Friday, September 26, 2003, Chandigarh, India


L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Ex-Home Guard official booked for fraud
Used fake certificate to get job
Jupinderjit Singh
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, September 25
Five years after a city resident, Kulwant Singh, retired from the post of a Platoon Commander in the Home Guards, the local Vigilance Bureau has found that he had used a fake matriculation certificate to get the job.

Interestingly, the complainant in the case was a late brother-in-law of the accused, who according to a bureau spokesman was an IAS officer.

The deceased was instrumental in getting Kulwant Singh the job. Later, a property dispute divided the families and the IAS officer complained first to the Home Guards department and then to the Vigilance Bureau in the early 1990s.

After all these years, the accused Kulwant Singh was arrested today by a Vigilance team led by DSP Swarna Ram. The Vigilance Bureau has booked him under Sections 419, 420, 465 and 467 of the IPC. Sources said the man was quite influential and had managed to stall the investigation process all these years.

With the complainant in the case already dead, vigilance DSP Swarna Ram, would be the complainant in the case, sources said. He becomes the complainant as the investigation was conducted by him. Normally, the case falls flat if there is no complainant.

Another interesting fact of the case was that a son of the accused is posted as a constable in the Vigilance Department only. Another son is a Junior Engineer with the Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB). One of his daughters-in-law is a teacher in a government school. Kulwant Singh is a resident of Model Town here.

Sources said the man would lose all service benefits and may have to return the salary and other emoluments he took from the service if indicted by a court.

He also faces rigorous imprisonment, sources said.

Sources said the man did graduation also on the basis of the same certificate. The Vigilance was sending a report to the university concerned also.

The man was recruited in the Home Guards Department in 1968 and retired in 1998. The Vigilance Bureau was not disclosing the identity of the IAS officer. Sources said the bureau was also probing the role played by some Home Guard officers in the man’s recruitment. Some officers also shielded him all these years.

Sources said it was too early to reveal the identity of those officers or to reveal whether any action would be taken against them or not.

Getting an employment on fake certificates in the armed forces especially, the Punjab Police or the Home Guards is not an unusual case.

A large number of ASIs in the Punjab Police were suspended and were facing dismissal from service on similar charges. A similar scam had occurred in the Home Guards in the early 1990s.



Gastroenteritis claims four lives
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, September 25
Four persons died and eight others are reported to be in serious condition after the outbreak of gastroenteritis in Giaspura village under Ward Number 21 of the Ludhiana Municipal Corporation.

So far 160 patients have been treated with symptoms of gastroenteritis, according to a team of doctors that has set up a camp in the area.

Dr S.S. Dhir, SMO Sahnewal, along with a team of doctors has been camping in the area on the outskirts of the city since yesterday afternoon. According to the doctors chlorine tablets and ORS is being distributed among labourers in the area.

Doctors have identified the four deceased as Monika (8), Praveen Kumar (18), Arun Kumar (22) and Vijay (19).

The eight patients who are reportedly in serious condition have been referred to Civil Hospital. But it is learnt that several others with symptoms of diarrhoea and vomiting have also been admitted to DMCH, Oswal Hospital and SAS Grewal Hospital.

A round-the-clock medical camp has been set up at Giaspura to monitor the situation.

According the local councillor, Mr Hakim Singh Giaspura, it was he who first informed the SMO Sahnewal about the large number of residents showing symptoms of gastroenteritis.

He said the area had been getting contaminated water for the past three or four days and his repeated complaints to the authorities had not yielded any result.

“It was after the recent rains that the water got contaminated and poor labourers, who form a major part of the population in the area, failed to take adequate precautions like boiling the water”, he said. Rains, he said, had played havoc with the city’s drinking water supply.

Recently there has been a steep rise in the cases of cholera and typhoid too in the city, but the Civil Surgeon’s office has no clue about the number of deaths that have taken place in the city till date with gastroenteritis.

However, a rough estimate puts the number of those who have fallen sick due to the consumption of contaminated water could be anywhere between 500 to 1000.

During the past few months similar cases have been reported from different areas of the city and there is no area that has remained disease free.

But low-lying areas where accumulated rain water had seeped into the drinking water supply, were more prone to the disease.



Armed robbers loot villagers
Tribune News Service

Kothe Shamshe Wale (Jagraon), September 25
It was a night of terror for the residents of this village as a gang of about 25 armed robbers wreaked havoc and looted cash and jewellery from several families. They also injured an ex-serviceman who tried to resist the crime.

The family of the ex-serviceman, Tarsem Singh, was the worst sufferer. The alleged dacoits spent over two hours in the house and searched the whole house. They decamped with 13 tolas of gold, some silver jewellery and cash. They even took some new clothes and cosmetics products from the house. The dacoits also injured a pet dog of the family. The retired Army man Tarsem Singh, put up a valiant fight but was outnumbered. He was beaten with sticks and rods and also suffered injuries from sharp-edged weapons.

Before that the gang struck at the house of Harjit Kaur who lives close to a temple in the village. She revealed that some time after 11 pm, the dacoits forcibly entered her house and took away cash and jewellery worth thousands of rupees.

The gang members then looted a number of labourers in a slum area outside the village. The police said it had got relevant clues about the identity of the gang members and would nab them soon.

The villagers, especially children, were terrified by the incidents. As soon as the dacoits left, the victims raised a hue and cry at which the entire village gathered at their houses. The condition of the children of the victim families was the worst. The villagers then found a number of stolen items abandoned by the accused in the fields.

A kurta worn by one of the accused and some turbans were also found. The police traced the spot where the dacoits had allegedly shared the booty. Some torches stolen from the houses were also found from the spot.

Interestingly, one of the dacoits had consumed some rat-poison tablets at the house of the ex-servicemen. According to Jasmeet Kaur, the ex-serviceman’s wife, the man was demanding opium saying all families keep opium in this belt. She said he searched all over the place and found some black coloured tablets used as a pesticide and ate them.

The police was keeping an eye on the hospitals in the area where the man could have got admitted. The police was also searching the area to locate the body of the man as it was difficult for him to survive.

Mr Mukhwinder Singh Chhina, SSP Jagraon, said the police had increased night vigil and patrolling in the area. He said the incidents were unfortunate but the police had got relevant clues about the identity of the accused. He said they were speaking in Punjabi and belonged to some local criminal gangs.



Monkey scare in Jamalpur area
Asha Ahuja

Ludhiana, September 25
Monkeys are causing a lot of panic in the Jamalpur Phase II area. Residents are being attacked by the monkeys and parents are not allowing their children to play outside.

Seven persons have been bitten by the monkeys in the past one week and the victims were mostly children. Residents are scared as the monkeys are fearless and enter any house.

Sunita and Jagat, housewives, said “We have no protection against the monkeys and the authorities are also not concerned.”

A monkey entered Guru Angad Hospital in Jamalpur at 6.30 am yesterday and attacked a seven-month old child. The monkey scratched the tender face of the child, much to the horror of his family, hospital staff and doctors.

The child’s father, Mr Gyaninder Singh, said they were apprehensive that the child had been infected. Dr Manjit Kaur however, assured them saying that the child would be given free treatment and anti-rabies injections.

A few days ago, the same monkey had bitten a one-year old child, sleeping next to his parents.

The Forest Department had placed a cage to capture him, but the monkey did not take the bait. He walked up to the cage, smelled bananas and calmpose tablets placed in the cage and walked away.

Ram, who irons clothes in the colony, was bitten by the monkey while sleeping.

The Municipal Corporation contacted the Forest Department, but forest officials are against giving tranquiliser shots to the monkey. Forest Range Officer Guramanpreet had faxed the information to Chief Wildlife Officer and asked for specialists to be sent to capture the monkey.



Nayar dreams of egalitarian India
Vimal Sumbly
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, September 25
Journalist and diplomat Kuldip Nayar may be too cynical about India’s present, yet he dreams of a great egalitarian India which is driven by the principles of pluralism, secularism and social justice. He also dreams of an India where political freedom is transformed into social and economic freedom.

Delivering a lecture ‘India of My Dreams’, to the members of the Ludhiana Management Association (LMA), Mr Nayar also made a strong case for the presidential form of government in the country. He observed that the experience with the parliamentary form of government had not been so successful and had not yielded the desired results. He suggested that India could switch over to the presidential form of government at the US pattern where the elected head and heads (in case of states) had assured and secure tenure for a fixed period.

The senior journalist seemed to paint a very dim and dark picture of the contemporary India, where, he pointed out, corruption was rampant and people were being divided in the name or religion, caste and other identities. He said, “I had dreamt of an independent India which shall capitalise on its inherent strengths of strong family ties, sense of accommodation, spirit of tolerance, secularism, pluralism, democracy and diversity. But we seem to have gone wrong somewhere. I had never dreamt of such an India where nexus between police, criminals, bureaucrats and politicians would assume alarming proportions”.

He regretted that morality was on a downslide. “Every other day we hear politicians and bureaucrats involved in shady deals. They seem to forget what Gandhi once said if your means are vicious and if your methods are wrong then the end is bound to be vicious”, he pointed out.

“Killing in the name of caste, creed and religion has taken more lives in independent India in 50 years than what we had seen in 150 years of British Raj. Burgeoning population is increasingly becoming a curse on our nation’s resources. One third of Indian villages do not have access to safe drinking water. No city in India, what to talk of villages, can boast of uninterrupted supply of electricity. Basic education and infrastructure is also lacking.” Mr Nayar lamented.

“We must also understand that building large factories, big buildings is no doubt important, but if in this process we lose our spiritual heritage then this sort of progress loses its relevance”, he said, while adding, “today’s times call for economic independence much more than the political independence”.

Referring to his favourite topic of Indo Pak relationship, he observed, “good relations with Pakistan also hold the key to growth for both the countries. But the government on the other side of the border must understand that infiltration and peace cannot go hand in hand. We also need to work towards making south Asian union a reality just like the European Union if we want wholesome progress of our people on all fronts,” Mr Nayar proposed.

Earlier, introducing the subject, Mr V.K Goyal, general secretary, LMA, said, “after Independence we have achieved significant strides in many fields from agriculture to satellite engineering. We rank today among the 10 most industrialized nations of the world. With the third largest reservoir of technical and skilled manpower, India has made great strides in computers, genetic engineering, biotechnology and space research. But to be honest with ourselves, even after 56 years of Independence we are still left with a deep sense of inadequacy in the material and moral development of our people as a whole”. He pointed out, “one third of our population still lives below subsistence level. The gap between rich and poor, urbanite and villager, educated and illiterate remains wide. The masses have largely remained outside the periphery of our progress.”

In his presidential remarks, Mr Manjit Singh, President, LMA, said, “we are living in a god-gifted land of bountiful natural resources. What we need is a collective intellectual and sterling leadership to make India a land of plenty in the new Globalised economy”.

Mr Mahesh Munjal, senior vice-president and Mr Anil Kumar, vice-president, LMA also spoke on the occasion. The meeting was attended by more than 350 industrialists, entrepreneurs, management professionals, academicians and students.



Probe into ‘donation for admission’ case begins
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, September 25
The Vigilance Bureau today started probe into the ‘donation for admission’ case in which a number of local residents have accused local schools authorities of charging exorbitant fees and forcible donation during admissions.

Mr Satish Malhotra, Investigating Officer, Vigilance, recorded the statements of complainants, including Dr Mewa Singh Sonar, Mr Rajiv Kalia, Mr Rattan Jain, Munish and Dr D.K. Jain. The complainants reiterated their allegations. They recounted the experiences they had while getting their wards admitted to the schools. Mr Malhotra said the probe would be completed soon.

Dr Mewa Singh Sonar, a former Director, Agriculture, Punjab, said they had taken up the case only to educate the masses about the exploitation.



Ramlila begins
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, September 25
With the beginning of navratras tomorrow Ramlila will be staged at several places in the city.
While Ramlila at the Daresi grounds, the oldest centre of Dasehra celebrations in the city, will begin tomorrow, the Dugri Urban Estate Ramlila and Dasehra Committee is staging its first show tonight. A press note issued by the committee today said a shobha yatra would be taken out in connection with the “Sita swayambar”. The shobha yatra would be inaugurated by Mr Sat Pal Gosain and Dasehra celebrated on October 5.

Mr K.L. Chhabra, president, Bhai Randhir Singh Nagar Welfare Society, said in a press note that the society would organise Ramlila this year also because of good response of the public last year. The society, he said, had made elaborate seating arrangements. Arrangements for drinking water had also been made.

Ramlila would be enacted by members of the Nav Kiran Art Group, a group of theatre students of Panjabi University, Patiala. Mr Chhabra said classical music would be played in the background instead of Bollywood numbers, besides special lighting system and effects.



Woman assaulted 
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, September 25
A woman was brutally beaten and left for dead allegedly by her relatives in the Dugri area late last night.
The 30-year-old woman, Shallu, is convalescing at Satluj Hospital here, where she was admitted by the local police. The woman has named two close relatives as the prime accused. She alleged that the accused were trying to grab her property. She lives alone in Dugri Phase-I here. Her husband and in-laws are in London and her husband is a cancer patient.

Model Town SHO Harwinder Singh told the Ludhiana Tribune that the police had registered a case and raids were on to nab the accused. He said the victim was already fighting a legal battle against the accused in the district court. As per her statement, the case had reached the final stage and her relatives had attempted to murder her fearing they would loss the case otherwise.

The woman said that her relatives — two men and a woman — entered her house forcibly and tried to strangulate her with a rope. She managed free herself from the clutches of the assailants once but was caught again and beaten up with iron rods and sharp-edged weapons.



Woman found murdered in her house
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, September 25
A Bengali woman in her mid-twenties, was found murdered in her newly rented house in Dhandari on Tuesday night. On the basis of suspicion, the Focal Point police yesterday registered a case of homicide against her husband Nepal Singh, who is absconding.

According to information, the couple had rented a room behind a tyre factory in the area about 10 days ago. As the woman had not mixed up with her neighbours, so no one even knew her name.

Her throat was slit open apparently by a butcher’s knife and her body was discovered by Chandan on Tuesday night when he went to see Nepal Singh.

The police has recovered the blood-stained knife from the room and also an empty liquor bottle. On the basis of neighbour’s statements, it is being presumed that an altercation took place between the husband and the wife in the afternoon. Nepal Singh, known as “Bengali Babu” in the locality, was not seen by his neighbours in the area again after that. The couple had reportedly told the neighbours that they had two children who were living in their native village in West Bengal. They had also told the neighbours that Nepal Singh was working in a factory here though no one knew exactly where the factory was located.

The police is working on the theory that the husband had planned the murder long ago and had brought his wife to the city for the purpose leaving his children in his native village.

Assaulted: The Division Number 7 police yesterday registered a case under Sections 341,323 and 234 of the IPC against three unidentified persons for allegedly bashing up a three-wheeler driver. Parwinder Musi, a resident of Sunder Nagar, had alleged in his complaint that the accused, travelling by a mini-bus ( PB-108A-9067) had stopped his vehicle and had beaten him up without any provocation on the evening of September 19. No arrest has been made so far.

Murder bid: The Civil Lines police yesterday registered a case under Sections 307 and 34 of the IPC on the statement of Mr Lakha Singh, a resident of Nurpur village falling under the Raikot police station, against two unidentified persons who allegedly attacked and injured an aged couple near the general bus stand on Wednesday evening. The assaulters later fled from there in a car. No arrest has been made so far.

Man assaulted: The Koom Kalan police yesterday registered a case under Sections 451,323,341,506 and 34 of the IPC on the statement of Mr Mukhtiar Singh, a resident of Salem Pura village, against Soni, Jagtar and Joginder, alias Chirri, residents of the same village. The complainant had alleged that the accused forcibly entered his house on Wednesday , beat him up and also threatened him. No arrest has been made so far.

Arrested: The Haibowal police yesterday arrested Bachan Lal, a resident of Chahlan village in Hoshiarpur district, and booked him under Sections 279 and 186 of the IPC. The police said today that the accused was driving a jeep at a high speed and did not stop at a police naka when signalled to do so.

Booked: The Focal Point police yesterday registered a case under Sections 294 and 506 of the IPC on the statement of Mr Avtar Ali, a resident of Muslim Colony in Sherpur, against Aziz Ali, a resident of the same colony. The complainant had alleged that the accused had abused him , threatened him and cast aspersions on his religion as well. No arrest has been made so far.

Liquor seized: The Division Number 6 police yesterday arrested Munish Kumar alias Saini, a resident of Kucha Number 12 in Field Ganj, recovered 12 bottles of Bagpiper whisky from his possession and booked him under the Excise Act.

The Salem Tabri police yesterday arrested Sarabjit Singh alias Saba , a resident of Bahadurke village , recovered 10 kg “lahan’ and 2250 ml of illicit liquor from his possession. The seizures were made following a raid on a working still. The accused was booked under the Excise Act.

Shops burgled:
Burglars broke open four shops on Nabha Road, Amloh, on Wednesday night. The locks on the shutters of Dr Satpal Rattam’s clinic, National Motor Garage, Amrit Hardware and Deep Laboratory were broken. According to Dr Satpal Rattan the cash drawer of the table was broken and some money and papers were missing. Later, the papers were found from a nearby field. No loss was caused to the National Motor Garage as there was no cash in the shop. Mr Zora Singh Haripur said the burglars decamped with cash worth Rs 800 from the cash box and some money was reported missing from Deep Laboratory said Mr. Harpreet Singh.



PCS officer caught taking bribe

Ludhiana, September 25
The local Vigilance Bureau today arrested an Assistant Registrar of the Co-operative Department, Samrala, on the charges of taking a bribe to settle a dispute between an employee of the department and a private contractor.

DSP (Vigilance) Daljinder Singh Dhillon caught PCS-rank II officer Karnail Singh Bhatti on the charge of taking the bribe of Rs 5,000 from Kewal Krishan, an employee of the department. TNS


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