C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Pawan Sharma remanded in judicial custody
Tribune News Service

Lawyers strike work

The District Courts advocates today struck work to protest against the arrest of the DCC chief and advocate Pawan Sharma on Thursday. Work was affected as fresh dates were given in the cases listed for hearing. Litigants, coming from far-off places had a harrowing time in view of the sudden strike, decision for which was taken at a DBA meeting on Thursday morning.

Chandigarh, May 5
A local court here today remanded Pawan Sharma, president of the District Congress Committee (DCC), who was arrested for submitting a false affidavit to secure a flat of a housing cooperative society, in judicial custody.

However, the bail application of the accused will come up for hearing tomorrow in the court of the Sessions Judge following the issuing of notice to the state by the court.

Chief Judicial Magistrate (CJM) Ms Neerja Kulwant Kalson, rejected the bail application of accused since he was booked under the non-bailable Sections of the IPC 420, 467, 468 and 471.

Following the rejection of the bail application, the counsel for the Pawan Sharma, a practising advocate of the District Courts, moved the Sessions Court, pleading that he had been “wrongly” denied bail by the CJM.

Terming the case as false, the application prayed that since under the circumstances the case was likely to take a long time, the grant of bail to the accused was in the interest of justice.

Earlier, at an emergency meeting of the District Bar Association (DBA), lawyers decided to go on a strike. Criticising the high-handedness of the police, a resolution alleged that the Chandigarh Administration had adopted a “pick and choose” policy in arresting Pawan Sharma.

Meanwhile, the Lawyers of Human Rights International (LHRI), while terming the arrest as “hasty”, said there was no need to arrest the accused before investigation. Pawan Sharma is a practising advocate of the District Courts and there is no chance of his fleeing the city, the LHRI said condemning The Arrest.



Lawyers’ housing society to revoke Pawan’s membership
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 5
More trouble seems to be in store for the beleaguered Pawan Sharma, president of the District Congress Committee (DCC), who was arrested by the police on the charges of filing a false affidavit to secure a flat in a cooperative housing society in Sector 49 here.

On the directions of the office of the Registrar of Cooperative Societies (RCS), the executive committee of the Chandigarh District Courts Lawyers Cooperative House-Building Society Limited is all set to revoke the membership of Pawan Sharma, a close associate of the local MP, Mr Pawan Bansal, according to sources.

“The executive committee will meet tomorrow to take a decision on the membership of Pawan Sharma, “ Mr NS Minhas, society president, when contacted, told Chandigarh Tribune, here today.

Earlier in the day, the RCS, in a communication, directed the society to cancel the allotment of Pawan Sharma and “file an FIR for filing of a false affidavit.” The vacancy caused on the cancellation shall not be filled till further orders, the communication added.

However, Mr Minhas said since a case had already been registered against Pawan Sharma, the society would not lodge an FIR since two cases could not be registered for the same offence.

The arrest of Pawan Sharma , a Pawan Bansal loyalist, is seen as an offshot of the tussle between the MP and the DC, Mr Arun Kumar.

Meanwhile, a section of the District Bar Association (DBA) alleged that the Chandigarh Administration seemed to be confused about matter in question. Having already got a case registered, the administration was asking the society president to get a case registered against Pawan Sharma, a member of the DBA,’’ an application for his bail before the District and Sessions Judge said.



Oppn parties want Cong to sack Pawan Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 5
Opposition parties are mounting pressure on the Congress to sack the jailed DCC president Pawan Sharma which the local Congress unit president B. B. Bahl is considering with caution ahead of party presidentship’s elections. Mr Bahl talking to The Tribune refused to act on media reports saying he has sought the copy of the FIR against the party leader to know exactly if he was allegedly involved in a fraud.

The Registrar of the Cooperative Societies and the Deputy Commissioner, Mr Arun Kumar, however, informed that the membership of Sharma has been cancelled from the society in which he allegedly gave a false affidavit. Mr Bahl said that he had deputed a senior party office-bearer to get a copy of the FIR against Sharma and independently verify the charges against Sharma. Sharma is a camp follower of Bahl’s friend-turned-foe and local MP Pawan Bansal. Sharma was also in the race for the party presidentship of the state unit against Mr Bahl. The elections are due soon. Former BJP MP and senior BJP leader Satyapal Jain said that the law should take its own course. He said there was no need of making it a political issue as if Sharma is innocent he would be acquitted by the court. Smaller parties, however, have sought to test the morality of the Congress saying the party should avoid politicising the issue in a case where one of its officer-bearers allegedly indulged in a malpractice.

Samajwadi Party president Shivi Jaiswal said that it was upto the Congress to take action in a case in which one of its office-bearers had indulged in a fraudulent behaviour. Sharma has allegedly cheated the partymen and the lawyer fraternity by filing a false affidavit. Jaiswal said the Deputy Commissioner has just followed a simple procedure. The state secretary of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) Shenaz Mohmmed patted the Chandigarh Administration to take up courage of cleaning up the corruption. He urged the authorities to be harsh against the corrupt saying there was no need to bother about which party a leader belonged to.

Sharma had to pay the price for riding two boats at a time. Sharma who was amongst the Bansal followers who were regular visitors to the Deputy Commissioner’s office, had been claiming to bring about a rapprochement between the MP and the DC. Sharma recently became a witness in a defamation suit filed against the Deputy Commissioner by the deposed market committee president Bhupinder Singh Badheri.

Badheri in his petition has claimed that Pawan Sharma was present in the office of the DC on January 1 this year when the former sought a written permission to take an official vehicle in the capacity of the market committee president to Azadpur Mandi in Delhi.



Born again?
4-year-old ‘returns’ home after 13 yrs
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, May 5
Life “after death” has come a full circle for four year old girl Aman Kaur. Thirteen years ago, two-year-old Gaurav had died after drowning in an overhead water tank. Gaurav has emerged from the dead in his rebirth as a girl, Aman.

Aman, now born in a Sikh family of Roopnagar, today reached village Saketri in search of her first family. Refusing to acknowledge Jarnail Singh and Shamsher Kaur as her parents, Aman who has never visited the village before, led them to a house in the village, saying that this was her real home.

What followed was high emotional drama as she rushed to the Vermas- Mr Satpal and Mrs Saroj Verma, calling them Mummy and Papa. The latter, initially sceptical that it was a ploy to emotionally blackmail them, soon had their hearts reach out to the girl, as she narrated incidents from the previous life. “This is emotionally very taxing for us. The pain of losing our son had waned over the years, but it all came back as she claimed that she was Gaurav,” said an emotional Mrs Saroj Verma.

The girl’s parents, Mr Jarnail Singh, an LIC officer and Ms Shamsher Kaur, a government school teacher in Ropar, say that since April 24, Aman started telling them that they were not her real parents. “She started talking like a boy, saying that her name was Gaurav Verma. She insisted that ‘his’ mother was not working and spent the whole day with her. Initially we thought it was a child’s prank, but she insisted that ‘his’ parents were in Saketri. So, we decided to get her here,” they say.

Once the trio reached the village, Mr Jarnail Singh enquired about the Verma’s and was shown the way to the latter’s goldsmith shop. “As we entered the shop, she let go of our hand and rushed to Mrs Verma, calling her Mummy. We explained the situation to the Verma’s, who looked bewildered. She went and sat in Mrs Verma’s lap, who asked her if she could lead them to the Verma’s house. She got up and quickly led them to their house,” said Mr Jarnail.

Mr Verma says that he thought it was a ploy by someone to cheat him. “But the girl reached the house and started enquiring about her aunt, who used to stay with us when Gaurav died in 1992. Gaurav was very attached to Saroj and would spend most of the time with her and her kids. I called my sister, Saroj, from her house in Landran village, and even from amongst the large crowd of onlookers, Aman could recognise her bua. Gaurav used to take one rupee from her Bua daily to buy papad, and as she went to my sister, Saroj, she asked her for one rupee. Many other instances followed which have forced us to think that this could be a re-birth,” he says.

After spending about five hours here, Mr Jarnail Singh decided to take her back to Roopnagar. Mr Verma’s son, and Gaurav’s elder brother, Johnny, who went to drop them at the bus stop on Mansa Devi Complex, were in tears as Aman begged him to come and meet ‘her’ in Roopnagar. “Our mind cautions us into accepting her as Gaurav, but the heart believes that he has come back. After his death, he had appeared in my dream and said that he would again come back. Now, it seems he has kept his promise,” says a misty eyed Gaurav’s aunt, Saroj.



CAT directs Union Govt to hold meeting to promote PCS officers
Rajmeet Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 5
The Central Administrative Tribunal today directed the Union Government and the Punjab Government to hold a meeting of the selection committee to promote Punjab Civil Services (PCS) officers to the Indian Administrative Service (IAS) against the sanctioned state quota from 2001 to 2004.

The direction were issued by Mr LM Goyal and Mr Jasbir S Dhaliwal, Vice- Chairman and Member, respectively, of the tribunal, on a application moved by four PCS officers, Mr VK Ohri, Mr Kushi Ram and Mr Gopal Singh Bhatia, and Mr Surjit Singh.

In their plea, the applicants stated that the Union Government and the Union Public Service Commission had not determined the vacancies of the IAS cadre against the state quota for the years 2001, 2002, 2003 and 2004, as per the incumbency position as provided by the state government.

The UPSC did not hold a meeting of the selection committee since 2001, which is mandatory to be held every year as per the Regulation 5(1) of the Indian Administrative (Appointment by Promotion) Regulation, 1955. The applicants stated that the UPSC did hold the meeting of the selection committee on November 11, 2004, but it did not include vacancies of the above said years. Only the vacancies of the years 1998, 1999 and 2000 were included at the meeting.

It was further pointed out that the commission did not fill the vacancies for the year 1998, 1999 and 2000 on time, following which a senior PCS officer, Ms Amrita Atwal, approached the tribunal seeking direction to hold the meeting of the screening committee. Following the direction of the tribunal, a meeting of the selection committee was held on November 16, 2000, but clubbed eight vacancies for the above said three years and prepared a combined selection list instead of a separate list. This resulted in a number of litigations.

The applicants stated that the chronology of the communication between the State Government and the Union Government was that on November 27, 2000, Government of India determined eight vacancies up to January 1, 2000. Out of the eight selected officers, five were appointed to the IAS, as one had died and two had retired. On July 29, 2004, the Punjab Government sent a request to the Government of India to determine vacancies for the years 1998 to 2004. Again on April 25, 2005, the Chief Secretary, Punjab, wrote to the Union Government to determine the vacancies from 2001 to 2005, as eight vacancies were available and of these three were left out in the earlier selections.



Natak of resignations continues on Akademi stage
Aditi Tandon
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 5
Sangeet Natak Akademi Chairperson Sonal Mansingh has a lone supporter in Neelam Mansingh Choudhary - the sole Akademi nominee from this region who has not resigned in protest against the chairperson's alleged "autocratic functioning."

While Neelam Mansingh "sees no issue in the controversy" which, she says, has snowballed painfully, her colleagues from Chandigarh think otherwise. Visibly perturbed over the manner in which Akademi Chairperson Sonal Mansingh has been conducting herself at the meetings, they have all resigned one by one.

Gursharan Singh Chani, an eminent community theatre activist and a nominee of the Punjab Government, sent in his resignation 10 days ago, and theatre artiste Parvesh Sethi from the UT followed suit. The spree of resignations continued today, with the Haryana Government representative to the Akademi Kamal Tewari resolving to bow out in the wake of the Sonal Mansingh's "partisan, inflexible and domineering ways".

Speaking with The Tribune today, Tewari said he, along with other Akademi members, had long been tolerating the Chairperson's whimsical attitude. "She has ridiculed the position of the Chairperson. Her biggest flaw is her inability to carry people along. She is never able to respect another person's point of view and is almost always convinced of her righteousness over all matters pertaining to critical issues. It is futile to continue under her."

While Kamal Tewari feels Sonal Mansingh has hugely undermined the prestige of the Akademi, Chani apprehends further damage to SNA's reputation if she were to be allowed to continue. Referring to her nomination under the NDA government, he said she had been pushing her own people and her own agenda at the Akademi meetings.

"Her functioning is undemocratic. At most of the meetings, she has tried to prevail upon rest of the members, be it the issue of cooption or the issue of the award ceremony. We, as representatives of the artistes' community, could not have functioned under a Chairperson who has scant regard for election processes. About 13 out of 50 members have already resigned," he said.

While Kamal Tewari, Parvesh Sethi and G.S. Chani have ample reasons to see red in the Akademi functioning, Neelam Mansingh has a contrary opinion. She feels the SNA working has always been democratic, with assent and dissent being given enough space in the scheme of things.

"I have attended a couple of meetings and never have I found the allegations against Sonal Mansingh to be true. To my mind, this issue is more like the Chinese whispers which, after a while, get a life of their own. In fact, this whole controversy is quite a mystery to me, and the biggest casualty in the process has been art. If at all there were issues, they could have been resolved in a dignified way. Where was the need to bring issues to the streets?" said a concerned Neelam Mansingh.



Passing Thru

J.B. Jalani
J.B. Jalani, Senior Archivist, National Archives of India.

How is the pet project of National Archives, the mobile exhibition on martyrs, doing?

We have succeeded in putting the youth of the country in touch with the martyrs and their deepest sentiments. The exhibition titled “Immortal Martyrs” was conceived to educate, motivate and inspire Indians and help them realise the value of hard earned freedom. The original show had 153 exhibits, including extracts from proscribed publications, letters written by martyrs, exclusive interviews with martyrs etc. It is travelling all over the country and is doing well. Many students come to watch it.

Which among these exhibits are the rarest?

We have displayed extracts from banned publications like “Kakori Shadyantra”, “Fauji Elan”, “Tarana-e-Azad” and “Phansi ke Shaheed”. Then there are classified intelligence reports on the functioning of revolutionaries like Madan Lal Dhingra, Udham Singh and Chandrashekhar Azad. The exhibition also has the last letter which Bhagat Singh wrote to his brother Kultar Singh from jail.

— Aditi Tandon



Political one-upmanship at gurdwara panel meeting
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 5
Political one-upmanship was at its best when a section of gurdwara organisations called an all-party meeting to take out a rally on May 7 to protest against the demolition of religious places in Dadu Majra.

The all-party meeting supported the All Gurdwara Sahyog Action Committee led by Baba Pritpal Singh of Gur Sagar Sahib in taking out the protest march between Gurdwara Sar Sant Sahib in Sector 38 (West) and Gur Sagar Sahib near the Sukhna Lake.

Addressing the gathering of as many as 75 persons, Baba Pritpal Singh said the act of the government in recklessly demolishing religious places could give rise to “terrorism” at the local level.

Mayor Anu Chathrath, former BJP MP Satyapal Jain, former Mayors Subhash Chawla, Harjinder Kaur, councillor Shyama Negi, Akali Dal president Gurpartap Singh Riar and former SGPC President Kirpal Singh Badungar were among those who attended the all-party meeting.

Karnail Singh Pir Mohmmed, Convener of the All-India Sikh Student Federation, Gurnam Singh Sidhu, Chairman of the Sahyog Committee and representatives from the Istri Morcha were present at the meeting.

Mr Jain, taking a dig at the Congress, offered to hold a protest rally in front of the house of the Prime Minister, Dr Manmohan Singh, and the Home Minister, Mr Shivraj Patil, to oppose the demolition of religious places.

Mr Jain said Chandigarh is controlled by the Central Government and the most appropriate forum for a protest would be before the leaders of the Congress. Mr Jain apparently wanted to expose the protests of the local unit of the Congress in this regard.

Mayor Anu Chathrath said even though she was not in favour of encroachment, yet stressed the officials who ignored these for three decades should also be punished.

The traditional political rivalry between Ms Harjinder Kaur and Riar surfaced when the two leaders accused each other of insincerity towards the cause of gurdwaras. Shyama Negi apologised for her and other party leaders’ absence from the scene when religious structures were razed by the Chandigarh Administration.



Asstt Town Planner suspended for allowing illegal construction
Bipin Bhardwaj

Zirakpur, May 5
The Department of Local Government of Punjab has suspended an Assistant Town Planner (ATP) for his alleged involvement in permitting some builders and individuals for constructing buildings and other structures in violation of the norms in the Zirakpur Nagar Panchayat limits.

The department, however, has not taken any action against the Executive Officer (EO) of the civic body, who is the authority for granting permission for the construction of buildings and other structures.

Mr Gautam Kumar, ATP with the Zirakpur Nagar Panchayat, was placed under suspension by the department in the last weak of April, while inquiry against the EO, Mr Girish Verma, is still pending with the department.

Sources in the department revealed that the ATP was suspended on the basis of the report of inquiry that was conducted by a team of the Town Planning Department, recently.

Taking a serious view of various complaints from the public, the Principal Secretary to the Department of Local Government, Punjab, had marked an inquiry to the Director asking him to find out if Mr Girish Verma, Mr Gautam Kumar and some other officials of the civic body had ignored illegal constructions being done by some builders and some individuals within the Nagar Panchayat limits.

Following the directions of the Secretary, a team of the Town Planning wing of the local government, comprising a senior official from the wing, conducted the inquiry and submitted a comprehensive report to the authorities. The ATP and the EO were held guilty for allowing the buildings and other illegal structures to come up, the sources said.

They also claimed that the officials had held back the file, relating to the action taken against the EO for his alleged involvement in the case.



UT skyline for sale
Rules to give metro makeover to city
Lieut-Col G.S. Bedi (retd)

“IT and IT-enabled services are driving the demand for housing in all metros of the country. And Chandigarh is no exception. Infosys, Quark, Dell, Microsoft and other IT companies are investing in City Beautiful and the adjoining townships of Mohali and Panchkula in a big way in the software manufacturing. Their executives, with the kind of lifestyle they pursue, need accommodation of international class. The Chandigarh Administration is meeting this challenge most admirably by a slew of timely and effective measures. Framing of the Chandigarh Apartment Rules, 2001, besides setting up of 250-acre mini township adjacent to the Chandigarh Technology Park and earmarking of another 100 acres for development in Phase II are the laudable initiatives in this direction.

The rules are people friendly and futuristic in concept. These rules are based on the pattern of the Apartment Rules of Delhi and Mumbai. However, necessary changes have been made to preserve the landscape of the city. These rules have bestowed numerous advantages on the people of Chandigarh. The executive class of the industrial belt around the city always wanted to own a residence in the plush sprawling areas of the northern sectors. These rules have brought them well within their reach. Old retired people suddenly found their dead properties as liquid security assets. The property can be easily divided as separate identifiable units among the legal heirs. The Administration itself has found a new source of income as it levies an amount of Rs 200 per square feet as conversion charges.

The apprehension that permitting the conversion of the single units into apartments will change the planned status of the city to that of unplanned growth duly exploited by the property dealers and that there will be undue pressure on the already limited civic amenities is misplaced. It is only the houses bigger than 1,400 square yards that can be divided into two units on each floor up to a maximum of three floors, including the ground floor. The rules are very exhaustive and have the in-built checks and balances to ensure that the zoning, skyline and the façade of the houses are not changed.

The fact that only 150 apartments have come up in the city since the framing of these rules speaks for the caution being taken.

Many have questioned the legality of the rules and those being violative of the earlier rules. Others have even used the terms Act and Rules interchangeably while talking of the rules. An “Act” is passed by the legislature while the “Rules” are framed by the competent body under the provisions of the Act to put into effect the provisions of the Act. Thus, the Administration is the competent body to frame these rules and when new rules are framed, they supersede the old rules. So there can be no question of their legality or being violative of the old rules.

Le Corbusier who drew up the master plans of Chandigarh based it on the Western culture where lands are aplenty and population pressure minimal. We in India can’t afford such aristocratic bungalows. These rules will make Chandigarh into the most modern city and attractive destination for IT in the world and bring tremendous associated spin off(s) by way of prosperity to the people of Chandigarh in times to come.

— As told to Sanjay Sharma.

(Mr Bedi is a senior engineer, C-DAC, Mohali.)



Encroachments on market corridors removed
Tribune News Service

Panchkula May 5
The enforcement wing of the Estate Office today took to task shopkeepers encroaching on the market corridors and residents of Chotta Haripur village near Sector 11, for encroaching on HUDA land.

Led by a five-member squad of Junior Engineers of HUDA, the drive began from the inner market of Sector 11. The enforcement staff cleared all market corridors and warned the staff against displaying things in the market corridors. Even the pathways in the Sector 11 rehri markets were cleared of objects displayed by shopkeepers, so as to provide comfortable walking space to the shoppers.

The drive was then launched in Sector 11, near village Chotta Haripuir, where the villagers had encroached upon HUDA plots by setting up their sheds and were drying cow dung cakes.

The market corridors in Sector 10 inner market were cleared. Two dhabas near the Sector 10/ 11 chowk and about 10 jhuggis were also razed here. In the evening, the enforcement staff visited the Sector 7 market and warned the shopkeepers to remove encroachments from the market corridors. They gave them a time till tomorrow, and warned that all goods displayed in the corridors would be confiscated tomorrow, if these were not removed by the shopkeepers.



Man sets himself on fire
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, May 5
A 65-year-old man reportedly set himself on fire at his residence this evening. He was admitted to the PGI with 90 per cent burns.
According to the police, Randhir was alone at home at that time and it was locked from inside. Some neighbours noticed smoke coming out from the house and heard the cries of the victim at 5:30 pm.

The family members of the victim had gone to see off their relative to the bus stand when the incident happened. The neighbours rushed to help the victim and in the meantime, a daughter-in-law of Randhir came back to home. They broke open the door of the house and called the police. The police took Randhir to the PGI.

The SHO of Sector 36 police station, Mr Jagbir Singh said Randhir was living with his two sons. The family members of Randhir told the police that he was suffering from a chronic disease.



Krishna Mohan to head CITCO
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 5
UT Home Secretary Krishna Mohan is set to be Chairman of the Chandigarh Industrial Tourism Corporation (CITCO) while Finance Secretary S.K. Sandhu is to be asked to handle the work of Chairman, Chandigarh Housing Board (CHB).

This arrangement will be announced by the Chandigarh Administration tomorrow when Mr S.C. Poddar, is reverted to his parent cadre. Presently Mr Poddar, is handling both charges. Replacement of Mr Poddar, Mr S.N. Sahai will be joining in June and these charges have been given on temporary basis.

Meanwhile the Finance Secretary and the Director Information Technology Mr Vivek Atray will be leaving for California, USA, for 12-day visit on IT related work. 



Surprise check of SDM’s office
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, May 5
The Chief Minister’s Flying Squad today raided the office of Subdivisional Magistrate, Panchkula, and Health department in the morning and found many officers and employees absent from duty.

Presented: Representatives of the House Owners Welfare Association, Sector 20, today met Deputy Chief Minister, Chander Mohan, and presented him a memorandum regarding withdrawal of enhance of charges on land allotted to Group Housing Societies. Led by President, J K Malhotra, they pleaded that the enhancement charges be waived off.

Nominated: Mr B R Vashishth has been appointed as in charge of Haryana chapter of the Akhil Bhartiya Brahman Sabha. 



‘Tantrik’ rapes pregnant woman
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, May 5
A self-styled “tantrik” allegedly raped a pregnant woman who had approached him to seek blessings for her ailing husband.
Reportedly confessing to the crime, the 48-year-old father of four children, Mian Rashid Ahmed, said he had conjured spirits to cure the woman’s husband but the spirits overpowered him and forced him to rape the woman. He said “the black magic seemed to have boomeranged on me”. He realised his “sin” after the spell of the apparition was over.

The woman revealed the matter to her family which laid a trap to nab the culprit red-handed. The woman was again sent to the “tantrik” who took the woman to his room again and bolted it from inside. But this time the woman raised an alarm and the “tantrik” was caught on the spot and handed over to the police.

The police booked the “tantrik” on the charges of rape and wrongfully restraining someone under Sections 376 and 341, IPC, on a complaint filed by the victim. He was produced in a local court today, which remanded him to one day of police custody.

Rashid Ahmed, a resident of Mari Wala Town, Mani Majra, is a junk dealer and also allegedly practised black magic.

The DSP (East), Mr Vijay Pal Singh, told the mediapersons that the victim, a 26-year-old married woman of Pipliwala Town in Mani Majra, went to Rashid Ahmed on May 3 at around 8 pm after she learnt that he could cure chronic ailments with supernatural powers. The victim explained the ailment of her husband to the “tantrik” and he reportedly gave her a black taveez (amulet). He also directed her to tie the “taveez” on all her family members.

Rashid then asked the victim to go to his retiring room and sleep there. Following his directions, the victim went to the room and slept there. A little while later Rashid also followed her to the room and locked it from inside and raped her. After raping the victim, he reportedly threatened her by saying that if she disclosed the incident to anybody misfortune would strike her family. He also asked the victim to come to him for three days in order to save her husband from the ailment, said the DSP.

One of the sons of Rashid told The Chandigarh Tribune that his father was innocent and was being implicated in a false case. He said the police had extracted the confession by pressurising his father.



Courier company employee dupes six of Rs 1.57 lakh
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, May 5
The local police has booked an employee of a courier company for allegedly duping six persons of Rs 1.57 lakh by using their credit cards, which he allegedly procured from a box lying in a bank, in which undelivered cards were lying.

According to the information, on January 28 a complaint was filed by Sidharth Malhotra of City Courier, a Sector 8-based company, against Vikram, alias Vicky, a resident of Maloya, who was working as a distributor with the company. Interestingly, even as the police was investigating the case the accused procured an anticipatory bail.

Mr Sidharth Malhotra alleged that Vikram had procured six undelivered credit cards from the HDFC Bank and had made purchases by using these cards.

The investigating officer, Mr Subash Chander told the Chandigarh Tribune that Vikram had obtained the cards from a box lying in the bank. These cards were undelivered and some of these were not being used by their customers. He said, Vikram used credit cards belonging to six persons and made purchases in Delhi, Noida, Gurgaon and Chandigarh. He had purchased jewellery, electronic goods and books by using these cards.

A case of cheating under various sections of the IPC has been registered against the accused.

Mr Subash Chander said as the accused had already obtained an anticipatory bail from a court, the police will have to give a notice three days prior to arresting him.



One held, 10 gm smack seized
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, May 5
The local police today arrested a smack peddler with 10 gm of smack while in another incident a thief was caught red-handed while attempting to steal electricity meters from a house in Sector 38-West, here.

According to the information, Manjit Singh alias Lali (30), a resident of Phase I, Ram Darbar was nabbed from near booth market in Sector 29. A police party on duty noticed his suspicious movements and on seeing the police he tried to flee from the spot, but was nabbed the cops. After conducting a search the police recovered 10 grams of smack from his possession. A case has been registered in this regard.

The police said the accused was earlier involved in selling of liquor illegally and took to drug peddling in the recent past.

Vehicle stolen: Mr Satpal Singh of Sector 33 reported that his Scorpio Jeep (CH-03-R-2491) was stolen from his residence during the night of May 3. in a similar incident, Mr Rattan Chand of Subash Nagar, Mai Majra filed a complaint to the police that his Maruti Car (CH-01-L-1880) was stolen from PUNSUP Office, Sector 34, yesterday. Mr Gurwinder Singh of Sector 41-D reported that his Bajaj Boxer Motorcycle (HR-01-L-5092) was stolen from his residence, yesterday. Three separate cases of theft have been registered in the various police stations of the city.

Charas seized: The local police arrested Naveen of Bapoda village in Bhiwani district of Haryana from a picket point near Naya Gaon, last night. The police recovered 17 grams of charas from his possession and booked him under Section 21 of the NDPS Act in the Sector 3 police station.

Liquor seized: The local police arrested Ravinder Kumar of Colony Number 5 was arrested with 25 bottles of liquor from near Sukhana Bridge, yesterday. A case under Excise Act has been registered in this regard.



Spice launches quiz-based contest
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 5
Spice Telecom today launched a quiz-based contest called “Sawaal Ek Lakh Ka”. Through this contest Spice subscribers can avail of the opportunity of becoming a “lakhpati” and also win a chance to take away attractive prizes.

The contest will be made available to both pre-paid and post-paid subscribers at a nominal charge of Rs 10 per minute. All you need to do is to dial 124 and answer questions to be able to become eligible for the weekly and bumper prize draw.

Mr Soli Sethi, the mega prize winner of the Indo-Pak Challenge Quiz, was presented a Sony 43 inches Projection TV by Mr Navin Kaul, Chief Operating Officer (COO) of Spice Telecom. The weekly winners of the contest were also announced. They won 14 inch colour TV, DVD players and stereos during the duration of the five-week quiz contest.

Later, Mr Kaul told mediapersons that the focus of the network expansion would be the rural areas of Punjab and the entire state would be covered by December end. The number of base trans receiver stations would also go to 1,500 in the next few months, therebv improving the network capacity and quality of services.



Bank branch opened
Our Correspondent

Mohali, May 5
A fully computerised and air-conditioned branch of the State Bank of Bikaner and Jaipur (SBBJ) was opened in Phase XI here today.
Mr K.R. Srikantan, Managing Director, SBBJ inaugurated the branch. He told mediapersons that the SBBJ was an associate of the State Bank of India. The new branch here would shortly have ATM facility for the convenience of customers.

He said the bank had designated the current month as “Deposit Mobilisation Month”. Any loan taken against deposit in SBBJ during the month of May would attract a 0.5 per cent concession in the rate of interest for the entire period of the loan. Attaching utmost importance to customers, the bank had declared 2005-06 as the “Year of Quality Services”.

Mr Srikantan said the bank had achieved a handsome growth of 36.1 per cent in advances and 21.8 per cent in deposits. He said the bank had declared a 100 per cent dividend this year and last year as well. The SBBJ is the second public sector bank in the country to computerise all its branches. The bank was working on networking around 300 branches under the core banking solution, facilitating networked branches to provide anywhere and anytime banking. The project had already been implemented in 103 branches till March this year. Moreover, in order to provide one-stop facility to customers single window concept had been extended in all branches.


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