos and Jindal Medicos, among others, are the medical shops in the market.

The chemist-doctor link seems well-established in the market with both seeming to reinforce the existence of one another. Dr. Mrs A. Kak, Dr Pratima Duggal, a dentist, Dr Satija's Dental Clinic, Dr. T. S. Sandhu, Dr. Rajeev Sehgal and Chhabra Clinic are popular in the market.

The Patiala Hoemeo Pharmacy of Dr. K. R. S Thind in Sector 32 C also seems to have made it big drawing patients from a large part of the city.

Sector 32 C is developing as a car and scooter repair market in front of the Nirman Cinema hall.

The allotment of the shops here has been made for the repair but surprisingly plots of few shops are lying vacant to allow bushes and grass growing their.

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