L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Robbers loot Rs 26,000 from petrol station
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 17
Three armed robbers looted nearly Rs 26,000 from a petrol station on National Highway No 1 near Nandpur village, about 12 km from here, in the wee hours of today and injured six employees two of them seriously, with sharp-edged weapons.

The robbers armed with pistols and swords came on a scooter at about 4 am. They got petrol filled for Rs 100 after which they took out the pistols and swords and ordered the employees to hand over the cash. They beat up the employees and injured two of them with the sword when they refused to do so.

While four employees were discharged after first aid, Amritpal Singh and Rajat Singh were admitted to a nursing home with deep wounds on their arms and shoulders. They were later shifted to the Civil Hospital Sahnewal.

The Sahnewal police has registered a case of theft and infliction of injuries rather than robbery.

Mr Bhagwan Dass, owner of the petrol station said the injured employees had said only one robber had come on the scooter and got the fuel filled. Just as Amritpal finished filling the tank, two more robbers hiding behind a parked truck came out and told him to hand over the cash. He was beaten up and wounded when he resisted. The robbers then went inside the office where five employees were sleeping. They too were beaten and wounded.

Police sources claimed that they had got some clues about the accused and would nab them soon.

The incident has once again brought under a scanner the night patrol by the police. The police has been maintaining vigil till 3 am and it was only after this hour that the robbers struck. Two weeks ago, a robbery had taken place at an octroi post of the local municipal corporation in the wee hours and nickel worth lakhs was also stolen in a similar fashion.



Uneasy calm prevails in Kot Mangal colony
Jupinderjit Singh
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 17
Uneasy calm prevails in street No. 33 of Kot Mangal Singh colony where a boy had committed suicide and a school building was burnt and damaged by an angry mob yesterday afternoon.

Though the boy was cremated after a post-mortem examination late last evening at the behest of the local police, tension continued to prevail in the area with no respite in anger against the school Principal.

The police had managed to convince the boy’s parents to cremate the body yesterday so as to avoid further violence and flaring up of tempers.

While the deceased boy’s house remained engulfed in gloom, an eerie silence prevailed at the house of the school Principal that had been locked since yesterday. His family comprising his life and two children, was hiding at some relative’s house.

The family has not returned even after the surrender of the accused Principal at the Shimla Puri police station. Sources said as the deceased boy’s house was nearby and tempers were still running high, the family feared there could be another attack.

DSP R.K. Bakshi and SHO Yogi Raj said the situation was under control. The police was keeping a vigil in the area to avoid any untoward incident. The school may not open tomorrow due to the boy’s death and the one prevailing tension, sources said.

The police has so far not questioned the female teacher allegedly involved in the case. No love letter allegedly exchanged between the two has been recovered so far. The teacher lives in the same colony.



ST racket causes panic
Shveta Pathak
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 17
Fraudulent transactions through forged bills used for evasion of sales tax have caused panic among industrialists here. While a case involving sales tax evasion to the tune of over Rs 2 crore came to light recently, traders fear this evasion could be well above hundreds of crores of rupees.

The gang operates on a large scale and is involved in forging bills in the name of genuine traders. The modus operandi is that goods are carried by a certain transport company, the name and address of which are fake, and a bill bearing the central sales tax (CST) number of a genuine trader is presented at an information collection centre (ICC). An entry, thus, is made in the name of the trader whose CST number is given whereas the goods belong to another party which manages to transport goods from one city to another without paying any sales tax.

While on the one hand this causes huge revenue loss to the government, on the other, it causes undue harassment to the genuine trader whose CST number is used. At the end of a quarter, when the Sales Tax Department matches the return filed with records of sales at the Information Collection Centres (ICC), the genuine trader or industrialist is asked to pay the difference. However, an industrialists’ harassment does not end there. The matter lingers on till he gets details of ICC records, which is provided to him several months later.

“We were shocked when sales tax officials visited our premises for surprise checking. They pointed out a difference of almost Rs 1 crore, which was shocking. It was only when we lodged an FIR that the case came to light,” said Mr Hari Mohan Sood, partner, Aromatic Hosiery.

A similar evasion was recorded in case of M/s S.K.Narang Hosiery also.

While traders are sore about police inaction in the case, they say the gang could be operating on a much larger scale.

“After evasion on a large scale was detected, the police has not done much in the direction. There is involvement of highly connected people in the case,” alleged president of the Ludhiana Hosiery Association, Mr Navin Sood.

According to industrialists, their fears are not baseless. In the case of Atul Industries, engaged in manufacturing cycle parts, a similar difference in sales tax return and ICC records was pointed out in 2002. Mr Rahul Sharma, partner, Atul Industries, said despite furnishing a written complaint on the matter, no FIR was registered.

Industrialists have now written to the Chief Minister about police inaction in the case of M/S S.K. Narang Hosiery and M/S Aromatic Hosiery.



Fake currency racket busted
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 17
In a major breakthrough the Jagraon police has nabbed members of a criminal gang dealing in counterfeit currency and arrested six of its members. The police has recovered Rs 3.70 lakh in fake currency from them.

The accused have been identified as Rajinder Singh, alias Gora, Baljit Singh, alias DC, Gurdeep Singh, alias Kaka, Malwinder Singh, Deepinder Singh, Satnam Singh, alias Satta.

These gang members were arrested from canal bridge near Akhara village on the outskirts of Jagraon today by a police party led by Inspector Pirthipal Singh, in charge CIA while they were coming to deliver a consignment of counterfeit currency.

The police has recovered 3,700 fake currency notes of Rs 100 denomination each, and the Blue Indica car in which the gang members were travelling. Two country-made pistols, .315 bore along with 2 cartridges and a .303 bore along with 2 cartridges were recovered from the gang members.

A case under Sections 489(A)(B)(C)(D), 420 of the IPC has been registered against the six accused.

The police hopes that further interrogation of these gang members would lead to the recovery of the equipment, including computer, scanner, printer, hard disk etc.

The police said the gang members had an interesting criminal background. Rajinder Singh, alias Gora was already involved in 11 criminal cases. He is also involved in certain NDPS Act cases in Haryana. He was on bail while he became a part of this gang of fake currency dealers. It was during his incarceration in Ambala jail that he came in contact with Malwinder Singh, the other accused who used to visit the jail to meet his acquaintances.

Baljit Singh, alias DC has been an old accomplice of Rajinder Singh and has been involved in seven or eight cases of robbery, Dacoity etc. He was also on bail recently. Satnam Singh alias Satta has been involved in five criminal cases along with Rajinder Singh and Baljit Singh on bail. He works as a clerk with one of the lawyers in Ludhiana.

Gurdeep Singh, alias Kaka, is a resident of Jagraon and is a computer expert. He was earlier involved in a criminal case involving fake dollars He is said to have provided the technical expertise in the operation.

Deepinder Singh and Malwinder Singh were cousins, both living at a flat owned by Malwinder Singh at Phase-I, Mohali. Deepinder is a 2nd year student of BSc at Govt. College for Men, Sector-11,Chandigarh while Malwinder Singh is a student of MSc (Mathematics) at H.P .University, Shimla. It is suspected that the entire operation was funded by these two cousins. Deepinder’s father is a clerk at one of the local schools.



Godown of cotton mill gutted
Our Correspondent

Sahnewal, April 17
The shed and boundary wall of the godown of a cotton mill at Bilga Road, Sahnewal, was destroyed in a fire that broke out in the mill, today afternoon. According to sources, a fire broke out in the godown of Bansal Yarn mills situated near Bilga village, as a result of which the upper shed, the boundary wall of the godown, the machines and yarn lying in the godown, were reduced to ashes.

The Fire Brigade that reached after half-an-hour at the spot, could control the fire only after two hours.

Although the reasons for the fire could not be ascertained at this stage. Short circuit is counted as one of the reason. The total loss is yet to be estimated.



Passing Thru

Monica Wahi
Monica Wahi, who works for the cause of riot-stricken destitute women in Ahmedabad, and part of the peace march organised to promote Indo-Pak ties.

How can women contribute to the national cause?

As most of the women fail to break the social constraints, they contribute by their “suffering” that they endure endlessly by being mothers, wives, daughters or sisters of warriors who died fighting for the country. A woman’s role in the freedom struggle can not be undermined. It is with this belief that I thought of representing thousands of such women in the peace march being undertaken from Delhi to Multan.

How are you feeling after the peace marchers were refused entry into Pakistan?

We will be trying our best to convince the authorities. If we fail, our Pakistani counterparts, waiting for us at Wagah, shall carry the chain unobstructed. No government has the capacity to repress peace and freedom.

What has been your role in highlighting the freedom struggle of India?

I have directed a number of documentary films based on the theme of freedom, sacrifice and peace. Our documentaries, including “Jang aur Aman” won applause. The Gujarat riots moved me to the extent that I left Delhi and went to Ahmedabad to help rehabilitate riot-stricken widows.

— Lovleen Bains



Ludhiana Calling

More than 57 years after the British left India, the practice of addressing policemen or civil administration officials as “sahib bahadurs” continues. It becomes more interesting when even educated and elite class follows the practice. This was evident when the mediapersons recently received invitation cards for a function where some policemen were to be honoured. The organisers had specifically prefixed ‘sahib bahadur’ before their names. Even the banners displayed mentioned the same title.

Helpful cop

Policemen are usually seen in a bad light. Instead of being helpful they are known for wielding a stick to solve matters. But on the occasion of national Lok Adalat held in the city it was heartening to see that a Ludhiana policeman was helping an elderly man who was not able to walk properly. The former held the latter by his arm from the main gate of the Mini Secretariat and helped him to the venue of the Lok Adalat. Keep it up!

Disheartened cricket fans

The cricket mania over the one-day match series between India and Pakistan which concluded with an emphatic 4-2 win by the visitors on Sunday, came as a complete anti-climax for the cricket lovers in the city. Those watching the last match being played in the Capital on their TV sets here were shocked to see the meek surrender of the Indian team. As the Indians continued to lose wickets, a youth in Bhadaur House market who was watching the disappointing display by Dravid and company on TV remarked in despair that Gen Pervez Musharraf, might not have been able to achieve much on the Kashmir front during his visit, but he had certainly motivated his players to clinch the ODI series.

Teachers or ...

The incident of corporal punishment in the district leading to a suicide by a Plus II student has once again brought the highly debatable issue to the centrestage. ‘Spare the rod and spoil the child’ motto seems to have been completely forgotten. In fact teachers used to be considered just next to God in Indian culture, but not any more. The other day a colleague travelling in a bus was shocked to hear the conversation between an elderly man and a schoolteacher. When the teacher requested him to shift a little, pat came the reply that he would not follow her diktats. ‘‘In schools you terrify the children and here you are trying to scare me?’’

Ganguly sms noodles

Saurav Ganguly has become a butt of SMS jokes after his dismal performance with the bat and losses suffered by the team under his captaincy. The latest one doing the rounds aptly focuses on his short stay at the crease. It reads, ‘‘Steps to prepare 2 minutes Maggi Noodles. Boil one cup of water, as soon as Ganguly goes for batting. Put the noodles in hot water and add the taste maker. Stir for the time Ganguly is on field, and be ready to eat as soon as Ganguly is back in the pavilion.

Wake up call

With the advent of summers, hawkers have started selling cut fruit and vegetables. These look fresh and tempting but these may lead to a bout of gastroenteritis. The Deputy Commissioner normally bans these somewhere in May but by that time many would have become victims of dysentery and other stomach disorders.

Religious processions

Every other day Chaura Bazaar and other important bazaars in the city are out of bounds for people as religious processions or shobha yatras are taken out. People are left stranded for on roads. The District Administration should fix one place in the city where religious functions can be held without causing any disruption of any kind.

Traffic blues

Traffic congestion in the city continues to be chaotic. The old G.T. Road, Domoria Bridge Road and Fountain Chowk remain the most problematic areas as far as the movement of traffic in city goes. Traffic problem on the G.T. Road is more or less due to the ongoing work on the elevated road project, which the authorities claim would be completed by year-end. But the traffic police persistently fails to tackle the situation. The administration should take the services of professional consultants with regard to traffic planning.

Tail piece

An advertisement of a school on a local TV channel read, “Those parents who do not want their children to be pulled up please do not get them admitted to our school.” 

— Sentinel



Govt to solve VAT imbroglio : Dawar
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, April 17
The Punjab Government is aware of the genuine problems being faced by the business community with the introduction of value added tax (VAT) in the state from April 1 and steps have already been initiated to simplify the tax  system and to remove the anomalies.

This was stated by Mr Surinder Dawar, Parliamentary Secretary, Power and Housing, Punjab, while addressing a ‘khula darbar’ at Mittar Sabha dharamshala in the Field Ganj area (Ward No 51) here today.

He said the government had already set up a high level committee of excise and taxation officials which would hold discussions with representative bodies of the trade and industry before submitting its recommendations to the government for necessary amendments in the VAT Act.

He said the government was committed to making the industrial capital of the state a beautiful and pollution-free city and a comprehensive plan had been drawn up under which all open drains in the city would be covered and general sanitation level would be improved at a cost of Rs 14 crore. This plan would be implemented within the next one month.

The area residents raised complaints of contaminated water supply, frequent choking of sewer lines, erratic power supply, faulty power transmission system and non-functional street lights in different colonies of the area. They alleged that officials of the PSEB as well as the civic body were indifferent to the genuine complaints and remedial steps were not taken in time. The poor sanitation level in many localities, including Prem Nagar, was also brought up by those attending the khula darbar.

Mr Dawar issued instructions to officials of the PSEB for the immediate replacement of electrical cables in the affected localities whereas the officers of municipal corporation were asked to attend to problems of drinking water supply, sanitation and street lights. He made it clear that the officers concerned of the departments and the civic body would be held accountable for the poor delivery of services and lack of basic amenities.

Claiming that a number of development projects for the Assembly segment represented by him (Ludhiana East) were in different stages of execution, he said a Rs 60 lakh storm water sewerage project was being laid in the area for the disposal of rain water in ward nos. 51, 57 and 58. A new footbridge was also being constructed in Janakpuri at a cost of Rs 16 lakh.

Mr B.K. Gupta, Assistant Commissioner, MC, Mr Mandeep Singh, SDO, PSEB, Mr Sanjay Talwar and Mr Rakesh Parashar, both councillors, were also present.



Cricket fans feel cheated
Anil Datt

Ludhiana, April 17
Cricket fans here felt cheated at the ‘humiliating’ defeat of the Indian cricket team against their arch rivals-Pakistan in the last one-day international match, played in Delhi. A large number of people who had reschduled their daily routine and remained glued to their television sets to watch the encounter were a ‘disappointed lot’. They were unable to express their feelings at the outcome of this crucial match, played in the presence of high-profile spectators. India lost the match by a huge margin of 144 runs and thus ‘gifted’ away the series 2-4 to the neighbours.

Expressing their grief, cricket lovers vent their ire over Indian cricket stars whom they adore like demi-gods. The game followers were unanimous when they said that some of the senior players should be given rest since they were responsible in allowing to slip the advantage, India had after the first two one-dayers which the hosts wrapped up quite comfortably.

Mr Ramesh Lakhanpal, a senior advocate and an avid follower of the game told the Ludhiana Tribune that it was an agony to see our boys to lose without waging a battle. He went on to advise the national selectors to choose the new bunch of youngsters who could give a semblence of fight their opponents. ‘I wasted my Sunday by watching the match. Everyone feels sorry as the public were very optimistic about India’s winning this match to square up the series ,” Mr Lakhanpal rued.

Similar sentiments were expressed by two other young fans, Amit Arora and Sunny Puri when they said they were ashamed of India’s performance. India, after gaining lead in the first two matches, played miserably, particularly in the crunch match. “We expected Indian players to win the last match to restore the ‘prestige’ which the home team lost during the last three outings. It was unbelievable to see the Indian team going down for the fourth consecutive time, that too in home series,” Arora and Puri said.



Police intervenes in Bhagwant Mann-T series row
Asha Ahuja

Ludhiana, April 17
Bhagwant Mann, a popular Punjabi comedian, had released a new cassette titled ‘Bhagwant Mann Most Wanted’ about a fortnight ago, but a controversy over the cassette between Creative Art Production and T Series has arisen over its marketing rights.

But the controversy has been kept at bay for some time as both the camps held a meeting with SP City 1, R.K. Jaiswal.

It was decided at the meeting that till the papers on which Mann had reportedly signed a contract with T series were not tested by forensic lab and till the report comes out, the cassette would be allowed to be sold in the market.

Talking to the Ludhiana Tribune, Mann said he was surprised to see his cassette being marketed by T series as he had released his cassette through his own company Creative Art Production (CAP).

He said the contract papers shown by the vice-president Pradeep Goyal of T Series and its Regional Manager Ashwani Sharma, which say that Bhagwant Mann had transferred the rights of his three cassettes, titled ‘Bhagwant Mann Full Speed’, ‘Bhagwant Mann Most Wanted,’ ‘One and Only One Bhagwant Mann,’ over to T Series, were incorrect. He said he thought of the title, ‘Bhagwant Mann Most Wanted’, a few days ago so it was not possible for T Series to have recorded a cassette of this title .

The folk singers like Sirdul Sikander, Pammi Bai, Jaswant Sandila and Rajinder Singh of Fine Tone belonging to Antarrashtriya Kala Manch finally decided that the contract papers would be sent to the forensic lab to check whether the signature of Mann on the contract were genuine or not.

If they were fake then T Series would forfeit the right of selling the cassette. Similarly if Mann was proved to be wrong then he would not be allowed to sell the cassette.

But till the lab report arrives, the cassette will be allowed to be sold by both the companies and the only condition is that no company can advertise the same.



City gets SAD district president after 6 years
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, April 17
With the announcement of the reconstitution of party set-up by former Chief Minister and SAD president Parkash Singh Badal in Chandigarh on Saturday, the Ludhiana unit of the party has got a district president after a gap of around six years.

The appointment of Mr Hira Singh Gabria, a former legislator and a trusted lieutenant of veteran panthic leader Gurcharan Singh Tohra, as the new district president has been made after 1999 when Mr Badal and Tohra parted ways during tercentenary celebration of Khalsa and the district unit of the then ruling party, headed by Mr Gabria, was dissolved.

In the intervening period, the two strong contenders to the post of the district chief, Mr Amarjit Singh Bhatia and Mr Avtar Singh Makkar, were involved in a pitched battle, which more than once took a violent turn.

However, Mr Badal continued to defer the issue with the result that the two rival camps worked against each other, both in the organisational matters and electoral battles during municipal, parliamentary and later in the Assembly elections here.

By nominating Mr Bhatia and Mr Makkar as vice-presidents of the state unit and at the same time inducting former ministers, Mr Mahesh Inder Singh Grewal and Mr Jagdish Singh Garcha, in the Political Affairs Committee of the party, Mr Badal had made an attempt to show the party set-up in the district was a cohesive unit.

Another prominent party functionary, Mr Amrik Singh Aliwal, has found a place among the general secretaries.

Political observers here attribute the step of renomination of Mr Gabria as the district president as a shrewd political move on the part of SAD supremo, aimed at bringing different factions of the party together and working in a concerted manner to regain the lost ground. Mr Gabria, even though maintaining a low profile all through the long-drawn political battle between the Badal and Tohra groups here, was being seen as a political functionary capable of mobilising the public and taking everybody together.

The appointment had been widely hailed by the rank and file of the party, who felt that a loyal and dedicated worker of the party had been duly recognised by the leadership.



No fresh fruits, vegetables for third day
Our Correspondent

Mandi Ahmedgarh, April 17
Residents had to go without fresh vegetables and fruits for the third day consecutive day following a strike by the Vegetable and Fruit Sellers Association. The police, meanwhile, had to intervene to stop contractor-supported vendors from selling vegetables when activists of the union reacted sharply.

Five activists of the Vegetable and Fruit Sellers Association led by union president Manmohan Singh Mohni sat on a fast as part of the relay fast to impress upon the Market Committee to stop the contractor from collecting market fee “unauthorisedly” from the vendors who had paid fee while purchasing vegetables from Ludhiana and Malerkotla.

He alleged that the employees of the contractor did not honour the I Form.

Some vendors supported by the contractors tried to sell vegetables in the market. Apprehending tension, the police stopped them from doing so after the union activists reacted to it.



Fire at 3 places
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 17
Goods worth lakhs of rupees were gutted in a fire in Vardhman Hosiery on Kakowal Road here today. The cloth used for manufacturing T-shirts, machinery and building were damaged in the fire. Sources in the Fire Brigade said as many as four fire engines were pressed into service and fire was controlled within an hour.

They added that the cause of fire was reportedly due to a short circuit. The fire started from the basement of the factory where the material was stored. Then it spread to ground floor also. There it was controlled.

In Jhammat village, near here, wheat crop in two acre field was gutted allegedly due to an electric spark.

Minor fire broke out in a cotton shop in the Field Ganj area. 



Resentment over Internet lottery stalls
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, April 17
Resentment prevails among local residents over the mushroom growth of inter-Net lottery stalls which have come up in every nook and corner of the city during the recent past. These stalls have appeared not only in small streets and prominent markets but also near the education institutions.

These stalls operate from early morning till late in the evening. The result of lotterydraw is held after every 15 minutes, luring people to try their luck. A large number of people comprising of daily wagers as well as school and college going students can be seen at these stalls. 


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