L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Man gets probe ordered against son over property
Mahesh Sharma

Mandi Ahmedgarh, March 9
The Superintendent of Police at Jagraon has ordered a probe into charges levelled by a farmer of Brahmpur village against his son for allegedly getting his property transferred in his name on the basis of documents, which the complainant’s daughter had got signed on the pretext of sending him abroad.

The Dehlon police has recorded the statements of residents of the village and a report would be submitted soon.

The farmer, Babu Singh (85), accused his son Harvinder Singh of allegedly thrashing him and duping him of his land measuring more than 60 bighas.

Police sources said Babu Singh had accused his son Harvinder of illtreating and duping him of his property by allegedly misusing certain papers that had been got signed by his NRI daughter Gurcharan Kaur on the pretext of sending him abroad.

Babu Singh had made a will in favour of Harvinder Singh when the latter refused to return to the family after deserting his first wife. “When Harvinder refused to remarry till the property was not transferred in his name, I made a will in his favour. However, I revoked the will in 1991, when he started maltreating me and my daughters,” Babu Singh told the police.

Babu Singh was shocked to learn that his only son had got a piece of land worth lakhs transferred in his name by getting a decree passed in his favour. He had allegedly misused certain papers Babu Singh had signed on the insistence of Gurcharan Kaur, his elder daughter living in the US. She had told him that the papers were required for getting a visa to the US.

Babu Singh then urged Mr R. K. Jaiswal, SSP, Jagraon, to intervene in the matter.

The SSP directed Mr Amarjit Singh Khaira, SHO, Dehlon, to probe the matter and submit a report.

Mr Khaira claimed that he had recorded statements of the persons concerned and the report would be submitted soon. 



Punjab free of bird flu: Kang
Poultry farms suffer daily loss of Rs 2 crore
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 9
Punjab Minister for Animal Husbandry, Dairy Development and Fisheries Jagmohan Singh Kang today said rumours of bird flu were causing a daily loss of Rs 2 crore to poultry farms in the state. He warned rumourmongers and unscrupulous agencies for trying to usurp the poultry trade and assured the people that not a single sample out of 1,005 migratory birds tested negative for bird flu from 2005 till date.

Inaugurating an interactive seminar on bird flu organised jointly by the College of Veterinary Science, the Punjab Poultry Farmers' Association and the state department, Kang said even the neighbouring J and K state had lifted the ban on sale of eggs, while clearance was awaited for allowing poultry birds to J and K.

He also revealed that Punjab was in constant touch with Delhi and neighbouring states to safeguard the interests of the Rs750 crore poultry trade getting ruined in Punjab because of unfounded rumours. He also called upon the media not to be carried away by vested interests try to wreck the poultry trade in Punjab.

Kang categorically stated that Punjab was bird flu free. To prove that Punjab was unaffected by bird flu, the lunch that followed, had plenty of chicken to tickle the palate of non-vegetarian participants.

Punjab Poultry Association president Mohinder Arora, vice-president Inderjit Singh Kang and Secretary P.P.S. Gill submitted a memorandum to the minister, highlighting the crisis faced by the poultry farmers and loss of business due to rumourmongering.

The College of Veterinary Science Dean, Dr. O.S. Parmar, said both the state department and PAU had not lagged behind in scotching unfounded rumours and by and large succeeded in confidence building among the people.

Dr Onkar said maize and soybean were the two sources of poultry feed through which bird flu virus could enter Punjab from Madhya Pradesh. However, if Punjab farmers were to take up cultivation of maize and soybean on a large scale, this would serve the twin purposes.

PAU has set up a nodal agency with Kulbir Singh Sandhu as the team leader to provide requisite information on bird flu or to allay the apprehensions of poultry farmers.



DC lists do’s & don’ts for Satluj Club poll
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 9
To ensure greater transparency and to cleanse the election system in the Satluj Club, Mr Anurag Verma, Deputy Commissioner-cum-president of the club, has directed that all candidates filing nominations will be required to give information about themselves in an affidavit form regarding their educational qualifications (with proof), conviction (if any) by a court of law and punishment (if any) to the club.

The summary of this information will be circulated among all members.

He further directed that on March 19, 6 pm onwards, candidates would be given an opportunity to present their case before the members on the club lawns. Each candidate would be given only five minutes for the purpose. Detailed instructions in this regard would separately be issued by the first returning officer. All members had been invited to the club lawns to listen to the candidates.

Mr Verma said the objective behind these initiatives was to ensure that all members, specially those who did not come regularly to the club, got to know about the credentials of the contestants and were able to choose the right candidate.

He said Mr Prem Chand, SDM, Raikot, had been appointed as the first returning officer and Mr J.K. Jain, Executive Magistrate, as the second returning officer. The former would distribute work among other ROs. The election would be held on March 26.

Nomination papers would be received from March 10 to March 12 in the club office from 6 pm to 8 pm. Scrutiny of the nomination papers would be done on March 14 at 6 pm. The list of valid nominations would be displayed on March 14 after 8 pm. Withdrawals could be done from March 15 to March 16 between 6 pm and 8 pm. The final list of the candidates would be published in the club office on March 17 after 8 pm.

The Deputy Commissioner said counting of votes would be done immediately after the polling and the result would be declared on the same day.

Mr Verma has directed the ROs to strictly implement the code of conduct for conducting the elections in a free and fair manner. Mr Verma said the code of conduct would not allow any candidate to go for any type of advertisement in newspapers in respect of his/her candidature. No banners, posters and pamphlets should be displayed/distributed inside or outside the club premises.

The candidate should not host any type of parties or hold election meetings inside or outside the club premises. No direct/indirect reference to the private life of any candidate should be made in any form. Members would be allowed to cast vote only on the production of the club identity card. No outsider would be allowed inside the club premises on the day of the elections.



Ex-Deputy Speaker gets bail
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, March 9
A former Deputy Speaker of state Assembly, Mr Satpal Gosain, was today granted bail by the Chief Judicial Magistrate, Mr S. S. Dhaliwal, in a defamation case filed against him by the Parliamentary Secretary, Housing and Power, Mr Surinder Dawar.

Earlier, the court had ordered to summon Gosain for facing the trial finding a prima facie case against him, vide its order dated December 13, 2005. As per the directions of the court, the accused appeared before the court. He moved bail application through his counsel, which was accepted by the court.

Following the directions of the court, the accused furnished a surety bonds to the tune of Rs 15,000 with one surety. The accused had to remain present in the court for more than half an hour till his surety bonds were accepted, as the court had instructed him to stay there till the bail bonds were furnished.

It may be recalled that tussle has been going on between the duo after the last Assembly elections held in February, 2002. In that elections, Dawar had contested as Congress nominee whereas Gosain as nominee of the BJP, which Dawar had won.

The complainant had claimed that the accused levelled false and scandalous allegations against him in a press conference held at Ludhiana in June, 2003. 



5 highway robbers arrested
Our Correspondent

Mandi Ahmedgarh, March 9
The Jagraon police today announced the arrest of five members of a notorious gang of highway robbers that was giving sleepless nights to the Punjab Police for the past eight years.

The gang was actively involved in waylaying people along the highways in the state and robbing them. The gang also specialised in robberies at liquors stations, petrol stations and banks. It had struck several times at Mandi Ahmedgarh.

SSP R. K. Jaiswal told Ludhiana Tribune that the gang members had been arrested from Mullanpur Dakha. The police had recovered Rs 2.70 lakh from their possession along with five pistols.

The police had formed a special investigation team to arrest the gang members. The team, led by DSP Harjit Singh Brar, arrested Kuldip Singh of Latala at a naka when the gang members were trying to leave the area to evade arrest. The gang members had gathered at an isolated plot near Mullanpur. They were planning to commit a major dacoity.

The gang members are Kuldeep Singh, alias Keepa, of Latala, Gurcharan Channa of Brahmpur village, Charanjit Channa of Talwandi, Satnam Singh Satta of Bhaini Baringa and Balbir Singh Dheera of Latala.

Preliminary investigation revealed that the gang,led by Kuldip Singh, had been active in the area for more that eight years. Besides looting local traders, liquor vendors and petrol stations at gunpoint, the accused had been involved in bank robberies, including Punjab National Bank, Thikriwal (February 22—Rs 15.50 lakh) , the Oriental Bank of Commerce, Raikot (February 11, 2003,—Rs 8.15 lakh), the State Bank of Patiala, Amargarh (Rs 1.25 lakh) , Punajb National Bank, Kanganwal (May 18, 2005,— Rs 4.60 lakh), and Punjab and Sind Bank, Halwara (July 30, 2002—Rs 1.99 lakh).

Interestingly, some of the victims have not reported their losses to the police. A businessman in the town had been robbed by this gang thrice during a period of five years but he lodged a complaint in one case only. 



Poor antenatal care leaves newborn with defect
Mahesh Sharma

Mandi Ahmedgarh, March 9
Medical advancement is yet to reach the doorstep of a common man in India, if the case of a village woman who yesterday gave birth to a girl with genetic defect is any indication.

Baljinder Kaur (25), wife of Sukhwinder Singh of Chhanna Ahmedgarh, gave birth to a girl whose brain had developed outside the skull in the womb.

The child was delivered yesterday without the hope of survival.

The mother was admitted to a local hospital for management of post-term pregnancy on Tuesday as the mother had crossed 41 weeks of gestation.

The doctors had to perform Caesarean operation to save mother’s life after induced parturition failed. As a result, an anomalous female baby suffering from a brain defect, known as encephalocoelous, was born.

According to Dr Jyotsana Kapoor, gynaecologist attending on Baljinder Kaur, the trauma of surgery could have been avoided had the medical staff of the hospital undertaken proper antenatal care.

Terming the abnormality very rare, Dr Jyotsana said its affect could have been diluted with proper administration of folic acid and iron tablets that were available free of cost with the Health Department.

On the probability of saving the child, Dr Jyotsana said neurological surgery was required but the family could not afford it as the child’s father was a labourer.

“In her case the skull seems to have been formed before the formation of the brain and surgery worth lakhs of rupees might yield some results, but mental faculties will not develop normally,” apprehended Dr Jyotsana.

Intra-uterine surgery, available in multi-specialty hospitals of the West, was the other option, claimed the gynecologist.

Dr Jyotsana added that this type of congenital anomaly was generally found in women bearing children after 30 years of age.

Though parents of the child have shown their intention to withdraw the treatment, doctors are trying to prolong her life by administering lifesaving drugs.



Chinese pichkaris flood city markets
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, March 9
The city markets have geared up to meet the demands of Holi enthusiasts. Chinese pichkaris have captured the markets this time. A survey of Gur Mandi revealed that cartoon characters dominated the pichkari segment. One could see pichkaris shaped like Pokeman, Batman and characters from Harry Porter.

Mr Joginder Singh, salesman at a shop, said, “Children are crazy about cartoon figures. Chinese always come out with the latest at very affordable prizes. They come out with good stuff that fascinates the customers. Indian pichkaris of the shape of Trishul and pen are vying with Chinese ones, but Chinese goods take the lead.”

Another shopkeeper, Mr Jasdev Singh, said, “Magic colours are something new this year. You throws these colours at someone and these disappear immediately.”



Channel report on militancy draws criticism
K.S. Chawla

Ludhiana, March 9
A cross section of the Sikhs has reached sharply to the investigative story telecast by Zee News “Desh Dharoh” on Sunday and Monday.
In the programme, the rise and fall of militancy in Punjab was depicted and the thrust was on highlighting the presence of those involved in the Khalistan movement.

Dr Jagjit Singh Chohan, Daljit Bittu and Dr Sohan Singh and Dr Gurmit Singh Aulakh remained in the focus of the story.

Prof Prithipal Singh Kapoor, former Pro Vice-Chancellor, Guru Nanak Dev University, Amritsar, and a renowned sikh scholar, when contacted by Ludhiana Tribune said it appeared to be another conspiracy to defame the Sikhs and doubt their patriotism.

“The Sikhs know that they had chosen to remain with India in 1947 and had to carve out an honourable place within India and seize the opportunities available.

“Those who feel jealous or remain antagonistic to the idea keep highlighting such views without any consequence.”

Prof Kapoor said detractors of Dr Manmohan Singh, who did not wish him well, might have conspired to bring forth such things so that he as head of the state could be embarrassed particularly at a time when “he is focus of all, especially in the international community”.

Prof Kapoor said the facts being brought forth by human rights organisations with regard to the activities of the police during the militancy had embarrassed the police hierarchy.

“These tactics of creating cats by the police were attracting wide criticism. As such the story could have the support of some retired or serving police high-ups so that their actions viz-a-viz militancy could be justified,” he added.

Mr Paramjit Singh Sarna, president, Shiromini Akali Dal (Delhi), and former president, Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee, also criticised the report and demanded that the government should find out the truth behind it.

He felt that there were some vested interests who wanted to create disturbance in the state and raise doubts about the patriotism of the Sikhs. The title of the news story, “Desh Dharoh”, was highly objectionable, he said.

Mr Manjit Singh Calcutta, chairman, Sikh Mission (international), and former Akali minister, sought unconditional apology from the channel for the telecast and maligning of the Sikhs.

Lieut-Col Chanan Singh Dhillon (retd), president, Indian Ex-serviceman League, Punjab and Chandigarh, also took strong exception to the telecast and maintained that the Sikhs had been presented in a bad light.

Colonel Dhillon said the Sikhs had made extreme sacrifices in the freedom struggle and later in the wars against China and Pakistan and it was unfortunate that their patriotism was being doubted by dubbing them as “desh darohi”.

Mr Jagdev Singh Talwandi, former president, Shiromini Akali Dal, also sought an unconditional apology from the channel and said the Sikhs were being provoked by telecasting such irresponsible and uncalled-for stories.



Cops honoured for cracking Rima case
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 9
The Deputy Inspector-General of Police, Ludhiana Range, Mr Parag Jain, the Senior Superintendent of Police, Jagraon, Mr Rajesh Jaiswal, and the DSP, Dakha, Mr Harjit Singh Brar, were felicitated at the Satluj Club last night at a civic reception organised by various organisations for solving the mysterious disappearance and subsequent murder of Rima Jain.

Speakers showered praise on the police for identifying the culprit and finding evidence against him. They said it was a tragic and shocking incident in the history of the city. The speakers observed that it was a matter of consolation for everyone that the guilty had been identified and put behind bars.

The presence of two young siblings of Rima—Bhanu and Bharat—added to the sombre mood of the meeting. Mr Parag Jain, who consistently pursued the investigations right from the beginning, said the case haunted him and he never felt at ease till the issue was resolved. He said it was one of the worst type of crimes he had seen in his career.

He said as each day passed by, he feared that the evidence might be destroyed. “But as it happens, each one of us have to face justice and retribution one day; the truth was established at last,” the DIG told the audience, which included people from different walks of life, including lawyers, doctors, professors, businessmen and industrialists. He had a special word of appreciation for Mr Jaiswal, who, he said, was not restrained by the jurisdictional restrictions to pursue the case untiringly.

Expressing gratitude to the hosts of the function, Mr Jaiswal said it was a difficult case to crack. “I never felt at ease with myself because a life had been brought to an abrupt and tragic end without the guilty being brought to book,” he said, adding that had it not been for team effort, the case might have remained a mystery.

Prominent among those present at the function included the general secretary of the Satluj Club, Mr Gurinder Laadi, a senior advocate, Mr Balwinder Goyal, industrialists Mr K.K. Seth, Mr Satish Dhanda, Vinod Thapar, Mr Ram Kumar Jain, Dr Sandeep Puri, Principal Satish Sharmaand PCC general secretary Pappi Prashar.



Protest against Varanasi blasts
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 9
The All-India Anti-terrorist Front (AIATF) has condemned the bomb attack on Sankat Mochan Mandir in Varanasi.
In a statement here today, Mr Balwinder Singh Kaka, Mr Yogesh Dewan and Mr Anil Sharma, senior leaders of the outfit, said blasts were an act of sheer cowardice as well as failure on the part of intelligence agencies. They also said anti-national activities in Punjab were on the resurgence but unfortunately proper attention was not being paid to the issue by the authorities concerned.

Quoting media reports they said Khalistan ideologists Dr Jagjit Singh Chauhan, Simranjit Singh Mann and Parminder Singh Dhami had openly announced that getting a separate state in the form of Khalistan was their aim which they would achieve. This was a serious development, they added.

They demanded that all persons involved in anti- national activities should be immediately booked and the Election Commission should curtail their voting rights. These persons were a threat to the nation's security and were actively making fresh efforts to divide Punjab on communal lines. In light of this, the intelligence and security agencies must maintain a contact vigil on their actions and contacts, they added.

Citing instances they said the agencies allowed Harnek Singh Bhapp, a dreaded terrorist of Khalistan Commando Force, responsible for RDX-laced bomb attack on Mr M S Bitta at IYC headquarters in New Delhi, to roam freely for 14 years in Punjab. During this period, GM of a radical Sikh magasine Surinderpal Singh provided with him full financial assistance.

They also demanded a ban on all magazines and websites which spewed venom, besides initiating a high-level probe into their funding sources.

There was widespread resentment across the city against the bomb blasts at a temple and railway station at Varanasi on Tuesday evening. Members of the Sankatmochan Mandir Committee here led by the Pradesh Congress Committee general secretary, Mr Pappi Prashar, took out a procession condemning the blasts. They were also raising slogans against Pakistan.

Mr Prashar demanded that strict action must be taken against the culprits so that they did not dare to repeat such cowardly acts. He warned that such actions could prove counterproductive. He pointed out targeting innocent pilgrims was no bravery and those responsible should be dealt with seriously.

A PCC member, Mr Pawan Dewan, has also condemned the blasts. He appreciated the concern of the Congress president, Ms Sonia Gandhi, for instantly reaching out to the victims in Varanasi. He appealed for peace and brotherhood.



Resort owners allege harassment
Shveta Pathak
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 9
Owners of marriage palaces and resorts in Punjab are complaining of excessive service tax and excise fee. They says the two charges as unjustified. The Service Tax Department continues to issue summons to them and they are made to pay for the services they are not even providing, they add.

Owners of marriage palaces and resorts from across the state conducted a meeting today to discuss the problem.

“Several marriage palace and resort owners have been getting summons which say that they are evading tax. However, the fact is that we are only renting out our premises and are not providing other services for which the department wants us to pay. Besides, the percentage of service tax has been constantly increasing,” said Mr Gulshan Kumar, president of the Punjab Marriage Palace and Resort Association.

The contention of the Excise Department is that lakhs are spent on marriages, but the service tax collection does not match that amount. However, owners of these palaces and resorts say that only a fraction of money spent goes towards hiring of marriage hall for which they bill their customers.

The state has over 1,500 marriage palaces and resorts, of which Ludhiana has around 100. According to the association, it is also paying a fee of Rs 30,000 to the Excise Department. An additional amount of Rs 1,000 per function is paid by the organiser of the function.

“We do not trade in liquor and make no profit out of alcohol that is served by hosts. Hence, it does not add to our income. The department is being unfair to us by charging us for that,” Mr Kumar said.

The association, which has been urging the government to address its problems, is now planning to send a memorandum to the Chief Minister.



Front honours philanthropist

Samrala, March 9
Members of the Anti-Corruption Front and other local social service organisations honoured Gurpreet Singh Mangat for his contributions to the welfare of people. Mr Mangat has been funding educational institutions like Malwa College, Bondli-Samrala, Middle School, Chahllan, Middle School, Chhandran, besides social organisations. Yesterday, the marriage of a poor girl was also solemnised at his residence. Front members blessed the newly married couple. OC


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