L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Couple killed for Rs 1,000
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 7
The murder of a financier and his wife in BRS Nagar on Sunday night allegedly took place for a mere Rs 1,000. Two youths who had allegedly killed the couple have been arrested while a third accomplice who was a part of the planning is absconding.

Stating this at a press conference this afternoon, SSP Narinderpal Singh said the accused, Rajesh Kumar, alias Vicky, of the local Gulchaman Street and Saurabh Kapur had allegedly killed the couple with a pair of scissors and a knife to teach the financier, Ajit Singh Sahni, a lesson for demanding back the loan.

Both accused were tailors by profession. They were formerly employed in the boutique of the financier’s wife, Jasbir Kaur.

They had taken a loan of Rs 2,000 from him several months ago. While they had paid back Rs 1,000, the remaining amount was yet to be paid.

They had stopped working at the boutique and taken employment in another boutique.

The accused revealed to the police that the financier had called up at their new place of work demanding the money.

He had also told their employer about the debt. The accused claimed that they were angry at the financier for “defaming” them and decided to teach him a lesson.

The SSP said on Sunday night the accused went to the financier’s house. They had an argument with him over the issue at which they first stabbed the man with the pair of scissors and then his wife.

The two had even dragged back the woman into the house by the hair when she tried to escape.

The accused fled on the scooter of the financier after committing the crime.

The two went for a hair cut after that to change their appearance. They apprehended that they had been noticed with their long tresses by a neighbour while fleeing from the house.

The police closed in on the accused by investigating the whereabouts of the current and former employees of the boutique as well as clients of the financier.

The police suspected the role of the two youths as they had gone for a hair cut yesterday only.

The third accomplice, identified as Vikas, had purchased the knife and was present near the house on the night when the murder took place, the police said.

The SSP added that the city police had recommended to the Punjab DGP cash award and commendation certificates for the police team that had worked on the case.

The SSP mentioned felicitation for SP City-I Nilabh Kishore, SP (Detective) Gurpreet Singh, DSP R.K. Bakshi, Inspectors Gurdev Singh and Mukhtiar Singh, Sub-Inspectors Rajesh Kumar, Sandeep Wadhera, Pawanjit, Bittan Kumar and ASI Dulla Singh.



Man held for carrying opium acquitted after 4 years
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, March 7
The Additional Sessions Judge, Mr B.S. Sodhi, has acquitted Jagdev Singh (38) of Tajpur of the charge of possessing opium with the observation that the prosecution failed to prove the charges levelled against the him.

The police had shown the arrest of accused at 3.45 pm on May 29, 2002, whereas the cousin of accused had sent telegrams to the higher police authorities at 7 am on the same day, with the allegations that his cousin was illegally detained by the police. The sending of telegrams much prior to the arrest shown by the police, proved fatal to the prosecution story. The accused was booked under Section 18 of the NDPS Act at the Focal Point police station here on the charge of illegally possessing 450 gm opium in the Giaspura Chowk area.

During the trial, the accused claimed that he was falsely implicated. He had submitted that he was booked due to political rivalry. He was given the ticket by the Shiromani Akali Dal to contest Block Samiti poll from the Bhamian Kalan constituency.

A Congress MLA was backing the candidature of his opponent, a nominee of the Congress. To ensure the victory of the Congress candidate, at the instance of the said MLA, he was arrested by the police from his house at 7 am on May 29, 2002. Thereafter he was falsely implicated in this case, added the accused.

His cousin, Balwinder Singh, sent telegrams to the DGP, Punjab, and the SSP, Ludhiana, regarding the illegal detention. The accused also examined this person as his witness in the court to prove the fact of sending telegrams.

Arguing for the accused, the defence counsel had pointed out several other contradictions and lapses in the prosecution version. He had also pointed out that a prosecution witness had stated in the witness box that his statement was recorded on the same day of the arrest of accused. But the perusal of record showed that his statement produced on record was of July 2, 2002. Finding several glaring contradictions in the prosecution case, the court ordered to acquit him.



Police close to busting gang of robbers
Mahesh Sharma

Mandi Ahmedgarh, March 7
The police is close to busting a notorious gang that has been actively involved in incidents of highway and planned robberies in this Malwa belt for more than eight years.

Though senior police officials are tightlipped about it, sources said the CIA staff at Barnala and Jagraon had succeeded in identifying the gangsters.

Sources at Latala, Brahampur and Ramgarh Sardaran villages in Ludhiana and Sangrur villages said the police had raided houses of certain youths but the police had denied arresting any of them.

Meanwhile, Mr B.K. Bhamwra DIG Patiala, who had been coordinating GOs investigating cases in connection with robberies at Punjab National Bank branches of Thikriwala and Kanganwal, claimed that the gang would be busted soon.

Observations made by Ludhiana Tribune revealed that the Barnala and Jagraon police had received important clues regarding incidents of highway robberies and snatchings from houses of prosperous families.

Coordination between Sangrur and Barnala police enabled the latter to identify and come close to busting the gang that had robbed Thikriwala and Kanganwal branches of the bank.

“As the robbers had disappeared in the villages located between Ahmedgarh and Raikot, all police teams had focussed their attention in this area. Ultimately the police derived a hypothesis that members of the gang hailed from Latala and Brahmpur villages in the district and Ramgarh Sardaran village in Sangrur district.

Though the senior police officers were tightlipped about the arrest of any of the members, sources at these villages said Kuldeep Singh, Jasbir Singh, Balvir Singh, Nirbhai Singh and Babbu had been missing from their respective houses for the past few days.

Interestingly, some of the victims had not reported their losses to the police.

A businessman of the town had been robbed by the gang thrice during a period of five years but he had lodged complaint in only one case. 



NRI land sold ‘fraudulently’
Kanchan Vasdev
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 7
A piece of land belonging to an NRI family of Shahjahanpur village in Raikot has been allegedly sold fraudulently by some persons in connivance with the village patwari, who changed the revenue records to show the possession of land by the accused.

While the owners of the land, Ms Mukhtar Kaur and Mr Gurdev Singh, were staying in Canada, their piece of land was sold back home by a relative of another NRI family, who had been given power of attorney by them.

Interestingly, none of the two families came to know about the sale deed as they were staying in Canada. The truth was unveiled after a relative of both families and co-sharer of the land, came to the village and found that the revenue records were allegedly changed to benefit the person holding the power of attorney.

Mr Ishar Singh, an NRI, who took the lid off the alleged scam, later told the original owners, who rushed to the village to stake their claim on the land. They have now complained to the Deputy Commissioner and even to the Chief Minister demanding justice in the case.

According to Mr Ishar Singh, the land measuring 122 kanal and 17 marla belonged to him, Mr Gurdev Singh, Mr Baldev Singh, Mr Barjinder Singh and Mukhtar Kaur.

He alleged that the village patwari made fictitious entries in the jamabandi and made Parmjeet Singh and Harbans Kaur as owner of 15 kanal and 17 marlas of land although they were no longer the co-sharers.

In the jamabandi showing land belonging to Paramjeet Singh and Harbans Kaur, they were shown to possess 3 kanal and 17 marlas additionally that belonged to Ms Mukhtar Kaur and Mr Gurdev Singh.

A relative of Mr Paramjeet Singh and Ms Harbans Kaur, allegedly took the advantage of the power of attorney, had executed a sale deed of this land.

‘‘The patwari has taken the advantage of our absence from the village. He has altered the land records to suit somebody's needs. We have written to the Secretary, Government of Punjab, (NRI Affairs) and the SSP, Vigilance, Ludhiana, but nothing has come out of the complaint. ’’ said Mr Ishar Singh. 



Hare wool stolen

Khanna, March 7
A yarn factory has reported a theft of 350 kg of hare wool, valued at Rs 1.75 lakh, to the Payal police. According to information, Jamil Ahmed of Rahon Road, Ludhiana, Ram Krishan of Jodhewal Basti, Ludhiana, Abumado of Pomat village in UP and Sadhu Yadav of UP had entered into a contract for the purchase of 25 tonne of yarn with PJ International, Jaspalon, Ludhiana.

While lifting the goods, they also bundled away the hare wool, stacked nearby, in small quantities. During a checking, mill supervisor Ravinder Kumar found out a shortage of 350 kg from the stock of 484 kg of wool. OC



Shop burgled

Jagraon, March 7
Burglers broke open the locks of Amandip Singh and stole 12 tyres worth Rs 43500. The Jagraon police has registered a case under Section 457, 380 of the IPC. In another incident , a sum of Rs 10,000 was stolen from the 'Golak' of Gurdwara Baba Sahib ,Akhara. The local police has registered a case on the complaint of Sewadar Gulzar Singh of Roomi.

In-laws booked: Kamaljit Singh husband, Hardev Singh father-in-law, Dalip Kaur mother-in-law of Akhara and Rani, Nirbhai Singh of Chakkar have been booked by the police for allegedly torturing Satbir Kaur for dowry . OC



Ex-servicemen get more benefits 
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, March 7
The Ministry of Defence has accorded some more benefit to ex-servicemen on the recommendations of the group of ministers (GOM) constituted by the Union Government to consider their demands.

According to a notification of the Defence Ministry, “With effect from January 1, 2006 pension of pre-January 1, 1996 retirees in all ranks of PBOR (personnel below officer rank) in the Army, Navy and Air Force for 33 years of qualifying service shall not be less than 50 per cent of the maximum pay in the revised scales of pay introduced with effect from January 1, 1996, including 50 per cent of highest classification allowance. If any of the rank and groups held continuously for 10 months preceding retirement subject to a minimum pension of Rs 1,913 per month. Such pension shall be reduced pro-rata where the pensioner has less than the maximum qualifying service for full pension that is 33 years.”

A Ministry of Defence circular says after detailed deliberations on various aspects, the GOM felt that while the demand for “one-rank-one-pension” cannot be agreed to, there is a justification for improving the pensionary benefits of the PBOR, particularly the three lowest ranks. Finally the GOM unanimously recommended that the pension of pre-January 1, 1996 retiree PBOR may be revised with reference to the maximum of post January 1, 1996 pay scales. In additional weightage of sepoy, naik and havildar ranks for past as well as future retirees be increased to 10, 8 and 6 years, respectively, subject to a maximum qualifying service of 30 years. The benefit would be given only in respect of service pension.

Lieut-Col Chanan Singh Dhillon (retd), president, Ex-services League, Punjab and Chandigarh, while welcoming the decision of the government said it was a piecemeal decision.

Colonel Dhillon said in 1996, the weightage given in age to the sepoy was 25 years.

He regretted that despite the fact that the Supreme Court had accepted the demand for “one-rank-one-pension” long time back, it seemed that the government was not committed to the hard service conditions of the armed forces.

He lamented that the veterans of the World War-II and the veterans of 1962 and 1965 wars were on the last the leg of their lives and it was unjust to deny them the benefits.

He said the government was dilly-dallying on the issue of “one-rank-one-pension” demand and pressed that the government must accept the same so that the welfare of the ex-servicemen and war widows was ensured.



Telecom staff stage dharna
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, March 7
Activists of the National Federation of Telecom Employees (NFTE), and the BSNL staff today staged a dharna in front of the office of General Manager, Telecom, Ludhiana district, here in protest against the non-implementation of their demands which were agreed to in principle at a meeting with the authorities on January 4, 2006.

After the decision was taken to resume the agitation in the wake of negative attitude of the BSNL management, the employees wore black badges yesterday.

Addressing the protesting employees of the BSNL, trade union leaders said reluctance on part of the administration had forced the NFTE to revive the agitation. They said the representations made for transfers on compassionate ground had drawn a blank. Similarly, the gradation lists, which should have been the basis of transfers, were still being prepared while the new posting orders had taken effect.

Speakers, including Mohinder Prasad, district secretary Prem Singh, district president Pritam Chand, assistant circle secretary and Sarbjit Singh, circle vice- president of the NFTE, said the union was never averse to negotiations but the indifferent attitude of the GM, Telecom, even after making a commitment with the employees, was ridiculous.



Don’t implement VAT: LJP
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, March 7
Mr K.S.Budhiraja, vice-president, Lok Janshakti Party, has urged Capt Amarinder Singh, Chief Minister, not to implement the VAT system in the state as five other states in the country — Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat, Chhatisgarh and Uttar Pradesh —had already refused to implement it.

Mr Budhiraja said the VAT system should only be implemented in the state if these states also agreed to do the same. He further stated that in case VAT was implemented, all other levies and duties should be abolished.

Mr Budhiraja also hailed Mr Ram Vilas Paswan for not supporting either the RJP or the NDA in forming a government in Bihar. Imposition of President’s rule in Bihar would surely go a long way in improving the law and order situation in the state as it had been witnessing jungle rule for the past several years since the installation of the RJD government, he added.



Punjab Budget: industry feels ignored
Shveta Pathak
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 7
Confusion over the octroi issue in the Punjab budget, presented by the Finance Minister, Mr Surinder Singla today ,has been condemned by the local industry. Disappointed with the government for not addressing issues like power and subsidy bonds for Rs 600 crore, the industry felt ignored .

"The government has time and again been giving deadlines for the abolition of VAT. From January 2006, the date was extended to March, and now it is June. It should have abolished it and come out with an alternative that does not have an adverse impact on the industry," said Mr Varinder Kapoor, general secretary, United Cycle and Parts Manufacturers Association.

Industrialists said they did not want octroi to go, unless the government discussed the matter in detail with them and came out with alternatives that did not hit the industry. Instead of talking about alternatives like turnover tax, the Finance Minister should have talked of something that was more viable and acceptable like accommodating the same from additional revenues generated from taxes like VAT, said industrialists.

The industry also expressed its unhappiness over the three-year bonds in lieu of Rs 600 crore subsidy. "They had earlier told us that we would be given subsidies by April, 2006. Three-year bonds mean that the subsidy is delayed and we are not happy with it," said Mr Inderjit Singh Navyug, president, Small Manufacturers Welfare Association.

Some solution should have been provided to tackle the poor power supply, that has been bothering electricity consumers, said Mr P.D. Sharma, president, Apex Chamber of Commerce and Industry. He said the Finance Minister should have allocated some amount for additional power generation as well.

Pointing out to high power costs, Mr Sharma said that the duty on power should have been eliminated. "For several decades, there was a duty of 11 paise per unit, recently the same was increased by 5 per cent and then 10 per cent, which is a very heavy burden. We have been urging the government to do away with it, but sadly, there was no mention of it in the budget."

The industry also said the government should have announced the abolition of Central sales tax immediately instead of giving a three- year period for the same.

The abolition of separate audit system under VAT for dealers who were already subject to the income audit and whose turnover was certified by qualified auditors was welcomed by the industry. 



Focus on image building: Woolmark
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 7
To increase their share in the global wool market from the existing 1.2 per cent, Indian companies will have to focus on image-building exercise while continuing with the focus on quality.

"Quality has to remain the key focus. But an equal stress needs to be laid on image building. If your quality is good and your buyers are not even aware of your product, you will not be able to sell, which is why we advise the industry to focus on image-building exercises," said Mr S.K.Chaudhuri, director, Woolmark, which is a nodal agency that issues licences to units based on quality norms, technology, etc. He said the participation in domestic and international events could be a highly effective way for image- building.

Talking about China, Mr Chaudhuri said China enjoyed economies of scale and it would take India quite a lot of time to compete on that level. "India's annual consumption of wool is around 35 million kg whereas that of China is 300 million kg. For Indian companies, it is best to focus on middle to high-end fashion segments instead of mass markets or solely high-end segments."

He said the wool market had been growing annually at around 20 per cent of which the maximum growth was being registered in market for fabrics.


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