L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Multi-crore loan scam unearthed
Chartered accountant in police net
Jupinderjit Singh
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 11
The police has unearthed a multi-crore loan scam following the arrest of a chartered accountant(CA) for allegedly securing loans on the basis of fake income tax returns and PAN cards last evening. The racket will hit hard banks and finance agencies as nearly 150 loans involving Rs 6 crore had been passed.

Though initial investigation yesterday had suggested that the CA, Chander Parkash, had got loans for 60 persons through illegal means, the police today claimed that the number of such loanees was likely to be more than 150.

The DSP, Mr Simratpal Singh Dhindsa, and the SHO Haibowal, Mr Gurpreet Singh, said each member had taken a loan of over Rs 4 lakh. Even if the number of loanees was 60, the scam involved nearly Rs 2.5 crore.

While the police was tightlipped about the involvement of bank employees or that of the income tax department and the municipal corporation, it has found that a number of stamps of the IT department had gone missing in the past several months.

The police was also investigating whether some of the loanees were hand-in-glove with the accused and knew that the returns were fake. The police said some of the loanees could be paying taxes and the reports may have been tampered with or forged by the CA.

Sources said the case of the missing stamps came to light when the police inquired from income tax officials about the genuineness of the stamps used in the fake returns and PAN cards.

They said that some of the stamps looked real but there was no involvement of any official as the stamps were found missing from time to time.

The police said Chander Parkash aged 35 was arrested from the Rajoura chowk yesterday. He was a resident of Durgapuri in haibowal and was running his office with his brother-in-law Shubhkaran near the Kailash chowk here.

The police had seized a large number of fake PAN cards and stamps of banks and the MC from his possession. Two computers with details of his illegal practice had also been found, besides an ATM card with a picture of some unknown person. The police had also seized several fake house plans and designs of the MC and identity cards of different newspapers and media organisations. The accused would use these cards to boast about his contacts.

Mr Dhindsa said the accused was active for the past over a year and used to take handsome commission for arranging loans. He allegedly used to operate through some agents who would be arrested soon, he added.



Notices served on four RMPs
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, February 11
In a bid to curb the flourishing menace of quackery in the city, the health authorities inspected the clinics of four registered medical practitioners and conducted surprise checks on chemist shops in Raikot on Thursday.

Giving this information, the District Drugs Inspector, Mr Dinesh Gupta, said raids were conducted on clinics of four RMPs in the Rahon Road area on the basis of specific complaints that they were carrying on practice in an unauthorised manner and were also prescribing and stocking allopathic medicines in contravention of the law.

Show-cause notices have been served on all four of them under relevant provisions of the Indian Medical Council Act and the Drugs and Cosmetics Act, he said.

A couple of chemist shops in Raikot were also inspected and six samples of medicines were taken that had been sent to the government laboratory for testing, he added. Besides physical verification of the stock, other record, including sales and purchase and other statutory documents and registers, were checked.

The procedural anomalies detected at these shops had been reported to the State Drug Controller, who would initiate suitable action against the licencees.

Meanwhile, the International Human Rights Organisation (IHRO) has taken strong exception to the inaction of the authorities concerned over the sale of spurious, expired and sub-standard medicines in the local market. The organisation would take up the issue of serious threat to human lives with the Punjab State Human Rights Commission if the authorities failed to take action immediately, it said.

Expressing concern over the pathetic state of affairs in the medicine trade here and massive exploitation of patients by doctors, nursing homes and hospitals, IHRO secretary-general D.S. Gill said lack of rule enforcement by the authorities, or at times, connivance of the regulating officials with offenders, had led to a situation in which duplicate and poor quality medicines, including the lifesaving ones, were being sold to the people without any fear.

Similarly, the patients, most of them coming from weaker sections of society, were made to cough up hefty sums in the name of laboratory tests and diagnostic aids as a major portion of the money was being pocketed by the referring doctors.



3 students suspended for bid to kidnap girl
Our Correspondent

Khanna, February 11
Three students of AS College, Khanna, have been suspended by the college disciplinary action committee for being allegedly involved in an attempt to kidnap of a girl student of the college.

The action had been taken following a complaint by the parents of the victim, the Principal of the college said here today.

Four youths with muffled faces had tried to kidnap a college girl on Thursday while she was on her way to college. The kidnappers failed in their attempt, but the girl recognised one of them.

A complaint was lodged at the city police station in this connection by the grandfather of the victim. A complaint was also lodged with the school Principal.

The Principal had called a meeting of the college disciplinary action committee. It was decided that the students allegedly involved in the case should be suspended from the college.

Mr Sachdeva, Principal of the college, had ordered the suspension of the three students. Those suspended are Gurjeet Singh and Harjit Singh of MA II (history) and Jagmit Singh of MA (political science).

The Principal said these students would remain suspended till the final investigation proved them innocent.

Sources said the police had detained two students in connection with the case.



Most govt primary schools have no teachers
Mahesh Sharma

Mandi Ahmedgarh, February 11
The government teachers' union has expressed apprehension that most government primary schools in Sangrur district would have no teachers by the end of this year if new appointments are not made soon. The remaining will have at the most a single teacher.

A large number of students of Class V who have not been taught are appearing in the annual examinations being conducted at government primary schools by the SCERT.

Many of these schools have been functioning without teachers while the others remain closed when the only teacher posted there goes on leave.

Accusing the state government of ruining the future of the students, Mr Sikander Singh Jartoli, general secretary of the Government Teachers Union(Sangrur), said the primary education system had been destabilised.

He claimed that most of the primary schools were without teachers. In schools where there is only one teacher, they have to perform non-teaching functions like carrying post, economic surveys and attending camps under the compulsory education programme.

A visit to the schools of the area showed that the primary schools were running without teachers. Government primary schools at Kasapur, Jattiwal, Dhaler Khurd, Fauzewal village and ward number 1, which are supposed to control 10 schools, also did not have any staff for a long time. There is only one teacher who is working on contract at Dhaler Khurd.

There is one teacher each at Dehliz village, Maholi Khurd, Shergarh Cheema, Vishawkarma Mandir ward number 6 and Dhanak Basti. One out of the two teachers at Maherna Khurd has been ordered to join another school.

Records at the offices concerned revealed that a substantial number of teachers would retire in months to come and by the end of the current calendar year most of the schools would either have no teacher or would have a single teacher to look after students of five classes. 



Make Nanavati report public, says BJP, SAD
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 11
The SAD and the BJP have asked the Centre to make the findings of the Nanavati Commission about the 1984 riots public. Akali and BJP leaders said here today that the way the government was trying to hush up the report, it only appeared that it was trying to shield some people.

The BJP leader, Lala Lajpat Rai, said the way the Union Home Ministry tried to keep the report under wraps only confirmed that some influential people were being shielded.

He said it was the NDA government that had appointed the Justice Nanavati Commission. The UPA government owed an explanation. "Why adopt double standards?" he asked, adding that "when railway Minister Laloo Prasad Yadav could get and publicise the copies of the Justice Bannerjee report much in advance, why should the Nanavati Commission findings be not made public?"

The SAD general secretary, Mr Mahesh Inder Singh Grewal, said the way the ministry had withheld the report from the public had led to apprehensions. If the UPA government wanted to retain the faith of the minorities it must make public the findings, he said.



Deserted woman alleges police inaction
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 11
A 35-year-old woman has alleged that her husband had left her last month and despite her repeated complaints, the Ludhiana police was not registering a case against him.

Ms Suman Rani, mother of two, stated that she had married Ashok Kumar of Bihar in July last year.

She added that Ashok worked as a tailor in Chowni Mohalla and used to abuse her physically and mentally whenever he got drunk.

On January 11 he went missing in the wee hours. She added that Ashok had stopped going to the factory. The middleman, Mahadev, who arranged their marriage was also absconding, she alleged.

Now she has no resources to fall back upon. She alleged that she had visited the division No.8 police station a number of times to get the case registered.

Mr Gurpreet Singh, SHO, division No.8, said he did not know the details of the case. 



PSHRC not a toothless tiger, says Rajput
Jupinderjit Singh
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 11
The Punjab State Human Rights Commission has received a large number of complaints regarding Budda Nullah and it was striving to find a solution to the problem.

Revealing this to mediapersons, Mr B.C. Rajput, a member of the PSHRC, said the commission did not only take up the cases of human right violations, but was also keen to do its bit for improving the environment. He was delivering a lecture on ‘Human rights awareness’ organised by the Satluj Club last evening.

He said the commission was not a toothless tiger. “It has all powers to get its recommendations implemented and can approach the High Court or the Supreme Court in extreme cases,” he said.

He sought to dispel the notion that the orders of the commission were mere recommendations and not binding on the government.

He said the commission had started a special programme to spread awareness among people regarding human rights and to tell them how easy it was to approach the commission.

“The recommendations are orders and the state is duty-bound to implement these,” he said. An interactive session followed the lecture. Former IFS officer and social activist S.S. Channa had listed a number of cases where the PSHRC orders had gone begging.

Mr Rajput admitted that there could be delays in the implementation, but the commission saw to it that its all orders were implemented.

Mr B.K. Goyal, president of the Ludhiana Bar Association, traced the history of human rights. He deliberated on the prevailing system of imparting justice and suggested several thoughtful measures.

Mohammad Rafi, a well-known stage personality and teacher from Malerkotla, also spoke on the occasion.

The seminar began with a speech on human rights by Class IX student Inayat Dhanda. She said the rights had become so important that a country’s image depended on it.

Earlier, Mr B.C. Rajput, addressed a joint meeting of officials of the Punjab Police, Health, Education and Local Bodies Departments at the Circuit House to apprise them about different provisions of law to check human right violations.

He had claimed during a meeting of district officials last evening that the police was the main violator of human rights. The city SSP, Mr Narinderpal Singh, however, defended the force by asserting that the police was in fact the best protector of human rights taking into consideration the constraints under which it worked.

He said the commission had the power to hold parallel inquiries in connection with complaints of human right violations. The procedure to file a complaint with the commission was simple and any person could submit the complaint on a simple paper in person or by post.

He said in these complaints, the main focus was on interference of police officials in civil disputes. He said apart from the complaints relating to the police, there were also complaints regarding the violation of human rights of children and women. There were complaints against the Local Bodies Department for not providing proper basic amenities.

He said the human right violations were mainly due to ABC i.e. alcohol, behaviour and corruption. He advised officials to work for curbing these three abuses. This could bring about substantial improvement in the process of protecting human rights, he said.

He said officials of the Local Bodies, Health and Education Departments should pay more attention to identifying the violation of human rights relating to their departments and implement measures to check these violations.

Mr Rajput said it was the right of every citizen to get pollution-free environment, clean drinking water, sufficient parks etc.

He said a number of complaints had been received from Ludhiana regarding the pollution of groundwater in localities adjoining Budda Nullah.

He said the commission had received 52,680 complaints till December last. Out of these, around 43,000 had been disposed of and remaining 8,500 were under process, he said. He said penalty had been imposed on guilty officials in around 70 cases. He said to create awareness among the masses regarding human rights, the commission was organising seminars and distributing pamphlets.

Mr Anurag Verma, Deputy Commissioner, Ludhiana, also addressed the meeting. He said the protection of human rights was becoming a more and more importance subject day by day. The people were now fully aware of their rights and were coming forward in lodging such complaints, he said. He said the administration would strictly implement the guidelines of the commission.

Mr Narinder Pal Singh, SSP, Ludhiana, said the police should not be straightway considered as the main violator of human rights. He claimed that in spite of many constraints and lengthy duty hours, the police was making all-out efforts to protect human rights. He assured that police officials would positively live up to the expectations of the commission.

Among others who were present on the occasion included Mr Pramod Ban, SSP, Khanna, Mr Rajiv Ahir, SSP, Jagraon, Mr Jaswant Singh, Joint Commissioner of the MC, Dr Rajinder Kaur, Civil Surgeon, and Mr Pathak, District Attorney.



Power meter their bane of worries
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 11
For the past three years an old couple has been making rounds of the local Punjab State Electricity Board office, wrote numerous applications with regard to a small problem in connection with their electricity bills, but in vain.

While the problem was yet to be rectified, the PSEB got the meter removed from their house when they were away to the USA without even issuing a notice.

For Ms Sarabjit Kaur Dhillon, a resident of GF-14, Prem Vihar, Shaheed Bhagat Singh Nagar, Pakhowal Road, it seems an endless fight.

The meter was installed at her house in October, 2002, and was given N-status, which means that the bills are sent to consumers without taking the reading. While she had been clearing all bills well in time and had deposited an amount of Rs 1,000 in June last year before leaving the country, her meter was removed in her absence in July last year.

The PSEB did not bother to issue a notice to them. Their tenants had to vacate the house. When they went to the PSEB office to get it reinstalled, they were told that the owner of the house had to be present while it is done. The Dhillons were scheduled to return in January. The house remained without the meter for six months. This despite the fact that Rs 1,340 were paid to the office in advance.

“When I came back I was told that the number of meters with N-status had increased manifold and the head office wanted to reduce the number.

She said after repeated requests the meter was installed at her house on February 9.

Interestingly, her meter still carries the N-status. She has shot off another letter to the Executive Engineer concerned to remove this status. “For the past three years I have been requesting them to remove this status, but to no avail. I thought the new meter would be regular but I found that it too had the same status,” she rued.

The PSEB owes Rs 104 to Ms Dhillon. “I checked up and told them that this amount is lying as advance with the office even after so many months. Was there any need to disconnect the meter?” she asks.



NRIs chip in for modernisation project
Mahesh Sharma

Mandi Ahmedgarh, February 11
Thanks to the contributions of NRIs, public visiting the Jagraon subdivision complex can now avail of modern facilities at the waiting halls. The building had been declared unsafe earlier and was unfit to accommodate even the staff of various government offices.

However, a major part of the complex still is in dilapidated condition.

A visit to the complex revealed that a waiting hall adjoining the SDM’s office had recently been constructed with the contributions from NRIs.

Though the waiting hall has now a coloured TV, an air conditioner and comfortable furniture, the rest of complex still pose threat to hundreds of citizens who has to visit various offices daily.

Besides, the NRIs and other local residents have also contributed towards the construction of the community hall, dining hall, indoor stadium and a proposed swimming pool for the public.

Addressing a gathering on the occasion of the inauguration of the modernisation of the complex, Mr Anurag Verma, Deputy Commissioner, Ludhiana, said no government could achieve cent per cent development without the cooperation of the all sections of the society.

Mr Gurmit Singh, SDM, said NRIs of the area had contributed more than Rs 10 lakh for the complex.

Mr Gurmel Singh, Mr Sukhdev Singh Dhaliwal, Mr Joginder Singh Grewal, Mr Zora Singh Mahli, Mr Jasmail Singh and Amarjit Singh were felicitated for their outstanding contributions.

Mr Gurcharan Galib, former MP, Mr H. S. Gill, member the SGPC, Mr Daljit Singh Chheena, Tehsildar, and Mr Manmohan Kaushik, Naib Tehsilda8r, were also present on the occasion.



Factory workers threaten to intensify stir
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, February 11
Agitating workers of the Riat Machine Tools Factory continued their prolonged stir by holding a demonstration and dharna at the labour office here today to press for the demand for reinstatement of sacked workers, payment of unpaid salary for two months, grant of other service benefits and to focus on violation of labour laws by the employers.

Addressing the agitating workers, secretary of Moulder and Steel Workers Union, Mohinder Singh alleged that the factory owners had dismissed regular workers and despite explicit directions by the Labour Department the process of new recruitment was being carried out.

He charged the district authorities and officials of the Labour Department with turning a blind eye to the exploitation of workers and arbitrary action of the employers, who were flouting every labour law.

In a memorandum submitted to the authorities, Mr Kamal Kumar, president of the factory unit of the union, demanded intervention of the department for immediate payment of held-up salary, ban on new recruitment, reinstatement of sacked workers and grant of all previous service benefits.

He also called for effective measures to ensure scrupulous implementation of all labour laws and provision of all service benefits like ESI, provident fund, annual promotion, proper payment of overtime and adequate safety arrangements for the workers.

The trade union activists served an ultimatum on the labour officials to take positive action on their demands.



Sehajdhari Sikhs to support Congress
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, February 11
The Congress campaign in Ajnala byelections got a boost when the Sehajdhari Sikh Federation, a political party recognised by the Election Commission of India, extended unconditional support to Congress nominee Harpartap Singh.

The national president of the federation, Dr Paramjeet Singh Ranu, in a press statement today stated that the support was extended as per the decision taken by the National Executive Council of the party because the allegedly communal forces like the RSS, BJP and Akali Dal were trying to disintegrate the minorities in the country.

Dr Ranu alleged that the Sangh Parivar, BJP and Akali Dal had unnecessarily created a wedge between the Sikhs. "The Congress has always tried to play a secular role in politics, Dr Ranu said.



BJP presidents for 23 blocks

Ludhiana, February 11
The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has announced presidents for 23 blocks in the city.
The announcement was withheld for the Subhani Building block where the party said, the announcement would be made later.

The district party spokesman, Mr Rajinder Khatri, said yesterday the appointments had been made by the district president. TNS



Dayanand birth anniversary today

Ludhiana, February 11
The members of the working committee of Arya Samaj, Model Town, under the Presidentship of Mr Satyanand Munjal have decided that the birth anniversary of Swami Dayanand Saraswati would be celebrated with full fervour and enthusiasm by all Arya Samaj and related educational institutions on February 12. TNS



Singla hardsells VAT, says no going back
Union Finance Minister Chidambaram to visit city soon
Vimal Sumbly
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 11
While asserting that the Value Added Tax (VAT) system would be definitely introduced in Punjab from April 1, the Finance Minister, Mr Surinder Singla, said it was the best taxation system in the world and the traders and industrialists would also find it convenient once they got used to it.

He also appealed to the traders and industrialists to withdraw the February 21 call for ‘bandh’ on the issue.

Talking to The Tribune here, Mr Singla maintained that the VAT had been tested worldwide and had been found to be the most efficient and hassle-free system of taxation. He said the apprehensions among the trading and business community about it were misplaced which would be removed in due course of time.

Mr Singla said the traders and industrialists were always welcome to discuss the issue and sort out the problems they were apprehending in VAT.

He said he was always available and everybody was welcome to suggest any changes even though the VAT draft had been prepared only after thorough discussions with a cross- section of traders and industrialists.

Referring to the issue of some "harsh provisions" in the VAT Act, Mr Singla said there was no harsh provision which could hurt the interest of the traders and industrialists.

But if they still feel that there were such provisions the same could be discussed and if so needed could be removed.

He pointed out that amendments could be moved once it comes for discussion in the Assembly.

The Finance Minister said the government was always with the traders and industrialists and it could never think of harming their interests.

He observed that it was natural to fear and resist the change. But usually the change was always for the better and the traders would realise it once they got used to the VAT system.

Mr Singla regretted that the former Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, was now demanding that VAT should not be implemented.

He claimed that it was Mr Badal only who had initiated the measures for the introduction of VAT in the state.

He alleged that Capt Kanawaljit Singh, the Finance Minister during Mr Badal's tenure, had never attended the Finance Ministers' meeting convened by the Union Finance Minister so that he could put forth the demands of the local traders and the industry. Mr Singla disclosed that the Union Finance Minister, Mr P. Chidambaram would be visiting Ludhiana in the last week of February or the first week of March leading a high-powered delegation of the ministry.

He will hold discussions with the representatives of trade and industry also.

Mr Singla strongly denied that the Nanavati Commission had indicted any Congress leader for their alleged involvement in the anti-Sikh riots of 1984.He claimed that these were lies being spread by the Opposition.

He said the Congress would win the Ajnala byelection with a comfortable majority as people of Punjab held the Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, in the highest esteem after he took some major and bold decisions in the state's interest. 



Steel industry seeks penalty waiver
Our Correspondent

Mandi Gobindgarh, February 11
Mr J.P. Sharma, president and Mr Joy Kutty, general secretary, respectively, Gobindgarh Steel Chamber of Commerce and Industry, in a joint memorandum to the Managing Director of PSSIEC, copies of which were released to the media here yesterday, have sought relief for plot holders in the focal point area, Mandi Gobindgarh, through penalty and interest waiver for the delay in industrial units construction.

It was stated in the letter that the industry in Punjab has been suffering the impact of worldwide recession for the past many years and is struggling hard for existence.

The NDA government had provided tax holiday cover and other concessions to Himachal Pradesh, Jammu & Kashmir and Uttaranchal, it added.

This allured the Punjab industry to migrate to these states.

Under such circumstances, the industry, which is already on the verge of collapse, has every reason to keep the construction process in abeyance on the plots allotted by the PSSIEC at the Focal Point, Mandi Gobindgarh, the letter added.


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