P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



Political circles agog with talk of Akali unity
Not invited, Badal attends wedding of Chandumajra’s son
Chander Parkash
Tribune News Service

Patiala, January 28
New alignments in Akali politics are likely to emerge in the post Tohra period in the coming days following the dramatic appearance of SAD supremo Parkash Singh Badal, sans an invitation, at the wedding ceremony of Mr Prem Singh Chandumajra’s son today. The marriage was solemnised at a marriage palace at Zirakpur in the district.

The rousing welcome extended to Mr Badal, who turned out to be the surprise guest at the ceremony, by Mr Chandumajra also lent credence to the belief that a move was afoot for Akali unity just when the Assembly elections were approaching.

This action of Mr Badal has triggered off a debate in the political circles about attempts to forge unity among Akalis. The state Congress leadership is trying to work out the impact of Mr Badal’s visit.

Mr Chandumajra and Mr Badal parted ways immediately after the last Lok Sabha elections as the former was expelled from the SAD. After that Mr Chandumajra floated a new political party under the banner of the Shiromani Akali Dal (Longowal).

Mr Chandumajra, while talking to The Tribune, said Mr Badal had indebted us by blessing the newlywed without any invitation. He added that Mr Badal had moved ahead to develop a bond with him. He, however, declined to comment when asked whether this bond would take a concrete shape before the next Assembly elections or not.

The SAD (Longowal) president made it clear that if Mr Badal would run the party on traditional lines and shun ‘Congress culture’, he was ready to extend his hand for Akali unity.


Takht rejects DSGMC chief’s plea for more time
Varinder Walia
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, January 28
Even as Mr Harwinder Singh Sarna, President of the Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee (DSGMC), and other office-bearers have expressed their inability to appear before the Sikh clergy on January 30 on the plea that they are preoccupied with a court case, Sikh leaders have criticised the Sikh high priests for being biased.

In a request faxed to the Akal Takht Jathedar, Mr Sarna has urged the date for appearing before the Sikh clergy to be fixed for after February 16.

He has said the DSGMC members loyal to the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) are bent upon barging into the office and hence, it is mandatory to stop their entry.

He has added that they are required to be present in Delhi in connection with the court case filed by their opponents, challenging DSGMC elections held on December 19 last.

Mr Sarna, some of his colleagues and the general manager of the DSGMC were instructed to appear before Akal Takht on January 30 for allegedly violating the directives of the Akal Takht Jathedar, who had ordered postponement of the annual elections.

Mr Manjit Singh Calcutta, a member of the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC), said the Akal Takht Jathedar should not act in a biased manner by interfering in issues pertaining to DSGMC elections and should confine himself to religious matters.

Mr Kanwarpal Singh, Secretary General of the Dal Khalsa, demanded that Jathedar Joginder Singh Vedanti be sacked immediately for his ‘poor performance’ and a Jathedar be appointed by the SGPC after taking the entire Sikh Panth into confidence.

He demanded that Ms Surinder Kaur Badal, wife of SAD supremo Parkash Singh Badal, be summoned to Akal Takht for allegedly visiting the ‘dera’ of Ashutosh.

He added that no action had been taken against Mr Sucha Singh Langah, a former minister, for organising 501 ‘path’ of Ramayana and Mr Badal for taking part in a ‘havan’.

Rejecting the request of Mr Sarna and other office-bearers of the DSGMC, Akal Takht directed them to appear on the date specified, but sources close to Mr Sarna pointed out that they were unlikely to appear before the clergy.


NRI’s poser on bribe money
Anuradha Shukla
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, January 28
Mr Joga Singh, a non-resident Indian, wants to know as to where is the bribe money he had given to highly placed police officers after being kept in illegal confinement.

The money, given through cheque, had been recovered by then SP (Operations) and now SP (Headquarters) Upinderjit Singh Ghuman, but there was no trace of the money so far.

In his complaint to Chief Minister Amarinder Singh, Director-General of Police S.S. Virk and Vigilance chief A.P. Pandey, Mr Joga Singh alleged that he was being pressurised to take back his complaint against police officers.

He alleged that while he had to undergo illegal confinement, the officers involved had gone scot-free.

Mr Ghuman denied having made any recovery of the bribe money while Vigilance SP Gurkirpal Singh said investigations in the case were on.

Mr Joga Singh and members of his family alleged that he was kept in illegal confinement by Nurmahal SHO Manjit Singh on March 12 last and the police let him off after the payment of Rs 5 lakh as bribe through cheque.

He had complained about his illegal confinement and the bribe to then DIG Jalandhar Paramjit Singh Sarao, who had registered a case against the police officers.

Mr Joga Singh alleged that he had been framed in false cases because he was the whistleblower in a case.

He also alleged that he faced threat to his life and property from the police and pleaded to the Chief Minister to take immediate steps in this regard.

Mr Joga Singh alleged that while the police was shielding its erring officers, he was being constantly pressurised to submit an affidavit to take back the complaint and arrive at a compromise with the police officers.

He also pleaded that he had been ruined as he had taken loan on interest and was unable to repay the loan.

He pleaded that he did not know where to ask for the money, which had been recovered and collected in person by Mr Ghuman in the presence of plain clothes policemen, whom he could easily identify.

Opposition parties had attacked the government over the issue of corruption in the police.


Coop society defrauds farmers
Pawan Kumar

Amritsar, January 28
Alleging largescale bungling in money transactions in their accounts under the Kiampur Cooperative Agricultural Society, Guru Ka Bagh, in connivance with members of the society, aggrieved farmers have sought a high-level enquiry in this regard.

Talking to The Tribune, the farmers showed their passbooks showing their accounts as nil more than 10 years back. However, money was still being transacted under their accounts without their knowledge. The matter came to light when a farmer associated with Kirti Kisan Union found excessive money charged from him.

Giving an example, Mr Jatinder Singh Chhina, district secretary, Kirit Kisan Union, said Mr Balwinder Singh, a resident of Khatrain Khurd (account number 68) had died in November 2002. However, his account was still operating with last transactions made on June 25, 2005, and under debt by Rs 78,000.

Another aggrieved farmer, Mr Raghubir Singh of Khatrain Kalan, who retired as Centre Head Teacher, in a government primary school in 1991, while showing his passbook alleged that he had cleared his account in 1993 by repaying the loan to the society and did not transact any money after that, he claimed. However, he added, he found himself under debt in the society’s record by Rs 92,000 with last transaction made last year.

This is only the tip of the iceberg, said Mr Chhina adding that they had found about 15 such cases in two villages out of eight villages falling under the society. He said the number could be much higher which could only be brought out through a high-level probe by appropriate authorities.

Interestingly, the Assistant Registrar, Cooperative Societies, Ajnala, in a letter dated January 17 had also asked the President and all committee members of the society to clarify their position for not managing the records properly after taking serious notice of complaints of bungling and irregularities. He asked the president and society members to clarify their position within 15 days.

Mr R.D. Sharma, Assistant Registrar, when contacted confirmed this and added that an enquiry was being conducted into the serious allegations.

Meanwhile, the Kirti Kisan Union demanded registration of a case against the officials responsible for bungling besides suspending the secretary with immediate effect. The union also urged the government to waive the debt of farmers.


Gang duping mobile phone company busted
Jupinderjit Singh
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, January 28
Police investigations for identifying the sender of an obscene SMS to Haryana DGP Kunwar Nirmal Singh has led to the busting of a three-member gang from Ludhiana, allegedly involved in duping a mobile telephone company of lakhs and harassing girls in Punjab, Haryana and adjoining areas.

Members of the gang allegedly used to make duplicate SIM cards with the help of the employee of a mobile phone company and take new connections on addresses and documents of other persons.

According to the police, the accused used to circulate mobile phone numbers of young girls, which were leaked by the employee of the mobile phone company.

They allegedly had been using duplicate SIM cards for making national and international calls and the bills, in thousands, were never paid.

Mr Kunwar Nirmal Singh told The Tribune over phone that one of the accused, Sheetal Sharma, an employee of the mobile phone company, has been arrested.

The other accused were Rakesh, who claimed to be the Reader with an IGP of Haryana, and Sandeep, a resident of Janakpuri here.

The DGP said Rakesh was the gang leader. The three were booked under various sections of the IPC and for violating the IT Act.

Mr Kunwar Nirmal Singh said he had received an obscene SMS on his mobile phone and the mobile number of the sender had been displayed at police stations and public places in Haryana.

He said immediately thereafter, he received a call from Sandeep, who claimed that Rakesh had diverted his calls to the DGP’s mobile phone.

It seemed that a fight between members of the gang and the mistake of diverting a call to the DGP had backfired.

Meanwhile, Sandeep, who was on the run, in a five-page letter sent to The Tribune, claimed that he was not involved in any such activity and Rakesh had played a trick on him.


PTU changes centres of ongoing exams
Perneet Singh
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, January 28
As if scores of printing mistakes in its exam papers weren't enough, the Punjab Technical University (PTU) has come out with a new way to make the life of students uncomfortable.

The university has announced new exam centres for the ongoing re-appear exams for various streams of engineering in the middle of the examination schedule.

According to sources, till now the re-appear candidates were appearing in exams at their respective colleges, but as per the recent order of the university, three to four colleges falling in the same pocket had been clubbed and their candidates were told to appear in exams at one of these colleges. The sources said these orders would come into effect from January 30.

The university has grouped Giani Zail Singh Engineering College, Bathinda, engineering college, Talwandi Sabo, GTB College, Malout, and MIMIT, Malout, of which MIMIT has been declared as the examination centre for re-appear papers to be held on or after January 30.

A student of a local engineering college, requesting anonymity, said he was lucky to have reached the city a couple of days ahead of his exam, otherwise he wouldn't have come to know of change in exam centre and might have missed his re-appear chance.

He said though the students were supposed to collect their roll numbers in advance, what they normally did was to reach the college on the exam day, take the roll number and appear in the exam. He said a large number of re-appear candidates were either doing jobs or preparing for higher studies in their native places and they must be clueless about this sudden change of exam centres, which could cost them dear.

He termed the university's move as "totally unfair" especially when it was being done midway.

Another student said one of his friends who had to take re-appear exam on Monday was in New Delhi and he was unable to contact him. He rued that he would now collect his roll number from his college in Bathinda at 9 am on Monday and reach Malout at the earliest, as the paper would start at 9.30 am. He said it wouldn't be easy for him to make it, as a delay of only half an hour was allowed.

When contacted, the Registrar, Dr M. S. Grewal, said the number of students taking re-appear exam was very small and to ensure that the classes at all the colleges were not affected they had asked nodal centres to conduct the exams. He said the re-appear candidates staying at distant places had been informed through post or e-mail. However, the students The Tribune interacted with said none of them were informed and their colleges never bothered to take their e-mail addresses or mobile numbers. 


Kainth for debate on public-related issues
Our Correspondent

Phillaur, January 28
Bahujan Samaj Morcha (BSM) national president Satnam Singh Kainth has demanded an all-party meeting and a special Vidhan Sabha session for an open debate on public-related issues.

Addressing a news conference here today, Mr Kainth urged leaders of both the ruling Congress party and Shiromani Akali Dal to avoid politics of allegations and counter-allegations and appealed to them to adopt a positive approach to solve the problems and remove the grievances of the people, specially those belonging to weaker sections.

He said emotional politics would spoil the interests of the state. He said problems related to education, health, roads, better infrastructure, employment, social security, poverty, increasing use of drugs by youth and money politics should be taken up on priority basis. Mr Kainth alleged that the Dalits, including weaker sections, were being exploited by different political parties and Dalit issues were being politicised by political parties only to increase their vote banks.

Giving details of BSM's future plans, He said after the completion of district-level rallies held from September 24 to December 6 last year, the BSM would organise mass contact programmes in March at 80 Assembly constituencies of the state, which had been divided into 10 different zones and a state-level public awakening rally would be organised in September to mobilise Dalits, small traders and weaker sections.


Reappointments in PSEB cause heartburning
Sarbjit Dhaliwal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 28
Heartburning has been caused among all concerned because of the re-appointment of certain retired senior officers by the Punjab State Electricity Board. Among the reappointed officers are a Chief Engineer, Mr N.K. Khanna, a Chief Accounts Officer, Mr R.D, Vohra, and a General Manager (Finance), Mr A.K. Aggarwal.

Mr Khanna, who retired as Chief Engineer (Commercial), has been reappointed as Adviser (Commercial and Regulatory Affairs) on a contract basis. He has been appointed till August 31, 2006. His reappointment letter says that his appointment can be terminated without assigning any reason. He is to be paid Rs 2 lakh for a one-year contract. He is entitled to a car for all outstation official journeys besides the telephone and mobile phone facilities. He is to report direct to the Chairman of the PSEB.

Mr Aggarwal, retired General Manager (Finance), has been reappointed Adviser (Finance) on contract till December 31, 2006. He will draw the last pay drawn by him in December. He will retain the accommodation already occupied by him. The recovery of rent will be on the same pattern as at present. He will be entitled to the use of an official vehicle on the earlier pattern and also of a telephone and a mobile phone, as admissible to him before attaining the age of superannuation.

The PSEB has also extended the contract of Dr G.R. Chhabra, Chief Medical Officer (retired), till September 30, 2006. He has been designated Consultant, Medical Services.

Mr Vohra, Chief Accounts Officer (retired), has been appointed Adviser (Accounts), in the power reforms wing for a further period of one year. He is also entitled to the salary and other benefits which were admissible to him before retirement. An upper division clerk has also been re-employed for one year. There are reports that certain other employees have also been reappointed after retirement.

While thousands of youth with brilliant academic careers are unemployed, the PSEB has been giving jobs to retired persons.


Staff-starved PSEB ‘dumps’ power bills at gurdwaras
Perneet Singh
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, January 28
Power consumers are paying a heavy price due to staff shortage in the Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB), as the board has now started dumping electricity bills at village gurdwaras and expects the residents to collect their bills on their own.

According to sources, the situation worsened after a joint forum of the PSEB employees’ unions took a firm stand and said they would not allow the board to utilise the services of the employees appointed for other jobs in the door-to-door distribution of electricity bills.

Facing shortage of hands for the disbursal, the board offices in Talwandi Sabo block dumped the bills at the gurdwaras of Lelewala, Sekhpura, Singo, Bhagwanpura and other villages. They have asked the gurdwara managers to make an announcement that people should collect their bills and pay it before the due date.

Singo village Sarpanch Ajaib Singh said the board employees dumped the bills at their gurdwara on the evening of January 20, which was also the last date to pay the bills.

Similarly, power bills were also sent to the gurdwara of Sekhpura village, which included the bills of Tandia, Vavawali, Chehla Wali and other villages. People who converged at the gurdwaras to collect the bills were irked at the board move. They also raised slogans against the board and the state government.

Mr Gurdev Singh, a freedom fighter, said there was an urgent need of improvement in way of the functioning of the board. Venting their ire against the PSEB, Gurdeep Singh and Ranbir Singh of Sekhpura village said privatisation of the board would be a better option when they were facing long unscheduled power cuts and collecting their own bills from the gurdwara. They said if people get proper amenities on privatisation the government should go ahead with it.

A section of villagers rued that being illiterate they could not trace out their bills, while others complained that they had to leave their jobs midway for the same. They said if the bills were delivered to them in such a manner, they would end up paying penalties.

An office-bearer of the forum said as many as 400 posts out of the total of 1,000 posts of bill distributing employees were lying vacant in the state and the board was overburdening other employees with this tedious job, but now they had decided that they would only do the job for which they were appointed.

Blaming the board for negligence in the disbursal of bills, he said the board should deliver the bills to the consumers 15 days prior to the due date. On the other hand, the PSEB authorities said the board was taking the issue seriously and the matter would be resolved soon. 


Talks between PSEB management, union fail
Tribune News Service

Patiala, January 28
The talks between the PSEB management and representatives of the PSEB Employees Joint Forum on finding a solution to various issues of the employees failed to produce any result today following a walkout staged by the latter in protest against a stubborn attitude of the former.

Mr Karam Chand Bhardwaj, secretary of the forum, said the forum had decided to launch an agitation to press the management for implementing the already accepted demands of the  employees.

He said a dharna would be staged in front of the head office of the PSEB on February 7.

Apart from it, the members and chairman of the PSEB would be shown black flags during their field visit and a  two-day strike would be observed from  February 15. 


Bus returns from Nankana Sahib after trial run
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, January 28
The regular Amritsar to Nankana Sahib bus service would begin from February 24 and the Nankana Sahib to Amritsar bus service would start from February 27. While the trial run of the bus from Nankana Sahib would be carried out on February 11. This information was given by Mr A.R Talwar, Secretary, Transport, Punjab, after he alighted from the bus, which returned from Nankana Sahib today. He said they were accorded warm welcome on reaching Nankana Sahib.

He said the Pakistan Government was constructing a temporary international bus stand and booking centre at Nankana Sahib and work for the construction of bus stand there was going on a war footing. He informed that for the time being the bus from Amritsar would also stop at Gurdwara Janmasthan Nankana Sahib.

He said all officials of the delegation paid obeisance at gurdwara and performed ‘ardas’ for long lasting peace between the two neighbouring countries.

He said the road from Wagah to Nankana Sahib via Lahore by-pass would be completed with in the next six months and thus the 164-km-long journey between Amritsar and Nankana Sahib would be non-stop. Medical and other facilities would be available in the bus.

He said a counter of Punjab and Sindh Bank would be opened at the international bus stand here.

Mr Iqbal Singh, State Transport Commissioner, said buses for Hindu shrines at Katasraj and Panja Sahib would also be started soon. 


CM announces sops for Moonak
Sushil Goyal
Tribune News Service

Moonak (Sangrur), January 28
Paying rich tributes to the late Babu Brish Bhan, a freedom fighter and former Chief Minister of PEPSU, at the 11th annual function of Babu Brish Bhan DAV Public School here today, Chief Minister Amarinder Singh announced sops worth about Rs 5 crore for Moonak, the native village of Babu Brish Bhan.

Capt Amarinder Singh handed over cheques to the president of the Moonak Nagar Panchayat for slum area development (Rs 20 lakh), infrastructure development of the town (Rs 15 lakh), Babu Brish Bhan Municipal Park (Rs 10 lakh) and drinking water supply (Rs 36.71 lakh), along with collection from excise duty (Rs 12.80 lakh).

He also handed over a cheque for Rs 25 lakh for the development of Babu Brish Bhan DAV Public School to the school Principal.

Capt Amarinder Singh announced a grant of Rs 3 crore for the under-construction Subdivision Administrative Complex here.

He also announced a grant of Rs 50 lakh for the local Government Degree College.

He announced grants for the local stadium (Rs 10 lakh), the local ‘gaushala’ (Rs 5 lakh), the bus stand (Rs 5 lakh) and Moonak Press Club (Rs 3 lakh).

Capt Amarinder Singh also announced the upgradation of the local primary health centre to a 50-bedded Subdivision Hospital.

He said the Punjab Government would make available Rs 72 crore by March for the strengthening of the Ghaggar from Khanauri to Jakhal if NABARAD did not provide the amount till then.

He said the state would fill 12,000 vacant posts of teacher through zila parishads, panchayat samitis and panchayats.

Capt Amarinder Singh announced the installation of statues of freedom fighters Harchand Singh Jeji, Babu Brish Bhan and Baba Hira Singh Bhattal at Bareta Chowk here. He said he would ask industrialists to set up units in Sangrur, Mansa and Gurdaspur districts.

He asked Punjab Finance Minister Surinder Singla to draw up a plan for Moonak to launch the Centre’s Integrated Development Project, ranging between Rs 120 crore and 150 crore, for overall development of the town.


Development eludes Malwa belt: experts
Our Correspondent

Abohar, January 28
None of the parliamentarians in the country ever raised the problems faced by 35 crore Indians living below the poverty line. They are equally unconcerned towards the other 40 crore population that lived hand to mouth. This was stated by Padma Shri Gurdial Singh while inaugurating a seminar at DAV College here today.

The seminar was sponsored by the Indian Council of Social Science Research (ICSSR). Mr Gurdial Singh was joined by Dr R.C. Sobti, Director, Staff Academic College, Panjab University, and Mr Rajnish Ahuja, an industrialist from Ludhiana and old student of the college, in lighting the lamp to inaugurate the seminar. They also released a souvenir on the occasion.

The seminar was organised to focus the problems faced by the Malwa region.

Delivering the keynote address, Mr Gurdial Singh said the government should form a high-level committee of agriculturists, industrialists, economists and social activists to study the problems that endangered social, economic and cultural perspectives in the region. Sincere efforts need to be made to implement the recommendations of such committees, he said.

Dr B.C. Josan, Principal of the college, said the region needed more attention in multi-dimensional development.

Mr Rajnish Ahuja, who was the chief guest on the occasion, said the policy makers made only political motivated decisions and completely ignored the region during past decades.

Dr Sobti, Dr R.K. Mahajan Professor in Economics, Punjabi University, Dr Sonia Kanwer, Dr Irshad Ahmed Khan, Dr D.S. Narula from Punjabi University, Dr Paramjit Singh Dhingra and Dr Jeet Singh Joshi were among others who spoke on the occasion.


Blast in Gobindgarh Fort
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, January 28
The shell of a bomb exploded, injuring one, when five persons were unloading trash from a tractor-trailer in the Army-controlled historic Gobindgarh Fort here today.

Eyewitnesses say they heard deafening sound when the shell exploded. However, the rest of the persons who were dumping the used shells and garbage had a miraculous escape.

The police has registered a case under Sections 4 and 5 of the Explosive Act and Section 427 of the IPC following the mishap. This has been confirmed by SHO Vikram Sharma.

The police authorities have described the incident as “accidental” and ruled out any other possibility. Senior police officials, including district police chief R.P.S. Brar and SP Makhan Singh, rushed to the spot. 


Rs 13 crore to be spent on Jayanti Devi Temple
Tribune News Service

Jyanti Majri (Kharar), January 28
The Punjab Government will spend over Rs 13 crore on preservation and construction of a new retaining wall for the 550 year-old Jayanti Devi Temple here.

This was stated today by Mr Jagmohan Singh Kang, Punjab Tourism Minister, while inaugurating a ‘Heritage Walk’ and an awareness camp organised by the Chandigarh Chapter of the Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage (INTACH) at the temple.

The minister said the estimate for restoration work had been sent to the Central Government for sanctioning funds. Under the plan, the inhabited area round the temple would be spruced up and local trade promoted.

The restoration work was being undertaken by the Department of Archaeology, Punjab, the Archeological Survey of India, the Public Works Department and INTACH.

“The Punjab Government has sanctioned Rs 8 lakh for sprucing up the facilities at the temple”, he said, adding that earlier tourism and cultural affairs were treated as secondary issues. The Patiala and Kapurthala heritage festivals were part of the state government stand on the issue.

He said since tourism in Punjab was predominantly religious, the Tourism Department had submitted a budget plan of Rs 25 crore to the Centre for promotion of religious tourism. The plan included freedom struggle circuit (Chandigarh-Patiala-Nabha-Sunam-Malerkotla-Ludhiana-Khatkar Kalan- Dhudiki-Jaito-Faridkot- Amritsar), religious circuits and destination development( Patiala-Wagah border-Amritsar).

On the occasion, a painting competition was organised in which participants were asked to paint their impressions of the temple. The winners were Akash Gaur, Umesh, Navjot, Simran and Harjot.

Mr V.K. Kapoor, convener, INTACH, and Mr Jagjit Puri, Director, Tourism, Punjab, spoke on the occasion. Others present on the occasion were Justice R.K. Nehru and the former Vice-Chancellor, Panjab University, Mr M.M. Puri.


Lala Lajpat Rai remembered

Abohar, January 28
Representatives of different NGOs today joined Mr Ajay Kumar Gilhotra and Mr Gurcharan Singh Gill, chairman and president, respectively, of the Punjabi Sabhyachar Manch in celebrating the 141st birth anniversary of Lala Lajpat Rai. — OC

People from different walks of life, including women and students from the Government Model High School, assembled at Lalaji's memorial this morning and offered floral tributes.


Customs officials remanded in judicial custody
Tribune News Service

Patiala, January 28
Mr M.P.S. Pahwa, Additional Chief Judicial Magistrate (ACJM), here, remanded two Customs officials Virender Parbhakar and Jagdish Kalra in judicial custody till February 11, 2006, after they were produced in the court by the Inspector, CBI, Mr M. K. Puri, today.

Both Virender Parbhakar, Assistant Commissioner, Customs, and Jagdish Kalra, Appraiser, Customs, Ludhiana, were earlier remanded in police custody for three days. They were arrested by the CBI a few days ago for their alleged involvement in committing a fraud with the department by conniving with a section of traders in Ludhiana district.

Mr Pawan Kumar Dogra, CBI Public Prosecutor, sought remand of the accused for 14 days from the ACJM when they were produced in the court this afternoon and the same was accordingly granted. The accused had been sent to local Central Jail after that.

Following the detection of involvement of the accused in the commission of fraud, a case under Sections 409,420,467,468, 471 and 120-B of the IPC and Section 13 (1) (d) of the Prevention of Corruption Act was registered against them. The accused had been charged with causing a loss of about Rs 1.68 crore to the government and making a corresponding gain for themselves by conniving with a section of traders.

Information gathered by TNS revealed that the CBI sleuths had been questioning a senior official of Customs after his name surfaced during the interrogation of these accused while they were remanded in police custody.


Doctor’s face blackened
Our Correspondent

Abohar, January 28
A government doctor was allegedly assaulted by some miscreants at Sriganganagar, 40 km from here, today.

According to the information, the victim, Dr B.M. Sharma was going to the Civil Hospital in the morning when a jeep intercepted his car a few metres away from his house on the main road. Four persons came down and allegedly started abusing Dr Sharma blaming him for giving false medical report in a case.

One of the miscreants took out a bottle filled with black oil and pasted the lubricant on Dr Sharma’s face in full view of the public. 


Man booked

Hoshiarpur, January 28
Rakesh Kumar of Bassi Khawaju was booked for torturing and beating his wife Jyoti Verma mercilessly last night. The family members of Rakesh have also been booked in the case. — OC


PTU to re-conduct exam of engineering drawing
Deepkamal Kaur
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, January 28
Punjab Technical University has decided to re-conduct the examination of engineering drawing for students of B. Tech first semester enrolled in civil, electrical and mechanical engineering on January 31 after the authorities found that the examination held on January 16 had been leaked out at some centres. The university authorities had received a handwritten copy of the question paper through fax from Mohali almost half an hour before time the examination was scheduled to start on January 16. The Vice-Chancellor, Dr S.K. Salwan, had then asked officers in the examination branch to tally the faxed copy with the original question paper that had been printed by the PTU.

Even though the questions were in a different order, most of these matched with those in the actual question paper. Dr Salwan had then marked an inquiry into the matter to Dr V.K. Arora, Dean, Academics. On the basis of the preliminary inquiry conducted by the Dean, Dr Salwan has now decided to get the paper re-conducted.

Insiders pointed out that since the paper was held on January 16, which was a Monday, and question papers had been dispatched to all examination centres by Saturday i.e., January 14, staff of a college near Chandigarh probably opened the seal before the examination and leaked the paper. The fact some students of a college in the periphery of Jalandhar also had a handwritten copy of the paper before the start of examination revealed that it had been leaked to a large number of students. Dr Siby John, Dean, Examination, has ruled out any possibility of paper leak from the office or the printing press. He said he had got the papers of all first semester students prepared by a team of paper setters in front of him. He said he had himself proofread all papers and kept every copy of the papers in lock and key in his office thereafter.

However, over 6,000 students, who are to re-appear in the examination, are disappointed with the system. As the examinations finished last Thursday, they had vacated the campuses and gone to their homes on vacation. Most of them said they got information about the re-conduct of paper this morning when their friends residing locally read the notice on the board. Students from various affiliated colleges said they were planning to hold a dharna in front of the PTU campus on January 30 as they were being told to sit in the examination again. 


Bhagat Puran Singh a role model: scholars
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, January 28
A day-long seminar on "Concept of seva in Sikh religion and Pingalwara" was organised by the Bhagat Puran Singh Chair of Guru Nanak Dev University.

Dr Inderjit Kaur, president of the All-India Pingalwara Charitable Society, in her presidential remarks, said selfless service and trust were the basic tenets of Sikhism and they had an important role in human life.

Dr Balkar Singh, former Professor of Guru Granth Studies of Punjabi University, Patiala, in his keynote address said though the practice of selfless service was the ethos of Gurbani it was Bhagat Puran Singh who adopted it as a way of life.

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