Thursday, October 9, 2003, Chandigarh, India


P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



Daler Mehndi fraud case probe given to
Sangrur police
Shamsher admits sending 10 persons abroad
Tribune News Service

Patiala, October 8
Patiala Zone Inspector General of Police (IGP) Shashi Kant today took among the human trafficking case, in which Punjabi pop singer Daler Mehndi is accused of being hand in glove with his brother in sending members of his troupe abroad illegally, from the Patiala Police and transferred it to a Sangrur police officer.

Sources said the IG had taken this step because Daler had accused the Patiala Police of demanding a bribe to let him off in the case. They said the SSP had also sent a request today to the IG that the case be transferred outside the district. The case will now be investigated by Sangrur, Superintendent of Police (Headquarters) Mandeep Singh.

Police raided the offices of Daler Mehndi at Connaught Place New Delhi yesterday in which some documents were seized including the case file of one Gurmeet Kaur who had also allegedly paid money to the Mehndi brothers. The sources said another team was deputed today to verify the accounts of Daler Mehndi with Grindlays Bank in Connaught Place New Delhi and the account of Shamsher with ICICI bank near Mamta Model School. The police party, which is headed by two Deputy Superintendents of Police, is also expected to visit the residence of the pop singer in Greater Kailash.

Meanwhile, the Patiala Police recorded a statement of Shamsher yesterday in which the accused had claimed that he had gone abroad twice with Daler Mehndi’s troupe in 1998 and 1999 during the course of which 10 persons were taken to the United States of America as troupe members and stayed there.

The statement says that in 1998 Shamsher had accompanied Daler on a trip to the USA in the company of Karisma Kapoor and the latter’s mother Babita. It identifies three girls who were “dropped off” at San Francisco. The girls have been Priya, Meenu Behn and Nimu, all from Gujarat. It says that both brothers took another troupe to the USA in October 1999 in the company of Juhi Chawla, Raveena Tandon and Javed Jaffri. It says in this trip three boys were dropped off at New Jersey.

Patiala Senior Superintendent of Police Paramraj Singh Umranangal today also claimed that the number of complainants who were accusing Daler and his brother Shamsher besides others of duping them had swelled to 35. He said while 16 persons complained against the brothers yesterday besides the original complainant Bakshish Singh, as many as 18 persons complained against the brothers and their other colleagues today.

The SSP said Kamaljit Kaur, alias Kamla, who was a resident of Jalandhar but was now residing in Delhi complained that she had given “passage money” of 12 persons to the Mehndi brothers. He said another person — Dr Ajay Bhalla also claimed that he had given money collected from six persons aspiring to go abroad to the Mehndi brothers. Earlier the pop singer had accused Dr Bhalla of demanding bribe money to ensure that his name was taken out of the FIR registered against his brother Shamsher and others.

Sources said some of the persons who had complained against the Mehndi brothers demanded that the investigation of the case be given to Inspector General (Operations) Sumedh Singh Saini. 


Daler innocent, says Jassi
Gurvinder Kaur

Patiala, October 8
Noted Punjabi pop singer Jasbir Jassi today said though “kabootarbazi” under which people were taken in as troupe members and left abroad was nothing new, he did not believe that Daler Mehndi was involved in any such activities.

Jasbir Jassi, who was here to perform at a function organised by Seagrams in the city, told this correspondent that he had gone abroad with Daler Mehndi around four years back during the course of which Daler advised him that he would have financial dealings with his brother Shamsher at his own risk. He said Daler had told him that Shamsher was a good tabla player but that it was not wise to have any financial dealings with him.

The pop singer said he knew that some artistes were engaged in taking on people as members of their troupes and then leaving them abroad. He said many non-descript artistes who did not have any fan following in India made three to four trips abroad every year. He said even he sometimes got phones from people requesting he should take them on as troupe members during his tours abroad. Jassi said this was a wrong trend and should be stopped as it had lowered the image of Punjabi pop singers as well as Punjab in the eyes of people abroad.

Jassi said he had been bewildered by the allegations which were surfacing against Daler. He said during interactions with the pop singer when he had started his professional career, Daler had told him to collect a complete record of his troupe members and submit it to the embassy. He said Daler used to also tell everyone to physically present the troupe members to the embassy concerned after each foreign tour so that the embassy staff could be convinced of the genuineness of the entire troupe.

Claiming that all allegations, including those against Daler, needed to be verified, Jassi said the history and credibility of the persons who were making the allegations, should also be verified. He said according to the allegations, almost all the complainants had claimed that they had given sums between Rs 12 to Rs 14 to the Mehndi brothers and their colleagues. He said in view of the high amount of sums involved the complainants should be asked to explain how they had been able to give these sums in currency form to the Mehndi brothers.

The pop singer said a detailed and intensive inquiry into the entire affair was necessary to ensure innocent singers who never indulged in such practices were not made targets in future. He said it was easy to implicate anyone on the basis of an affidavit and that more proof needed to be given in such cases.

Jassi also spoke on his various projects on the occasion. He said he was excited about the Hollywood film ‘The Outsider’ in which he had acted and for which he had sung three Punjabi songs. He said the film was being directed by Omar Sharif and that he had high hopes from it. He said he would also be taking up more cultural related projects in the near future in order to give back something to the culture which had taken him to such heights.


Chohan goes to HC for SGPC poll
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 8
Once considered self-styled President of Khalistan, Dr Jagjit Singh Chohan, is now seeking the indulgence of the Punjab and Haryana High Court for early Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) poll. Dr Chohan is filing a public interest litigation in the High Court seeking directions to the Union of India, the state of Punjab, besides the SGPC, to hold the elections. He has alleged in his petition that the elections have not been held even though these fell due in 2001.

Going into the background of the case, Dr Chohan claimed that the elections were initially held way back in 1979 and then after a gap of over 17 years in 1996 but were not held after that.

Quoting the legal provisions, Dr Chohan asserted that as per the Sikh Gurdwara Act, the SGPC members could hold office for five years, but unfortunately the board’s history showed that the elections were rarely held on time. The petition is likely to come up for hearing before the High Court next week.

London-based Dr Chohan had returned to India after the High Court had directed the Union of India and other respondents to issue travel documents to him. In his detailed order, Mr Justice V.K. Jhanji had observed: “As regard to the contention that the intelligent agencies had not favoured the grant of travel documents to the petitioner in view of his known stand in favour of Khalistan, it is only to be stated that the return to one’s own country is the fundamental right conferred on a citizen under Article 21 of the Constitution of India”.

The judge had concluded: “The right cannot be taken away simply because the intelligence agency has not favoured the issuance of passport to a citizen.... The writ petition is allowed. The respondents are directed to issue travel documents to the petitioner.”


Akal Takht is supreme, say Sikh high priests
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, October 8
The five Sikh high priests today announced that all the four Takhts, including Patna Sahib, Hazoor Sahib, Damdama Sahib and Kesgarh Sahib could take up regional issues pertaining to Sikh affairs, including religious and social issues. However, Akal Takht has been declared supreme of all Takhts by the Sikh clergy.

Jathedar Patna Sahib, Giani Iqbal Singh and a representative of Hazoor Sahib were present at the meeting held at Akal Takht secretariat here today. With the today’s decision the functioning of all Takhts, role of jathedars has become clear.

The issue of supremacy had emerged when Takht Patna Sahib had declared Mr Mohinder Singh Romana “tankhaiya” (guilty of religious misconduct). Mr Romana had claimed that it was the sole prerogative of Akal Takht to declare any Sikh “tankhaiya”, Jathedar of Patna Sahib had stuck to his point that all Takhts had the right to pronounce edicts.

However, the Sikh high priests have declared that the decisions pertaining to the entire Sikh Panth would be taken up by all five jathedars of the Takhts at Akal Takht. In case Jathedar of any takht could not attend such meetings, a high priest from Akal Takht and the Golden Temple could participate in their place. The decision of Akal Takht would, however, would be considered final.

Meanwhile, the Sikh clerics took a serious view of a defamation suit field against Takht Patna Sahib by Mr Romana. The development was considered a violation of the ‘maryada’. The Sikh clergy directed Mr Romana to give his explanation by October 20 by presenting himself before Akal Takht.

The meeting also took a serious view of the acts of sacrilege with regard to the holy Guru Granth Sahib. The state government was asked to cooperate with the SGPC’s fact-finding teams to prevent such acts in future.


SGPC secy fails to appear before panel
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, October 8
Mr Harbeant Singh, Secretary, SGPC, who is facing charges of getting the job on the basis of a ‘fake certificate’, today failed to appear before the inquiry committee to prove his innocence.

Mr Manjit Singh Calcutta, chief secretary, SGPC, said the inquiry committee would submit its report to the Shiromani committee, which would be taken up by the executive committee of the SGPC for action.


SGPC recruits 25 former Army men
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, October 8
The Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) today gave employment to 25 former Army personnel who had deserted their barracks in protest against Operation Bluestar.

Mr Manjit Singh Calcutta, chief secretary, said many of them had been recently released from various jails.

Indian youths languish in Pakistan jails
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, October 8
Ms Balbir Kaur had mortgaged her land to collect a sum of Rs 2.15 lakh to send her son Baljit Singh (20) to Lebanon in 2001. But travel agent Swarn Singh cheated them, sent Baljit to Jordan. Merely two weeks ago, she came to know that her son was languishing in a Pakistani jail.

Similarly, Mr Ganguram Sharma, father of Harish, said his son left for Greece on August 8, merely one and a half month after his marriage. But now he is in a Quetta jail. Mr Sharma paid Rs 2.50 lakh to agent Bharpur Singh of Jagraon. The agent hoodwinked them as provided the visa of Syria instead of Greece. Mr Sharma said: “It was only a fortnight ago that we came to know through a call from Pakistan that Harish had been imprisoned there.”

Mr Valleyti Ram is another distraught father who was defrauded of Rs 1.50 lakh when his son Suresh Kumar reached Lebanon. Initially, Suresh sent them money but was later duped by another agent who promised to take him to Greece. He was caught in Turkey on his way to Greece. Now he is in a Pakistani jail.

A few weeks ago, a dhaba owner from Pakistan called up at one of the Indian youth’s house to inform that at least 15 Indians were standing near his dhaba and were hungry and penniless. These facts were revealed at a Press conference of Mr Harpal Singh Bhuller, the president of the Bhai Mardana Yadgari Society, here today.

Mr Bhuller said in the past one month, 18 Indians were sent to two jails of Pakistan. He said 14 persons were in ‘Much’ jail and the remaining four in Quetta prison. “Indian immigrants were severely tortured in Pakistan and some were even converted to Islam,” he said, citing the example of Bhupinder Singh of Jammu who had been converted thus.

Mr Bhuller added that 28 illegal Indian immigrants were likely to be handed over to Pakistan by the Iranian authorities in a couple of days and he would write to Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee in this regard. He claimed that he had written a letter to the Prime Minister of Pakistan, Mr Zafarullah Khan Jamali, and sought an early release of Indian youths who had been duped by travel agents.


PSEB holds meeting with BKU leaders
Our Correspondent

Patiala, October 8
The Punjab State Electricity Board Chairman, Mr Y.S Ratra, held a meeting with representatives of the Bharati Kisan Union (BKU) to review the problems and demands of farmers at the board Secretariat here today.

The President of the Bharati Kisan Union (Rajewal group), Mr Bhupinder Singh Mann, said during the raids conducted by the board huge penalties were imposed on consumers. The union also demanded that 24 hours power supply should be provided in those homes which are away from the 500 meters radius of the village. Mr Ratra assured the union leaders to do the needful in this regard.

Mr Ratra added that on the directions of the Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, the board was making arrangements to provide 24 hours power supply to the remaining 5,500 villages of the state. He further said that during the current financial year 25,000 new tubewell connections would be released.

Mr Ratra said he would tour all operational zones of the state and suitable steps would be taken to de- load those transformers which were having additional load during the paddy season.

The union also demanded that small farmers who were also engaged in the fish farming, diary and pottery should be charged electricity bills as per agricultural tariff.

Member distribution S.K Anand, member (Finance and Accounts H.S Sohi, Engineer-in-chief H.C Sood, also attended the meeting. 


Police accused of shielding guilty of rape and murder
Our Correspondent

Jalandhar, October 8
Parents of Ram Tirath Kaur, whose body was found outside a computer centre in Hoshiarpur on June 22, today alleged that the Hoshiarpur police was shielding the accused and no action was started against them in the past three months.

At a press conference here, father of the deceased Mr Manjit Singh and the general secretary of the state unit of the BSP, Mr M.P.Singh Goraya, alleged that the police was siding with the accused, because an FIR was registered against owners of the computer centre Bal Kishan Sharma, Rakesh Kumar, Navdeep Sharma and Amandeep only after the family members and the BSP workers organised dharnas.

They alleged that though the family members were being harassed by the police in the name of the investigation and no action had been taken against those responsible for the murder of Ram Tirath Kaur.

They demanded that the Punjab Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh should intervene into the matter and provide justice to the family.

UNI Adds: The Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP)) demanded a probe by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) into the rape and murder of a teenaged girl in Mahalpur village of Hoshiarpur district on June 21 last.


One feared dead in factory blast
Jupinderjit Singh
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, October 8
Three persons were killed and six seriously injured in two incidents in the city late tonight.

A person was feared dead and another injured in a blast at a factory at Sunder Nagar. The cause of the blast could not be ascertained. Fire engines were trying to douse the flames at the time of filing of this report.

In Giaspura, a truck-trailer overturned killing two labourers and injuring five others. The material loaded on the vehicle belonged to a prominent cycle industry. Sources said the driver lost control over the vehicle while negotiating a curve and turned turtle. The labourers were sleeping on the footpath.


No move to change CM, says Hanspal
Our Correspondent

Phagwara, October 8
PPCC President HS Hanspal today pooh-poohed rumors about a change of Chief Minister in Punjab. Talking to mediapersons, here, Mr Hanspal said there was no move to install Ms Ambika Soni as the Chief Minister of Punjab.

He denied any differences with the Chief Minister. On the Punjab Agriculture Minister, Ms Rajinder Kaur Bhattal meeting with Ms Sonia Gandhi in Delhi recently, Mr Hanspal said it was a routine meeting. Mr Hanspal said the new state Youth Congress president would be announced soon by the party high command.


CPI to fight for farmers
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, October 8
Dr Joginder Dyal, state secretary, CPI, Punjab, said today that the entire state and district leadership of the party had descended on Bathinda town to fight against any move of the state government to stop people from attending the bhog ceremony of Gurdev Singh, who died after being hit by a goods train while sitting in dharna on the Bhai Bakhtaur railway level crossing during a “rail-and- rasta-roko” agitation of farmers on September 30, to be held on October 10 at Maur Charat Singhwala village.

Dr Dyal and Mr Hardev Arshi, a former MLA, who, along with other CPI leaders visited the bereaved family today, while talking to TNS said the party and other farmers’ organisations would announce their future course of action in connection with the “repression” of farmers by the state government at the bhog ceremony.

They added that CPI leaders would ensure that all those supporting the demands of the agitating farmers reached Maur Charat Singhwala to pay homage to Gurdev Singh, who attained martyrdom for the farmers’ cause.


Parkash utsav of Guru Ram Dass celebrated
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, October 8
Aeroplane showered petals on ‘nagar kirtan’ procession (religious procession) held on the occasion of Parkash Utsav (Birth anniversary) of fourth Sikh Guru and founder of holy city here Guru Ram Dass. The ‘Nagar Kirtan’ was taken out from Akal Takht at noon today.

The procession was led by ‘Panj Piaras’ (five beloved ones). Holy Guru Granth Sahib carried in a golden palanquin passed through bazaars including Guru Ramdass Sarai, Braham Buta market, Chowk Ghanta Ghar, Bazaars Mai Sewan, Bazaars Kathia before concluding at Akal Takht in the evening.

Religious societies, jathas, associations and children sang “shabads”, schools and society bands, besides senior members of the SGPC participated. Stalls of tea, cold drinks, fruits and sweets and water free of cost were put up by the ‘sangat’ on the occasion, all Gurdwaras were lighted tonight.

‘Jalau’ or display of priceless splendour would be on display from October 9 to 12 at the Golden Temple and Gurdwara Atal Rai Sahib informed a press note here today.


‘Gurus’ articles shifted to Canada’

Moga, October 8
Some articles of Guru Nanak Dev and Guru Gobind Singh have been secretly shifted to Canada from Dhilwana Kalan village in the district about a month ago without prior intimation to the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbhandak Committee, an SGPC member said here.

A high-level committee constituted by SGPC President Gurcharan Singh Tohra to probe the allegations found that Gursewak Singh Sodhi, the caretaker of the articles, including some dresses of Guru Gobind Singh, "chola" and "dastar", besides a "topi" of Guru Nanak Dev, secretely shifted these to Canada on September 5, Mr Jagjit Singh Brar, a member of the probe committee, said. — PTI


Petitioner for CBI probe into cases against Kiran Rosy
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 8
In a petition filed before the Punjab and Haryana High Court, city industrialist Bharat Bhushan Aggarwal has sought directions to the state of Punjab, and the Additional Director-General of Police, besides another respondent, to hand over the probe into cases against PCS officer Kiran Rosy to an independent agency like the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI).

The industrialist asserted that there was “political pressure on the police as well as vigilance authorities.”

He added that the respondent “by using her official position and links was manipulating and interfering with the records....”


Another complaint against SDM
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, October 8
Mr Shivdev Singh Sandhawalia, SDM, Baba Bakala, who is facing ‘corruption charges’ following the registration of an FIR came under clout again today when a terrorist victim alleged that he (the SDM) had demanded a bribe for clearing the compensation case despite directives of the Punjab and Haryana High Court. However, Mr Sandhawalia denied the charges.

In a written complaint Jasbir Kaur whose son Sarbjit Singh, a student of MBA, who was killed by terrorists in 1991 alleged that she had been going from pillar to post to get the compensation but in vain.

However, the SDM said the reports submitted by the police did not make it clear that compensation should be given to the victim. On the basis of the recommendation, he had sent a report to the Deputy Commissioner seeking directions.


Bar to oppose move on dist boundary
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, October 8
Mr Mohinder Singh Sidhu, president of the District Bar Association, Bathinda, has said members of the Bar will oppose the state government’s move to attach certain villages in the Rampura Phul subdivision in the district to Faridkot district, according to a press note issued here today.

He said members of the Bar would expose the evil designs of vested interests in removing the villages from the area under the district. A resolution had been passed in this connection .


Farmers hold protest, burn effigies
Our Correspondent

Tarn Taran, October 8
Hundreds of farmers under the leadership of the Kisan Sangarash Committee burnt effigies of the Union and the state governments here today in protest against the killing of one Gurdev Singh, a farmer at Bhai Bakhtora level crossing in Bathinda district on September 30 and against the lathi charge on the farmers the next day. The agitating farmers gheraod the local bus stand for couple of hours which affected the flow of traffic.

Mr Kanwalpreet Pannu, convener, Kisan Sangarash Committee condemned the alleged anti farmers policies of the Union and the state governments by saying that these anti farmers policies were being implemented to appease the WTO, World Bank and the other foreign agencies.

The farmers took pledge to unitedly face the atrocities of the government. Others who addressed the farmers include Satnam Singh Pannu, Amarjit Singh and Baldev Singh Bhail.


DC’s orders on smooth procurement of paddy
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, October 8
Mr S.K. Ahluwalia, Deputy Commissioner, today conducted a surprise check on various purchase centres and expressed satisfaction over the procurement of paddy.

During his visit to the Bassi Pathana grain market, rice millers and commission agents, in a written complaint to the Deputy Commissioner, alleged that there was only one labour contractor, who had taken the contract of lifting paddy of all procurement agencies on bogus names. They complained that the process of lifting the procured paddy was very slow due to limited labour.

Moreover, the contractors lifted the procured paddy as per his wishes.

They demanded that either the labour contractor should be directed to increase the labour and speed up the lifting process or the commission agents and rice millers should be allowed to load and unload paddy through their own labour as they would charge a lesser rate than the government labour contractor.

Reacting to the complaints, the Deputy Commissioner directed the labour contractor to lift the procured paddy within 24 hours, failing which his contract would be cancelled.

He also directed the District Mandi Officer and all DMs of procurement agencies to serve notice to labour contractor in this regard.

The Deputy Commissioner also warned the contractor that if any bag of procured paddy was damaged due to non-lifting, the entire amount would be recovered from him.


Action against DSP recommended
Tribune News Service

Malout, October 8
Mr Surinder Pal Singh, SSP, Muktsar, has written to IG (Headquarter), Punjab Police for disciplinary action against DSP, Malout, Mr Gurmeet Singh following complaints against him from the subordinate staff, including SHO, police station, city, Babu Lal Sharma in past two days.

The SSP wrote to the IG after he received complaints that Mr Gurmeet Singh misbehaved with “munshi”, duty officer and Mr Sharma on the night of October 6. Mr M. I. S. Bal, DSP (D) had been given the charge of DSP, Malout after the incident.

However, Mr Gurmeet Singh, DSP, said that he had not misbehaved with any one and added that he did not know whether the SSP had written against him or not. He also expressed ignorance about that fact that Mr Bal had been given charge of Malout subdivision in his place.

Mr Babu Lal Sharma, SHO, city police station, said that he was marked absent by the DSP on the night of October 6 while he was patrolling in the city. He added that he had brought this matter into the notice of the SSP. He said that he was not aware of the fact that whether any other policemen had lodged complaint against Mr Gurmeet Singh.

Mr Surinder Pal Singh, SSP, confirmed that he had written to the IG for disciplinary action against Mr Gurmeet Singh .


Probe ordered into cops’ recruitment
Our Correspondent

Faridkot, October 8
Following a row over the recruitment of a large number of policemen during the tenure of former Director General of Police M.S. Bhullar in the past about one year despite a blanket ban on recruitment in all state government departments, the Punjab government has marked an inquiry. Mr Sanjiv Gupta, Inspector-General of Police (Headquarters), Chandigarh, has been deployed to probe the matter.

Nearly 700 persons had been appointed to the Punjab Armed Police from Patiala, Ferozepore, Faridkot, Ropar, Jalandhar and Ludhiana districts. Some close relatives of certain senior police officers and three Punjab Cabinet ministers were among the beneficiaries. It was learnt that this practice had been going on for the past over 20 years.

Earlier, the Senior Superintendents of Police enjoyed recruitment powers but these were given to the DGP in 1977. 


Lease agreement for remodelling bus stand signed
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, October 8
A new lease agreement for the local bus stand and its remodelling was signed at a high-level meeting presided over by the Chief Secretary, Mr Jai Singh Gill, today. The meeting of the Punjab Infrastructure Development Board (PIDB) held at Chandigarh included Mr Kirpal Singh, Additional Commissioner, Municipal Corporation, besides the Director, Transport and General Manager Transport, Amritsar, Mr Lakhwinder Singh.

Mr Kirpal Singh when contacted in Chandigarh said according to the new terms and conditions of the lease a sum of Rs 50,000 would be charged as monthly rent by the corporation for the bus stand area measuring 9 acre and 19 kanal. The lease would be for the next 50 years. He said a contract would be given to a private company for the face lift and remodelling of the bus stand. Reportedly the new BOT (built, operate and transfer) concept would be used by the private company according to its terms and conditions of the contract. The work is scheduled to be over by 15 months from date of commencement.

According to reports it was also decided at the meeting, to give the bus stand at Moga to a private company on operation and maintenance (O&M) basis. It was learnt that the meeting decided to involve private companies on contract basis for the completion of five industrial training institutes (ITIs) in the state.


Truck Union men clash, 9 hurt
Our Correspondent

Moga, October 8
Nine members of the Truck Union here were injured in a clash between groups days before the union elections scheduled for October 18. The police rushed to the union premises and registered a case under Sections 323 and 324, IPC, amid reportedly apprehended certain members of the union.

The injured include Bahadur Singh, Baldev Singh, Satvinder Singh, Amandeep Singh, Bant Singh, Kuldip Singh and another Kuldip Singh. All have been admitted to a local hospital. 


Principal, DEO staff found absent
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, October 8
The Principal of a government school and many employees in the District Education Office were among those found absent during surprise raids conducted by the officiating Deputy Commissioner and SDMs in the district.

Mr Baljit Singh, officiating Deputy Commissioner, said at least seven employees in the District Education Office were found absent when he conducted a surprise raid here today. He said he had received reports that the District Education Officer himself stays away from the office most of the time which resulted in absenteeism among employees. He said the Principal of Government Higher Secondary School, Town Hall, too was found absent during the raid. Similarly many employees in the Government High School Chhehrta and Gumanpura, were found absent. Mr Baljit Singh said he would send a detailed report to the Secretary Education and Commissioner, Jalandhar division, for taking appropriate action against those found absent from duty.

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