P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



Pandey Vigilance Bureau chief again
Biggest insult, says Beant family
Prabhjot Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 26
Much to the dismay of Punjab Transport Minister Tej Parkash Singh and other members of the family of former Chief Minister Beant Singh, Mr A.P. Pandey is back as the Additional Director-General of Police-cum-Chief Director, Vigilance Bureau.

Mishandling of the case of Mr Gurnihal Singh Pirzada, an IAS officer of the Tamil Nadu cadre, is being cited as another reason for the shifting of the present incumbent, Mr Mohammad Izhar Alam, to his previous position as the Additional Director-General of Police, Administration.

Mr Alam and Mr Pandey will swap their positions for the second time in less than three months.

Mr Pandey was shifted in December last year after Chief Secretary Jai Singh Gill held an inquiry into the circumstances that led to the forwarding of a complaint against personal staff of the Transport Minister to the Chandigarh Police for the registration of a corruption case.

Upset over the handling of a complaint, which the Beant Singh family alleged, was “manipulated, baseless and motivated”, Mr Tej Parkash Singh had demanded “strictest possible action against all those who attempted to tarnish the name of family of Mr Beant Singh, which had made the supreme sacrifice for the unity and integrity of the country”. The complaint, they held, was to put pressure on the family to distance itself from the “dissidents” and join the “loyalist group of the Chief Minister.”

The Chandigarh Administration had returned the complaint to the Punjab Vigilance Bureau quoting lack of jurisdiction for considering it.

Sources close to the Beant Singh family told The Tribune that by putting Mr Pandey back in the bureau, the chances of further “harassment of the family by reopening the same case” cannot be ruled out.

“We will not take it lying down,” remarked a member of the family, holding that “by bringing Mr Pandey back was the biggest insult the present government could inflict on us.”

The family, the sources said, would lodge a strong protest both with the party high command as well as Congress President Sonia Gandhi.

The Punjab Government today ordered the third major reshuffle in the Vigilance Bureau. After shifting Mr Pandey in December, the bureau had three Inspectors-Generals in three months — Mr Suresh Arora, Mr S. Chattopadhaya and now Mr S.M. Sharma.

Mr B.K. Uppal has also been moved from the Vigilance Bureau to counter-intelligence as a DIG. He will be replaced by Mr Gurdev Singh Sahota. Two Superintendents of Police of the bureau — Mr Tejinderpal Singh and Mr Surinder Kumar Kalia — have also been moved out.


New police chiefs for 4 Punjab districts
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 26
Two Additional Directors-General, three Inspectors-General, three Deputy Inspectors-General and the chiefs of four police districts in Punjab were shifted in a major reshuffle today.

Mr Mohammad Izhar Alam will revert to his position as Additional Director-General of Police (ADGP), Administration while Mr A. P. Pandey becomes the ADGP-cum-Chief Director, Vigilance Bureau, again.

Mr G. D. Pandey has been posted as Inspector-General (Security) while Mr S. M. Sharma goes as IG-cum-Director, Vigilance Bureau. Mr S. Chattopadhaya will be the new IG, Provisioning and Modernisation.

Mr Gurdev Singh Sahota becomes Deputy Inspector-General (DIG), Vigilance Bureau. Mr B. K. Uppaal has been named DIG, Counter-Intelligence.

Mr M. K. Tewari becomes DIG, Training.

Dr Naresh Kumar and Mr R. P. S. Brar have been posted as Superintendents of Police in the Vigilance Bureau.

Mr Amit Parsad will be the new SSP of Barnala. Mr Narinder Bhargav becomes the new SSP of Gurdaspur while Mr M. S. Chhina has been shifted to Moga as the SSP. Mr Harcharan Singh Bhullar, a son of former DGP M. S. Bhullar has been posted as the SSP, Jagraon.

Olympian Davinder Singh Garcha has been made SP, Security, while Mr S. K. Singh, on deputation from the BSF, becomes AIG, CID.

Mr Harinderpal Singh Kang goes to Amritsar as SP, Counter-Intelligence. Ms Anita Punj goes as SP, CID, Punjab, at Chandigarh. Mr Hardial Singh Mann becomes SP, Detective, at Fatehgarh Sahib.

Mr Gurmeet Singh will be the new SP, Headquarters, at Kapurthala while Mr Shammi Kumar goes as SP, Operations, at Jalandhar.

Mr Haminder Singh has been shifted as SP, Headquarters, at Tarn Taran. Mr Shamsher Jang Bahadur moves to Batala as SP, Headquarters.

Mr Chaman Lal will be SP, Vigilance Bureau, while Ms Vibhu Raj has been shifted to Amritsar as SP, Headquarters. Mr Makhan Singh will be SP, Detective, Batala. At Amritsar, Mr Dharam Singh will be SP, Detective.

Mr Kamal Kumar goes as SP, ISTC, while Ms Amrit Brar will hold additional charge as SP, Traffic, at Chandigarh.

Mr Jaskirat Singh becomes Assistant Commandant, 82nd Battallion, PAP while Mr Rupinder Singh Bhullar becomes SP, Crime, at Chandigarh. Mr Rajesh Kumar Jaiswal goes to CM Security as SP. Mr Nilabh Kishore has been made SP, Headquarters, at Ludhiana.


Amend law to bar foreigners from top posts: Badal
Chander Parkash
Tribune News Service

Talwandi Sabo, February 26
Former Chief Minister and President of the SAD (Badal), Mr Parkash Singh Badal, today said there was an urgent need for amending the Constitution to make foreigners unable to occupy highest positions in the country.

Mr Badal who was here today to address a rally to formally inaugurate the election campaign of party candidate, Mrs Paramjit Kaur, from Bathinda seat for the next Lok Sabha elections, said it was the need of the hour that highest positions in the country, including those of the Prime Minister, President, Speaker of the Lok Sabha, Deputy Prime Minister, and Chief Justice of Supreme Court, should not be occupied by persons of foreign origin.

Mr Badal, who addressed the rally having moderate gathering in Diwan Hall here, also sought votes from the people on the stabilisation of the BJP-led NDA government at the Centre, development works carried out by it in the past five years.

Mr Badal alleged that successive Congress governments at the Centre and Punjab had betrayed Punjab and bartered its economic interests.

He alleged that by violating all norms established for the recruitment of employees, Capt Amarinder Singh had appointed sons of his favourites as DSPs despite the fact that deserving candidates, who had achieved distinctions in international and national championships in the sports were jobless.


Want promotion? okay, nab proclaimed offenders
Chitleen K. Sethi
Tribune News Service

Mohali, February 26
In a novel step to motivate the police rank and file in the state, the IG Zone, Jalandhar Range, will launch a new promotion policy under which the promotion of a police officer will depend on the number of proclaimed offenders that he nabs.

This was decided at the first meeting of top police officials convened by the Inspector General of Police, Mr S.K. Sharma, since his taking over as IG, Jalandhar Zone, on February 23.

Stating that the final details of the scheme are still being worked out, sources pointed out that a constable would have to nab at least 12 proclaimed offenders in order to be promoted. Similar numbers will be fixed for the promotion of other officers depending on their seniority. It was also decided that whenever a police officer nabbed three proclaimed offenders he would also be rewarded.

This idea of a new promotion scheme was mooted by the DIG, Ludhiana range, Mr Dinkar Gupta, during the meeting and will be implemented in the eight districts within the jurisdiction of the IG, Jalandhar range.

‘‘The number of proclaimed offenders was very high in Punjab with Jalandhar alone accounting for over 2500 and over 1000 in Ludhiana. The problem has become acute in recent years as the mobility of the population has increased,’’ said a police official who had attended the meeting.

In another important decision the police will set up special cells in eight districts of Punjab under the IG Zone, Jalandhar, to study the reasons for easy acquittal of criminals in order to raise the incidence of conviction and standard of investigations.

Special teams that will include senior police officials and lawyers will be formed to study court judgements relating to acquittals and make observations in order to improve the quality of the police investigations. Sources stated Mr Sharma also directed the police officers to make all requisite efforts to curb growing crime and restore faith of the people in the police.

The meeting was attended by the DIG, Ludhiana range, Mr Dinkar Gupta; the DIG Jalandhar Range, Mr Paramjit Singh Sarao; SSP Jalandhar Gurpreet Singh Bhullar; SSP Kapurthala S.K. Asthana; SSP Nawanshahr M.F. Farooqui; SSP Hoshiarpur L.K. Angra; SSP Ludhiana, Narinderpal Singh; SSP Khanna Pramod Ban; SSP Jagraon M.S. Chinna and SSP Ropar S.P. Singh.


Classes in the open near Behl’s house
Varinder Walia
Tribune News Service

Gurdaspur, February 26
A few yards away from the residence of the Education Minister, students of Government Primary School (Court Road) have to study in the open on the premises of Singh Sabha Gurdwara where marriages and other ceremonies are a routine affair.

The school building, rented out by the gurdwara had been declared unsafe by the PWD about eight years ago and since then the school had been functioning in the open. Since marriages and religious functions are common in the gurdwara, the students relish delicacies rather than concentrate on studies.

The school has 67 students and the central headteacher, Ms Balbir Kaur, was transferred temporarily as the BPO (Batala-II) in November.

Mr Kulwant Singh Bhinder, president of the gurdwara, said he had taken up the matter of shifting the school with Mr Khushal Behl, Education Minister, several times but nothing had been done in this regard. He said the headteacher had written to the District Education Officer that the building was unsafe. When it rained, a holiday was declared due to lack of infrastructure. He said the first letter for shifting the school from the gurdwara premises was written in 1989. Besides, the Education Department had paid the monthly rent after about six years, he said.

Ms Gursharn Kaur and Ms Channu Devi, teachers, admitted that the environment in the school was not congenial for studies and there was no place for the teachers to sit.

Many other schools in the district are either headless or lack proper building. The situation is acute in the border belt, especially in the Narote Jaimal Singh area. In some areas the students have to cross river beds to reach school. Several schools in the home district of the Education Minister lack basic amenities.


Mann seeks Dhindsa’s ouster from Cabinet
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, February 26
Mr Simranjit Singh Mann, president of the Shiromani Akali Dal (Amritsar), today demanded removal of Mr Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa, Union Minister for Chemicals and Fertilisers, from the Union Cabinet for hiding a “valuable” information from the Prime Minister and the Union Cabinet.

Mr Mann added Mr Dhindsa had alleged that he (Mann) had collected lakhs of dollars from abroad in the name of helping families of militants, but he had hidden this ‘valuable’ information from the Prime Minister and the Union Cabinet. He also said if Mr Dhindsa had specific information with regard to his allegation against him, why he was not booked under POTA by the government.

Mr Mann was talking to reporters at the PWD Rest House here today.

Mr Mann said he was ready to exchange his property with Mr Dhindsa's. He said extra money, which he might get from Mr Dhindsa after the exchange of property, would be spent by him on social works.

Mr Mann, who is a candidate from Sangrur, said if he was re-elected he would give bicycles to the poor girls for going to school from their villages. He also promised to make the Sangrur Constituency a centre of education by setting up a Law College, a B.Ed. college, a Medical college etc.


Malkhana blast: probe indicts police
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, February 26
Magisterial inquiry by Additional Deputy Commissioner, Kulwant Singh has reportedly indicted the police for the Malkhana blast on February 19 in which 30 persons were injured.

Five police personnel including an Assistant Sub Inspector were suspended after the blast.

The report points out that highly explosive material lethal arms and ammunition had been stacked in an 'unscientific way'. The report enclosed clippings of the news items published in the Tribune on the state of affairs in the malkhana.

The report indicted certain senior police officials for not taking steps to prevent the mishap. The report is likely to be submitted to the District Magistrate tomorrow.

In a related development, Mr Makhan Singh, S.P. (Detective) who was appointed Inquiry Officer has been transferred to Batala.


Liquor contractors fear monopoly by outsider
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 26
Liquor contractors in the state are apprehensive that the Punjab Government may ‘hand over’ the entire trade to a single person and create a monopoly at the cost of hundreds of other native contractors. The contractors said, the process started last year with Amritsar, Hoshiarpur, Jalandhar and Gurdaspur going entirely to a single contractor from Uttar Pradesh, they said the government was again set to handover Ludhiana and other districts to the same person this year as well.

A delegation of the contractors met the Finance Minister, Mr Lal Singh on Tuesday at Chandigarh, requesting him that they should also be “allowed to survive”. However, the contractors said, they did not receive any encouraging response from the minister. This was despite the fact that the local liquor contractors had offered a substantially hiked price on the auction over the last year. Instead they were being given hints to share business with the UP based liquor contractor that too as minor partners only.

The contractors, however, warned that they would not allow the government to handover the entire liquor trade to a single outsider and create a monopoly. They alleged that, last year also in order to favour the said liquor baron, the government had suffered a loss of over Rs 8 crore in Jalandhar, while in Amritsar it suffered a loss of Rs 1.8 crore.

Ludhiana is the largest market for liquor and generates the maximum revenue for the state. Last year the auction for the vends here had fetched the state a handsome Rs 225 crore, an increase of Rs 19 crore over the previous year. The liquor contractors said, if the government organised the auction in a transparent manner there could be a minimum increase of 10 per cent in the revenue over the last year.

The government had not yet announced an policy as how much rise it expected despite the liquor auction being less than a month away. The local contractors feared that the liquor baron from the Uttar Pradesh was even trying to bypass the state government by using the influence of the Congress high command.

Fearing that the government may ultimately “handover” entire trade to him they said last year in Amritsar a business family, which had been into the trade for over 100 years, was evicted after the government handed over the vends arbitrarily to the UP liquor baron.


Improvement trust draws flak over allotting shops
Ravi Bhushan Puri

Pathankot, February 26
The Pathankot Improvement Trust (PIT) is under cloud for alleged irregularities in the allocation of shops of the multi-crore Dr Shyama Prasad Mukherjee shopping complex on the Dhangu road here.

According to sources the improvement trust had framed a scheme in 1967 and revised layout plan of the scheme was sanctioned in 1984. As per the sanctioned layout plan the scheme was absolutely commercial.

According to information 14 persons were in possession of the kiosks and running their business on a temporary and rent basis.

The trust requested the state government to allot shops to the tenants and accordingly the government amended Rule 6 of the Land Disposal Rule 1967, vide Punjab Government letter No. MC-11-67/48811-23 dated 16-11-1967.

In 1993, total kiosks holders were 18, but in 2001, the member of kiosks holders was shown as 31. This was done allegedly by the officials concerned to favour a particular group.

Sources alleged that a clerk had been charging huge amounts from the interested persons to issue receipt which was later converted into a piece of evidence showing old possession.

The trust authorities had been allegedly accepting applications for the allotment, which were undated and undiaried, flouting all rules and norms.

The trust authorities on October 23, 2002, handed over the possession of some shops to the allottee. Some allotment letters were also issued without clarifying the factual possession of the allotted shops. After much hue and cry, the then Additional Deputy Commissioner ordered a probe into the matter.

One of the alleged beneficiary had also approached the authorities and Assistant Commissioner, Grievance Cell, Gurdaspur, held an inquiry on September 20, 2003.

The Assistant Commissioner recommended that the entire allotment of the complex be reviewed and proposed the registration of criminal cases against the trust officials who were guilty of manipulating the allotment.

Mr Rajbir Singh, Chairman of the improvement trust, on being contacted, said the allotment of shop No. 45 had been cancelled and the matter reported to the higher authorities for necessary action.


Faridkot, a division only in name
Romesh Gupta

Faridkot: This district has seen a steady fall in its status due to the apathy of successive governments.

It suffered a blow on November 7, 1995, when the Congress Government, led by Mr Harcharan Singh Brar, carved out a separate district, Muktsar, from it. Within two weeks of that another district, Moga, was created out of it.

From 5740 square km, comprising 596 villages and 10 blocks, it was reduced to 1473 square km with 171 villages in two blocks, Faridkot and Kotkapura.

However, after a month-long agitation by various organisations, Mr Brar announced the creation of a fourth division of the state with its headquarters here on January 26, 1996. Only two offices — of the Commissioner and the DIG, police range — were created leaving out many other offices like those of a Deputy Director, Food and Supply; Deputy Excise and Taxation Commissioner; Deputy Director, Local Bodies; Secretary, RTA; and Assistant Labour Commissioner. Even a regular Commissioner was not appointed.

Now, the government is planning to shift the office of the DIG to Bathinda, further reducing the status of the district.

People of the district also express resentment against the last SAD-BJP government which established Baba Farid University of Health Sciences here with great fanfare on October 5, 1996, but failed to initiate any steps towards the construction of a complex for it. This, despite the fact that a sanction was received from the MCI in 1998. Some relate the disinterest to the defeat of Mr Sukhbir Singh Badal in the Lok Sabha elections from this constituency in 1999.

Even Mr Santokh Singh, Minister for Medical Education and Research, who visited this town last year on May 9, announced a grant of Rs 4 crore to start the construction of the university complex, but there has been no movement so far.

The local Government Guru Gobind Singh Medical College also lacks adequate facilities and specialists.

The district was created by the then Chief Minister, Giani Zail Singh, on August 7, 1972. Then it touched Jagraon, Ludhiana district in the north-east and Dabwali, Haryana, in the south.

Expressing concern over the present situation, representatives of various organisations, like Mr Pawan Preet Singh, general secretary of the CPI district unit, Mr Bikramjit Singh Brar, president of the district bar association, Mr Joginder Singh Brar, of the Janata Dal, and Mr S.K. Gupta, chairman of the local improvement trust, have urged the Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, to announce a special package for strengthening this district in view of its historic background. They demand that no offices should be shifted out of here; rather, more offices need to be opened.


BKU (E) activists march towards CM’s residence
Our Correspondent

Patiala, February 26
Activists of Bharatiya Kisan Union (Ekta) today marched towards the residence of the Punjab Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh to protest against the “anti-farmers” policies of the state government. However, they were stopped near the YPS chowk by the police.

Earlier, the farmers organised a massive rally in front of the headquarters of the Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB). Various students associations, PSEB employees associations and agriculture labourers participated in the rally. The farmers raised anti-government slogans and demanded that the Chief Minister should provide free power and water supply to the farmers of the state.

While addressing the gathering, the president of the BKU (Ekta), Mr Joginder Singh, demanded that the government should give subsidy on the electricity bills of farmers. He added that the government should give 4 per cent of the interest on various loan schemes available to farmers.

Speaking on the occasion, convener of the Kisan Sangharsh Committee Kamaljeet Singh Pannu announced that from tomorrow the agitation would be intensified.

He condemned the state government move to privatise the board. He added that this would further add to the economic burden of the farmers of the state. He demanded that the government should roll back the massive hike made in the fee of motor load.

He demanded 50 per cent subsidy on diesel for agriculture purposes and a bonus Rs 30 per quintal of paddy to the farmers.

The farmers demanded an immediate release of the balance payment of sugarcane.

Others who addressed the rally included Surinder Singh, Amarjeet Singh, Balraj Singh, Hardeep Singh Tallewal, Surjit Singh and Dharshan Singh.


4 impersonators held from exam centre
Our Correspondent

Tarn Taran, February 26
A team of flying squad of the Punjab School Education Board today held four impersonators from the examination centre of middle standard at Government Secondary School, Ghariala.

Mr Gurdev Singh, Principal, Government Secondary School, Kirtowal, was leading the team of flying squad. The board sources told that the impersonators were appearing on behalf of candidates of roll numbers 205937, 205938, 205983 and 205984. The sources said these students were of a private academy being run by a journalist in the border belt.

The members of the flying squad said they had taken the photographs of all four impersonators.


Turkey falcons descend on Patiala
Tribune News Service

Patiala, February 26
Citizens of the city were today bewildered to see hundreds of Turkey falcons being herded on the busy Patiala-Sangrur road near Government Rajindra Hospital today. The birds, a cache of which was seized from Karnal yesterday, were up for sale.

Raj Kumar, who was one of the handlers herding the birds on one side of the highway, said they had bought the birds from Allahabad. He said the birds had been reared by them in farms and that they were not covered by Wildlife regulations.

Wildlife officials, when questioned, also gave a similar reply. They inspected the birds and said they were not covered under the Wildlife Schedule. While the herding and sale of birds may not be an illegal act per se, it is definitely a nuisance. Road users on the Patiala-Sangrur highway had a difficult time circumventing the birds which were apparently offloaded in the cantonment area and then brought to the city.

The handlers disclosed that they did not find a brisk market for the birds. Raj Kumar said they would be going to Bhawanigarh tomorrow. However, when this correspondent visited the site, he did see a few sales. A pair of the birds was being offered for Rs 250. The persons buying them said they wanted to keep them at home for their novelty value. Raj Kumar, however, disclosed there was also a market for Turkey falcon meat due to which people wanted to buy them in pairs.


Plea to register medical practitioners
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, February 26
All medical practitioners, working in villages, should be registered on the basis of their experience and educational qualifications in view of the hardships being faced by them.

This was demanded by Mr Harpreet Singh Bhandari, press secretary of the district unit of the Shiromani Akali Dal, while addressing a meeting of unregistered medical practitioners here yesterday.

Mr Bhandari also said the state government had never taken serious note of the problems of the unregistered medical practitioners. The meeting was also addressed among others by Mr Harwinder Singh Gill, Mr Jugal Kishore Gupta, Mr Karam Chand Zakhmi, Mr Balwinder Singh Barnala and Mr Devinder Verma.


Rights panel orders ASI’s arrest
Our Correspondent

Tarn Taran, February 26
The Punjab State Human Rights Commission (PSHRC) has directed the local SSP to immediately arrest ASI Harbhajan Singh, said to be responsible for the death of Pardeep Singh, who died in police custody.

Pardeep Singh, a student of class IX and resident of Gandiwind Dhattal village, died in custody at Jamarai police post on December 22, 2001, when he was allegedly tortured by ASI Harbhajan Singh and other police officials.

A case under Section 304, IPC, was registered at Goindwal Sahib police station on December 23, 2001, against Harbhajan Singh and others. Harbhajan Singh has been declared a proclaimed offender as he failed to appear in court.

Ms Joginder Kaur, mother of Pardeep Singh, in her complaint to the PSHRC has alleged that the ASI is putting pressure for the complaint to be withdrawn.


Music system of marriage palace seized
Jangveer Singh
Tribune News Service

Patiala, February 26
With the annual school examinations around the corner, the district administration has put the screws on marriage palace owners in the city. The music system of a marriage palace was seized, two others were warned against playing music beyond allowed hours.

Surprise checks were conducted on marriage palaces yesterday by Sub-Divisional Magistrate Tej Pratap Singh Phoolka. According to sources, the checks were conducted following complaints from residents in the vicinity of these facilities.

Mr Phoolka said he had received a number of complaints against the management of Arora Palace and had conducted a check on the premises yesterday. He said it was found that the management had not even taken permission to play loud music from the district administration. The music system of the palace was seized and the police had been asked to register a case against the management under the Noise Pollution and other Acts.

The SDM also raided two more premises last night. These included Maharaja Palace near Punjabi Bagh and Balson Palace near the Urban Estate. Both palaces were found to be playing music after allotted deadline of 10 pm. Mr Phoolka said the palace managements had been asked to stick to the 10 pm deadline.

The district administration, meanwhile, decided not to keep warning marriage palace owners regarding the noise regulations in future. The SDM said awareness had been created in this regard. It had also been decided to ask police personnel to keep a constant check on the premises of the major facilities in the city to ensure they did not keep playing music after the allotted time.

The district administration has been beseeched with complaints regarding the noise emanating from marriage palaces since a long time. The district administration and the police has been taking piece meal action off and on but no concerted effort has been taken to check it. The Principal of DAV Public School situated on the Bhupindra Road had earlier threatened to launch an agitation in case the administration is unable to check the nearby Sham Bagh marriage premises. The SDM said the management of Sham Bagh had been effectively sticking to the 10 p.m. deadline in the recent past.

Meanwhile, the administration is now also targeting religious places and private functions to curb the use of loudspeaker. Managements of religious places have been requested not to play loudspeakers in the early morning and late at night. Similarly, it has been decided to take action against persons causing a public nuisance by loud playing of music at private functions in residential areas.


MLA orders own vehicle challaned
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, February 26
The local traffic police today challaned the vehicles of the local MLA and chairman of the Umeed Khanna Foundation, Mr Arvind Khanna, Sangrur Improvement Trust chairman Amandeep Singh Mansahia, Sangrur Municipal Council president Harbans Singh Garcha, and five others.

The vehicles were part of a cavalcade of the MLA and were challaned for jumping a red light near the main bus stand here.

According to the public relations coordinator of the Umeed Khanna Foundation, when Mr Arvind Khanna and others reached Barra Chowk, the constable on duty removed the barricades installed there to enforce one-way traffic in the bazar, allowing their vehicles to pass.

At this, Mr Khanna said traffic rules had been violated and he called up the DTO and the traffic police inspector and asked them to challan their vehicles, saying law was equal for all. The police issued challans for Rs 500 for each vehicle.


Camaraderie at Indo-Pak mushaira
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, February 26
An Indo-Pak mushaira was held at S.G. Thakur Singh Art Gallery here last evening. Poets from the two countries talked about peaceful co-existence.

The mushaira was organised jointly by the Indo-Pak People’s Forum and the Indian Academy of Fine Arts.

A noted poet of Pakistan, Kanwal Mushtaq, presented a kafi in which he narrated the yearning of a person for his friend.

Rafiq Azhar from Lahore expressed his concern over the hatred among people born out of wars between the two countries. Begum Najma Naurin, Ajaj Ulah, Abid Gondal and Izaz Tawakal were the other poets from Pakistan who participated in the mushaira.

Indian poets Sharan Makkar and Dev Dard joined the camaraderie with their verses. Bakhtawar Miya, a Punjabi poet, presented his poetry with great passion.

Dr Sawaran Singh, Divisional Commissioner, Jalandhar, Mr Raminder Singh, Deputy Commissioner, and Mr R.L. Bhatia, MP, also read out a couple of verses.


Sikh pilgrims to leave for Pak on April 6
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, February 26
A jatha of Sikh pilgrims would leave for Pakistan on April 6 and return to Amritsar on April 15.

They would pay obeisance at Nankana Sahib Gurdwara, Dera Sahib Gurdwara Panja Sahib Gurdwara and other Sikh shrines in Pakistan.

Mr Manjit Singh Calcutta, SGPC secretary, said that the pilgrims desirous of visiting gurdwaras in Pakistan should deposit passports by March 1.


5 Akali leaders summoned, 14 freed on bail

Ropar, February 26
A court here today released 14 Akali leaders on personal surety bonds but summoned five others, including four former ministers, to appear in the court on May 15 in a case of rioting registered against them on December 1 when the Akali workers clashed with the police during protests against the arrests of Badals in a corruption case by the Vigilance Bureau.

Former Chief Minister and Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) President Parkash Singh Badal and his son and Rajya Sabha member Sukhbir Badal were arrested on December 1 after they were refused bail by a court leading to protests here.

They were, granted bail on December eight and released from Patiala Central jail the next day. Besides the father-son duo of Badals, Mr Surinder Kaur Badal, wife of the SAD president, and three others were chargesheeted on November 22, 2003 in the case registered on June 15 of the same year.

The court ordered the release after 14 accused, who appeared in the court where the prosecution filed challan against 19 accused today, submitted personal bonds and sureties. The court ordered summoning of former ministers Ranjit Singh Brahmpura, Veer Singh Lopoke, Sikandar Singh Maluka and Ajit Singh Kohar, and party leader Bhag Singh Mallah, who did not appear, in his court on May 15. — UNI


Candidates’ list

Chandigarh, February 26
In an application filed before the high court, a Muktsar resident on Thursday sought directions to the state of Punjab for staying the process of finalising the list of candidates selected for the posts of Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP).

The petitioner, Jaskaran Singh Brar, submitted that the entire process of selection, right from the issuance of advertisement, to the dispatch of appointment letters, was completed in an extraordinary haste. Describing the process as “tainted”, the petitioner added that mala fide conduct of the state was conspicuous from the circumstances. The application is likely to come up for hearing on Friday

Taking up the main petition, a Division Bench of the high court had earlier directed that the recruitment of DSPs would be subject to the decision of the petition. The orders were passed by the Bench, comprising Chief Justice Mr Justice B.K. Roy and Mr Justice Surya Kant Sharma.

Challenging the recruitment in a “hurried” manner, the petitioner had asserted that the state and other respondents were likely to recruit the “wards of influential people”. He had added that seven ex-cadre posts had been advertised “for outstanding sportspersons as one time measure” even though posts in sports category were already in excess of the quota.

Cheating case

The high court on Thursday referred to another Bench a petition filed by Gurvinder Singh Samra seeking the grant of bail in a cheating case. Samra is also complainant in a bribery case registered against two judicial officers.

A first information report in the matter was registered by the police on the basis of an inquiry report prepared by Jalandhar’s Superintendent of Police on an application filed by Mr Swaran Singh Bal.

As per the report, Samra submitted forged certificates of BAMS so as to obtain admission in Punjab Medical Institute of Electropathy. The report had added that “Samra had committed offences under Section 420, 468 and 471 of the Indian Penal Code”.


List of PCS nominees released
Tribune News Service

Patiala, February 26
The Punjab Public Service Commission (PPSC) has released list of the candidates nominated to the PCS following interview of candidates selected in 1994 and 1996 besides the fresh nominations made in 2001.

In the 1994 re-conduct interview Narinder Singh Sangha, Bhupinderjit Singh and Neeraj Kumar were selected. In the 1996 re-conduct interview Ajay Kumar, Pushpinder Kailey, Parminder Singh, Purshottam Singh Sodhi, Sohal Lal and Kuljitpal Singh Mahi were selected. In the 2001 nominations Charandev Singh Mann, Arun Kumar Garg, Iqbal Singh Sandhu and Inderjit Kaur Kang were selected.

Sources disclosed that four old candidates had been re-selected. However names of the re-selected candidates except for Purshottam Singh Sodhi, could not be ascertained.


Sohi appointed PSEB member
Tribune News Service

Patiala, February 26
Banur Congress leader Sheelam Sohi was today appointed member of the Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB).

An official spokesperson said Mrs Sohi had joined her new office at Chandigarh. He said the assignment of charges to Mrs Sohi would be given by Board Chairman Y. S. Ratra. The spokesperson said Mrs Sohi had been appointed to the new post for two years.

Mrs Sohi, who is a wife of former Congress leader Ravinderpal Sohi, had lost the last Assembly election to Akali nominee Capt Kanwaljit Singh by a narrow margin of around 700 votes. Political observers said she had been adjusted by the party keeping in mind Capt Kanwaljit Singh’s nomination for the Patiala parliamentary constituency.


1 IAS, 4 PCS officers shifted
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 26
The Punjab Government today transferred one IAS and four PCS officers.

Mr Paramjit Singh Aujla has been posted as Director, State Transport, Punjab. Mr Satwant Singh has been transferred to Jalandhar as Additional Commissioner, Municipal Corporation.

Mr N.K. Wadhawan has been posted as Additional Director ( Administration), Department of Industries and Commerce. Mr Gopal Krishan Singh has been posted as OSD to Deputy Chief Minister Rajinder Kaur Bhattal. Mr Raghbir Kaur has been sent to Ropar as Assistant Commissioner.


IT raids on nine coaching centres
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, February 26
Income Tax Department officials today raided tuition and coaching centres in the city to unearth income tax evasion. Sources said eight teams raided nine coaching centres run by government colleges lecturers and others seized registers, floppies, application forms and fee structure papers.

Mr L.R. Nayyar, Commissioner, Income Tax, who supervised the raids, said that apart from tuition and coaching centres, some guest houses were also raided. He added that the raids would continue.

He added premises of Mr Joy Deep Sayal, Mr Dinesh Garg, Mr Amolak Singh,KIPS Education Centre, Manjit Kaur Memorial Girls Hostel, PIE Chemistry, Mr Harbajan Singh, FITGEE centre and BRM Institute were raided. He said Income Tax evaders had created huge assets.

He said evasion of Income Tax by these institutions and private individuals would be more than rupees two crore.

He pointed out three out of nine centres were raided today, were not paying tax while the rest six had been showing income very less. He said annual turnover of tuition business in the city was more than Rs 100 crore, but the Income Tax was not in proportion to it.

He said a meeting of owners of 400 coaching centres in the city would be called and they would be advised to meet Income Tax liabilities honestly.

He said the authorities would also find out the assets created by coaching centre owners and where they had invested the black money.


PRTC depot to start night service
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, February 26
The authorities of the Pepsu Road Transport Corporation (PRTC), Bathinda depot, have decided to introduce night bus service from February 27.

In a press note issued here yesterday, Mr R.S. Aulakh, General Manager of the PRTC, Bathinda depot, said initially, the night service would be introduced on seven routes where the rush of commuters was heavy during the evening hours.

He pointed out that a survey had also been started to find out the number of private buses plying illegally on different routes during night and passing from this district. Appropriate action would be taken to curb this illegal practice.

He said night bus service had been introduced on the Amritsar-Bathinda route, Chandigarh-Bathinda via Mansa route, Bathinda-Ludhiana via Barnala route, Bathinda-Abohar, Bathinda-Malhot, Bathinda-Dabwali and Bathinda-Rampura route.


Kharar MC budget up by 1.02 cr
Our Correspondent

Kharar, February 26
The matter of issuing computerised bills of water supply, sewerage and house tax from April 1 was discussed at a meeting of the Municipal Council held here today.
Mr Charanjit Singh, President of the council, suggested that the necessary changes in the software would have to be carried out for issuing computerised bills.

A Rs 4.46-crore budget for the 2004-2005 was presented at the meeting, which was unanimously cleared by the House. There is an increase of Rs 1.02 cr in the budget this year. Last year the budget was Rs 3.42 crore.

The council has decided to spend Rs 278 lakh on development works out of which 198 lakh will be spent on unavoidable development works and Rs 80 lakh on avoidable works. A sum of Rs 142.40 lakh has been earmarked for establishment, which comes to 32 per cent of the total budget. A sum of Rs 25.60 lakh will be spent on contingency, which is 5.73 per cent of the budget.

Mr Charanjit Singh told the House that the Department of Local Government, Punjab, had issued directions allowing the council to recover the pending water supply and sewerage bills by waiving interest and penalty provided consumers deposited the amount with the authority concerned by February 29. Similarly, interest on arrears of house tax could also be waived off provided the billed amount was paid by March 31.

Mr Roshan Lal suggested that cable TV operators, who kept increasing their service charges at short intervals, should be asked to make some payment to the civic body for using its poles and land. The councillor said the Mohali Municipal Council was already collecting such charges from the cable operators. The House also suggested that entertainment tax should be collected from operators.

Discussion on the matter of sinking four tubewells in different parts of the town by the civic body also took place. There were suggestions that the depth of these tubewells should not be more than 500 feet because that involved additional expenditure.

A suggestion for employing more tubewell operators was made by Mr Jai Bhagwan Singla. He said it was essential to have operators round the clock as motors of two tubewells had caught fire at night some time ago causing a lot of damage. The president said the council already had 19 operators for 11 tubewells in the town and the matter would be considered again.

Mr Charanjit Singh said the civic body had purchased a dumping vehicle. It would be made available by Sunday.


Booked for serving poisoned tea to husband
Our Correspondent

Barnala, February 26
The Shehna police in Barnala police district has booked Mandeep Kaur allegedly, for serving poisonous tea to her husband Gurmail Singh, and her mother-in-law Mrs Sukhdev Kaur. Mr Gobind Singh go-between in the marriage of Mandeep and Gurmail was the third victim who is now battling for life in a private hospital here.

Mr Gurmail and his mother Sukhdev Kaur are reported to be out of danger.

She complained of ill-treatment in her in-laws’ house at Raisar, and came to her parents’ house with village panchayat’s intervention she returned to her in-laws’ house at Raisar.

On Wednesday morning, she reportedly offered tea to her husband and mother-in-law. But they suspected something foul. Mr Gobind’s mediator also visited their house and was also offered the tea.

After consuming the tea, the three reportedly became unconscious.

They were taken to the hospital. The doctor reported the matter to the police.

According to sources, Mandeep Kaur has absconded. A case under Sections 307 and 120-B of the Indian Penal Code has been registered against Mandeep Kaur at Shehna.


Father-in-law rapes woman, three booked
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, February 26
A woman was allegedly raped by her father-in-law and subjected to inhuman torture by her husband at Ajnala on February 22 allegedly for not meeting to their demand of dowry.

However, the police registered a case under Sections 376, 377, 498-A, 342 and 34 of the IPC at Ajnala police station, under Majitha police district, today against her husband, father-in-law, and mother-in-law all residents of Pandori Sukha Singh village.

The complainant alleged that her husband used to demand motorcycle in dowry. Not getting his demand fulfilled, the accused used to sodomise her. She alleged that on February 22 her mother-in-law locked her in a room where her father-in-law raped her.

According to sources, two persons have been arrested in this regard.


4 held for liquor contractor’s murder
Tribune News Service

Rampura, February 26
The district police has arrested four suspected killers of Darshan Bajakhana, a liquor contractor, who was shot dead in the town on February 19.

Those arrested are Khuswinder Singh, Jaswinder Singh alias Pappu, Nirmaljit Singh, residents of Raj Garh Kubbe village in Bathinda district and all liquor contractors and Babbu, an employee of a liquor shop and resident of Saravan Bodlan village in Muktsar district. Other suspects, including Prabhjinder Singh, alias Dimpy, are yet to be arrested.


Junior assistant held for graft

Bathinda, February 26
Shiv Raj Singh, junior assistant in the SDM office, Jaitu (Faridkot), has been arrested by Vigilance Bureau, team while accepting a bribe of Rs 500 from Mr Baldev Singh, a resident of Ramana village.

Mr Amrik Singh Waraich, SSP, Vigilance Bureau (Bathinda range), in a press note issued here today said the accused, Shiv Raj Singh, had accepted bribe from the complainant Baldev Singh in lieu of giving him a copy of judgement pertaining to his land mutation case. — TNS


Food & Supplies official held for graft
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, February 26
The Vigilance Bureau here today caught Gurcharan Singh, a senior assistant in the District Food and Supply Office here while ‘accepting’ a bribe of Rs 200 from Mr Prem Kumar, a ration depot holder from Barnala.

Mr Jaspal Singh Grewal, DSP, Vigilance, today said Gurcharan Singh had received Rs 300 from Prem Kumar for the renewal of his depot’s licence. He said out of Rs 300, Rs 200 had been paid as “bribe”and Rs 100 as renewal fee of licence. He also alleged that Mr Prem Kumar, said all depot holders had to pay Rs 200 for getting depot licences renewed.


GND varsity exams from March 31
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, February 26
The annual theory examinations of BA, BSc (agriculture), BSc (home science), M.Sc (Agriculture), B.Ed, M.Ed and certain certificate and diploma courses of Guru Nanak Dev University will commence from March 31.

Practical examinations of the under graduate courses would be conducted between March 8 and March 31. The theory papers of BA, BSc part II and III (pass and honours), BSc (home science) part I, II, III, BCom (pass and honours part I, II, III, BCom (honours school) and BCom (professional) part I, II, and III, Bachelor in E-Commerece part I and II, Bachelor of Computer Aided Management (I, II, III), Bachelor of Computer Applications I, II and III), BSc agriculture (hounours) part I, II, and III, MSc agriculture (I, II), postgraduate diploma in Computer application, BEd and MEd would start from March 31.

The other examinations that will commence from March 31 are diploma courses in French, Persian, Sanskrit, Urdu and Russian, certificate courses in French, German, Japanese, Persian, Russian and Urdu, advanced diploma course in Russian and French, MA (police administration) part-II (regular) and MPhil (police administration).


American studies association conference begins
Our Correspondent

Patiala, February 26
A three-day 36th Conference of the Indian Association for American Studies (IAAS) is being organised at Punjabi University by the Department of English, of the University, in association with the Public Affairs Section, United States Embassy, New Delhi.

Speaking on the occasion the Deputy Speaker, Punjab Vidhan Sabha Bir Devinder Singh stated that the main obstacle in the way of lasting and friendly Indo- US relations has been the American policy towards Pakistan and Kashmir issue.

He further added that USA’s failure to appreciate India’s intimacy with USSR had led to deterioration in the Indo-US relations.

He continued that during the past three years especially after the September 11 terrorist attack and the changing geopolitical scenario in the middle east and in the Indian sub-continent, the Indo-US relations are improving and there is greater mutual appreciation of each other’s views.

Suzan Lori Parks, the African- American writer who had won the prestigious ‘Pulitzer Prize’ for her drama ‘Top Dog Underdog’ in her keynote address talked about the changing race relations in the USA.

She discussed how as a child she was subject to racial abuse. But now the black people have been included in the American mainstream, she added.

Earlier the Head of the Department of English, Dr Gulshan Kataria, gave a detailed introduction about the objectives of the conference.

The Secretary Public Affairs Section Miriam Caravella, President, IAAS, Dr T.S Anand, General Secretary IAAS Dr K.S Purushothaman and Dr Darshan Singh Maini, a noted litterateur also spoke on the occasion.

The Vice-Chancellor of the university Sawarn Singh Boparai was the chief guest on the occasion.


College wins top 3 positions
Our Correspondent

Abohar, February 26
Homoeopathic Medical College here has kept its glorious tradition by winning the first three positions in the BHMS second prof (direct degree) course of the Baba Farid University of Health Sciences. The result of the annual examinations held in December, 2003, was declared today.

Dr Rajinder Girdhar, Principal of the college, announced that Shikha Aggarwal, daughter of a Ferozepore-based social worker, Mr Jitender Aggarwal, had topped the university by getting 771 out of 1,000 marks. Sakshi Juneja of the college stood second with 729 marks while Sandeep Kaur Thind was third with 723 marks. Geetika Dhawan, Priyanka Arora, Sandeep Jain and Indu Wadhwa of the college are among the top 10 in the merit list. Seven top positions have been bagged by girls. Others in the list include Alka Jain and Apneet Brar from Ludhiana colleges.


National Science Day celebrations begin
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, February 26
The BBK DAV College for Women, Amritsar, won the science exhibition organised on the inaugural day of the three-day National Science Day celebrations of Guru Nanak Dev (GND) University held at Guru Nanak Bhavan Auditorium today.

Dr R.K. Bedi, Dean, Students Welfare of the university, inaugurated the exhibition.

In the literary session, science quiz, declamation contest and paper-reading competitions were held. Harmandeep Singh of the SGRD Institute of Medical Sciences, Amritsar, bagged the first position in paper- reading while Brinderpreet Minhas of HMV Jalandhar and Bhawna Gupta of GND varsity stood second and third, respectively. In the declamtion contest, Rashmi Sharma of GND varsity got first position, Shuvdeep Bhattacharya of DAV College, Amritsar, and Mandeep Kaur of Lyallpur Khalsa College, Jalandhar, were adjudged second and third, respectively.

The Department of Zoology, GND varsity, stood first in science quiz, while the Department of Human Genetics, GND varsity and DAV College, Amritsar, got second and third positions, respectively.

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