P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



Can tainted PPSC candidates be reappointed, asks HC
Maneesh Chhibber
Our High Court Correspondent

Chandigarh, September 14
The issue of reappointment of some tainted candidates, who had made it to the PCS when Ravinderpaul Singh Sidhu was Chairman of the Punjab Public Service Commission (PPSC), has again cropped up before the Punjab and Haryana High Court.

Following the arrest of Sidhu and subsequent developments, including registration of FIRs, the government had set aside the selections of a number of tainted candidates.

However, during hearing of the matter before a Full Bench of High Court, counsel for the State of Punjab had informed the Bench that it had been decided that ousted candidates, if they cleared the fresh examination, would be given seniority as per their old selection.

However, now, in an important development, Mr Justice M.M. Kumar of the High Court has opined that a fresh contempt petition needs to be filed against the Government of Punjab and some private respondents for deliberate circumventing of observations of the Full Bench.

During hearing of a contempt plea filed by Jiwan Kumar Garg and Randeep Singh, both of whom were refused appointment despite clearing the fresh exam, Mr Justice Kumar has ordered that a reference in this regard be made to the Chief Justice for consideration and appropriate orders.

It may be recalled that many candidates, named in the FIR after their names figured in the statements of the witnesses, were appointed after they cleared the fresh examination, but some others, who were similarly placed, were not given this latitude.

The Full Bench of the High Court, which had heard the case of Amarbir Singh and others versus State of Punjab and others, had observed that certain candidates had indulged in serious irregularities to secure their appointment.

The Vigilance Bureau (VB), which had exposed the corruption in the PPSC during Sidhu’s time, had concluded that either question papers were leaked to favoured candidates or examiners were instructed to give them higher marks.

The VB had also found that the marks awarded to Rahul Gupta, son of then PPSC Member and retired IAS officer T.C. Gupta, in his Punjabi paper were increased from 46 to 67.

Similarly, the English paper answers of Ms Kuljeet Kaur, daughter of then Ferozepore SSP G.S. Pherurai, were found identical to those of another candidate, Deepak Arora. However, while the examiner gave 82 marks to Kuljeet, the same examiner awarded just 62 marks to Deepak. Kuljeet went on to top the exam.

Incidentally, she even scored 75 marks in criminal law paper, of which she had never been a student.

Kuljeet and Deepak were both named by prosecution witness Randhir Singh Dheera as candidates who had paid money to Sidhu to clear the examination.

Jivan Kumar Garg and his real brother Kamal sat for the same examination, giving different sir-names and addresses. Both got selected, allegedly after paying money to Sidhu.

After the fresh examination, Rahul Gupta and another candidate named in the FIR, Sukhjit Pal Singh, were granted appointment, while Jivan and Randeep were refused appointment.

The Judge also wondered “whether there is a patent violation of the orders passed by the Full Bench in the case of Amarbir Singh merely because cases are being dropped against those candidates by accepting flimsy grounds.”

He also remarked that in his opinion “a separate contempt petition deserves to be registered against the respondents by impleading Rahul and Sukhjit”.

Mr Justice Kumar has also ordered that since the question was of great significance and had been earlier adjudicated upon by the Full Bench, a reference to a larger Bench was necessitated.


No fiscal relief for private housing projects in Punjab
Chitleen K Sethi
Tribune News Service

Mohali, September 14
The Punjab Government would not give any fiscal concessions or financial exemptions to private parties who propose to set up housing or real estate projects in the state.

Reiterating this decision of the Department of Industries and Commerce, the Chief Minister Punjab, Captain Amarinder Singh, who chaired the last meeting of the Empowered Committee which grants concessions to the proposed mega projects in the state, had reportedly stated that concessions in terms of stamp duty and electricity duty etc. would not be given to these projects.

Over 10 such projects worth Rs 4500 crore had come up for consideration at the meeting. The developers had demanded a host of concessions as part of their proposals, including exemption from the payment of stamp duty and registration fee on purchase of land and on subsequent sale or transfer of built up area, building plan fee, electricity duty, house tax, property tax, entry tax, octroi, toll fee and external development charges etc.

While three projects were multiplex-cum-housing projects, another eight were listed as purely housing projects. When contacted, the Secretary, Housing and Urban Development, Mr K.B.S. Sidhu, said while housing projects would not be given these concessions, the projects which included a multiplex would be given concessions for its multiplex component only as laid down by the Department of Industries and Commerce.

Developers who had proposed to set up housing projects in the area falling under the Punjab Capital Periphery Control Act had also demanded complete exemption from the payment of land-use-change charges. However, it was decided that the developers would have to pay the land use conversion fee to the government.

“Our department was asked to fix the conversion fee for the same. A time limit of 45 days had been given for the finalisation of the fee amount. The issue has already been discussed at the level of the Chief Secretary and was yesterday discussed at the level of the financial commissioner,” said Mr Sidhu, adding that till the fee was fixed, the housing projects would be kept on hold even if they had been approved.

In most cases while the developers had demanded Floor Area Ratio (FAR) as 1:3, the housing department has now fixed FAR as 2 for commercial, 1.5 for residential flats and 1 for residential plots. The ground coverage allowed by the department for such projects has been fixed as 60 per cent for residential and 50 per cent for commercial.


Kashmir Singh’s family awaits his release
Bipin Bhardwaj
Tribune News Service

Mahilpur (Hoshiarpur), September 14
The release of 64 civilians, including 61 Punjabis, by Pakistan has failed to bring cheers to the family of a former jawan Kashmir Singh who has been reportedly languishing in Kot Lakhpat Jail of Pakistan for the past over three decades.

While members of 10 families of Hoshiarpur district celebrated the arrival of their relatives from different Pakistani jails, residents of Nangal Choran village, about 7 km, from here, held the Indian Government responsible for not handling Kashmir Singh’s case properly.

Though the family has expressed happiness over the release of other Indian prisoners , it has not left the hope for the release of Kashmir Singh. The family members are still hopeful after receiving information about Kashmir Singh’s well being in Kot Lakhpat Jail from Mr Radhey Shayam Shamra, a resident of Kathua in Jammu, who was released from the same jail on Monday.

According to Mr Shashipal Singh, a son of the victim, after being recruited in the Army on March 4, 1962, he worked with the intelligence wing of (Military Intelligence) till 1970 and was honoured with a commendation certificate in 1971. He was later recruited in the Punjab police as a constable. He was shown in service till August 11, 1972, and after that was shown in leave in police records, claimed Mr Shashipal.

The family came to know that Kashmir Singh had been caught by the Pakistan police in an espionage case in June 1973, after he wrote a letter to his wife Paramjit Kaur in 1977. In his letter, Kashmir Singh had mentioned that he had been awarded capital punishment by a Pakistani court.

The family had earlier received a letter from a Subedar Major at Jalandhar cantonment, in 1976 informing that Kashmir Singh had been caught by the Lahore police. The family approached the officer but to no avail.

Paramjit Kaur, said her husband had been writing to them till 1991. But with the passage of time writing letters to each other became a costly affair as the family was under debt.

Paramjit Kaur said during the tenure of Ms Benazir Bhutto, as Prime Minister her husband’s sentence was converted to life imprisonment.

She claimed that certain CID officials from Jalandhar used to visit her regularly and gave Rs 5,000 for sundry expenses in the presence of the village panchayat in January 1978 ensuring Kashmir Singh’s early return. “They discontinued their visits after we started receiving letters from Kashmir Singh”, said Paramjit Kaur.

“In absence of my husband I brought up my two sons and a daughter by selling milk and chicken apart from working on daily-wage basis. Since we have not enough land Amarjit Singh, elder son, was sent to Italy. The family is living hand to mouth as the younger son, Shashipal Singh, is suffering with a paralytic attack,” she lamented.

A couple of months ago the name of Kashmir Singh figured in the list of 182 Indian prisoners in Pak jails who were to be freed. But in the final list his name was missing and out of 182 only 40 Indians were freed.

The villagers have demanded that the government should take up Kashmir Singh’s case on a priority basis.


Pak prisoner in detention even after end of term
Varinder Walia
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, September 14
Even as 583 Indian and Pakistani prisoners walked to freedom into the arms of their near and dear ones after long detention yesterday, an old Pakistani national, Mukhtar Ahmad, has been in the high security Central Jail here while his sentence was completed in December 1997.

Reason: Pakistan virtually has disowned the son of soil and refused to confirm his identity.

Disconsolate Ahmad who was caught by the BSF in 1989 from Joginder Post of Mamdot Sector in Ferozepur district for espionage fears that he might die in Indian jail if his own country would continue to disown him. According to highly placed sources, the persons arrested under the Official Secrets Act are normally left in the lurch by their respective countries. His is not an isolated case, more ‘Mukhtar Ahmads’ might be in jails of both countries.

Disheartened Mukhtar Ahmad is not sure if that he would attend ‘Niqah’ (marriage) of his daughter Sahira , likely to take place shortly . He belongs to Dadara Kambal of Kasur district. He was sentenced to seven years sentence but could not be repatriated as his own country does not come forward to accept his identity .

He has two sons and a daughter. His wife Shamim Akhtar had applied for visa, but she failed to get it as Punjab is still a ‘Disturbed Area’.

Though the International Human Rights Protection Council took up his case in 2001 yet he is unlikely to be released in the near future.

The sources said that India did not want to keep such Pakistani prisoners in its jails anymore after the completion of their sentence. However, without proper identitification, they could not be released. It is learnt that Mukhtar Ahmad was taken to Jaipur for identification by the Pakistani authorities. However, they did not even have a look at his file since he was arrested on charges of espionage.


Sidhu serves notice on govt
Release of MC’s outstanding amount
Ahok Sethi

Amritsar, September 14
Taking up the cause of the cash-strapped municipal corporation, the BJP MP, Mr Navjot Singh Sidhu, today sent a legal notice to the Punjab Government for the immediate release of Rs 34 crore, outstanding amount on account of excise duty.

Addressing a press conference here today, Mr Sidhu said that the state government collected excise duty on liquor on behalf of the municipal corporation and had failed to give the amount to it for the last three years. He added that the city had still not developed crucial infrastructure for the last many years and the corporation had always been coming up with an alibi that due to the financial crunch it had been unable to take up development works.

Citing the various agitations presently going on against the corporation in many parts of the city, Mr Sidhu said that people had been demanding better civic amenities including supply of potable water, cleaning of the sewerage, repairing of roads and nallahs. He criticised the state government for blocking the funds meant for the corporation for the last three years.

Mr Sidhu said that he was forced to issue legal notice to the state Department of Finance and to the Secretary, Department of Excise and Taxation, through his advocate in Chandigarh after he was informed by the corporation and the BJP counsellors that the government was not releasing the outstanding amount, thereby creating a serious financial crisis. The notice had pointed out that “according to budget estimates for 2005-06, to release a sum of Rs 31 crore on account of excise duty recovered on account of auction of liquor and the same had been withheld without any justification.

Justifying the legal notice served on the Punjab Government, Mr Sidhu said that he had received a large number of complaints about the lack of civic amenities from the various localities of the city. He said that he had been alarmed at the deteriorating condition of the city, which was being visited by lakhs of tourists and pilgrims.

He urged the government to release the amount within 10 days along with interest accrued, thereon or face the legal action as he was planning to file writ petition.

Terming Amritsar as the city of garbage, he said the money should be used for setting up three to four solid waste management plants for the disposal of the waste.


Economist Ajad dies mysteriously
Tribune News Service

Patiala, September 14
Prof Nirmal Singh Ajad, eminent economist and a senior professor in Department of Economics, Punjabi University, died here today under mysterious circumstances.

Professor Ajad, who was placed under suspension by university Vice-Chancellor S.S. Boparai about a year ago, was found lying on the drawing room floor of his house in Urban Estate, Phase I, by his younger brother Kulwant Singh in a state of unconsciousness late last night.

He was taken to the Government Rajindra Hospital, where he died in the morning.

Though Kulwant Singh, in a statement made before the police, claimed that Prof Ajad was under stress due to family reasons, a section of lecturers of the university, who had worked with him, claimed that the deceased was under stress due to his suspension allegedly made on flimsy grounds.

Information gathered by the TNS revealed that Professor Ajad, who had headed the Department of Economics and worked as Dean, Social Sciences, Punjabi University, was brought to the hospital alive. He was provided treatment but could not survive.

Kulwant Singh said he had been trying to call his brother up from his village in Gurdaspur district since morning. He became suspicious when Prof Ajad failed to answer the phone calls till evening.

He added that when he reached his brother’s house, he found the latter lying on the floor of the drawing room.

He then informed the police and after the police reached the spot, the locks of the house were broken.

He said a post-mortem examination had been conducted and the report was expected in a few days.


Punjab cops may not get remand of Hawara
Ajay Banerjee
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 14
The Punjab police might not be able to secure the remand of Jagtar Hawara due to a technical glitch.

The case involves the Punjab Government, Chandigarh Administration and the Central Bureau of Investigation, which is in charge of the Beant Singh assassination case.

An order of the Chandigarh Administration prohibits the movement of Hawara outside the Burail Jail where he is at present housed. The Punjab police wants that the Chandigarh Administration to withdraw the order. The CBI may or may not give it permission.

Senior officials in the Punjab police say that it may take several months before Hawara, alleged assassin of former Punjab Chief Minister Beant Singh, is taken in custody, if at all.

About seven years ago, the Chandigarh Administration had issued a notification under Section 268 of the Criminal Procedure Code (Cr PC) which prohibits the movement of Hawara outside Burail Jail. Section 268 empowers the Chandigarh Administration to stop any court from summoning Hawara to answer a charge of an offence against him. The court to hold the trial is held on the jail premises.

Punjab has asked the Chandigarh Administration to revoke Section 268 imposed on Hawara and allow it to seek remand for cases pending in Punjab. Sources in the Chandigarh Administration say that an informal request from Punjab had come, but the consent of the CBI was needed.

Hawara had tunnelled his way out of the high-security Burail Jail here in January 2004 and was arrested by the Delhi police in June this year.

So far only the Delhi police, which arrested him on June 8, and Chandigarh police have questioned him. Senior officials of the Punjab police have been present at some questioning sessions.


Kirtan by woman at Tarn Taran gurdwara
Varinder Walia
Tribune News Service

Tarn Taran, September 14
Is the sanctum sanctorum of Darbar Sahib, Tarn Taran, different from that of Harmander Sahib? While both the historical Sikh, shrines of Tarn Taran and Amritsar, respectively, are controlled by the SGPC, the ‘Maryada’ being observed there is different.

The hue and cry over the move of the SGPC to grant permission to baptised Sikh women to perform ‘Kirtan’ in the sanctum sanctorum of Harmander Sahib notwithstanding, a Sikh woman has been singing the holy hymns from Guru Granth Sahib for over one decade.

Bibi Gurbachan Kaur Mathurawale, a victim of the anti-Sikh riots of 1984, claimed that the SGPC had given her special permission to perform kirtan from the sanctum sanctorum of Darbar Sahib, about 10 years ago. Mr Gurdip Singh, manager, Darbar Sahib, who had joined here about a year ago, said the permission was given to the couple (along with her husband) by the SGPC. He said Bibi Mathurawale and her husband, Giani Gurbachan Singh, perform the kirtan daily for half an hour after ‘Rehras’.

When contacted, Bibi Jagir Kaur, President, SGPC, said she herself was astonished over objections raised by a section of the Panth over the decision of the Dharam Parchar Committee allowing women to perform kirtan when they (baptised women) had already been performing similar seva from the sanctum sanctorum of Takht Damdama Sahib and ‘Darbars’ of Takht Kesgarh Sahib . The ‘dhadi jathas’ of Sikh women have been performing from Akal Takht and Kesgarh Sahib . She said there was no gender discrimination in Sikhism. Bibi Jagir Kaur said the SGPC had already given its opinion to the Sikh clergy as sought by Jathedar Akal Takht and it was expected that they would help in ending gender discrimination.

However, Giani Bhagwan Singh, a former Head Granthi of Akal Takht, said the SGPC should not take any step to further divide the community by giving permission to women to perform ‘kirtan’ or cleaning of sanctum sanctorum etc. He said certain women who had participated in the ‘amrit sanchar’ ceremony should tender an unconditional apology to the Sikh Panth for ‘violating’ the age-old ‘maryada’.

Earlier, the religious advisory committee of the SGPC had passed a resolution on March 9, 1940 to allow baptized Sikh women to perform ‘kirtan’ inside the sanctum sanctorum of the Golden Temple. However, the resolution could not be implemented for a variety of reasons. Later, five Sikh high priests had directed the SGPC to allow baptized Sikh women to perform ‘seva’ in sanctum sanctorum of the Golden Temple on February 9, 1996, which was also opposed by a section of the Sikh Panth.


Transfer Chandigarh to Punjab, says Dhindsa
Sarbjit Dhaliwal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 14
The SAD has objected to the statement made by Mrs Sushma Swaraj, Chairperson of the Parliament Standing Committee on Chandigarh, with regard to the setting up of a Vidhan Sabha in Chandigarh on the pattern of the Union Territories of Delhi and Mizoram.

Countering Mrs Swaraj’s statement, which was made here yesterday while speaking to mediapersons, Mr Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa, secretary-general of the SAD, said today that Chandigarh belonged to Punjab and should be transferred to the state. Talking to The Tribune, he said there was no need to set up the Vidhan Sabha because Chandigarh was to be transferred to Punjab as it was its capital.

“The existing system of running the affairs of Chandigarh through an Administrator is a temporary arrangement made till the transfer of the city of Punjab”, said Mr Dhindsa. He said: “I can’t say whether the statement was made wittingly or unwittingly by Mrs Swaraj. However, the SAD’s stand is clear on this issue. It would not allow setting up of such an institution in Chandigarh and would like the transfer of the city to Punjab at the earliest”.

Mr Dhindsa said the Chief Commissioner of Chandigarh should be appointed from Punjab till the city retains its present status. The post of Chief Commissioner, which existed earlier, should be revived. Punjab’s share in the Chandigarh Administration’s vital positions had declined over the years and should be restored immediately, he said.

Yesterday, a large number of local politicians had complained to the Standing Committee that the Chandigarh Administration was being run in a purely bureaucratic style and residents had no role to play in its affairs. The accessibility of people to the Administration was minimal. In fact, most bureaucrats did not like people visiting their offices.

The administration treated the elected bodies such as the Zila Parishad as fiefdoms and gave no freedom to the elected representatives to run these bodies. Bureaucrats were all powerful. Reacting to such complaints, Mrs Swaraj had told the mediapersons that a solution had to be found to remove the “bureaucratic iron curtain” in Chandigarh.

The SAD President, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, said his party would oppose any attempt to dilute Punjab’s “inalienable claim” to its capital.

However, nowhere in his statement did Mr Badal mention that BJP leader Sushma Swaraj had thrown up the idea of setting up a Vidhan Sabha in Chandigarh.


PCMS doctors protest against govt apathy
Our Correspondent

Ferozepore, September 14
PCMS doctors held a protest rally in front of the local civil hospital today.

The doctors were protesting against the apathetic attitude of the state government and the non-implementation of recommendations made in the Fourth Pay Commission concerning doctors in government service.

Surprisingly, the patients, including women and children in OPD and immunisation clinic, also joined the protest being held by the doctors.

While speaking on the occasion, Dr Aman Sood, president of the PCMS Association, said the state government was meting out step motherly treatment to the doctors especially those selected by PPSC during the tenure of former chairman Ravi Sidhu, who was arrested later in a graft case.

Dr Sood said the government should immediately fulfill the demands of the doctors as had been recommended by the Fourth Pay Commission regarding PG increments and conveyance allowance.

Dr Sood stated that service benefits like probation clearance, yearly increments and time bound placements were not being extended to the doctors who had been selected by the PPSC during the tenure of Sidhu notwithstanding the genuineness of their selection.

Dr Gian Singh, secretary, PCMS Association, said the state government’s decision to appoint doctors on contract basis directly and not through PPSC, would hamper the justice delivery system.


Paper mill workers block traffic
Tribune News Service

Mukerian, September 14
Workers of the Mukerian paper mill yesterday organised a protest and blocked traffic on the national highway for about one hour. Hundreds of workers of the mill were protesting against the non-payment of their wages for the past six months.

The Mukerian papers mill has stopped production. At least 1,000 workers of the mill have been rendered unemployed. The management of the mill had retrenched nearly 250 workers. However, even the retrenched workers have not been paid any dues by the management. Other workers, too, have also not been paid any salary since March this year.

Earlier, only the labourers of the mill were holding a protest. However, on Tuesday even the office staff of the mill joined the agitation. The agitating workers alleged that the management had deliberately stopped the production in the mill. The management has referred the case of the mill to the BIFR. It wanted to raise a loan after getting the mill declared sick.

The president of the worker s union of the Mukerain paper mill, Mr Kehar Singh, alleged that the retrenched workers had not been paid even provident fund dues. Some of the workers approached the EPF authorities.

However, they have been told that nothing had been deposited in their account. The workers are doubtful about their share in the EPF and the role of the mill management in it.

The blockade, by workers who blocked the traffic on the Pathankot-Jalandhar road , was lifted only with the intervention of the local tehsildar.

Earlier, the workers held a rally through the Mukerian town, raising slogans against the Punjab Government and the mill management.

None of the representatives of the mill management was available for comments.


Shopkeepers hold protest

Jalandhar, September 14
A group of shopkeepers of the Ladowali area held a protest against the Jalandhar Municipal Corporation authorities here today. They were irked at the miserable condition of the Ladowali road. The protesters were led by Punjab Vikas Congress Party leader Sham Sharma.

They alleged that the condition of the Ladowali road had gone from bad to worse during the week- long spell of rain.

Mr Sham Sharma alleged that Sukhwinder Singh, a resident, met with an accident as his scooter fell into one of the potholes on Tuesday night. While his kids also suffered injuries, his arm was fractured. — TNS


3 grenades found in choe bed

Hoshiarpur, September 14
While loading sand in a tractor-trailer, labourers found three live grenades in a choe bed adjoining Patti village, 8 km from here, last evening.

They informed Mr. Ram Sarup, Sarpanch of the village, who reported the matter to the Sadar Police, Hoshiarpur.

Explosive material experts of the Army from Jalandhar Cantonment were called to defuse the grenades. — OC


Crop diversification impractical: Kanwaljit
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 14
Capt Kanwaljit Singh, a former Finance Minister, Punjab, delivered a talk on “Punjab Farmers: Prosperity, Debt and Suicides” in the Department of Sociology, Panjab University today. Initiating the discussion he said that 60 per cent contribution to the national pool of food stock was met by Punjab. Also 45 per cent of the state’s GDP and 33 per cent of the revenue is also generated by the agriculture.

However, the agriculture sector was in deep crisis as 6.6 per cent of the compound growth rate of agriculture in the past had now plummeted to just 1 per cent. He emphatically said that India had no national agricultural policy and the faulty calculation of the cost of cultivation was responsible for pushing the Punjab agriculture into serious crisis. Quoting findings from the Punjab Agricultural University, he said that 75 per cent of the holdings in Punjab were of the size of 2 hectares or below that had already become uneconomical. Consequently the Punjab farmers at presently were burdened under nearly Rs.18,000 crore of debt. He also pointed out that 25 per cent of the income of the farmers was being consumed in the repayment of interest on the existing debt.

Pointing out at the impact of WTO on Punjab agriculture, he said that while Australian wheat which could be supplied at the rate of Rs 475 per quintal, our Indian wheat could not compete in the market with it at a price of Rs 800 per quintal. In his estimation, Ludhiana wheat in Chennai could cost three times that of Australian wheat. International competition was the agriculture is major threat to the Punjab farmers. Added to the economic crises were 14.71 lakh unemployed persons in the rural Punjab seeking employment. He also lashed out at the present policy of diversification which, he said, was impracticable. Farmers were the best economists, he said, who would go for the most profitable crops which was wheat-paddy cycle they were following at the moment.

As far as, the depletion of underground water due to paddy crop was concerned, he suggested that there was a technology available that could recharge underground water. He was of the strong opinion that there was a need to grow high-value crops and, at the same time, adequate prices should be ensured to the farmers. Introduction of new technology and improvement in post harvest storage, marketing and processing would add to the value of the agricultural produce.


Vehicles with pressure horns to be challaned
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, September 14
As per the instructions of the state government pressure horns are not permissible in vehicles and hance these should be removed it otherwise the owner would be penalised, said Mr Rajesh Tripathi, District Transport Officer, while addressing drivers from different truck operators unions here today.

He said his department was going to launch a campaign in this regard in the district. Through such gatherings and camps the department was educating the vehicle owners as well as warning them in advance so that they should remove the pressure horns at their own.

He said strict instructions had been issued to the staff to enforce the non-use of the pressure horns with immediate effect .


Nagar council poll re-scheduled
Our Correspondent

Phagwara, September 14
The poll for the two posts of vice-president of Phagwara Nagar Council has been re-scheduled again.

Now, it will be held on October 14 instead of September 15. The fresh schedule was fixed by the Deputy Commissioner, Kapurthala, Mr Sameer Kumar, who had delegated the powers of Observer for these polls to Phagwara SDM, Mr Balwinder Singh Dhaliwal.

It may be mentioned here that this was the second re-scheduling of the poll date. Earlier, the date was changed from September 9 to September 15 allegedly due to local MLA-cum-chairman, Punjab Agro and Foods Corporation, Mr Joginder Singh Mann, having gone abroad. Mr Mann is an ex-officio member of the 28-member Nagar Council.


Fake SP dupes youths of lakhs
Our Correspondent

Pathankot September 14
Over 10 unemployed youths belonging to Pathankot have been duped of lakhs of rupees, by a man posing as Superintendent of Police (SP) on the pretext of getting them recruited in the police.

The fake SP has been identified as Baba Paramjit Singh.

The police today registered a case against the fake SP and his accomplices under Sections 420, 467, 471, 341 and 342 and other provisions of the IPC. The police apprehends that the total amount involved in the alleged “ recruitment racket” could turn out be much more, after thorough investigation.

Baba Paramjit Singh had been operating the racket by adopting a unique modus operandi. He had taken a house on rent opposite the SDM court complex. He started his operation about two years ago. He identified and allured the unemployed youths through his son and on false assurances of getting them recruited in the police.

According to victims, the Baba had started training the youths and even provided them with police uniforms. The bogus training camp continued for about six months. One fake cop was all deployed at the training place. The kingpin of the racket had not only taken money from the victims but also their original educational qualification certificates.

He also clicked photographs of the victims during the training period, on the pretext of forwarding the same to “ the headquarters”.

When he failed to hand over “appointment letters” to the victims, some of them raised a hue and cry. Baba then fled along with his accomplices.


Minor gangraped, 2 arrested
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, September 14
A 14-year-old school-going girl, who was missing from her house in Kang Sabu village, near Nakodar, on September 11 under mysterious circumstances, was allegedly gangraped by five persons of the same village.

The police has arrested two persons. It is investigating whether the girl was actually “abducted” and “raped” or had she left her house on her own.

The rape was allegedly facilitated by a woman of the village. The woman had called the girl, whose “estranged” parents are settled in the UK and Greece, to her house on September 11. She was called on the pretext that her mother had come from the UK and she should meet her at her house. When she reached there she was allegedly abducted by the youths, including Binder, Bittu, Soni, Jatinder. She was allegedly raped for over 48 hours.

The complainant alleged that she was released from the captivity on September 13 and was threatened by the woman that she would face dire consequences if she revealed the “rape incident” to anybody.

The police has booked the accused under Sections 363, 366-A, 120-B and 376 of the IPC. The arrested persons have been identified as Soni and Bittu.


Students duped of Rs 35 lakh
Our Correspondent

Hoshiarpur, September 14
A case of duping poor students of about Rs 35 lakh by owners of the Institute of Software Technology Group International Limited, Hoshiarpur, was reported to the police here yesterday.

According to police sources, Pawan Kumar, a son of Bawa Ram, of the local Rahimpur locality got registered a case against Shaveta Verma, managing director, Parmajit Singh, director, and Karuna, teacher of the institute under Sections 406 and 420, IPC.

In his complaint, Pawan Kumar stated that he got admission in the institute for computer training and English-speaking courses. He said that more than 270 students from different areas took admission in the institute, for which these persons charged Rs 8,000 to Rs 13,500 each from students as admission fee.

After collecting the money, they closed the institute and fled. 


Vehicles’ sale racket: 2 discharged
Our Correspondent

Abohar, September 14
Gulshan Kumar, a local resident, and Mohan Lal Nagpal of Fazilka were discharged by a local court in a case registered by the Sadar police. The police had claimed that they were involved in an inter-state racket of selling stolen luxury vehicles from Maharashtra with forged documents. The police had blamed Mr Nagpal of financing these persons.

The ADGP, internal vigilance cell, Punjab, in a letter to the SSP, Ferozepore, stated that Ram Chand, a resident of Abohar, had in a complaint to the DGP, Punjab, alleged that his son Gulshan Kumar was whisked away by the police on October 17, 2002 from his house and falsely implicated in the case. The complainant had sent telegrams to the DGP, PHRC and the Punjab and Haryana High Court on October 18 suspecting that his son would be falsely implicated. He also moved an application to the District Sessions Judge who was on inspection here and to the Judicial Magistrate.

The ADGP said the crime wing at the instance of an another accused Mohan Lal Nagpal conducted an inquiry. He was found innocent. Another inquiry by the SP of the internal vigilance cell found Gulshan Kumar and Mohan Lal Nagpal innocent.

It was concluded that the vehicle was taken into custody from Raghu Jasuja and Rinku Sukhija residents of Abohar but Sub Inspector Pushpinder Singh falsely showed the recovery from Mohan Lal Nagpal and Gulshan Kumar.


Flesh racket busted; five held

Batala, September 14
The Batala Police unearthed a flesh racket and arrested three women and two men from a house situated at Ohri Gate area.

While talking to mediapersons here today, Dr Jatindera Jain, SSP, Batala, disclosed that on a tip off, Inspector Kirpal Singh of the city police station Batala raided the house of Gurdip Kaur, alias Lovely and arrested Sukhwinder Kaur, Amarjit Kaur, Paramjit Kaur and two men identified as Partap Singh and Gurprit Singh resident of Sekhwan village in Gurdaspur district. Another person namely Narinder Singh, however, managed to escape. — OC


Rs 1.4-lakh theft in house
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, September 14
Thieves struck at a Vishal Nagar residence last night and decamped with cash and valuables worth about Rs 1.4 lakh last night.

According to sources, Mr Jagdish Kumar Sehgal, a junior engineer in the local thermal plant, and his family had been to Ludhiana in connection with his daughter’s marriage and their home was locked.

The thieves sneaked into his house last night. They ransacked the house before fleeing with gold and cash worth about Rs 1.4 lakh. The Kotwali police has registered a case of theft against the unidentified thieves.


Khalsa College row: students seek govt’s intervention
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, September 14
The students who were denied admission in Khalsa College by the academic council this year, today urged the state government to intervene in the ongoing conflict between students and the college management.

In a press conference here today the students, who were also on chain hunger strike led by Mr Parampal Singh, alleged that the college premises had virtually turned into a ‘jail’ as the students were not allowed to move out of their classes. The Principal also locked the gates once the students entered the college, he alleged.

He alleged that the Principal used to threaten the students by saying that he had links with higher ups in the administration and in political circles. Parampal alleged that the Principal had hired some outsiders to create an atmosphere of terror in the college.

However, Dr Daljit Singh, Principal of the college, while refuting the allegations, said he had not hired any outsiders in the college.

He said the students who were denied admission by the academic council were leveling baseless charges against him as they had failed to generate support.

He said college students were attending their classes peacefully and were not supporting the ‘outsiders’.

Meanwhile, the students also urged Giani Joginder Singh Vedanti, Jathedar Akal Takht, to take action against the Principal for allegedly removing the turbans of protesting students.

In letters sent to the Punjab State Human Rights Commission, District Police Chief and the Deputy Commissioner, they alleged that the students had been subjected to inhuman treatment.


Students protest at varsity gate
Tribune News Service

Patiala, September 14
Students of Punjabi University, Patiala, went ahead and held a rally in front of the university’s main gate despite the court’s restraint orders and the closure of the university for a day by the authorities to avoid confrontation.

The Punjabi University Students Confederation had called for a strike today in support of the students suspended and expelled by the university. Braving rain, a large number of students managed to hold demonstration despite the presence of a large posse on the university campus. The students held the rally for about two hours.

According to university authorities, around 40 outsiders entered the university campus and held a noisy demonstration, shouted slogans against the university functionaries and used abusive language in violation of the court orders.

The authorities had taken a decision late last evening to close the university apprehending confrontation.

Student organisations of the state held a meeting in the evening and said they would disclose their future course of action at a press conference tomorrow.

Representatives of the confederation pointed out that university authorities were trying to paint them as trouble makers by claiming that their movement against the misdeeds of university authorities was being sponsored and supported by politicians.

They added that they had launched a peaceful agitation for pressing the university authorities to accept their demands.

They said though the university authorities were trying to instigate them to indulge in violence, they had been keeping their agitation peaceful and conducting it in a democratic manner despite the fact that a section of university functionaries had used derogatory remarks against the caste of a student leader.

They added that their agitation, which was launched to lodge protest against the hike made in the tuition fee by the university authorities in the past, was also peaceful.

They said their agitation had been getting support from other student organisations and soon it would become a statewide struggle.

Meanwhile, Dr Baldev Singh Sandhu, Dr Harinder Singh Bhatti and Dr Dharamvir Sharma, the teachers accused of making cast-based comments against expelled student leader Chamkaur Singh, have rebutted the allegation and asserted that there was no mention of caste during the inquiry proceedings.

According to a press statement issued by the Director, Public Relations, the university administration had taken a serious note of the vilification campaign launched by students against the Vice-Chancellor and teachers inquiring into the incidents of indiscipline on the campus.

According to Dr Sandhu, Chamkaur Singh, after expulsion from the university, had made a threat call at midnight to him. When he failed to pressurise him, Chamkaur, along with other leaders, resorted to this propaganda. The members of the inquiry committee have asked the Vice-Chancellor to allow them to hold in-camera proceedings so that no claims of such nature could be made in future.


Observers nominated for admission to medical colleges
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 14
The Department of Medical Education Research, Punjab, yesterday nominated its observers for the counselling of candidates for admission to NRI/ management quota seats.

In the orders, the department has asked the observers to ensure that only annual and provisional fee from the admitted students is charged by the colleges as per the provisions of the prospectus of the Baba Farid University of Health Sciences, Faridkot. The fee would be in line with the notification of the Punjab Government, dated April 25.

In case the fee is demanded in excess of the specified fee, the government nominee has been asked not to sign the selection papers and the college concerned will be responsible for legal consequences.

The following are the observers: Baba Jaswant Singh Dental College, Ludhiana — Dr P.L. Garg; Sri Guru Nanak Dev Homoeopathic College, Ludhiana — Dr P.L. Garg; Desh Bhagat Ayurvedic College, Mandi Gobindgarh — Dr Kiranjit Kaur; Dashmesh Institute of Research and Dental Sciences — Dr. A.S. Gill; National Dental College and Hospital, Dera Bassi — Dr V.K. Sikri; Government Dental College, Amritsar — Dr Kamlesh Vasudeva and Genesis Institute of Dental Sciences & Research — Dr Kamlesh Vasudeva.

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