C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Tatkal passports at normal fee soon
Sanjay Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 22
Passport applicants from the city will soon have the vital identity document for foreign travel within the Tatkal period of 35 days without having to pay the double urgency fee.

The Chandigarh police and the Regional Passport Officer (RPO) are working out modalities to speed up the process of issuing passports for the city residents.

The SSP, Mr Gaurav Yadav, and the RPO, Mr Arvind Kumar, have had a meeting in this connection. The meeting was followed by a follow up meeting between Mr Kumar and Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP-CID) Devinder Singh Thakur for offering the city residents the first-of-its kind facility in the country.

According to sources following the meetings, Mr Kumar has instructed his staff to send the applications for police verification within three days instead of between 10 to 15 days that the process used to take earlier in the RPO.

The police verification also used to take two or three weeks in most of the cases, sources in the police said. With the new arrangement, the police is considering clearing the verification work within two weeks and once the system is streamlined, the process will be completed in a week or 10 days.

The step for speeding up the passport clearance has been taken in the wake of a PR exercise recently launched by the police in the city with each police station having a dedicated team of personnel for the purpose.

According to sources in the Chandigarh police the police had been getting around 1,100 applications each month and verification work could be speeded up. According to the police, it was noticed that less time was being taken in the issuance of passports when the applications were deposited with the Sampark Centres in the city. The applications deposited with the Sampark Centres are already reaching the passport branch of the police within a day of being deposited as there are not more than a couple of applications filed at these centres every day.

The RPO, Mr Arvind Kumar, told the Chandigarh Tribune that there would be no legal hurdle in issuing passports within 35 days (period for issuing Tatkal passports) without charging Rs 2,500 instead of Rs 1,000 the normal fee.

He said the facility to the local applicants could be available within this month.

The sources maintained that the RPO was moving fast to clear the backlog before the launch of the scheme. However, it is yet to be worked out as to how long it will take to issue passports under “Tatkal” scheme once the normal application time is reduced drastically. 



Barber killed over altercation
Pradeep Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 22
An argument over a minor issue proved costly for an Attawa shopkeeper tonight. Thirtyfive-year-old Mohammad Gulzar, owner of a hair-cutting saloon in the Attawa village market, died at Government Medical College Hospital (GMCH), Sector 32, here after he was allegedly beaten up by certain unidentified shopkeepers this afternoon.

Gulzar was allegedly beaten up following an altercation over a minor issue of breaking of a mirror of his shop by a child. As he scolded the child, shopkeepers around his shops exchanged hot words with him. Heated exchanges gave way to an altercation and the shopkeepers gave him a severe beating with one of the attackers hitting him in the chest with his head.

“First aid by an Attawa doctor failed to lessen his chest pain and Usman, his assistant, telephoned to us to take him to hospital,” said Khurseed, his brother.

While being taken to hospital, his condition deteriorated and he started having a breathing problem, Khurseed added. He was declared brought dead at the hospital.

Meanwhile, heart-rending scenes were witnessed at the hospital with inconsolable relatives, including the deceased’s four brothers, demanding strict action against the culprits. The culprits should be brought to book immediately and the Chandigarh Administration should also help the family, Khurseed stated.

This is a clear-cut case of murder and the police should arrest the guilty immediately, demanded Mr Balraj Singh, councillor of the Municipal Corporation of Chandigarh (MCC) from the Mauli Jagran area, who visited the GMCH.

A resident of Vikas Nagar in Mauli Jagran, Gulzar is survived by his wife, mother and four daughters.

Police sources said two of the attackers were picked up for interrogation during the day. However, the SHO of the Sector 36 police station, Mr Jagbir Singh, tried to downplay the incident The police was investigating the matter and no arrest has been made as yet, he claimed.



College told to refund student’s fee
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 22
In a decision that may benefit scores of students, a local court today directed MCM DAV College, Sector 36, here to refund the fee of a girl student, who had deposited fee in the college but sought admission in a better course in another college.

The Additional District Judge, Mr R.S. Baswana, asked the college to refund the fee to Reema Kataria, a resident of Sector 32 here. Reema had applied for admission to BA I course in the college in the 2001-02 session and deposited Rs 4,259 as the total fee.

However, subsequently she was selected for the BBA course in Government College for Girls, Sector 11, here and took admission there after depositing Rs 8,750 as fee. Later, she applied for the refund of her fee from the MCM.

The student had approached a local court alleging that though Rs 2,500 was refunded at the discretion of the Principal, yet an amount of Rs 2,275 was forfeited by the college, which was “detrimental” to the student’s interests.

The counsel for the petitioner argued that since the student never attended MCM DAV College, the college was liable to refund the whole fee. The whole fee should be refunded when the admission is
cancelled by the college, it was noted.

On the other hand, the college had contended that the fee once deposited with the college could not be refunded and this was clearly stated in the instructions to students published in the prospectus.

Based on these arguments, the Civil Judge (Junior Division), Mr Sanjay Sandhir, had dismissed the petitioner’s application on January 27, 2003.The peititioner later moved Mr Baswana’s court contending that she was entitled to refund under the Punjab Education Code.

Observers felt that the decision could benefit scores of “similarly situated” students, who apply for several courses in different colleges but later opt for a better course at one particular college.



Passing Thru

B. Ashok Kumar
Dr B. Ashok Kumar Assistant Professor in Special Education, National Institute for Mentally Handicapped, Secundrabad.

Q What is the purpose of your visit to Chandigarh?

I have come here to deliver a special lecture at a workshop on training and job placement of the mentally challenged children.’’ I want to inform about various avenues of learning which are open for these children.

What kinds of skills are being imparted to the mentally challenged children in your institute?

A. We are teaching as many as 24 skills to the mentally challenged in our institute. We are, in fact running short day courses for such people where they can come and learn the skills like carpentry, weaving and office works like taking files from one place to another. We have observed that the mentally challenged persons are very good at repetitive works and in such areas they should be encouraged to perform.

What kinds of tasks suit the mentally challenged the most ?

The mentally challenged can perform well on those jobs, which are repetitive in nature like weaving or operating simple machines.

— Neelam Sharma 



2 killed in collision
Our Correspondent

Zirakpur, March 22
Two persons were killed and four others were injured, two of them seriously, in an accident involving a Punjab Roadways Transport Corporation (PRTC) bus and an auto-rickshaw on the busy Zirakpur-Patiala highway at Chhat village, this noon.

Two auto-rickshaw passengers — Mr Issar Singh (65), a resident of Akali Kaur Singh Colony, Zirakpur, and Udal, a migrant labour hailing from Jangbajpura in Uttar Pradesh — died on the spot while auto driver Mukesh of Kakrala village and Malkiat from Adda Jhungian village sustained serious injuries. The seriously injured were admitted to the Government Medical College and Hospital (GMCH), Sector 32 in Chandigarh.

Two other women passengers, who sustained minor injuries, were given treatment at private clinics at Zirakpur. Two women had a miraculous escape in the accident.

According to eyewitnesses, eight passengers were travelling in the auto-rickshaw (PB-11V-4483) on their way towards Zirakpur when a PRTC bus (PB-11M-9882) heading to Chandigarh from Bathinda rammed into the vehicle. The bus driver was overtaking the auto-rickshaw and reportedly lost control while giving pass to a truck approaching from the opposite direction.

The critically injured were rushed to the GMCH where Mr Issar Singh and Udal succumbed to injuries.

There were about 45 passengers in the bus.

The police has impounded the vehicles involved in the accident and a case of rash and negligent driving, causing grave hurt has been registered against the bus driver at Lohgarh police post.

The bodies have been kept in the GMCH mortuary from post-mortem examinations to be conducted tomorrow.



Complete strike observed in public sector banks
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 22
Work in all public sector banks in Chandigarh and the twin towns of Panchkula and Mohali came to a halt as employees and officers working in 250 branches of 27 nationalised banks observed a complete strike on the call of United Forum of Bank and Unions.

Working in the private banks was also partially affected as clearances of transactions were held up due to closure of public sector banks.

Even though the banks wore a deserted look, people continued to withdraw money through ATMs of their respective banks.

According to union leader of Punjab National Bank, Mr D.K. Chaudhary, transactions worth Rs 300 crore were affected due to the strike. Cash transactions worth about Rs 150 crore were held up.

However, the main rally held in Sector 17 Bank Square to oppose the unwarranted merger of public sector banks and foreign take over of Indian Private sector banks drew a lukewarm response.

Most employees and officers preferred to switch off their mobile phones and stayed home lest they received a call from the union leaders to come for the rally.

Manager of a leading nationalised bank on condition of anonymity said participation in such rallies only costs them dear for they lose their one day wage (approx Rs 700) and then have to spend another Rs 100 on petrol to come for the rally.

However, leaders of All-India Bank Employees Association (AIBEA), National Confederation of Bank Employees (NCBE) , All-India Bank Employees Federation (AIBOC), Bank Employees Federation of India (BEFI), Indian National Bank Employees Federation (INBEF), All-India Bank Officers Association (AIBOA) and Indian National Bank Officers Congress (INBOC) participated in the rally but their number was just about 300 and the rally, which started around 11 am wound by 12 noon.

The union leaders strongly condemned the government’s move of dilution of government’s equity capital in public sector banks and increase of private sector, allowing foreign direct investment (FDI) up to 74 per cent of the capital in Indian private banks and unwarranted merger of public sector banks.



Ramanand Sagar, Raj Babbar for Lahore Punjabi Congress
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 22
While writers, academics and artists figured prominently in the Indian delegation to attend the World Punjabi Congress, organised by Punjabi writer Fakhar Zaman, in Lahore last February, this year the effort is to rope in more film stars and singers for the congress to be held in Lahore from April 17 to 19.

Among the film and stage artistes who have agreed to be a part of the 12th congress are Ramanand Sagar, Deepti Naval, Raj Babbar, Preeti Sapru, Hans Raj Hans, Sukhvinder and Pammy Bai. The coordinator of the Indian chapter of the Congresss, Deepak Manmohan Singh, said he specially visited Mumbai and with the help of dialogue writer Amrik Gill approached many leading film personalities to get their consent for the congress.

This special effort has been made because of the great popularity of Indian cinema in Pakistan. The coordinator, however, revealed that many of the old-timers whom the Pakistanis are keen to host were ill or too old to travel. "Pran's eye-sight is not too good, so he declined and Dara Singh too is in hospital. Dilip Kumar too was going through a bad spell of health. Manoj Kumar expressed a lot of keenness in attending the event but added that if he was unable to go, he would send his salaam to the people of his village, Jandiala Sherkhan." Incidentally, Jandiala Sherkhan is also the birthplace of famous Sufi poet Waris Shah.

Satinder Singh Noor, president of the Indian chapter, said, "We are making an effort to take Punjabis of all shades and the congress is dedicated to world peace." It is the 12th congress and earlier these meets have been organised In India, Pakistan, London and Canada. Earlier, Zaman's slogan for these congresses was 'Punjab, Punjabi and Punjabiyat'.

A special contingent of Punjabi writers and academics from Jammu, led by Khalid Husain, will also be a part of the delegation. Among the writers invited to the congress are Gulzar, Krishna Sobti, Nida Fazli, Surjit Patar and others. It is learnt that journalist Kuldip Nayar, former Prime Minister I. K. Gujral , Minorities Commission Chairman Tarlochan Singh and politician Balwant Singh Ramoowalia have also given their consent to attend the meet.

While the congress will be held at Lahore, the delegates will also be taken to Islamabad and Gujranwala. 



Post-Munjal case: Bar Council goes after amicus curiae
Maneesh Chhibber
Our High Court Correspondent

Chandigarh, March 22
Less than a fortnight after the Punjab and Haryana High Court decided a petition relating to contempt of court by a former Bar Council of Punjab and Haryana Chairman Chander Mohan Munjal, the Bar Council has initiated disciplinary proceedings against the amicus curiae in Mr Munjal's case.

Mr Munjal and his supporters control the Bar Council. Mr Munjal had resigned from the post only after contempt proceedings against him started.

On March 9, the Bench of Mr Justice H.S. Bedi and Mr Justice Viney Mittal had directed Mr Munjal to contribute Rs 50,000 to the advocates' benevolent fund of the Punjab and Haryana High Court Bar Association. During the hearings, Mr Gupta had sought exemplary punishment for Mr Munjal.

However, the show-cause notice issued to Senior Advocate Suraj Prakash Gupta, amicus in Mr Munjal's case, has also given rise to controversy. Issued in the name of Mr N.S. Sitta, "Hony Secretary", the notice is dated March 18, 2005.

Now comes the interesting part. Mr Sitta is not even a member of the Bar Council, leave apart being its Secretary. His term as Secretary ended in 1999. He also denies having issued the show-cause notice. After Mr Sitta, the next two Secretaries of the Bar Council were Mr P.S. Hundal and Mr Munjal.

Also, the show-cause notice pertains to a complaint allegedly sent by one of Mr Gupta's clients to the Punjab and Haryana High Court Chief Justice. While the complaint has no date, the Bar Council show- cause notice says that the complaint relates to 1998.

How did a complaint made to Chief Justice reach the Bar Council, and can it take cognizance of the same?

In the complaint, one Chand Singh claims that he engaged Mr Gupta as his lawyer and paid him the fee of Rs 11,000. Expressing dissatisfaction over the professional conduct of Mr Gupta, the complainant asks the Chief Justice to ask Mr Gupta to plead his case properly.

Inquiries made by The Tribune revealed the 'complainant' had engaged Mr Gupta for a regular second appeal (RSA) following dismissal of his original suit as well as first appeal by lower courts. The RSA was filed in 1992 and is presently admitted for hearing.

When contacted, Mr Gupta acknowledged the receipt of notice and said he would submit his reply soon.

"I know why they are coming after me. But, wait and see," he maintained.

Interestingly, Mr Gupta is a past Senior Member of the Bar Council.

As for the person who allegedly signed the show-cause notice, "Hony. Secretary" N.S. Sitta, he denied having signed anything.

"How can I sign anything now? I am not the secretary now," he asserted.

However, Bar Council Chairman R.S. Tacoria had his own take on the events.

"The notice was to be sent in 1998. But, since Mr Gupta was a member of the Bar Council at that time, he managed to stall the issuance of the notice. Now, we have sent it," Mr Tacoria claimed.



7,000 money orders not delivered
Postal Dept to raise issue with Bihar, UP POs
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 22
A ray of hope has emerged for hundreds of city-based migrant labourers whose money orders have not been delivered at their native place in Bihar and eastern Uttar Pradesh in the past few months. The Punjab circle of the Department of Post has taken up the case with the authorities concerned in Bihar and Uttar Pradesh.

The amount of these harried customers worth lakhs of rupees was despatched from different post offices in the Punjab postal circle but never reached their destination. Even the money orders that were booked as far as October 2004 have not been delivered at their destinations.

Over 7,000 money orders booked from different post offices of the city had not been delivered so far. Officials of the Punjab circle said the fault in the non-delivery of the money orders was with the postal employees concerned in Bihar and eastern districts of Uttar Pradesh. Though the information about the money orders was sent through the VSAT, it was not downloaded at the other end on a regular basis.

As per the practice, a computer print out of the payment receipt has to be taken by the Extended Satellite Money Order (ESMO) unit concerned and then despatched to the post office concerned for delivery of the payment.

The Chief Post Master-General, Punjab Circle, Mr L.K. Puri, said the matter had been taken up by the authorities concerned. He said information about the status of money order sent through the Punjab circle had been called from different post offices. There was no delay in the delivery of money orders being received in the post offices under the Punjab circle, he added.

The migrants in some cases are being asked to come after every 15 days to enquire about the status of their money orders. Reminders being sent to the post offices concerned have failed to elicit any response. 



Sacrifices of Bhagat Singh remembered
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 22
Saffron turbans, flags hoisted high in the air and rousing strains of the melodies from the film “Shaheed” marked the beginning of the procession by the All-India Anti Terrorist Front (AIATF), commemorating the martyrdom of Bhagat Singh, Rajguru and Sukhdev who were hanged to death 75 years ago, in the early hours of March 23, 1931, for their revolutionary stance against the British, rule.



Alcoholic husband drives wife to suicide

Chandigarh, March 22
Tormented by excessive drinking of her husband, Pal Neema (20), a resident of the Madrasi Colony in Maloya, ended her life by hanging herself at her house this morning. She took the extreme step following a fight with her husband over his drinking habit.

The police booked the husband of the deceased, Sanjay Kumar, and her father-in-law, Gobind Raj, in an abetment to suicide case under Section 306 of the IPC on a complainant lodged by Maya, mother of Neema. Maya alleged that her daughter was forced to end her life as she was depressed over the drinking habit of her husband.

Mother of a one-year-old-daughter, Neema took the extreme step when she reportedly noticed her husband and father-in-law consuming liquor in the morning. When she objected to this her husband started arguing with her. Exasperated over their behavior, she reportedly went to a room on the first floor of her house and hanged herself with a sari from a ceiling fan hook.

When Sanjay went upstairs he found his wife hanging. By the time he and his father raised an alarm and lowered her from the hook, she had died, said the SHO of Sector 39 Police Station.

Neema was married to Sanjay two years ago. Sanjay is working as a peon with Saint Stephens School in Togan village. The police said Sanjay and his father were habitual drinkers and Neema, who worked as a domestic servant, was harried by their irresponsible behavior. 



Grid system for water scarcity advocated
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 22
By conserving just 1 per cent of the rain water by way of harvesting, 100 crore liters of water could be saved for use in the city annually, said Mr V.K. Sikka, Regional Director, Central Ground Water Board, while speaking at a function held here today to mark the world water day on the theme “importance of water in sustaining human existence on the planet.”

The function was jointly organised by the Central Welfare Commission and the Central Ground Water Board.

The Chief Engineer of Chandigarh, Mr V.K. Bhardwaj, stressed upon the need for the creation of a grid system for the solution of the problem of water scarcity. He said a large amount of rain water go waste every rainy season which need to be conserved for recharge and use in the remaining part of the year. He advised proper management of water which could be easily conserved with just small effort.

Earlier, Mr Sikka while talking about Punjab said in certain parts of Punjab water level was declining at a fast rate but in some others there was water logging problem. Both these problems require ground water management. He said that the water of Sutlej, Beas and Ghaggar rivers was passing over to Pakistan. He said that a study must be conducted to use the entire water of these rivers within the country itself.

In his keynote address, Mr S.C. Gupta, Chief Engineer, Central Water Commission, Chandigarh, stressed the need for use, reuse and recycling of water in the urban areas so as to enhance the availability of his scarce commodity. He said 83 per cent of the water was being used for irrigation purposes and said that ways will soon have to be devised to conserve water in this area. For the purpose, it will be better to immediately switch over to drip, sprinkling and localised irrigation system.

Mr R.P. Garg, Chief Engineer, Irrigation Haryana said that only 50 per cent of water was available against the total requirement of the state. The problem is acute in southern Haryana where for an area of 5.5 lakh hectare, only 7 per cent has been covered for irrigation purposes and for this huge infrastructure had to be created. 



The Guards given status of mechanised infantry
Vijay Mohan
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 22
The Army's seniormost Infantry regiment, the Brigade of The Guards, is no longer the traditional foot sloggers' outfit. The elite regiment has been granted the status of the mechanised infantry.

Orders stating that The Guards are to be considered and treated as mechanised infantry came from the office of the Chief of the Army Staff earlier this year, sources revealed. The Guards have been removed from the jurisdiction of the Directorate-General of Infantry at Army Headquarters and placed under the purview of the Directorate-General of Mechanised Infantry (DGMF). The DGMF deals with all operational, administrative and training aspects of armoured and mechanised forces.

"The change in status could mean faster promotions for officers at the middle and senior level as also an increase in the number of officers to be nominated to higher professional courses," an officer said. "On the other hand, there could be a decline in the number of honorary commissions granted to junior commissioned officers," he added. The conversion may also mean that The Guards will have to undertake lesser field postings.

Though all battalions of The Guards have been mechanised over the years, they were an integral part of the conventional infantry and were subject to policy matters applicable to regular infantry establishments. The Army will now boast of having two full-fledged mechanised infantry regiments, the other being the Regiment of Mechanised Infantry.

The change, however, will not have any effect on The Guards regimental identity. Their uniform, Colours and regimental accouterments will remain untouched. Its Regimental Centre will remain at Kamptee. This is in sharp contrast to the raising of the Mechanised Infantry Regiment in the 80s by late General K Sundarji. He had taken away some of the most highly decorated battalions from various infantry regiments and stripped them of their individual identities to form the Mechanised Infantry Regiment. 



Delay in plot allotment due to stay: minister
Tribune News Service

Mohali, March 22
Mohali township figures prominently in the question hour of the current session of the Punjab Vidhan Sabha. Highlighting a burning issue of the township, the Punjab Urban Planning and Development Minister, Mr Raghunath Sahai Puri, was asked about the delay in the allotment of residential plots by PUDA to various allotees in Sectors 76 to 80. 

The minister, in his reply, informed the Vidhan Sabha that the delay in allotment was due to a stay from the Punjab and Haryana High Court. He also said that a total of 14,133 applications were received for the allotment of plots in these sectors. Letters of intent were issued to the 3,931 applicants and more than Rs 66 crore of the earnest money received by PUDA from the unsuccessful bidders had been returned.

Readers of the Chandigarh Tribune will recall that 3,950 plots of various sizes in the new sectors were approved and a draw of lots was held in March 2001. The successful allotees had also paid 25 per cent of the allotment price to PUDA and it was promised that physical possession of the plots would be given by the end of December 2002, but the plots had still not been allotted.

In another starred question, the MLA from Kharar, Mr Bir Devinder Singh, questioned Mr Puri on whether PUDA had approved certain colonies in Kharar and Mohali and whether a no objection certificate from the Drainage Department was obtained at any stage before such colonies were approved? In his reply, the minister said that as many as 15 licences had been issued to promoters for setting up colonies on over 180 acres of land within the municipal limits of Kharar. However, no licences were issued within the Mohali MC limits.

The minister pointed out that an NOC from the Drainage Department had never been taken before the grant of the licence. However, this aspect had been taken care of by the PUDA chief engineer who furnishes the report to the competent authority that issues these licences. Also the minister added that the NOC from the concerned municipal council was also taken into account before the issuing of the licence.

The minister also placed before the House a list of the 15 colonies that had been issued licences within the Kharar Municipal Council limits. Interestingly, while 15 separate licenses were issued, the developers in most cases remained the same. As many as six licenses have been issued to Shivalik Developers and Promoters Limited and another three to Bajwa Developers Private Limited.

In another question relating to Mohali Government College, the Kharar MLA, Mr Bir Devinder Singh, asked the Deputy Chief Minister about the construction of a hostel in the college. In her reply, Mrs Rajinder Kaur Bhattal informed the House that the hostel was being constructed under a centrally sponsored programme of hostels for Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes. An amount of Rs 46 lakh had been spent on the construction and another Rs 134 lakh was yet to be spent. She added that one part of the hostel would be complete before the start of the next session.



Fast by MC staff enters 100th day

Chandigarh, March 22
The fast by government and Municipal Corporation employees of the city entered its 100th day here today. The Coordination Committee of Government and MC Employees today decided to organise a convention on April 2 to announce a complete strike in case the demands were not accepted by the administration.

The biggest issues which concern the Coordination Committee are “illegal” termination and suspension of Chandigarh Transport Undertaking employees and purchase of defective low floor buses. A protest rally was organised today at the Inter State Bus Terminus, Sector 17. — TNS



Rally by govt staff
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, March 22
Thousands of government employees from Punjab and Chandigarh held a massive protest here today on a call given by the Punjab Subordinate Services Federation ( PSSF) and the Punjab and UT employees’ Joint Action Committee. 

The rally was held to impress upon the government to withdraw its decision to privatise 157 civil hospitals and 150 government schools.



Protest by joint action panel
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, March 22
To register their protest against the ‘anti-employess’ policies of the Panjab Government as reflected in its Budget, thousands of members of Joint Action committee Punjab and Chandigarh UT employees gathered in Sector 17 today. 

Its leaders announced to hold a big rally to express their resentment against the anti-employees attitude of the government soon.



One arrested for immigration fraud
Our Correspondent

Mohali, March 22
A person wanted in a case of alleged cheating and fraud in connection with immigration racket here was arrested by the police in a dramatic way in Delhi with the help of the complainant. The suspect, Manmohan Singh, alias, Mohni, was arrested by Delhi police with the help of Ms Ranjit Kaur on Saturday. A team of the local police brought the suspect here yesterday who was remanded in two day’s police custody by a Kharar court.

Ms Ranjit Kaur, who hails from a village falling in Nawanshahr, had come to meet the SP, Mr Rakesh Agrawal, here today in connection with her case. She demanded that the investigation of the case be handed over to the CIA staff.

Ms Ranjit Kaur told Chandigarh Tribune that she along with her brother, Mr Hardev Singh was on the lookout for the person who had duped her of Rs 9.20 lakh on the pretext of sending her to England. She said on Saturday she saw his car parked in a market area in Delhi. She and her brother kept waiting near the car and after some time they saw Manmohan Singh coming out of a restaurant, along with two more persons. She took the help of Delhi police who then nabbed the suspect.

She was introduced to the suspect by Harpal Singh who hailed from Phagwara. On March 8 last year she got to know at the airport, the day she was to fly to England that she was being sent to Ethopia by the travel agent.

However, she left for Ethopia along with Manmohan Singh who promised to send her to England from there. She said after about a month’s stay there the travel agent tried to send her to England allegedly on a passport issued in the name of Babita Rani Jain after putting her photograph on it. However, officials at the airport detected that the passport was fake and started preparing the required documents for sending her to a jail in Mumbai. She said that she managed to run away from there.

Ms Ranjit Kaur said she took her original passport from Raj, a sub- agent of Manmohan Singh and left for Sudan from Ethopia and finally came back to India on May 12 last year. She then made a complaint to the Ropar SSP who referred the matter to the local SP.

She alleged that apart from others, the wife, Jasvir Kaur, and father-in-law, Amrik Singh, of Manmohan Singh were also involved in the alleged racket. Others who were also allegedly involved were Onkar Singh, who collected money from people, Harpal Singh, who introduced people to Manmohan Singh, and Pal Singh.

The SP, Mr Rakesh Agrawal, said Manmohan Singh claimed that a part of the money taken from Ranjit Kaur had been returned. He said that Manmohan Singh was being questioned by the police.

The police has registered a case in this regard on October 31 last year against six persons under Sections 420, 406 and 120-B of the IPC. Jasvir Kaur and Amrik Singh, who lived in Sector 69 here, were arrested earlier by the police. The other three suspects were still at large.



20-yr-old woman ‘kidnapped’ by colleague
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, March 22
A 20-year-old married woman waiting to join her husband and in-laws in the USA has allegedly been kidnapped by her former colleague on March 12. The matter came to light, when Ms Harjot Kaur, sister of the kidnapped woman, lodged a complaint with the police today alleging that her sister had been kidnapped by her former colleague, Varun, who was working with her in Pizza Hut, Sector 35.

The police said, Harjot Kaur, a resident of Sector 33, had reported to the Sector 34 police station on March 12 that her sister Perneet Kaur had gone for her Plus II examination in Sector 31 on March 11 and had been missing since then. The police had registered a DDR on her complaint. But, it was only later that she came to know that her sister had been kidnapped by Varun.

Harjot told the police that Perneet was working with Pizza Hut earlier. However, she had left the job and was preparing for her examinations. Perneet had got married about one-and a half years ago. Her husband and in-laws were settled in USA. Perneet had applied for the visa and her documents were being processed. She was living with her sister as both her parents had died. Her two brothers are living in Sector 36.

The police said details of the call records of both kidnapped woman and the accused Varun. The details showed that they had talked to each other on phone for long durations. However, numbers of mobiles of both persons have been on operational since March 11. This further raised suspicion of the police. After getting information about their friends, the police found a friend of the accused who works with Airtel. He told the police that he had received calls from his friend from Bangalore and Pune.

The police said it had contacted the parents of the boy in Allahabad. Father of the accused, who is an Army officer posted in Allahabad, expressed ignorance about the whole issue. He said Varun had called them in the past, but, he did not mention anything about this affair. He said Varun had only told them that he had got a job in Bangalore. The police has asked them to produce their son before the Chandigarh Police.

The police said Varun had left his Job in Pizza Hut in December this year and was without a job since then.



3-yr-old girl dies in mishap
Our Correspondent

Panchkula, March 22
The lap of a mother failed to protect her 3-year-old baby girl from death. The tragedy struck a family of migrant labourers from Madhya Pradesh in Sector 20 here, late last night.

The incident occurred adjacent to Society Nos 32 and 33 in Sector 20 here when Badi Bai, mother of the girl, was trudging to the market with her daughter, Geeta, in her lap and a Mahindra Jeep hit her. Badi Bai lost her balance and the girl fell on the road causing her death on the spot.

The woman also sustained injuries in the accident. She was later taken to a private hospital. A case against the unidentified Jeep driver has been registered.

In another hit-and-run case, a couple, Mr Satpal Sharma and his wife, were injured when a Mahindra Jeep rammed into an Indica car that they were driving on the Shahzadpur-Panchkula road, near the Barwala bypass, last night.

The injured have been admitted to the General Hospital, Sector 6. A case has been registered against the Jeep driver at Chandimandir police station.



2 held for theft
Our Correspondent

Mohali, March 22
The police has arrested two residents of Phase 1 here on a charge of theft. According to press note issued here today, the arrested persons, Amandeep Singh and Manpreet Singh, had allegedly stolen a scooter from the market of Phase III B-2 on March 21.

Mr Rakesh Agrawal, SP, said the police was able to nab the thieves within hours of their committing the crime. A naka was laid near Leisure Valley. Two persons were seen coming on a scooter. They were allegedly travelling on the stolen vehicle. The police nabbed both of them.

Mr Anmol Singh, a resident of Sector 56, Chandigarh, had complained to the police that he had parked his scooter outside a shop in Phase III B-2. When he came back after purchasing something from the market he found his scooter missing. He brought the matter to the notice of the police. A case under Section 379 of the IPC was registered in this regard.



Syal’s son alleges bid to kidnap
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, March 22
Mr Nikhil Syal, son of Mr R.K. Syal, Managing Director of Golden Forests Private Limited, today alleged that he was attacked by unidentified persons on the GT Road near Gharaunda.

Addressing mediapersons here today, Mr Nikhil Syal said he suspected that it was an attempt to kidnap him, but he managed to escape to the nearest police station at Gharaunda. He was returning to Chandigarh from Delhi along with his sister, Madhurima Syal, when the incident took place.

Narrating the sequence of events, he said he had stopped to have breakfast at an eatery in Murthal. “Just after we started from Murthal, I noticed a silver Indica car bearing a Haryana registration number following my Qualis. After some distance, while I was trying to overtake a truck, the car came from behind, and forced me to stop along the roadside.”

“Five men came out of the car and started abusing me. My windows were closed, and before I could react, one of them smashed the window glass and forced his hand in. He held me by the throat and started issuing threats. My sister, who was on the back seat was the first to react and asked me to speed away. As I accelerated, the man who had forced his hand in the car fell down, but we managed to escape,” he said.

Nikhil said after that he stopped only at the Gharaunda police station and sought police help. Though the police raised an alarm, the Indica could not be traced, he said.



Contractors to get 15 pc share in profit
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 22
Contractors of day markets will be given a share of 15 per cent out of the total profits. This was decided at a meeting of the Apni Mandi and Day Market Committee of the municipal corporation here today. Day markets are proposed to be set up at sites adjoining apni mandis.

The committee has hiked the profit share by 5 per cent compared to the earlier recommendations. The lease of the contractor will be for one year. The meeting was conducted under the chairmanship of Mr Surinder Singh. Among those present on the occasion were Mr Pardeep Chhabra, Mrs Lalit Joshi and Mrs Harpreet Babla besides others.

The application fee will be Rs 10,000 and the security deposit per zone will be of Rs 1 lakh. Special attention will be given to unemployed youth at the site for day markets. Vendors can use umbrellas to cover their sites however no permanent construction will be allowed. The contractor is expected to provide for a mobile toilet at the venue.

No contractor will be allotted more than one site. It was also decided that the site for apni mandi in Sector 33 will be shifted to a new venue, preferably in Sector 34. Authorities have been asked to suspend apni mandi in Sector 33 for at least three weeks because of repeated protests from the residents of the sector.



Exempt medicines from VAT purview, say chemists
Our Correspondent

Mohali, March 22
The Punjab Chemist Association has demanded that the state government should exempt all medicines from the purview of VAT. Mr L.D. Jindal, additional general secretary of the association, said the government was making efforts to set up new hospitals and dispensaries in remote areas and distribute medicines free of cost to poor people. As such the government should not make the levy of VAT as a revenue earning feature.

Mr Jindal further said the people of the state would be adversely affected if VAT was not implemented simultaneously in all states because some states would levy tax on one item while the other states would levy tax on another item.


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