P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



Daler’s bail plea dismissed
Tribune News Service

Patiala, November 4
Patiala Additional Chief Judicial Magistrate P.S. Dhanoa today dismissed the regular bail application filed by pop star Daler Mehndi even as the district police today deputed police teams to arrest the singer in connection with a human trafficking case has been which has been accused of being a partner of brother Shamsher Mehndi.

Contesting the bail application, the prosecution claimed that complaints had been received from people who had alleged that they had handed over money to Daler. It also claimed that Daler was in possession of photostat copies of visas and passports of the complainants in the case.

The prosecution claimed that investigations into the case had revealed that an amount of Rs 1.94 crore was involved and hence the custodial interrogation of the pop star was needed. It said the singer had not cooperated with the police on two occasions when he had been questioned by a special investigating team (SIT) of the Patiala police. It also claimed that the court of the ACJM was competent to grant regular bail under Section 437 of the CrPC only and that Daler had filed a bail plea in the case under Section 439 of the CrPC.

Daler’s lawyer Anand Parkash, while pleading for the regular bail of the pop star, said the bail application had been filed in the court of the ACJM because the Delhi High Court had asked the pop star to file for regular bail in the court concerned and that the Sadar police station, in which the human trafficking case had been registered, came under the jurisdiction of the ACJM.

The lawyer said no case was made out against Daler because there was no mention in the FIR that the pop singer had taken money from anyone or was in the possession of any of the passports of the complainants in the case. He also claimed that the police had followed a vindictive attitude against Daler despite the fact that he had joined investigation in the case on two occasions. He said on October 27 when Daler had first come to join investigation, his vehicle was damaged and his life came under threat from a mob, which was allowed on the premises of the Sadar police station. He said while Daler had been questioned for seven hours on the first day, the singer had been questioned for five hours on October 28.

The defendant’s lawyer also claimed that on October 31 when Daler was scheduled to join investigation, the police was informed that Daler was ill and that his lawyers would submit the relevant papers to the SIT. He said on reaching the Sadar police station, the lawyers did not find any member of the SIT there and that the Duty Officer in the police station refused to accept the documents. He said the documents were not accepted by members of the SIT even the next day despite numerous attempts. This, he claimed, indicated that the police was deliberately not accepting the documents so that it could ask for his custodial interrogation on plea that he was not cooperating with it.

Meanwhile, the Sadar police has filed an application in the court of the ACJM, seeking arrest warrants against Daler Mehndi. The application will come up for hearing tomorrow.

Daler’s lawyer said his client may approach the Sessions Court in Patiala for regular bail.

SIT members pulled up

The judge pulled up members of the SIT present in the court, asking them why they had permitted a mob to enter the police station premises when Daler arrived there to join investigation on October 27. An SIT member denied the incident following which the judge said reports in this regard had appeared in the media and that there was no need for even complainants, as claimed by the police, to be at the police station when investigations into the case were to be carried out.


3 inspectors in Daler case transferred
Tribune News Service

Patiala, November 4
The special investigation team (SIT) of the Patiala police has virtually been dismantled with Patiala zone Inspector-General of Police (IGP) Shashikant today transferring all the three inspectors posted in the SIT.

The transfer was done simultaneously at the district level, even as the state government took a decision to remove Mr Paramraj Singh Umranangal from the post of Senior Superintendent of Police of the district today.

The IGP today transferred Inspectors Didar Singh, Shamsher Singh ‘Guddu’ and Prem Singh from the district. This effectively means they will no longer be able to function as members of the SIT. The IG, when contacted, said the transfers had been made to “overhaul” the police structure in the district and that more such transfers could take place under this move.

Mr Shashikant, however, claimed that the three transfers were not linked to the Daler Mehndi case. When asked whether there were specific complaints against the police officers, he refrained from comment, only saying, “I am trying to overhaul the structure. Let it be at all levels.”

He also did not disclose as to where the police officers had been transferred and who had replaced them.

He said this would be done in due time. Sources, however, claimed that the police officers were likely to be transferred out of the Patiala division.

Though the IG claimed the transfers did not have anything to do with the Daler Mehndi case, observers said effect of the transfer was likely to be felt most in the Daler case. One of the inspectors, Mr Didar Singh, had been transferred out of the city earlier, too, but his services were requisitioned for the SIT.

The sources said this had also been taken note of by senior police officials.

The sources said the incoming SSP, Mr A. S. Rai, was expected to be given a free hand to reorganise the SIT formed for the Mehndi case.


Sukha cheated us of Rs 8 lakh, say glamour-struck brothers
Jangveer Singh
Tribune News Service

Noorkherian (Patiala), November 4
Children still remember Sukha Dilliwala’s trip to this village situated on the outskirts of the city. The children of the local Government School say Sukha distributed his visiting cards among them and impressed them with his Honda City car.

The elders of the village were impressed by the good luck of Balbir Singh whose sons were on the path to riches with two sisters awaiting their arrival in the USA.

“For nearly two years I have not been able to think of getting my sons married because Sukha told villagers that they were being sent to the USA to marry two sisters who had recently gone there. With the marriage plans having been struck following an advertisement in a Jalandhar vernacular paper listing that two brothers would be given preference, the family of Balbir Singh was envied in the village,” a villager said.

Balbir Singh has only eight acres but since the land is close to the city, its value has increased. “People are now ready to buy land here for nearly Rs 2,000 per square yard which means Balbir Singh’s land is worth a few crores another a villager said. Balbir Singh’s sons Pargat and Pushpinder want to sell the land due to its value.

Pushpinder, who has studied till plus two, and Pargat who did not take his plus two papers, said they got carried away with Sukha’s glamourous lifestyle and had no qualms in parting with Rs 8 lakh which they claim to have given to the singer.

“He visited us for the first time in a Honda City car which was replaced for a new Honda City car on his next trip”, Pargat says. He said the singer impressed them with his style. “He told us that he was paid Rs 2.50 lakh per show and that we could take the Rs 8 lakh which we had given to him whenever we wanted. Moreover, we knew he was a singer of repute and his claim that he would not endanger his career for a few lakhs made us trust him”, he said. Their family knew some travel agents but was hesitant to trust them due to widespread reports of fraud perpetrated by them.

The youth say they were made to live the American dream by Sukha.”First he made us install a telephone at our farmhouse so that we could be accessible. He asked us to keep servants to do the farm work, saying that Embassy officials would otherwise perceive them to be lowly Jats” they said.

“We lived a dream for nearly a month as Sukha had promised to take us abroad in this period. However, the dream began to shatter as he told us there was some inquiry against him and then started ignoring us. He gave us a cheque for Rs 1.50 lakh which bounced”, they said. They were not even shown the photographs of the girls whom they were supposed to marry. “The photographs always seemed to be in the car in which Sukha was not travelling,” Pargat said adding that they would now look for a future in their own country.


Pop singer remanded in police custody
Tribune News Service

Patiala, November 4
A local court today remanded Punjab pop singer Sukhwinder Singh Mann, popularly known as Sukha Dilliwala, in police custody for one day. Sukha was also accused of indulging in human trafficking and had been arrested yesterday in this regard.

Judicial Magistrate S.S. Mann passed this order following a plea from the prosecution that he had recently demanded and received more money from a family whose two boys he had earlier offered to take to the USA as members of his troupe.

Sukha’s lawyer Kundal Singh Nagra, while arguing the case, said there was no need for any remand in the case as the case had been registered four months back. He claimed that the police had conducted an inquiry into the case and absolved the singer of any guilt in the case.

Balbir Singh, a resident of Noorkherian village near here, had alleged in a complaint to the police that Sukha had offered to take his two sons abroad as members of his troupe to facilitate their wedding with two sisters in the USA. 


Private agencies used to hike property value,
says Sukhbir
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, November 4
A cross-section of people, including politicians, have expressed doubts about the authenticity of a probe by sleuths of Punjab Vigilance Bureau into the disproportionate assets case registered against the former Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, and his family members after it came to light that the Vigilance Bureau authorities would pay the private surveyors, engaged by it to survey properties owned by the Badals as per the work done by them.

What triggered suspicion was that a senior Vigilance Bureau official, Mr Surinder Pal Singh, made a statement yesterday that private surveyors, engaged for surveying properties owned by Mr Badal and his kin, would be paid as per the quality of their work.

Mr Mohit Gupta, president, BJP, Bathinda district, said that statement of Mr Singh had established the fact that Vigilance Bureau would not pay good amount to private surveys if they failed to jack up the value of the properties which they had surveyed in the past three days.

“How can private surveyors be allowed to make a survey of properties by the Vigilance Bureau without issuing them the letters of contract and deciding their fee before putting them on job? Will the Vigilance Bureau not use the money to influence the private surveyors to make report according to its convenience?” asked Mr Gupta.

Mr Amrit Pal Singh Brar, general secretary, Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), Punjab, claimed that the Vigilance Bureau had told private surveyors that they would be paid percentage of the value of the properties owned by Mr Badal and his kin which they would work out after making the survey. He added that it would mean that higher the value, they would work out, higher the amount they would get in the shape of their fee.

He said that if the Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, was serious about a fair probe then why he was not making public reports of earlier surveys, done by experts of Vigilance Bureau. He alleged that Capt Amarinder Singh was making efforts to increase the value of properties owned by Mr Badal and his kin to more than hundred times than of its original value.

A former Union Minister, Mr Sukhbir Badal, said that private surveys were being conducted to inflate the value of properties owned by them. He alleged that now the Vigilance Bureau, which had conducted raids at the official and residential premises owned by his in-laws, would try to add to the value of those properties and properties owned by his friends into the value of properties owned by him and his family members to befool the people and other constitutional agencies concerned.

He pointed out that Capt Amarinder Singh, who was afraid that he would be convicted in a defamation case filed against him by Badal family, was trying to save himself by collecting false and fabricating false evidence against them. He said that nobody could play a mischief with the judiciary.

On the other hand, a senior official of Vigilance Bureau, Punjab, while talking to TNS, said that report of private surveyors would be used only if it would suit to the department and otherwise it would not be brought on record.


Charge sheet against Badal likely next week
Naveen S. Garewal
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 4
The Punjab Vigilance Bureau is unlikely to file a chargesheet against the SAD chief, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, this week. The chargesheet which is being given a final shape by the Vigilance bureau would be presented in court sometime next week, it is learnt. According to the fresh assessment, the properties of Mr Badal and his family is being assessed at around Rs 250 crore after the fresh round of assessments by four private firms.

Sources have indicated that the bureau has been unable to lay hands on properties overseas in the name of Mr Badal or his family, but is now trying to link properties in the names of some Punjabis with Mr Badal. The filing of the chargesheet that was to come sometimes in October has been delayed due to lack of concrete evidence.

The properties of the Badals are being assessed at the current market rates taking up the figures to around Rs 250 crore. “The gold purchased at Rs 45 per tola years ago is being assessed at the current market rate”, a person close to the Badals and official of the Vigilance Bureau said.

The bureau has scrutinised the income tax returns of the Badal family to make a sustainable case against the former Chief Minister and his MP son, Sukhbir Singh Badal.

Without wanting to be identified, the sources said the initial assessment of properties identified so far came to under Rs 100 crore which was in sharp variance with the claims made by Chief Minister Amarinder Singh. Consequently, four private firms were hired by the state government to re-evaluate the construction costs and the cost of material used in the Badal properties at Chandigarh, Gurgaon and Balasar.

It is learnt that the Punjab Government has already spent several crores of rupees in investigating the case against the Badals. The entire bureau is primarily involved with this case. The Ludhiana DIG, who is attached to the bureau, is in Delhi to link transactions “discovered” overseas with the Badals.


Badal convenes PAC meeting
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 4
SAD President Parkash Singh Badal has convened a meeting of the Political Affairs Committee (PAC) of the party for November 16 at Gurdwara Alamgir, near Ludhiana, with regard to the annual election of the SGPC President scheduled for November 20.

Mr Badal has also convened a meeting of SGPC members at Teja Singh Samundari Hall, Amritsar, for November 19, a day before the SGPC elections.


Grewal remanded till Nov 17
Our Correspondent

Kharar, November 4
A local court today remanded Gurpinder Singh Grewal, director of a firm owned by the father-in-law of Mr Sukhbir Singh Badal and who was booked in a case registered against Akali MLA from Joga and former Chairman of the Punjab Milkfed Jagdeep Singh Nakai, in judicial custody till November 17.

He was produced before the Kharar Judicial Magistrate, Mrs Baljinder Kaur Bhatia, after the expiry of his two-day police remand.

The court also ordered that the accused should be produced before the court of the Special Judge Ropar on the expiry of his judicial remand.

Public prosecutor Jatinderjeet Singh Punn, while pleading for a 7-day police remand of the accused, said that the accused was taken to New Delhi for the collection of records about the various bribe transactions carried by the accused. However, when the VB team reached there, it discovered that the cousin of the accused had taken all records to Gorakhpur (Uttar Pradesh). He said that the accused needed to be taken to UP for recovery of records, the accused held two passports, one in the name of Gurpinder Singh and another in the name of Arpinder Singh, which were also to be recovered.


Tohra tells Capt to shun politics of confrontation
Our Correspondent

Nawanshahr, November 4
The SGPC chief, Mr Gurcharan Singh Tohra, while talking with the mediapersons at Sikh National College, Charan, Kanwal, Banga, about 12 km from here today refused to answer any question regarding the allegations of corruption against the former Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal. But he said that he, being an elderly politician, would like to advise Capt Amarinder Singh to shun politics of confrontation as ultimately it would prove harmful to the state. ‘If today Balasar farmhouse of Mr Badal is being evaluated, tomorrow the each brick of the Moti Mahal would be measured and evaluated’, quipped Mr Tohra.

Later, Mr Tohra inaugurated a seminar on the topic ‘Role of Babbar Akali movement in the National Freedom Struggle’ organised by the college. Addressing the gathering, he lauded the efforts of the college for organising the seminar, which would enable the students to have an insight into the past of the Sikh Panth.

Mr Tohra also honoured the descendants of great Babbar Akali martyrs, Karam Singh Jhinger and Master Dalip Singh Gosal, on the occasion. He announced a grant of Rs 2.50 lakh for the construction of an administrative block dedicated to the memory of Babbar Akali martyrs in the college. He laid its foundation stone also.

Mr Gurdev Singh Brar, acting president, Sikh Education Society presided over the seminar, in which, scholars from GND varsity, Amritsar, Dr Bikram Singh Ghumman, Dr Joginder Singh, Dr Sukhdev Singh Sohl, Dr S.S. Khahra, Jathedar Sukhdev Singh Bhaur, SGPC member, Dr Jaspal Singh Randhawa, principal, among others read their papers.


CLP leaders back CM’s campaign against corruption
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, November 4
There is complete unity in the Congress Legislative Party and all MLAs are behind the Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh, in his campaign against corruption. This was stated by Mr Sadhu Singh, MLA Amloh, while addressing a meeting of Congress workers here today. He said the campaign against corruption initiated by Capt Amarinder Singh was getting an over-whelming response from the public. He said differences had cropped up among the SAD and revolt within the party was expected anytime. He said the unity between the Badal and Tohra factions was merely an eye wash.

Senior Congress leaders, including Mr Satwantar Karkara, Mr Mahesh Sharma and Mr Devinder Makhan also spoke on the occasion. 


Khalsa Diwan honours SGPC
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, November 4
The Chief Khalsa Diwan honoured prominent personalities, NGOs and the SGPC for rendering services for the welfare of humanity at a function held here yesterday.

The honorary secretary of the Diwan, Mr Bhag Singh Aankhi, said they honoured Pingalwara; Mr P.H. Vaishnav, a former Chief Secretary for promoting NGOs in northern India; Ms Mohini Chandrika for looking after the welfare of deserted infants; Dr J.P. Singh of Ludhiana for his contribution to promote education and research; and Mr J.S. Kochar, Director, Ministry of Social Welfare and Empowerment.

Mr Anakhi said they also honoured Giani Gurdit Singh, Sikh scholar and office-bearer of the Kendriya Singh Sabha. A special award was presented to the SGPC through its honorary secretary, Mr Manjit Singh Calcutta for rendering yeoman services for the propagation of Sikhism, Gurmat philosophy and managing the affairs of the Sikhs.

The Jathedar of Akal Takht, Giani Joginder Singh Vedanti, who presided over the concluding session of the centenary celebrations, lauded the role of the diwan for running a large number of educational institutions.


NRI Sikh jatha leaves for Pak
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, November 4
A jatha of 40 NRI Sikhs, led by Mr Balwinder Singh Chicago, today crossed over to Pakistan through the Wagah joint check-post for undertaking pilgrimage of Sikh shrines there.

The NRI Sikhs said they would take up the case for carrying out kar sewa of gurdwaras in Pakistan. They said the NRI Sikhs were ready to bear the expenses in this regard.

They were given a send-off by Mr Karnail Singh Panjoli, president of the Shiromani Youth Akali Dal, and Mr Kanwarpal Singh, a leader of the Dal Khalsa.

Among others who went to Pakistan included Dr Inderpal Singh, Mr Harkishan Singh Bhatti, Mr Harjap Singh Sangha and Mr Harbans Singh Sangha.

They would return on November 10. Most of the members of the jatha are from the USA and Canada.

Earlier, they were honoured by Mr Harbans Singh Manjpur, an SGPC member.


Rights panel’s directions to SSP in dowry case
Aditi Tandon
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 4
Taking serious note of the inability of the Basti Jodhewal police (Ludhiana district) to register an FIR despite repeated complaints of dowry harassment and even burning filed by one Manju Bala against her in-laws, the Punjab State Human Rights Commission has directed Ludhiana SSP to look into the matter and submit his report to the Commission within eight weeks time.

Reacting immediately to a complaint filed in the case which was highlighted by The Tribune on October 30, the Commission directed SSP, Ludhiana, to register the complaint as a case.

Expressing concern over the case and thereby taking cognizance of the same under the Protection of Human Rights Act, 1993, the Commission further sought compliance of the orders by the IGP, Litigation.

The complaint for protection under the Human Rights Act was filed in the Commission on October 30 by Veena Sharma, coordinator, Human Rights Law Network, who alleged that Manju Bala was burnt for dowry by her in-laws some months back.

It was further alleged that she was being made to run from pillar to post and had not yet been able to get a case registered in this connection.

Manju Bala, who completed her B.Com from A.S. College, Khanna, got married to Satish Kumar on April 14, 2000.

She alleged that after her marriage, she was harassed for dowry by her in-laws, though her husband always supported her.

The case, however, allegedly took a serious turn when on January 23, 2003, Manju Bala’s father-in-law Neki Ram, mother-in-law Maya Devi , brother-in-law and his wife attempted to burn Manju Bala when her husband was away.

While presenting the case of the victim, Veena Sharma, on behalf of her Human Rights Network, also submitted that no dowry harassment case was registered in the case, despite the alleged attempt to set Manju Bala on fire.

Even after repeated attempts, Manju Bala failed to lodge a complaint against her in-laws with the Basti Jodhewal police.

She further alleged that the police refused to even listen to her, because of unknown reasons.

Significantly, the complainant in this case also submitted several applications. First on July 5, 2001, then on October 18, 2002 and again on November 16, 2002, to the police stations in question, intimating them about the alleged attempts of her in-laws to trouble her for dowry, but no effort was made to take any deterrent action.

The complainant’s next door neighbour corroborated Manju Bala’s evidence.

He confirmed that her in-laws used to beat her up.

He added that they also beat up Manju Bala on January 23 and it was after hearing her screams that the neighbours rushed to Manju Bala’s rescue.

She was then taken to a hospital at Rahon Road from where she was discharged after a treatment of seven days.

While considering all the facts brought on record in this case, the Punjab State Human Rights Commission passed the above mentioned directions and adjourned the case to December 22. 


Mann meets World Bank team
Sarbjit Dhaliwal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 4
While interacting with the World Bank team, the President of the SAD (Amritsar), Mr Simranjit Singh Mann, today enlisted several reasons for the stunted economic growth of Punjab. He suggested several remedial measures to put the state’s economy back on the rails. The team is here to review the state’s financial situation.

“One of the biggest dilemma of our economy is that the funds allocated by the Union Government to our state for poverty eradication and development are siphoned off by popular governments, whether of SAD or Congress, to pay for the lethargic, overstaffed, and unproductive bureaucracy,” says Mr Mann in his theme paper regarding state’s economy handed over to the team.

“Bureaucracy is a pampered class that has too many holidays and too many privileges but no accountability. Without the approval of the Union Government, no disciplinary action can be taken against any IAS, IPS officer,” says Mr Mann.

“In consonance with the policy to strengthen anti-corruption measures, we need a greater investment in the anti-corruption vigilance bureau to train officers, buy equipment so that our bureau comes up to world standards,” suggests Mr Mann.

Expressing his party’s concern regarding the poor state of primary education provided to poor sections of society, Mr Mann says that money is required to build classrooms, provide books and for the mid day meal scheme. Better training of teachers and building systems for their accountability is one of the key areas to improve the working of the education department. Any programme that does not provide funds for quality teaching is incomplete.

Poor sections of society face an acute shortage of funds to establish or upgrade their housing requirements. Funds should be provided for this purpose. Building more roads, upgrading and repairing existing ones will have a great impact on the productivity and wealth distribution of Punjab. Funds for international roads which provide access to the markets of Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq and Central Asia will open a new chapter in the prosperity of the region. These trade routes existed through times, re-establishing them will lead to a large scale benefit, he added.

Mr Mann drew the attention of the team to the fact that savings of Punjab had been invested by the nationalised banks in other states such as Delhi which had become sprawling slums at the cost of former business hubs such as Amritsar. He said such banks had removed money from the local markets which were better placed to disburse it and had placed it in the hands of bureaucracy.

He says that at present there are 30 lakh unemployed youth who have no hope of a viable economic future. If economic discontent in Punjab is allowed to turn into political unrest and civil strife then it will have serious consequences in the border state.


Calcutta inspects langar kitchen
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, November 4
The Shiromani Gurdwara Prabandhak Committee today directed its task force to keep strict vigil on the movement of suspects, especially near the Guru Ram Dass langar hall in the Golden Temple complex, following a bid to throw ‘poisonous substance’ by two persons.

These instructions were issued by the SGPC’s honorary secretary, Mr Manjit Singh Calcutta, who personally inspected the working of the community kitchen. He was accompanied by Mr Major Singh, Manager, Darbar Sahib, Mr Amarjit Singh Walia, Mr Maninder Singh Ghunna, general secretary, youth Akali Dal, and Mr Lakhbir Singh.

Mr Calcutta alleged that there seemed to be a deep-rooted conspiracy to defame the SAD by mixing some ‘substance’ in the langar”. He said the SGPC would probe the matter thoroughly.

Mr Calcutta said more than 70,000 pilgrims partake langar every day. He said at least 150 sewadars had been on duty to cook langar round the clock. However, after the yesterday’s incident the SGPC had decided to regulate the entry of those who wanted to volunteer for preparing langar.

Meanwhile, during the one-day police remand, the two accused, Balwant Singh and Santosh Rani, who were arrested on charged of mixing some ‘poisonous’ substance, told the police that they were unnecessarily beaten up by SGPC sewadars following altercation over some issue.

They rebutted the allegations that it was medicine which was prescribed by a Gurdaspur-based doctor and it inadvertently fell into the langar when she (Santosh Rani) was pushed by one of the SGPC employees.


High Court
Sikh panel’s order on Calcutta challenged
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 4
An Ajnala resident today challenged the orders of Sikh Gurdwara Judicial Commission rejecting his application for restraining Mr Manjit Singh Calcutta from working as the chief secretary of Shiromani Gurdwara Prabandhak Committee (SGPC). Directions for setting aside the orders were also sought.

In his petition against Mr Calcutta, SGPC president Gurcharan Singh Tohra and 12 other respondents, petitioner Ranjit Singh stated that the Commission had initially passed an order restraining Mr Calcutta from functioning.

The order was, however, vacated on September 30.

Giving details, the petitioner submitted that retirement age of an SGPC employee, as per the relevant rules, was 58. Mr Calcutta was, however, 65. This was not all.

In his case, other service rules were also relaxed. He was appointed “after granting complete exemption from advertising the posts in the newspapers”.

Taking up the case, Mr Justice Ashutosh Mohunta of the Punjab and Haryana High Court on Tuesday issued notice of motion. The Judge also fixed November 18 as the next date of hearing in the case.

In a similar petition, SGPC secretary Harbeant Singh had earlier claimed that the respondents had no powers to relax the rules. Otherwise also, there was no provision for the post of chief secretary under the SGPC rules, he had claimed. Arguing on the petitioner’s behalf, the counsel had submitted that Mr Calcutta was made senior to the petitioner, even though he had put in over one year of service.

He had also alleged that SGPC president G.S. Tohra was appointing his “own men on important posts”. Seeking directions for quashing Mr Calcutta’s appointment, the petitioner had further contented that Mr Tohra, soon after assuming the president’s office, started appointing his own men in an arbitrary manner.

Mr Calcutta, he had asserted, was Mr Tohra’s close associate and had remained loyal to him even during his “rough” times. Mr Calcutta was, in fact, the General Secretary of the political party floated by Mr Tohra.


15 suspected cases of dengue
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, November 4
Even as more than 15 persons were suspected of being suffering from dengue as per the health department, the department and the municipal corporation have done little to check the spread of dengue.

Of the two fogging machines with the corporation one was broken while the other was also not functioning properly. The claims by the corporation about having conducted the fogging operations twice in city seemed, to have few believers. Mr Kirpal Singh, Additional Commissioner, admitted to having one faulty machine and said it was being repaired.

The Deputy Commissioner’s orders notwithstanding, maximum cases were being reported from slums, semi-slums and city suburbs. Many were being reported from walled city attributing it to poor sanitation. The unofficial number of suspected cases had reached nearly three times more than the official count.

The Health Department had organised only one three-member team to deal with affected areas. Dr Kanwaljit Singh, Officiating Civil Surgeon, said the team comprising an epidemiologist, Sanitary Inspector and mass media person for awareness had been sent to affected areas. Two blood separation machines (one in Escorts and other in Guru Nanak Hospital) providing vital ‘blood platelets’ were working full time.

However, many residents of affected areas alleged that spraying insecticide and medicated oil on surfaces of stagnant water were merely claims of departments. Dr H.P. Singh, Medical Superintendent, Escorts Multi-Speciality Hospital, said the five suspected ‘dengue’ patients were at the hospital. Dr Geeta Sharma, Medical Superintendent, Guru Nanak Dev Hospital, said they had 20 suspected cases while 10 continue to be under treatment. Seven cases had been reported from ESI Hospital, said Dr H.S. Gill, Medical Superintendent-cum-Zonal Deputy Superintendent. Dr Harpreet Singh Makan, Deputy Medial Superintendent, Mata Kaula Hospital, had four cases. A number of cases had been reported from Bhimsen Hospital, Singhania Hospital, Guru Ram Dass Hospital, AP Singh’s nursing home besides others.

Many of suspected cases, after tests, have been confirmed as ‘dengue’ in several private hospitals. However, according to figures of the Health Department, only one case was confirmed. Several serious cases of the city had been admitted to the DMC Hospital, Ludhiana for treatment. Suspected cases were also been pouring from other cities like Batala, Gurdaspur and from border villages around the city. Most affected areas were in the walled city besides, areas of east Mohan Nagar, which earlier too had reported dengue cases, Sultanwind Road, Ajnala Road, Chabbal Road, near Ganda nullah, Guru Ram Dass Avenue, Guru Amar Dass, Jujhar Nagar, Palah Sahib Road.


BJP appoints panel
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 4
Mr Avinash Rai Khanna, President of the BJP, has constituted a committee headed by Dr Baldev Raj Chawla, a former Health and Family Welfare Minister of Punjab, to study the spread of dengue in the state.

According to a press note issued here today, the committee has to submit its report within 10 days.

Meanwhile, Mr Harjit Singh Grewal, state general secretary and Returning Officer of the party, has stayed the Amritsar Mandal (North) elections.


SAD names 2 candidates for Rajasthan poll
Chander Parkash
Tribune News Service

Gidderbaha (Muktsar), November 4
Mr Parkash Singh Badal, President of the SAD, said today that the party would field Mr Surjeet Singh Kand, chief of the Rajasthan unit of the party, and Mr Joginder Singh in the Shrikaranpura and Kesrisinghpura Assembly segments of Sriganganagar district in Rajasthan for the coming Assembly elections.

Mr Badal, who made this announcement here today after a meeting of party MPs, MLAs and office-bearers, said the party would field one more candidate in Sriganganagar district and the name would be announced soon.

He said the BJP leadership had decided to allot three seats to the SAD in Delhi for the coming Assembly elections, but the party had demanded that it should be given at least four seats. He added that the names of candidates for the Delhi Assembly elections would be announced soon.

Mr Badal said the SAD would contest the Rajasthan elections in alliance with the INLD and the Samata Party. He claimed that though the SAD would field its candidates against the BJP in three segments of Rajasthan, it would not affect the SAD-BJP alliance in Punjab and at the Centre.

He said he would visit Delhi tomorrow to meet Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee and Deputy Prime Minister L.K. Advani to discuss issues pertaining to the coming Assembly elections and Punjab.

Those who attended the meeting included Mr Zora Singh Mann, MP, Ferozepore; Mr Mantar Brar, Mr Gurpreet Singh Kangar, Mr Gurdev Badal, Mr Ranjit Singh Talwandi, Mr Gura Singh Tungwali, Mr Kushal Deep Singh Dhillon and Mr Parminder Singh Dhindsa, all MLAs, and many former MLAs and ministers.


Central Govt policies anti-farmer, says SAD
Our Correspondent

Mandi Gobindgarh, November 4
The Central Government has adopted anti-farmer policies which will ruin the country. This was stated by the SAD General Secretary, Capt Kanwaljit Singh.

He was talking to mediapersons at Salana village last night. He was there to attend a social function. The SAD General Secretary rejected the MSP for wheat announced by the Centre. He demanded to fix the MSP for wheat at Rs 750 per quintal and accordance with the price index on the pattern of increase in the dearness allowance of the employees.

Agricultural input costs have increased manifold whereas the MSP has not been increased accordingly. Farmers have become bankrupt and they are under debts totalling Rs 10,000 crore, he added.

Lambasting the state government, the SAD leader accused the government of carrying out a bogey of anti-corruption drive against the Akali leadership to take mileage in the coming Lok Sabha elections. He said the earlier Akali government had given relief of Rs 2,000 crore to Dalit farmers and other categories whereas the present Congress government had not only withdrawn the concessions but had also put a burden of Rs 1,100 crore on the people of the state. It still raised a hue and cry about the financial crisis left by the Akali government.

Cheques of development grants issued to each panchayat worth Rs 25,000 had been dishonoured by the banks. People have turned their back towards the Congress and the government had to misuse the government machinery during the rural development bank elections at Dera Bassi. The papers of all Akali nominees were rejected on flimsy grounds. Akali sarpanches were being framed in false cases, he alleged. Mr Tajinder Singh Salana, state general secretary of the youth Akali Dal, Mr Harbhajan Singh, Mr Jassa Singh Ahuluwalia, member SGPC, and Mr Lakhbir Singh Kalalmajra were also present.


BJP men hold protest
Our Correspondent

Phagwara, November 4
BJP activists, led by its Punjab vice-president and former Punjab Minister Mr Swarna Ram, today took out a march in town and held two rallies to protest against hike in the rates of drinking water and sewerage, false implication of its councillor and state vice-president of the Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha Arun Khosla and district vice-president of the Morcha Bantu Walia in a case of murderous assault on Congress councillor Sanjiv Bugga here on August 12 and delay in arrest of the culprits who had made a murderous attack on BJP stalwart Ram Saroop Arora and looted his house a few months ago.

The protestors presented two memorandums, one to Nagar Council authorities against hike in water supply and sewerage rates, and other to local SDM Pritam Singh against framing of BJP leaders in false cases and non-action against the assailants of Mr Arora.

Meanwhile, some BJP councillors were conspicuous by their absence from the protest, thus bringing to the fore the bickerings in BJP here.


Cong steals BJP show
Our Correspondent

Phagwara, November 4
A piquant situation arose here today when two Congress councillors and their supporters, in an attempt to steal the BJP show, staged a demonstration against their own party’s decision to hike the water supply and sewerage rates.

Led by councillors Sushil Maini and Hardip Singh Bhamra protesters submitted a memorandum to the Nagar Council president, Mr Malkiat Singh Ragbotra, also of the ruling party.

The councillors said they were committed to the Congress but the steep hike had hit those whom they represented. Most of the people of their wards were poor.


Homoeopaths get chance to review registration
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, November 4
Nearly, 5,000 homoeopathic practitioners, whose registration was cancelled recently by the Registrar of the Council of Homoeopathic System of Medicine, Punjab, for want of renewal of their registration, will now be allowed to get their registration renewed following a decision by the government.

The decision was taken at a meeting held under the presidentship of Mr Satish Chandra, secretary, Medical Education and Research, Punjab, recently. The meeting was attended by the Registrar of the Council of Homoeopathic System of Medicine, Punjab, and representatives of the Association of Teaching Staff of Lord Mahavir Homoeopathic Medical College and Hospital, Ludhiana, and the Association for Scientific Research in Homoeopathy.

Dr A.S. Mann, secretary of the association for Scientific Research in Homoeopathy, said it had been decided at the meeting that one more month would be given for renewal of registration by way of advertisement in newspapers. He said applicants could apply for renewal within one month of the public notice to be issued by the Homoeopathic Council.

Dr Mann disclosed that the meeting also decided to allow Homoeopathic practioners, who had gone abroad, to get themselves registered (after their return) with the Homoeopathic Council as fresh applicants if they fulfilled the qualifications stipulated under the Homoeopathic Council Act.

Dr Mann stated that since the Bachelor of Homoeopathic Medicine and Surgery (BHMS), awarded by the Baba Farid University of Health Sciences, Faridkot, was not being recognised by the Registrar of the Council of Homoeopathic System of Medicine, Punjab, the meeting decided that the state Homoeopathic Council would register such degree-holders in anticipation of approval from the Centre.

Meanwhile, Dr Mann has demanded the dissolution of the Council of Homoeopathic System of Medicine, on the plea that it has already completed its term.


Chargesheeted SGPC secy rejoins duty
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, November 4
Mr Harbeant Singh, SGPC secretary who has been facing charges of getting the job on the basis of a fake certificate, today rejoined duty following rejection of his appeal for extending leave by the Shiromani committee.

The SGPC has also charge-sheeted Mr Harbeant Singh and directed him to give a reply by November 13. Earlier, he was placed under suspension for not pleading his case before the sub-committee, constituted by the SGPC. He has failed to produce any record to prove his innocence so far. Mr Harbeant Singh said he would produce the record which would prove his innocence.


Comedy king  Bhagwant Mann enthrals audience
Our Correspondent

Patiala, November 4
Comedy king Bhagwant Mann enthralled the audience with his live performance in a comedy play ‘No Life with Wife’ organised by Hyundai Motor India at Dhillon Farms here last night.

The whole play revolved around the relationship of husband and wife who end up fighting over small things.

It was a satire on a modern man who has forgotten his culture and tradition.

The play compared the life of an urban family with a rural one. The programme was organised as a part of a contract signed by Bhagwant Mann as brand ambassador for Punjab for Hyundai Motor India.

Speaking on Bhagwant Mann’s association with Hyundai, president, HMIL, B.V.R. Subbu, said while Shah Rukh Khan represents the core values of the Hyundai brand in India, regional evangelists like Bhagwant Mann give the local flavour to the brand and its communication and provide the vital connection to customers in the region.

Speaking on the occasion Mr Mann said that Santro stands for sunshine, happiness, family values and the motto ‘live life with your head held high’.

He added that it is a great honour to be associated with a brand like Hyundai.

He further said that the company had announced aggressive plans to emerge as India’s leading exporter of passenger cars by year 2004.

When asked about Daler Mehndi being held in human trafficking case, Bhagwant Mann made no comments but said that Punjabi culture is being affected by such incidents. He condemned ‘harsh’ police action taken against Daler Mehndi.

The play was written and directed by comedy king Bhagwant Mann. Mann appreciated the efforts made the Hyundai to promote Punjabi theatre.


Poor response to book fair
Gurvinder Kaur

Patiala, November 4
The book fair organised by the State Language Department as part of the ongoing Punjabi week celebrations which commenced on November 1 is a lacklustre affair with hardly any buyers trickling in to see the books on display.

Stocks of nearly 100 books which were published by the Language Department’s publishing house two decades earlier are still lying around unsold. Significant among these are sets of “Sampooran Gandhi Rachnavali” and “the Discovery of India”.

What is more astonishing is that even academic books used by students in various courses have been coldshouldered by children.

Various book sellers are unanimous in their response when asked about the fair. The turnout has been poor and business dull, but not without reason, they state.

According to the stall owners, the department has not bothered to arrange sufficient publicity for the fair resulting in a dismal sale graph.

Representatives of Navyug Publishers from Delhi besides the local Ramesh Book Service lamented that the fair had not been property advertised. The fair has been visited so far by children from only two schools in the city.

Pawan Sharma who is manning the stall put up by MBD Books, Jalandhar, said though traditionally the sale at the annual department book fair is not very substantial but it has been abysmally low this time.

However, not all can be blamed upon the department as the general perception is that Punjabi literature has not been able to develop and adapt itself according to the changing times.

This according to some scholars has resulted in book lovers of the region changing over to books of other languages.

The books which are all priced nominally form a veritable treasure trove in Gurmukhi language.

These include paperback editions of autobiographies of various great leaders of the nation besides many novels and poetry books by leading writers of the language.

There are also some English books available at the fair, but these are mainly self-help books or those catering to small children.

This fair too like many others arranged with a callous attitude by the State Languages Department in the past seems to have bypassed its main benefactor — the public.


Unidentified man still in coma
Our Correspondent

Kharar, November 4
An unidentified man, who was found lying unconscious in a field in Sawara village, near here, and later admitted to the Civil Hospital, Kharar, by the sarpanch and panchayat members of the village on October 30, is still in coma.

The man, aged about 50 years, has Avtar Singh tattooed on his arm. The identity of the man has not been established so far. Dr Balwinder Singh of the Civil Hospital, Kharar, while talking to this correspondent today said the man was being provided every medical aid.

Meanwhile, two local journalists have offered financial aid to the hospital for providing medical treatment to the man.


Rly mishap averted, probe ordered
Our Correspondent

Phillaur, November 4
Divisional Railway Manager Hukam Chand Punia has ordered a high-level inquiry into the incident in which a major rail mishap involving Himgiri Express was averted.

Punia said today that Assistant Mechanical Engineer, Assistant Traffic Manager and Assistant Engineer Railway would hold the inquiry of the incident which occurred in Phagwara yesterday and submit their report within two days.

Congress MP Santosh Chaudhry had taken serious notice of the incident and telephoned the DRM to find out the reality. 


Missing fish plates: probe ordered
Our Correspondent

Phagwara, November 4
Mr H.C. Punia, Divisional Railway Manager, Ferozepore Division, has constituted a three-member committee to probe yesterday’s incident in which the driver of the Jammu-bound Himgiri Express averted a mishap by applying emergency brakes after noticing that the fish plates were missing.

Mr Punia said the committee comprised an Assistant Engineer, an Assistant Mechanical Engineer and an Assistant Traffic Engineer of the Northern Railway. He claimed that a contractor was welding the track.


IAS officer dead
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 4
Mr B. Vikram, a 1991 batch IAS Officer of the Punjab cadre, died in Delhi today, He was on deputation to the Union Government in the Ministry of Power.

He was 36. He is survived by his wife and a three-year-old daughter.

The Punjab IAS Officers Association held a condolence meeting to pay tributes to the deceased.


Woman run over by train

Khanna, November 4
A 55-year-old woman was ran over by a train while crossing the railway track at the Railway Station here today.

According to information, Manjit Kaur, wife of Haqiqat Singh of local Guru Nanak Nagar, was coming to her house after taking medicines from a city doctor. When she was crossing the railway track Shatabdi Express train crushed the woman to death. — OC


High Court
CBI seeks time in hijacking case
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 4
The Central Bureau of Investigation sought time for filing a reply to a petition filed by an accused in the Kandhar hijacking case. The case will now come up for further hearing on November 13.

The accused — Abdul Latif — had earlier challenged the orders passed by Patiala’s Special Judge rejecting his application.

In his plea, the petitioner had asked the court to use its powers to recall witnesses for re-examination. This, he claimed, was essential as he and other accused had been denied the right to cross examine certain witnesses.

He, along with other accused, was booked on the allegations of being involved in the conspiracy. According to the prosecution, the accused had forged documents and supplied weapons for hijacking.

The Indian Airlines flight from Kathmandu to Delhi was earlier hijacked and forced to land at Kandhar. A first information report in the matter was, subsequently, registered on December 29, 1999, at Raja Sansi police station in Amritsar.

Rape case: affidavit sought

If allegations in a petition filed before the high court are to be believed, Jalandhar’s Inspector General of Police (IGP) is protecting an accused in a rape case.

In his petition against the state of Punjab and other respondents, the victim’s father has alleged that the accused was twice released following intervention by the IGP.

Seeking directions to Jalandhar’s Deputy Superintendent of Police and other respondents to complete the probe, the petitioner claimed that his minor daughter was repeatedly raped by four boys of the same village. The victim was also threatened, the petitioner claimed.

After a first information report was registered in the matter, two accused were arrested, but action was not initiated against the third as he was “close” to the IGP. Arguing on the petitioner’s behalf, the counsel had submitted that the complainant managed to get the accused arrested twice, but he was soon released.

Taking up the case, the high court asked the respondents to file a detailed affidavit. The Judges also fixed November 13 as the next date of hearing.


Mere seal tampering not power theft, rules forum
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, November 4
Mere tampering of seals does not proves theft of electricity, ruled out the District Consumer Forum in a significant judgement, relying upon the two judgements delivered by the Punjab and Haryana High Court in different cases.

The forum President, Mr A.S. Narula, ordered the PSEB to refund Rs 3890 charged from Mr Sher Singh, president of the local Northern Railways Pensioners Association, on account of theft charges, along with 12 per cent per annum interest from the date of deposit till refund.

The charge of theft of power has to be proved by cogent and convincing evidence and not on the basis of inference alone. “In view of the latest law laid down by our Hon’ble High Court, we are of the considered view that the mere tampering of seals does not prove theft of electricity because no scratches etc. were found on the digits of the meter or no further evidence has been put forth by the PSEB to prove that the complainant was controlling the actual consumption of electricity’’, ruled the forum while quashing the demand raised by the PSEB.


BKU threatens to launch stir on MSP
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, November 4
The Bhartiya Kisan Union (BKU) has threatened to launch an agitation to pressurise the government for the announcement of the minimum support price (MSP) of kharif crops on the basis of wholesale price index, if the government failed to come out with the suitable revision by November 9.

Stating this, the BKU vice-president, Mr Gurbachan Singh Rajla, and the secretary-general, Mr Manjit Singh Kadian, said the detailed programme of the proposed stir would be finalised at a state-level meeting of the BKU on November 10.

BKU functionaries charged the government with backing out from its earlier commitment of announcement of the MSP of different crops well before the sowing season to enable farmers to select the cropping pattern on the basis of economic viability and promote diversification of farming. “Now that almost 80 per cent sowing of the main crop of wheat is over, the government is yet to announce the MSP as a result of which the farming community is in a quandary.” The union leaders reiterated their demand for an MSP of Rs 980 per quintal for wheat, Rs 143 for sugarcane and Rs 2860 for oil seeds and pulses on the basis of the wholesale price index.

Castigating the state government for the non-payment of arrears to sugarcane growers, procured during last season, Mr Kadian made a plea for the immediate release of arrears worth Rs 52 crores and asked the government to ensure that in future the farmers were paid the entire amount against their crop in cash because the system of 70:30 payment was loaded against the farming community and tended to cause financial losses.

Expressing concern over the ever increasing debt burden on the farmers, the BKU urged the government to remit all outstanding crop loans and slash the interest rate on agricultural loans to be disbursed in future so that the farmers were in a position to repay. The BKU activists demanded that pending power connections for tubewells be released forthwith since a large number of such tubewells were already in operation with the complicity of the PSEB employees and no revenue was accruing to the board.

According to Mr Kadian, a five-member delegation of the BKU, led by its president, Mr Ajmer Singh Lakhowal, had gone to take part at a national-level meeting of farmers in Bangalore. “Mr Lakhowal will apprise the BKU with the decisions taken at the conclave in a state-level meeting on November 10”, he said.


Admn to fix ‘lal dora' for 46 villages
Our Correspondent

Kharar, November 4
The administration has decided to fix ‘lal dora' of 46 villages falling under Kharar and SAS Nagar Subdivisions.

The decision was taken at a meeting held here today. It was presided over by Mr Bir Devinder Singh, Deputy Speaker of the Punjab Vidhan Sabha. Among others, Mr C.K. Srivastava Commissioner, Patiala division, Ms Seema Jain, Deputy Commissioner, Ropar, Mr Vikas Garg, ADC, Mr S.S. Gill, SDM, Kharar, and the SDM, SAS Nagar, and tehsildars of Kharar and SAS Nagar participated in the meeting.

Mr Bir Devinder Singh said Mr Vikas Garg, ADC, had been appointed nodal officer who, would submit his report on the issue in a month. He said after a review, the report would be send to the state government for issuing a notification.

He said the issue had been pending since 1952. Not only the villagers were getting notices from PUDA, they could not even sell their land if it was less than two kanal in area. He said it was strange that the 'phirnis' of these villages were never defined.


Panchayats get 2.5 crore
Our Correspondent

Gurdaspur, November 4
Ms Sukhbans Kaur Bhinder, Congress leader, talking to newspersons here today said that she was not a candidate for the Chief Minister’s post as reported in a section of the press.

She said financial institutions, including Nabard and the World Bank, were coming forward to finance the development of Punjab and panchayats were getting adequate funds for development.

Earlier, she distributed cheques worth Rs 2.5 crore among the panchayats for development projects in the Fatehgarh Churian constituency. She urged the people to vote on the basis of development in their respective constituencies in the coming Lok Sabha poll.


SHO suspended
Our Correspondent

Phagwara, November 4
The SHO Sadar police station, Phagwara, Mr Sarabjit Rai, was today suspended for lapses in investigation of the Mananwali case. The SSP Kapurthala, Dr R.N. Dhoke, confirmed today that the SHO had been suspended.

It may be mentioned here that Mohinder Kaur of Manarwali village was found murdered on September 27. A senior Congress leader-cum-panch of the village, Dalwinder Singh Tony, was accused of being one of the killers of his aunt. Tony was summoned at the Sadar police station. He became upset over his name being dragged into the murder. Tony (30), shot himself with his licensed revolver at his residence at Dhyan Singh colony of Hadiabad on October 31. Tony’s wife Raminder Kaur has alleged that her husband committed suicide due to tension caused by levelling of murder charges. This led to registration of a case on November 1 against Jarnail Singh, husband of Mohinder Kaur and his two sons, Bhupinder Singh and Sukhdev Singh.


4 booked on murder charge
Our Correspondent

Phagwara, November 4
The police has booked four persons Harmel Singh, Gurpreet Singh, Inderjit Singh and Amandeep Singh of Panshata village under Section 302, IPC for clubbing to death a nineteen-year-old college student Sandeep Kumar yesterday.

GNNB College Narur-Panshata remained closed today as a mark of respect for the departed soul. Sandeep Kumar was student of computer diploma in this college. His postmortem was done here today by a board of doctors.

Sandeep Kumar was hit hard on his back with sticks by the four assailants behind the college premises yesterday afternoon.

He was attacked for making repeated telephone calls to a village girl who had earlier studied in the college. The girl’s study was discontinued by her parents because of the alleged teasing by the deceased. However, he continued to make calls to her. This provoked her brother Amandeep Singh and his friends Harmel Singh, Gurpreet Singh and Inderjit Singh who then thrashed Sandeep Kumar yesterday. Sandeep died after sometime.

SP Harmanbir Singh Gill today said that raiding police parties had been despatched for arresting the killers.


Local man shot in Delhi, 10 lakh looted
Our Correspondent

Abohar, November 4
Heart-rending scenes were witnessed at the residence of Parmod Kumar Gupta (38), who was killed by car-borne robbers in the Jakhira area of New Delhi today. Members of the bereaved family were in a state of shock. Parmod was a ward president of the BJP.

Parmod, father of two daughters and a son, had been running his parental business of spices before joining as a purchase officer at Golyan Flour Mills in Sriganganagar, 40 km from here. The mill had supply contracts with firms in Delhi and other cities, and Parmod used to visit these cities to settle accounts and collect money. Yesterday, he had gone to New Delhi to collect money.

The family was informed on the phone by a relative, Mr Rakesh Gupta, who practices at the Tis Hazari Courts, New Delhi, that Parmod had collected Rs 10 lakh from customers at Delhi. Four armed persons intercepted him to snatch the bag of cash. As Parmod resisted, he was shot by the assailants. The miscreants snatched the bag and escaped.

Parmod managed to inform Mr Rakesh Gupta about the incident on the telephone. He was rushed to a hospital, but could not be saved.


NRI’s purse snatched
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, November 4
Two unidentified scooter-borne youths today snatched the purse of a non-resident Indian woman on the Mall Road here today.

Ms Sunita Verma, a resident of Germany, who had come to holy city about two days back, alleged that the two youths snatched her purse when she alighted from rickshaw and was giving the money to the rickshawpuller. She said she had come to close her bank account here. She claimed that her purse contained diamond jewellery worth Rs 5 lakh, Rs 38,000 in cash and a credit card etc.

Two policemen reportedly chased the accused on a motor cycle. However, they could not catch them.


NRIs booked in dowry case
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, November 4
US residents Rupinder Singh, his father Sulakhan Singh and sister Navjot Kaur were booked by the Civil Lines police here for allegedly demanding more dowry from Anand Kaur Gill, wife of Rupinder Singh, late last evening.

Anand Kaur, a resident of Majitha town on the Railway road here, in a complaint lodged under Sections 406 and 498-A of the IPC, alleged that just one week after marriage, her in-laws started demanding more dowry from her family. She said she got married to Rupinder in December 1, 2002, and her family had given dowry. However, after her in-laws went back to the USA on December 7, they started demanding more dowry from her family.


Inter-state gang of robbers busted
Our Correspondent

Abohar, November 4
Three members of an inter-state gang of robbers, including one wanted in a murder case, have been arrested, the police said today.

According to information, some persons were trying to steal a car parked in front of a marriage palace. Three of them were nabbed on the spot while the fourth escaped. Interrogation revealed that the car used by them had been stolen a few days ago. Sources said the gang had escaped from the Rajasthan police and had crossed the inter-state border from Sriganganagar by firing into the air.

The police claimed to have seized three countrymade pistols and cartridges from their possession. The gang was reportedly responsible for looting the rural branch of a bank in the Kaithal area of Haryana, snatching gold bangles and chain and taking away a jeep in the Ridmalsar area of Rajasthan.

Those arrested under Section 411 of the IPC and Sections 25, 54 and 59, Arms Act, have been identified as Rajesh Kumar Babbu of Rampuraphul, Charanjit Singh of Mansa and Gurpreet Singh of Baghapurana. The police learnt that one of them had evaded arrest in a murder case and another had been released on bail in an opium smuggling case.


Minor raped, murdered
Tribune News Service

Mansa, November 4
A minor girl of Ramgarh Shahpuria village of this district was raped and subsequently murdered by unidentified person late last evening.

Police sources said the victim, who was studying in Class II, was raped and murdered while she was returning home from her uncle’s place.

When she did not return home at dusk, the family members started searching for her. The villagers also joined in the search.

After some time, she was found dead in the cotton fields. The police was informed about the incident and a case was registered under Section 376 and 302, IPC, in police station, Boha.


Man consumes poison in court
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, November 4
A 38-year-old Bathinda-based writer, Rajinder Raj, reportedly consumed some poisonous substance before placing a complaint in the court of the Punjab and Haryana High Court’s Chief Justice here today. He was immediately rushed to the General Hospital, Sector 16, here where his condition was said to be stable.

He has been booked for an attempt to commit suicide under Section 309 of the IPC. He has alleged that he was being harassed and threatened by some cops of Bathinda district in a land dispute within his family.


Dy Speaker opposes privatisation of polytechnics
Our Correspondent

Kharar, November 4
Mr Bir Devinder Singh, Deputy Speaker of the Punjab Vidhan Sabha and MLA from Kharar, has opposed the move of the Punjab Government to privatise some polytechnic institutes in the state, including the institute at nearby Khunimajra village.

An advertisement in this regard has appeared in a newspaper. The advertisement was given by the Punjab Infrastructure Development Board and the Department of Technical Education and Industrial Training. Private sector participation has been sought for running these institutes.

While talking to mediapersons here today, Mr Bir Devinder Singh said he had met the minister concerned earlier and he had promised to upgrade the local polytechnic institute to a degree college. He said even permission was sought from the Union Government for upgrading it, but now an advertisement had been given seeking private participation. He said it was the betrayal of the trust of Khunimajra villagers who had donated land for the institute.

He said what was the need to appoint senior officials in the Department of Technical Education if the institutions were to be run by private sector agencies. He said the decision showed the failure of the whole system. He said the government should shut down this department if it could not run these institutions.

He demanded that the advertisement should be withdrawn and the Khunimajra institute should be immediately upgraded to a degree college.

Meanwhile, students and staff members of the institute sat in dharna and blocked road traffic on the Kharar-Banur road for about one hour today. They also burnt effigies of the Chief Minister.


Bhagat Namdev Chair to be revived
Our Correspondent

Jalandhar, November 4
The Punjab Government has decided to revive Bhagat Namdev Chair in Guru Nanak Dev University and Rs 5 lakh has been sanctioned to fund research work on the life and philosophy of the saint.

Addressing the gathering at a state-level function to mark the 733rd birth anniversary of Bhagat Namdev at the Red Cross Bhavan here, the Punjab Local Bodies, Labour and Employment Minister, Chaudhary Jagjit Singh, said it was unfortunate that the previous SAD-BJP government had asked the university to revoke the chair and had failed to sanction any grant.

The minister announced a grant of Rs 2 lakh each for the local Namdev Bhavan and for the construction of a memorial at Guman village in Gurdaspur, the “tap asthan” of Bhagat Namdev.

He said the Education Department had been directed to hold seminars on the life and preachings of Bhagat Namdev in the state to create awareness among the youth.

The Congress MLA, Mr Raj Kumar Gupta, said Bhagat Namdev had worked for the uplift of the downtrodden. Others who spoke on the occasion included the Deputy Commissioner, Mr Ashok Gupta, the Mayor, Mr Surinder Mahey, and the Chairman of the Jalandhar Improvement Trust, Mr Tajinder Bittu.


PCCTU cancels protest
Our Correspondent

Phagwara, November 4
The much awaited second quarter salary grant for June, July and August of Rs 14.40 crore was today released for the non-government aided colleges, it was learnt here tonight. Its draft had been released by the treasury and it had reached DPI (C).

Dr V.K. Tiwari, general secretary, Punjab and Chandigarh College Teachers Union, confirmed this. He informed that the PCCTU had cancelled its agitational programme of November 6 and 11 due to the release of the grant as it was aimed at pressing for its release only. Dr Tiwari further said that he had confirmed it from Dr Manmohan Singh, Principal Secretary of the Higher Education of Punjab Government.

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