L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Cops see bigger plot behind Lalla murder
Former Youth Cong leader, kin booked
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 10
Announcing that there was a bigger conspiracy behind the Lalla murder case than just a rivalry between two gangs, the local police have booked a listed bad character and former youth congress leader Nirdosh Dhand and his brother Vijay Dhand as co-conspirators in the case.

The police also claimed to have completely solved the case but would wait till the arrest of the accused to disclose the entire plan and the brain behind it. Mr Narinderpal Singh, SSP, told The Tribune that they have identified the brain behind the incident, which was a larger conspiracy, and the case was traced.

“We have zeroed in on the accused and would give the details shortly,” he said, stressing that it was an open and shut case for the police. He said the accused and the motive have been established and only arrests were left, which was just a matter of time.

Police sources said a Maruti car used allegedly by the accused in the crime has also been recovered. Sources said the place of recovery could not be disclosed at this juncture.

According to the FIR lodged at Haibowal police station late last night on the statement of the main witness and brother of the deceased Sunil Sharma, Nirdosh Dhand and his brother were waiting in a corner of the main Haibowal road. The accused including Raman Kumar Rana, Kuljinder Singh, Mohan and Ashu met the two at the corner of the main market just after the incident and fled away after a short chat.

A senior official told The Tribune that the police had information that Nirdosh Dhand could be the brain behind the entire incident. It has come up during investigation that Lalla and Rana were allegedly making forays into the illegal finance trade directly affecting the uncrowned king, Nirdosh Dhand.

The official said that investigations suggest that Nirdosh aimed to kill two birds with one stone. While Lalla was eliminated in the plan, Rana could be behind bars clearing the way for Dhand.

The Haibowal police rounded up Nirdosh Dhand’s wife this afternoon for questioning, according to reliable sources. Immediately after the incident yesterday, the police raided the house of Nirdosh and found that he and his family members were missing.

Similar raids took place today also at different places in search of the six accused but none of them could be apprehended so far.

The SSP also stressed to media persons in an informal chat that the daylight shootout had no reflection on the law and order situation in the city. He said life and property of the city residents was totally secure.

Meanwhile, the deceased Anil Sharma alias Lalla was cremated amidst heavy police security at the civil lines cremation grounds. The funeral was attended by large number of people.

A number of shopkeepers in Haibowal main market kept their shops closed today. As expected no political leader was scene at the funeral. 



Striking workers sacked
Avon lockout to be lifted shortly
Vimal Sumbly
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 10
The week-long lockout of Avon Cycles is likely to be lifted in a day or two as the company is in the process of completing the necessary formalities required for the same. Senior company officials maintained that they had informed the government about the decision. The company had decided to lock out after some workers had disrupted the normal functioning, which had led to a massive decline in production.

The company officials also asserted that 202 employees of Avon Cycles and 11 of Pahwa Cycles would not be taken back. The company officials said the employees had been sacked, as they were found responsible for the disruption of working in the factory.

They said the functioning in the factory was likely to resume by Thursday, minus the sacked workers.

A delegation of industrial representatives today met with the Deputy Commissioner, Senior Superintendent of Police and labour officials. The representatives made it clear that they were not prepared to take back the sacked employees as they were responsible for indiscipline on the factory premises.

Meanwhile, the Chamber of Industrial and Commercial Undertakings has condemned the attempts of the trade union mafia to hold the industry to ransom. In a joint statement, the president of the chamber, Mr Inderjit Singh Pradhan, and general secretary, Mr Avtar Singh, said prolonged strike by workers at Avon Cycles Limited had become a matter of serious concern for industrial organisations and their managements.

They pointed out that it had led to serious problems for ancillary units, which supplied material to Avon Cycles and also buyers and traders. They observed that the industrial unit had to lock out as there was no other way out and it had set a bad precedent. They said the situation could have been avoided by timely action by those concerned.

The chamber leaders urged the administration to intervene and bring back the cycle industry back on track. They asked trade unions to take rational view of the situation and not harm the industry, which was already passing through a crucial phase. They pointed out that even the labour class would suffer in case the industry was made to lose.



Hatcheries to stop production from today
Kanchan Vasdev
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 10
As a fallout of bird flu scare, poultry breeders of the northern region have decided to stop production of chicks in the region from tomorrow onwards.
The breeders will not supply chicks in the market for 12 days, starting February 12. The breeders supply a day-old chick to poultry farmers, who rear it as a broiler.

Talking to the Tribune here today, Mr Surinder Verma, Area Sales Manager, Venkies India, a firm supplying chicks, said the decision was taken by poultry breeders from Punjab, Haryana and Jammu and Kashmir at a meeting here yesterday.

He said in view of the bird flu scare, the breeders had opted for temporary halt to production. From tomorrow, no chick would be hatched in hatcheries all over the region.

Mr Verma said the breeders were facing problems as poultry farmers were not buying the chicks because there was no demand of broilers in the market.

He was hopeful that the crisis would be over in days.

Mr Sanjiv Bassi, a local poultry farmer, said they were suffering losses as the price of chicken and eggs had fallen by less than half the original price. Two weeks ago undressed chicken was sold at Rs 37 per kg and yesterday it was sold for Rs 8 per kg. He said for eggs which were sold for Rs 160 to 165 per hundred, the price had been slashed to Rs 70, including the price of tray.

He said it was ironical that not a single case of bird influenza was reported from India, yet the demand for broilers had gone down drastically.

Mr Bassi said the poultry industry was on the brink of closure.

He said there were 117 strains on bird flu virus and only two were known to infect humans.

The strain found in Pakistan was species specific and would not infect humans.

Meanwhile, poultry farmers held a meeting with the Deputy Director Animal Husbandry, Ludhiana, Dr Harprem Singh, to organise a poultry mela to counter, the scare in the minds of the people.

Mr Bassi said they would meet the Deputy Commissioner, Mr Anurag Verma, to chalk out a plan for the mela in the city.



Industrialist’s murder case solved
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 10
The Division No 3 police today claimed to have solved the murder of 76-year-old industrialist Sita Ram Saluja after arresting his third wife, Nina Saluja, and his step-son, Sunil, alias Laddi. Ram Lal Saluja was found murdered in a pool of blood in his house on January 31.

DSP Harpreet Singh Mander and SHO Harjinder Singh, addressing mediapersons, said Sunil had allegedly paid Rs 10,000 to two persons to get his step-father killed.

They alleged that the deceased had thrown his wife, and threw Nina out of his house, in 2000. She complained to the police and a case under Section 406 and 498-A, IPC, was registered against him.

The old man allegedly inserted a matrimonial advertisement in a newspaper inviting alliance for a fourth marriage. Nina went to court and got a stay.

This enraged Sunil who decided to eliminate him.

He allegedly deputed two persons, Ram Lakhan and Babu Ram, to murder him. On the night of January 30, the two visited his house, tied his hands with a rope and clubbed him to death. They hid their blood-stained clothes in a manhole and left, wearing the deceased’s clothes.

They also ransacked the almirahs of the house to make it a case of robbery. Saluja was a millionaire and owned property worth crores in Ludhiana and Mandi Ahmedgarh.



Indoor stadium project hangs fire
Kuldip Bhatia

Ludhiana, February 10
The Rs 16-crore indoor stadium, being constructed in an area of 2.33 acre in Punjab Mata Nagar on Pakhowal Road, is once again in the eye of the storm with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) charging the Municipal Corporation with misappropriation of public funds on construction of another stadium, which would serve no useful purpose.

The party has also initiated the process of filing a public interest litigation (PIL) in the Punjab and Haryana High Court.

Even as the BJP is flexing its muscles to corner the ruling Congress in the MC with allegations of providing “massive” benefits to the builder to whom the work has been allotted, another MC contractor has filed a petition in the High Court, claiming damages and compensation for suspension of work on an open-air stadium at the same site. The builder — M/s Sherpur Engineers and Contractors — has alleged that after they had started work on the outdoor stadium, estimated at Rs 1.08 crore, the MC had all of a sudden told them to suspend work since the indoor stadium project was being revived and it was to be constructed at the same site.

The indoor stadium project, mooted by the MC way back in 1999, has been in the thick of controversy from the outset and at one stage it was scrapped after the Sports Authority of India (SAI), the Volleyball Federation of India and some other sports organisations questioned the selection of the site.

Right at the initial stage, in response to a query by the architect, entrusted with the job of preparing the design of the stadium, the Executive Director of the SAI had pointed out that after detailed discussion with officials concerned and visit to the site, it was felt that the area for indoor stadium complex was too small and it was better to shift it to another site, which had sufficient parking space and could facilitate entry of big vehicles like fire tenders, if required in emergency. Other sports bodies were also of similar opinion and opposed the project on the basis of insufficient parking space, narrow approach and the site being surrounded by narrow lanes on three sides and residential area on the fourth.

After having been pushed to the back burner for almost three years, the project was suddenly sought to be revived in March, 2003 and in a rather unprecedented manner both the Finance and Contracts Committee and General House of the MC cleared the proposal to award the work against a four-year-old tender for the Rs 16-crore project, which was claimed to be the lowest bid.

Interestingly, two subcommittees of MC officials, set up to examine the issue of the indoor stadium and sanctity of the tenders in 2002 and 2003, had given diametrically opposite views. While the committee, headed by the Chief Engineer, Local Bodies, had recommended in September, 2002 to drop the tenders received in 1999 since they were time barred and needed revision of design, another committee of MC officials gave its nod to the project in September, 2003 after the proposal was put before the General House and subsequently work order was issued to the contractor against his four-year-old tender.

Although the officials concerned were tightlipped, it was learnt that at the initial stage when the four-year-old tenders were sought to be enlivened, reportedly on a word of “recommendation” from a very senior bureaucrat, the Chief Engineer of the Local Government had advised against the process saying that the tenders had lost their validity and in case of revival of the project, fresh tenders should be called for.

In a memorandum submitted to the Punjab Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, senior BJP leaders Mr Sat Pal Gosain, Deputy Speaker, Punjab Vidhan Sabha, Mr Pran Bhatia, vice-president, district unit of the BJP, and former group leader of BJP councillors have demanded that the ongoing work on the project be immediately suspended and a high-level inquiry be initiated to fix the responsibility for gross misuse of public funds. Copies of the memorandum have also been forwarded to the Chief Secretary, Secretary, Local Government, Punjab, Director of Local Bodies and Director of Sports, Punjab.



Money no problem for lovebirds!
Shivani Bhakoo

Ludhiana, February 10
Youngsters in the city, unmarried as well as married, are all set to celebrate Valentine’s Day with gusto, despite several threats by various organisations. Shopping fever has gripped the residents with people buying gifts for their loved ones. The gift shops in the city are flooded with items like assorted heart-shaped sweets, soft toys, perfumes, scented candles, dancing couples, cards and chocolates. And money seems to be no problem for the people in love!

Shopkeepers in the city feel this year the sale of gift items is much more than the previous years. Mr Daljit Sethi of Archies at Sarabha Nagar market said school and college boys and girls had already started purchasing gifts. “We have got more than 550 designer cards and the first choice of the youngsters is the cards. There have been a lot of changes this year. The buyers are getting assorted heart-shaped sweets, Chinese, sparkle, floating and perfumed candles. The big teddy-bears and hearts are also in demand. The gift range starts from Rs 100-Rs 1000”.

Mr Vimal from V.K. Gift Palace, Ghumar Mandi, said 70 per cent of buyers were girls this time. They were buying ‘couple sets’ in bone china costing around Rs 850. Perfumes for men were in demand.

One of the visitors at a shop, Ms Deepti, a housewife said: “I am accompanying my friend. She has to buy a gift for her ‘Valentine’. I wish my husband, but with a cake and a card. Its been more than five years since we were married and every year, I prepare a cake at home”.

Mr Ravinder Ahuja of Veena Gift Centre, Sarabha Nagar said heart-shaped soft toys remained to be the favourite. The range starts from Rs 75. “Crystal gift items are also in demand, but these are expensive gifts. Interestingly, most buyers do not mind spending a good amount on gifts”, said Mr Ahuja.



Ludhiana calling

Cola companies like Coke and Pepsi had barely managed to come out of the shock of the findings of the Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) that these contained harmful pesticides when the Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC) probing the CSE findings also upheld its (CSE’s) observations. This has once again pushed down the sales of the cola drinks further. Added to it is the winter season when the cola sales are usually quite low. With huge stocks piling up at the bottling plants the cola companies have decided to serve it ‘free’, obviously with something else. A petrol pump in the city is currently serving 1.5 litre bottle of a leading company with petrol worth Rs 1000. With the JPC findings, more cola may flow along with petrol.

Shooting shells

Next time you are on the road, remember the sky could fall on your head. Well if not the sky, certainly some undesirable object from the sky could knock you off. This is especially true in the current wedding season when people fire rockets unmindful of the fact that the empty shell could cause harm. A city family had a miraculous escape after a shell hit their car’s windscreen smashing it to pieces. The entire family had barely stepped outside when they realised what a close save it was.

Razor’s edge

The killing of a gangster Anil Sharma alias Lalla out of gang rivalry has once again proven the ultimate end such alleged criminals have. They live their life on a razor’s edge and get a cruel death. Criminal activities can only have one result, a gory end. This has happened several times in the past but still no lessons have been learnt. What is most disturbing is that the police officials and the politicians sheltering and encouraging such elements continue to have an unblemished face. It only takes a bigger scandal like the fake stamp papers racket that exposes people like Telgi but if the problem is nipped in the bud, at the grassroots level then major crime can be avoided. Politicians and cops are known to use these musclemen to their own advantages. The former use them for garnering votes and the latter as informers against other criminals. People like Lalla only and eventually become a pawn in the stronger hands and die a brutal death. If only the system checks the activities at the initial stage, life would be more peaceful for the law-abiding citizens.

Photo crazy cops

A number of new police officials have been posted in the district in the last few months. There is an obvious pressure on them to perform. Performance is being shown but some of the over-zealous cops do a bit more than required. Any small success is blown out of proportion and media persons, including the reporters of national channels, are called to cover even the recovery of a knife, chaku kamanidaar, as it is called in local parlance. One reporter was so incensed that he vent out his anger at a munshi of a police post. He tried to reason that such trivial events couldn’t be covered. Contrary to his expectations of not being bothered again he got calls from the senior officers attracting him with special interview of the accused , a minor criminal notwithstanding, just for getting one’s picture on the TV screen.

Car lift

Calibre Plaza-AC market in Bhadaur House, Ludhiana, is a model market because of its unique parking facility. The market has a huge and strong lift, which carries the car to the parking lot at the rooftop. But for newcomers it can be a shaky experience. A lawyer from Chandigarh had such an unforgettable time. He had come to the area and could not find a place for parking. He saw open space in three walls and thought it was vacant. The moment he stopped his car on the iron floor, he was shocked that a shutter fell down closing him in the dark room. Before he could make a move his car started going up and up. The bedazzled lawyer and his munshi were terror struck. While the lawyer raised an alarm, the deeply religious minded munshi began reciting Hanuman Chalisa to ward off the trouble. The car eventually stopped at the rooftop and when they learnt it was the parking and they had come up on a lift, they could not hide their embarrassment. A number of onlookers and the lift men and some journalists friends of the lawyer had a hearty laugh at the victims expense. By the way the market association and the lift managers should caution the newcomers before taking them on a route to the top.


Some people just don’t know how inseparable a journalist is from his profession. Of late many Tribune correspondents have been receiving invitations to weddings and other functions with a request saying “please come as a personal guest and not as a reporter”. Scribes instantly respond by saying “yes! Sure”. The hosts may not realise this but every scribe in his heart knows that he will never be unfaithful to his profession, so if there is something to report, it will be done in some round about manner. But what people must understand is that journalists too are human beings and they would never write something merely for the heck of writing or embarrassing someone.

Anything sells

Anything sells in Ludhiana, be it woollens or antique furniture. The buying urge among the city residents is not so much out of buying what is required, but what makes a fashion statement. But for a change a company is not trying to exploit the Ludhianvis. The month end would witness “Kochhar”, an exhibition of imitation classical English furniture from the Victorian era, some items plated in gold. Each piece will be unique, promise the exhibitors. So it’s a hold your breath warning from the city’s creme de la creme.

Valentine blues

Not many had heard of the Valentine’s Day about decade ago. But thanks to the commercialisation of the day by companies, the event is now not only celebrated like any other festival, but its preparations too start days in advance, just like Diwali. From jewellers to chocolate sellers, each one is trying to advertise with a view to exploiting the love between lovers. The stores too see this as a time they call “season”, meaning “hope for good sales”. One city-based shopkeeper has postponed the wedding of his son

Late bills

The Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited appears to have given up competition with the private telephone operators, else there is no reason why the BSNL would send out bills for money owed to it by its subscribers a day before the last date. In the past, people have had this complaint with Reliance, but now it seems that the Department of Telecommunications is competing with the private company in almost every way, including late sending of bills. But the department should not forget that private companies have hired agencies that will force its subscribers to cough up the money, while the government has no such help to recover what is its due. Perhaps the senior in the department should make this point with their subordinates and ensure that the bills are sent out on time.


Marriage season is on. Almost all the city marriage palaces are booked everyday in view of the marriages. There are some residents who receive a number of invitations everyday and it becomes a problem for them to attend all the ceremonies in a day. Then they have to start running in the morning itself to pay a visit to the house of invitees. The other day a local resident said that he had as many as twenty invitations for a single day and it was near impossible for him to attend all of them. He started in the morning taking leave from work and went from one house to another. Till the evening he was able to visit only ten houses. And imagine the shaguns he paid that day! A whopping ten thousand Rupees.

Bus stand

Even though many ambitious plans have been chalked out for the Ludhiana Bus-stand every now and then it continues to be in a neglected state. Potholes on the entry and exit points, filthy toilets and lack of maintenance for the last number of years has been a bane of the commuters who have to wade through water collected in the potholes. The condition remains the same for the last four years but there has been no solution. One wonders what the authorities concerned are waiting for. Atleast they can get the potholes filled.

Bird flu scare

Poultry products continue to be kept at an arms length by the residents in wake of bird flu spread in some countries. Despite the fact that the poultry farmers and experts have given a clean chit to Indian poultry, people continue to scare away from the products. The other day a migrant, probably working as a domestic help, visited a departmental store to buy a ready-to-cook vegetable soup. The store owner handed over a chicken soup to him. Promptly the migrant returned it to him saying that he would be turned out of the house if he went with the chicken soup at home. When the owner said that there was nothing wrong with it he said that his employer had specifically told him not to buy any poultry product.

— Sentinel



Safai workers to get payment through cheques
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, February 10
The safai workers engaged by Mohalla Sanitation Committees in the city would be paid through cheques in the wake of reports of exploitation by the committees.
The Municipal Corporation had implemented the recommendation of the National Commission on Safai Workers to provide medical facilities and paying salaries to regular safai workers through cheques.

The decision was taken in a review meeting convened by Mr Ganga Ram Teja, a member of the National Commission for Safai Karamcharis, here today. Mr Anurag Verma, Deputy Commissioner, Mr S.K. Sharma, Commissioner, Municipal Corporation, Mr S.R. Kaler, Deputy Director, Local Government, Mr Prem Chand, SDM (East), Mr Kuldip Singh, SDM (West), Mr Harjinder Singh, Joint Commissioner, Municipal Corporation, Mr Harish Kumar, SP (City-I), Dr S.N. Tiwari, Civil Surgeon, besides officials of the Welfare and Social Security Departments attended the meeting.

In the meeting, the progress on the decisions taken during the last meeting was also discussed.

Mr Teja asked the MC to issue a circular directing all 149 Mohalla Welfare Committees to make the payment of Rs 1,200 of their share to the safai workers concerned through cheques.


HOME PAGE | Punjab | Haryana | Jammu & Kashmir | Himachal Pradesh | Regional Briefs | Nation | Opinions |
| Business | Sports | World | Mailbag | Chandigarh | Ludhiana | National Capital |
| Calendar | Weather | Archive | Subscribe | Suggestion | E-mail |