C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Domestic help murdered by another
Tribune News Service

Cash, valuables looted

The accused, Lal Bahadur and Arjun, took away the valuables in two bags. While they were fleeing on a bicycle they saw a police control room jeep near the Sector 2/5/6/1 roundabout. They panicked and left the bicycle and one bag. The PCR jeep seized the bag and found expensive perfume bottles and imported liquor, besides some clothes of the accused, Lal Bahadur, his photo album and his identification papers. It was only after the murder was reported in the morning that the police could relate the two incidents.

Panchkula, December 3
A 65-year-old domestic help in a Sector 6 house was stabbed to death by another domestic help and his brother-in-law. The victim, Algu Ram, had resisted robbery attempt and was killed when he refused to hand over the keys of the house to the accused.

The incident took place around 1 a.m. today when the house owners — Mr Raj Khattar and Mrs Neeru Khattar — were away to Delhi. They had gone to Delhi to attend a relatives marriage. Algu Ram, who had been with the Khattars for almost 40 years, and Sunder Lal, who has been serving the family for past 26 years, were left to take care of the house. The accused, Lal Bahadur Thapa, was hired as a cook about a month back.

The murder took place in one of the high-security areas of the town. A former DGP of the Haryana Police, an IG and several politicians stay in the locality.

Lal Bahadur had reportedly left the house at around 7.30 p.m. yesterday on the pretext that he wanted to stay overnight with his brother-in-law Arjun.

The duo, wearing monkey caps, struck at the house around 1 a.m. Algu Ram was sleeping in the front courtyard of the house and the accused asked him for the keys of the house. When he refused, one of the accused dragged him towards the servant quarters and slit his throat with a knife.

Meanwhile, Sunder Lal, who was sleeping inside the house, heard some noise and came outside. The other accused, who was standing guard outside, caught hold of Sunder Lal, and after threatening to kill him forcibly took the keys from him.

While one of the accused stood watch over Sunder Lal, threatening him with a knife, the other accused ransacked two rooms in the house and decamped with cash and valuables. Mr Raj Kumar Khattar, who reached back here in the afternoon, informed TNS that they had not been able to ascertain the exact loss. “Algu’s body has been taken for a post-mortem, and only after his cremation tomorrow we will be able to clean up the two rooms and ascertain the loss,” he said.

Sunder Lal, who has a poor vision because of a cataract problem, was so terrified that he could not gather the courage to venture out of the house till day-break.

It was only in the morning that he went to the house of Ms Palika Monga, a relative of the Khattars residing nearby, and informed her of the murder and robbery.

A case under Section 460 and 34 of the IPC registered. The SP, Mr Balbir Singh said late in the night that the police had arrested a co-conspirator in connection with the murder.



Hotel site auction flops
DLF-Hilton group lone bidder
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 3
Chandigarh Administration’s attempt to auction the hotel site at the Rajiv Gandhi Information Technology Park today proved to a big flop here today. DLF in collaboration with the Hilton Hotel Group were the lone bidders present on the occasion and the bid was called off as no one else turned up on the occasion.

There was absolute unanimity among the gathering (officials and property experts) on the fact that the auction witnessed such a “miserable” response because property was being given on a leasehold of 99 years and not on freehold.

The administration had put Rs 45 crore as the reserve price for the auction. Any successful bidder would have had to pay the first 25 per cent of the payment on the occasion and the rest was to be deposited within 90 days of the auction.

Mr Amarjit Sethi, an expert on property matters said the “price that the plot fetched for a housing project in Mani Majra (Rs 108.01 crore) recently gave a false impression about property rates which led to the hike the reserve price for the auction here. It needs to be understood that the plot there was given on freehold basis. Freehold here would have fetched far over Rs 100 crore.”

Mr Narbir Singh, a hotel consultant, said: “I represent the Le Meridian group and can say that Rs 125 crore bid was a surety. The group said a big ‘no’ to the property on a leasehold.”

Mr Sethi said the administration needs to learn from its experience. Failure in the sale of the plots in Sectors 35 and 44(multiplex sites) on a leasehold, recently, should have given them a warning signal to go in for sale of any property in a freehold”.

In addition to the auction premium, a buyer is expected to pay 2.5 per cent of the premium as the rent for first 33 years. 3.75 per cent for the subsequent 33 years, and 5 per cent for the remaining years.

The representative of the DLF-Hilton party said: “it was unfair on the part of the administration to have called off the auction because we were willing to pay 1 lakh more than the 25 per cent of the bid amount.

The administration had spent lakhs on advertisements in national dailies. So all the interested parties should have come on the spot. If they did not come, it was not our fault”.

A senior official of the administration said “the auction had been called off”.

A city business man said “the developments at the auction were quite predictable because an auction of this stature witnesses activity at least a week before the auction.

Representatives of big hotel groups would have camped in the city and made parlance to set the pricing index for the auction. Nothing happened in this case.”

The UT official said: “For the moment the auction had been called off and the next plan of action will be soon announced”.



Foreign policy critical test of
independence: Jaswant Singh

Tribune News Service

Moral standards down

Mr Jaswant Singh indicated that moral standards in the Armed Forces had gone down over the years. "I cannot recognise the Army of today. It is no longer a heaven of virtue," he said, while speaking at the seminar. He had served in the Army from December 1957 to 1966 and was commissioned into the Central India Horse. He left the Army as a Major to join politics and contested the Rajasthan Vidhan Sabha elections in 1967. He also served as the Minister of Defence in the NDA government in 2000 for the duration George Fernandes was kept out of office due to the Tehelka scam.

Chandigarh, December 3
A former External Affairs Minister, Mr Jaswant Singh, today said the country's foreign policy must demonstrate independence of thought and action. "Foreign policy is the critical test of independence," he said.

Speaking at a seminar on India's Foreign Policy and National Security organised by the Forum on Integrated National Security here, he cautioned the government against getting locked into the national security profiles and concerns of other countries.

Referring to developments in Indo-US bilateral ties Mr Jaswant Singh, who is the Leader of the Opposition in the Rajya Sabha, said Indian actions should not be an extension of US interests, but should reflect independent policy.

The former minister said the entire area bordering India, from Myanmar to Iraq, was highly unstable and disturbed, which had important security implications. "The government should recognise the fact and address it," he said, adding that the transformation in the nature of war and conflict should also be recognised.

He also said the government was not addressing the growing threat from Maoists. "As many 163 districts are affected by Maoism and a corridor from Nepal to Coimbatore has been created," he said.

He listed economic strength, energy security, good governance and a sense of order in the country as primary factors towards effective national security.

Speaking on Terrorism of Tomorrow, former Research and Analysis Wing Director B Raman said India needed to focus on maritime terrorism, with particular attention to its western seaboard.

"The sea-lanes of communication through which most of our energy comes in is on our west, but we are not playing an active role in this region," he said. "Instead we have been concentrating on the eastern sea-lanes which are of more concern to other countries," he added. He said India was yet to evolve an effective maritime counter-terrorism doctrine and capability.

Stating that terrorism is the growing enemy of the international community, Mr Raman said the most frightening aspect about terrorism was a medieval mindset and ideology coupled with the ability to use modern science and technology to kill. Also of concern was the practice of terrorists tapping the private sector for expertise and services.

Terrorism today, he said, is characterised by the terrorists' ideology of loyalty to their religion rather than loyalty to their nation. They also believe that their religion grants them the right to acquire and use weapons of mass destruction (WMD) to protect it. The biggest threat of the use of WMDs by terrorists, Mr Raman said, emanates from Chechnya and Pakistan.

Discussing the prospects and risks of the ongoing peace process between India and Pakistan, defence analyst Air Vice-Marshal Kapil Kak (retd) said though the process had kindled hope for a better future, the 58-year historical backdrop continued to cast a shadow over it.

Stating that internationalisation of the Kashmir problem is in India's favour, he said the government should focus on politically managing and improving the situation in Jammu and Kashmir. He said the Pakistani establishment, while welcoming confidence-building measures, continued to support trans-border terrorism.

The Pakistani Army, he added, had too many stakes in continuing violence against India.

Former convener of the National Security Advisory Board C.V. Ranganathan, spoke on India and Asian Challenges while RSS spokesperson Ram Madhav while gave an overview of India's strategic concern in the Asian Region.



Volcker affair getting murkier
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 3
A former External Affairs Minister and Leader of the Opposition in the Rajya Sabha, Mr Jaswant Singh, today said that the Volcker issue was getting murkier by the day, He said Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's reply in Parliament did not explain under what circumstances was India's Ambassador to Croatia, Mr Aneil Mathrani, recalled.

"The matter is turning murkier by the day and the government is trying to cover up the same," he said while speaking to media persons on the sidelines of a seminar on national security here. He said the BJP wanted to know why was Mathrani appointed and why was he recalled after his sensational disclosure to a private channel yesterday.

He said that Prime Minister's advice to the opposition not to pre-judge the issue did not hold water as the Prime Minister himself had pre-judged the issue.

"Earlier, he(Prime Minister) had declared Mr Natwar Singh as innocent,"he said, After declaring him innocent, why was he removed from office, Mr Jaswant Singh questioned.

About backtracking of Mathrani from the allegations he made in connection to Mr Natwar Singh, the opposition leader said it was strange that Mathrani had never denied what he told the private TV channel.

Asserting that the congress was, as a whole, involved in the oil-for-food scandal, he reiterated the BJP's demand for resignation of Sonia Gandhi as Congress President.

On inquiries instituted by the UPA on the Volcker committee findings, Mr Jaswant Singh said both the inquiries had failed to take off. "Even the persons concerned have been devoid of office for the past three weeks," he said.

Having a dig at the Prime Minister that the Enforcement Directorate would look into the allegations made by Mathrani, Mr Jaswant Singh questioned why two officials were earlier appointed for conducting the probe. "It is a matter of great disappointment," he said, adding that it was clear that the Prime Minister had no authority but only signing powers. "Real authority," he added, "was at 10 Janpath."



Panchkula doctor killed in accident
Tribune News Service

Zirakpur, December 3
Dr Sangeeta Malhotra, a gynaecologist and resident of Sector 7 in Panchkula, was crushed to death by a vehicle on the Ambala-Chandigarh road near Silver City here late last night.

According to the police, Dr Sangeeta, along with her husband, Dr Sunil Kumar Malhotra, had gone to attend a wedding. Around 11.30 pm, Dr Sangeeta was crossing the road to get into the car when the accident occurred.

The police said she was pulled along by the vehicle for a considerable distance. The victim was taken to AP Jain Hospital in Rajpura where she was declared brought dead.

A case has been registered.



Man falls off second floor, dies
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, December 3
A 45-year-old man died after he fell off the second floor of a house in Baterla village, near here, this afternoon. The police has ruled out any foul play behind the death.

According to police sources, Ruder Beer was sitting on the parapet of the house when he suddenly lost his balance and fell off. He was suspected to have died on the spot.

He was rushed to the Sector 16 General Hospital where the doctors declared him dead before admission.

The sources said Ruder Beer, a watchman, lived alone. There was no information about his family.

A case under Section 174 of the CrPC has been registered.



Passing Thru

Curtis Panake
Mr Curtis Panake, Director Global Placement Services, Canada

What brings you to Chandigarh?

A large number of youth from this region aspire to settle abroad. In order to make aspirants have a better option of setting in countries like Canada, Australia and UK, we had organised a seminar for professionals, businessmen and students, along with our partner WWICS today.

What is the scope for businessmen to settle in Canada?

Canada has had strong ties with India and has opened its floodgates for Indian businesspersons ranging from medium to large businesses to invest in the US under the self-employed, entrepreneur, investor and provincial nominee programmes of provinces like Nova Scotia and Alberta. Businessmen with qualifying conditions would now get the benefits of Canadian Immigration along with their families like permanent residency which entitles to various social welfare programmes like free school education, subsidised university education, free healthcare and pension.

What kind of professionals are you looking at for immigration?

In Canada, professionals are more in demand mainly in the fields of oil engineering, structural engineering and civil engineering, in financial sector, health care and information technology. Since the professionals require to upgrade their skills, we have opened institutes in India like the Canadian Institute of International Studies which help aspiring immigrants to upgrade their skills.

— Ruchika M. Khanna



Colonisers now take fancy to Dera Bassi
Pradeep Sharma
Tribune News Service

Dera Bassi, December 3
After Zirakpur it is the turn of Dera Bassi, the busy subdivisional town on the Kalka-Ambala highway, to catch the fancy of big real estate players.

With the spiralling prices pushing land out of the reach of even big colonisers in Zirakpur, the strategic location of Dera Bassi has attracted colonisers who are set to launch their multi-storeyed flats here.

Sources informed Chandigarh Tribune among the prominent builders planning to construct the flats were the Silver City Construction Limited, the Parshvanath Group of New Delhi and the Motiaz Construction Private Limited and the Raglans.

In fact the four-laning of the Chandigarh-Ambala road, which is slated to start next month, would reduce the travelling time between Chandigarh and Dera Bassi considerably. This would go a long way in attracting the buyers of the residential property to the town.And this is only a beginning as certain other big land developers are keeping their housing schemes under the wraps for professional reasons.

“The strategic location of the township, coupled with ever-increasing middle and lower middle class population, would provide the clientele for the new housing colonies. And the availability of large chunks of land at affordable prices is the added advantage for the developers, who had already tasted success in their residential ventures in Zirakpur and elsewhere”, Mr Sunil Bandha, general manager of the Silver City Construction Limited, said.

“The new scheme would provide affordable accommodation to those persons who had missed the bus in Zirakpur. Since the land in Dera Bassi was not as costly as in Zirakpur, a close competition among the builders would ensure reasonable price for the dwelling units” Mr Bandha added.

Mr Bhupinder Saini, another noted property consultant based here, claimed that the subdivisional town provided better infrastructural facilities such as medical, dental and engineering colleges and hospital facilities. The availability of land at affordable prices would bring the property within the reach of the common man, he added.

Another factor going in favour of Dera Bassi, observers felt, was that all subdivisional offices such as the SDM, the Tehsildar and courts were in the town. Since buying and selling property involved a lot of paper work, Dera Bassi stood at an advantage as compared to other neighbouring townships, the observers added.



Woman found unconscious near PGI
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, December 3
An unidentified woman in her mid twenties was found lying on road unconscious under mysterious circumstances near the PGI this morning
Giving details, the sources in the Sector 11 police station said the police received information about the woman at around 9 am.

A police control room vehicle was rushed to the spot. The police found the woman unconscious condition and shifted her to the Sector 16 General Hospital.

The sources added that the woman was muttering ‘Raj’ in the hospital, but she was not in her senses.

She could not give further details regarding her address.

The doctors attending to her termed her unfit to give statement and she was kept under observation.

When contacted, the Station House Officer (SHO) of the Sector 11 police station said, “So far we can not say anything for sure. We are waiting for the woman to regain her consciousness to record her statement.”



Rare surgery
Our Correspondent

Mohali, December 3
In what is claimed to be an uncommon surgery in the private sector in Chandigarh and surrounding areas, a resident of Ambala, suffering from a cystic lesion, was operated upon at Indus Hospital in Phase IIIB 2.

Dr S.K. Basu, senior consultant, surgery, here today that various tests conducted on Mr Pal Singh (24) revealed that he had a large cystic lesion (fluid filled bag) in the middle lobe of left lung adjoining the heart and a similar cystic lesion in the right lobe of liver.

He said the surgery on Mr Pal Singh was very daunting as the disease involved the left lung and it had to be approached through a thoracotomy (opening the thruogh the ribs).

He had to be operated upon under anaesthesia on one lung as the other lung had to remain collapsed to enable it to be operated upon.

The left side of the chest cavity was opened and the large cyst was removed.



Seminar on info Act awareness
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 3
The Bankers Executive Forum held a seminar to create awareness about the Right to Information Act amongst bank executives here yesterday.

Around 70 senior executives from various banks and Reserve Bank of India participated in the seminar.

Mr D.P.S. Rathore, Regional Director, RBI, and president of the forum, stressed the need for maintaining a balance between provisions of the Banking Regulation Act and the Right to Information Act.

New timing

The Bank of Baroda launched 8 am to 8 pm working hours in its 18 branches in the Chandigarh region.

These include branches of the bank in Sector 22 B here and Sector 11 in Panchkula.

Training programme

the State Bank of India organised a two-day training programme for farmers at their Staff Training Centre, Panchkula.

The aim of the programme was to educate farmers about improving quality and marketing their produce at good prices. As many as 30 farmers participated in the programme.



Bills despatched on time, says official
Our Correspondent

Mohali, December 3
The Assistant Executive Engineer, Commercial, of the PSEB said here today that power bills were distributed in time in parts of Phase II.

The official was contradicting the statement of the president of the Consumers Protection Forum which said consumers were given very little time to make payments as the bills were distributed late.

He said the bills were distributed between November 15 and November 17 even when the last date of making payments by cheques was November 25 by cash, November 29.



ASI held for graft
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, December 3
The In-charge of the Maddanwala police post in Pinjore was caught by the DGP flying squad, while he was accepting a bribe of Rs 5,000. Sushil Kumar, ASI, has been arrested under Section 7 of the Prevention of Corruption Act.

Sushil Kumar had allegedly demanded the bribe from Gurcharan Singh, a resident of Khuwala village in Pinjore subdivision, as a ‘token of appreciation’ for affecting a compromise between and Sanjeev Kumar. The duo were involved in a land dispute, and Sanjeev Kumar had got a case of trespassing and rioting registered against Gurcharan Singh.

Later, the two reached a compromise. Gurcharan Singh had informed the DGP, Haryana, Mr Nirmal Singh, about the demand for bribe by the ASI.

Mr Rajesh Duggal, DSP and his men, dressed in civil clothes, accompanied Gurcharan Singh in a Qualis. Pretending to be relatives of Gurcharan Singh, they gave him five notes of Rs 1,000 denomination each. As soon as he accepted the money, he was nabbed by the police.

Meanwhile, A bag containing Rs 5,000 cash and a mobile phone was stolen from a shop in Pinjore. The incident took place when Ms Pallavi and her husband, Dinesh Singh, had gone away for shopping.



Three held on theft charge
Our Correspondent

Mohali, December 3
Six persons were arrested here today. While three of them had committed theft, the other three were arrested on a charge of attempt to commit theft in the Phase IX industrial area here.

Ashok, Sanjay and Ajay were arrested when they were carrying stolen shuttering material on a rehri. They are residents of Colony No. 5, Chandigarh.

The other three who tried to steal cast iron from an industrial unit in Phase IX are Balu from Chennai, and Raju and Anil, both from Nepal.



Student killed
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 3
One person was killed while an other was seriously injured in an accident late last night.

According to police sources, the victim has been identified as Abhishek Sethi, a final year student of UIET Department while the pillion rider was Manish Nagpal.

They lost control over the bike which rammed into a tree. They were shifted to the PGI during the wee hours where Abhishek died and Manish is still in a critical condition. 



45-yr-old ends life

Panchkula, December 3
M. Khanna, (45), a resident of Dadu Majra Colony reportedly committed suicide by jumping before a moving train near Sector 19 today. The police found a suicide note near his body. — TNS


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