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PO arrested after 24 years
Had contested Assembly poll; acted as extra in Bollywood 
Jupinderjit Singh
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 17
It would surely be one of the most amazing fugitive stories ever heard. A man declared proclaimed offender (PO) 24 years ago in a fraud case by a local court acted in Bollywood movies, contested elections and regularly visited various police stations of the state for pursuing "works" of his supporters.

His run from the law finally ended due to the efforts of the specially created PO staff wing of the local police. No wonder that the most surprised person in the case was the man himself. When nabbed by the police at Ghanuri Kalan village in Sangrur district, he could only exclaim, "My God! You people still remember me".

Brought to book after almost two and a half decades, Gurmail Singh had acted as an "extra" in several Bollywood movies and also got to play character roles in old Hindi movies like "Ek Aur Khoon" and "Dharam Ka Rishta". He returned to Punjab about three years ago and had the audacity to even contest the Legislative Assembly elections from Sherpur on the ticket of the National Socialist Party.

He, however, lost the elections. Some of his opponents had got the wind of his "star-PO" status but could not prove it. The man managed to brush aside the allegations, calling these as "the imagination of his political rivals".

The PO staff, headed by Inspector Devinder Kumar, got a clue about the man's background. Investigations carried on for several months by him and ASI Baldev Singh finally led the police to his village in Sangrur district.

He has been remanded in 14-day judicial custody.

Inspector Devinder Kumar told Ludhiana Tribune that Gurmail Singh was booked by the Sadar Police Ludhiana in 1980 on the complaint of several persons, who charged him with fraud and cheating. The complainants alleged that the man owed them lakhs of rupees', which he had taken away through fraudulent means.

He was arrested by the Sadar police. After spending a few months in jail, he was released on bail. He , however, jumped bail and remained absent from court proceedings in the case.

In 1985, he was declared a proclaimed offender(PO) by a city court. He was forgotten by the police, which was busy in combating terrorism.

The state police formed the special PO staff about three years ago. Since then a number of POs have been nabbed. But no one matches the case of Gurmail Singh.

Police sources said the case was still far from over. Now the search for the complainants against the PO has begun. Sources said it would be quite a task to trace the complainants, some of whom might not be alive or might have shifted from their residence.

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38-year-old woman found murdered
Servant’s hand suspected; valuables missing
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 17
A 38-year-old woman was found murdered at her residence in Sher-e-Punjab Colony here today. Her servant, who is suspected to have killed her, fled with Rs 1 lakh in cash and jewellery worth Rs 2 lakh.

The victim, Kiran Dhawan, was married to Mr Deepak Dhawan, the owner of Heaven Resorts on Ferozepore Road. Kiran’s body was found in a pool of blood with multiple stab wounds to her chest.

The body was found on the chair. A kitchen knife, smeared with blood, and a mortar was seized from the crime scene. The murder apparently took place between 12 noon and 2 pm.

Family sources said they had engaged a migrant from Bihar as servant yesterday only. Mr Dhawan had left the house with two other servants around 12 noon today. They said he was the only one present in the house with the woman. The servant has been missing from the house since the crime came to light.

The murder came to light when the victim’s children - daughter Curie (14) and son Chirag (12) - returned home from school around 2.15 pm. They rang the doorbell but no one answered.

They then went to a neighbour’s house to enquire about their mother but found no trace of her. The children then rang up their father, who reached the spot and opened the door lock with a duplicate key only to find Kiran’s body on a chair in her bedroom.

A mop and a bucket full of water in the room suggested that the servant entered the room to mop the floor and then hit the woman in the head from behind with a mortar, while she was sitting in the chair. After the attack, he stabbed her with a kitchen knife.

The victim’s bedroom, on the first floor of the house, was ransacked. Cash, jewellery and valuables worth lakhs were missing. SP(D) Gurpreet Singh Toor said it was disturbing that the servant had committed the crime within 24 hours of his new job.

He said nobody in the house knew his name and they had not bothered to enquire about his antecedents. He also said a neighbour had told the police that the deceased had talked with her about her servant’s suspicious activities only in the morning. But no remedial measures were taken.

SP City-I Mandeep Singh also inspected the crime scene along with a team of forensic experts led by Mr Krishan Dutt. The police claimed to have found vital clues from the scene.

The police has rounded up some suspects from the area to ascertain the whereabouts of the accused.

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Man, son held for murder
Tribune News Service 

Ludhiana, July 17 
The Haibowal police today arrested two suspected killers of a local youth within two hours of the crime being committed. A man and his son allegedly clubbed Munna (27) to death on the suspicion of having illicit relations with a female member of the family.

DSP Simratpal Singh told Ludhiana Tribune that cordoning off of the area led to the arrest of the suspects when they were trying to flee. The incident took place at about 3 p.m. near the fire station, Haibowal, when Krishan Dev and his son Khushi Ram confronted the victim. They had an argument over the above said issue, which led to the murder of the man. The suspects allegedly clubbed him to death.

They then fled the scene. After loitering for an hour they came to their house in Partap Singhwala. The police caught them when they were leaving the house along with some of their belongings.

Police sources said the victim used to work as a truck driver. He belonged to Bihar but had been living in Punjab since his childhood after being adopted by a farmer, Nachhattar Singh, of the same village

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Dharna outside police station
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 17
Irate residents of Dhakka Colony here staged a dharna outside the Model Town police station for not registering a case of murder against a man, Hukam Singh, accused of pushing his friend into a canal.

Tension gripped the area when hundreds of residents of Dhakka Colony staged a protest outside the police station with the body of a youth, Bajinder Dogra (25), which was fished out by the police from Sidhwan Canal today. The youth had drowned in the canal on Tuesday.

Relatives and neighbours of the youth alleged that Bajinder had left his house with his friend, Hukam Singh on Tuesday to take a dip in Sidhwan canal. But Bajinder did not return.

His brother, in a complaint to the police, said that the accused was in an inebriated state that day and had said in front of him that he would kill his brother. He added that he had not taken it seriously, as he thought that he was joking.

They had suspected that his friend had pushed him into the canal. The residents had beaten up the wife of the accused yesterday, forcing the accused to surrender before them. They had then handed him over to the police. But the police did not register a case against him.

Their worst nightmare came true today when the police found his body. They staged a dharna outside the police station. The cops were trying to pacify the protesters till the filing of this report. Mr Vijay Danav, a Dalit leader, had also intervened in the evening.

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Two cops convicted of negligence
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, July 17
The Judicial Magistrate, Mr K.K.Singla, has convicted two cops of dereliction of duty and sentenced them to undergo imprisonment for nine months each. A fine of Rs 500 each has also been imposed on them.

Balwinder Singh of Pritam Nagar, Ludhiana, arrested under the Arms Act case, had escaped from the police lock up in 1995 while the convicts - Head Constable Harjang Singh, former night munshi of Haibowal Police Station, and Vikramjit Singh (PHG) - were on duty.

An FIR under Sections 223 and 224 of the IPC had been lodged against the duo at the Sarabha Nagar police station on a complaint of Mr Hans Raj, Head Constable.

The complainant had stated that Harjang Singh was on munshi duty on the day of incident. When he reached the police station, he came to know that Vikramjit had brought the Balwinder Singh out of the lock-up on the pretext of taking him for a call of nature. Thereafter, the accused escaped from his custody scaling the wall.

However, the accused pleaded not guilty and claimed false implication. The defence counsel argued that the prosecution had failed to prove that on the night of the incident the duo were on duty. He had further argued that there was no proper arrangements for keeping the arrested persons. Moreover, the evidence of prosecution witnesses showed that the accused were not negligent in discharging duty.

But the judge held:’’ Sub-Inspector Surjit Chand and Hans Raj(complainant) have tried to help the duo by saying that they were not negligent in their duty when the accused escaped but the sympathy of prosecution witnesses shown towards the duo is of no help’’.

The duo cannot avoid their liability by saying that there was no proper arrangement for keeping the arrested persons. Because in that eventuality they should have been more cautious.”

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Woman dies of burns 
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, July 17
Manjit Kaur of the local Indira Colony died of burn injuries at the PGI yesterday. She was allegedly set afire by her in-laws at Munshiwala village of Dirba police station (Sangrur), a week ago.

At the hospital she gave birth to a dead child. She was brought here by her parents from the Civil Hospital, Sangrur. She had sustained over 80 per cent burns.

She was cremated here today after a post-mortem examination was conducted at the PGI. A case has been registered.

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Termination Act a right step, says MCPI
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 17
The Punjab State Committee of Marxist Communist Party of India (MCPI) has described the Termination of Agreement Act passed by Punjab Legislatively Assembly as a step in right direction, although belated.

In a signed statement, Mr Kuldip Singh, state secretary of the MCPI, said: “Had this step been taken prior to the direction of the Supreme Court, it would have been better and would have strengthened the Punjab’s case legally and made it morally more forceful.”

Describing the situation as “better late than never”, the Punjab MCPI felt that it was for the first time state’s main political parties had joined hands to protect the interests of the state. In the name of just and equitable distribution of water, undue pressure was exerted by the Central Government, a step that had been corrected by the act of annulling the Act, he said.

Mr Kuldip Singh said the party felt that the state legislature was fully competent to take a decision on the subject. If it were not so then the federal structure provided in the constitution would become meaningless. Punjab MCPI was of the opinion that such longstanding emotive issues could not be solved in courts and by courts. These could only be solved politically by satisfying the needs and requirements as well as the sentiments of the people of the states involved, because the mater had been allowed to be complicated by political pulls and pressures by the successive Central Governments.

The Punjab MCPI called upon the Central Government to find a lasting viable solution to protect the interests of Punjab, as it had always been a victim of discrimination and injustice. Mr Kuldip Singh strongly condemned the stand of the BJP, which he said was trying to exploit the sentiments of people of Haryana and other states.

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Experts discuss Finance Bill 
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, July 17
The District Taxation Bar Association (Direct Taxes) today organised a seminar on “Finance (No. 2) Bill, 2004”. Mr Raj Narain, Member of the Settlement Commission, Mr S.C. Parija, former Chairman of the commission, and Mr Ajay Wadhwa were the guest speakers.

Issues related to changes in the Income Tax Act, proposed by Finance Bill, 2004, were discussed. Members reacted sharply to the insertion of new Section 277-A in which imprisonment of tax advisers had been proposed in case of attempt of evasion of tax by the assessee.

Mr Deepak Gupta, former member of the Central Council of ICAI, raised the question of annual information return and said under the new provisions a complete ledger of assessee had to be submitted with the Income Tax Department every year.

Speakers said any amount exceeding Rs 25,000 in total, in a year, received from non-relatives without consideration would be taxable as income of the assessee under head income from other sources.

The TDS returns would now have to be filed quarterly instead of annually and “No TDS” certificate was required to be issued to deductee. TCS returns would have to be filed annually instead of biyearly returns, said speakers.

Senior lawyers Mohan Lal Aggarwal, N.R. Kapoor, and K.L. Malhotra were honoured for their contribution towards the profession. Mr R.K. Mehta, president, and Mr Raman Goyal, secretary of the DTBA, assured the association that they would raise the issue of 277-A with the Finance Ministry and would compel them to erase the clause from the Finance Bill.

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Rotarians discuss Budget
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, July 17
The Rotary Club arranged a 'Budget meeting' at the Rotary Bhavan, Sarabha Nagar, yesterday.
Among others, Ms Sudha Sharma, Chief Commissioner, Income Tax, Mr R.K. Kapur and Mr Sudhir Sehgal attended the meeting.

Mr R.K. Kapur welcomed the new tax policy imposed by the Finance Minister, Mr P. Chidambaram. Two per cent educational cess imposed by the government was more or less expected, he added. He said income up to Rs 1.30 lakh was free from tax. The farming community was also happy to get tax relief, he claimed.

Mr Sudhir Sehgal said the Budget was a mixed bag to balance politics and economics. It had not lost its focus and thus would not disappoint many. The amendment proposed to tax receipts in the form of gifts exceeding Rs 25,000 from a person other than blood relation as income from other sources, he added.

The chief guest, Ms Sudha Sharma, said the Budget was so simple for everyone, especially for housewives. However, it was used as a tool for different purposes viz for implementation of the economy; to satisfy agriculture sector, industry and service sector. She said, "In Ludhiana alone, 13 lakh people declare their income below one lakh."

A club directory was also released on the occasion. Mr K.K. Dhir presented a memento to the chief guest and also proposed a vote of thanks.

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Shravan Sankranti celebrated with fervour
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, July 17
Shravan Sankranti was celebrated with usual religious fervour in the city yesterday.
People assembled in large numbers at various religious places to hear the name of the month from the mouth of holy persons.

At Jain Sthanak in Rupa Mistry Street, Shri Rattan Muni Maharaj dwelt on the importance of 'Navkar Mahamantra' and inspired the gathering to have an unflinching faith in it. Among those present on the occasion were Mr Moti Lal Jain, Mr Prem Chand Jain, Mr Darshan Jain, Mr Adarsh Jain and Mr Ashwini Jain.

At Ram Sharnam Ashram, Kitchlu Nagar, the name of the holy month was uttered by Shri Naresh Soni. He exhorted the gathering to control desires and lust.

Idols of the Shiva family were installed at Sanatan Dharam Ved Mandir under the supervision of Swami Ved Bharti. He dwelt on the importance of the occasion.

A religious congregation was held at Ram Sharnam Ashram, Naulakha Bagh Colony. Sant Brahmchari Ram Parkash delivered a sermon highlighting the importance of reciting the name of God.

At Shri Ram Park, Civil Lines, Ashwini Bedi, chief preacher of the Amritwani Dharamarth Satsang Trust, explained the state of bliss achieved through meditation

A function was also held at Brahmrishi Bawra Senior Secondary School. It was presided over by Swami Brahmjyoti, who uttered the name of the month. Sunder Kand 'path' was also performed on the occasion.

'Harinam Sankirtan' was held at Sidhpeeth Dandi Swami Temple, Civil Lines. Rishi Onkar Dutt uttered the name of the month.

Among those present on the occasion were Pandit Raj Kumar Sharma, Mr Ashwini Grover, Mr Somnath Malhotra, Pandit Dharam Pal, Mr Kanti Nandan, Mr Satish Kundra, Mr Tarsem Lal Bagga, Mr Jeewan Aggarwal, Mr Punit Sharma, Mr Surinder Arora, Mr Bharat Bhushan Dua and Mr Sunil Kalia.

A 'havan' was performed at Shri Hanuman Mandir, Naulakha Bagh Colony, under the supervision of Pt Ashwini Sharma. Recitation of Shiva Purana was also started on the occasion.

A special 'puja' was performed at Tapovan Ashram, Civil Lines, by Pt Kashi Nath Tripathi, Pt Mahanand Shastri and Mr Sohan Lal Dhanda. A 'bhandara' was also organised to mark the occasion.

At Shri Vaishno Devi Temple in Division No 3, Mahant Shakti Sewak uttered the name of the month, while Mahant Narayn Dass Puri did likewise at the ancient Sanglanwala Shivala in the same area.

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5 buffaloes die after consuming poisonous fodder
Our Correspondent

Machhiwara, July 17
Five buffaloes of farmer Sucha Singh of Hedon Bet village on the Machhiwara-Ropar road died yesterday after consuming poisonous fodder. The cost of buffaloes was Rs 22,000 each, according to the farmer.

Narrating the incident, Sucha Singh told Ludhiana Tribune that after serving fodder to his animals on Thursday, the animals showed restlessness. He called a veterinarian from a nearby village, who found symptoms of fever in the animals. After sometime, the buffaloes started shivering with cold. Two buffaloes died on the spot.

Later, Dr Amarjit Singh, Senior Veterinary Officer, Samrala, visited the village with his team. He conducted post-mortem examination and found that the cause of death of animals was blood clots on lungs and liver. A sample of fodder was sent to a laboratory at the PAU, where indications of cyanide were reported in the fodder.

Meanwhile, three more animals died yesterday.

Dr Amarjit Singh said that the poisonous substance might have come in the fodder due to lack of rain for many days. He added that in the absence of rain, poisonous substances are likely to exist in fodder. He appealed to the farmers to be watchful and urged them to consult veterinarians to avoid such mishaps.

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Protest in front of police station on July 20 
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, July 17
An action committee, comprising representatives of the Democratic Employees Front, Punjab, the Adhyapak Dal, Punjab , the Karamchari Dal Council and the Welfare Association of Mullanpur town , will stage a demonstration in front of the police station at Mullanpur on July 20 to demand the arrest of the killers of a couple.

Mr Jasdev Singh Lalton,spokesman for the action committee, said here today that there was resentment against the failure of the police to arrest the murderers of a teacher, Jasbir Singh(24), and his wife Rupinder Kaur( 22).The crime was committed more than a month ago. He said the committee had given Rs 40,000 as aid to the affected family. 

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Man dies after accidentally consuming poison
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, July 17
Inderjit Singh (23) of Bhamal, who had got married just five months back, died after accidentally consuming some poison lying at his home. According to information he mistook it for liquor. A post-mortem examination was conducted at the Civil Hospital, Jagraon. A case has been registered under Section 174, Cr PC.

Bank employee assaulted: Jaspal Singh, Senior Assistant, State Bank of India, Jagraon, was assaulted by two persons in the age group of 25 years along with a woman. They snatched his purse near the local branch of Bank of Punjab when he was returning home after attending a party at Shakti Nagar here.

Cash stolen: The Raikot police has registered a case under Sections 457 and 380, IPC, on the statement of Sadhu Singh of Gujjar Patti Bassian against a certain person for stealing Rs 8,500 and some amount of gold. In another incident the Dehlon police on the statement of Harmanjit Singh of Dehlon has registered a case against certain persons for stealing Rs 15,000 from his house.

Illicit liquor seized: The Sidhwan Bet police arrested Parkash Singh of Tibba Salempura and seized from him 22.680 l of illicit liquor. A case has been registered under Sections 61/1/14 of the Excise Act. In another incident Deepo Bal of Salempur was arrested from Kotmana and 3 kg of poppy husk seized from him.

Fraud case: A case of fraud was registered under Sections 420 and 120-B of the IPC on a statement of Mr Sarabjit Singh of Urban Estate, Dugri, against Shakti Chauhan of Shimla Puri and his wife Veena Chauhan.

The complainant had stated that the couple purchased his house for Rs 60,500. They gave only Rs 50,500 in cash and cheques for the rest of the amount. But the cheques were not honoured by the bank concerned.

House burgled: A case under Sections 454 and 380 of the IPC was registered yesterday on a statement of Mr Dev Raj of Jagjit Nagar whose house was burgled on July 13. The robbers decamped with Rs 10,000 and a gold chain.

Man beaten up: The Sadar police registered a case under Sections 341,323 and 34 of the IPC on Friday on a statement of Mr Bablu, a migrant labourer from Bihar living in a temple at Basant Avenue on the Dhandra Road, against Jarnail Singh, Sarabjit Singh and Manjit Kaur, all residents of Kanchan Colony on the Pakhowal Road. The complainant had stated that the accused had beaten him up.

Gamblers held: The police on Friday arrested Vijay Kumar of Makkar Colony, Gias Pura, Ashwani Kumar of Guru Arjan Dev Nagar, Mohinder Pal of Hargobind Nagar and Gurdeep Singh of Shivaji Nagar under the Gambling Act. The police said on Saturday that they were gambling at a public place and a sum of Rs 2,310 and a deck of playing cards were seized from their possession. 

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Qualis forcibly taken away
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 17
The Shimlapuri police yesterday registered a case under Sections 408 and 120-B of the IPC against Surjit Singh of Julari village in Kangra district Himachal Pradesh, and is currently living at Dhanas village near Chandigarh, for forcibly taking away the vehicle of Mr Pawan Kumar, Sector 41, Chandigarh.

The complainant stated to the police that the suspect, who was accompanied by another person and two women, had hired his Qualis for going from Chandigarh to Ludhiana. He said on the way they started drinking liquor. Just when the car reached the canal bridge near Lohara village he was thrown out of the car.

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Concern over hike in steel prices
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, July 17
The auto parts manufacturing industry in the small-scale sector has expressed concern over the continuous hike in steel prices. The executive body meeting of the Ludhiana Motor Parts Manufacturers Association (LMPMA) at a meeting here has demanded a CBI inquiry into the sale of steel items in Punjab during the past three years.

After the meeting a joint statement was issued by Mr G.S. Kahlon and Mr Charan Singh Kohli, president and general secretary of the association, respectively, in which they alleged that in the past three years the small steel plants and two wholesale traders of steel of Vishakhapatnam Steel Plant had been selling materials allegedly in connivance with the state high officials at a huge premium.

They added that at present the rate of steel scrap was Rs 15,000 per tonne and to prepare the steel, including its profit, one had to bear Rs 5,000 per tonne as expenses. After the expenses for rolling it costs Rs 2,500 to Rs 3,000 per tonne, including profit. According to it, the rates of steel should be Rs 22,500 to Rs 23,000 per tonne, whereas due to monopolistic attitude of the rolling mills they were selling the same between Rs 27.000 to Rs 28,000 per tonne.

They further said in Punjab certain agents after getting the steel from the Vishakhapatnam Steel Plant at the rate of Rs 24,000 per tonne were creating acute shortage of steel materials and earning a profit up to Rs 3,000 per tonne. This has led to difficulties for over three lakh tiny and small-scale industrial units.

They said in other states steel was available at lower rates and hence Punjab traders were not in a position to withstand the competition. Mr Kahlon and Mr Kohli appealed for a CBI probe into this.

The meeting adopted another resolution to welcome the steps taken by the state government in case of the Sutlej-Yamuna Link Canal. It pointed out that as the ruling and Opposition parties joined hands on the SYL Canal dispute, they should adopt a similar attitude in case of steel prices also.

They demanded the withdrawal of the re-imposition of DEPB on the export of steel and added that the units should be allowed to get the material as per their requirements.

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Biz clips
TV range launched
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, July 17
LG Electronics India Private Limited today launched a range of products, including Xcanvas Plasma TVs, Artvision LCD TVs, DLP and LCD rear projection TVs.

Germ-free products enter market: Videocon has launched "germ-free home campaign" for its entire range of home appliances and consumer electronics.

At a dealers' meet organised here today, Mr Sunil Mehta, Vice-President, Videocon International Limited, said, "Videocon is committed to keeping Indian families healthy and happy. We are proud of this range," he added.

The company has introduced 17 new products in all categories. Videocon has armed its refrigerators with the anti-bacterial lining, equipped the washing machines with anti-bacterial tub, created air conditioners with advanced pollution control devices like ionizers and enhanced viewing pleasure through strain-free viewing in colour televisions, he added.

Videocon has also launched the "jiyo germ-free offer" where the consumers can choose from a wide range of products and also win attractive prizes worth Rs 25 crore. Under the scheme, the customer gets a specially designed germ-free gift pack worth Rs 500 and also mega prizes ranging from washing machines, DVD players to microwave ovens and cars.

Programme: Ford launched its " CarGainz' programme for owners of Ford vehicles. The company said under the programme servicing and maintenance facilities were provided to its customers and they could purchase Ford gears from company's authorised dealers and service centres.

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