Wednesday, October 8, 2003, Chandigarh, India


P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



Badal to face Vigilance Bureau today
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 7
Mr Parkash Singh Badal, wife Surinder Kaur and son Sukhbir Singh will be present in their Sector 2 house tomorrow to join investigations in a disproportionate assets case registered against them on June 25 on a complaint filed by a Congressman from Mansa.

“We all are ready to receive them tomorrow,” quipped Mr Badal.

Though the Vigilance has a date with Mr Parkash Singh Badal tomorrow, Mr Sukhbir Singh Badal has been served the “third and final notice to join investigations in Chandigarh on October 9”. No date has been fixed to question Mrs Surinder Kaur Badal in the case as the Vigilance is “awaiting a response” to its letter addressed to her “seeking place, time and date” for questioning.

Mr Parkash Singh Badal, President of the Shiromani Akali Dal and Leader of the Opposition in the Punjab Vidhan Sabha, spoke to Vigilance chief A.P. Panday this morning to reiterate his stance that the investigators were free to question him, his wife and son whenever and for as long as they deemed necessary in any case.

Mr Badal stated categorically that neither he nor any member of his family was either running away or intentionally avoiding the Vigilance investigators. “Why should we avoid them when the whole world knows that cases against us are false, fabricated and politically motivated. We have the entire record and documents to support our credentials."

Mr Badal decried the comments attributed to the Vigilance chief that the assembly of Dal supporters at his residence tomorrow may hamper investigations. He said that any such statement by Vigilance officials was totally uncalled for, the SAD leader added.

Mrs Surinder Badal sent another fax message to the Vigilance yesterday, reiterating that she had responded to its first letter offering to join her husband on October 8 for questioning. The bureau is yet to decide whether to question her tomorrow or later.

Meanwhile, Mr Sukhbir Singh Badal, General Secretary of the Shiromani Akali Dal, also dismissed as Vigilance propaganda” that he would not join investigations in Chandigarh. He categorically stated that he would be available for investigations anytime and anywhere required under the law.

He came down heavily on the Vigilance Bureau for deliberately creating a wrong impression in what he described as a “ politically fabricated complaint against me and our family. The contents of my communication to the bureau make it amply clear in which I had merely expressed my inability to come to Chandigarh on October 3 as I was busy with a prior commitment regarding a petition before the National Human Rights Commission.”

In the same letter, Mr. Sukhbir Singh claimed he had also categorically stated no Vigilance notice asking him to come to Chandigarh had been received by him. Even subsequently, he claimed, he offered to make himself “available for examination on the same date and place as of my father” in Chandigarh on October 8.

“I have still not received any notice regarding investigations on October 9 and am still reacting only to media reports. I am available for investigations on October 9 or even earlier if required and will go anywhere needed,” he added.

Mr Sukhbir Badal also dared the bureau to produce any material or document prove that he had ever refused to join the investigations in Chandigarh except on October 3. He described the Vigilance claim that a notice had been pasted at his Delhi residence as a canard.

While the team will be led by a DIG, the questioning will be conducted by SP, Economic Offences Wing ( EOW), who is also one of the investigating officers in the case. "The time in which the questioning will be completed will depend on the responses of the respondent to the questions and the time he takes. "Since there are large number of questions dealing with his income and properties, the senior Badal may like to present some more documents to substantiate his stand and in that case, the questioning may have to be carried out on some other days also, ''the officer said.

He added that "we may even exonerate him in the case if we are satisfied by his answers.'' Separate questionnaires have been prepared for both his son Sukhbir Badal and his mother since most of the companies and properties of Mr Badal happens to be in their names.

Ms Surinder Kaur Badal may be interrogated by a women officer, now that she has sent her confirmation regarding joining the investigations, sources added.

Mr Badal has also assured the Vigilance that party activists would not be present at the venue.


Questionnaire finalised for Badal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 7
The Punjab Vigilance Bureau today finalised a questionnaire as it gets ready to question former Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal in a disproportionate assets case tomorrow.

Sources in the bureau maintain that a team of senior officers led by a DIG will question Mr Badal on the sources of money for the properties allegedly made or renovated during his tenure as the Chief Minister. A series of meetings were held today to chalk out a strategy for tomorrow’s questioning.

A senior official in the bureau said the questions would mainly pertain to the properties made by the Badals in Punjab, Haryana and New Delhi, particularly during his tenure as the Chief Minister (1997-2002). He would also be required to identify certain property documents. Questions on his bank accounts would also be put to Mr Badal.

The official said each member of the family would be questioned separately.

He, however, refused to say anything whether the media and lawyers of Mr Badal would be allowed at the time of questioning. If the questioning was not over tomorrow, Mr Badal would be questioned again. The bureau may videograph the entire questioning. It has also sought the promulgation of Section 144, Cr PC, to avoid any kind of protest by Akali Dal activists outside Mr Badal’s house. The police has decided to depute commandos and an adequate police force to meet any eventuality, said a senior police official.

The newly elect state BJP President, Mr Avinash Rai Khanna, has pledged support to the SAD chief by stating that senior leaders of the BJP would be present at the venue.

The sources disclosed fresh notices had also been served on Mr Adesh Partap Singh Kairon, son-in-law of Mr Parkash Singh Badal, who was reportedly out of the country, and his wife Parneet Kaur, to join the investigations. The latter would be questioned about the properties owned by her husband in Chandigarh since he is not around.


Badal to be grilled amid tight security
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 7
The Chandigarh Police will post 1000 police personnel tomorrow to ensure law and order when sleuths of the Vigilance Bureau of Punjab question former Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal at his official residence.

This fallows the Shiromani Akali Dal’s claim that the questioning would be done in front of around 20,000 of its supporters at the official residence of the Leader of the Opposition, Mr Badal, in Sector 2 at house number 50.

The police fears that the visit of the vigilance sleuths could trigger unrest if such a large number of the Akali activists were allowed to be gathered in front of the house where Mr Badal is likely to be questioned in an alleged corruption cases.

The police has made arrangements to ensure that the crowd does not go either to Mr Badal’s residence and or to that of the Punjab Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh.

The police has assigned the task of maintaining law and order to six officers of the deputy superintendent of police level and several of inspector level.

Akalis apprehend that the Punjab police would try to check the flow of the Akali activists to the city at pickets in Patiala and Ropar districts surrounding the city.


Sukhbir must obey law, says Amarinder
Tribune News Service

Sukhbir’s staff get notice

Sukhbir Singh Badal, a Rajya Sabha member, was not present at his official residence New Delhi when a Punjab Vigilance DSP and an Inspector visited it this morning.

They handed over the notice, asking him to appear before the bureau on October 9, members of his staff, who claimed that this was the first Vigilance notice received by the SAD general secretary. — TNS

Chandigarh, October 7
The Chief Minister of Punjab, Capt Amarinder Singh, today asked Mr Sukhbir Badal to “obey the law of the land” and submit himself to interrogation by the State Vigilance Bureau.

Talking to mediapersons here, Capt Amarinder Singh emphasised that Mr Sukhbir Badal had nothing to fear if he was innocent. “Why should he not answer questions the Vigilance Bureau wants to ask him like any other citizen of India?” The Vigilance Bureau has asked Mr Sukhbir Badal to present himself before the Economic Offences Wing on October 6 here but the Akali leader has said that he should be questioned at his residence at Delhi.

The Chief Minister claimed that he had been more than considerate towards the father-son duo. “In the normal course, the Vigilance Bureau first arrests the accused and then proceeds to question him. In this case, I had asked the Vigilance Bureau to question Mr Sukhbir Badal without arresting him because, I did not want to give the Akalis any chance to cry foul. But if Mr Sukhbir Badal continues to behave in the manner he is, the law will take its own course”.

The Chief Minister also ridiculed the action of the former Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, in approaching the Human Rights Commission for protection against the state government’s move against him on corruption charges. “Since when has corruption become a human rights issue? It is ridiculous.”

Referring to the threat of violent protests held out by the Akalis if the government arrested the former Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh said he was sure that the UT Administration would deal with any threat to the law and order situation.

The Chief Minister said that he had no differences with the Punjab PCC chief, Mr H.S. Hanspal, as reported in a section of the media. “We have the best of relations and continue to interact with each other”. He also claimed that he was not scheduled to meet the AICC president, Ms Sonia Gandhi, during his recent visit to Delhi. “I met only Mrs Ambika Soni and a couple of other party leaders to discuss the forthcoming elections to the five assemblies. The media is reading too much into my alleged failure to meet Ms Gandhi”.

He also asserted that the party was united and ready to face the parliamentary elections. “We will improve our tally of seats, disproving all prophets of doom who have been predicting that the Congress will receive a drubbing in the coming poll”.


Minister raids Coke plant
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, October 7
In a crackdown on Coca-Cola and Pepsi bottlers, the Union Minister of State of Food Processing Industries, Mr N.T. Shanmugham, today seized five empty bottles of Coca-Cola from a bottling plant operated by M/s Amritsar Crown Caps Ltd at Jandiala Guru during a raid.

Talking to TNS after the raid Mr Shanmugham said the bottlers were flouting the quality standard norms issued by the Centre in 2001 under which six-year-old empty bottles had to be destroyed. He said he had already made surprise checks at various Pepsi and Coca-Cola bottling plants in Chennai and Delhi.

He said at the Amritsar plant he seized five bottles with the 1997 expiry date.

On September 27, he had inspected a Coca-Cola bottling unit in Chennai and had found that it was using synthetic chemicals for testing. He said the bottlers were found to be using expired bottles. He said a show-cause notice had been issued to the Chennai unit.

On September 30, he raided a Pepsi bottling plant in New Delhi and found that the company was using expired concentrate of Pepsi. The minister also found some bottles with rusted crown caps.

He said the ministry had embarked upon a plan to set up food processing parks in the country to give a boost to the food processing industry. He said the President recently inaugurated a food park in Kerala for which the Centre provided Rs 4 crore. The ministry had planned 38 such parks in the country. One such park would be developed at Sirhind for which the ministry had already signed an MoU, he added.

Meanwhile, the Vice-President of Coca-Cola India, Mr Sunil Gupta, in a written statement issued here today, said, “The carbonated soft drinks manufactured by our company and our bottling partners contain no fruit. All our new glass bottles carry the declaration that these do not have any fruit content. However, the old bottles, which do not carry the declaration on their body, have it printed on their crown caps in compliance with the government directives. It does not make sense to destroy large stocks of old glass bottles before they wear out in the normal course. Such an act is a big waste of national assets.


Probe ordered into Daler's charge against DSP
Tribune News Service

Patiala, October 7
Patiala Zone Inspector-General of Police Shashi Kant today ordered an inquiry into the allegation made by Punjabi pop singer Daler Mehndi that local Deputy Superintendent of Police Rajinderpal Singh Anand had demanded Rs 1.5 crore in case he did not want any action against him in a case of human trafficking registered against his brother and others in which he had also been named.

Mr Shashi Kant has asked Deputy Inspector-General of Police Iqbal Preet Singh Sahota to conduct an inquiry into the allegations. Mr Sahota said he had asked for documents of the case and would start the inquiry when he received the documents.

Meanwhile, DSP Rajinderpal Singh Anand claimed that he had received a telephone call from the pop singer at his residence and not vice versa as claimed by Daler. He said Daler had spoken to him at 10.30 a.m. on last Saturday asking about the case registered against his brother. He said he had told the pop singer that he should meet senior police officials and explain his viewpoint to them as his name had also been mentioned in the FIR.

Mr Anand claimed that before receiving Daler's call, he had been contacted by former Inspector-General (Litigation) R.K. Sharma, who had told him that Daler would ring him up and that he should tell him the details of the case. He said he did the same and there was no question of asking for any money.


Ash goes for spaghetti
Satellite kitchen for Bollywood stars
Varinder Singh
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, October 7
Amritsar may be known worldwide for its Punjabi delicacies, but a team of 29 Jalandhar-based chefs left no stone unturned to outpoint it on the food front—by catering for Aishwarya Rai, Anupam Kher, Gurinder Chadha and the entire crew of film “Bride and Prejudice” during their weeklong stay in the holy city. They prepared Aishwarya’s favourite Spaghetti Bolognasie, an Italic delicacy, for her on daily basis.

Aishwarya asked the team to prepare mouth-watering Punjabi delicacy “sarson da saag and makki di roti” on Dasehra day.

Since the filmstars and producer Gurinder Chadha were particular about the food preparation, a special “satellite kitchen” was set up in a rented accommodation, where the team comprising 29 chefs of a local hotel worked between 4 a.m. and 9 p.m. from October 1 to 6.

“Aishwarya Rai liked Spaghetti Bolognaise, an Italian noodle-based dish and pasta, while Martin’s favourite was Fish Leonese,” said Mr Gautam Kapoor, the director of the hotel. “All foreign actors also liked Indian food and did not shy away from demanding one or the other delicacy,” he added.

“We had taken special care to ensure that team of chefs was formed in such a way that all food requirements—mainly based on English, Indian, French and Italian delicacies—could be met,” said Mr Kapoor.

Gurinder Chadha specially asked the master chef to cook “kheer” for her and according to the team members, she got it packed and took it along. “Aish was very fond of Earl Grey breakfast tea, which she used to order at around 5 a.m. daily,” said a chef and a member of the team.


Pays obeisance at Golden Temple

Amritsar, October 7
Bollywood actress Aishwarya Rai paid obeisance at the Golden Temple in the wee hours today. She was here for the shooting of Indo-British film "Bride and Prejudice".

She paid a quite visit to the Golden Temple without any security arrangements or intimation to the Shiromani Gurudwara Parbandhak Committee. — OC


10 contractors held for fraud
Chander Parkash
Tribune News Service

Mansa, October 7
A fraud involving lakhs of rupees committed by private contractors of octroi posts in depositing the revenue collected by them with the local Municipal Council during 1998-99 came to light today. Following this, the Vigilance Bureau has arrested 10 of the total 11 contractors who collected octroi revenue in this town from August 1, 1998 to July 31, 1999.

Official sources said the contractors, who were partners in a private company named B.P. and Company, had caused losses of lakhs of rupees to the local Municipal Council.

Those who have been arrested in this connection include Bhushan Kumar, Gian Chand, Rajinder Kumar, Kamal Bansal, Sanjeev Kumar, Tarsem Chand, Sant Singh, Suresh Kumar, Jagdish Rai and Krishan Kumar. The Vigilance Bureau team has dispatched its parties to nab Heera Lal, another accused in the case.

Mr Baljinder Kumar Grewal, SSP, Vigilance Bureau, Bathinda, said a case in this connection had been registered against the accused under sections 409, 420, 464, 465, 467, 471, 477-A and 120-B of the IPC at the Vigilance Bureau police station, Bathinda. Mr Vinod Chaudhary, DSP, Vigilance Bureau, Mansa, was investigating the matter, he added.

He said during the said period, the state government hiked the rate of octroi cess on certain items. As per the contract agreement, B.P. and Company, belonging to the accused, was to deposit 90 per cent of revenue collected on account of enhanced rates of octroi cess to the local Municipal Council and the remaining 10 per cent were to be kept by them.

Mr Grewal said the accused, instead of depositing the revenue collected on account of enhanced rates of octroi cess, got printed duplicate copies of the receipt books of the octroi collection and started using these. The original and genuine copies, which were issued to them by the Municipal Council, were never used by them.

The accused deposited the revenue of octroi with the Municipal Council on the basis of receipts which were issued to different customers by them from the duplicate receipt books. However, no certificate was issued to the contractors by the octroi wing of the Municipal Council when they deposited the duplicate receipt books.

The SSP said by using the duplicate receipt books, the contractors managed to cause losses to the tune of lakhs of rupees to the local Municipal Council.


Lecturer, kin booked for dowry
Our Correspondent

Mansa, October 7
The police has registered a dowry case under Sections 498-A and 406 of the IPC against a lecturer, Mr Gurbaj Singh, his mother Harbans Kaur and his father Malkiat Singh, all of Muktsar district, and her sister Shahbaj Kaur and husband of the sister Yadwinder Singh, both residents of Bathinda district.

The case has been registered on a complaint of Atma Singh a local teacher and father of the girl. According to the FIR, Simerjit Kaur, daughter of Atma Singh, was married to Gurbaj Singh on March 9, 2001, and Rs 3 lakh, jewellery and other domestic goods were given to the boy and his family.

But, the in-laws of the girl demanded Rs 2 lakh more out of which a sum of Rs 50,000 was paid by the father of the girl to the boy’s family. They were not satisfied and turned the girl out of her matrimonial house.

The complainant has further alleged that on the intervening night of March 16 and 17, 2003, he was present in the house of her daughter at Muktsar. In the morning of March 17, he went to make a telephone call from a PCO and when he came back he found that in-laws of her daughter were trying to kill her. a DDR was lodged with the Muktsar city police which got the girl medically examined. Later, a compromise was arrived at on the assurance of her in-laws that they would not demand dowry. But again they turned the girl out of the house. Shahbaj Kaur and her husband have been arrested. Gurbaj Singh has also surrendered before the courts while Harbans Kaur and Malkiat Singh have absconded.


Lions Club offers to treat 100 Pak children
Varinder Walia and Pawan Kumar

Wagah (Amritsar), October 7
The President of Pakistan, Gen Pervez Musharraf, during his 40-minute meeting with eight member Indian delegation, led by Mr Ashok Mehta, Vice-President, Lions Club (International), gave positive indications for the relaxation of visa process and resumption of rail and air links besides improvement of cultural and trade ties between India and Pakistan.

The Indian delegation which reached here after the three day visit to Pakistan claimed that General Musharraf had promised to help create thaw in the region. The delegation had gone to Pakistan on a peace mission. Mr Mehta, however, said General Musharraf had told the delegation that certain technical problems for the resumption of air and rail links would soon be sorted out. Mr Mehta said the President of Pakistan had appreciated the proposals put forward by the Lions Club for frequent interaction between the NGOs of both countries. He said with the positive response of General Musharraf the second channel of diplomacy would get boost in the coming days.

Mr Mehta said the Indian delegation had extended the invitation to Ms Nilofar Bakthiar, Minister in charge of Social Welfare and Adviser to Gen Pervez Musharraf, to visit India for continuing a dialogue to build up cordial relations between the two countries. The delegation from Pakistan is likely to visit India in December.

The Lions Club had offered to provide medical treatment for 100 Pakistani children suffering from serious ailments. Mr Mehta said the treatment of Noor — a two-year-old baby from Pakistan, who was operated upon in Bangalore had generated a lot of goodwill between India and Pakistan. He said many more such children were awaiting similar medical help from India. It may be mentioned here that various delegations from Pakistan which visited India had evinced keen interest in medical facilities available in India. So much so the parents of Noor had openly admitted that the heart surgery in India was more advanced than in Pakistan.


Chohan to contest SGPC poll
Our Correspondent

Jalandhar, October 7
The Khalsa Raj Party (KRP) headed by Khalistani ideologue Dr Jagjit Singh Chohan has decided to contest the forthcoming SGPC elections on its own.

Addressing a press conference here today, the president of the KRP, Dr Chohan said his party had already filed a petition in the Punjab and Haryana High Court for directing the authorities concerned to hold SGPC elections, which were due for about two years.

Dr Chohan further said his party was going to hold two-day Panthic convention at Tanda in Hoshiarpur from October 18 to 19 to build consensus among different Sikh religious and Panthic organisations for creation of independent Khalsa Raj. He urged the World Sikh Convention to drop the idea of separating Sikhs.


Cops neglecting duty, alleges NGO chief

Amritsar, October 7
The holy city which is projected as a world heritage site, is dotted with steel structures and vulgar posters. These structures are being put up at every chowk, nook and corner of the city.

The steel structures are being put up for advertisements in violation of the court order.

The district police and the administration, it seemed was more interested in looking after the film unit, than performing their duties, alleged Mr Briz Bedi, president, Citizens Forum, yesterday.


Murder mystery solved
Our Correspondent

Nangal, October 7
The railway police has solved the mystery behind the gruesome case of suspected rape and murder in which the naked body of a woman was recovered from the railway track near Kalitran village, about 8 km from Nangal, on October 1.

Sources said the woman had been identified as a resident of Dher village near Nangal. The nearly 40-year-old widow was allegedly having an affair with a youth, Mattu of Dabkhera village.

She was allegedly pressurising the youth to marry her. The youth, along with his friend, called her to the spot on October 1 night. The due clubbed her to death and later threw the body on the railway track. The name Sanju was tattooed on the right hand of the woman. A suicide note was also found The note was, however, doctored to misguide the police.


Five Dalits hurt in group clash
Tribune News Service

Patiala, October 7
Five Dalit farmers were injured when they were fired upon by ‘zamindars’ in Sahnipur Tanda village in Julkan police station last night.

According to sources, ‘zamindars’ fired upon the Dalit farmers at around 8 p.m. last night. They said at least one of the Dalits, Pala Singh (40), was severely injured when he received pellet wounds on his back. The others were identified as Narsi Ram (34), Gurnam Singh (40) and Major Singh and Mehma Singh, both in their twenties. All injured have been admitted to the local Government Rajindra hospital.

The sources said the Dalits were ploughing the land which had been leased out to them by ‘zamindars’ since years. They said there was some discord between the two groups for they supported opposite sides in the last Assembly election. The sources said the relations between both parties deteriorated further when a family member belonging to a Dalit family had been elected Sarpanch of the village recently.


Freedom fighter cremated
Our Correspondent

Phagwara, October 7
The octogenerian freedom fighter Nazar Singh Sangha was cremated here today with full honours. Punjab Social welfare Minister Joginder Singh Mann placed wreaths on the body. Mr Sangha, breathed his last after protracted illness. Mr Sangha had served a jail term in Bostol, Lahore, from 1934 to 1940. He was state delegate of the Parja Mandal, Secretary, Students Union, floated farmers’ committees and took part in Peoples Conference in 1938. The British government issued warrants against him from August 8, 1940 to November 26, 1946, and he was jailed for taking part in the Lahore’s Kisan morcha. Born in Kala Sanghian village on May 15, 1921, Mr Sangha was influenced by his elder uncle, Gadri Baba Harnam Singh, who had spent 21 years in jail and came out in 1915. He also plunged into freedom struggle.


Soldier cremated with honours
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, October 7
Sepoy Saraj Singh (20) of Mari Megha village who was hurt in militant attack on September 13 at Nogaon sector, Baramula in Jammu and Kashmir and later succumbed to his injuries at military hospital in Delhi, was cremated at his native village with full military honours.

He was unmarried. He is survived by parents and a younger brother and a sister. Several officers from civil administration and Army were present.


High Court
Petition against G.S. Samra
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 7
The complainant in a corruption case registered against two judicial officers, G.S. Samra, is back in the news again. In a petition filed before the Punjab and Haryana High Court, a city-based firm has now sought registration of a first information report against him “for committing a cognizable offence.

Claiming to be the authorised dealer of Mercedes-Benz, the firm, Tai Pan Traders, has alleged non-return of a car handed over to Samra as a substitute while his own vehicle was being repaired.

Accusing Samra of committing a criminal breach of the trust, the petitioner submitted that till date the car was being used by him. Going into the background of the case, the petitioner submitted that Samra had brought a Mercedes car for repair in October, 2001. The job was done, but Rs 65,695 was never paid. The vehicle was again repaired after it met with an accident.

Meanwhile, the respondent requested the firm to lend him some vehicle while his car was being repaired. He was handed over a Lancer, but Samra refused to return the car even after his vehicle was returned. Taking up the case, Mr Justice Mehtab Singh Gill today fixed December 2 as the next date of hearing in the case.



Bar Association men observe strike

Rampura Phul, October 7
Members of the local Bar Association Rampura Phul today passed a resolution and struck work to lodge their protest against the initiation of a move by the Punjab Government to include a number of villages of this sub-division in Faridkot district.

According to a copy of resolution issued to mediapersons by the president of the Bar Association, Rampura Phul, Mr Jasvir Singh Mann, members condemned this move of the state government for including area of this subdivision in Faridkot district, which would reduce it to a smallest subdivision of the state.

Mr Mann pointed out that a similar move was initiated in 1996 during the Chief Ministership of Mr H.S.Brar and was scuttled under the pressure of people and various panchayats of this subdivision. He added that the Punjab Government would face same resistance now. — OC



9 booked for murder on HC orders

Moga, October 7
On directions of the Punjab and Haryana High Court, the Kotisekhan police has registered a murder case against nine persons of Galhoti village for murdering Baljit Singh, a commission agent.

The case was registered against the accused on Sunday.

According to the FIR, Baljit Singh, a commission agent, was found dead in a car which was burnt on the night of April 18,2003 while he was returning to Galchti village.

The family of the deceased approached the police suspecting foul play in his murder but the police at that time did not register a murder case. Kulwant Kaur, widow of Baljit Singh, approached the Punjab and Haryana High Court alleging that her husband had some dispute with Shamsher Singh of the village.

Both Fauja Singh and Shamsher Singh hatched a conspiracy with others to kill Baljit Singh.

Mr Justice Nirmal Singh of Punjab and Haryana High Court directed the Moga district police to register a case under Section 302 of the IPC against the nine accused. — PTI


Charges framed
Our Correspondent

Ropar, October 7
A court here today framed charges against the former member of the SS Board Punjab, Mr Kulbir Singh Randhawa in the disproportionate assets case registered against him by the Punjab Vigilance Bureau.

The next date for hearing in the case has been fixed on January 9, 2004.


Farmers demand crop insurance
Our Correspondent

Faridkot, October 7
Farmers have underlined the need for introducing the crop insurance scheme on a priority basis to improve the economic condition of the farming community in the state. They say the diversification system alone will not be of much help. The farmers were participating in a district-level training camp organised by the district Agriculture Department today to apprise them of the latest techniques and the benefits of contract farming and diversification. They demanded that such camps should be held in rural areas.

They said pesticides, insecticides and fertilisers, should be sold through government agencies in each district headquarters. Mr Ajaib Singh, a farmer of Tehna village in the district, laid stress on imparting training to farmers for sowing hybrid seeds.

Mr Sukhdev Singh, another farmer of the same village stressed the need for more coordination between Punjab Agricultural University, Ludhiana, and the state government to protect the interests of the farming community.

Addressing the camp, Dr Mangal Singh, Joint Director, Plant Protection, Punjab, said under the diversification scheme, 1.65 lakh acres would be brought under nine crops during the coming season in the state.

He disclosed that to make the diversification scheme more effective, the area under wheat would be reduced by 2 lakh hectares. He appealed to the farmers to apply modern techniques to enhance their income. The Joint Director said efforts were on to impress upon the Centre the need for the implementation of the Johal Committee report for providing monetary benefits to the farmers. Mr Bakshish Singh Chahal, Chief Agriculture Officer, Faridkot, also spoke on the occasion. Mr Hussan Lal, Deputy Commissioner, presided over the camp. Nearly 1,000 farmers attended the camp.


Minister for better facilities to passengers
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, October 7
Union Minister of State for Railways A.K. Murthy today issued instructions for better amenities at Railway stations.

During his surprise visit here he directed the DRM to renovate the station in three weeks as he wanted to tour this area in the first week of November to supervise the improvement.

Mr Murthy checked the quality of food items, water and soft drinks on the platform and ordered the removal of certain items not up to the standard. The minister also ordered the installation of TV sets on the platform and in waiting rooms.

The minister also directed the Railway officers to install two more railway inquiry phone lines for information to public.

The DRM, Mr Puniya, told the minister that Railway station here was generating daily revenue of Rs 20 lakh.

He said that the electrification project of the rail tracks was going on per schedule and the electric train services would commence early next year. On the introduction of train services between Amritsar and Chandigarh, the minister said that he would look into the issue.

Earlier, the minister who arrived by Shatabdi went around the Railway station and inspected the facilities. He directed the railway staff to provide clean drinking water and chairs for passengers besides clean toilets.


FCI, flying squad teams visit mandis
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, October 7
A team of the FCI, a Central Government agency, today inspected various purchase centres in the district. The team was led by Mr Kaul, Joint Secretary Food, Government of India, and accompanied by Mr Pandey, Manager Quality Control and SRM, Punjab.

The team recommended the suspension of licences of two commission agents at Sirhind grain market. The team found the paddy procured at the shop of Bal Krishan Harbans Lal and Dilbagh Singh and Co., Sirhind, below government specifications. It also visited Khamano and Sanghol mandis and expressed satisfaction at the procurement process.

Similarly, a special team of the Central Flying Squad, constituted by Mr Avtar Henry, Minister for Food and Civil Supply, also made a surprise check at Sirhind grain market and inspected the procured paddy.

Meanwhile, Mr S.K. Ahluwalia, Deputy Commissioner, while addressing a meeting of procurement staff here today, asked the staff of procurement agencies to purchase paddy as per government specifications.

He said it had come to his notice that certain officials of the procurement agencies were hand in glove with commission agents as well as with rice millers and were purchasing substandard paddy. He said he would conduct surprise raids to check the purchased paddy and in case of any irregularity a case would be registered against the official concerned. He also directed them to ensure timely payment to the farmers.


MC move on tenders saves Rs 25 lakh
Our Correspondent

Nangal, October 7
The Nangal Municipal Council has saved Rs 25 lakh due to the intervention of the Deputy Commissioner, Ms Seema Jain, to check the alleged pooling of tenders.

The Nangal Municipal Council had advertised works worth about Rs 1 crore in June this year.

The date for allotting the tenders was postponed at least three times by the officials concerned without any reason.

Some of the contractors alleged that the tenders were being pooled as some of the works were already in progress before the opening of the tenders.

After the publication of a news item regarding the alleged pooling of tenders in The Tribune the Deputy Commissioner ordered an inquiry into the matter.

Meanwhile the municipal engineer of the council was caught red handed by the Vigilance Bureau while taking bribe from a contractor.

The tenders inducing competition among contractors were opened recently by officials of the council on the orders the Deputy Commissioner.

Due to check on pooling of the tenders, the local municipal council saved Rs 25 lakh.


Ban on petrol stations with bad machines,
poor stuff
Our Correspondent

Mansa, October 7
Mr Raj Kamal Chowdhary, Deputy Commissioner, Mr Prem Goyal, District Food and Supplies Controller, Inspector, Weight and Measurement Department, along with other officers today checked the quality of petrol being supplied in five petrol pumps of the district. Mr Chowdhary said almost all petrol pumps were selling petrol and diesel of prescribed quality but some of them were found indulging in short changing. Some pumps were having old machines and in some fire extinguishers failed to operate. Mr Chowdhary has ordered the rectification of old machines and to obtain certificates from the authorities concerned till then the sale by such petrol pumps has been banned. M/s Harbans Oil Corporation Mansa and M/s Tarsem Filling Station, Thuthianwali, has been banned from selling petrol and diesel for indulging in short changing. Mr Chowdhary said he was of the opinion that public should get good quality petrol and diesel.


3 held for killing, selling meat of wild boar
Our Correspondent

Nangal, October 7
The wild life authorities of the Anandpur Sahib range have arrested three local residents, including Babu Ram, Vijay Kumar and Dinesh Kumar, for allegedly killing and selling the meat of a wild boar.

The sources available here said the trio had hunted the wild boar from the Shivalik forests adjoining the area. After cutting it into pieces they were openly selling its meat in Nangal. On a tip-off the forest officials caught the accused who was selling the meat of the wild boar red handed.

A case under Sections 9, 39, 49 and 5 of the Wildlife Protection Act has been registered against the accused at the local police station.

This is the second such case in the area since past few months. In the recent past a few hunters openly chased and killed a sambar near Nangal and later sold its meat openly in the market.


Five women smugglers held

Moga, October 7
The Punjab Police today claimed to have apprehended five women poppy husk smugglers in this district. More than 26 kg of poppy husk was seized from their possession, a police spokesman said.

Those arrested included Gurmit Kaur, Angrez Kaur, Dhan Kaur, Balbir Kaur and Mohinder Kaur. The smugglers were arrested from Bhaghapurana during a special drive. — PTI


Minor raped
Our Correspondent

Mansa, October 7
A minor girl (16), daughter of a farmer of Dayalpura village in Budhlada subdivision was raped yesterday by Udham Singh of the same village. The girl was returning to her house when the accused Udham Singh dragged her to the nearby fields and raped her.

The father of girl informed the gram panchayat but the accused absconded. The Bareta police was informed today which registered a case and got the girl medically examined from the Primary Health Centre at Budhlada.


JE arrested

Fatehgarh Sahib,  October 7
A team of Vigilance Department led by DSP Paramjit Singh Khehra on Tuesday arrested Shiv Murti Junior Engineer (JE) of Telecom Department, Mandi Gobindgarh, while accepting a bribe of Rs 800 from Harwinder Singh, a resident of Ward No. 11, Mandi Gobindgarh. The complainant had alleged that the JE had demanded bribe for alloting him an STD connection. OC


Teachers not paid salary for months
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, October 7
If you think that managing household affairs without salary for one month is difficult, think about those teachers of government-run schools in Punjab, who have not been getting their salaries for the past four months and the perpetual humiliation they have been facing to arrange for hard cash.

"It is not that the coffers of the Punjab Government are empty, but we are not being paid salaries due to the apathy of officials concerned. The officials have failed to release the Drawing and Disbursing Powers (DDO) to the in charge and principals resulting in more than four months delay in the payment of salaries," remarked a government school teacher.

Information gathered by TNS revealed that the situation was prevalent all over the state and the teachers posted at schools which were upgraded by the previous government had been adversely affected due to delay in releasing the DDO powers of their respective principals. Sources said the payment of salaries to the teachers gets delayed every year due to the non-release of the DDO powers, non- allocation of the planned budget and delay in issuing orders regarding the continuation of new vacancies.

A section of teachers, who have been fed up with the negligent attitude of state government towards their plight, said those having 'right connections' got themselves posted or transferred to schools where the budget allocation was done under the non-planned budget head.

They said some of them had taken part-time jobs to keep their finances running as it was their fifth month without pay. While maintaining that the teachers working under the ‘Operation Black Board scheme’ were even worse affected than those working under the plan scheme vacancies, as they had not been paid salaries for the past seven months.

A woman teacher said they had not been paid salaries for the past seven months and she had no hope of getting the same before the Diwali. Some teachers said they had exhausted their savings and if they were not paid their salaries before the Diwali festival, they would be forced to celebrate it as "Black Diwali".

Maj Basant Kumar, district secretary, Democratic Teachers Front, said it was very shameful that the Punjab Government had failed to pay salaries to a section of teachers due to faulty procedures. He said the renewal of DDO powers, allocation of budget and the sanctions for the continuation of vacancies should be done automatically.

Mr Lachhman Singh Brar, District Education Officer, when contacted said the district education authorities today received a letter from the higher education authorities of state which had allowed the release of salaries of teachers through their respective principals by granting them DDO powers. He added that the Punjab Government had also sanctioned budget for new posts created in upgraded schools. He pointed out that payment of salaries had been delayed, as there was some problem in the Finance Department of Punjab in connection with the permission for payment of same.


College teachers hold rally
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, October 7
The district unit of the Punjab and Chandigarh College Teachers Union (PCCTU) today expressed resentment against the Punjab Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, for “failing” to keep his poll promises of continuing 95 per cent grant-in-aid to private-aided colleges and implementation of the Pension-Gratuity Scheme of December 18, 1996.

Meanwhile, the district unit of the PCCTU, led by Prof P.K. Sharma, district president of the union, held a rally in front of the office of the Deputy Commissioner here today in support of their demands.

They rally was addressed among others by Prof Jeet Pal Singh, former state president of the PCCTU; Prof P.K. Sharma, Mrs Kanwaljit Kaur, district secretary; Dr Tejwant Mann, Prof Malkiat Singh and Dr Charanjit Singh Udari. The rally was also attended by Mr Balbir Singh Ghunas, SAD MLA from Bhadaur, and Mr Jeet Singh Alloarkh, district president of the SAD (A).

A deputation of the PCCTU district unit also submitted a memorandum to the Deputy Commissioner, Mr Sarvjit Singh, regarding their demands to be sent to the Chief Minister.


GND varsity employee suspended
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, October 7
Even as Guru Nanak Dev University has decided to place an ad hoc employee under suspension following his alleged role in the yesterday’s firing incident between two rival groups in the varsity campus, Dr S.P. Singh, Vice-Chancellor said that security within and outside the university would be beefed up to prevent untoward incident in the future.

Meanwhile, the Sadar Police has reportedly rounded up certain youths for questioning regarding the incident which had created a panic on the campus. Though the police had claimed that a private student, Arun Rana, was injured, university authorities denied the same.


Appointment welcomed
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 7
The Government College Retired Teachers Welfare Association at a meeting here today welcomed the appointment of Mr Manmohan Singh as Secretary, Higher Education, Punjab.

As DPI Colleges, Punjab, from 1986 to 1989 Mr Singh was an asset to the department, it said.


Industrial growth centres to be developed
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, October 7
With a view to give boost to the industrial development in the backward area the Government of India would set up industrial growth centers that would act as magnet. This was disclosed here today by Mr Dinesh Patel, MP, who led a high powered sub-committee constituted by the Government of India, the Department of Industries and Commerce while presiding over a meeting of industries and senior officers of the department.

Mr Patel stressed upon connecting four industrial units of growth center, Bathinda with urban feeder, which were now linked with rural feeders of power supply. Earlier the team visited Bathinda to study the industrialists problems. Mr Patel assured the industrialists that their demands and problems would be discussed with the Secretary, Department of Industries and Commerce, Punjab, and later on with the standing committee in New Delhi.

Mr Anurag Aggrawal, Deputy Commissioner, said industry would not survive without regular power. He assured the sub-committee that four industrial units linked with rural feeder would be connected with the urban feeder immediately after discussing the matter with the state electricity board.

Mr Dharam Dutt, additional managing director, PSIEC, said meeting would be fixed with the Managing Director, PSIEC, to consider their demands. Mr Manmohan Singh, joint director, industries, demanded incentives for industry in Punjab on the pattern on Himachal Pardesh and Jammu and Kashmir.


Cinema licence issue reaches censor board
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, October 7
Mr S.K. Sinha, Secretary, Department of Home, Punjab, yesterday ordered the district administration, Bathinda, to screen those films, on the basis of which the District Magistrate, Mr Anurag Aggarwal, ordered the cancellation of licences of two cinema houses in the town, for the censor board to find out whether these films fell in the X-rated category.

Official sources said Mr Sinha passed these orders following an appeal by the owners of the two cinema houses. Mr Aggarwal had on August 8 cancelled the licences after it was found that these cinema houses had been screening X-rated films.

After the owners filed an appeal against the order of Mr Aggarwal before Mr Sinha, he allowed the cinema houses, which were closed after the cancellation of their licences, to function again. However, the district administration managed to make the authorities concerned believe that the licences were cancelled after following due procedure of law.

Before the cancellation of the licences of the two cinema houses, criminal cases were registered against their managers and others for their alleged involvement in screening X-rated films.

Mr Aggarwal said the district administration would make arrangements for screening the films before the censor board. The films would be screened in the presence of the cinema owners.

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