L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Sevadar untraceable even after 3 years
Amarjit Thind
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 3
The police is yet to make any headway in the disappearance of an elderly woman sevadar from Alamgir Sahib Gurdwara even after three years. The main accused in the case is an SGPC member and some staff members at the gurdwara.

Bibi Mohinder Kaur used to stay at the gurdwara for days and perform seva and do odd jobs on the premises. She was liked by the other sevadars and the sangat alike. A large number of young women of nearby villages used to seek her advice on various issues.

She went missing on April 18, 2001. Her relatives in a compliant to the police accused gurdwara cook Harbans Singh and local SGPC member Gurmail Singh Sangowal behind her disappearance, a charge denied by the duo.

Her relatives alleged that she had come to know of certain wrongdoings the two had allegedly done and had told them to mend their ways or be prepared for the consequences since she would tell the sangat about their misdeeds.

Her sons Tek Singh and Gurmeet Singh told TNS that on April 18, she had a tiff with Harbans Singh since he was stealing eatables and items from the stores of the gurdwara. She had reprimanded him on earlier occasions also but he rebuked her and also threatened that she would have to pay the price for not minding her own business.

They said after she went missing, they brought the matter to the notice of Sangowal who instead of doing the needful did not allow them to file a report with the police on the plea that she had gone on a pilgrimage to Hazoor Sahib in Nanded, Maharasthra. After they exerted pressure on the SGPC member through some influential persons of the area, Sangowal flared up and challenged them to do whatever they wanted.

He also used derogatory terms for our mother and cast aspersions on her character. They have got to know that she has been killed by the accused, they revealed.

Following this, they reported the matter to the police and a missing report was registered but no investigations were conducted since the Akalis were in power at that time. A case under Section 364, 120-B, IPC, was registered later at Sadar police station against six persons.

All of them applied for bail but were denied it by the court of ADSJ Baldev Singh Sodhi on March 3, 2004, with the observation that the custodial interrogation of the accused was necessary for arriving at the truth.

Her sons have urged the CM, the DGP and the local police to do the needful and arrest the accused at the earliest.

Meanwhile, Sangowal pleaded innocence and said an inquiry conducted on May 20, 2004, had not found him guilty of the charges. 


Scam accused alleges threat to life
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 3
The main accused in the multi-crore financial scam which rocked the city about two years ago, Sandeep Dhir, alias Vicky Dhir today said that he was ready to disclose names of all the people who owed him money provided his life and that of his family members was safe. He said under oath that one of his debtor Rajeev Malhotra was threatening him not to reveal their name.

In an affidavit given to the press today, Dhir alleged, “Since morning today 3rd day of June, 2004 I have been constantly receiving direct calls on my mobile and in my house telephone in Jalandhar that he will get me eliminated and my entire family will be falsely framed in criminal cases if I did not withdraw my statement given in FIR No 388”.

However, Mr Malhotra denied these allegations saying that it was a ploy to tarnish his image. Mr Malhotra claimed that certain vested interests were bent on damaging his image and reputation and for this reason they were trying to circulate canards against him.

He said, he was prepared to face any inquiry. Mr Malhotra said, he would take legal recourse to ensure that his image is not tarnished further and he is not dragged into a false case.

Dhir said in his affidavit that in November 2002, he suffered financial losses and the people who owed him money refused to pay back. With the result, he had to sell his house and farmhouse and other properties to repay his creditors. But he could not pay money to all his creditors. He said, he had no option but to shift out from Ludhiana to Jalandhar.

He claimed that he had made open statement during an investigation in Sarabha Nagar police station here where he had revealed the names of industrialists who owed him money. This statement had irritated some of them who were now trying to intimidate him. 


New Returning Officer for SGPC poll
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 3
Deputy Commissioner-cum-District Electoral Officer Anurag Verma has informed that District Development and Panchayat Officer Mohinder Singh Grewal will be the new Returning Officer for 71-Ludhiana City (south) constituency to conduct forthcoming elections to the Shiromani Gurdwara Prabandhak Committee (board) in place of Mrs Rakhi Gupta Bhandari, ACA, PUDA.

Giving more details, the Deputy Commissioner said in this regard a notification had been issued on June 2.

Accordingly, Mr Grewal, the new Returning officer has issued the required notice to initiate the process of election in the constituency. As per the notice the nominations for Ludhiana City (South) constituency would be would be received in the office of DDPO in Mini Secretariat, June 8 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

On June 9, the list of the nominations would be displayed on the notice board outside the DDPO Office and the scrutiny would be carried out on June 11. Claims and counter claims could be submitted with Deputy commissioner on June 14 - 15, which would be disposed off on June 18 by the Deputy Commissioner.

As per the programme, June 21 has been fixed for withdrawal of nomination papers. The symbols would be allotted on June 22 by the Returning Officer. The polling would be held on June 11 and counting would be held on July 15, he added.


Robbers’ gang busted
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 3
The Jagraon police today claimed to have solved a number of robbery cases by busting a gang of four robbers, who were planning robberies in the district. The four robbers have been identified as Gurdeep Singh, alias Geeka of Sahouli village, Surinder Singh, alias Sindi, Ramampreet Singh, alias Rinki of Abbuwal village, and Gurdeep Singh, alias Deepa of Sohian village. 

Their fifth accomplice Devinder Singh, alias Kaka of same village, however, managed to escape.

The accused were travelling in a car when the police nabbed them. The police recovered 1.38 bore country made pistol, a 12 bore single barrel gun, seven cartridges and a knife from their possession.

On being interrogated the robbers admitted to have robbed five migrant labourers of their cash on May 31. The police claimed that they were planning a robbery on the premises of Mittal Feed Store at Bhundri village and admitted to be following the owner of the shop for the past three days. The Sidhwan Bet police has registered a case. 


SHO not arrested despite case: IHRO
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 3
The International Human Rights Organisation (IHRO) today expressed concern over the delay caused by the Phillaur police in arresting an SHO who has allegedly sexually harassed and tortured a woman in custody. He has already been booked for the crime.

The human rights NGO, in February 2003, had put the matter of the Dalit woman allegedly hassled by SHO of Phillaur Jaswinderpal Singh and others before the Punjab State Human Rights Commission (PSHRC). After registering a case, the PSHRC asked the Principal Secretary (Home) and Inspector-General of Police (Litigation) to submit their reports, said IHRO chairperson D.S. Gill here today.

Despite repeated orders of the state commission, the Jalandhar police has been sitting over the matter for more than a year only to “shield” the culprits, he added. It had not submit its report by May 31, the last date of hearing of the complaint before a member of the commission, Mr V.K. Sibal, according to IHRO women’s wing activist Inderjeet Kaur, who represented the victim that day.

Meanwhile, the IHRO filed another complaint to the commission on behalf of its European chapter activist Joginder Singh Grewal, who too was kept in illegal police custody at Phillaur police station along with Raj Kumari and her son in a frame-up, alleged Mr Gill.

“According to Mr Joginder Singh, the motive of Joga Singh, the SHO concerned and two of his aides, was to grab his land and coerce him to part with a huge amount of money because of him being an NRI,” alleged Mr Gill.

He further alleged that Mr Grewal had to pay Rs 10,000 to the police to get himself freed from its clutches. “This is the fate of an NRI who visits his home and owns some property in India.”

“Unfortunately the State Human Rights Commission takes months and years to decide such cases and is engrossed in technicalities and rituals of law and procedures. The commission generally orders inquiries to be made by the same police which had done the wrongs. The wrongdoers then start further harassing the victims to take back their complaints from the commission which is a denial of justice to them,” alleged Mr Gill.

The IHRO has urged the commission and more doggedly the Punjab CM and the DGP to see reason and do the needful to establish rule of law in the state which has virtually become a ‘police state’ as such crimes are rampant and a routine affair in Punjab.


Cops try to improve their act
D.B. Chopra

Ludhiana, June 3
The law and order situation in the city has deteriorated. Recently three bodies were found in one day and three more a day later. Most of these were cases of murder. The spate of gruesome killings has come in the wake of an increase in number of roadside robberies in which people carrying cash were waylaid. Those who resisted were attacked with weapons.

The police is under heavy fire from traders, industrialists and politicians. The morale of the force is low and just a couple of days back, two cops who had beaten up a BJP man in a police station were suspended. Political interference in the working of the police has also reportedly demoralised the force. Recently, a couple of upright police officers, who had tried to teach a lesson to the son of a Punjab minister and his friend, were instead reprimanded by the angry minister.

While several old cases of sensational murders, like that of industrialist Nirmal Jain and Reetika, are still to be cracked, little headway has been made in some recent blind murders.

The police, stung by the recent spurt in incidents of snatching and robbery, is trying to salvage some of its pride by increasing vigil with in the city limits and toning up the force by reshuffling police officials.

The new judicial complex behind the mini secretariat, which houses offices of the Deputy Commissioner and the SSP, also used to witness brawls almost every other day. Now adequate number of policemen have been deputed in the complex at strategic points to prevent such incidents.

PCR cops have been posted at crucial places like the Bharat Nagar chowk who are on a constant alert.

Sources in the police department say that the reshuffle of police officials will also tone up the functioning of the force. The claim that the transfers had been made strictly on the basis of performance.

Much significance is being attached to the posting of Mr Rattan Singh Brar as the SHO of the Sadar police station. He has been rewarded for good performance as the SHO of the number 8 police station, where he successfully cracked some theft cases and kept crime under check in the area.

Similarly, Mr Harjinder Singh has been given the charge of the more important number 6 police station. As the head of the number 3 police station, he had busted a drug den being run in the area for the past 30 years.

The treatment meted out by the SSP to Mr Navrit Singh, SHO of the Shimla Puri police station, was also decided on the basis of merit. He has been sent to the traffic police as he reportedly earned a bad name for the force by allegedly trying to implicate a villager in a false case of poppy husk smuggling under the NDPS Act. But as the village panchayat gave an affidavit to the police authorities, narrating the real story. The matter was highlighted by several vernacular newspapers. The panchayat maintained that the man had been picked up from his house but shown as arrested from another village while carrying poppy husk.

The reshuffle the sources add, might instill a sense of duty in police officials and also tone up the routine working of the force without which it is not possible to contain the rising rate of crime in the city. 


LBP executive to meet tomorrow
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 3
The executive of the Lok Bhalai Party (LBP) will meet on June 5 to examine reasons behind the party’s defeat besides taking stock of the current political situation and chalk out its future strategy.

A spokesperson of the party said the meeting would be chaired by former Union Minister Balwant Singh Ramoowalia. 


One booked for eve-teasing
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, June 3
The Haibowal police yesterday registered a case under Sections 341,294 and 506 of the IPC following a complaint of eve-teasing boy Ms Ravinder Kaur, who lives in Ajit Nagar on the Ferozepur Road, against Bunty, who runs a medical store in the locality.

The complainant stated that the accused stopped her on the way on Wednesday, teased her and also threatened her.


The Jodhewal police yesterday registered a case under Sections 336,506 and 34 of the IPC on the statement of Mr Kuljit Singh, a resident of Dhola village, against his son Manvir Singh, alias Roda, who lives in Doraha and two other unknown persons accompanying him.

The complainant stated that he was married with Kulwinder Kaur and his son Manvir had been living separately. He further stated that Manvir came to his house along with two persons and intimidated and threatened him by firing in the air.

Knife seized

The Model Town police yesterday arrested Parminder Singh, of Shimla Puri and seized a kamanidar knife from him. He was booked under the Arms Act.

Liquor seized

The local police arrested two persons and recovered from them 33 bottles of IMFL.

According to information Head Constable Teja Singh of PP bus stand arrested Ranjit Singh of Amritsar from the area of truck union on Sidhwanbet road and recovered I bottle of whisky whereas Head Constable Jasmel Singh seized 17 bottles of IMFL from Sandip Singh, resident of Amritsar from the same area. Both had brought the liquor from Chandigarh for sale here. The accused have been booked under section 61/1/14 of Excise Act.


Violence at octroi post
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, June 3
Reports of alleged harassment of the public by the octroi contractor in Jagraon are on the rise. The bag and baggage of people entering the town are subject to checking even if some one has paid the octroi.

Joginder Pal of Shiv Cold Drink Kothe Pona and his employees were fetching two crates of cold drinks to the city after paying Rs 11 as octroi vide receipt No. 26/2127 today.

They were intercepted at octroi post No. 5 by the employees of contractor Satnam Singh and Joginder Pal was allegedly beaten with a spade as he did not stop immediately.

The injured has been admitted to Civil Hospital, Jagraon.


Swindler held
Our Correspondent

Amloh, June 3
A police team led by Inspector Harbans Singh nabbed a swindler, Prem Chand, at the Dhoolanwala chowk here yesterday. He was produced in the court of Mr G.S. Dhillon, Chief Judicial Magistrate, Fatehgarh Sahib, today and sent to police custody till June 5.

Some affected persons, Mr Baljit Singh, Mr Gajjan Singh, Mr Ram Chand, Mr Surjan Singh and Mr Lal Chand, told Ludhiana Tribune that they had approached the court to get their money recovered from the accused, who, they said, had duped them of lakhs of rupees.

A deputation of farmers, shopkeepers and traders, led by Mr Sadhu Singh Dharamsot, MLA, Amloh, and Mr Baldev Singh Mianpur, state president, Bharat Kisan Union (Rajewal), in a representation made to Mr A.A. Sadiqqui, Director-General Police, during his visit to Mandi Gobindgarh, had alleged that Prem Chand, who has running a jewellery and a commission agent shop in the grain market at Sirhind, after cheating them of lakhs of rupees, had fled from Sirhind and was living in Chandigarh.

The DGP had referred the case to Mr S.K. Sharma, SSP, Fatehgarh Sahib, who got the matter probed through the DSP, Amloh, and a case was registered under Sections 420 and 406 of the IPC.


Family fears son kidnapped, case not registered
Our Correspondent

Mandi Ahmedgarh, June 3
A family has been shuttling from one police station of the city to another to get an FIR registered against the two persons, who had allegedly kidnapped their only breadwinner.

Mr Krishan Lal of the Gaushala Road area said his son, Om Parkash , alias Kuki (48), a transporter, had purchased a pickup van on hire purchase basis from a financier at Jalandhar bypass Ludhiana. Jasbir Singh of Jandali village and Billa of Dugri village had been plying the vehicle since August, 2003. They had promised to deposit the installments with the financier.

It was later found that they had not deposited the installments regularly. "The financier asked Kuki to deposit the dues and return the vehicle. Subsequently on May 26, Jasbir and Billa called Kuki to the Samrala chowk on the pretext of handing over the dues and the vehicle, said Krishan Lal.

Kuki left his home immediately but never returned. Krishan Lal urged the authorities to get an FIR registered against the accused. He said that his son's life was in danger. 


Rising fuel prices worry industrialists
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 3
Representatives of various small scale industrial units have expressed concern over the rising fuel prices. They pointed out that the prices of fuel were rising sharply and the government did not appear to be bothered about it. The Government of India was only talking of the hike in the diesel prices and not about petrol.

The President of the Apex Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Mr P.D. Sharma, said today that the Left parties were taking up the issue of diesel only and were silent about the petrol and industrial oil.

He pointed out that the state's re-rolling mills and forging industry were totally dependent on furnace oil. Whereas the cycle industry was dependent on fuel oils. In view of the rising prices the duties on furnace oil in particular need to be rationalised. The duties on all oils, including the fuel oil, need to be changed from advalorem to specific basis. The custom and excise duty should also be halved, he added.

Mr Sharma said in the Budget 2002-2003 cess of Rs 1,800 was levied for the development of the oil sector. This cess was in fact increased from Rs 900 to Rs 1,800. The oil sector was deregulated and there was hardly any need for such a heavy cess. This amount should be utilised to soften the prices.

He said the higher prices of fuel oils effect the manufacturing cost adversely and the entire economy gets affected. Exports were hurt. As such special care needs to be taken in softening the prices of these oils. He disclosed that the government had levied a surcharge of Rs 6 on petrol and this needs to be reduced to absorb the additional cost to the oil companies. Higher cost of petrol and diesel increases the transactional cost of business adversely.

The state government had levied 20 per cent sales tax on petroleum products. This tax should also be halved in view of this extraordinary situation. The total impact taxes on petrol and diesel is 138 and 57 per cent, respectively. Instead of increasing prices the high incidence of taxes should be reduced.


Chartered accountants meet
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 3
The Ludhiana branch of chartered accountants of the ICAI organised a seminar on accounting standards. The guest speaker was Mr Sunil Arora, FCA from Delhi. He explained various provisions of the accounting standards in detail. This was followed by a question-answer session.

A seminar on handling communication in the 21st century was also organised. Guest speaker was Mr I.D. Shukla from Chandigarh. He explained various techniques to improve communication skill and told the gathering that the communication skill was one of the most important aspect of every person, especially professionals.

A function to felicitate newly elected members of the Northern India Regional Council of the ICAI was also held. The chairman, Mr Sanjay Aggarwal, and all other members of NIRC attended the function. Mr Ashok Bhandari, Chairman of the Ludhiana Branch, gave a welcome address. Members of the NIRC explained various projects undertaken by them to uplift the profession.

The function was attended by members from Ludhiana, Khanna, Mandi Gobindgarh, Malerkotla, Jagraon and Moga.


Steel cartel may manipulate prices: chamber
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 3
The small-scale industry here apprehended that the steel cartel in the country was again trying to manipulate the steel prices as these had started falling after the formation of the new government. While the prices of steel rounds have come down by over Rs 5,000 per metric tonne, the prices of products made by main steel manufacturers remain the same.

Mr P.D. Sharma, the president of the Apex Chamber of Commerce and Industry here said on Tuesday that the major steel products in the country, who had formed a cartel, were now trying to convince the minister concerned to keep the prices stable despite the falling international prices.

He said the imported scrap was now available for $ 225 per metric tonne, which had earlier gone beyond $ 300 per metric tonne. Sponge iron prices have also crashed by over Rs 3,000 per metric tonne.

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