C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


After being questioned, jail official dies
Nishikant Dwivedi

He had warned on Hawara

In November 2002, Charan Singh had reported to the then Deputy Jail Superintendent D.S. Sandhu that he had heard Hawara talking to somebody on his mobile phone. Mr Sandhu passed on the information to his superior D.S. Rana, but the latter kept dilly-dallying. It was after about a week that a mobile phone along with its charger and Rs 44,000 was recovered from the barrack of Paramjit Singh Bheora (now an escapee).

Chandigarh, February 7
A day after Assistant Superintendent of Burail Jail Charan Singh (44) was summoned by the operation cell of the police in connection with the January 21 jailbreak, he died following a heart attack this morning.

The death comes as a setback to the police as Charan Singh’s disclosures were seen as vital in solving the case.

Charan Singh was considered a key witness in the jailbreak conspiracy by the police. He had reportedly recorded his statement before the police under Section 161 of the Cr.P.C.

Police sources said Charan Singh and a havildar posted in the jail were called at the operation cell to help the police in identifying the entries made in the visitor’s book of the jail and other jail rosters.

There are reports that a large number among the jail staff are under stress in the wake of the ongoing investigations into the jailbreak in which terrorist Hawara and three others escaped by digging a 94-foot-long tunnel.

“We do not know when they (police) will call us to join the investigations”, said an employee.

Junior staff of the jail and their families today held a demonstration against the alleged harassment by the UT Police in the guise of investigations at the main jail gate.

They raised slogans against the UT Police and the Administration. Wives of arrested Jail Superintendent D.S. Rana and Deputy Superintendent D.S. Sandhu were among the demonstrators.

Charan Singh (44) was called by the operation cell yesterday. “He returned to his house in the jail premises at around 6 p.m.”, said a jail employee. At 11.30 a.m. this morning while in uniform, he came out of the jail, and fell on the ground. He was rushed to Government Medical College and Hospital, Sector 32, where he died.

His last rites were performed at the Sector 25 cremation ground in the evening. He is survived by his wife, three daughters and a son. There are reports that Charan Singh had had heated exchanges with Deputy Superintendent of Jail S.S. Dahiya last night.

The police claimed that jail employees were being questioned in a routine manner.

Asked about today’s demonstration by the employees, the Inspector-General (Prisons), Mr Amitabh Dhillon, claimed the demonstration was held by family members of the arrested jail employees and not the employees on duty.

“Family members of the arrested jail staff are trying to create a nuisance in the jail’’, said Mr Dhillon, who attended the last rites of Charan Singh.

Asked if a postmortem examination was performed, Mr Dhillon said the cause of the death was known to the doctors. Sources said it was a non-medico legal case, so postmortem was not required.



Human rights activists ‘falsely implicated’
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 7
Members of the Punjab Human Rights Defenders Co-ordination have alleged that the Chandigarh and Punjab police is falsely implicating, detaining and torturing human rights activists who have no connection with the recent escape of Beant Singh’s murder undertrials from Burail jail.

In a memorandum submitted to the Punjab Governor, Justice O.P. Verma, here today, they have demanded that the detained persons should be freed immediately and persons not connected with the jailbreak should not be harassed under the cover of investigation.

The memorandum alleges that in the wake of the registration of a criminal case following the jailbreak, the Punjab and Chandigarh police has given the law a go-by, thereby wrongfully detaining people and harassing them. Citing some examples, the memorandum states that two defence counsels A.S. Chahal and A.S. Walia have been interrogated repeatedly and threatened.

The CIA staff of the Chandigarh police, the memorandum states, also repeatedly interrogated a person running a trust. His computer was also taken away. A number of other persons, including some women, were also picked up by the police. The Punjab Police has also detained many persons on the plea that the move has been on the orders of high-ups, the memorandum further adds.



Murmurs of dissent in Cong, BJP
Sanjeev Singh Bariana
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 7
Dissensions are rife in a segment of the rank and file of both the BJP and the Congress despite claims of unanimity over candidature, at the local level, for the coming parliamentary elections.

The Congress witnessed a difference of opinion over the “claimed unanimity” in sending the name of Mr Pawan Kumar Bansal, the sitting member of Parliament, at a meeting of the executive last month. The newspaper offices are also in possession of letters from certain BJP workers saying that Mr Satya Pal Jain, a former MP, was not a fit candidate for the party ticket.

Mr B.B. Bahl, president of the Congress, has said the name of Mr Bansal had been officially cleared “unanimously” for the party ticket from the city. A final decision will be taken by Mrs Sonia Gandhi, national President of the party. Mr Jain said that people who had sent the letter to Mr Venkaiah Naidu, BJP President, casting aspersions on his candidature were not BJP workers.

Interestingly, Mr Venod Sharma, a former Member of Parliament, and Mr Munish Tewari, a former president of the Youth Congress, had expressed their reservations against the Congress sending the name of Mr Bansal only. Both were of the view that their names should also be included in the list and the decision should be left to the party president, as had been the earlier practice. Senior party sources confirmed differences on consenses over Mr Bansal’s candidature.

In case of the BJP, certain former presidents of the local units and a few party workers are said to be the faces behind the move against Mr Jain. “Any party worker, who is opposed to my candidature, should at least come in the open and accept his difference of opinion instead of using small-time lookers of politics to serve their personal agendas”, he added.

The official candidature of both parties will be cleared at the national level. However, at the moment, the predictions largely are that Mr Bansal and Mr Jain will face each other. In Congress, a current MP is usually repeated so Mr Bansal stands a very good chance. The BJP on the other hand had sprung a “surprise” in the last elections by fielding Mr Kishan Lal Sharma who lost the elections.

Another prominent city politician is Mr Harmohan Dhawan, a former MP, who had won on the Janata Dal ticket in 1989. During the last parliamentary elections he had joined the Congress but had later parted ways because of differences. He was the brain behind setting up of the Chandigarh Vikas Manch which won three seats in the local Municipal Corporation. Talking to The Tribune, Mr Dhawan said he had not decided over his loyalties to any group at the moment. I will shortly announce my priorities to dispel all doubts”, he said.



Major fire in Mohali warehouse
Our Correspondent

Mohali, February 7
Property worth lakhs of rupees was destroyed in a big fire in a company warehouse in the Phase VIII Industrial Area here today. No loss of life was reported.
A cloud of black smoke engulfed the area as cotton and polyester yarn went up in flames in a warehouse of a trading company, Fraternity Chemicals Specialities Pvt Ltd. A large crowd gathered even as employees of another unit, RJ Fabrication Ltd, located in the adjoining building, rushed to control the blaze with buckets of water, but in vain.

The fire brigade soon reached the scene. Four fire engines from Mohali and two from Chandigarh took about four hours to bring the flames under control. The fire was smouldering till late in the evening. Additional quantities of water had to be obtained from an adjoining factory and Semi-Conductor Complex Ltd.

Police personnel, too, reached the scene and were seen keeping bystanders away and regulating traffic.

The acrid, black smoke billowing from the yarn-stacked warehouse caused choking and irritation in the eyes even among onlookers standing at a distance. The tremendous heat from the warehouse, which was still under construction, affected the ground floor of the adjacent building, breaking windowpanes. Cracks also appeared in the building.

The warehouse was badly damaged and the Station Fire Officer here, Mr Bhupinder Singh Sandhu, said the building was now unsafe and could collapse anytime. He said hosiery machines in the adjoining building had also been damaged. There were 120 such machines lying on the ground floor.

Three employees of RJ Fabrication, Sajiv, Kundan and Rajesh, said there was less work for them in their hosiery unit today. They were having tea around midday when they saw smoke emanating from the warehouse. Their bid to douse the flames with water proved unsuccessful.

They said that welding work was in progress on the first floor of the warehouse. They suspected that sparks from the welding area might have entered the ground floor of the warehouse, where the yarn was stacked, through ventilators which did not have glass panes.

Mr B.D. Gupta, manager of Fraternity Chemicals, said no one was present in his company’s warehouse at the time of the fire. He came to the scene on getting information on the telephone. He claimed that property worth Rs 30 lakh had been destroyed.

The chowkidar at the premises, Prem Pal, said that after the fire started, welders working on the first floor of the warehouse went missing.



Welcome party for GOC-in-C
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 7
An informal tea party was organised today at Chandimandir Military Station to welcome the new General Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Western Command, Lieut-Gen J.J. Singh and his wife, Anupama. General Singh had taken over the reins of the Western Command on February 1.

A large number of serving as well as retired officers, along with their wives, attended the function, hosted by the Chief of Staff, Western Command, Lieut-Gen P.K. Grover, at the Shivalik Officers’ Institute. Among those present were former western army commanders, Lieut-Gen P.N. Hoon and Lieut-Gen Vijay Oberoi.

Almost the entire top brass at Western Command Headquarters was also in attendance.



Gear up for water supply, MC told
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 7
The UT Administrator, Justice O.P.Verma, has asked the local municipal corporation to put the water supply infrastructure in place for the upcoming summer season.
At a coordination meeting of senior officers of the Chandigarh Administration, the Administrator pointed out that as the summer was approaching, the municipal corporation should gear up for meeting the requirement of potable water supply to the city residents.

He said as drinking water was in short supply, the tertiary water ( recycled) network, wherever available, should be made operational and the capacity of 10 million gallons a day of tertiary water plan should be utilised to optimum level.

The Commissioner, municipal corporation, Chandigarh, informed the Administrator that at present only 12 sectors were having a tertiary water network and a fresh network had to be laid for the other sectors.

The Administrator asked the Finance Secretary to convene a meeting with the Commissioner, municipal corporation to jointly draw the plan to lay the tertiary water network in the city and provide required funding to the municipal corporation for the task. He said the Administration or the Chandigarh Housing Board should lay the tertiary water network in the Sectors 48, 49, 50 and in that belt. The municipal corporation should complete the network in the rest of the city.

The Finance Secretary informed the Administrator that against a requirement of Rs 4.5 crore, Rs 70 lakh had already been released to the municipal corporation and Rs 1crore more would be released during the current financial year.

The meeting was informed that the internal tertiary water network inside two colleges and Punjab Engineering College had been completed and linked to the main network.

Justice Verma asked the Commissioner to convene a meeting of Central Government organisations like the PGI and Panjab University within 10 days so that it could be impressed upon them to complete their internal tertiary water network within a stipulated period.

Regarding measures being taken to solve the stray cattle menace, the Commissioner informed the Governor that more than 500 head of cattle had been sent to a gaushala in Delhi and 1,000 more would be sent within a month. The Administrator asked the Commissioner to take effective steps for the sterilisation of stray dogs.



Cong reply sought on oil supply from Iraq
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 7
The Congress needs to reply to allegations on getting a supply of one million barrels of oil from Iraq despite US sanctions, said Mr Prakash Javadekar, official spokesman of the BJP, while addressing a press conference here today. He said the BJP wants details on this He said such an act amounted to treachery with the Indian people.

Mr Javadekar said in case the party was innocent it should at least issue a notice in this regard. He said the BJP was in favour of an enquiry by an independent authority.

He said the party was still considering its political affiliation in Haryana. Comments from the party leadership in the state had been received in this regard. Replying to a party candidate from the city, he said the party high command would deal with the matter on a priority basis.

Speaking on reservation for women in the parliament, he said the BJP was in favour of reservation but not in the form of direct one-third representation as envisaged by the Congress. 



Panelists reason causes of corruption
Our Correspondent

Mohali, February 7
Diverse opinions were expressed on the causes of corruption, with panelists unable to pinpoint the source, at an interaction during a Rotary conference, Aastha, held here today.

With Mr Arnab Goswami, Senior Editor, NDTV, as anchor, the prominent panelists could not agree upon some points while expressing their views on “Where can corruption breed: politicians, bureaucrats, businessmen?”

Mr M.B. Kaushal, former Special Secretary (Home), Government of India, said it was difficult to quantify who was more corrupt. Corruption survived because there was a nexus between politicians and bureaucrats. Corruption had always existed even during the time of Chanakya.

He said institutions had got weakened because of a nexus between criminals and politicians. The nexus came into being because of the use of black money in elections.

The decay started in the 1970. After the imposition of the Emergency, a committed bureaucracy came into existence, which led to further deterioration. Whenever there was a change in the political leadership, there were mass transfers.

Mr Parkash Javadekar, National Spokesperson for the BJP, said corruption arose from greed. It was a process and had not been started by any political party or politician.

He said he would always oppose corruption in any form. Before pointing a finger at anyone, one should have a look at one’s own self.

Mr Pawan Kumar Bansal, MP in the just dissolved Lok Sabha, said bureaucrats were the most corrupt because of the opportunities they got.

However, the responsibility to check corruption laid with politicians. Today one had to live with corruption. It seemed to have become an accepted way of life.

He said tainted persons should be voted out at the time of elections to cleanse the system. He favoured sting operations to curb corruption.

Mr O.P. Vaish, Senior Advocate at the Supreme Court, said businessmen responded to the environment, which in turn responded to corruption. Given a choice, he said, he would not opt for corruption. His advice was that one should stand up to it.



e-filing of TDS to cut costs
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 7
The decision of the Centre Government to make it compulsory for companies to file tax deduction at source (TDS) returns through electronic data transfer is a revolutionary step in the Indian tax system and will cut down the transaction cost, besides reducing wastage of paper and time of the IT Department, said Mr Vijay Khanna, Chief Commissioner of Income Tax, North West Region, while inaugurating a seminar on Tax Deduction at Source (TDS) here yesterday. The seminar was jointly organised by the PHD Chamber of Commerce and the Industry and the Income Tax Department.

Earlier, welcoming the chief guest and participants, Mr Rajiv Bali, Chairman, Chandigarh Committee, PHDCCI, stressed upon the need to file annual returns of TDS in electronic format by availing the benefit of newly introduced e-filing scheme. Under the scheme, the National Security Depositories Ltd had been entrusted to accept returns from companies through floppy or CD Rom at 46 centres in India. The number of centres would soon increase to 107, added Mr Khanna.

Addressing the seminar, Ms P. Sahi, Commissioner of Income Tax (Computer Operations) urged upon corporate tax deductors to comply with the compulsorily provision to file returns on electronic media. Mr Sanjay Munish Kumar Gupta, Deputy Commissioner, also made a presentation on this occasion. 



Rotary conference gets under way
Tribune News Service

Mohali, February 7
Rotary International President’s Representative D.N. Padhi today said they wanted the donation level of the Rotary at $100 per member and also a world without polio.
Mr Padhi was speaking at the opening session of the two-day Rotary District 3080 Conference, “Aastha — The Conference of Faith” here this morning.

In her keynote address at the opening session, Ms Anu Aga, the chairperson of Thermax Limited, Pune, shared her experiences and the transformation in her life brought about by the death of her husband, her 25-year-old son, and mother-in-law in succession.

She said death was generally perceived as a tragedy by people, ignoring the fact that it was part of the natural process where every birth had to culminate with death. She also emphasised that mourning was a personal matter and the person alone should be allowed to select one’s own course. Ms Aga cautioned that people over-focussed on death and marginalised life.

In the opening session, the Minister of State for Home Affairs, Mr I.D. Swami, talked about how the “feel-good factor” had been made possible by the hard work of people. Speaking in Hindi, Mr Swami was clearly in election mode when he narrated how the country was facing a proxy war. “We will finish this war on our own.”

India would become third biggest economic power after the USA and China, Mr Swami said, while quoting an international rating agency. He lamented that even after 55 years of independence, laws on Common Civil Code and cow slaughter had not been enacted. He also made reference to the rising foreign exchange reserves that had crossed $ 100 billion. It was wrong for people to think that everything had to be done by the government. All problems could be solved by forging and strengthening cooperation between society and the government, he said.

He expressed hope that resurgent India would emerge, as it was already on the threshold of recovery.



Need to restore old value system: judge
Our Correspondent

Mohali, February 7
Cohesiveness in society is on the decline, values are fading and it is time to restore the old value system.
These views were ex pressed by Mr Justice Ashok Bhan of the Supreme Court while speaking on “Faith in work and values” at a session of a conference, Aastha, organised by Rotary International District 3080 here today.

He said ethics varied from person to person and from time to time. The concepts were moulded on the basis of human experience gradually. Mr Justice Ashok Bhan said he remained a Rotarian for several years but when demands on his time increased, it became difficult to attend the weekly meetings.

He ultimately resigned his membership. He said ethics set a standard of behaviour. Children had to be taught about ethics and their effect on others right from the beginning.

He felt that the sources of ethics included the parents, education, religion and the community.

He said the reach of law might not be as far-reaching as ethics.

Giving an example, he said the honesty of his father had an impact on his mind. He learnt that if one expected honesty from others, one had to be honest oneself. The judge said ethics were not related to individuals alone but to corporate houses too.



Cheema gets President’s Police Medal

Chandigarh, February 7
Mr K.J.S. Cheema, Deputy Inspector General at Headquarters, Additional Director General (West), Border Security Force, Chandigarh, who has been decorated with the President’s Police Medal for meritorious service. — TNS



Market panel ex-chief dead

Chandigarh, February 7
Banarsi Dass Mahajan, former chairman of the Chandigarh Market Committee, Sector 26, died of a massive heart attack today. He was 60. He is survived by his wife and 3 sons. TNS



No need to ape US companies, says expert 
Manoj Kumar
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 7
“There is no need for Indian companies to blindly follow US companies. Their sole emphasis is making profit ruthlessly, without concern for the interests of stake-holders like customers, employees or the community,” said Ms Anu Aga, Chairperson, Thermax Ltd, a Pune-based company.

She was in the city to participate in the 23rd Annual National Conference on “People — the Cutting Edge for Corporate Excellence”, organised by the National Institute of Personnel Management.

Talking on the sidelines of the meet, she said: “Indian companies should rather follow alternate models of management that emphasise on human face of company, social responsibilities and protection of environment, besides profits.”

For instance, she said domestic companies should learn from companies like CEMCO in Brazil, that was growing at an annual growth rate of 35 to 40 per cent over the decades, without indulging in downsizing or marketing gimmicks. The companies had not retrenched any worker, she said.

Ms Aga considered an authority on human resource development issues and is actively involved with social development work in slums. She runs an NGO, Aakanksha, that works for the education and economic upliftment of slum-dwellers.

Ms Aga wondered how could companies justify their greed for profits by hurting the interests of its stake-holders that included customers, employees or community. She admitted that downsizing was here to stay, but the HR personnel should help retrenched employees to get new employment through dealers or placement agencies.

Regarding the status of women employees, she felt most employers in India did not show enough concern on issues of sexual harassment and career growth of women employees. Instead of punishing the guilty in case of sexual harassment cases, most employers tried to hush up the cases, said Ms Anu Aga.

She asserted that due to gender bias, the employers put a glass ceiling for women employees though they contributed equally to the company productivity. As responsible corporate citizens, the companies should act impartially with the employees without any discrimination on the basis of caste, religion and community.

With regard to her company, she said Thermax was involved in the manufacture of anti-pollution products like water treatment plants and boilers. The annual turnover of the company was about Rs 550 crore. She said. “At our company, we make every effort to give equal opportunities to women employees, though we find it difficult to find suitable girls at the time of recruitment as they do not opt for engineering in sufficient numbers.”



City takes a peek at Wind 125 
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 7
Bajaj Autos today organised a road show of its Bajaj World Bike - Wind 125 bikes in city. The bike has won the CNBC Autocar award – Two Wheeler of the Year and Business Standard Motoring’s Bike of the Year awards in the automotive field.

The demo van carrying two Wind 125 bikes as also the information regarding the bike went to all major markets and happening places.

Bajaj Auto and their technology partners Kawasaki Heavy Industries, Japan, a Fortune 500 company, have developed the bike for the Indian and global markets. Its price is Rs 40,990.

Mr S. Sridhar, GM ( Sales), Bajaj Auto, said,“ Most of the motorcycles manufactured within the country are in the 100 to 110cc class. The Wind 125 is designed to deliver the best of performance, comfort, safety and reliability for the executive motorcycle rider.” 


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