C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Cossets directors surrender in court
Remanded in police custody
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 16
The two elusive directors of the Rs 190 crore company, Cossets — Rajiv Dugala and Punit Nanda — surrendered in a local court this evening. The court remanded the two in police custody for five days. They were taken to the Economic Offence Wing of the Chandigarh Police for interrogation.

They surrendered in the court of the Chief Judicial Magistrate after the Supreme Court rejected their bail on December 10, asking them to surrender before the trial court.

The two are accused of failing to pay Rs 67 crore to members after the company was booked under the Price Chit and Money Circulation Scheme (Banning) Act, 1978, on the directions of the Reserve Bank of India (RBI).

They had been evading arrest since April 29 this year when they had to shut their business in Sector 26 after being involved in a two-year-long legal battle.

Two of the directors of the company — Mohit Nanda and Rakesh Nandan Bhalla — are out on bail after they were arrested by the Chandigarh Police in the case.

The company started its operation in 2001 and was booked in the Sector 26 police station the next year.

However, the company directors got a reprieve when DSP B.D. Bector marked their case “untraced”.

The company directors continued their business operations unhindered during this period.

The investigation was then transferred to DSP Devinder Singh Thakur and then to DSP Vijay Pal Singh.

DSP Vijay Pal, during investigation, added criminal sections against the company directors. However, the investigation was again transferred to Mr Thakur.

The matter was then transferred to the SSP (Headquarter) Virender Singh Chahal.

The surrender has come after allegations of influencing police officers, which led to the first investigation being marked untraced within a month of its commencement.

The second investigation too did not go anywhere during the eight months, allegedly allowing the company directors to invest the money collected from the public.

The investors and victims meanwhile approached courts and senior officers to transfer the case to the CBI, as officers in Chandigarh Police had allowed the company directors to siphon off the money of around three lakh people through their delaying tactics.

The investors pleaded that if the company was allowed to function, the investors and victims would not be able to recover their money. But these pleas went unheard.

During the third investigation, Sections 406, 420 and 120 B under the Price Chits and Money Circulation Scheme (Banning) Act, 1978, were added to the case after the Reserve Bank of India approached the police to crack down on several multi-level marketing companies in the city. The records of the company and its computers were confiscated but were later released by the police.

Following this, the company directors approached courts to get the case quashed but the Chandigarh Police opposed the quashing.

The Crime Branch teams found out that these marketing companies had manipulated a software to plough back the company money to directors and their family members.



Fasting law students: PU seeks parents’ help
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 16
Unable to persuade students to discontinue the indefinite fast for condonation of lectures, the university authorities have sought the help of their parents. Addressing a press conference at the Vice-Chancellor’s office, Panjab University, here today, the Dean University Instruction, Prof J K Gupta, said the Law Department had decided to refer the matter to the Faculty of Law which would meet on December 18.

“The Chairperson and the Vice-Chancellor are both empowered to condone 50 lectures which has already been done. Anything beyond this has to be decided by the Senate which is the final authority. Also, we feel that the students are being misguided by the senior students,” he said.

Professor Gupta said that some students on strike were not keeping good health and were sitting on indefinite fasts repeatedly. “This could lead to some serious medical complications. So, the parents are advised to take charge of their children,” he held.

The Chairperson of the Law Department, Dr Kulwant Gill, said that the students were being unreasonable in their demand since there were directions of the Bar Council on number of lectures mandatory for a degree.

Dr Gill maintained that the university had sent letters to parents of the protesting students but the letters had been intercepted midway by the students. “We have not been able to convey to the parents that they should convince their children to call off the strike,” she held.

The Chairperson of the five-year integrated law course, Dr R.S. Grewal, added that all students had been informed well in advance about the lecture requirements. “Everything was mentioned in the handbook and we even lectured them about it at the beginning of the session but it seems that it hasn’t worked. These students on strike do not realise that we can’t do a thing. Also, all those on strike are the ones who have hardly taken any papers and their scores in previous semesters are very poor,” Dr Grewal said.

The Dean, Student Welfare, Dr Meenakshi Malhotra, said that there was a lack of interaction between the first-year students on the campus and the faculty. “The senior students are taking advantage of the fact and misguide them. From the next session, we will make a conscious effort to improve this interaction,” she said.

Later, the DUI, Professor Gupta, said that among some of the initiatives taken by the university in the last few months were the decision to limit cultural activities to one week in February and improve the academic environment of the campus. He said that the process of sending teams for cultural and sports events was being streamlined so that compensatory lectures were given automatically.

The strike by the students of the Law Department and five-year integrated course entered the ninth day today. Six students have so far been hospitalised. Two students are at present on fast.



Excise Commissioner rejects club’s plea
Bar licence to remain suspended for three days
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 16
The Excise and Taxation Commissioner, Mr Arun Kumar, today rejected an appeal of the Chandigarh Club seeking opening of the club bar and upheld its order suspending the bar license of the club for three days.

The club management was represented by its president, Mr Mukesh Bassi. They contended that yesterday’s orders passed by Mr Inderjit Singh Sandhu, Deputy Excise and Taxation Commissioner-cum-Collector Excise, were harsh, unjust and passed without taking into consideration the full facts of the case.

In his yesterday orders, the DETC Mr Sandhu had said that the suspension may be revoked on or after December 19, after the club management pays the Rs 50,000 as fine.

In its plea, the club management said the member in whose party liquor from Haryana was being served, had given an undertaking that he would not serve any liquor purchased from outside of Chandigarh. In fact, it was one of the clauses in the undertaking before the party was booked, it said.

Mr Bassi said the member had got his own liquor and had not procured it from the club.

He added that the club executive would meet once the matter was over and take appropriate action, if needed, against the member who violated the undertaking.

Meanwhile, the club management heaved a sigh of relief as there was no tambola scheduled for coming Saturday, which falls in the period of suspension of the licence. It is scheduled on Sunday afternoon, which is the usual practice during winter.

The club will also file an application tomorrow, since it is the last working day of the week, seeking opening of the bar on December 19, which is a Sunday.

All parties booked for the period have been informed about the action and will not be allowed to serve liquor.

Mr Arun Kumar, while rejecting the plea of the club said: “Merely stating in the form, the club cannot escape from the responsibility of allowing serving of liquor of Punjab and Haryana states on their premises.”

The Commissioner said the club had been charged with serving liquor at places not mentioned in the license. The club should have obtained a license for serving liquor at these places, he said.

The club had made a request for extension of licence to these places, however, the application was not complete in all respects and was not accompanied with memorandum of association, site map and other requisites.



Drugs for HIV arrive, guidelines do not
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 16
Awaiting the framing of guidelines and a defined protocol, anti-retroviral drugs for free distribution to HIV \AIDS patients in the city and its surrounding areas have arrived at the PGI here.

The drugs for 200 patients have reached the institute early this week but officials are waiting for the guidelines from National AIDS Control Organisation (NACO) for the initiation of the process.

"We have received the entire stock of medicines but are waiting for the guidelines to initiate the process. We have already written to NACO to send us the necessary guidelines and the protocol for the free distribution of the drugs. As soon as this process is completed, we will start with the distribution of these drugs,'' says the Medical Superintendent of the PGI, Prof A.K. Gupta, while talking The Tribune here today.

The task of identification of patients is crucial as the three city hospitals — the PGI, GMCH Sector 32 and General Hospital, Sector-16 have 44 AIDS patients and more than 4,000 HIV positive patients. The very high cost of treatment (ranging from Rs 12,00 per month to anything more than 10,000 a month) is an economic burden for majority of the patients.



Police grills Muskan killer
Hotel authorities come under a cloud
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 16
The murdered call girl, Muskan, had entered Hotel Shivalik View openly through the main gate. This fact has come out during the interrogation of the alleged killer Dildar Singh and his girl friend Shruti.

Dildar Singh told the police that both of them i.e Dildar and Muskan entered the hotel lobby and then Dildar went to the reception to make the booking and Muskan openly sat in the lobby for some time till the front office formalities were being completed. Strangely, Muskan and Dildar along with bell boy Buta Singh went to see the room on the fourth floor.

Dildar then went back to the reception to make payment leaving behind Muskan in the hotel room.

Mr Buta Singh has reportedly conceded before the police the fact that the man came down to the ground floor to make payment and the woman stayed back in the room.

This fact is quite contrary to the assertion by the hotel authorities earlier saying they did not know that a woman had entered the room.

The hotel authorities had said the man had come without luggage and told the front office staff that another person with him was bringing the luggage.

Dildar had reportedly said this when he was asked if he needed any help for collecting luggage from his vehicle.

Dildar had told the front office that his name was Bunty from Ambla. The entry has Bunty+1 without any mention of the woman.

The sources in the police said this fact would be further probed if anybody was involved in the entry of Muskan into the hotel.

According to the police, Buta Singh is a new bell boy. The entry of Dildar and Muskan coincided with a massive crowd being present around the hotel for an auction.

Probably this auction helped Dildar to openly enter the hotel as nobody could have suspiciously noticed Muskan.

However, the police said some hotel staff could have been hand in gloves with Muskan as she had told Dildar to go to the Shivalik View as it was safer than other places.

Muskan reportedly also told Dildar Singh that she had been going to the hotel without any problem. The police earlier came to know that Muskan had several times entered the hotel from a lift in the basement. 



Rodrigues praises police team
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 16
UT Administrator S.F. Rodrigues today lauded the Police for cracking the Muskan murder case.

He praised the team. Team leader DSP S.C. Sagar, SHO, Sector 17 Inspector Nanha Ram, Neelam Police Post in-charge, Sub-Inspector Charanjit Singh, Crime Branch Assistant Sub-Inspector Jaspal Singh and ASI Amanjot Singh today met the Administrator at the Raj Bhavan. They were called to the Raj Bhavan. It is learnt Muskan’s purse had not been found.Back


Sahgal breaks down during cross-examination
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 16
Colonel Anil Sahgal, who is being tried by a General Court Martial for professional impropriety in the Tehelka case today repeatedly broke down during his cross-examination.

Stating that he was a victim of a conspiracy by tehelka.com, which had done a cut and paste job and selective editing with the video tapes, an emotional Colonel Sahgal said that he had been suffering on account of this for the past three-and-a-half-years.

He stated that after the Tehelka team had secretly recorded his interaction with them and his escapades with a call girl, they confronted him and tried to blackmail him. He said that he was told that unless he kept his mouth shut about the sting operation, the tapes would be shown to his family members and army officers.

He added that the Tehelka team kept pestering him to put them across to senior officers, and to get rid of them, he gave them the reference of one Narender Singh, then posted in the finance wing of the Defence Ministry.

Colonel Sahgal stated that he grew suspicious about the motives and actions of the Tehelka team when they had placed a briefcase on a centre table during their visit to his house in September, 2000, ostensibly to discuss renting out his flat.

Stating that he had heated arguments with them and asked them to open their briefcase he added that he had thrown the money given to him earlier, back at them. He said that they picked up the money and made their escape.

On being asked by the prosecution counsel, Mr Arvind Moudgil as to why he did not stop them, he stated that he had tried, but could not do so as he had consumed a lot of alcohol.

In response to Mr Moudgil's question, he stated that he did not report the matter to authorities even though theirs was a proper procedure to do as his daughter was of marriageable age and he did not want the matter to become public. He also denied the suggestion put to him by Mr Moudgil that he was a habitual offender who by-passed laid down rules and procedures.

He said that he had been having nightmares about the entire episode for months, which finally exploded after he got a call at Jabalpur from a Delhi-based journalist on March 13, 2001, asking him whether he had watched Zee News channel. Later that night, he got a call from a colonel posted with the Directorate General of Military Intelligence, asking him to move to New Delhi.



The artist-cop who is humbled by recognition
Aditi Tandon
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 16
Seldom though but humble beginnings do lend themselves to great glories. How else would a constable posted in a nondescript station of Punjab dream of big honours like the one that Balram Chand recently bagged at Patiala.

Occupying the prized space of Sheesh Mahal gallery were his oil paintings spanning a wide range of themes, including the Sikh Gurus. Not only did his works earn him a prize of Rs 20,000 and a class I certificate from the state Police Department, they also proved beyond doubt that talent can never actually be barred. His case has now been forwarded to the Punjab Chief Minister for considering him for special honours and a financial appreciation of Rs 5 lakh. The case has been forwarded though IGP Rajinder Singh who visited Balram Chand’s exhibition at Sheesh Mahal recently.

While practicing artists with access to multiple facilities may not regard Balram Chand’s achievement as major, the man himself stands humbled beyond description. He can’t still believe the massive recognition his talent has garnered for him. There were times when friends admonished him not to take the passion so seriously but now that the passion has taken him places, Balram Chand knows best how well to pursue it.

Drawing inspiration from the figurative works of Punjab’s legendary artist Sobha Singh, Balram Chand says he will also seek training in art if his resources so allow. Starting off as a painter at 10 years of age, Balram Chand went on to translate on to the canvas images as intricate as gurdwaras and personalities as intense as the Gurus.

Taken in by his artistic talents, the North Zone Cultural Centre offered to support the exhibition of Balram Chand’s works. Organised in Patiala recently, the show was a huge success with many people offering to collect the works. Of the 57 works that were displayed, the section where Balram Chand attempted to recreate the aura of Sikh history was particularly appreciated. Ask the policeman whether the harshness of his job interferes with his artistic pursuit, he nods: “Sometimes it does, but my posting at Dera Beas helps me maintain my sanity. I seek inspiration from my surroundings, my humble past and my painting brush.”

It’s always soothing to see a gun-wielding policeman splashing colours with a painting brush! 



3 Estate Office employees  suspended
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 16
Three employees of the Estate Office were suspended today for their alleged involvement in two separate cases of corruption.

Mr K.C. Gupta, who was caught by the Vigilance Department on Saturday while accepting a bribe of Rs 5,000 was suspended. Two employees — Mr Mehal Chand and Mr Sucha Ram — were also suspended for their involvement in a case of property. The case was more than one-decade old but they were arrested by the Vigilance Department a fortnight ago.



4 more diagnosed to be suffering from leprosy
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 16
Four more cases of leprosy were detected today at the leprosy detection camp held at Bapu Dham and Madrasi Colony, Sector 26 by the District Leprosy Society, Chandigarh here today. 

Dermatologists also examined and treated 844 patients of skin diseases at the camp.Back


Excise raid on Golf Club
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 16
A team of the UT Excise and Taxation Department today raided Golf Club in Sector 6 to check the records of liquor sales. The club management was found selling liquor outside the licenced premises.

Liquor was being served at “terrace”, which is not part of the licenced premises of the club. The raid was carried out late in the night. However, no liquor from outside states was found during the raid.

The team took away records to match it with the liquor sale. Back


PUDA to consider partial possession of plots to allottees
Chitleen K. Sethi
Tribune News Service

Mohali, December 16
In a move that is expected to bring a sense of relief to thousands of allottees awaiting possession of their plots for the past four years in the newly developed Sectors 76 to 80 here, the Punjab Urban Planning and Urban Authority (PUDA) will now consider partial possession of these plots to the allottees.

According to sources, the matter will be taken up during a meeting of the authority scheduled for tomorrow and a final decision on this issue is expected to be taken by the Minister for Housing and Urban Development, Mr Raghunath Sahai Puri, who will chair the meeting.

Sources pointed out that for now, the authority has proposed to make available for possession only 1,800 out of the total 3,950 residential plots that were to be given to the allottees.

These 1,800 plots of various sizes fall in Sectors 79 and 80, sources added.

Sources however said since some parts of the sectors were under litigation, the allottees would be provided with only temporary arrangement for the discharge of storm water, sewer and drinking water.

However, once free of litigations, permanent arrangements for the same would be made.

It was clarified that the final decision on the matter rested with the minister, who was in the position to reject the proposal.

But sources added that PUDA was under tremendous pressure from thousands of allottees who had been given letter of intent by PUDA in March, 2001 and had been awaiting the possession of their plots ever since.

PUDA had on November 27, 2000 advertised for the allotment of 3,950 residential plots in over 1,300 acres of land demarcated as Sectors 76, 77, 78, 79 and 80.

Following receipt of applications, a draw of lots was held and those successful were given letters of intent in March, 2001.

The letter holders paid 25 per cent of the total cost of the plot to PUDA.

PUDA had assured the allottees of physical possession of plots by December, 2002. However, following litigation by some of the land owners of the area against acquisition of their land, PUDA failed to give possession of these plots.

In December, 2002, PUDA announced that the allottees would be given possession by April, 2004 but again failed to fulfil its promise.

Recently, some of the allottees formed the “Sector 76 to 80 Allotment Sangharsh Committee”. They demanded possession of the part of land that was not under litigation.

“Out of the 1,300 acres of land that PUDA has in these sectors, only 103 acres were under litigation and their possession has been stayed by the court. Rest of the land should be given to the allottees. PUDA has already given large chunks of land free of litigation to Housefed, the Judges Housing Society and the Radha Swami Beas Society,” said Mr Harbhajan Singh, press secretary of the committee.



Putting their lives on the line for a child
Tribune News Service

Mohali, December 16
Till last week, Deepika and Jatinder were just another young couple with a three-month-old child. But an invitation to a wedding in the family changed their lives forever.

Jatinder Sachdeva (27), with no training in swimming, ended up with multiple fractures trying to save the life of a three-year-old child, whom he saw drowning in the swimming pool at the wedding venue.

However, the rescue operation turned ugly when Jatinder having handed over the child to safety was caught in the pool with a live electric wire.

His wife, Deepika, suffered burns from electric shocks when she tried to pull her husband out of the pool. With their hands stuck to each other’s due to the shocks for over five minutes, the two were saved when someone cut the wire, ending their ordeal.

Jatinder spent a week at a hospital here and is nursing a fractured shoulder. But the two are all smiles today and proud of having saved the life of Pranav, who had come to the wedding.

Narrating the incident, 25-year-old Deepika said she and her husband, Jatinder, a businessman in Sector 23, had gone to a family wedding at Whispering Willows on December 8 evening.

“We reached the venue and went around the place. We were near the swimming pool when we saw two boys shout for help. We soon realised that a child was drowning. He was struggling at the deep end of the pool.”

“Since the pool is on one the side of the lawns, Jatinder realised that no one could reach in time. In spite of not knowing how to swim, he decided to jump into the 8-foot-deep pool and pulled the child out. He pushed the child out of the pool,” said Deepika.

Leaning over the side of the pool, Deepika offered her hand to help Jatinder out of the pool. “But before I could reach him, one of the fancy bulb wires that were spread across the pool for decoration snapped and fell into the pool. Jatinder got electrocuted. I tried to catch hold of him but I too got stuck and fell in the pool. I screamed with pain for at least five minutes before someone cut the wire,” she said.

“By this time we had burnt our fingers as I writhed in pain in the pool. While they pulled me out, my husband tripped and fell on a guard rail, hurting his shoulder,” she said.

“At the hospital, I learned that my shoulder had been shattered. I was operated upon and plates were placed to support the bones,” said Jatinder.

The two along with the child were taken to the Government Medical College and Hospital, Sector 32.

“The child had fainted but was doing fine. Jatinder too was unconscious. We were kept at the hospital for the night and were later shifted to another hospital for operation,” said Deepika.



Governor orders water table survey
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 16
Engineers manning the water supply system in the city will conduct a sector-level hydrological survey to check the water table and take measures to effectively utilise the underground water resources for meeting futuristic needs.

Instructions in this regard were given by Gen S.F. Rodrigues (retd) today after reviewing the progress of water supply projects here.

He asked for an innovative, scientific and practical approach to meet the growing demand and to ensure no critical depletion of water level.

A thorough study of the availability, requirement and consumption of water needs to be done by a consultant to make the system more efficient and cost effective, he observed.

Stressing on stringent measures to check the wastage of water at public posts and loss through supply lines, the Governor said water meters must be installed at all connections and every beneficiary must pay for consumption.

He said scientific and technological measures needed to be used to regulate the system properly by adopting a transparent and accountable approach. People violating the rules must be proceeded against, he said.

General Rodrigues told the officers to make the 5 mgd-capacity sewage treatment plant at Raipur Kalan functional in a time bound programme by clearing the bottlenecks and the impediments.

He said the future proposals for expansion of sewage treatment at Mohali and new plants in 3 BRD complex, Sector 47, and at Maloya needed to be processed expeditiously.

The Administrator asked the officials to develop a website of the organisation to enable people to access information on status of water supply, billing and other related queries.

He also asked the officers to study the staffing pattern and to modernise the system by upgrading the technology.



Brick-kiln workers face starvation
Bipin Bhardwaj

Dera Bassi, December 16
Over five lakhs families of labourers in Punjab are on the verge of starvation following the ongoing tug-of-war between the brick-kilns owners and the state government over the use of ‘fly ash’.

These families have been facing an uncertain future since the last six months.

With the closure of 2,300 brick-kilns out of the 2,700 in the state, over 10 lakh labourers have been forced to live on the mercy of the brick-kiln owners. A majority of these families are being pulled into debt traps day after day as they have no other sources to earn their livelihood.

The male members of the families have started knocking at the doors of other industrial units in search of employment.

While some of the families have switched over to working for other industrial units in the state, others, who have a hand-to-mouth existence, are living miserable lives in jhuggis adjacent to the brick-kilns.

At present Hoshiarpur, Gurdaspur and Amritsar are the three districts in the state where the brick-kilns fall beyond the prescribed distance from the thermal plants and are operational.

Sources said that in some tehsils of Hoshiarpur district, the brick-kilns, which fall within the prohibited limits, were functioning in violations of the directions of the Central Government. The kiln have been using 7 to 10 per cent fly ash in manufacturing bricks which is quite less as compared to the prescribed percent age.

Majority of these families are expert in manufacturing brick by mixing proper gradients to the raw soil and then baking them at a particular temperature.

Fearing huge losses if the skilled labourers switched owner to other units, the kiln owners have been luring them by offering negligible incentives.

A visit by the Tribune team to various brick-kiln units located in the peripheral area of Chandigarh, including Zirakpur, Dera Bassi, Lalru, Banur, Mohali, Kharar, Kurali, Ropar, Panchkula, Ramgarh, Barwala, Raipur Rani and some other places revealed that the women folk were sitting idle while the male members were playing cards.

Feru Ram, a 70-year-old labourer from Mujaffarpur in Uttar Pradesh, who is the head of a 20-member family, lamented that closure of brick-kilns had bound him to borrow foodgrains from shopkeepers.

“Since June we have had no work following which the family members have been forced to cut their food intake,” lamented Feru Ram.

He urged that the government should come to the rescue of the labourers who are on the verge of starvation.

Mr Kewal Garg, owner of two-brick kilns, criticised the government for not following the orders of the court in providing fly ash to the brick-kiln owners, free of cost.

He claimed that the price of the bricks had increased in last six months from Rs 1500 to Rs 2400 per 1000 bricks. This had been putting an extra burden on general public.

Mr Kuldeep Singh Makkar, vice-president of the Punjab Brick-Kiln Owners Association, claimed that the government should allow use of fly ash in manufacturing bricks only if the state government provided the fly ash to the kilns free of cost, from various thermal plants.

Following the government decision over 125 brick-kilns on the periphery of Chandigarh have gone defunct which has affected hundreds of families, claimed Mr Makkar, who is also president of the Chandigarh and Periphery Brick-Kiln Owners Association.

Transporting fly ash from thermal plants — Ropar, Bathinda and Lehra Mohabbat — was not economically viable to the brick-kiln owners following which they were unable of operate their units.

“The decision of the government has not only hit the brick-kiln units in the state but also rendered lakhs of skilled migrant labourers and small-scale industrialists bankrupt,” claimed Mr Makkar.

He threatened that the labourers and the brick-kiln owners would organise a massive rally either in Chandigarh or in Patiala in January to press for their demands. 



Vijay Divas observed
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 16
A low-key ceremony was organised to mark Vijay Divas at Headquarters Western Command in Chandimandir today. The day is observed to commemorate the spectacular victory of the Indian Armed Forces over Pakistan on both the eastern as well as the western front in 1971.

It was on this day 33 years ago that over 90,000 Pakistani troops laid down arms before the Indian forces which led to the creation of Bangladesh as a sovereign nation.

A solemn ceremony was held at the Western Command War Memorial, Veer Smriti to pay homage to those who had laid down their lives in the line of duty, a statement issued here said.

A wreath was laid at the memorial on behalf of all ranks by the Chief of Staff, Western Command, Lieut-Gen P.K. Grover, as the Army Commander (Army Chief designate) was not in station.

Several veteran soldiers and war heroes also paid tributes to the martyrs. They included Lieut-Gen G.S. Sihota, a former GOC-in-C Southern Command, Air Marshal M.M. Singh, a former AOC-in-C, Western Air Command, Brig Kuldip Singh Chandpuri (retd), who was decorated with the Maha Vir Chakra for his actions in the famous Battle of Laungewala, Lieut-Col R.S. Sharma (retd) and Lieut-Col M.L. Sharma (retd).

A ceremonial guard reversed arms as mark of respect to the fallen soldiers while buglers sounded the Last Post followed by Rouse. The Western Command War Memorial is dedicated to all post-Independence martyrs who had fought under the Western Command.

Their names have been engraved in gold on a black granite wall behind the memorial’s steeple.



Panchayat accused of trying to sell common land
Tribune News Service

Mohali, December 16
The MLA Kharar, Mr Bir Devinder Singh, today alleged that the panchayat of Tangori village was trying to sell the village’s common land in a clandestine manner to certain “land sharks”.

In a letter addressed to the Secretary, Rural Development and Panchayats, Punjab, the MLA said the panchayat land of the village falling in Kharar block was being sold by the panchayat in collusion with certain influential “land sharks” operating in the area to develop illegal colonies.

“These land sharks are also assuring innocent khewatdars and prospective buyers of getting necessary orders passed by the district authorities and collectors and needful entries done in the revenue records,” he said in the letter.

Mr Bir Devinder added that it might turn out to be a land scam of a big magnitude if it went unchecked.

“Accordingly, it shall be appropriate on your part to direct all revenue officials of Mohali sub-division and also officials of the Panchayat Department to act immediately and effectively so that the panchayat property was not sold for a song,” he added.



Dowry was not the issue: Brig
Ramanjit Singh Sidhu

Chandigarh, December 16
It was not over dowry that the marriage of my son with Nancy, “daughter of Lt Col. Raghbir Singh, was called off on December 5, but due to serious differences between the girl and the boy in November, said Brigadier M.P. Singh. “My son decided to call off the marriage, as Nancy was abusive, short-tempered and exhibited lack of commitment, “alleged Brigadier M.P. Singh.

Brigadier M.P. Singh and his son Harkirat Singh are facing a case of Dowry.

Brigadier Singh said his son had told his parents that Nancy was intent on maintaining contact with her ‘friends’. The Brigadier added that Harkirat sought a meeting with Nancy’s parents on November 24.

Harkirat insisted on a pre-nuptial agreement for one year, said Brigadier Singh.

“Harkirat told Lt. Col. Raghbir Singh that Nancy kept on threatening him that she did not want to get married and was abusive also”said the Brigadier. He added that Lt. Col. Raghbir Singh admitted that his daughter was “short-tempered” and “immature” and had also apologised for it.

On events of November 24, Lt. Col. Raghbir Singh declined to comment saying that the matter was sub-judice. To a query that the police had not submitted the chargesheet as yet he said the police was probing the matter and he had nothing to say.



6 more held in Meher murder case
Tribune News Service

Mohali, December 16
The police here has arrested six persons, all residents of Mataur village near here on charge of the murder of 46-year-old Meher Singh. Meher Singh was allegedly shot dead by Tirlochan Singh, a head constable with Punjab Police, on December 10 morning following a fight over the ownership of a piece of land. Sukhvinder Singh (27), who was also shot at allegedly by Tirlochan Singh while he was trying to click photographs of the shoot out, was gravely injured.

The accused Tirlochan Singh was arrested on the day of the murder along his father Baldev Singh but some other residents of the village who were involved in the initial spat that led to the shootout, were arrested by the police here today. Those arreseted today included two brothers Lakvir Singh and Mahinder Singh, both sons of Mukhtiar Singh, Satnam Singh, Meva Singh and Gurnam Singh, all sons of Gurbaksh Singh and Tehal Singh, son of Rattan Singh.

The six have been booked under Sections 307, 302, 148, 149, 27, 54 and 59 of the IPC. According to the SP Mohali, Mr Rakesh Agarwal, while two of the six arrested had surrendered in the court, four more were arrested from the village. With these arrests all ten accused in the case are now behind bars.

The incident had taken place on December 10 at about 7.30 am when Meher Singh went to tie buffaloes at a vacant piece of disputed land being used as a cattle shed near his house. He found that Tirlochan Singh, who also lived nearby was filming the piece of land using a handycam.

He objected to this and asked Tirlochan Singh to stop. Following the argument and hurling abuses, Tirlochan Singh went back into his house in a huff and came out with a .12 bore gun along with his father Baldev Singh who had a sickle. Tirlochan Singh shot first at Meher Singh who was hit in the chest and the arm and later at Sukhvinder.



Suicide by youth
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, December 16
Kartik (20) ended his life by hanging from a ceiling fan hook with a piece of cloth this afternoon in Burail village.

Kartik, who hailed from West Bengal was living with his sister and brother-in-law. The police said, the landlord of the house saw from an open window the body of Kartik hanging. The police took the body in its possession and kept it in the General Hospital in Sector 16.

The landlord told the police that Kartik was watching TV with him at 12.30 pm today. His brother-in-law and sister were away to work when Kartik took the extreme step.

It was learnt that Kartik was training as a scooter mechanic in Sector 35. He stress for the last two-three days. One of Kartik’s sisters had committed suicide three years ago and Kartik was noticed saying that he wanted to go to his sister, his relatives told the police.



Rs 1.86 lakh stolen from a car
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, December 16
Three vehicles were reportedly stolen, including two cars, in the city while in another incident Rs 1.86 lakh were stolen from a car parked in Sector 20, as per information released by the police here today.

Mr Sanjiv Kumar of Sector 40 filed a complaint with the police that a bag containing Rs 1.86 lakh was stolen from his Santro car (CH-03-1316), which was parked near a coal depot in Sector 20 on December 15. A case of theft under Section 379 of the IPC has been registered with the Sector 19 police station.

In another incident, Mr Mohit Jindal of Sector 26 reported to the police that a suitcase containing one cheque book and some other articles was stolen from his car (CH-01-S-1010), which was parked in the Sector 26 market on December 15. A case of theft has been registered in the Sector 26 police station.

Vehicle stolen

Mr Raghbir Singh of Sector 22 reported to the police that his Maruti car (CH-03-E-1656) was stolen from the Sector 22 market on December 3. A case of theft under Section 379 of the IPC has been registered in the Sector 17 police station.

Mr Yogeswar Joshi of Kungrat village in Una district (Himachal Pradesh) filed a complaint that his Maruti car (HP-20-B-2480) was stolen from the parking of the Sector 35 market on December 14. A case of theft has been registered in the Sector 36 police station.

Mr Anil Kumar of Phase II, Ram Darbar, reported to the police that his scooter (CHJ-6516) was stolen from the Sector 20-C market, yesterday. A case of theft has been registered in the Sector 19 police station.


Mr Shiva Malhotra of Hostel No. 3, Panjab University, filed a complaint that some computer parts were stolen from his room during the night of December 14. A case of theft has been registered in the Sector 11 police station.


The police has arrested Shankar of Madrasi Colony and Raj Kumar, alias Raju, of Bapu Dham Colony, from the fish market in the colony for gambling at the public place. The police seized Rs 250 from their possession. A case under Sections 13, 3 and 67 of the Gambling Act has been registered against them in Sector 26 police station.



Rs 80,000 stolen from police employee’s house
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, December 16
Jewellery worth Rs 80,000 and some cash was stolen from a house in Sector 12- A, when the house owner, Mr Kashmiri Lal Sharma, and his family were away to Amritsar to attend a family function. Mr Sharma, who is a Chief Pharmacist in the medical team of the Punjab Police, came back today afternoon and found that the lock on the front door of the house was broken.

He went in to find that the locks of all the rooms and almirahs inside were broken and the rooms were ransacked. Rs 10,000, two gold necklaces, some gold ear-rings silver ornaments and wrist watches were missing.

Mr Sharma told the police that he had left his house on December 10 to attend a wedding at Amritsar.

He alleged that while he was locking the house that day some relatives of a former employee, were standing outside and he suspected them to be involved in the burglary.

It may be noted that the house is located on the B- road, which is a very busy road. The victims suspected that the burglary would have been committed late in the night.



Youth held for stealing phones
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, December 16
The police has arrested a youth, Ramandeep, for stealing mobile phones and batteries near Nadda Sahib, and the police has recovered nine batteries of mobiles, three earphones and a few mobile phone chargers from him.

Accident: A seven-year old child, Amit Sharma, was injured after he was hit by an unidentified car near Mansa Deci Complex today afternoon. The child was crossing the road when he was hit by a car. He has received a fracture in his leg and is admitted in General Hospital, Sector 6.

Injured: A woman was injured seriously when she fell off the terrace of her hutment in Rajiv Colony, Sector 17 today. She is admitted in General Hospital here. 



4 hurt in bus-car collision
Our Correspondent

Zirakpur, December 16
Four persons were seriously injured when the car in which they were travelling had a head-on collision with a Punjab Roadways bus on the busy Chandigarh-Patiala highway near Nabha village here, this afternoon.

According to the police, the car-borne persons, Mr Harjinder Singh, Mr Surinder Singh, Mr Narinder Singh and Mr Harjit Singh, hailing from Samana, were driving a Santro car on their way to Nalagarh, when the bus (PB-11N-0771) collided head-on with their car leaving the injured on the spot.

Such was the impact of the accident that the bus turned turtle after the collision and fell in ditch along the highway. Some bus passengers sustained minor injuries while majority of them escaped unhurt.

Passers-by and the villagers of the nearby areas reached the spot and swung into action. Mr Suchha Singh, a resident of Nabha village, with the assistance of some others managed to extricate the car occupants from the mangled remains of the vehicle.

The injured were later rushed to the Government Medical College and Hospital, Sector 32, in Chandigarh, where their condition was said to be stable. The driver of the bus reportedly fled from the scene after the accident.



Doctor assaulted
Our Correspondent

Lalru, December 16
Provoked by enmity, some unidentified youths attacked a doctor inflicting him serious head injuries on him. The incident took place on the Kalka-Ambala highway in Sarseeni village near here, this afternoon.

According to sources, some motorcycle-borne youths stopped Dr Ravi, who was running a clinic in the village, after chasing him on the highway and attacked him with the sharp-edged weapons.

The victim was first taken to the Civil Hospital, Dera Bassi, and later on referred to the Government Medical College and Hospital (GMCH), Sector 32, Chandigarh. His condition was said to be serious.

Sources in the village said the doctor was residing in the village on a rented accommodation for the last few years and was allegedly involved in a dispute with some youths of Kurli, Jharmari and other surrounding villages.

While the case has become a talk of the town, the police was unaware of the incident.



SPIC MACAY to open new chapter
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 16
SPIC MACAY is all set to open a fresh chapter in Punjab. To be inaugurated with a recital by kathak exponent Shovana Narayan at Nangal tomorrow, the new chapter will see an active participation from Bhakra Beas Management Board (BBMB) people.

Made possible with the infrastructural support offered by the BBMB, the chapter will feature student volunteers apart from teachers and educationists of Nangal. The inaugural show of the chapter will be held at BBMB’s DAV school at Nangal tomorrow.

Ever since SPIC MACAY invited eminent people to work as its advisers, the focus has been on raising new chapters. As of now, Punjab has nine chapters that are almost entirely driven by students’ participation. The opening at Nangal is aimed to include more youngsters into the SPIC MACAY fold. Countrywide the movement has its hold in 180 places. It also has 50 chapters abroad.

Speaking to The Tribune today, Dr S. Lavasa, Convenor, North Zone, SPIC MACAY, said the idea is to take the movement to greater heights and ensure youngsters’ participation. Having reinvented itself with the declaration of the North Zone, SPIC MACAY has many new plans ahead of it. Among these are further improving its already celebrated artist’s directory and increasing its voluntary membership.



PROs’ conference

Chandigarh, December 16
Members of the Chandigarh chapter of the Public Relations Society of India will participate in the 26th All-India Conference on Public Relations Society of India, being held in Kolkata from December 17 to 19. 

Chairman of the Chandigarh chapter of PRSI Mr Chaman Lal informed that the professionals from India and other Asian nations would be the delegates at the conference. TNS 



Punjab and Sind Bank organises Hindi workshop
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 16
A workshop on Hindi was organised by the Punjab and Sind Bank. Zonal Office (Haryana) in Sector 17, here today.

Twentytwo employees from various branches of the bank participated.

Mr J.S. Dhingra, Zonal Manager (HR), inaugurated the workshop and emphasised the need to use Hindi.


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