P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



Cook Islands to be scanned for Badal’s accounts
Naveen S. Garewal
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, October 17
The Punjab Government, it is learnt, has decided to send the Ludhiana DIG, Mr Siddharth Chattopadhya, on a 10-day trip to Cook Islands in the South Pacific to investigate the alleged bank accounts of certain Punjab politicians, including former Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal. Mr Chattopadhya is attached to the Vigilance Bureau, Punjab, that is investigating the assets of the Badal family.

Highly-placed sources said the decision was taken keeping in mind the amended banking laws in that country that have become more transparent and would eventually remove the secrecy surrounding bank accounts that were once provided a covert tax haven.

A senior state government dignitary said “What is so special about going abroad? You just have to buy a ticket and there you are”. He said the evidence to establish the charges of corruption against the former Chief Minister and his family were continuing and “anyone can be sent anywhere in this connection”.

Formed in the 1980s, the banks in Cook Islands were started by a Hong Kong-based company, European Pacific International Banking, mainly for Australian and Japanese companies to hide profits.

Meanwhile, Punjab Vigilance chief, A.P. Pandey, who was also in the city today in connection with an anti-corruption drive organised in the form of a seminar-cum-interaction, refused to comment. He said investigations were on.

However, he disclosed that Chandigarh police Sub-Inspector Nirpjit Singh, wanted in the case against the Badals, and was nabbed from Delhi while trying to flee the country, was a key investor in the file “Hawayein” and was also reportedly its promoter.

Though the bureau expects to present a challan in court against Mr Badal by the end of this month, there could be a delay if the Badals delayed responding to the fresh notices that had been served upon them seeking their response to clarifications, as promised by them during their interrogation last week. So far, he said they had been cooperating with investigation.

He indicated that the bureau had sufficient evidence to nail the Badals. The investigation was progressing well and all facts in connection with the statements of 14 witnesses had been verified and found to be correct. “It does not matter who says what and what anyone wants to believe”, he said.


Badal’s family answers Vigilance queries
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 17
The beleaguered former Punjab Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, his wife, Ms Surinder Kaur, and their son, Sukhbir Badal facing a disproportionate assets case today sent in their written replies to the Punjab Vigilance Bureau, pertaining to certain queries asked by them during their questioning held last week.

The bureau had served upon them fresh notices seeking their response to the clarifications promised by them during the first round of questioning. Maintaining that he had no faith in the on going investigations against them in the said corruption case, Mr Badal alleged that the pressure tactics being used to furnish relevant documents and clarifications was only a farce and was being done at the behest of the Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, who had decried that the chargesheet against the Badals would be filed by October end or a few days later. Interestingly, Mr Badal has in his reply asked “Is it not a fit case against the Chief Minister, who is my sworn political opponent, and the complainant for creating false evidence and malicious prosecution.”

According to sources in the bureau, Mr Badal has stated that like many other farmers in the country, he did not maintain any regular account books of his agricultural income. Similarly, there are no regular account books to show the expenditure incurred on the Balasar farmhouse. As regards the residential house in Sector 9 (House No. 256), Mr Badal said the same was in the name of his wife and son and the official should “ask them” regarding that. Infact, most of the other properties were also in their name, hence they should be asked about it.

The relevant documents regarding SCO 54-55 in Sector 9 would also be delivered to the bureau office shortly by one of their close associates, he added.

While assuring fullest cooperation in the investigations as a law-abiding citizen, Mr Badal said “The procedure adopted by the bureau against us was biased.”

Mr Sukhbir Badal has more or less reiterated his father’s stand in his reply filed today. The bureau had asked him to furnish information and clarification regarding queries on investments, loans, income and expenditure. He has described the investigating agency’s exercise a mere “formality” as all decisions regarding the case were being taken by the Chief Minister himself.

Even Mr Sukhbir Badal has stated that he has no regular account books to show his agricultural income and that the family had only bought 7 acres in Haryana during the tenure of his father as the Chief Minister (1997-2002). “I am also finding it hard to procure the relevant revenue records with regard to some of my other properties from the Revenue Department, keeping in view the current political scenario.

As regards the questions on Orbit Resorts, Gurgaon, he said he had answered most of them during the questioning held last Thursday and said the income tax returns filed by him contain details about the annual balance sheets.

Ms Surinder Kaur has also filed a reply on similar lines. Meanwhile, three more persons, who had been named by Harbans Lal, who manage the family business of former MP Gurdas Badal in his alleged confession for having paid bribes to get jobs, were also rounded up for questioning today. They are Pritpal Singh and Sukhmander Singh of Killianwali and Darshan Singh of Muktsar. While Darshan Singh had paid a bribe to get his son recruited as an ASI, Pritpal had paid a bribe for his nephew to become an ASI. Sukhmander Singh was keen to get his wife recruited as an Excise and Taxation Inspector, the sources in the Vigilance Bureau add.


CM in self-created crisis, says Badal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 17
Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) President Parkash Singh Badal said today that Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh was responsible for the political crisis he was facing. It was totally wrong on the part of Capt Amarinder Singh to blame the Union Government for his political problems. He said the Union Government was not trying to destabilise the state government in any manner.

The NDA government was not like the previous Congress governments at the Centre, which used to dismiss state governments on flimsy grounds, he said. If the Union Government wanted to create problems for Capt Amarinder Singh, the Congress government in Punjab would not have survived even for a few months, he added.

Mr Badal said Capt Amarinder Singh was hitting hard against his own ministers in various ways. He said the Chief Minister had got files of his ministers prepared and the state government was involved in raiding the premises of two ministers. Earlier, Ms Rajinder Kaur Bhattal was pushed to the corner by the Chief Minister, he added.

He said neither he nor members of his family had any relationship with the police official arrested by the Vigilance Bureau from Delhi. The bureau had been trying to link members of his family with all those arrested by it in the past, he said.” It had gone all out to fabricate evidence against us. It is now desperate because it has not found anything objectionable against us”, he asserted. Houses of Akali workers were being raided and the bureau had unleashed terror in the state, he said.

He said that his case against Capt Amarinder Singh was strong. The Chief Minister would have to seek bail in the case filed by me against him, Mr Badal added. He said he was enjoying his fight against Capt Amarinder Singh. “The ongoing tussle does not affect me in any manner. It has made me more mobile and alert”, Mr Badal said. “It will be the happiest day of my life, the day I am arrested by the police on orders of Capt Amarinder Singh”, he asserted.

Meanwhile, at a PAC meeting, shock was expressed over the death of former Punjabi Tribune Editor, Harbhajan Singh Halwarvi, former MLA Mukhtiar Singh, Akali leader Harcharan Singh Gill, former MLA Bhag Singh, and Gurdev Singh, the farmer who died near Bathinda during the farmers agitation against the Punjab Government. By passing a resolution, the PAC urged the Punjab Government to fulfil all promises made to farmers of Punjab. It ex-pressed concern over and condemned the attack on Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister, N. Chandrababu Naidu.

The party also decided to field candidates from certain seats during the Delhi and Rajasthan Assembly elections. Mr Badal was authorised to take a final decision regarding the number of seats to be contested by the party.

The SAD intended to contest five seats in Delhi and might put up three candidates in Rajasthan. “We will contest those seats which can be won by the party”, he said. “Our main objective is to defeat the Congress and the SAD will like to tie up with all those parties which have the capacity to defeat the Congress”, he added.

All senior Akali leaders, including Mr Gurcharan Singh Tohra, MPs, and MLAs, would go to Rajas-than and Delhi for campaigning for the SAD and other allies, he said.


No move against Amarinder, says BJP
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 17
Mr Avinash Rai Khanna, President of the Punjab unit of the BJP, today refuted the charges levelled by Chief Minister Amarinder Singh that the Centre is trying to destabilise his government.

Mr Khanna said Capt Amarinder Singh was making such statements out of frustration. “He has realised that people are fed up with his government. All sections of society are on roads against the government”, he added. Even his own Cabinet colleagues were unhappy with him, he asserted.


SI gets police remand in Badal case
Our Correspondent

Kharar, October 17
Mrs Baljinder Kaur Bhatia, Judicial Magistrate, today remanded Nirpjit Singh, a key investor in the film “Hawayein” and who was arrested by the Punjab Vigilance Bureau, in police custody till October 20. He was produced in the court today after his arrest in connection with an FIR registered against former Chief Minster Parkash Singh Badal and others.

The public prosecutor and the DSP pleaded for a 10-day police remand of the accused. They said the accused was a UT police Sub-Inspector and was close to Mr Sukhbir Singh Badal.

They said he was arrested from Indira Gandhi International Airport in New Delhi, on October 16.

The defence counsel on the other hand refuted the charges and opposed the police remand. It produced documents that Amit Mann was the proprietor of the film and the accused had helped the producer when the shooting was going on and that was why his name was mentioned by the publicity in charge of the film. It said Mr Parkash Singh Badal and Mr Sukhbir Badal had been invited for the “Muhurat” of the film and that he had been falsely implicated in the case.


Film director refutes Vigilance charge
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 17
The director of the controversial film “Hawayein”, released in Punjab on August 22, Ammtoje Mann, has challenged the charge of the Vigilance Bureau that Sub-Inspector Nirbjeet Singh, alias Nippy Dhanoa, was associated with the financing of this film.

In a statement issued here today, Mann said the bureau’s charge that Nippy had heavily invested in the film was “unjust and unfair.” Nippy happened to be a close friend and simply extended moral support during the making of the film. He had also helped in obtaining permission for locations in Punjab for the shooting of the film and was at times present during the shoots, Mann said, adding that it was only to honour his emotional and moral contribution that his name was credited as one of the producers of the film, both in the publicity material and the film.

Mann clarified that all financial aspects of the film were handled by him since he was also the proprietor of Mannerism, the company which produced this film.


Ejection order against Tota Singh’s kin
Kulwinder Sangha

SAS Nagar, October 17
The local SDM has ordered the ejection of Deep Woollen Mills, purportedly run, among others, by a member of the family of former Punjab Minister Tota Singh, from a plot in the Industrial Area here.

A portion of the plot (number C-119) in the Phase VII Industrial Area has been given on rent to a company, Amartex Industries Ltd, which is a breach of the terms stated in the letter of allotment. A retail shop is stated to have been opened on the premises without the consent of the Punjab Small Industries and Export Corporation (PSIEC) which allotted the plot measuring 6833.33 sq yd.

The PSIEC had earlier cancelled the allotment of the plot after the issuance of a show-cause notice to the allottee.

The SDM. Mr M.L. Sharma, issued an order on October 15 directing Deep Woollen Mills and any person whatsoever in possession/occupation of the plot, or any part thereof, to vacate the same within a period of 30 days from the date of the order. In the event of refusal or failure to comply with the order, the mills or the person concerned shall be liable to be ejected by the use of force as may be necessary.

The PSIEC had filed the petition under Sections 5 and 7 of the Public Premises and Land ( Eviction and Rent Recovery) Act, 1973, for the ejectment of the respondent and claimed damages at the rate of Rs 40,000 per month with effect from July 11, 2002, till the date of delivery of vacant possession of the plot back to the PSIEC with reasonable interest.

The PSIEC stated that the respondent had failed to hand over the possession of the plot within 30 days from the date of cancellation of the plot.

Amartex Industries Limited pleaded that the company was inducted as a tenant when the plot in question stood allotted in the name of lessor and as such the possession of the company was legal. It said the company would vacate the premises on or before January 31, 2004, as it was constructing its own premises. It pleaded that the company was ready to pay usages of the plot in question till January 31, 2004, to the PSIEC.


Police team leaves for Delhi to arrest Daler
Tribune News Service

Patiala, October 17
The Patiala police today despatched a team to New Delhi to arrest pop star Daler Mehndi even as the name of a senior Haryana police officer has come under the scanner during the continued interrogation of Shamsher Mehndi, who has been in police custody now for 13 days.

Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) Paramraj Singh Umranangal said a team had been despatched to New Delhi to arrest Daler who is suspected to be hiding in the Capital. He said the police had been given a few tip-offs on the likely hideouts of the pop singer and these would be raided tonight.

Meanwhile, the local police is busy decoding the computer seized from the flat of Rakesh Kaushal, alias Rocky, from Mumbai a few days ago. Sources said experts had been recruited for the purpose and preliminary information indicated that Daler usually used to go abroad as part of troupes organised by Rocky only. The SSP, when questioned on this, said it would be sometime before the entire information could be gleaned.

The SSP said the interrogation of Shamsher had revealed a few new facts indicating that the case was not a simple one involving sending some persons as members of Daler’s troupe and leaving them abroad. He said new names disclosed by Shamsher indicated that it was a well-oiled operation and that there were many other members who were entrusted with the task of ensuring that visas were granted to all the troupe members.

Mr Umranangal said Shamsher had disclosed the names of Gurdial Mama, Vipan Sharma and a senior officer in the Haryana police in this regard. He said these persons were suspected to have a contact in the US Embassy also which ensured that there was no undue scrutiny before the grant of visas to members of the troupe. He said Shamsher had told his interrogators that he used to put the stamps of Big M Entertainers on all the forms and was not concerned with the procurement of the visas which was left to others.

Meanwhile, the police is also expected to conduct raids in New Delhi to arrest the other associates of Shamsher, including Tejinder Laddi and Surinder Singh. The sources said a secretary of Shamsher — Ms Neetu Singh, had also been questioned and she had given information on where Shamsher had kept passports of some of the persons whom he was to take abroad. He said this had resulted in the recovery of these passports.

Shamsher is to be presented in the court tomorrow after the end of his 14-day police remand. The anticipatory bail applications of both Daljit Kaur and Balwinder Kaur, wives of Daler and Shamsher, are also slated for hearing tomorrow.


Ruckus over Hanspal’s statement
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 17
Punjab Congress President H.S. Hanspal’s statement asking people not to use “Singh” with the name of Baba Banda Singh Bahadur has kicked a controversy. Even senior Congress leaders have been upset over the statement.

Taking a serious note of the statement, SAD President Parkash Singh Badal said Mr Hanspal’s statement was a part of the Congress policy to damage the “glorious heritage of the Khalsa Panth”. It was a symbol of the Congress’ hatred for the Khalsa Panth. Mr Hanspal has been urged to apologise for his act.

Earlier, this issue was discussed at a meeting of the Political Affairs Committee of the SAD and a resolution was passed condemning the statement.

Mr Badal said the Congress was also behind the “Vishva Sikh Convention” being organised by certain organisations at Mohali to “denigrate established Sikh institutions”. When asked that he had also at one stage visited the office of the magazine, the Editor of which was the main organiser of the convention, Mr Badal said he was then not aware of the Editor’s activities.

The Congress had also been patronising “dummy” Akali Dals for long. Mr Badal claimed that the Akali Dal headed by Mr Ravi Inder Singh was a creation of the Congress. “It was known that Mr Ravi Inder Singh was a close friend of Capt Amarinder Singh, Chief Minister of Punjab.”

Meanwhile, Mr Tarlochan Singh, Chairman of the National Commission of Minorities, has written a demi-official letter to Mr Hanspal drawing his attention towards the controversial statement. Mr Tarlochan Singh has conveyed to Mr Hanspal that the statement had hurt the feelings of Sikhs and all those who revered Baba Banda Singh Bahadur for his historic role.

Mr Tarlochan Singh has urged Mr Hanspal to amend his statement to avoid unnecessary controversy.

Taking a serious view of Mr Hanspal’s statement, SGPC Secretary Manjit Singh Calcutta said the Congress had been working against the Sikh community by distorting its history. Mr Hanspal had gravely hurt the Sikh sentiments by creating a controversy over the name of Baba Banda Singh Bahadur, who was a great warrior.

Meanwhile, Chief Minister Amarinder Singh said he had not seen the statement. But on the same time he said as Baba Banda Singh Bahadur was a baptised disciple of the 10th Sikh Guru, “Singh” must be used with his name.

Hanspal clarifies

Clarifying, Mr Hanspal said his statement was distorted by a section of the Press. He said Guru Gobind Singh had given a new name — Gurbax Singh — to Baba Banda Bahadur after baptising him. “I told the congregation at Barnala yesterday to call Baba Banda Bahadur as Gurbax Singh. He said he held the Sikh Gurus and great Sikh warriors in high esteem and there was no question of denigrating them in any manner. Regretting the statement attributed to him, Mr Hanspal was feeling very disappointed. “If need be, I will send the necessary clarification to the Jathedar of Akal Takht”, he added.


Hanspal must apologise, says Sant Daduwal
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, October 17
Sant Baba Baljit Singh Daduwal today said that Mr H.S. Hanspal, PPCC president, should apologise for his speech wherein he said Bairagis should not use the word "Singh" with the name of Banda Singh Bahadur. Sant Daduwal, said today that Guru Gobind Singh had baptized Banda Singh Bahadur and "Singh" had been in use since then. Mr Hanspal had made these remarks at the 333rd birth anniversary celebrations of Banda Singh Bahadur in Barnala.


Centre anti-farmer, says Jakhar
Our Correspondent

Gurdaspur, October 17
Mr Balram Jakhar, a senior Congress leader and former Agricultural Minister, said that the Central Government led by the BJP had failed on all fronts but its performance on the agriculture front was the worst. The Central Government had no agriculture policy. The minimum price for paddy fixed by the government was far below the cost of production of paddy.

Mr Jakhar said the Central Government had fixed price of bajra at Rs 500 per quintal but there was a distress sale of paddy at Rs 250 per quintal. He said he, as Agricultural Minister, had raised the budget of agriculture from Rs 2400 crore to Rs 10,000 crore in the 8th Plan. After this it had not been increased at all.

Mr Jakhar said the WTO and GATT would adversely affect the import policy, edible oils and ‘sarson’ would be adversely affected. He claimed that during his tenure as Agriculture Minister, the import of edible oils was merely 4 per cent which has gone up to 45 per cent during the current NDA Government.

When asked that the Congress had double standards to deal with Ajit Jogi, Chief Minister of Chhattisgarh and former opposition chief ministers Parkash Singh Badal and Ms Mayawati, Mr Jakhar said anybody involved in corrupt practices whether a Congress man or an opposition leader should be brought to book.

When asked whether Sonia Gandhi would be chosen as Prime Minister if Congress was voted to power in the coming Lok Sabha elections, Mr Jakhar said it took seven years by Congress men to convince Mrs Sonia Gandhi to head the Congress party. Now that she had joined politics and Members of Parliament belonging to the Congress insist her to become the Prime Minister.


Panches’ election on October 29
Our Correspondent

Faridkot, October 17
Under the directions of the Punjab Election Commission, the election of the panches of 18 gram panchayats of Faridkot and Kotkapura blocks in the district will be held on October 29.

The panchayats in Faridkot block include Ahel, Bholluwala, Dhurkot, Jhoke Sarkari, Pucca, Qila Nau and Sadiq while Bhairon Bhatti, Chak Kalyan, Fatehgarh, Gondara, Jaito Dehati, Kothe Inder Singh, Kothe Sampuran Singh, Kothe Santa Singh, Ransingh Wala, Sevian and Thara belong to Kotkapura block.

Stating this here yesterday, Mr Hussan Lal, Deputy Commissioner-cum-District Returning Officer, said the nomination papers of the aspirants would be accepted on October 18 and the scrutiny and withdrawal of the papers would take place on October 20 and 21, respectively.

The polling, if necessary, would be held on October 29 and the counting of votes would also be held on the same day.

Mr G.S. Bains, SDO, Irrigation Department, and Mr Surjit Singh, SDO, Punjab Stae Tubewell Corporation (lining division) have been appointed as Returning and Assistant Returning Officers, respectively, for Faridkot block while Mr D.K. Mehta, SDE Public Health, Jaito, and Mr Arvinder Pal Singh, ADO, have been appointed as Returning and Assistant Returning Officer, respectively, for Kot Kapura block.


BJP executive to be announced by Oct 28
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, October 17
Mr Avinash Rai Khanna, president of the Punjab unit of the BJP, today said he would announce the Executive Committee of the state unit by October 28. After that party activists would be sent to villages throughout the state as part of the preparations for the ensuing Lok Sabha elections in 2004, he added.

Talking to mediapersons here, Mr Khanna further said that during their visits to the villages, the party activists would tell the people about the achievements of the Vajpayee-led NDA government during the past four years.

Mr Khanna claimed that all 13 Lok Sabha seats in Punjab would be won by the SAD-BJP alliance. About the distribution of seats between the SAD and the BJP, he said a joint committee of both parties would take a decision. He said as the Amarinder Singh government had failed on all fronts. It would not be in a position to win even a single seat in Punjab.

The Punjab BJP chief also said that the two BJP Rajya Sabha members from Punjab would give a grant of Rs 2 lakh each to villages of the martyrs who laid down their lives during the Kargil conflict.

Mr Khanna also criticised the Amarinder Singh government for not fulfilling the promises made with the people during the previous Assembly elections. He also said that Capt Amarinder Singh was “misleading” the people by saying that the NDA government wanted to destabilise his government.


Lok darbar a big hit with people
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, October 17
"If any official or government employee demands a bribe for undertaking your official work, or any of your grievances is pending unattended in any government office, you can bring it to my notice publicly, and if found correct, the concerned person would not be spared," said Mr S.K. Ahluwalia, Deputy Commissioner today while addressing the first "lok darbar," a new concept introduced by the DC to redress the grievances of the people at their doorsteps.

He further said that the district administration wanted to implement the campaign against corruption launched by the Chief Minister at the grassroot level by awakening and educating the people to stop giving bribes to officials. As public servants it was the duty of the officials to serve the public as they got their salaries from the public exchequer. The responsibility and accountability of public servants should be towards public. He said, "Our main aim is to serve, educate, create awareness in public and not to exploit our positions."

He promised to make Fatehgarh Sahib, beautiful and free from drug addiction, pollution, bribe, and other social evils.

Talking to The Tribune at Kajal Majra village from where this concept was introduced and later five more villages were covered under this scheme, Mr Ahluwalia said that he had introduced this concept just to involve everybody in the campaign against corruption and encroachments and to assure the people that the government was fully concerned about their problems. He said that he had given clear directions that stress should be laid on cleanliness and removal of encroachments on panchayat lands. He said that JCB machines were pressed into service and during his visits he himself inspected the entire village by taking the sarpanch concerned in his official car.

On this occasion more than 100 complaints were redressed on the spot and the rest were sent to the departments concerned for action. The Deputy Commissioner also announced a grant worth Rs.35 lakh for various development works in the villages.


Kapurthala’s legacy on show
Tribune News Service

Kapurthala, October 17
The second Baba Jassa Singh Sharad Utsav that began in Kapurthala this evening was not just about the celebration of the musical heritage of the city by way of delightful renditions of Sufiana “qalams” by Wadali and Warsi brothers. It was also an occasion to trace the architectural might of the historic city.

Unlike many other festivals that begin with routine musical presentations and end with them, this one got rolling with a look at Kapurthala’s historical legacy, put together by a team from the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI), Chandigarh Circle. Collecting samples from the vast architectural treasure house that Kapurthala is, the ASI has structured a massive show of over 70 pictures that build up the development of the city on the architectural front. The hallmark of the photo exhibition that forms a part of the three-day musical festival are the four historic buildings which have been restored and preserved by the ASI team over the past few years.

Leading the list of these buildings is the magnificent Clock Tower, which, until recently, was characterised by dilapidated walls and falling panels. The building has been restored now, along with the famous portico of Kapurthala’s District Courts complex, which was in news when two years ago its scaffolding had fallen off. On display are frames that capture the restoration work of this portico. Yet another significant building, which the ASI has restored, is the beautiful dining hall of the PWD Guest House, which reflects the glory of an era gone by.

Inaugurated before the festival, the exhibition also showcases special photographs of the famous Kapurthala heritage sites —from the Moorish Mosque, Bhoot Bangla and the Shalimar Garden gate to the Jagatjit Palace (Sainik School, which is the venue for the festival), the Samadhi of Maharaja Fateh Singh, which needs immediate attention, and the famous Panj Mandir complex.

Talking about the ASI’s involvement in the project, Kapurthala Deputy Commissioner Rakesh Verma said, “The idea was to first introduce the visitors to the rich historical legacy of their city and then lead them into the musical extravaganza.” Interestingly, the DC also announced that Jagatjit Club would be permanently illuminated from today onwards.


Qawwals bring alive Sufi tradition
Aditi Tandon
Tribune news service

Kapurthala, October 17
It is not an easy road for those who practice the art of qawwali. Faced with stiff competition from the more lucrative and seemingly glamourous musical genres from pop to ghazals, qawwali, as an art, has to face the dearth of admirers every now and then. No wonder only 1 per cent of qawwals find themselves sticking to the classical base and rendering compositions typical to the age of Sufi saints, who made qawwali a divine indulgence.

Tracing their lineage to the royal courts of Mughal rulers, who patronised qawwali through their magnificent durbars, are Naseer and Naseer Ahmad Warsi who belong to the Delhi gharana of qawwali singing. Sons of the celebrated qawwal Ustad Zaheer Ahmad Khan Warsi, who won the National Integration Award, both these brothers take pride in the fact that they belong to a generation of qawwals that has certainly come of age.

Opening the grand Baba Jassa Singh Sharad Utsav in the beautiful environs of Jagatjit Palace here with their classic rendition of the famous “qaul” by Hazrat Amir Khusro, Nazeer and Naseer Ahmad Khan Warsi reflected the subtleties of a waning art. They also rendered beautiful bhajans of Kabir Das.

Earlier in an exclusive interview with The Tribune they talked of how qawwalis had lost their pristine glory. “Although we are blessed to be in demand, there are many others who live under financial strains and are thus forced to deviate from original qawwali themes like Sufi singing. Also, the langiage of qawwalis has undergone a change. Earlier it comprised Urdu, Sanskrit, Persian, Awadhi words. Now we have understandable Urdu words which can cater to a big audience.

Singing in their style tonight, Warsi brothers recalled their ancestors who featured among the qawwals, initiated and trained by the legendary Sufi saint Hazrat Amir Khusro himself.

“We took our early lessons in music from our father and grandfather Padma Shree Aziz Ahmad Khan. For us, the purity of our style was the most treasured possession. We represent the Delhi gharana of qawwali ‘gayaki’, which goes back to 800 years. Our ancestors have been serving this art form even before the age of Mughal ruler Bahadur Shah Zaffar. We are four brothers, all in the same group and we also impart qawwali training to other young aspirants, who promise to safeguard the purity of raga and style.”

Struck by the current plight of qawwali, which the film producers, have largely degraded, the brothers said, “Due to this corruption of style by film makers, our art form is suffering a lot. There is hardly any qawwali being sung in films. Where qawwali must essentially be sung as a divine message conveyed through the medium of music, it is now being berated because all sorts of vulgar qawwalis are finding a place on the big screen. In many films the art is used to display a battle of sexes. This is sacrilege of the art. Even in films these days there is no distinction between nautch girls and qawwali singers. The only connection these qawwalis have with the original art form is in rhythm, tempo and beat. This is a mockery of all those great qawwals who have laboured to bind the words of seers into rhythms divine.”

Unfazed by the trend, Warsi brothers go on enriching their repertoire by also including in their scheme some presentations for the uninitiated listeners. Said Nazeer Warsi, “But everything follows the scheme, peculiar to qawwali. We sing ghazals, thumri and other styles, but we don’t denounce our own style in the process.” Warsi brothers gave ample proof of their pure style at the well-illuminated Jagatjit Palace, which was the venue for the first musical evening during the Baba Jassa Singh Sharad Utsav, being organised by Kapurthala Heritage Society. Later Wadali brothers also enriched the evening with the pure Sufiana rendition.


No registration of dogs for 25 years
Rashmi Talwar

Amritsar, October 17
In a glaring example of negligence, the municipal corporation (MC) here has not registered a single dog for the past more than 25 years.

This has made a survey of growing population of stray dogs difficult in view of the rabies threat that had taken three lives recently. It has also caused a loss of lakhs to the MC in the form of fees accruing from it. The dog population has exceeding one lakh here, as per a survey by the APCRI, a national body.

The registration of dogs was made mandatory by a government gazette entry on October 25, 1950, under the dog registration bylaws. It even prohibits a veterinarian to treat a dog without the mandatory token, a symbol of registration. More than 35 veterinary clinics have been treating unregistered dogs for the several years.

The registration entailed a meagre Rs 2 as the annual registration fee. However, the MC today decided to enhance the fees to Rs 100 or more following approval at the House meeting.

Mr Satya Pal Dang, CPI leader, said getting rid of stray dogs was an important function of the corporation but the rabies threat has put a question mark on its functioning.

Mr Kirpal Singh, Additional Commissioner, said the “negligence” campaign undertaken by the MC and the Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.

Social activist S.S. Sharma has presented a demand charter to the MC, seeking a compensation of Rs 10 lakh for the kin of victims of negligence of the corporation.

The Additional Commissioner said the corporation had sanctioned a fresh sum of Rs 70,000 for the anti-rabies vaccination and sterilisation campaign.

Meanwhile, several dogs have been killed in the Verka area and the carcasses have not been disposed of.


Chheharta-Attari bypass accident-prone
Pawan Kumar

AMRITSAR: The site for the proposed India Gate project at the Chheharta-Attari bypass on the Amritsar-Lahore road has turned into an accident-prone area.

Vehicles coming from Attari road sometimes ram into the low-boundary wall encircling the three-way crossing due to the absence of streetlights and reflectors. The sharp turn at the large roundabout demarcated for the ambitious project has aggravated the problem. One road from the bypass leads to the Attari railway station and the Wagha checkpost and another to Rajasansi airport.

On an average one accident is reported here daily in the evening when tourists return from the Wagha checkpost after witnessing the retreat ceremony. But only a few of them register their complaints with the police.

It was planned to erect India Gate at this bypass. On October 24, 1977, a foundation stone was laid by former Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal to commemorate 400 years of the foundation of Amritsar.

However, work on the project has not started even after more than two decades. The chowk has been used by the police to exhibit vehicles like trucks, jeeps and vans damaged in road mishaps.

Residents of nearby villages plead that the Municipal Corporation and the civil administration should take immediate steps to curb frequent accidents as about 200 to 300 vehicles, including heavy trucks and army vehicles, pass through this chowk daily.


Writers’ delegation crosses over to Pak
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, October 17
An 11-member delegation of eminent Indian writers led by Ajeet Cour, founder president of the Foundation SAARC Writers and Literateure, a SAARC recognised body, today crossed over to Pakistan through the international Wagah joint check point here.

The delegation will attend a conference “Pen and Peace” to be held in Lahore and Islamabad attended by eminent writers of the two countries.

While talking to this correspondent, the delegation felt that intellectuals and writers could play a vital role in creating a thaw between the two countries. She alleged that politicians of both countries did not want peace to prevail due to vested interests.

She said the intellectuals of both countries should come forward to highlight the concerns of people of the two countries. She said the relevance of writers in bringing peace should not be ignored.

Ms Sayida Sayeed Hamid, founder chairperson of the All-India Muslim Women Conference, said the visit by delegations of India and Pakistan to each others’ countries would help maintain pressure on governments of both countries to ease tensions.

The delegation included Gian Pith Award winner Indra Goswami, Jeelani Bano, Urdu fiction writer, Dr Kamal Kumar, Associate Professor of Delhi University, Dr Shehpar Rasool, Urdu poet, Manohar Shyam Joshi, Chitra Mudgal, Taran Gujral and Dr Jagtar Singh.


Workshop on quake awareness ends
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, October 17
To handle the threat of an earthquake, the district administration has decided to form wardwise committees, which will be imparted training in rescue operations, restoration of road network, resumption of drinking water supply, communication, healthcare and provision of essential supplies.

A team of 100 doctors, professors and architects would also be sent to Hyderabad to get training in earthquake disaster management.

Addressing a press conference here today on the conclusion of a two-day workshop on urban earthquake awareness, mitigation and preparedness, Mr Ashok Gupta, Deputy Commissioner, said Jalandhar and Amritsar were among the 169 multihazard-prone districts identified by the Government of India-UNDP Disaster Risk Management Programme. He said parts of Punjab fell in the high-risk zone and a slight tremor was felt here last week.

Mr Gupta said the Army presence in Jalandhar cantonment was an enormous support to the district administration and the Army had assured to stand by the administration in case of an earthquake.


Cell mooted to check human trafficking
Tribune News Service

Patiala, October 17
The Punjab Government has mooted a special cell under the charge of an IGP to catch pop singers and travel agents who dupe the youth on the pretext of taking them abroad.

According to sources, Chief Minister Amarinder Singh had stressed the need to act against people who brain-washed the youth to sell land and property to go abroad.

The sources said little known a pop singers who had been travelling abroad numerous times would be put under the scanner. They would be asked to submit a report of the troupes they had taken abroad and also be asked to give an account of the present whereabouts of the troupe members. Travel agencies and cultural troupe promoters in the state would also be investigated.

Meanwhile, a travel agency is already being investigated by the Patiala police. The police claims that Shamsher Mehndi, prime accused in the human trafficking case, has revealed that a Jalandhar-based agency used to specialise in sending the youth abroad in the name of various troupes. Paras, an athlete in the Punjab Armed Police in Jalandhar, was also being investigated in this regard.


Kar seva dispute takes new turn
Our Correspondent

Faridkot, October 17
The year-long dispute between Baba Ajit Singh, a noted kar sevak of several Sikh shrines, and the local committee over the kar seva of the about 100-year-old famous gurdwara at Jand Sahib village in Faridkot district has taken a new turn. Sarpanches of the nearly 40 gram panchayats of the adjoining area in a joint resolution have appealed to the President of the SGPC to replace the gurdwara committee as it failed to maintain the sanctity of the shrine and the condition of the building was deteriorating day by day according to Baba Maghar Singh.

The resolution further stated that though Baba Sant Maghar Singh, kar sevak and associate of Baba Ajit Singh, was giving a new look through kar seva to the shrine, the committee was unnecessarily creating obstacles in the work to meet its personal motives.

Copies of the resolution have also been sent to senior Sikh representatives, including Giani Joginder Singh Vedanti, Jathedar of Akal Takht, Mr Manmohan Singh Brar, Chairman, Sikh Gurdwara Judicial Commission, Mr Jagjit Singh Brar, member of the Executive Committee, SGPC, and Mr Kushaldeep Singh Dhillon, local MLA, and all senior district officers seeking their intervention to make the programme a success.


CPI activists to gherao DC offices
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, October 17
Dr Joginder Dayal, Secretary of the Punjab unit of the CPI, said today the party activists would gherao the offices of the Deputy Commissioners on November 27 throughout the state in protest against the WTO policies and the alleged anti-people policies of the state and Central governments.

Talking to mediapersons here today, Dr Dayal said before gheraeoing the DC offices the CPI would also launch a mass contact programme from November 20 to 26 to mobilise public and its cadre. He said the new economic policies of state and Central governments were adversely affecting agriculture, trade and industry.

Farmers of Punjab were also under heavy debt to the tune of Rs 9,000 crore. He urged the Union Government to give Rs 9,000 crore to Punjab to waive the loans of farmers.

Dr Dyal asked the Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, to give Rs 30 per quintal as bonus for paddy as promised by him.


Encroachments on panchayat land to be removed
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, October 17
The Department of Rural Development and Panchayat (RDP) today launched campaign from the Verka block to remove encroachments on panchayat land.

Stating this in a press note the Block Development and Panchayat Officer, said the encroachments were being removed on the directions of Mr S.R. Ladhar, Director of the RDP.

The introduction of a novel way to expedite the recovery of embezzled amount from economic offenders by putting social pressure has produced good results. Names of economic offenders were put on huge public notice boards in the villages concerned. Certain panchayats politicians from the ruling party have deposited the outstanding amounts to save themselves from social stigma.

The whopping Rs 10 crore which was allegedly embezzled during the five-year tenure of the SAD-BJP government is yet to be recovered


Flying set to resume at Patiala club
Jangveer Singh
Tribune News Service

The sources said it may take some time before flying starts in earnest in the club. This was because all students coming to the club wanted to fly the Cessna aircraft. Training on the Cessna had universal acceptability, they said, while the Pushpak was an obsolete Indian-made model, which did not command the same respect abroad.

Patiala, October 17
Flying is set to resume in the Patiala Flying Club after nearly six months, with a Pushpak aircraft being put through a test flight.

The club has two aircraft at its disposal. While the Pushpak aircraft was grounded nearly six months ago due to a minor fault during the course of which its insurance lapsed, the Cessna aircraft’s engine was sent to Chandigarh for repair two years ago.

According to sources, the Pushpak aircraft had a minor snag which could have been rectified here easily. However, the staff could not come for this from Chandigarh due to a ‘severe financial squeeze’. They said the repair, which included welding of some parts, was finally done some time back but the aircraft could not fly because its insurance cover had lapsed. They said recently the aircraft had been covered under a third party insurance policy, clearing the way for its test flight today.

The sources said it may take some time before flying starts in earnest in the club. This was because all students coming to the club wanted to fly the Cessna aircraft. Training on the Cessna had universal acceptability, they said, while the Pushpak was an obsolete Indian-made model, which did not command the same respect abroad.

This may not be the end of the woes of the club, which is even finding it difficult to pay the salaries of its employees, which usually remain in arrears. The sources said with the Cessna aircraft lying grounded, students were not likely to re-enrol for flying in the club. The sources said the Cessna aircraft engine had been sent for overhauling to a private firm in Chandigarh. They said the firm had requested the club to provide money for the spares needed, as suppliers were not giving the same to the firm without payment keeping in view the past record of the club. As the club did not have the needed money, work on the engine was not being done by the firm.

The Flying Club Workers Union has, meanwhile, welcomed the start of flying in the club. It appealed to the government to speed up the process of acquisition of aircraft under the proposed Punjab Flying Club Authority. Mr Balinder Singh said though the authority had been envisaged a long time ago, it could not take off due to various reasons.

The workers maintain that putting all flying clubs under an authority following which more aircraft can be bought for all three flying clubs in the state is the only way to take the clubs out of the present situation. The workers said they had already represented to the government in this regard and hoped for the early constitution of the authority.


Physically challenged face official apathy
Monica Ahluwalia

Recently, the State Minister for Public Health and Rural Development, Mr Jasjit Singh Randhawa, had also assured that the Civil Surgeon’s office would been shifted to the first floor, which was lying vacant. 

Patiala, October 17
Physically challenged persons of Patiala district and nearby villages are facing problems due to official apathy in getting their work done in the Civil Surgeon’s office. The office is situated on the fifth floor of the newly constructed Mini Secretariat, here.

Either one has to take the stairs or use the lift. There is no ramp in the building, which is otherwise necessary in case the lift is not functioning.

Moreover, no one has been employed to operate the lift. Some time back, the Civil Surgeon had recruited one person for the post but he himself had got trapped in the lift for nearly three hours. After the incident, people are scared of using the lift.

Recently, the State Minister for Public Health and Rural Development, Mr Jasjit Singh Randhawa, had also assured that the Civil Surgeon’s office would been shifted to the first floor, which was lying vacant. He had promised this at a rehabilitation camp for the disabled persons , organised by the Bhai Ghanayaji Seva Society in collaboration with the National Handicapped Welfare Council, last month.

However, the president of the council, Mr H.S. Ahuja, said nothing concrete had come out of the minister’s promise. While highlighting the welfare work being done by the organisation, he said they had also demanded that the office be shift to the ground floor as it was not possible for the physically challenged to reach the fifth floor.

Mr Ajit Sailani, Chairman, National Handicapped Welfare Council, alleged that the PWD Act, passed in 1995, had not been implemented till date. He said that under the Act, provisions had been made to provide social security and equal rights to the physically challenged so that they could lead their life as normal persons. He urged the Central and state governments to take up the issue for the betterment of the physically challenged persons.


Drive to issue birth certificates
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, October 17
The government has launched a campaign to issue birth certificates to all children under 10 years of age. The first phase of the campaign will start on November 14.

Stating this here yesterday at a meeting of the district officials, Mr Inderjit Singh, Director, Census, Punjab, said nearly 40 lakh children in the state were to be issued the birth registration certificates. He said parents in the urban areas were getting the births of their children registered, while in the rural areas awareness about it was lacking. The drive had been launched all over the country and the first phase would continue till November 20, he added.

He said the people would be made aware of the importance of the registration of birth and death as these were critical inputs for the formulation of plans and policies. A state-level coordination committee had been formed and the committee members would be touring various districts of the state to create awareness among masses about the drive and monitor the progress of the work, he added.

Mr Inderjit Singh said in the first phase nearly 25 lakh children, whose names had been registered but not issued birth certificates, would be issued certificates. The Deputy Commissioners had been given instructions to prepare the birth certificates by November 13. Help from the employees of various departments would be taken during the distribution of the same.


Only 55 pc births are registered, says Census chief
Our Correspondent

Mansa, October 17
Nearly 26 million births take place every year in the country and of this only 55 per cent get registered. This translates into nearly 14.3 million births being registered, about 5.7 million in urban areas and the rest in rural areas. This was stated by Mr Inderjit Singh, Director Census Operations.


Sarpanch challenges Punjab’s mistake
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 17
Incredible, but true. A Ludhiana district resident was elected sarpanch. Took oath. Was issued an identity card. Only to be told later that it was all a big mistake.

Just after two months of his taking oath in July, Gurdeep Singh of Marewal village was issued a letter by Ludhiana’s Block Development and Panchayat Officer (BDPO) directing him against taking part in any gram panchayat work. The reason: His name had been “wrongly printed”.

The BDPO announced, in his letter issued on September 24, that one Parminder Singh was the sarpanch. In fact, he had been declared elected by a notification issued on behalf of the Punjab’s State Election Commission.

Challenging the government’s action on at least two grounds, Gurdeep Singh, in his petition filed before the Punjab and Haryana High Court, yesterday stated that the notification could not have been issued without giving him an opportunity of hearing.

Taking up the petition against the state of Punjab and other respondents, the Bench issued notice of motion.


Chakreshwari fair attracts people from all faiths
Surinder Bhardwaj

Fatehgarh Sahib: This town is the land of great martyrs, saints and gods. A number of religious shrines of the Sikhs, the Muslims and the Hindus such as Gurdwara Fatehgarh Sahib, Rauza Sharif and Mata Chakreshwari Devi Jain Temple are situated here.

Mata Chakreshwari Devi Jain Temple is situated along the Sirhind-Chunni road about two km from here. Thousands of pilgrims from all over the country and abroad assemble here to pay obeisance every year on the full moon of Kartika. This year the annual fair was held from October 9 to 12.

It is the only temple in the entire country where the idol of Mata Chakreshwari Devi is installed. According to story, once Rajasthan faced a grave drought and the people were starving. A large number of devotees of Mata Chakreshwari Devi moved towards Punjab on their bullock carts. The idol of the goddess was placed on one of the carts. The group on the way stopped near Sirhind for rest. Most of these devotees were Khandelwal Jains. As they set out after a brief rest, the cart carrying the idol of the goddess did not move despite their best efforts. After some time, they heard a voice to let the idol lie there, as it was fittest place for the goddess. Later, devotees built a temple at that spot. Now a beautiful temple, an ‘amrit kund’ and a complex for the stay of devotees has been constructed there. A free dispensary service has also been provided started for the residents of the area.

Not only Jains but also people of other faiths visit this temple to pay obeisance to the goddess.

Sikhs also hold this place in reverence because Diwan Todar Mal, who was also a devotee of Mata Chakreshwari Devi, had purchased land to cover the area selected for the cremation of two younger Sahibzadas of Guru Gobind Singh, who were bricked alive at Gurdwara Fatehgarh Sahib. Now Gurdwara Jyoti Swarupis is situated there.

Mr Devinder Nath Jain, general secretary of the temple management committee, said more than 25,000 devotees took part in the annual fair this year.


Plying of more buses sought
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, Oct 17
The local unit of the INTUC has urged the district administration to start a bus service to areas beyond the railway line since it is very hard to commute to several localities.

Mr Saudagar Singh and Mr Mohan Verma, president and general secretary, said the a rickshaw fares were out of the reach of many resident.

There was not even a single bus plying on the routes to Parasram Nagar, S A S Nagar, Sanguana Basti, Janta Nagar, Hans Nagar, Lal Singh Basti, Amarpura Basti etc, which was a source of inconvience to hundreds of people living in these localities it said.


Dal Khalsa convention
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 17
The Dal Khalsa and other Sikh bodies have convened a religio-political convention for October 23 in Amritsar. It was earlier scheduled for October 25.

Addressing a press conference here today, Mr Jaspal Singh Dhillon of the Human Rights and Democratic Forum said the Akal Takht Jathedar, Giani Joginder Singh Vedanti and the Jathedars of four other Takhts and former Takht chiefs were among the invitees.


Traders gherao Vigilance Office
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, October 17
Traders of Shastri Market gheraoed the office of the SP (Vigilance) for more than two hours in protest against the keeping of four businessmen in ‘’illegal custody’. They were picked up by the vigilance teams from their houses in the early morning in connection with alleged tampering of a temple record.

However, the vigilance officials released the four traders — Mr Dipak Mehra, Mr Rajesh Kapur, Mr Subhash Kumar and Mr Harbans Singh.

Earlier, Shastri Market remained closed. The businessmen also jammed traffic for some time in front of the Vigilance Bureau office.

When contacted, Mr Tejinder Pal Singh Sandhu, SP, said that the bureau had registered a case against three employees of the local municipal corporation.


Case against Mann's guards flayed
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, October 17
The local unit of the SAD (A) has condemned the registration of a "false" case against the bodyguards of MP Simranjit Singh Mann in Phagwara a few days ago.

Mr Brinder Singh Mann, president of the unit, said the incident was an indicator of the law and order situation in the state. He said the much hyped anti-graft campaign of the government was a sham.


7 thieves get police remand
Our Correspondent

Abohar, October 17
Seven members of a gang of thieves have been arrested and huge quantities of wheat mustard and cotton seed have been seized from their possession. They have been remanded in police custody for two days. The police also arrested Baljinder and Charanjit Singh for carrying 5 gm of smack. They have been remanded in judicial custody.


PSEB directed to compensate farmers
Our Correspondent

Faridkot, October 17
A three-member panel of the local District Consumer Disputes and Redressal Forum, headed by its president, Mr B.C. Gupta, in a unanimous decision has asked the Punjab State Electricity Board to release the tubewell connections to six farmers of Mumara village in the district within six months.

Accepting the complaint of the aggrieved farmers, the forum has also ordered the board to pay a compensation of Rs 6000 to each of them for delaying the release of the tubewell connections and causing harassment. It has also ordered the board to pay 12 per cent interest on the security deposited by them to get the connections. The forum members rejected the plea of the board that the delay in the release of the connections had been due to the non-availability of material.

Filing their complaints separately before the forum, the farmers, Sohan Singh Malkiat Singh, Nihal Singh, Narang Singh, Sukhdarshan Singh and Jagroop Singh, said they had applied for the connections in 1984 and after 17 years, the board issued them demand notices in 2001 for depositing security of Rs 9,000 each. However, inspite of fulfilling all formalities, the board failed to release the connections, causing harassment to them.


Lok adalat today 
Our Correspondent

Barnala, October 17
A lok adalat will be held in the local courts complex tomorrow. This was stated today by Mr Karnail Singh, Judicial Magistrate (First Class)-cum-Chairman, Subdivision Free Legal Aid Committee


Principal, student arrested on corruption charges
Lalit Mohan

Ropar, October 17
Vigilance sleuths have arrested Principal of the Shaheed Kanshi Ram College of Physical Education Bhupinder Singh on the charges of corruption.

According to sources the Principal was booked for giving admission to a student, Nishan Singh, to Bachelor of Physical Education (BPE) course on the basis of a fake certificate. Nishan Singh initially got admitted to the BPE course in 2002-2003 session against a general seat by paying Rs 8,000 as fee. However, on a complaint the Principal got his Plus II certificate verified from the Punjab School Education Board (PSEB). The board authorities informed the college that the Plus II certificate of Nishan Singh was fake. On the basis of inquiry the admission of Nishan Singh was cancelled.

However, mysteriously Nishan Singh once again got admitted to the college in the NRI quota. This time he paid a fee of Rs 40,000 and allegedly an amount of Rs 7,000 as bribe to the Principal. The involvement of the college authorities became evident from the fact that even the earlier fee of Rs 8,000, deposited by Nishan Singh, was adjusted in the payment made by him later, the Vigilance sources said today.

The Principal of college, however, feigned ignorance about the re-admission of the student on the plea that he was on leave the day Nishan Singh got readmitted.

The Vigilance authorities, however, dismissed the assertion of the Principal and said only the Principal had the authority to give admission to students in the college. Thus he cannot be absolved of the charges. The sources further added that vigilance authorities today also arrested Nishan Singh from his native village in Gurdaspur.

A case under Sections 420, 465, 468, 471, 477 and 120 B of the IPC has been registered against the college Principal. The Principal was today remained into judicial custody till October 30 by the CJM, Ropar.


SHO arrested for taking bribe from doctor
Our Correspondent

Ferozepore, October 17
The Station House Officer (SHO) of the city police station has been arrested and a case has been registered against him for allegedly taking a bribe of Rs 25,000 from a doctor. According to information, a case under Section 7 (13), IPC has been registered against Inspector Satnam Singh, SHO, for allegedly taking Rs 25,000 from a doctor on the complaint of Dr Jagmeet Kaur.

Sources said on October 12 Baaz Singh of Changali village who had come to Guru Ram Dass Hospital for treatment died as soon as he was given anaesthesia before being operated upon. Relatives and friends of the patient thronged the hospital operated and attacked it. They even reportedly manhandled the doctor concerned and hospital staff. They alleged that he had died due to negligence.

Dr Harbinder Singh, owner of the hospital, informed police. However, instead of controlling the mob, it took him along with another doctor to the police station and allegedly demanded a bribe of Rs 2 lakh. Dr Jagmeet Kaur, wife of Dr Harbinder Singh, alleged that the Inspector took Rs 25,000 to take away the body from the hospital and asked them to send the balance to him later. Praveen Sinha, SSP, had ordered a probe into the matter.


Singer Sukhwinder Panchi arrested
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, October 17
Pop and folk singer Sukhwinder Panchi was arrested by the police today for allegedly taking money from a Sarinh village resident on a promise to send her son to Italy.

Sukhwinder Panchi of the “Dil Watte Deve Bhaira.....” fame was arrested from his Basant Avenue residency by a team of the Police Division 6 led by SHO Jaavir Singh.

Ms Gafoor, a resident of Sarinh village, near Nakodar, on the basis of whose complaint Sukhwinder was arrested, had alleged that the singer had taken Rs 3.5 lakh for sending her son Manzoor Ahmed to Italy in 1999, but he did not fulfil his promises. Instead her son was arrested by airport authorities and they had to obtain ball from court. Later Panchi returned Rs 1.62 lakh after much persuasion and gave cheques for Rs 1.33 which bounced when presented to bank. Though Ms Gafoor tried her best to persuade Panchi to return the money, but he did not do so forcing her to lodge the complaint.

The police had also booked Panchi’s cousin Jagtar Singh, also a resident of Sarinh village, and Rajinder Roobi, wife of the singer. While the police could not arrest Jagtar, it was reportedly lenient in case of Roobl as it did not have much clinching evidence against her so far.


Two more robbers arrested 
Our Correspondent

Hoshiarpur, October 17
The local police has arrested two persons involved in 47 cases of snatching in different districts of Punjab and Himachal Pradesh. Ms Gurpreet Deo, SSP, Hoshiarpur, stated in a press note here last evening that Pavjinder Singh, alias Sonu, a resident of Talwan, Jalandhar, and Devinder Kumar, alias Toni, a resident of Kot Mangal Singh, Ludhiana, were arrested while they were traveling in a Maruti Zen car taken away forcibly by them.

She said on a tip-off that they were coming from Jalandhar to Hoshiarpur to commit crime, the police intercepted them near the Chak Gujran crossing and arrested two of them while their another accomplice managed to escape. The car had a fake number PB 29-D-9862 and its registration certificate of the vehicle was also forged.

The arrested persons belonged to a gang headed by Dharminder Singh, alias, Bhinda, a resident of Shadipur, Nakodar, and Narinder Singh, alias Nindi, a resident of Mahla, Goraya, who used to lure unemployed youths of Doaba region into criminal activities. Dharminder Singh another member of the gang Satnam Singh were arrested by the police sometime ago.

Mrs Deo said the arrested persons had revealed that they along with their accomplices had taken away forcibly cars, motorcycles, mobile phones, cash, and jewellery. They were involved in 19 cases of snatching at Jalandhar, six cases at Kapurthala, five at Nawanshahr, five at Hoshiarpur, two at Ludhiana, five at Moga and two cases at Himachal Pradesh. They had taken away 20 cars, four two wheelers and snatched 23 mobile phones, ornaments and cash from various persons.


Ex-sarpanch arrested
Our Correspondent

Faridkot, October 17
The Vigilance Department, Faridkot yesterday arrested Iqbal Singh, a former sarpanch of Pakhi Khurd village in this district on the charge of misutilising government funds given to him over two years ago by the previous Punjab Government for various development work in the village.

A case has been registered against him. Giving details Mr Baldev Singh Dhaliwal, DSP, Vigilance, said in 2001, the state government had granted a grant of Rs 8.88 lakh to Iqbal Singh for the development of the area in different fields and during various works he misutilised about Rs 1 lakh. In this connection the Vigilance Department received complaints against the alleged accused and later about two months ago the matter was investigated through Mr Mohinder Pal and Mr Karnail Singh, Executive Engineer and SDO B&R, respectively, Panchayati Raj Faridkot, who found that the former sarpanch had utilised nearly Rs 7.99 lakh against the allocation of Rs 8.88 lakh.


Wife arrested in NRI murder case
Our Correspondent

Phagwara, October 17
Mrs Rajwinder Kaur, wife of Gurpartap Singh, has been arrested on charges of murdering her husband in connivance with her father Tarsem Singh, alias Baldev Singh, and brother Laddu of Ajnoha village.

It was learnt today that Mrs Rajwinder Kaur had been remanded in two days’ police custody.

Rajinder Kaur, mother of Gurpartap Singh of the local Sarabha Nagar, had alleged that her son was murdered on June 7 this year for grabbing his landed property worth crores of rupees in Phagwara. The viscera report had also established that the NRI had died of eating something poisonous.


Lower deduction of CPF
PU Vice-Chancellor to write to private colleges
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 17
The Panjab University Vice-Chancellor, Prof K.N. Pathak, has taken cognizance of a lower deduction of the contributory provident fund (CPF) in respect of employees of the non-government, aided colleges entitled to 95 per cent grants-in-aid.

He proposes to write to the managements of all 122 colleges to effect CPF deductions on the total salary — basic pay plus all allowances, excluding house rent allowance — and not just on the basic pay as is the practice now.

The university has also taken note of the fact that against the mandatory subscription of 12 per cent deduction of the CPF, effective May, 1997, the Punjab Government and the Chandigarh Administration continued to deduct the CPF at the rate of 10 per cent. The employees of government-aided private colleges have, thus, been denied the enhanced subscription percentage, putting them to a huge financial loss on retirement. This glaring anomaly is there in all private colleges affiliated to the other two universities as well.

This anomaly was pointed out by Prof Charanjit Chawla at the last meeting of the Senate here on October 12.

Prof Chawla said the Punjab Government and the Chandigarh Administration were reimbursing salary, provident fund, house rent allowance, medical allowance and city compensatory allowance under the 95 per cent grants-in-aid scheme . But the two governments were paying only 10 per cent CPF on the basic pay instead of the total salary — the basic pay plus allowances, except the house rent allowance.

Pointing towards Ms Nisha Sarad, DPI (Colleges), Prof Chawla reminded her that this issue had been taken up with the Punjab Government several times but to no effect. Even the Chandigarh Administration was silent on the representations made in this connection.


SLIET to get deemed university status soon
Techfest 2003 begins
Sushil Goyal
Tribune News Service

Longowal, October 17
A two-day national-level technical festival Techfest 2003 with the theme “Technology beyond imagination: A vision of an even better tomorrow” today began at the Sant Longowal Institute of Engineering and Technology (SLIET) here. Dr R.S. Nirjar, president of the Indian Society for Technical Education (ISTE), New Delhi, inaugurated the Techfest 2003 by lighting a lamp.

Welcoming the chief guest and the gathering at the inaugural session, Dr R.C. Chauhan, Director, SLIET, gave detailed information about the institute and its achievements. He also announced that the library of the SLIET would be electronic by the year-end for the purpose of locating books and journals from catalogues.

Dr H.P. Sinha, executive secretary of the Indian Society for Technical Education, New Delhi, said the SLIET would have autonomous status as a deemed university soon. He also said the motive of the ISTE was to develop the all-round personality of the students.

Dr R.P. Singh, Principal of Engineering and Technology College, Ferozepore, said Dr Nirjar had a special love for Punjab and Punjabis. This was the reason that he was always ready to help Punjab on the technical education front.

Addressing the gathering, Dr Nirjar, chief guest, assured the SLIET authorities that he would make efforts to organise the annual function of the ISTE for 2004 on the SLIET campus at Longowal. He said the SLIET had done experiments in the field of technical education by introducing certificate courses on its campus and this experiment would now be repeated at the national level soon. He said technical education was the only medium for progressing in life. He said as no one had honoured or given respect to technical hands in the past in this country, this was the main reason that Indians could not bring the industrial revolution to the country. He also emphasised on the need to develop a technical education culture to curb poverty and unemployment.

In the two-day Techfest 2003, besides cultural programme items, quiz contests, group discussions, seminars on rural development and biotechnology, technical sessions are also being held.

The SLIET authorities have received about 375 research papers on various topics of engineering and technology and about 200 technical models from 62 technical institutions of the country. More than 500 students from about 40 technical institutions of the country had arrived on the SLIET campus till this afternoon to participate in the Techfest 2003.

On the occasion, Dr Nirjar also released a souvenir on Techfest 2003. Mementoes were also presented by the SLIET authorities to Dr Nirjar, Dr Sinha and Dr R.P. Singh.

All models have been displayed in big hall for the students and the general public.


BBK DAV College wins youth festival trophy

Amritsar, October 17
BBK DAV College for Women here won the Guru Nanak Dev University Women’s Zonal Youth Festival A division trophy on the concluding day of the four-day festival yesterday.

RR Bawa DAV College for Girls, Batala, finished runner up while Khalsa College for Women, Amritsar, stood third. The B division trophy went to SDSPM College for Women, Rayya, while SN College, Qadian, was second and GTB College, Khankot third.

Mr Bir Devinder Singh, Deputy Speaker, Punjab Assembly, presided over the function and gave away the trophies to the winners. — OC

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