P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



Irate NRIs abuse DSP
Say police inaction led to death of their relative
Jangveer Singh
Tribune News Service

Patiala, February 3
Agitated non-resident Indians (NRIs) today abused a Deputy Superintendent of Police and forced him to flee from the mortuary of the Government Rajindra Hospital claiming that their relative Sardool Singh had been killed after being kidnapped because of laxity on the part of the police in taking action in the case.

The relatives continued to raise slogans against the DSP (Rural) Bhupinder Singh and the district police for more than two hours outside the mortuary. Earlier, the body of Sardool Singh was brought to the hospital which was found in Suhron village near Rajpura when his relatives refused to get the post-mortem done at Rajpura. The deceased was a resident of Urban Estate here.

Ms Devinder Kaur Shami, daughter of the deceased NRI, claimed her father had been killed by the relatives of Amandeep Kaur, who was wife of her brother Rajinder Singh. She said some differences had occurred between Rajinder and Amandeep and her relatives had tried to first eliminate her brother and had later kidnapped her father.

She said her brother Rajinder was fired upon on November 20 last year following which they had approached the DSP (R), but instead of investigating the case, the officer said that the alleged incident had never occurred. She said after this, the DSP called them to his office on January 6, and on January 7 her father disappeared. She said on January 10, the family received a phone call from the “kidnappers” who demanded that they should take back Rajinder’s estranged wife and withdraw cases filed against members of Amandeeps family. Ms Shami said despite informing the police of this development, no action was taken in the matter.

The district police chief, Mr A.S. Rai, when contacted, gave a clean chit to the DSP. He said the matter had first come to the notice of police three months ago. He said Rajinder Singh was a middle-aged man who had been divorced twice earlier and had married Amandeep of Ghalibkalan village near Jagraon one year ago. Mr Rai said the girl had become pregnant and an ultrasound of the foetus had revealed that she was carrying a female child.

The police officer said according to their investigations, Rajinder had asked Amandeep to get the foetus aborted and when she resisted a dispute occurred between them. He said the firing incident mentioned by Rajinder had been investigated and it was found that the persons said to be allegedly involved in it were not present in Patiala on that day.

The SSP said on January 6, the DSP had called them to work out a compromise and that Rajinder’s family had agreed to take back Amandeep. However, next day they reported that their father was missing. He said they again registered a case, but later investigations revealed that the girl’s family had alibis to show that they were in their village on that day.

Mr Rai said the police would investigate into the case from other angles also.


Flag-hoisting case: Chauhan held, let off
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, February 3
The Amritsar police today arrested Jasbir Singh, a resident of Chalang village on charges of raising slogans in favour of ‘Khalistan’ in Golden Temple complex, even as separatist leader Dr Jagjit Singh Chauhan, President, Khalsa Raj Party (KRP), who had offered himself for arrest, was let off due to technical reasons.

Dr Chauhan had come here to court arrest in connection with a case, registered against him at Islamabad Police Station on the charges of hoisting a ‘saffron flag’ on Republic Day, here. Dr Chauhan was released by the police after consulting legal experts. As per the orders of the Punjab and Haryana High court, the police had to give a notice of one week to arrest Dr Chauhan.

Mr Simranjit Singh Mann, President Shiromani Akali Dal (Amritsar) and some leaders of his party were with Dr Chauhan in the Golden Temple complex. The SAD (Amritsar) leaders objected to raising slogans in favour of ‘Khalistan’ by a Sikh youth who was whisked away by the galliara police.

As many as 35 radical Sikhs, including Mr H.S. Dhami, President, Dal Khalsa, and Mr Satnam Singh Paunta Sahib, hijacker of Indian Airlines plane, were booked under Sections 124, 153-B, 336 and 120 B of the Indian Penal Code on January 26. Out of them, 11 leaders of Dal Khalsa had courted arrest from outside the Golden Temple on January 31.

Later, while talking to the mediapersons Mr Mann, blamed the Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh, for appointing Mr S.S. Virk as DGP, Punjab. He alleged that the peace in Punjab could be disturbed with the appointment of Mr Virk.


Golden Temple’s heritage status move runs
into rough weather

K.S. Chawla

Ludhiana, February 3
The grant of world heritage status to Sri Harmandar Sahib, Amritsar, has possibly run into rough weather as UNESCO has sought certain clarifications from the permanent delegation of India to UNESCO.

In its communication to the permanent delegation of India to UNESCO, the Director of UNESCO World Heritage Centre, Mr Francisco Bandrin has referred to the concerns expressed by a cross section of Sikhs.

The letter of September 22, 2004, mainly refers to the lack of consultation with representatives of the Sikh community in the process of nomination and the new proposed management system’. The communication clearly says. “Inscription on the world heritage list may be delayed, if it is deemed necessary to ensure the universal agreement from parties concerned.”

The Sikh diaspora particularly in the UK and Canada has expressed strong apprehensions about the fallout of the grant of world heritage status to Darbar Sahib.

The Sikh Human Rights Group based in London and headed by Dr Jasdev Singh Rai has pointed out that “In the past Sikhs have walked into many situations without examining the implications of the documents they agree to for spurious and small promises, only to regret later when grave consequences occur. The Sikhs have shown remarkable inability to assess the implications of arguments and political intrigues. This time the community needs to examine the issues’.

While pointing out the contentious issues, Dr Rai and lawyers Manjit Singh Gill, Navtej Singh Ahluwalia and Satnam Singh Bains fear that grant of world heritage status to Harmandar Sahib will totally compromise its sovereign status and that of Akal Takht Sahib.

They have also pointed out Harmandar Sahib is already one of the best known places around the world and according to the BBC, it is the world’s sixth most popular tourist site.

Dr Rai insists that no purpose would be served in having the world heritage status.

However, Dr Rai admits that the world heritage status will ensure that signatories to the UNESCO World Heritage Convention will refrain from attacking the temple in a regional war and also ensure environmental protection of Darbar Sahib.

Meanwhile, the SGPC authorities have also sought more clarifications from the office of the Director-General, Archaeological Survey of India, instead of allaying the fears of the Sikh diaspora.

Mr Dalmegh Singh, secretary, SGPC, in a letter to the Director, Monuments, Dr Poonancha, has expressed strong desire Sri Harmandar Sahib be included on the world heritage list on the sole condition that the inscription on this prestigious list would not compromise the legal status and ownership rights.

The letter dated November 30, 2004 has also sought to know if any new management rules, regulations would be formulated by UNESCO if such a status is granted’.


Sikh Sangat celebrates Gurpurb holiday
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 3
Excitement gripped prominent Sikh leaders and other members of the community after the news of the Gujarat Government’s decision to restore holiday on Gurpurab reached here.

The holiday was restored in less than a week after a report regarding its cancellation and demand for restoration was carried in these columns.

For celebrating the development, members of the Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee (PPCC) organised a function at Law Bhavan. About 300 members of the Sikh Sangat, gathered on the spot and distributed “ladoos”.

Among them was first woman pilot Beant Kaur and her sister Satwant Kaur. Addressing a gathering, Ms Beant Kaur said India was a secular country and decisions like cancelling holidays on gurpurab was unjustified.

Talking to the media, PPCC general secretary Parminder Singh said they had held a peaceful agitation just 15 km from Vadodara and had also submitted several representations to the Gujarat Chief Minister, besides the Governor. He added that action was finally taken after the intervention of the Prime Minister. He had taken notice of the news reports.

It may be recalled that several leaders, cutting across political lines and affiliations, had demanded the restoration of the holiday. A number of Sikh organisations from different parts of the world, including the USA, Canada and England, had also criticised the action of the BJP Government of Gujarat saying that it had hurt the sentiments of the community.


Virk to look into promotions by Siddiqui
Saurabh Malik
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 3
The Punjab Police may not, after all, execute some of the promotion orders issued by former Director-General of Police (DGP) A.A. Siddiqui just before his retirement.

A decision has been taken by senior police authorities to look into the allegations associated with the issuance of the orders.

A cloud of controversy had overshadowed the appointments after it was reported in the media that Mr Siddiqui was on an out-of-turn promotion spree before demitting office.

The reports had mentioned that the former DGP had ordered the promotion of personnel in the rank of Constable, Head Constable, Assistant Sub-Inspector, Sub-Inspector and Inspector.

Though the exact number of such promotions were not known, the sources in the Sector 9 Punjab Police Headquarters said the same could be well over a hundred.

Punjab’s Director-General of Police S.S. Virk, when contacted, said they would look into the matter.

“If the number of promotions ordered just prior to Mr Siddiqui’s retirement is limited, then it is hardly a matter of concern,” he said. “But if the number actually runs into hundreds and the promotions are out-of-turn, we will see what has to be done”.

Dr Siddiqui could not be contacted for comment, but sources close to him said there was nothing wrong with the issuance of the promotion orders.

“The DGP was well within his rights to issue such orders,” they insisted, adding that none of the promotions were out of turn.

Quoting Punjab Police Rules, the sources said the same bestowed powers on the DGP to relax provisions relating to the promotion of police officials in case the same was considered essential”.

Senior Punjab Police officers said that this was not the first time that promotions ordered by a DGP had come under criticism. Another former DGP M.S. Bhullar had reportedly granted approval for enlistment of approximately 600 Special Police Officers (SPOs) as constables even though a ban on recruitment was in force in the state.

As a result, the process remained incomplete. Finally, the cases were spiked by the Punjab Police.

Senior authorities are drafting standing orders regarding recruitment and promotions of police personnel. Once the orders come into force, the DGP’s nod alone will not be enough.

The existence of vacancies and recruitment rules will be considered along with the DGP’s approval while appointing and promoting personnel in the force.


Finance cos, banks use musclemen against defaulters
Pawan Kumar

Amritsar, February 3
Certain private financial institutions, including banks, are forcibly taking possession of financed vehicles allegedly by using hired musclemen. This illegal action has allegedly been causing a lot of hardships to the customers who had failed to pay only a few instalments due to one reason or another. These recovery agencies, some of which allegedly belong to relatives of certain political leaders and senior police officials, instead of taking legal recourse snatch vehicles under the very nose of the law enforcing agencies.

The police always expresses inability and hesitates to take any action against such recovery agencies as these use the political clout of their patrons and thus manage to dodge the rule of land.

Mr Iqbal Singh Pretty, a resident of Krishna Nagar, Lawrence Road here, who had got a car (numbering PB-02-Z- 6003) financed in his wife’s name from a private bank alleged that his car was snatched by the musclemen deputed by an agency along with a policeman of the local Civil Lines Police Station.

He claimed that about Rs 95,000 in cash and other important documents, which were also lying in the car went missing after the vehicle was snatched.

Giving details of the incident which not only caused tremendous humiliation and mental torture to him he said that he was returning home from office last year when some persons snatched his vehicle. Although an inquiry on his complaint was conducted by an SP-rank officer, which clearly indicted the agency and its musclemen besides policemen for taking away the vehicle after for Mr Iqbal Singh out of the car. He also termed the action as totally illegal and urged the government not to allow the police to be used by these agencies.

He alleged that even though the police had registered a criminal case against the accused. However, no recovery had been made and he had not been informed about the whereabouts and condition of his vehicle at yet. He said life threats were being given to him by the accused.

According to sources a large number of cases of a similar nature had occurred but the victims do not report the cases out of fear of harassment.

The police to does not entertain such cases.

Dr Kashmir Singh, chief pharmacist at Sri Guru Teg Bahadur (SGTB) Hospital, who had faced similar humiliation, had won the case in the district consumer forum. However, the bank authorities never, complied with the order. He said the case was now in the state consumer court. He said more than 50 per cent of the loan amount had already been paid to the bank. He said interestingly, not a single cheque had bounced or had been cancelled.

Mr R.P.S. Brar, district police chief admitted that the forcible repossession was illegal. He said although a case had been registered at Civil Lines Police Station, he did not have any other such complaints. He assured that he would take necessary action if he got any such complaint.


SAD to file plea in HC against Raninder
Lalit Mohan
Tribune News Service

Gurdaspur February 3
The SAD would file a petition in the Punjab and Haryana High Court in case of hawala accusations levelled against Mr Raninder Singh, son of the Chief Minister of Punjab. This was stated by Mr Prakash Singh Badal, president of the SAD, at Pathankot today.

Mr Badal said the Delhi High Court had just dismissed the petition filed by the SAD in the case just on the grounds that it had no jurisdiction in the matter. The petition was filed in the Delhi High Court on the plea that the Directorate of Foreign Exchange Regulation was based at Delhi.

However, now that the Delhi High Court has declined to take the case on the plea of jurisdiction, the SAD would soon file another petition in the Punjab and Haryana High Court.

The Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, was trying to misguide people by terming the decision of the Delhi High Court as a clean chit for his son.

While responding to a query regarding the corruption allegations levelled against Chief Parliamentary Secretary Rana Gurmeet Singh Sodhi, Mr Badal said the SAD MLAs had sought an inquiry into the matter. “However, if the state fails to act even in that matter within 15 days, petition would be filed in Rana Sodhi case also in the Punjab and Haryana High court”, he added.

“The Chief Minister had openly stated in the Punjab Assembly that if any charge of corruption comes up against his Cabinet colleagues, he would get it investigated from the CBI. However, now when very clear charge of corruption has come up against his close aide, he is trying to shield him”, Mr Badal alleged.

He further added that though the Capt Amarinder Singh claimed to have taken up the fight against corruption, his wife and MP from Patiala had admitted to the media that the corruption had increased in the state.

The former chairman of the Punjab Public Service Commission (PPSC), Mr Ravi Sidhu, had been arrested on the charges of favouritism and corruption in recruitment. Similar charges have now come against Capt Amarinder Singh. The recruitment of the DSPs done by the present government that included son of the media adviser of the Chief Minister has been struck down by the Punjab and Haryana High Court. Now that court has proved that nepotism was adopted in the recruitment of DSPs, a case should be registered against those responsible for misappropriation”, said Mr Badal.


Teacher sells jewellery to feed family
Chander Parkash
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, February 3
Sheela Devi (name changed), an employee of the local District Institute for Education and Training (DIET), has to sell her jewellery and take loan at an exorbitant rate of interest from a moneylender to feed herself and her family as she has not been paid salary for seven months.

Narinder Singh (name changed), a lecturer in one of the DIETs dotting the state, has become defaulter of a public sector bank as he is unable to pay monthly instalments of the loan which he took for constructing a house. He too has not got his salary since July, 2004. Not only this, he has also not paid instalments of his life insurance policy.

Manjeet Kumar (name changed) could not celebrate the first birthday of his baby. Reason is the same. Not only this, he and his family did not celebrate Divali and Lohri due to bad economic conditions. He has to sell his motor cycle to arrange meals for his family.

Almost all employees of various DIETs have not got salaries for the past seven months. They have been left with no other option than to borrow money from their kin and friends to meet their routine liabilities.

A section of the employees told The Tribune today that they were borrowing money not only for running their kitchens but also for arranging medical treatment of their near and dear ones. They had started shying away from attending marriage parties or other functions of their kin due to the fact that they were already under heavy debts and had no capacity to spend money on such functions, they added.

Official sources said a section of employees of various DIETs who had connections had been trying to shift to schools and other wings of the Education Department where they could get salary regularly.

The employees, who have urged various authorities to make arrangements for the payment of salaries at the earliest, said they had no money to file their annual income tax returns.

They said the authorities concerned had been sending the lecturers of the DIETs to various camps where they were supposed to train the teachers how to keep tension away despite the fact that they themselves were under great tension.

Mr Amritpal Singh Brar, General Secretary, NCP, Punjab, said the Punjab Government had failed to manage its finances in a professional manner and hence it was the main reason that employees were not getting their salaries regularly. It was despite the fact that income of state government had been growing regularly, he added.


Punjab hopeful of moratorium on loan
Prabhjot Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 3
Cash-strapped Punjab is all optimistic about the recommendations of the 12th Finance Commission as it hopes to get not only a moratorium on repayment of Special Term Loan of Rs 3,700 cr but also some special grants, including the calamity grant of Rs 680 crore.

"We are hopeful that the 12th Finance Commission would be sympathetic to us, keeping in view that we have yet to recover from the debt of battle of nation we fought against terrorism," says Punjab's Finance Minister Surinder Singla.

Talking to The Tribune here this afternoon, Mr Singla said :"We are certain to get a moratorium on repayment of Special Term Loan. Though there had been two waivers, one each by Dr Manmohan Singh and Mr Inder Kumar Gujral in the past, yet a loan of Rs 3,700 crore is still standing against us.

"The 11th Finance Commission had recommended a moratorium on repayment of this loan. The 12th Finance Commission, we hope, would not only extend the moratorium by another couple of years but also make an enabling clause for the Central Government to consider waiving this loan. Once this is done, this liability would end forever. We had represented our case to the commission very well," he added.

It is also significant that the Finance Commission is providing enabling clause for the Centre to waive this Special Term Loan. It may be recalled here that during the last Lok Sabha elections, a controversy had erupted as former Prime Minister Inder Kumar Gujral maintained that the entire loan had been waived. The Congress had contested the claim, maintaining that only moratorium on repayment had been extended and loan of Rs 3,700 crore still stood in the name of Punjab.

Punjab and some other states, which are revenue deficit, are also hopeful of a special grant so that they get money for infrastructure development and other developmental projects.

''We are also hopeful to get a calamity grant of Rs 900 crore of which our share will be Rs 220 crore. " The Centre would give us Rs 680 crore," says Mr Singla. "It was on our insistence that the Centre changed the definition of draught. Our plea was that though Punjab had a good crop, it was at the cost of our resources. It caused drought of our resources as inspite of failure of rains, farmers used electricity and diesel to keep their fields green.

"The Centre agreed and subsequently the Finance Commission has decided to recommend a calamity grant of Rs 680 crore to us with a riding clause that the state would contribute Rs 220 cr and make this money available to us for use in various developmental projects," said Mr Singla.


Punjab expects Rs 3500 cr WB aid: Bhattal
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, February 3
Ms Rajinder Kaur Bhattal, Deputy Chief Minister, has said Punjab is expecting Rs 3,500-crore World Bank aid for providing drinking water in rural areas of the state.

Putting speculations of traders to rest, Ms Bhattal, who was talking to mediapersons here yesterday, said no final decision about privatization of octroi had been taken so far.

Ms Bhattal said a case about Rs 3,500-crore WB aid had been filed and she expected it would be cleared soon. “The objective of getting WB aid is to provide drinking water to residents of all villages. We hope we will get the aid soon,” she said.

Referring to the octroi issue, Ms Bhattal said the hue and cry raised over proposed privatisation of octroi was baseless as the state government had not taken any final decision about this so far. “The views of traders will also be considered before taking any final decision,” said Ms Bhattal.

Ms Bhattal said the Technical Education Department had received the report of a committee formed for suggesting reforms needed in the technical education sector. “We will examine the suggestions and implement the recommendations of the committee so as to improve quality of technical education in the state. The report would be made public on February 17,” said Ms Bhattal.


SAD, Cong woo ex-servicemen in Ajnala
Varinder Walia
Tribune News Service

Ajnala, February 3
Various political parties have launched a campaign in the constituency to woo more than 15,000 ex-servicemen voters who could tilt the balance in the coming byelection scheduled for February 23. After the Tarn Taran Assembly constituency, Ajnala has the second highest number of ex-servicemen.

While the ex-servicemen wing of the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD), led by Brig Kuldip Singh Kahlon (retd), held a closed-door meeting with party President Parkash Singh Badal here today, the Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, also asked the local leadership to hold meetings with the ex-servicemen.

Addressing separate rallies in the constituency, Mr Badal and Brig Kahlon promised that the SAD would get the Madan Lal Khurana Committee report, tabled about two years ago, implemented. The committee had recommended a number of measures for the welfare of serving and retired personnel of the Defence. Brig Kahlon, was accompanied by Col Ajit Singh Valtoha, a senior leader of the Ex-servicemen Association.

Mr Badal said the committee had recommended the waiving of the 33-per cent condition for claiming full pension for the Army personnel and one-rank-one pension and assured jobs after retirement.

However, with the change of government at the Centre, the Congress regime had failed to implement the recommendations. Mr Badal also promised the ex-servicemen that his party would fight for increasing the quota of Punjab in the Army.


BSP to not to contest byelection

Amritsar, February 3
Mr Maan Singh Manhera, state vice-president of the Bahujan Samaj Party, said today that his party would not contest the Ajnala byelection.

Mr Manhera said they would also not support any political party. He criticised the Congress and the BJP for their alleged anti-people policies. He said both parties had never kept their promises. OC


2 killed in blast at junk dealer’s shop
Our Correspondent

Abohar, February 3
Two persons were killed and another was injured in an explosion at the shop of a metal junk dealer near the local military station here today.

An anti-tank device, used in the rocket launchers, reportedly exploded when the junk dealer Jagdish Chander hit it with a hammer to extract brass metal from it. The explosion caused panic in the market near the petrol station opposite the military station on the Abohar-Fazilka road.

The body of Jagdish Chander and his neighbour Surjit Grover were charred badly and were found inside the shopping complex at a distance of 20 feet from the shop. Nanak Chand, alias Noori, son of the junk dealer, was injured in the incident.

Sources said Jagdish Chander, a member of Dalit Dhanak community and resident of Arya Nagar, had been dealing in all kinds of waste and junk material for past few months in a rented pucca shop located on the main National Highway No. 10. Surjit Grover had been running a tire repair shop for the past few months. He had come to the junk dealer to enjoy sunshine after having lunch at his own shop.

SDM Jaskiran Singh, DSP Narenderpal Singh and senior officials from the military station visited the spot and got the area cordoned off immediately. The bodies were sent to the Nehru Memorial Civil Hospital for post-mortem. Nanak Chand was admitted to the hospital.

SDM and DSP said this was the first incident in this subdivisional town though such causalities had been reported only in the neighbouring city of Sriganganagar where the Army undertook exercises occasionally. It was to be investigated how such an explosive device was passed on to the junk dealer, they said.

The Army authorities present at the slain dealer’s shop confirmed that such bombs were used as in anti-tank rocket launchers. The Army will independently investigate the matter.

The civil and police authorities asked junk dealers late in the evening to be careful in purchasing such metal from anyone.

Surjit Grover belonged to the Bhagwanpura locality, 200 meters from the shopping complex.

Meanwhile, Mr S.S. Srivastava, SSP, visited the spot and enquired after injured Nanak Chand at the hospital.


Fire in foam factory

Jalandhar, February 3
Foam material worth lakhs of rupees was today burnt in fire which broke out in a mattresses manufacturing factory in sports and surgical complex here.

The fire, which started at around 12 pm was first noticed by sweeper of the factory, who informed the fire brigade, sources said adding that as many as 20 fire tenders summoned from the adjoining districts of Hoshiarpur, Kapurthala and Nawanshahr were pressed into service to control the fire.

It took at least four hours to control the fire, which had damaged even the roof of the premises, fire brigade sources said revealing that although there was loss of foam material worth lakhs of rupees but human loss was evaded due to holiday in the factory.

Although exact cause of the fire was yet to ascertained but it seems that spark of short circuit, which catched the highly flammable foam lying nearby, could be the main reason of the fire, sources added.

The factory, S.V. Polymer is owned by Sunil Kumar, who was out of station when the fire broke out. — PTI


BJP seeks CBI probe into Rana Sodhi case
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 3
The Punjab unit of the BJP today urged the Governor, Gen S.F. Rodrigues (retd), to order a probe either by the sitting Judge of the Punjab and Haryana High Court or by the CBI in the allegations of bribe against the Chief Parliamentary Secretary, Rana Gurmit Singh Sodhi.

A delegation of the BJP leaders led by president of the state unit, Mr Avinash Rai Khanna, today submitted the memorandum in this connection to the Governor.

Speaking to media persons after submitting the memorandum, Mr Khanna said that the police inquiry ordered by the Chief Minister against Rana Sodhi was a meaningless exercise. “Already, Capt Amarinder Singh had given clean chit to Rana Sodhi”. Mr Khanna said that his party had no faith in the functioning of the state administration especially police in matters related to corruption.


Panel to monitor noise pollution
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, February 3
To control noise pollution in the district, a high-powered noise pollution control committee has been set up under the chairmanship of the Deputy Commissioner here today.

The other members of the committee are the Additional Deputy Commissioner, Assistant Commissioner, Executive Engineer, Pollution Control Board, General Manager, Industries, District Transport Officer and the respective SDMs and the representative of industrialists.

Mr S.K. Ahluwalia, Deputy Commissioner, said all noise pollution related complaints would be dealt by the committee. He said a special campaign was being launched in this regard.

He said directions had been issued to the Executive Engineer, Pollution Control Board and the respective SDMs to implement the provisions of the board strictly and to take action against those units, which were violating the pollution norms.


Jakhar postpones visit to Abohar
Our Correspondent

Abohar, February 3
Dr Bal Ram Jakhar, Governor, Madhya Pradesh, has postponed his visit scheduled for February 11. He was to attend the annual convocation of the DAV College here as chief guest. Dr B.C. Josan, Principal of the college, said he had received a telephonic message from Raj Bhawan, Bhopal, this morning. The management has resolved to postpone the function. Though no reason for deferring the scheduled visit had been assigned, family sources said Dr Jakhar might have to go for cataract surgery during the fortnight after attending the Assembly session there.


HC counsel has 10 posers for Bench
Judicial Officer Walia’s case
Maneesh Chhibber
Our High Court Correspondent

Chandigarh, February 3
The seven-Judge Bench, which is hearing the review application against the orders of the Division Bench of the Punjab and Haryana High Court in a matter concerning a judicial officer of Punjab, has been given 10 posers by counsel for the High Court advocate Anupam Gupta.

These questions, which are likely to arise during the course of the hearings in the matter include the main question: whether the Chief Justice, Mr Justice B.K. Roy, was competent to constitute a Bench to hear the review application.

The Bench will also decide if Chief Justice Roy could have included any Judge or Judges in addition to, or other than, the two Judges who had passed the judgement under review.

Answers to the questions could set the tone for future cases of similar kind.

The seven-Judge Bench is dealing with the matter concerning the controversy that started following the decision of Chief Justice Roy to order filing of a review application against the orders of a Division Bench comprising Mr Justice H.S. Bedi and Mr Justice Nirmal Singh.

Mr Justice Bedi and Mr Justice Nirmal Singh had on August 12, 2004, withdrawn from a full Bench headed by the Chief Justice after questioning his authority to constitute such a Bench to hear the review application.

The review pertained to the May 13 order of the Division Bench, by which it had dismissed a writ filed by Punjab Police constable Ramesh Singh challenging his transfer from Rajpura to Faridkot.

The Bench had also put an end to all inquiry proceedings against Judicial Officer Jatinder Walia, initiated on the complaints of the constable. Following their withdrawal, Mr Justice Roy also rescued himself from the case.

The questions that the seven-Judge Bench could deal with also include the issue of powers of the High Court, if any, to order review of judgments and the source, if any, of such powers. It will also decide if the High Court has any power of review under Article 226 of the Constitution under which the review application was filed.

Other posers are: whether the Code of Civil Procedure applies to writ proceedings under Article 226; whether the Chief Justice was competent to decide upon and direct filing of the review application in a matter pertaining to a judicial officer or does such a direction lie within the purview of the full court.

Another important question is whether the order under review is a nullity, having been passed without the notice of the High Court, the party directly and adversely affected by the order, in so far it relates to Ms Jatinder Walia.

The Bench will also go into the issue of whether the Division Bench, which ordered closure of inquiry proceedings against Ms Walia, pre-empted/usurped the power of the High Court in matter concerning control over subordinate judiciary.

Today, during the resumed hearing, advocate Gupta again defended the action of the Chief Justice and told the Bench headed by Mr Justice Amar Dutt that Chief Justice Roy was within his rights in ordering the constitution of a bigger Bench to hear the review.

The hearing will resume on February 9.


2-year jail for JE
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, February 3
A Junior Engineer of the PSEB has been sentenced to two years’ imprisonment by the Additional Sessions Judge, Hoshiarpur, Mr R.P. Nagrath.

The convict, Ved Kumar, was arrested by officials of the Vigilance Bureau, Jalandhar, while taking Rs 1,500 as bribe from Prem Singh of Miani village.

Delivering the sentence, Mr Nagrath said Ved Kumar would have to pay a fine of Rs 5,000 failing which he would have to undergo imprisonment for another six months.


BKU protests against farmer’s arrest

Jaito, February 3
Protesting against the arrest of a farmer for recovery of debt, the Bharatiya Kisan Union (Krantikari) yesterday staged a dharna in front of the local Primary Agricultural Development Bank. Addressing the protesters, the union leaders demanded immediate release of Sukhchain Singh, a farmer who had been arrested from Chandbhan village. They also warned that if the bank officials didn’t stop threatening farmers, then the union members would gherao the bank manager in villages.

The chief of the district unit of the union, Mr Sarmukh Singh Ajitgill, said on the one hand the state government was issuing statements that no farmer would be arrested for debt recovery and no land auction would take place, while on the other hand the bank officials were “harassing” debt-ridden farmers. He said farmers in the state were facing financial crisis for the past many years, but instead of improving their lot the state government was putting them behind the bars.

He said the situation had worsened in the recent days and it was high time that farmers launched a united agitation against the “anti-farmer” policies of the state government.

Sukhchain Singh was arrested recently for failing to repay loan to Primary Agricultural Development Bank. According to the bank officials, he owes Rs 5.12 lakh to the bank. — TNS


Sangrur MC in dire straits
Sushil Goyal
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, February 3
The local Municipal Council (MC) has been facing a financial crisis and is “unable” to pay salaries to its employees in time. Besides, it has not paid wages to the tune of Rs 1,000 per month to safai sewaks of mohalla sudhar committees for the past few months.

There are around 125 mohalla sudhar committees in the town with around 125 safai sewaks who keep mohallas clean and lift garbage from the houses.

It is learnt that the MC requires around 250 regular safai sewaks to keep the city clean whereas there are only 118 regular safai sewaks with the MC. No safai sewak has been recruited in the MC for the past many years despite the retirement of many safai sewaks.

Sources in the MC said the salaries for December had been paid to the employees around January 20, while the salaries for January might be paid to the employees in the third week of February.

Mr Harbans Singh Garcha, President of the MC, while talking to The Tribune here today admitted that the MC was facing a financial crisis, due to which it had not paid wages to the safai sewaks for the past few months. He also admitted that salaries to regular employees could also not be paid in time in the past couple of months.

Mr Garcha said about three years ago the earnings of the MC from the house tax had been about Rs 50 lakh per annum, but the house tax collection had now reduced to about Rs 18 lakh per annum after a stay granted by the Supreme Court.


More cash found from IT officer’s house
Sanjay Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 3
The CBI has unearthed more cash from the house of Ludhiana-based Deputy Income Tax Commissioner Y.K. Saxena, who was arrested yesterday.

The cash, totalling Rs 8 lakh, was found in a room of his house which had earlier not been checked by a raiding CBI team. The CBI had yesterday said it had not recovered any money from the house of Mr Saxena.

The CBI had said it had found Rs 15 lakh with the chartered account of the officer. It suspected that the money belonged to Mr Saxena. The investigating agency has also found Rs 5.5 lakh, in a bank account of the 

Mr Saxena’s locker in Sangrur would be opened in his presence. The officer now is in CBI custody.

Mr Saxena is estimated to possess around Rs 1.25 crore of property, sources said. The sources said Mr Saxena had built his house in Ludhiana in a posh locality in 2003.

The CBI had found documents of five more plots in the name of family members of a junior works manager working with the Directorate-General of Quality Assurance, Defence Ministry.

The CBI had recovered documents of 11 plots from his house till yesterday. The junior works manager, Jagjit Singh had Rs 4.25 lakh in a bank account. The raids were conducted as part of a nationwide crackdown on corrupt officers.

The CBI team found that the Defence personnel too owned a palatial house.


Show-cause notice to registry clerk in theft case
Our Correspondent

Kharar, February 3
A show-cause notice has been issued here today to the registry clerk of the tehsil complex in connection with a case of theft that took place on Tuesday night.

The show-cause notice was issued by the Ropar Deputy Commissioner, Mrs Seema Jain, in which a time-bound reply has been sought from the registry clerk, Piara Singh. In the notice, Mrs Jain questioned the clerk as to why the wooden door of the record room had not been locked.

In a report sent to the Deputy Commissioner about the incident, the Tehsildar had said the outer metal door of the record room had been locked while no lock had been put on the inner wooden door.

The Deputy Commissioner had yesterday ordered the suspension of the chowkidar of the tehsil complex on a charge of dereliction of duty.

About Rs 3 lakh in cash and stamp papers were stolen from the record room of the complex which were illegally kept there by two stamp vendors.


Decomposed body found in nullah
Police claims it to be of missing resident, family denies
Bipin Bhardwaj

Rajpura, February 3
A badly decomposed body of an old man, who was reportedly kidnapped from Patiala on January 7, was found dumped in a nullah at Suron village, near here, last night.

Though the police claims that the body was of Sardul Singh, a resident of Urban Estate in Patiala, the family of the kidnapped man rubbished the police claims, alleging that the latter was trying to hush up the case.

The family, however, have admitted that the clothes, spectacles, purse and other articles found from the body belonged to Sardul Singh.

The family alleged that the kidnappers were close to some senior police personnel at Rajpura and for this reason the facts were hid.

The mutilated body was noticed by Prem Singh, sarpanch of the village, and subsequently the police was informed. After taking the body into custody, the Rajpura police informed the district police.

The family members comprising Mr Rajinder Singh, Ms Davinder Kaur, son and daughter of Sardul Singh, and his wife reached Rajpura and identified the clothes and other articles found from the body. They, however, denied that the body was of Sardul Singh and refused to claim it.

Following the controversy, DIG I.S. Sahota and SSP A.S. Rai reached the spot and tried to assure the family members that the body was of Sardul Singh. The body was later sent to the Civil Hospital, Patiala, for DNA tests to establish the actual identification of the man.

Sources in the police said a case of kidnapping was registered in this regard at a Patiala police station. In a complaint to the Patiala police, the family members had levelled allegations against some relatives.

While talking to the Chandigarh Tribune, Ms Davinder Kaur, NRI daughter of Sardul Singh, alleged that the police was trying to hush up the case and conceal the facts.

Mr Rai denied the allegations against the police and made it clear that the body was claimed by the family after an assurance of a DNA test was given. The SSP also claimed that the case of kidnapping had been converted into a case of murder against the suspects.

A post-mortem examination on the body was conducted at the local Civil Hospital.

The police has registered a case of murder against the suspects, he claimed. 


Man kills brother over property dispute
Our Correspondent

Bathinda, February 3
In a bizarre incident, Hazara Singh, a resident of local Chandsar Basti, killed his brother Chaddat Singh yesterday after a quarrel broke out between them over property dispute.

The police sources said the accused, Hazara Singh, who was a drug addict, managed to convince his father, Kala Singh, to debar his two brothers, Chaddat Singh and Zora Singh, from their property rights. This resulted in a quarrel among the brothers in the presence of their relatives who were there to solve their property dispute.

While arguing, the accused took out a knife and attacked his brother Chaddat Singh. Chaddat Singh was rushed to local Civil Hospital in a critical condition where he succumbed to his injuries.

The accused managed to escape from the spot while his father Kala Singh was arrested.

A case had been registered at the local police station.


Sarpanch assaulted, house ransacked
Our Correspondent

Phagwara, February 3
Mr Sucha Ram, sarpanch of Sapror village and a Congress leader, was allegedly assaulted while his house was vandalised. It was today learnt that the sarpanch was attempting to make a rapproachment yesterday between two groups when one group assaulted him, ransacked his house and broke furniture.

As per the details available, a youth Rajinder, worked as a driver at adjoining Nangal Majha village. He was beaten by his employer. Both the parties had assembled in the house of the sarpanch who tried to resolve the matter. However, one group thrashed the sarpanch. However, when contacted this afternoon, Sadar police feigned ignorance about the incidence.


Diocese to set up institute for mentally challenged
Tribune News Service

Gurdaspur, February 3
The Diocese of Jalandhar has decided to set an institute for mentally-challenged children on the banks of the Chaki near Pathankot. In a press note issued here on Tuesday its coordinator Joseph Putenpura said 23 acres had already been purchased for this purpose.

The institute has been named Saint Francis Home. It will be integrated with the school where every third admitted child will be mentally challenged. This will give an opportunity to mentally challenged children to socialise with normal children under the able guidance of experts.

A boarding-cum-therapy center for mentally challenged girls from rural areas will initially be set up for 125 students. A vocational training centre would also be opened for children. The main objective of the school is to provide at least 10 plus II level education to mentally challenged children, he added.


Wedding mall to come up in Patiala
Tribune News Service

Patiala, February 3
The city is set to become a wedding shoppers paradise with real estate major Omaxe set to establish a Rs 140-crore state-of-the-art wedding mall on the Mall road.

The wedding mall will be the second such venture of Omaxe which has one such establishment at Gurgaon. The mall is expected to be a complete unit which will be spread over a staggering 2.75 lakh square feet and will include spacious showrooms, a banquet hall, a hotel and a multiplex. The project is expected to take two and a half years to accomplish.

Omaxe Chairman Rohtas Goel says the focus is on maximising customer comfort and providing complimentary products under one roof.

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