L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Fuel scam tip of iceberg, says VB
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 26
The unravelling of the sensational multi-crore ‘fuel scam’ in the Municipal Corporation by the Vigilance Bureau seems to be just a tip of the iceberg of the alleged widespread corruption in the civic body. Investigations are already on in 11 other cases of misappropriation of funds.

Sources in the Vigilance Bureau said the estimated figure of Rs 7 crore loss to the public exchequer in the fuel scam was ‘nothing’ in comparison to the amount involved in other frauds. The figure might go beyond Rs 500 crore mark, which was much more than the Rs 300-crore yearly budget of the MC.

Investigations into these scandals have been almost completed and shocking facts about the level of corruption in the civic body have come to light.

Regular Vigilance inquiries are conducted only after the preliminary investigations established substance in the allegations of corruption. The preliminary report is examined by senior Vigilance Bureau officials and the government and only then a regular inquiry is ordered.

“Simply mind boggling”, said a senior official of the Vigilance Department while giving sketchy details of the scandals. “While the fuel scam has brought to light that a clerk of the MC was possessing property worth about Rs 1.25 crore, other 11 inquiries have revealed that there were dozens of other such persons in the employment of the corporation,” he said.

At the top of the list is an alleged Rs 250-crore scandal that has been going on since late 1960s. The scandal exposes how in the past four decades the MC had given advance payments to private contractors and MC employees and how the amount remained unaccounted for.

Several officials of the MC, including some gazetted officers, have since retired and some have even expired without clearing the accounts in the ensuing years. Sources said the records for 2003 and 2004 (till date) were yet to be checked and if any other discrepancies were found, the scandal amount could swell beyond Rs 300 crore.

Another scandal pertains to missing transit pass books, cash books and other documents pertaining to octroi and collection of taxes by the MC. The scandal includes alleged fraud committed by some employees of the civic body, who pocketed payments made by residents and businessmen instead of depositing these in the accounts of the corporation.

The employees allegedly thrived by making fake entries and forging documents. The scandal is pegged at Rs 16 crore for records pertaining to two years only.

Another scandal pertains to alleged non-collection of rent in respect of several MC buildings by senior civic body officials. According to Vigilance sources, the scandal reveals how the officials concerned did not do their duty causing huge losses to the civic body.

Yet another racket involves some officials forcing city residents to pay bribe for not facing civil or criminal action. Some officials allegedly used to change non-cognisable offences into cognisable ones for money. Sources said the Vigilance Bureau had got documentary proof of the scandal.



Street brawl turns communal
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 26
Tension engulfed Basti Jodhewal area today evening, following a street brawl between two youths belonging to different communities. While members of one community forcibly closed the main market in the area members of the other blocked traffic at the busy Jalandhar bypass road for an hour.

Mild lathi-charge by the police prevented the situation to turn worse as hundreds of members of both communities gathered at the place. The police has rounded up several persons and was deployed in large number at the place to prevent any untoward incident.

According to sources, it all started when a car hit a man crossing a road. The car driver beat up the pedestrian who called his friends and attacked a shop owned by some relative of the car driver.

As both groups belonged to different communities, a communal colour was given by some antisocial elements, who resorted to blocking of traffic and damaging of shops. 



Love triangle claims youth’s life
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 26
Alleged rivalry between two youths over a girl led to the murder of one of them at New Ashok Nagar Colony, Salem Tabri, here today.
The victim, Jyoti, was stabbed several times in the neck and abdomen allegedly by Deepu, alias Ganju, a barber, in a busy street of the colony. A large number of people, including bystanders and passers-by, were mute spectators to the murder.

Both the youths had clashed with each other along with their friends last evening also. It was alleged that both were trying to woo a girl and saw each other as rivals. It could not be ascertained if the girl was interested in any of the two.

The accused Deepu was booked under Section 302 of the IPC by the police late in the evening on the statement made by the victim’s family.

The aggrieved family of the deceased, who worked as a roadside dentist, was inconsolable. The accused cornered the victim in the street on finding him alone. The victim was beaten and then stabbed in the neck and abdomen. He died on the spot.



Man booked for bid to inject HIV +ve blood

Khanna, February 26
The police has booked a man who tried to inject HIV positive blood into a woman on Wednesday. The case has been registered on the statement given by the victim, Swarnjit Kaur, of Kotla village, according to DSP Samrala here today.

The police said the victim had stated that she had an illicit relationship with the accused, Bahadar Singh, who practiced at Samrala some years ago. This came to the knowledge of her husband, Hari Singh, who beat the accused up and handed him over to the police. After the incident, the accused left the town.

The victim said the accused came to her house on a scooter, on Wednesday evening. He tried to inject her with a syringe, but she resisted and in the scuffle that ensued, the syringe fell down injuring her. She raised the alarm, on which the accused fled on his scooter leaving behind the syringe containing blood.

The woman, accompanied by a man, who was later found to be her paramour, came to the local Civil Hospital with the syringe. She was admitted to the hospital and the blood was tested by the hospital’s blood bank. The blood tested positive for HIV. — OC



Chicken rates slashed
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 26
In view of the fall in the demand of poultry products due to the bird flu scare, poultry retailers of the city today decided to slash the rates of chicken.
The decision was taken at a meeting of the poultry farmers and retailers held here today. The revised rates would come into effect from tomorrow and continue till the Holi festival.

As per the new rates, the heavy broiler would be sold for Rs 45 instead of the present rate of Rs 70 and light broiler for Rs 55 instead of Rs 80. Similarly, there would be a discount of Rs 25 on tandoori and butter chicken.

The retailers said after their free distribution of chicken on Saturday, the sales of poultry products had gone up.

The scare of the bird flu had been removed from the minds of residents to some extent. So the poultry dealers had decided to woo the consumers by offering huge discounts.

This is for the first time that the discounts are being offered to the consumers directly. Otherwise, the poultry farmers were suffering losses but the rates of chicken had remained the same for the public.

The meeting was attended by Capt P.P.S. Gill, president of the Poultry Farmers Association, Mr Satinder Bakshi, Mr Rajesh Gandhi, Mr Surinder Singh, Mr Piara Singh Dhillon, Mr Sanjiv Bassi and many others. 



Meat sold in ‘unhygienic’ conditions

Ludhiana, February 26
Office-bearers of the Vegetarian Congress Ludhiana, Mahavir International, Lions Club Ludhiana Vegetarian and People for Animals have held discussions on the reported distribution of chicken meat by some shopkeepers in the city. They said meat was being sold in unhyienic conditions. OC



Cong to focus on employment 
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 26
The Congress will provide sustainable and meaningful employment to the Indian youth based on new development-oriented programmes. ‘Disha 2004 Shiksha and Rozgar’ is the new initiative launched by the party’s youth leaders to focus on imparting quality education and providing sustainable employment to the Indian youth.

Stating this here today, party spokesperson and Youth Congress leader Ragini Nayak said, “The Congress, in consultation with youth leaders form all sections of society and renowned economists, is working on a programme that will impart quality education designed to turn the Indian youth into skilled human resources.”

Talking to reporters here today, Ms Nayak said, “The party has formed a core group of young leaders from various parts of the country to understand the problems that the youth of the country are facing and their possible solutions. “our agenda is to turn the Indian youth into skilled human resources so that they become competitive at the global level. To achieve this, drastic restructuring of the Indian education system and a stable, harmonious environment is required and only the Congress can provide this,” added Ms Nayak.

Criticising the BJP and the NDA governments for their “pro-rich” policies, she said, “The government is reducing fee for the elite Indian Institutes of Management (IIMs) when a majority of children in the country do not have access to even basic quality education. Unemployment has increased to an unprecedented level and farmers are committing suicides in various parts of the country even in a year when we had bumper crops. The Central Government has failed to protect the interests of the farmers and the youth. In the BJP-NDA rule, only the rich have become richer while a majority of Indians suffered.”



Birmi promises 24-hr power to villages
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 26
Minister of State for Jails, Housing and Urban Development Malkit Singh Birmi today said the government would provide uninterrupted power supply to all villages from June 30. A sum of Rs 260 crore had been sanctioned for this purpose and directions in this connection had been given to the PSEB.

The minister also said that this year was being celebrated as the Village Development Year and various new schemes to bring the standard of living in villages on a par with the cities had been undertaken. As many as 25,000 new connections would also be released by March 31. He said a sum of Rs 161.58 crore had been earmarked for the schemes as compared to Rs 148. 28 crore spent during the previous year.

Grants totalling Rs 31 lakh were also distributed by the minister for 33 villages of the district which include Bhagat Charan Singh Nagar (Rs 2 lakh), Mangli Ucchi (Rs 1.25 lakh), Jassar, Mundian Khurd, Gobindgarh, Dangora, Shrinh, Jaspal Bangar, Sangowal, Bulara, Parampura Colony, Sujatwala, Jamalpur Laili, Nurwala, Hazuri Bagh Colony, Kutbewal Raiian, Phulanwal, Dharor, Umaidpur, Dashmesh Nagar, Kaneja, Sattowal, Bajra Colony, Paddi and Sahnewal (Rs 1 lakh each), Mangli Neechi (Rs 75,000), Kanganwal, Kotla Afghana, Jandialai, Gaddapur, Rawat, Duleh and Dharor (Rs 50,000 each).

Mr Birmi said 40 railway overbridges and 879 km of roads would be constructed by the Punjab Infrastructure Development Board soon. Besides, bridges over the Beas and the Sutlej would be built and 300 km of major roads would also be widened. A sum of Rs 1,500 crore had been earmarked for constructing bypasses in various districts. All this was aimed at the overall development of the state and would be completed in about two and a half years, he added.

He also said that a sum of Rs 800 crore was being spent on remetalling 2,000 km of existing link roads in the state.

The minister said the Aashirwad scheme for SC girls had been launched wherein the government would deposit Rs 5,000 in the name of the girl and also give Rs 6,100 at the time of her marriage. The government would also spend Rs 20 crore for providing housing for SC families across the state on the Maharashtra pattern. To ensure that the targeted persons make optimal use of the plan, self-help groups had been created.



MLA distributes pension cheques
Our Correspondent

Amloh, February 26
Mr Sadhu Singh, Dharamsot MLA, has distributed of development and pension cheques for Rs 35 lakh and Rs 21 lakh among the 94 village panchayats for development works and old age pensions, respectively.

A record production of paddy last year was the result of uninterrupted and regular power supply to the farmers. The power was purchased from the neighbouring states by the Punjab Government to meet the challenge of power shortage in the state, he said while addressing a gathering. District Planning Board Member Joginder Singh Naraingarh, member of the Zila Parishad Surjit Singh Baronga, block Congress president Joginder Singh Salana, Sarpanch of Ania village Pargat Singh, CDPO Amloh Satish Kumar and block samiti chairman Dilbagh Singh Bhambri also addressed the gathering.



Striking mill workers booked 
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, February 26
The Focal Point police yesterday registered a case under various sections of the IPC against Ranjeet Parshad, Khushia, Rajesh Kumar, Vinod Kumar, Haninder Kumar and Parsu Ram, all of whom are striking employees of Ralson Factory on the GT Road.

The case was registered on the statement of one their non-striking colleague Chander Bhan. He had stated that the accused had stopped him near Giaspura and asked him to join the strike. When he refused to do so they reportedly beat him up.

Man run over, killed: An unknown man, who was reportedly a lunatic and used to wander around Jugiana village, was over run over by a vehicle near the village on Wednesday evening, killing him on the spot. A case has been registered under Section 304-A of the IPC on the statement of Mr Balbir Singh of the same village.

Migrant killed: The division No.6 police on Wednesday registered a case under Sections 279 and 304-A of the IPC on the statement of Hanuman Parshad, a migrant from Bihar, against Reddy, a three-wheeler driver, who lives in Deep Nagar Mohalla near the Gill chowk. The complainant had stated that while he was going with Arjun Parshad to Dholewal the suspect attacked and injured Arjun.

Forgery alleged: On the statement of Ms Balvir Kaur of Gurdev Nagar, the Civil Lines police on Wednesday registered a case under Section 409 of the IPC against Harinder Singh of Model Town. The woman had alleged that she had handed over her 200-sq yd plot to Harinder for the purpose of supervision but he got the same registered in the name of his daughters on the basis of a forged power of attorney.

Confinement alleged: The Koom Kalan police on Wednesday registered a case under various sections of the IPC against Baba Gurbachan Singh of Malo Daud village and Nirmal Singh, Ajaib Singh and Gurdeep Singh on the statement of Mr Isher Singh of Fatehgarh Jattan village. The complainant had alleged that his nephew, who had been living in a gurdwara for the past 15 years, sold his property and deposited the amount in a post office. But the above said came in an Indica car and forcibly took away his nephew, added the complainant.

Recovered: The division No. 6 police on Wednesday raided a place in Industrial Area-B and recovered a rehra along with five sackfuls of scrap. A case under Sections 379 and 411 of the IPC has been registered against Malkeet Singh of Balmik Ashram, Ludhiana, Manoj Kumar of Gaunda and Vinod Kumar of Ludhiana

Breach of trust: The division No. 6 police on Wednesday registered a case under Sections 403 and 406 of the IPC on the statement of Mr Kuldeep Singh of Vishwakarma Colony against his brother Baljinder Singh, who lives in the same locality. The complainant had alleged that he and his brother had split and divided their assets. But the latter cheated him by taking away factory goods belonging to him.

Driver booked: The Model Town police registered a case under Sections 279 and 307 of the IPC on the statement of SI Jaswinder Singh against a driver of a Maruti car on Wednesday . The SI had stated that while he was checking vehicles along with a party near the T-point at the gurdwara extension in the area he spotted the car and signalled the driver to stop the vehicle. But the driver instead of stopping the car raced the same with the intention of over running him.

Liquor seized: The division No. 4 police on Wednesday arrested Roshan Lal of Mohalla Fatehgarh and booked him under the Excise Act. The police said on Thursday that 20 bottles of countrymade liquor were seized from him when he was intercepted near Manna Singh Colony on the GT Road on Wednesday evening. 


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