L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Reema murder case: Taari plays hide-and-seek
Jupinderjit Singh
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, October 5
Even as the city police has failed to recover the body of well-known businesswoman Reema Jain, allegedly murdered in late July, the main accused in the case and alleged contract killer-cum-police informer, Avtar Singh Taari, is playing hide-and-seek with the police.

Taari, who allegedly enjoys patronage of some senior Punjab Police officials, including those posted in Chandigarh and one with the IRB, had announced to surrender several times last week. He, however, never kept his promise.

The police was in touch with him through a senior police officer. At least three times Taari conveyed through the officer that he would surrender but every time he went back on his word.

Taari has denied his involvement in the crime. Sources said when he was booked in the murder case of Reema, he approached a senior official and pleaded not guilty.

He allegedly offered to give up, stating that he was innocent. However, the officer and some others of senior rank seemed convinced that Taari was speaking the truth.

Taari has been in the news for all the wrong reasons. Officially he is listed as a dangerous contract killer having access to arms and drugs, besides his alleged links with terrorists in Jammu and Kashmir. The police records are replete with his exploits in the crime world.

But unofficially, he is hailed, protected and financed as a very good informer. He is credited with helping the police in solving a number of high profile cases, including murders and blasts involving terrorists from Jammu and Kashmir. He also played an instrumental role in the arrest of some main arms and drugs smugglers.

The police also knows that Taari keeps frequenting Jammu and Kashmir yet he has been allowed to roam scot-free. His alleged involvement in the Reema Jain murder case has triggered a debate in the police circles. While one section believes that Taari should be protected for helping the police, others believe he has already been given a long rope.

He had allegedly struck a deal of receiving Rs 25 lakh from Micky Jain, brother-in-law of Reema. Micky is in police custody and has been charged with the crime of hiring contract killers for the murder of his sister-in-law.

Micky has claimed to the police that he could only confirm the kidnapping of Reema. He has stated that Taari and five others had informed him that she was kidnapped on July 29 morning. He has claimed that Taari had again called up to say that work had been executed. This has been inferred as the murder of Reema.

Police sources said till Taari was arrested, there was not much hope of recovering the body.

Sources said though a deal of Rs 25 lakh had been struck, Taari took only Rs 1.50 lakh in two instalments of Rs 10,000 and Rs 1.40 lakh.

The police has learnt that Taari was superstitious about the amount. He considered it lucky to take the amount in three instalments, two before the alleged crime and one on successful completion.



Gear up for Assembly poll, Tanwar asks Youth Cong ranks
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, October 5
The All-India Youth Congress (AIYC) president, Mr Ashok Tanwar, today asked the party workers to gear up for the Assembly elections that were barely one-and-a-half years away.

He said the workers had to carry the message of party and the development-oriented agenda to the masses in order to mobilise them for the forthcoming electoral battle.

If the purpose of the visit of AIYC president Ashok Tanwar was to participate in the thanksgiving rally and take stock of the party affairs and to mobilise the ranks for the coming Assembly elections, he must have been thoroughly disappointed.

The gathering at the rally as also at the Circuit House appeared to be clearly divided among small groups with each one of them raising slogans in support of their respective leaders.

While a large number of chairs were lying vacant, the party functionaries and even non-entities were jostling with each other to find a place on the dais. Though city people hardly took any notice of the rally, it came as a boon for pickpockets and at least two party leaders, including a vice-president of Youth Congress, lost their wallets and mobile phones.

Addressing a thanksgiving rally for the National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme enacted by the Union government, he said by adopting this scheme the Congress-led UPA government had moved forward towards implementation of its common minimum programme. The rally was organised jointly by the urban and rural district units of the party at Haibowal Chowk here.

“Now it is the duty of the Youth Congress workers to take it upon themselves to understand the implications of these legislative measures and take appropriate follow-up action in their respective areas so that the benefits can reach the targeted persons,” he said.

In a word of caution to the state and local leaders, he asserted that the youth had not only to be enrolled in the party but had to be properly motivated and involved in the working at all levels.

Making a special mention of the active role being played by Mr Rahul Gandhi in the party affairs, he said mere presence of the younger Gandhi on the political scene had enthused the YC ranks and made them work with renewed vigour and deeper commitment towards the people.

He also indicated that in the days to come, Mr Rahul Gandhi would be shouldering bigger responsibilities in the organisation.

The AIYC president claimed that the Congress government in Punjab had done a lot for the betterment of weaker sections. He, however, added that there was more scope for improvement on the fronts of industrial development, employment and power generation. “The government is duty bound to create conducive atmosphere for industrial growth and employment generation,” he added.

He asked the state leadership of the Youth Congress to concentrate more on fight social evils.

Mr Naresh Sharma, secretary, AIYC, and in charge of Punjab affairs, Mr Amarinder Singh Raja, national spokesperson, and Mr Raminder Awla, president of the Punjab Youth Congress, also addressed the rally.

Earlier, talking to mediapersons at the Circuit House, Mr Tanwar admitted that certain groups within the party were working at cross-purposes and such tendency needed to be curbed. In any case, there always was a scope for improvement in organisational matters and appropriate remedial steps would be taken to make the party a cohesive unit.

While agreeing that the Congress government in Punjab had failed to create adequate employment opportunities for the urban youth and the recruitment in all government departments continued to be banned, he said the matter would be taken up with the UPA chairperson, Ms Sonia Gandhi, and the Prime Minister, Dr Manmohan Singh.



57 honoured for helping accident victims
Jupinderjit Singh

Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, October5
Gone are the days when helping an accident victim landed a person in trouble. For today, such persons are not only held in high esteem but actually honoured .

Setting a new trend in police-public relations, the Ludhiana police today become the first police district in the state to honour 57 persons for informing the police about an accident and helping the injured by shifting them to hospital, besides informing their relatives. Those honoured include only a woman .

This is in total contrast to the previous police posture in such cases. Apart from facing harassment at the hands of the police, which treated such persons like accused, the victim's relatives also at times believed the police.

This had, at times, forced people to ignore the injured persons crying for help on road and thus contributing to the high mortality rate in road accidents.

The honour ceremony was held at Community Hall on the Punjab Agricultural University campus. Vice- Chancellor K. S. Aulakh and Ludhiana SSP Narinderpal Singh presented commendation letters to the 57 awardees.

Speaking on the occasion, Dr Aulakh said the Ludhiana police had done a yeoman service in the field. He said the example set by it should be followed not only in Punjab but all over the country.

The SSP said the scheme of honouring those helpers who helped accident victims was launched on July 16 in the district. Billboards and signboards carrying the message of the police and sponsored by Apollo Hospital were installed at several places in the city, on main roads and crossings.

He said the response was tremendous with over 150 persons taking the initiative of helping accident victims. Of them, 57 had identified themselves while the remaining chose not to reveal their identity.

He said the timely help by the awardees saved lives of about 200 accident victims from July 16 to October 2 this year. He said 34 persons had died in these accidents and hoped that with more awareness and encouragement, the number of deaths would be brought down.



‘Unfavourable stars’ may hit business
Shivani Bhakoo

Ludhiana, October 5
Navratras from tomorrow onwards are reportedly not auspicious. According to believers, October 4 and 5 were the only two Navratras in which good work could be started and purchases made.

While some shopkeepers are apprehensive that the “unfavourable stars” will hit their business, others believe that the Navratras are always considered to be pious and people will continue with their shopping. Mr Ramesh Sachdeva of Roopam Silk International, Gujjarmal Road, who deals in wholesale as well as retail, told Ludhiana Tribune that business would certainly get a jolt during these Navratras. He said religious people might not want to shop during these days. “Perhaps this is the reason that we are witnessing a huge rush today. A majority of the people are purchasing for the trousseau and festival purposes,” he said.

Another showroom owner, Mr Sonu Nilibar, said they received hundreds of customers yesterday, which marked the onset of Navratras. “The rush is the same today and we hope to get such a response in all Navratras. Only a small section of people is tenacious about traditions and customs. Customers, who have started their shopping, will continue with it. A large number of marriages are in November and December and if people wait for the “right” days for trousseau shopping, they will not be able to get variety, he said.”

Ms Mala Dhanda of Paras Jewellers here said yesterday and today, many customers turned up to buy things. “The times have changed and so has the thinking of people. ” she said.

Meanwhile, Shastriji of Arya Samaj Temple, Aggar Nagar, maintained that the stars from October 6 are not favourable for wedding purposes but were not bad for shopping.



Shawl traders end strike
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, October 5
Shawl manufacturers and traders, who were observing a 72-hour bandh against the imposition of VAT on shawls, ended their strike today.

They met Finance Minister Surinder Singla in Chandigarh yesterday and following an assurance as regard resolving the issue, they decided to end the strike.

Over 1,000 shawl manufacturers and 2,000 traders from the city went on a 72-hour bandh on October 3 due to “sudden” imposition of VAT on shawls.

The bandh was being observed under the banner of Joint Textile Action Committee. A delegation of the action committee, including Mr Bhushan Abbi, Mr Ramesh Batra, Mr Pawan Kalra, Mr Ram Singh Dhillon, Mr Ratan Lal Garg, Mr Narang and Mr Ramesh Joshi, along with Mayor Nahar Singh Gill, met the Finance Minister.



Passing Thru

Tell us about the fractional ownership concept you have introduced.

Mr Manav Singh, Managing Director, Club One Air
Mr Manav Singh, Managing Director, Club One Air

The fractional ownership concept enables one to own an aircraft at a fraction of the cost without actually acquiring the entire aircraft. While it has been popular in the West for over two decades now, it will cater to the Indian corporate world that has been increasingly feeling the need for such a service due to rising work pressures. Many times people suffer as they have to adjust themselves to the schedules of airlines, resulting in additional costs and at times, even loss of business. Having a private jet will increase one's productivity and enable one to work more in as little time as possible.

How much does one pay?

It varies. The fractional cost that one pays could range from one-fifth to one-16th of the aircraft cost. Besides, one would have to bear monthly maintenance and hourly fuel costs. For instance, for an aircraft that costs Rs 30 crore, a fractional owner could pay as little as Rs 2 crore.

Where are your services available?

One can fly anywhere within as well as outside India. So far as launch is concerned, we launched in Delhi in August and now in Ludhiana. Through Ludhiana we will cater to this city and also to Jalandhar. The response we have had so far is quite encouraging with eight big corporate houses from Delhi already having enrolled for membership.

— Shveta Pathak



Sarabha Nagar residents under ‘house arrest’
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, October 5
Workers of a Municipal Corporation contractor have virtually rendered the people under house arrest in Sarabha Nagar, Block-I, here.

The workers have dug up a road up to more than two feet wide, in order to widen it, along the boundary walls and gates leaving no room for vehicles to move in and out of the houses.

The residents have complained that the workers should have given them time to move their vehicles out.

Threatening to move the Punjab State Human Rights Commission and the local courts, the residents have alleged that they were forced to stay indoors as they could not move their vehicles out.

When a resident confronted one of the workers he said the residents should have asked them for this earlier.



Applications invited for computer stations
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, October 5
The district administration has invited applications from the panchayats for setting up computer stations in the villages under a new government scheme, Computer for All, to provide access of computer to children of all age groups. The scheme is being started in 15 villages of the district. Application forms can be obtained from the office of the ADC (D) on any working day.

Mr Anurag Verma, Deputy Commissioner, said unconditional access to computers would be ensured to all children, including those going to private schools and dropouts. He said every village would have specially designed kiosks that would be provided with two Pentium-IV computers.

He said the children would also be provided with multimedia interactive CDs, that would help in the better understanding of other subjects in a playway method. One big advantage of the scheme was that children would not only have open access to computers, but computer learning would be driven by natural curiosity. They could experiment the way they liked, he said.

He said the programme envisaged the ownership and participation of community. Site selection and preparation, including construction of computer station, would be done by the gram panchayat. Computer stations might be constructed in the village area such as panchayat ghar, gurdwara or any other place having easy and open access.

He said a computer operator would be appointed by the gram panchayat to run the unit. He would be paid of Rs 500 per month as retention money. The users would be charged Re 1 per half-an-hour.



Cycles given to 12 schoolgirls
Our Correspondent

Mandi Gobindgarh, October 5
The Pandu Sikhya Vikas Committee, under the chairmanship of Nirbhai Singh Dhumi, organised a function at Government Elementary School, Sounti, yesterday.

Mr Sadhu Singh Dharamsot, Parliamentary Secretary (Home, Justice & PWD), was the chief guest. He inaugurated the new wing of the elementary school and distributed 12 cycles to girl students under the Sarab Sikhya Abhyan.

Mr Dharamsot appealed to the teachers to raise the standard of education in government schools so that students gave preference to government schools over the private ones.

He announced Rs 2 lakh for the development of the village and handed over a cheque for Rs 50,000 to the panchayat on the spot.

Mr Mukesh Kumar, Headmaster of the school, said the middle standard result of the school had been above the result of the Panjab School Education Board for the past three years.

In sports, the players had won distinctions at zonal and district level. Two students of the school had been selected for the national camp to be held on October 16 at Hardwar.

The students presented a cultural programme. They were awarded cash prizes by the chief guest and the committee members. Mr Zora Singh Grewal managed the stage. Ms Raksha Devi, head teacher (elementary school, thanked the chief guest.

The Block Education Officer, Ms Sarjit Kaur, welcomed the guests. Mr Partap Singh Sandhu, chairman of the market committee, Mr Pargat Singh, Mr Jasmeet Singh Raja, general secretary of the state Youth Congress, Mr Baljit Singh Anian, vice-president of the Anti-corruption Federation, and Mr Zora Singh Gill, Principal of Government Senior Secondary School, Amloh, also spoke on the occasion.



Man held for looting cash
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, October 5
The Kotwali police today claimed to have solved a case of snatching within two hours of its occurrence. The carelessness of the miscreant in leaving a behind a scooter largely helped the cops in nailing him.

The police also warned city residents to avoid sensationalising such crimes by claiming that huge money was lost. The victim had allegedly exaggerated the looted amount by over three times.

Addressing a press conference this evening, the DSP, City-I, Mr R.K. Sharma, said the accused, Satwant Singh, a resident of Shakti Nagar here, allegedly snatched over Rs 13,000 from shopkeeper Rakesh Kumar Jain this morning. The accused, however, could not get time to take away his scooter on which he had come to the shop.

The registration copy of the scooter revealed the owner’s identity. The police conducted a raid immediately and nabbed him. The stolen amount was recovered.



Five booked for assault
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, October 5
Gurjinder Singh, Harjinder Singh, Amarjit Singh, Bhupinder Singh and Harpal Singh of Walipur Kalan allegedly trespassed into the house of Harnak Singh of the same village and assaulted him with sharp-edged weapons. The Humbran police has registered a case under Sections 452, 323, 324, 506, 148 and 149 of the IPC. Rivalry in panchayat election is said to be the reason behind the incident. The injured has been admitted to the Civil Hospital, Sidhwanbet.

Three sentenced

Amar Singh and his two sons Jaswinder Singh Kaka and Kuldip Singh of Johlan were today sentenced to one year rigorous imprisonment and fined Rs 1,200 each by Mr Jitender Walia, SDJM Jagraon, for assaulting Kartar Singh and his son Gurcharan Singh. According to the information, the assistants caused grievous injuries to the victims on December 16, 1999.



Ebony introduces new brand
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, October 5
The designer brand — Shantanu and Nikhil —would now be available at Ebony stores. Announcing the introduction of the brand here today, Ms Neeta Narula, managing director, Ebony Retail Holdings, said the brand would add vibrancy to the Ebony stores.

Ms Narula said Ebony would complete five years this month and Studio Ivory, its designer concept store, one year. To mark the event the new brand has been introduced, she added.

Shantanu and Nikhil, who also design for Amitabh Bachchan in Kaun Banega Crorepati II, said their clothes were meant for “women who are confident and willing to experiment and for men who are smart”.

The designer duo said the tie-up with the retail chain was an endeavour towards increasing their market presence and making the pert range available to the masses. “The pert revolution started five to six years ago and the change is for all to see. Earlier, where designer range was absolutely unaffordable for people, now it comes in a price range that is within the reach of a large section of people.

“The phase would continue and after a few years we would see prices coming down further. But, that would happen only when factors like supply chain, infrastructure etc are taken care of.”

They said entry of foreign companies, the increasing number of malls and more investment by domestic players in the retail segment were encouraging for designers. “The Indian fashion market is getting a fillip because of all these changes,” said Shantanu.

Ms Narula said through Studio Ivory, Ebony would continue to introduce more designers and would also promote upcoming designers. “Such a concept has brought a change wherein people are moving from buying branded garments to designer wear. It is a healthy trend that is only likely to get popular in coming days,” she said.



Asia Cup Open in hair designing
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, October 5
Ms Blossom Kochar, a known personality in the world of hair design and beauty culture, while addressing a press conference in a leading hotel here, said the Organisation Mondale Coiffure (OMC) World Hairdressers Association would organise the OMC Asia Cup Open in Mumbai in hair designing, from October 16 to 18.

The event would give a chance to hair stylist from 10 countries of Asia zone to show their skills and provide a platform to interact with one another, she said.

“Hair stylist from Punjab are invited to participate in the event. They will be given one-week training before the competition”, she said.

The competition is open to all. There will be two categories: juniors and seniors.

In the juniors category, the competitors should be below 25 years of age and in the seniors category they should be above 25.


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