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Man kills self, daughter following wife’s death
Kanchan Vasdev
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 30
Unable to cope up with the tragedy of losing his wife, who ended her life here yesterday, Rahul Khanna (30), a resident of BRS Nagar, fed his two young daughters with Celphos tablets before consuming these himself in the morning.

Rahul died at 2 p.m. at DMC hospital and his one-year-old daughter, Shivani, also died while 3-year-old, Mehak, is struggling for survival. Doctors attending on her said her condition was critical.

His wife Vijay Laxmi, (27), had committed suicide yesterday following strained relations with her parents at Panipat. She, had, in a suicide note stated that her mother had asked her not to enter her house and she was feeling very sad about it. So, she ended her life by consuming Celphos.

She was yet to be cremated, as her postmortem could not be conducted yesterday, when Rahul killed himself and one of his daughters also. A dealer of audio cassettes, Rahul was married around 7 years ago. His family had shifted to the house in BRS Nagar at that time only. His parents stayed on the ground floor and he was staying on the first floor of the house all these years.

Mr Manjit Singh Tiwana, a neighbour of the tragedy- struck family said Rahul was very upset since yesterday. He was calling his wife loudly and saying that he would be joining her soon. ‘‘We all had thought that he was grief stricken and time would heal his wounds. But we never knew that he would really kill himself and his children. Otherwise we would have kept him under strict observation.’’

Narrating the sequence of events , Mr Tiwana said that Rahul had come out of his house and told his neighbours that he had consumed poison and given it to his daughters also. ‘‘After listening to him we all rushed to his house and took the children to DMC in an autorickshaw. When we tried to take Rahul also he picked up a strick and tried to shoo us all away. We really tried to catch him but to no avail. He even hit us with the stick.’’

The neighbours then complained to the police about him and when the cop reached the spot, Rahul had already started feeling unconscious. The neighbours rushed him to DMC also where he died at 2 p.m. His daughter, Shivani, also died some time later.


5 corporation officials suspended
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, June 30
Taking a serious view of the violation of building bylaws and alleged connivance of officials of the building branch of the Municipal Corporation, the Department of Local Government, Punjab, has placed five officials under suspension with immediate effect while some others have been charge sheeted to explain their position before disciplinary proceedings were initiated against them.

Those placed under suspension include Municipal Town Planner, Mr P.K. Garg, the present MTP at Jalandhar and previously Assistant Town Planner in Ludhiana, Mr Tarlok Singh, ATP Mr Manjit Singh, Mr Surinder Pal Singh and Mr Om Parkash, both building inspectors. Apart from them, some other MC officials, including the ATP here Ms Monica Anand have been issued charge sheets.

According to the orders issued by the Principal Secretary, Mr A.K. Dubey, these MC officials have been charged with complicity in the construction of Nagpal Resorts on Pakhowal Road, which is said to have come up without any building plan having been submitted to the MC for approval. Sources in the MC said that the complex was under construction for more than one and a half year and it was opened for functions only a couple of months ago.

It was learnt that the Chief Vigilance Officer (CVO) of the Local Government Department had conducted an inquiry into the construction of the resort, which had prima facie established that all these supervisory officers, responsible for enforcement of building bylaws had failed to take any notice or subsequent action against the builder. All the MC officers suspended in this case had, at one time or the other, been posted here and were looking after the area concerned where the resort had been constructed.

Sources in the CVO office at Chandigarh revealed that several other similar cases of flagrant violation of building bylaws in the city, involving construction of multi-storeyed commercial complexes, hotels and resorts, were referred by the Local Government Department to the CVO for inquiry and many more heads were expected to roll after the probes were completed and sent to the department.


Rich brats take to crime
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 30
‘It's an unfair life, so many gals, so little time’. A teenaged Pavneet Singh Chawla, short but sturdy youth, seemed to have taken the ‘little time’ message printed on his red t-shirt too seriously. He has become one of the alleged youngest criminals in the state to form a gang of convent-educated thieves who entered the world of crime for living life in the fast lane.

Pavneet , son of a rich industrialist, and his accomplices, Parvesh Ratti , Yogesh Kumar and Parminder Singh, alias Palli, all teenaged residents of Jawahar Nagar Camp have been charged with snatching Rs 3 lakh from an employee of Proctor and Gamble in Model Town last week after throwing red chilli powder in the victim's eyes. Apart from this, they had stolen several luxury items from a number of shops of the city in the recent past.

But the police was not exactly very happy at the arrest of the youths. Ludhiana SSP Narinderpal Singh and other officials sought to share their concern with the public through the media about the case of such distracted youths who took to crime for enjoying all luxuries of life but without following the right path.

Pavneet, the wealthiest of the four accused, rides a Honda car gifted by his father apart from enjoying costly comforts. He has passed plus two examination from Sacred Heart Convent School. His close friend, Parvesh Ratti, who belongs to a high middle-class family is also a passout of the same school. However, both have failed in the BA I examination the results of which were declared recently.

The SSP introduced Parvesh as a highly ambitious youngster who wanted to obtain all luxuries of life immediately. He claimed that he had failed in the BA I examination and wanted Rs 15,000 for arranging a fake certificate which Pavneet promised to arrange.

Yogesh and Parminder worked in private companies. Yogesh was employed in the Proctor and Gamble company, whose another employee, Ravinder Kumar, was robbed by the alleged gang members. The two youths used to spend lot of time with Pavneet and came in contact with the rich lifestyle of industrialists, the SSP added.

He said a special investigation team, led by SP Mandeep Singh, DSP Ravcharan Singh Brar, CIA in charge Jaswinder Mangat and Inspector Navneet Singh, got information about the suspects from a reliable source.

The police has recovered Rs 2.45 lakh from the suspects out of the Rs 3 lakh snatched by them. A Rs 40,000 worth of Sony Ericson P-900 cellphone has also been recovered from Pavneet. He had jotted out a list of expensive articles he planned to buy next day.

He has also been charged with stealing a Nokia mobile phone from Ahuja Electronics, Meena Bazar, a computer CPU from Crux Internet Cafe Sarabha Nagar and another from Ghumar Mandi.


CPI asks USA, allies to quit Iraq
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, June 30
As a part of a nation-wide call by the Communist Party of India (CPI) to exert pressure on the USA and its allies to quit Iraq, the district unit of the party today staged a dharna outside the Mini-Secretariat here.

Hundreds of party workers, while raising slogans against the USA, demanded immediate withdrawal of US forces from Iraq and restoration of sovereign rights to the people of the country. Various speakers at the rally alleged that the so called restoration of sovereign rights to Iraqi people, day before yesterday, was a farce and the act was reminiscent of the way, the British troops had collaborated with the then maharajas and nawabs to establish their rule over India in the 19th century. "This restoration of local rule will prove to be meaningless unless the US forces withdraw from Iraq," the leaders said.

The CPI functionaries stated that the UN resolution, under which this self-rule had come into being, was also highly controversial as it recognised as 'sovereign' an interim government set up after June 28, that, like the Governing Council, was established effectively by the USA and not the UN. It also tended to legitimise an illegal, US-dominated occupation force as a UN-mandated 'multinational' force. Further, the UN resolution endorsed this occupation at least until December 31, 2005, when an elected 'transitional government would be established. Any removal of troops before then by the interim Iraqi Government was subject to security council authorisation where the US could exercise its veto to ensure its continuing presence.

The party feels that the UN resolution has endorsed ultimate US control over deployment and use of occupying 'multinational' forces and not that of Iraq or the UN. "Article 27 of this resolution allows all US-organised contracts for oil companies before June 30, 2004, to continue to have immunity afterwards," the speakers said, warning the Indian Government to be very cautious about US machinations as any endorsement of this resolution by the Indian Government, let alone sending troops, would be a betrayal of the Iraqi people, the elementary principles of justice, and of an independent Indian foreign policy.

They said it was the time that Indian Government took steps to rejuvenate the non-aligned movement so that the developing countries could flourish and enjoy sovereignty in true sense.

Prominent among those who addressed the rally included Mr Kartar Singh Bowani, Dr Arun Mitra, Mr O.P. Mehta, Mr Bharpur Singh Sawaddi, Mr Mewa Singh, Mr Guljar Goria, Ms Sharanjit Kaur, Ms Jit Kumar, Ms Avtar Kaur, Mr Avtar Singh and Mr Avtar Singh Gill.


‘Tainted’ doctor continues as Civil Surgeon
Vimal Sumbly
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 30
In total contrast to the much hyped anti-corruption drive of the state government, a “tainted” health official continues to be the Civil Surgeon at Moga. Thanks to his connections, Dr Virinderpal Singh had no difficulty in being elevated to head the district health department despite an order by the Special Judge, Ludhiana, observing that he

and some other persons “have committed the offence under the provisions of the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988 and they are required to be tried under Sections 1 and 13(2) of Act”.

Corruption charges had been levelled by Ms Kamlesh Kumari against Dr Virinderpal Singh, the then District Health Officer, Ludhiana, Food Inspectors Jatinder Singh and Manoj Khosla for demanding illegal gratification of Rs 15,000 from her to clear her pickle samples. Ms Kamlesh Kumari had alleged that after the registration of an FIR against the accused by the Vigilance Bureau, Punjab, the investigating officer had tried to shield the culprits and had ultimately given them the clean chit. Instead, the challan was filed against peon Malkiat Singh, who was apparently made a scapegoat.

However, Ms Kumari made a petition to the Additional Sessions Judge seeking proceedings against Virinderpal Singh, Manoj Khosla and Jatinder Singh and punishment according to the law. She had maintained that though Malkiat Singh had come to collect money from her when he was nabbed red-handed, he had done so on behalf of the three. Surprisingly, the vigilance inquiry implicated only Malkiat Singh, while exonerating the other three.

Allowing the petition, Special Judge, Ludhiana, maintained: “Complainant herself is competent to move the present application under Section 319 of the CrPC and even if the present application is not supported by the Public Prosecutor, the same can be decided on merits as per the law laid down in Randhir Singh versus Kala Singh and others (supera) by our own High Court.” The order added: “Dr Virinderpal Singh, DHO, Food Inspectors Jatinder Singh and Manoj Khosla are ordered to be summoned as accused in the case.” The order was announced on January 22, 2004.

But the order hardly proved to be a deterrent for the state government to give Dr Virinderpal Singh a more important assignment of the Civil Surgeon, Moga. He still continues on the post, while the proceedings are going on against him under the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988.


Power cuts leave citizens fuming
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 30
This is the worst example of the callous indifference and criminal negligence on part of the Punjab State Electricity Board. While the entire city was sweating in scorching and humid heat, the entire PSEB staff, particularly those belonging to the engineering wing and responsible for the maintenance of service, was busy in the farewell party of the outgoing Chief Engineer, Mr AS Khangura. Nobody could be contacted in the PSEB for the entire day while the people cried for power.

It is learnt that the PSEB has introduced power cuts in the entire city. This has irked the residents as they say that the PSEB does not give any prior notice now. While earlier the PSEB would give advance notice about the power cuts in particular areas, now the power cuts have become more frequent in almost all the areas like the Gurdev Nagar, Model Town Sarabha Nagar, Civil Lines and Clock Tower.

Scores of people today called The Tribune office trying to vent their anger at the PSEB. Even in the Clock Tower area the light went off after every hour. The residents said in case the PSEB gives advance notice in the specified areas, people get prepared. Unscheduled cut upsets everything, Ramneek Kaur, a researcher in the Civil Lines area, said that she could not work for the entire day as the electricity went off too frequently. Even the back up system could not sustain for long.

The PSEB authorities remained quite unaccessible for the obvious reasons. However, a lower rung official maintained that due to the increase in the heat and humidity the consumption had increased. With the result there was frequent tripping down and the electricity failure. The official said, there was unexpected overload on the system which will need sometime to be handled properly. But there was no explanation as why the maintenance staff could not handle the crisis properly.

The sources in the PSEB said that there was greater demand than the supply of power when compared to the last year. While the maximum consumption during last year went to 1130 lakh units during a single day, this year it has gone to 1360 lakh units during a single day. On an average there is a shortage of 255 lakh units daily which is primarily being attributed to the shortage in supply from the hydel power generating units which has come down drastically this year.


City Rotary Club adjudged best
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, June 30
At the annual function of Rotary Clubs held here yesterday at Rotary Bhavan, the local Rotary Club was adjudged the best club out of 70 clubs. The Rotary District 3070 comprises half of Punjab, Himachal Pardesh and Jammu and Kashmir.

President of the Club Rotarian S.S. Chopra and Rotarian Sarbjit have been awarded Best President and Best Secretary awards respectively.

District Governor Rotarian G.S. Bawa gave away the awards to the Rotarians who had excelled in their services for the community. Main activities of the club for the year were establishing a Rotary Eye Centre, giving 100 pairs of shoes and 22 mattresses, 200 blankets, fans to Senior Citizens' Home and medicines for poor and needy people. Besides, 20 students were given Rs 1,000 each as scholarship. Blood donation and health check-up camps were also held.


NRI woman alleges fraud, forgery
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, June 30
On the statement of Ms Mohinder Kaur Baraitch, who lives on the King George Road in New Jersey, USA, the Civil Lines police yesterday registered a case under Sections 420, 467, 468, 471 and 120-B of the IPC against Ravish Sood, a resident of Nimwala Chowk in the city.

The woman had stated that the accused had prepared forged documents pertaining to her plot in the city on the basis of which he sold the same to some other persons some years ago.

Other cases of alleged fraud

The Division Number 6 police yesterday registered a case under Sections 420, 467, 468, 471 and 120-B of the IPC on the statement of Mr Pritpal Singh, a resident of Bhai Randhir Singh Nagar, against Manjit Singh, Gurjit Singh and Harpreet Singh, residents of Ajit Nagar at Amritsar.

The complainant had stated that the accused had prepared forged documents pertaining to plot number 92 at Ajit Nagar, Amritsar, and taken possession of the same. In addition to this, the accused also forged the signatures of Surinder Kaur and got a bank limit sanctioned for Rs 5 lakh on the basis of the same from Canara Bank branch located at Cheema Chowk in the city.

Two die in mishaps

The Division Number 6 police yesterday registered a case under sections 279 and 304-A of the IPC on the statement of Mr Iqbal Singh, a resident of the Model House area, against an unknown bus driver.

The complainant had stated that an unknown man fell down from the bus at Partap Chowk on Tuesday afternoon and the bus driver sped away from the scene. No arrest has been made so far.

The Focal Point police has registered a case under Sections 279, 427 and 304-A of the IPC on the statement of Mr Ashok Kumar, a migrant from Bihar now living in Raj Kumar Da Vehra at Gias Pura, against an unknown driver of a Tata-709 vehicle.

The complainant had stated that the accused had rammed his vehicle into the cycle of his relative Ram Bhuj on the Sua Road on Tuesday evening and sped away from the spot. Ram Bhuj died on the spot, added the complainant.

Dowry demand, bigamy alleged

The Haibowal police yesterday registered a case under Sections 498-A, 494, 506 and 120-B of the IPC on the statement of Ms Atinder Pal Jit Kaur, a resident of Pawitter Nagar in Haibowal Kalan, against her husband Mandeep Singh, father-in-law Bhupinder Singh and mother-in-law Manjit Kaur, who also live in Pawitter Nagar.

The woman had stated that the accused harassed her and demanded more dowry. In this connection, her husband also married another woman, added the complainant. No arrest has been made so far.


Woman charges cops with kidnapping
Jupinderjit Singh
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 30
A middle-aged anganwadi worker has charged the Division No. 2 police of kidnapping, illegal confinement and brutal torture. She is under going treatment at the local Civil Hospital with injury marks all over her body.

The woman, Asha Rani, is the mother of an ad-hoc sweeper of the Civil Hospital, Prakash. He, along with several other persons, had been questioned by the police regarding the sensational Bhagwanti Devi case for the past few days.

A resident of Faridabad, Bhagwanti Devi, was admitted to the Civil Hospital by unknown persons early this month after receiving serious injuries in an accident near Phagwara. However, some employees of the hospital picked her up from the hospital bed and dumped her in a vacant plot in Industrial Area. The police had booked four unidentified employees for the alleged incident.

Asha Rani was also allegedly picked up by the police for questioning in the case at about 2:30 am today. She has accused five cops, including Division No. 2 SHO Gurmeet Kaur, of thrashing her mercilessly just to know the address of another sweeper of the Civil Hospital, who is a suspect in the case.

‘‘ The cops tied me up and beat me up with belts and sticks. I kept on pleading that I had nothing to do with the case as I was not even an employee of the hospital,’’ she said crying loudly.

Inspector Gurmeet Kaur denied that the woman was beaten up. However, she admitted that she had led the police party which picked up the woman last night. ‘‘ We had no other option as the Civil Hospital staff was not disclosing the addresses of some of the suspects in the Bhagwanti Devi case,’’ she said.

The SHO said the police was trying to solve the case as the District Magistrate Ludhiana, Mr Anurag Verma, had ordered an investigation into the inhuman treatment meted out to Bhagwanti Devi in the hospital.

There was quite an anguish among the Civil Hospital staff over the manner in which the police was picking up the employees and their relatives for questioning in the case.

The Vishwa Guru Ravi Dass Mission has demanded a high-level inquiry into the matter. Mr J.L. Kataria and Mr Shiv Ram Saroya, chairman and president of the mission, respectively, said the police was unleashing terror on Dalits in the case. They demanded stringent action against the accused cops for beating up an innocent woman.

They said a delegation of the organisation also met DSP Mohan Lal in this connection.


Child raped by youth
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 30
A one and half-year-old girl is battling for life in the local Civil Hospital after she was allegedly raped by a 28-year-old youth in Gahaur village, near Mullanpur Dakha, late last evening.

The alleged rapist, Sanjay, a migrant labourer, was caught by the victim’s mother and neighbours in a labour colony on the outskirts of the village. The accused has been booked for rape and kidnapping and is in the custody of the Dakha police.

The victim was admitted to the hospital in serious condition. Hospital sources said the victim had lost a lot of blood.

According to the FIR registered on the complaint of the victim’s mother, Amrika Rani, the accused kidnapped her daughter when she left her alone in a room of her house late last evening. She was in the bathroom when the accused slipped away with the girl.

When she came out and did not find the girl. Initially, she thought that the girl had been taken away by some children of the colony. However, when she could not find the girl, she raised the alarm and colony residents joined her in search for the child.

During the search, they heard the cries of the girl from the house of the accused. The accused did not open the door and tried to flee when the neighbours tried to break it open. They saw the girl in a pool of blood. The accused was overpowered and given a thrashing.

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