P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



CM using OSD for money laundering: SAD
Our Correspondent

Ropar May 7
The Shiromani Akali Dal today levelled allegations of corruption and amassing assets disproportionate to the known sources of income against an OSD of the Punjab Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh.

Mr Gurmeet Singh Matharu, a spokesperson for the SAD, in a press conference held here, alleged that Capt Amarinder Singh was investing his ill-gotten money through his OSD.

He said Capt Bikram Singh, OSD to the Chief Minister, got an organisation — the Indo-Global Education Foundation — registered on August 6, 2000. Mr Sukhdev Kumar Singla, a trusted aide of Capt Bikram Singh, was made the chairman of the foundation.

Capt Bikram Singh purchased 546 kanals at Abhipur village in Kharar tehsil of Ropar district through his trusted aides and relatives. All relatives and aides gave the power of attorney of the land to Capt Bikram Singh.

He got it registered in the name of his father, Mr Bhupinder Singh, and three others.

The land was transferred through a gift deed to the Indo-Global Education Foundation on August 11, 2002 by Capt Bikram Singh, just five days after its formation. Moreover, though the land was registered in the name of Capt Bikram Singh’s father and three others, the gift deed contained the name of just the latter as the donor.

Within three years, the foundation had established three colleges — Indo-Global Engineering College, the Indo-Global College of Education and Indo Global-Polytechnic College. Crores had been invested in the infrastructure of these colleges.

The foundation had spread its infrastructure over 800 kanals — 546 kanals donated by Capt Bikram Singh and 254 kanals, which were encroached upon.

The Chief Minister and his OSD had invested their ill gotten money in the infrastructure of the foundation, Mr Matharu alleged.

He alleged that Mr Malwinder Singh Mahli, Personal Assistant to the Chief Minister, had purchased two plots of kanal each worth about Rs 20 lakh in a posh locality of Patiala during the past the years. He had further spent about Rs 30 lakh on the construction of a palatial house on the land. The Chief Minister should explain how his Personal Assistant amassed wealth of Rs 50 lakh in such a short span.

Mr Matharu distributed copies of the deeds through which Capt Bikram Singh gifted land to the foundation among mediapersons.


Badal, Jaitely apprehend violence on polling day
Tribune News Service

Malout (Gidderbaha), May 7
The SAD President, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, and the Union Law Minister, Mr Arun Jaitely, while expecting a sweeping victory in Punjab apprehended major violence on the polling day with the spectre of defeat staring in the face of the Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh.

While Mr Jaitely claimed that forthcoming Lok Sabha elections in Punjab would prove as killing two birds with one stone as it would force the removal of Ms Sonia Gandhi from the AICC presidentship and Capt Amarinder Singh from Chief Ministership, Mr Badal demanded that more observers should be appointed in each constituency to check the poll violence and other malpractices to be done by the ruling party.

Talking to mediapersons after addressing rallies at Malout and Gidderbaha, Mr Jaitely said Capt Amarinder Singh’s government would fall under the weight of its mistakes committed in the past two years.

Mr Badal demanded that paramilitary forces along with the Punjab police should be deployed on each and every polling booth to conduct the poll in free and fair manner.

He added that Capt Amarinder Singh and his associates had been openly instigating the Congressmen in their election rallies to indulge in “violence” on the polling day.

He said security arrangements were inadequate and these should be strengthened keeping in view the “intentions” of the Chief Minister.

Mr Sukhbir Badal, who listed his achievements for the Faridkot parliamentary constituency, said unprecedented victory margins for the SAD-BJP candidates across the state would reflect the revival of faith of people in the alliance.

Mr Manpreet Badal and Mr Chiranji Lal Garg, both SAD leaders, and a large section of BJP leaders also attended the rally.

FARIDKOT: Mr Jaitley addressed a rally at the Old Grain Market today in favour of Mr Sukhbir Singh Badal, General Secretary, SAD, and son of former Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal who was contesting the Lok Sabha poll from Faridkot Parliamentary constituency in Punjab.

Among other prominent speakers were Mr Sukhbir Singh Badal, Bibi Gurcharan Kaur, senior vice-president state unit of the BJP and member Rajya Sabha and Mr Kushaldeep Singh Dhillon.


SAD leaders put up with taboos
Our Correspondent

Phagwara, May 7
Politics makes strange bedfellows. This election rally was unique held in Bhojpuri style. Its venue gave the appearance of a place either in Bihar or UP. Organised by Mr Inderjit Sonkar, Akali Councillor from Ward No 6 and Bhai Gurjit Singh Khalsa, national general secretary, Shiromani Youth Akali Dal, in support of Mr Charanjit Singh Atwal, SAD-BJP-BKU candidate from Phillaur (reserved) Lok Sabha constituency at Government Colony opposite the JCT Mill flyover on GT road here today.

Nearly 3000 migrant workers from Bihar, UP and other states, smoking cigarettes, chewing paan masala mingled with Panthic leaders for whom smoking is a taboo and causes headache to many Sikhs. However, they put up with it all, for the sake of votes.

Some Akali leaders tried to speak in Hindi to convey the message to “parvasi mazdoors”. Perhaps for the first time, it was indeed tough for them. Circle Akali Jatha President Gurmukh Singh in his address admitted, “yahan par Hindi bolna thora jiha mushkal hai”. Then he spoke in what could be called “Punjindi”, — i e, a blend of Punjabi and Hindi.

Bhai Gurjit Singh Khalsa, national general secretary, Shiromani Youth Akali Dal, struck an instant rapport with migrants with his Hindi and was cheered by the migrant audience. BJP state Vice-President Swarna Ram also clicked with his speech in Hindi. Mr Balinder Dube, a migrant, pleaded for revenge on the Congress as one of its leaders, he alleged, had abused the “Bhojpur bhaiyion ko” some time back.


Dhindsa’s supporters serve dinner
Our Correspondent

Barnala, May 7
Mr Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa, SAD nominee from the Sangrur constituency, has employed a device of getting hosted dinners here by his supporters at different venues to woo voters of Barnala in the name of one or the other organisations.

First such get-together dinner was hosted at Gupta Palace followed by a dinner in Dharamshala Thuliwalian di. The latest such dinner was hosted at Bansal Palace last night. The moment Mr Dhindsa began addressing the gathering, many people instead of listening to Mr Dhindsa’ s views preferred to rush outside the auditorium for meals.

The question discussed by voters is whether this dinner hosting device will at the time of elections be translated into votes or not on the day of polling.

Taking a leaf from the book of Mr Dhindsa’s supporters, Congress supporters too have decided not to lag behind in this regard and they too gave invitation to the dinner today.

The Punjab Gaushala Mahasangh recently organised a function at Shanti Hall to felicitate Mr Simranjit Singh Mann. Mr Mann was honoured with the “Messiah of Cow-Protection” award. 


Cong blamed for anti-Sikh riots
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, May 7
A rally was organised by the district unit of the Istri Akali Dal in favour of the SAD-BJP alliance candidate, Mr Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa, here today.

Women leaders criticised the policies of the Congress and held the Congress responsible for Operation Bluestar and “anti-Sikh” riots in 1984.

Youth activists of the SAD (A) also took out a scooter rally in the favour of Mr Simranjit Singh Mann in various villages yesterday. The rally was flagged off at Badrukhan village by Ms Gurdip Kaur Alloarkh, president, Sikh religious affairs committee of the SAD (A).

Activists of the Punjab Radical Students Union and the Kirti Mazoor Union today took out a bicycle rally from Dhuri to Sangrur, urging people to boycott the elections.


Bare-foot campaigner
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, May 7
An Akali MLA has been campaigning for Mr Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa, SAD candidate from the Sangrur constituency, barefooted since April 22, the day Mr Dhindsa filed the nomination papers.

The MLA, Mr Gobind Singh Kanjhla, vowed that he would not put on shoes till Mr Dhindsa became a Union Minister. He said his wife, Ms Mukhtiar Kaur, his daughter-in-law, Ms Ravinder Kaur, and his sons, Mr Amandeep Singh and Mr Gagandeep Singh, were also campaigning for Mr Dhindsa.

Mr Kanjhla has won the Sherpur Assembly seat in this constituency in 1985 and 1997 on SAD ticket and in 2002 as an Independent.


Federation posers for Santosh Chowdhary
Our Correspondent

Phagwara, May 7
Mr Sham Lal, President and Mr Nirmal Singh, general secretary of the General Categories Welfare Federation, Punjab today released second list of 10 questions to Ms Santosh Chowdhary, Congress candidate from Phillaur (Reserved) Lok Sabha constituency, who has been MP twice and seeking votes again.

1. You have claimed having distributed 99.17 per cent MPLAD Fund. How much out of this was given to 65 per cent general categories?

2. How many times did you raise in Parliament the issues of constituency’s development and living conditions of poor Dalits and commoners?

3. Did you contributed during your tenure to the development of industry, education and health?

4. What was the share of the General Categories and SC categories of the concessions granted on priority on MP’s recommendation?

5. Have you been truthful regarding your assets declared in your nomination?

6. Why condition of roads, sewerage and drinking water so poor in Phagwara and Dalit areas of the constituency.

7. Aren’t you making reservation hereditary and family-centric as your father-in-law late Chaudhary Sunder Singh was an MLA/MP almost for five decades, you have been an MP for two terms and your husband Ram Lubhaya is an MLA?

8. Are you a Dalit even after being a millionaire?

9. Would you discriminate again between GC and SC categories in the distribution of grants?

10. Aren’t you giving the tie to secular claims of Congress party by adopting the policy of caste-based reservations?

The federation leaders maintained that if Ms Chowdhary did not reply, it would mean that she, either, did not have answers or she wanted to ignore the 65 per cent GC categories people.


India in debt trap: Manmohan
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, May 7
A former Union Finance Minister and senior Congress leader, Dr Manmohan Singh, has chided the NDA government for the throwing the Indian economy into a debt trap by encouraging large-scale deficit financing, both at the Central and state levels.

Addressing a press conference here yesterday, he expressed concern over the increasing gap between revenue and expenditure which, he said, had lead to a serious financial crisis.

He said more than 90 per cent of the states’ resources event into paying interest, salaries and other establishment costs, leaving little for welfare and development schemes. He said the solution to this growing deficit lay in improving revenue collection, better financial and Budget planning, besides cutting down on non-development expenditure.

Lashing out at the rosy picture being projected by the NDA through its ‘India Shining’ campaign, he said both the Prime Minister and the Deputy Prime Minister had admitted that India was not shinning, especially in villages and poverty-stricken areas. The sordid incident of sari distribution in the Prime Minister’s Lucknow constituency bore testimony to their bogus campaign.

Dr Manmohan Singh said the present turnaround in the foreign exchange position was a result of the sound economic policy and reforms initiated by the Congress during the 1991-1996 rule.

He said in spite of foodgrain stocks piling in the country during the past few years, it was indeed shocking that a large section of Indians continued to live in utter poverty and were unable to manage one square meal a day.

Commenting on the SAD charge regarding pushing Punjab into turmoil in the early eighties, he said the Akali Dal was responsible for creating such a situation in Punjab for its selfish interest. However, he said Congress President Sonia Gandhi, during her visit to Amritsar, had expressed regret to the Sikh community for that dark period. He added that Sikhs had already forgiven the Congress and had backed the party in Punjab and Delhi.

The Rajya Sabha member said he had come to his home town to canvass for his old colleague, Mr R.L. Bhatia.


Badal no friend of farmers: CM
Our Correspondent

Gurdaspur, May 7
The Punjab Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, today accused the SAD chief, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, of mortgaging the interests of the state to the BJP for his personal gains.

Addressing half a dozen rallies and roadside meetings during road shows in Gurdaspur, Kahnuwan and Kotli Surat Malhi in support of the Congress candidate and former Union Minister, Mrs Sukhbans Kaur Bhinder, the Chief Minister alleged that the NDA government had failed on all fronts like economy, agriculture, social and industrial development.

Making a scathing attack on the NDA leaders and Mr Badal for taking credit for the achievements during their tenures, the Chief Minister said these achievements were the result of the policies mooted by the previous Congress governments at the Centre.

Lambasting Mr Badal, Capt Amarinder Singh said the SAD had always tried to exploit the farming community. He said it was the Congress government which not only lifted the entire foodgrains but also ensured speedy payment of the produce to the farmers.

Mr Badal was shedding crocodile tears for the farmers and other sections of society. He also accused Mr Badal of sidelining the Taksali and honest Akali families like those of Jathedar Mohan Singh Tur. Capt Amarinder Singh said Mr Badal was not a friend of the farmers. Instead he was a friend of the Haryana Chief Minister as he gave the river waters of Punjab just to secure Orbit Resort in Gurgaon and a farm at Balasar.

Mrs Bhinder sought a package of concessions for the farmers living in the border areas. She demanded a package for the industry. A former MP and kisan union leader, Mr Bhupinder Singh Mann, urged the people to vote for the Congress. The Sehajdhri Sikh Federation announced its unconditional support for the Congress.


Bhattal confident of winning all seats
Our Correspondent

Tarsika (Amritsar), May 7
The Deputy Chief Minister and Agriculture Minister, Ms Rajinder Kaur Bhattal, said today that the Central Government had given its formal approval to provide Rs 5,500 per acre for about 16.25 lakh acres earmarked for the diversification of crops in the state. Claiming credit for the scheme. Ms Bhattal said this would boost the stagnant agriculture economy of the state which had been shackled by two pattern forcing many farmers to commit suicide.

Ms Bhattal said the party was confident of winning all seats in the state. The successful rallies of Ms Sonia Gandhi had created a flutter among the SAD-BJP alliance. The party was unitedly fighting the election to ensure the victory of the candidates.

Later, the film star and star campaigner of the party Sunil Dutt ridiculed the NDA government for dividing the nation on the basis of caste and religion. He said the communal divide was threatening the socio-economic fabric of the country and added that the unity in diversity was the hallmark of our well established democracy where people of different religions live in harmony and work for the progress of the country.

The Congress leader, a strong votary for the upliftment of farmers, said more than 60 per cent of the rural Indian population had been living a life of penury. He said for the NDA India was shining only in the large metros and their heart beats for the richie rich, while the poor had no place on their agenda.

Patting the robust Punjabis and their efforts to usher in and her Green Revolution Mr Dutt said he always felt at home whenever he visited Punjab. He expressed grief over the turmoil which had engulfed the state.

In the end Mr R.L. Bhatia Congress candidate, having a dig at Mr Navjot Singh Sidhu said he was quite fit and healthy and would not retire while the Prime Minister needed a couple of people to help him stand should retire as suggested by Mr Sidhu.


Hanspal promises to release old-age pension
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, May 7
Addressing an election rally of Mr Arvind Khanna, Congress candidate from Sangrur Parliamentary constituency, here last night Mr H.S. Hanspal, President, Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee, stated that the payments of old-age pensions and ‘Ashirbad’ scheme would be made to the beneficiaries immediately after the Lok Sabha elections as funds for the purpose had already been received by the respective Deputy Commissioners.

Mr Hanspal said though the Congress High Command had decided not to allot party ticket to the sitting MLAs for the Lok Sabha elections, but Ms Sonia Gandhi gave the ticket to Mr Arvind Khanna from Sangrur, so that after winning the election he could team up with Mr Rahul Gandhi and Ms Priyanka Gandhi.

Mr Arvind Khanna, who is also the chairman of Ummed Khanna Foundation, a social organisation, said he had provided jobs to a large number of women by forming “Umeed Mahila Manch” in about 200 villages, besides providing financial assistance to hundreds of youth clubs and religious organisations through his foundation.

Among others who spoke on the occasion were Mr Surinder Singla, MLA from Bathinda, Rana Gurmit Singh Sodhi, political secretary to the Chief Minister Punjab and Mr Jasbir Singh, Chairman, Punjab Agro Industries.


Rana promises special economic zone
Our Correspondent

Kapurthala, May 7
Rana Gurjit Singh, a Congress nominee from Jalandhar Lok Sabha seat, has promised to set up “special economic zone” at Jalandhar for the promotion of industries and other business activities once he is elected.

Addressing a Congress election rally organised at the local Shaliamar garden here today he said he would persuade the Central government to open the Indo-Pakistan borders in Punjab for promoting business between traders of both the countries. He also promised to set up a dental college in the Kapurthala Assembly area.

He criticised Mr I.K. Gujral, former Prime Minister, for setting up a science city in the name of his mother on a land which was acquired for setting up an Airport.


Call to boycott polls
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, May 7
Under the banner “Votan the boycott karo”, a campaign started by the Punjab Radical Students Union (PRSU), the Kirti Mazdoor Union (KRM), and the Zamhoori Morcha, Punjab, in villages of Sangrur district.

In a press note here yesterday, Mr Harbans Sonu (PRSU) and Mr Kulwinder Bunti (KMU), said activists of their organisations were distributing pamphlets, urging the people to boycott elections. They said besides nukud nataks (street plays), election symbol “Bakri” was also being staged, telling the people to shun political leaders as they did not bother about public after elections.

They also stated that activists of their organisations were also persuading people not to cast votes as most of the political leaders supported capitalistic system which would “ruin” economy of the country.


Poll overview
People-related issues sidelined
P.P.S. Gill
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 7
Active, open campaigning for the Lok Sabha election will close in Punjab tomorrow evening. At the end of the roadshows and ad campaigns in the media, din raised by the political parties will fade into silence. The campaigns did not throw any light on the people-related issues, but generated only heat and political acrimony.

“Netas” and “abhinetas” were among those who campaigned for political parties and friends, lent their voice, acted their part, and departed.

Having watched the trends and trails of the poll campaigns of political parties and their candidates, it transpires there was no “wave” as such. Development was one word repeatedly heard throughout the electioneering. It's echo reverberated in all the 13 Lok Sabha constituencies. It seemed as if the contestants were seeking vote as a “price” for development.

Without undermining the presence of smaller political parties and the Independents, out of 24-odd parties that have put up candidates, the main contest, however, remains between the Congress along with the CPI and the CPM and the Akali-BJP combine.

The main focus of the Congress was on corruption, as in the assembly elections in 2002. Its shameful and unethical ad blitzkrieg and personalised hate campaign against the Akalis and vice- versa only made campaigns more bitter and vitriolic. Their competitive sleaze campaign even attracted the attention of Akal Takht. Does it mean that a political party that is less corrupt will get the maximum mileage in terms of seats in the Lok Sabha?

Another factor of the campaign was rousing of religious passions and scratching wounds that have barely coagulated. These wounds were inflicted on the state's body politics and psyche by Operation Bluestar at the Golden Temple in June, 1984, and events that unfolded thereafter.

Incidentally, the polling date, May 10, is close to the date when the anniversary of Operation Bluestar is observed. If the Akalis are harping on this, the Congress has to blame itself since it has given tickets to Mr Jagdish Tytler and Mr Sajjan Kumar, whose names figured in the anti-Sikh riots following the assassination of Indira Gandhi.

The campaigns also saw switching of political loyalties by leaders of the Congress, the SAD and the BJP. They, after having had the best of benefits over a period of time, suddenly felt “suffocated” and deserted for foster parents simply because they were denied the ticket to contest.

In the campaigns, the Congress was seen trying to put up a brave front given its in-house infighting and deep, wide dissidence or among the Akalis and BJP workers, though yoked together, pulling in different directions or even Akalis vs Akalis because of inherent factionalism in their brand of politics.

While planning strategies for sustainable campaigns, caste or community surfaced prominently in the political arithmetic in all 117 assembly segments. If that be so, the relations too played a crucial role. No political party let go an opportunity to win them over, just as they vied to visit known “deras” in and outside Punjab to seek electoral support from babas and sants.

One peculiar feature of the electioneering that emerged was that money and muscle power will come to the fore. Punjab has had a track record of peaceful polling. Seldom have there been incidents of booth capturing or re-poll. However, given the sensitivity of these elections, as political stakes are high, paramilitary forces have been requisitioned in some constituencies.

The campaign saw the Akalis whip up dormant resentment against the government, saying the state was governed in the past over two years primarily through police and vigilance. They recalled the social and welfare schemes launched by them and how the same were abandoned.

Since the Akalis have a strong rural vote bank and they thrive on empathy of farmers, Scheduled Castes and ahrtiyas, the problems that suited them the best were repeatedly highlighted. The way kisan vote swings will make a major difference in the outcome of results, notwithstanding the support the BKU has extended to the Congress, as there are several factions of this “apolitical” organisation. The issue of electricity bills also emerged as a major irritant.

On the other hand, the Congress impressed on the farmers that all the procurement operations, involving wheat and paddy, since 2002 were smooth and swift and payments were neither delayed nor was there corruption. Farmers, who were sore over delayed payment of sugarcane arrears, were explained the mechanism and hurdles involved.

The campaigns, by and large, remained low on voters' enthusiasm as scramble to get the maximum seats kept the politicians on their toes and pussyfoot around the voters.

There were nearly 600-odd election-related complaints. Most of these were by the Akalis and pertained to interference and intimidation of voters by police officials.


Keep on-leave officers out of last places
of posting: EC

Saurabh Malik
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 7
In less than three days before the Lok Sabha poll, the Election Commission of India (ECI) has reportedly asked the Punjab Government to ensure that the on-leave officers — directed to be transferred out on the basis of poll-related complaints — were not be seen anywhere in their last places of posting during the elections.

Though the authorities in the Home Department, Punjab, were maintaining silence over the issue, sources revealed that the ECI had further warned the officers of strict action in case the orders were violated. The instructions, they added, were received by the Punjab Government last evening.

The directions are significant as several Punjab police officers, including a Senior Superintendent of Police, had proceeded on leave soon after their transfers were ordered by the ECI.

When contacted, Punjab’s Additional Director-General of Police Shashi Kant, in charge of the election cell set up by the Punjab police, refused to comment on the issue.

A senior officer, on the other hand, said several senior functionaries in the police department were of the firm opinion that the transferred officers should be shifted out instead of being allowed to frustrate the orders by proceeding on leave.

A large number of political parties were also of the same view. Members were alleging that the shifting orders were being rendered “useless” as the transferred officers, instead of leaving their last places of posting, were staying back and wielding influence over the voters.

In fact, members of the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) had shot a complaint to the ECI. They had alleged that the government was deliberately not relieving the officers even though their transfer orders were passed by the ECI after considering all the facts mentioned in the complaints against them.

Describing the act as “serious”, the SAD secretary, Dr Daljit Singh Cheema, had added that the entire process of not relieving the transferred officers, and allowing them to proceed on leave, amounted to a violation of the model code of conduct.

It may be recalled that Moga SSP Mukhwinder Singh Chhina had proceeded on leave after the ECI ordered his transfer. He had allegedly attended a political meeting organised at the residence of Punjab’s former Chief Minister Harcharan Singh Brar. His daughter-in-law was the Congress candidate from the Faridkot parliamentary constituency.

Another officer, Mr Rajinder Singh, posted as Inspector-General of Police, at Patiala, had also proceeded on three week’s leave after the ECI recommended his transfer following complaints against him. The commission had claimed that the officer was being transferred from the post as he had failed to discharge his duty in a free and fair manner.


Shiv Sena (Rashtrawadi) for BSP candidates
Our Correspondent

Phillaur, May 7
The Shiv Sena (Rashtrawadi) Punjab has announced to support the candidates of the Bahujan Samaj Party for all 13 Lok Sabha seats. Sena’s vice-president Sandeep Daurroch stated this here today.

Landing Bahujan Samaj Party Punjab convener Satnam Singh Kainth, Mr Avtar Singh Karimpuri and BSP chief Ms Mayawati for their struggle for the uplift of the poor and safeguarding interests of Dalits, he said the Sena would form a third front against the Congress the Shiromani Akali Dal and the BJP in the state.


233 Phillaur polling booths sensitive
Our Correspondent

Phillaur, May 7
About 233 polling booths have been identified as sensitive and eight as super-sensitive in the Phillaur Lok Sabha seat, whereas 257 sensitive and five super-sensitive booths have been identified in the Jalandhar Lok Sabha seat.

This was disclosed by the Deputy Commissioner (Jalandhar)-cum Returning Officer for Phillaur and Jalandhar Lok Sabha seats, Mr Ashok Kumar Gupta here today. Mr Gupta said more than 7,000 police personnel besides three companies of paramilitary forces would be deputed in 10 Assembly segments falling in Jalandhar district. He said 12,21,443 voters would caste their votes in 1109 polling booths for the Jalandhar Lok Sabha seat, while 11,81,507 voters could exercise their voting rights in 1,186 polling booths in the Phillaur Lok Sabha seat. He added that EVMs would be sent to each polling booth 12 hours before the polling.

Mr Gupta said any voter could caste vote by showing his or her photo identity card issued by the Election Commission or driving licence/or a document of a property purchased before March 31, 2004, or any bank or post office pass book, pension pay order, SC/BC certificate, retirement or freedom fighter certificates, railway identity card or handicap certificate, or service identity card or arms licence, widow/old age pension or identity cards of any educational institution.


Plus two results declared

Mohali, May 7
The result of senior secondary examination (science and commerce groups) held in March by the Punjab School Education Board was declared today.

According to a press note issued by the board, 30,356 students appeared in the examination and 21,841 were declared passed. The pass percentage was 72.16.

As many as 20,876 students appeared in the science examination as regular candidates and 14,555 cleared it. The pass percentage in this category was 69.72.

The result gazette will be available to the public at the board’s textbook sale depots at the district headquarters at 3 pm today. Detailed results will be available from midnight between May 8 and 9 on www.indiaresult.com and www.schoolnetindia.com.

The result will also be available on RWorld of Reliance India mobiles, SMS of Spice and telephone through the automated result inquiry system/interactive voice response system. — OC


Encroachment on PSEB land overlooked
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, May 7
The local administration has turned a blind eye to the ongoing encroachment of prime land, worth over Rs 1 crore, of the Old Power House of 132 KV sub station, Naraingarh, on the Amritsar-Lahore road .

Official of the PSEB had a tough time today to get an FIR registered against the alleged culprits who constructed a big wall and put up an iron gate to encroach on about 2,000 yards of the land yesterday. Mr Parmjit Singh, Additional Senior Engineer, Grid Maintenance, (Protection and Maintenance), failed to get an FIR registered against the culprits despite his best efforts. He alleged that armed persons ensured the construction of the wall over two days. The wall divided the Old and New Power Houses even as the department had obtained a stay order from the local SDM. However, the alleged culprits claimed that they were in legal possession of the land. Certain officials of the PSEB were creating trouble unnecessarily, they said.

The Deputy Commissioner, Mr Raminder Singh, failed to take timely action to save the government land from encroachment though the matter was brought to his notice by senior PSEB officials promptly. Though no FIR has yet been registered, the PSEB has made a written complaint to the SHO, Chheherta, besides bringing the matter to the notice of senior police and revenue officials. However, no action has been taken so far.

Adjoining the encroached land is a residential colony of the PSEB staff, but nobody came forward to stop the encroachment as the alleged culprits were armed with firearms and other lethal weapons.

The said land was acquired by the Land Acquisition Collector, Amritsar, on March 31, 1959, for the construction of a 33/11 KV substation. Owing to the upgradation of the Power House from 33/11 KV to a 132 KV substation, the Old Power House was dismantled in the seventies. Mr Parmjit Singh claimed that the land remained under the possession of the PSEB since then though additional land was also acquired for upgradation of the substation.

The first FIR was registered against the alleged culprits on February 9 last year when they made their first attempt to encroach upon the land. It is learnt that the Additional Senior Engineer had written to the higher authorities against the then SSP and other high officials of the department concerned complaining against their indifferent attitude and extending help the encroachers but no action was taken. The persons who made a fresh attempt to encroach on the prime government land allegedly enjoy the patronage of one of the OSDs to the Chief Minister. Interestingly, despite the fact that the PSEB has got all the revenue records to prove its possession of the land, revenue officials claim that the PSEB has failed to prove that it possessed the land.

Officials of the PSEB, on condition of anonymity, alleged that the district administration, including revenue officials, had been conniving with the alleged culprits for encroaching on the prime land.


Flaw in floating of tenders alleged
Our Correspondent

Kharar, May 7
Five local municipal councillors, in a letter to the Principal Secretary, Local Self-Government, Punjab, today alleged that the president and the executive officer of the Municipal Council had misused their powers while floating tenders for various works in the town. They demanded a high-level probe into the matter.

The five councillors — Mr Roshan Lal, Mr Om Parkash, Mr Ranbir Singh, Mr Gurnam Singh and Mrs Raghbir Kaur — alleged that tenders worth about Rs 47 lakh were floated. They said tenders for Rs 23 lakh were floated on February 5 and for Rs 24 lakh on February 25. They alleged that the tenders were allotted by the authorities concerned to certain contractors close to them. In certain cases, work orders had also been given.

The complainants alleged that the powers given under Section 35 of the Punjab Municipal Act, 1911, had been misused. Under this Section, powers had been given to the president and the executive officer to get works worth Rs 50,000 done in cases of emergency, which had to be got cleared at the next meeting of the civic body.

The councillors alleged that neither had the tenders been advertised in any newspaper nor had the works been cleared by the council’s House, even though three monthly meetings had been held after floating the tenders. They demanded an inquiry into various alleged irregularities.

Mr Jagjit Singh Shahi, Executive Officer, denying the allegations, said a resolution had been cleared by the civic body in 1999, which delegated powers to the executive officer to get works worth Rs 50,000 done. The resolution had been cleared by the government and such a practice had been going on since then. But the works were got done only after completing all formalities. Mr Shahi said audit officials had never raised any objection in this regard.

He said if the councillors wanted to withdraw the powers delegated to him, they could get another resolution cleared by the council.


AISAD names 2 for SGPC poll
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, May 7
The All-India Shiromani Akali Dal (AISAD), led by Mr Jaswant Singh Mann, today announced two candidates for the SGPC general elections scheduled for July 11.

Mr Hardip Singh Bajwa and Dr Gurbachan Singh Kalsi, senior functionaries of the AISAD, will be the candidates from Batala and Amritsar (South), respectively. Mr Mann said the remaining candidates would be announced shortly. A two-day meeting of all rival Akali factions had been called on May 22 and 23 to form a strategy for the SGPC elections.


2 killed, 13 hurt in bus accident
Our Correspondent

Moga, May 7
Two persons were killed on the spot while 13 others were injured, four of then seriously, in a bus accident near here last night, according to reports. It is learnt that the bus belonging to a private company, was coming from Kotkapura to Moga. Running at a high speed, the driver lost the balance and the bus dashed against the outer wall of a power house of the Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB), about 7 km from here, on the Moga-Kotkapura road and overturned.

The persons killed in the accident were identified as Jaspal Singh, a painter and Gurprakash Singh, alias Pappu. The 13 injured included Mangat Ram, Gurpreet Singh, Jagtar Singh, Beant Singh, Harminder Singh, Sonu, Hem Chand, Karamjit Singh, Gurdeep Singh, Swaran Singh, Amarjit Singh and others.

The Moga police has registered a case. The injured were taken to the local Civil Hospital. The driver of the bus has reportedly been arrested.


Accused's plea dismissed in cable scam case
High Court Correspondent

Chandigarh, May 7
A Division Bench of the Punjab and Haryana High Court today dismissed a petition filed by one of the accused in the Amritsar cable-cum-sex scandal.

The writ was filed by Sanjiv Kumar, an accused in the case, to quash the FIR registered against him by the Amritsar Police in the case. During the resumed hearing the Bench allowed him to withdraw the writ and dismissed it as withdrawn.

The court had earlier ordered that Sanjiv Kumar or any of his family members could be summoned for questioning by the police only during the day times. Today, a Bench headed by Mr Chief Justice B.K. Roy also withdrew this protective cover. It also added that any petition filed by the petitioner's father or any other relative be listed before this Bench only.

The matter, which was earlier listed before Mr Justice S.S. Grewal, was subsequently transferred to this Bench.

The matter had been brought before the High Court by the Punjab Human Rights Organisation, through its chief, Justice Ajit Singh Bains. The court had ordered the CBI to investigate the matter.


HC orders sealing of FCI godowns
Tribune News Service

Bareta (Mansa), May 7
The Punjab and Haryana High Court today ordered the sealing of godowns of the Food Corporation of India (FCI) located here.

Mr R.K. Chaudhary, Deputy Commissioner, said the high court orders had been conveyed to the district administration by the Deputy Advocate-General.

He said apart from it, the high court had also ordered for taking samples of rice lying in these godowns and submit its report to it.

He said he had constituted a committee under the chairmanship of Additional Deputy Commissioner, Mr Sukhwinder Singh. The committee would collect samples of the rice lying in the godowns.


Our High Court Correspondent

Chandigarh, May 7
A Division Bench of the High Court today directed the Commandant General, Home Guards, Punjab, to pass within four months a speaking order on the representation of 34 Home Guards to regularise their services and also ensure parity in their pay scales.

In their petition the Home Guards of Gurdaspur district had claimed that despite being in service since the past 10-25 years, their services had not been regularised. Also, their salary was not equivalent to what is being given to regularised Home Guards.


Mother held on charge of selling girl
Our Correspondent

Barnala, May 7
Two persons, Nirbhai Singh and Ranjit Kaur, have been arrested on the charge of buying and selling a minor girl.

Stating this here today, Mr Amit Prasad, SSP, Barnala police district, said that following a complaint lodged with the Tapa police by Mr Gurdeep Singh, the case pertaining to the sale of a minor girl by her mother had come to light. Mr Prasad said Nirmal Kaur, mother of the minor girl, Manpreet Kaur, allegedly sold her for Rs 7,000 to Nirbhai Singh, (25).

He further said that Nirbhai Singh, after taking the girl along with him, allegedly raped her. The relatives of the girl tried to cover up the sale of the girl saying Manpreet Kaur had been married to Nirbhai Singh.

Mr Prasad said the Tapa police had registered a case against four persons, Nirbhai Singh, Ranjit Kaur, Nirmal Kaur and Jagga Singh under Sections 366A, 372, 373, 376, 506, 109 and 120-B of the IPC. He did not rule out involvement of more persons in the case.


Liquor seized, one held
Our Correspondent

Jalandhar, May 7
The district police claims to have busted a gang of bootleggers with the arrest of one person and seized 720 bottles of Indian-made-foreign-liquor from him being smuggled from Chandigarh.

Mr G.P.S. Bhullar, SSP, said here today that following a tip-off, a naka was laid near Narula Palace and a person carrying a bag was intercepted. The search of the bag led to recovery of 12 bottles of IMFL. He was later identified as Deepak Kumar Verma of Gagan Vihar locality here and was arrested.

During interrogation, the arrested person revealed that he was part of a three-member gang. He said other members of the gang were Viapn Kumar of Mithu Basti and Rinku of Basti Peer Dad locality. The police also seized 59 cartons, containing 708 bottles of IMFL, from Gagan Vihar colony following revelations by Deepak.


Post-mortem files recovered, clerk held
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, May 7
In a chance recovery the Civil Surgeon’s office today got the possession of all files which were stolen in three consecutive thefts committed by an employee of the same department .

The employee, Deepak Kumar, a clerk, who was transferred to Kairon village following complaints of drug addiction has been handed over to the police.

Dr H.S. Gill, Civil Surgeon, said Deepak who had stolen the important files pertaining to post-mortems, apart from death and birth certificates in the three consecutive thefts since May 3 would be placed under suspension. These included 146 post-mortem files of slain militants who were killed in various encounters . Had the department failed to recover the files it would have faced difficulty in pursuing various court and CBI cases.

Dr Gill said the alleged culprit had approached the scrapdealer to sell the important files. However, the scrap dealer got suspicious and immediately approached the Civil Surgeon’s office which led to the arrest of Deepak.


Accused flees from hospital

Jalandhar, May 7
The main accused in the Simmi murder case managed to flee from the local Civil Hospital late last night, where he was admitted, following complaint of severe cramp in stomach.

The three Punjab police personnel, who were on duty, were suspended immediately. Raj Kumar, a resident of Nathuchahal village in Kapurthala, was arrested on April 19 for his alleged involvement in the murder of an eight-year-old Simranjit Kaur. He was later remanded in judicial custody by a local court. — OC


2 arrested for cop’s murder
Our Correspondent

Hoshiarpur May, 7
The district police has solved a blind murder case of Darshan Singh, constable, within two days of his murder. This was disclosed by Mr Lok Nath Angra, SSP, Hoshiarpur here today.

The body of Darshan Singh was found on the roadside near Garhshanker on May, 4. A case under Section 302 of the IPC was registered in this regard.

Mr Angra said Parminder Singh, alias Billa of Pathlaba, and Mohan Lal, a rickshaw puller of Garhshanker were arrested in this connection. He said on May 3, Darshan Singh was standing in front of Garhshanker Bus Stand for going home. On seeing him alone, Parminder Singh along with his accomplice, Mohan Lal, came to him in rickshaw. After Darshan Singh boarded the rickshaw, they took him to the Chandigarh road and hit him with bricks with the intension to loot him. As a result he died on the spot. 


Car thieves open fire at cops, flee
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, May 7
Four car-borne looters, including two girls, today opened fire at a police naka, which was installed after a tip-off near the railway station here. One of the suspects was reportedly in the retaliatory fire by the police.

However, the suspects managed to dodge the police. A case under Sections 307, 353, 379, 382, 411, 186 and 34 of the IPC and Sections 25, 54 and 59 of the Arms Act has been registered.

The suspects had been identified as Vijay Kumar Topi of the C-Division area, Jasbir Singh Sabi, Ranjit Kaur, a clerk in the Irrigation Department and her sister Simran Kaur, all residents of the New Amritsar area, the police said.


University staff violate code?

Amritsar may 7
Some employees of Guru Nanak Dev University have violated the Model Code of Conduct by making speeches in favour of the Congress candidate, Mr R.L. Bhatia, last evening on the university campus. More than 70 persons attended the poll campaigning.

Prof H.S. Sidhu of the Economics Department admitted making appeals himself and also admitted that some other professors had made similar appeals.

Dr Amarjit Singh Sidhu of the MBA Department denied any campaigning. Mr Sukhdev Singh Chhina, security officer, also denied any such programme. However, some professors said he had given a speech there. — OC

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