P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



Punjab may not get B-1 category, says Home Secy
P. P. S. Gill
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 9
“It has been my life-long dream to visit the Golden Temple, which I am excitedly looking forward to”, said Mr N Gopalaswami with a beaming smile adding: “Official meetings are usual business that we keep doing. Even in the past I could not visit Amritsar”.

It is for the first time that the Union Home Secretary and his wife would visit the Golden Temple tomorrow to pay obeisance.

When asked how come he did not go there during his earlier visits here, he replied, “Where one is born is ‘janambhoomi’, where one works is ‘karambhoomi’. And the call has come only now to pay obeisance at Harimandir Sahib”.

Talking to The Tribune, Mr Gopalaswami hinted that Punjab may not be placed in the B-I category of states, as was being demanded.The Home Ministry has classified states on the basis of threat perception from naxalites, militants and cross-border terrorism etc. Punjab is now bracketed with B-II states that are “least affected or normal”, as compared to B-I states that are “mildly affected”. The states in A category are “highly affected”. However, for “modernisation” of the police force, Punjab would get the requisite financial support under the central non-Plan scheme, he added.

During the just-concluded SAARC summit in Islamabad, India and Pakistan discussed extradition of the most wanted “terrorists and criminals”. New Delhi had, in fact, given a list of “top 20” to Pakistan after the December 13, 2001 attack on Parliament. That list had also included those who had ‘’conspired’’ to target Deputy Prime Minister L.K. Advani. Even the Interpol had issued red-corner notices against at least 15 out of 20 wanted by India.

When asked about the probability of signing of an extradition treaty between India and Pakistan and invitation to Mr Advani to visit Islamabad for signing of the treaty, Mr Gopalaswami was cautious in his comments. “So far, I have not seen any letter or invitation. We have only seen the media reports”.

Asked how was the situation in J and K, the Home Secretary said: “There is now snow and severe winter. This may have decreased militancy. The intensity of Intelligence reports warns us to be watchful and keep our fingers crossed. We have no reports of any Pakistan Army action in Occupied Kashmir on terrorist out-fits”.

Mr Gopalaswami, as principal interlocuator between the Government and the Chief Election Commission, has a crucial role to play in the run-up to preparedness for Parliament elections. It is the Ministry of Home Affairs and Justice that has to provide logistics support when it comes to deployment of the paramilitary forces during elections in various states.

This depends upon the law and order situation and threat perception. He is now making a country-wide assessment.

When asked about this, the Home Secretary said as in the last Lok Sabha elections, states were likely to be clubbed together again. The poll process may span from 20 days to 25 days. “We need time to move the paramilitary forces from one state to another.

We require a minimum of nine days for the forces to be dispatched to remote areas in far-flung states. Last time, the commission had not given us that much time. We had to do every thing quickly within five days or so”.

DGP meets Gopalaswami

Mr Gopalaswami had a meeting on “modernisation” with the Punjab Director-General of Police, Mr A.A. Siddiqui, here today. Since Punjab was ‘’defaulter’’, not having contributed its share of money to the police under the central non-Plan assistance, the Home Secretary was requested that if giving more money was a problem in the absence of utilisation certificates, let the Ministry then send the requisite items including weapons, vehicles etc. of which Punjab could submit an inventory.

Mr Siddiqui said the Home Secretary was open to this suggestion. Punjab had also requested that the implementation of the recommendations of the Malimath committee on criminal justice should be expedited to bring forward requisite reforms in the police.

Mr Gopalaswami also paid a courtesy call on Chief Minister Amarinder Singh at his residence and met Punjab Chief Secretary Jai Singh Gill in his office.


KMC petitions gurdwara panel
Misuse of SGPC funds alleged
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, January 9
The Khalra Mission Committee (KMC) along with some Sikh religious and social organisations today filed a petition before the Sikh Judicial Commission against nine persons including Mr Parkash Singh Badal, President, Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD), Giani Joginder Singh Vedanti, Jathedar Akal Takht and Mr Gurcharan Singh Tohra, president, SGPC, allegedly for misusing SGPC funds.

They (petitioners) alleged that the nine alleged celebrated birthday of Mr Parkash Singh Badal on December 8, 2003 using SGPC funds and its notified gurdwaras, causing loss of Rs five lakh which was against ‘Sikh maryada’ (code of ethics) as only birthdays of Sikh Gurus were entitled to be celebrated from gurdwara funds.

They claimed that on the day of hearing of Mr Badal in a corruption case at Ropar, the Manager of Nadda Sahib Gurdwara in connivance with other respondents had provided free of cost meal to the SAD workers. They alleged that it caused loss of Rs two lakh to the SGPC.

On another count they said, Giani Puran Singh, head granthi, Golden Temple and Giani Joginder Singh Vedanti, Jathedar Akal Takht presented a siropa (a robe of honour) to Mr Badal on December 11, 2003 on his visit to the Golden Temple after release on bail in a corruption case in which he was chargesheeted which was against Sikh tenets. They compared it with “the Sikhs giving siropa to General O’Dyer who had massacred Punjabis and Sikhs at Jallianwala Bagh in 1919.

They said that Mr Badal was instrumental in making Mr Atal Bihari Vajpayee, Prime Minister, a known RSS worker, chairman of the Committee for celebrating 300-year anniversary celebration of Khalsa Panth. They said now again Mr Badal had made Mr Vajpayee, Chairman of a committee constituted to celebrate the coming 400th Prakash Utsav of Siri Guru Granth Sahib.

The petition has been filed under Section 142 of the Sikh Gurdwara Act, 1925. The next date of hearing is on January 12. The five petitioners, include Mr Jasbir Singh, President, Ashutoshwad Virodhi Morcha, Mr Dalbir Singh, Patron KMC, Mr Harmandeep Singh, Chairman, KMC, Mr Joginder Singh, General Secretary, Gurmat Prachar Sabha and Mr Virsa Singh convener Sikh Jagriti Morcha.

The other six persons against whom petition was filed are Mr Manjit Singh Calcutta, Honorary Secretary, and Mr Sukhdev Singh Bhaur, General Secretary of the SGPC, Giani Puran Singh, Head Grandhi, Golden Temple, the Managers of Darbar Sahib, Dukh Niwaran Sahib Gurdwara and Nadda Sahib Gurdwara.


Poverty drives man to kill son
Daughter survives murder attempt
Varinder Singh
Tribune News Service

Hoshiarpur, January 9
A vegetable vendor of Jandiala village in Jalandhar district, has allegedly killed his 10-year-old son and made a bid to kill his 12-year-old daughter after taking them to a ditch at Nara village, near here.

Madan Lal, who has absconded probably took this step this morning as he was fed up of poverty and debt and failure to run his big family. Madan Lal took away all his three children from home on the pretext of undertaking a pilgrimage to the Mata Chintpurni shrine in Una district.

According to his daughter Monica Dabar (12), on return from the shrine her father made her, and her brothers Prince (8) and Ravi (10) alight the bus near Gagret township of Una district around 8 am to buy some fruit. After that, the children were made to walk for some distance and taken to a roadside khud (ditch) near Nara.

Madan Lal allegedly killed Ravi there by trying a rope around his neck. Later, when Monica started crying, he allegedly tied the rope around her neck too and left her, taking her to be dead.

On the basis of her statement, a case was registered against Madan Lal at Hariana police station under Sections 302 and 307 of the IPC.

Monica informed that after assuming that she had died, her father took Prince and fled the scene. She said after regaining consciousness around 9 am, she crawled up to the main road, where a retired Army officer spotted her and informed the Gagret police.

Monica told the police that her father used to remained disturbed over his debt and financial crisis.

A police party led by Hoshiarpur Sadar SHO Daljit Singh, it is learnt, reached the spot and took the body of Ravi into possession. The body was later sent to the Hoshiarpur Civil Hospital.

Monica is admitted in the Gagret hospital, sources said. The Hoshiarpur police has reportedly informed the family about the incident.


Canadian Minister visits Golden Temple
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, January 9
Community Minister of Alberta in Canada and Deputy Government House Leader, Gene Zwozdesky, his wife Ms Gene Zwozdesky and an MLA Shireze Shariff today paid obeisance at the Golden Temple here.

He was presented with a siropa (Robe of Honour) and a model of the Golden Temple by Mr Dilmegh Singh and Mr Gurdarshan Singh, additional secretary and vice secretary of the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC), respectively, along with Mr Onkar Singh Sharifpura.

The Canadian Minister also paid obeisance at Akal Takht. Ms Neelam Chawla, Associate Director Pacific, and Mr Gurbans Singh Sobti, Consulate-General of Canada’s High Commission in Chandigarh, etc were also present.


Girl says no to dowry seeker
Chander Parkash
Tribune News Service

Muktsar, January 9
Defying all social stigmas and resisting family pressure, Jasmine (name changed), a girl of Rupana village of the district, has refused to marry a local boy to protest against his “undying hunger” for dowry.

Jasmine, who attended some of the best educational institutes at Chandigarh and Shimla, took the extreme step today when she found out that for her would-be husband money was everything. She refused to marry the boy despite the fact that their marriage was to be solemnised on January 11 at a local resort and invitation cards had been sent to relatives and friends by both families.

Jasmine, who was engaged to Yadwinder (name changed) two months ago and was dreaming about her future with her husband, was disappointed when the family members of Yadwinder started demanding dowry despite the fact that her family planned to spend lakhs of rupees on her marriage. Her family had already spent lakhs of rupees on her engagement ceremony.

“My parents have already given expensive furniture to the boy. They have also purchased two cars (one Scorpio and the other Accent) so that one of these can be given to the boy according to his demand and choice. My parents have told the family of the boy that they will spend about Rs 25 lakh on the marriage,” pointed out Jasmine.

Jasmine said she knew it well that it was difficult to live in the male-dominated society of Punjab after taking such an extreme step but she preferred dignity to marrying a greedy man. She added that her decision was supported by her family and it had been conveyed to the boy and the members of his family. She said her relatives had brought back the furniture and the engagement ring from the boy last evening.

Jasmine alleged that neither the boy nor his family members were satisfied with the huge amount which her father had promised to spend on her marriage. She added that the boy and his family members were demanding more hard cash. She said even yesterday, the family members of the boy had demanded that Rs 5 lakh in cash should be given to them before January 11. The boy and his family members were also pressurising her family members that her jewellery items should be sent to the family of the boy before the marriage.

“When all this happened, I thought it would be difficult for me to spend my whole life with a boy to whom money was everything in life. When I came to know about the repeated demands of dowry by the boy and his family members, I stopped talking to him,” said Jasmine.


Kin of ‘disappeared’ persons form front

Amritsar, January 9
Mr Gurmail Singh a candidate for panchayat elections in ‘Pandori Gula’ village ‘disappeared’ in 1992 when militancy was at its peak. Gurcharan Singh father of Gurmail, a member of the governing council of the Association of Families of the Disappeared in Punjab (AFDP) recalled during militancy the police unleashed brutality to settle political scores and help a Congress candidate in the name of fighting terrorism.

“Manngo’s eyes were filled with tears as she recalled how she and her children had faced untold hardships since her husband Ajit Singh of Gagremal village was picked up from Rayya in 1989. She has a letter received from “Amnesty International” in February last year, which seeks her input for their recent report “Punjab-India Break the cycle of impunity and torture in Punjab” on their website.

Eight years in a very long time since the cases were filed” says agitated Mrs Paramjit Khalra wife of Jaswant Khalra who was abducted and killed after he exposed the 2097 cases of ‘disappearances’ and arbitrary executions in the state. The reports had caught media headlines and provided incontrovertible proof of police atrocities “government made a mockery of our loss by offering meagre compensation to 18 families. We demand Rs 10 lakh as compensation per family member” she said.

Nearly 700 family members turned up in strength here today to forge a united front at the general body meeting of the “Association of Families of the disappeared in Punjab”. represented by a Five-member governing council-chairperson Dr Tarlochan Singh Walia, Gurcharan Singh, Mohinder Singh, Harcharanjit Kaur Bhatti, Satnam Singh.

As many as 900 letters were sent to families of victims to join the movement launched by the “Committee for Information and Initiative for Punjab” (CIIP). The CIIP which is also a petitioner in the Supreme Court in these cases was represented by Mr Ram Narayan Kumar with Mr Amrik Singh, Mr Ashok Aggarwal author and co-author of “Reduced to Ashes” a more than 600-page report on insurgency and human rights in Punjab, Mr Tapan Bose, Priya Jain coordinator with other organisation and public and Sukhbans Singh a lawyer from the USA contributing to research on human right issues with national and international bodies.

In a joint address the members resolved to “empower” the aggrieved to fight for justice for their kin and get suitable compensation in lieu of atrocities, trauma, unleashed upon them by ‘police terrorism’. “More rhetoric on terrorism and talks were not enough the government needs to take a close look at violations, abuses, killing, abductions, permanent injury let loose in the name of wiping out terrorists,” they added.

Abuse of power was rampant to kill innocents and settle scores. They alleged that “powers-that-be” were shielding guilty top police officials, political leaders and others.

Meanwhile many of the family members who arrived here since morning from various villages in the district expressed impatience and said they had lost hope but could atleast make one final try for justice to their near and dear ones. One father was inconsolable as he said mothers died of trauma — “losing their sons to police torture”.


Award for Sunil Dutt

Patiala, January 9
Film star and mp Sunil Dutt was chosen for this year’s Punjab Today award here today.

He was nominated for his outstanding contribution in politics based on commitment to national values, transparency in public life and the cause of Punjab and Punjabiat throughout the world.

The award would be conferred at an annual award ceremony to be held in March, 2004. Earlier, recipients of the award include Mr I.K. Gujral, Dr Manmohan Singh and Mr Surjit Singh Barnala. OC


SAD ‘anti-repression’ rally turns into poll rally
Tribune News Service

Dirba, (Sangrur), January 9
The Shiromani Akali Dal’s “anti-repression” rally, attended by thousands of persons at the Grain Market here today, virtually turned into a rally for the ensuing Lok Sabha elections.

All senior leaders of the SAD, including Mr Parkash Singh Badal, Mr Gurcharan Singh Tohra, Mr Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa and Capt Kanwaljit Singh, called upon the Punjabis to give a befitting reply and teach a lesson to the Congress by giving it a crushing defeat in the elections for allegedly “committing atrocities” and “betraying” the people of Punjab by not implementing its last poll manifesto.

The rally was also attended by Mrs Maneka Gandhi, former Union Minister, Mr Sukhbir Singh Badal, general secretary of the SAD, Mr Balwinder Singh Bhunder, MLA, Mr Gobind Singh Kanjhla, MLA from Sherpur, Mr Sucha Singh Langah, former Punjab minister, Prof Kirpal Singh Badungar, former ‘former president of the SGPC, Mr Tota Singh, former Punjab Education Minister, Prof Prem Singh Chandumajra, former MP, Mr Sharanjit Singh Dhillon, president of Youth wing of the SAD, and Mr Baldev Mann, general secretary of the SAD.

Mr Badal assured the gathering that the SAD government would make Punjab like California. He also said Capt Amarinder Singh would not remain Chief Minister after the elections.

Mr Tohra predicted that Mrs Sonia Gandhi, President of the Congress, could not become Prime Minister as the people had already given a mandate in this direction by defeating the party in the recent Assembly elections in three states.

Mrs Maneka Gandhi said no development works had been done during the past two years in the state.

Mr Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa termed the regime of Vajpayee government as a “golden period” and Mr Atal Bihari Vajpayee as an “apostle of peace.”


Khalsa council meeting on Jan 14
Our Correspondent

Jalandhar, January 9
The Khalsa Mission Council (KMC) today convened a meeting of Sikh religious and social organisations at Gurdwara Har Rai Sahib, Noormahal, on January 14.

Jathedar Dilbagh Singh, president of the council, in a press statement issued here, said the gurdwara was a historic place and was being managed by the SGPC. He alleged that some influential persons were instrumental in grabbing it.

Meanwhile, the Mia Shah Fateh Ali Committee (MSAC) has demanded that Muslims should be allowed to perform their rituals at the “dargah” of Faqir Shah Fateh Ali. There is a gurdwara on one side of the premises, while a “dargah” exists on the other side. Both communities have reportedly been performing their rituals there.

Though the dargah committee had given a representation to Punjab Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh about six months ago, seeking an early resolution of the dispute, nothing concrete has been done so far.

Meanwhile, Jathedar Dilbagh Singh, has contended that nobody would be allowed to violate the Sikh Maryada. 


SAARC Secy-Gen visits Sirhind
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, January 9
Mr Q.A.M.A Rahim, Secretary-General, SAARC, said here today that the recently concluded summit had been a great success and good results in the fields of economy, politics and alleviation of poverty were expected.

Talking to The Tribune at Aam Khas Bagh, Sirhind, he said relations between India and Pakistan were not on the agenda but the SAARC Summit had provided platform to both countries to raise their issues and settle disputes. 


Punjabi conference concludes
Our Correspondent

Patiala, January 9
The three-day International Conference of Punjabi Language Development concluded here today. Dr S.P. Singh, Vice-Chancellor, Guru Nanak Dev University, was the chief guest on the occasion.

Appreciating the initiative of Punjabi University to start a dialogue on sensitive issue relating to Guru Granth Sahib, Dr S.P. Singh emphasised that along with keeping the religious base in the study of Gurbani, all other aspects involving social issues must remain in focus for the meaningful understanding of Guru Granth Sahib.

Speaking on the occasion, Vice-Chancellor of Punjabi University S.S. Boparai highlighted that the emergence of Sikh religion was a revolutionary event which represented a break with the outdated modes of traditional brahminical and Islamic ways of life.

He further said that it was the Guru who tried to free the mankind from ritualistic dogmas and established a new criteria of truthful living. Commenting upon the present scenario, Mr Boparai said efforts to keep the Guru’s teaching and revolutionary ideas confined to a limited sphere was detrimental to the spread of Guru’s message to the whole mankind.

Earlier, Dr Dhanwant Kaur, Head of the department, while welcoming the guests thanked the 400 delegates from India and abroad for actively participating in the five academic sessions in which as many as 17 research papers were presented.


Power supply to court complex severed
Our Correspondent

Barnala, January 9
The Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB) here today disconnected unauthorised and illegal power connections in the Courts complex.

According to sources, the PSEB had done this to check line losses.


Pharmacists’ dharna on Jan 11

Bathinda, January 9
The Punjab State Pharmacists Association has decided to stage a state-level dharna and take out a march in Dasuya town, represented by the Health Minister, Mr Ramesh Chander Dogra, in the Vidhan Sabha, on January 11. — TNS


Punjab suffers setback on framing of charges
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 9
Punjab state’s move for directions to defer the framing of charges against Deputy Chief Minister (designate) Rajinder Kaur Bhattal in a corruption case apparently suffered a setback after Mr Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel of the Punjab and Haryana High Court fixed January 19 as the next date of hearing in the matter. The case against Ms Bhattal is coming up for framing of charges before the trial court on January 10.

Taking up an application filed by Ms Bhattal and a petition filed by the state in less than a month after the standoff between her and Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh ended, Mr Justice Goel, however, directed that “any proceedings which may be taken in the trial court will be subject to the decision of this court”.

Mr Justice Goel also directed the production of “certain crucial documents”, not included in the challan, on the next date of hearing. The judge also issued notice of motion which was accepted by Punjab’s Additional Advocate-General, Ashok Aggarwal, on behalf of the state.

Notices were also accepted by Senior Advocate P.N. Lekhi and Mr S.S. Narula on behalf of complainant Balwant Singh Dhillon. The judge further directed that the petition and the application filed by Ms Bhattal, for staying the proceedings before the trial court, will come up on the same day.

The state, in its application, had earlier sought directions for deferring the framing of charges in the first information report registered in the matter on May 22, 2001, at Ferozepore “during the pendency of another application for further investigation moved by it.”

Going into the background of the case, the state claimed that an application was moved by it on December 24 last year requesting the trial court to defer the framing of charges.

This, the state added, was necessitated in view of the fact that a file containing receipts regarding distribution of money out of Chief Minister’s Relief Fund had been traced. Ms Bhattal was the Chief Minister then. The receipts, the state further added, “were lying in a file inadvertently mixed up with another file”.

The investigation regarding the receipts were to be carried out. If the receipts were found to be genuine, it would have a direct bearing on the result 
of the case, the state asserted.

The state added that the trial court issued notice on the application to Ms Bhattal and gave complainant the liberty to file a reply but did not defer the proceedings regarding the framing of charges. Without deciding the application, moved by the state, the trial court could not proceed in the matter as the result would have a direct bearing.

It was further argued that the court “misdirected itself” by ordering Ms Bhattal’s presence on January 10 for framing charges and simultaneously fixing state’s application for hearing. It would have been appropriate to defer the framing of charges and decide the application first, it was added. Ms Bhattal, meanwhile, added that operation of trial court’s order may be stayed during the pendency of the revision petition.


12 CRPF, BSF officers to join Punjab Police
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 9
The absorption of 12 officers from paramilitary forces, setting up of four women police stations and protecting the pay and rank of sports police personnel were some of the issues discussed at a high-level meeting presided over by Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh today.

The government decided to absorb 12 officers from the CRPF and the BSF in the police by modifying certain terms and conditions offered earlier.

These officers, however, will not be eligible to stake claim to promotion in the IPS. Five CRPF officers have already given their willingness for absorption. They are Mr Ananya Gautam, Mr SPS Basra, Mr Vivek Mishra, Mr S.K Sharma and Mr S.K Singh.

It was decided to set up four all-women police stations at Ludhiana, Patiala, Amritsar and Jalandhar.

On the controversial issue of the reversion of 431 police sportspersons to their substantive ranks, it was decided to protect positions by creating 431 new posts.

One more India Reserve Battalion ( IRB) will be raised for the security of banks.

The government decided to exempt Punjab Police personnel from making a contribution of Rs 100 per month for free travel in the buses of Punjab Roadways and the Pepsu Road Transport Corporation.

The meeting also authorised officials in the traffic wing up to the rank of Inspector and above to compound traffic challans on the spot.


Zila Parishad reviews projects
Our Correspondent

Patiala, January 9
To review the development projects going on in various villages of the district, a meeting of members of the Zila Parishad was held at District Red Cross Bhawan, here today. The meeting was presided over by the chairperson of the parishad, Ms Gursharan Kaur Randhawa.

The meeting was attended by the Vice-Chairperson of the parishad, Mr Madan Lal, and other members of the parishad and the Chairman of the Block Samiti.

Ms Randhawa appealed to the members of the samiti and the parishad to supervise and inspect the projects.

The members of the parishad appealed to the state government to repair link roads of the district.

They also demanded that the teachers of the government schools should not be sent on extra duty as it adversly affected the education of children.

The ADC Mr Jagwant Singh Brar, said the panchayat had now been given powers to use a grant of Rs 10 lakh for the development purposes.


1.17 cr increase in stamp fee revenue
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, January 9
Mr Amarjit Singh Samra, Revenue Minister, Punjab, today said the income to the state from the stamp fee collection had increased by Rs 1.17 crore during the current financial year as compared to the income generated from the same head in the last financial year.

Mr Samra, who was here today to preside over the annual prize distribution function of St Kabir Convent School, while talking to mediapersons pointed out that the fake stamp paper scam which had rocked various states had not affected Punjab as not even a single case relating to the sale of fake stamp papers had come to light so far.

He added that Punjab Government was thinking about working out some other modes of payment of stamp duty by replacing the stamp paper system. He said the state government was also planning to introduce a single window system in the state Tehsil offices and make girdawri in the name of owner of the land instead of the cultivators.

Apart from it, the state government had been making relentless efforts to computerise the revenue records for the convenience of the public and to check bunglings.

He said the state government was also trying hard to introduce crop insurance scheme in the state and for this purpose talks were going on with a number of insurance companies. Apart from it, the state government had repeatedly been urging the Centre to introduce the crop insurance scheme at national level.

Earlier, while addressing the function of the school, Mr Samra pointed out that private educational institutions had been playing a pivotal role in the spread of education and eradication of illiteracy.


Six IAS officers promoted
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 9
The Punjab Government today promoted six IAS officers of the 1977 batch in the rank of Principal Secretary Financial Commissioner. They are Mr S.S Brar, Ms Geetika Kalha, Mr Sundaram Krishna, Mr Dilsher Singh Kalha, Mr B.K Srivastava and J. R. Kundal.


One held for fraud, blackmail
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, January 9
The district police has arrested Amit Jhanjhi of Bassi Pathana, self-styled national president of the Hindu Suraksha Samiti, on the complaint of seven municipal councillors of Bassi Pathana on the charge of blackmailing, lodging false complaints and threating to eliminate persons by posing himself as a close associate of police officials. The police has impounded his car. The police has also recovered one button knife, one kirpan, iron rods, fake driving licences, identity cards of the Hindu Suraksha Samiti, opium and certain papers. A case has been registered. The CJM has remanded him in police custody for one day.

During interrogation, he revealed that he was a dismissed SPO and was presently running a bussiness of making driving licences and other licences at civil court, Fatehgarh Sahib. He said he had been a member of the Shiv Sena and due to his anti-social activities he had been expelled four years ago. He had been extorting money from satta operators on the name of the police. He also used to threaten them to pay him every month. Fake identity cards of member, State Transport Advisory Committee, national president, Active Anti-Corruption Society, national president Hindu Surakasha Samiti, editor-in-chief, Suraj magazine, and chairman, Selection Committee, Punjab, and fake certificates of the Punjab police issued by the ADGP, Security, for using red light and black film on his car were seized. 


3 cops booked for negligence
Our Correspondent

Dera Bassi, January 9
Three Punjab police cops, from whose custody an undertrial escaped after drinking certain laced tea, have been booked for failing to perform their duties.

The trio have been booked under Sections 223, 224, 328 and 120-B of the Indian Penal Code by the local police.

Sources in the police said the three police officials — Puran Chand, Pawan Kumar and Jagdish Nain — from the Patiala police lines were given laced tea at a roadside dhaba which made them unconscious and taking benefit of it, one of the undertrials ran away.

The cops were coming from Chandigarh after producing three undertrials Harmanpreet Singh alias Surjit Singh, Arun Kumar Madan and Balwainder — when they met a person related to Harmanpreet Singh. He offered tea to the cops and the undertrials at a dhaba, near Zirakpur, and they later started their journey to Patiala.

On the way, Puran Singh asked Harmanpreet Singh to purchase a bottle of whisky from a liquor vend and they consumed it. While the cops were feeling unconscious, Harmanpreet Singh managed to flee from the car, they were travelling. Interestingly, the other two undertrials remained with the cops.

All this happened while the cops, along with the undertrials, were coming to Patiala in a private car on Wednesday evening. They were later admitted to the Civil Hospital in Rajpura.

Meanwhile, they regained conscious today afternoon and the police has started investigating the matter.


Murder case solved
Our Correspondent

Faridkot, January 9
The Faridkot police has claimed to have solved the murder case of Manga Singh, a resident of Selvera village under the Rampura Phul police station in Bathinda district.

Manga Singh was allegedly killed by his wife, two brothers-in-law, accompanied by two other persons. While four of them have been arrested, Bikker Singh, son of Dalip Singh, a resident of Salvera village, is absconding. The other accused are Paramjit Kaur, Harjinder Singh, alias Bhola, Balwinder Singh, alias Binder, and Nirmal Singh, alias Pappu, of Chanun village. A case under Section 302 has been registered against all of them.

Giving details about the murder at a press conference here today, Mr Kulchhinder Singh, senior superintendent of police (SSP), said that during the investigation, the accused had stated that Manga Singh, who was a drug addict, was beating his wife regularly and was also committing other atrocities against her. They, therefore, made a plan to kill him last year. Manga Singh was murdered at Samag Bhai village by them with a sharp-edged weapon, and after severing his head, the body parts were thrown in two rivulets flowing near Sangatpura and Patowala villages.

The SSP had recently constituted a special team, headed by Mr Vijay Sharma SP(D), to look into the case.


Tarna Dal chief faces another case
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, January 9
Though a number of cases, including those of kidnapping, inflicting injuries and threatening, have been registered against Baba Ajit Singh Poohla, Nihang chief of the Tarna Dal, and his men in the past few years, the police has failed to arrest the accused till yet.

In a recent case, the Bhikhiwind police, under Tarn Taran police district, has registered a case of kidnapping under Section 364 of the IPC against the Nihang chief.

Ms Gurmit Kaur, a resident of Dashmesh Nagar, Tarn Taran Road, in a complaint has stated that her husband Jasbir Singh had been kidnapped and kept in illegal detention by the Nihang chief at a gurdwara in a village. She had alleged that the accused was demanding Rs 1.5 lakh to release him.

The Senior Superintendent of Police, Tarn Taran, Mr Gurkirpal Singh said the police was on the lookout for the accused.


8 held for dealing in fake currency
Tribune Reporters

Jalandhar, January 9
The district police has arrested seven persons dealing in fake currency and seized Rs 3.73 lakh in the denomination of Rs 500 from them.

District police chief G.P.S. Bhullar stated here today that seven more agents had been arrested from four places following information given by the already arrested gang members dealing in the distribution of fake currency.

The arrested persons were identified as Joga of Malsian in Shahkot, Jaspal Singh of Chak Kalan village in Dharmkot, Gurdip Singh of Mehsampur village in Nakodar, Sandip Kumar and Naresh Kumar of Noormahal, Rakesh Kumar and Balwinder Singh of Punia village in Shahkot.

Joga had earlier managed to escape from the police custody on January 3, when the kingpin of the racket Jagtar Singh along with his three accomplices were arrested. The police has seized fake currency worth Rs 1.03 lakh from Joga.

TARN TARAN: Amandeep Singh, a local resident, has been held for allegedly making fake currency. The police recovered some fake currency from his possession. The accused used to make fake notes with the help of a computer.

Mr Gurkirpal Singh, Senior Superintendent of Police, told newsmen here today that Amandeep Singh was running his computer centre at the local Sirhali Road and printing fake currency. The computer along with a printer-scanner has been seized. A case under the Indian currency Act has been registered. — OC 


19 quintals of poppy husk seized

Patiala, January 9
The Samana police today seized 19 quintals of poppy husk which was brought to the state from Rajasthan in a truck and arrested two persons in this regard.

According to Samana Deputy Superintendent of Police Jaspreet Singh Sidhu, the truck containing the poppy husk was intercepted at Kalwanu village in the subdivision on a tip-off by Ghaggar SHO Jagbir Singh. He said a search of the truck yielded 50 bags of poppy husk on top of which bags of cattle feed had been placed.

Mr Sidhu said a .315 bore country-made pistol had also been seized from the two suspects Naresh Kumar and Sukhbir Singh, both residents of Bhiwani in Haryana. A case under the NDPS and Arms Act has been registered against them at the Ghagga police station. — TNS


4 arrested, nine vehicles recovered
Our Correspondent

Jalandhar, January 9
The police today claimed having arrested four persons and recovered nine vehicles from them.

The arrested were identified as Gurpreet Singh of Ladowali Road and Pawan Kumar of Basti Sheikh locality. Their interrogation led to the recovery of four scooters.

Meanwhile, the police also arrested two persons — identified as Harwinder Singh of Ravidass Nagar and Mohan Singh of Shanti Vihar locality and recovered three scooters and two motor cycles from them. Search of Harwinder led to the recovery of a country made pistol of .315 bore and two cartridges.


2 held guilty of rape
Our Correspondent

Pathankot, January 9
Mr G.S. Bakhshi, Presiding Officer of the Fast Track Court-cum-Additional Sessions Judge, Gurdaspur today held two persons guilty of rape, committed on the Divali night in the Bhotali Chowk area within the jurisdiction of the Dharkalan police station here.

The case was adjourned for tomorrow for arguments on conviction and sentence.

According to the prosecutor, a married woman, in a complaint to the police, said that on November 4, 2002, she along with her husband left their house for Nungal village to see their relatives in connection with Divali.

The couple boarded a Tipper coming from the Pathankot side. When the Tipper reached near Niari village, the accused, Des Raj and Raj Kumar, residents of the Dharkalan area, stopped the Tipper and took liquor.

The accused beat her husband and tied him with a rope to a tree. Later they raped her.


2 students killed in mishaps
Our Correspondent

Dera Bassi, January 9
Two teenagers were crushed to death in separate train accidents on the Kalka-Ambala railway line over the past two days.

A 10-year-old girl was run over by a train in Dhakauli village, near Zirakpur, early this morning. While a student of Class X was run over by another train in Lalru village on Wednesday night.

According to the family members, Gurmeet Kaur was crossing the railway line at about 8.15 am when a train hit her killing on the spot. The mutilated body was removed by her parents and later cremated in presence of members of the village panchayat.

A team of Railway police personnel reached the spot and initiated inquest proceeding in this regard.

In another incident, a Class X student, Gopal Singh, was run over by a train while he was crossing a railway line in Lalru village on Wednesday late night. Gopal Singh was a student of Golden Bell Public School, Lalru.

After a post-mortem examination at the Civil Hospital in Rajpura, the body was cremated in his native place on Thursday.


Undertrial flees hospital
Our Correspondent

Jalandhar, January 9
An undertrial who was admitted to the local Civil Hospital for treatment on January 1, today fled the surgical ward of the hospital allegedly with the help of police personnel.

According to the police, Sampuran Singh had been arrested for smuggling and distribution of narcotics and psychotropic substances last year. He was admitted to the hospital by the jail authorities, when he complained of severe pain in the abdomen.

While senior police officials are mum about the incident, it is learnt that the erring police personnel would be booked for dereliction of duty.


Homoeopath held on charge of cheating
Our Correspondent

Abohar, January 9
The police has arrested Jitender Singh, a homoeopathic doctor and son of vaid Onkar Singh of Chandigarh. A court here remanded him in police custody for two days.

Twelve resident of Dharam Nagri, Panjpeer localities and Balluana village had complained to the police that Jitender Singh had been visiting Abohar along with his father every week.

They had been treating persons for ‘infertility’ beside sex-related problems. Two local residents Daljit Singh and Inderjit Singh sons of Mehar Singh of Dharam Nagri alleged that Jitender Singh’s father-in-law was settled in Canada. Being an industrialist and businessman he needed employees from India.

A deal was struck reportedly with Jitender Singh in his office in guest house outside the Municipal Bus Stand. As per an agreement, complainants claimed they had paid Rs 1.5 lakh each for sending them abroad for employment, Rs 3 lakh was to be adjusted from their salary in Canada. The complainants later ‘realised’ that they had been cheated. The police earlier arrested Daljit Singh in this case. He at present on judicial remand, sources said.


One arrested with liquor
Our Correspondent

Lalru, January 9
The police has arrested a person and seized 28 pouches of country-made liquor from his possession near here last night.

The police raided the house of Kiran Pal at Jaroth village and seized the liquor.

The police said during questioning Kiran Pal admitted that he used to sell the liquor in the locality on retail basis.

A case under the sections of the Excise Act has been registered.


PRTC to buy 100 buses
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, January 9
Mr Ved Parkash Gupta, chairman, Pepsu Roadways Transport Corporation (PRTC) today said that the corporation’s losses reduced from Rs 29 crore to Rs 5.6 crore in the past two years and it had decided to purchase 100 new buses for Rs 9 crore.

Mr Gupta, addressing a press conference after inspecting the bus stand here said the corporation earned Rs 4 crore from April 2003 to November 2003 more as compared to earnings in the corresponding period last year by covering 20,000 km distance per day.

He said that the corporation saved more than Rs 6 lakh on the purchase of spares, tyres and repair of buses. He added that incidents of accidents of PRTC buses had decreased due to enforcement of discipline. The PRTC has also stopped plying buses on the loss-making routes.

To reduce cost of operations further more than 450 posts of various cadres would be surrendered. Collection of bus stand fee and advance booking of tickets had been privatised. At some places, where two depots of the PRTC existed, these had been merged into one. Functioning of various offices had been computerised.

To a question he said that at present budget of the PRTC was Rs 182 crore. Out of it Rs 68 crore was being spent on salaries of staff annually, Rs 35 crore was being paid to the state government as tax and Rs 40 crore spent on the purchase of diesel. Apart from it huge amount was being spent on spares, tyres and accessories annually. He said still debt liability of the PRTC was rupees six crore.

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