L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


10 years on, law catches up with murder accused
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 28
The long arm of the law has finally caught up with an alleged gang leader accused of killing a local child for a ransom of Rs 1 lakh 10 years ago. The Kotwali police today arrested the accused, a small-time criminal at that time, with seven other gang members, who he had brought together in these years and had committed a series of thefts and robberies in the city. The police has claimed that the gang had admitted to committing about 15,000 crime incidents.

The gang leader, Sushil Kumar, alias Sheela Kanna, used to catch gang members young. Most of the arrested members were in their early 20s after being a part of the gang for the past several years. The youngest one, Lovely, used for identifying the vulnerable spots, was just a teenager.

Kotwali SHO Harjinder Singh revealed that the gang had made elaborate plans of striking at several places in the city. The police acted just in the nick of time to put them behind bars.

A large number of victims of the alleged gang came to the police station for identification of the accused. The family of Mr Ravi Kanda, a lineman with the Punjab State Electricity Board, whose 14-year-old son, Dipu, was killed 10 years ago, were quite emotional at the arrest. Family sources said 10 years was a long time to wait for the arrest of the accused and the family had given up.

The SHO said three other accomplices of the accused, Sheela, were already declared proclaimed offenders in that case.

Besides Sheela and Lovely , other gang members were Badal, Raju, Rahul, Subot Kumar, Babbal Mishra and Ram Pal.

The police have recovered two Maruti cars, a van, a toy pistol, five knives and a baseball bat. The SHO said besides looting people at gunpoint, the modus operandi of the gang included targeting locked houses and shops. The teenager, Lovely, used to roam in the streets selling stitched suits. He used to look for locked houses or vulnerable places.

The gang had indulged in theft of clothes from AC Market in May this year, burglary in a hosiery at Kutcha Baily Ram, another burglary in a Manna Singh Nagar hosiery, theft in a house in Model Town, another one at a house in Qadian Road, besides snatching jewellery from a woman at Brown Road in April 2003.



Killer of six in police net
Bhushan Sood

Amloh, July 28
On instructions of Mr Varinder Kumar, district police chief, and Mr Daljit Singh Rana, DSP, Amloh, the local police, while on patrol duty, rounded up alleged criminal Gursewak Singh, a resident of Ladpur village, near Bhadalthua village.

He was wanted by the police in several cases of murder. The police claimed to have recovered a countrymade pistol with four live cartridges. The police has registered a case under the Arms Act.

The alleged criminal, after committing the murder of Gurcharan Singh of Tana village in 1991, threw the body in the fields. He was awarded life imprisonment in the case, but escaped. He was declared a proclaimed offender by the court.

In another act of brutality, he murdered Ishar Singh, son of Natha Singh, a resident of Chandra Kalan under Patran police station in Patiala, by inflicting severe injuries on his body. In yet another case, Gursewak Singh murdered Janak Raj Khatri, a resident of Kotla Ajner village.

He was wanted by the police.

When Baljit Kaur, a resident of Rauni village, sister of the alleged criminal, asked him about the whereabouts of her three sons — Harvinder Singh, alias Binda (7), Sukhwinder Singh, alias Sukhi (5) and Manpreet, alias Mani (2) — who were taken by him to Dera Sacha Sauda, Sirsa (Haryana), he first remained silent but gradually confessed: “you along with your children were a burden on me. I killed them and threw them into a canal”.

On the statement of Baljit Kaur, the police registered a case. The body of Manpreet (2) was found from the canal in Mansa district on June 27, 1998. But the other two bodies could not be traced. 



Five booked for kidnap bid
Our Correspondent

Khanna, July 28
The Khanna police has registered a case of attempted kidnapping of a youth from Malerkotla Chowk on against five persons, including a restaurant owner.
The youths entered the restaurant for food. Later, they entered an altercation with the owner of the restaurant over the bill amount. The youths beat up the owner and his associates.

When they neared Cheema Chowk, some persons came in a Zen car and picked up one of the youths and ran away. Later, the car was found by the police and impounded.

The police recorded the statements of both parties. A case was registered on the complaint of restaurant owner Bharpur Singh, Ravi, Manpreet, Manvir, Amaninder, Balwinder, Monu, Kaka, Sarbjit, Pawan and Deepak under Sections 452, 342, 427 and 506.

The police also registered a case under Sections 365, 307, 511, 148, 149 and 506 against Bharpur Singh, Amaninder, Patwinder, Gurdeep Jagtar and some unidentified persons.



Passing Thru

Montek Singh Ahluwalia
Dr Montek Singh Ahluwalia, Deputy Chairman, Planning Commission of India

Why are you against the Punjab Government proposal to provide free power to poor farmers and families below poverty line?

Sops like free power are seldom availed by those who are actually supposed to be benefited by them. In most of the cases the populist schemes are misused. In case of free power, electricity board faces the danger of suffering a financial crunch. Still if state government thinks that the scheme would help people at the grassroot level it should go ahead. The Planning Commission has no objections.

What should be done to strengthen the economy of Punjab?

Close coordination between agriculture and industry is needed to accelerate economic growth in the country. With our economy primarily based on agriculture, it is important that we take due care of agriculture along with the industry.

What is the Planning Commission doing regarding health of agriculture in Punjab?

The Planning Commission takes a strong notice of the suicides by debt-ridden farmers, depleting water table and people shying away from taking up agriculture as their profession. In my opinion, diversification is the only solution to all problems. Farmers have to come out of wheat-paddy monoculture and switch over to high cash crops.

— Kanchan Vasdev



Decision on DCC (urban) chief in Sept
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 28
There is not going to be any change in the leadership of the District Congress Committee (DCC) Ludhiana-urban as of now. The DCC issue would be resolved in September. Sources close to the Pradesh Congress Committee (PCC) President, Mr Shamsher Singh Dullo, disclosed that since the party was working for a few programmes in August, the issue of DCC president had been postponed.

The party was organising a number of programmes in August including the death anniversary of the former Chief Minister, Mr Beant Singh, at Kotli village in Payal and a political conference at Issru in memory of Shaheed Karnail Singh Issru. With the result the PCC President had reportedly kept the issue of leadership in Ludhiana and some other districts in abeyance.

Mr Dullo had gone on record to say that he did not have any prejudices against anyone. He said he would thoroughly examine the working of the existing team of party office-bearers and only then take a final decision. The efforts of the DCC Presidents in ensuring the success of different party programmes would play an important role in their continuance in the office.

Meanwhile, a number of aspirants have started lobbying with the PCC President, some even in Delhi with the party high command, for the prestigious job in the district. These include Mr Pawan Dewan and Mr Parminder Mehta, two former district Youth Congress presidents, Mr Amarjit Singh Tikka, senior vice-president of the Pradesh Youth Congress, Pappi Prashar, general secretary of the PCC, Mr Ramesh Joshi, a secretary in the PCC and a number of others.

Most of the aspirants are young and have been associated with the Youth Congress or continue to be associated with it. Mr Dullo is understood be interested in appointing a young and fresh face so that the party cadres are actively mobilised since there has not been much activity in the party during the last few years. However, everybody will have to wait till September.



Poor sanitation in Rajguru Nagar Colony
K.S. Chawla

Ludhiana, July 28
Strong resentment prevails among residents of Rajguru Nagar Colony against the lukewarm attitude of the authorities of the Ludhiana Improvement Trust towards the poor sanitation in the colony. The Rajguru Nagar Welfare Society has made repeated requests to the authorities of the improvement trust to take steps for repairing the roads and filling up potholes there.

The trust authorities, in a bid to assuage the residents, repaired the main road. However, there are many roads in the colony which have not been repaired.

Mr Anant Ram Gupta, vice-president, and Mr Charanjit Singh Aulakh, counsellor of the Rajguru Nagar Welfare Society, said today that the colony was also facing a shortage of drinking water. Two motors of the tubewells in the colony had gone out of order, as a result of which the residents were facing water shortage.

They further said that huge wild growth of congress grass had come up all along the roads, which was a breeding ground for snakes. Besides, the debris all along the newly constructed houses was also lying on both sides of the roads, presenting an ugly look to an otherwise posh residential colony of the city.

Mr Gupta and Mr Aulakh have called upon the authorities of the improvement trust to take immediate remedial measures. The cuts on roads have been made by those who are undertaking the construction of the houses, but they were not taking steps to repair the roads.



Women welcome SC order on Gill
Shivani Bhakoo

Ludhiana, July 28
The Supreme Court has upheld the conviction of former DGP, Punjab, and President of the Indian Hockey Federation K. P. S. Gill in the Rupan Deol Bajaj case and local residents, particularly women, feel though law took its own time but justice has been meted out to Ms Bajaj at last. A majority of women said guilty, irrespective of caste, religion or designation, should be punished for outraging the modesty of a woman.

Ms Monika, a school teacher, appreciated Ms Bajaj for being courageous and setting an example for other women. She said Ms Bajaj could have remained tight-lipped and the episode could have been easily ignored. “But she was bold enough to make it public and maintained her self-respect. Law is equal to everyone and it has been proved in the order of the SC. Mr Gill misbehaved with a woman and has been found guilty by the law. It is a lesson to women that they should not tolerate anybody’s non-sense,” said Ms Monika.

Ms Rati Ahuja, an employee of a multinational bank, said she hailed the order. “Ms Bajaj, though an IAS officer, got justice after such 18 years. She faced everything with courage but if it was some other woman, she could have compromised with the situation,” she said, adding that the women should learn to safeguard their rights.

“Ms Bajaj should be given a pat for being so gutsy. She never gave it up and fought till the end. It is very easy to malign the reputation of a woman but women, instead of keeping mum, should bring the culprits to book,” said Ms Ahuja.

A social-activist, Ms Pappo Abnash Singh, however, said the issue could have easily been sorted out much before, without going public on the sensitive matter. “The matter could have been solved at the personal level. The media always highlighted the issue on front pages and maligned Mr Gill’s reputation. But the supercop had done a great job for the people of Punjab by saving them from the clutches of militancy. His reputation should not be maligned like this. Ms Bajaj and Mr Gill could have sorted out everything amicably,” she said. 



Now e-payment of excise duty
Our Correspondent

V.K. Garg
V.K. Garg

Ludhiana, July 28
The Central Excise Commissionerate here has put in place the necessary infrastructure for electronic payment of central excise and service tax by all assessees which would do away with long queues at designated banks.
In order to popularise e-payment and to apprise taxpayers with the mechanism, the Ludhiana commissionerate will observe an ‘electronic payment week’ from Aug 1 to 5.

Giving this information at a press conference here today, Mr V.K. Garg, Commissioner of Central Excise, said seven banks had been notified to collect electronic payment of taxes and duties. These were the Union Bank of India, ICICI Bank, IDBI Bank, HDFC Bank, UTI Bank, Punjab National bank and State Bank of India.

The facility would be 24x7 and assessees would be able to make payment any time of the day. All payments received till 8 pm would be accounted for the day itself and those made thereafter be considered as receipt for the next working day.

According to Mr Garg, the procedure of e-payment was extremely simple. “After obtaining a user ID and password, the taxpayer can login through the Internet to secure banking and pay all taxes. On successful validation, an automatic challan is generated as proof of payment.”

The facility would be available to all taxpayers who were in possession of PAN based on a 15-digit assessee code or customers with an Internet banking ID of respective bankers.

The Commissioner made an appeal to all assessees of the Central Excise and Service Tax to make use of facility which would help ensure prompt and efficient service while at the same time bringing improvement in the relationship between the department and the taxpayers.

Mr Garg observed that the big assessees, paying an annual revenue of more than Rs 1 crore were already being provided the electronic facility for submission of data of weekly production, clearance and exports, as also filing returns and making payments.

“This data is available instantly at the highest level in the commissionerate which enables the department to keep abreast of prevailing trends in the industry and to address the problems, if any, without any loss of time.”



Gurgaon episode ‘condemnable’
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, July 28
Public Cause, a state-level social service organisation, in a press note, has expressed anguish and concern over the savage action by the Haryana Police against protesting workers of Honda Motorcycles at Gurgaon. “It is condemnable and most unfortunate. Strict action should be taken against the officials responsible for it.”

It demanded that Honda management, should take back all retrenched workers, reach an agreement with the workers Union and the Haryana Government should release the arrested workers.

The right to demonstrate is a basic right of the workers in a democratic set up. The workers of Honda Factory were absolutely peaceful and were without any stick or lahti.

“The provocation seems to be from the police. Moreover, the question arises as to who ordered a lathi-charge. There was no duty magistrate and the police beat the workers in such a brutal manner that it surpassed police cruelty during the British Raj.”

The Northern Railway Pensioners’ Welfare Association has also condemned the action of the police.



Kanwarias’ arduous journey for Ganga water
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, July 28
In the holy month of Shravan, hundreds of Kanwarias take an arduous journey to Hardwar from different cities of North India to get holy water from the River Ganga. Hundreds of Kanwarias have been undertaking this journey since many years to offer holy water in Shiv temples in their respective cities on Shravan Shivratri which falls on August 3 this year.

Devotees of Lord Shiva may undertake the journey by bus or by train but once they get water from the Ganga, they have to walk back carrying the holy water. Even when they retire for the night, their colourfully draped pots can not be placed on the ground. These are hung up on trees.

On their return journey many people arrange langars for them. Ludhiana Tribune caught up with a contingent of Kanwarias led by Mr Raj Kumar Garg from Ferozepore. He said, “It is our family tradition to undertake this journey in the month of Sharavan. My father took the journey for 50 years to get water, I have been getting the holy water for the past 20 years. I started the journey with Shiv devotees on July 17 by train. There were 10 lakh Kanwarias in Hardwar.

The administration stopped the vehicular traffic near the Ganga so that we could move freely. After collecting holy water, we started homeward journey on July 19. We stopped for 13 times to take rest, but we took utmost care to keep our holy water safe. In Ludhiana, we stayed in Community Centre in Aggar Nagar. We will reach Ferozepore on August 1.”

Mr Garg will pour water on Shiv’s idol in Shivla Mandir situated in Ferozepore Cantonment. He said that temple was 250 years old.

In the city too, the Shiv Shakti Club will undertake its 13th journey on foot from July 29 from Sangla Wala Shivala. On August 3, they will assemble at Gita Temple in Daresi and from there the Shiv devotees will reach the ancient Sangla Wala Shivla and offer holy water to the idol of Lord Shiva .



Affidavit process made easier
Our Correspondent

Raikot, July 28
The search for an elected representative of the area for putting signatures on an affidavit as a token of identification has become a thing of past for residents of this subdivision in Ludhiana district as the administration has started issuing a computer-generated document without going in for personal verification.

The SDM office here extended the facility to the residents of this area recently. Any resident of the area having a proof of identity can get the affidavit attested by the authorities, including Executive Magistrate, Tehsildar and Naib-Tehsildars.

The document carries a computer-generated photograph of the deponent, which minimises the chances of submitting a false affidavit.

“Now, the onus of proving his identity will lie on the deponent and elected representatives, including councillors, sarpanches and lambardars, will be saved from their unwanted involvement in frequent false identifications for no fault of theirs,” said Mr Prem Chand, SDM.

The SDM said the decision to issue computer-generated affidavits was taken after complaints were received about exploitation of deponents at the hands of agents. 



Probe into steel import resented
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, July 28
The Apex Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Punjab, has taken exception to the probe initiated by the Centre into import of steel from China.
Mr P.D. Sharma, President of the Chamber, in a letter to the Commerce and Steel Ministers and the Cabinet Secretary, has stated that on the one hand the government had scrapped anti-dumping duty on long steel products and on the other had initiated a probe into import of steel from China.

Due to low prices of China’s flat products like HR coil, the inventories of steel producers are building up.

Cheap HR coil is being received from CIS countries and some quantity from Iran. In the international market, the fall in the prices of HR coil is very heavy — about 35 per cent, but on the domestic front, the fall is hardly 18 per cent. The coverage prices of HR coil in the country are hovering around Rs 22,000 to Rs 25,000 per tonne.



Close shave for scribes; case against ETO
Our Correspondent

Samrala, July 28
A team of local correspondents had a miraculous escape in a road mishap near Neelon Bridge, 7 km from here, last evening allegedly due to the negligence of Mr Naresh Bharti, ETO, Ludhiana II.

The accident occurred when the car in which the correspondents were travelling was hit by a private bus after being suddenly signalled to stop by the ETO,for checking.

Ram Gopal Sofat, a reporter of Punjab Today looking after the Khanna area, who was driving the car, has lodged a report with the police, charging the ETO with negligence. The car was badly damaged in the incident.

The Samrala Press Club has sought legal action against the ETO. 



SDM takes stock of civic amenities
Our Correspondent

Amloh, July 28
Administrator of the Amloh Municipal Council Sandeep Hans, SDM, held a meeting with municipal employees today. Mr Hans asked the employees to ensure safe potable water supply. Duties were assigned to maintain a park in the heart land of the town, which at present gives a look of a garbage dump.

Mr Som Nath, president of the Class IV Employees Union said there were only 6 regular safai sevaks in the town and they had to lift garbage also. He demanded that part-time employees should be put on the MC rolls. The Administrator said street lights would be installed in Ward No. 4.



Land mortgage bank elections

Samrala, July 28
The elections of the local land mortgage bank were held here yesterday.
Youth Akali leader Jagmail Singh Bondli was elected chairman while Mr Surjit Singh Purba was elected vice-chairman. Mr Kartar Singh Mehdoodan was elected chairman of the local loan committee, said Jagjeewan Singh Kheernian, general secretary of the Youth Akali Dal (B). Earlier, a meeting of the Directors of the bank was held under the chairmanship of Mr Kirpal Singh Kheernian, member SGPC. — OC



Minor girl traced
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 28
A joint operation of the Sarabha Nagar police and a police team from Unao district in Uttar Pradesh led to the recovery of a minor girl, allegedly kidnapped by a boy from Lajgarpur village in that district.
SHO Pawanjit and ASI Ravinderpal Singh Sodhi found the girl, Shaheen (15), from Ayali village where the accused boy, Sonu, had allegedly kept her.



Seminar on mergers
Our Correspondent

Mandi Gobindgarh, July 28
Desh Bhagat Group of Institutes in collaboration with the Commerce and Management Association (PCMA) is organising a one-day national seminar on mergers and aquisites on July 31 at Desh Bhagat complex. 



Housewife kills self
Our Correspondent

Jagraon, July 28
Ms Manjeet Kaur (22) of Takhanbadh, married four years ago to Karnail Singh of Jhandiana Sarki, died after consuming poison.
She was brought to a hospital at Ajitwal and later shifted to the Civil Hospital here, but could not survive. The Mehna police has initiated proceedings under Section 174, CrPC.


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