P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



Hawara’s arrest brings hope for
kin of Tara and Bheora
Kiran Deep
Tribune News Service

Fatehgarh Sahib/Ropar, June 8
While on the one hand the news of the arrest of Jagtar Singh Hawara, the main accused in Beant Singh assassination case, caused anguish to his mother and other villagers, on the other hand it rekindled hope for the family members of the other two accused— Jagtar Singh Tara and Paramjit Singh Bheora—who had escaped from Burail jail along with Hawara. The families of these two accused are now once again hopeful that the two of them might be alive. Earlier, they had feared that Bheora and Tara, who belong to Ropar, might have been killed by the police personnel after their escape from the jail.

Meanwhile, residents of Hawara, the native village of Jagtar Singh Hawara, situated near Fatehgarh Sahib district , were in shock after the news of his arrest spread in the village. Several villagers gathered outside the residence of Hawara since morning to get more information, but Hawara’s mother, 60-year- old Narender Kaur, refused to talk to anyone and closed the door of her house.

When this correspondent reached Hawara’s house in the afternoon, Narender Kaur, who was lying listlessly on a bed was reluctant to talk initially. Later, after much persuasion she talked about the tough time that she had faced ever since her son’s escape. “The police personnel came here and humiliated me. I am not well and upset as my son has again been arrested” she added.

“ I have been living alone for the past several year s. After Hawara’s escape from the jail, I have had no contact with him. I am fed up of people ’s inquiries,” said a visibly disappointed, Narender Kaur.

“We have been taking care of over 22 kila land of Hawara’s family. Narender Kaur and several other families of the village had not had food since morning as they were upset over Hawara’s arrest” said Hawara’s neighbour, Balwinder Kaur.

Meanwhile, 81-year-old Jagjit Singh, father of another accused, Paramjit Singh, appeared to be a bit relaxed in Bheora village in Ropar district. He said ‘‘no one had come here to make inquiries from us. We came to know about Hawara’s arrest in the morning after reading newspapers. We have no idea about the whereabouts of Paramjit Singh Bheora.We had feared that he might have be en killed by the police. But with the arrest of Hawara we are hopeful now that my son might be alive.’’

Meanwhile, in Dekwala village, Shamsher Singh, elder brother of the third escaped accused Jagtar Singh Tara, said he had no information about his brother ever since his escape from Burail jail. ‘‘Not having met him for a long time is painful and we had almost lost all hope of his survival but now with the arrest of Hawara, we are hopeful that Paramjit Singh too is alive’’, he said.


Complete failure of Punjab Police
Hawara stayed at Sangrur after escape
Saurabh Malik
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 8
Complete failure — nothing else can explain the inability of the Punjab Police to nab Jagtar Singh Hawara, the alleged assassin of Punjab’s former Chief Minister Beant Singh.

For nearly 18 months, Hawara — carrying a reward of Rs 5 lakh on his head — continued to mastermind militant activities after tunelling his way out of Chandigarh’s Model Jail in Burail village.

Senior Punjab Police officers admit that the activists of the militant outfit, Babar Khalsa International, were regularly in touch with Hawara. In fact, the twin blasts in Delhi cinema halls were carried out with his knowledge. Besides Jammu, he is learnt to have stayed for some time in Sangrur also. Still, they were not able to nab him for almost one-and-a-half years.

Rather, the police in Punjab kept on insisting that Hawara and his accomplices had crossed over to Pakistan soon after the great escape and were out of their reach.

A senior Punjab Police officer admitted they were “ashamed” of the fact that they had not been able to arrest Hawara. He added that the Punjab Police was fully cooperating with the Delhi Police and were providing them with all kinds of assistance. The twin-blast case was solved due to the coordinated efforts of the Punjab and the Delhi police, he added.

Giving details of their modus operandi, he said terrorists organisations like the Babbars “dangled the money stick” before unemployed youngsters not having a criminal background.

Meanwhile, meetings were held in the Punjab Police headquarters throughout the day. It was decided to sent senior Punjab Police officers to Delhi for interrogating Hawara.

Punjab’s Director-General of Police (DGP) S S Virk, in the meantime, ruled out the possibility of terrorism’s revival in the state. Talking to the media in Chandigarh, Mr Virk said incidents like blasts in Cinema halls were basically carried out by terrorist outfits to make their presence felt.


CM cancelling engagements sparks off rumour
Tribune News Service

Patiala, June 8
Even as the district police authorities have supported the claim of the Delhi police that Jagtar Singh Hawara, one of the alleged assassins of late Chief Minister Beant Singh was arrested from a place near the Delhi-Haryana border, confusion in that connection still prevails in this town.

What has created confusion among the residents, including students and teachers of Punjabi University, is the fact that the district police authorities while denying the fact that Jagtar Singh Hawara and others were arrested from this town, have been failing to make it clear about the fact that who were those four persons who were arrested from the main gate of Punjabi University before noon yesterday.

The other thing which has been creating confusion among the minds of the people is the fact that the Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, who has been putting up in his private Moti Bagh residence in this town and was supposed to carry out five to six engagements, cancelled these abruptly.

Information gathered by TNS revealed that Capt Amarinder Singh, who was supposed to come here was not allowed to move from his private residence. He moved to Chandigarh today.

A section of residents of this town, to whom TNS talked, to pointed out that if Jagtar Singh Hawara was not arrested from here then the police authorities should make it clear that who were those persons who were arrested by the police from the gate of Punjabi University yesterday. They said that there were a number of witnesses when the police arrested those four persons.

Mr A.S. Rai, SSP, when contacted, said Jagtar Singh Hawara was not arrested from Patiala town. He added that the Delhi police had arrested him along with some others from a place near the Delhi-Haryana border.

When asked the reason for his visiting the Punjabi University campus late last night, he said he went there to verify the facts in connection with arrest of Jagtar Singh Hawara and others as a rumour was doing the rounds that Jagtar Singh Hawara had been arrested from the gate of university.

Meanwhile, Mr Rai said security arrangements of Capt Amarinder Singh had been upgraded due to renewed threat perception due to the controversy which erupted over the Hindi movie “Jo Bole So Nihal” and the Ghalu Ghara week.


Vedanti lays stone of gurdwara in
Bhindranwale’s memory

Chander Parkash
Tribune News service

Dhanthal (Patiala), June 8
In a development having far-reaching consequences, Giani Joginder Singh Vedanti, Jathedar, Akal Takht, today laid the foundation stone of a gurdwara to be built in this village in the memory of Sant Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale, who was killed during Operation Bluestar at the Golden Temple in 1984.

The gurdwara is being built by the Akali Dal (International), headed by a former MP, Mr Atinder Pal Singh. The Jathedar of Takht Damdama Sahib, Bhai Balwant Singh Nandgarh, and the Jathedar of Takht Keshgarh Sahib, Bhai Tirlochan Singh, were also present.

Jathedar Vedanti, who along with other Jathedars dug a pit to lay the foundation of the gurdwara, said it was the right time for the Sikhs to erect memorials to those who laid down their lives for the community. He added that the gurdwara to be built in this village would be recognised by Akal Takht.

Jathedar Vedanti also honoured the person who donated land for the construction of the gurdwara and showered praise on Mr Atinder Pal Singh for his efforts. He said apart from memorials, the Sikhs should also set up libraries in the memory of the martyrs. He added that it was the birthright of the Sikhs to set up such memorials in every nook and corner of Punjab.

Mr Atinder Pal Singh said the memorial would be completed in three years. A gurdwara would be built in the memory of Sant Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale. The memorial would be of 48 feet height, 60 feet width besides a 40 square feet basement as a museum.

Four ‘bungas’ of 30 feet height each would also be erected in four corners of the memorial.

He said a wall in the memory of the martyrs of the historic Jaitu morcha would be erected around the entire complex.


Akal Takht episode: Badal told to clarify position
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, June 8
Mr Parkash Singh Badal, former Chief Minister and President, Shiromani Akali Dal, and the state government should have taken a firm stand following an unfortunate incident outside Akal Takht on the Golden Temple premises on the occasion of “Ghalughara divas” observed on June 6. This was stated by Mr Joginder Dyal and Mr Balwant Singh, both state secretary, CPI and CPM, respectively, at a joint press conference here today.

The communist leaders while talking to media persons before the launching of a joint jatha march against the anti-people policies of the state and central government organised by the two left parties, said that by keeping silent on the incident the government and the Leader of Opposition had played a negative role which gave the radical organisations a chance to raise slogans of “Khalistan” after 21 years. He said that Mr Badal should clarify his position on this issue rather than keeping mum.

They alleged that Mr Badal and the state government, by encouraging communal forces in the state, were diverting the attention of the common man from the real issues of development which were always ignored.


No trace of military station at Anandpur Sahib
Vijay Mohan
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 8
Over six years after the then Defence Minister had announced the government’s intention to set up a military station at Anandpur Sahib, the proposed establishment is no where in sight.

While sources at Headquarters Western Command say that the Army Headquarters is yet to take a decision on whether it wants to set up a military station in Anandpur Sahib or not, some senior officers presently posted here expressed their ignorance about the very existence of such a project.

During the tricentenary celebrations of the birth of the Khalsa at Anandpur Sahib in 1999, Mr George Fernandes had announced during his visit to the township that a military station would be set up there.

The idea behind setting up the cantonment was not only to procure land for accommodating military establishments, but also to provide infrastructural facilities like canteen, medical cover and other administrative back up to a large number of ex-servicemen residing in the area. Further, a military station in that area was to serve as a tribute to the martial spirit and heritage of the region.

The Army, already short of land, was also keen to get additional land. The plans then envisioned a military station large enough to accommodate a brigade headquarters along with associated establishments.

In fact, the Army was ready to barter some of its land holdings elsewhere in exchange for consolidated land at Anandpur Sahib. A large number of camping grounds in the Army’s possession spread across the state.

In 1999, the Punjab Government had agreed to establish a Junior Leaders Academy at Anandpur Sahib to impart professional training to junior commissioned officers and non-commissioned officers of the Army. In April, 2001, the then GOC-in-C, Western Command, Lieut-Gen Surjit Singh and the then Chief of Staff, Lieut-Gen H.R.S. Mann, accompanied by district officials, had surveyed the proposed 720-acre site.

In 2002, Mr Fernandes stated in Parliament that the delay in setting up of the JLA was due to the non-completion of the process of negotiations with the Punjab Government for the transfer of land. In the meantime, the Defence Ministry approved setting up of the JLA at Ramgarh as an ‘interim measure’, which would be shifted to Anandpur Sahib as soon as land and facilities for the Academy are made available by the state government, the statement added. The JLA is presently located in Belgaum in South India.

In December, 2003, Mr Fernandes again stated in Parliament that the Army was “in the process of acquiring land” at Anandpur Sahib, Una and Kulu to set up new military stations.

Inquiries with the Defence Estates Office, which is responsible for all land acquisitions and holdings, revealed that there was no ongoing process to acquire land at Anandpur Sahib. Two top officers at Headquarters Western Command, when spoken to, said they were not aware of any plans to set up a military station at Anandpur Sahib.


Probe ordered by Alam set aside
Prabhjot Singh
Tribune News Service

Punjab Waqf Board dissolved

The Punjab Government has reportedly dissolved the controversial Punjab Waqf Board. The board had been mired in controversy over its administrative control and day-to-day functioning. The tug of war for supremacy in the board had been between Congress MLA from Malerkotla Razia Sultana and Additional Director-General of Police (Administration) Mohammad Izhar Alam.

Chandigarh, June 8
In less than 12 hours of Congress MLA from Malerkotla Razia Sultana shooting off a protest letter to the Chief Minister, the inquiry into the municipal councillor Sham Sunder murder case ordered by the Additional Director-General of Police (ADGP), Mr Mohammad Izhar Alam, has been set aside.

Mr Alam had directed the Superintendent of Police (Crime), Mr Bachan Singh Randhawa, to investigate the murder case under the direct supervision of the Deputy Inspector-General (Crime), Mr B.K. Bawa, and submit his report preferably within 45 days. Mr Alam had maintained that he had to pass the orders on a petition filed by a delegation of Ahmedgarh and the surrounding areas against the Inspector-General of Police, Mr Mohammad Mustafa, and his MLA wife, Mrs Razia Sultana, at the instance of the Punjab Governor, Gen S.F. Rodrigues (retd).

Instead, the Inspector-General of Police (Zonal), Patiala, Mr Surinder Mohan Sharma, has been asked to investigate the circumstances leading to the death under mysterious circumstances of Sham Sunder at Mandi Ahmedgarh on the night of May 3.

Mrs Razia Sultana had in her letter reportedly raised several issues of Constitutional impropriety allegedly committed in the “initiation of action and passing of a verdict by Mr Mohammad Izhar Alam in declaring me and my husband, an Inspector-General of Police, prime suspects in a murder case.”

She reportedly not only questioned the action of the ADGP but also wondered how a Governor could summon any police officer by name and direct him to hold an inquiry into a petition received by him.

The petition should have been referred to the elected head of the state government who also happened to be the Home Minister of the state, she said, holding that her open rivalry with Mr Alam over Punjab Waqf Board affairs was in the public domain.

Mrs Razia Sultana told The Tribune that the Chief Minister called her in the evening for a personal hearing. She maintained that she told the Chief Minister that neither she nor her husband was running away from the law and offered to face an inquiry by any IAS or IPS officer or a sitting or retired judge of the Punjab and Haryana High Court in the Sham Sunder murder case.

“But Mr Mohammad Izhar Alam not only ordered an inquiry but also passed his verdict in the case as if we, husband and wife, were behind Mr Sham Sunder’s death,” she added expressing satisfaction that Mr Sharma, the new inquiry officer, would bring out the truth.


Sukhi blames weather, agency for failed bid
Perneet Singh
Tribune News Service

Muktsar, June 8
Nature’s fury forced her to descend despite being so close to conquering Mount Everest, but the spirit of Sukhi, who claimed to have reached 8,500 metres, was as high as the highest peak in the world, when she made her first public appearance on her return here today. She came out with some startling revelations that put a big question mark on the role of the agency that made arrangements for her expedition.

Interacting with media persons at THM Resorts here, Sukhi accused the agency, Explore Himalaya, of not providing her ration till the last point as promised. She reportedly survived seven days at the height of 8,500 metres merely on some chocolates and coffee. She admitted that she used one oxygen cylinder after crossing the 8,000-metre mark, but couldn’t afford another one.

She alleged that the agency gave her an oxygen cylinder having a speed of 1.5 C, whereas the required speed was 3 to 4 C. She said the agency people asked her to return on the very day when the weather turned bad. She alleged that they pressurised her parents to appeal her to come down. However, she denied that her family had pressurised her not to return without conquering Mount Everest. She also stated that had she been sent two days earlier by the agency, she would have unfurled the National Flag on Mount Everest.

Reacting sharply to the mail of Mr Dunken Chapley, an Australian mountaineer, who had released mails to various news agencies questioning her mountaineering abilities, Sukhi said he was neither her team member nor an authorised person to make such a comment on her.

Outlining the reasons that contributed to her failed bid, Sukhi said she couldn’t fight against weather, but still she didn’t consider it to be her defeat. She said had nature helped her she would have made Punjab proud today. She also blamed the agency to some extent for her failure. She acknowledged that despite aid from various quarters she wasn’t that financially sound to go ahead with the expedition. She claimed that she had reached the height of 8,500 metres, and also produced a certificate from the agency to corroborate it. She said her visa was also about to expire on May 30.

Despite enduring vagaries of weather at a height of 8,500 metres for seven days, Sukhi said she was ready to wait more for weather to clear. She claimed that she didn’t even have headache during her entire expedition and was totally fit throughout.

She rued that had the state government chipped in with some monetary aid in time she wouldn’t have to face any financial constraint. Mr Baldev Singh Bham of International Adventure and Sports Helpline, which extended financial aid to her, said the Punjab Chief Minister had promised her financial help, but “a district administration official didn’t allow it to materialise and her case was not forwarded to the state government.”

Highlighting her future plans, a confident Sukhi said she would make another attempt to conquer Mount Everest next year along with her friend, Pammi. She hopes to raise Rs 20 lakh for the expedition this time with some contribution from the state government. Sukhi also made it clear that now she would make arrangements for the expedition on her own.

Earlier, Sukhi was accorded a warm welcome by the local residents and International Adventure and Sports Helpline.


GND varsity to hold new PMT
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 8
The Punjab PMT will now be conducted by Guru Nanak Dev University. The examination, conducted by the Faridkot-based Baba Farid University of Health Sciences, was today ordered to be scrapped by the Punjab Chief Minister.

The cancellation orders were issued in just over 48 hours after a report regarding the leak of the question paper was carried in these columns. A government spokesman said the date for conducting the examination would be notified soon.

He said the Chief Minister had already ordered an inquiry into the incident by the state Vigilance Department. The department had been asked to submit its report within 15 days. The Chief Minister said the officials found guilty would not be spared.

The sources in the Punjab Government added that the Justice J.S. Sekhon Commission would begin the probe on Thursday. Justice Sekhon was asked by the Vice-Chancellor of Baba Farid University to look into the paper leak.

The Punjab Civil Medical Services Association has criticised the paper-leak scandal and demanded a vigilance inquiry into the overall functioning of the university.

In a press statement, the association’s state president, Dr Hardeep Singh, also urged Deputy Chief Minister Rajinder Kaur Bhattal to safeguard the image of the medical fraternity by providing justice to 9,800 students and their parents.


Major flaws in revision rates for PUDA plots
Chitleen K. Sethi
Tribune News Service

Mohali, June 8
It seems for the Punjab Urban Planning and Development Authority (PUDA), the poor are very poor and the not so poor are very rich! In a recent revision of allotment rates for residential plots in the state, PUDA has fixed very low rates for plots less than 100 sq yards but for anything beyond that the buyer will now have to pay through his nose.

Changing from the earlier one-rate-for-all, now a buyer who is allotted a plot up to 100 sq yards will have to pay PUDA at a rate much lower than the rate for those who are allotted larger plots. While PUDA claims that this has been done to benefit the economically weaker sections, the fact is that the “middle category” PUDA allottee will have to actually shell out more following the revised rates. These new rates would also vary from one place to another in the state.

According to the earlier rates, all allottees had to pay Rs 3650 per sq yard irrespective of the size of their plots. But now, an allottee in Jalandhar, for example, will have to shell out only Rs 2850 per sq yard for a plot of 100 sq yards. But for any plot larger than 101 sq yards, the rate has now been fixed at Rs 6000 per sq yard.

“For PUDA a 100 sq yard plot allottee is a poor man but a 101 sq yard allotee is rich? In Zirakpur, according to the new rates, an allottee of a 100 sq yard plot will pay Rs 1900 per sq yard but for a plot of 150 or 200 sq yards he will have to pay at the rate of Rs 4800 per sq yards. Instead of having progressively increasing rates for separate plot sizes, PUDA has now bracketed the poor with the rich,” pointed out a resident of Zirakpur.

Similarly in Phagwara, allottees will be charged Rs 1700 per sq yard for 100 sq yard plots and Rs 3400 per sq yard for larger plots and in Khanna the rates fixed are 1900 per sq yard and Rs 4000 per sq yard.

Noticeably, through this revision PUDA has also for the first time differentiated between its estates in terms of allotment rates. Mohali, at Rs 2850 per sq yard for 100 sq yard plots and Rs 7200 per sq yard for larger plots is the most expensive PUDA estate in the state and Sulatanpur Lodhi at Rs 900 per sq yard for 100 a sq yard plot and Rs 1100 per sq yard for larger plots is the cheapest place to buy a PUDA plot.

In Malout a 100 sq yard plot will now be allotted at Rs 1350 per sq yard and Rs 2050 per sq yard for larger plots. Ferozepore with a rate of Rs 1500 for 100 sq yard plot and Rs 2700 per sq yard beyond is slightly more expensive than Malout.

In Patiala PUDA plots will be allotted at Rs 1600 for 100 sq yards plots and Rs 3200 beyond that. Interestingly however, while a poor man living in Patiala will pay only Rs 1600 for a small plot, a poor man in Fatehgarh Sahib will have to pay Rs 2050 for the same size of plot.

Beyond this, the Fatehgarh Sahib allottee will have to pay Rs 2900 per sq yards. In Bathinda, the new rates fixed by PUDA are Rs 2200 per sq yard for 100 sq yard plots and Rs 3750 for larger plots.

In Ludhiana the rates are Rs 2850 and Rs 6750, in Nawanshahr Rs 2200 and 3750, in Kapurthala Rs 20560 and Rs 2900, in Amritsar Rs 1900 and Rs 4800, in Batala Rs 1900 and Rs 4000 and in Gurdaspur Rs 1700 and Rs 3400.


PUDA dillydallying over dumping
site’s possession to MC

Kulwinder Sangha

Mohali, June 8
Getting physical possession of the town’s garbage dumping site is proving to be an arduous task for the local Municipal Council with the Punjab Urban Planning and Development Authority (PUDA) dilly-dallying on the matter on one pretext or the other.

Council officials have been making futile rounds of the dumping site without any PUDA officials showing up to give possession of the land. The day and time of handing over the physical possession of the land to the civic body had been fixed many times only to be put off each time.

According to sources, council officials were asked to reach the dumping ground site at 8 am today for taking physical possession of the land. Mr Kuldeep Verma, Assistant Municipal Engineer, along with two Junior Engineers, reached the site at the time that had been fixed up. The staff waited for PUDA officials for nearly two hours but nobody turned up to give possession of the land. Similarly, council officials had earlier gone to take possession of the site on June 6 but came back disappointed.

The council had received a letter dated June 2 addressed to the Executive Officer from the PUDA Estate Officer in connection with the possession of the land. In the letter it was stated that possession of the land. In the letter it was stated that possession of the garbage dumping site had been given to the Estate Officer by the Land Acquisition Collector (LAC) of PUDA. “You are requested to take physical possession of the land as such send a representative on June 6 at 10 a.m. to resolve the matter”.

Earlier, another letter from the LAC, PUDA, dated April 20 was received by the council in which the civic body was asked to take possession of the land acquired for dumping garbage. The letter said that the site measuring 106 kanal 8 marla falling in Sohana village was acquired vide award no 485 dated November 11, 2003. Some affected land owners had filed a writ petition in the Punjab and Haryana High Court which was dismissed. PUDA had finally taken possession of the land on March 17 this year. As such the council should take physical possession of the land and put it to use before some farmers moved a higher court in connection with the land acquisition.

After receiving the letter from the LAC, council employees got in touch with the PUDA officials a number of times to get the possession of the garbage dumping site. But each time the request of the council employees was put off for one reason or the other. After waiting to get possession of the land for about one month, the Executive Officer of the civic body wrote a demi-official (DO) letter to the Estate Officer of PUDA.

Sources said that the Executive Officer, Mr H.B. Garg, wrote in the DO letter dated May 24 that council employees had contacted PUDa officials on May 4 but they were told to come on May 9 as the PUDA revenue staff was not available. On May 9 council staff was again asked by PUDA to contact officials for the possession of the land on May 13. A sudden holiday was declared on May 13. When council employees contacted PUDA on May 17 nothing happened. The council again approached PUDA officials on May 23 but were told that the PUDA SDO concerned was on leave.

Mr Garg had requested the PUDA Estate Officer to personally intervene in the matter and direct officials concerned to hand over the physical possession of the garbage dumping site at the earliest.

Mr Kulwant Singh, President of the council, said that taking possession of the garbage dumping site was an important matter but unfortunately PUDA officials were not taking it seriously.

None of the problems ever presented by the civic body were dealt in an important way by PUDA, he added.

Mr Kulwant Singh said that the council staff was called at 8 am today to take possession of the land because PUDA officials allegedly found it very difficult “to come out in the oppressing heat”. He said council was ready to wait to take possession of the land till the weather improved PUDA officials sent a written request in this regard.


IAS officer ‘threatens’ ST staff
Refusal to release impounded tankers
Tribune News Service

Patiala, June 8
Some officials of the Enforcement Wing of the state Sales Tax Department were allegedly threatened by an IAS officer of being booked in false criminal cases. They had refused his request to free three oil tankers caught by them at Information Collection Centre (ICC), Moonak, on the Punjab-Haryana border in Sangrur district on June 5.

Officials of sale tax department feel threatened, despite the fact that they have been risking their lives to increase by detecting evasion of sale tax by unscrupulous traders.

The IAS officer allegedly ordered the sale tax officials to release all three oil tankers containing crude palm oil (CPO), belonging to a trader of Sunam in Sangrur district. The IAS officer wanted them not to impose any penalty on the owner of the tankers for his alleged involvement in the evasion of sale tax.

When the official concerned told him (IAS officer) that they could not oblige him, the IAS officer got agitated and threatened them that he was going to implicate them into a false criminal case through the Vigilance Bureau or the Punjab Police. The same IAS officer had earlier also got a oil tanker released from officials of enforcement wing by pressurising them when the tanker was caught while evading sale tax few months ago.

After being threatened by the IAS officer, the field staff immediately contacted their seniors and pleaded them to protect them from being implicated into false criminal cases.

Mr D.P. Reddy, Excise and Taxation Commissioner (ETC), Punjab, when contacted, said that he had also been informed by the officials today itself. He added that though he had been checking the authenticity of the fact that whether any threat had been made to the field officials by an IAS officer or not, he had already spoken to senior police officials to take care of (tax officials) in case the IAS officer played any mischief.

He said that if it was found true what officials of the sale tax department had been alleging, he would take up the matter with the Chief Secretary, Punjab, Mr Jai Singh Gill, for necessary action.

Information gathered by TNS revealed that a trader of Sunam who was in soap manufacturing business, had been importing the CPO by paying only 20 per cent of the custom duty. Instead of using the CPO for soap manufacturing, the trader had been selling the CPO to vegetable oil manufacturing unit for which he was liable to pay 65 per cent of the custom duty on CPO.

Information revealed that apart from evading the custom duty, the said trader had also been evading sale tax on the sale of CPO by not paying any tax on the transactions for the past many months after closing down his soap manufacturing unit.

A senior official of sale tax department said that when the three oil tankers were caught by the field staff, the drivers of all these three vehicles had escaped from the spot with all relevant documents. He added that it was estimated that value of CPO in all three tankers was about Rs 20 lakh and hence evasion of sale tax was about Rs 10 lakh.

He pointed out that so far it had been found that the trader concerned had done transactions worth Rs 1.20 crore during the last financial year and had not paid a single penny of sale tax on these transactions. He said that further investigations were going on into this case and action would be taken accordingly.


Two subways planned for Kurali
Tribune News Service

Mohali, June 8
Two subways for movement of light traffic have been planned as part of the Kurali railway overbridge project.

At a joint meeting called by the Morinda MLA, Mr Jagmohan Singh Kang, today it was decided that the Deputy Commissioner, Ropar, Mr H.I.S. Grewal, would get a technical proposal prepared for construction of the subways on both sides of the overbridge and submit it to the Secretary PWD, (B&R) Punjab.

It is learnt that the Deputy Commissioner has asked the estate officer, Municipal Council Kurali, XEN Railways Nangal, XEN PWD (B&R) and the Kurali Toll Bridge Company Limited to prepare the proposal for the subways that would be discussed next week.

Sources stated that the Kurali Toll Bridge Company Private Limited which had undertaken the construction of the overbridge in December 2003 informed the minister that it had spent over Rs 2 Crore on the project. Sources added that the project had still not taken off as no decision had been taken as to who would acquire the land near the project site. While the company representatives stated that the administration was bound to give the land for the site free of all encumbrances, the government agency supervising the company’s work had, however, been insisting that the company pay the compensation amount to the land owners whose land was being acquired. “However it was decided today that the Ministry for Surface Transport, Government of India, be asked to pay for acquisition of land. A letter to this effect would be forwarded by my office to the Chief Secretary, Punjab for consideration,” said Mr H.I.S. Grewal, DC, Ropar.


Three road projects approved
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 8
Three road projects were approved by the Punjab Infrastructure Development Board (PIDB) at its meeting held under the chairmanship of Punjab Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh here today.

The roads are Balachour-Garhshankar-Hoshiarpur-Dasuya (Rs 48.10 crore), Batala-Mehta-Beas (Rs 55.74 crore) and Patiala-Samana-Patran (Rs 123.64 crore). The total cost of the project is Rs 227.48 crore.

A spokesman said technical bids for these projects had already been approved. It was decided at the meeting to open the financial bids soon to ensure the completion of these projects in a stipulated period of 18 to 24 months from the date of the award of the work.

The board also decided to allot works by August 31, 2005.


Sikh jatha leaves for Pak
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, June 8
To mark the 399th death anniversary of Guru Arjun Dev, a Sikh jatha led by SGPC member Harbir Singh, left for Pakistan here today.

The jatha was flagged off by Mr Onkar Singh Shariefpura, a member of the SGPC.

The jatha would visit Gurdwara Dera Sahib in Lahore, Nankana Sahib, Sacha Sauda and Panja Sahib and return on June 17. The SGPC would send another jatha to Pakistan on June 21 to mark the death anniversary of Maharaja Ranjit Singh.


Police remand for 1 in cheating case
Tribune News Service

Kharar, June 8
A local court today remanded a Mohali resident to one day’s police remand in a case of cheating registered against him by the Punjab vigilance Bureau.

According to sources, Vikas, a resident of Phase IX Mohali was arrested by DSP Vigilance Jaspal Singh as his name also figured in case of cheating registered against his friend Gurpreet on April 27, 2005.

Sources added that Gurpreet, an employee of a Chandigarh-based Punjab corporation had allegedly in connivance with Vikas withdrawn Rs 5 lakh from the Provident Fund account of his colleague Mr Raman Mehta.

The two had allegedly forged documents and withdrawn the money which was later deposited in nine different bank accounts in Mohali.

While Gurpreet had been arrested early last month, Vikas was arrested yesterday.


Cheema assumes charge as Punjab AG
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 8
The newly-appointed Advocate General of Punjab, Mr. R.S. Cheema, today assumed charge of his assignment.

Outgoing Advocate General Harbhagwan Singh, Advocate General, Haryana, H.S. Hooda, a large number of law officers and staff members were present.

A noted criminal lawyer, Mr Cheema had taken up several important cases and has been practising in the Punjab and Haryana High Court since 1978. He was designated as a Senior Advocate in 1991. Immediately after taking over, Mr Cheema and other law officers held a condolence meeting to mourn the passing away of Mr Bhagwati Prasad Singla, Additional Advocate General in a road accident yesterday.


4 of family die in accident
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, June 8
Four persons died on the spot and five were seriously injured in an accident which took place early in the morning on the GT Road, Sirhind near Nabipur village. Two of the injured were admitted to the Civil Hospital, Fatehgarh Sahib, and three were rushed to the PGI after first aid. The deceased were identified as Sikha (16), Urmila (42), Amar Chand (45) and Akshey (14). Those injured are as Deepika 17, Jagdish Parshad (driver), Leela (38), Preeti (15) and Vaneet 18.

According to information available, a family from B-3A-70B Janak Puri, Delhi, was going back to Delhi after paying obeisance at Mata Vaishno Devi in a Qualis (No. DL-4C-4990). At about 4.30 am when the qualis crossed Sirhind town, a truck (HR 38H-2535), also going towards Delhi ahead of the qualis, suddenly applied emergency breaks and the qualis hit the truck. Four persons died on the spot.

Mr Ramandeep Singh, SHO, Sirhind along with the police force and Ambulance was the first to reach the spot. Mrs Jaspreet Talwar, Deputy Commissioner, expressed sorrow over the incident and directed the Civil Surgeon to ensure proper treatment of the injured.


Man claims his son kidnapped
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, June 8
Mr Rajinder Singh of Uttam Nagar of Sultanwind Road, claimed that his son Harpreet Singh, alias Babloo (19), was kidnapped on May 23.

Addressing a press conference here today, he said no case has been registered despite the fact that they had lodged a complaint with B Division police station on the next day of the incident.

He said his son, who works as a jeweller, had gone to the market in his car along with Rs 1.50 lakh and 200 gm of gold jewellery, but did not return. He said he had given the name of some suspects to the police.


PTU panel to probe exam irregularities
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, June 8
Punjab Technical University (PTU) has constituted a fact-finding committee to probe the alleged irregularities committed by its officials in the examination branch.

The committee to be headed by Dr Siby John, Dean (Academics), PTU, will look into the alleged act of nepotism by Dr Manohar Singh Saini, Dean (Examinations), and the official Controller of Examinations, who has been charged with getting his son studying in one of the affiliated colleges passed in the fifth semester of the B.Tech (production engineering) examinations held in December last year. The Tribune had highlighted the case on June 7.

Meanwhile, Mr K.K. Bhatnagar, Principal Secretary, Technical Education, Punjab, said in a telephonic conversation, that at a meeting with the PTU Vice-Chancellor, Dr S.K. Salwan, and the Registrar, Dr M.S. Grewal, yesterday he had directed them to look into the case of Mr Paramjit Singh, Assistant Registrar (Examinations), who was also an MTech (Electronics) part time student of Beant College of Engineering and Technology, Gurdaspur.

It was found that his brother, Mr Amarpal Singh, was a faculty member in the same department of the college, which also had a regional centre of the university.

Refuting the allegations in this regard, Dr M.S. Grewal, Registrar, said Mr Paramjit had taken admission in Gurdaspur as the course had begun there a year before it was introduced in Jalandhar. The Vice- Chancellor said he had ordered a fact-finding inquiry .

Dr Salwan also confirmed the setting up of a committee under Dr Siby John to look into the charges against Mr Saini. He said that the answersheets of his son, Gurjinder Singh Saini, studying at Guru Nanak Engineering College, Ludhiana, were also being checked and an inquiry had also been marked into the re-evaluation of his mathematics paper in which he passed with 24 marks even as he had been awarded just seven marks before rechecking.


No irregularities, says Thapar Dean
Tribune News Service

Mohali, June 8
Dr D.S. Bawa, Dean (Academic affairs), Thapar Institute of Engineering and Technology, Patiala, has in a communication to The Tribune denied that any irregularities took place in room numbers E105 and E107 during the conduct of the PMET examination in the institute on June 3, 2005.

Dr Bawa has stated that the exam was conducted very peacefully and not a single person from outside was allowed to enter the examination hall during the conduct of the examination. “The examination was conducted as per the rules and regulations laid down by Baba Farid University, Faridkot,” stated Dr Bawa.


ITI staff, students hold dharna
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, June 8
The ITI Employees Union, Punjab, and students of different ITIs of the state held a dharna outside the district administrative complex demanding privatisation of the institutes, filling of vacant posts and rolling back the hike in fee structure likely to be introduced from the coming session.

The students said that their annual fee was likely to be enhanced from the existing Rs 3,400 to Rs 12,000 that would make industrial training unaffordable for a majority of the rural youth.

The staff members pointed out that as many as 800 posts of instructor were lying vacant in different institutes which must be filled to maintain their academic standards. Addressing the rally, Mr Gurdev Singh Nagra, convener, said that any move to privatise the institutes would be opposed by the staff as well as students.


140 students get degrees

Batala, June 8
Punjab Technical University (PTU) yesterday conferred degrees here on 140 students, who got through their courses in various fields.

Mr Navjot Singh Sidhu, cricketer-turned-politician and MP, presided over the function. Mr Sidhu urged the students to develop self-confidence. He asked them not to fall a frey to drugs. — OC


BA/B.Sc results today
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, June 8
The results of BA/B.Sc (I), postgraduate diploma in cosmetology, diploma in cosmetology and MA, music (instrumental) semester II and IV examinations of Guru Nanak Dev University would be declared tomorrow. The results would be available at university website, www.gnduonline.org, on same day after 5 p.m.

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