C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Sunday special
Hawara motivated 20 inmates to act as human bombs
May have crossed over to Pakistan, says police
Sanjay Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 31
Burail Jail escapee Jagtar Singh Hawara is believed to have crossed over to Pakistan with the help of a Jammu-based ‘guide’. His exit point from India is said to be R.S. Pora near Jammu. Hawara’s guide, who is known to the police as an accomplice of such fugitives, disappeared almost immediately after the jail-break took place in Chandigarh on January 21.

Following up on clues and the fact that Hawara had been interacting with a Pakistani spy lodged in Burail jail, the police verified the status of this guide a couple of days after the incident and found him missing. He reportedly left around the same time as Hawara and three others escaped from prison.

R. S. Pora in Jammu was easily accessible to Hawara, Jagtar Singh Tara, Paramjit Singh Bheora and Dev Singh as their escape was brought to the notice of the police nearly 12 hours after they fled from the jail.

The lead to R.S. Pora came when during interrogation of other detainees it came to light that Hawara had taken the contact numbers of few Pakistan Rangers from a Pakistani spy Abid Mehmood who is also lodged in the Burail jail.

The disappearance of the guide and Abid Mehmood’s version that he had given contact numbers of ISI operatives and rangers indicated that Hawara and others might have crossed over to Pakistan.

Hawara is also likely to head for Pakistan as his boss and the chief of the Babbar Khalsa International, Wadhawa Singh, is hospitalised there after he was shot at by members of Panjwar’s organisation a month ago.

The police said Wadhawa Singh had reportedly expressed a desire to have Hawara in Pakistan as his second-in-command. He wanted to hand over the charge of the organisation to Hawara.

The police also has information that Hawara prepared 20 jail inmates during his imprisonment to act as human bombs. During the interrogation of the jail inmates, it had come to the notice that Hawara had met fellow prisoners Sher Singh, Subeg Singh and Nand Singh around 100 times and had reportedly offered them a safe escape from the jail. Hawara had, however, not given them any hint about the tunnel he planned to dig in his barrack. The two are currently on a production warrant and have been remanded in police custody. They are being interrogated for more information.

Despite the almost definite clues, the police has also kept other lines of investigation open. The police believes that if Hawara had escaped from the country successfully, Babbar Khalsa International would have made an announcement. The organisation is known to make such statements.

Since such a statement has not been issued, the police does not rule out Hawara having chosen routes passing through Uttaranchal, Uttar Pradesh and Bihar to reach Nepal, where he is believed have sympathisers.


Rana’s letter on Chaura’s visit went unnoticed
Mohali cops collect film of wedding where ex-militants had gathered on Jan 18
Ajay Banerjee and Chitleen Sethi
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh/Mohali, January 31
A series of lapses on the part of the Chandigarh police, the Chandigarh Administration and also the Punjab police led to the jail break. An indication of the shape of events to come was given by the intelligence wing when it reported how former militants had gathered in Mohali on January 18 for a wedding. More importantly, a letter written by the arrested jail superintendent D.S. Rana on January 17 was also treated in a routine manner.

Rana’s letter had reported the visit of the alleged escape facilitator Narian Singh Chaura, to the jail on January 16. The Jail Superintendent had asked the police to verify the antecedents of two other unidentified persons who met Jagtar Singh Hawara on January 16.

Yesterday, the police accepted the fact that it had received the letter after January 17. The police, however, claimed it acted on the letter. Unfortunately, the action was not initiated before the dreaded terrorists Jagtar Singh Hawara, Jagtar Singh Tara and Paramjit Singh Bheora escaped to safety. The IG, Mr Rajesh Kumar, yesterday refused to give details of what action was initiated between January 17 and the night of January 21, when the three escaped.

If the Chandigarh police ignored the warnings, the Mohali police missed out on a detailed CID report on January 18. The police today procured the photographs and video film of a wedding of a niece of slain terrorist Gurbachan Singh Manochahal held here on January 18. By missing this report it seems that the police has stopped taking intelligence reports seriously.

The wedding, which was solemnised at the Phase VII community centre in Mohali, was attended by several former militants, including the alleged facilitator of the Burail jailbreak case, Narain Singh Chaura. The police will be examining the video and the pictures for possible link-ups and leads in this case.

Other than the name of the Narian Singh Chaura, who has been arrested by the Chandigarh police, the CID’s list of guests at the wedding included the names of Ms Baljeet Kaur, Justice Ajit Singh Bains, Maj Gen Narinder Singh, Dr Daljit Kaur Gill, Dr Sohan Singh, a ‘Khalistan’ ideologue and Gyan Singh, one of the accused in the assassination of Sant Harcharan Singh Longowal.

Family members of Harjinder Jinda, killer of a former Chief of the Army Staff, Gen A.C. Vaidya, mother of Dilawar Singh, the human bomb in the Beant Singh assassination case, a brother of Satwant Singh, who was hanged for killing Indira Gandhi, Devinder Singh ‘Hijacker’, Principal Tirlochan Singh, father of Kulvinder Singh ‘Kid’. The list also has the names of R.P.Singh, former president of the Babbar Akali Dal, and Mahinder Singh, general secretary of the Akal Federation.

Talking to Chandigarh Tribune, the SSP, Ropar, Mr S.P. Singh, said efforts were being made to nab the escapees and every single lead in the case was being followed. ‘’We are following our own line of investigations and the Chandigarh police is doing its own work. But the Punjab police has been known for showing results and this time too we will be cracking the case very soon.’’ he added.

“Every day the intelligence wing is sending reports of what they consider important. But, there is no doubt that over the years the police has stopped taking intelligence reports as seriously as they should have. But, to say that there was a communication gap between the intelligence wing and the police is not correct.’’ said a former Punjab DIG (Intelligence).


Chaura gets police remand till February 9
Nishikant Dwivedi

Chandigarh, January 31
The alleged main conspirator of the Burail jailbreak incident and Punjab militant Narain Singh Chaura was remanded in police custody till February 9 by a local court here today. The Chandigarh police had yesterday claimed to have arrested Chaura from Mohali.

Amidst tight security, Chaura was presented in the court of Judicial Magistrate (class I) Mr Phalit Sharma, at around 1 p.m. The public prosecutor had pleaded a 14-day police remand. However, the court agreed for a remand lasting 10 days.

Today there were men in khakhi all around the district courts complex. The police team comprised of two DSPs — Mr S.S. Sagar and Mr P.K. Dhawan, four Inspectors and 16 sub-inspectors. As an extra security measure a metal detector was installed on the fourth floor of the complex.

The public prosecutor alleged that Chaura had facilitated a blackout on the jail premises on the night of escape and also arranged a vehicle for the escapees to flee away to safety.

The three accused in the Beant Singh assassination case — Jagtar Singh Hawara, Jagtar Singh Tara and Paramjit Singh — had escaped along with another jail inmate Dev Singh on the night of January 21.

The prosecutor said Chaura played an important role in masterminding the jailbreak. He had met Jagtar Singh Hawara along with Maj Gen Narinder Singh (retd) and an unidentified couple in the Burail jail.

Opposing the police remand, the defense counsel argued that Chaura had gone into the jail to attend the proceedings of the Beant Singh assassination. He also alleged that his client was being subjected to torture in the police custody.

While talking to The Tribune Maj. Gen. Narinder Singh admitted that he had gone to the jail on January 16 and 17. “I had gone to the jail along with a Punjab-based journalist and his wife to witness the Beant Singh assassination trial on the request of a defense counsel’’, informed the retired Major General.

Meanwhile, in a separate development, Justice Ajit Singh Bains (retd.), at a press conference organised by Lawyers for Human Rights International (LHRI), today claimed Chaura was not arrested from Mohali but was picked up by the police on January 29 from Sector 17 here, while he was going to surrender in a court after his name appeared in the interrogations in the case.

Mr Amar Singh Chahal, Chairman, LHRI, also alleged that the police of Punjab and Chandigarh has illegally detained over 100 people in the “guise” of jail-break investigations and thus violating their human rights. “If the police wants to interrogate somebody in connection with the jailbreak, it should do it in a legal manner”, said Mr Chahal. The LHRI also rallied behind Mr Arunjeev Singh Walia, a defense counsel.


Woman mediator identified
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 31
The Chandigarh Police today claimed to have identified a woman, who acted as a mediator between Jagtar Singh Hawara and Narain Singh Chaura.

“The woman has been identified, but not arrested,” Inspector General of Police Rajesh Kumar told the Chandigarh Tribune tonight.

Mr Rajesh Kumar did not name the woman, saying certain facts were being verified.

The Chandigarh Police yesterday said that Hawara had contacted Narain Singh Chaura on a mobile phone of the woman during the wedding of a niece of slain militant Manochhal on January 18 before Hawara and others escaped.


Escapees advanced jailbreak plan
Rajmeet Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 31
Investigations in the Burail jailbreak case are increasingly pointing to the theory that the three alleged assassins advanced their plan to escape through the tunnel.

In deviation from earlier reports that the inner walls of the tunnel had been plastered with some substance to make the structure stable, sources said nearly 20 feet length of the tunnel towards it exit point was not plastered. This means the last few days were spent only in digging and there was no time for the plastering.

This also indicates the work of digging the tunnel was been speeded up in the last few days. The fact is corroborated by the statement of jail staff that they had heard scratching noise around the barrack of the escapees a few days before the jailbreak.

The theory of the use of an electrical machine to dig the tunnel has been corroborated with the presence of an extension box and a pair of wire from the barrack of the escapees. Forensic experts and engineers have been carrying out regular inspections of the tunnel.

The search for the gadget which may have been used in digging the tunnel is continuing. The experts are trying to ascertain what kind of earth-cutter was used.

Some loose earth has also been found near the bottom of the wall outside the barrack indicating somebody helped Hawara and others in the disposal of the loose earth. Traces of loose earth have also been found in the kitchen garden.


Advani should quit over Burail jailbreak, says Bansal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 31
"The 'feel-good' factor being touted by the BJP is nothing but a contrivance to mislead people and show them an illusory path of milk and honey. Hundreds of crores of rupees have been spent on 'India-shining' advertisements, whereas the reality is quite the opposite," said Mr Pawan Kumar Bansal, MP, while addressing a press conference here today.

"Nothing can be farther from truth than Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee's repeated claims that one crore jobs were being created every year. This is falsified by the Economic Survey, 2002-2003, and the National Sample Survey," he added.

Mr Bansal said Deputy Prime Minister L.K. Advani, who was also the Union Home Minister, should own the government debacle in the Burail jailbreak case and tender his resignation.

The local MP said the growth rate during the past three years was just 4.4 per cent to 5.6 per cent. He pointed out that the government was mentioning the growth figures of 8 per cent, which had been recorded only in the last quarter.

Mr Bansal said scams(involving over Rs 70,000 crore) were the hallmark of the present government, adding that 'Sankhya Valmiki', 'Tehelka expose' and the latest one involving HUDCO loans, besides several others, had exposed chinks in the rule of the present government.

The MP said the National Saving Certificates sold to various firms and companies were not being honoured on maturity, which was a major government failure.

Earlier, Mr B.B.Behl, the president of the Chandigarh Territorial Congress Committee, addressed the mediapersons.


UT forms crisis groups to tackle chemical tragedies
Aditi Tandon
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 31
Rising to the need of emergency planning and preparedness in case of chemical accidents of the order of Ranbaxy, the UT Administration has constituted a state crisis management group and a district crisis management group that will, henceforth, be responsible for effectively tackling the crisis arising out of chemical tragedies in the region. The notifications to this effect were issued by the UT Administrator under relevant rules of the Chemical Accidents (Emergency Planning, Preparedness and Response) Rules, 1996.

Apart from providing expert guidance for handling chemical accidents, the district crisis management group will assist factories in preparing district off-site emergency plan, besides reviewing all on- site emergency plans prepared by the occupants of the Major Accident Hazards (MAH) installations for further preparation of the district off-site emergency plan.

Sources in the Department of Environment, which will be a key participant in the group, informed that a full-fledged survey of industries located in the region was also being undertaken. Within a month, all industries in the city will be categorised as per their nature and hazard element. As of now, the district crisis group will not go into the management of the storage of hazardous chemical materials.

Officials, however, state that there are not many units in the city that store hazardous chemicals beyond threshold limits. The danger, they say, is mainly anticipated from chemical accidents, hence the crisis group will conduct at least one full-scale mock-drill of an accident site each year and forward report of the strength and the weakness of the plan to the state crisis group.

To be chaired by the Deputy Commissioner, UT, the district crisis group will execute the primary function of acting as an apex body in the district in dealing with major chemical accidents and to provide expert guidance for handling chemical accidents. Not only will the group assist the district administration in the management of chemical accidents at a site lying within the district, it will also continuously monitor every chemical accident, ensure continuous information flow from the district to the centre and the state crisis group (to be chaired by Adviser to the UT Administrator) regarding accident and mitigation and also forward a report within 15 days to the state crisis group.

The group comprises members from departments like factories, fire, civil defence and environment. Its also consists of the Additional Chief Inspector of Factories as member secretary. Among other members are the SDM(Central), the District Emergency Officer, the Chief Fire Officer, the Director Public Relations, the Controller of Explosives, the Controller, Civil Defence, the DSP(Headquarters), the Medical Superintendent, Government Hospital, Sector 16.


‘Gift of life’ for 2 Pak boys
Pratibha Chauhan
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 31
Ghazi Khan would have loved to be with his family in Baluchistan on Id, but he is far happier being in India, where his 10-year-old brother, suffering from a cardiac ailment, will get the “Gift of Life” at the PGI here.

Afzal(11) and Rohit (10) were the last passengers to set foot on the Indian soil at Wagah last evening, from where they were escorted to the PGI here. The two boys will undergo heart surgery at the Cardiothoracic Department under the Rotary Peace City initiative of the Rotary Club, Chandigarh.

Three other children will arrive here in February for heart surgery as there was delay in their visa clearance due to Ramzan. Till now the club has got done free cardiac surgeries for 95 children, including six from Uganda, under their “Gift of Life” project, initiated in 1998.

“Keeping in view the strained Indo-Pak relations, I was a little apprehensive when we left home in Loralai, but the love, affection and warmth we have been showered with, has dispelled all such fears and we shall remain indebted to India and its people for saving the life of our children,” says an emotional Ghazi Khan, elder brother of Afzal. Son of a truck driver, Afzal is the youngest of six brothers.

The two boys underwent extensive tests at the PGI today. The surgery will be performed by Dr R.S. Dhaliwal next week. “Had it not been for the kind gesture extended by the Rotary Club, there was no way I could have raised Rs 2.50 lakh to save the life of my only child, Rohit, who has an enlarged heart with blocked valves,” said Mr Ramesh Chand, who is a salesman in a shop at Khipro in Sind.

“We are for people-to-people diplomacy between the two neighbours as this will have a far more lasting effect on the peace initiatives than the diplomatic overtures alone,” feels Mr R.K. Saboo, Past Rotary International President. He said the Rotary Club was keen to continue this programme and would try to mobilise funds so that more children could be treated.

Mr Kishan Chand, a Rotarian from Pakistan, who is accompanying the children, informed that they shortlisted five children from among 15 who were in need of cardiac surgery in Pakistan. Moreover, the surgery these children would undergo at the PGI would have cost three times more in Pakistan, where medical facilities were not so advanced, he added.

“Though there are a lot of needy children in Pakistan, the selection criteria we adopted was the economic status, as these families cannot afford to get the expensive surgeries done,” explained Mr Kishan Chand. He hoped that the peace initiatives that had been renewed between India and Pakistan would improve further as this was in the interest of the people of the two countries.

While the Rotary Club and the PGI doctors are trying to ensure that everything goes off fine, the two boys on their part are more interested in Bollywood movies and cricket, which is a passion with them.


Feel good factor is real, says US financial expert
A. S. Prashar
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 31
An American financial wizard, Prof Douglas T. Breeden, says the "feel good" factor currently pervading the Indian economic scene is for real, and not just a media hype created by the ruling NDA government.

"We have carried out surveys in the US on the Indian economy and it seems that things have really looked up", said Professor Breeden in an interview with TNS here yesterday. "We have studied the patterns of investments and the government policies which are designed to encourage consumers to spend more. If the consumers spend more, it will translate into more profits for the companies which in turn can plan for expansion and growth. This will further lead to creation of more jobs and more wealth all around.

"It is virtually an economic cycle", points out Professor Breeden. "And once you get into it, it will spiral higher and higher. In India, things have got into this spiral and a growth of 7-8 per cent of the GDP every year is not difficult at all".

Professor Breeden expresses the hope that India will now focus on developing infrastructure, including roads, power, airports and good hotels which in turn will give a fillip to tourism. Tourism is a money-spinner for every country.

He is of the view that the centre of economic might is now shifting from the US and Europe to Asia where, in days to come, countries like China, Japan and India will register a strong growth. "I foresee people from all over the world flocking to this region to avail themselves of the exciting opportunities to participate in the developmental activities here".

For Professor Breeden, who is the Dean of Duke University's Fuqua School of Business and the William W. Priest Professor of Finance, this is his first visit to Chandigarh. Duke University attracts quite a few students from India every year. "As much as 34 per cent of the student population of Duke University is from India. This is a very large number for any university. I have been in the teaching profession for the past about 28 years and I must say that some of my best students are from India. These include Mr Malvinder Mohan Singh, who now heads Ranbaxy, one of the biggest pharmaceutical companies of India, and Mr Shivinder Mohan Singh, Joint Managing Director of Fortis Healthcare Limited. Yesterday, I was in Delhi where I addressed a meeting of the PHD Chamber of Commerce and Industry and I was pleasantly surprised to spot quite a few old alumni of Duke University. I am happy to note that Mr Shivinder Mohan Singh is trying to replicate some of the best practices and experiences of the US in India. Fortis Hospital he has built in Mohali is the best I have seen in my life anywhere in the world", he says.


Passengers with reservation left in lurch
Rajmeet Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 31
A couple gets a confirmed reservation to travel by train from Ambala. On reaching the station, they are told that the train has not been running for the past one month. It is a hoax which the railways are playing on unsuspecting rail passengers.

This has been happening every day at the Ambala Cantt railway station for the past one month. Hundreds of passengers with reservation on the Unchahar Express, which runs between Ambala and Kanpur, have to return disappointed.

A number of passengers contacted by TNS lamented that they were never informed about the cancellation of the train after they got the reservation done. “No information about the period for which the train would remain cancelled was given in newspapers”, said Mr Vinay Bhardwaj, a resident of Sector 42, Chandigarh.

Even the reservation counters across the region have been accepting applications for reservation on the Express.

Mr Ateet Singh, Senior Divisional Operations Manager (SDOM), Ambala Division, said the matter had been referred to the Chief Passenger Traffic Manager, Northern Railways, Delhi. He said efforts were on to resume the train at the earliest.

Due to the ‘passenger-unfriendly’ approach of the railways, many have missed important social engagements. Mr Bhardwaj, employed in the Merchant Navy, said, “I got my ticket booked at the railway booking counter at the Sector 17 Inter-State Bus Terminus on January 17”.

Mrs P. Ranga, Chief Reservation Officer at the Sector 17 reservation counter, said the reservation was done on the basis of trains released by the central reservation system. “Once reservation on a particular train was blocked, we stopped booking tickets on the train”, she added.

Yesterday, when Vinay along with his wife, Pooja, went to board the train at Ambala Cantt they were told that the train had been discontinued. An agitated Vinay entered his complaint in the ‘complaint book’ of the Northern Railway at the station.

Showing a copy of his complaint and the two-way ticket, he said they could not reach Kanpur to attend the wedding of his cousin. The youth was witness to many harried passengers. Some preferred to stand in the queue to get full refund as per the rules.

“Instead of listening to our grievance, officers at the railway station did not show any interest. They simply handed over the complaint book”, said Vinay.

Sources in the railways said the problem had arisen due to a technical reason. Initially the Unchahar Express was cancelled from December 29, 2003, to January 3 this year. The people who wanted to travel after January 3 got their reservation confirmed. But before January 3, instructions to cancel the train for another period were flashed to the reservation centres. However, the passengers were never informed.

“The railways could have informed the passengers at the mentioned address on the reservation slips”, said Vinay.


Audit submits report on financial bungling by MC
Chitleen K. Sethi
Tribune News Service

Mohali, January 31
An audit report submitted to the Director of the Local Government, Punjab, has pointed out gross financial irregularities in the functioning of the local municipal council. The strongly worded report states that there are unaccounted entries worth Rs 3 crore shown by the council in various cash books.

Other than this the report states that the council had not maintained proper accounts and in many cases accounts of certain dealings were totally missing, providing ample opportunities for the embezzlement of a large amount of money.

The audit report which deals with the accounts of the council from April 1, 1995 to April 30, 1997 and from April 1, 1999 to March 31, 2003, further states that the Council has not prepared bank reconciliation sheets matching either the main or the water supply cash books. “Since there is no way that the accounts kept by the council can be reconciled with the bank statements, possibility of embezzlement cannot be ruled out,” stated the report. The detailed report pointed out that even in cases where the bank reconciliation sheets were available, gross improprieties had been discovered in these.

Washing his hands off any responsibility, the Municipal Council President, Mr Kulwant Singh, said all irregularities were of the period when he was not the council president. I only joined in January, 2001, Mr Kulwant Singh said. “Moreover, whatever irregularities have been pointed out can be attributed to a clericle error in maintaining these accounts,” he added.

Proving the council’s president wrong, the report also points out that till March 31, 2003, a sum of Rs 1 crore was reportedly deposited by the council in the bank but is still be credited by the bank. “This points to a very big irregularity. Why would a bank not credit Rs 1 crore of the council’s income even years after it was deposited?” notes the report.

Pointing certain other irregularities, the report states that the council’s bank account shows that Rs 21 lakh was spent but the council has no record of where this money had gone as all details of the cheques issued are missing.

The report also notes that these observations had been duly communicated to the council in January, 2003, and again in September, 2003, but the council showed no interest whatsoever in either explaining the unaccounted for entries in their cash books nor took any step to improve their account keeping operations.

“It is thus requested that the matter be brought to the notice of the Director, Local Government, Punjab, for necessary action,” concludes the report.

When questioned, the council president, however, insisted that they had received no communications from the Audit Department.


Mohali flower festival on February 28, 29
Tribune News Service

Mohali, January 31
The Punjab Urban Planning and Development Authority (PUDA) will organise the first flower show, Guldasta, here on February 28 and 29. The event, to be held at Silvi Park in Phase X, is expected to a grand affair with PUDA having roped in private sponsors for the show.

A special meeting under the chairmanship of the Deputy Speaker, Vidhan Sabha, and MLA, Mr Bir Devinder Singh, was held at PCA Stadium yesterday to finalise the arrangements for the show. It was decided to name the show, Guldasta.

The winners of the various competitions will be awarded on the next day by the Minister for Housing and Urban Planning, Mr Raghunath Sahai Puri.

Besides the various gardening and flower-related competitions, the flower show will also have an on-the-spot painting competition open to all schoolchildren in Mohali subdivision and a running cultural programme. Schoolchildren and amateur artistes will be performing all through the two days of the show on the stage.

A special cultural evening will be organised on the first day during which an artiste of national repute will be performing on the stage.

‘‘The show will have different categories of competitions starting with the best-maintained roundabout in Mohali and the best lawn both in the institutional and individual categories, potted plants, cut flowers, flower decoration, bonsai and foliage, in the individual and institutional categories,’’ said Mr Yashvir Mahajan, Additional Chief Administrator (ACA), PUDA. The last date for submission of entries will be February 17 and 18.

Clarifying that other than the roundabouts, lawns and painting competitions, the other competitions will be open to anyone from any place in Punjab, Chandigarh, Panchkula, etc.

Various committees were also constituted for the conduct of the show.

Among those who attended the meeting today were Mr Yashvir Mahajan, ACA, PUDA, Mohali, the SP, Mohali, Mr Vijay Pratap Singh, Additional Executive Officer, MC,

Mr Sarabjit Singh, SDM, Mr M.L. Sharma and the XEN, Horticulture, PUDA. 


Need to conserve Red Jungle Fowl stressed
Pradeep Sharma
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, January 31
Stressing the need for conservation of the Red Jungle Fowl (RJF), an eminent scientist yesterday claimed that a majority of domestic birds had been derived from the RJF.

In his presentation at the Sector 6 Van Bhavan here, Dr J Nagaraju from the Centre for DNA Finger Printing and Diagnostics, Hyderabad, said the issue of the “genetic purity” of the RJF was of primary concern.

In the pioneer study, blood samples of 25 birds from the Pheasant Breeding Centre (PBC), Morni, 21 from the Bir Shikargah and 10 birds from Kalesar were collected between November 2002 and December 2003. Besides, blood samples of domestic fowls from three villages around Bir Shikargah and blood samples from Grey jungle fowls from Tamil Nadu and Karnataka were also studied during the course of the study conducted by the centre in collaboration with the Haryana Forest Department.

The Principal Chief Conservator of Forests, Mr JPL Srivatsava, claimed that this was the first study on the detailed genetic analysis of the fowl using mitochondrial and micro-satellite DNA. The department believed that the study would throw light on the purity of the RJF and lay the foundation of the future genetic studies of great practical value to the poultry industry in the world, the Chief Wildlife Warden, Mr RD Jakati, added.

Earlier, the Secretary Forests of the Haryana Government, Mr DS Dhesi, hoped that the scientists would arrive at appropriate strategies at the meeting for the conservation of the RJF for the benefit of humanity.


Banks told to carry cash under security
Our Correspondent

Mohali, January 31
The police has directed bank managers not to put security guards on any other duty in the banks except looking after the security aspect.

The directions were given by the DSP, Mr Harpreet Singh, at a meeting with the bank managers of Mohali subdivision here yesterday. The DSP said that when bank staff had to go and collect cash from some other bank, the police should be informed. No cash should be carried without proper security. He said that the siren systems installed at the banks should be kept in working condition.


Tax evasion detected

Chandigarh, January 31
The Excise and Taxation wing of the Chandigarh Administration today conducted a search on Essex Farms, a city-based caterer and detected an evasion of Rs 4 lakh by way of sales tax. Caterers are required to pay sales tax on the money they charge from clients, according to official sources. TNS


Lt-Gen Davinder made Signal Officer-in-Chief
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 31
Lt-Gen Davinder Kumar, VSM and Bar, an officer of the 1965 batch, will take over as the Signal Officer-in-Chief and Senior Colonel Commandant of the Corps of Signals tomorrow. Prior to this appointment, he was the Additional Director-General Information Systems at Army Headquarters.

A highly decorated officer, he has served with distinction in a variety of command, staff and instructional appointments in various terrains and environment, including counter insurgency operations.


Tribune Dy Manager retires
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 31
Mr R. K. Chand, Deputy Manager, The Tribune, retired today after putting in 43 years of service.

He joined the institution in 1962 at Ambala Cantt.

A farewell party, organised by The Tribune Officers’ Association, was largely attended.

Mr R. N. Gupta, General Manager, and Mr O. P. Arora, Additional General Manager, The Tribune Group of Publications, lauded the services rendered by Mr R. K. Chand in different sections of the administrative wing.


Id namaz
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, January 31
Namaz on the occasion of Id-ul-Zuha would be held in mosques all over the city and surrounding areas on February 2. According to Imam of Sector 20, Jama Masjid, Maulana Muhammad Ajmal Khan Sahib, the namaz would be offered in Jama Masjid at 9 am. It would be offered at Noorani Masjid in Sector 26 at 8.45 am. At Manimajra Idgah, Madina Masjid Sector 41, and in Burail the namaz would be offered at 9.15 am.

In Mohali’s Phase 11 mosque, the prayers would be offered at 9 am. In Panchkula’s Sector 21 mosque, the namaz would be offered at 8.30 am. In Dhanas masjid and Maloya colony, prayers would be offered at 8.45 am


No headway in firing case
Bipin Bhardwaj

Dera Bassi, January 31
The police has failed to make any headway in the firing incident in which three persons had sustained bullet injuries when two masked youths shot at them in a bid to rob them of Rs 3,15,060 in cash and cheques for Rs 62,000 in broad daylight along the Kalka-Ambala highway, near here, on Friday.

The armed assailants had shot at Mr Ranjit Singh, a peon at the Life Insurance Corporation (LIC), Mr Tarlochan Singh, a Home Guard jawan, and Mr Paramjit Singh, an autorickshaw driver, with a pistol at a shopping complex housing the LIC office.

The police has also failed to know the whereabouts of the robbers and the registration number of the scooter used in the crime.

Mr Manmohan Kumar Sharma, Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP), Dera Bassi, said he suspected that the robbery bid was made by a gang active in this belt of the state. The assailants probably used .32-bore branded pistols, he added.

Citing similar incidents at LIC offices in Nabha, Samana and certain other places where such robberies had been committed, the DSP said he suspected the involvement of a gang which targets the LIC and other financial institutions.

However, the DSP did not rule out the possibility of some drug addicts being involved in the crime.

Mr Sharma said to get some clues in the firing incident, the police had started preparing a list of area residents possessing licenced arms, especially pistols.

The police has also sent parties to suspected hideouts of the assailants and rounded up certain suspects for questioning.

For foiling the robbery bid at the cost of their lives, two Home Guard jawans, Tarlochan Singh and Hari Singh, would be absorbed into the Punjab police. This was stated by Mr A.S. Rai, Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP), Patiala, who, along with Mr Sharma, visited the injured at the PGI in Chandigarh today.

The SSP said the jawans showed courage and pounced upon the robbers even as they showered bullets from their pistols.

He said their names would soon be recommended to the government for the posts of constables in the Punjab police.

The SSP announced that the expenditure on their treatment would be borne by the Punjab police.

However, the efforts of Mr Mohan Lal, a tea vendor, and Mr Paramjit Singh, the autorickshaw driver, who helped in foiling the robbery bid, have been ignored by the local administration.

The police would release computerised sketches of the assailants. The DSP said the sketches were being prepared with the help of the Chandigarh police.


Post-mortem report states Meera was strangled
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, January 31
Ten-year-old Meera, who was found dead in a nullah passing by the Faidan village yesterday, was infact strangled. The fact became known after a postmortem was conducted on the body at General Hospital, Sector 16, here today. A case of murder under Section 302 of the Indian Penal Code has been registered against unidentified persons.

Strangulation marks were found on the neck of the girl, said the police. Whether Meera (resident of Faidan village) was physically assaulted before she was done to death would be known after the chemical analysis. The police said the viscera had been sent to Patiala for the examination.

Her father, Papu, had told the police that she had gone to collect fire woods on January 29 at around 3 pm but did not return by the evening. He along with his neighbours searched for her in the village and later reported the matter to the police. Yesterday the body was noticed by a passerby.


Youth crushed to death
Our Correspondent

Lalru, January 31
A 22-year-old youth was crushed to death by an unidentified vehicle on the Kalka-Ambala highway near Lehali village this evening.

Hailing from Uttar Pradesh, Vinod Kumar was knocked down while he was on his way to meet his brother, Raju Pandey, an employee of a thread manufacturing unit, nearby. According to the police, the deceased was identified by his brother.

A case of rash driving and causing death by negligence has been registered against the vehicle driver with Lalru police station on the complaint of Raju Pandey. The body would be handed over to the family members tomorrow after postmortem examination in Civil Hospital, Rajpura.


Mr Beans adds 10 new flavours
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 31
As an ode to the coffee lovers in the city, Mr Beans, the coffee lounge, has introduced 10 new flavours. Besides this, happy hours and special discounts for their clientele has been introduced.

Ten flavours in mochas, vanilla filled coffees, sugar free varieties and in cold variety, have been introduced from today. With the new range of coffees, the number of flavours available at the lounge are 45. Besides, the cafe has introduced happy hours from 11 am to 1 pm; and from 8 pm to 10 pm from Monday to Friday, one get one free on sheeha — the fruit flavoured hookah, and on all beverages. They are also offering a 20 per cent discount to their regular customers.

Mr S.S. Chauhan, franchisee of the local outlet, said the brew masters of Mr Beans developed these new tastes keeping in mind the Indian tastes. He said they had managed to capture the coffee drinking crowd amongst the families, by introducing a lounge, instead of a coffee bar. Thus, their lounge was gaining popularity for family occasions as well as with corporate sectors which were having their business conferences there.

He added that they were also introducing a take away facility for their corporate and family buyers.

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