Thursday, August 14, 2003, Chandigarh, India


P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



Ravi Inder submits memo to Governor
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 13
The Akali Dal headed by Mr Ravi Inder Singh today submitted a memorandum to the Punjab Governor, Justice O.P. Verma, about the pending demands of the state.

Mr Ravi Inder Singh, who led the party’s delegation to Raj Bhavan, told mediapersons that former Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal had ignored the state’s demands during his five-year rule from 1997. Mr Badal had promised to get all pending issue resolved but remained mum during his rule.

Neither the Punjabi-speaking areas of Haryana and Himachal Pradesh were transferred nor was Chandigarh given to Punjab Mr Badal was the most “corrupt” Chief Minister and action should be taken against him as per the law, he added.

He said his party would also submit memorandums to the President and the Prime Minister. If the pending issues were not resolved, a “satyagrah” would be launched.

About the distribution of river waters, Mr Ravi Inder Singh said that injustice had been done with Punjab by not allocating water from the Yamuna. The allocation of river water was done in such a way so as to hit Punjab. The memorandum urged the Governor to get the Punjabi-speaking areas and Chandigarh transferred to Punjab. All sikh youths detained in jails without trial should be released.


Thermal plant offices raided
Our Correspondent

Ropar, August 13
Police parties today raided the offices of Guru Gobind Singh Super Thermal Plant (GGSSTP) here on search of the officers accused in the employee provident fund (EPF) scam. However, no arrest could be made as they had already fled. Police sources said most of the accused officers had gone on leave.

The police has obtained residential addresses of the accused officers. Police parties have also been sent to the Lehra Mohabbat thermal plant, Bathinda, Patiala and Mohali to arrest the accused officers now posted there.

Meanwhile, four accused officers H.S. Heera, Harnek Singh, D.S. Mann and Balbir Singh have secured pre arrest bail till August 14 from the court of the Additional Sessions Judge, Ropar, Mr Karamjit Singh, in the case. The bail to the four officers was granted on the condition that they would have to participate in the police investigations.

Though the four officers, through their advocates, sent requests to district police officials yesterday expressing willingness to join the investigations, none of them had reported for participation till the filing of this report.

Due to their failure to join the investigations, the district police has decided to move court for the cancellation of their bail. The officers of the thermal plant are being made party to two separate cases registered against labour contractors, Deepak Chadha and R.S. Sodhi. They are being booked under Sections 406, 409 and 420 of the IPC along with the contractors. If found guilty the accused officers can be sentenced up to life imprisonment. Both contractors have already secured bail in the case from the Punjab and Haryana High Court.

The sources said many accused officers had already applied for anticipatory bail in Ropar courts. The SP (headquarters), Mr Varinder Pal Singh, who is handling the case said efforts were being made to arrest the guilty officials. he expected many officers to surrender or join investigations in the near future.

Many of the officers, accused of involvement in the EPF scam, had earlier been charge sheeted by the PSEB. However, no action was taken against them.


Repeat diagnosis of PSEB official ordered
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, August 13
The Medical Superintendent, Dr H.S. Gill, today ordered re-examination of the Deputy Chief Engineer, PSEB, Mr Sukhjinderpal Singh, on the request of the Vigilance Bureau here today.

The Vigilance Bureau had nabbed the Deputy Chief Engineer on August 7 for accepting a bribe from a suspended employee for revocation of his suspension orders.

A three-member board was constituted to re-examine the top official comprising Dr Adarsh Kumar, Dr Santokh Singh and Dr Davinder. The Vigilance had reportedly stated to the Medical Superintendent that their investigations were being hampered in the case as the accused had conveniently evade investigations on a plea of medical ailments.

The Vigilance had taken the same stand for another recently arrested Deputy District Attorney, Ms Romilla Goraya, on charges of accepting bribe. Both the officers had been admitted to Guru Nanak Dev Hospital on medical grounds.

Earlier, too many VIPs and top officials had taken the plea of suffering from medical problems to evade investigations and even prison sentences. Even undertrials had used this plea to get the comforts of a hospital in sharp contrast to the conditions in jail. The most common plea among the VIPs and officials was hypertension, high blood pressure, and complaints of chest pain, claimed insiders.


And now a parole scam in Punjab
Saurabh Malik
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 13
In just over a year after the Punjab Public Service Commission recruitment scam rocked the state followed by an alleged kidney conspiracy, another scam has surfaced — this time regarding the release of convicts on parole with the help of medical officers and the jail authorities. Punjab's Director-General of Police (DGP) has already been asked by the Punjab and Haryana High Court to look into the matter.

It may sound incredible, but a murder convict remained on parole for 644 days. He was "able to defer the serving of his sentence on one pretext or another" after the Department of Prisons "blatantly flouted the government instructions" in this regard.

According to the instructions, "a prisoner who has availed parole once cannot ordinarily be extended the concession before the expiry of one year, subject to the condition that in special and emergency circumstances, the government may waive off the condition".

Documents reveal that Narinder, alias Kala, was released in less than a fortnight of being held guilty. In fact, Kala was convicted on March 6, 2000, under Section 302, Indian Penal Code, by Ludhiana's District and Sessions Judge. He was released on March 16 the same year and remained on parole till May 20, 2003. His application for interim bail was, however, dismissed by the High Court on May 20.

Taking up his case, a Division Bench of the High Court, comprising Mr Justice Amar Dutt and Mr Justice K.S. Garewal, has now directed the DGP to determine the number of cases in which instructions were violated during the past three years.

The DGP has also been directed to hold an inquiry into the circumstances in which Kala was able to get the concession in contravention of the rules, besides pinpointing the responsibility. "We would greatly appreciate if the DGP (Prisons) could get the inquiry completed within two months," the judges have ruled.

The Bench has also asked the DGP to work out a mechanism by which cases of less resourceful persons for the grant of parole could be finalised expeditiously within specific time frame, preferably of 30 days.

Issuing the instructions, the judges ruled that they had asked Punjab's Deputy Advocate-General to place on record certain documents for gauging the circumstances in which "preferential treatment" was given to Kala "who appeared to be not only rich but also infamous". The judges added that a perusal of the documents showed that the Department of Prisons had blatantly violated the instructions.

The judges added that no case for waiving off the conditions was brought to the court's notice. Kala was relying upon medical certificates and surprisingly these had been blindly accepted by the authorities without verification "from which the existence of an unholy alliance between the medical practitioners and some of the jail officers can be inferred"

Speaking for the Bench, Mr Justice Dutt concluded: "It clearly shows that certain vested interests for extraneous reasons, including different medical officers, joined hands to circumvent the provisions of the Punjab Good Conduct (Prisoners Temporary Release) Act, 1998. This is a cause of concern which has to be looked into for plugging the loopholes which are exploited by the applicant and others like him". 


Magistrate, staff booked for making bogus votes
Our Correspondent

Gurdaspur, August 13
The Batala police has booked Subdivisional Magistrate (SDM) Parneet Bhardwaj in connection with the enrolment of bogus votes at Khaira Kalan village in the Batala subdivision for the panchayat poll held on June 29 last. According to official records, votes were prepared after the due date, which was June 19. The State Election Commission had received a complaint that SDM and his staff has prepared bogus votes. The commission had summoned the SDM to Chandigarh with the relevant official records.

According to the official records the SDM had produced treasury vouchers before the commission, indicating that the money was deposited on June 14 in advance. The complainant had questioned the veracity of the official records and the Treasury Officers had been asked to verify the records.

The state commission had said the SDM and his staff had forged the records. On August 4, it directed the Deputy Commissioner to lodge a criminal FIR against the SDM and his staff.

The DC had then recommended the registration of a case against the officials concerned to the SSP. An FIR was lodged under Sections 464,467, 468 and 120-B of the IPC. No arrest had been made so far.


Punjab may permit selective private practice by docs
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 13
The Punjab Government may allow the payment of non practising allowance (NPA) to its doctors on a selective basis provided a formal recommendation to this effect is made by the eight-member high-powered committee constituted today.

Though the committee headed by the Health Minister, Mr Ramesh Chander Dogra, has been given a fortnight to make its recommendations, it is expected to submit its report within a week.

The committee may co-opt a nominee of the Advocate-General of Punjab for legal advice and may also ask both factions of the PCMS associations to depute a nominee each for consultation.

Sources in the Health Department said that though the constitution of the committee was yet to be notified, it might hold a series of meetings after Independence Day to finalise its report.

The committee would look into the issue of the NPA the context of ensuring effective delivery of service, particularly in the rural areas, elimination of private practice and curbing absentism.

The committee may dig some old reports on the issue, including the 1998 report, which had, among other things, recommended selective permission for private practice.

The 1998 committee comprising Dr L.S. Chawla, Dr (Ms) Sudesh Khanna, Dr S.B. Khurana, Dr F. Handa and Dr S.S. Sidhu was set up to review the state of medical education in the state.

The committee had recommended that since junior doctors or doctors with lesser experience would have no chance of doing private practice, permission may be granted to senior doctors or specialists on a revenue-sharing basis and the money so generated should be spent on improving health care infrastructure in the state.

Even the Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, also made it clear that the state would not allow doctors to continue their private practice and draw the NPA simultaneously.

Sources reveal that the government was in no mood to enter into a confrontation with the medical fraternity at a stage when the Lok Sabha elections are round the corner. As such, it would like to take to the middle course and allow a section of doctors to continue to draw the NPA and permit others to do private practice.

The possibility of the doctors being given one-time option on the NPA was also not ruled out. Equally important would be the issue of medical teachers as the Medical Council of India guidelines were clear that they could not do private practice. The chances of the high-powered committee recommending the continuation of payment of NPA to medical teachers could not be ruled out.


Akali protest rally on August 18
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, August 13
The Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) will organise a big rally on August 18 at Barnala to protest against the registration of “false” cases against Barnala MLA Malkiat Singh Keetu by the police, especially in Barnala police district.

The Sohna police in Barnala police district registered a case a couple of days ago against Mr Keetu in connection with smuggling of liquor while the Bhadaur police in Barnala police district had registered a case against Mr Keetu in March 2002 for misappropriation of funds of the Truck Union, Bhadaur. The Moga police also registered a case in the past against Mr Keetu regarding smuggling of liquor.

Mr Malkiat Singh Keetu said rally decision against him had been taken by Mr Parkash Singh Badal, SAD chief. He said Mr Badal had also criticised the Barnala police for committing “excesses” on him.

A closed door meeting was also held on Monday evening at the residence of Mr Gobind Kanjhla, MLA from Sherpur, at Kanjhla village. The meeting was attended among others by Mr Parkash Singh Badal, Bibi Surjit Kaur Barnala, Mr Gobind Singh Kanjhla, Mr Parminder Singh Dhindsa and Mr Malkiat Singh Keetu.


MLA, minister lock horns
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, August 13
Differences between the MLA of Amloh, Mr Sadhu Singh, and the Minister for Public Health and Rural Development, Mr Jasjit Singh Randhawa, came to the fore during the inaugural ceremony of the new building of Panchayat Samiti office in Amloh town today.

Earlier, Mr Bir Devinder Singh, Deputy Speaker, had spoken of “unnecessary interference” in the constituencies of MLAs. This time, it was Mr Sadhu Singh who raised the issue.

Today’s function was arranged by the District Rural Development Department. The minister came to inaugurate the new building. The MLA of Amloh, along with his supporters, including Chairman and members of the Block Samiti, boycotted the function.

Addressing mediapersons before inaugurating new building, the minister said the officers had organised the function after consulting the local MLA and he had personally talked to him. He said though he came to know yesterday that the MLA had some problems and was trying to stall his visit, he had consulted the Chief Minister and decided to attend the function.

He said he had only respect for the MLA and had nothing against him. Had he known earlier that the MLA had any objection to this function, he could had cancelled the function.

Mr Sadhu Singh termed today’s function as “murder of democracy”. He said before organising the function, neither he nor the Chairman of the Block Samiti were consulted by officers of the department.

He said his name had not been printed on the invitation cards. All elected representatives had boycotted the function. He said the minister had always created problems for him by interfering in his constituency. He had tried to stall his loyalist as President of Municipal Council, Mandi Gobindgarh.

Addressing a gathering, Mr Jasjit Singh Randhawa, minister, said during the current session the Government would spend Rs 283 crore under the Rural Development Schemes. The government had selected two villages from the 140 blocks in the state, which would be fully developed and urban facilities would be provided to these 280 villages.

He said as the water level had gone down, the government had decided to provide clean drinking water to every village under the second phase of the NABARD scheme. A sum of Rs 203 crore would be spent on the project.

Mr S.K. Ahluwalia, Deputy Commissioner, highlighted the various ongoing projects in the district. He said work on the new building for Khamano and Khera blocks was under progress.


Lawlessness’ in Punjab decried
Our Correspondent

Phagwara, August 13
Prof Laxami Kanta Chawla, former MLA and senior BJP leader, yesterday decried police failure to arrest those who attacked and looted BJP leader Ram Saroop Arora here on July 20. In a statement issued after calling on Mr Arora here Mrs Chawla alleged that even after two weeks, the police was clueless about the robbers. Valuables worth lakhs of rupees were looted from the residence of Mr Arora who had to be hospitalised in a serious condition after the robbers injured him in the attack.


465 ad hoc workers not paid for 2 months
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, August 13
Even as the Municipal Corporation has spent about Rs 25 lakh on the heritage building of the Town Hall, which will be inaugurated on the eve of Independence Day, the salaries of 465 ad hoc employees have not been released for the past two months.

The Nagar Nigam Taal Mel Dal has criticised the government for spending lakhs on beautification but not releasing the employees’ salaries. These employees are mostly tubewell operators, beldars, assistant operators, peons and employees in the operation and maintenance cell of the Municipal Corporation. Earlier, the Director, Department of Local Self-Government, had not approved their salaries in a resolution presented to it by the corporation.

However, Mr K.S. Kang, Commissioner, Municipal Corporation, talking to this correspondent, said the MC had recommended to the Director that these persons be given a probation period extension of one year, following which those needed could be retained. He said a reply from the department concerned was awaited.

Mr S.S. Sharma, a social activist, and Mr Joginder Singh, president of the Taal Mel Dal, urged the government to sympathetically take up the employees’ and release their salaries before Independence Day.

Meanwhile, the Commissioner said the corporation had spent about Rs 25 lakh on the Town Hall building for painting work and lighting, of which Rs 15 lakh was provided by Mr R.L. Bhatia from his MP’s fund. He said Rs 5 lakh had been sanctioned for the maintenance of the heritage building and an additional sum of Rs 5 lakh was spent by the corporation.


CM to unfurl flag at Kapurthala
Our Correspondent

Kapurthala, August 13
State-level function of Independence Day will be held here in Guru Nanak stadium on August 15 according to Mr Rakesh Kumar Verma, DC here. Captain Amarinder Singh Chief Minister Punjab will unfurl the national flag and take the salute from march past.

Mr Verma said that 25 persons would be honoured with state awards for excellence. A cultural programme will be presented on the occasion. Tri-cycles and sewing machines will be given to handicapped persons and needy women.


Surveillance up for I-Day, says Siddiqui
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, August 13
Newly appointed DGP A.A. Siddiqui today said the Punjab police was vigilant to tackle any terrorist threat in the state. Talking to mediapersons at the information office of the Golden Temple here, Mr Siddiqui said the Punjab police had always been on alert to thwart the attempt of terrorists to create trouble in the state.

Mr Siddiqui said in view of Independence Day celebrations, surveillance had been stepped up. There was no political interference in the working of the police and there was no partisan interest, he claimed.

The Punjab police would strengthen community policing to bring people closer to the police, he said. He suggested that the media help project a better image of the police.

Commenting on the drug menace, the DGP said the police had started a de-addiction campaign . He said the people should come forward to jointly fight drug abuse. Mr Siddiqui earlier paid obeisance at the Golden Temple and the Durgiana Mandir and laid floral wreaths at the Jallianwala Bagh National Memorial.


Ex-servicemen panel gives call to boycott I-Day
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, August 13
The Indian Ex-servicemen’s League, Punjab and Chandigarh today gave a boycott call for the Independence Day celebrations and asked all ex-servicemen and their families, Army widows, families of martyred soldiers and other ex-servicemen associations to join in the protest against the government.

The general secretary and PRO of the league, Lieut Col (retd) Joginder Singh Mand and Flt Lieut (retd) Sujjan Singh, respectively, in a press note said they were deeply distressed over the thankless and high handed attitude of the government in increasing the sales tax on CSD items and alleging pilferation of the same from Army stores.


Reluctant ticket buyer is ‘crorepati’
Our Correspondent

Phagwara, August 13
Thirtynine-year-old Jaspal Singh Bittu, who owns a cloth shop in the local Sarafan Bazar and is a resident of Model Town here, woke up today richer by Rs 1.5 crore.

Someone rang him up in the morning and told him that he had won the first prize of the Punjab State Rakhi Bumper lottery, the results of which were declared yesterday. An elated Bittu could not believe that he had become a ‘crorepati’ overnight.

After paying obeisance at a gurdwara, he went to his shop, where nearby 150 persons had gathered to congratulate him.

“I was very happy and distributed laddoos in the bazar and again paid obeisance at the gurdwara,” he said.

Asked what he would do with the money, he said he would spend it on noble work.

He said he was not fond of buying lottery tickets and had, in fact, turned away the first seller. Later, when another one approached him, he tried to get rid of him by asking for a ticket with the digit 3 in the number, thinking that he would not have one. When the agent took out three tickets having the digit 3, Bittu again tried to put him off by asking for a concession of Rs 10. However, finally he bought the ticket when the agent did not relent.

“Earlier, I had bought lottery tickets twice with a prize money of over Rs 1 crore, but did not win a prize,” he said, adding that “I kept the ticket at the ‘charan’ of Waheguru this time”. His wife Amarjit Kaur and two children were very happy. He is the son of ex-serviceman Jodh Singh.


Staff withdrawal from dispensary resented
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, August 13
The decision of the officiating Civil Surgeon (CS) to relieve majority of the staff from the government dispensary at Chheharta has been criticised by residents and villagers from surrounding areas.

Criticising the move under which one ANM and a staff nurse have been left in the dispensary set up in 1993, Mr Amarjit Singh Asal CPI Secretary (Urban unit) said the dispensary was the only one in the area catering to large number of workers and daily wage workers besides villagers from nearby areas.

Five ANMs, a doctor, two staff nurses and one lady health visitor (LHV) were deputed at the centre, but the health care here had come to a standstill with the relieving orders issued last month by the Civil Surgeon he said. He urged that the said orders should be withdrawn in view of the disruption of vital health services being provided in the area. He said public interest is being compromised by such orders of the Civil Surgeon, Officiating Civil Surgeon Dr Kawaljit Singh could not be contacted.


Probe ordered against doctor
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, August 13
The state Health authorities have started an inquiry against a doctor, practising medicine illegally and selling medicine made by himself to the people under a particular brand name for the past many years in violation of rules and regulation of the Health Department.

In a press note here yesterday, Mr Ved Parkash Gupta, general secretary, Punjab Human Rights Committee (PHRC), said an inquiry had been started on the complaint made by the PHRC to the Civil Surgeon, Bathinda, Principal Secretary Health and Director, Health Services Punjab on May 14, 2003. He added that a board of two doctors had been constituted to probe the matter and submit a report to the Health Department authorities.

He alleged that the said medical practitioner had been treating the patients having complex diseases and complicating their conditions. The practitioner had been playing havoc with the lives of innocent people, he alleged. He pointed out that now the said practitioner had been contacting politicians to get the matter hushed up for a consideration.


Civic body demands assailants’ arrest
Our Correspondent

Phagwara, August 13
The local nagar council, at a meeting held here today, presided over by its president Malkiat Singh Ragbotra, deplored the assault on councillor Sanjiv Bugga here yesterday. A prayer was conducted for the speedy recovery of Mr Bugga, who had been referred to a Ludhiana hospital.

It also cancelled its August 15 function, according to a press note. The councillors later met the Superintendent of Police and demanded the immediate arrest of the assailants. 


Rally by rail workers’ union
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, August 13
A protest rally and demonstration was held at the railway station by members of the Northern Railway Men’s Union here today.

Holding banners and raising slogans, the rallyists, headed by Mr Ashok Kumar, demanded an inquiry into the misbehaviour of the secretary of the Uttari Railway Mazdoor Union, who along with others, had allegedly manhandled Inspector Hardev Singh Bajwa, who was on his way to Fatehgarh Churian, a few days ago.

An FIR had been registered against the accused, but a counter-FIR by the accused had stalled action against him.

They demanded an immediate inquiry into the case by an SP-level officer and departmental action against the accused. Failing this, they would intensify their agitation, they added.


Virat Bairagi Sammelan in Barnala
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 13
The Bairagi Mahan Mandal has begun constituency-wise meetings in Punjab with Chavinda Devi (Majitha, Amritsar) being the starting point under the stewardship of its state president, Mr Kishan Kumar Bawa.

Mr Ravinder Nandi, general secretary, Punjab, said a joint session of presidents of 117 constituencies and 500 elected sarpanches would be held in Ludhiana on September 27 and 28.

He said 300 Bairagi delegates from each constituency would converge on Barnala on October 16 for the Virat Bairagi Sammelan. Special duties had been allocated to all general secretaries.

Mr Bawa said for more than two decades the Mohan Mandal had been celebrating the birthday as well as the martyrdom day of Bairagi Banda Singh Bahadur. He said his martyrdom was not for one caste or creed as he laid down his life for the cause of the entire populace, which was exploited by the Mughals.


SDM ordered to probe food poisoning case

Muktsar, August 13
The Deputy Commissioner, Mrs Usha Sharma, has directed the SDM, Malout, to probe the food poisoning case of Makatora village.

Over 70 persons, including children, were taken ill after partaking of langar organised by Jagseer Kaur of Makatora village on the occasion of the fourth death anniversary of her husband Katha Singh yesterday. According to Mrs Sharma, the Health Department has also taken the samples of the food. — UNI


Flight to bring freedom fighters to Amritsar
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, August 13
The Union Minister for Civil Aviation, Mr Rajiv Prashad Rudy, has arranged a special Indian Airlines chartered flight to bring freedom fighters and physically challenged children to pay homage at the Jallianwala Bagh National Martyrs Memorial on Independence Day.

The spokesman for the Indian Airlines said here today that the airlines was celebrating its golden jubilee this year. He said to commemorate it, the special flight was being organised to enable freedom fighters to visit the Golden Temple and the Jallianwala Bagh.

Mr Rudy will arrive with the contingent by the flight on the morning of August 15. He will lay wreaths at the Jallianwala Bagh and preside over a function for freedom fighters. Later, he will pay obeisance at the Golden Temple before returning in the evening.


Freedom fighter Leela Wanti dead

Faridkot, August 13
Veteran freedom fighter Leela Wanti, widow of freedom fighter Seth Ram Nath, died of a massive heart attack at Jaitu in the district on Monday. She was 88.

According to a delayed report received from family sources, she was cremated on the same evening with state honours. Several freedom fighters and residents of the town, including sarpanches and panches of adjoining areas, joined the funeral procession.

Leela Wanti was closely associated with the freedom struggle. She fought against despotic rulers of erstwhile states of Faridkot and Nabha along with Seth Ram Nath. — UNI


Fresh deadline to butchers
Our Correspondent

Patiala, August 13
The Municipal Corporation has issued notices to big butcheries in the city to shift their operations outside the city by August 20 while allowing them sale of frozen meat from within their premises.

Residents of the city have been trying for the past few years to close down butcheries. They have welcomed the move by the corporation. Mr Amarjit Singh of Sheranwala Gate said he and other residents had been trying to ensure shifting of Happy Meat Shop in the market since years because of the foul smell it generated.


2 singers may be declared proclaimed offenders
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, August 13
Seven persons, including singers Anuradha Paudwal and Narendra Chanchal, and the owners of Super Cassette Industries, Time Magnetic Industries and Tips Cassette Industries, are likely to be declared proclaimed offenders if they do not turn up on November 15 at the district courts here in connection with a case under the Copyright Act and alleged cheating filed by Brij Mohan Bhardwaj in November, 1996. This was decided by Ms Harpreet Kaur Randhawa, CJM, here today.

Mr Bhardwaj had alleged that the persons mentioned above had made audio and video cassettes of the creations of his father, the late Chaman Lal Bhardwaj, without permission. Chaman Lal Bhardwaj had written some devotional songs, including ‘Shri Durga satuti and ‘Shiv vivah’.


High Court
High Court tells Sessions Judge to hold inquiry
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 13
Acting on a petition filed by gram panchayat members alleging illegal detention, Mr Justice K.C. Gupta of the Punjab and Haryana High Court has directed Ferozepore's Sessions Judge to hold an inquiry into the matter.

In their petition, members of the Mehar Singh Wala gram panchayat had earlier alleged that they were detained by a Station House Officer in a police station for hours together on May 26 last year after they approached the authorities with their grievance. They had added that a "mazar" situated on the land owned by the gram panchayat had been taken into possession by anti-social elements for which they had gone to the police station.

Assistance to CBI

Taking up the panchayat secretaries' termination case, a Division Bench of the High Court today clarified that all concerned were duty-bound to help the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) if any assistance was required.

Appearing before the Bench headed by the Chief Justice, Mr Justice B.K. Roy, Mr Rajan Gupta, on behalf of the CBI, told the court that so far full assistance had been provided to the agency. He added that special teams had been sent by the CBI for "meaningful" investigations of the allegations.

Counsel for the petitioners, on the other hand, described as fallacious the allegations that the selected candidates belonged to the constituency from which the Chief Minister or certain other ministers had been appointed. The case will now come up for further hearing on August 27.

The secretaries, in their petition, had earlier alleged that action was being initiated against them in a mala fide manner due to political vendetta. Claiming to have been appointed by the previous government in October, 2001, Raminder Singh of Ferozepore and six others, in one such petition, had added that the government had proceeded against them by issuing a blanket order without giving them an opportunity of hearing.

Bail plea dismissed

Ms Justice Kiran Anand Lall of the High Court dismissed the anticipatory bail plea filed by a junior engineer with the Punjab Panchayati Raj Works Department.

He was apprehending arrest in a first information report registered on May 17 under Sections 406, 409 and 420 of the Indian Penal Code at a police station in Gidderbaha. According to the prosecution, he was loading "government wheat" in a tractor-trailer and was selling it to a flour mill owner who was a co-accused in the case.


DC ticks off officials absent at open darbar
Our Correspondent

Faridkot, August 13
Mr Hussan Lal, Deputy Commissioner, Faridkot, today sought an explanation from senior officers of various district departments, including PSTC, telecommunication, forest and Executive Engineer Harike division for not attending the district-level open darbar held here today to resolve the problems of aggrieved people in the district.

He also took a serious view of the Secretary, Zila Parishad, attending the darbar at the last moment.

The Deputy Commissioner directed all district officers to be present at such darbars so that the people should not suffer. He made it clear that any such lapse on the part of a senior officer would not be tolerated in future.

Presiding over the darbar he directed the gram panchayats and the executive officers of all Nagar Councils not to allow the telecommunication department to lay the telephone lines in their respective areas without his prior permission. He also directed the District Revenue Officer to cancel the licences of all those document writers who were violating the norms of the government.

On a complaint by a sarpanch and a social worker of Pindi Balochan villages and Jaito regarding the shortage of teaching staff in the primary schools in their area, the Deputy Commissioner asked the DEO (primary) to depute at least one teacher to each school without any delay and report to him for the compliance of his orders.

He also sanctioned pension to a physically-challenged person Sadhu Singh having a 100 per cent handicap.

More than 50 complaints of different categories were redressed on this occasion. Later talking to mediapersons, the Deputy Commissioner said that he was also writing to the state government against the erring officials. He said that on second and last Wednesday of each month the darbar was being held here to redress the grievances of people.


ASI involved in bribe case surrenders

Faridkot, August 13
Punjab Police ASI Gurjant Singh Badal today surrendered before the city police in a graft case after 20 days after registration of a case against him and two others.

A junk dealer of Kotkapura, in his complaint to the Chief Minister Punjab and the SSP, Faridkot, had alleged that ASI Gurjant Singh Badal posted at Kotkapura Police Station, along with Ashok Kumar Sharma and Roop Singh, had demanded Rs 10,000. He further alleged that ASI Badal had slapped the junk dealer when he pleaded his innocence and helplessness in giving the bribe. Other accused also abetted the ASI in thrashing the complainant, who in order to get rid of them, later gave Rs 4000 to them.

This complaint had been referred by the office of Chief Minister to the SSP Faridkot, who had further deputed the DSP (D) to inquire in to the matter. The DSP (D), after preliminary inquiry, had recommended registration of a case against the accused. The case had been registered under Sections 7, 8, 9, 11 and 13(1) (2) PC Act 1988 at city police station Kotkapura. Ashok Kumar and Roop Singh were immediately arrested but ASI Gurjant Singh had remained absent from duty and was absconding. — UNI


2 arrested for pocketing fine
Our Correspondent

Mansa, August 13
A team of the Punjab Vigilance Bureau, led by Mr Vinod Kumar Chowdhary, Deputy Superintendent of Police (Vigilance), Mansa, apprehended Darshan Singh, gunman, and Rajinder Singh, driver of the District Transport Officer, Mansa, Mr Mohan Lal, today under the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988, and recovered Rs 7000 from them.

The District Transport Officer reportedly found a truck (HR57-0721) being overloaded with cement at Mansa Kanchian last night. The truck was impounded and sent to the Sadar Mansa police station. Today Darshan Singh and Rajinder Singh allegedly collected Rs 7000 from the truck owner, Mr Kulwant Singh of Kuttiwal village in Bathinda district, as fine for overloading and issued him a receipt for Rs 6000, while pocketing the balance Rs 1000. On a complaint of the truck owner, officials of the Vigilance Bureau conducted a raid and recovered Rs 7000 from the suspects who had not yet deposited the amount of the fine in the office.

A case under Sections 7 and 13 of the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988, has been registered in the Punjab Vigilance Bureau, police station Bathinda.


240 kg of poppy husk seized
Our Correspondent

Abohar, August 13
The sadar police has foiled an attempt to smuggle poppy husk from Rajasthan. According to official sources, a jeep (HR-24-C-9884), coming from Rajasthan, was intercepted near Kular village.

The police seized six bags containing 240 kg of poppy husk. Two persons escaped while Gurmit Ram of Modikhera village was arrested under the NDPS Act.


Cancer patient commits suicide
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, August 13
Inderjeet Kaur (name changed), a resident of the Goniana area, who was suffering from cancer disease for the past many years, today ended her life by jumping into a river. The deceased had been getting treatment from a hospital in Rajasthan for the past many years. But she was not aware of the disease she was suffering from. She took the extreme step when she was told by someone about the disease she had been suffering from.

Though the people, who had been working in the nearby fields, tried to save her, but she had died by the time she was taken out of the river.

A case in this connection had been registered under Section 174 of CrPC. The body was handed over to the kin of deceased after postmortem.

In another case, Kamlesh Rani, a resident of the Gidderbaha area, who was referred to local Civil Hospital after she suffered 55 per cent burn injuries on July 31, died today. 


Prof alleges threat to life from colleague
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, August 13
A tussle between two professors of Guru Nanak Dev University has intensified with a professor alleging threat to his life from the other in a complaint to the Vice-Chancellor of the university and the SSP.

Prof S.S. Bindra, Dean, Social Sciences, alleged that Prof Gurnam Singh, Director, Research and Coordinator of the School of Social Sciences, had threatened him on phone on August 8. He said thereafter, he had written to the Vice-Chancellor of Guru Nanak Dev University and the SSP about threat to his life from Prof Gurnam Singh.

He further urged them to take urgent preventive action and ensure his safety alleging that Prof Gurnam Singh had threatened to harm his interests during remaining six years of his tenure in the varsity.

Professor Bindra said Prof Gurnam Singh was probably enraged with him after he raised the issue of the latter favouring a lecturer, who had submitted the summary and thesis for a Ph.D in less than 12 months even though a minimum of three years were required for its completion. Prof Bindra said a meeting presided over by the Vice-Chancellor today rejected the summary of the lecturer, who was allegedly being favoured by Prof Gurnam Singh. Suspecting that the issue could be raised in today’s meeting Prof Gurnam Singh had threatened him.

However, Prof Gurnam Singh could not be contacted.

Meanwhile, Dr S.P. Singh, Vice-Chancellor, said the matter would be resolved amicably and Dr Bindra would be asked to withdraw his complaint.


College staff strike work over attack on Principal
Our Correspondent

Hoshiarpur, August 13
The staff of the local DAV College observed a strike today in protest against the attack by Mr Kamal Chaudhry, former MP and president, DAV College Managing Committee, and his supporters on Dr Janmit Singh, Principal, and other staff members of the college yesterday. The college remained closed today.

The staff condemned the attack at a meeting here. In a resolution, the staff members said this had caused a sense of insecurity in the minds of the college employees.

All members of the college staff went to the DC’s office and submitted a memorandum to him in this connection. They pointed out that the role of the police was not satisfactory. They demanded protection for all staff members. The Principal and Mr Raj Kumar, Office Superintendent, were admitted to the local Civil Hospital.


Teachers of pvt colleges observe strike
Tribune Reporters

Sangrur, August 13
Teachers of private colleges in the district today observed a two-period strike in protest against the alleged indifferent attitude of the Capt Amarinder Singh government towards the grievances and demands of private college teachers in Punjab.

Prof P.K. Sharma, president of the district unit of Punjab and Chandigarh College Teachers Union (PCCTU), said the strike called by the PCCTU evoked a good response from private college teachers of the district.

The PCCTU’s demands include continuation of 95 per cent grant-in-aid to private colleges, implementation of pension-cum-gratuity scheme for private college teachers, grant of rural area allowance for teachers working in rural colleges, constitution of the Punjab State Council of Higher Education and democratisation of academic bodies of Punjabi University, Patiala, and Guru Nanak Dev University, Amritsar.

PHAGWARA: Teachers observed a two-period strike and staged campus dharnas and rallies on Wednesday in protest against the “anti-teacher” policy of the Punjab Government.

A press note issued by Prof S.S. Hundal and Dr V.K. Tewari, president and general secretary, PCCTU, said private colleges were facing problems due to a drastic cut in grants and non-implementation of the pension-cum-gratuity scheme.

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