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2-day police remand for bitumen scam accused
Tribune News Service

Kharar, June 30
A local court today remanded the 28 persons arrested for their alleged involvement in the bitumen scam to two-day police custody. Announcing the remand orders in the evening, Duty Magistrate, Ranjan Khullar asked the Vigilance to produce the accused on July 2 at 2 pm.

The Vigilance produced the accused before the judge after 6 pm and it took over two hours before the orders for each of the 28 persons were finalised before being announced. The public prosecutor sought 14-day police remand on the grounds of further interrogation and investigation, besides arresting the remaining accused in the case, recovering relevant records, conducting physical verification of the roads built during the scam period and ascertaining the assets of the accused.

It was told that 80 accused had so far been identified in the case. While submitting details of the case, the prosecution contended that Satnam Arora, after procuring official bitumen, used to mix it with kerosene to make cheaper furnace oil, which was then sold at higher rates to the industries. In this way, huge quantities of bitumen meant for construction and repair of roads in the state were sold in the market after accepting bribe. Revealing the magnitude of corruption, the prosecution stated in the court that preliminary investigations revealed that these engineers demanded and accepted money to the tune of Rs 4 crore as bribe.

Thus, by misusing their official powers, they gave wrongful gains to the traders and caused a loss of crores to the state exchequer, averred the prosecution. It was informed that the Vigilance had conducted raids in different parts of the state to nab the accused officials and search operations were still in progress. The prosecution hoped that further interrogation and investigation would unearth a big scandal.

The persons arrested in the case are SE M. S. Kanjla, XENs D.P.S. Virk, Haripal, Joginder Singh, S. S. Cheema, T. S. Chahal (all PWD), PUDA AEE Dinesh Mehta, XENs (retd) Balwinder Singh Garewal, K. K. Chetan, SDOs Charanjit Singh Bains, Gurmukh Singh, R. S. Tiwana, S. S. Sahota (all PWD), SDO at office of Director, Punjab Quality Control, Chandigarh, Narinder Nath Chopra, JEs Baldev Singh, Avtar Singh, Chander Parkash, Gobind Ram Verma, Gurdial Singh Mangat, Jagdish Rai Singla, Manjit Singh, Parshotam Dass Rana, Rajinder Singh, Sarabjit, Sewa Singh, Tirath Singh (all PWD), PUDA JE Fauja Singh and Ludhiana-based trader Satnam Arora.



 

Vigilance Bureau action rattles ministers
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 30
The vigilance raids and arrests of engineers and suspected involvement of over 80 other officials in the “bitumen scam’’ in Punjab has rattled the ministers whose departments figure in it.

Though “taken aback’’, PWD Minister Partap Singh Bajwa said: “The action is welcome. There must be a deep probe into the scam. No mercy should be shown to the guilty’’. But, at the same time, he was “hurt’’. He was peeved at not being even informed what to say of being consulated as the Minister before the Vigilance Bureanu stepped in.

Talking to TNS from New Delhi, Mr Bajwa said he had already talked to the Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh. Both of them are in New Delhi in connection with the downsizing of the Council of Ministers.

The sudden action, particularly the timing of the registration of an FIR against the alleged culprits late at night on June 28, the early morning vigilance raids on June 29 and the subsequent arrests was the least Mr Bajwa had expected.

Income tax officers, who had first got wind of the shady deals in bitumen trade in Ludhiana in November, 2003, had submitted a detailed report to the Chief Minister’s Office some four months ago.

This sudden action by the Vigilance Bureau has shocked other ministers as well, whose department engineers are allegedly involved. These include Ms Bhattal since the Mandi Board is under her charge and so is Mr Ragunath Sahai Puri, who looks after the Punjab Urban Planning and Development Authority.

Yesterday’s arrests have led to representatives of the Senior Engineers Forum, Subdivisional Engineers Association, Diploma Engineers Association, Ministerial Services Association and the Class IV Government Employees Association huddling together to work out a strategy to what they felt was “unnecessary discrimination against the engineers”.

They felt that the entire action was to target some senior ministers in the forefront for getting ministerial berths and important portfolios during reshuffle of the Punjab Council of Ministers. Neither the engineers and other employees of the department nor the FIR registered by the Punjab Vigilance Bureau at SAS Nagar yesterday suggests involvement of any senior minister.

Engineers and employees of the PWD had formed a joint action committee to seek support of their fellow colleagues working in PUDA, the Punjab Mandi Board and other engineering departments of the state on the pretext of forming a high-powered steering committee. They have threatened to take “drastic trade union action for which the government will be responsible.”

Investigations conducted by the Investigations Wing of the Income Tax Department were primarily about the sale of bitumen to steel rolling mills and other industrial houses after it had been mixed with kerosene. But in the stock register and indent books, huge quantities of bitumen had been shown to have been consumed in various projects on construction and repair of roads.

Neither the Income Tax Department investigators nor the Vigilance Cell have yet diverted their investigations to the source of supply.

Mr Satnam Arora, who talked to The Tribune on his mobile phone from the Vigilance custody last night, said the “case was politically motivated as the income tax investigation file had been closed.

There has been no diary which either the Vigilance or the Income Tax Department recovered either from my house in Agar Nagar in Ludhiana or my office on the GT road.”

Though the joint action committee maintained that there had been no complaints pending about quality of work pending in the department, yet the fact is that some engineers were placed under suspension after the entire top of a 10-km stretch of a road got wiped off within few days of the completion of work.



 

Accused engineers amassed huge property
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 30
The preliminary investigation by the Punjab Vigilance Bureau into the bitumen scam has allegedly revealed that the engineers — taken into custody by the sleuths on Tuesday — had amassed movable and immovable property worth Rs 12 crore.

Senior Vigilance Bureau officials reveal that at least two engineers had gathered properties worth Rs 1 crore each while another had property worth Rs 85 lakh.

The properties were in the form of gold jewellery, bonds and national saving certificates, besides residential plots and houses. The possibility of engineers procuring “benami properties” was also being looked into.

Bureau officials revealed that more raids were likely to ascertain the exact value of properties.

The arrested officials include five Executive Engineers and as many SDOs, besides 13 junior engineers working with the PWD, the Mandi Board and PUDA.



 

SGPC poll: 3 Akali leaders move HC
Our High Court Correspondent

Chandigarh, June 30
Three Shiromani Akali Dal leaders - Sucha Singh Langah and Sewa Singh Sekhwan, both former ministers, and SGPC acting chief Alwinder Pal Pakhoke - have moved the Punjab and Haryana High Court.

These leaders have sought directions to the Deputy Commissioners of Amritsar and Gurdaspur to allow them to contest the forthcoming Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) elections.

In their petitions, these leaders have challenged the order of the Deputy Commissioners, who are also the returning officers for the polls, to declare them undischarged insolvent and therefore debar them from contesting the polls.

It may be recalled that Chief Commissioner of Gurdwara Elections Justice J.S. Sekhon (retd) had set aside the order of DCs to reject the nomination papers of Mr Langah, Mr Sekhwan and Mr Pakhoke.

The DCs had rejected the candidature of the trio on the grounds that dues were outstanding against the names of their wards perusing education in SGPC-run medical college at Amritsar.

In his order, Justice Sekhon had also issued show-cause notices to the Deputy Commissioners for failing to submit the record pertaining to ensuing SGPC polls.

However, the DCs had refused to accept the Gurdwara Commission order, following which the election for three seats was countermanded.

In their petition in the High Court, which is likely to be taken up soon, the three leaders have stated that the move of the Deputy Commissioners was illegal and in violation of the provisions.

They have also questioned the power of the DCs to disqualify them. They have stated that their nominations were rightly accepted by the scrutiny officer but later were rejected on review by the DCs.

They have asked the High Court to get the order of the Chief Commissioner in the matter implemented.

The petitioners have also alleged that fake votes are being made in the constituencies to benefit their opponents. They have claimed that the procedure is not being followed in the case and this will thwart the holding of free and fair elections.



 

Badal to address rally at Mohali
Our Correspondent

Mohali, June 30
Mr Parkash Singh Badal, SAD chief, will be visiting Mohali on July 2 to address a gathering in favour of the party candidate, Mr Mann Singh Sohana, who is contesting the SGPC elections scheduled to be held on July 11.

This was stated by Mr Udham Singh Sohana, brother of the SAD candidate, who is looking after election activities in the town, while talking to mediapersons here today. He said Mr Harmesh Singh Tohra and Mr Ramesh Inder Singh were likely to accompany Mr Badal.

He said the rural areas as well as this town had been divided into eight zones each for the elections and door-to-door campaign was going on in full swing.

Launching an attack on rival candidate, Mr Hardeep Singh, Mr Sohana said Gurdwara Amb Sahib was run by the SGPC and during this tenure as an SGPC member, Mr Hardeep Singh made no effort to get any monument constructed in the memory of those who had made great sacrifices for the panth. He could not even get a library opened on the premises of the gurdwara.

He said Mr Hardeep Singh had made a film on a religious theme by talking funds from the SGPC. He said that film had not been shown to people living in rural areas. But now during his election campaign he was showing the film in rural areas to gain personal advantage.



 

Audit of Health Dept accounts shows embezzlement
Ravinder Sud

Hoshiarpur, June 30
Embezzlement of lakhs in the Health Department here has been detected by the Additional Director, Internal Audit (Revenue) Punjab.

A senior functionary of the office of the Director Health and Family Welfare Punjab said the Additional Director, Internal Audit (Revenue) Punjab had informed the Director Health and Family Welfare Punjab that while auditing of G P Fund of Class I, II and III officers/officials of the Health Department Hoshiarpur, it was found that Primary Health Centre Harta Badla had sent a schedule to the District Health Department, regarding the withdrawal of G P Fund through different bills of salaries of officers/officials in two months. Recovery had been shown twice in the accounts of these employees. Scrutiny of the bills revealed that PHC Harta Badla withdrew salary more than Rs 2 lakh in 2002-03. A special audit party was sent from June 14 to June 23 to Harta Badla PHC centre.

The audit party found salary of some officers/employees had been withdrawn twice. Nearly Rs 1.41 lakh had been drawn twice. Besides Bill No. 283 of 13-12-2002 of Rs 63,500/- had been shown cancelled. But this cancellation had not been entered in the office copies of the bills. Its entry had also not been made in the office cash book.

The Director Health and Family Welfare Punjab had instructed the Civil Surgeon, Hoshiarpur to collect information from banks concerned regarding detail of amount deposited in the accounts of employees through cheques by the Treasury Officer Hoshiarpur and the amount withdrawn by the cashier from these accounts. The Director had also instructed the Civil Surgeon to get the record of Harta Badla PHC centre checked from Assistant Controller (Finance and Audit) for 2001-02, 2002-03 and 2003-04 and send a report to him within four weeks.



 

Custodial death: plea to form medical board
Varinder Singh
Tribune News Service

Nawanshahr, June 30
The Rakesh Kumar custodial death case, which had sparked violence in Balachaur township of this district early this month, has taken a new turn with the district police authorities seeking the formation of a new high-powered medical board to examine the circumstances leading to death of Rakesh Kumar, a 22-year-old resident of Rakkran Dhahan village who was detained in a theft case and who was allegedly tortured to death in Balachaur police station on June 7.

The Nawanshahr police had already arrested ASI Kulwant Singh and constable Mohan Singh in the case while the two other accused Head Constable Ram Kishan and constable Jatinder Singh had managed to flee after the incident on June 7, which had sparked widespread violence and led the police authorities to impose curfew in Balachaur for two days.

Though the post-mortem examination of the body was conducted by a board, comprising medical experts, and the viscera of the deceased was sent for forensic examination, the district police, it was learnt, was dissatisfied over the findings of the board and the SSP has urged the higher authorities for the formation of a new board of medical experts. The police authorities, it was learnt, were now keen that the injuries, allegedly inflicted upon the body of the deceased, should be subjected to a detailed re-examination. The police authorities wanted that the new board should look into in detail as to how such injuries could have been caused as in the earlier report such things were not mentioned, said police sources.

Though the SSP, Mr M.F. Farooqui, was not available for comment, Mr S.K. Sharma, the IG (Jalandhar zone) maintained that he had received a request from the Nawanshahr SSP for formation a new board of medical experts and has forwarded the same to the Director General of Police.



 

Duration of power cuts increased
Tribune News Service

Patiala, June 30
With mercury rising all over the state, the Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB) has been forced to impose power cuts of up to 12 hours in rural areas while towns are facing cuts of nearly six hours.

Board sources said the duration of power cuts had also been increased in cities to nearly two and a half hours from 45 minutes. The board has been forced to take these steps after the demand outstripped the power availability by 400-500 million units. It has also to give eight hours’ regular supply to the farm sector for the operation of tubewells.

Due to tripping, unit five of the Ropar thermal plant remained shut down for nearly three hours yesterday. Board sources said purchases from various quarters had been stepped up and had already reached 361 million units.

Meanwhile, even as the board is eagerly a waiting the arrival of the monsoon to bail it out, the position in the various dams in the region is still to reach the optimum level. The level at the Bhakra dam was recorded at 1,492 ft, a few feet lower than the level it had reached last week. At the Dehar dam, the water level was 2,917 ft, at Pong dam, 1,276 ft, and at the Ranjit Sagar dam, 503 metre.



 

Midnight drama at Rajindra Hospital
EMO refuses to register MLR
Tribune News Service

Patiala, June 30
The Government Rajindra Hospital witnessed a midnight drama last night with an Emergency Medical Officer (EMO) refusing to record a medico legal report (MLR) of a final year medical student. The drama, which started a little before midnight culminated at 6 am today after the hospital authorities conducted tests on the doctor to ascertain whether he was drunk on duty.

According to sources, a final year student, Mukhtiar Singh, sustained injuries after someone knocked on his room last night and assaulted him when he opened the door. The sources said Mukhtiar Singh went to the civil lines police station whose staff asked him to first go the Rajindra Hospital and get a MLR recorded about his injuries.

They said Mukhtiar Singh went to the hospital where the EMO, Dr G.S. Sidhu, was on duty. According to them, the EMO refused to record the MLR of the medical student despite several requests. Following this the medical student contacted the civil lines Assistant Sub-Inspector, Mr Rajesh Malhotra, who also reached the spot and requested the EMO to record the MLR of the student. However, sources said the doctor still refused to do so.

The medical student and others who had gathered at the spot then rang up senior district officials, including the Deputy Commissioner at 2.30 am following which senior officials of the hospital were also alerted about it. Another EMO, Dr Y.S. Banga, reached the spot and tried to resolve the issue but to no avail. However, Dr Banga was able to whisk Dr G.S. Sidhu away from the spot and the latter was made to sleep in one room.

Medical Superintendent Kulbir Kaur, surgery in charge Dr Surinder Singh and emergency wing in charge Dr K.K. Bandlish also reached the spot later. The Medical Superintendent directed another EMO to record the MLR and following insistence of the complainants a urine sample of Dr G.S. Sidhu was also taken.

Medical Superintedent Dr Kulbir Kaur when contacted said she had taken action in the case. She said Dr Sidhu had been transferred to her office where he would report only for the purpose of recording his statement.

Meanwhile, Deputy Commissioner Tejveer Singh has deputed the college Principal, Dr Kiranjit Kaur, to conduct an inquiry in the case. The Deputy Commissioner has also sent a report regarding the case to the Secretary, Medical Education.



 

1 lakh women face divorce due to TB
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, June 30
At least one lakh women, suffering from tuberculosis (TB) face divorce proceedings due to social stigma attached to disease in the country annually, while about three lakh schoolchildren are forced every year to leave their schools due to the disease in the family.

Dr Surinder Singla, in charge, District TB Centre said this while addressing a “Chest diseases and TB awareness-cum-check up camp, at Ubhawal village, near here today. The camp was organised by the Health Department in assistance with the Ubhawal branch of the State Bank of Patiala. In this camp, over ISO persons, suffering from various chest diseases, including suspected TB cases, were examined. Required medicines were also given free of cost to the patients.

Dr Singla said the disease was fully cureable but delay in its diagnosis or discontinuation of anti-TB treatment might lead to death.

Dr R.S. Grewal, SMO’ Primary Health Centre, Longowal, urged the gathering to take maximum advantage of government’s revised national TB control programme as the entire treatment was done free of cost under the RNTCP.

Mr Gurbans Singh, Manager of SBOP’s Ubhawal branch, also promised to extend help in organising such programmes to control the TB disease.



 

41 thermal plant workers retrenched
Tribune News Service

Ropar, June 30
Guru Gobind Singh Super Thermal (GGSSTP) authorities here today ordered the retrenchment of the 41 employees in the ash handling plant of the organisation.

The orders passed today were criticised by the Punjab State Kramchari Dal. Mr Surjit Singh Saini, general secretary of the Karamchari Dal, said the workers retrenched today had been working in the plant for the past two decades.

They have been made a scapegoat to adjust the extra workers of the coal handling plants. Most of the workers retrenched were very poor and dependent on the minimum wage they get from the plant. Retrenchment would deprive them of livelihood.

The sources told that there were 662 persons working in the coal handling plant of thermal plant here. The Supreme Court abolished the contract labour system in the coal handling plant following which the PSEB decided to redeploy 500 workers working there.

However, contract labourers of the coal handling plant demanded absorption of the all remaining 162 workers of the coal handling plant also. Under pressure from the contract labour union of coal handling plant the PSEB decided to discontinue the services of the contract labourers working in the ash handling plant to adjust the workers of the coal handling plant.

The Karamchari Dal has threatened an agitation if the workers of the ash handling plants were retrenched. Chief Engineer Thermal Plant R.S. Sohal said that the workers who were being retrenched were employees of the contractor. The plant authorities had nothing to do with them. Since the workers of the coal handling plant were absorbed in the plant on the orders of the Supreme Court many works in the organisation are being converted into departmental works. So the works of many contractors were being finished. After the finishing of work of contractor their workers also had to go, he said.


 

Thermal plant seeks Rs 35 lakh from cement company
Tribune News Service

Ropar, June 30
Were former civil wing officials of Guru Gobind Singh Super Thermal Plant (GGSSTP) here concealing certain documents to favour Gujrat Ambuja (GACL)? The question is making rounds in PSEB circles after a chance discovery of an indemnity bond between the PSEB and Gujrat Ambuja Cements.

According to the bond Gujrat Ambuja Cements had to share the maintenance cost of the railway track from Ropar to Tee-off points of both organisations.

However, GACL authorities never paid maintenance charges to PSEB authorities. Whenever, a communication regarding the payment of maintenance charges was sent to GACL authorities, it maintained that the Railway track — basic infrastructure facility — was to be provided to the company by the government.

None of the civil wing officers in the possession of the indemnity bond, contested the claim of the GACL, Instead documents of the bond were given a burial in the files of the organisation.

After a recent discovery of the bond present PSEB authorities have written to GACL authorities to pay Rs 35 lakh as maintenance charges of the Railway track.

The question remains unanswered why the bond was kept concealed in files for 10 years when the PSEB was contesting the case of payment of Railway track maintenance with the GACL.



 

Dumping of fly ash can spoil groundwater: study
Tribune News Service

Ropar, June 30
The result of the study conducted by Punjab Agricultural University (PAU) for the Ropar Thermal Plant have indicated that the underground dumping of the fly ash without taking any precautionary measure could damage the ground water in the surrounding areas.

Results of the comparative study conducted by the PAU for the Ropar Thermal Plant

Trace element

Fly ash

Sand i lone

Lom i sand

Aluminium

14.8 ppm

1.41 ppm

2.41 ppm

Arsenic

1.80 ppm

0.84 ppm

0.54 ppm

Cadmium

0.15 ppm

0.06 ppm

0.04 ppm

Chromium

0.03 ppm

0.45 ppm

0.24 ppm

Mercury

2.28 ppm

0.36 ppm

1.31 ppm

Lead

1.08 ppm

0.81 ppm

0.68 ppm

The thermal plant authorities had got the study conducted to assess the use of fly ash in agriculture. A comparative study conducted by the PAU has indicated that the fly ash contains three times more arsenic contents, five times more mercury, 10 times more aluminium and two time more lead than the general soil.

Similarly, the quantity of other toxic elements was much more in fly ash as compared to common soil that makes its potential pollutant if dumped in bulk below the ground.

The underground dumping of fly ash by National Fertilisers Ltd. (NFL) within the municipal limits of Nangal has raised concern among the environmentalists.

The environmentalists are of the view that the underground dumping of coal slurry at a depth of about 15-20 feet could damage the ground water in the surrounding areas. The trace elements in the coal slurry could leach into the surrounding areas and damage the ground water, they maintain.

The rule of the Punjab Pollution Control Board (PPCB) also prohibit the dumping of the coal slurry without providing for the pulverised lining at the outskirts. The pulverised lining has been made mandatory for the coal or ash dykes to prevent the leaching of heavy metals into the surrounding areas. However, the recent dumping of the coal slurry by the NFL was being carried out without providing any pulverised lining.

The NFL, when contacted on the issue, maintained that the rules for providing pulverised lining was applicable to just ash dykes where coal slurry mixed with water was released.

It was not applicable for dumping underground the dried up fly ash. They also maintained that underground dumping of fly ash would not damage the underground water.

However, the PAU study has found that the fly ash contains toxic elements in much larger quantity than the general earth. So, the experts are of the view that the underground dumping of the fly ash could damage the underground water.



 

Pak official meets prisoners
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, June 30
Mr Khalid Zamali, First Secretary, Pakistan High Commission, today visited the Central Jail here and held a counselling session with 16 Pakistan prisoners, who are to be freed from Indian jails, to cross-check their antecedents for repatriation. The meeting was held for the first time in Amritsar. It was earlier held in Jaipur.

Mr Zamali was accompanied by Mr Ram Ratnam, a senior official of the Ministry of External Affairs, and another official of the Pakistan embassy.

The First Secretary, talking to mediapersons, said he would soon sent all documents related to the prisoners to the Pakistan Government for their further identification before repatriation.

However, the prisoners seemed to be frustrated over the inordinate delay in their release. Rashid Ahmad, who was nabbed for smuggling 12 kg of gold, alleged that his sentence of five and a half years had ended about one and a half years ago but he had not been released.

He said there were about 45 Pakistan prisoners in the Amritsar jail. He said Mukhtiar Ahmad had also completed his term a long time ago. However, his name did not figure in the list of 16 prisoners, of which 13 were lodged in jails in Amritsar and Patiala and three in Jammu and Kashmir.



 

Sikh jatha returns from Pakistan
Rashmi Talwar

Attari (Amritsar), June 30
A 390-member Sikh jatha returned here today via a special train at the international railway station. It was reported that the passport of Maninder Singh (27), a jatha member, was blacklisted by the Pakistan authorities. The jatha had left on June 21.

Jatha deputy leader H.S. Bhanwar told The Tribune that the passport of Maninder Singh, a son of a SGPC retired employee, was blacklisted in Pakistan. Maninder had proceeded to Peshawar without seeking the permission of authorities there. He was apprehended on June 26 evening and was handed over to the Pakistan Sikh Gurdwara Prabandhak Committee (PSGPC). The devotee was handed over to jatha on June 27.

More than 12 devotees had fallen ill in Lahore. The jatha leader said at least three gurdwaras including Janam Asthan, Nankana Sahib, Sacha Sauda, near Sheikupura and Roari Sahib at Eminabad near Gujranwala had been beautified with landscaping , ornamental plants , gardens and modern designing . However the “rehat maryada” of langar (community kitchen) was being flouted. He said the typical mirror-work of Multan was being done at Panja Sahib, making it the fourth gurdwara in the world to have this special art, after those in Birmingham, Manmar Gurdwara and another gurdwara in Peshawar.

Many who returned here including Harinder Kaur, Nirmaljit Singh said they saw a rise in the popularity of former Prime Minister Mr Atal Bihari Vajpayee there and wondered if the peace initiative would continue despite the change of government at the Centre. Senior jatha members said they got a definite hints from PSGPC members about the need to be recognised by the SGPC. For this more Sikhs were being included in the PSGPC. They said this would help to restore maryada and give legitimacy to the Pak gurdwara committee.

Jatha members were not allowed to visit Rawalpindi this time due to security reasons. Tight security marked their visit at Gurdwara Panja Sahib. They were frisked metal detectors and security personnel, said Joginder Singh. Senior members, including the head and deputy head, were offered ‘siropas’ by Mr Sham Singh, PSGPC, co-chairperson.



 

Passport office closed amid opposition
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, June 30
The local passport office closed today amid opposition, with the government set to lose nearly Rs 2 crore in revenue from fees.

Despite the Deputy Commissioner’s attempt at appeasement by the withdrawal of Rs 100 as application submission fee yesterday, a hue and cry has been raised over the decision.

About Rs 70,000 was the daily income of the office, under the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) where applications pertaining to renewal of passport, additional booklet, police clearance certificate, addition of spouse name, change in photograph, appearance, change in address, etc., were expected. However, all these applications would not be accepted at the DC’s office, where only fresh passport applications can be submitted.

The office’s approximate running cost, including salaries, was only Rs 20,000 per month. Applicants from Gurdaspur, Qadian, Pathankot, Batala, Kalanaur, and the entire majha belt who used to come to the Amritsar office, felt sore over the government’s decision.

Mr Tarlochan Singh, Chairperson, National Minorities Commission, and recently elected Rajya Sabha member, Mr Navjot Singh Sidhu, MP, and senior leaders of political parties have also opposed the move.



 

BBMB celebrates Beas Divas
Our Correspondent

Hoshiarpur, June 30
Beas Divas was celebrated by the Bhakra Beas Management Board (BBMB) at Talwara, 80 km from here, today.

On this day in 1974, the dam was completed and the ponding of Beas water commenced.

Mr Narinder Sharma, Chief Engineer, BBMB, Talwara, paid floral tributes at the martyrs’ memorial, which was raised in memory of those 138 persons who died during the construction of the dam.

Three widows of project employees were given sewing machines by the BBMB Hospital Welfare Red Cross Society. Cards for free medical aid were also issued to the widows. Mr Sharma inaugurated an aquarium adjoining the Bhakra Beas museum. Saplings were planted by officers and staff of the BBMB in the office complex.

As part of the Beas Divas celebrations, a free medical camp was organised at Government High School, Ghati Bilwa village. Patients were examined by a team of doctors from BBMB Hospital, Talwara and medicines were distributed free of cost. A blood donation camp was organised at Officers’ Club in association with the PGI, Chandigarh.

A total of 131 volunteers, including employees of the BBMB, and members of the Sant Nirnkari Mission, donated blood.



 

Youth Congress holds rally
Tribune News Service

Nangal (Ropar), June 30
Activists of the Youth Congress at the local citizens welfare organisation today staged a rally and sat on dharna outside the office of the Chief Engineer (Irrigation), BBMB. The activists threatened to disrupt the forthcoming golden jubilee celebrations of the Nangal hydroelectric canal being organised on July 8 by the BBMB if their demands were not met.

The president of the citizens welfare organisation, Mr Paramjit Singh Pamma, addressing the rally, said the youths of the area were protesting against the discriminatory policies of the BBMB. Officers of the BBMB were recruiting people through the back door, ignoring local residents, he alleged.

He said most of the migrants from Uttar Pradesh and Bihar who worked as domestic help in houses of BBMB higher officials were being recruited through the back door. He said posts had been created recently to accommodate wards of some officials serving in the board, whereas local residents who had lost most of their land to the board were not being recruited. Even the services of local daily wagers, who had been serving the organisation for the past 10 to 15 years, had not being regularised, he added.

He alleged that surplus Punjab Government employees were also not being inducted into the organisation even though the state had a major share in the BBMB. Youth Congress leaders alleged that the red permit for visiting the Bhakra Dam was only issue to officers while other employees were suspected to be a threat to the safety of the dam.

Later, talking to newspersons, Mr Pamma said the dharna would continue if their demands, including a policy for employment of local youth and issuance of red permit to all employees of the BBMB, were not met.



 

DIG to probe Cong worker’s murder
Tribune News Service

Malout (Muktsar), June 30
Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh has asked DIG Police, Ferozepore Range HS Randhawa to probe the murder of Congress worker Gurbachan Singh alias Sharda Singh of Kolianwali village in Malout subdivision of Muktsar district.

Earlier, the Muktsar police had booked SGPC member and confidant of SAD chief Parkash Singh Badal, Dayal Singh Kolianwali, for the murder. Later the police found Kolianwali innocent and after investigation arrested a son of the deceased for the murder of his father.

Mr Randhawa confirmed that the CM had asked him to probe the murder of Gurbachan Singh. He said that he visited Malout yesterday and had recorded statement of the deceased’s wife.

He refused to divulge details of the statement. He said that he would also visit the spot and hoped that the inquiry would be completed in three-four days after the completion of SGPC poll, scheduled to be held on July 11.

Mr Gurbachan Singh was found murdered in Kolianwali village on the night of May 12 when some SAD workers allegedly attacked his house. Following this, Muktsar SSP RS Khatra visited the spot.

Subsequently, Malout Sadar police booked sitting SGPC member Dayal Singh Kolianwali, his son and three others for the murder on the statement of the deceased’s son Gurmeet Singh. However, now seeking re-election as SGPC member from Malout on SAD ticket, Kolianwali could not be arrested as he secured anticipatory bail in the case.

Later the Muktsar police found Kolianwali innocent and arrested the deceased’s son Gurmeet Singh on the charge of murder. This was revealed to the media by Muktsar SSP RS Khatra at a press-conference on June 16 at Malout.

The SSP stated that Gurmeet Singh killed his father Gurbachan Singh to implicate Kolianwali to settle political scores with him. He further stated that the involvement of Gurmeet Singh and his two associates in the crime came to light after the completion of the investigation.

Mr Khatra had added that all three accused first conspired to kill Gurbachan Singh. Gurmeet Singh first fired a shot from a gun, which hit Gurbachan Singh in the chest. Then other accused Surjeet Singh fired a shot, which hit Sharda Singh’s shoulder. The third accused Kulwant Singh fired another shot, which hit the deceased at leg said the SSP adding, then the accused fired two shots into the air and escaped in a car. Next morning, Gurmeet Singh and his associates started alleging that Kolianwali had murdered Gurbachan Singh.

Mr Khatra further added that it was found that Jassa Singh of the same village was injured when a clash between two groups having different political affiliation took place on the day of polling, May 10. Jassa Singh was shifted to a Ludhiana hospital, as his condition was critical. A rumour spread in the village that Jassa Singh had died.

As they were involved in the clash, they tried to mislead the police and implicate Mr Kolianwali into a murder case, they killed Gurbachan Singh, the SSP added.



 

Cong leader booked on CM’s direction
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, June 30
Following directions from the Chief Minister, the police here today booked certain Congress leaders for land grab on the complaint of an England-based NRI woman, Ms Saneh Lata, here today.

The FIR (number 278) was registered on the basis of “secret inquiry” reportedly conducted by Inspector-General Police, J.P. Birdi. However, the senior police officers are silent on the FIR registered against the leaders of the ruling party.

Though, the FIR clearly mentioned the name of Mr Prince Sarkaria, who allegedly had grabbed prime land worth crores by allegedly using political pressure, yet Mr Harmanbir Singh Gill, SP, claimed that the FIR had nothing to do with Mr Sukhbinder Singh Sarkaria who had unsuccessfully contested parliamentary election from Tarn Taran on Congress ticket.

Mr Sukhbinder Singh Sarkaria claimed that he did not know the complainant Ms Sneh Lata Arora who had levelled ‘baseless charges’ against ‘Sarkaria family’. He, said that though Mr Prince Sarkaria was his confidant yet he was not related to him .

The FIR was lodged under Sections 420, 506, 452 of the Indian Penal Code.



 

Nepal national kept chained by cops for three days
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, June 30
A Nepal national, father of an accused in a theft case, was allegedly kept in chains at the local Nehru shopping complex police post here for three days. However, he was shown to be arrested when the matter came to light.

Ms Laxmi Kanta Chawla, vice-president of the state BJP, in a letter to the Punjab State Human Rights Commission (PSHRC), claimed that a policeman present at that time had admitted that the Nepalese was innocent in the case. She alleged that the man mysteriously disappeared from the police post when she later contacted the police official concerned of the chowki.

She alleged when she went to enquire at the police post on June 28, a deputy superintendent of police (DSP) informed her that an arrest had been made and the Nepalese would be sent to jail on June 29.

She urged the commission to intervene in the matter and alleged that the Nepalese had been meted out inhuman behaviour by the Amritsar police. She also urged the PSHRC to provide security to the victim. She said she would also bring this matter to the notice of the Chief Minister and the Director-General of police.

Mr Harmanbir Singh Gill, SP (City II), expressed his ignorance about the incident. He said he had not got any complaint from the aggrieved persons. He assured that action would be taken if he received a complaint.



 

Exempt Central staff pension from IT: CPM
Our Correspondent

Jalandhar, June 30
The CPM has urged the Prime Minister, Dr Manmohan Singh, to exempt the pension of Central Government employees from the purview of income tax.

Talking to reporters here yesterday, the general secretary of the All-India Central Government Pensioners Association, Mr V.S. Jolly, said senior CPM leader and MP Basudeb Acharia, in a letter to the Prime Minister, copies of which were released to media here, had urged the pension should be exempted from the purview of income tax.

Mr Acharia further demanded that special provision should be made in the coming Budget to provide proper and free medicare to 28 lakh central government pensioners, who otherwise, were not covered by the Central Government Health Scheme.



 

Baradari Gardens to regain former glory
Jangveer Singh
Tribune News Service

Patiala, June 30
The Baradari Gardens, which were laid out by Maharaja Rajendera Singh nearly 150 years ago, is set to regain its former glory, with the Patiala Development Authority (PDA) deciding to start work on a Rs 1 crore project to restore the original nature of the garden as well as recreating the erstwhile rose garden, which was once its crowning glory.

The PDA is being helped by the State Bank of Patiala, which has committed Rs 1 crore for the project. The bank has already submitted Rs 25 lakh to the PDA and will release the rest of the money whenever required.

The PDA will try to take advantage of the monsoon and planting of trees in the garden will start immediately. Trees will be planted according to the original character of the gardens in which different species of trees were planted in different areas to create different climatic zones. This meant creating of areas which had trees from tropical, temperate and even cold climates with one even now seeing pine trees in the gardens, which are a rarity in the plains. These different areas have spawned different names for parts of the garden, with one area near the Mall road being referred to as”Chhota Shimla”.

It has been decided that trees which have withered away over the years will be replaced with saplings of the same species, says Deputy Commissioner Tejveer Singh. He said simultaneously cataloguing of trees in the garden, specially the rare ones, would be done and their names displayed on boards.

Mr Tejveer said a blueprint had been prepared to restore the original character of the Baradari Gardens by noted landscape artist and architect Rajeev Khanna of Delhi. He said under this plan, water channels, which were running in the gardens earlier but had been filled up over the years, had been identified and would be made functional. He said water channels used to run in the garden opposite Rajendera kothi in a perpendicular direction to each other. The walkways in the gardens would also be redone, he added.

Besides, the PDA has drawn up a plan to make a “heritage” boundary wall around the garden and install metallic gates in traditional wrought iron style at various places so that the gardens could live up to the their name - Baradari (a place with 12 entrances). Presently, the PDA had only been able to spruce up the boundary wall and wrought iron railings of the garden along the Mall road, besides redoing the main entrance gate.

Once the gardens are restored to their original character, a rose garden would be created in the present nursery area of the gardens. According to senior citizens of the city, the rose garden was in existence till about 30 years ago but had disappeared after that. The rose garden is aimed at providing a recreational and beautiful space in the gardens along with expansive lawns on the pattern of the Rose Garden in Chandigarh even though it will be on a much smaller scale.



 

Rs 2.12 crore spent on Sarv Sikhya Abhiyan
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, June 30
Mr S.K. Ahluwalia, Deputy Commissioner, while presiding over a meeting of the District Sarv Sikhya Committee here today said to impart quality education and to provide good infrastructure in government schools under the Education for All Scheme Rs 2.12 crore had been spent in the district. He said 28 schools had been given Rs 33 lakh for construction of rooms, and 149 primary schools had been given a grant of Rs 52.15 lakh for construction of toilets and providing drinking water. He said Rs 30 lakh had been spent on the repair and maintenance in schools. He said all 495 schools in the district would be given a grant of Rs 35,000 each and Rs 5,000 for maintenance and Rs 2,000 for furniture. He said Rs 36 lakh would be spent on cleanliness in primary schools.

He assured the members that basic amenities in the schools would be provided on priority basis. Though government schools are lacking basic amenities such as drinking water, buildings, electricity, toilets and furniture efforts were being made to provide all these facilities.

Mr Mohinder Pal Arora, ADC, Mr Darshan Singh, SDM, Fatehgarh Sahib, Mr Daya Singh DEO(S), Mr Dev Singh DEO(E) also spoke.



 

Roadways staff decry delay in induction of new buses
Tribune News Service

Moga, June 30
Punjab Roadways employees today burnt an effigy of the Director, State Transport, Punjab, in protest against the delay in the induction of 400 new buses and “ignoring” their “genuine” demands.

Addressing a rally, vice-president of the Punjab Government Transport Workers Union, Darshan Singh Tuti, said if the attitude of the state transport authorities remained the same the union would announce a course of action in the first week of July.



 

Attari rly station to be upgraded
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, June 30
The railway station at Attari will soon be upgraded to an international railway station.

Mr Jagjit Puri, Director, Tourism, and Managing Director of the Punjab Tourism Development Corporation, said here today that a decision to this effect had been taken by the Government of India to facilitate the flow of tourists to India or Pakistan. Mr Puri was here to study how to increase tourist facilities in the border district.



 

PHRO alleges police inaction in 3 cases
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, June 30
The Punjab State Human Rights Organisation (PHRO) headed by Mr Kirpal Singh Randhawa, deputy chairperson of the organisation has alleged that the police of three districts was not taking action against accused in certain criminal cases registered at Amritsar, Batala and Tarn Taran police districts.

Mr Randhawa threatened that the organisation would file a PIL in the Punjab and Haryana High Court against the police and the accused if justice was not given to the aggrieved persons or families.



 

Gurpurnima  celebrations
Our Correspondent

Kharar, June 30
Elaborate arrangements have been made for Gurpurnima celebrations at Kailash Dham, Kurali, on July 2.

According to Mr R.L. Kalsia, general secretary of the Swami Shiv Swarupa Atma Dharmarth Trust, thousands of followers of Swami Shiv Swarupa Atma from India and abroad are likely to take part in the celebrations, starting early morning.

He said “puran ahuti” would be performed at 10.30 a.m. followed by a day-long bhandara. He said a shabad kirtan darbar by eminent bhajan singers would also be organised on the occasion.



 

Woman blessed with triplets
Our Correspondent

Patiala, June 30
Gurmeet Kaur, a resident of Ranjit Nagar locality of the city, delivered triplet at the local Sneh Nursing Home here today.

She delivered two female and one male child weighing 1.8 kg, 1.9 kg and 2 kg, respectively. According to Dr Rajinder Pal Bharati, a noted child specialist the condition of all the three children was stable.



 

Opium ordered for registered addicts
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 30
The Punjab State Human Rights Commission (PSHRC) today directed the government to supply opium to civil surgeons in the state for distributing it among registered addicts after procuring the supply for whole of the state within 20 days.

Acting on a complaint filed by an opium addict claiming that he had been denied the same despite valid licence, the PSHRC also directed the Punjab Excise and Taxation Commissioner to submit complete information to it about the number of registered addicts in the state. Information about yearly quota for supplying of contrabands was also sought.

In his detailed order, PSHRC member B. C. Rajput observed: ''It is a matter of common knowledge that a person addicted to opium cannot survive without it and such a person may even attempt to get opium from unauthorised sources, thereby taking risk to his life and liberty.'' The member further observed that the Departments of Excise and Health should not take it lightly as the matter was of serious nature.

The commission also asked the Additional Excise and Taxation Commissioner to file a written undertaking before the commission before July 20 that the state administration would procure the quota of opium each year in advance so that poor opium addicts might not suffer due to a fault of the department.

The complainant had earlier pleaded that he had not been given opium by Ropar civil surgeon for the past three months even though he possessed a licence. He had added his life had become hell due to the non-supply of opium as he had to take injections to struggle for his life.

He even stated in his complaint that the civil surgeon had been telling him that he could get opium from his ''private sources''. The copies of PSHRC orders, directing the authorities concerned to arrange the quota for opium addicts within 20 days, have been sent to the state's Principal Secretary, Department of Excise and Taxation; Director, Health Services and Excise and Taxation Commissioner, Patiala.



 

Immigration fraud case accused remanded
Tribune News Service

Patiala, June 30
Prime accused in the immigration fraud case, Ramandeep Singh, was today remanded to police custody till July 2 by a local Duty Magistrate.

Ramandeep had earlier surrendered in a local court and had been remanded to judicial custody. The police had today taken a production warrant and presented him before the Duty Magistrate to seek his police remand.

Ramandeep is accused of defrauding 38 youths of lakhs of rupees by promising them jobs abroad and permanent immigration. The accused allegedly gave the youth job offer letters from foreign companies which the youth claim were found to be fake on inquiry. Ramandeep is also accused of supplying fake immigration papers to the youth.



 

PAU to set up 3 more farm research centres
K.S Chawla

Ludhiana, June 30
The Punjab Agricultural University will set up three Krishi Vigyan Kendras (KVK) in Muktsar, Amritsar and Ludhiana districts.

Dr K.S. Aulakh, Vice-Chancellor PAU said today one Krishi Vigyan Kendra would be set up at Goniana village in Muktsar district, another at Malhera village in Amritsar district and the third at Samrala in Ludhiana district.

Krishi Vigyan Kendras are funded by the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) and the land for these is provided by the state government. The ICAR will provide scientists and staff for research activities at the kendras. Each kendra costs between Rs 25 lakh to Rs 50 lakh depending on the status of the kendra, said Dr Aulakh.

Dr Aulakh said already there were nine kendras functioning in different districts of the state. The Deputy Commissioners of Mansa and Moga districts had been asked to allot land and kendras would be set up when land was made available.

A three-member team of the ICAR comprising Dr P. Lal, Dr. B.S. Hansra and Dr Mehta will visit the sites next month.

Dr Aulakh added the university would plant 1500 trees on the campus.

He justified construction of a boundary wall of the university to protect the property of the university.

All universities in the state had boundary walls and what was wrong if PAU was constructing one for the safety of the university property and residents on the campus.



 

Arhtiya occupying farmer’s land, says BKU
Tribune News Service

Muktsar, June 30
The Bharatiya Kisan Union (BKU) Ekta has alleged that an arhtiya of Gidderbaha subdivision is illegally occupying over 5 acre land of farmer Jang Singh of Sahib Chand village.

District general secretary of the BKU (Ekta), Mr Gurbhagat Singh Baliwana and its block president, Mr Darbara Singh Doda, in a statement here alleged that the arhtiya not only occupied the farmer’s land but also misbehaved with his wife and sister when they went to their fields.

They alleged the arhtiya managed to get a fake registry of the land in his favour.


 

Revenue officials attend camp
Tribune News Service

Ropar, June 30
The district administration is taking the help of ex-servicemen and other boating experts to train Revenue Department officials for carrying out rescue operations in case of flash floods.

The Deputy Commissioner, Ms Seema Jain, said one such training camp was held under the supervision of the SDM, Ropar, Mr Daljit Singh, yesterday. In the camp the revenue officials of the Sutlej area were trained.



 

Restricted holidays rescheduled

Chandigarh, June 30
An official spokesman of the Punjab Government said today that the date of restricted holidays on the occasion of Shaheedi Jor Mela, Fatehgarh Sahib, would be December 24, 25, 26 instead of 25, 26 and 27, as notified earlier. — TNS



 

Man hacks sister to death
Tribune News Service

Patiala, June 30
Two weeks after a brother hacked his sister and her lover to death and disposed of their bodies in the ‘Badi Nadi’ which flows close to his house in Ekta Colony in the city, the police has cracked the case following intensive questioning of one of the suspects. One of the bodies was recovered yesterday evening. The accused — Iqbal Singh was today presented in a local court and has been remanded to police custody till July 2.

Iqbal Singh murdered his sister, Satnam Kaur, and the latter’s lover Dharam Singh two weeks back after luring them to his house. Though Iqbal had estranged relations with his sister, he gave her the impression that he would accept both of them as a couple.

Both Iqbal and Dharam Singh drank heavily after that following which Satnam Kaur and Dharam Singh went up to the roof of the house to sleep. Iqbal attacked both of them with a sickle at night and cut their wind pipe to ensure a speedy death. The murderer then cut off the heads of both the victims and after undressing and burning their clothes he cut their bodies into four pieces each.

The bodies were stuffed in two jute bags and thrown into the Badi Nadi which is situated very close to the house of the accused. According to the police, Iqbal was picked up for questioning after it was suspected that he could also be involved in the crime. Sources said Iqbal admitted to the crime and also got one bag containing the body of Dharam Singh recovered from the Badi Nadi. As the water flow in the Badi Nadi is very slow the body had not drifted away. The police is yet to recover the second body. Meanwhile, Iqbal was presented before a Duty Magistrate today who remanded him to police custody till July 2.

Sources disclosed that though Iqbal’s sister Satnam Kaur had been married in Delhi, she had returned to her parent’s house in the city. They said she cohabited with Pappu for some time following which she was involved in an affair with Dharam Singh. This was objected to by the family as Dharam Singh was married and had children of his own.



 

Unit making illegal drugs unearthed, 2 arrested
Tribune News Service

Moga, June 30
The police in a raid on Goyal Medical Stores at Akalsar Chowk and its branch at Sham Lal Chowk here last night unearthed illegal manufacture of drugs. A large quantity of drugs kept without record was recovered. According to the police, the chemist concerned used to manufacture these drugs illegally. The police also caught three girls and two boys from the rooms of the Hotel Dream, owned by the owner of the shop, one boy escaped.

Mr M.S. Chhina, SSP, said the shops were raided after receiving a tip-off that drugs were being sold without licence and prescription at Goyal Medical Stores and these drugs were being sold to drug addicts at a high price.

A police team raided the shops in the evening and seized 1,000 norphin injections, 1,200 injections without label, 400 bottles cosidril, 300 bottles of phensydril, and other proscribed drugs. The police broke open a room of the Dream Hotel, as the shopkeeper didn’t have its keys and recovered drugs from there too.

Later, the police raided a manufacturing unit at Ram Ganj and recovered plastic cans of drugs, empty bottles and a machine used for packaging and arrested two persons, Pawan Kumar and Mahinder Singh in this connection.

The police could not arrest shop owners Krishan Kumar and Pawan Kumar, as they had secured bail from the Punjab and Haryana High Court. The SSP said they would move the high court for the cancellation of their bail.

The SSP said the manufacturers buy empty bottles from rag pickers. He said the drugs manufactured here were being supplied in the entire Malwa region. He said the manufacturers were selling these drugs in large quantities without bills.

He said the police had recovered a bill through which 400 norphin injections were sold. He said that as the supply line had been cut, it would go a long way in controlling sale of drugs in the region.



 

Waiter beaten to death for breaking glass mugs
Our Correspondent

Jalandhar, June 30
A waiter was beaten to death for breaking glass mugs at a function at Aangan Palace on the Kapurthala road here.

According to the police, the victim, identified as Gurpreet, was hired by a contractor for working at a function on June 26 night. All was fine till Gurpreet accidentally broke some glass mugs. It infuriated the contractor.

The contractor, identified as Gurpreet Singh of Khaira Majha village and his uncle Darshan Singh of Khusropur village in Kapurthala, began abusing the waiter for the loss. Gurpreet left the job midway and left for home on June 27. The contractors chased and caught him near Mand village. He was beaten up. One of them attacked Gurpreet with a sharpedged weapon. Paramjit, father of Gurpreet alleged that his son was found lying soaked in blood near Mand village.

He was admitted to the Civil Hospital here, where he died this afternoon. They were arrested and a case under Section 302 of the IPC was registered.



 

Woman, kin booked in rape bid case
Tribune News Service

Talwandi Sabo, June 30
A case has been registered against Chotto Kaur, a local resident and fortune teller, and her family members on the charge of abetting the persons who tried to rape a girl living in her neighbourhood on June 6. Police sources said though a case was registered under various sections of the IPC against the accused on the same day, the offence pertaining to rape was made against them yesterday at the local police station after the victim gave her statement to the police.

Chotto Kaur, who has been operating as a fortune teller from her residence in Maiser Mohalla of the town, called the girl to her house on June 6. Suspecting no foul play, the girl, who was alone in her house, went to Chotto Kaur’s house.

Chotto Kaur allegedly took the girl to a room where some persons were sitting. The persons caught the girl and tore her clothes. They allegedly tried to rape her.

When the victim raised the alarm, the neighbours came out and entered the house of Chotto Kaur. They succeeded in saving the victim.

After getting information, a police party reached the spot and rounded up Chotto Kaur, her husband, Niranjan Singh, and her three daughters. Some of the persons involved in the incident were also rounded up. Later, they were formally arrested after registering a case under Sections 354, 342, 341, 148, 149, 506 and 324 of the IPC.

Though the victim and others pleaded with the police that a case of rape should be registered against the accused, the police did not do so. On the other hand, the accused managed to secure bail as serious offences were not made against them by the police.

A group of prominent residents of the town, along with the victim, met the SSP, Mr Kapil Dev and apprised him of the matter. They also alleged that the police had been helping the accused.

After verifying the allegations levelled by the residents and recording the statement of the victim, the offence of rape was made against the accused.



 

Contract killer nabbed
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, June 30
The district police has nabbed an alleged contract killer — Devinder Singh, alias Sonu — on a tipoff and seized two revolvers of .38 and .32 bore along with live cartridges from him.

With the arrest, the police claims to have prevented several killings for which advance had been taken by the accused and to have solved looting incidents in other districts. Two of his accomplices are absconding and raids have been conducted to arrest them.

It was found that Sonu was working for his maternal uncles Jaspal Singh alias Fouji, a resident of Sri Hargobindpur and Lal Singh, alias Lali, of Tanda village in Hoshiarpur district. Fouji was the master mind in the gang. The accused admitted that they had looted Rs 20,000 from a post office under the Subanpur police station in Kapurthala district last year, besides looting a petrol station.

The accused confessed that Fouji took Rs 50,000 in advance of the Rs 1.8 lakh on which the deal was settled, for killing Sucha Singh in Kapurthala district. However, due to a death in the family of Jaspal Singh, they postponed their ‘programme’. The accused had planned to loot a bank in Sri Hargobindpur. However, they could not do so.

The police also nabbed four chain snatchers and vehicle lifters and seized seven gold chains, five motor cycles, two scooters and a moped from them. They were identified as Jaswinder Singh of Nive Tung, Sitara Singh of Tung Pai, Gurmeet Singh alias Mita of Mohkampura and Humjeet Singh of Chandan Nagar Batala. The chains were returned after completing legal formalities.



 

Bank looted of Rs 1.5 lakh
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, June 30
Even as the Amritsar police is still clueless about the dacoity committed in the Bank of Rajasthan in Amritsar city four days ago, five dacoits today looted Rs 1.5 lakh from the Central Cooperative Bank, Jalalabad, about 40 km from here, today, adopting the same modus operandi.

The five armed men who reached the bank premises in an Esteem car pushed the three staff members and four clients into the strongroom and decamped with the cash.

Mr Ashok Bath, S.P. (Detective), said a massive manhunt had been launched to nab the criminals.

Police sources said that the gang which had committed the crime in the Bank of Rajasthan seemed to be behind today’s looting. There was no gunman on duty at the time of the crime.



 

One murdered in Rajpura
Our Correspondent

Rajpura, June 30
Sanjay Kumar (35), a resident of Chhajju Maajri, old Rajpura was allegedly murdered by his brother-in-law with a sharp edged weapon near BCI Chowk here today.

Dharmindar Singh reportedly murdered Sanjay Kumar as he suspected that his sister Rekha, was burnt by him. It may be mentioned here that Rekha had died in February this year and at that time Dharmindar Singh was in jail as he was involved in a murder case. After murdering Sanjay Kumar, he surrendered himself before the local police.

A case has been registered against the accused under Section 302 of Indian Penal Code. The body of the victim had been sent for post-mortum to the AP Jain Civil hospital, Rajpura.



 

35 booked for violence at Kharar village
Our Correspondent

Kharar, June 30
In an incident of violence involving members of two communities in Sahora village, near here, today 35 persons, including the sarpanch of the village were booked by the police on charges of rioting, armed with deadly weapons, voluntarily causing hurt and house trespass.

According to the police, Mr Kirpal Singh sarpanch, Mr Ajmer Singh, Mr Kuldeep Singh, Mr Dalip Singh, all panches, and Mr Dilbagh Singh, former manager of a cooperative society, had allegedly attacked Mr Nirmal Singh and members of his family after entering their house. The alleged attackers and the victims belong to different communities.

The complainant, Mr Nirmal Singh, told the police that the reason behind the attack was probably some political rivalry. He said that during the panchayat elections, Mr Nirmal Singh’s son, Mr Surinder Pal Singh, had contested against the sarpanch.

However, villagers said there was dispute over the land occupied by Mr Nirmal Singh’s family.

The police said Mr Nirmal Singh had lodged a complaint that Mr Ajmer Singh forcibly entered his house along with others had allegedly caught him by his beard. Mr Dilbagh Singh tried to burn his beard and in the bid his right ear got burnt.

It is alleged that after some time the village sarpanch entered the house of Mr Nirmal Singh and attacked his wife, Ms Jaswant Kaur, who was seriously injured. She was taken to the local Civil Hospital from where she was referred to the PGI Chandigarh.

It is also alleged that the attackers used objectionable language against the community to which Mr Nirmal Singh belongs.

In the violence some persons, who had the support of the village sarpanch allegedly broke down the boundary wall of the house and damaged other property.

The police has registered a case under Sections 148 149, 452, 323, 324, and 427 of the IPC and Section 3 of the SC, ST Prevention of Atrocities Act, 1989.

No arrests have been made till the filing of this report.



 

PTU’s no to BBA, BCA students
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, June 30
Expressing inability of a mercy chance to the BBA and BCA students, who failed to clear one or more subjects of a semester in three chances and on a dharna in front of the university campus the Punjab Technical University (PTU) has urged the parents of striking students to persuade their wards to withdraw the agitation.

The BBA and BCA students, who could not pass in given three chances, have been agitating demanding another chance to clear remaining subjects.

Clarifying the university’s position on the demand of students Dr S.K. Salwan, vice-chancellor, PTU, said the university had exhausted available legal channels and the Punjab and Haryana High Court had dismissed a plea for the grant of a mercy chance in the Ms. Gurpreet Kaur versus PTU case.

“In view of the agitation of BBA and BCA students, the PTU again sought legal advice whether regulations can be amended in view of the court’s decision and an affadavit filed by the PTU with the court. The legal adviser opined that any amendment of the BBA and BCA regulation made by the Board of Governors (BOG), as suggested, may invite displeasure of the Punjab and Haryana High Court and even its contempt, said Dr Salwan.

Dr M.S. Grewal, Registrar, said that a committee of principals, appointed in March, also suggested that the court’s judgement must be implemented in the case of these students. He added the PTU was bound to obey the decision of the Punjab and Haryana High Court. “The university appeals to students to call off the agitation and also appeals the parents to convince their wards not continue the agitation,” said the registrar.



 

PTU honours Bhagat Singh’s kin
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, June 30
Punjab Technical University (PTU) today honoured a kin of Shaheed Bhagat Singh who had come for her admission under the freedom fighters’ quota during the ongoing CET counselling here.

Jasmeen Kaur, grand daughter of Bhagat Singh’s brother, belongs to Mandi Gobindgarh and had applied for admission to B.Tech. (computer science and technology) at Government Engineering College in Ferozepore. She had secured 10,541 rank in the entrance test and got the seat on merit basis.

The university authorities said they felt obliged that the descendant of a great freedom fighter had come to the campus to get admission in one of their affiliated colleges. Dr S.K. Salwan, Vice-Chancellor, honoured her with a set of books on the occasion. It is a matter of pride for us to honour Jasmeen Kaur. Besides, we are duty-bound to recognise the highest sacrifice made by Shaheed Bhagat Singh for the freedom for his country,” Dr Salwan added.

Ms Amarjyoti, mother of Jasmeen, said she was moved by the a gesture of the university authorities. “I am happy that Jasmeen got admission in computer science and technology as she has always aspired to become an engineer,” She said.

Jasmeen, too, was very enthusiastic, “I will try my level best to serve the country, particularly, the rural India. I hope to uplift living standard of rural people by properly using latest technologies.”



 

GND varsity admissions
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, June 30
Guru Nanak Dev University would admit students to its B.Tech and B.Arch courses on the CET basis at all its three campuses located at Amritsar, Jalandhar and Gurdaspur through counselling being conducted by Punjab Technical University, Jalandhar.

There are 40 seats each in B.Tech (electronics and communication engineering) and B.Tech (computer engineering) at all its three campuses at the local campus (Amritsar). There are 20 seats in each course in B.Tech (textile chemistry) an B.Tech (food technology) while 40 seats are available in B.Tech (urban and regional planning). Thirty seats are in B.Architecture.

Meanwhile the last date for admission to some courses have been extended to July 12. These include masters in history, Hindi, music.

Applications have been invited for admissions to M. Phil courses in English, Hindi, history, music, political science, psychology, Punjabi, religious studies and sociology upto July 19. Entrance test for this course would be conducted on July 26.



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