P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



Wife-deserting NRIs may be booked for rape
Saurabh Malik
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 20
Non-resident Indians (NRIs) enjoying “holiday marriages” may soon be courting trouble. For, the Punjab police is considering the feasibility of booking wife-deserting NRIs for rape. The police has also sent a communique to the Centre for framing a law to effectively deal with such NRIs.

In a related development, the Punjab Government has decided to appoint Subdivisional Magistrates (SDMs) as Dowry Prohibition Officers. The development is significant as aggrieved wives will not be forced to visit police stations in connection with dowry complaints against NRIs and others.

Giving details, sources say that the possibility of initiating action against erring NRIs for rape under Section 376 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) was recently discussed at a meeting between a Central Government delegation and the NRI cell of the Punjab police. The cell is headed by Fatehgarh Sahib’s Senior Superintendent of Police Varinder Kumar.

A substantial number of officers, attending the meeting, were of the opinion that registering cases of cheating and subjecting a married woman to cruelty under Sections 420 and 498-A of the IPC on allegations of demanding dowry was just not enough.

In many cases, dowry was not the reason behind the offence. As such, the NRIs — marrying Indian girls during their visit to the country and leaving them before boarding the plane — managed to go scot free.

The sources add that the state government, after taking a serious view of the matter, has now asked residents to ensure that the social security number of NRIs is mentioned in the marriage certificate.

The move will go a long way in ensuring the initiation of action against the defaulting NRIs in case of fraud, says the Punjab Minister for Social Security and Development of Women and Children, Ms Gurkanwal Kaur. The residents, she adds, should also get the marriages registered.

Regarding other problems faced by women, the Minister says that 532 complaints relating to demands for dowry, rape, sexual harassment at the workplace, domestic disputes, illicit relations and other offences were received in 2004-05.

Out of the total, 71 complaints were settled mutually, while action has been initiated on 145 complaints. “As many as 318 complaints were filed for no action,” she adds.

The Minister says that committees have also been constituted under the chairmanship of the Deputy Commissioners at the district level in an attempt to protect the rights of women. 


School for NRI children at Phillaur
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 20
Catering to the demand for an international school for children of NRIs in the Ludhiana -Jalandhar belt, a business house of Canada has set up Canadian International School at Bachowal, Phillaur.

Affiliated to the Cambridge International College of Canada, Ontario, classes at the new campus are beginning from June 15, said Mr Raju Sodhi, Chief Administrator of the Indian chain of schools, while addressing a press conference at the Press Club here today. Of the total 500 seats from grade-I to grade-XII, 350 seats have been reserved for the NRI children.

A survey of 2000 NRI families in Ontario State had revealed that it wanted an international-level school in the Jalandhar-Ludhiana belt. The demand for a similar school was also made from NRIs hailing from Gujarat and states in South India.

Mr Sodhi, who has bought the rights for running the schools in India, said a similar school would be opened in Gujarat and one of the states in South India. “Many of the NRIs want that their children should be taught their culture amidst the comforts they enjoy back home. So we decided to provide a centrally air-conditioned school where we will teach Indian history, Hindi and Punjabi and English as the second language”.

At the school, the curriculum of the Ontario Ministry of Education would be followed and there would be a Canadian Principal and trained teaching faculty, he said, adding that on completion the students would receive an Ontario Secondary School diploma with ‘A’ level and go to Canada to complete the final year of their education. The school Principal, Ms Joan Davie, and the Canadian Education Director, Mr Mathew Stefureak, also spoke on the occasion.


Vedanti SGPC’s blue-eyed boy
despite Panthic furore

Tribune News Service

Amritsar, May 20
Even as the SGPC has convened crucial meetings of ‘Dharm Prachar’ Committee and executive body on May 26 and 27, respectively, the role of beleaguered Giani Joginder Singh Vedanti, Jathedar, Akal Takht, in giving a ‘clean chit’ to the controversial Hindi film ‘Jo Bole So Nihal’ is unlikely to figure during the proceedings.

The SGPC is unlikely to oblige certain Sikh organisations which have been seeking the resignation of Jathedar Vedanti and also demanding strict action against his non-official personal assistant Prithipal Singh Sandhu.

The reason for not initiating any action against Jathedar Vedanti is that he has been found to be the ‘most pliable’ Jathedar who has not given any trouble to the Shiromani Akali Dal or the SGPC.

He was installed as Jathedar, Akal Takht, five years ago and helped in rescinding all the controversial edicts, issued by his predecessor, Giani Puran Singh, including the excommunication of Bibi Jagir Kaur, the SGPC chief.

Despite a number of representations made by various panthic organisations, Jathedar Vedanti did not dare summon Mr Parkash Singh Badal, President, SAD, and his wife Ms Surinder Kaur Badal.

Rather, he (Jathedar Vedanti) was instrumental in absolving Mr Badal of the alleged violation of the ‘Hukmnama’ pronounced from Akal Takht.

He has been ignoring the complaints against Mr Sucha Singh Langah, a former Akali Minister, who allegedly ‘violated the maryada’ .

Recognising the ‘services’ of Jathedar Vedanti, the SGPC, the appointing authority of the Sikh high priests, has always tried to shield him since his installation.

The SGPC has deployed its task force and clashed with the Khalsa Panchayat activists who tried to stage a ‘protest dharna’ in front of the SGPC office for having failed to remove Jathedar Vedanti.

Jathedar, Akal Takht, was in the eye of storm when his personal assistant was charged with taking bribe from a controversial Baba Dhanwant Singh against whom a serious petition was filed at Akal Takht.

Though Bhai Ranjit Singh and Giani Puran Singh were also appointed by the pro-Badal SGPC, yet they were removed unceremoniously when they tried to offend the SAD and SGPC.

However, the Dal Khalsa and certain other organisations have threatened to launch a mass movement against Jathedar Vedanti if he failed to tender his resignation for his alleged ‘dubious role’ regarding the controversial Hindi movie.

The Khalra Mission Committee, in a separate press statement, said the statement of Mr Ponty Chadha, the main distributor of the film, that the movie was released after the ‘clean chit’ given by Jathedar Akal Takht had made the latter ‘guilty’. 


Ludhiana woman moves Pak SC for father's release
Maneesh Chhibber
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 20
There is still hope for Ms Satvir Kaur, who has mounted a legal battle to secure the release of her father, who is said to be in a Pakistani jail. Her father, Mr Ajmer Singh Grewal, and four others had crossed over into Pakistan in 1974 and were reportedly jailed. At that time, she was just nine.

When she last heard about her father, he was in Lyalpur jail.

Satvir, a resident of Ludhiana, has filed a petition in the Pakistan Supreme Court to know the fate of her father and secure his release.

Saying that the recent thaw is the Indo-Pak relations gave her hope that she would finally see her father after over 31 years, Satvir's petition pleads that her father be sent back to India.

She is being helped in her efforts by human rights activist and Punjab and Haryana High Court lawyer Ranjan Lakhanpal and Pakistan Supreme Court lawyer Anees Jilani.

Her petition and a letter were sent by Mr Lakhanpal to Mr Justice Khaleel-ur-Rehman Ram Day of the Supreme Court of Pakistan by Mr Lakhanpal.

In the letter, Mr Lakhanpal has sought the intervention of the Supreme Court of Pakistan to get Satvir's father released. He has also stated that he has managed to send about 200 Pakistanis languishing in Indian jails back to Pakistan by filing petitions in the Punjab and Haryana High Court at Chandigarh and in the Supreme Court of India.

"I have filed the petition in the Supreme Court of Pakistan and am ready to go there to plead her case. I have received the acknowledgement of the petition. I am hopeful, justice will be done," Mr Lakhanpal told The Tribune.

The petition names the Pakistan Home Affairs Secretary and the Superintendent of Faislabad Central Jail as respondents.

In support of her contention that her father is in Pakistani jail, the petitioner has stated that in 1999, she had been informed that her father was in Lyalpur jail.

''The petitioner wants to meet her father or at least know whether he is dead or alive so that her agonising wait comes to an end either way,'' the petitioner states.

"In 2003, a police party from Model Town Police Station, Ludhiana, visited the family and verified the fact that Ajmer Singh used to live at L-84, Model Town, Ludhiana. This gave hope to her that he was alive," Mr Lakhanpal said.

Satvir's efforts to meet her father again have hovered between hope and despair. A couple of years ago, some cops informed the family that the two governments had initiated the process to verify Mr Grewal and he would return soon. But, there was no word after that.

This time, Satvir hopes, it will be different.


SAD leaders fret and fume at Amarinder govt
Party to hold protest show on May 30
Raj Sadosh

Abohar, May 20
The SAD Supremo and former Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, will himself lead a protest dharna and demonstration against the state government on May 30 in Ferozepore.

Mr Manjit Singh Barkandi, district president of the SAD, while addressing a well-attended workers meeting here at Gurdwara Singh Sabha today, said the new political campaign would not only air anguish of the people against the state government but also decide political future of Punjab. Capt Amarinder Singh and his Cabinet colleagues had been talking of sovereignty of village panchayats but the sarpanches, who refused to toe the line of the ruling party, had not been handed over even proceeding books for the past two years, he alleged. Those who dared to join the SAD were falsely booked for misappropriating wheat received for distribution against development works, he said.

Mr Barkandi exhorted party workers to start preparation for next Assembly poll so that the SAD could be brought to power again. Mr Gurdas Singh Badal, former MP and brother of Mr Parkash Singh Badal said he had not seen such a corrupt and inefficient government in his seven-decade career. None of the promises made in the Congress manifesto during the last Assembly election was implemented.

The SAD had resolved to form district-level struggle committees to expose and pull down the present government. Youths would get due representation in such committees, he said.

Mr Zora Singh Mann, MP, said the district-level dharna and protest demonstration on May 30 would provide an opportunity to expose the Congress government for its misdeeds and anti-people policies.

People had got completely disillusioned with the performance of the government. It was unfortunate that certain government officers had been dancing to the tunes of the ruling party. They would have to face the consequences, he warned. Mr Janmeja Singh Sekhon, former Cabinet Minister, said the charter of demands to be approved at the May 30 rally would include deferring the implementation of VAT in Punjab, withdrawal of the move to privatise education, health services and electricity board.

The Congress government had been making false claims on development. People felt that development works had generally become money-extracting exercise for most of the Congress leaders, he said.

Neither Dalits were provided free electricity supply nor farmers could get tube-well connections. Anti corruption drive had emerged as a tool to harass opposition leaders while corruption had increased by 20 per cent. Neither politicians nor officers had any reservation in openly demanding illegal gratification, he alleged.

Mr Gurtej Singh Ghuriana, former MLA from Balluana, not only criticised the CM but also took the present Congress MLA of the constituency to task. Mr Ghuriana said the present representative of the constituency in the Assembly had not been able to get even one km of road constructed. All that he did was just to replace the foundation stones.

He hoped more than 25 thousand workers would participate in the May 30 dharna.

Dr Ram Kumar Goyal, former BJP MLA, assured full cooperation on behalf of his party.


Four Punjab IAS officers elevated
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 20
Four Punjab IAS officers — have been elevated as Special Secretaries by the state Governor. Another four IAS officers have been transferred and posted elsewhere. Notifications in this regard were issued by Punjab Chief Secretary Jai Singh Gill.

Sources in the state government assert that more transfers are expected soon. The elevated officer are Mr R.L. Mehta (Planning), Dr Arvinder Singh (Transport), Mr Megh Raj (Director, Small Savings and ex-officio Special Secretary to Punjab Government), Mr Madan Gopal Acharya (Special Secretary, Power).

Mr Mehta and Dr Arvinder Singh belong to the 1994 batch, while Mr Raj and Mr Acharya belong to the 1995 batch. The sources say that the promotions were due in 2003 as an officer with nine years seniority in the IAS is to be elevated as Special Secretary. The promotions were delayed due to litigation, they assert.

Giving details of the postings, a government spokesman said Mr R.C. Nayyar had been posted as Secretary, Parliamentary Affairs. He would also function as Secretary, Punjab State Human Rights Commission.

Dr Roshan Sunkaria has been posted as Secretary, Lokpal, while Mr Kahan Singh Pannu goes as Additional Secretary (Revenue). Mr Kumar Rahul has, meanwhile, been posted as Additional Secretary (Finance).


Jalandhar poised for a ‘sarkari’ housing boom
Land sharks to be hit severely
Varinder Singh
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, May 20
Private colonisers and land sharks are all set to receive a set-back as the Jalandhar Improvement Trust has envisaged building nearly 5000 dwelling units in and around the city for people belonging to all income groups.

The Improvement Trust authorities are already working on three new ambitious housing schemes to come up at Salempur Musalmana village, Gazi Gulla locality and at a 70-acre stretch of land near the Surya Enclave on the Jalandhar-Amritsar by-pass.

All three types of houses — HIG, MIG and Super HIG — will be constructed by the Improvement Trust authorities in the Salempur Musalmana and 70-acre land near Surya Enclave.

Low income group houses will be the main attraction of the proposed Gazi Gulla housing scheme of the trust.

“Nearly 2000-3000 houses will come up in the 70-acre housing scheme, while in Salempur Musalmanan scheme, we are planning to set up about 2000 houses. About 100 families will be getting houses in our proposed Gazi Gulla housing scheme. We are in the process of acquiring the land, a large part of which belonged to the Jalandhar Municipal Corporation”, said Mr Tejinder Bittu, the Improvement Trust Chairman, who, has been given a two-year extension by the Punjab Government on Thursday.

According to Mr Bittu, providing housing facilities has been the top priority of the Jalandhar Improvement Trust, which is accomplishing the task on the lines of Rohini in New Delhi, where the Delhi Development Authority had set up a large number of dwelling units.

The proposed mega housing schemes, insiders point out, will be directly hitting the business of big colonisers and developers for whom the city has been nothing short of a paradise so far.

“If the Improvement Trust kept on providing housing paradise facilities at this pace, housing needs of people of Jalandhar would be fulfilled and they would stop buying residential accommodation in semi or under-developed private colonies, developed by big colonisers,” said a property dealer.

According to Mr Bittu, who was offered sweets by the Punjab local Bodies Minister Chaudhary Jagjit Singh on grant of extension to the former, the proposed 70-acre scheme and the housing scheme at Salempur Musalmanan, will be provided with shopping malls which were in vogue these days.

“These two colonies would boast of ultra-modern facilities and we are even thinking of supplying LPG to buyers through pipes,” said Mr Bittu.


SAD to present ‘charge sheet’ against Capt to PM
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, May 20
The Shiromani Akali Dal supremo, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, said today that Mr Pardip Singh Walia , president of the breakaway group of the local urban unit, was not even a primary member of the party and hence there was no need to take any action for raising a ‘banner of revolt’ against the official president of SAD (Amritsar -Urban).

Mr Badal was here to preside over the annual prize distribution function of the local Shaheed Ganj Khalsa Memorial School.

The SAD president said his party would present a ‘chargesheet’ against the state government on corruption. He said a high powered delegation of his party would meet the Prime Minister, to apprise him about the ‘misgovernance’ of Capt Amarinder Singh and his government .

When asked as to why the BJP had not given full support to SAD on the turban issue, Mr Badal said his party was strong enough to take up such issues at its own level.


CPI dharnas from June 1
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 20
The Punjab unit of the CPI here yesterday asked President of SAD Parkash Singh Badal to clarify that whether he was a supporter of the Hindu nation for the creation of which the BJP had been trying hard for the past several years.

Addressing a press conference after a meeting of the general council of the party, Dr Joginder Dayal, secretary of the CPI, said his party had no objection in joining hands with SAD but first Mr Badal would have to make his position clear on various issues.

Showing a “red card” to the Congress-led government in Punjab, Dr Dayal said the state government had failed on all fronts. Dr Dayal said his party would start dharnas from June 1 against the government.


Meningitis claims life at Patiala
Our Correspondent

Patiala, May 20
After oscillating between life and death for nearly six days, 50-year-old Kamla Devi finally succumbed to meningitis at the Government Rajindera hospital late Thursday night.

The disease has claimed its second victim within this week after 55-year-old Jaspal Singh of Main village, near here, died at the same hospital on the intervening night of May 16 and 17.

Meanwhile, the Principal of the Medical College, Dr Kiranjit Kaur, said that Kamla Devi was a suspected case of meningitis and not a confirmed one.

A resident of Baretta, Kamla Devi, was admitted to the hospital on May 11 and for the past four days the doctors attending on her had kept her on a ventilator. The Medical Superintendent, at one time, had even claimed that the blood culture tests done on Kamla Devi were negative and that the patient was not suffering from meningitis.

The MS, Ms Kulbir Kaur, when contacted said that she could not comment on Kamla Devi’s death since she was on leave while Dr V.S Mohi, District Health Officer, claimed that he had not seen the reports as they have not been sent to him.


When policemen break law!
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, May 20
With action being taken against 10 policemen in various cases in the past one month, the image of police here has taken a beating. Serious allegations like rape, bribery, and torture have been levelled against the police during this period. But the latest case of custodial death of a youth at the Rampura police station has jolted the police department.

It was about a month back when Pawani Bai, a Rajasthani migrant, had accused some policemen of raping her in Bathinda jail. It created a furore among Rajasthani migrants as well as some social and political groups. They took to streets and staged dharnas, demanding an impartial probe into the matter. The magisterial probe indicted two police personnel, including a woman constable, Ranjit Kaur. However, the rape charge could not be corroborated. The police had registered a case against both of them. On May 5 the Vigilance Bureau caught Phul SHO Resham Singh red-handed while accepting bribe from Balbir Singh with regard to a criminal case.

Just when the dust had settled down on the Pawani Bai episode, a Dalit Sikh farmer from Gudha village on Tuesday alleged that the Nandgarh police post in charge pulled him by his beard and tortured him. The SSP had asked the DSP (H) to investigate the matter. A day later three policemen Harjinder Singh, Harjiwan Singh and Narinder Singh, posted at Bhucho police post, were suspended and booked for reportedly letting off an opium smuggler by taking bribe.

On the same day a delegation of villagers and some local politicians met the Deputy Commissioner and alleged that the Talwandi Sabo police had tried to hush up the rape case of a Dalit girl belonging to Behman Jassa Singh village. The DC immediately ordered a magisterial probe in the case. The police yesterday suspended ASI Balwinder Singh posted at Talwandi Sabo for not registering the case in time and ordered a department enquiry against him, besides arresting the rape accused and getting the victim medically examined.

The SSP, Mr Kapil Dev, admitted that the image of the police had suffered due to these incidents. He said the policemen found guilty were being punished.


Indefinite stir in support of ‘abadkaars’
Our Correspondent

Phagwara, May 20
The CPM-led Punjab Kisan Sabha, under the banner of the Abadkaar Sangharsh Committee, Punjab, would launch an indefinite state-level morcha from May 23 in Ludhiana in support of the demand to provide agrarian ownership rights of land to “abadkaars”.

Mr Lehmber Singh Taggar, general secretary, of the sabha, said today that “abadkaars” and their families would assemble outside the mini secretariat in Ludhiana and hold a rally there. They would camp there till the Government announced the ownership rights. Farmers and workers from various districts would join the protesters daily.

Mr Taggar said the poor and landless farmers were given a go-ahead by the government about 45 years ago to reclaim and till about four to five lakh acres of waste government land along rivers banks and beds. After toiling for years, this barren, unpopulated land was reclaimed and made fertile by the “abadkaars,” he said.

Through agitations, the ownership rights for over 2.5 lakh acre were procured for tillers, he claimed. However, the ownership rights of over 1.5 lakh acres were yet to be given. Various government departments, especially the Forest Department, were attempting to dislocate the “abadkaars”, he said.


900 posts of doctor vacant in rural areas
Varinder Singh
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, May 20
More than 900 posts of doctor are lying vacant in rural areas of Punjab for over six years, but nothing has been done to fill these posts even as nearly 2,000 doctors were either unemployed or under-employed in the state.

Similarly, over a dozen posts of deputy director were vacant in the office of the Director, Health Services (DHS), or in the districts. This has irked the Punjab Civil Medical Services Association (PCMS) which has urged the government to fill the vacant posts of doctor, particularly in the rural areas.

Statistics gathered by the PCMS Association have revealed that nearly 25 per cent posts of about 4,000-strong PCMS cadre were lying vacant in the state for over six years, while the same is the position in the case of posts of deputy Director.

The Health Minister and other top authorities have been promising to fill these posts, but no concrete step has been taken at any level so far. So, the association has decided to meet the Health Minister and the Chief Minister on June 3, said Dr M.B. Bali, vice-president of the association.

Appealing to the state government to fill the posts of deputy director, the association has said that such a step would open promotional avenues for those senior doctors who have been waiting for their promotion for long. “For opening up promotional channels for doctors, the state health authorities could also designate senior medical officers (SMOs) as deputy civil surgeons, a step which would effect decentralisation of powers and would make the health system more effective due to enhanced monitoring.


Beautification project ‘re-inaugurated’
Rashmi Talwar

Amritsar, May 20
An MP belonging to the opposition, allegedly “re-inaugurated” a beautification project of park at Tilak Nagar here today and announced a grant of Rs 1 lakh for the purpose.

The beautification and maintenance project had earlier been inaugurated by the Mayor of the ruling party, Mr Sunil Datti, in the presence of Mr Jugal Kishore Sharma, Congress MLA and Chairman of the Improvement Trust, Mr Ram Lal Sharma, on May 7.

The names of Mr Navjot Singh Sidhu, BJP MP, along with former Health Minister Baldev Raj Chawla, former BJP councillor Suresh Mahajan and Deputy Commissioner Kirandeep Bhuller figure on the “hastily” erected inaugural plaque in the park that was reportedly constructed last night.

While Mr Datti could not be contacted as he left for Canada early this morning, Mr Jugal Kishore expressed his anger over the inauguration and said it was “illegal” and did not have the consent of the area councillor. He said Rs 80,000 had already been approved this year for the work.

The Deputy Commissioner expressed his ignorance and asked the SDM-I, Mr Manpreet Singh, to verify whether his name figured on the plaque. Mr Manpreet confirmed it and the Deputy Commissioner said it was done without his knowledge.

Mr Ram Lal Sharma said the construction of a footpath in the park was already under way. He stated that it was strange that the name of Mr Sanjeev Gupta, Xen, Panchayati Raj, was mentioned on the plaque since the work had already been allotted to contractors by the corporation.

He said the names of candidates who had lost in the elections were also mentioned. Mr Navjot Singh Sidhu said he was not bothered about criticism as long as he was able to augur development in the city.


35 Punjab MLAs to leave for Pak today
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 20
As many as 35 Punjab MLAs led by the Speaker, Dr Kewal Krishan, will leave for Pakistan tomorrow via Wagah border. It is first time that such a big delegation of Punjab MLAs is visiting Pakistan.

And about 50 Members of Provincial Assembly of Punjab (Pakistan) will visit India in the first week of June. They will be led by the Speaker of their Assembly. They would visit Agra, Ajmer and Fatehpur Sikri and Chandigarh.

Meanwhile, the Punjab delegation includes MLAs of the ruling Congress and also of the Shiromani Akali Dal and the BJP. Besides it, some independent MLAs are also part of the delegation. Mr Nachhattar Singh Mavi, Secretary of the Punjab Vidhan Sabha, is also accompanying the delegation.

They will stay in Pakistan for five days and visit Islamabad, Nankana Sahib, Lahore and Panja Sahib. During their stay in Pakistan, they would also visit the Pakistan Punjab Assembly at Lahore and also the National Assembly at Islamabad.


Set up new wage board, say journalists
Our Correspondent

Kharar, May 20
The Chandigarh Punjab Union of Journalists (CPUJ) has demanded the setting up of a new wage board for journalists and other newspaper employees at the earliest.

In a memorandum addressed to the Prime Minister, which was handed over to the Deputy Commissioner, Ropar, and the SDM, Kharar, the convener of the district unit of the CPUJ Mr Nitin Jain, said the need for the new wage board remained even though the staff these days was being recruited on a contract basis. He said the workload on journalists had increased over the years but the salaries had not been raised accordingly though the newspaper industry was making profits.

The union also demanded that a media commissioner should be appointed to look into the problems being faced by the electronic and print media said 362 employees who were retrenched on Gandhi Jayanti last year by an English daily should be taken back as they had been removed in an illegal and arbitrary manner.


Chemical laboratory to be computerised
Tribune News Service

Patiala, May 20
The Health and Family Welfare Minister, Punjab Mr Ramesh Chander Dogra has directed the State Health and Family Welfare department to computerize the record -keeping and reporting systems of the Chemical Examiner’s Office. In a press note issued here, the State Health authorities said a computer system and a fax machine had been installed at the Chemical Examiner’s Office at Patiala, provided by the Directorate of Health and Family Welfare, Punjab.

Dr. G.L.Goel, Director, Health and Family Welfare, Punjab, had expressed the hope this would not only enable it to issue computerized chemical reports but also the chemical examiner would have a better communication with the doctors and the police authorities. The Chemical Examiner to Government of Punjab, Dr. D.C.Sharma said deaths due to poisoning were very important in the process of imparting justice by the courts. The accused wants to get the benefit of release on bail if the challan was not filed by the police within the stipulated three- month period.


Judicial custody for accused in Rs 3 crore land scam
Tribune News Service

Kharar, May 20
A local court today remanded the three accused in the Rs 3 crore Gurdaspur land acquisition case in judicial custody. The three — a panchayat secretary Manwinder Singh, a former village sarpanch Kuldip Raj and assistant revenue clerk Balbir Chand — were arrested by the Punjab vigilance bureau on May 17 and presented before the CJM’s court here on May 18.

The three were remanded in two days police custody on May 18.

The three, along with a BDPO, had reportedly cheated the government of Rs 3 crore. They had faked the presence of over 9,000 kanal of land in Shahpur Kandi and pocketed the compensation amount following the acquisition of land to the area for the Ranjit Sagar dam project.

It was found later that the land for which these persons had taken compensation did not exist and the khasra numbers given by these officials were fake. The main accused in the case, the then BDPO, is still on the run.


Court declares Singla Sangrur IMA chief
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, May 20
After a five-month legal battle, Dr K.G. Singla, a local surgeon, was declared president of the Sangrur branch of the Punjab unit of the Indian Medical Association (IMA) as per a statement given in a court yesterday. This was stated by Dr O.P.S. Kande, state president of the Punjab IMA, Dr Jagmohan Singh, chairman, Punjab IMA election commission, Dr Nirmal Dhiman and Dr Jaskaran Singh Gill, both members of the Election Commission.

Distributing a court document to this effect to mediapersons at a press conference here today, Dr Singla, who was a presidential candidate in the elections of the Sangrur IMA held on December 15, last year, said in view of the withdrawal from the post of president by Dr Lal Chand Bansal on March 30, last year, Dr Kande and chairman and members of the election commission regretted the harassment caused to him on account of declaration of result, election process and court proceedings.

Earlier on December 16, last year, the Punjab IMA Election Commission had declared Dr Lal Chand Bansal as president of the Sangrur IMA. Dissatisfied with the result Dr Singla had moved a Ludhiana court, by levelling allegations of irregularities.

On his application the court restrained the Punjab IMA and the election commission from declaring the result of Sangrur IMA elections without verifying authenticity of the disputed votes.


Administrative Secy inspects Civil Hospital
Tribune News Service

Ropar, May 20
To inspect the services being provided to the patients at the local Civil Hospital, the Administrative Secretary, Health and Family Welfare, Mr D.S. Guru, visited the hospital last night.

The Assistant Director, Health, Punjab, also accompanied Mr Guru. Mr Guru interacted with patients to know about the treatment they were getting at the hospital.

He also checked the doctors’ presence.

The Civil Surgeon and the SMO of the hospital were also present during Mr Guru’s visit.


Undertrial flees from police custody
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar May 20
In a dramatic episode, an undertrial managed to flee after serving intoxicated tea to two Jalandhar police officials, who, were deputed to take him to Rajpura for a court appearance.

Harvinder Singh, a resident of Langeri village near Banga, and an undertrial in the local Central Jail, was being brought back to Jalandhar by head constable Harjit Singh and constable Avtaar Singh on Thursday in a car of one of relatives of Harvinder Singh.

As the car reached Phillaur, Harvinder Singh expressed his desire to get some refreshment, to which the police officials gave their nod and the car was stopped at a roadside dhaba. Harvinder and his relative served tea to two police officials, who, were left unconscious the moment they sipped the beverage. Meanwhile, Harvinder and his relative managed to flee.

Harjit Singh and Avtaar Singh were admitted to the local Civil Hospital.

Meanwhile, SSP Ishwar Singh had suspended four police officials, including Harjit Singh and Avtaar Singh, for dereliction of duty. Raids were being conducted to nab Harvinder Singh.


Cops suspect murders handiwork of Bhoria tribe
Tribune News Service

Mohali, May 20
Even as Ropar and Patiala police swooped down on the Bangala tribals today in connection with the killing of five persons in separate incidents in Mullanpur Garibdass and Dera Bassi, no breakthrough has reportedly been made in the cases.

According to the police, investigations have revealed that these murders seem to be the handiwork of members of a criminal tribe, Bhoria, of Rajasthan considered to be relatives of the Bangalas. The possibility of these murders being “cult killings” was also being considered, police sources added.

On May 10, four persons were allegedly clubbed to death and another five injured in two separate incidents of armed robbery in Mastgarh and Tira in the wee hours of the morning. The two places where the six-member gang of armed robbers struck were located within a distance of about 1 km of each other.

Based on the information gathered in the case, the police has zeroed in on the Bhoria tribe from Jhunjhun and Alvar districts of Rajasthan that moves across Punjab during this time of the year towards Naina Devi to pay obeisance to the mother goddess. Since in both the incidents, the money robbed was minimal, the police believes that the crimes seemed to have been committed more to “appease” the goddess as a sacrifice than for the money.

Police sources said they allegedly first struck at Ganji Tibi Ke Dera, Tira village and clubbed to death the mahant of the dera, Jaswinder Singh, and a devotee Tarlochan Singh. They injured Lal Singh, a caretaker of the dera. Lal Singh who is the sole witness to the incident, however, has been of little help to the police. Lal Singh is said to be mentally upset and has not been able to give any consistent statement, said the police.

Similarly in the second incident, the robbers allegedly struck at the house of Swaran Singh, a milkman of Masatgarh village, where the owner of the house along with his father were killed and four other members of the family were injured. The wife of the milkman who was also witness to the incident told the police that her husband and father-in-law were killed by gunshots. The police said the post-mortem reports, however, clearly showed that the two died of clubbing with a blunt heavy object.

The police said the criminal tribes like Bhorias, Pardis, Bangalas and Joginaths were on the move during this time of the year and struck at places close to big cities where they could escape easily. The police said efforts were being made to track the movement of the Bhorias since they generally struck many times at different places.

“Right now we are focusing on prevention of similar incidents. Night dominance drive of the police is on. We are also deploying various strategies to nab the criminals. Informers are giving us details of the lifestyle of the members of these tribes, where they live, what kind of huts they make, what food and liquor they consume.

But it is extremely difficult to keep track of these tribes since they move swiftly from one place to another,” said Mr Bhagwant Singh, SHO Mullapur Garibdass, one of the investigating officer in the case.

“Also such crimes are not easy to prevent without support from the public which should be alert. Public should keep its ears and eyes open for outsiders who have distinct habits and behave suspiciously.

They should inform the police in case they suspect that some one like a beggar or an idler is standing outside a group of houses keeping a watch. Those running liquor shops should inform the police about any odd or new person visiting their shop. These bits of information not just help solve crimes but also prevent similar incidents,” added the SHO.


Arhtiya ‘flees’ with farmers’ money
Tribune News Service

Moga, May 20
An arhtiya of the local grain market has reportedly fled abroad with lakhs of rupees of farmers. On the basis of the farmers’ complaint, the police has booked the arhtiya, Kulbhushan Kumar, who owns Kishori Lal and Sons.

Sources said the farmers belonging to Kadarwala, Fatehpur Jhugia, Chiragshahwala, and other villages, in their complaint to the SSP, alleged that they had been selling their agricultural produce to him for the past many years. They alleged that their dues worth crores were pending with him and whenever they demanded their money he kept dilly-dallying the matter.

The Sources said the “fraud” came to light when the farmers converged on the arhtiya’s shop to recover their dues, but didn’t find any responsible person there. They then headed towards his home at Jawahar Nagar where her mother expressed ignorance about his whereabouts. The irked farmers alleged that Kulbhushan Kumar had escaped abroad and the police should ensure recovery of their dues from the other partners of his firm.

Taking serious notice of their complaint, the SSP has ordered a probe into the matter, following which a case was registered against the arhtiya.


Youth booked for screening blue films
Tribune News Service

Kapurthala, May 20
The district police has booked a 25-year-old youth for screening blue films at his home for men from his neighbourhood at Talwandi Chaudhrian village late on Wednesday evening.

Sukhwinder Singh had reportedly been playing CDs of blue films at his home for his acquaintances on a regular basis.

The accused had also been allegedly serving them illicit liquor at his place.

During a raid conducted at his home, the youth fled away while four such CDs were confiscated.

An FIR has been lodged against him under Sections 292 and 294 of the IPC. In another FIR filed against him, the youth has also been booked under the Excise Act.


Youth dies in police custody
Tribune News Service

Rampura Phul, May 20
A 25-year-old youth hailing from Rodikapura village of Faridkot district today died in police custody at the Rampura Phul police station. The police has termed it as a suicide.

According to the police, Gurdev Singh was facing the charge of duping Bagad Singh of Kothe Maha Singh, Mehraj, on the pretext of getting him a job. On the basis of Bagad’s statement, a case was registered against him. Police sources said Gurdev was in Mehraj for the past few days and both parties had locked horns over the issue. Gurdev was arrested in this connection last night. The sources said the youth died of asphyxiation and some marks were found on his throat.

Narrating today’s incident, the police said a jail sentry took him to the toilet in the morning but when he didn’t return after about 15 minutes, the sentry called for him. On getting no reply, he opened the door and found him hanging from a water tap at a height of about 5 ft. He had used a piece of cloth to hang himself.

The SDM, who has been asked to probe into the matter, constituted a board to carry out the post-mortem examination. He has also said the viscera should be tested in Patiala.

Meanwhile, top police officials including the DIG, Faridkot range, the SSP and SP (D) visited the jail.

The police has suspended SHO Raminder Lumba, ASI Ranjit Singh, constable Angrej Singh and Home Guard Rajinder Singh. A case has been registered.

Asked how a person could hang himself from a five-foot high tap, the SSP, Mr Kapil Dev, said it was a case of partial hanging and similar cases had happened in the past.


Jewellery worth Rs 5 lakh stolen from shop
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, May 20
Thieves stole a heavy safe from the shop of a jeweller, Som Nath, at Dirba village, 26 km from here, on Wednesday night. There were gold and silver ornaments and cash in the safe.

Talking to The Tribune over the phone yesterday, Mr Sushil Kumar, DSP, Sunam, said the thieves stole 700 gm of gold, 10 kg of silver and Rs 50,000 which had been kept in the safe by the shopkeeper. The total amount of the stolen articles was said to be about Rs 5 lakh.

As per information, the thieves broke open the locks of the shutter of the shop and took away the safe, about 3 quintals in weight.

The police registered a case under Sections 380 and 457 of the IPC.


Bank Manager held for accepting bribe
Our Correspondent

Patiala, May 20
The Vigilance Bureau (VB) today arrested the manager of State Bank of Patiala, Kauli branch, on the charge of accepting illegal gratification from a cloth merchant of the same village.

The manager, Mr Gurjit Singh, was arrested by the Vigilance DSP, Mr Banarsi Dass, when the former was accepting a bribe of Rs 1,500 from Mr Harjinder Singh, a cloth merchant, for getting his loan sanctioned.

Mr Harjinder Singh informed the Vigilance sleuths who laid a trap and arrested the manager. The bureau, which also raided the manager’s residence, has registered an FIR against Mr Gurjit Singh.


3 held for attempt to murder
Tribune News Service

Ropar, May 20
The city police today arrested three youths who were involved in a case of stabbing at the Civil Hospital here two days ago. Those arrested included Dilwar of Purkhali, Rana of Shimana Khurd and Satnam Singh of Ropar city. The three were arrested from different places on charge of attempt to murder.

The youths, who have been working with the parking slot contractor at the Civil Hospital here, had seriously injured Varinder Singh of Jhanjheri and Barinder Singh of Mohali by stabbing them in the hospital complex.


16,820 to sit for PTU CET
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, May 20
Punjab Technical University (PTU) has got a record number of entries from candidates seeking admission to engineering, pharmacy and architecture colleges through Combined Entrance Test (CET) to be conducted on June 3 this year.

Last year the university received 13,900 applications for the purpose. It has received 16,820 applications this year. The university authorities had to get hundreds of copies of application forms reprinted to meet demand of candidates.

As many as 16,820 candidates will vie for 13,380 seats and like earlier seats outnumbered the candidates desirous of admission. The aspirants will try for admission to 39 engineering, 17 pharmacy and five architecture colleges.

The All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) has been very stringent in granting approval to colleges. Of the seven engineering and four pharmacy colleges, just one engineering college has been given the nod for the purpose.

It is Rayat Bahra College of Engineering at Kharar. The college will soon be inspected by the university authorities for future action. The college is likely to get approval for four branches each with 60 seats, which will increase the total number of seats to 13,620.


769 students debarred from Class X exam
Our Correspondent

Mohali, May 20
As many as 769 students were debarred from appearing in the matriculation examination conducted by the Punjab School Education Board in March exposing the working of the Open School system of the board.

The students who were to appear through the Open School were stopped from sitting in the examination as they had not deposited their examination forms. Strangely enough, how could the examination forms be accepted without furnishing the proof of having deposited the required fee of Rs 700 per student. Had the irregularity not come to the notice of officials, the board would have suffered a financial loss of over Rs 5 lakh.

The irregularity was detected by the staff working in the examination wing of the board which was brought to the notice of the Controller of Examinations. It was then decided that examination roll numbers should not be issued to 769 students.

Mrs Sukhwinder Kaur Saroya, Controller of Examinations (COE), told Chandigarh Tribune that though her staff members were able to detect the irregularity in the case of 769 students, it was possible that some students were able to appear in the examination without depositing the required fee. The scrutiny of the forms was going on and if more such cases were detected the board would not declare their results.

She said that apart from this there were cases where the students had failed to provide proper proof of eligibility for appearing in the examination. Even tampering with the date of birth and other records was noticed in some cases. Such cases were being scrutinised. She said that she had failed to understand how such forms could be accepted by officials of the Open School. She said that despite the fact that officials of the Open School had given an affidavit stating that all students were eligible to appear in the examination, such irregularities had been detected.

It was for the first time that the examination work relating to the Open School was handed over to office of the Controller of Examinations.

Earlier, everything was managed by officials of the Open School themselves. She said that she would request the chairman of the board to hand over the work of accepting forms of students appearing through the Open School to the office of the COE from next year.

She said that it was possible that such irregularities were going on over the past many years and the officials concerned were not bothered to keep a proper check on the system.


Professor given premature retirement
Our Correspondent

Patiala, May 20
The Punjabi University Syndicate, which met here today, decided to give premature retirement to Dr K.S. Sidhu, a former Registrar and Professor, Department of Defence and Strategic Studies who, following an inquiry, was found to have “ acted in an irresponsible way, used unfair means in official orders and defied orders of higher authorities.”

Dr Sidhu was also found to have misused the powers of the Vice-Chancellor in order to favour a former employee, Mr H.S. Khokhar. Earlier, in April 1986, the Syndicate had discontinued two increments to Dr Sidhu `for his immoral conduct during an raid of an examination at Bhawanigarh for which he was never deputed by the university authorities.

In another development the Syndicate approved the change of name of Business Studies, Punjabi University, Guru Kashi campus, Talwandi Sabo to University School of Business studies. This has been on demand of students of Guru Kashi campus in an attempt to get better placement opportunities.

It was also decided to change the nomenclature of existing posts in the Department of Physical Education and Sports. Now instead of mixed nomenclatures like Professor-cum-Director and Reader-cum-Joint Director, there will be two separate wings like Teaching wing and Sports wing with nomenclatures like Professor, Reader, Lecturer and Director.

The syndicate also approved the appointments of Dr S.S Bhatti as Principal of University College, Rampura Phul and Prof Sundar Singh as Joint Director of the Engineering College at Punjabi University, Neighbourhood campus, Rampura Phul.


Amritsar girl tops in French course exam
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, May 20
Shikha Kapoor, a student of B A (I) in a local college, has topped in the certificate course in French examination conducted by Guru Nanak Dev University in April. She secured 186 marks out of 200.

Shikha said that she was inspired by her father to learn the French language.

She plan to do the diploma course in French which would help her get admission in MA in French in Jawaharlal Nehru University.

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