L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Man arrested for terrorising over 50 industrialists
Jupinderjit Singh
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, October 12
The city police today announced the arrest of a middle-aged man on the charges of allegedly terrorising more than 50 well-known business families and industrialists of the city by seeking ransom of up to Rs 50 lakh on the claims that he was Paramjit Singh Panjwar, a most-wanted terrorist of the banned Khalistan Commando Force working for the creation of Khalistan.

SP City-I Pritam Singh and DSP Simrat Pal Singh Dhindsa told mediapersons that the man identified as Tarandeep Singh of Block-C Bhai Randhir Singh Nagar also wrote letters to big industrialists, posing as different women and blackmailing them to pay huge ransom otherwise he would expose their extra-marital or pre-marital affairs, which were just a figment of his imagination.

What was more shocking was that the man was well-educated and belonged to a respected family of the city. He was a mechanical engineering graduate and a former dealer of an electronics company. He had, however, suffered huge loss in business.

His father, Mr Harjit Singh, is a retired Divisional Manager of the Life Insurance Corporation of India. The police said accused's wife was the daughter of a high-ranking official of the Indian Army. The couple had one son too. The family members were in a state of acute shock at his arrest.

The police officers said SI Gurpreet Singh, SHO Haibowal, had arrested the accused and brought relief to the several high profile families of the city who were seriously terrorised at the receipt of the letters.

It was yet to be established if he actually had links with the Khalistan Commando Force or not. But investigations so far state he was not the only persons involved in the matter.

SP Pritam Singh and DSP Dhindsa said the motive of the accused was to make quick money from as many victims as possible. The police was on his look out for about a month now. The police had got lead that the man was using mainly one post office or one crime agency for the purpose.

One of the letters sent to one of the richest businessman of the city on an incomplete address was returned to the courier agency. The police got the letter and the courier agency staff gave description of the man.

The accused used his personal computer installed in his house for writing the letters and taking out printouts. The police has recovered the computer and found the saved files of several letters.

The accused had a fit modus operandi. He would first send a letter on the pads of Khalistan Commando Force having the insignia of the ‘ Khalsa’ and the ‘Nazis’ in which he would give details about a resolution passed in a meeting of the Khalistan and Nazi forces.

He stated the meeting decided by voice vote that the ‘Republic of Khalistan ’ would be created and for this purpose use of all force such as extortions, kidnappings, blackmailing and murder would be carried out under the able guidance of German forces.

In the next letter, which he used to post after a few days, the accused identifying, himself as Paramjit Singh Panjwar, made a ransom call of Rs 50 lakh with a deadline of November 10, 2005.

The letter further said if the family was willing do this ‘service’, it should hang a black bed sheet on the roof of the house. Otherwise, a 7 X 3 feet bedsheet of white colour which should be used. This , he stated , would be later used as a shroud on the bodies of the family members who would be killed mercilessly.

In his second style he used to write letters in the name of some distressed women. The letters would be addressed to the wife of the target. The letter stated she had an extra-marital relationship with the woman's husband and had children also. Using highly emotional tone , the woman would demand money for remaining silent.

The accused Tarandeep Singh, while responding to queries, said he denied all the allegations.

The text of a letter written by Tarandeep Singh.



Centre to fund ring road project in city: Birmi
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, October 12
The Chief Parliamentary Secretary, Mr Malkiat Singh Birmi, said today that a project had been launched to repair link roads in the state. He said this while addressing a gathering at Ranian village, 12 km from here.

Welcoming the announcement by the Prime Minister during his visit to Ludhiana on developing the city as a model city in the North, he said the government had envisaged a city development plan for the integrated development of civic infrastructure and the Centre had agreed to assist the state in financing the plan that was estimated to cost Rs 1,000 crore under the National Urban Renewal Mission.

Similarly, to construct a ring road in Ludhiana on BOT basis, the Centre had agreed to provide viability gap funding for this project, which was likely to cost Rs 900 crore, he added.

He claimed that a new unit had been added to the Lehra Mohhabat Thermal Plant at a cost of Rs 1,750 crore and 40,000 tubewell connections had also been released. He said to ensure integrated development, 1,500 new villages had been selected to develop as model villages at a cost of Rs 750 crore.

Mr Birmi said to strengthen the infrastructure facilities, different road projects were being strengthened at a cost of Rs 1,100 crore and new 18 corridors roads would be completed at a cost of Rs 1,200 crore.

He said the government had created a corpus of Rs 450 crore to ensure regular disbursement of pensions among 10 lakh persons.

Those present on the occasion included Mr Jaswinder Singh Sandhu, chairman, Municipal Council, Sahnewal; Mr Ramesh Kumar Pappu, president, Municipal Council, Sahnewal; Mr Sher Singh Sandhu, president, Truck Union; and Mr Kuldeep Singh Sandhu, president, Tempo Union, Sahnewal.



Taari to be arrested soon, says SSP
Reema murder case
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, October 12
The city SSP Narinderpal Singh today said the police was looking for Avtar Singh Taari, who is wanted in a case relating to the murder of a businesswoman, Reema Jain. He said Taari’s arrest was just a matter of time.

Reacting to the allegations that some high rank police officers were protecting Taari, a well known police informer, the SSP told Ludhiana Tribune that police officers help an informer only till the time he does not violate law of the land, ‘‘ Taari had lost all sympathisers due to his involvement in criminal activities’’, the SSP claimed.

The SSP also chaired a special meeting of select police officials of the city at the GO Mess police lines today afternoon for discussing the Reema Jain case.

Taari had allegedly taken shelter from some senior police officials after the city police arrested Micky Jain, brother-in-law of Reema Jain for allegedly kidnapping and murdering her. Micky Jain had told the police that he had hired five contract killers led by Avtar Singh Taari.

The SSP said the police had already solved the case and Taari would soon be behind bars. He said Reema’s body would be recovered only after Taari’s arrest as he was the only person to provide exact information about the place where the body had been dumped.



Pizza Hut manager booked

Ludhiana, October 12
The Division No 5 police has booked a manager of Pizza Hut situated near Mini Secretariat on charges of stealing Rs 27,000 and documents from a car of a customer on September 22.
The complainant, Mr Manu Bhardawaj, had alleged that the manager had broken a window pane of his car and stolen the cash, a chequebook and documents. TNS



3 cops booked for extortion
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, October 12
The Vigilance Bureau has booked three cops on charges of extorting money from a lottery trader. Two of them have been arrested.
The accused were SI Tehal Singh, ASI Lakhbir Singh and head constable Kuldip Singh. Lakhbir and Kuldip were arrested from a hotel near the railway station last evening. Tehal Singh managed to escape. The SSP, Mr Narinderpal Singh, said the cops were suspended today.



Passing Thru

 Raman Tandon
Mr Raman Tandon, managing partner, Indoscreen Films and TV Productions.

What is Punjabi Idol all about?

It is a talent show that would be aired on Doordarshan. Through this show, we aim to provide a platform to talented artists, be it singers, dancers, actors or comperes. It has been named Punjabi Idol because it would involve participation of Punjabis settled anywhere across the globe. To attain this purpose, we would hold auditions and later on select semi-finalists in the UK and Pakistan also.

You have been associated with quite a few English and Hindi tele-serials. Why this switch over to Punjabi medium?

Myself being a Punjabi, I felt the lack of good opportunities being faced by artistes here. Not only in terms of number of opportunities, we are lagging behind even in production quality both technically as well as aesthetically.

What do say about increasing onscreen vulgarity, particularly in music videos?

It is sad that there are people who feel vulgarity is the key to popularity. While I strongly feel it should be curbed, I also believe the effort has to come from people involved in production.

— Shveta Pathak



Dasehra celebrated with fervour
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, October 12
As the clock struck 6 pm, a number of effigies of Ravana, Meghnatha and Kumbhkarana went up in flames to signify the victory of good over evil. At some places, the effigies were set on fire through a remote control.
Dasehra was celebrated at about 100 places in the city with religious fervour today.

The biggest and the oldest festival was organised at the Daresi Ground. Thousands of persons were present there when the effigies went up in flames. Among others present on the occasion were Mr Anurag Verma, Deputy Commissioner, Mr Narinder Pal Singh, SSP, Mr Surinder Dawar, Parliamentary Secretary, and Mr Rakesh Pandey, Cabinet minister.

The chairman of the committee, Mr Prem Prashar, the vice-chairman, Mr Krishan Marwaha, honoured artistes of Ramlila.

The Sukhdev Nagar Dasehra Committee celebrated the festival with great fanfare. Thousands of residents witnessed burning of 60-foot-tall effigies of Ravana, his son and brother. Those present at the function included Mr Surinder Singla, Finance Minister, Mr Nahar Singh Gill, Mayor, and Mr Jagmohan Sharma, president, District Congress Committee.

The Metro Road in Focal Point presented a panoramic view of roadside mela. The chief guest was Mr Charanjeet Singh Atwal, Deputy Speaker, Lok Sabha, and the special guests included Mr Parag Jain, DIG, Ludhiana Range, and Mr Sharanjit Singh, youth Akali leader.

At Upkar Nagar, the chief guests at the function were Lieut-Gen B.K.N. Chhibber, a former Governor, and Mr Munish Tiwari of Congress. The function was inaugurated by Mr Rakesh Pandey, Cabinet minister, and flag hoisting was performed by Mr Harnam Dass Johar, Education Minister.

The Urban State Ramlila Dasehra Committee organised a function at grounds adjoining the temple near the Dugri water tank.



BJP flays govt for reintroduction of powers cuts
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, October 12
The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has flayed the Congress government in Punjab for unwarranted hike in power tariff and reintroduction of undeclared, irregular and indefinite power cut on all categories of consumers.

In a statement here today, Mr Rajender Bhandari, state general secretary and spokesman of the party, asked whether it was not the inefficiency on the part of the state government that power cuts still continued when the region had ample rainfall during monsoons. He maintained that the government was being insensitive to the plight of the people due to prolonged power cuts. The common man, as well as, the trade, industry and agricultural sector were hard hit due to erratic power supply.

In the prevailing dismal power scenario prevailing in Punjab, Mr Bhandari ridiculed the government decision to provide free power to farmers. “When adequate power is not available and no plans for additional generation are in place, the entire exercise of free power supply to farm sector is rendered meaningless.” The government had also failed to fulfil its election promise of round-the-clock power supply to the people.

The BJP leader further said that the working of the state government and the state owned Punjab State Electricity Board left much to be desired as both of them had failed to fulfill their obligations. “Rather than taking necessary steps to improve the working of PSEB, the government has persistently made the people pay for its inefficiency. In this context, it is worthwhile to note that the Congress government, after assuming power, has jacked up power tariff by nearly 80 per cent.”

Mr Bhandari was of the firm view that if the government found it difficult to ensure uninterrupted power supply even after hefty increase in tariff, it had no moral right to continue in office. He claimed that it was not only the power situation which the government had failed to handle but its performance on all other fronts had also been pathetic, to say the least. Several welfare schemes launched by previous SAD-BJP government had been discontinued, corruption, nepotism, rise in prices, artificial scarcity and deteriorating law and order situation, had become order of the day under the Congress regime. 



Dullo defends CM on free power
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, October 12
Even when the Prime Minister, Dr Manmohan Singh, recently expressed his reservations against offering freebies of any sort to the people, the Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee chief, Mr Shamsher Singh Dullo, defended the Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, for offering free power to the farmers and Dalits. However, he avoided to comment on the Prime Minister’s statement.

Mr Dullo, who was here yesterday, told Ludhiana Tribune that the Congress had promised the farmers of the state that they would be getting free power if it was voted to power. “We have fulfilled our election promise only”, he remarked, while adding, the party was supposed to implement all promises and commitments it had made to the people.

He said the economic condition of the farmers in Punjab was bad and the agriculture sector was passing through a critical phase. So it was necessary to provide relief to the farmers. He pointed out that the farm holdings in the state had become small. He said, at this stage, they needed some state help and it was provided according to the promise made to them in the election manifesto. He also defended providing free power up to 200 units to the Dalits.

About his much-stated party reorganisation, Mr Dullo said, he was yet to complete his programme of mass contact with the workers. He said, the schedule was disturbed because of the Congress Chief Ministers’ conclave and the paddy procurement.



City investors prefer bank deposits: study
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, October 12
Indian economy mainly comprises middle class who generally save a portion of their monthly income for a secured future. City people seem to be conscious enough to save for future contingency. The salaried class here prefers to invest in post office schemes like PPF and NSCs while the business class invests more in equity and real estates.

This was found during a study on “Personal financial planning:analysis and evaluation of consumer perception” by Ms Shilpa Singhania, an MBA student of Punjab College of Technical Education here recently.

The study, under the guidance of Ms Pallavi Dawra, has been done to assess various investment alternatives in the current environment on the basis of returns, risk, liquidity and affordability.

The study was conducted on a sample size of 100 persons and it comprised 40 investors of salaried class, 25 of professional class and 35 of business class. Ms Singhania said:“The sample size was small as there was difficulty in gathering data through the questionnaires since people were reluctant in disclosing income-related facts.”

In the study, it was found that about half of the respondents surveyed save less than 30 per cent of their monthly income. While 40 per cent save anywhere between 30 to 50 per cent of their income on regular basis. Only 10 per cent were those who saved around 50 per cent of their income on regular basis.

The results depicted that bank deposits were most popular investment alternatives among the respondents.Hundred per cent of respondents preferred to deposit in bank deposits. The second most popular avenue was the post office saving schemes wherein 65 per cent of respondent invested.

Equity market, mutual funds, insurance and bonds were equally popular investment avenues as around 45 per cent of respondents mentioned these as their investment avenues. But government securities were still not very popular among the city investors.

Ms Singhania said:“Majority of salaried class invests a portion of their funds in government-backed securities and in post offices schemes like PPF and NSCs. The schemes assured them a safe investment which also gives various tax exemptions. The next popular investment alternative is the bank deposits wherein money grows at a fixed rate of interest.”

The study found that the investment pattern of business class people was very different from that of salaried and professional class. “Business class, by nature are risk taking people and therefore, prefer to invest in equity and mutual funds. They also deposit regularly in bank deposits. However, it was found that the business class was reluctant in investing their funds in post office schemes like PPF etc, not even for availing tax exemptions.

The class invests heavily in gold since that becomes their life-styles and also in real estates”, she said.



Exhibition captures festive spirit
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, October 12
Sunita Singhal’s exhibition showcasing artefacts of different kinds, paintings, quilts napkins festival collections, traditional gifts got underway at Satluj Club here today.
Everything from sarees to dupattas were beautifully handicrafted. Phulkari and Sindhi embroidery items presented a beautiful mix of tradition and modernity.

Accessories like bags, colourful ‘parandas’, ‘kaleeras’ in unique designs were also on display.

Rajasthani paintings depicting scenes from the desert land were specially got made from Udaipur by Sunita who said she had visualised everything, chosen the fabrics colour schemes and designs.



Triumph of talent
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, October 12
Abhey Girdhar of Piazza Beauty Clinic here has won the national award in the “Men's Image” category at L'Oreal's glamorous hair-dressing event organised recently at Hyat Regency, Mumbai. The event was hosted by model and actress Malaika Arora Khan.

Eminent personalities like Shabana Azmi, Javed Akhtar, Farhan Akhtar, Pia Rai Choudhry and Javed Habib were present at the ceremony in which 25 shortlisted talented individuals from all over the country imparted a style to their respective models.

Girdhar said that it was a great experience to be the winner. “One gets to know one's strengths and weaknesses while working with such professionals”, he said.



Hallmark jewellery not in demand 
Our correspondent

Ludhiana, October 12
The hallmark jewellery—which guarantees the purity and gives an official recording of the proportionate content of precious metal in gold, is neither preferred by the jewellers nor the jewellery lovers in the city.

A survey by Ludhiana Tribune revealed that majority of jewellers gave "hallmark quality" jewellery and not the actual hallmark stamped jewellery as it (the hallmark stamp) demanded a licensee jeweller to go and get the jewellery hallmarked through limited hallmarking centres in the country. Secondly, most of the stylish women here, preferred jewellery which were trendy, easily wearable and affordable.

Mr Rohit of Heritage Jewellers here said with the changing life-style, the thinking of people had also changed. The women had become quality conscious and always looked for the KDM stamp on products. But very limited segment knew about the hallmarking of jewellery by the Government of India. He said a lot of jewellery was being sold in Navratras but there were no takers for the hallmark ornaments.

"We do offer hallmark quality jewellery but not the hallmark stamped jewellery. For the satisfaction of customers, we provide quality assurance certificate, too. As far as certification by the Government of India (Hallmark stamp) is concerned, there is no recognised centre in Punjab and it would be very tedious for local jewellers to go to places like Delhi, Mumbai to get it hallmarked. Secondly, the trends have changed. The yellow metal is no longer a product for investment. Women want to wear trendy jewellery in day to day lives, today. The price of the jewellery with a "hallmark stamp' increases, too. Why should they pay more, when good quality is available at a less price?", asked Mr Rohit.

Another jeweller, Ms Mala Dhanda of Paras Jewellers said that fashion conscious women in the city wanted to wear something new everyday. Majority of customers never return the purchased items, she said.

"People have great buying power but there is not much demand of government approved hallmark jewellery. Every customer has his/her own set jewellers, whom they trust. One jeweller would never approve of other jeweller's product. As far as testing of purity machine is concerned, it is just an eyewash. Women get it tested for their own satisfaction. In today's life-style, people buy things which are trendy and not which are 100 per cent pure and makes the product more expensive", she added.

The President of Ludhiana Jeweller Association, Mr Anand Sekri said people purchased everything after getting "assurance" by the jeweller. Some of the jewellers had their own testing machines which had absolutely no authenticity. Hallmarking of jewellery proved purity, many other formalities were attached to it. "A little segment knows about the real hallmarking. Otherwise, every jeweller gives his own hallmark quality which means that he is responsible for the purity of his product, which other jewellers may not approve.

In the absence of any authorised centre, the hallmark jewellery trend under the BIS Act 1986 has not picked-up much here", he said.



MICR centre to generate customer awareness
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, October 12
Even as the banks these days issue cheques with MICR number, that ensures safety of cheques, there are customers who still present old cheques without MICR. These cheques, though, get rejected, there is a strong need to make people aware about usage of cheques so that they do not suffer inconvenience.

With a view to generate such awareness, the Ludhiana MICR Centre here plans to issue instructions to banks and also hold special awareness camps for customers, said Mr K.L.Sethi, general secretary of the centre.

On usage of cheques, Mr Sethi said people needed to know cheques should not be folded or stapled, nor should the MICR umber be damaged as they are likely to be rejected in such cases.

“Daily transaction of 50,000 to 60,000 cheques with a gross amount of over Rs 100 crore takes place through the Ludhiana centre. The need to aware is being felt even as MICR system has been prevailing for over three years in the city,” he said.

The Magnetic Ink Code Recognition (MICR) is mentioned below a cheque, next to the cheque number, and it contains city code, bank branch code and once a cheque is screened through a sorting machine, the amount filled in the cheque gets recorded in bank’s computerised records, which also rules out possibilities of fraud.

Mr Sethi said meetings of 49 banks and 252 branches in the city would be conducted to generate awareness about the MICR.

He said awareness would also be generated about Real Time Gross System (RTGS), which facilitates realtime clearance of cheques. “So far the system was being used for transaction between banks only but soon customers would also be able to avail its benefits,” he said, explaining, “ all that a customer needs to do is issue instructions to his bank to transfer funds. The process, which earlier took a couple of days, would not take more than two hours with this system.”


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