Friday, October 17, 2003, Chandigarh, India


P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



Centre out to destabilise Cong govts, says CM
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 16
The Punjab Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, today accused the Centre of trying to destabilise the Congress governments through “task forces” of various central agencies placed under the charge of BJP ministers.

Without naming of the BJP minister assigned the task of “destabilising” the Punjab Government, the Chief Minister said “The minister has a Punjabi name but is not from Punjab’’.

Addressing a press conference here, he said this issue was discussed with the Congress President, Ms Sonia Gandhi, yesterday .

Instructions had been issued to the police to keep an eye on suspicious elements snooping around in the state and trying to create a ruckus anywhere. He mentioned about some people, masquerading as cops, prying on the residence of Minister of State, Jasjit Singh Randhawa.

About the refusal of permission to state’s official delegation to visit China the Chief Minister said this was a “deliberate step, politically motivated”. The Chief Minister would write to the Prime Minister on “step-motherly” treatment to Punjab.

Punjab had even been denied a special package of incentives similar to the one granted to neighbouring states — Himachal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir etc. — by the Centre. This package was in terms of excise duty and income tax exemptions and other incentives to the existing and new industries.

Capt Amarinder Singh said he had no intention to reshuffle his Council of Ministers. He had only suggested some changes to the Governor. However, he planned to expand the ministry after the assembly elections in five states.

About paddy procurement the Chief Minister said 81 lakh tonnes had been procured till Wednesday, 64 lakh tonnes this day last year.

Saying that the state had 30 lakh unemployed persons, the Chief Minister said the government would check unemployment by resuscitating the economy. “We are also concerned over female foeticide and involvement of NRIs, who cheat young girls by alluring them into marriage promising to take them abroad and later deserting and dumping them back home”.

Asked about the appeal to him by Daler Mehndi, the Chief Minister said, the law would take its own course.


Centre destabilising Punjab Govt, says Deputy Speaker
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, October 16
Firebrand Congress leader and Deputy Speaker of the Punjab Assembly Bir Devinder Singh today lashed out at the NDA government at the Centre for using central agencies to destabilise the Congress government in Punjab.

Addressing a press conference here, he expressed apprehension that the Central government may use the intelligence agencies to tarnish the image of Congress leaders and workers in view of the forthcoming Assembly elections in five states.

About the reported rift between the Chief Minister and Agriculture Minister Rajinder Kaur Bhattal, he said there was no such thing as had been made out by the media.

The Deputy Speaker said the Chief Minister had constituted a five-member media analysis committee headed by the Chief Minister comprising Mr Lal Singh, Finance Minister, Mr Avtar Henry, Food and Civil Supply Minister, Mr Pratap Singh Bajwa, Public Works Minister and himself to project the government’s achievements correctly.


Badal case: VB picks up 3 for questioning
Chander Parkash
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, October 16
The Vigilance Bureau, Punjab, with the help of the Muktsar police, today picked up three persons, two from Killianwali village and one from Lallbai village of Muktsar district, to question them in connection with corruption cases registered against former Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal and Mr Harbans Lal, a former manager of a petrol station owned by a close kin of Mr Badal.

The bureau has also issued notices to those involved in construction activities at Balasar Farms in Sirsa district and a workshop in Killianwali village, owned by Mr Badal and his family members, to join investigation.

Mr Balbir Singh SHO Lambi police station said three persons, Pavitar Singh and Darshan Singh from Killianwali village and Mr Sukhminder Singh, a nambardar of Lallbai village, had been rounded up this morning on written instructions of the Vigilance Bureau.

He said these persons had not been formally arrested, adding that they had been taken to Chandigarh and would be produced before the Vigilance Bureau for interrogation.

Vigilance Bureau officials wanted to know how Mr Badal acquired a piece of land situated on the Fazilka-Delhi national highway for setting up a workshop and how recruitment of Assistant Sub-Inspectors in the Punjab police was done.

Meanwhile, the persons involved in the construction activities at Balasar and Killianwali alleged that certain Vigilance Bureau officials were trying to extract money from them by harassing them on flimsy grounds.

Mr Baljinder Singh Grewal, SSP, Vigilance Bureau, Bathinda range, when contacted, said he was not aware of the fact that notices had been issued to those who had carried out construction activities at Balasar farm house and Killianwali workshop. He added that these notices might have been issued to these persons directly by the head office.


SAD sends telegrams to Chief Justice
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 16
Seeking the intervention of the Punjab and Haryana High Court to stop the ongoing police raids in the Lambi constituency, the spokesman for the SAD, Mr Manpreet Singh Badal, today said the police had spreaded terror in the constituency by raiding various places to arrest and harass Akali workers.

Mr Manpreet Singh Badal, who is also an MLA from Gidderbaha, said that SAD was left with no option but to approach the high court to put an end to the “terror and intimidation tactics being adopted by the Capt Amarinder Singh government.

In the telegrams despatched to the Chief Justice of the Punjab and Haryana High Court, he pointed out that nearly a dozen houses of Akali workers were raided today and no reasons were assigned for the same.


Spokesman seeks apology from Tohra, Calcutta
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 17
The Chairman-cum-Managing Director of Spokesman has served a 15-day legal notice on SGPC President Gurcharan Singh Tohra, Chief Secretary Manjit Singh Calcutta and four others for tendering an unconditional apology for levelling allegations against the magazine.

Addressing mediapersons here today, the Spokesman Editor, Mr Joginder Singh, said the magazine would approach the Press Council of India and a court of law if the SGPC did not apologise to the Spokesman for making “false allegations’’ against the magazine. He demanded that the SGPC’s Dharam Parchar Committee should said its reply within 15 days of the receipt of the notice.

Mr Joginder Singh also suggested the setting up of a five-member panel of judges to decide if what the Spokesman was doing was anti-Panthic what the SGPC was doing was so.

The committee had criticised the magazine and recommended to the Akal Takht Jathedar to summon its editor to clarify certain derogatory remarks made against Sikhs. It had also declared the October 26 world Sikh convention as “anti-Sikh’’ at its meeting held recently in Fatehgarh Sahib.

Mr Joginder Singh claimed that the SGPC Chief Secretary, Mr Manjit Singh Calcutta, was threatening organisers of the Sikh convention. He claimed he was receiving threats and that they would not be granted permission for holding the convention would not be granted.

The magazine authorities today urged the Punjab Government to ensure adequate security for the October 26 convention in Mohali. Mr Joginder Singh said Mr Calcutta had threatened Mr Dara Singh, proprietor of Dara Studio, the venue of the convention, saying that it was against the “maryada” as even films were shot there. He said if the SGPC had any objection it could give permission for holding the convention in a gurdwara. The SGPC maintains that only the Akal Takht Jathedar is competent to call such conventions.

He said the Dharam Parchar Committee had said that the magazine was opposed to Akal Takht and the Sikh community without citing any reason.


Ahluwalia for roundtable conference
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 16
Dr Jasbir Singh Ahluwalia, a wellknown Sikh scholar and former Vice-Chancellor of Punjabi University, Patiala, today asked the organisers of the “World Sikh Conference” not to adopt a confrontanist approach towards Akal Takht.

In a statement issued here, he said debate and dialogue being essential part of liberal Sikh tradition, there should, in principle, be no objection to having a fresh look, periodically, over fundamental issues including the authority and jurisdiction of the Sikh Takht jathedars, particularly in relation to their self-assumed clergy-like role of exclusive right of interpretation of Sikh tenets and history, prescription of code of conduct, imposition of punishment and ex-communication.

But, Dr Ahluwalia said, the deliberation over such issues must not be done in a confrontationist way which should appear as a challenge to the very institution of Sri Akal Takht. “We too in the Guru Gobind Singh Foundation, in 1994, had raised such fundamental issues when six Akali factions pitted against the Shiromani Akali Dal were misusing Akal Takht ‘high priests’ in coercing Mr Parkash Singh Badal to merge into the Akali Dal (Amritsar), or face ex-communication. We at that time argued that in view of its high, transcendental character, Sri Akal Takht should not be turned into Akali Takht. But we also pleaded that Akal Takht Jathedar, deserving high respect, should be placed higher than the SGPC president through amendment of the 1925 Gurdwaras Act, and that the Takht Jathedars should not be removable by the SGPC executive the way Jathedar Manjit Singh of Takht Sri Kesgarh Sahib was, humiliatingly, removed recently. Our crusade is well documented in the book Sri Akal Takht published by the Foundation”.

The organisers of the World Sikh Conference on October 26 should not describe it as Sarbat Khalsa of Sikh intellectuals; otherwise like numerous Akali Dals, there would be a plethora of Sarbat Khalsas. If a really serious discussion — and not tug-of-war — was the intention, then both sides should have a roundtable discussion with Jathedar G.S. Tohra in the Chair acting as moderator.


Bairagis seek memorial to Banda Bahadur
Sushil Goyal
Tribune News Service

Barnala, October 16
The Virat Bairagi Sammelan, organised by the Bairagi Mahan Mandal Punjab on the occasion of the 333rd birth anniversary of Bairagi Baba Banda Singh Bahadur here today, unanimously urged the Punjab Government to erect memorial to Baba Banda Singh Bahadur at Sirhind in Fatehgarh Sahib district and prepare a documentary film on the Baba. The sammelan also asked the Punjab Government to instal a portrait of the Baba in the Punjab Assembly and Parliament House.

The sammelan was attended by more than 10,000 persons, including a large number of women, from Punjab, Himachal Pradesh, Haryana, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh. Prominent among them were Mr H.S. Hanspal, the PPCC chief, Mr Tej Parkash Singh, Transport Minister, Punjab, Mr Mohinder Rinwa, Parliamentary Secretary, Punjab, Mr Bal Kavi Bairagi and Mr Gurcharan Singh Galib, both Members of Parliament, Mr Jasbir Singh, Chairman, Punjab Agro Industries, and Mr Krishan Kumar Bawa, president, Bairagi Mahan Mandal Punjab.

The sammelan asked the government to give representation on the District Grievances Committees to members of the Bairagi community. It also sought caste certificates to the backward classes on the pattern of Scheduled Castes. The sammelan also asked for ownership rights to the Bairagi mahants of the dera lands which were in their possession for the past several decades.

Mr Bawa was declared president of the All-India Bairagi Mahan Mandal.

Mr Bal Kavi Bairagi, MP and renowned Hindi poet, called upon the Bairagis to contest every election from village level to Parliament.

Mr Hanspal exhorted the Bairagis to call Baba Banda Singh Bahadur as Banda Bairagi. Mr Gurcharan Singh Galib, MP, announced a grant of Rs 7 lakh for the construction of a bhavan in memory of Baba Banda Singh Bahadur at Ludhiana. Mr Tej Parkash Singh also announced Rs 1 lakh for the Bhavan. Mr Mohinder Rinwa, Parliamentary Secretary, Punjab, who attended the function on behalf of the Chief Minister, announced a grant of Rs 5 lakh for the Bairagi Mahan Mandal, Punjab.


SAD asked to make stand clear on VHP march
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 16
The Punjab CPI said today that if the Shiromani Akai Dal (Badal) was sincere about the demands of farmers, it should withdraw its minister, Mr Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa, from the Union Cabinet.

Addressing a press conference here, Secretary of the Punjab CPI, Joginder Dayal said the Union Government had taken several anti-farmers decisions. It had not increased the minimum support price for paddy, curtailed the subsidy on fertilisers etc and enhanced the prices of diesel a number of times. but the SAD had not reacted.

SAD President, Parkash Singh Badal, and his associates had been shedding crocodile tears for farmers but doing nothing practical, said Dr Dayal. The SAD had only been defending the Badal family on the corruption issue.

The CPI leader questioned Mr Badal whether he supported Union Home Minister, L.K. Advani's suggestion to UP Chief Minister, Mulayam Singh Yadav, to allow the VHP march to Ayodhaya.


220 kar sewaks leave for Ayodhya
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, October 16
As many as 220 ‘kar sewaks’ sporting saffron flags, head and arm bands raising slogans Jai Sri Ram’ and ‘Mandir Vahi Banaegey’ left for Ayodhya by Howrah Mail here today. They were led by Rakesh Madan of the Bajrang Dal on the call of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) and the Bajrang Dal to reach Ayodhya on October 17.

Many of the kar sewaks here were reportedly travelling without tickets. Mr Madan said the kar sewaks would reach Ayodhya by all means. He said jathas of kar sewaks would join them en route from Jalandhar, Ludhiana, Phagwara etc.

He claimed that Punjab mobilised a 2000 strong jatha of kar sewaks bound for Ayodhya.

He asserted that they were ready to ‘offer any sacrifice’ for Ram Mandir in Ayodhya. For this ‘requisite preparations have been made, he added.


Tourist plane from London lands at Raja Sansi
Varinder Walia and Ashok Sethi

Raja Sansi (Amritsar), October 16
A chapter to aviation history was added when today first non-stop tourist chartered flight landed at international airport here. All passengers were British nationals including NRIs and international tour operators who were part of the 220-member group in the inaugural flight.

Most of them were on tour to explore the possibility of more flights before the UNESCO bestows world heritage status on the Golden Temple. After spending a few hours in the city, the promoters and the group would return later in the evening.

Warm welcome was accorded to the group at the airport when the passengers alighted from brand new boeing 757 ER of Fly Jet at 11.15 a.m. Mr Manjit Singh Calcutta, honorary Secretary, SGPC, Ms Ratna, chairperson, Improvement Trust, Mr Kulbir Singh Kang, Commissioner Municipal Corporation, Mr V.S. Mulekar, Director Airport and students and principal of BBK DAV College (for women) and office-bearers of the Chief Khalsa Dewan received the passengers. First weekly flight, however, will land here on November 1 — the Punjab Day.

As many as 19 such flights have already been booked giving indications that more than 4500 British nationals and NRIs would visit the holy city in the next six months. Great demand for the most economical tourist chartered flight has posed a challenge to leading players operating from Europe and the UK to India.

Even as the Indian nationals are not permitted by the government of India to use the tourist chartered flights, yet it has not dampened enthusiasm of the promoters of POO UK group which has taken the initiative to start the chartered flights.

The non-stop flight takes seven hours and 38 minutes which saves time wasted during transit and refuelling in the regular flights the passengers, especially the old and handicapped were happy as they were not asked to change flights to city. Young NRI promoter Jimmy Pooni who belongs to Punnia village in Jalandhar district claimed that the start of the nonstop chartered flight between England and Raja Sansi was a landmark in the history of tourism. He said the tariff had been kept quiet low inclusive of air fare featuring seven-night stay for £ 399 and subsequently for 14 nights is £ 429, while for 21 nights it is £ 449 only. He said the passengers are picked from Gatwick near London and also from Birmingham international airport.

Mr Pooni said that there was tourist potential for British nationals and Europeans to explore north India as a major place of interest. He said in case the situation in J and K improved the valley would be another tourist destination besides Himachal and Chandigarh. He said the company had launched a campaign to the Golden Temple as the tourist spot among of the POO UK group-the UVI Holidays limited- pioneers in heralding tourist boom to Goa, Kerala and Agra, the chairman of the group Mr Wilson P. Fernadez said that they started the first chartered tourist flight to Goa in 1986 and today there were 24 flights bringing in hundreds of tourists from the UK to Golden beaches of Goa. Similarly the company would promote the holy city as a tourist destination in coming months.


Death of NRI on train: son suspects stepmother
Amarjit Thind
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, October 16
The death of an NRI attributed to drugging by an unknown co-passenger on board the Kolkata-Amritsar Punjab Mail has taken a new turn with his son alleging that he was murdered by his stepmother in connivance with her family members.

Balwant Singh Birk (73) died while three other members of his family — wife Harbans Kaur, her daughter from a previous marriage Pinki Goswami, her husband Raju Goswami and their two children — were left unconscious after they were reportedly drugged with pedas and looted on board the Punjab Mail on October 11.

Talking to The Tribune over the phone from London, Navkiran Singh, a son of the deceased, said the family, including his four uncles who live in England, had warned his father against visiting India with Ms Harbans Kaur since they suspected that he would be killed by her.

He said he had taken up the matter with the British authorities who have forwarded his complaint alleging that his father was murdered to their Indian counterparts. I have also forwarded my complaint to the GRP authorities who are investigating the case. Friends in Ludhiana have told me that the blood samples taken by the hospital authorities too did not contain any trace of intoxicants, he alleged. He said he has been informed by the police that his stepmother had been staying at their ancestral house in Birk village and was giving contradictory statements to the police. She was also allegedly trying to get the ancestral house and some land transferred in the name of her daughter and son-in-law.


Govt again writes to Administrator
Kiran Deep

Chandigarh, October 16
After two futile attempts, the Punjab Government has initiated a move for the third time to allow a member of the Rajya Sabha and the Supreme Court Advocate, Mr R.K Anand, to represent the state in a corruption against the Punjab Rural Development and Panchayat Minister, Ms Rajinder Kaur Bhattal.

Sources today informed that the Punjab Government had sent a letter to the UT Administrator to appoint Mr Anand as Designated Senior Advocate in the case against Mr Bhattal pending in the court of the Special Judge, Chandigarh.

The Punjab Government took the decision yesterday following the rejection of the Chief Minister’s plea second time by the UT Administration to appoint Mr R.K. Anand as “Pleader Gratis” instead of Special Public Prosecutor.

There is speculation that repeated attempts of the Punjab Government to appoint Mr Anand followed the Congress high command’s pressure mounted on Capt Amarinder Singh.

It is learnt that in the past few months Ms Bhattal had made it clear to senior Congress leaders at Delhi that Capt Amarinder Singh had made every possible effort to implicate her in the case. She had also sought the Congress high command’s intervention to ask Capt Amarinder to help her to dispose of the case.

Then the Congress high command had reportedly decided to appoint Congress MP, Mr Anand, to favor Ms Bhattal in the case.

Political observers are of the view that Capt Amarinder Singh would not like his political rival, Ms Bhattal, to let off the hook and would like to let the case linger on to scuttle any challenge from the former Chief Minister.

Controversy regarding the appointment of Mr Anand had surfaced when the UT Special Judge asked Mr Anand to produce UT Administration notification regarding his appointment. Mr Anand was earlier appointed by the Punjab Government to represent the case. Thereafter despite being appointed as Special Public Prosecutor in view to avoid legal hassle he could not appear in the case.

The FIR against Mr Bhattal was registered on May 22, last year at bureau’s police in Ferozepore Range on the complaint of Mr Balwant Singh Dhillon.

A corruption case registered against Rajinder Kaur Bhattal today came for hearing in the court of UT Special Judge, Mr R.S Baswana. The case was adjourned for November 6.

Shopkeeper gets bail

A shopkeeper, Harish Gulati, who had allegedly misbehaved with an advocate, Mr Sunil Kumar, on October 12 was today granted bail by a local court. He was granted bail on furnishing surety bond of Rs 15,000 by the UT Judicial Magistrate (First Class).


CM urged to probe working of private finance companies
Our Correspondent

Abohar, October 16
Several organisations have urged the Punjab Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, to get the working of the unregistered private finance companies probed through the Economic Offences wing of the Vigilance Department. A similar request has been made to the Deputy Prime Minister, Mr L.K. Advani, and the Union Finance Minister, Mr Yashwant Sinha, to ask the Department of Income Tax to check the mushroom growth of such companies in the region.

At an emergency meeting of the Northern Railway Employees Union, chaired by its president, Mr Raja Ram Patel, the delegates said unregistered private finance companies had duped poor farmers, daily-wage earners and government employees in a big way. Quick profits in this field had attracted bad elements to take up this business. The union had sent scores of complaints to the district police administration, but instead of taking stern action against such elements, the authorities had been allegedly providing protection to those who took the law into their own hands.

Mr Patel said in a press note after the meeting that such finance companies charged a higher rate of interest on loans whereas the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) had reduced the rate of interest on the FDRs to 5 per cent only. Some finance companies had taken registration books of vehicles, revenue documents, signed blank cheques and stamp papers in their possession from the debtors to force them to pay the amount of their choice. Such companies had employed musclemen to kidnap and torture those who discontinue the payment of instalments or fail to respond according to the dictates of certain finance companies. He regretted that though the office of the Punjab Chief Minister had been flooded with complaints, no action had been taken against these dubious companies.

In identical statements, leaders of the CPM, the Punjab Khet Mazdoor Union, the Bhatha Mazdoor Union and the Janvadi Naujwan Sabha said dozens of trade and farmers unions had launched agitations against the finance companies, who were allegedly responsible for kidnapping and torturing certain debtors and their guarantors in this region. Some of their victims had allegedly been forced to commit suicide. The police had registered some cases against partners and employees of some companies but the culprits were given sufficient time to evade arrests.

Meanwhile, some finance companies, who claimed that they were genuinely registered, have formed an association.


Kargil martyrs’ kin to get monetary aid
Tribune News Service

Muktsar October 16
Mr Kanwaljit Singh Lalli, Parliamentary Secretary, Punjab Security Services, yesterday said monetary help of Rs 5 lakh would be given to the families of those Army personnel of Punjab who scarified their lives during the Kargil battle and shortly after it.

Mr Lalli, was here to inaugurate the official complex of the Sainik Welfare Office and Sainik Rest House. While addressing retired Army personnel and civilians, he said today that these families could be given residential plots measuring one kanal each in lieu of monetary help of Rs. 5 lakh. He pointed out that though these families had been given an exgratia grant of Rs 2 lakh each by the Punjab Government, the balance amount of Rs 5 lakh could not be given to them due to bad financial health of the state.

The Parliamentary Secretary said a mobile CSD canteen would be available in this district twice in a month. He said a polyclinic would be opened at the local Sainik Welfare office to provide free-of-cost treatment to retired Army personnel and their families.


2 factions of vet officers’ body merge
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 16
Two factions of the Punjab State Veterinary Officers Association merged today at a meeting held today under the chairmanship of the Animal Husbandry, Fisheries and Dairy Development Minister, Punjab, Mr Jagmohan Singh Kang.

The minister impressed upon members of the association to work in tandem to ensure the proper implementation of the policies of the state government. They formed an important link with the farmers and the government and should work together for the upliftment of the rural people.

While Dr Rajinder Singh has been made the senior president of the Punjab State Veterinary Officers Association, Dr Ashok Kumar Sharma has been made the president, Dr Harinder Pal Singh was unanimously nominated coordinator.


Police terror grips family, neighbours again
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, October 16
Two-and-a-half years after some cops, including a former police cat, killed a youth in New Prem Nagar here, police terror gripped members of the victim’s family and residents of the colony tonight.

A police team raided their houses as it wanted to arrest Surinder Singh, but picked up his brother Kaka after Surinder was not found at home. The police took away Kaka, telling the family to produce Surinder. He was charged with burning the house of the main accused, Inspector Gurmeet Pinki.

A police team led by an ASI raided the house of the victim’s family in search of his father Amrik Singh and other relatives. They were accused of damaging the house of Pinki and kidnapping Pinki’s accomplice Simarjit Singh.


Two die in mishap
Our Correspondent

Jalandhar, October 16
Two persons, including a woman, were killed while 12 others were injured in a road accident when a mini bus and a truck had a head-on collision at Jandiala village today.

The deceased were identified as Joginder Singh of Amritsar and Sonia of Jandiala. The injured were admitted to a local Civil Hospital where their condition is stated to be out of danger.


Expired medicines destroyed
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, October 16
A large batch of expired medicine meant for TB patients was reportedly burnt on the TB sanatorium premises by some senior officials of the hospital.

However, Dr Kawaljit Singh, officiating Civil Surgeon, expressed ignorance about the incident. Mr Ravinder Kumar, Sultanwind president of the All-India Youth Federation, has demanded an inquiry into the matter.


Lal Singh impleaded in plot case
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 16
If allegations in a writ petition filed before the Punjab and Haryana High Court are to be believed, a show-cause notice was issued to a Rajpura-based co-operative society “with the intention of allotting 23 plots to the persons of Punjab Minister Lal Singh’s choice”.

Taking up the petition, a Division Bench, comprising Mr Justice S.S. Nijjar and Mr Justice S.S. Grewal, today directed the state of Punjab and other respondents against allotting 23 plots “as mentioned in a paragraph of the writ petition to any member”. The Judges also impleaded Co-operation Minister Lal Singh as a party respondent and issued notice of motion for November 17.

In their petition, Mr H.L. Jalan and other members of co-operative society’s managing committee had earlier contended that the show-cause notice, issued on September 25, was “vitiated by malafides”.

Counsel for the petitioners had added that the notice was issued by Rajpura’s Assistant Registrar of Co-operative Societies at the Minister’s instance. Arguing before the Court, he had added that the Minister was not impleaded as a party respondent as the petitioners feared reprisal.

After hearing the argument, the Bench observed: “It is a settled preposition of law that the court will not investigate allegations of malafide unless the person alleged to be acting in a malafide manner is impleaded as a party. Surprisingly, although Lal Singh has not been impleaded as a party respondent, it is clearly mentioned in a paragraph of the petition that action was being taken against the petitioner society at the instance of the Minister”.

The judges directed: “In the interest of justice, it is directed that the Minister of Co-operative Department Lal Singh be impleaded as a respondent.... Counsel further submits that the show-cause notice was issued with the intention of allotting 23 plots, to be allotted by the co-operative society, to persons of the Minister’s choice. For this reason, the election programme submitted by the society had not been approved by the respondents”.

The judges concluded: “In another paragraph, it was stated that the society had already allotted 145 plots to its members and 23 were yet to be allotted. These plots were sought to be cornered by the respondents under Lal’s Singh influence... In the meantime, the respondents are directed not to allot the remaining 23 plots....”

Excess panches

In a petition filed before the Punjab and Haryana High Court, a Ferozepore district resident alleged that panches in excess of the prescribed limit had been elected in his village.

Raj Kumar of Mandiwal village claimed that only five panches could be elected for a population above 200, but not exceeding 1000, as per the Punjab Panchayati Raj Act of 1994. But in his village, seven panches had been elected.

After hearing the arguments and going through the documents, a Division Bench of the High Court, comprising Mr Justice S.S. Nijjar and Mr Justice S.S. Grewal, disposed of the petition with a direction to Ferozepore’s Additional Deputy Commissioner to take appropriate decision on a report submitted in the matter by a Block Development and Panchayat Officer within four weeks of receiving order’s certified copy.

Notice issued

Acting on a petition filed by Senior Vice-President of Muktsar Municipal Council seeking directions to the state of Punjab and other respondents to convene a meeting for holding the president’s elections, the Punjab and Haryana High Court issued notice of motion for November 7.

In his petition, Sat Pal Bansal had earlier alleged that the meeting had not been convened even though a vacancy had arisen with the resignation of the previous President.


Rice miller to pay 31 lakh to FCI

Moga, October 16
Faridkot Civil Court Judge R.L. Chohan has decreed a suit in favour of the Food Corporation of India (FCI), for the recovery of Rs 31 lakh from Messrs Bansal and Sons, a rice mill, in connection with a case of fraud and forgery and criminal breach of trust registered in 1995.

The FCI had filed a suit against the miller for recovery of Rs 46,59,343 as cost of the paddy and interest, alleging that the miller had failed to shell its paddy in the year 1995.

The court, decreeing the case yesterday, directed the CBI to lodge an FIR against certain FCI officials, who were guilty of causing a loss of lakhs of rupees to the corporation.

The Judge observed that certain FCI officials had connived with the rice miller to help him evade his liability with regard to the custom milling of FCI paddy in a stipulated period as per an agreement in the year 1995.

The rice miller had denied the execution of any agreement, claiming that the entire paddy had been retrieved by the FCI in time and they were not liable for any damage or cost of the paddy.

Retired Additional and District Sessions Judge O.P. Garg, who was appointed by the FCI as the inquiry officer, had found that some 14 rice millers had executed the agreement for the storage and milling of the FCI paddy. The agreements were handed over to the Faridkot District FCI Manager. However, certain FCI officials, in connivance with the millers had substituted the original agreements for a price.

The court relying upon the inquiry and other evidences said offences under Sections 467, 471, 420 and 409 of the IPC had been committed by various FCI officials. — UNI


Markfed denies arhtias’ charge
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 16
The Punjab Markfed today denied the charge made by certain arhtias of Khanna mandi that it was delaying payments for paddy being procured by it.

In a press note issued here, an official spokesman said for the current paddy procurement operation, the funds were made available by the RBI on October 8, whereas the procurement operations started on October 1. Markfed has released a sum of Rs 90 crore up to October 7 in the state by arranging funds from other sources.

Out of the said Rs 90 crore, Rs 9.55 crore was made available to Markfed’s Ludhiana district office for Khanna mandi, the district office had released all payments up to October 11.

Markfed was sanctioned a sum of Rs 531 crore by the RBI. The whole amount was disbursed among district offices. Markfed had also raised a sum of Rs 150 crore from other sources.


Man beaten to death
Our Correspondent

Tarn Taran, October 16
Sukhdev Singh, alias Sukha (35), a Dalit and resident of Maluwal Santan village falling under police station Chabal, was allegedly beaten to death by two residents of the same village. Illicit relations with the daughter of the accused is said to be the reason behind the murder. A case under Section 302, IPC, has been registered.

Dr Narinder Bhargav, SSP, told this correspondent here today that the accused had been identified as Pargat Singh and his son Gurjeet Singh, who belong to the Jat community.

The sources said Sukhdev Singh had illicit relations with the daughter of Pargat Singh, who was later married but had come to her parents home yesterday. Sukhdev Singh under the influence of liquor was passing by the house of Pargat Singh on his scooter when he was stopped by the latter. Pargat Singh and Gurjeet Singh dragged Sukhdev into their house and beat him up severely resulting in his death.

The family members of Sukhdev Singh alleged that he was tied to a tractor and hit with a stick on head. They said the village sarpanch, Mr Surta Singh, tried to get Sukha free, but the father and son duo kept beating him up. A postmortem was performed on the body at a local hospital.


Two killed in road mishap
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, October 16
Mr Suraj Bhan was killed yesterday while Mr Darshan Singh, Assistant Sub-Inspector (ASI), Punjab police, who was posted in the local Civil Lines police chowki, succumbed to his injuries in the local Civil Hospital today after their car met with an accident on the Bathinda-Multania road late last night.

Mr Darshan Singh, who was on duty, was returning to the city in his car. Mr Bhan and Mr Bharat Bhushan, another resident of the city, was with him in the car when it was hit by a speeding mini-bus.

While Mr Bhan died on the spot, Mr Darshan Singh and Mr Bharat Bhushan were injured and admitted to the local Civil Hospital. The condition of Mr Darshan Singh, who suffered injuries in his ribs, was serious and he died this morning. Mr Bharat Bhushan, who was also in a critical condition, had been shifted to a hospital at Ludhiana.

A case has been registered against the driver of the bus.

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