Thursday, September 11, 2003, Chandigarh, India


L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Nine held in sarpanch murder case
Body not found, two suspects still at large
Naveen S. Garewal and Iqbal Singh
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, September 10
The Khanna police has arrested one more person and claimed to have achieved a breakthrough in the case pertaining to the murder of Rupinder Singh, sarpanch of Rasulra village and head of a gang, who was brutally murdered by a rival gang of the Pehalwaan group. Rupinder was kidnapped on September 5.

The body of the victim was reportedly thrown into a canal and has not been recovered. So far the police has arrested nine persons while two are still at large.

The police said of the 12 suspects nine were in its custody. Eight of them, arrested yesterday, have been remanded in police custody till September 12 by Ms Asha Kaundal, Judicial Magistrate, Samrala. The accused were produced in the Samrala court as the Judicial Magistrate of Khanna was on leave.

One person, identified as Raju who was arrested today, is yet to be produced before the magistrate. Five FIRs under Sections 25/54/59 of the Arms Act have been registered at the sadar police station, Khanna.

Rupinder was kidnapped from the Samrala Road, near Naulari village when he when going to Bagli village with his friend Harpreet Singh.

Giving details of the murder, SP (D) S.K. Agnihotri said all suspects had been identified as Azad Inder Singh, Kuldip Singh Atti, Munna, Ranjit Singh Jodhi, Shamsher Singh, Jarnail Singh, Baltej Singh, Amar Singh Dhania and Raju, while Kaku and Gagandeep were still at large.

The police has recovered all weapons used in the murder. The SP (D) said the police had been deployed at six points along the canal to recover the body. Mr Balbir Singh Tiwana, SHO, Sadar police station, Khanna, produced the accused in the court, which remanded them in judicial custody till September 23 after they complete their police remand.

He said the FIR under the Arms Act has been registered against Ajadinder Singh Lakhi, Kuldeep Singh Atti, Munna, Baltej Singh and Amar Singh Dhania. Four pistols and one knife were recovered from them. The SHO said it might take one week as the water of canal is quite cold and the body might take time to come up.

Giving out details of the murder, Mr Agnihotri said Rupinder was murdered in a brutal manner. His knee joint was broken just at the time of his kidnapping. He was then taken to Saloudi village, where he was beaten up and his arms were also broken. He was shifted to Bassi town and from there to Bhakhra canal near the town. He was hanged from a tree and shot at twice. Later his hands were tied and thrown into the canal.

Mr Agnihotri said those arrested have revealed that they wanted to teach Rupinder a lesson because of their rivalry.

Meanwhile, Parvesh Kumar, a member of the Rupinder group, who was kidnapped two days ago, returned home last evening.

The police has already recovered a Maruti car used in the crime. It was fished out of the Bhakhra Canal on Monday evening.



College students’ strike hits studies
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, September 10
Academic work remained suspended in some of the boys’ colleges here yesterday in response to a call for strike given by the Ludhiana Students' Union.
However, classes were conducted in some girls' colleges. The protesting students staged a dharna outside Government Polytechnic College for Women, Rishi Nagar.

A visit to the three boys' colleges— Arya College, SCD Government College and Khalsa College— revealed that the strike was complete. Some of the students who had come to the college in the morning, however, left after seeing posters about the strike. The LSU claimed that girls’ colleges were not closed, but students did not attend the classes.

LSU president Tanvir Singh Dhaliwal said, "All colleges of Ludhiana and periphery areas remained closed," Regarding the closure of girls' colleges, he said, "The college authorities told us that it was not possible for them to ask the students to go back but agreed not to conduct classes."

However, a visit to some of the girls’ colleges, including Khalsa College for Women and Guru Nanak Girls College and Ramgarhia Girls College, revealed that classes were in progress.

The dharna was organised to draw the attention of the state government towards their long pending demands. Tanveer Dhaliwal strongly flayed the Punjab Government and said, ‘‘We strongly resent the move of the state government to privatise ITI college and Polytechnics. This is an anti-student stance adopted by the government."

He slammed the government saying that seats were lying vacant because aspiring students could not take admission on account of high fees. He said in case the government did not roll back the fee hike, they will intensify their agitation.

Stating that the government had really stirred a hornets nest by its anti-student policies, it has really hurt the student community. 



Illegal construction along GT Road
Kanchan Vasdev
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, September 10
Even though any construction activity is banned within an area of 350 square feet along side the G.T. Road, an illegal structure is coming up in the busy Samrala Chowk in gross violation of the rules.

Tribune inquiries revealed that the illegal construction was going on unabated in broad daylight. The owner of the shop had covered the new construction with a large tarpaulin sheet to hoodwink the employees of the Municipal Corporation, who are assigned to check any illegal activity in the area.

The shop belongs to Mr Devinder Singh of Sarna Spare Parts at Samrala Chowk. The construction activity was going on unabated for the last many days. The structure comprising two walls and roof was already constructed.

This despite the fact that Mr Gurinder Singh Grewal, state general secretary of Punjab Pradesh Youth Congress (I), had brought the matter into the notice of the MC authorities also. According to Mr Grewal, he reported the matter personally to Mr S.C. Gupta, Zonal Commissioner, Zone -A on September 8 at 10 a.m.

Mr Grewal claimed that Mr Gupta directed his staff to visit the site also. But no action followed and the activity is still going on. Then he met Ms Kamaljit Kaur, Assistant Town Planner of MCL regarding the complaint. She assured him that action would be taken against the defaulters.

‘‘For the last two days I am reporting the illegal activity to the officials concerned although it is the work of their own staff . Still no action has followed.’’rued Mr rewal, adding that he had finally brought the matter into the G.S. Galib. The latter has referred the complaint to Commissioner, MCL for taking legal action against the accused. Mr Devinder Singh Sarna, the owner was not available for comments. Mr Pardip Sarna, who said that he was the former’s son, claimed that a team of Municipal Corporation had demolished a part of structure after The Tribune team had left the spot. He claimed that he did not know that it was an illegal construction.

Mr Pardip further said that his father would not be available for comments as he was upset after the demolition. He added that his doctor had advised him rest and he was not meeting anybody.

He claimed that the construction activity was stopped after the visit of MC team. He also said that the MC officials had told him that they would be fined also.



Chaos rules on city roads
Kuldip Bhatia

Ludhiana, September 10
Traffic in the mega city is becoming more and more chaotic and it seems that the administration — be it the traffic police or the Municipal Corporation has washed its hands off the responsibility of traffic management and enforcement of rules.

The large number of vehicles in the city calls for vigorous and effective measures to bring a semblance of order on the roads. However, the sheer apathy and indifference on the part of the enforcement agencies, has created a situation in which prolonged traffic jams have become a routine affair and desperate motorists and drivers of other vehicles, even those carrying patients and schoolchildren are stuck in serpentine queues, for a long time.

The traffic situation may not be as bad in the colonies lying west of the Ludhiana-Delhi railway tracks where the roads are comparatively wider and better, traffic lights are functional most of the time and traffic cops make their presence felt. However, condition in old city areas is in total contrast to this as slow-moving vehicles abound, three-wheelers and mini buses are stopped right in the middle of the road to take or drop passengers, slip ways are used for parking of vehicles with scant regard for other road users and the traffic police personnel, if present at all, choose to ignore the chaos on the roads.

Although, the drive to clear encroachments on the city roads by the Municipal Corporation, did show positive results in other areas, but as far as the old city localities are concerned, the MC has failed to make much headway in removing both the temporary and permanent encroachments with the result that these continue to be the biggest impediment in the way of smooth movement of traffic.

Even the Old G.T. Road, passing through the city and considered to be the lifeline for the traffic too full of encroachments by shopkeepers, rehri and farrriwalas, three-wheeler and mini bus operators. The authorities seem to have no clue about a solution for this problem.

To further add to the misery of the road users, particularly in the congested commercial centres and thickly populated city localities, different communities and religious groups frequently organise ‘shobha yatras’, ‘nagar kirtans’ and other similar processions, which, almost without exception, take a particular route through the old city, causing inconvenience to thousands of people, who are either stuck in the traffic jams on alternate routes or are prevented from going to their shops, offices, residences and even to the hospitals.

There have been feeble protests taking out of such processions on the roads that cause inconvenience to others, but the occasional protests have died down in the din of bigotry. Several academicians and intellectuals, whom Ludhiana Tribune spoke to over the sensitive issue, opined that in the wake of ever increasing vehicular traffic on the roads, the administration should initiate steps to evolve a consensus among all communities and religious groups against taking out of religious processions on roads.

In any case, the prevailing dismal scenario on the city roads calls for drastic measures and a lot of grit and determination is needed on the part of enforcement agencies to ‘discipline’ the offenders on the roads and to remove temporary and permanent encroachments, that hamper the traffic movement so that moving on city roads is no longer a nightmare for the motorists and other vehicle drivers.



Department, firm at loggerheads over excise evasion
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, September 10
A raid by the Central Excise Department, in which excise duty evasion worth lakhs of rupees by a local company was detected, has been mired in a controversy with the firm alleging that the department officials were harassing them and had not followed the proper procedure while conducting the raids.

The raid was conducted here on September 8. The Excise Department officials, however, said they had followed the procedure and the company had paid the duty on the same day. The firm, Vallabh Knits and Vallabh Fabrics Limited, alleged that the department had conducted a 17 hour-long raid in contravention of rules.

The Excise Commissioner, Mr H.K. Mittal, however, claimed that on the day of the raid a tempo was intercepted by the excise staff at the naka and it was found that the challan accompanying the goods was not in accordance with the rules. Thereafter, the unit of Vallabh Fabrics Limited, Ludhiana, was visited by the preventive staff after taking permission from him, he added.

He further stated that it was found that the unit had not shown bedsheets, blankets and readymade garments valued at Rs 26.08 lakh and involving a central excise duty of Rs 2.60 lakh in any account. The party, however, stated that these goods had been received by them from their sister concern — M/s Vallabh Knits Limited, Ludhiana. But they did not have any documentary evidence to support their claim. The Commissioner further said M/s Vallabh Knits Ltd was also visited by the preventive staff after taking permission from him.

On physical verification, a shortage of finished goods valued at Rs 36.06 lakh involving Central excise duty of Rs 3.60 lakh was detected. In this case it was stated by the party that the goods found short had been sent by them to their sister concern M/s Vallabh Fabrics Limited, Ludhiana, without issuing any covering document prescribed under the law. They could not show any challan/invoice or an other document in this regard.

Mr Mittal further stated that the party had admitted to the shortage and paid the central excise duty amounting to Rs 3.60 lakh on the spot voluntarily.

Meanwhile, the department has requested all members of the Textile Advisory Committee and various associations to apprise the members of the central excise procedures.

Mr Mittal stated that in the Union Budget, 2003-2004, hosiery, readymade garments, made-up articles of textile, etc. were brought under the ambit of the Central Excise levy with effect from April 1. Certain procedural concessions were also given to the units manufacturing such articles.

He added that for better interaction between the traders and the Central Excise Department a textile consultative committee has been constituted by him.

However, despite all these measures, the duty deposited by powerloom weavers and knitwears, manufacturers of fabrics and readymade garments up to August has been negligible. Prior to April 1 the total revenue collected was Rs 1.12 crore up to July 31, last year, whereas the revenue from this sector this year is Rs 4.09 lakh only. In readymade garment sector also revenue collected is just Rs 20 lakh despite nearly 2,000 assesses in the textile sector getting registered with the department.



Bid to encroach on green belt
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, September 10
The building staff of the Municipal Corporation foiled a bid to encroach a part of green belt in the Green Valley area, near Model Town Extension, here by a resident. On receiving information from some residents of the area, the building branch officials of Zone-D today descended on the spot and razed the boundary wall that was being constructed to cover an area of around 1,200 square foot.

According to the MC Zonal Commissioner, Zone D, Mr O.A.K. Sondhi, the “Tehbazari” staff also removed debris of the demolished portion and some building material from the site. The alleged perpetrator reportedly possessed court orders preventing the attempt to dispossess him of the land, but the MC officials maintained that the ownership and possession of the site, being a part of notified green belt, was beyond any dispute. Moreover, high-tension wires crossed right over the site and any type of construction was unlawful and dangerous.

Meanwhile, the MC squad had to abandon the work of removing debris and tearing down a basement from a demolition site on Dugri Road midway last evening when the alleged unlawful occupant, along with his supporters, threatened to lie down in front of two bulldozer deployed by the civic body. Around two months back, the MC building staff had demolished two shops constructed by a dairy owner on this site, which was said to be part of a road and passage to the houses built by the Shakti Cooperative House Building Society.

According to MC officials, around three truckloads of debris had been removed from the site when over 10 persons tried to disrupt work. They also claimed that a court had issued a status quo order and after some dilly-dallying handed over some papers to the MC officials. Sources in the MC revealed that the documents were being studied by the Law Branch and further action would be taken in accordance with legal opinion.

It was further learned that political interference had also played its part in halting the work for removal of debris and demolition of the basement, as two senior local Congress functionaries were openly face-to-face on the issue. 



Uncovered manhole poses threat
Tribune News Service

An open manhole that is posing a threat to pedestrians in Urban Estate, Dugri
An open manhole that is posing a threat to pedestrians in Urban Estate, Dugri, in Ludhiana.

Ludhiana, September 10
An uncovered manhole in Urban Estate, Dugri, poses threat to residents of the locality, who resented that despite repeated complaints the manhole had not been covered.

They claim that a number of residents have fallen in to it and received injuries but the authorities concerned have not woken up. The manhole is near a school and can prove dangerous for schoolchildren. During night it becomes difficult to detect the manhole and passerby fall into it.

Mr Rakesh Soni, a resident of the area, said his wife fell in to it while she was coming from school. She was holding books in her hands and could not see the uncovered manhole.




Hoax letter keeps police busy
Our Correspondent

Mandi Ahmedgarh, Sept10
A hoax letter, purportedly written by an activist of the Lashkar-e-Toiba, demanding Rs 1 lakh from a local trader kept the local police busy till late night yesterday.
Sources revealed that Mr Kimti Lal, a local trader, received a letter purportedly written by the militant outfit on Monday. He was asked to keep the money at the gate of MGMN Senior Secondary School by 7.30 pm on Tuesday.

The trader reported the matter to the police through a social worker. The money was kept at the specific point and as many as 40 policemen, attired as monks and beggars, were deployed in the area, but no one turned up to take the money.

Though Mr Kimti Lal was not available for comments, the sources said the letter was found by one of his family members at the doorstep on Monday and was a hand-written note in Hindi.

Mr Amandeep Rai, Senior Superintendent of Police at Sangrur, confirmed receiving such a complaint at the local police station. He said, “Though it appears to be a hoax, we have taken the matter seriously.”

He said Mr Rachhpal Singh, DSP, Malerkotla, had supervised the action. Mr Rai appealed to the people to cooperate with the police to help identify anti-social elements. He said security arrangements in the area had been strengthened.



Dalits protest against atrocities
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, September 10
Dalits and activists of various social and political organisation today staged a massive rally at Chattar Singh Park and later marched to the Mini Secretariat in protest against some recent cases of atrocities against Dalits.

The rally was held under the banner of Joint Platform of Mass Organisations (JPMO), a body formed by various organisations. Representatives of the demonstrators gave a memorandum to the Deputy Commissioner, Mr Anurag Verma, demanding action under the SC-ST Act against the accused.

The JPMO also demanded concrete steps by the administration regarding the security of the Dalits.

The memorandum comprised a list of cases.

Other speakers at the rally, were Dr Raghvir Singh, Mr Parkash Singh, Mr Ram Sarup Singh Kalsian, Mr Amarnath Kum Kalan and Mr Baldev Singh Latala. They criticised the administration for not safeguarding the cause of the Dalits.



Ramoowalia forms Women’s Power Wing
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, September 10
The president of the Lok Bhalai Party and former Union Minister, Mr Balwant Singh Ramoowalia, has disbanded the party’s mahila wing and has formed a new unit, Women’s Power Wing. with the object to provide guidelines and succour to helpless and distressed girls/women and their families who are victims of socio-economic and political exploitation.

Some of the office-bearers of the newly formed wing are Ms Harjinder Kaur,Nari Mukti (Jalandhar), as general secretary, Ms Makhanjet Kaur Gholia (Moga) as organising secretary, Ms Jasbir Kaur Samagh as president, Faridkot district unit of the party, Ms Jasbir Kaur Dosanj and Ms Gurbiner Kaur Jadla, president and vice-president, respectively, of the Nawanshahr unit, and Ms Surinder Kaur Rasulpur as president, Jagraon unit. The appointments of state unit president and other district unit presidents would be announced later, according to mr Ramoowalia. 



One held for disobeying District Magistrate’s order
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, September 10
The Haibowal police yesterday arrested Sushil Kumar, a resident of Lakshmi Nagar, and booked him under Section 188 of the IPC for disobeying the order of the District Magistrate by not informing the police about a tenant in his house.

Injured: The division number 7 police yesterday registered a case under Sections 279, 337 and 427 of the IPC on the statement of Mr Rajan Bhatti, a resident of New Shivaji Nagar, against the driver of a Maruti van (PB-02V04547). The complainant stated that the vehicle had hit his scooter on August 31, following which he was injured.

The Civil Lines police yesterday registered a case under Sections 279, 337, 338 of the IPC and Section 187 of the Motor Vehicle Act on the statement of Mr Lakhwinder Singh, a resident of the Shaheed Karnail Singh nagar near Jawaddi village, against the driver of a scooter (PB-10Q-9169). The complainant stated that the accused had hit his father, Mr Karam Singh, near the Malhar road, on the night of September 8 and injured him seriously.

Miscreants booked: The Haibowal police registered a case yesterday under Sections 295, 295-A, 323, 506, 148 and 149 of the IPC against about 15 unknown persons on the complaint of Ms Lata, caretaker of Maa Rajeshwari Mandir Ashram, Haqiqat Nagar. The complainant said the accused entered the ashram on the night of September 8 and tried to break the main idol of the temple. The accused also beat her up and threatened her, she alleged. No arrest has been made so far.

Assaulted: The Shimla Puri police has registered a case under Sections 325 and 323 of the IPC on the statement of Sonu, a Nepali migrant working in a dhaba on the Dugri road, against Deepak Kumar, a migrant from Uttar Pradesh. The complainant stated that the accused, who was already lodged in Borstal Jail, had quarrelled with him and broken his teeth on the night of September 8.

Gamblers held: The division number 3 police raided a gambling den near the Valmiki mandir chowk yesterday and arrested Sunil Kumar, a resident of the Hari Kartar colony, and Jasvir Singh, a resident of the Taj Ganj mohalla and booked them under the Gambling Act. The police said today that Rs 500 and a deck of playing cards were seized from their possession.

The division number 4 police arrested Mohinderpal Singh, Nasal Mohammad, Vijay Kumar and Surinderpal Singh, residents of the Chhawni mohalla, while they were gambling and seized Rs 3,000 and a set of playing cards from their possession yesterday.

Knives seized: The division number 2 police arrested Vijay Kumar, a resident of the New Hargobind Nagar mohalla yesterday and seized a kamanidar knife from his possession and booked him under the Arms Act.

The Sarabha Nagar police also seized a kamanidar knife from the possession of Ganesh Paswan, a Bihari migrant living in Barewal village. He was arrested and booked under the Arms Act.

Liquor seized: The Kotwai police arrested Santosh Kumar, a migrant from Uttar Pradesh, and seized 12 bottles of IMFL from his possession near Clock Tower, yesterday.

The Koom Kalan police arrested Mangat Singh, a resident of Machhian Kalan village, and seized six bottles of illicit liquor from his possession yesterday. The police also arrested Harnek Singh, a resident of the same village, and seized six bottles of illicit liquor from his possession.



Chamber for scraping tax on scrap
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, September 10
The Apex Chamber of Commerce and Industry has made a plea for exemption of scrap from tax collection at source (TCS) since it would adversely affect the iron and steel, hosiery, spinning and paper industries in the state.

The president of the chamber, Mr P.D. Sharma, said in a statement here today that the TCS on scrap had been made effective from September 8 with the coming into force of Taxation Laws (Amendment) Ordinance, 2003, though the government had reduced the rate of the TCS to 1 per cent from the earlier proposal of 10 per cent. The sellers of scrap would be required to collect tax from the buyers under Section 206-C of the Income Tax Act.

“The ordinance has diluted the provision related to the definition of the buyer from whom the sellers are to collect tax. The Finance Act had included, among buyers, even such cases where the buyer had not obtained goods through auctions and where the sales price of the goods to be sold by the buyer were fixed by the state legislation. Now the government has exempted the Central and state governments, public sector companies, clubs and Embassies from the definition of buyers for the purpose of the TCS.”

He maintained that the levy of the TCS on scrap was not justified as the industry and trade were highly dependent upon scarp of sorts. The volume of purchase, particularly in the iron and steel industry, was very high and even one per cent tax would amount to massive sums. According to Mr Sharma, the Apex Chamber had been struggling on the issue ever since the decision was announced by the government. Lending his support to the demand, the secretary, SSI, Mr S.K. Tuteja, had also pleaded the case strongly with the Revenue Secretary, Government of India.

Urging the government to review the decision of bringing scrap under the purview of the TCS, he further observed that the provisions of the TCS had not been adequately publicised and affected industry as well as the trade were ignorant about it. The government would do well to put off the effective date for the time being and give a second thought to the move, which was expected to have far-reaching ramifications on the manufacturing and trading activities.


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