L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Probe begins in fraud by Civil Defence employees
Jupinderjit Singh
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 3
Three departments — police, district administration and state civil defence — have initiated separate inquiries into a fraud worth lakhs of rupees reportedly committed on over 500 volunteer members of the local Civil Defence Department by two employees of the department.

Apart from the issue of money, the accused allegedly compromised with national security by misusing highly confidential and restricted documents of civil defence. Prominent among these was the plan-General Principals of Civil Defence- document.

One of the accused employees allegedly acted as Deputy Chief Warden and pocketed about Rs 5000 each from these members in the name of the civil defence identity cards and activities for which not a single penny can be charged from the volunteers under the laid down rules.

The matter came to light when some volunteers saw newspaper advertisements issued by Civil Defence, New Delhi, inviting youngsters to join civil defence, which charges no fees or expenses. The shocked volunteers soon found out that the person acting as Deputy Chief Warden was posted on a low rank in the civil defence and was befooling them.

Mr P Lal, ADGP-cum-Director Civil Defence, took a serious note of the alleged fraud and has deputed DIG Home Guards, Mr Darshan Singh Maini, to probe the charges. Mr Maini recorded statements of the volunteers and verified the documentary proof here last evening.

On other representations, the local police administration has deputed SP-City-I, Mr Mandeep Singh, to conduct investigation. Similarly, the District Magistrate, Mr Anurag Verma, has deputed the District Grievances Redressal Officer, Mr Ajay Sood, to conduct an inquiry into the matter.

The volunteers, who requested anonymity, claimed that they had sent details of the fraud to the Prime Minister and President as well, who had marked the representations to the Punjab Government for necessary action.

Mr S.K. Baroota, District Commandant, Civil Defence, was not available for comments. Informed sources disclosed that the investigation was being conducted at a fast pace, as the state government was upset at the alleged fraud.

The volunteers have, in a signed representation, said that the Civil Defence was formed as a non-profitable organisation, with volunteers as members who neither have to pay anything nor get any salary for the services.

However, the self-styled Deputy Chief Warden and another employee took Rs 300-500 per volunteer for recruiting them as volunteers and also took Rs 4,000 per division(100-120 members).

The volunteers also paid Rs 540 for compulsory Air Tel connection for which no receipt was given. The accused allegedly forced the volunteers for compulsory collection for monthly meetings in hotels and a special New Year celebration on December 31 last year. There are no such provision in the rules.



A marriage of claims, counter-claims
Kanchan Vasdev
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 3
Is it a case of love marriage gone sour?
A 26-year-old divorced woman, Alka Rani, a receptionist, who claims that she had married an MBA boy, Balveer Singh Dhillon, working in her office is now virtually running from pillar to post to get justice. She says that Balveer had married another girl, dumping her after two years.

A resident of Jamalpur, Alka claims that she was working in a local company where she came across Balveer.

The two fell in love and decided to get married. The marriage was solemnised at a local gurdwara on August 15, 2002. It was a simple affair with only the parents of the girl attending it, she added.

Alka alleged that the groom had told them that he had lost his parents and none of his relatives were alive. But soon after the marriage, the groom disclosed that his parents were alive and residing at Shankar village, near here. After Alka’s insistence he took her to meet them but they refused to accept her as their daughter-in-law.

“They even misbehaved with him and asked us to leave the house. We both returned and started living together in Jamalpur. Whenever we used to go there they used to misbehave with us. They had even disowned Balveer. Due to some misunderstanding we even fought a case in the court where a compromise was reached and we started living together,” she added.

Alka further said everything was going well till June 1 when she had a miscarriage and her husband left her. She searched for him and came to know that he had married another girl in February this year.

She recalled that Balveer had gone on an official tour to Mumbai for 10 days and during this time he got married again.

“He may have thought that being a poor woman I will not raise voice against him,” she added.

Alleging that the division No. 8 police was shielding him and not registering a case against him, Alka said she had been making rounds of the police station and the women’s cell but no FIR had been lodged in this regard.

Meanwhile, the SHO concerned, Mr Gurpreet Singh, said he had marked an inquiry into the case. He said Balveer had married the girl out of sympathy as she was being tortured by her former husband. “She had asked Balveer to take her out of the muck by marrying her,” he added, saying that Balveer was a very good boy. “You meet him and you will find how generous the boy is. He was lured by this girl who does not enjoy a good reputation.”

He added he had not remarried as Alka had already talked to the girl’s parents in this regard and they did not solemnise their daughter’s wedding.

Balveer Singh has denied all allegations. He said he was made to pose for a picture under pressure by some criminal-minded persons after he was allegedly kidnapped by them. He said he had not remarried and was only engaged to the girl. He alleged that Alka was demanding Rs 3 lakh from him and when he refused she cooked up a story to malign him. She was married earlier and had a daughter from it. She had not even sought divorce from her first husband.”

His colleagues, however, said he had married in February and some of them had even gone to his village to attend the marriage.



Revolt brewing among Cong councillors on Mayor issue
Vimal Sumbly
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 3
Revolt is brewing among Congress councillors here over reports of possible replacement of Mayor Nahar Singh Gill with some local legislator. The opposition councillors belonging to the Shiromani Akali Dal and the BJP are keeping their options open and are waiting to take advantage of the situation and “embarrass” the Congress.

It is learnt that some of the Congress councillors a actively lobbying in support of Mr Gill and a trying to prevail upon the party high command not to replace Mr Gill. It is learnt that Mr Gill enjoys the confidence of a good number of party councillors who are strongly opposed to the idea of an outsider as the Mayor.

Taking advantage of the situation, the opposition councillors are keeping their cards close to the chest. They are learnt to be contemplating the idea to get their own Mayor elected in case Mr Gill is asked to resign. It is believed that the opposition councillors are confident that they can either win over the support of 10 or 12 Congress councillors or can at least make them abstain from voting, which will obviously ensure the defeat of the Congress candidate.

The Congress is faced with the stupendous task in case it needs to change the Mayor. If Mr Gill refuses to resign, the party will need two-thirds support to get a vote of no-confidence passed against him. Right now the Congress has 38 councillors in the house of 70, besides the support of five legislators, which takes the total figure to 43 only, while it will need 51 votes. But with some of the councillors openly supporting Mr Gill, it may not even manage a simple majority for getting its own candidate elected, not to speak of removing the incumbent Mayor.

Almost a similar situation had emerged in 1999 when Mr Apinder Singh Grewal was the Mayor. However, the reasons were different. Mr Grewal who supported Mr Gurcharan Singh Tohra when he (Mr Tohra) parted ways with Mr Badal could not be removed although he enjoyed the support of a limited number of councillors only. At that time, the Congress had played a similar game like the opposition is trying to play now by declaring its support for Mr Grewal. At that time also the SAD-BJP could not move no-confidence motion against the Mayor.



Pirated cassettes seized
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 3
Continuing with its drive against the duplicate audio-video CD business in Bhadaur House, the district police today raided Sangeet Video House in the AC market basement and claimed to have seized about 1100 CDs sold illegally.

The seized Cds included blue films and pirated copies of latest Bollywood and Hollywood releases. DSP Mohan Lal, who led the team, revealed that pirated CD business was mushrooming in the city and Bhadaur House market was the nucleus of the illegal work.

The police has arrested Shankar, an employee at the video shop, and has booked him along with the shop owner Varinder Kumar under various Sections of the IPC besides the Copyright Act.



SAD has politicised SGPC, says Bhai Ranjit Singh
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 3
Former Akal Takht Jathedar Bhai Ranjit Singh today asked SAD chief Parkash Singh Badal to name one sacrifice he or his family had made for the Panth. The latter was seeking votes in the names of martyrs of the community for which he had done nothing worthwhile all these years, the jathedar added.

He was addressing a gathering in favour of the Panthic Morcha candidates for the SGPC poll at Swaddi village today. He said the SAD had politicised the working of the committee and had encouraged its members to indulge in anti-Panthic activities. In this context, he cited the example of late senior vice-president of the SGPC Balbir Singh Pannu who had died in a car accident along with a 22-year old girl.

Despite demands from the community to inquire into the incident Mr Badal chose to keep quiet. What message do such incidents send to the people and the youth in particular, he questioned. He also alleged that Mr Badal had patronised dera culture in Punjab and had given 150 acres to Baba Bhaniara, besides actively helping Baba Ashutosh Nurmehlia.

Referring to the frequency with which Mr Badal labels his opponents as Congress agents, Bhai Ranjit Singh said it was ironical that the former CM should call others as Congress agents while he himself had married his daughter in a family which are staunch Congressmen.

Bhai Ranjit also came down heavily on Akal Takht Jathedar Joginder Singh Vedanti for going on a foreign tour while the pre-poll process was underway. The latter, he said, had claimed that he would curb all malpractices and had even issued a code of conduct for the candidates. Now when the complaints were piling up in the secretariat there was no one to take action, he said.

Meanwhile, the panchayat of Sohle village has asked voters to boycott Ms Bhupinder Kaur, who is contesting on a SAD ticket. Her husband has allegedly encroached upon land meant for a gurdwara. Similarly, the panchayat of Jiwanpur has passed a similar resolution boycotting Ranjit Singh Kala for encroaching upon 18 kanals meant for a gurdwara.



Save Pak gurdwaras, city lad asks PM
Tribune News service

Ludhiana, July 3
A local lad, Bikramjit Singh Chadha, a student of Class VIII, DAV Public School, here has written to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, drawing his attention to the appalling condition of gurdwaras in Pakistan. Bikramjit has just returned from Pakistan where he had gone as a member of the SGPC jatha.

Bikramjit has written to the Prime Minister, saying that “the upkeep of the Sikh shrines in Pakistan should be made part of the agenda during the Indo-Pak dialogue.”

He adds that a corridor should be constructed to Kartarpur near Dera Baba Nanak.

Talking to the Ludhiana Tribune, he said he had a chance to see the ancestral house of his maternal grandfather Rajinder Singh.

Bikramjit adds that he was disturbed over the lack of coordination between the Indian and Pakistani rail authorities that leads to a lot of hardships to pilgrims who have to wait at the Attari railway station in the scorching heat for the train to arrive from the Pakistan side.



Rotary awards function
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, July 3
Rajat Deep Kaur, District Rotaract Representative, Rotary International District 3070, was adjudged the Best DRR by Rotary International Director PDG Sushil Gupta at the Annual award function of Rotary International District 3070 in Hoshiarpur.

Rajat Deep Kaur, who has headed the young wing (age 18 to 35) of Rotary for the year 2003-04, is from Ludhiana. She was the only girl DRR from South Asian countries and first-ever DRR from Ludhiana.

Former general secretary of the Government College for Women informed that 19 delegates attended the Multi district convention of South Asian countries at Mahbleshwar under her leadership. Two rotaractors from district visited Dubai, Hong Kong and Australia as goodwill messengers.

A special programme under the Rotary Youth Leadership awards was organised at Amritsar in which 194 delegates learned the technique of leadership.

New Rotaract leader DRR Mandeep Pujara from Jandiala took the charge of the district from her on July 1, and Rajan Rai from Phagwara will be DRR Elect for year 2005-2006.



Woman found unconscious

Khanna, July 3
A woman was found lying unconscious near the Punjab State Electricity Board office today morning. Employees of the PSEB and police personnel took her to Civil Hospital, Khanna.

According to information, the woman, a resident of Hansi in Haryana, had gone to Vaishno Devi shrine on June 13. While she was returning from shrine, a soft drinks seller of Katra forcibly took her to an unidentified place and tried to rape her. She was also assaulted by him. She, somehow, managed to escape from his custody and reached the railway station where some passengers arranged a ticket for her for Ludhiana.

After reaching Ludhiana, a man offered to help her in reaching her place. However, she fell ill on the way and became unconscious. The man left her near the PSEB office in the night. — OC



16.5 kg poppy husk seized; 1 held
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, July 3
The Haibowal police arrested Anup Singh, a resident of street number 8 of Ashok Nagar in the salem Tabri area, and seized 16.5 kg poppy husk from his possession yesterday. The accused was nabbed on the Chuharpur road. He has been booked under the NDPS Act.

Bank defrauded: On the statement of Mr Harjit Singh, manager, State Bank of Patiala branch at Sahnewal, the police on Friday registered a case under Sections 420, 467, 468, 471 and 120-B of the IPC against Pritpal Singh, a resident of Budhewal village.

The bank manager had stated that the accused had obtained a loan of Rs 20,000 from the bank on the basis of documents of a plot in his name. The documents of the plot had been deposited with the bank. Despite that, the accused managed to sell the plot to Jagtar Singh of Sahnewal. The accused thus committed a fraud on the bank, he alleged. No arrest has been made so far.

Dowry cases: On the statement of Ms Jyoti, a resident of Gurpreet Nagar, the Salem Tabri police on Friday registered a case under Sections 406 and 498-A of the IPC against her husband, Ajay, father-in-law, Ashok Kumar, mother-in-law, Namta, and other in-laws namely Seema and Raja, residents of Anand Nagar.

The woman said she was married to Ajay in December, 1996. The accused had been torturing her mentally and demanding dowry, she alleged. No arrest has been made so far.

The Sahnewal police has registered a case under Sections 406 and 498-A of the IPC on the statement of Ms Manjit Kaur, a resident of Dhanansu village, against Nirbha Singh, his father Manjit Singh, mother Kamaljit Kaur and sister Jaswinder Kaur, who live on the Railway road at Sahnewal.

The woman had stated that her daughter was married to Nirbha Singh in March, 2001, but the accused had been harassing and torturing her for dowry. No arrest has been made so far.

Theft cases: On the statement of Mr Ujaggar Singh, who lives near Matharoo Chowk, the Shimla Puri police on Friday registered a case under Sections 457 and 380 of the IPC against Baljit Singh, a resident of Sedan Wal village, near Sahnewal, now living in street number 1 of Shimla Puri and Anand, a resident of street number 32 on the Barota road.

The police said the accused were arrested and a BPL television, which they had stolen from the house of the complainant after breaking open the locks of the house on Thursday, was recovered.

The Division No. 6 police on Friday arrested Rajinder Singh, a resident of Butahri village, and recovered a stolen scooter form his possession. He has been booked under sections 379 and 411 of the IPC. The accused was nabbed at Kashmir Chowk.

The Shimla Puri police has registered a case under Section 379 of the IPC on the statement of Mr Sandeep Kumar, a resident of Dara Colony, against unidentified person(s), who stole his Tata Qualis (HR-03D-9303) from outside his house on the intervening night of June 29 and 30.

Injured: The Sarabha Nagar police has registered a case under Sections 279, 337, 338 and 427 of the IPC on the statement of Ms Parveen, a resident of Dr Ambedkar Nagar, Dakshin Puri, New Delhi, against Tarunjit Singh, a resident of Sarabha Nagar.

The complainant had alleged that the accused, who was driving a Maruti car hit a Santro car in front of Guru Nanak Public School in Sarabha Nagar as a result of which his employer’s wife, Ms Mery, a resident of Gulmohar Park, New Delhi, was injured and the car was damaged on Wednesday evening. No arrest has been made so far.

Assaulted: The Shimla Puri police on Friday registered a case under Sections 324, 341, 506, 148 and 149 of the IPC on the statement of Mr Harpreet Singh, who lives in street number 40 of Preet Nagar, against Madhu, Balwinder Kumar and his son, Mintu, who live in the same locality.

The complainant had alleged that the accused had stopped him on the road, beaten him up and also threatened him. No arrest has been made so far.

Satta bookies held: The Jodhewal police on Friday arrested two persons for indulging in ‘darra’ and ‘satta’ booking and booked them separately under the Gambling Act. The accused in the first case has been identified as Raj Kumar, a resident of Kirpal Nagar mohalla. He was arrested from near a culvert on the Rahon road.

The other accused was identified as Ashwani Kumar, a resident of the Model House area at Jalandhar. The police said the accused was nabbed from Madho Puri.



Industry suffers losses due to power cuts
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 3
The Chamber of Industrial and Commercial Undertakings today said the continued grim power situation in the state, particularly in Ludhiana, coupled with a 24-hour power cut for the industry and domestic consumers with two weekly off days has created a devastating scenario for the industry.

Mr Inderjit Singh Pardhan and Mr Avtar Singh, general secretary of the chamber, said the PSEB was worried about its losses and on the other hand it was not conscious about the massive losses being incurred by the industry due to unscheduled power cuts.

They said it would result in reduction in production to the tune of Rs 400 crore per day. There would be revenue loss in the form of Central Excise and the sales tax. Migrant labourers would also become jobless. It would add to the criminal activities, they said. The board should keep such losses and adverse impacts of power cuts in mind, they added.

Mr Pardhan said the collection of minimum charges by the PSEB from the industrial power consumers was without any authority of the law and it should be withdrawn immediately.

He appealed to the captains of the industry of all sections to raise voice against the minimum charges collected by the PSEB.

He also ridiculed the fake pro-agriculture commitments made by the Punjab Government, when the farmers in villages and the industry in cities were suffering due to bad power supply system.

Mr Pardhan urged the Punjab Government and the Chairman of the PSEB to come out with remedial measures to check power situation in the state.


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