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Bhattal’s nephew hurt by accidental gunshot
Jupinderjit Singh
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, May 17
Fiddling with the carbine of a gunman allegedly proved costly for a nephew of Deputy Chief Minister, Ms Rajinder Kaur Bhattal, after the gun went off and the bullet settled in a part of his head after piercing through his jaw, mouth and left eye late last night at house No 114, Rakh Bagh. Ms Bhattal also rushed to the city today morning to enquire about the health of the injured youth.

The youth, Mr Kulbir Singh (22) was operated upon at DMC Hospital today afternoon. Doctors have stated that he is out of danger now though there is considerable damage to his eye. The Division No 8 police has ruled out any conspiracy behind the incident. SP City, R.K. Jaiswal said it was an accident and there was no need of any police case.

Ms Bhattal also does not see any foul play behind the incident. “It was an accident. The gunmen were witness to the incident. I am satisfied with police action and the immediate medical services provided to the youth.” she told reporters at DMC Hospital where the youth was under treatment.

The youth runs a tempo agency in the city with his elder brother, Mr Gurbir Singh. Their father, Mr Kuldip Singh Bhattal, is a well known dealer of Maruti cars in Patiala.

The incident took place at about 11:15 pm last night. According to Mr Gurbir Singh, his younger brother had taken the gun from one gunman to help him in the parking of their car. However, he fiddled with the gun which went off injuring him seriously.

The youth maintained his composure and remained conscious even at the hospital, police sources said. He also gave a statement regarding the incident to the police despite being injured.

Police sources said the youth was lucky as the carbine was on single shot mode.

Senior police officials, including SSP Narinder Pal Singh and SP City-I, R.K. Jaiswal besides DSP Simratpal Singh Dhindsa and several Congress leaders, including Mr Parminder Singh Grover accompanied Ms Bhattal and enquired about the health of the injured youth.

Eyebrows have, however, been raised on how the youth was living in a government house. The youths were not government employees and were doing private business. They were given gunmen by the Punjab Police due to threat perception facing Ms Bhattal and her family members. One of their close relatives was gunned down by terrorists several years ago.



Gas agency owner booked for forging
signatures of MLA

Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, May 17
The Mandi Ahmedgarh police has booked the owner of a gas agency for allegedly forging the signatures of a sitting MLA and selling gas connections in VIP quota by overcharging from customers.

Mr Jaipal Singh, owner of Ahmedgarh Gas Agency, was booked under Sections 420, 465, 467, 471 of the IPC and Section 7 of the Essential Commodities Act. He was accused of selling gas connections between Rs 4000 and Rs 7000 by forging signatures of an Akail leader, former Rajya Sabha member and sitting MLA of Sardulgarh, Mr Balwinder Singh Bhunder.

The complainant, Ms Arvinder Kaur, who is incidentally a sister-in-law of Mr Jaipal Singh, in her complaint to the police produced transfer vouchers of the agency, which showed forged signatures of Mr Bhunder and his fake stamp also.

She further claimed that though the stamp impression and signatures of Mr Bhunder were very visible on the vouchers, the MLA had stated that he had never signed on such papers. She claimed that when she had caught hold of the documents she had personally shown these to the MLA. She then complained to Mandi Ahmedgarh police to take action against the accused.

However, Mr Jaipal Singh, who is absconding according to the police, talking to The Tribune over his cell phone denied all the allegations. He said he was being framed in the case and alleged that his sister-in-law and brother-in-law wanted to take the control of gas agency from him after his wife’s death and were concocting stories to put him behind bars. He owed the development to the ongoing rivalry between the two families.

He further claimed that in the past also he was implicated in many other cases by the brother-sister duo. He, however, could not say anything about forging the signatures of Mr Bhunder and claimed that he did not have knowledge of any such vouchers and he would look into the matter personally within a day or two.

According to the police, the gas agency was allotted by Bharat Petroleum to Ms Malwinder Kaur, a sister of Mr Arvinder Kaur, of Jandiali Khurd village. Ms Malwinder had got married to Mr Jaipal Singh later. She died in 1996 and the gas agency was legally transferred in the name of her husband, Mr Jaipal Singh. Since then both the parties had been seeking the control of the gas agency.

Mr Jaipal Singh, a practicing lawyer, was also convicted by Sub Divisional Judicial Magistrate, Sunam, under Section 193 of the IPC in 2001. He was awarded rigorous imprisonment for three years and directed to pay a fine of Rs 2000.

He was accused of transferring the connections illegally between 1997 to 2001. During this time he allegedly forged the signatures of the MLA on many vouchers. Surprisingly, though the complainant claimed that she had shown the vouchers to Mr Bhunder and he had stated that these were fake, he did not take any action against the accused. Mr Bhunder was not available for his comments.

The ‘forged’ signatures of Mr B.S. Bhunder (highlighted) in a transfer voucher procured by the Ahmedgarh police.



2 murder accused surrender
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, May 17
The two accused in the Rakesh Kumar lawyer murder case today surrendered in a city court amidst unruly scenes where a strong mob had gathered in an attempt to beat up the accused. A heavy police presence prevented the situation form taking an ugly turn.

The main accused, Prithviraj Rana and Sanjeev Kumar, surrendered in a city court today afternoon. They had been booked by the Division No 7 police in the gruesome murder case of a lawyer Rakesh Kumar. Rana’s sister, Taniya, and mother, Kirpal Kaur, have already been arrested by the police in the murder case.

Rana who was a client of the lawyer, had allegedly murdered him in cold blood after he suspected him of having an illicit relationship with his sister. The advocate was found dead in his house on May 10.

DSP R.K. Bakshi said Rana and his accomplice, Sanjeev, had been remanded to police custody till May 20. He said both had surrendered only after the police had successfully blocked all their exit points. The police had arrested the two women two days ago.



1 exam, 2 question papers 
Shivani Bhakoo

Ludhiana, May 17
Committing mistakes seem to have become a routine with Panjab University. This time, it distributed two different question papers to the students of same class. Shocked over the lapse, the students have demanded re-examination of the paper.

The exam of Punjabi paper II of MA Part I students was held in the evening session on May 10. The paper was of ‘Sahit Sidhant Ate Punjabi Alochana’. In a representation to the Vice-Chancellor Panjab University, the students of SCD Government College here have said that two different question papers were distributed to MA Part I (Punjabi) students of SCD Government College and Khalsa College for Girls, Civil Lines, here. Both these question papers were different and they did not match with one another.

One of the students said he had found the other question paper reasonably easier. “If that was given to me, I would have secured more marks”, he said.

The Ludhiana Tribune has the copy of both the question papers. It appears that both the papers are set by two different paper-setters. Almost all questions in both the papers are different. Some students found one paper easy while some others liked the other one. Majority of students, with whom Ludhiana Tribune spoke to, wanted re-examination of the Punjabi paper. There were students who demanded grace marks also.

Ms Vibha Mohan, a parent of a student, said there should be re-examination.”The university is committing blunders this year. The students of BSc part I physics are also demanding a re-examination as a majority of the questions were out of syllabus. The authorities should take up the matter seriously as the careers of many students are involved”, said Ms Mohan.

Ms Indra Bhatia, Principal, SCD Government College, has also forwarded the representation of students to the Controller of Examinations for necessary action and sympathetic consideration.

Mr Sodhi Ram, Controller Examinations, Panjab University, Chandigarh, when contacted on phone said he had not received any such kind complaint. But he assured,”If the complaint is genuine, the university will decide accordingly and the decision will be in the best interest of candidates”.



Man kills wife, hangs self
Our Correspondent

Mandi Ahmedgarh, May 17
Charan Singh, a farmer, murdered his wife Sarabjit Kaur with a kitchen knife while she was asleep and hanged himself in another room later. The only daughter of the couple received injuries while trying to save her mother from the clutches of his fuming father.

The couple were married around 15 years ago and had a daughter Harman, a class VIII student. Sources revealed that Charan Singh was mentally upset for the past many days.

According to information provided by Harman to the police, the family, which had been living independently, had slept as usual last night. While the mother and daughter slept in a room situated in front of the house, Charan Singh slept in the verandah.

“It was at midnight that my enraged father entered our room with a kitchen knife in his hand and attacked my mother. Before other members of the family and villagers could come to rescue us, after hearing my shrieks, my mother had received fatal injuries in the abdomen, and my father had committed suicide. I became orphan within no time,” sobbed the teenaged daughter.

Charan Singh was the youngest of the three brothers who had been living independently. He was a small farmer with a holding of around 4 hectares. Financial constraints could not be reason for the tragedy, as the police recovered packets of torn currency notes of 500 and 1000 denomination.

Following the statement of Mr Bharpur Singh of Kup Khurad village, brother of the deceased woman, the Dehlon police has registered a case under Section 302 of the IPC against Charan Singh.

It also recovered the knife and two pieces of turbans used in the incident, leading to the two deaths.

Meanwhile, the daughter of the couple was in a strange situation regarding her parents cremation. She was ultimately dragged by her maternal relatives to Kup Khurad. She could not attend the last rites of her father.



Centaur disinvestment: Sinha bats for Shourie
P.S. Batra

Samrala, May 17
Former Finance Minister Yashwant Sinha while talking to mediapersons here yesterday challenged the UPA government at the Centre to prove charges against Mr Arun Shourie, disinvestment minister in the previous NDA government, in the sale of Centaur hotels.

Mr Sinha was here in connection with the recording of an interview for Zee News programme “ Andaz Apna Apna” with Mr Balbir Singh Rajewal, national general secretary of the Bharti Kisan Union, at his residence at Samrala.

Commenting on the performance of the UPA government in the past one year, Mr Sinha said even Dr Manmohan Singh, Prime Minister, had admitted that they could fulfil only 10 per cent of the promises made during elections. And still they are blaming Opposition for their failures, he added.

On foreign policy in relation to Nepal, he said our government ‘s childish policies have invited an ire from Nepal’s King as well as the Nepalese opposition. On change in old leadership of the BJP under pressure from the RSS and from within the BJP, Mr Sinha said leaders were never made but the leadership emerges itself at the appropriate time.



Woman, paramour attempt suicide
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, May 17
A married woman, Jyoti (name changed), and her alleged paramour, Kaka, attempted to commit suicide by consuming some poisonous substance at her house in Dhakka Colony in Salem Tabri this morning. Both were rushed to the hospital by the woman’s husband and had gained consciousness in the evening

Her husband, Bakha Singh, who is an employee with a liquor trader, has alleged that both were having an illicit relationship and Raju administered poison to her before consuming it himself.

Kaka, however, claimed that he did not force the woman to take poison, “We decided to end our life as we were in love but we could not meet”, he told reporters. The woman was maintaining a studied silence on the issue.

Her husband claimed that Kaka was his close friend and frequented his house regularly. Both had allegedly eloped also for few weeks recently but the woman had returned home with the intervention of the elders.



Illegal structures demolished
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, May 17
Following the direction of the Punjab and Haryana High Court, a demolition squad of the Ludhiana Municipal Corporation (LMC), today demolished some illegal constructions in Giaspura today.

The MC team, comprising Senior Town Planner (STP), a contingent of police, two JCBs and labourers demolished the illegal structures. The infamous encroachment case comes up for next hearing on May 20.

Amid protests by the alleged encroachers, the demolition squad demolished houses and walls in some cases. Residents said they were served notices many months ago and the MC had asked them to remove the encroached structures by May 30. They claimed that they were yet to do something when the team came and took action against them.

Later the MC team moved to Barewal to clear the encroachments there. It had to face a massive protest by the residents, who called others by making announcements from a gurdwara. A large number of residents gathered on the spot. The STP, Mr Balkar Singh Brar, rushed to the spot. He was trying to pacify the protesters till the filing of this report. No encroachment was removed till evening.



5 parties form Third Front
Our Correspondent

Mandi Gobindgarh, May 17
To provide “relief” to the people of Punjab from the “misrule” of more than 50 years of the Congress and the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD), a party named Third Front, consisting of five political parties, had been constituted, said Mr Paramjeet Singh Saholi, president, All-India Youth Akali Dal (Ravi), here today.

Elaborating the aims and objectives of the Front, Mr Saholi pointed out that the Shiromani Akali Dal (Longowal), CPI, CPM, Lok Bhalai Party (Ramoowalia) besides his party had joined hands on the common agenda of providing clean governance and adopt policies in accordance with the needs of the people i.e. providing employment, equal opportunities in the field of education and health care for all.

He asked people to empower the third front to solve the problems of unemployment working class, employees, and farmers.

Mr Saholi flayed the constitution of the Mai Bhago Brigade by the SGPC Chief Bibi Jagir Kaur as the latter had “misused” the sanctity of Mai Bhago’s name. He suggested that Chief Minister Amarinder Singh should get Sikh youths released from jails in the country and make arrangements for their rehabilitation along with the persons who were got released from Pakistan jails. In reply to a question, he asserted that the privatisation of public sector institutions, including, education and health services, was not in public interest and the government should think over this.



SAD activists’ dharna tomorrow
Bhushan Sood

Amloh, May 17
A meeting of the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) activists, chaired by circle president Hari Singh Machhrai, decided here today to stage a dharna in front of the SDM office, Amloh, on May 19 if the administration failed to book Congressmen involved in the clash between two groups in which more than 12 persons were wounded at Salana village, near here on Sunday. Capt Kanwaljit Singh, SAD general secretary and former Finance Minister, would address the dharna, said Mr Zora Singh Haripur, political adviser of the SAD.

Former sarpanch and youth Akali leader Kesar Singh, who along with his two supporters is under treatment at the Civil Hospital, Mandi Gobindgarh, has alleged that since his wife Ms Harjit Kaur was elected sarpanch of the village defeating the Congress candidate Congressmen had been constantly harassing SAD workers. Some time ago, their standing wheat crop was allegedly ploughed with tractors. The Congressmen even tried to take control of Chasma Sahib, a local gurdwara. Mr Shingara Singh block Congress president and a resident of this village, along with 150 supporters allegedly tried to change the cashbox (golak) of another local gurdwara, which was opposed by people.



Fake votes in Malaudh list alleged
Our Correspondent

Mandi Ahmedgarh, May 17
The president of a nagar panchayat is knocking at the doors of the authorities concerned to get the voting list of a ward of his town screened and fake votes cancelled. The SDM concerned had deputed a CDPO to physically verify the electorate of the said ward.

Mr Sanjiv Puri, president of the nearby Malaudh Nagar Panchayat, alongwith some other councillors of his faction has accused some councillors of the same town of inducing fake votes in their respective wards with the connivance of staff deputed for the preparation of the electorate.

The complainants alleged that more than 150 fake votes were induced in the list of ward number 7 by the councillor of said beat . The fake voters included 15 girls who had long been married to other places. About 90 were reportedly non-resident migrant labourers.

Demanding an inquiry into the alleged incident of making fake votes to please some Congress-supported councillors and aspirants, SAD MLA Jagdish Singh Garcha said,”In case the lists are not rectified to the satisfaction of all concerned, our party would boycott the coming elections to the civic body.”

Meanwhile, the administration has claimed to ensure hundred transparency in the preparation of electoral list in the town. Mr Tejinder Singh Dhaliwal, SDM, Payal, said he had deputed the CDPO of Doraha to scrutinise the lists and conduct the physical verification of the residents in the presence of the complainants. 



Claim, counter claims on workers’ strike
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, May 17
Workers of KW Rims India , KW Engineering Works , Wasan Engineering Corporation, cycle and cycle parts manufactures, located in the Focal Point here, went on strike today.

According to information, negotiations between the management and workers on the issue of an increase in increment were on. While the issue was resolved, workers said the management put up lists of around 45 workers and said they had been suspended citing fall in production as the reason.

Over 500 workers sitting outside the factory premises in the Focal Point blamed the management for “injustice” and raised slogans against it. However, the management blamed the workers for demanding an undue increase in increment.

The workers alleged that the management “was not letting them in” and said they were not on a strike. “Last evening we reached an agreement and this morning workers went on work. However, the management had put up lists of over 45 workers who they said were suspended,” said the CITU vice-president, Punjab, Mr Jatinder Pal, adding that, “We are not observing a strike. The management is not letting us in.”

Denying the allegations, the management said that workers were using strike as a pressure tactic to get an increase in increment from Rs 125 to Rs 500. “They are demanding an undue increase in increment. We have not suspended or laid off any workers,” said Mr B.D.Arora, legal representative of the group of companies.

He said production had received a major set back and had come down by over 80 per cent. “Around 70-80 workers are still working in the factory, but there has been a major fall in production,” he said.

The management also said that for the past four days the company’s daily production had fallen by almost 50 per cent and despite several warnings, workers had not paid heed to those.

It is learnt that considering the gravity of the matter, officials from the Labour Department also visited the factory premises. A meeting of the representatives of workers and the management has been called by the department.

Meanwhile, CITU blamed the management for adopting a negative attitude.

He said the management, like various other companies, did not want workers to form a union . “They do not want to give workers their due,” said Mr Jatinder Pal.

On allegations by the management that CITU was provoking workers, he said :”If supporting the workers is what they call provocation then we agree. We will support the workers if justice is not being done.”



Protest rally by PSEB staff
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, May 17
Employees of the Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB) held a protest rally against privatisation of the board, here, today. The rally was held under the banner of Joint Struggle Co-ordination Committee.

Condemning the government for its decision regarding privatisation of the board, the protesting employees, who were joined by farmers and representatives of various agriculture associations, said the move to privatise the board would not be accepted by them.

Mr Gurdial Singh Bhangal and Mr Dev Raj said the facility of electricity was a necessity and the government should focus on providing this facility to all instead of generating profits out of it and making it unaffordable for the masses.

The move would affect the common man and also farmers . The committee said they would participate in the two-day strike on May 31 and June 1, the call for which has been given by National Co-ordination Committee of Engineers and Employees.



Travel agent nabbed for duping
Mahesh Sharma

Mandi Ahmedgarh, May 17
The kingpin of an interdistrict gang of swindlers that has been allegedly duping rural youths of lakhs of rupees on the pretext of sending them aboard, has been nabbed. The kingpin, a woman whose husband is living in Greece, was nabbed by the Jagraon police along with one of her relatives when they were receiving payment for sending a youth to Italy.

Mr Rajiv Ahir, Senior Superintendent of Police at Jagraon, said the police had received information that Jasbir Kaur, alias Rani, had been duping rural youths on the pretext of sending them abroad. The gang had duped at least 12 persons in the recent past and the woman was missing for more than 10 months.

“We laid a trap on the basis of a secret information and succeeded in arresting her and her brother-in-law who had been managing affairs in her absence," said Mr Ahir.

Preliminary investigations revealed that the accused had earlier sent some youths to Italy and nearby countries through Paramjit Singh Pamma, alias Actor, of Ambuwal village, another travel agent. Pamma is connected with the film industry also. As Rani’s husband Rajwinder Singh had been living in Greece for a long period, she succeeded in generating faith in the aspirants of going abroad. Though some persons sent by them had reached and settled in Italy and other countries, their routine was interrupted last year. They allegedly pocketed around Rs 20 lakh in 2003 and when the victims started pressing them to return their money, Rani ran away with her valuables.

Yesterday, a police team headed by Mr Dharam Pal , SHO, Jagraon, arrested the duo from their residence at Malik village, near here.

The accused admitted to have duped Bahadur Singh of Kapure village in Moga district of Rs 50,000, Ujjaggar Singh of Talwandi Mohalla Dharamkot (Rs 1 lakh), Kulwant Singh of Malik (Rs 1 lakh ), Virender Singh of Chakar (Rs 2.5 lakh ) Jagtar Singh of Chakar village (Rs 1 lakh) Taranjit Singh of Bakhatgarh (Rs 1 lakh), Ram Singh of Malik (Rs 3.5 lakh) Charanjit of Chakar village (Rs 2.5 lakh) Rajinder Singh of Malik (Rs 4.5 lakh), Gurpreet Singh of Lopon (Rs 2.2 lakh) Karamjit Kaur of Kothe Patti Mohabatt Ke (Rs 20,000), Hira Singh of Kalian Wali (Rs 20,000), Gurmel Singh Rau Ke Nihal Singh Wala (Rs 1.70 lakh) and Gurmel Singh of Atam Nagar of Jagraon town (Rs 90,000).

Most of the victims had been lured on the pretext of attractive jobs in Italy. The accused have been booked under Sections 406 and 420 of the IPC.



Purse snatched

Ludhiana, May 17
Two motorcycle borne miscreants snatched a purse from a woman in broad daylight in B Block of Rajguru Nagar today. As she was about to sit in car, two men on the motorcycle snatched the purse and fled.

This is the second incident of purse snatching in Rajguru Nagar colony. In a similar incident two motor- cycles borne persons had snatched the purse of a woman in A block about a fortnight ago. TNS



Fluctuating steel prices worry industry 
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, May 17
The United Cycle and Parts Manufacturers Association today said uncontrolled price manipulation of steel products had caused wide fluctuations in steel prices.
Mr Varinder Kapoor, general secretary of the association, said: “The price of mild steel was in the range of Rs 13,000 per tonne but it has now jumped to Rs 27,000 per tonne in the current year, which means a hike of more than 100 per cent.”

He said as the increase in cost of inputs has not been passed on to finished products, it had become difficult for industry to function.

“Despite over 100 per cent increase in steel prices, the prices of bicycles and parts have registered a less than 25 per cent rise. The increase in cost of inputs has not been passed on to finished products due to which it has become very difficult for the industry to function,” he said.

Blaming the state government for the difficulties being faced by small industries, the association said it was with the support of small industry that the Congress government came to power. “The Chief Minister should take up the case of small scale industry as well,” the association stated.

It said in the present state of affairs over 25 per cent of the small units had already closed down and another 25 per cent were on the verge of closure. Most of the units are running at 50 per cent of their installed capacity and due to plunge in profit margins, the units were rapidly deteriorating.

Rise in steel prices, poor power supply and multiplicity of taxes like VAT were further adding to the woes of small industry.

The association said manipulation of prices by hoarders and middlemen had worsened the situation for small industry. No concrete action has been taken by the government to form a steel regulatory authority or to establish channels to supply steel directly to actual consumers. 



RBI award for PNB journal
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, May 17
The Reserve Bank of India has awarded the first prize to Punjab National Bank for its bi-lingual bi-monthly house journal, PNB Staff Journal. The award has been conferred upon the PNB for the third consecutive year.

The RBI presents this award for the bi-lingual house journals of commercial banks and financial institutions every year.

Dr K.C. Chakrabarty, Executive Director of the PNB, received the award from Dr Y.V. Reddy, Governor, RBI. Mr S.S. Chopra, DGM, who is chief editor of the PNB Staff Journal, was also present. The PNB has also received the ‘Overall Excellence Award’ for its journal in the 8th All India Journal Competition, 2003-04, instituted by the Maya Ram Surjan Foundation.



Biz clip

: Lee Cooper has launched its spring-summer 2005 collection. According to a company press note, the new range offers a wide range of styles, cuts and fabrics for both men and women. TNS


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