P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



SAD, BJP make ’84 riots central issue
Sarbjit Dhaliwal
Tribune News Service

Devigarh (Patiala), April 26
The SAD-BJP combine today sharpened its attack on the Congress by making the 1984 riots a central issue in Punjab.

Addressing a series of rallies at Devigarh, Sanure, Dakala and Samana, the Union Law Minister, Mr Arun Jaitley, today focused on the riots and blamed the Congress leadership for the unrest.

He said the Congress had “honoured” those Congress leaders with ticket who were allegedly involved in the riots. Addressing a rally in support of Capt Kanwaljit Singh, SAD candidate from the Patiala constituency, he alleged that Congress leaders like Mr Jagdish Tytler and Mr Sajjan Kumar who had been accused of spearheading the riots by various independent probe panels, had been nominated as candidates from Delhi.

Mr R.K. Anand who had defended the Congress leaders in the riot cases, had also been nominated as candidate. The Congress had also “honoured” the judge who had headed the riots probe commission set up by the then Congress government at the Centre, by providing him a slot in the Rajya Sabha.

He claimed that there was a Vajpayee wave in the country and the NDA would improve its performance.

He said Chief Minister Amarinder Singh had created Emergency-like situation in Punjab.

Former Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal also referred to the riots. Lashing out at Capt Amarinder Singh, he said the state had been ruined by him.

The benefits given by the previous SAD-BJP government in the form of old age pensions, shagun scheme, free power to farmers, and free canal water for irrigation had been withdrawn by the Amarinder Singh government, Mr Badal said.

Capt Kanwaljit Singh said the Congress was misleading people on the issue of Ghaggar and had done nothing to streamline the Ghaggar. “The Drainage Department had deployed machinery on the Ghaggar for a few hours at the instance of Mrs Preneet Kaur, Congress candidate for the Patiala constituency, to give ‘false hope’ to the people of the area,” he said.

Among others who spoke were Mr Ajaib Singh Makhmailpur and Mr Harmel Singh Tohra. Mr Prem Singh Chandumajra attended the rally at Dakala. The SAD claimed that several Congress activists joined the party today.


Poll observer for sealing of border with Haryana
Saurabh Malik
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 26
Apprehending incidents of violence and booth capture in some areas along the Haryana border, a special observer appointed by the Election Commission of India for
the forthcoming Lok Sabha poll has asked the Punjab police to seal the border at Faridkot. Senior Punjab police officers have, however, expressed their inability
citing "shortage of personnel" as the reason.

Though the authorities are maintaining silence on the issue, sources at the Punjab Police headquarters reveal that the observer, after assessing the situation, has asked the authorities concerned to completely seal the border along Muktsar and some other parts of Faridkot district.

This, the observer has reportedly told the police authorities, would go a long way in preventing the entry of infiltrators in Punjab from across the border. The observer has also asked the authorities to declare Faridkot district "super sensitive". The total number of electors in the district is 12,63,201.

The sources added that the same observer has even asked the authorities in Uttar Pradesh to seal the border with Haryana.

They disclosed that the police authorities in Punjab have, on the other hand, reportedly informed the observer about the inadequate police force.

This, the authorities claimed, was due to rejection of their request by the Centre for deployment of additional forces for "maintaining the law and order situation" in the state.

Punjab's Additional Director General of Police (Operations) Shashi Kant, in charge of the election cell set up by the Punjab police, was not available for comments despite repeated attempts.

A senior police officer, on the condition of anonymity, however, added that "the problem was serious" as over 57,690 personnel were required for maintaining law and order in the state during the poll, besides providing security to the candidates and other election-related work.

He claimed that the shortage of personnel was already forcing the police to go in for area security, instead of assigning individual duties.

The officer added that the authorities had also decided to divert personnel from different departments for plugging the gaps.

Giving details, he said the authorities were to go in for mass mobilisation of district police by gathering forces from numerous units, including the CID, intelligence, security, computers and even from training institutes. The officer disclosed that there were 15,651 polling booths in the entire state, including 3,520 sensitive stations.

The Punjab police, it may be recalled, had initially requested the Centre to deploy 150 companies in the state during the poll. The request was, however, partly accepted by the Centre. The sources added that the Central Government agreed to deploy only 45 companies. Five companies, already stationed in the state, were taking care of VIP security.



Release of letters on loan a poll stunt: Badal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 26
Shiromani Akali Dal president Parkash Singh Badal today dismissed as "churlish and an election stunt" the selective release of the correspondence on the special term loan waiver between the Government of India and the Punjab Government by the Chief Minister yesterday.

Mr Badal said that the entire loan stood waived and "the people of Punjab and the country have it on record on the assurance of two successive Prime Ministers, Mr I.K. Gujral and Mr Atal Bihari Vajpayee''. In addition, there was a communication with the state that Punjab did not have to repay the loan incurred on account of fighting insurgency. This communication was part of the record of the Punjab Vidhan Sabha.

The Akali leader lambasted the Chief Minister for, what he termed, a "massive misinformation campaign". In fact, he should be the last person even to talk about the loan. The loan, just for record, was incurred by a Congress government in Punjab under Beant Singh with a Congress government at the Centre. Congress Prime Minister Narasimha Rao made a public commitment in Ludhiana in 1994 that he would waive this loan but went back on this as soon as he returned to New Delhi. The Beant Singh government even repaid two instalments. It was only when the Akalis came to power that Punjab refused to repay this loan and pressed for the waiver.

"This is borne out even by the correspondence released by Capt Amarinder Singh. The correspondence clearly establishes that the SAD-BJP government and I as Chief Minister in particular staked everything on the loan being waived and finally succeeded in getting a Congress-inflicted injustice undone. In view of the role of the Congress in first incurring this loan and later failing to get it waived even from a Prime Minister belonging to its party." 


Gujral misled people, says Gupta
Our Correspondent

Faridkot, April 26
Mr S.K. Gupta, Chairman, local Improvement Trust, and a close associate of former President Giani Zail Singh, has criticised three senior political leaders, including Mr I.K. Gujral, former Prime Minister, Mr Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa, Union Minister for Chemicals and Fertiliser, a senior SAD leader and Mr Parkash Singh Badal, former state Chief Minister and SAD supremo, for misleading the people of the state on the issue of waiving of loans of Rs 8500 crore by Mr Gujral incurred by the state government during militancy days for security reason.

By presenting documentary proofs in this connection in Chandigarh yesterday of a loan of Rs 3772 crore plus interest due for repayment by the Punjab Government till April 1 next year, Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh had not only brought the truth before the people but also exposed the motives of the three senior leaders to achieve political gains in different fields, Mr Gupta alleged.

He alleged that Mr Gujral, Mr Dhindsa and Mr Badal had not only played a cruel joke with the sentiments of the people but also befooled over 104 crore people of the country.

Cautioning the electorate not to be misled by such politicians who had criminalised the politics for their personal interests.

He also appealed them to cast their votes to the Congress which had always stood for strengthening democratic norms by following the secular ideals.

The Congress leader reminded them that even Dr A.P.J. Abdul Kalam, President, in his address last week also appealed to the countrymen to exercise their franchise with full care, rising above personal affiliation to strengthen the democratic roots in the country.


Badal must step down, says Sarna
Our Correspondent

Amritsar April 26
The Shiromani Akali Dal (Delhi) has sought the resignation of Mr Parkash Singh Badal as the SAD chief for making the Akali Dal his “fiefdom” which was evident from the crossover of Harminder Singh Gill of the All-India Sikh Students Federation (AISSF-Gill) from the Akali Dal to the congress.

Terming it as a setback to the Akali Dal, Mr Paramjit Singh Sarna, SAD (Delhi) president, talking to The Tribune on phone today said that Gill was an Akali of strong standing, but had been forced to join the congress.

Meanwhile, Rajinder Singh Mehta former president of the AISSF (Mehta) and SAD working committee member, alleged that Gill was always with the Congress.


BJP an aimless party, says Sodhi
Our Correspondent

Jalandhar, April 26
Terming the BJP as an aimless party, a founder member of the RSS and the former Punjab BJP chief Mr Daya Singh Sodhi, today alleged that the BJP had dropped its original political agenda under pressure from its allies to remain in power. The BJP had failed to fulfil its promises on major issues like the construction of Ram Temple at Ayodhya, implementation of uniform civil code and Article 370 during its rule at the Centre.

Addressing a press conference here today, Mr Sodhi urged upon the RSS and the BJP workers to introspect their positions within the organisation keeping in view, the humiliation meted out to the former, which, ultimately forced him to resign from the primary membership of the party.

Launching a fresh attack on the BJP, Mr Sodhi alleged that the BJP had lost its basic ideology and policy, which was evident from the fact that it chose to drop major political issues, including uniform civil code, construction of Ram temple at Ayodhya to appease its allies, who supported the BJP in forming government at the Centre.

Denying the allegations that he had left the party after being denied ticket from the Amritsar seat, Mr Sodhi said earlier, too, he was denied ticket from the Amritsar-North seat during 1992 Assembly elections, but he had not taken this extreme step at that time and remained a loyal party worker.

“In fact, a Delhi-based senior RSS Adhikari, who was supporting Dr Baldev Raj Chawla for the allotment of party ticket from the Amritsar seat, was behind my exit from the party. He used offensive language when I simply asked for reasons to support Dr Chawla. It hurt me a lot that a junior rung RSS official openly humiliated me even though, I had put in 57 years of long service in RSS. This is an eye opener for the workers, who should go in for introspection to safeguard their future,” Mr Sodhi said, adding that he would not pressurise his followers and collegues in the BJP to join the Congress.

Getting emotional, Mr Sodhi said, “I joined the RSS in 1942. It was very painful for me to write down the resignation. I kept on weeping for about half an hour after doing so.”

When asked whether the Congress had assured him a better position in the party, he said that he had joined the Congress without pre-condition. “Besides, the onus is on me to accept any post or not,” he asserted.

On the issue of foreign origin of the AICC President, Mr Sodhi said the BJP was adopting double standards on this issue. It honoured the Fiji President, Mr Mohinder Choudhary, for getting elected to the highest post of that country while on the other hand it was opposing Ms Sonia Gandhi, an Indian citizen, from holding the post of the Prime Minister.


Probe Congress, BKU(E) workers clash: Dhindsa

Moga, April 26
Union Minister and Shiromani Akali Dal nominee for the Sangrur Lok Sabha constituency S.S. Dhindsa has demanded a judicial probe into the clash between activists of BKU (Ekta) and Congress workers at Minian village here. He also sought the deployment of paramilitary forces in the state for holding peaceful elections.

Alleging that Congressmen had pre-planned the incident, he said “the police was helping the ruling party by not registering a case against its workers”.

Mr Dhindsa, who had come to visit BKU leaders admitted to the local civil hospital, told reporters that “BKU activists were only showing black flags to register their protest, that too outside the meeting venue. But the police at the instance of Congress leaders forcibly tried to remove the flags leading to the incident taking an ugly turn”.

He strongly refuted the charge of state Congress chief H.S. Hanspal that the clash, which broke out during the election meeting of the Congress here a few days ago, was the handiwork of the Akalis.

Superintendent of Police Harjit Singh Pannu, when contacted, said the police had registered a case against the guilty BKU and Congress workers and effected some arrests. — PTI 


Attack on farmers condemned
Our Correspondent

Tarn Taran, April 26
Farmers today held a demonatration near Piddi village against the attack on farmers near Moga on Saturday by the alleged supporters of the Congress candidate from Sangrur, Mr Arvind Khanna.

The farmers have said the registration of a case under Section 307, IPC, against the Congress workers. The Kisan Sanghrash committee had given the call for a protest. Its leaders condemned the state government for its alleged anti-kisan policies and demanded a compensation of Rs 50,000 each for the farmers injured in the incident.


Cong stays away from Bhora’s campaign
Chander Parkash
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, April 26
As main Congress leaders of this Parliamentary constituency, including elected representatives and chairmen of different organisations of the state government, have not been taking part in the election campaign of the CPI-Congress candidate, Ms Kushal Bhora, the state CPI leadership has sent an SOS to its high command to tackle the situation.

The state CPI leadership has also sent out a veiled threat that if the Congress rank and file does not participate in the election campaign of Ms Bhora at the earliest, CPI workers, who have been supporting Congress candidates in other Parliamentary constituencies, will also withdraw from the election campaign.

Though the election campaign of the SAD-BJP candidate, Ms Paramjit Kaur, has started touching a feverish pitch. CPI leaders are finding it difficult to organise the campaign of Ms Bhora effectively due to the absence of key Congress leaders of Bathinda and Mansa districts, which are a part of the Bathinda Parliamentary constituency.

The CPI leaders, who have been camping in this area for the past two weeks, are facing this situation despite the fact that Ms Bhora started her election campaign much later than Ms Paramjit Kaur as her name was cleared by the respective party high commands very late.

CPI sources disclosed that the state leadership had earlier conveyed its displeasure to its high command over the fact that the Punjab Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, who was to accompany Ms Bhora when she filed her nomination papers on April 20, did not turn up despite the fact that a joint party rally had been organised for him in the city.

After that, it sent an SOS to member, Centre Secretariat, CPI, Mr Shamim Saize, and urged him to take up the matter with the Congress high command.

Information gathered by The Tribune revealed that the local Congress MLA, Mr Surinder Singla, had made his appearance in the election campaign twice so far. First he visited the city and inaugurated the main election office of Ms Bhora and later on the day when she filed her nomination papers.

Apart from this, several key Congress leaders, holding the post of chairman of different organisations in the state government, had been campaigning for Mrs Preneet Kaur and Mr Jagmeet Brar in Patiala and Ferozepore Parliamentary constituency, respectively.

“In absence of senior Congress leaders, junior party leaders have not been taking the elections seriously and hence Ms Bhora is finding it difficult to reach out to maximum number of people,” pointed out a senior CPI leader on the condition of anonymity. He, however, claimed that Ms Bhora would win the elections easily as her husband, late Bhan Singh Bhora, had representated Bathinda twice in the Lok Sabha and done good work.


Jobs not auctioned, says Preneet
Our Correspondent

Patiala, April 26
Congress candidate Preneet Kaur today countered the allegation levelled by SAD-BJP candidate Captain Kanwaljit Singh that the state government had failed to fill a single post in their two-year-old tenure by lashing out at the “corruption” prevalent in the previous regime led by the SAD-BJP government. Claiming that 91 recruitments had been made by the Punjab Public Service Commission, she said, “we have kept our promise, jobs have not been auctioned to the highest bidder.”

Speaking at a political rally held in Sunam, Preneet Kaur said recruitments to various vacant posts in different departments were being made on the basis of merit alone. She claimed that it was ironic that the SAD-BJP government, which had failed the youth of the state, was harping upon this issue. She said it was the Congress which had taken action against PPSC Chairman Ravi Sidhu and revamped the commission and evolved transparency under which 91 appointments were made.

Accusing the SAD-led government of leaving the state exchequer empty, she said the Congress had to take harsh measures to bring the economy of the state back on track. Meanwhile, former MP and election in charge, Mr Sant Ram Singla, said all district leaders of the CPI, including Harpal Singh Ghagga and Sukhdev Singh Duggal, held a meeting with the Congress workers to chalk out a comprehensive campaign strategy for the forthcoming elections. Mr Singla said every voter of the constituency would be contacted under a mass contact programme. 


CPI makes presence felt
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, April 26
A big election rally was organised for Ms Kushal Bhora, Congress-CPI alliance candidate from the Bathinda (reserved) parliamentary constituency, late last night. Workers of both parties managed to make their presence felt in the area where former Akali minister, Chiranji Lal Garg lives.

Leaders of the Congress and the CPI, including Mr Ashok Kumar and Mr Jagjit Joga, said though Mr Parkash Singh Badal had been wooing urban voters by organising rallies in cities and towns, he had failed to tell people about anything that he had done for them during his tenure.

They urged the people not to fall a prey to the promises being made by Mr Badal and his associates and vote for Ms Bhora as her husband, the late Bhan Singh Bhora, who had represented this constituency twice had done a lot for urban and rural areas.


AISSF chief Gill joins Congress
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 26
The All-India Sikh Students Federation (AISSF) president, Mr Harminder Singh Gill, joined the Congress here today.

Mr Gill made this announcement at the official residence of the Punjab Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, in the presence of the PPCC president, Mr H.S. Hanspal, who welcomed him.

Talking to media persons, Mr Gill said he had decided to take a ''U-turn'' as the traditional, panthic Shiromani Akali Dal had ''dissipated'' and instead there was just a political party run on the lines of a private limited company by Mr Parkash Singh Badal only to promote and protect political future of his family and son.

Mr Gill recalled his 20-year association with the Akali Dal, his siding with late Mr Gurcharan Singh Tohra, spending eight years in jail only to discover that the Akali Dal had totally changed. ''It is no longer follows the postulates of the 'panth'. In fact, the soul of the panth has disappeared''.

To several questions, Mr Gill said the decision to quit as president of the AISSF and join the Congress was his own and he had not consulted other colleagues. A rally would be held at Patti in the Tarn Taran Lok Sabha constituency on May 2, which the Chief Minister and Mr Hanspal would address. ''We will campaign for all Congress candidates, particularly in Tarn Taran and Amritsar.”

Asked if he had forgotten and forgiven the Congress for Operation Bluestar at the Golden Temple in 1984, Mr Gill candidly said, “It was an unfortunate incident. I am a victim and aggrieved. But with the passage of time circumstances change and so have the Congress and the Akalis. In fact, the Akalis have done nothing for the rehabilitation of the victims of the anti-Sikh riots or reinstatement of the Sikh Army deserters.” He, however, was uncertain if the Congress would heed his demands.

He appealed to the ''conscience'' of all those who felt suffocated in the Akali Dal to join the Congress. “I find Capt Amarinder Singh a better Sikh than Mr Badal.”


Cong nominee faces angry party men
Our Correspondent

Barnala, April 26
Mr Arvind Khanna, Congress nominee from the Sangrur Lok Sabha constituency, faced discord at the Congress workers’ meeting organised by the Barnala block Congress at the local Aggarwal Dharamshala yesterday.

The angry mood of Congress activists showed Mr Khanna’s difficulties were far from over. Ironically, Mr Kewal Dhillon, Vice-President of the Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee, who had come from Chandigarh, failed to persuade his supporters to work for the success of Mr Khanna.

Mr Chand Singh Chopra, former MLA belonging to the CPI(M), disgusted at the bickerings in the Congress, said the differences could be resolved later but the big challenge now was to defeat “communal and fascist” forces.


Bhinder refutes charges on misuse of govt machinery
Our correspondent

Pathankot, April 26
The Congress candidate from the Gurdaspur parliamentary constituency, Ms Sukhbans Kaur Bhinder, has refuted the charges of misuse of official machinery in the election campaign.

Addressing a joint press conference convened here yesterday with Baba Kashmira Singh, a Sikh leader, Ms Bhinder said the BJP leaders had been making false accusations against the Congress in this regard. Baba Kashmira Singh said he was supporting the Congress candidate on principles as the BJP had no interest in solving the basic problems of the state.


Kaypee’s effigy burnt
Our Correspondent

Jalandhar, April 26
Deciding to boycott the elections, residents of the Tilak Nagar locality burnt the effigy of the Punjab Technical Education Minister, Mr Mohinder Singh Kaypee, here today for his alleged failure to initiate development works in the area.

The residents alleged that the locality, which fell under the Jalandhar-South Assembly segment, presently represented by the minister, backed basic amenities for over 20 years They said the state government should provide potable water, streetlights and sewerage.


BJP campaigner joins Congress

Pathankot, April 26
The BJP’s election campaign in Gurdaspur district suffered a setback today when Mr Gurbachan Singh, a star campaigner of Mr Vinod Khanna, External Affairs Minister, joined the camp of the Congress candidate, Mrs Sukhbans Kaur Bhinder.

Addressing mediapersons here today, Mr Gurbachan Singh, a noted actor, said since Mr Khanna had failed to fulfil promises made to people, he had decided to campaign for Mrs Bhinder. He promised to open a film institute in the district if Mrs Bhinder was voted to power. He accused Mr Khanna of exploiting the people of the constituency by making false promises. — OC


Students’ union to boycott poll
Our Correspondent

Barnala, April 26
The Punjab Radical Students Union (PRSU) has decided to boycott the Lok Sabha poll.

Disclosing this here today, Mr Sanjeev Mintu, secretary of the PRSU, and Mr Harbans Sonu, state Executive Committee member, said the union had appealed to boycott the poll because all political parties had no programme or policy to ensure low-cost education and employment opportunities to the youth.

The student leaders said that the PRSU along with other organisations would launch a campaign to persuade people to boycott the poll.


Channi flays BJP’s disinvestment policies
Our Correspondent

Nangal, (Ropar), April 26
Mr Charanjit Singh Channi, BSP candidate and former Congress MP from the Hoshiarpur Parliamentary constituency, condemned the BJP for “blindly carrying out disinvestment in public-sector units.”

Addressing a public meeting here, Mr Channi alleged that the NDA government had carried out the disinvestment process of the National Fertilizers Ltd. (NFL) and the Minister of Disinvestment, Mr Arun Shourie, forced the Department of Atomic Energy to dismantle its Nangal-based heavy-water plant.

However, the disinvestment process of the NFL failed and about Rs 200 crore public investment in the heavy-water plant was reduced to scarp, he alleged adding that disinvestment policies of the NDA government had led to a
loss of 10 lakh jobs in the organised sector across the country.

Pro-capitalist policies of the NDA government had led to a degradation in laws meant for the protection of rights of employees, leading to the exploitation of labour sector while strengthening the hands of capitalists, Mr Channi alleged.

Later while talking to mediapersons, Mr Channi claimed the SAD (A), SAD headed by the Mr Ravi Inder Singh, the CPM (Pasla faction) and the CPI had extended unconditional support to him.

The campaign of Mr Channi got a boost in the area today when SAD leaders Ravi Inder and Sucha Singh Kulgram joined his campaign today.

Mr Channi also held meetings in about 12 villages of the area.


141 candidates left in poll fray in state
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 26
After withdrawal of nominations, 141 candidates are in the fray for the forthcoming Lok Sabha elections in the state of Punjab. As many as 212 candidates had initially filed their nomination papers.

According to sources in the office of Punjab's Chief Elector Officer, Indian National Congress (INC) candidate Manish Tiwari will contest from Ludhiana, along with Sharanjit Singh of Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD), Ravinder Singh of Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP), Sadhon Singh of SP, Balwant Singh of LBP, Manjit Singh of BGTD, Ravinder Kumar of (J&KNPP).

The independent candidates include Abdul Shakoor, Satnam Singh, Karnail Singh, Jasdev Singh, Dr Janardan Prasad Singh, Daljinder Singh, Balwant Singh, Bobby, Mohinder Lal, Rashpal Singh Gill and Varinder Kumar.

From Jalandhar, Devi Dass of BSP, Naresh Gujral of SAD, Rana Gurjit Singh of INC, Balkar Singh of BGTD and Vijay Kumar Hans of DBSP are contesting the polls. The independent include Sandeep Jeraith, Hameed Masih, Kuldip Singh, Kulbhushan Singh, Manohar Lal and Vinay Jallandhari.

The candidates from Phillaur are Santosh Chaudhary of INC, Charanjit Singh Atwal of SAD, Pawan Kumar Tinu of BSP, Harbhajan Ram also of BSP and Jagir Singh of BGTD. The independents include Hans Raj and Harbans Singh.

From Bhatinda, the candidates are Sarabjit Singh of SAD (M), Kushalya Chaman Bhawra of CPI, Gurnam Singh of BSP, Paramjit Kaur Gulshan of SAD, Parminder Singh of DBSP and Bhagwant Singh of CPIML. The independents include, Sham Lal, Hari Singh, Gurpreet Singh and Jasbir Singh.

Preneet Kaur of INC is contesting from Patiala, along with Hargopal Singh of BSP, Kanwaljit Singh of SAD, Gurnam Singh of SAD (A), Gurbachan Singh of SSP and Ranjit Kaur of BGTD. The independent candidatdes include Harbans Singh, Karishna Dahri, Jaipal, Darshan Singh, Binder Kaur, Ram Isher Singh and Ram Saroop.

Sukhbir Singh Badal of SAD is among the contestants from Faridkot. The other candidates include Karan Brar of INC, Nirmal Singh of LJSP, Ashok Sathi of RSP, Gurlal Singh of SAD (M) and Navneet Kumar of SSBT. The independents include Kulwant Singh, Sukhbir Singh Brar, Harmel Singh and Sant Ram.

From Ropar, SAD candidate Sukhdev Singh Libra, Bhag Singh of SAD (M), Man Singh Manhera of BSP, Shamsher Singh Dullo of INC and Lehmbar Dass of BGTD. The independents include Sawinder Singh, Sucha Singh and Surjan Singh

Jagmeet Singh Brar of INC is among the candidates from Ferozepur. The others are Zora Singh Mann of SAD, Dhian S. Mand of SAD (M), Mohan Singh Phalian Wala of BSP, Anoop Singh of LJSP, Som Parkash of BGTD and Mathura Dass of PSS. The independents include Inderjit Zeera, Ashok Kumar, Ajay Denial, Gursewak Singh, Des Raj, Nardev Singh, Paramjit Singh, Mohinder Jit Singh and Vardev Singh.

Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa of SAD and Simranjit Singh Mann of SAD (M) are among candidates from Sangrur. The others are Arvind Khanna of INC, Mangat Rai of BSP and independents Sukhdev Singh Barri, Daljit Singh, Mohammaad Shamshad, Baljinder Singh, Sukhdev Singh, Avtar Singh and Mit Singh Sehjara.

From Gurdaspur, Vinod Khanna of of BJP is contesting, along with Sukhbansh Kaur Bhinder of INC, Brij Mohan Julka of BSP and Balkar Singh of BGTD. The other candidates are Balkar Singh of SSHP and Ramesh Kumar of PBLP. The independents include Kewal Krishan, Devinder Singh Saini and Neeraj Joshi.

Eight candidates are contesting from Hoshiarpur. They are Darshan Singh Mathu of CPM, Gurdev Singh of BGTD, Harmseh Lal of LJNSP, Abhinash Rai Khanna of the BJP, Ajit Singh Parmar of SJPR and Chartanjit Singh Channi of BSP. The independents are Sahdu Singh and Kuldip Rai.

Raghu Nandan Lal Bhatia of INC is contesting the polls from Amritsar, along with Navjot Singh of BJP and Ram Sharan Pal of BSP. The other candidates include Sanjiv Kumar of DCP, Surinder Kumar Khosla of BDSM, Harbans Lal of SP, Baldev Singh Rathore of ABSD and Gita of BGTD. The independents include, Satpal Singh, Ramesh Talwar and Rahmat Masih.

From Tarn Taran, Sukhwinder Singh Sukh Sarkaria of INC, Ratan Singh Ajnala of SAD, Ravel Singh of DSP, Ramesh Duggal of ABSD and Rajwant Singh of BGTD. The independents include Sukhjinder Singh, Tarlochan Singh, Babu Ram and Rajinder Rikhi.


10 candidates left in poll fray
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, April 26
Ten candidates were left in the fray for Bathinda (reserved) parliamentary constituency after two candidates withdrew their nomination papers on the
last day of withdrawals today.

In a press note issued here, Mr K.A.P. Sinha, Deputy Commissioner-cum Returning Officer, said that out of the 10 candidates four belonged to recognised parties.

The candidates include Mr Sarbjit Singh, SAD (Amritsar), Ms Kaushlya Chaman Bhora (CPI-Congress alliance), Mr Gurnam Singh, BSP, and Ms Paramjit Kaur Gulshan (SAD-BJP alliance).

The others are Mr Parminder Singh Kaumi of the Democratic Bharti Samaj Party, Mr Bhagwant Singh Samao of the CPI (ML-Liberation), Mr Sham Lal, Mr Hari Singh, Mr Gurpreet Singh and Mr Jasvir Singh, all Independents.


8 in fray for Ropar seat
Our correspondent

Ropar, April 26
With four candidates withdrawing their nomination papers today, eight candidates were left in the fray for the Ropar (reserved) constituency.

Those who withdrew their papers were two covering candidates Ms Harbans Kaur for the Congress candidate, Mr Shamsher Singh Dullo, and Mr Rajinder Singh for the BSP candidate, Mr Maan Singh Manhera, and two Independents, Ms Daljit Kaur and Mr Jarnail Singh.

Symbols were allotted to the candidates left in fray by the Deputy Commissioner-cum-Returning Officer, Ropar, Ms Seema Jain.


2 Independents withdraw nominations
Our Correspondent

Patiala, April 26
As the deadline for the withdrawal of nominations drew to a close today, two Independent candidates, Jarnail Singh and Harnek Singh, withdrew their candidature leaving 13 contestants in the fray for the forthcoming parliamentary elections from the Patiala constituency. Election symbols were allotted to various candidates by the Returning Officer, Mr Tejveer Singh, in the presence of election observers, Mr C. Chandran, Ms Sunaina Tomar and Mr V. K. Mangotra.

Representatives of the main contestants in the fray, namely Congress candidate Preneet Kaur and SAD candidate Capt Kanwaljit Singh, were present on the occasion, besides Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) candidate Hargopal Singh and SAD (Mann) candidate Gurnam Singh.

Two candidates belonging to registered political parties are also in the fray - Gurbachan Singh, representing the Samta Samaj party and Ranjit Kaur, representing Bhartiya Gaoun Taj Dal. The Independents candidates in the arena are - Harbans Singh, Jai Pal, Darshan Singh, Binder kaur, Ram Ishar Singh and Ram Saroop.


Sarpanch’s remarks stun Dalits
Tribune News Service

Talhan (Jalandhar), April 26
The statement of the sarpanch of Talhan village that the Dalit-dominated panchayat had extended its support to the Congress, has stunned the Dalit panches even as the Punjab Dalit Action Committee has decided to oppose the Congress, holding it responsible for the excesses against the Dalits.

A visibly perturbed Ms Inderjit Kaur, sarpanch who had stated at a Congress rally in the village yesterday that the panchayat had decided to support the Congress, today tried to skirt the issue by saying that it was her own decision to support the Congress. She said she was not aware what the media had reported about her.

Her statement irked a large section of Dalits, particularly panches, who maintained that the panchayat had not taken such a decision.

Ms Ratni who had been elected panchayat member for the third consecutive time, said the panchayat had not taken any such decision. “It has surprised me. It can be her (Inderjit Kaur’s) individual opinion and not that of the panchayat. We have not passed any resolution. We would see whom to cast our vote for,” she said.

The Punjab Dalit Action Committee headed by Mr Sadhu Ram has criticised the statement of Ms Inderjit Kaur. “We see no reason to support the Congress. The sarpanch has no right to project that it was the decision of villagers. During our meeting, we have decided to oppose the Congress as we feel it had mishandled the situation due to which the Dalits were oppressed following the clashes in the villages,” he said.


Akali Dal (A) leaders quarrel at rally
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, April 26
Mr Malkiat Singh Khetla, president of the Dirba circle of the Akali Dal (Amritsar), and Mr Bikar Singh, a leader of the party, quarrelled with each other at rally at Ghanaur Jattan village, near Dirba, today.

Mr Jeet Singh Alloarkh, district president of the party, said they had quarrelled due to personal enmity.

He said the rally was also addressed by Mr Iman Singh Mann, son of Mr Simranjit Singh Mann, party candidate from the Sangrur parliamentary constituency.


DC warns poll staff against absenteeism
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, April 26
Mr S.K. Ahluwalia, District Election Officer-cum-Deputy Commissioner, has issued notices under Section 134 of the Representation of Peoples Act, 1951, to 52 employees, for allegedly remaining absent from election duty rehearsals being conducted for the 79-Sirhind assembly constituency and the 69-Kharar assembly constituency.

He has directed all of them to explain the cause of their absence by the evening, otherwise, disciplinary action will be initiated against them. He has also directed all those employees, who have been drafted for election duty, to attend rehearsals and perform their duties sincerely.

Keeping in view the hardship that the women staff was likely to face, they had already been exempted from election duty.

He said approximately 2,000 polling personnel were being deputed for elections.

He said in view of the instructions from the Election Commission of India, 50 per cent of the staff would be reshuffled with the adjoining districts of Ropar, Patiala and Ludhiana.

He said the polling staff coming from other districts would be provided transport, boarding and lodging facilities.

Meanwhile, various women organisations have appreciated the decision of Mr S.K. Ahluwalia, for not deputing women staff on election duty.


Action against absentee poll staff
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, April 26
Mr Raminder Singh, Deputy Commissioner-cum-returning officer for the Amritsar and Tarn Taran Parliamentary constituencies, took a serious note of absentee staff deputed on poll duty from rehearsals conducted by assistant returning officers in the district yesterday. As much as 15 per cent of the over 8,000-strong employees were found absent.

Disciplinary action will be initiated under Section 134 of the Peoples Representative Act against them. He said April 28 had been set for a second rehearsal and absentees would not be spared. The absentee staff was required to submit the explanations by April 28, he said.

He directed owners of printing press of the district to comply with the directions of the Election Commission and submit four copies of every poster, handbill, pamphlet and other publicity material on elections with the declaration of the printer within three days of the publication.


6 IRB companies back from poll duty

Patiala, April 26
Six companies of the India Reserve Battalions, who had left for election duty at Chhattisgarh, returned at the local railway station, where they were received by Dr P. M. Das, IGP of the India Reserve Battalions. Dr Das announced rewards and letters of appreciation to those who had performed well. OC


Staff guided on election procedure
Our Correspondent

Kharar, April 26
Guidance regarding election procedure was provided to the staff put on polling duty at an election rehearsal carried out here today under the supervision of the Assistant Returning Officer-cum-SDM, Mr Sukhvinder Singh Gill.

Mr Gill said most of the 600 persons put on poll duty in the Morinda 68 area attended the rehearsal. He said that 550 out of them would be conducting the elections while the remaining staff had been kept in the reserve. Similarly, out of the 20 poll supervisors two had been kept in the reserve.

He said the poll supervisors had visited the polling stations under their jurisdiction and all arrangements in connection with the forthcoming elections had been completed. As many as 10 polling booths fell under the jurisdiction of one poll supervisor. There were 135 polling stations under Morinda 68 area and 44 out of them were considered sensitive. There were 1.35 lakh voters.

Mr Gill said the staff put on polling duty had been called for a second rehearsal on May 4 and for the third and final rehearsal on May 8. They would be provided the necessary material for conducting elections on May 9, a day before the elections. A hall at the government polytechnic, Khoonimajra, had been reserved for the counting of votes and another room had been reserved for setting up a strong room.



Dera that swings poll fortunes
Jangveer Singh
Tribune News Service

Patiala, April 26
Bansa Ram of Kheri village near Patiala is waiting anxiously for an indication from the sant. So are followers of the sant spread across the entire Malwa belt of Punjab and part of Haryana and Rajasthan. “Santji’s indication is essential for me as well as the lakhs of his followers in the three northern states which are going to the polls”, says Bansa.

Sant Gurmeet Ram Raheem Singh of Dera Baba Sacha Sauda in Sirsa district of Haryana has become an institution that has a stranglehold over the votes of his followers, most of whom come from the backward strata of society. The god man, who is based in Sirsa, has created a virtual empire with the dera being a mini city with its own factories for making bread, biscuits, ice, soft drinks and ayurvedic medicines.

The administration of the dera is managed by a 10- member committee for each state which is known as “Dus Numbri”.

The messages of the apex committee as well as the lower ones is conveyed to devotees through the sect’s newspaper called “Sachh Kahun” which is brought out and distributed by the devotees themselves. It has a circulation of around 1.5 lakh.

The Sachha Sauda Dera has a history of helping political parties as well as sometimes throwing its weight behind individual candidates. In the 1998 parliamentary elections, it was accused of siding with the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD). The party, however, cannot take this support for granted this time as Gurmeet Ram Raheem Singh has arranged the marriage of his son with the daughter of Congress leader Harminder Singh Jassi. The Congress leader, who had lost the last Assembly elections from Talwandi Sabo in Bathinda district, is at present Chairman of the cash-rich Markfed Corporation in Punjab.

Candidates standing for election from the Malwa belt of Punjab, including Patiala, Sangrur and Bathinda, have already been to the ‘dera’ to pay homage to the Baba as well as solicit the support of the ‘dera’ for their candidature. Congress Patiala candidate Preneet Kaur met Sant Gurmeet Ram Rahim at the dera’s Sahlawatpura branch in Barnala district of Sangrur recently. Union Minister Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa, who is contesting from Sangrur, Capt Kanwaljit, who is contesting from Patiala, Congress candidate from Ferozepore Jagmeet Singh Brar and several politicians from Haryana, including its state BJP President Ganeshi Lal and Sirsa Congress candidate Atma Singh Gill have also met the sant recently.

However, the dera authorities maintain that they have nothing to do with politics. “Santji has made this clear on a number of occasions”, says dera press committee’s senior member Gurbaz Singh. He says the dera has never asked its followers to vote for anyone but in case the devotees supported any one political party after holding meetings at the block level it was their own personal choice. 


Jaitley: DRI probing transactions by CM’s son
Questions probe by Nehra panel
Tribune News Service

Patiala, April 26
The Union Law Minister, Mr Arun Jaitley, here today gave a new twist to the ongoing controversy regarding the probe being conducted by the Nehra Commission into the alleged transactions of money in the account of a foreign company by Mr Raninder Singh, son of the Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh.

Mr Jaitley said today that the Nehra Commission, set up by the Punjab Government to hold the inquiry, was not competent to do so because of legal and technical reasons. The entire exercise being done by the commission was meaningless as it had no legal sanction.

He said the inquiry in cases of transaction of currency in foreign accounts could only be held by the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI) or by the Enforcement Department. No other agency except the CBI was competent to hold such inquiry, he added.

Questioning the logic of inquiry by the Nehra Commission, Mr Jaitley, asked if the commission had the power to check the accounts of any foreign company or any bank? or to seek embassy’s help in conducting the inquiry.

He said there was a law that dealt with seeking information from foreign companies and banks regarding accounts, transaction of money. Under that law, proper procedure had to be followed for seeking the relevant information through proper channel from abroad, he added.

Mr Jaitley also confirmed that the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI) was holding the inquiry into the alleged transactions of currency in a account of foreign company by Mr Raninder Singh, son of Punjab Chief Minister. “I can’t tell that the inquiry is at what stage I am aware that the inquiry was on”, he added.

The former Punjab Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, had submitted a complaint regarding the alleged transaction of money by Mr Raninder Singh to the Prime Minister, Mr Atal Bihari Vajpayee, a few months ago. The complaint was referred to the DRI, which opened the inquiry, he added. 


Paper leakage: clean chit to board chief
Chitleen K Sethi
Tribune News Service

Mohali, April 26
The report of the fact finding committee constituted by the Punjab School Education Board (PSEB) to inquire into the paper leakage incident has given a clean chit to the board Chairman Dr Kehar Singh and the Controller of Examinations, Mrs Narinder Kaur. While stating that “no board employee was involved in the shameful act of leaking question papers”, the report has, however, repeatedly disparaged the role of the board’s Secretary, Mr Mahinder Bir Singh, and the examination centre controllers in the matter.

The report has also recommended to the government that appointments to senior positions in the board be done on the basis of individual merit and should not be politically motivated. “Complete coordination of effort at all levels is essential for the smooth functioning of the board. But it is obvious that there is lack of coordination among the senior functionaries. Maybe this is because of the presence of dissatisfied persons in the board,” stated the report.

The report was recently placed before the members of the board and read out by the committee chairperson Dr Rita Bawa. It has given a detailed account of the manner in which a packet of Class X question papers had gone missing from one of the centres of examinations in Gurdaspur. This missing packet was initially considered to be the source of leakage of papers, but was later found in a sealed condition from one of the examination centres.

However, the committee members felt that the misplacing of the packet during distribution pointed towards gross negligence on the part of board employees. The report has, thus, squarely blamed two employees Tarsem Lal, a superintendent in the examination branch and a clerk Mahinder Pal, who were supervising the distribution of question papers in Gurdaspur for negligence of duty that caused “the board unprecendented embarrassment.”

Other than these two employees, the report has criticised the board Secretary for not understanding the seriousness of the problem and failing to coordinate properly with other senior officers. “It seems that there is both lack of coordination among the senior officers of the board and a tendency among them to wash their hands off their responsibilities,” stated the report.

The report further points out that although the intentions of the board chairman, the deputy chairperson, the secretary and the controller cannot be questioned, yet there is lack of seriousness and cooperation among them “which is extremely deplorable.”

Appreciating the efforts put in by the Controller of Examinations in ensuring that the examination results are declared in time, in the past years, the report stated that the system laid down for the conduct of examinations should have been strictly followed by all concerned. “A large amount of embarrassment that the board had to face later, could have been avoided had the various persons involved in the conduct of examinations adhered strictly to their instructions,” it stated.

The fact-finding committee comprising Ms Rita Bawa, Mr J.P. Sheor, Mr Avtar Singh and Mr G.S. Samra was formed on March 19 following leakage of Class X and XII question papers.


Material seized during Bluestar to be returned
Our High Court Correspondent

Chandigarh, April 26
A Division Bench of the Punjab and Haryana High Court today disposed of a petition seeking directions to the government to return the valuables, books, scriptures, paintings, etc, that were seized from the Golden Temple during “Operation Bluestar” in 1984. It also ordered the CBI and the Punjab Government to return whatever material was lying with it expeditiously.

The order was passed after the Union Home Ministry filed an affidavit acknowledging that it is in possession of many articles, including books, paintings, rare documents, handwritten volumes of holy Sikh scriptures etc.

The Union Government also expressed its wish to return the material.

The Bench asked the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC), which had earlier been impleaded as party to the case to approach the appropriate court to reclaim the material.

In his petition, Mr Satnam Singh had said that the material taken away from the Golden Temple during “Operation Bluestar” should be returned.

After being impleaded as party to the case, the SGPC had submitted a list of material, including cash, that was taken away from the Golden Temple. It had also said that despite repeated requests to top functionaries of the state, including President of India and Prime Minister, no effort was made to return the material, which is priceless part of Sikh history.

After going through the affidavit of the Union Home Ministry and being informed that the material can be returned, the Division Bench comprising Mr Chief Justice B.K. Roy and Mr Justice Surya Kant disposed of the writ.


Encroachments go unchecked
Vikrant Jindal

Malerkotla: With about 1,000 small and big industrial units involving nearly two lakh people, Malerkotla has carved a niche for itself on the country’s industrial map.

There has been a rapid growth of industrial units over the past 15 years. However, the civic amenities remain inadequate. The town has poor water supply, faulty sewerage, insanitary conditions, traffic jams and broken roads.

Encroachments have become a regular feature here. Go to any part of the town you will find people encoraching upon government land with impunity. The authorities have not shown any inclination to tackle this problem.

Most shopkeepers on the bus stand road, Sirhindi Gate, Choota Chowk, bypass road and Kelon Gate display their commodities outside shops to woo customers.

Shopkeepers usually go much beyond their boundaries and leave little space for vehicles to pass through.

Some shopkeepers have put up permanent or temporary sheds in front of their shops. Any drive launched by the authorities does not sustain for long and things get back to square one.

There is no proper drainage system as a result some areas always stink because stagnant and muddy water. Stray animals can be seen throughout the day roaming in the market and on the Civil Hospital campus. The main bazaar and bus stand area always stink as heaps of garbage remain uncleared. The general bus stand in the Delhi Gate area is in bad shape.

Sanitary conditions are bad. Garbage is thrown everywhere. Passengers are forced to ease themselves in the open as the toilets remain dirty most of the time. There is no regular water supply in the toilets.

The local people, political leaders and social organisations have urged the Deputy Commissioner to take immediate action in this direction.


Docs return after meeting in Lahore
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, April 26
A delegation of 17 Indian doctors returned here last evening after attending a 3-day meet of the South Asian Federation of Obstetrics & Gynaecology, in Lahore.

A urologist, Dr Samir Rai, while briefing newsmen said Dr B.K. Tank, president of the federation, inaugurated the meet. He said doctors from India presented scientific papers on latest medical developments in the field.

He said Prof Madhu Nagpal, Head of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology at the local medical college, presented a paper on “Injectible contraceptives”, while Dr Rai delivered a lecture on “Erectile dysfunction”.

Later, a meeting of the Lahore chapter of the Pakistan Association of Urological Surgeons was held at the Social Security Hospital. The meeting was presided over by Prof M. Niwaz Chugtai of Allama Iqbal Medical College, who is also the president of the Association of Urological Surgeons. Dr Rai said Indian delegates delivered lectures on “Laparoscopic urology” and “Percutaneous nephrolithotomy”.


Action sought against MC employee
Our Correspondent

Patiala, April 26
A number of morning walkers, coming to the Rose Garden here, today demanded action against Ms Vijay Sharma, an employee of the Municipal Corporation, for allegedly misusing public property and misbehaviour with senior citizens.

Ms Urmail Talwar, a morning walker, alleged that on the morning of April 24, Ms Vijay Sharma came to the park and started plucking flowers. Ms Talwar said when the gardeners and some walkers requested Ms Sharma not to pluck flowers and spoil the beauty of the garden she did not stop. On the contrary, she allegedly told them that the garden was the property of the corporation and she being an employee of the corporation could do whatever she wished. She also allegedly abused them and threatened them that she could even ban their entry into the garden.

Ms Talwar further alleged that the corporation was not bothered about the maintenance of the park. She added that despite several requests, the corporation had done nothing in this direction. Mr. M. P. Talwar, another walker, added that no safai karamchari had been appointed for the cleanliness of the park. He added that the toilets were either locked or unclean. In addition to this, even the fountains were non-functional.

Mr. K. K. Modgil, another walker, said action should be taken against Ms Sharma to prevent the recurrence of any such incident. He added that there was a need to create awareness among the people regarding the importance of maintenance of public property.

Ms Vijay Sharma could not be contacted for comments despite several attempts.


Akali leader accused of selling gurdwara land
Our Correspondent

Jalandhar, April 26
The Khalsa Mission Council (KMC) today accused a local Akali Dal leader, Jathedar Pritam Singh, of selling a part of gurdwara land in Punjpir Nagar on the Kapurthala road to an industrialist.

Addressing a press conference here, the president of the council, Mr Dilbagh Singh Khalsa, alleged that the land was sold to an industrialist for monetary gains. He demanded that the matter should be probed thoroughly and a case registered against the Akali leader.

When contacted, Jathedar Pritam Singh refuted the allegations and said the council was trying to politicise the issue as no land, belonging to the gurdwara, had ever been sold.


700 examined at eye camp

Batala, April 26
Eleven eye operations were performed here today by an eye surgeon of the Civil Hospital. Earlier, a free eye medical camp was organised here yesterday by the Sukhmani Sahib Sewa Society and more than 700 persons were examined.

This was stated by Mr Rajinder Singh, president of the sewa society. — OC


726 units of blood collected
Our Correspondent

Patiala, April 26
The Department of Transfusion Medicine of the local Government Rajindra Hospital created a record by collecting 726 units of blood in a day at two blood donation camps held here.

An official statement today said these camps were organised by the Patiala and Ropar units of the Sant Nirankari Mandal. The bank had sent its teams at both places, which collected 500 and 226 blood units, respectively. The Head of the Department of Transfusion Medicine, Ms Kulbir Kaur, said this was for the first time in the history of voluntary blood donation services that a blood bank had collected such a huge amount of units in a day.

She further said while the average blood collection of the other blood banks was about 14 per cent per annum, the collection of this blood bank was about 50 per cent last year and it had reached nearly 60 per cent this year.


Hearing in Vinod Khanna case adjourned
Our Correspondent

Pathankot, April 26
Mr R.K. Garg, Subdivisional Judicial Magistrate, here today adjourned the hearing in a criminal case filed by Mr Vinod Khanna against 11 persons, including former municipal councillor, on September 1,1999. The judge has fixed July 21 as the next date of hearing.

According to the prosecution, the accused tried to restrain Mr Khanna, who was an MP from Gurdaspur, at that time from moving in his constituency. They had pelted stones on his vehicle, damaging it. They also tried to beat up Mr Khanna.

The then Judicial Magistrate-cum-First Class Judge, Mr Bhajan Ram, had framed charges against the 11 accused naming Jang Bahadar, Ashok Kumar, Surinder Kumar, Buta, Pawan, Mithu, Pumma, Deep, Mister Chand, Sheet and Kamal Pradhan, under Sections 147, 160, 341, 149, 353, 332 and 427/34.

Mr Vinod Khanna today requested the Judge to adjourn the case as he was engaged in election campaign.

The counsel of the defence also appealed to the court for the adjournment of the case following which the court fixed July 21 as the next date of hearing.


Fresh chargesheet filed against Langah
Tribune News Service

Ropar, April 26
The Punjab Vigilance today filed an amended chargesheet against the former PWD Minister, Mr Sucha Singh Langah, in the court of special judge Ropar, Mr S.K. Goel.

The amended chargesheet has been filed against Mr Langah after the arrest of Sudershan Kaura, Pradeep Batheja and Vinod Garg who were earlier declared proclaimed offenders in the case.

The charges of corruption under Sections 467, 468, 471 and 120-B of the IPC and 13 (2) of the prevention of corruption Act that were earlier framed against Mr Sucha Singh Langah had now been framed against all other co-accused.

The judge fixed May 3 as the next date of hearing in the case.


Husband, in-laws booked for cheating
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, April 26
A case was registered today against six persons of a family by the Civil Lines police on the complaint of an NRI, Avtar Singh Chahal, for allegedly cheating him and his family and marrying his daughter by giving false particulars.

The case has been registered after an enquiry and on the opinion of the District Attorney Legal here. The police has arrested Satwant Kaur, mother-in-law of the girl, while five others including her husband, have been booked under Sections 420, 498-A, 406, 506 IPC. These are Inderpal Singh Dhillon, husband of girl, Harbans Singh, father-in-law and Malwinder Singh, all residents of Model Town here and Rajinder Kaur Sandhu, and Harjit Singh Sandhu sister and brother-in-law of Inderpal Singh, residents of Jalandhar.

Mr Chahal in the FIR stated that her daughter who was a director in a private company in California was married to Inderpal on April 14, 2001. He alleged that at the time of marriage they were told that Inderpal had done masters in computer science which was found to be not true. He alleged that Inderpal and his family used to torture his daughter mentally and physically for dowry.

The e-mail exchanged between Inderpal Singh and his sister Rajinder Kaur Sandhu has become a primary evidence in the case which was presented by Mr Avtar Singh, a resident of California (USA) to the police. The e-mails revealed that the main objective of the Inderpal to marry her was to get a Green Card for permanent residence there.

Police parties have been conducting raids at various places at Amritsar and Jalandhar to nab the culprits who have absconded.


Arhtiya shot at, looted

Gurdaspur, April 26
A foodgrain commission agent suffered a gunshot wound after he managed to save most of Rs 2 lakh he was carrying in a scuffle with two armed youths near Bhullechak village this afternoon, the police said.

Mr Baljit Singh told the police that the scooter-borne youths accosted him near his village when he was returning home after withdrawing the cash from a Canara Bank branch in the city.

He said when currency notes scattered during the scuffle with the youths, one of them picked up a wad of Rs 10,000. But in a bid to snatch it back, he could get only Rs 700 and the accused fled with Rs 9300 towards the town.

He said he gave them a chase but the youth on the pillion fired shot at him and its one pellet hit him on the nose. The police said the shot was fired from a country-made pistol.

The SP (detective), Mr Tajinder Singh Maur, said a passer-by had noted down the number of the scooter and the police hoped to nab the accused soon. — UNI


2 drug peddlers arrested
Our Correspondent

Jalandhar, April 26
The police has arrested two drug peddlers and seized 2 kg of opium from their possession.

Mr G.P.S. Bhullar, SSP, stated here today that following a tip-off, a police party laid a naka on the Lohian-Malsian road. Two persons moving under suspicious circumstances were intercepted. They were identified as Sukhwinder Singh and Rajbir Singh, residents of Hussainpur village in Nakodar.

Their search led to the recovery of opium. They were immediately arrested. During interrogation, they revealed that Sukhwinder used to bring opium from a truck driver of Kaithal, identified as Bittu, it was later sold in the area through peddlers.

In another incident, the police today arrested a bootlegger. Sixty bottles of Indian-made Foreign Liquor (IMFL) were seized from his possession. He was identified as Kaka Sabharwal of the local Ali Mohalla. The arrested persons were being produced in the court.


Blind murder case solved, two held
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, April 26
The local police today claims to have solved a blind murder case by arresting two persons, namely Tarsem Singh of Kherri village and Kala Singh of Fatehgarh Chhana village.

Given this information here this evening, Mr Narinder Kaushal, DSP, Sangrur, said both accused had been arrested in connection with a blind murder of two persons, including an employee of octroi contractor, with sharp-edged weapons at an octroi post on Tunga-Kularan Sunam road near here on the night of March 4.

It may be recalled that some unidentified persons had murdered Ranjit Singh of Nangal Kalan village (Hansa district), an employee of octroi contractor of Local Municipal Council, and Kulwant Singh, a resident of Ram Nagar Sibian village near here. The body of Ranjit Singh was found in the octroi post while the body of Kulwant Singh was found nearby bus-shelter.

Mr Kaushal further stated that another two accused namely Satta Singh of Chhahar village and Jaspal Singh of Ilwal village, allegedly involved in this double blind murder case, were still at large.

The accused had also confessed that they had killed Suresh Kumar, a migrant labourer from UP, on April 20.


GND varsity dept gets Rs 49 lakh
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, April 26
The Department of Food Science and Technology, Guru Nanak Dev University, has been sanctioned a grant of Rs 49 lakh for creating advanced infrastructural facilities by the Central government.

Prof Narpinder Singh, Head of the department, said the amount would be utilised for creating facilities for training students for basic and applied research.

At present, the department is actively involved on characterisation of starch and proteins, separated from different plant sources. Proposed facilities would be utilised for establishing structure-function relationship of starch and proteins. Cooking facilities would also be established to develop ready-to-eat snacks. The department would also run extension programmes and refresher or skill upgradation training programmes.


Mohindra College to start career-oriented courses
Our Correspondent

Patiala, April 26
The local Mohindra College has been allowed by the University Grants Commission to start career-oriented courses from the session 2004-05.

The syllabi for these courses will be finalised by Punjabi University.

Courses in agro services, plant biotechnology and clinical diagnostic techniques have been okayed.

These will be started at the first-degree level and will be in addition to the conventional BSc course. A student doing any of these courses will be required to pursue it in addition to his degree course. A student will have the choice of taking the course for one year, two years or three years.

A student attending the course for one year will be awarded a certificate, a student attending the course for two years will be awarded a diploma and those attending the course for three years will be awarded an advanced diploma.

The Principal of the college, Dr Raj Kumar Sharma, said students would have an opportunity to study these job-oriented courses in addition to pursuing a conventional degree course.

The laboratories and library facilities would be further improved to meet the requirement of the students. Experts in specific fields would be associated as guest faculty. He added the students would be sent for practical field training and efforts would be made for getting employment for them through a counselling cell set up on the college premises.

Dr Sharma said the UGC had sanctioned Rs 7 lakh for the college for the purchase of books, journals, augmentation of laboratory facilities and payment of remuneration to the guest faculty.

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