C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Muskan murder case solved
Killed for ‘betrayal’; two held
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 14
A former partner of Muskan from Delhi, Shruti, allegedly got Muskan eliminated by her live-in partner, Dildar, for ‘betrayal’ her. Shruti believed that Muskan had got her arrested early this year. Shruti was also annoyed with Muskan for the latter’s attempt to spill the beans about her sleazy past, despite knowing the fact that she was going steady with Dildar, a video parlour owner and financier.

This came to light after the Chandigarh Police arrested Sita, alias Shruti, alias Sheetal, alias Mani, alias Poonam Chauhan, and her boyfriend, Dildar.

How police got ‘killers’

Shruti is mother of a six-year-old son. Her mother had deserted her husband and moved in with somebody else. This fact led to Shruti’s husband leaving her. Shruti then came in contact with Renu, who introduced her to Muskan. Muskan and Shruti had visited Bathinda, Golden Temple and Wagha border together, where they got themselves photographed. The police took clue from this photograph and after ascertaining Muskan’s mobile number from Kulwinder, it traced some other phone numbers. It zeroed in on two girls, including Neha. Neha was shown photographs of the girls found in Muskan’s room. Consequently, Shruti’s call details were taken out.

Interestingly, Dildar had tried to mislead the police. Immediately after the crime, he first called up Shruti from the mobile phone of Muskan, telling her to check out from the hotel. He then left a missed call on the mobile phone of a person in Delhi to create an impression that somebody from Delhi had got Muskan eliminated and that the call had been made to confirm that the job had been done.

Shruti hails from Rohini, Delhi, and Dildar from Najafgarh.

Shruti came in contact with Muskan in June, last year, after which they started staying and even visiting customers together.

Shruti, along with Neha, was arrested by the Crime Branch in November. Before their arrest, Muskan had called them to her house. Shruti suspected that Muskan had set her up for the police. She held a grudge with Muskan but continued her relationship with her.

In August, 2004, Dildar and Shruti fell in love and moved in together in Rohini, but Muskan kept contacting Shruti and giving her number to customers.

Shruti had decided to live a settled life. She told her live-in partner about Muskan’s mischief.

To avenge Muskan’s intrusion in their lives, both reached the city on December 9 and checked in the Hotel Parkview.

The next day, Dildar contacted Muskan and offered to spend some time with her. Muskan struck a deal for Rs 5000 with him and called her auto-rickshaw driver, Kulwinder. They first went to Hotel Southend, had snacks and then proceeded to Hotel Shivalikview.

Muskan went to the bathtub and Dildar followed her. Dildar drowned her and hit her with his “kara” (bracelet).

He removed cash and mobile phone from Muskan’s purse and rang up Shruti, asking her to reach the bus stand.

They reached the Tribune Chowk by an auto-rickshaw and took a taxi to Ambala. On their way to Rohini, they changed taxis several times.

The murder mystery was solved by a team of police officers comprising DSP Subhash Sagar, SHO Nana Rama, SHO Maniram, SI Jaswinder Singh, SI Charanjit Singh, SI Nasib Singh, SI Dalbir Singh, SI Jagdish Chander, ASI Devinder Singh, ASI Amanjot Singh and ASI Jaspal Singh.



City beautiful or city of sleaze!
Sanjay Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 14
Muskan, who was recently found murdered in a city hotel, had spoken on the magnitude of the flesh trade racket in the city to The Tribune in the third week of August. Excerpts from the interview were published in Saturday Extra on September 4 but her name had been withheld on request.

Muskan had freely shared a number of names of call girls, operators and customers with this correspondent in her first and last exclusive interview. She had also talked about the nexus of the police with call girls and ironically lamented that changing values had led to promiscuity that was being encashed through sex.

The interview had lasted about 90 minutes and Muskan was very forthcoming on all issues. Perhaps, her habit of speaking 'too much' ultimately proved to be the reason behind her murder on December 10.

The interview

How rampant is the trade in the city?

Proportionately, it is more than that in Delhi and Mumbai. It is there in the (city's) periphery and in the sectors. Money seems to have become so important that husbands and mothers are allowing their wives and daughters to sell their bodies.

What kind of girls are coming into the trade?

From the very poor to the rich and famous, including dancing girls and models.

How much do they earn?

Those working through pimps earn between Rs 15,000 and Rs 25,000 and those on contract earn higher amount. A first timer could even charge Rs 30,000 for a night if she is beautiful.

Who are their customers?

Policemen, bureaucrats, businessmen, politicians, professionals and tourists. These clients look for high-class call girls, including models. They are ready to shell out even Rs 30,000 for a night. The customer has to arrange for drinks and hotel apart from this.

How many girls get into the "profession" willingly?

About 50 per cent.

How many of them get married?

More than 50 per cent.

It is said a girl on contract has to cater to many clients in a day?

A girl normally caters to four customers in a day and to do that she takes drugs.

It is said girls could also be in the drugs business?

Few of them may be but they certainly know about the sources from where drugs could be procured in the market. It is not difficult to get drugs.

Where do these girls come from?

Delhi is the biggest 'mandi' in the country. Girls from Jalandhar, Ludhiana, Karnal, Delhi, Mumbai, apart from cities and towns of Haryana, Punjab and Himachal also enter the trade. Small town girls from are flock the city during daytime feigning as employees and get back home by night.

How much is the demand and how much supply?

There is an insatiable demand and equally free supply of girls. Call girls are tied up with several city hotels which supply them on demand to clienta.

How are girls recruited in the business?

The call girls befriend new girls by first helping them and making them habitual to a lavish life. Once it is done, it is very easy to usher in a girl into the trade.

Is there any forced initiation of girls into the trade?

Very little but the persuasive method of pimps is very strong.

Are there any policemen involved in the racket?

Policemen have been using these girls to extend favours to their seniors. A call girl cannot function with out having some understanding with the police for long. The nexus is very strong.

Do business establishments also hire them as their employees?

There are many establishments which straight away offer a higher salary to a girl if she is ready to be sent to those which a private firm wants to please.

Are there also any foreigners in the racket?

A few Russian girls are working near Zirakpur and the man who had brought them is a government official. These girls charge heavily. Black girls had earlier been active. (These Russian girls were later arrested by the Chandigarh Police in a separate case.) These Russian girls are coming from Karol Bagh, New Delhi, and some elements in the embassies are behind them.

How much can a pimp earn?

About Rs 3.5 lakh per month.

Why are the girls entering the trade?

A large number of them for fun and an equal number to live a lavish life.

What age groups of girls are in the trade?

Between 13 and 35 years of age.

It is heard girls in video albums are also into the trade?

Yes, they are there.

Any other interesting aspect of the trade?

Girls are going from paying guest accommodations, schools and colleges. There is an operator in Dhanas who shows you girls on a CCTV screen before striking a deal.



Immoral trafficking a ‘thriving business’
Ruchika M. Khanna
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, December 14
Sex has become a big business in the township now. And, like in any lucrative cash-rich business, well-organised syndicates have emerged to protect and promote it. As can be expected, a section of the police have a finger in the pie.

From local men getting girls from Mumbai and Delhi on monthly contracts to the staff in hotels along the periphery themselves keeping the "girls on call" — the flesh trade business is no longer disintegrated or restricted to the lower strata of the society.

Wives of government employees, including lower-rung cops, students and aspiring models are increasingly getting involved in the sleaze business.

A rough financial estimate puts the annual turnover of flesh business at Rs 10-12 crore. This does not include the hospitality segment which includes hotel rooms, food and drink.

The size of the business can be estimated from the fact that the Panchkula has busted 16 'call girl rackets' in the last 11 months.

Ninty one persons, including 62 women, were arrested in these raids. Police sources, despite the drive to eradicate the flesh trade menace and the success notched up by them, maintain that the arrests only reveal the proverbial tip of the iceberg.

According to police sources, the volume of traffic in the township, and adjoining Zirakpur, if estimated on the basis on the arrests made, is likely to be in the range of more than a 1000 women who are on call at any given time.

With average price charged by a girl varying between Rs 2000 to Rs 3000 per deal, the annual turnover is estimated in several crores.

These girls are a part of an organised network and the actual figures may be five times more if one takes into account the 'freelance sex worker,' which includes collegiates and housewives wanting to earn some extra cash on the side. This segment of the business operates between 10 am to 4 in the evening, inform sources.

Police sources also say that some Russian girls are also in the trade, and visit the town frequently. "They are the highest paid sex workers, and command anything between Rs 10,000 to Rs 20,000. They operate through a Chandigarh-based event manager, and do not entertain any customer other than the one who has been roped in by this event manager. They stay only in the best hotels in town, where chances of a police raid are minimal," informed a police official.

Another aspect that has led to the flourishing of this business is the increasing use of women as 'bribes'. Police officers say that they have often got intimation about these call girls being supplied to top bureaucrats, politicians by junior officials or contractors in order to get their odd jobs done.

Last month, the police had raided a house in Sector 11 here, and arrested a contractor, who was supplying women to officials of HUDA for getting contracts.

During several other raids, the police has found cards and photographs of politicians and senior government officials in possession of women arrested for immoral trafficking.

Recently, the police had busted a flesh trade racket being run by three Zirakpur based men, who enjoyed the patronage of senior police officials in Dera Bassi and Patiala.



5-year term for SI, 3 others
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 14
Additional Sessions Judge, R.S. Baswana here today sentenced four persons, including an SI of the Chandigarh Police, Karnail Singh, to five-year imprisonment in a suicide case.

According to information, Babita, the wife of the deceased Dilbagh, and Ved Parkash, a relative of Babita besides her son, were the other persons sentenced by the court. Dibagh, a resident of Dadumajra village, allegedly committed suicide in August 1995 after being harassed. He was also allegedly tortured by Karnail Singh, then posted as an ASI at the Maloya police post.

In his dying declaration before a magistrate at the PGI, Dilbagh had blamed the three for the suicide.



Mullanpur SHO shifted, ASI suspended
Clash at gurdwara
Tribune News Service

Mohali, December 14
The SHO of Mullanpur police station has been transferred to the Police Lines, Ropar, and an ASI posted at the station has been placed under suspension for “improper handling of a situation”.

Sources said action against SHO Raka Ghira and ASI Gurcharan Singh has been taken following an armed clash between two groups at Ratwara Sahib Gurdwara in Mullanpur on December 10.

According to SSP (Ropar) S.P. Singh, a departmental inquiry had been ordered against the two for not being able to defuse the situation that had developed on the gurdwara premises.

Mr S.P. Singh said over 300 men, led by Mr Karnail Singh, alias Shiriman, a former vice-chairman of Ratwara Sahib Trust, tried to enter the gurdwara premises.

While Mr Karnail Singh had claimed that he had the permission of the Deputy Commissioner, Ropar, to hold a religious meeting at the gurdwara, police sources contended that the permission was granted to hold the meeting with a limited number of persons only.

The ruling group at the gurdwara prevented the group led by Mr Karnail Singh from entering the premises. Following heated sloganeering, the two groups clashed, said the SSP.

“Bricks, stones and clubs were used by the groups against each other. The police had already made security arrangements at the gurdwara but the situation was brought under control only after the situation had reached avoidable proportions,” he said adding that Mr Karnail Singh’s group had come with firearms, which were taken away by the police before allowing them to hold the meeting.

Mr Karnail Singh’s group is spiritually led by Baba Lakhvir Singh, who was expected to succeed Baba Waryam Singh, president of the Ratwara Sahib Trust.

However, following a schism within the trust after the death of Baba Waryam Singh, his wife, Ms Ranjit Kaur, was made the president of the trust.

Baba Lakhvir Singh left the gurdwara along with his followers and settled at Balongi village.

Ever since, his followers have been demanding the control of the gurdwara and its allied institutions, claiming that Baba Lakhvir Singh was a legitimate successor to Baba Waryam Singh.

This is not the first time that members of the two groups have clashed with each other.



Rise in molestation cases
Victims reluctant to seek police help
Swarleen Kaur

Chandigarh, December 23
There has been more than 50 per cent increase in molestation cases in the city over the last one year, indicating an ominous trend in the crime against women. The trend shows that eve teasing is now becoming a passe and offenders have become bold enough to indulge in molestation. A survey of figures over the last couple of years indicates that while the per centage increase in molestation has shot up, it has gone down in case of eve teasing.

Officials admitted that the figures only reveal the tip of the problem as amajority of cases either go unreported or are not registered by the police. They said for every one case registered, at least 20 offenders were let off because of “family pressures” brought on policemen not to book the offender and “spoil his future.”

As per the police records, 11 cases of molestation were registered in the city last year. However, the figure shot up to 18 this year, marking a dramatic increase of above 50 per cent.

On the other hand, the cases of eve teasing went down by a similar proportion. As compared to last year, the cases halved to 24 from 47.

According to a city psychologist, Ashupriya: “The significant increase in molestation even from the police records point of view shows that the offenders neither fear the law nor are they cowed down by social pressure to desist from such cowardly acts. Perhaps, men see it as a macho thing to do and we as a society have failed to contain this menace.”

Ms Ashupriya, who is a student counseller with many schools in the city, said:“ Molestation of girl students is rampant in the city. Of the sessions I have held, girls have reported that one out of two students has either been sexually harassed or molested. The figure is shocking as it means that our young girls are not safe.”

She said during the counselling session the girls admitted that though they went through a trauma when faced with explicit harassment, a neglible number reported it to their parents or even to rthe school authorities.

According to a spokesperson of theWomen Helpline of Chandigarh, “Very few such complaints are received by us. Many schools girls calls up and tell us that their teachers were harassing them. But they do not disclose their identity. Sometime they just inform us about the place and then we pass the information to the Police Control Room ( PCR) which takes care of it.”

However, bringing in the police does not give girls any confidence. A cross-section of college-going girls were of the view that policemen, including those posted at nakas, checkposts and on security duty, have the ‘worst senseof respect’ for women.

According to Nisha Malhotra, student of GCG ,Sector 11 here, most of the times police help is not available when the crime is being committed. If a case is registered, it does more harm to the victim than the offender. The ‘social cost’ the girl and her family has to pay is very high.

“Our moralistic-minded society takes little time in labelling the girl who dares to take the offenders head-on as ‘bad’. Citing an example of her friend who had lodged a police complaint against the molestation attempt , she said she was more traumatised by question marks that were put on her character than the offender himself. As a result the culprit managed to go scot-free,” she lamented.



US working on economic dialogue with India: Blake
Geetanjali Gayatri
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 14
Underlining the need for free trade arrangement between India and Pakistan, the Deputy Chief of Mission, Embassy of the United States of America, Mr Robert O. Blake, said that his country was working on an "economic dialogue" with India.

After inaugurating the American Centre at the Central State Library, Sector 17, Mr Blake, talking to mediapersons, said that opening trade with Pakistan could directly benefit Punjab, given its proximity to the border. Expressing satisfaction with Indo-Pak confidence-building measures, Mr Blake said that the two nations had come a long way since 2002 when they nearly came to war.

Disclosing that an "economic dialogue" which was high on the American agenda as far as India was concerned, Mr Blake revealed that this would translate into creation of a platform where the public and private sectors of both the countries could interact freely.

"The dialogue would entail providing a platform to a panel of CEOs drawn from both countries.

These CEOs would be entrusted with task of identifying problems in trade between the two countries and recommending what the two governments can do to remove obstacles which are hampering trade," he explained.

Mr Blake maintained that the next four years held a promise of increased trade ties between India and the US.

"We have a thriving bilateral trade worth $18 billion. We are expecting it to grow by another 20 per cent in the near future. A very positive sign for increased trade is India's conscious attempt to improve infrastructure, intellectual property, lower tariff and initiate reforms to create a stable and conducive environment in the country," he emphasised.

"We, too, are keen on investing the agro and food processing industry as also the IT sector in Punjab and Haryana. America is seeking a greater engagement with the city in terms of exchange of cultural ambassadors, academia and scholars," he maintained.

On America's commitment to war against terrorism, Mr Blake said that they were in constant touch with countries all over the world to identify terrorists and terrorist groups.

"We will do whatever it takes to get to the root of terrorism, and democracy holds the key. India is the biggest example of a good democracy where Muslims live in harmony with the Hindus. Al- Quaida has not been able to set foot on Indian soil," he emphasised.

Stating that India was one of the early supporters of President George Bush's missile defence, Mr Blake held that there was a need to create an understanding between the Indian and US militaries in the light of challenges of the 21st century. 



Residents caught in PUDA-MC row over water
Tribune News Service

Mohali, December 14
Residents of Sector 71 here are the receiving ends of the non-cooperation between the Punjab Urban Planning and Development Authority (PUDA) and the Municipal Council (MC). Suffering for years due to poor drinking water supply, Sector 71 residents probably do not know that the municipal council till date has not allowed them to share a single drop out of the 7.5 million gallons of water per day (MGD) that the rest of the township gets from the Kajauli Water Works.

While, the council authorities are quick to point out that the water supply to this sector is the responsibility of PUDA, on the other hand, PUDA officials state that they have already set up eight tubewells in the sector to provide drinking water but the output was inadequate in the absence of a supplementary system.

PUDA officials say that they have been virtually begging the council to take over the water supply of Sector 71 and give residents a fair share of the water that the council get from Kajauli. But the council has been refusing to do so, insisting that till PUDA made arrangements for adequate water supply to the sector, the facility would not be taken over by them.

Caught in a bind, PUDA officials pointed out that tubewell water supply varied a lot and ensuring sufficient supply was not possible. “We have recently dug two more tubewells in the sector to enhance the supply but there is a limit to how much ground water can be harnessed. The government is discouraging the harnessing of ground water due to environmental reasons and here the Council’s indifference is causing endless problems to the residents,” said a PUDA official adding that during summers the peak demand of water in sector 71 was 11.25 lakh gallons a day against the availability of 7.50 lakh gallons a day.

Sources added that out of the 7.5 MGD of water that the township got from Kajauli water works, 5 MGD was being supplied by the council through the Public Works Department (PWD) to Sectors 53 to 61. The newer sectors 70, 63, 64 and 65 were being supplied 2.5 MGD of water from the same source. Thus while there was a glut of water in the newer sectors the older sectors were constantly facing water shortage.

“All that is required to be done is for the council to take over water supply of Sector 71 and open the sluice links joining the underground drinking water pipes that connect sector 71 to 70. With canal water augmenting the tubewell supply in the Sector the shortage of water can be easily met,” pointed out an engineer in PUDA.



Police cane-charges brick-kiln owners, 15 hurt
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 14
The Chandigarh Police used water canon and hurled tear gas shells for dispersing members of the Punjab Brick-kiln Owners' Association protesting near the matka chowk this afternoon.

The cops even cane-charged the protesting members. At least 15 protesters sustained minor injuries in the process. They were claiming that the use of fly ash for manufacturing bricks was as of now not feasible.

The problem started at about 1 pm. As some of the agitated members raised slogans seeking the presence of "a minister" for accepting a memorandum, the police jumped over the barricades to push back the crowd before using water canon.

The members claimed that they were manhandled. The police, however, denied the allegations claiming that action was taken only after the members tried to cross the barricades.

Talking to The Tribune, the members said that over 2262 brick-kilns had closed down in the state and lakhs of labourers were rendered jobless. This was because of Environment and Forest Ministry's directions making the use of 25 per cent fly ash mandatory for manufacturing bricks by kilns within 100 km radius of thermal power plants.

They sought the Chief Minister's intervention for finding a suitable solution to the problem. 



Cross-examination of Sahgal continues
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 14
The cross-examination of Colonel Anil Sahgal, accused in the Tehelka case who is also deposing as a defence witness, continued for the second day, with the prosecution continuing its attempt to establish the fact that he had demanded call girls from the Tehelka team.

The prosecution also emphasised that the accused had known before hand that callgirls were waiting for him in a Delhi hotel, though several suggestions in this regard put to the accused by the prosecution were refuted by him.

The prosecution counsel, Mr Arvind Moudgil, quizzed the accused about his sexual habits and past experiences. The video tapes where the accused allegedly features having conversation in regard to call girls with operatives of tehelka.com was also screened in court.

Conversation caught on the tapes repeatedly referred to “saman” (luggage). On being questioned about the word’s implication, the witness gave varying answers, stating that it meant equipment or food, before conceding that the word was used to refer to callgirls.

The tape also revealed those featuring in it, including the accused, haggling over the number of calls girls available not being equal to the men who wanted to use their services. 



RVC anniversary celebrated
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 14
Remount and Veterinary Corps (RVC) celebrated its 225th anniversary in Chandimandir cantonment today, with a social get-together for serving and retired officers and their families being organised to mark the day.

In his message, the General Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Western Command, Lieut-Gen J.J. Singh has greeted all ranks, civilians and ex-servicemen of the corps and has lauded their performance. Director RVC, Western Command, Col N.S. Kanwar has also extended his felicitations on the occasion.



Police records to be on website
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 14
Police officials of Punjab, Haryana, Himachal and UT today decided several joint measures to curtail crime. Senior officers of the states today decided to make police record available on websites. They also decided to make data available on fingerprints and criminal records. This was decided at an inter-state crime and coordination meeting held here. 

Adviser to the Administrator Lalit Sharma, Home Secretary Krishan Mohan, IG Rajesh Kumar, SSP Gaurav Yadav, IGP Patiala Rajinder Singh, P.K. Aggarwal DIG Crime and Security Haryana, B.K. Uppal, DIG Intelligence, Punjab, Regional Passport Officer, Arvind Kumar. SSPs of UT, Patiala, Fatehgarh Sahib, Ropar, Ambala, Panchkula, and Solan districts also attended the meeting.

There will be co-ordination meetings after six months at the level of IG, quarterly of SSPs and monthly of Crime branch incharges of adjoining areas.

Coordinated vehicle checking jointly once a week on a rotational basis will be held. Wireless messages of SSPs and SPs of Chandigarh, Patiala, Panchkula and Ropar will be flashed for holding joint vehicle checking in all four districts for a specific period. Four joint vehicle checking operations will be conducted every month.

A sub-inspector-level officer from the Crime Branch of the UT police control room will be appointed for giving on crime information for adjoining districts.

Chandigah, Panchkula and Mohali police will carry out joint operations and patrolling. Interrogation of arrested persons or suspects will be done jointly if the accused is wanted in more than one district. Crime Branch in charges would be nodal officers in this regard.

The IGP, Patiala, proposed the establishment of four check points in Chandigarh, Zirapur, Landran, Mullanpur and Balongi. They would be in touch with the UT control room. Mr Arvind Kumar suggested to reduce verification period of passports.



Dharna by Forest Dept employees
Tribune News Service

Mohali, December 14
To protest against the alleged indiscriminate relieving of several workers of the department, who had been serving regularly since long, hundreds of workers of the Forest Department posted in Ropar district, under the banner of Ropar District Janglat Labour Union, staged a dharna in front of the department’s Range Office in Kharar today.

They will start relay fast in front of the Department’s Range Office here from January 4, 2005, if the demands of the Union were not met forthwith, threatened union district president Mela Singh in a press release here this evening.

According to press release, the union leaders, addressing the protesters, condemned the relieving of senior workers and recruiting new workers in their place. The Forest Guards concerned were recruiting their near and dear ones in place of relieved workers, alleged they.

The union, besides demanding re-induction of the relieved workers, demanded preparation of seniority list as per court orders of 1996-97, distribution of financial awards as per court orders, regularising the workers with over 20 years service and weekly off without deducting pay to the workers.

The press release added that the union district vice-president Kesar Singh, local president Mohinder Singh and AITUC state general secretary Mehnga Ram also addressed the dharna.



UT Youth Cong reconstituted
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 14
The president of the Chandigarh Territorial Youth Congress (CTYC), Mr Harmohinder Singh Lucky, has reconstituted the executive body of the CTYC and appointed the following as office-bearers: vice-presidents — Mr Ajay Sharma, Mr Rajib Rai Chaudhary, Mr Manpreet Waraich, Mr Shrom Lamba, Mr Prem Dhir, Mr Parveen Sabharwal, Mr Tirlochan Singh Bunty, Mr Rajiv Awasthi, Mr Ajay Sikka and Mr Ashwini Kaushal; general secretaries — Mr Narinder Singh Nandi, Mr Kawaljet Malhotra, Mr Raj Kumar, Mr Sanjay Ahuja, Mr Dharamveer, Mr Sarabjeet Nikka, Mr Sukhjinder Nagpal, Mr Sumit Chawla, and Mr Arunima Manchanda; secretaries — Mr Nand Singh, Mr Sher Singh Chaudhary, Mr Gurinder Bir Singh Happy, Mr Harmel Kesri, Mr Ashwani Sharma, Mr Anil Sharma, Mr Naresh Bhardwaj, Mr Nirmal Titu, Mr Satish Balyan, Mr Mahesh Singla, Mr Parneet Grewal, Mr Mahesh Bidla, Mr Rajan Dumara, Mr Sharat Behl, Mr Gaurav Lamba, Mr Vishal Bhargav, Mr Rakesh Verma, Mr Joginder Singh Nitu, Mr Abhishek Puri, Mr Rakesh Garg; executive members — Mr Ramandeep Singh, Mr Narain Dutt, Mr Shivdev Singh, Mr Sushil Kumar and Mr Pawan Phutela. Mr Akashdeep in the office secretary and Mr A.S. Gujral and Mr Baldeo Pandey are the spokespersons.

The chairmen of various cells are Mr Sandeep Mago, Mr Mashwinder Singh, Mr G.P. Pal, Mr Shambhu Banerjee and Mr Kiran Pal.



Mishap averted
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, December 14
A major tragedy was averted when plaster on the ceiling of a flat in Group Housing Society 23, Mansa Devi Complex, Sector 5 gave way. The lone occupant of the flat, Mr Amit Kumar Taneja had just got up and walked to the kitchen when huge chunks of plaster came falling down in the sitting room. The television set and some furniture in the room was damaged.

Mr Kuldeep, who owns the flat said he had taken possession of the flat in 2001, but was always perturbed over the poor quality of construction. “I have informed the society president of the damage. But it is surprising that in such a short span of time after construction the plaster fell off. Somebody could have been hurt in the accident,” he said.

Mr Kuldeep has demanded a probe into the quality of material used for construction.



PU clerk attempts self-immolation
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 14
A clerk in the Panjab University today allegedly attempted to commit suicide while a night watchman hanged himself to death. A clerk in the Chemical Engineering Department, Bachan Singh, allegedly immolated himself in the department premises.

He received 90 per cent burn injuries. The clerk was reportedly depressed after an inquiry was initiated against him by the university authorities.

In another incident, a night watchman, Chhajju from Sector 21, today hanged himself to death in his house. He was working as a labourer during the day and a night watchman during the night.

Meanwhile, a 16-year-old girl of Colony Number 5, Radha, died when her jhuggi and clothes caught fire.

Radha had gone to cook food for her maternal uncle in an adjoining jhuggi when stove burst.

The fire spread to the quilts lying in the jhuggi and then the entire jhuggi was engulfed by the fire.

Radha reportedly could not come out of the jhuggi. When her mother came to know about the accident, she collapsed after seeing the inferno.

DC Arun Kumar today announced a compensation of Rs 50,000 to the kin of the victims.



Two arrested in murder case
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 14
The Chandigarh Police has claimed to have arrested two alleged murderers who came to the city from Bihar to eliminate the father of the man whom them allegedly killed on November 30 in Bank Colony.

Addressing a press conference, DSP Vijaypal Singh said Vijay Kumar, alias Arjun (21) and Sunny (18) of the same locality were planning to kill Mahesh Gupta’s father, Jamna Prasad, and then escape to Nepal.

The duo had earlier been in Bihar, Ropar, Delhi and Ambala to evade arrest.

According to the police, their names were revealed to the police by Mohmmed Shahid and Rakesh Singh who were arrested in connection with the murder on December 7.

The modus operandi of the accused was to befriend a person and then enter their houses to kill them for monetary gains. According to the police, the duo had also planned to eliminate the blind mother of Mahesh Gupta to take documents of the house and sell it off.

The body of Mahesh Gupta was found on November 30.

The police trailed the killers after Jamna Prasad said Mahesh had gone along with Arjun and not returned. Arjun had won the confidence of the family by slapping Mahesh in front of his parents for not taking care of his parents. Arjun was a chain snatcher.



Suicide by woman
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, December 14
A 30-year-old housewife, Sukanti, committed suicide by hanging herself at her Chandimandir residence yesterday. She had an altercation with her husband, Havildar D.N. Biswal, and after he left for work, she hanged herself.

A labourer, Sudhir, died after a fall from an under construction building in Sector 14 yesterday. The accident took place on December 12, and Sudhir was referred to the PGI, Chandigarh. He died at the PGI last night.

Narrow Escape
It was a narrow escape for the two cops posted on PCR gypsy, deployed at Majri chowk last night. While the cops were standing outside the vehicle, a truck (HP-19-2599) coming from Kalka had a head on collision with the gypsy. Another truck (UP-43A-1610) that was following the first truck at a high speed also rammed into the gypsy. The police has booked the two truck drivers — Amar Singh and Surinder on charges of rash and negligent driving.

The police has booked two youths — Karan and Yashvir, on charges of obstructing a Traffic constable from performing her duty. The accused were reportedly driving a car on the road dividing Sector 4 and 5, with music blaring loudly. They were stopped by the traffic cops, but they misbehaved and obstructed them from discharging their duty.


Car stolen
Ms Ashima Dutt, a resident of Sector 21 Chandigarh has complained to the police that her car, a Wagon-R (Number CH-03D-4633) was stolen from outside Plot number C-29 Industrial Area Phase II here. The police has registered a case.



Strengthen S. Asian trade ties, says professor
Tribune News Service

Mohali, December 14
A special lecture on South Asia, its legacy, and impediments to cooperation was delivered by Prof Shanti Swarup, Professor Emeritus (Retd.), Department of Political Science, Panjab University, at the Institute of Development and Communication here last evening.

Stating that there was tremendous potential of co-operation within the South-Asian region, Dr Swarup pointed out that this potential had been tamed by platitudes and cliches. Further, the suspicion, between the countries was also thwarting co-operation. However, the idea of South-Asia co-operation was now re-emerging.

He said the idea first emerged in 1950s, when an agreement between India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka not to allow Dutch planes to use air space to reach supplies to Indonesia was done. This was initiated by the first Prime Minister Jawahar Lal Nehru and Liaqat Ali Khan, the then Prime Minister of Pakistan. But the first rupture came in with the US assuring Pakistan with defense equipment. This reinforced suspicion among South-Asian countries.

He said trade and commerce was not having positive response because India was considered as a regional superior hegemonic power. This had to be answered in positive trade advantages to each country of the region, he said.



BSNL service centres fail to draw subscribers
Pradeep Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 14
The opening of Customer Service Centres (CSCs) everyday from 8 am to 8 pm by Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) has failed to catch the fancy of subscribers. Blame it on poor publicity campaign or the indifferent attitude of the public, the CSCs wear a deserted look on Sundays and other holidays. With hardly any subscriber coming to the centres on holidays, the expenditure on the setting up of the huge infrastructure at some centres seemed to have gone down the drain.

The scheme was launched by the BSNL recently on the all-India basis to offer several services under one roof for the convenience of the public. The centres offer facilities, like telephone bill collection, booking of landline and mobile telephones, re-charge coupons, India telecom cards, and Sanchar Net.

Currently at least five service centres are functioning in the Chandigarh Secondary Switching Area(SSA) at the Telephone Exchange in Sector 20, the Central Telegraph Office in Sector 17, the Telephone Exchange in Sector 34, the Telephone Exchange in Phase IV of Mohali and the Telephone Exchange in Sector 5 Panchkula.

According to a random survey, no subscriber turned up at the Sector 20 centre on August 15 and on Janamastami on September 7. On November 14, another holiday, only one subscriber visited the centre.

Keeping in view the wastage of the resources, officials of the CSCs have written to the BSNL top brass to discontinue the functioning of certain centres on holidays and Sundays.

“What is the fun of opening the centres without a sustained publicity campaign in the highly-competitive telecom industry. At least some of the centres should be closed and their staff utilised in some other departments,” a middle-rung official remarked.



IT park’s progress assessed

Chandigarh, December 14
A team of the Chandigarh Administration today visited the upcoming information technology (IT) park to assess its progress. Infosys Technologies Limited has been selected as the main anchor for the IT park and has been allotted 20 acres. 

Infosys is likely to complete the first phase of construction by February 2005. Sites of 1 acre each are going to be auctioned shortly. Convergys and Wipro Spectramind have also shown interest. TNS


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