P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



Randhawa summoned to Delhi, meets Patel
Prabhjot Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 24
Crisis facing the Punjab Congress Legislature Party today took a significant turn after Mr Jasjeet Singh Randhawa, a dissident leader and Cabinet Minister in the Punjab Government, had one-to-one meeting with Mr Ahmed Patel, Political Secretary to Congress President Sonia Gandhi, in New Delhi, while remaining dissidents displayed their unity at a dinner held here.

The dinner was hosted by Ms Gurkanwal Kaur, MLA and daughter of the late Beant Singh.

Meanwhile, the Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, denied reports that he had been summoned to New Delhi by the high command as he attended to his office and announced that he would participate in the Shaheedi Jor mela tomorrow.

There was, however, some disappointment in the Chief Ministers’ camp after the Election Commission held him guilty for “violating model code of conduct during electioneering in Madhya Pradesh”.

Incidentally, Mr Randhawa, who is the Public Health Minister, became the first dissident to meet any Central leader after both the factions were asked to return to Chandigarh. Sources said Mr Randhawa was summoned to New Delhi this morning, but due to fog he could not reach there in time. They said Mr Randhawa explained to Mr Patel the gravity of the situation and reluctance of the dissidents to accept anything less than change in the CLP leadership.

When contacted, Mr Randhawa confirmed his meeting with Mr Patel but refused to divulge details of what all transpired at the meeting.

“The high command is seized of the gravity of the matter and is likely to announce its decision shortly,” he added.

Before the dinner tonight, the dissidents reportedly held a meeting at the residence of the Agriculture Minister, Ms Rajinder Kaur Bhattal.

Mr Randhawa, who is part of the nine-member close knit group within the dissidents, got a message from the high command late last night to reach New Delhi for urgent consultation.

Though the Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee chief, Mr H.S. Hanspal, was in New Delhi, the sources said neither Mr Hanspal nor the Chief Minister were summoned to the AICC headquarters today.

The dissidents would hold a breakfast meeting at the residence of the Printing and Stationery Minister, Mr Rakesh Pandey, tomorrow.


CM convenes Cabinet meeting
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 24
Chief Minister, Amarinder Singh today convened a meeting of the Cabinet here for December 30. He had earlier postponed the one scheduled for December 16 as the Congress rebels had refused to attend it.

The Chief Minister denied media reports appearing today that he had been summoned to Delhi. He was to go there to attend the marriage of the daughter of Dr Naresh Trehan but due to fog could not fly to Delhi.

Even today, there were reports of the Chief Minister having met one of the rebels at the official residence of Finance Minister Lal Singh.

The Chief Minister will attend the political conference of his party at Fatehgarh Sahib and so would Akali leaders.


Administrative breakdown in Punjab, says Badal
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, December 24
The former Chief Minister and SAD president Mr Parkash Singh Badal, said today that the state was facing constitutional crisis. He said despite admitting that he was in minority, the Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, continued to remain in power. This had also led to administrative breakdown as ministers were not attending their office and bureaucrats and other officials were having a field day.

Mr Badal was talking to reporters here after inquiring about the health of Ms Sukhdev Kaur, ailing mother of a senior Akali leader and SAD general secretary, Mr Maheshinder Singh Grewal, at Hero DMC Heart Centre. Mr Badal said the Chief Minister had himself admitted that he was enjoying the support of less than 40 members, which meant that he had lost the confidence of the House.

The former Chief Minister suggested to Capt Amarinder Singh that the best course available to him was to convene the session of the house and prove his majority. “He (the Chief Minister) should settle it for good...if he enjoys the majority he will get it and nobody can challenge his authority and in case he does not win the confidence vote he will have to resign”. This was not only in his own interest, but in the interest of the state.

The SAD president said, his assessment was that a final decision was expected to come within a few days. A visibly relieved and confident Mr Badal hastened to add that he had nothing to do with the crisis in the Congress. He also refused to divulge the strategy of his party in case the Congress split. He said, “let that situation emerge and we will decide accordingly”.


Daler’s police remand extended
Police forced singer to sign papers, says lawyer
Tribune News Service

Patiala, December 24
A local court today extended the police remand of Punjabi singer Daler Mehndi till December 28. This was done following the submission of a disclosure statement in his name by the prosecution that Daler was ready to get his old passports and details of people he had taken abroad as members of his troupe recovered from his offices in Delhi and Mumbai.

The disclosure statement in Daler’s name, which was submitted in the court of Additional Chief Judicial Magistrate P.S. Dhanoa by the prosecution, stated that only Daler knew about the record kept in his Delhi and Mumbai offices. It claimed that the pop singer would help the police recover his old passport as well as documents related to foreign visits of his troupe members. The Public Prosecutor requested for “sufficient” police remand so that besides the recovery of documents, the police could also check the pop singer’s bank accounts as well as recover money paid to him by the complainants in the human trafficking case.

Daler’s lawyer Brijinder Singh Sodhi, while deposing before the court, claimed that the police had forced Daler to sign the disclosure statement. He claimed that the police had taken the pop singer’s signatures on some other papers also. The lawyer urged the court to take an undertaking from the prosecution that it would affix all documents which could help Daler in proving his innocence to the case file. This was, however, disallowed.

The court also disallowed another request made by Daler to allow him to have food from outside the police station. The judge ruled that this would not be in Daler’s interest due to security reasons. Mr Dhanoa, however, asked the police to allow Daler to change his clothes after the singer complained that he was in the same set of clothes for the past three days.

The judge asked Daler whether he wanted to meet his brother Shamsher, but the singer said Daler had actually sought permission to meet his younger brother, Joginder, who is a member of his troupe.


Daler for inquiry into bribe charge
Jangveer Singh
Tribune News Service

Patiala, December 24
Punjabi singer Daler Mehndi today claimed that members of the erstwhile Special Investigation Team (SIT) knew about the details of the bribe money demanded from him by a Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP). He said he had talked about the allegations with the DSP in the presence of other police officials when he had come to join investigation in the human trafficking case registered against him.

Daler said a departmental inquiry into the issue could reveal the truth. The pop star claimed that he had talked about the allegations levelled by him against the DSP to members of the SIT in the presence of DSP Rajinderpal Singh Anand. He said the DSP had demanded a bribe of Rs 1.50 crore to hush up the case.

The pop star also alleged that he suspected that the police had tried to manipulate him under a well-planned conspiracy and that one of the accused, Gurdial Mama, could also be in league with the police. He said Gurdial Mama, who was with Shamsher when the latter had been arrested, reached him the next day and told him that he had managed to escape when the police nabbed Shamsher. He said Gurdial kept asking him what he was going to do in the case.

Daler alleged that Gurdial Mama had reached him after he had talked to the DSP who had demanded a bribe from him. He said he had rung up the DSP on the advise of a senior officer. He said the DSP talked to him very nicely and told him that he would verify if Shamsher had been picked up.

He said he was shocked when he rang the DSP again as the officer started accusing him of human trafficking and said Shamsher was in the Sadar police station. He alleged that the police officer also told him to come to Patiala with the money.

The singer, who is also sore with the media, said: ‘’The police can also verify the record of my troupe’s trips from various embassies’’, adding that if it had been done earlier, he would not have been in police custody.


Parties mobilise supporters for conferences
Thousands throng mela on first day
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, December 24
The three-day annual Shaheedi Jor Mela witnessed a massive gathering of devotees on the first day. The mela started with “akandpath” at Gurdwara Fatehgarh Sahib. Thousands of devotees made a beeline since early in the morning at gurdwaras to pay obeisance to the great martyrs. A number of diwans were also organised and langar was served to devotees at more than 200 places in and around mela site.

Mr Bir Devinder Singh, Deputy Speaker of the Punjab Vidhan Sabha, today inaugurated an exhibition depicting various achievements as well as the development activities initiated by different government departments. Addressing the gathering on the occasion, the Deputy Speaker highlighted the various people-oriented policies of the government and said the government was committed to fulfil all promises made with the people of the state. He said by initiating campaign against corruption, the Chief Minister has created history and brought proud for the Punjabis.

All political parties are making all out efforts to mobilise their supporters in large numbers for their respective political conferences to be held tomorrow. The Deputy Speaker along with DCC president Vaid Hari Krishan and other senior Congress leaders are making all out efforts for the success of the political conference. But dissidence and uncertainty about the change of CLP leadership has cast its shadow on the conference as Congress leaders and workers were not sure who would address the political conference as Chief Minister had been summoned to Delhi by the Congress high command. It was talk of the mela whether Capt Amarinder Singh or someone from the Bhattal camp would come to preside over the conference.

As both Congress MLAs from the district owe allegiance to Bhattal camp and are conspicuous by their absence from all functions, yet their supporters are actively participating in the Congress meetings. On the other hand, the morale of leaders and workers of the SAD, is high due to the ongoing tussle within the Congress. Capt Kanwaljit Singh former Finance Minister of Punjab, Mr, R.S. Cheema a former minister, Mr Kirpal Singh Libra, a former MLA, and Mr Didar Singh Bhatti are camping at the mela to supervise the arrangements.

Workers of SAD(A) led by Iman Singh Mann had been actively working round the clock to mobilise their supporters for the political conference. Mr Simranjit Singh Mann, president of SAD (A), would address the conference. The Lok Bhalai Party, Dal Khalsa, Bahujan Samaj Morcha and different factions of the BKU would also organise their respective conferences.

Mr Samsher Singh Dullo inaugurated light and sound programme “Sirhind ki Dastan” being organised by the Public Relations Department.

Yesterday the District Cultural Society organised a Bhakti Sangeet Sammelan at Baba Banda Singh Bahadur Engineering College auditorium. Puran Chand Wadali and Piare Lal Wadali regaled the audience with their “sufi kalam”. Mr Bir Devinder Singh, Deputy Speaker of the Punjab Vidhan Sabha, presided over the function.

In his address Mr Bir Devinder Singh appreciated the efforts of the duo for preserving the traditional Punjabi folk, which touches the souls of people. He criticised the uprising trend of pop singing, which has crossed all limits of vulgarity.


Jor mela: appeal to observe solemnity
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 24
SGPC President Gurcharan Singh Tohra today appealed to the devotees to observe “solemnity and sobriety” during the Shaheedi Jor Mela at Fatehgarh Sahib.

He said keeping in view the great sacrifice of young Sahibzadas of Guru Gobind Singh, Zorawar Singh and Fateh Singh, the SGPC had decided not to observe it as a mere “mela”. No fungames or swings or sweets would be permitted during the Jor Mela which got under way today and would continue till December 28.

On the suggestion of Fatehgarh Sahib Deputy Commissioner S.K. Ahluwalia, a siren would be sounded on December 26, the day the two sons of Guru Gobind Singh were cremated at Gurdwara Jyoti Saroop. Mr Tohra said: “As a mark of respect and to pay homage to the two sons of Guru Gobind Singh, all devotees must stop wherever they are and offer ardas”.

It had also been decided not to allow loudspeakers to attract devotees to various game-stalls etc or place Guru Granth Sahib in make-shift tents and enclosures, where langar is served.

Though the gurdwara had collected Rs 18 lakh or so by way of rent for stall etc, “we are prepared to forego this keeping in view the sensitivity of the sacrifice of Guru’s sons. We can buy all private land around the gurdwara if the administration acquired it for the SGPC”. This year even the Congress political conference would be on private land.

All devotees would be honoured who had marched bare foot on the night intervening December 20 and 21 covering the same 17 km route, which Guru Gobind Singh had followed 299 years ago after his “escape“. 


Akal Takht summons ‘Spokesman’ Editor
Varinder Walia
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, December 24
Chief Editor of monthly ‘Spokesman’ being published in English and Punjabi, which was once considered as ‘mouthpiece of the Panth’ has been summoned at Akal Takht on January 7 for his alleged blasphemous acts and for violating the directives issued by the Sikh clergy time and again.

In a directive issued on the letter head of Akal Takht, Jathedar Joginder Singh Vedanti, asked the Editor to clarify his position by January 7 by appearing before the Sikh clergy.

After Mr Barjinder Singh Hamdard, Managing Editor, Daily Ajit, Mr Joginder Singh has become the second Editor to be summoned at Akal Takht. Though Mr Hamdard was summoned by the then Jathedar of Akal Takht but he did not appear before the Sikh clergy as Bhai Ranjit Singh was removed as the Jathedar before the scheduled date. It is yet to be seen whether Mr Joginder Singh would abide by the directive of Akal Takht or not. However, while talking to TNS, Mr Joginder Singh said he had called a meeting of his supporters, including representatives of various Sikh organisations to discuss the directive. He, however, said that a ‘befitting’ reply would be sent to Akal Takht after taking his supporters into confidence. He said the ‘Sarbat Khalsa’ called by various Sikh organisations at Mohali had given a wake up call to the Sikhs.

The November edition of ‘Spokesman’ had clearly mentioned that action or no action against the magazine — nothing will stop the Sikh revolution from ushering in”.

Akal Takht asked the Editor, ‘Spokesman’, why he had violated the edict of Akal Takht by supporting NRI excommunicated Sikh, Mr Gurbax Singh Kala Afghana. It further alleged that Mr Joginder Singh had also violated the Sikh traditions by dubbing a Sikh conclave of few chosen as ‘sarbat Khalsa’. Though the Sikh conclave had at Akal Takht on May 14, 2000, had directed all concerned not to issue or publish any statement on Dasam Granth even then “Spokeman’ continued to publish articles thereby violating the directive.

Mr Joginder Singh has also been accused of distorting the medieval history.


Chief Khalsa Diwan poll postponed
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, December 24
In a significant development Akal Takht today directed to postpone the controversial elections of the Chief Khalsa Diwan scheduled to be held on January 4.

In a directive issued to both warring groups, copies of which have been sent to the Deputy Commissioner and the Chairman, National Commission for minorities, Giani Joginder Singh Vedanti, Jathedar, Akal Takht, said the decision to postpone the election was taken on the basis of the report submitted by five-member committee which had recommended screening of the list of members. Jathedar Vedanti said the election was not possible as per schedule as it would take time to scrutinise the voters’ list.

Earlier, the committee comprising Justice R.S. Narula and Justice Kuldip Singh, Principal Ram Singh, Dr Prithipal Singh Kapur, a former vice-chancellor of Guru Nanak Dev University and Dr Kharak Singh had recommended to Akal Takht that the decisions to the Chief Khalsa Diwan scheduled for January 4 should be postponed. One group had expelled 284 members while the rival group had elected its own working president and other office-bearers. The minority Commission had to intervene to resolve the imbroglio when the Deputy Commissioner had appointed an SDM as the administrator.


4 get bail in Badal case
Our Correspondent

Ropar, December 24
The Special Judge of Ropar, Mr S.K. Goel, granted bail to four accused in the disproportionate assets case registered by the Punjab Vigilance against the former Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal. They are Jagnandan, Harbans Lal, Pavitar Singh and Darshan Singh.

The bail applications of Nirapjit Singh, alias Nippy, and Gurpinder Singh Grewal were, however, rejected.

Earlier, the defence had demanded bail for all accused on grounds of parity, stating that all main accused in the case, including Parkash Singh Badal, Sukhbir Badal, Surinder Kaur Badal and Narottam Singh Dhillon, had already been granted bail.

The prosecution, however, maintained that the circumstances of the said accused and those granted bail were different. It said Nirapjit Singh had tried to flee the country and was arrested from the airport. Additional evidence had come up against the other accused and supplementary challans would be presented against them in the court soon.


Court summons 8 SAD leaders

Ropar, December 24
The CJM, Ropar, Mr J.S. Bhinder, today issued summons for eight SAD leaders, including Mr Prem Singh Chandumajra, general secretary of the SAD, Mr Sharanjit Singh Dhillon, Mr Sohan Singh Thandal, Mr Amrik Singh Mohalli, Mr Hasukhminder Babbi Badal, Mr Gurinder Singh Gogi, Jatinder Singh Randhawa and Mr Balwinder Singh Randhawa, in case registered against them by the Ropar police.

They have been directed to present themselves before the court on January 31.

The leaders were booked under Sections 353, 283, 506, 148 and 149 of the IPC on December 1.


Why 900 more seats for Punjab polytechnics
P. P. S. Gill
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 24
The Punjab State Board of Technical Education and Industrial Training on October 22 approved the creation of 900 more seats in 17 private polytechnics . The polytechnics were asked to admit students at their own level before November 19, while the first semester examinations were scheduled from December 4. No additional seats have, however, been given to government polytechnics.

The manner in which the seats was increased or why the board showed undue haste and did not wait till the next academic session has created doubts over the government claims of being ‘’transparent’’.

This year nearly 20,000 students took the joint entrance test conducted by the board. The admission process was completed by August 19. Even then at least 817 seats remained vacant though all eligible candidates, including those who had scored zero in the JET, were considered.

Normally 5,000 students are admitted every year. However, in 2003-04, additional 1,500 seats were permitted in polytechnics against the demand for 2,500. This was done though several polytechnics did not have the requisite academic or physical infrastructure.

Sources say this was the first time that not only were additional seats created towards the fag-end of the first semester but merit was also ignored as those admitted had not even taken the JET.

There is a close functional relationship between the board and the All-India Council of Technical Education (AICTE). Admission is the prerogative of the state government, according to an official of the AICTE, which has its regional office in Chandigarh.

An AICTE official said: ‘’Legally, there is no bar on the creation of seats. But the way it has been done, despite our objections at meetings of the board and the affiliation committee, is not fair. We wish the board should have waited till the next academic session’’.

Sources say there was strong opposition to the creation of additional seats from some officials of the board at the meetings of the board and the affiliation and accreditation committee. However, they were overruled by chairperson Susheel Mahajan, a political appointee. Even representatives of the government supported her.

Ms Susheel Mahajan had joined as chairperson around the time the central counselling admissions to polytechncis were over in August. Trouble started soon thereafter, when she raised the issue of increasing seats in private polytechnics, which she maintained, had represented to her. There were persistent political pressures, backed by some bureaucrats of the state Department of Technical Education and Industrial Training, to raise the number of seats.

The only ‘’justification’’ given by the board to this increase in seats was a ‘’directive’’ (No 13/12/03-ITE2/4433) it had received from the government.


75 pc hospital staff found absent
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, December 24
As many as 25 doctors and Class III employees out of a total staff strength of 33 were found absent from duty during a raid conducted by the Additional Deputy Commissioner, Mr Kulwant Singh, at the local TB Hospital here today.

Once famous in North India, the TB Hospital has lately been in the news for mismanagement and its pitiable condition. The Punjab State Human Rights Commission had also taken a suo motu notice on the basis of a report published in The Tribune.

The senior doctors who were found absent included acting in charge of the hospital, Dr Kulwant Singh Bhatia, Dr A.S. Bhatia, Dr Mohinder Singh, Dr Balbir Malhotra, Dr S.L. Khanna. Dr Satish Duggal, Dr Sandip Gupta, Dr Naresh Chawla, Dr Sandip Soni, Dr Kirpal Singh, Dr Naresh Bansal, Dr Vishal Verma, Dr Jagjit Singh Khalsa, Dr Deepak, Dr Pritabha, Dr Gurpreet and Dr Jorawar. The Class III and Class IV employees who were found absent were Satbir Kaur, Usha Kumari, Parmeet Kaur, Kishan Kumar, Rajan Kumar, Gopal Krishan, Baldev Singh and Bakshish Singh.

While the Additional Deputy Commissioner claimed that the aforementioned staff members did not report on duty till 8.45 am as he remained in the hospital for more than 45 minutes, Dr Kulwant Singh Bhatia claimed that due to thick fog some of the staff members might have arrived late.

Talking to TNS, the Additional Deputy Commissioner said only sweepers were present at the hospital when he arrived there at 8.05 am. However, some of the staff members, including some doctors, were so casual in their approach that they came to the hospital in tracksuits or nightsuits.

In a press note issued by the Deputy Commissioner, Mr Raminder Singh, it was stated that during the checking, only six doctors/employees were found present, including Dr Nirmal Chand, Dr Vijay Saroya, Dr S.P. Singh, Dr Gurmeet Singh, Dr Karn Singh and Dr Sandeep Mahajan where as Dr Balaggan and Dr Jagdev Singh were reported to be on leave. The Deputy Commissioner said he had sent a report to the Secretary, Department of Medical Education and Research, for disciplinary action.


Flesh trade accused charges Mayor with giving threats
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, December 24
In a twist to the flesh trade racket allegedly run by Congress leader Neelam Chaudhary, the accused (Neelam) today charged the Mayor, Mr Sunil Datti, of patronising her trade, bringing her into the Congress party and then threatening her to silence after she was exposed by the police.

At a press conference here today, Neelam played the tapes of threats that the Mayor had allegedly given to her if she took his name in connection with the flesh trade racket.

The Mayor, when contacted, refuted the allegations and said the tapes were doctored and some portions in context were deleted to make it appear as threats. He said this was the handiwork of the opposition parties as an Akali leader, Dr Dalbir Singh Verka, had recently released photographs of Neelam with different Congress leaders, including him. He said he was prepared for any inquiry by the state or the party.

In a significant statement, Neelam admitted that she supplied girls but added that the girls were provided “only” to the Mayor and his close friends and relatives. She alleged that Raman Bakshi, close relative of the Mayor, used to take the girls from her place. She showed photographs of the Mayor in a large album at the press conference and claimed that he had attended all functions in which she was an invitee or hostess. She said the Mayor was responsible for her induction in the Congress from the BJP.

She said on November 25 she was arrested and jailed the next day. Four days later about six youth allegedly sent by the Mayor threatened her in jail not to open her mouth. Neelam demanded security from the Punjab Government and urged for a case to be registered against the Mayor.

Interestingly, the Congress Party Mahila Mandal vice-president, Ms Satinder Kaur Gujral, had announced that an inquiry had been ordered by the ‘party’ by a five-member committee to look into the ‘Neelam’ affair.


No X’mas holiday for Sangrur health staff
Sushil Goyal
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, December 24
When all employees of the Punjab Government will enjoy a holiday on December 25 on the occasion of Christmas, hundreds of employees and doctors of the Health Department of Sangrur district will attend their respective offices, the Civil Hospital and rural health institutions, according to an order issued by the Civil Surgeon, Sangrur, to all SMOs, those in charge of all Primary Health Centres and Community Health Centres of the district, all Programme Officers, and the office of the Civil Surgeon.

According to the order, all officers have been instructed by the Civil Surgeon to ensure the presence of the employees in their respective institutions in the district from December 25 to December 27 as the Principal Secretary, Health and Family Welfare, Punjab, will tour the district during this period and may visit any institution.

The direction of the Sangrur Civil Surgeon to the employees of the Health Department in the district to remain present on duty in their respective institutions on December 25 is virtually “cancellation” of the Christmas holiday, as is being felt by many employees. Secondly, December 27 is also a holiday on account of Saturday for the clerical staff.

Resentment prevails among employees of the Health Department due to the “cancellation” of this important gazetted holiday (Christmas) in view of the tour of the Principal Secretary, Health, Punjab, to the district. This was confirmed by Mr Balwant Singh Saini, a senior leader of clerical staff of the Civil Surgeon’s office here. He said a deputation of various unions of the office met the Civil Surgeon, Dr J.R. Bansal, in his office today.


Rafi goes unsung in birthplace
Rashmi Talwar

Kotla Sultan Singh (Amritsar), December 24
Legendary singer Mohammed Rafi ironically remains ‘unsung’ on his birthday today, in his village 16 km from Amritsar.

A gate stands in his name outside a Senior Secondary School and a park has been four walled to commemorate it to great singing sensation produced by this village in pre-Partition days.

Three childhood friends of Mohammed Rafi well in their eighties and nineties point towards the house that stands now in place of the ancestral ‘kacha’ house of the singer and his father, Ali Mohammed, a cook. It was razed long ago. However, none of the singer’s friends Gurbaksh Singh (90), Bakshish Singh (83) Kundan Singh (80) remember his birthday.

Gurbaksh, friend and former sarpanch recalls Rafi to be mischievous child who failed in every class, shirked studies, ran away from school to play pranks.


Politicians, cops out to defend tainted SI
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 24
A section of Punjab politicians and police officials is mounting pressure on Mr P.S. Sarao, DIG, Faridkot Range, to reinstate Sub-Inspector, Shamsher Singh ‘Gudu’ (Inspector, local rank) who was prematurely retired by the SSP, Mansa, on December 16.

Gudu would have otherwise retired at 55 years on December 31. Gudu, has reportedly represented to DIG Sarao, seeking reinstatement and an extension in service till 2006. He has pleaded that he had made huge recoveries of poppy husk and opium and had also “fought bravely’’ in Punjab’s difficult decade.

Shamsher Singh Gudu was one of the cops in the Daler Mehndi special investigating team to have been transferred out of Patiala by the Chief Minister, who did not want “corrupt officers’’, the other two being Inspector Prem Singh and Inspector Didar Singh.

Gudu was retired premature under the Punjab Civil Service (prematured retirement) Rules, 1975, since he had “bad’’ annual confidential reports. At least six criminal cases are registered against him — four in Ludhiana and two in Patiala.

Sources say his application for reinstatement and extension in service is invalid. There is no specified provision in the rules for review against the order of premature retirement. This aspect was considered by the government and the necessary instructions were issued in October, 1973.

Sources say, Gudu who was prematurely retired on December 16, should have applied for an extension in service for three years at least six months before the due date. The rules say the appointing authority should review such a request and approve an extension in service for three years, if there was nothing adverse against the applicant. A medical fitness certificate was also important for extension beyond 55 years. And Gudu, it is said, had not applied for an extension even till December 17.

Police sources say Gudu has a criminal record and bad annual confidential reports, which describe him as “highly corrupt’’. This was during his posting in Ludhiana in the nineties when several cases were registered against him. These are still pending.


Library sans staff, funds
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, December 24
The district library here lacks requisite staff has no funds, and its building is not maintained by the departments concerned. Membership of these library is said to be around 4,500. Nearly 100 readers visit its reading room everyday to keep in touch with the world through newspapers and magazines.

Sources said perhaps this was the only district library in the state, without the post of restorer for arranging thousands of books, including old books and manuscripts. Besides, out of two sanctioned posts of librarian, one post has been vacant for the past several years. The library has a part-time sweeper for two hours everyday for this huge building. The library has no post of gardener and watchman.

For maintenance and functioning of the library it requires a restorer, a watchman, a gardener, a full-time sweeper and a part-time clerk to write cashbook and handle clerical work, they added.

The library has also been facing shortage of funds, due to which payments to the agents for the supply of newspapers are to be made for the past some years. It is learnt that the library needs more than Rs 30,000 to clear payments of newspapers and magazines. It is also learnt that annual contingency fund of the library is just Rs 20,000, which is insufficient as major part of this is spent for paying electricity bills and on the purchase of newspapers and magazines etc. The library receives meagre grant for the purchase of new books every year.

On a visit to the library, one finds that it has not been maintained by the PWD. Windowpanes of the library are broken. Whitewash of the walls and painting of doors, it seems has not been done for several years. Repairs in bathrooms needs to be done special attention. Big wooden almirahs are also in bad shape.

In the library complex an open-air theatre was constructed years ago, but now, it seems, there is no one to look after it. It is felt that a caretaker should be appointed to maintain it and get it cleaned regularly.


Illegal structure to be razed
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, December 24
Mr Ved Parkash Gupta, general secretary, Punjab Human Rights Committee, in a press note issued here today claimed that the commissioner of the Municipal Corporation had ordered the demolition of an illegal structure being raised in a blind street of the city.

Mr Gupta said it was the second attempt by the same shopkeeper to raise a commercial structure in the blind street without seeking the approval of the authorities concerned. He said the committee had sent telegrams to the commissioner asking him to intervene and stop the illegal structure from being raised.


Ex-SMO, two others declared PO in fake bills scam
Chander Parkash
Tribune News Service

Muktsar, December 24
Mr Rakesh Kumar, Judicial Magistrate, has declared Dr Sohan Lal Arora, former Senior Medical Officer (SMO) of the Health Centre, Chak Sherewala village, Mr Bal Kishan, an employee of the Primary Health Centre, Chak Sherewala, and its cashier, Mr Kanwaljit Singh, as proclaimed offender after they failed to appear in the court in connection with the trial of a case registered against them for their alleged involvement in a fake bills scam which was detected in April 2003.

The Judicial Magistrate declared these suspects as proclaimed offender recently after they failed to appear even after a month of the issuance of a proclamation under Section 82 of the CrPC against them in the case.

A case under Sections 409, 467, 468, 471 and 120-B of the IPC had been registered against these suspects at Sadar police station here on April 19 on the direction of the then Deputy Commissioner, Mrs Usha R. Sharma, when the local Civil Hospital authorities detected a major scam pertaining to misappropriation of funds to the tune of crores of rupees by the suspects by withdrawing the money from the treasury through fake bills of salaries arrears and other expenditure in the year 2002-2003.

Mrs Sharma directed the district police authorities to register a case against Dr Arora and others when the latter were found guilty of misappropriation of more than Rs 1 crore by withdrawing the amount from the district treasury. Mr Gurcharan Singh, accountant, Civil Hospital, conducted an inquiry into the scam on the direction of the Civil Surgeon, Dr S.S. Toor.

Interestingly, Dr Arora was working as a medical officer at Tarkhanwala village when he allegedly misappropriated government funds for the first time to the tune of Rs 4.42 lakh by getting his pay fixed at a higher scale than the one he was entitled to according to the rules. He allegedly forged a letter of an order of the then Secretary of Health, Punjab, in this connection and was made officiating Senior Medical Officer (SMO) of the Primary Health Centre of Chak Sherewala village and was also given the drawing and disbursing officer (DDO) powers by the authorities concerned.

Sources said Dr Arora and others withdrew about Rs 13 lakh from the government treasury by making fake bills of arrears of DA of the employees working there.

Afterwards Dr Arora and others withdrew about Rs 71 lakh from the government treasury by making more fake bills of salaries, arrears of DA and other expenditure of the employees. Dr Arora, who made the entry of Rs 13 lakh into the cash book, did not make the entry of Rs 71 lakh in the cashbook of the Primary Health Centre, Chak Sherewala. He had shown in the record that he (Dr Arora) had made payment to the tune of about Rs 13 lakh to the employees of the Primary Health Centre, which the employees never received.

All these irregularities came to the light when Dr Jaspal Kaur joined as a regular SMO at the Primary Health Centre Chak Sherewala. A regular inquiry into these irregularities was got conducted through the accountant, Mr Gurcharan Singh, and Dr Arora and others were found guilty. The matter was then taken up with the then Deputy Commissioner, Mrs Sharma, and ultimately a case was registered against Dr Arora and others.


Order to file challan against ex-SSP
Tribune News Service

Patiala, December 24
A local court has rejected a cancellation report moved by the police with regard to a murder case registered against a former Senior Superintendent of Police of this district — Paramjit Singh Grewal and two other police personnel. It has ordered the filing of a police challan against the accused and issued notices to them in this regard.

According to a copy of the court order issued by Chief Judicial Magistrate M.P.S. Pahwa, all three accused Mr Paramjit Singh Grewal, who is presently commanding a commando battalion, and Swaran Singh and Hardyal Singh, are to be challaned for offences under Sections 302 and 34, IPC. The three have been given notice for January 31 in the case.

Earlier, the prosecution had submitted in the court that there was no offence to proceed against the accused. It had claimed that the courts were bound to accept the cancellation report and that the complainant could file a private complaint in the matter.

The counsel for the complainant submitted that the crime took place on May 5, 1983 in the house of complainant Vijay Shakti. It said the entire incident, including the shooting down of Ashok Kumar, was witnessed by Vijay Shakti as well as his son, Sachinder Kapoor and Anita Rani, wife of the deceased. The counsel said the statements of all these persons were recorded under Section 161 CrPC and the post-mortem report and the inquest report of the deceased were on file. The counsel claimed that despite the fact that the police had not investigated the matter properly there was sufficient evidence on record to prove the case of the complainant. It was also alleged that there was no material on record to prove the innocence of the accused involved in the occurrence of the incident.

The counsel for the complainant also submitted that earlier when the police refused to register a case against the suspect, a representation had been made to the Punjab Governor and other authorities. He said a commission of inquiry was appointed by the State Director-General of Police and an inquiry had been conducted by retired judge K.K. Dubey. He said a case was registered against the accused following the findings of the inquiry Commission.


Warrants to attach 4 cars of officers
Our Correspondent

Jalandhar, December 24
Mr S.K. Aggarwal, Additional District Judge, has issued warrants of attachments of four Ambassador cars being used by senior civil officials, including the Additional Deputy Commissioner and the GA to the Deputy Commissioner for failure of the state government to make payment of about Rs 22.85 lakh to Sukhjit Singh and others on account of enhancement of compensation.

Sukhjit Singh of Nahal village and other legar heirs had filed an case on August 12, 2002, against the state of Punjab through the Collector, Land Acquisition, Jalandhar, for the recovery of Rs 22, 85, 240 on account of the enhancement of compensation for their land acquired by the government.

The failure to release the payment despite scores of adjournments, the court has finally issued warrants of attachment of four Ambassador cars (PB-08 M 8888, PB-08 J 0011, PB-08 R 0011 and PB-08 KA 0047). These cars were being used by the Additional Deputy Commissioner, Mr Parveen Kumar, the Additional Deputy Commissioner (Development) Mr S.S. Bains, and the GA to the Deputy Commissioner, Mr Harbir Singh, in their official capacity.

Meanwhile, it was learnt that the car (PB-08 M 8888) was purchased from the Central Government funds and was not the property of the state government.


Animal welfare camp held
Our Correspondent

Patiala, December 24
The Secretary for Dairy, Fisheries and Animal Husbandry, Mr D.S. Bains, inaugurated a new scheme for animal welfare at Mallewal village near here, today.

The Deputy Director Animal Husbandry Department, Patiala, Mr R.S. Grewal, in collaboration with Horlicks, Nabha, organised an animal welfare camp at the village.

Mr Bains said that nearly 2 crore litre milk was produced in the state daily while in UP less than 1 crore litre was produced.

He presented mementos to the several milk producers of the village.

Addressing the gathering, Director, Animal Husbandry Department, Baljeet Singh Sidhu said more such camps would be organised in various villages of the state.


5 kg opium seized
Our Correspondent

Faridkot, December 24
The Kotkapura police has seized 5 kg opium from Sukhpreet Kaur, a resident of Bholuwala village. A case under Sections 18/61/85 of the NDPS Act has been registered against her at Sadar Kotkapura police station. In a press note issued here today. Mr Kulchhinder Singh SSP, said on a tip-off the police seized a bag from Sukhpreet and recovered the opium. During investigation she disclosed that Balbir Singh a smuggler, and two of his accomplices of Jandwala in Haryana had delivered the opium to her for handing it over to Jasbir Kaur of Ghanewala village who was absconding.

In another case the police arrested another opium smuggler Kamaljit Singh Har Raipur Tikoni village along with 500 gram of opium. a case under Sections 18/61/85 of the NDPS Act has been registered against him. During investigation he admitted that he had brought the opium from Sukhpreet Kaur.


Moga enrols 10,850 kids under education scheme

Moga, December 24
Moga achieved distinction in the state by enrolling 10,850 children in the age group under education guarantee scheme.

Deputy Commissioner G. Ramesh Kumar said 8,393 of 10,850 children were enrolled in 117 education guarantee scheme centres and remaining 2,457 were admitted in primary schools.

The Deputy Commissioner claimed that Moga district was on the top in achieving the 100 per cent target of enrolling of six to 14 age group children. He directed the District Education Officer to conduct another survey with the help of NGOs to identify migratory and other children of this age group who had been employed at hotels and dhabas and then to enrole them so that they could be educated. He also directed the NGO to keep a watch over the activities of the centres so that proper education could be imparted there. — UNI


New chief of SLIET board
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, December 24
The Governor of Punjab has appointed Mr Jai Singh Gill, IAS, Chief Secretary to the Government of Punjab, as Chairman of the Board of Governors of the Sant Longowal Institute of Engineering and Technology (SLIET)/ Society, Longowal, in Sangrur district, on an ex-officio basis. The appointment has been made after consulting the Government of India.

Notification to this effect, was issued today by Mr K.B.S. Sidhu, Secretary, Technical Education, Punjab.


School timings changed

Faridkot, December 24
Owing to inclement weather, Mr Hussan Lal, Deputy Commissioner cum-District Magistrate, Faridkot, has changed the timings of all government and private schools and colleges with immediate effect in the district. Under the orders all educational institutions will remain open from 10 am to 3.30 pm till January 30. — OC


Online tax refund on cards
Our Correspondent

Phagwara, December 24
Under the online transfer plan, the refund of the income tax assesses will be credited directly to their bank account instead of releasing the refund by post or by hand. This was declared here yesterday by Mr Kamal Kishore Kapila, Director General, Income Tax (Investigation), a release said here today.

Mr Kapila also said the Income Tax Department offices in the region will be completely computerised within next six months to enable electronic filing of the tax returns and ushering in transparency in the department.

The procedure of IT searches had been, changed.

Earlier, Mr Kapila conferred upon a "Nyaya Shiromani Award" on Advocate Mohan Lal Jhanji of Ludhiana. He also resented a "Nyaya Rattan" award to late Advocate Prithvi Raj Handa (posthumously). The advocate son of Mr Manda Mr Suraj Mani Handa got it.

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