N C R   S T O R I E S


59-yr-old Australian takes pre-paid ride to death
Tribune News Service

Burst of attacks on foreigners

  • Aged Australian woman disembarks at IGI aiport, takes pre-paid taxi.
  • Instead of driving her to Brahmakumari ashram, driver takes her to deserted area near airport.
  • Victim killed, face smashed; stab injuries in eye. Injuries inflicted with tools.
  • No sexual assault; suitcase abandoned after driver found nothing substantial.
  • The second incident involving a pre-paid taxi driver in less than a week. Last Thursday, a Japanese tourist was taken for a ride.
  • A Fiji national was raped in a car by a businessman on March 6. A Swiss diplomat was whisked away from outside Sri Fort auditorium in South Delhi last year. She was later raped in her Toyota Qualis.

New Delhi, March 17
A 59-year-old Australian woman was allegedly murdered by a pre-paid taxi driver in the wee hours today in a deserted field near the Indira Gandhi International Airport.

The face of the victim, Ms Dawn Enelie Griggs, was found smashed; she had stab injuries in her eye also. The police said that her suitcase, bag and clothes were intact.

The police have ruled out any sexual assault on the woman as there were no signs of any such act. However, the face of the victim was smashed in an apparent attempt to disfigure her.

The suspect, Jyotish Prasad (24), resident of Shahbad Mohammadpur, has been arrested and a case of murder has been registered against him. The police said that the victim had arrived at the Indira Gandhi International Airport at around 2 am from Hong Kong on the Cathay Pacific flight.

The victim, after arriving in Delhi, took a pre-paid taxi for the Brahmakumari ashram in Karol Bagh area. The police said that the driver, Jyotish, took the victim to a deserted field near the airport and murdered her after inflicting injuries with some mechanical tools, which he had kept in the car.

After committing the crime, Jyotish also tried to decamp with the suitcase and the bag, but abandoned the luggage barely 200 meters away from the murder spot as he didn’t find anything substantial. Since the suspect stayed near the airport, he left for his house after committing the murder.

The murder was discovered at around 12.30 pm when a young boy spotted the body. It was found lying 500 meters away from the airport boundary wall, facing Shahbad Mohammadpur.

The police said that the driver, who has been driving a pre-paid taxi for sometime, is a school dropout.

The body of the victim has been sent to the Safdarjung hospital for a post-mortem examination and the Australian High Commission has been intimated about the murder of Griggs.

This is the second incident involving a prepaid taxi driver in less than a week. Last Thrusday a Japanese tourist, Mai Kusuma, was taken for a ride by another pre-paid taxi driver, Satish, a resident of Najafgarh.

The victim had booked a pre-paid taxi at the Indira Gandhi International airport and asked the driver to take her to a tourist office in the New Delhi area. But Satish took her instead to a tourist office in Old Rajender Nagar, where she was introduced to one Feroz. However, Feroz, instead of organising her accommodation in some hotel, offered to put her up at his Lajpat Nagar residence and tried to extort money from her. Satish was later arrested by the police for cheating the woman in collusion with the travel agent.

Of late, there has been a spate of attacks on foreigners in the Capital. A 21-year-old Fiji national of Indian origin was recently raped in a car by a businessman, after she was offered a lift by the accused. The victim, a medical student, had gone to a discotheque in Hyatt Hotel, where she had consumed liquor. She was picked up by the accused in an inebriated state.

A Swiss national was attacked last year outside Sri Fort auditorium in South Delhi, hustled into a Toyota Qualis and raped by the two occupants in the moving vehicle. She was later dumped in the area. Despite furore over the incident, no arrests have been made in the case.


Livid over power pangs, protestors block highway 
Our Correspondent

Ghaziabad, March 17
A large number of people descended on Loni’s old power house to protest against corruption, lack of power supply and other connected problems of the Power Corporation.

The protesters also blocked the Delhi-Saharanpur highway for a couple of hours. The police had to divert the traffic through alternate route.

The protesters had spread mats on the road and fixed loudspeakers for their protest meeting. Fiery speeches were made and slogans raised against the authorities. It took the Sub-Divisional Officer, Mr Vikas Vardhan, three hours to arrive there to talk to the agitating consumers. After he assured the people that their problems would be solved in a week’s time the dharna was lifted.

People from Prashant Vihar, Naveen Kunj, Kanchan Park, Vikas Nagar, Iqram Nagar and Prem Nagar had sat ona dharna, blocking the Delhi-Saharanpur road for three hours. Jaber Quereshi had led the protesters.

One of the main demands of the people was that power supply to Prashant Vihar, disconnected four years ago, should be restored forthwith. Besides, the bills sent by the Power Department in spite of the power supply having been discontinued should be cancelled.

Another important demand was that the Power Corporation should put iron grills atop the houses over which high tension cables of 11,000 mg watt passed for the protection of the people living in the houses.

Old wires should also be replaced with new cables and the old transformers should be replaced with new and high-capacity transformers, it was demanded.

It was only after Sub Divisional Officer Vikas Vardhan and engineer P.S. Mittal gave a written undertaking to the people sitting on dharna that they ended their protest meeting. 


Canadian, priest in murky row
Tribune News Service

Gurgaon, March 17
The police today arrested a Canadian citizen from the local Ghanteswar Temple after her travel documents were rejected by the authorities at Indira Gandhi International Airport last evening where she had gone to board a flight bound for Canada. When the authorities at the airport raised questions about the identity of her son, who was accompanying her, things took a murky turn. As the airport authorities wanted complete documentation to establish his bona fides she proclaimed a sadhu had fathered her son.

The woman, Mariya Teresa, with Mongoloid looks, alleged she had an intimate relationship with Pahari Baba Tara Guru. She claimed her son, aged about three years, was the outcome of this alliance.

She was arrested when she returned to Gurgaon.

The woman revealed she was part of the Hare Rama Hare Krishna Mission and had come in contact with the head priest about seven years back when she had visited Gurgaon. The two had been involved since then.

The head priest is also reported to have once gone to Canada when she had left India for that country.

Pahari Baba is the head priest of a temple near Daulatabad village, near here. He has, however, rebutted the charge. He said she was introduced to him about five years back by some other sadhus and was her disciple and “like a daughter”.

The woman said she considered the head priest to be her spiritual guru.

The entire incident took an ugly turn today as a group of sadhus from Baba Prakashpuri Math accompanied by their supporters staged a protest about the way the entire case was being projected. The provocation for the protest was perhaps the fact that the woman, in her report to the police, had said the accused sadhu was from Prakashpuri. The math is a well-known place and the temple where the accused sadhu stays is also near Prakashpuri. The math is the abode of large number of sadhus.


Disabled rights activist to contest from Capital 
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, March 17
Javed Abidi, a disabled rights activist, would contest the forthcoming Lok Sabha election from New Delhi constituency. He himself is a wheelchair bound person and has been fighting for the rights of the physically challenged persons. Abidi, who is the convenor of the Disabled Rights Group (DRG), would fight the election as an independent candidate. A number of leading organisations working for the physically challenged people like the All India Confederation of the Blind, the National Blind Youth Association and the All India Federation of the Deaf are said to be supporting him.

The decision to field Abidi, who is widely known for championing the rights of the disabled, was taken at a meeting of the organisations here today.

The organisations, which passed a resolution choosing Abidi to contest from New Delhi, appealed to political parties to support his candidature by not fielding candidates against him.

“We, the disabled people of India and various organisations representing them and working for them, appeal to all the concerned political parties to extend their full support to his candidature and not to put up a candidate against him from their political party,” the resolution said.

The signatories to the resolution included Dr D S Ratna Devi, executive director of the Hemophilia Federation of India, Dr Anil Aneja, secretary of the All India Confederation of the Blind, Ranoo Banerjee, general secretary of the National Federation of Parents Association for Mentally Challenged, National Blind Youth Association general secretary Sunil Kumar Lal and D P Sahay of the All India Federation of the Deaf.

Class XII chemistry paper sold for 50 paise

Sonepat: Panic prevailed among Class XII students appearing for the chemistry examination conducted by the CBSE here following a paper leak just before the paper was to start.

The angry students informed the CBSE authorities at Delhi and Chandigarh in this connection but failed to elicit any response from them. Thereafter, they took the examination. It is stated that the solved question paper was sold at a for a measly sum ranging between 50 paise and Rs 5 only.

The students were stunned when they received the question paper in the examination hall. It was reportedly the same that had been bought by some of them before the commencement of the examination. Meanwhile, as many as 55 cases of unfair means were detected by the members of the flying squad during the English paper examination conducted by the Board of School Education, Haryana, yesterday. Two supervisors were relieved of their duty following complaints that they were rendering help to the examinees for copying. One of the examinees was reported to have fled with the answer sheet from an examination centre at Murthal village. Two examination centres were shifted from Bhainswal Kalan village to Murthal and Sonepat city, respectively, following reports of mass-scale copying by the examinees at these centres. OC


The buck stops at the cash counter...
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, March 17
Count your currency notes before you leave the bank, otherwise you will have to face the music. This is what 70-year-old Labh Singh learnt the hard way.

Labh Singh, a resident of Govindpuri, has an account in the State Bank of India, Greater Kailash branch, against which he has filed a complaint. The victim has alleged that the bank had short-changed him while he was withdrawing money.

He has lodged a complaint in the Greater Kailash police station of South Delhi against the nationalised bank. Singh had allegedly withdrawn Rs 19,050 from his account at the Greater Kailash branch of the State Bank of India on December 27. When he realised that there was a shortfall of Rs 3,100 in the Rs 10,000-sealed bundle, he took up the matter with the senior bank officials.

Failing to elicit a positive response from the authorities, he filed an FIR on January one this year. According to the police, the bank officials have refused to respond to Singh’s claim as he had not counted the notes on the bank premises and had lodged the complaint two days later. ‘’Since the note bundles are no longer stapled, the bank officials said it was easy to tamper with the seal,’’ a senior police official said.

Labh Singh, who is an insurance agent, said since it was a Saturday the bank was closing early and he did not have the time to count the bundle of notes. ‘’Since the currency notes were stapled, I had no doubts.” 


DUTA intensifies stir against VC
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, March 17
The Delhi University Teachers Association (DUTA) today held a dharna at Jantar Mantar to further intensify their protest against the Vice Chancellor of the Delhi University. They also submitted a memorandum to the President of India (Visitor of the University) and the Union HRD minister.

They demanded an inquiry by the Visitor into the arbitrary functioning of VC Deepak Nayyar and his immediate removal from the office. The teachers further demanded the scrapping of the UGC’s Model Act, under which withdrawal of government funding of universities has been mooted.

The DUTA has given a call for a one-day protest strike on March 18 against police atrocities against teachers, including lady teachers, as well as against the unbecoming conduct of the VC. The DUTA officials have also condemned the misuse of FCI premises for the purpose of selection of the principal of the college of vocational studies. 


Pedal your way out of congestion: Sheila
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, March 17
To promote cycle riding as a means to de-congest roads and check the level of pollution, the Delhi government is embarking on a new mission to promote cycling.

Inaugurating the Indo-Bike Expo ‘04, Chief Minister Ms Sheila Dikshit today said ‘’Cycling is a joy, a sport which is not only good for health but also for the environment’’. ‘’To make people come back to cycling, the Delhi government is embarking on a major mission which starts with a campaign involving school-children.’’

This is second time in less than a month that Ms Dikshit has voiced her concern about the need to decongest the city roads and to promote cycling as a mode of travelling. She said that there was a need to revive the habit of cycling. ‘’We need to change mindsets of people about cycling. It should not only be seen as a healthy, eco-friendly mode of transport, but also as something which is not lowly,’’ she said.


Ex-MP speaks up on need for clean track record 
Tribune News Service

Faridabad, March 17
A former president of the Haryana Pradesh Congress Committee and former MP, Mr Ram Krishan Gupta, has criticised the present criteria being adopted by various political parties for allocation of tickets to candidates for the forthcoming Lok Sabha elections. He has demanded strict measures by the Election Commission to prevent candidates with a dubious record to contest the poll and keep a check on the expenses by the parties and the candidates.

In a statement here today, Mr Gupta, who has been a veteran Congressman and was connected to the field of education for the past many decades, said nearly all political parties had so far failed to make serious efforts to find suitable persons to contest for the poll. Claiming that rich and famous individuals were being preferred as candidates, he said it was unfortunate that some of the leading parties were promoting the policy of Aya Ram-Gaya Ram by luring leaders of other parties into their fold by promising them tickets. He said the person rejected by one party should not be given ticket by the other party and the authorities like the Election Commission needed to remain vigilant. Expressing concern over the growing trend of political parties to attract film stars and actors and offering them the ticket as detrimental to the interests of the common man, he said such persons had hardly time and interest to attend parliamentary debates and proceedings and the issues of the voters remained ignored during there tenure. He said the experience in this regard earlier had been bitter and proved a total failure. He requested parties to banish the trend and find suitable candidates from among the voters only.

Mr Gupta has asked the Election Commission and the authorities concerned to take various measures, including getting the details of income of a candidate, his or her past record, whether one has applied for the ticket of more than one party or had recently joined the party. He said the Commission should not raise the poll expenses limit to more than Rs 5 lakh per candidate and restrict each of the candidates to use not more than four vehicles during the campaign. He said the Lok Sabha was the highest and the most powerful democratic body affecting the lives of crores of people but it was not meant for criminals and the elements who used money and muscle power to become an MP.


Both BJP, Cong anti-farmer, proclaims Gowda 
Our Correspondent

Sonepat, March 17
Mr H. D. Deve Gowda, former Prime Minister and the national president of the Janata Dal (Secular), has termed the BJP and the Congress anti-farmer, saying that these parties had failed to safeguard the interests of the farmers in the country.

Addressing an election meeting here yesterday, he alleged that these parties had the policies to come into power but failed to work for improving the lot of the farmers. He pointed out that the BJP-led NDA government had been pursuing the economic policies of the Congress party which were prepared during the Congress regime in 1991 by the then Union Agriculture Minister, Mr Balram Jakhar, and the then Finance Minister, Mr Manmohan Singh. These policies, he said, were anti-farmer and he had staged a dharna against these policies.

He also alleged that the Prime Minister, Mr Atal Behari Vajpayee, the Union Home Minister, Mr L. K. Advani and the AICC president, Mrs Sonia Gandhi, did not know about the farm sector and this had resulted in the deterioration of the condition of the farmers in the country. At least 8,000 farmers had committed suicide in the country during the past 13 years, he added.

Mr Gowda also lashed out at the BJP-led NDA government at the Centre and said that it was reducing the rates of air fare but could not reduce the rates of the products of the agriculture sector in the country.

Referring to Haryana politics, Mr Gowda said the late Mr Devi Lal had done a great mistake by boosting the BJP in the political arena in the state. Mr Devi Lal, he said, had entered into a poll alliance with the BJP in 1987 Vidhan Sabha elections and this was the main cause for increasing the strength of the BJP. The BJP, he alleged, was now fighting against the INLD and its chief, Mr Om Prakash Chautala.

He also alleged that Mr Chautala had made the same mistake as his father. 


Lok Sabha candidates of Janata Dal (S) finalised
Our Correspondent

Sonepat, March 17
The Janata Dal (Secular) has finalised the names of its candidates for the Lok Sabha elections from Sonepat, Karnal, Faridabad and Rohtak.

Stating this, Mr Babu Kaal Datey, national secretary-general of the party, told mediapersons here yesterday that the names of the selected candidates have already been recommended by the state unit of the party, and the party High Command would announce the decision in a meeting to be held in Delhi next week.

According to another report, the Lok Jan Shakti Party has fielded Mr Shamsher Singh Malik, president of the state unit of the party, for contesting the Lok Sabha elections from the Sonepat Lok Sabha seat. The names of other candidates will be announced shortly by the party high command.

The INLD has fielded Mrs Krishna Malik, wife of the Director General of Police, Haryana, while the BJP has fielded its sitting MP, Mr Kishan Singh Sangwan.

The Haryana Vikas Party (HVP) has fielded Mr Jagbir Singh Malik, a former Haryana Minister as its candidate from this seat.

The Congress Party is yet to announce its candidate for the Sonepat Lok Sabha seats.

Meanwhile, Mr Ved Parkash Vidrohi, president of the ‘Gramin Bharat’, a non-government organisation, has charged the BJP with misleading the country by making false promises.

In a signed press statement issued here today, he said that the charge-sheet issued by the Congress party against the BJP and its allies was a true picture of the government’s failures.

Mr Vidrohi also cautioned the people against the evil designs of the communal and anti-national forces in the country and vote for candidates who were honest.


With malpractices galore, PDS collapses in Sonepat 
Our Correspondent

Sonepat, March 17
The public distribution system (PDS) seems to have collapsed here and elsewhere in the district despite the steps taken by the Food and Supplies Department to streamline it.

According to a report, the department has cancelled the licences of nine fair price shops and suspended the supply of 32 others on the charge of indulging in irregularities and malpractices in the distribution of rationed commodities.

The department has also issued show-cause notices to at least 230 depot holders asking them to explain why their licences should not be cancelled for serious lapses.

The Deputy Commissioner, Mr M. R. Anand, told mediapersons here today that the officials of the department had checked at least 160 ration shops during the current financial year and confiscated security depots totalling Rs 59,850 of the fair price shops following the detection of irregularities and malpractices in the distribution of rationed commodities.

He also disclosed that the officials of the department had checked seven brick kilns, 42 petrol pumps and nine LPG agencies and lodged a complaint with the police against the employees of Kumar Gas Agency, Sonepat, for supplying LPG cylinders having less weight to the consumers.

According to the DC, there were 240 brick kilns in Sonepat district and the district administration had fixed the rates of bricks for the development works and the individuals, which were between Rs 1,350 and Rs 1,650 per thousand. Similarly, there were 14 LPG agencies in the district which had 1,70,886 consumers. Of these 1,18,081 consumers had double cylinders and the remaining 52,805 had single LPG cylinders in the district.

Meanwhile, resentments prevailed among the people against the overcharging of the rates of bricks by almost all owners of brick kilns and the supply of underweight LPG cylinders by some LPG agencies.


Rs 2.25 lakh looted from employee in Ashok Vihar
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, March 17
Three motorcycle-borne youths looted Rs 2.25 lakh from an employee after knocking him down near C-block, Ashok Vihar, in North-West district. The criminals also took away his scooter on which he was travelling.

The police said that the victim, identified as Harish Taneja (30), resident of Subhash Nagar, was an employee in a shop in Tri Nagar. The victim was heading towards Tri Nagar in his scooter with Rs 2.25 lakh in his scooter dickey when the incident took place. Three motorcycle-borne youths knocked him down near the C-block, Ashok Vihar and sped with his scooter. The police have registered a case of robbery and have launched a massive hunt to trace the suspects.

Five held for preparing forged travel documents

The Economic Offences Wing of the Delhi Police have arrested five persons, including four travel agents, for their involvement in preparing forged travel documents.

Based on a secret information, a raid was conducted in Uttam Nagar, which led to the arrest of Manjeet Singh, resident of Uttam Nagar, Ranchhod Bhai Natha Lal Patel (57), Janak Ram Shankar Pawal (25) and Narshi Bhai (41), all travel agents from Gujarat. The sleuths also seized nine passports from their possession, including three forged passports. One of the passports had been issued from Washington DC, while the other six had been issued from Kathmandu.

Extortionist nabbed

The Delhi Police Crime Branch claimed to have nabbed a notorious criminal, identified as Hoshiar Singh of Mahender Pahelwan gang, for extorting money from a leading TV cable company. One country-made weapon and two live cartridges were seized from his possession.

The Crime Branch received a complaint from the Win Cable that the members of the gang had come to their Model Town office and demanded a monthly payment of Rs 50,000.

The gang members also broke the windows and some properties of the company.

The sleuths laid a trap and nabbed Hoshiar Singh, resident of Sonepat, when he came to the Model Town office with other members of the gang. The other gang members, identified as Azad, Kapoor Singh and Raj Kumar Sethi, managed to escape.

Nine robbers arrested

The Crime Branch Special Investigation Team and Anti-Homicide Cell have arrested nine robbers in two different operations in Subzi Mandi area and Paschim Vihar area.

The SIT nabbed Washim alias Chundha (21), resident of Shahdara, Manoj alias Sunil (21), resident of Gamarhi, Ashok Kumar (35), resident of DakshinPuri, Krishan Pal alias Deepak (27), resident of Ghaziabad and Imtiaz (25), resident of Ghaziabad while preparing to rob a businessman in the Subzi Mandi area.

In another operation, the Anti-Homicide cell arrested Yash Pal alias Banka (35), resident of Uttam Nagar, Girish Kumar alias Goldi (22), resident of Tilak Nagar, Ravinder alias Titu (40), resident of Tilak Nagar and Waryam Singh alias Billa (42), resident of Rana Pratap Bagh from Paschim Vihar.

Thefts create panic among residents

Increasing incidence of thefts in and around Sonepat has created panic among the people.

According to a report, thieves into at least eight shops on the Sonepat-Rathdhanna road near here on Tuesday night and decamped with the variety of goods worth several lakhs of rupees.

In another case, the thieves broke into a dentist’s clinic on the Purkhas road and decamped with equipments worth several thousands of rupees.

The irate shopkeepers assembled in the market and protested against the inaction of the police.

They alleged that the night patrolling by the police was “an eye-wash”, which had failed to check the activities of the anti-social elements.

Youth killed

A 25-year-old youth, identified as Anil, died due to snakebite at Nahri village, about 25 km from here yesterday.

According to a report, the police have sent the body for the postmortem examination.


Housewife raped

Sonepat, March 17
The police have registered a case against three persons for allegedly raping a 30-year-old housewife of Nangal Kalan village and assaulting her with knives before fleeing from her house.

According to a report, the woman was alone in her house and the alleged assailants, including one Ramdhan of Aterna village, forced their way into the house at night and raped her. When she tried to raise an alarm, they made her unconscious by putting a piece of cloth on her mouth.

Her daughter informed her father, who was not present in the house, about the incident. He took her to the civil hospital for treatment from where she was referred to a trauma centre at Delhi for further treatment.

Her condition is stated to be serious. Her husband, Mr Ajit Singh, stated that Ramdhan had helped his wife he was imprisoned for three years. Later, Ramdhan was putting pressure on her to marry him. OC


Lovers commit suicide in Sonepat 
Our Correspondent

Sonepat, March 17
A girl, identified as Usha, of Bhainswal Kalan village and her lover, Sandeep (26), committed suicide by jumping before a running train near Sandal Kalan Railway Station, about 5 km from here last evening.

According to a report, the GRP recovered their bodies and sent them for the postmortem examination.

The youth belonged to Kansauti village in Rohtak district but was living at Bhainswal Kalan village with his sister.

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