L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Contract killers were hired to kill Reema Jain
Brother-in-law arrested
Jupinderjit Singh
Tribune News Service

Accused Micky Jain in police custody.
Accused Micky Jain in police custody. — Photo by Inderjit Verma

Ludhiana, September 20
A gang of five contract killers has allegedly murdered a well-known socialite and businesswoman Reema Jain, who had been missing since July 29 from the Sutlej Club here. Her brother-in-law had allegedly hired the killers to settle old scores with her.

Claiming to have solved the high-profile case, SP (Detective) Gurpreet Singh and DSP Sandeep Goyal said Reema’s brother-in-law Micky Jain had been arrested on the charge of hiring the contract killers who were led by notorious gangster Avtar Singh, alias Taari. He was, however, yet to be arrested.

A deal of Rs 25 lakh was struck for the purpose. Micky had paid Rs 1.40 lakh as advance amount. The planning was allegedly done four years ago in the Central Jail here when Micky and Taari had met in the jail in 2001. Micky was an undertrial in the murder case of Reema’s husband. He was later acquitted.

The motive of the murder was mainly vengeance though family dispute over property worth crores of was also one of the reasons, the police claimed. Micky had been nursing a grudge against Reema for making him suffer physical and mental harassment when she had named him as the accused.

The police, however, did not disclose the identity of the other accused. The body of the woman was also yet to be recovered. The mode of murder and dumping of the body and other details would be known only after the arrest of Taari, the police said.

The news of Reema’s murder has devastated her three children. The eldest, Bhanu Pratap (20), had been moving from pillar to post to get her traced ever since she went missing on July 29. Till now, it was considered that she had been abducted.

Mr Gurpreet Singh said DSP Sandeep Goyal and CIA in charge Warryam Singh had done well in solving the case.

The police learnt that Taari had met the accused in the jail. However, Micky denied he had met him. The breakthrough was made when another convict told the investigating team that Taari and Micky used to spend several hours together in the jail. The police later found more witnesses to this.

The police claimed that the accused had first planned to kill her on 2002 but for some reasons the plan was dropped.



Matriculate ‘doctor’ leaves 3 kids dead
2 taken seriously ill; residents hold protest
Jupinderjit Singh
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, September 20
A matriculate “doctor” allegedly left three children dead and two others seriously ill with her prescription for common cold and cough at a charitable dispensary in Prem Nagar this afternoon.

Police investigation found that the accused “doctor”, a 20-year-old girl, had passed Class X only and had no medical qualification. The “doctor” was allegedly practising for the past few days at Mata Prem Kaur Charitable Dispensary after a qualified doctor left the place.

The incident sparked angry protests with a large number of area residents staging a demonstration outside the dispensary for over an hour. A heavy police force from the Division No. 2 police station was rushed there to prevent violence. A youth club in the area runs the dispensary.

The Division No. 2 police later booked the “doctor”, Suman, compounder Devinder Singh and administrator of the dispensary Jasbir Singh on the charge of causing death due to negligence.

Inspector Gurpreet Singh, SHO, said the police had sealed the dispensary and collected samples of the medicines administered to the children. He said the “doctor” was just a matriculate and was at large.

The samples would be sent for examination to find out whether the medicines had expired, or if these were given in overdose, or if it was a case of wrong medication.

The children who died are Ishika (6) , Gungun (5) and Nitish (4). The seriously ill are Neelu and Dinesh. They are fighting for life at the CMC.

According to Mr Mohinder Singh, father of Gungun, she had been taken to the dispensary for medicine for cold and cough. However, just after the “doctor” gave medicines, the girl’s condition deteriorated and she fell unconscious.

The same was the fate of the other two children. They were rushed to the CMC where they were declared brought dead.

The area residents claimed that a middle-aged woman was also taken seriously ill after consuming some medicines administered by the “doctor”. However, the woman had not reported in any city hospital till late evening.



Cable network remains suspended; residents irked
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, September 20
The cable network in the city remained suspended on the third consecutive day today.

Cable operators, who submitted a memorandum to the administration demanding the arrest of councillor of Ward No. 70, Mr Raju Thapar, besides withdrawal of case lodged against a local cable operator, threatened to suspend cable services throughout the state if their demands were not met.

Following a tiff between councillor Mr Raju Thapar, who alleged misbehaviour by the local cable, said cable network across the city was suspended on Sunday evening.

“We do not wish to trouble residents but we have no other option but to resort to suspending cable services to lodge our protest,” said Mr Sonu Sehgal, president of the Ludhiana Cable Operators Association. “We will continue with our strike till the guilty are punished,” he said.

Meanwhile, residents expressed resentment over the suspension of cable services. Terming the action of cable operators as unfair, Mr C.S.Ahuja, president the Ludhiana Cooking gas Consumers Association, said: “This shows highhandedness of cable operators. Why should the residents suffer due to their problems.”

Operators, meanwhile, submitted a memorandum to the SP (City II), Mr Kuldip Singh, the Mayor, Mr Nahar Singh Gill and the Deputy Commissioner, Mr Anurag Verma.

Forum flays cable operators’ strike

Our correspondent adds: The Peoples Awareness Forum has condemned the cable operators of the city who have put the residents to ransom with their decision to go on strike for the past three days.

Prof Prithipal Singh Kapoor, president, Prof Gurcharan Singh, general secretary and Mr A.R. Gupta, executive member of the forum in a statement here today maintained that when the police had registered complaints from both sides the cable operators had no justification to go on strike and depriving the residents of the telecast.



Residents sick of polluting unit
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, September 20
Residents of White Quarters, Dhuri Line, have sought action against an industrial unit situated in the area, alleging that it is causing air and noise pollution.

The residents alleged that the unit was creating problems for the sick, especially asthma patients, through the emission of hazardous gases.

Mr Girdhari Lal, a resident of Block VII, said the affected residents had complained to the Chairman, Punjab Pollution Control Board, several times but no action was taken against the owner of the unit.

“The unit is manufacturing forging items with the aid of power presses and furnace using unauthorised fuel. The machinery of the unit is spreading pollution of all kinds— air, water and noise”, alleged Mr Girdhari Lal, while showing his medical reports in which the doctor had advised him to remain in a pollution-free atmosphere.

Mr Surinder Pal Singh, another patient suffering from CAD disease, said the sound pollution caused by the unit was affecting their life. “Not only this, I also suffer from breathlessness. The air pollution generated by the unit is dangerous. May be they have not installed the equipment as per the guidelines and procedures of the PPCB. Whenever we approach PPCB officials, we are given false assurances,” said Mr Surinder Pal Singh.

The residents said the PPCB had given warnings to industrialists through advertisements in the media to shift their industrial units from residential areas by September 30.

“The advertisements say that action will be taken against the guilty. However, it seems that all warnings remain on paper only, ” said another resident Karam Chand.



Cable blackout — boon for parents
Asha Ahuja

Ludhiana, September 20
Every cloud has a silver lining. Though people are finding it hard missing Tulsi, Parvati and Jassi on their television sets for the past three days, parents are quite happy as their children are preparing for half-yearly examinations.

Mr Sanju Satija, a parent, says, “These days examinations are going on. Earlier, when we were hooked to our favourite serials, we were reluctant to miss them and teach our kids. Similarly, children pleaded with us to allow them to watch the programmes of their choice for some time. But with the strike of cable operators there are no hurdles for exam preparation”.

Ms Sulekha, another parent, says blackout of cable has come as a blessing in disguise. She says, “The blackout has coincided with the examination times. Now we are giving undivided attention to our children's studies”.

But a majority of people feel lost without cable. “I love to listen to the news. No cable means no news. So I pulled out my radio and now it accompanies me everywhere. I am quite enjoying the change,” says Mr Puspinder Singh, a senior citizen.



Passing Thru

Mr Sukh Dhaliwal
Mr Sukh Dhaliwal, an Indian expatriate and leading member of the Federal Liberal Party in Canada

In which fields do you think India and Canada can work together?

There is a great scope for multi- level cooperation between India and Canada in the fields like business, information technology and tourism. There is a substantial number of Indians, particularly Punjabis, living in different parts of Canada. They have created an impact in every sphere of life. Punjabi, you know, is one of the widely spoken languages in Canada.

What measures do you suggest for enhancing mutual cooperation?

The Government of India needs to take some measures to build up confidence among the expatriates. The expatriates can come back and invest here. They do not need to settle down here. They can always set up their business by huge investments, which they can always afford. But they only need some support and moral boosting.

There have been reports of some racial discrimination, even intimidation of the Asians, in the aftermath of 9/11 and 7/7 in the West. What about Canada?

Thankfully there is no such discrimination in Canada. You must be aware that there were no incidents of backlash anywhere in Canada. The Canadian society is multicultural, multilingual and multireligious and people have learnt to live with one another.

—Vimal Sumbly



Workers greet new Youth Congress secretary
Our Correspondent

Samrala, September 20
The newly-appointed secretary of the All India Youth Congress, Ms Parpeet Kaur Brar, was given a warm welcome by workers and leaders of the Congress here today.

On the occasion, Mr Shiv Kumar Kalyan , an advocate and chairman of the Youth Legal Cell, Ludhiana district (rural), said the high command of the Congress at Delhi had taken a very good step by appointing Ms Brar as secretary of the Youth Congress and the lady wing of the Congress. Ms Brar, who was on her way to Amritsar, stayed for more than an hour at the Pooda Complex and discussed many points for coming elections in the state.

Local MLA Amrik Singh Dhillon and nagar council president Jasbir Dhillon were also present on the occasion.



Western Air Command shooters are champions
Our Correspondent

Mandi Ahmedgarh, September 20
Shooters of the Western Air Command emerged champions in the pistol and revolver category in the All-India Inter-Command Air Force Small Arms Shooting Championship that commenced at the Air Force Range, Halwara, today.

The inaugural function was presided over by Group Captain Rakesh Marwaha.

More than 150 shooters from the Technical Command, the Maintenance Command, the Southern Air Command, the Western Air Command, the South-Western Air Command, the Eastern Air Command, the Central Air Command and the Air Force Headquarters took oath to strive hard to bring the name of their respective commands on the national shooting map. Pigeons were freed in the air as a symbol of peace.

According to Wg Cdr Rajwant Singh, Organising Secretary, winners of the championship will represent their respective commands in the Mavlanker Championship scheduled to be held at Edipy, Kerala, and the National Shooting Championship to be held at Hyderabad on December 1.

While the shooters of the Western Air Command emerged champions in the pistol and revolver category, teams of the Maintenance Command and the South-Western Air Command bagged the second and the third positions, respectively.

Wg Cdr Shakti Singh Thakur said the Air Force would be able to constitute a contingent of at least 16 shooters by the end of the next year which would represent the force in various national and international events.



PCTE rated best B-school in region
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, September 20
The AIMA (All India Management Association) B-School Survey 2005 has rated the Punjab College of Technical Education (PCTE) as the best B-school of Punjab, Himachal Pradesh and Jammu and Kashmir for the third time in a row.

The PCTE has been rated A grade upper category B-school in the current survey along with other 22 business schools of the country in the same category.

In the survey, 20 top B-schools of India figured in A+ grade (upper and lower categories) followed by A grade (upper category) with 22 B-schools, including PCTE. This is the sixth survey conducted by leading business magazines and organisations such as Outlook, Business India and the AIMA in past three years in which the PCTE has been rated the best B-school of the region.

Dr K.N.S. Kang, Director, PCTE, in a press statement today said the institute was rated the best B-school of the region by the AIMA B-school surveys 2003 and 2004, as well and ranked 40th among top 50 B-schools of India by Outlook survey 2005. He said the PCTE was also rated the best B-school of the region by Business India B-school survey 2004.

The survey was conducted by the AIMA in association with Business Standard through IMRB — leading research agency of India. The survey covered all B-schools of the country. More than 120 institutes from across the country were personally visited. For some institutes multiple visits were made to cross-check the data. The broad parameters of the survey included intellectual capital, admissions, placements, infrastructure, industry interface, governance etc.

While congratulating students and faculty members of the institute, Dr Kang said, “The purpose of these surveys is to enhance the quality of education and competitive environment in India thus making every participating institute more responsible and committed to deliver excellence in the field of education.”



Narinder Gill’s novel released
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, September 20
The Navlekhak Manch, Rara Sahib, in association with the Punjabi Sahitya Akademi released a novel, “O Teen Din”, by Narinder Gill at Punjabi Bhavan here yesterday.

The function was presided over by Dr Surjit Patar, president of the akademi. Dr Gurdayal Pandher, while reading a paper on the novel, said the novel had diverse aspects. He said Narinder Gill had dealt with the problems portrayed in novel in an adept manner.

Dr Surjit Patar said the subject of the novel was not commonplace. He said mediapersons were not taking up their responsibilities and instead novelists were playing their role.

Terming it as thought provoking, Dr Gur Iqbal Singh said the novel set readers as well as intellectuals thinking about the problems dealt in it.

Prof Suk Prem Raj said the novel was a mirror of literature of the contemporary times and would be a valuable document for generations to come.

Dr S. Tarsem said the author had taken up problems that most of us failed in solving due to some handicap.

Pritam Singh said the novel gave a telltale description of the breaking up of the Soviet Union.

Gurbhajan Singh Gill, vice-president of the akademi, and Dr Sadhu Singh also put forth their views.



Weaving a living out of bamboo
Asha Ahuja

Ludhiana, September 20
A group of basket weavers has descended from Moradabad on Ludhiana to earn a livelihood.

Though they did not carry much money with them when they migrated from UP to Punjab, they carried in their fingers an age-old skill of making beautiful baskets from bamboo.

They buy bamboo and with the magic in their fingers, create pretty baskets which are much in demand.

Lakhbir, the leader of the group, says ,“We are like nomads and keep moving from place to place. Our baskets sell for a short period of time and then a saturation point reaches. The flow of buyers stops, an indication that it is time for us to move. However, our base is in Moradabad.”

On being asked how they acquired the skill, he said since the business of basket weaving was a family tradition, one picked up the art effortlessly in childhood only.

He said they had to slice bamboos in thin strips before weaving. “To make them look attractive, some strands of bamboo are coloured magenta and green. These colours bring relief to neutral shade of bamboo. Since baskets are needed for different purposes, we have learnt to make different designs. Some are hanging baskets, while some are broad based. With colours they catch the eye of passers-by and we are able to make a living.”

He said, “Life has never been a bed of roses for us as we hardly enjoy the comforts of home. We live like refugees, homeless and shelterless. We leave behind our families and cannot share moments of joys with them. Our hands get roughened by cutting bamboo and using them throughout the day for weaving. Yet we thank God as we are able to earn a livelihood and support our families because of it.”

He, however, regretted that people who often came in posh cars were the ones not wanting to pay them their due.



Tree theft charge has cop suspended
Our Correspondent

Mandi Ahmedgarh, September 20
The Sangrur police chief has ordered a probe into a case of alleged theft of trees belonging to the Forest Department by the in charge of the Kup chowki, who has been sent to the Police Lines after being placed under suspension, pending the inquiry.

The Forest Department authorities had earlier issued a notice to the in charge, asking him to deposit Rs 40,000 as cost of the stolen wood.

Mr Harinder Singh Chahal, Senior Superintendent of Police, Sangrur, said Darshan Kumar, in charge of the Kup chowki, had been suspended and sent to the Police Lines, Sangrur, on Monday evening.

“As he has tarnished the image of the department by allegedly being involved in a theft case, we decided to take action according to the law. However, a criminal case would be registered once the stolen goods are recovered,” said Mr Chahal.

Mr Rachhpal Singh, DSP, Malerkotla, had been directed to probe the matter, he said.

“Though preliminary investigations have indicated the involvement of the cop, we have to conduct an inquiry by an officer not below the rank of a GO as the allegations levelled by the Forest Department authorities are of a serious nature,” Mr Chahal said.

Referring to information received through his juniors, Mr Yuvraj Singh, Range Officer, Malerkotla, alleged that Darshan Kumar had stolen a sheesham and four acacia trees from the forest area.



Undertrial escapes from police custody
Our Correspondent

Jagraon, September 20
An undertrial managed to escape from the police custody while he was being taken to the local courts today.

According to the information, Gurpreet Singh, son of Sukhdev Singh of Pakhowal, was arrested by the Raikot police under Sections 457 and 380 of the IPC alongwith Jugraj Singh, Amandeep Singh and Nirmal Singh, allegedly for committing burglary in a shop at Pakhowal.

All four were brought to Jagraon by ASI Rajinder Pal Singh and HC Jasmel Singh to produce them before Subdivisional Judicial Magistrate Jitender Walia for securing their police remand. But before the four could be produced in the court, Gurpreet managed to escape from the custody.

Later, the other three were remanded to the police custody till September 22. 



Allahabad Bank to enter mutual fund business
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, September 20
Allahabad Bank has identified insurance and mutual fund business as emerging avenues for augmenting its fee-based income.

Mr Ashok Dutt, zonal head of the bank, said the bank, which already had tie-ups with various mutual fund and insurance companies for distributing their products, was now considering entering into multiple tie-ups for mutual funds.

He said the bank had a pool of 130 IRDA and AMFI qualified officers for promoting these activities. “The bank has also recruited 12 professionally qualified marketing managers recently, who are helping create a pro-active sales culture,” he said.

He said the bank had already mobilised a business of more than 31 crore in the current financial year and had earned fee-based income of Rs 3.08 crore.



DRI action on industrialists condemned
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, September 20
Condemning the alleged arbitrary crackdown by the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI) on bicycle part exporters from the city, Mr Sharanjit Singh Dhillon, national president of the Youth Akali Dal, today said MPs from the state would be constrained to meet the Prime Minister to explain the plight of industry and highhandedness of DRI officials.

He said, “It is a serious matter. The manner adopted by the DRI officials is not just unwarranted, it has also brought a bad name to the Ministry of Finance and the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence.”

He said the Central Government had already waived off physical verification of inputs used by cycle parts exporters vide a notification in April, 2002, under the Duty Free Replenishment Scheme (DFRS) announced for accelerating exports of such goods.

“The unlawful proceedings by DRI officials in Ludhiana on September 16 were quite contrary to the export policy of the government,” he said.

He urged the Finance Minister and the DRI to intervene into the matter and protect the industry.



Hotelier finds Punjab in UK
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, September 20
Mr N.S. Nanda, president of the Hotel and Restaurant Association of Punjab and patron of the Punjabi Sahit Academy, has returned after attending a function as the chief guest at Leicester, UK. The function was organised by the Leicester Asian Business, Punjabi Listeners Club and Sikh Times.

In a statement issued here today, he said the Mayor of Leicester, Councillor Mary Draycott, who was the guest of honour at the function, welcomed him at the function. She said his visit would strengthen the mission of promoting cultural ties and values between two cities. She honoured Mr Nanda with a memento and a lapel pin.

Mr Nanda also attended functions organised by other social, literary and cultural organisations there. He said Punjabi was a widely spoken language there.

He said NRIs living in the UK had established a third Punjab there after East and West Punjabs. He visited a number of gurdwaras there.

He also met prominent hoteliers and high officials of the Ministry of Tourism, UK.



Chamber team meets PSEB chief
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, September 20
The Apex Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Punjab, has urged the Chairman of the Punjab State Electricity Board to address the grievances of the industry and allow smooth running of the factories.

A deputation of the chamber led by Mr P.D. Sharma met the Chairman here yesterday in the presence of Chief Parliamentary Secretary Surinder Dawar and the Chief Engineer and told him that the PSEB still adhered to the old convention of quantifying load of a consumer through connected load.

The consumers, irrespective of the connected load, have a contract with the PSEB for maximum demand and there was no relevance of the connected load, he said. With the electronic meters in place, the board was getting information and proper billing was also taking place.

The deputation further pointed out that for heavy loads feasibility clearance had to be obtained from the PSEB headquarters and after getting it, the case again had to go to Patiala. This process should be simplified and everything should be done locally, it said.

The deputation also pleaded that the clubbing of the load should be dispensed with as there was no possibility of the board facing any losses. The process should be rationalised, it felt. The Chairman was also urged to increase the load of the induction furnaces and allow the use of maximum load of 100 kw during peak hours.

The Chairman assured that he would take decision on the problems of the industry soon.

Mr K.K. Garg, president, Induction Furnaces Association of North India, also accompanied the deputation.


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