C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Man, mentally challenged woman die in fire
Tribune News Service

Mullanpur villagers near the place where stood a jhuggi and was destroyed in a fire on Saturday.
Mullanpur villagers near the place where stood a jhuggi and was destroyed in a fire on Saturday. — A Tribune photograph

Chandigarh, January 15
A habitual drunkard, casual male worker (45) and a mentally challenged woman (50) were burnt alive last night when their thatched hut caught fire in Mullanpur Gharibdas village, near here.

The police suspects that they may have lit a fire inside their jhuggi to protect themselves from the cold, outside the village, on shamlat land towards the Jayanti Devi temple. The fire may have spread in the jhuggi.

Villagers and the police, led by SHO Bhagwant Singh Riar, recovered the bodies of the man and woman. The villagers identified the jhuggi to be that of Om Prakash. The bodies were charred beyond recognition.

However, the distinction between man and woman could be made from their skeletons. The upper half of the woman’s body had burnt and a part of her one leg was intact. Om Prakash was reduced to a skeleton. Inquiries from the nearby jhuggis revealed that a mentally challenged woman used to take shelter at Om Praksh’s jhuggi for the past few days. Their identity was confirmed as both of them used to be in the village market every day but they were not seen in the market today. The two bodies were found side by side, both facing opposite directions.

The jhuggi dwellers in the vicinity said none of them either saw a fire nor heard any shrieks, indicating that the fire spread within minutes to engulf the two and the gas formation in the jhuggi may have first asphyxiated them before they were burnt to death. The villagers ruled out that the man and the woman had any relationship except that of sympathy.

The Mullanpur Market Welfare Committee President, Mr Arvind Puri, who reached the site last night along with a former Sarpanch of the village, Mr Naib Singh, said Om Prakash was a good worker and had been with the market committee for two years, but he was a habitual drinker. Mr Puri said Om Prakash was seen collecting Lohri from the people and had a few drinks during the day. He probably had a few drinks in the night also before going off to sleep. Mr Puri said the nearby jhuggi dwellers said that Om Prakash used to give the woman food and sometimes even drinks. Om Prakash had earlier told the villagers that he had come from Sector 25 and he was alone.

The SHO arranged two wooden coffins to keep the bodies and their ashes to get a post-mortem examination done. The SHO saw the jhuggi on fire when he was patrolling in the area. When he saw two bodies, he called up Mr Puri and other people of the village. The SHO said the bodies were first taken to the Kharar Civil Hospital in the boxes and then to Patiala. A chemical examination would be done on the bodies and the ashes of the thatched hut to rule out that the jhuggi may have been set on fire. The post-mortem examination was being conducted to rule out a murder.

As there is no kith and kin of the two, the Mullanpur Market Welfare Committee and the police are pooling in resources to arrange for the cremation of the two when their bodies are returned after post-mortem and viscera examinations.



NASA contest winner donates prize money for tsunami hit
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 15
Aaina Jain, a city girl who was part of the group whose design of a space settlement project for NASA was judged the best, today donated her award money totalling Rs 21,000 for tsunami victims.

The award money had recently been given to each of the member of the group by the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO). The girl, who has been pursuing Electronics and Communications Engineering at Thapar Institute of Technology, Patiala, told the Tribune that she would send the money to the Prime Minister’s National Relief Fund.

Aaina was part of the group of 18 school and college students from Budha Dal School, Patiala, and the institute that had taken part in a space settlement design competition held in Kennedy Space Centre, Florida, in the USA.

Their project design, Bellivisate, was adjudged the best. The design also included a tourist attraction to be built on moon.



Encroachers thrive due to Nagar Panchayat’s laxity
Bipin Bhardwaj

Zirakpur, January 15
A major chunk of government land has been allegedly occupied by encroachers at various places within the Zirakpur Nagar Panchayat limits thus raising serious doubts over the functioning of the enforcement wing of the civic body in the past year.

The encroachments can be seen at plots owned by the Zirakpur Nagar Panchayat in different villages that had been merged to form the civic body. The mushrooming of slums and other dwelling units on these plots have caught the nagar panchayat napping.

The “negligent” attitude of the enforcement wing, being headed by the executive officer (EO) of the civic body, has encouraged the encroachers who have virtually taken over a piece of prime land located along the intersection of the Chandigarh-Ambala and Panchkula-Patiala highways.

The land has been encroached upon by a number of rehri owners, auto-rickshaw owners and horse carts. Various make-shift dhabas and others vends have also come up on the government land along the highway thus adding to congestion on the road.

Moreover, an illegal colony has also come up on the land and illegal parking of trucks at the spot has also been causing great inconvenience to scores of residents of the nearby housing colonies.

The previous Punjab government had decided to develop and beautify this piece of prime land as a park. Later, there was a proposal to construct a building for a bus stand here as there was need for a proper bus stand in this satellite town of Chandigarh. However, with the passage of time, all plans went down the drain and piles of trash, rubbish and filth could be seen on the land.

Though scores of VVIPs, VIPs, bureaucrats, political leaders and members of judiciary from Chandigarh, Punjab, Haryana and neighbouring states like Himachal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir and Delhi cross from the area daily but that too has failed to arouse the authorities from their deep slumber.

The residents and shopkeepers complain that the Zirakpur Nagar Panchayat authorities were overlooking the gross violation of rules and norms. “Earlier the encroachers had taken over the highway and the encroachments were removed only after the Punjab and Haryana High Court intervened,” claimed Mr Ravinder Kumar, a shopkeeper.

Mr F.S. Nagra, president of the Commercial Welfare Association, (Bhabhat), Zirakpur, added that he had suggested to the civic body authorities to remove encroachments from government land and set up ‘paid parking lots’ there for trucks and other heavy vehicles that remain parked on government land.

“Developing paid parking lots will not only help in clearing the encroachments but would also prove to be a regular source of income for the civic body.” The EO, Mr Girish Verma, was not available for comments.



Plan to screen 5 lakh newborns for genetic defects
Neelam Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 15
One in every 1200 children born in the country develops some irreversible genetic defect. Yet the country is still to gauge the most commonly occurring and the most prevalent genetic disorders that are affecting the 24 million newborns in India.

The scenario may change though as the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), New Delhi, has invited proposals from five centres in the country to screen 5 lakh newborns throughout India to assess the kinds of genetic defects they develop. The rationale behind the first of its kind project is to diagnose the affected children at the earliest so that the genetic defects can be treated before they graduate into life long burden.

Each of the five centres is proposed to screen one lakh newborns each to find out the prevalence of the types of genetic defects in the Indian population.

“All the children, within three to four days of their birth would be screened by carrying out the diagnostic tests, including the blood and urine tests, to find out if they are suffering from the genetic disorder. This would include both the healthy and the affected children. The results of the tests would ensure that if a child has the genetic defect, the treatment starts immediately,” said Dr I. C. Verma, senior consultant at the Department of Genetic Medicine at Sri Ganga Ram Hospital in New Delhi while interacting with The Tribune at GMCH Sector 32 today.

The most crucial aspect of the genetic disorders is the time at which they are detected and treatment is begun.

`Within four to five days of the child's birth the clinical symptoms of the genetic disorders appear. Effective treatment should begin before the child completes three weeks after the delivery. If the treatment is delayed, the genetic defect becomes irreversible and can never be treated,'' explained the doctor.

Experts say that in the absence of any screening of the newborn, the parents fathom the disorder only after 6 to 8 weeks of the child's birth and the valuable time is lost.

Genetic disorders

The disorder among the genes in a human being results in genetic defect, which can give rise to a number of diseases like down syndrome and hypothyroid. Some of these defects can be treated immediately after the birth of a newborn, not every genetic defect is treatable.

What pregnant women should keep in mind:
1. One ultrasound test during pregnancy can detect most of the genetic defects in the foetus; if defects are severe the pregnancy can be legally terminated within 20-24 weeks.

2.Intake of iron and folic acid reduces the chances of giving birth to a child with such defects.



Banks, employers not to issue TDS certificates
Ajay Banerjee
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 15
The tax deducted at source (TDS) certificate for public and corporate sector employees along with people having income from fixed deposits in banks, will now have to be obtained from a Mumbai-based body. The entire system will be online and comes into affect from the current financial year.

In a move which will affect lakhs of people in the region, the employers or banks have been asked not to issue TDS certificate to any employee or its customer, respectively. TDS is a mandatory requirement for filing income tax returns.

Following a change in policy, Mumbai-based National Securities Depository Limited (NSDL) - an institution held by various banks - has been entrusted with the task of issuing TDS certificates. Taking it away from the purview of employers or banks which used to hand out the TDS certificate on paper.

TDS certificates for employees are commonly known as form number 16 and for TDS certificates issued by banks for interest incomes are Form number 16-A.

However, the task of sending information to NSDL will be of the employer or the bank and not the employee individually, said Mr Jignesh Gandhi, Manger in NSDL, while talking to The Tribune here today. The NSDL will not accept any individual request by an employee, clarified Mr Gandhi. All work between an organisation and the NSDL will be done electronically and there will be no paper work.

The NSDL will issue the TDS certificate which will be then used by the employee or the person getting interest income to file income tax returns. The rest of the process of filling IT return shall remain the same. The refund may be speeded up as the system will be electronically managed, said Mr Gandhi.

The NSDL has outsourced the work to 560 centres across the country. Chandigarh will have six centres. Organisations have the option to either contact the authorised centre or log onto the NSDL website

"www.nsdl.co.in". Organisations deducting tax at source are about 8 lakh in number. The local offices of the Income Tax Department will also guide people to the nearest NSDL centre, called the Tax Information Network Facilitation Centres (TINFC).

All government departments and corporates, including private limited companies, have been told that they have to file TDS electronically, said Mr Gandhi, who is the Tax Information Network (TIN) wing of the NSDL.

Mr Gandhi said this year trusts and individuals had not been asked to file electronically, however, from the next financial year ending March, 2006, all TDS certificates will be online. A minor fee has been kept as handling charges. 



Dera Baba Nanak Day commemorated
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 15
To commemorate its actions in the 1971 Indo-Pak war, an armoured regiment celebrated Dera Baba Nanak Day somewhere in the Western Sector today. The regiment was bloodied in battle in the Dera Baba Nanak Sector even before it was a year old, earning the sobriquet of "the Gallant Infant".

An impressive mounted parade, led by the regiment's Commanding Officer, Col H S Chehal, was organised to mark the occasion, The parade was reviewed by the Colonel of the Regiment, Brig S P S Dhaliwal. Besides serving officers, a large number or retired officers and ex-servicemen along with their families participated in the celebrations.

The regiment was raised on January 1, 1971, by Lieut-Col B S Chimni at Ahmednagar. In its history of 34 years, it has served in almost all types of terrain, from the plains of Punjab and the deserts of Rajasthan to high altitude areas in Sikkim. The regiment was presented the Standard by the then President, Dr Shankar Dayal Sharma, on December 10, 2001.



Black box being designed for automobiles
Chitleen K Sethi
Tribune News Service

Mohali, January 15
Black boxes fitted in aircraft record last-minute details of what happens before a crash, could be a part of your four-wheeler now. The Centre for Development of Advanced Computing (CDAC), Mohali, is designing black box for automobiles as part of a Rs 30 lakh project of the Ministry of Communication and Information Technology, Government of India.

The black box, being designed to monitor and store crucial parameters of road vehicles, would be ready for on-the road tests within the next three months.

Packed in a small unbreakable, shock and waterproof container, the box would contain hardware circuits with sensors and software to monitor parameters like the speed of the vehicle, engine temperature, brake oil level, overload, start and stop time and road conditions. It would check the alcohol level of the driver through a breath sensor besides recording video clippings of the inside of the vehicle.

The box would also contain information about the use of headlights and the turning indicators.

"Advances in automobile engineering have provided good performance vehicles, but there is no facility that gives information about the circumstances in which accidents occur. We have black boxes in aeroplanes but there has been no similar provision in motor vehicles run on the road where the rate of accidents are much more as compared to accidents in air. We are developing this black box for automobiles to study the conditions in which accidents occur," says Baljit Singh, senior design engineer, CDAC, and chief investigator of the project.

The box is designed to store the relevant information for one week except the video information which would be limited to the last 5 frames. "The information stored in the box can be downloaded into a computer and analyzed. Interestingly, the information can be downloaded remotely too. That is, in case the box is not retrieved physically from the accident site, the information it contains can be accessed using wireless blue tooth technology," said Baljit. Adding that the black box would contain the best hardware and some of the latest software available, Mr Baljit said the finished box would cost less than Rs 15000.

"This product would enable us to judge the conditions in which the vehicle was being driven, both from the point of view of the driver who was driving the vehicle and also the speed limit and overloading capacity of the vehicle.

All this can help us in preventing accidents to a considerable extent. This product would be of lot of use to traffic police, transport departments, insurance companies and also automobile manufacturing companies," added Mr J.S. Bhatia, Director, CDAC, Mohali.



Late Gen D.S. Brar’s wife dies of accident injuries
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 15
Mrs Sheila Brar, wife of the Late Major-Gen Digamber Singh Brar, was cremated at the Sector 25 crematorium today evening. She had passed away in the early hours of the morning. She is survived by her sons, Bulbul and Tippy.

Mrs Brar had been in hospital since January 11. She was suffering from multiple injuries that she received when a car she was travelling in met with an accident in Sector 9, Chandigarh.

The kirtan and antim ardas for her will be held from 11.15 am to 12.15 pm on Sunday, January 16, 2005, at House 26, Sector 5, Chandigarh. She was a long-time resident of Chandigarh and was active in social and charitable work.

Speaking to TNS, her son Tippy said he appreciated the prompt help given to her by three students, Dixit, Aditya and Arun, and “the young woman who took her to the Sector 16 hospital in her car. We were all moved by their humanitarian gesture and really appreciate it,” he said.

The boys, who were riding motor cycles, had helped Mrs Brar and Mrs Mona Bharat Singh, who was driving the car. They then tried to stop a vehicle to take the women to hospital. A car, driven by a young woman, stopped and took the injured to hospital.

The boys accompanied the vehicle on their motor cycles and were with the injured till other help arrived.



Passing Thru

The Government of India has amended the Citizenship Act to permit dual citizenship. Do you think it will boost NRI investment?

I have been the only Canadian politician of Indian origin who lobbied and assisted in convincing the Indian Government to recognise dual citizenship. This will not only provide much needed sense of security for investments made by NRIs but also give a strong feeling of belongingness. This will encourage NRIs to make investments in Punjab and Chandigarh than elsewhere in Asia.

What do you think Chandigarh as a destination for NRIs?

Chandigarh is a beautiful and planned city with a clean and healthy environment. It is the number one choice for many NRIs who want to make it base of their Indian operations. It has a tremendous potential for IT industry. It needs an international airport and a few more good hotels. I have come here to see my old friends from Punjab Agricultural University.

You met the Administrator of Chandigarh this morning. Did you discuss anything specific?

It was basically a courtesy call. I have been greatly impressed by the vision and knowledge of General Rodrigues. We did talk about a number of issues, including future development of Punjab and Chandigarh and the role NRIs can play in this regard.

— Prabhjot Singh



Army Day celebrated
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 15
To commemorate Army Day, a wreath-lying ceremony was organised by Headquarters Western Command at Chandimandir Military Station near here today.

Chief of Staff, Western Command, Lieut-Gen P K Grover, laid a wreath at the Veer Smriti war memorial on behalf of all ranks of the Command to pay homage to those who had laid down their lives in the line of duty. A large number of officers, JCOs and other ranks participated in the memorial service, a statement issued here said.

Army Day is celebrated each year on January 15. It was on this day in 1949 that Field Marshal K M Cariappa took over as the first Commander-in-Chief of the Army after Independence.



Future of library science not bright
Aditi Tandon
Tribune News Service,

Chandigarh, January 15
If statistics are to be believed, the future of library and information science does not appear to be very bright in India. Rough estimates suggest that out of 1,000 libraries, not more than 10 were fully automated in this age of technology. And worse, of the 30,000 librarians that come out of the plethora of library schools in India, few are trained well enough to be recruited without being sent for a re-training.

This and much more plagues the discipline which has evolved in other parts of the world. While Singapore leads the world in public library system which is just a decade old, UK spends exorbitantly in reviewing the functioning of its National Library which fetches it a huge revenue. In a recently commissioned review of the National Library, UK, independent consultants reported that against every pound that the British Government spent on the National Library, the library gave it back 4.4 times more money!

In India, however, the libraries are low on priority when resource allocation is decided. The reasons, experts attending the annual function of SATKAL (Satinder Kaur Ramdev Memorial Trust for Advancement of Librarianship) and The British Library, Chandigarh, held at Government Museum auditorium today, say are many. “The most significant is failure to catch up with the most basic of systems, including the public library system. The state of public libraries is sorry, even the librarians which our universities produce know very little about high quality services. Our courses are outdated, our consolidation of technology poor,” said Mr P. Jayarajan, eminent librarian and former Head, Library and Information Services, British Council India who was present at the function which also witnessed a panel discussion on the required changes in library science syllabi. Among the panelists were Prof H.R, Chopra, Head, Library Science Department, PU, Mr A.R. Sethi, Head Librarian, PU Library. K.C. Ramola, Librarian, Centre-State Library and Ms Devinder Kaur, Librarian, Punjabi University, Patiala.

Dissecting the scenario of library and information services in India, Mr Jayarajan, who is now working on retrospective conversion and library automation at prestigious libraries like the Nehru Memorial Library, said, “We have been wasting time. In the 1980s we talked about library automation but not more than 10 Indian libraries are automated; in the1990s we talked about library networks, but I cannot list a single credible network expect DELNET; now are talking about digital libraries but that is not the answer. We must become user friendly by offering high quality services. We must also target non users. Traditional methods are fine but computers have to come in, whether or not public libraries like it”.

Another challenge, the expert said, was from new age media like TV, Internet, choices of news channels, upmarket book shops, distribution centres that bring you any book you want. “In such a scenario, we need to change our curriculum, impart library skills to ensure that we churn out fine talent and not mass graduates,” he said adding that the profile of a librarian must be improved by honouring the profession in the first place.

President Abdul Kalam a great library user

Eminent librarian Mr P. Jayarajan took the occasion to tell the audience about President Abdul Kalam’s love for libraries. He recalled, “When the President was working at the Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre in Thiruvananthapuram, he was a frequent library user. So much so that he would not leave the library even after everyone had gone. The library management had to give him a duplicate key for easy access”.



Best librarian award for Veena, Sreekumar
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 15
The board of trustees of Satinder Kaur Ramdev Memorial Trust for Advancement of Librarianship (SATKAL) and the British Library today gave away the best librarian awards in three categories. The awards were presented at a special function organised at Government Museum Auditorium, Sector 10. Prof G.S. Randhawa, former Vice-Chancellor, Guru Nanak Dev University, inaugurated the function and gave away the awards.

While Veena Chawla, Director, American Information Centre, New Delhi, bagged the SATKAL Woman Librarian Award for this year, the Young Librarian Award went to the versatile M.G. Sreekumar, currently Librarian and Head, Development of Digital Libraries at the Indian Institute of Management, Kozhikode. A mathematics graduate from the University of Kerala, Sreekumar pursued his Bachelors in Library and Information Science from the University of Kerala. The recipient of Fulbright award in 1996, Sreekumar went to study at the University of Maryland at College Park and at the National Library of Medicine, USA.

A vibrant professional, Sreekumar has been instrumental in the creation of a sound digital system at IIMK, Kozhikode. He now leads several national level research projects in library and information science, and information technology areas. Recently Sreekumar has successfully created an E-learning platform for doctors and the medical fraternity in India, funded by the WHO office in New Delhi.

The National Librarian award was presented to Dr E Rama Reddy, Founder Librarian of the Indira Gandhi Memorial Library, University of Hyderabad, who has to his credit several best librarian awards. He is also considered among the best library automation experts in India.

Well attended and organised, the function saw valuable suggestions from experts in the field of library sciences. The vote of thanks was extended by Mr Sushant Banerjee, Organising Secretary, SATKAL.



Fuel conservation fortnight begins
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 15
The Oil and Gas Conservation Fortnight celebrations began here today with Mr V.K. Yadav, Senior Regional Manager Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Limited (HPCL) stressing upon the need to use of “Bio Diesel” in the transport sector.

The theme of the fortnight this year is “Save oil and gas these are precious”. Mr V.K. Yadav said conservation fortnight is being celebrated every year since 1991 by the oil public sector undertakings with lot of enthusiasm and commitment to spread the message of conservation among all sections of the society through various activities.

As part of the celebrations a cycle rally, essay, competition, drawing and painting competition, quiz, bio diesel seminar, LPG/ Kerosene clinics, transport and industry meets which are undertaken during the fortnight. He further emphasised the young future generation to cultivate the habits of judicious use of these precious and scarce natural resources.

Members of oil industry spoke about oil and gas scenario in the country.

The Chief Guest of the function, Mr Rajesh Kumar, IG Chandigarh, stressed upon practical application of various oil and gas conservation techniques in our day to day life and have our foreign exchange and protect our environment and thus also contribute to the national cause.

Students of St Peter’s Secondary School, Sector 37, Chandigarh and Gyandeep Model High School, Sector 20, Chandigarh, participated in the inaugural function.



FCI officers’ contribute Rs 31,900 for victims
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 15
Officers of the Regional Office of the Food Corporation of India here, have contributed Rs 31,900 to the Prime Minister’s National Relief Fund for victims of tsunami disaster. An appeal was also made to all districts to contribute, all officers and staff of the FCI are contributing one-day salary towards the fund.

Meanwhile, the Chandigarh Chemists Association has donated worth Rs 5 lakh medicines and other surgical items for tsunami victims. A delegation of the association met Director Health Services (DHS) Dr C.P. Bansal today and offered services for the relief of the victims.

All officials of the Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT), Chandigarh branch have contributed Rs 23,330 towards the Prime Minister’s National Relief Fund for the victims by was one-day salary.



Speedometer of motor cycle stolen
Tribune Reporters

Chandigarh, January 15
The speedometer of Bajaj Caliber motor cycle (DL 6 SK 4661) belonging to Mr Surinder Gosain, a resident of house number 2611/1, Sector 47, was stolen from his house today.

Mr Gosain said, last year cash had been stolen from his house in Mani Majra but the police had failed to find any clue in the case. He said a few days ago a cycle of his neighbour had been stolen from near his house while another neighbour was deprived of his valuables in a theft only a month ago. In both these cases also the police has not made any headway, Mr Gosain alleged.

Vehicles stolen

Mr D.V. Bhatia, resident of house No. 2116, Sector 21, reported to the police that his car (CH-03-M-8707) had been stolen from Sector 21 parking on Thursday. A case under Section 379 of the IPC has been registered.

Mr Raj Kapur, resident of house No. 1558, Sector 7, complained to the police that his Kinetic Honda (CH-01-K-1514) had been stolen from Sector 20 market on Thursday. A case under Section 379, IPC, has been registered.

Mr Ajay Kumar, resident of house No. 147 A, New Police Colony, Sector 26, reported to the police that his Hero Honda motor cycle (UP-53-K-3716) had been stolen from his residence on the night of December 23. A case under Section 379, IPC, has been registered.

Students booked for hitting cop

Three minor students of Government Model School, Sector 35-D, were on Saturday booked for allegedly injuring a traffic policeman on duty when the latter tried to stop them while they were riding a two-wheeler. They hit the policeman and tried to escape. A case has been registered.


Mr Jaswant Singh, resident of house No. 1450/22, Sector 29-B, reported that Manoj Kumar, Rajesh Kumar and Ramesh Kumar, all residents of Ram Darbar, Phase II, Chandigarh, assaulted him near house No. 1710, Phase II, Ramdarbar, on Thursday. A case under Sections 323, 506 and 34 of the IPC has been registered.

Children hurt

Three children of Mr Ravinder Kumar, resident of house No. 3489, Maloya Colony, Chandigarh, were injured when the three-wheeler in which they were travelling, along with their father, was hit by a priavte bus near DPS, Sector 40, on Friday. The children were admitted to the General Hospital, Sector 16. Mandeep Singh of Kajheri village was driving the bus. A case under Sections 279, and 337 of the IPC has been registered.



Police hunts for exchange racket suspects
Our Correspondent

Mohali, January 15
As part of investigations being carried out in connection with illegal Internet exchange racket that was busted by the police here, teams of police officials were sent to Chandigarh, Ludhiana and Ambala today to identify persons on whose names telephone connections had been released by Reliance.

Mr Rakesh Agarwal, SP, said here today that those wanted in the case could not be tracked down by the police teams. However, the family members of the suspects have been asked to produce them before the police at the earliest.

The illegal exchange was discovered when police personnel accompanied by DoT vigilance wing officials raided the premises. The exchange was functioning from a rented cabin in the Phase VII market area here. DoT has suffered a loss of Rs 50 lakh because of the illegal exchange.

The SP said though the racket was busted only day before yesterday, suspicion about it had arisen about two months ago. The monitoring wing of the DoT had visited the area then and had gone to places like Sohana here but could not track down the exact place from where the illegal exchange was functioning.

The SP said connections for telephone lines had been applied on wrong names and addresses. Even the names given to the owner of the shop whose premises had been taken on rent were incorrect.

The illegal exchange was found to be functioning when the police broke the locks to get into the cabin. The police had then cut the telephone connections and took the equipment in its possession which included quantum gateway switch and seven Reliance wireless telephones. The equipment was used for switching calls.



Bid to rob flour mill
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, January 14
Robbers struck at a flour mill at Naggal village last night. Presence of mind of Mr Rajneesh Goyal, a relative of the mill owner, led to the arrest of one of the robbers, and thwarted robbery.

The incident took place 9.30 pm last night, when four men, later identified as Noora, Bhoora, Satish alias Mirdeen and Gurbaj Singh, went to KM Foods. They came in a jeep, and forced entry in the factory by threatening him with a pistol.

Inside the factory, they approached the owner, and demanded one truckload of flour, or Rs 3 lakh. As the negotiations between the two sides was on, Mr Singla’s brother-in-law, Mr Goyal, saw through the glass door, that Mr Singla was kept at gun point by unidentified persons.

He rushed out of the factory and raised the alarm. When the assailants realized that some people had gathered near the factory, three of them- Bhoora, Noora and Satish escaped. Gurbaj, who was holding the pistol, tried to flee, but was caught by the public. The police was called, and Gurbaj was handed over to them.

The police has booked him under section 392 of IPC, and Various sections of Arms Act. They have recovered Rs 1500 and a country made pistol from him. He was produced before a local court today, and remanded to police custody.



Fruit seller cheated of Rs 5 lakh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 15
A Canadian women citizen allegedly cheated a fruit seller vendor of Rs 5 lakh in the name of taking him along to Canada.

Ms Harjinder Kaur, wife of Kripal Singh, both Canadian citizens, came to Dhanas on September 1 and returned on September 4. The woman took Rs 5 lakh from the complainant Mohinder Singh who has a rehri in Sector 37 D market. Mohinder Singh sells fruits. Mohinder Singh alleged that he handed over Rs 5 lakh to Harjinder Kaur on September 4 in front of her parents in Daddu Majra.He said that the remaining amount had to be given to the woman after he reached Canada. Mohinder Singh said that the woman left the country without taking him along and nor was his money returned by the accused. The Economic Offence Wing of the Chandigarh Police today registered a case under Section 320 of the Indian Penal Code and Section 24 of the Immigration Act.



Suicide by 15-year-old
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, January 15
A 15 year old youth committed suicide by hanging himself at his residence in Kalka this afternoon. He reportedly took the extreme step because of a failed love affair. The police say that Lal Chand, a son of a watchman at Kalka Government College, was found hanging at the house, within the college premises, today. A suicide note was also recovered, which mentioned that he had failed in his love affair.

Died: A jawan, posted at Western Command Headquarters in Chandi Mandir, Anil Bavan, died today. He had met with an accident on January 10, when he was coming home from work. His bicycle was hit by an unknown vehicle, and he sustained head injuries. He was admitted to the Command Hospital, where he died this morning.

Burglary: Cash and goods worth thousands of rupees were stolen from a house in Sector 25 today. The occupants of the house were away to Ambala, and the house was locked. The police say that the locks of the house were found broken. The police has informed the house owner.


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