Saturday, September 20, 2003, Chandigarh, India


L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Woman murdered, cash, jewellery stolen
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, September 19
Robbers struck at a house in Partap Nagar near Sangeet Cinema here this morning and decamped with jewellery and cash after brutally murdering a woman present in the house.

Neelam Taneja, a 32-year-old housewife, was left at home by her husband and two children at 9 a.m. today, and when her husband, Mr Hans Raj, came back home at 1 p.m. he found the woman murdered. Her body was lying in a pool of blood on the floor of their bedroom and her throat was slit with a one-foot-long knife, lying near the place of the incident.

The robbers, whose number could not be known, had probably struck at the house between 9 a.m. and 1 p.m.

While the entire house was ransacked and the woman killed, none of the neighbours could get to know about the incident till Mr Hans Raj, a commission agent, and his daughter came home together.

The house was open when Mr Hans Raj’s daughter went inside and called her mother. On not getting any response, she checked up in all rooms and finally saw her mother lying on the floor.

The robbers went away with jewellery and cash worth lakhs of rupees. A video camera, which was lying near the spot, was left by the robbers. All almirahs were ransacked. Surprisingly the robbers struck at the time when all members used to be away from the home. Police sources said it was definitely the handiwork of some known persons, who were aware of the family’s everyday affairs.

The Division Number 6 police, led by SHO Mukhwinder Singh, reached the place of incident. The police has registered a case under section 302 of the IPC.

Mr Hans Raj said he did not suspect anybody. He added that the motive behind the murder was robbery.

Police sources said it was the handiwork of some factory labourer as suggested by the footprints in the house. The floor and the bed-sheet bore saw of wood and mud.

Family members said that nobody came in the house during this time except a maid, Bimla, who did not turn up today. They said her husband worked in a factory. The police has called in forensic experts to look into the matter.



4 booked for selling orphans’ property, forging
PAN card
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, September 19
After an inquiry conducted by the Division Number 5 police had established that relatives of two orphan children in connivance with some persons had forged some important documents and got the property of the orphans transferred in their name, the local police has booked four persons.

The booked persons are Joginder Singh, a resident of Raghbir Park Colony at Jassian village, Narain Ram Lambardar, Bhure Lal and Roop. The complainant, Mr Surinder Puri, an uncle of the orphans, had alleged that the accused had fraudulently got the orphans plot transferred in their name by using forged documents. A case under Sections 419,467,468 and 120-B of the IPC has been registered against them.

Inquiries revealed that these persons forged a permanent account number (PAN) card of the childrens’ father and other documents to show him alive and executed a sale deed of his property, which was the sole source of income for the two children.

Ludhiana Tribune had reported the plight of these children, Kangna Puri (13) and Paras Puri (12), a few days ago. The two were even separated allegedly by the relatives. The girl was with the accused relatives, who allegedly took her away with an eye on the property. And the boy has been struggling hard to unite with her.

Paras had even written a letter to the President of India also, asking for his intervention in the case. Paras and his sister, Kangana, both residents of Kucha Bihari Lal Saraf, lost their father, Arun Kumar Puri, an employee in Municipal Corporation, in March 1998 due to complicated diabetes. Their mother had also died six months later.

The registry of their father’s plot, gold ornaments, Kisan Vikas Patras (KVPs) and some papers related to his savings in the post office were taken away by their relatives while their mother was being cremated.

Their maternal uncle and some other relatives had tried to encash the KVPs and withdraw the money from their account in a post office after forging Arun’s signature. The alertness of Arun’s brother, Surinder Puri, helped and their request to withdraw the money was put down. The case was also registered on the complaint of Mr Surinder Puri.

Ironically, their relatives had prepared a false PAN card and showed Arun Puri alive. They produced this document to the Registrar (Sales) and executed a sale deed in the name of Arun Puri. A copy of the forged PAN card was attached with the sale deed. The person who posed as Arun Puri was also photographed and his picture was pasted on the sale deed.

When the sale deed was executed, Surinder Puri, complained about the case to the SDM (West). He showed him the death certificate of Arun Puri and also produced his original identity card issued by the MCL and the voter’s ID card. The SDM forwarded the case to Division Number 5 SHO, Anil Joshi, on August 8, 2003. An inquiry by the SHO had established that the four persons had connived with each other to show a dead man alive and then sell his property.



Officials, property dealers grab land worth crores
Vimal Sumbly
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, September 19
The growing nexus between some police and revenue officials along with some property dealers here has led to the grabbing of land worth crores of rupees, mostly belonging to Non Resident Indians (NRIs). Investigations by Ludhiana Tribune revealed that strong network of these people forces the aggrieved people not to pursue their case and they ultimately settle for a compromise.

It was learnt during the investigations that the land mafia had evolved a unique way of grabbing property, particularly land belonging to people, who are either settled abroad or those who do not have any successors. The modus operandi includes locating and finding out such properties through revenue officials, preparing forged documents, getting the owner involved in prolonged litigation and at times using bullying tactics to force them to compromise.

While the revenue officials help in placing such properties, they also allegedly manage wrong sale deeds and registration. In fact the person who ultimately grabs the property does not happen to be the primary buyer. Suppose there is a plot lying vacant and belonging to some NRI. The land mafia prepares forged documents and sale deeds in the name of a third person. Then that person (the third person) is shown as having sold the land to the actual grabber.

And when the real owner of the property starts pursuing the case, the actual grabber claims that he has no dispute with him (the real owner), as he has not purchased the property from him, but from some other person who is claimed to have actually purchased the property from the real owner. Thus the dispute is ducked to third person and the land grabber becomes the owner of the land.

This arrangement is perfectly worked by different people, who involve property dealers, police personnel and revenue officials. No wonder that in Ludhiana there are at least 10 properties worth crores of rupees each, which are owned by senior police officials, some thought to be “most honest”. And the revenue officials happen to be the richest and most powerful as they can do and undo things.

Sometime ago a case was reported from a posh locality where a 1200 square feet plot was grabbed while the owner was away. The said owner had ultimately to surrender before the grabbers and settle for a compromise as during his absence a structure had already been raised there. There are several instances where the land mafia takes advantage of the owners’ absence and ultimately forces them to compromise and part with the property.



Canadian norms relaxed
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, September 19
The Canadian Immigration Department has relaxed norms for skilled workers who filed their application on or before January 1, 2002.

Mr Tej Parkash Singh, an immigration lawyer from Ludhiana currently on a visit to Canada to attend seminars on immigration and discuss immigration-related matters with his fellow immigration lawyers, said it was a big chance for aspiring professionals since an applicant had to get only 67 marks instead of 70 to qualify for Canadian immigration.

Canadian Minister of Citizenship and Immigration Denis Coderre had recently announced an important decision and recommendation pertaining to the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act.

The minister had announced an adjustment to pass marks for federal skilled worker applicants. The minister’s move to adjust the pass marks is a response to Canada’s need for skilled workers and uproar against the previous change wherein the threshold was raised to 75 from 70. Effective immediately, all new skilled worker applicants and those currently in the system who have not yet received a selection decision, will be assessed on the basis of pass mark of 67, he added.



Woman injured by ‘drunk’ cops’ firing
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, September 19
A police party in pursuit of poppy husk smugglers shot at and injured a bystander at Majri village under Jagraon police jurisdiction. Infuriated villagers later surrounded the police personnel and took them to the house of the Sarpanch of Sidhwan Bet village. Police parties, which rushed from Mullanpur and Sidhwan Bet to rescue their colleagues, allegedly used force against the protesting villagers. The gang of smugglers, meanwhile, escaped.

While the residents of the village alleged that the policemen chasing the smugglers were drunk and had fired indiscriminately in which a woman, Gurmeet Kaur, was injured, the SSP of Jagraon, Mr M.S. Chhina maintained that the allegation was baseless.

According to the police, the poppy husk smugglers, armed with kirpans and other sharp edged weapons, had attacked the police party and the police had fired in self-defence when a bullet accidentally hit the woman. Mr Chhina said the injured woman had been admitted to a hospital and was being provided medical attention.

The villagers further alleged that about six persons had sustained injuries.

Meanwhile, Gurmeet Kaur, who had received the bullet in her arm, was operated upon in the local DMC hospital and her condition was stated to be stable.



Students, bus staff clash
Our Correspondent

Mandi Ahmedgarh, September 19
A tiff between women lecturers of a private college and a driver and a conductor of a Pepsu Roadways Transport Corporation bus (PB11E-9587) resulted in a clash between students and transport employees here today.

Mr Inder Mohan, Principal, Shanti Tara College, Akbarpur, said the driver and the conductor allegedly misbehaved with Monika Sharda, Reeta and Saravjit Kaur, all lecturers, when they asked the conductor not to use abusive language with passengers. The driver and the conductor compelled them to alight from the bus near the Jagera bridge.

As they alighted from the bus, a few students of the college, who were travelling in another bus, stopped the bus to inquire about the welfare of the teachers. This provoked the bus staff, who stopped more buses and called their colleagues.

The Principal alleged that roadways employees attacked students with rods and lathis. He said the matter had been reported to the police.

Meanwhile, Mr Gobinder Singh and Darshan Singh, driver and conductor, respectively, of the bus, refuted the charges and alleged that students had stoned the bus. They said: “As usual we stopped the bus in front of the college gate and three lecturers along with students boarded it. The bus was stoned when we did not stop it at a dhaba.”

The Dehlon police has confirmed the receipt of a complaint from the driver.



New bridges opened without inauguration
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, September 19
Even as the issue of inauguration of various bridges in the state has been a source of controversies in the recent past, two such bridges in the city have already been opened for public without a formal inauguration.

The two bridges, one on the Buddha nullah and the other on the Ludhiana-Dhuri road in the city, have been opened for the public without a formal inauguration. While the one on the Buddha nullah was opened for public in 2001, the other on the Dhuri road has been opened recently.

The foundation stone of the Buddha nullah bridge on the GT Road near Chand Cinema was laid by Dr Kewal Krishan, the then Finance and Local Bodies Minister on November 26, 1995. It was completed in 2001 and the local Municipal Corporation was waiting for its inauguration. Suddenly an Opposition leader visited the city and the bridge was opened during the preparation of his visit only. Since then it is being used by the public.

Similar is the story of the Dhuri bridge, which was completed a few months ago and it was opened to public before it could be formally inaugurated. The idea of its inauguration has been dropped since then.

In the backdrop of such controversies and the inconvenience caused by the VIPs’ visit during the inauguration process, the people of the city say that the bridges should be opened without any glittering functions. The state exchequer saves money and controversies do not erupt. “It did not make any difference if the bridge was not inaugurated. The public is using it for its convenience. Then why should all bridges not be opened like that only?’’ asked a resident.

It is worth mentioning here that opening of bridges has been a problem in the state during the recent past as the bridges, whose foundation stones were laid by the former Akali government, were being inaugurated by Congress leaders. A controversy had erupted over the inauguration of the Naushera Pattan bridge over the Beas in Gurdaspur recently.

The Sidhwan Bet-Mehatpur bridge over the Sutlej which connects Jagraon directly with Jalandhar was also mired in controversy as two leaders were trying to draw political mileage out of the inauguration function. The inauguration of the bridge was postponed once leading to the speculation of some political game. Finally it was opened for public by Captain Amarinder Singh, Chief Minister, a few days ago.



Importance of being a patwari
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, September 19
The much-talked about outburst by some ministers including a few from Ludhiana, against the alleged high-handedness of bureaucracy has not come as a surprise to anyone. The ministers reportedly protested at the meeting that they were not even able to get officials of their choice posted in the administration and they had specifically quoted the example of patwaris.

It is a common knowledge that any posting in Ludhiana is considered quite “lucrative”. Not necessarily in terms of money, but the importance one feels in Ludhiana. And most difficult posting in the city is considered to be that of a patwari, who happens to be privy to all land and revenue records. In a city like Ludhiana, where land happens to be the costliest (in Punjab), real estate is a flourishing business. And the role of patwari is pivotal.

The greatest favour that can be done to anyone in Ludhiana is to get his nominee posted as a patwari.

No wonder then that recommendations for patwaris’ posting come from almost all ministers. Sources in the Revenue Department revealed that Ludhiana is the most sought-after place by the revenue officials, particularly patwaris. And the officers at the local level do not have much say in posting them.

It deserves a mention here that when the vigilance started a campaign against revenue officials, particularly patwaris, they (the patwaris) started retaliating by threatening to reveal the benami assets of police officials. It is an open secret that a number of senior and low rank police officials own huge assets in Ludhiana. And it is the patwaris alone who are in know of things.

Although the ministers may not have any special motive to get the patwaris posted and they may have quoted the patwaris’ example as a passing reference, the officials here maintain that the ministers, cutting across their jurisdiction, try to assert themselves for the patwaris posting only. Obviously, the officials also are placed in a piquant situation as whom to oblige and whom to antagonise.



Encroachers back in business at Ghanta Ghar
D.B. Chopra

Ludhiana, September 19
The immediate periphery of Ghanta Ghar, the 99-year-old monument and landmark of the city, which had been cleared of all road encroachments recently in view of the President’s visit to the city, has once again been taken over by them.

One of the busiest commercial areas of the old city, Ghanta Ghar has been the hub of activity ever since the monument was built in 1904. Old timers get nostalgic when they recall the peaceful and pollution-free atmosphere of bygone days when only horse-drawn tongas served as the only means of transport from one part of the city to another.

However, with the passage of time, the tongas made their exit and in came encroachers who wanted to run a business without caring about public convenience or the importance of the monument.

The number of these encroachers has further swelled following the police crackdown on roadside vendors opposite the Guru Tegh Bahadur Market. Some of these vendors have now shifted to the vacant lot behind the Verka milk bar and are encroaching upon the space with impunity. In addition to these vendors, a couple of barbers have also sprung up along the iron grills of the Ghanta Ghar.

These roadside vendors mainly cater to hordes of idlers and lottery addicts who hang around the place all day. The lottery market, because of the presence of these persons, has witnessed a number of brawls in the recent past. In the absence of any public utility service in the market, these idlers even use the periphery of Ghanta Ghar as an open urinal, spreading unwanted stench in the area.

A proposal to install traffic lights in the chowk in order to streamline traffic was withdrawn and a plan to beautify the area around the historic monument was shelved allegedly under pressure from the encroachment “mafia” in control of the area. Observers feel that if the municipal corporation is not in a position to remove these illegal possessions, it should construct some booths and allot these to these roadside vendors and put an end to the chaos prevailing in the area.



Demand to bifurcate transport office
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, September 19
The youth wing of the ruling Congress yesterday alleged that widespread corruption prevailed in the office of the District Transport Officer. In a letter addressed to the Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, vice president of the Punjab Youth Congress, Mr Jaswinder Singh Sabi, general secretary Akshay Bhanot and secretary Navneesh Malhotra alleged that it was difficult for the common people to get their work done in the DTO’s office.

The Youth Congress leaders observed that the DTO’s office was overloaded as thousands of people visited the office daily. They suggested that the DTO’s office should be bifurcated like the two zones created for the Sub-Divisional Magistrates or even by the Municipal Corporation. They pointed out that excessive workload leads to corruption.

Mr Sabi maintained that after the raids by officials of the Vigilance Department, the situation had improved to some extent. But again same situation was prevailing everywhere. He said a delegation of the Youth Congress would meet the Chief Minister and the ADGP (Vigilance) in Chandigarh and bring to his notice the rampant corruption prevailing in the DTO’s office.

He regretted that while the Chief Minister had launched a vigorous campaign to cleanse the administration of the corrupt, its benefits were not being transferred to common people at the grassroots level.



Mock drills to check effectiveness of safety plans
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, September 19
A meeting of the District Core Group to review the progress of formation of on site and off site safety plans regarding major accident-hazard installations (MAHs) in the district was held at the mini secretariat which was presided over by Mr Anurag Verma, Deputy Commissioner.

He said that five major accident-hazard installations had been identified in the district - Upper India Steel Limited, Focal Point, Batra Brothers LPG Bottling Plant, near Jarkhar village, R.K. Petro Private Limited, on the Dehlon-Sahnewal road, Aviation Fuel Station, Halwara, and the Baddowal Ammunition Depot on the Ferozepore road - where on-site security measures were required to be made to meet any kind of eventuality.

The representatives of these installations and the officers concerned said that all the on-site safety measures had already been completed and they were taking required precautions to check any kind of leakage of LPG and other chemicals kept at these places, and that sufficient number of fire extinguishers had been installed.

After thorough discussions regarding the off-site safety measures, the Deputy Commissioner has constituted a sub-committee headed by Mr Malwinder Singh Jaggi, Assistant Commissioner (General). Other members of the sub committee included SP (Traffic), DFSC, Deputy Director, Factories, fire officers of the Municipal Corporation, representatives of the IOC, Civil Surgeon and XEN, Pollution Control Board.

The DC said that this committee would chalk out a comprehensive off-site safety plan to meet out a any kind of situation in case any accident happened due to the leakage of inflammable materials from these MAHs.

The Deputy Director, Factories, informed that the big installations, which were keeping storage of more than 15 metric tonnes of LPG or fuel (petroleum) at their sites, were considered as MAHs units and as per the Act strict safety measures required to be taken for the safety of lives and property surrounding these installations.

Mr Verma said with a view to testing the effectiveness of the on-site plans, mock exercises would be carried out on the first four installations, whereas at BAD the on-site plans were being executed as per the norms of the army. The Deputy Commissioner asked the sub-committee to ensure the requisite safety measures in the off-site plans and directed all Officers of departments concerned to keep their emergent equipment in ‘ready to act’ position.

Among others who attended the meeting included Mr M.S. Jaggi, Assistant Commissioner (General), Mr Prem Chand, SDM (East), Mr S.K. Kakkar, Mr Daljit Singh, Mr Kashmira Singh (all Deputy Directors, Factories) and Mr S.K. Thappar, Assistant Director, Factories.



Training camp
Our Correspondent

Khanna, September 19
Indian Farmers Fertilizer Cooperative Limited (IFFCO) organised a training camp at Payal yesterday. It was presided over by Mr Surjit Singh, Assistant Registrar Cooperative Societies, Payal. More than 60 managers of cooperative societies and senior officers of IFFCO participated.

Mr Harbans Singh, vice-president, Payal Municipal Council; Mr Gurcharan Singh, president, Cooperative Society, Payal; Mr Jagtar Singh, sarpanch, Majri; and Mr Gurmeet Singh were present, among others.



Woman murdered, in-laws booked
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, September 19
The police yesterday registered a case under Sections 304-B and 120-B, IPC, on the statement of Mr Fauja Ram, a resident of Raikot, against Jagdev Singh, Mohinder Singh, Sukhdev Singh, Gurdev Singh, Kashmir and Manjeet Kaur, all residents of Kadiana village.

The complainant alleged that his daughter, Sharan Kaur, was married to Jagdev Singh. After the marriage, the accused started harassing her and demanding more dowry. They killed her by giving poison yesterday.

Woman killed

The police has registered a case under Sections 279 and 304-A, IPC, on the statement of Mr Sushil Kumar against Shiv Shankar, a three-wheeler driver.

The complainant stated that while he was going on a cycle along with his mother, Satya Devi, the accused hit his three-wheeler with the cycle. Both he and his mother were admitted to the Civil Hospital, where his mother died on Thursday.

Fraud case

The police has registered a case under Sections 419, 468 and 471, IPC, on the statement of Mr Surjit Singh, a resident of New Delhi, against Baljit Singh, Surjit Kumar and Bimla Devi, all residents of Durga Puri, Haibowal. The complainant alleged that the accused had prepared forged documents pertaining to his plot in Ludhiana and sold it further.

House burgled

On the statement of Ms Pushpa Devi, a resident of Lajpat Nagar, the police on Thursday registered a case under Sections 454 and 380, IPC, against unknown person(s), who entered her house on September 17 and decamped with cash and gold ornaments.

Assault cases

On the statement of Mr Pawan Kumar, a resident of Mohalla Kabir Basti in Miller Ganj, the police on Thursday registered a case under Sections 323, 341, 506 and 34, IPC, against Baldev Singh and Shonky. The complainant alleged that the accused assaulted him.

In another case, the police has registered a case on the statement of Mr Sushil Kumar against Palwinder Singh and Laddy, both residents of Koompur village in Hoshiarpur district. The complainant alleged that the accused assaulted him on September 14.

Case registered

The police on Thursday registered a case under Sections 379, 447, 427, 148 and 149, IPC, on the statement of Mr Pankaj Jindal against Jagdish Pal Singh, Dalip Singh, Kartar Singh, Jaswinder Singh and Harbhajan Singh, all residents of Daad village. The complainant stated that the accused made an attempt to take illegal possession of his plot and demolished the boundary wall.

Held for gambling

The Focal Point police on Thursday registered a case under the Gambling Act against Bikramjit Singh, Rajesh Kumar and Balwinder Kumar.



MV Primary School raided
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, September 19
The Ludhiana Vigilance Bureau conducted a raid at M.V. Primary School on Nawan Bazaar here today.

The Vigilance team led by Mr Sarban Ram, DSP, conducted the two-hour raid in which records were checked by Ms Sudesh Bajaj, Deputy District Education Officer (secondary), and Mr Avtar Singh, Superintendent in the Education Department. The officers found that the school had tampered with its records to avail the grant-in-aid from the Punjab Government.

The inquiry also revealed while the school had showed 35 to 40 students per class on register, majority of these were fake names, as there were just six to seven students studying in one class.

The inquiry showed that the school authorities had been indulging in the malpractice just to save posts. Confirming the raids, Mr Naunihal Singh, SP, Vigilance, said that a copy of the reports would also be forwarded to the DPI (schools) for necessary departmental action.



Excise chief meets traders
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, September 19
A meeting of the Regional Advisory Committee and the Textile Consultative Committee was held here yesterday under the chairmanship of Mr H.K. Mittal, Commissioner, Central Excise. Mr Rajesh Sodhi, Additional Commissioner, and Mr Sandeep Puri, Joint Commissioner, were also present.

The members of the regional committee sought clarifications regarding procedures and valuation of goods consumed. The members of the textile committee sought clarifications mainly on payment of duty on textile waste generated; on levy of duty on readymade garments on tariff value or on transaction value; procedure to be followed by the registered dealers in case the goods rejected by the buyers; and records to be maintained by the person manufacturing goods on job-work basis.

Replying to the queries, Mr Mittal clarified that in case cenvat credit was availed on the inputs, the hosiery waste would be cleared on the payment of duty on transaction value at the duty rates applicable to the goods from which such waste has generated.



Make exim form implementation smooth’
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, September 19
The exim form has been made effective from September 1, but its implementation and procedure adopted to issue to the trade and industry has been found to be cumbersome and time-consuming.

Mr Inderjit Singh Pardhan, president of the Chamber of Industrial and Commercial Undertakings (CICU), asserted that there was harassment and high-handedness due to which the implementation of the exim form was contested by the trade and industry. “It has been noticed by members of the chamber that the local sales tax authorities issue exim format at their leisure, which takes two or three hours.

“The ETOs are reported to have refused the issuance of exim form after 2 pm. At the sales tax barriers, it takes five or six hours in clearing the truck consignment, which is most objectionable and irksome in the speedy movement of the goods”, said Mr Pradhan.


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