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Abducted child rescued
Father’s uncle, son main suspects
Jupinderjit Singh
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 22
Almost 36 hours after being abducted from outside his house in the city, Chirag, a son of a cinema hall and spinning mill owner, was today rescued unharmed from Tang Chattri in Tarn Taran district early this morning by one of the 24 police teams dispatched for the purpose.

Seven persons, including a retired sub-inspector of the Punjab police, his son, a son of a serving assistant sub-inspector of the police and a basketball player, have been arrested by the city police in this connection. All suspects belong to Ferozepore.

The main suspect in the abduction was Desh Raj, a maternal uncle of the child's father, Mr Narinder Kumar, and his son, Amandeep Singh, who allegedly was the mastermind.

SSP Narinderpal Singh said the motive behind the abduction was to cause mental agony and harassment to the victim's family. Though the abductors planned to seek a ransom of Rs 10 lakh, the money was required more for other gang members than themselves. The relatives were not on good terms with the victim's family and were jealous of its progress.

Desh Raj is a retired sub-inspector and seems to have used his police experience in the execution of the plot. He is now in police custody while Amandeep is under custody at Ashirwad Hospital, Muktsar. He allegedly got himself admitted in the hospital to have an alibi. A team of local policemen is guarding him.

The other five accused were close friends of Amandeep Singh. They have been identified as Jaipal Singh, a son of ASI Bhupinder Singh, posted in Ferozepore; Gurmeet Singh, alias Gumma; Gurinder, alias Rock; Sunil Gaggi, an aspiring basketball player; and Ranjit Singh of Tarn Taran, in whose house the child was kept.

Giving details of the rescue operation, the SSP told mediapersons that 24 police teams had been formed for the purpose. "Our first aim was to recover the child safe and sound. Past experience has shown that kidnappers harm the child when they panic."

A team of officers led by SP (Detective) Gurpreet Singh and SP (City-I) Mandeep Singh found that the car (PB 10 W-2040) used by the accused had been stolen from Ferozepore on July 19. A motorcycle used by the accused was also found to be stolen from Ferozepore.

This led the police to suspect that some relative might be behind the crime as the victim's family originally belonged to Ferozepore. The family did not have good relations with some relatives based in the border city.

The police learnt that the victim's grandfather, Mr Mohan Lal, recently had an argument with Desh Raj, who wanted to commercially exploit a number of dharamshalas owned by Mr Mohan Lal in the city. The families snapped relations when Mr Mohan Lal did not agree.

The child was finally found in Tang Chattri colony in Tarn Taran. He was held captive in the house of co-accused Ranjit Singh. The abductors had gone to Tarn Taran thinking it would be a safe place. Ranjit Singh and another accused Jaipal Singh had their maternal house in the colony.

The SSP said Amandeep Singh and his father Desh Raj wanted to keep the child for a week or so to devastate the family of Mohan Lal. They had planned to seek Rs 10 lakh ransom after that. A larger part of the money was to be divided among the accomplices of the father-son duo, who themselves wanted a psychological victory and a small part of the ransom amount.

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Relief and betrayal
Tribune News Service

The six persons accused of abducting Chirag being presented before mediapersons in Ludhiana
The six persons accused of abducting Chirag being presented before mediapersons in Ludhiana on Thursday. — A Tribune photograph

Ludhiana, July 22
For family members of Chirag, freed from the clutches of abductors by the police today, it was a mixed feeling of relief and betrayal. They were happy to see Chirag back, but were shocked that he had been kidnapped by his cousin uncle, who wanted to settle scores with his grandfather.

Ms Swaran Lata, Chirag’s grandmother, could not believe that her brother and his son were involved in the crime. She told the police that Des Raj, father the main accused, was her brother, but told mediapersons that he was her stepbrother. When the police was narrowing down on the accused, she had said the police was suspecting her brother and members of his family unnecessarily.

Mr Mohan Lal, Chirag’s grandfather, was averse to the idea of the police investigating this angle. He said, “We had some differences two years ago, but I had never imagined that my brother-in-law would stoop so low. How could he risk the life of my grandson?”

There were celebrations at their house in Tagore Nagar here, but talk about the involvement of relatives caused an eerie silence. A family member said Amandeep, the main accused, used to frequent the house.

Chirag’s mother Shallu said, “Amandeep’s sister, her younger brother and her husband visited the house yesterday to console me. She sat with me for three hours. I had never imagined that her brother had kidnapped my son. She acted as if she was disturbed at the news, but wanted to find out what we were doing about the abduction.”

Chirag was handed over to his mother at the police lines here this evening. He said he had been kept in a room used for storing wheat chaff. He said, “The room was full of mosquitoes. I was kept there for two nights. I was uncomfortable last night because of the mosquitoes. I do not remember anything about the night before as I was under the influence of some injection.”

He said he had been gagged and blindfolded at the time of the abduction and was given an injection before the car used by the abductors reached gate 2 of Punjab Agricultural University. Showing injury marks on his face, Chirag said he sustained these injuries while he was being gagged.

Chirag’s grandmother was embarrassed when her brother was produced before mediapersons by the police. Chirag’s father Narinder Kumar was looking tired. He said, “The police has done a good job. I was witness to their planning and tracking down of the criminals.”

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SSP recommends Mandeep for bravery award

Mandeep Singh, who acted as a Good Samaritan, has been praised for his heroic act of chasing the abductors’ car, and two PCR policemen have been suspended for negligence of duty.

SSP Narinderpal Singh said he had made a recommendation to the Deputy Commissioner for a bravery award to Mandeep for his attempt to save the child from the clutches of abductors. Hr risked his life and continued chasing the car, and his description of the accused helped the police to trace the abductors.

The SSP said head constables Gurcharan Singh and Antarjit Singh of the PCR wing were on duty in the area but did not do the needful to save the child. A departmental inquiry has been initiated against them.

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Transfers only against vacant posts in schools
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 22
The Education Minister, Mr Harnam Dass Johar, said today that transfers and postings would be made against vacant posts in the schools and no teacher would be shifted along with his post or on deputation to other schools. He also said within the district, District Education Officers had been empowered to execute the transfers in accordance with the recommendations of the MLAs concerned.

He was addressing a meeting at Model Town here. Referring to the vacant posts, the minister said directions had been issued to ensure that all schools without teachers in the villages would be provided with at least one teacher within a period of one week on contract and in those schools where only one teacher is posted, one more would be provided.

The process to recruit 8,000 teachers in primary schools and 10,000 in high and secondary schools would be started shortly. He said the recruitment of 1,800 elementary teachers every year would be enhanced to 3,600 teachers to meet the shortage of teachers and if need be, B.Ed. teachers, who opt for the posts of elementary teacher, would be recruited.

Mr Johar asserted that the presence of the teachers in the primary and senior secondary schools would be ensured and he had directed all senior officers, including the DPIs and the DEOs, to inspect five schools daily to ensure full presence of the teachers. He warned that action would be taken against the absentees. For this purpose the DEOs and the Circle Education Officers would be given a special travelling allowance of Rs 500 per month.

He said under this programme every school must be inspected by senior officers once in every month and all schools would be provided with facilities of required infrastructure. Every principal would put up a notice board outside the school on which the daily presence of the teachers would have to be displayed.

Taking serious note of the large number of teachers visiting the education offices in Chandigarh and district headquarters in routine, Mr Johar said in future no teacher would be allowed to visit these offices without getting prior permission of the principal concerned.

Under the Sarv Shiksha Abhiyan all funds released for the schools would be spent through the village development committees. The minister said to discuss the problems of private schools, a state-level meeting would be convened shortly.

Earlier, the minister participated in the antim ardas of Avtar Singh, a former vice-president of the DCC (U), at Manjit Nagar.

Among others who attended the meeting were Mr Jagdev Singh Jassowal, Mr Jagdish Marwaha, Mr Amarjit Singh Dhamotia, Mr Bittu Bhullar, Mr Bharat Bhushan Ashu, Mr Balkar Singh and Mr Hansraj Jassa.

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Arshia’s family seeks action against doctor
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 22
Family members of Arshia Sareen, who died at Mohan Dai Oswal Cancer Hospital yesterday, have approached the Punjab Medical Council (PMC) to take action against the doctor whose ‘negligence’ led to premature death of Arshia.

In a representation to the Chairman of the Disciplinary Action Committee of the PMC, Dr Gursharan Singh, the parents of the victim blamed the doctor who reportedly administered the injection to Arshia at wrong place.

In the complaint, the parents have alleged that despite clear guidelines that the injection was to be given intravenous, the doctor in a negligent and irresponsible manner gave it through spine. Three-and-a- half-year-old Arshia was suffering from blood cancer which had been diagnosed in January, 2004. Since then she was undergoing treatment at the Oswal hospital and was being given chemotherapy.

The parents alleged that she had stabilised as she was positively responding to the treatment. In fact it was the last dose of the chemotherapy that was wrongly administered which cost her life. The parents said the injection in the spinal cord caused ascending paralysis which subsequently led to her death.

Dr Gursharan Singh confirmed that he had already received the complaint. He assured that justice would be done. He said although it was too premature to reach at any conclusion, some mistake had been committed somewhere which would be probed.

Meanwhile, the inquiry being conducted by Dr Satish Nauria, vice-president of the Indian Medical Association, Ludhiana, is likely to be completed in a day or two. Dr Gursharan Singh, who is himself the district president of the IMA, said the PMC inquiry will look into various aspects and will be independent of the findings of the Nauria committee.

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Woman murdered by husband
Our Correspondent

Khanna, July 22
A man killed his wife at Rahoun village by strangulating her on Monday night. Later the body was hung on a pole of the cremation ground. It was stated that she was killed by her husband due to alleged illicit relations with a resident of the village. The victim was identified as Paramjit Kaur. The accused Major Singh went to the SSP office and surrendered there. However, SHO Balwinder Singh denied the surrender and said the accused was still at large.

According to Mrs Mohinder Kaur , mother of Major Singh, Paramjit Kaur developed illicit relation with a quack of the village. Later, the village Panchayat ordered him to leave the village. She said Major Singh was very upset over the development for the past two months. She said Paramjit stayed outside for three days and came back on Monday. Major Singh took her to the cremation ground and later strangulated her. After killing her he returned home. She said in the morning he surrendered before police.

A police team led by DSP Jhalman Singh reached the spot and started investigation. SHO Balwinder Singh said a case was registered on a complaint by Mr Nachhatar Singh, brother of the victim. Nachhattar Singh is a sarpanch of Bhai Da Kotla village near here.

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Early completion of elevated road project sought
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 22
The executive body of the Bhadaur House Market Association held a meeting here today under the chairmanship of its president, Mr N.S. Nanda. Giving details of the proceedings, he said the executive body emphasised the need for early completion of the elevated road project.

He said the association would submit a memorandum to the municipal corporation in this regard. He said shopkeepers of the market were suffering losses and the occupancy of hotels in the market had decreased.

Mr Jagdish Anand said the market had been reduced to a parking lot. He said the SP (Traffic) had been approached to look into the matter and hold a physical survey to find out a permanent solution. Mr Gopal Syal and Mr Madan Lal Maddi said the non-functional fountain was being used as a urinal. They demanded that it be dismantled.

Mr Surinder Thapar said fluorescent lights were out of order and these should be replaced. Mr Gaurav Gera and Mr Chander Shekhar said the choked sewer pipes should be opened and cleared.

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PUDA to remove park encroachments
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 22
The Punjab Urban Housing and Development Authority (PUDA) will come down heavily on the encroachments on parks maintained by it.
The local office will issue notices to the encroachers soon and then remove the structures. This was stated today by Mr A.S. Chhatwal, Chief Administrator of PUDA, who was in the city to hear the grievances of residents of colonies developed by the authority.

He said PUDA had earmarked Rs 15 crore for developing colonies in the district and Rs 40 lakh for setting up crematoriums. He added that the authority would ensure better coordination with the municipal corporation to help minimise the grievances of residents living in colonies transferred to the corporation by PUDA.

He also said that to fulfil the demand of Dugri residents for widening the Dugri bridge, the authority had decided to contact the Canal Department and the municipal corporation for contribution in the project. He said if they were not ready to do so, PUDA would widen the bridge itself. He said the authority would issue photo identity cards to property dealers and register them.

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Johar: Punjab exploited water to feed nation
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 22
Education Minister Harnam Dass Johar today said Chief Minister Amarinder Singh and his government had fulfilled the responsibility of saving the interests of the people with the Punjab Termination of Agreements Act, 2004, which was as per provisions of the Constitution. The minister asserted that all political parties and people of the state were solidly supporting the Chief Minister on the issue. Mr Johar said the state had been making a contribution of 50 per cent to the central pool of foodgrain and had exploited its groundwater for this. 

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Black money seized from CA
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, July 22
The income tax officials seized a sum of more than Rs 17 lakh alleged to be unaccounted money from the possession of a chartered accountant during a raid on his residential premises.

According to officials of the income tax department, the said chartered accountant was allegedly engaged in preparing bogus annual balance sheet and was charging heavy commission on the same. He was also allegedly engaged in helping procuring loans from the banks for his clients on the basis of alleged bogus balance sheets. The officials further disclosed that he himself had floated 3-4 bogus firms and procured loan. 

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13-year-old murdered
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 22
A 13-year-old migrant labourer was found murdered after he was sodomised, allegedly by a co-worker at Vaishno Dhaba in Basti Jodhewal this morning.
The victim, Kalu Ram, was allegedly strangled. His body was found by some other workers of the dhaba when they reported for work this morning. Later, a post-mortem examination revealed that the boy was sodomised and then done to death.

Police sources said the suspect had been identified as Raju, a co-worker of Kalu Ram, but he had yet to be arrested.

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Builders oppose service tax
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 22
The Ludhiana Builders Association has demanded withdrawal of 10 per cent service tax and two per cent education cess on the construction industry. The observation observed that the new taxes would hit the industry hard.

The general meeting of the association was held here yesterday. The association criticised the UPA government and the Finance Minister for imposing an extra tax of 12 per cent on the construction industry.

The association pointed out that the construction industry was already reeling under severe pressure due to massive rise in the input costs. It said the prices of steel the main inputs in the construction business had almost doubled during the last two years, while other building material like the cement and bricks had also registered phenomenal price rise.

It claimed that the construction industry needed to be given some concessions as it contributed towards the building of infrastructure. Instead, the association regretted, the government has “slapped” 12 per cent tax on it.

Seeking immediate withdrawal of the tax, the association members said they might be forced to close down their business as the input costs had already increased at an average rate of 25 per cent, while there was no increase in the prices of the real estate. 

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