L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Psychopath killer, accomplice nabbed 
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, December 21
“I love the sight of blood.” These bone-chilling words were the driving force for an alleged psychopath killer nabbed by the Ludhiana police today. The arrested man claimed that he along with another person had mercilessly hacked two persons to death with a sickle and a spade and buried them in fields at Paharuwal village near Sahnewal on December 12.

The arrest of the man has given a gruesome angle to a USA immigration racket, busted with the arrest of a self-styled doctor-cum-travel agent, Gurnam Singh early last week. It has probably become the most heinous kind of immigration-related crime surfacing in the state in which two persons desirous of sending their children abroad were killed by the alleged henchmen of the accused travel agent.

The bodies were found from the fields on December 15. The deceased were Hazara Singh of Noorpur and Chanan Singh of Nakodar. It was the tragic end of their dreams to send their children abroad. Duped initially by the travel agent, they were forced to bring more victims if they wanted their money back or finally see their sons going abroad.

The accused, Varinder Kumar alias Bhaiya ji, was reportedly a ruthless conman, who allegedly used to keep a dagger tied to his right leg all the time and openly boasted he loved the sight of blood. Not only this there are strong allegations of him being a rapist and a child abuser. The police has received a number of complaints against him, which are subject to verification.

“We have information that he used the weapon to terrorise girls and children to force them to surrender,” said SSP Narinderpal Singh while giving details about the criminal activities of the accused.

His accomplice in the murder Buta Singh confirmed his strange nature to mediapersons in the presence of Varinder Kumar today.

The SSP informed that the accused had written vulgar and threatening letters to a number of girls and some letters are in the possession of the police. Not only this, he used to bring weapons from Uttar Pradesh for Gurnam Singh. He had taken “supari” for killing two of his rivals, one in Jalandhar and another, a PCO owner in Ludhiana. However, he failed, as whenever he tried the target was not alone and had some guests.

Explaining the sequence of events, the SSP said the police investigation was purely scientific and the case would become a case study for the Punjab Police.

The SSP said Hazara Singh and Chanan Singh were forced to become members of the immigration racket. They had given some money to the accused Gurnam Singh, who prevailed upon them to bring more youths. Both arranged more youths but when they learnt about the racket, it was too late. Gurnam Singh told him that they, too, would be implicated. The silence of the two men cost them their life on December 12.

The SSP said that when the police arrested the accused Gurnam Singh, the four persons — Hazara Singh, Chanan Singh, Varinder Kumar and Buta Singh — saw the police party taking the accused from his house in Sarabha Nagar. They ran away from the spot and later gathered at Paharuwal village.

According to Varinder Kumar, he and Buta Singh planned to murder the other two as they thought the duo had lots of money with them, which they had taken from some youths on the pretext of sending them abroad.

They had liquor in the farmhouse with the two after which he lynched them with a sickle and a spade. They then buried the bodies and sprinkled salt on them so that they decomposed easily. The fields belonged to Gurnam Singh. The accused had plans that as he was already in police custody, they could take over his property and noone would come to know about the bodies.

The SSP said a labourer who used to spray insecticides in the fields spotted the blood and informed the police. 



Man murdered for Rs 30
Tribune News Service

Relatives of the deceased jeweller, Anil Aggarwal (inset), wail at Bharat Nagar in Ludhiana on Sunday
Relatives of the deceased jeweller, Anil Aggarwal (inset), wail at Bharat Nagar in Ludhiana on Sunday. — A Tribune photograph

Ludhiana, December 21
An argument over a paltry sum of Rs 30 cost a jeweller his life at Sarafa Bazaar here late last night when some persons owning another jewellery shop in the neighbourhood allegedly murdered him.

The victim, Anil Aggarwal, was all set to close his shop and go home after day’s work when his servant Harish Chander informed him that he was abused by some persons at a neighbouring jewellery shop when he had gone there to demand Rs 30, which they owed them. Anil went there, and as per the Division No. 4 police, kept on stressing that it was a small amount and the neighbours should not fight over the issue.

However, some youths at the shop became quite agitated and started beating him up. The police sources said the jeweller received several blows and kicks in his stomach and later succumbed to his injuries at the CMC hospital. He was taken to the hospital by other shopkeepers.

An FIR was lodged late last night on the statement of Harish Chander. In the FIR, Ashwani Kumar and three other persons have been named as the accused. Mr Gurdev Singh, SHO, Division No. 4, informed that the police was conducting raids.

‘‘There are no names in the FIR. The servant does not know the names of all accused but we are in the process of identifying them,’’ he said.

Anil is survived by his wife and two daughters. Heart-rending scenes were witnessed at the house of the deceased in Bharat Nagar here.

A large number of relatives, friends and jewellers of the city gathered at the place to offer condolences to the grief-stricken family.

Jewellers not willing to be quoted said they used to do business in lakhs and even crores but were shocked that one of them could be killed for mere Rs 30.

Police sources said as per their information Anil Aggarwal had not gone to the shop of the accused to demand the sum. He was stressing that they should not fight over such a trivial issue. The police has ruled out any old enmity between the neighbours.



City rocks to tunes of ‘Taantriks’ 
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, December 21
‘‘We sing Indi-pop with as much ease as Frank Sinatra and the Carpenters" that’s what the boy band ‘Taantriks’ brought to Ludhiana.
The Goan quartet, now based in Delhi, was in the city to perform at the CII Fair held at South City on Friday and Saturday. The lively band has made a name for itself with its versatility in terms of music as well as instruments. Each one of the four players can play all instruments that they use.

Their vast repertoire of melody, diverse in rhythm and language, spans the musical scales from rock, pop, jazz and reggae to Indi-pop. And they're as comfortable singing the romantic ballads and golden oldies of yesteryear as the pulsating beats of today.

The common note being their melody and sheer love for music, that has audiences of all ages dancing to their tunes.

Talking to Ludhiana Tribune, they said no one was the leader of the band as each one of them had an important role to play. Braulio is the base player, Ulrich is on the keyboard, while Greg is the lead guitar player and the drummer is Tony.

They sing in band harmonies which means they sing in three different voices.

They said they had composed music for the eight songs of their forthcoming Hindi pop album titled ‘‘Dil ka Lagana’’. It will be released early next year while their web site will be on the net from December 25. ‘‘This is the Christmas gift we are giving each other,’’ the members of the band chimed .

They said they have mastered Hindi and Punjabi songs and in Ludhiana people requested them to play songs like ‘‘Mahi Ve’’, ‘‘It's time to Disco’’ from ‘Kal Ho Na Ho’. The other popular numbers that people wanted them to sing were ‘‘Kuddi kuddi’, ‘‘Ishq tera tadpaye’’

They practice new songs thrice a week for three hours as they have to give the latest songs to the crowds.

When asked about another famous singer from Goa,Remo, they said though they had never met him but they liked his music .

They had brought their own sound system from Delhi for the performance in the city.

Greg said,‘‘We have been playing at major events in Delhi. We played at the IIT Fest and at the recently concluded Trade Fair in Delhi along with Silk Route, another very popular band . We also play at major corporate parties and parties organised by Call Centres’’.

‘‘Times have changed, and though music has changed according to the time, but good music always thrills and gives a lot of joy’’.



Victims of ‘Guddu’ cry foul at his retirement orders
Jupinderjit Singh
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, December 21
Three alleged victims of tainted cop Shamsher Singh ‘Guddu’ are crying foul over the decision of the Punjab Police to retire him pre-maturely. The victims allege that instead of arresting him, the police authorities have let him off the hook.

Demanding that all his retiral benefits should be stopped and he should be arrested as per the orders of the Punjab and Haryana High Court, the victims allege that the action against the cop could be an offshoot of the dissidence row in the state Congress party. After all, the cop, who was infamous for being termed as a “dacoit in police uniform” by a former SSP, was honoured by Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh at the Independence Day function in Patiala last year for his “good work”.

‘Guddu’ faces several cases of criminal nature besides being booked by the Ludhiana Vigilance Bureau for possessing assets disproportionate to his known sources of income. That he has not been arrested so far after being declared a proclaimed offender and despite his well-known presence in Patiala, Ludhiana and of late in Mansa is no new thing, as ‘Guddu’ has remained at large for the past two years.

Interestingly, this correspondent had traced him living comfortably in a police colony in Ludhiana early last year when he was wanted by the local police but was shown as untraceable. He was easily available at Patiala also where he served as SHO in several police stations besides to the media. Ironically, he was on the trail of Daler Mehndi as a prominent member of the special investigation team(SIT) while at the same time cops were supposed to be on his trail.

Almost eight years ago a local industrialist was the first to take up cudgels against Shamsher Singh ‘Guddu’ regarding the cop’s alleged involvement in a dacoity at his industry, but despite several inquiries and court orders in his favour and the recent crackdown on the controversial cop, the industrialist is still awaiting the arrest of the cop and the recovery of several lakhs of stolen machines and action against him.

Maninder Singh, the aggrieved person, said that ‘Guddu’ should have been terminated from service and all service benefits should have been denied to him. It was in his case that the cop was wanted and termed as a dacoit by the inquiry officer Varinder Kumar. Maninder Singh’s case file states that in July, 1995, his factory was robbed but nothing was done by the police. The accused cop and other accused, as stated in the inquiry, had conspired together to steal the machines as well as to forcibly occupy the industry. All this happened in 1995. The victim first made several rounds of the local and state-level police officials but no one heard his pleas.

Another alleged victim, Mr G.S. Grewal, reacting to the orders said, “He will again roam scot-free”, adding that victims like him would continue to make rounds of police officials and courts to get justice.

The case pertains to a dispute dating back to 1996 over a plot in Transport Nagar. The present complainant G.S. Grewal was booked by the police on the charges of forcibly occupying the plot. However, an inquiry found that the case was false. Subsequently, the complainant G.S. Grewal went to court, which ordered the registration of a case against Inspector Shamsher Singh ‘Guddu’ for registering a false case against him. Mr Grewal accuses ‘Guddu’ of illegally possessing his plot.

Similarly, another victim Tarlochan Singh of the city was also dismayed at the turn of events, “They claim in courts that he was untraceable on one hand while on the other hand, he was honoured at functions, appointed SHO and even made member of special investigation teams. This is just a mockery of justice”

The Ludhiana Vigilance Bureau had also traced property worth about Rs 90 lakh of Inspector Shamsher Singh ‘Guddu’, who was booked by the bureau under the Prevention of Corruption Act for possessing assets disproportionate to his known sources of income early this year.

An official document attached to his file by the Vigilance Bureau team, headed by former SSP Kanwarjit Singh Sandhu, states the cop was facing charges in as many as nine cases of land grabbing, illegal detention, misuse of authority and even lodging false complaints to achieve personal ends.

The report also mentions how the cop was allowed to go scot-free by the previous government. Shamsher Singh is commonly known as “Guddu Sahib” in police circles. It was strange that although several senior police officers had indicted him in their inquiry reports, yet he managed to go scot-free. Shamsher Singh ‘Guddu’ has always been denying the allegations.



Need to redefine police ethics, says DGP
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, December 21
The Director-General of the Punjab Police, Dr A.A. Siddiqui, stressed the need for redefining police ethics. He said the effects of unethical acts and behaviour took many forms and instances of police misconduct, though prevalent among a very few, were more than tempting to the media.

Dr Siddiqui was addressing members of the Ludhiana Management Association (LMA) on “Challenges before the police” here yesterday. He said the negative publicity generated in this manner was devastating regardless of the good deeds and sacrifices made by the majority of the police force.

Commenting on the handicaps faced by the police and the dire need to modernise, he said the technology explosion had led to fast-paced changes in almost every field of life. With technological revolution, as the criminals were making use of technology in all possible manners to circumvent police, it was essential that the police officers, at all levels, achieved the desired competence and functional effectiveness in their respective roles. Besides this, changing work ethos and culture in the police organisation needed to be given the highest priority.

The DGP also emphasised the necessity to modernise the approach and outlook besides reshaping the infrastructure of the police. He was confident that the recently introduced concept of community policing was bound to pay rich dividends in crime prevention and ensuring a safer society. The concept, based on the principle of reaching out to the people and making them participate in various activities of the police, had already been introduced in 14 districts in Punjab.

Stressing the need of law enforcement to be within the framework of law, Dr Siddiqui said, “In our society, it is traditional for the police to be responsible and to operate in accordance with the policy of the duly elected government. Police officers should recognise that they are public servants and they must be responsible to the people through their elected government.”

Touching upon lower morale of police he elaborated various factors like salary not commensurate with duties and responsibilities of the police, lack of housing and day to day political interference to be responsible for this. Specifically mentioning about housing for police personnel, he said the satisfaction level in Punjab was merely 16 per cent against the national average of 46 per cent.

Earlier in his opening remarks, Mr V.K. Goyal, General Secretary, LMA, said the rule of law was the cornerstone of any vibrant and dynamic democracy. In fact, the first pre-requisite for progress and economic development was a satisfactory law and order situation. The ultimate test of rule of law was the way the police and criminal justice system enforced law, protected innocent citizens and used power to ensure compliance of law.

Mr Mahesh Munjal, senior vice-president, LMA, in his presidential remarks lauded the Punjab Police for eradicating terrorism from the state and making it a much better place to live in and to do business. Mr Anil Kumar, vice-president, LMA, proposed a vote of thank on the occasion. The meeting was attended by more than 350 members of the association including senior industrialists, management professionals, district administrations officials, besides senior police and Army officials.



Panthers Party cautions against Pak designs
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, December 21
The Panthers Party has cautioned the Indian government against welcoming the statement of Pakistan President Gen. Pervez Musharraf on the issue of plebiscite saying it was a plot to deprive India of its territory that was under Pakistan’s occupation.

Addressing a press conference here today, Mr Gurinder Sood, state president of Punjab unit of the party, remarked that Pakistan had never referred to UNCIP resolution in Tashkent and Simla talks while it had encroached upon 40,000 square miles of Indian land even after the UN resolutions. ‘‘The military state (Pakistan) was now attempting to divert the attention of India and Indians from this act of occupation against all norms and ethics’’, he said.

Mr Sanjay Sachdev, president of the Delhi unit, who was also present on the occasion, said by welcoming the statement, the government was falling into the enemy’s trap.

The party demanded that if Pakistan had anything to offer, it should accept the UN resolutions first and condemn terrorist activities in India. Only then the two nations could have a fruitful dialogue.

The party functionaries further said if the Indian government continued its policy of turning a blind eye to the nefarious designs of Pak rulers that would be tantamount to an insult of the patriotic people of Jammu and Kashmir, who had been fighting against the Pakistani aggression for over 50 years now.



Two nominated LIT trustees
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, December 21
The Punjab Government has nominated two Congress councillors, Mr Rajesh Jain Kala Navkar (ward No 60) and Mr Sanjeev Talwar (ward No 51), as trustees of the Ludhiana Improvement Trust.

One more councillor from amongst the Scheduled Caste category is yet to be named and orders to this effect were expected to be issued in a next couple of days.

As the ruling party councillors making it to the Improvement Trust as trustees enjoyed the support of party legislator Surinder Dawar and Local Bodies Minister Choudhry Jagjit Singh, both staunch loyalists of the Chief Minister, Captain Amarinder Singh, the dissidents including Higher Education Minister Harnam Das Johar, Printing and Stationery Minister and legislator Malkiat Singh Dakha have apparently been marginalised. On the other hand, city Mayor Nahar Singh Gill has expressed satisfaction over the nomination of Mr Jain and Mr Talwar.



Catholics hold procession

Ludhiana, December 21
Father Daniel Gill led Catholics and other religious leaders in a procession to celebrate Christmas here today. The processionists carried banners of love and peace. The aim of the procession was to express solidarity among the people of different religions and to make the people aware that all religions taught tolerance and love.

Mr Harnam Dass Johar, Minister of Higher Education and Languages, was the special guest at the procession. — OC



Prisoner on parole found dead
Our Correspondent

Sahnewal, December 21
Kamaljit Singh, a resident of Majari village near Payal, died under mysterious circumstances yesterday . He was undergoing a life term for his involvement in a murder case, and had come on parole on December 15.

As per the police sources, Kamaljit Singh was in a depressed state of mind and may have committed suicide as the 12 bore rifle was lying near his body.

As the deceased suffered from intense depression, it is alleged that he clicked the trigger near his throat and ended his life. Meanwhile, the body has been handed over to his relatives after postmortem examination and a case under Section 174 of Cr Pc has been registered.



Furnace assn’s plea on central excise
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, December 21
The All-India Induction Furnaces Association has urged the Union Government to put the steel industry at the minimum slab rate of central excise and tariff.
In a memorandum to the Chairman Joint Plant Committee, Ministry of Steel, Mr R.P. Bhatia, senior vice-president, All-India Induction Furnaces Association, has pointed out that steel being in the core sector was used in the capital goods, the engineering industry and constructional steel where the builders shall not get the benefit of Cenvat credit to the extent of Rs 2500 to Rs 3000 per metric tonne. The desirable rate of central excise should be at a minimum slab of 5 per cent or 8 per cent.

Mr Bhatia stated that with the delicensing of the steel sector and globalisation, the banks advanced large-scale loans and helped the establishment of induction furnace and steel re-rolling mills in the country.

But developmental activities during the same period were not available as a result of which there was a slump in the industry. At the same time, the NPAs (non-performance assets) of the industry mounted between 1997 and 2002. The steel industry took some steps for the revival of the industry and the reduction in the NPAs and despite all these steps, the secondary steel sector continued to be in the negative list with the banks and the financial institutions.

Mr Bhatia claimed that with the establishment of the induction furnaces all over the country, the rise in the steel prices and particularly the finished product was checked. The induction furnaces had succeeded in meeting the regional demands of the industry. Otherwise it would have been very difficult to meet the demand in the face of rising sales tax, entry tax and consignment tax.

The induction furnace industry, he said, was facing numerous difficulties, including the high rate of pig iron, sponge iron and iron scrap. The industry was also coping with the high rate of power supply.

Mr Bhatia further pointed out that during 1987-88, the old and used steel scrap was granted deemed credit at a reasonable rate. It had become more important for the induction furnace industry to get the deemed credit facility now.

He emphasised that the imposition of 16 per cent central duty would have negative effect in the induction furnace industry.

Mr Bhatia maintained that the power rates were being increased and the main steel producers were availing the concessional rates of custom import duty against-import of coking coal and as such the cost of energy for both the sectors was much different whereas in an liberalised era, there should be certain degree of equality in energy cost.



Helping women support families
Mahesh Sharma

Mandi Ahmedgarh, December 21
Orphaned by terrorists, she started rolling “papad” for a meagre salary, but dedication to her work and commitment to her siblings fetched her a top position in Shri Mahila Griha Udyog Lizat Papad, an organisation being run by women only. She now works as the co-ordinator of six zones, five of which have been established by her. Talking to Ludhiana Tribune after addressing a group of women here, Ms Aruna Sharma said her organisation had been supporting thousands of families in North India by way of providing them work at their places.

Around 700 women from Ludhiana and surrounding towns and villages run their families by rolling “papad” at their homes. Ms Aruna Sharma said, “We supply them dough prepared at our centre and they get Rs 17 per kg for rolling ‘papads’. On an average, a woman earns Rs 100 per day. She assured women that more area would be covered by the udyog once the state government agreed to exempt sales tax on the product. She alleged that the Punjab Government had acted against the policies of the Khadi Village Industries Commission, which was committed to promoting village and cottage industries. She said,“No state in India except Punjab levies sales tax on our products. Though the imposition of sales tax affects our sales adversely, yet our annual turnover in Ludhiana has crossed the Rs 2.25 crore mark. We offer good remuneration to workers. After failing to evoke any response from successive governments, we have now written to the National Commission for Women to intervene and impress upon the Punjab Government to exempt sales tax on our product.”

She called upon women in the state to join hands with the Griha Udyog and share responsibilities of their families. She had herself taken up a job for Rs 90 per month with Shri Mahila Griha Udyog in 1989, when her father Mangat Rai Pathak was shot dead by terrorists. Persistent efforts, supplemented by commitment to her siblings, helped her become a successful coordinator handling six zonal offices —Ludhiana, Ambala, Jammu, Karnal, Sahnewal and Saharanpur. The Ludhiana office, which had been suffering losses before she joined, is now running in profits. They have now bought a building for Rs 78.50 lakh. Her organisation was recently awarded by the Khadi Village Industries Commission for overall performance. 


A visitor admires consumer products at the CII fair in South City
A visitor admires consumer products at the CII fair in South City, Ludhiana, on Sunday. — A Tribune photograph

CII fair a big success
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, December 21
It seems that the city residents had a new destination for three days and that was to South City where CII fair was held. The three-day fair began on December 18.
Telecom and computer companies had arrived from different parts of the country to sell their products. The banking sector was also out in full strength luring customers for bank loans.

The families had nice time as stalls selling eatables out in the open provided a “picnic-like atmosphere.” The State Bank of India had put up a beautiful stall at the fair as the bank has displayed ATM and coin dispenser.


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