C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Major swoop on private colonisers
* Rs 3 crore in cash, documents recovered * Mohali ex-MC chief in the net
Tribune Reporters

Chandigarh/Mohali, January 19
In a major swoop on private colonisers on the periphery of Chandigarh, sleuths of the Income Tax (Investigation) today raided offices and residences of two main colonizers in Mohali and Kharar. The raids were continuing till late in the evening.

Till the filing of the report, the officials had recovered around Rs 3 crore in cash apart from several incriminating documents relating to tax evasion from the offices of Janta Land Promoter, Sector 70 and Sunny Enclave, Kharar.

Ms Sudha Sharma, Director General (Investigations), North-West Region, told the Tribune that several teams were on the job to verify the incriminating documents, seized during the raids. It would take another day to access the total tax evasion by the colonisers who were selling out land after carving out plots.

The land deals by the other private colonisers in the master plan of Mohali and other peripheral towns of Chandigarh were also under the scanner of the Income Tax sleuths. Sources said that the ‘search and seizure’ operation was carried at 12 different places after receiving complaints of evasion of tax by the colonisers in form of not disclosing the actual cost of buying the agricultural land and not disclosing the profit made from the buyers.

“We would also question those who had bought the plots against unaccounted for income of the buyers. Those who have made the payment through cash could be questioned,” said the DG (Investigations).

During the raids at the Phase X residence of the Managing Director Janta Land Promoter, Mr Kulwant Singh, who is a former President of Mohali Municipal Council, the officials were learnt to have recovered certain documents. It could not be confirmed whether the raids were also conducted at the residence of other partners of the Janta Land Promoter.

A team raided the Sohana office of a property dealer, Kaushik Aujla, who had acquired land for the Janta Land Promoter. Simultaneous raids were conducted at office of Sunny Enclave, Kharar, owned by Mr J.S. Bajwa. The raids started at around 9 am. A team headed by Mr Rakesh Kumar, Assistant Director (IT), raided the Sector 70 office of Janta Promoter. During the raids, policemen from Fatehgarh Sahib did not allow anyone to enter the premises being raided. Unconfirmed reports said raids were also conducted at house of a PCS officer in Phase VII and places in Punjab.

Land deals by colonisers under IT scanner

Sources in the Income Tax Department said that due to several crores of money being pumped in colonisation in Mohali, Kharar, Zirakpur and Baddi, evasion of tax by the sellers and buyers of plots was under the scanner of the Ministry of Finance. The department has sought details of the land transactions being done in the region.



PU proposes to stop issuing LOIs
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 19
Panjab University has proposed to rescind the system of issuing ‘letter of intents’ (LOIs) for granting affiliation to colleges for new courses or grant extension to existing courses. This proposal would be discussed during the forthcoming meeting of the Syndicate to be held on January 21.

The decision to issue LOIs was taken by the syndicate in May this year following which a large number of colleges had reportedly started misusing these letters, admitting students to courses which had still not been granted affiliation.

An office order stating that this system be rescinded forthwith forms a part of the supplementary agenda for the meeting. LOIs were issued on behalf of the Syndicate in cases where inspection reports had been received but the NOC for grant of provisional/extension of affiliation was received late and the cases could not be placed before the syndicate.

“Sometimes the colleges take it for granted that affiliation/extension of affiliation has been granted and admitted students. To save the interest of students, avoid unnecessary legal complications and to avoid any confusion, no letter of intent will be issued” states the office order.

The University proposes to admit 12 students to a new 3-year integrated degree in BSc Medical Lab Technology course and 20 students in the new MSc Solid Waste Management course to begin from the session 2006-2007.

The syndicate would take up the case of FDO Ashok Raj Bandari and Joint Registrar H.C Malhotra for the grant of two increments instead of one already granted for holding posts of higher responsibility and importance than their posts of deputy registrar.

The syndicate would also consider grant of accelerated and special increments in case of non-teaching employees including some ad hoc employees who have acquired higher educational qualifications during the period of their service.

8 students disqualified

Panjab University has disqualified for a period of five years eight students who were found being impersonated in the university examinations held in April 2004 and 2005. These include six BA students and two MA students. These students cannot seek admission in any course or sit for any examination for the said period. This move would come up for ratification in the forthcoming Syndicate meeting.



Sector 15 resident held for duping SBI branches
Withdrew Rs 7 lakh before being caught
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, January 19
The Economic Offence Wing (EOW) of the UT Police today arrested a Sector 15 resident on the charges fraudulently crediting Rs 70 lakh in his accounts by duping two city branches of the State Bank of India (SBI). Anil Nanda, the accused, had allegedly managed to withdraw only Rs 7 lakh before he was caught and has been charged with cheating and criminal conspiracy.

According to police sources, Anil Nanda allegedly got Rs 35 lakh credited to the Sector 17 based branch of the SBI. The transfer was made from the Uttar Pradesh-based branch of the bank and the accused allegedly withdrew Rs 7 lakh. The fraud was detected when the accused tried to defraud the bank of yet another Rs 35 lakh fraudulently.

Sources in the EOW said two separate cases have been registered against Anil Nanda on the basis of two complaints lodged by the Sector 17 and Sector 42 branches of the SBI.

Police sources indicated the possibility of involvement of certain bank officials.

Giving details of the first incident, the officials said Mr N.L. Soni, Chief Manager, SBI, Treasury Branch, Sector 17, in his complaint alleged that the bank received a Transfer Responding Advice bearing TT (Telegraphic Transfer) number 264 dated December 27, 2005, on January 2, 2006 for Rs 35 lakh purportedly issued by the SBI, Bhognipur, Uttar Pradesh (UP). The amount was credited to the account of M/s S.A. Construction Company, a partnership concern of Anil Nanda and Sunil Nanda. When the city based branch of SBI enquired about the TT from the Bhognipur branch it was found to be fake. Out of Rs 35 lakh, Anil Nanda had withdrawn Rs 7 lakh.

The fraud came to light when Anil Nanda again tried to get money into his account for the second time by adopting similar method. Mr Dushyant Singh, the Branch Manager of the SBI, Sector 42, alleged that his branch received a Transfer Responding advice bearing number 436 on January 6 for Rs 35 lakh issued by SBI’s Bhognipur Branch to credit the amount to M/s V.K. Enterprises account.

Anil Nanda is the proprietor of this enterprise. When the bank verified the TT, it was found to be fake. The bank did not credit the amount into the account and in turn reported the matter to the police. 



Install cameras, SP to bank authorities
Our Correspondent

Mohali, January 19
The Mohali SP, Mr Varinder Pal Singh, has asked the authorities of various banks in the town to get close-circuit cameras installed in their establishments so that it becomes easier to nab criminals.

The SP was talking to representatives of various banks at a meeting held here today where bank authorities were asked to step up security arrangements as burglars had recently decamped with cash after breaking into the extension branch of the Oriental Bank of Commerce in Phase VI.

It was also suggested that security guards posted at banks should be asked to remain more vigilant.



Four-laning project to start next month
Pradeep Sharma
Tribune News Service

Zirakpur, January 19
The 1.8-km Zirakpur flyover, being built as part of ambitious project of four-laning of the Ambala-Chandigarh highway, will just fly over the township.

Meanwhile, preliminary work on the much-awaited four-laning project has started with the survey and alignment works being carried out by the company allotted work by the Central Government. The actual work on the 35-km “killer stretch”, slated to be completed by mid-2008, is likely to start next month, according to sources.

In fact, a major portion of the township would get under the flyover as it would stretch from near the Bains Petrol Station (near Silver City Extension) to this side of the Mayur Hotel on the Chandigarh side.

The completion of the project, which entails building a huge flyover at Zirakpur, three major bridges besides the service roads, will remove major traffic bottlenecks on the highway. With thousands of vehicles passing through the road everyday, accidents are a routine affair making this a “killer stretch”.

The four-laning of the road will also reduce the travelling between Chandigarh and Ambala. While currently close to one hour is spent for travelling between the two towns, the four-laning would reduce the time up to 30 minutes much to the relief of the harassed commuters.

Currently, in the wake of the alleged encroachments on both sides of road on Zirakpur, traffic jams are everyday affairs. The flyover at Zirakpur, the sources said, would take care of the traffic jams.

While a major portion of Zirakpur will virtually get under the overbridge, the connectivity between Dera Bassi and Chandigarh would make the travelling faster.

The four-laning project had been hanging fire for at least a decade now inconveniencing the commuters. It was during the previous NDA regime that the project was approved under the National Highways Development Project (NHDP). The then Minister for Surface Transport and National Highways, Maj-Gen B.C. Khanduri (Retd), had performed the “bhoomi poojan” of the project over two years back.



Sambar strays into village
Our Correspondent

Mohali, January 19
There was excitement among residents of Sohana village here today as a guest from the wild strayed into the area.

To the surprise of everyday a sambar entered the village. No one knew from where the wild guest had appeared but it had certainly created anxious moments for some residents of the village.

A number of people gathered near a pond where the sambar had entered and was hiding itself in the wild growth. For sometime, nobody dared to enter the pond which was full of dirty water and sullage but soon some persons got ropes and long wooden pole to pull the animal out. However, after some effort the villagers were able to capture the sambar.

As it had become difficult to control the animal, its legs were tied so that it did not run away. Residents were trying to get in touch with the officials of the Forest Department to hand over the sambar to them.

The animal was then taken to a college of nursing located in the village and kept there till the evening. Officials of the Forest Department came to the village after 6 p.m. and took away the sambar.

Mr Jasbir Singh, a resident of the village, said that the sambar was spotted in the area around 12.30 p.m. and the dogs of the village were barking at the animal which was running here and there. He said that the sambar had entered his house also.

“I got scared that the animal will damage my car which was parked in the area but it jumped over the vehicle and also over some persons standing there giving scary moments to them”.

Mr Jasbir Singh further said that animal then ran out of the house. Some dogs of the village were after the sambar. One of them had, in fact, even bittten the guest from the wild. 



Rural tourism: Admn to train villagers to play host
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 19
With a view to promoting rural tourism, the Chandigarh Administration plans training programme for the residents of the UT villages gearing them to play host to tourists interested in staying at their homes.

A senior officer of the Administration said that efforts would be made to design training programmes for the interested parties with the help of the Institute of Hotel Management and the Food Crafts Institute.

The aim of the training programme would be to educate the selected hosts about the facilities that the visitors expected and the hosts needed to provide. “Any tourist will appreciate cleanliness, good food and a comfortable stay. They can be taught about different menu that could be provided to the visitors”, the official said.

The Administration was also working out possibility of a tie-up with a bank to finance the interested party. “Certain parties having adequate space in their residential apartments might be interested in additional construction of rooms and providing additional facilities where the banks can be of help”, he said.

The Administration would first draw a list of the houses which are fully equipped to host the visitors with adequate infrastructure and dining avenues. This would be done with help of a team appointed specialty to identify the suitable places.

The Administration had, in the first phase, identified Khuda Lahora village for promotion of ‘rural tourism’ in the Union Territory. The village had been selected as a part of the national policy of the Ministry of Tourism where each state was expected to develop at least one village as a pilot project for promoting tourism and which could be implemented elsewhere.

The blueprint suggested careful planning of activities to develop tourism potential of the village in a coordinated manner and on a sustainable basis. Local panchayat would be involved in policy making.

The first step in this direction would be carrying out the cleanliness drive in the whole village followed by constructing a theme based gate at the entry point. An information centre would also be provided at the site.



Africa facing acute shortage of skilled manpower
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 19
An 11-member delegation from Africa which arrived here today has welcomed CII’s initiative of providing necessary impetus for economic and industrial development in Africa, by helping them strengthen activities and services of their Industry Associations.

In town to participate in the Industrial Services Training Programme, organised jointly by the CII and the Ministry of External Affairs, the delegates represent industrial chambers of 11 African countries - Zimbabwe, Botswana, Chad. Lesotho, Madagascar, Tanzania, South Africa and Namibia. This is the fourth training programme in the series, the earlier three being organised in 1999, 2003 and 2004.

Voicing the concerns of the delegates, Mr Joseph Malaba, Chief Executive Officer of the Confederation of Zimbabwe Industry, said, "Africa is rich in resources, but there is shortage of skilled manpower, as well as non-availability of relevant cost-effective technology.

This has led to reduced manufacturing activity.” He added that this had necessitated a complete review, and re-engineering of Industrial Associations and Chambers of Commerce in the African countries so that they could meet the expectations of members and evolve new strategies for marketing competencies, capacities and competitiveness of industry of their country.

Mr Eileen Van Der Est from the Botswana Confederation of Industry Chapter, spoke about the opportunities existing in his country and highlighted the initiatives taken to promote bilateral trade.

The delegate from Madagascar looked forward to attending this training programme to learn about the practices followed by the CII. Ms Vasanthy Maharaj, representing Namibia’s Chamber of Commerce, suggested that a focussed mission be taken to Namibia to tap the business potential there. The delegates expressed a strong desire to see much greater bilateral trade between their countries and India.

Earlier, while welcoming the delegates, Mr Krishan Goyal, Chairman, CII Chandigarh State Council, apprised the delegates about the various initiatives being taken by the CII in the field of industrial and social development.

He also shared CII’s commitment to enhance linkages with other countries.


Mutton not available in city
Geetanjali Gayatri
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 19
For the past two days the city's meat supplyline has been snapped and meat suppliers have been seeing red, courtesy the Municipal Corporation which has effected a hike in slaughter charges since yesterday.

In protest against the hiked charges of Rs 30 against Rs 2.50 previously, the meat suppliers have gone on an indefinite strike and no mutton has been supplied to shops and hotels for the past two days.

While shops have announcements of "No meat available", hotel owners said they were serving mutton dishes from previously stocked supplies of red meat. This has had a spiraling effect on demand for chicken which has gone up in the last couple of days.

Says Rohit Gawri of Peshawaris in Sector 19: "Our supply comes on a day-to-day basis and we have not had any since yesterday. There's nothing we can do to meet the demand. So, we have just put up a board outside our shop announcing unavailability of red meat".

Other supermarkets, too, had exhausted their meat supply and were turning away customers. In Panchkula, too, meat supply is hit in a big way with most shops dependent on suppliers from the city. Adds Mr Bishamber Singh of Singh Sons, Sector 7:"We have no supply of meat on account of the strike by suppliers. All our sales of non-vegetarian products are coming from chicken mainly. We are awaiting the calling off of the strike."

Having stocked meat in deep freezers, hotels continued to dish out mutton delicacies without problem.

Meanwhile, the 60-odd mutton suppliers stuck to their stand of continuing with their strike if the hike was not withdrawn. "From Rs 2.50 as charges for slaughter of a goat, the MC has hiked the charges to Rs 30. We have met various MC officials but they have shown no inclination to withdraw the hike. They even suggested that we call off our strike since the withdrawal, if it could happen, would take at least two months," the president of the Meat Welfare Union, Mr Balak Ram, said.

If all persuasion fails, the union plans to move the high court to stay the hike on the plea that in Delhi, too, the slaughter charges are Rs 2.50 only.

Meanwhile, the Mayor, Mr Surinder Singh, said the bylaws, including hike in slaughter charges, were passed by the MC House and notified by the UT Administration. "I have received a copy of the representation of the union. We will see what can be done since it is the prerogative of the House and the Administration and will consider their case," the Mayor said. 



Phone tapping: Jain, scribe, too, get letters
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, January 19
Even as mystery shrouds the letter behind the phone-tapping controversy pertaining to tapping of telephones of six persons, including two judicial officers, similar letters were received by a former BJP MP, Mr Sat Pal Jain and Danik Tribune correspondent Ramesh Handa.

When the Danik Tribune correspondent tried to bring the matter to the notice of senior police officers he was denied an audience, even during visiting hours. Repeated efforts to meet senior officers proved futile. On the other hand Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) has termed the letters as “forged”.

It was learnt that among the list of telephone numbers being tapped by BSNL for Chandigarh Police, according to the letter, were those of Mr Sat Pal Jain, Mr Anmol Rattan Sidhu, a former president of the Punjab and Haryana High Court Bar Council, Sector 33 resident Mr Labh Singh, Mr Sanjeev Kumar, a district courts Judge, UT Law Department and another department of UT Administration.

The letter further mentioned that the BSNL had confirmed a payment of Rs 79,110 made by the Chandigarh Police for tapping of the above mentioned phone numbers.

Mr Sat Pal Jain, when contacted, confirmed the receipt of the letter mentioning six telephone numbers that were allegedly being tapped by the BSNL for the Chandigarh Police. He had received the letter on Wednesday. Mr Jain added that he tried to contact the UT Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) Gaurav Yadav, today, but he was not available. Mr Jain, who was on his way to Delhi, said he would contact the UT Police again after coming back to the city.

Mr Jain also condemned the attitude of the UT police officials who did not hear out city journalist, Mr Ramesh Handa, on such a sensitive issue.

Mr Handa alleged that Mr Gaurav Yadav was deliberately trying to avoid him.



Sweaters distributed among poor children
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 19
Bhai Jasbir Singh Ji Khalsa (Khannewale), a preacher and chairman of Sri Guru Harkrishan Sahib Charitable Eye Hospital Trust, Sohana, today distributed 1000 sweaters to poor children in different school of various Krara, Krari, Hansala, Mamoli, Buta Singhwala, villages.

He said serving humanity was equal to serving God. With his guidance, philanthropists pooled their resources. They were actively engaged in helping the needy people.

They have already provided ambulances at National Highways for immediate assistance to the trauma patients, ceiling fans/air coolers distribution in SOS village and different schools in various villages. 



Lecture by spiritual educationist
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 19
Department of Ancient Indian History, Culture and Archaeology, Panjab University, organised a lecture on “Culture and Peace in UNESCO Perspective” by Swami Buddhanand, a renowned spiritual educationist at the Gandhi Bhawan here today. Swamiji in his lecture emphasised that Buddhism can be equated with humanism and trans-humanism. He talked about the contribution of Buddhism in furtherance of peace at the global level.

Professor Rajesh Gill of the Department of Sociology, PU, presided over the lecture. In her presidential remarks, she stressed that peace should be seen from individual perspective rather than global. According to her, a person cannot be at peace with others if one is not peaceful with oneself.

“Today the meaning of culture is lost. We are aspiring for materialistic things and not peace. We are to set our priorities and evolve our own agenda for the attainment of peace,” she said.

Prof. N.K. Ojha, Chairman, Department of Ancient Indian History, Culture and Archaeology, proposed a vote of thanks .



MC closes illegal entries in Sec 25 colonies
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 19
The Municipal Corporation engineering wing recently launched a drive in colonies of Sector 25. Workers of the engineering wing of MC closed all illegal entries made by residents of Kumahar colony, Janta colony, who were earlier allotted plots in Sector 25. The drive was launched under the supervision of Mr S.K. Chaddha.



Woman burnt as stove bursts
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, January 19
A 28-year-old mother of three children suffered 100 per cent burn injuries at her residence in Burail village, when a stove on which she was cooking meal, accidentally burst this afternoon. The police has ruled out the possibility of foul play behind the incident.

According to the police, Minakshi was cooking meal when the accident took place. The neighbours heard her cries. They rushed in for help. Her husband, Ajay, a mechanic with a motor cycle agency also helped her. He suffered burn injuries. Later, she was rushed to Sector 32 hospital in an unconscious state. Doctors said her condition was critical, said the police. 



Gold chain snatched, purse stolen
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, January 19
An unidentified youngster snatched a gold chain from a woman in the Sector 40 this evening. In a separate incident, a purse containing gold ornaments, Rs 4000 and other articles was stolen. Elsewhere, two unidentified occupants of a car sped away after taking computer parts worth about Rs 80,000. Besides, a scooter was stolen from Sector 35.

Police sources in the Sector 39 police station said Ms Sudarshana of the Sector 40 lodged a complaint with the police alleging that an unidentified youngster in his twenties snatched her gold chain from out side her house at around 5 pm.

She told the police that the miscreant came to her and asked about an address. Sensing an opportunity, he tried to snatch her chain to which she resisted. In the process, the chain broke and the miscreant fled with the broken chain. She raised alarm but in vain. A case has been registered.

Purse stolen

Mr Bhupinder Singh of Sector 71, Mohali, filed a complaint with the police alleging that his sister-in-law’s purse containing gold ornaments, Rs 4000 and other articles was stolen from Sector 8 market place on January 12. A case has been registered. When asked about the delay in the registration of the case, the police officials said the complaint was being verified.

Computer parts taken away

Mr Manjit Singh Brar of the Phase II, Mohali, lodged a compliant with the police alleging that two unidentified occupants of car came to his shop in Sector 20 and demanded certain computer parts. He told the police that after they loaded the said computer parts valuing about Rs 80,000 in their car, they ran away without paying the bills. A case has been registered in this regard.

Scooter theft

Mr S. Sharma of Sector 51-A reported to the police alleging that her Kinetic Honda Scooter (CH-01-Z-7202) was stolen from Sector 35 market area on January 16. A case of theft has been registered. 



Bank charges for local cheque clearance
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 19
Customers of the Sector 8 branch of Punjab National Bank have been forced to pay charges for local cheque clearance, thanks to an error in feeding the correct city code for on-line banking in this branch.

Owing to the wrong on-line code, the branch, which introduced Centralised Banking Solutions recently, has been regarded as a branch outside Chandigarh. At the branch, user charges are levied for all local cheque clearances treating these as out-station ones.

Mr S.P. Sharma, a customer of the bank, has alleged that ever since on-line banking was introduced at the branch in December, a sum of Rs 957 had been deducted from his current account, as user charges. “No charges are levied on the local cheques, unless these are not MICR cheques,” he said.

A number of other customers, too, complained to the bank that charges for local cheque clearance were being deducted from their current accounts.

Senior officials in Regional Clearance Centre of the PNB admitted that a wrong city code had been inserted in the server at Delhi, which showed the bank as outside Chandigarh.

“We have now asked the Delhi office to change the city code, and once this is done, we will refund all charges deducted from the customers for local cheque clearance,” said a senior official of the bank. 



Biz Clips
Credit scheme for farmers
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 19
As many as 47 branches of the UCO Bank under the Regional Office, Chandigarh, celebrated ‘krishak divas’ today by launching ‘UCO Kisan Samridhi Yojana’ throughout the country.

Under this scheme, loan upto Rs 15 lakh will be provided to the farmers, not only to meet their production and investment requirements but also to meet their personal needs.

Foundation day: The National Federation of Insurance Field Workers of India celebrated its 49th Foundation day today. Many social welfare activities were carried out in all 18 branches of the division. Free medical camps were organised in the city.

Shoes and sweaters were distributed to poor students in Kumhar Colony and quilts and blankets were distributed to Mother Teresa Children House and Chandi Kusht Ashram.

Training camp for private banks: A one-day training camp was organised for officers of private banks, including ICICI, IDBI, HDFC and UTI banks, by National Savings Institute.

As many as 20 representatives participated in the camp. A one-day camp was held for small savings agents of Chandigarh and Panchkula, yesterday.

SBI Loan Mahotsav:- The State Bank of India is organising an SBI Loan Mahotsav from December 20- 22 at Sector 34 exhibition ground, as part of its bicentennial celebrations. An exhibition of the bank’s 200 year history will also be showcased here.


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