C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Siau murder: all 8 accused acquitted
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 17
Five years after facing trial in the “sensational” murder case of two children of Siau village, Kharar, the Additional District and Session Judge, Mr M.M.Sharma, today acquitted all eight accused persons, including youth SAD leader Kiran Bir Singh Kang. At least six of the accused had remained in judicial lockup during the pendancy of the trial.

On June 21, 2001, bodies of two children, Vikram Preet (9) and Raman Preet (5), were found floating in the village pond. The victims were first cousins and had gone to the village gurdwara on the previous evening, after which they had gone missing. The incidents saw various political parties “hijacking” Siau incident before the 2002 Vidhan Sabha elections.

Following the murder and statements by Dhani Ram, father of one of the victims, six persons, Swaran Singh, Mian Singh, Nirmal Singh, Gurcharan Singh, all sons of Mewa Singh; and Nirmal Singh and Gurman Singh were arrested. The name of Kiran Bir Singh was not included in the First Information Report (FIR) lodged at Sohana Police Station, Mohali, after the Ropar Police had given him a clean chit. One of the accused, Nirmal Singh got bail.

The high-profile case also witnessed many clashes between two rival factions of the Akalis, one headed by Kiran Bir Singh Kang and the other headed by Rajbir Singh Padiala.

Later, on the basis of an application moved by the complainant before the Punjab and Haryana High Court, the case was transferred from the District and Sessions Court, Ropar, to the local courts.

During the pendancy of the trail, Dhani Ram, the complainant, had filed a fresh complaint to include the names of Mewa Singh and Kiran Bir Singh, along with six main accused. The Punjab and Haryana High Court had also directed the trial court to decide the case within a timeframe.

During the hearing of the case, 16 witnesses were examined. One of the witnesses, Kuldeep Singh, had turned hostile. The trial court did not take up the statements of the prosecution witnesses, Gurmail Singh, Pritam Singh, Karnail Singh, Surinder Singh, ASI Gurcharan Singh and ASI Rasm Kishan.

Also there was inconsistency between the statements made by the prosecution witnesses and the autopsy report of the deceased. Initially, it had been stated that the victim had died of asphyxia following drowning. In the FIR, family members of murder victims, belonging to the Harijan community, had stated that they had a dispute over the dumping of cowdung on a piece of land in the village with a Jat family comprising four brothers. The dispute had been continuing for four years and a compromise had been reached at least twice. The women of murder victims’ family had alleged that the Jat family used to dump cow dung on the land which was in their possession.

I feel relieved: Kang

After his acquittal by the local courts in the Siau murder case, Kiran BIr Singh Kang, one of the accused, said he felt relieved. “It was a politically motivated case and was highlighted few weeks before the 2002 Assembly elections. I lost due to the false propaganda,” he added. The people who falsely implicated me should be brought to book. I wish the case of shootout in Kharar was also decided at the earliest possible. 



Bomb hoax in Sectt, PGI
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 17
The city police got a call that bombs have been planted in the Punjab and Haryana Civil Secretariat and the PGI OPD here today. The call made the police to go for an exhaustive search and to conclude that it was a hoax.

The police said a caller made a call at about 10.59 am at the CM's residence about the bomb lying in the Secretariat. Immediately, the Chandigarh Police was informed and a bomb disposal squad reached the Secretariat and scanned the entire complex with the help of bomb-detection devices and sniffer dogs.

Concerned at the repeated hoax calls, the investigations were handed over to the crime branch which traced the caller to Delhi. The caller had used a pre-paid SIM card (9810002721) issued in the name of Amit from Punjab Today Channel, Delhi. On being contacted, Amit denied having bought any SIM card. 



Resident assaults teacher on survey
Payal Pruthi
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 17
A day after a teacher was slapped and hit by a colleague at Government High School, Khuda Lahora, another incident has come to light where a lady JBT teacher of Government High School, Mauli Complex, was slapped and hit by a bunch of keys by a local resident while conducting survey for Sarv Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA).

Sangeeta Sharma, a school teacher, had gone to the house of Usha to make enquiries following the UT Administration’s decision asking government school teachers to conduct the survey over the weekend.

Talking to Chandigarh Tribune, Sangeeta said Usha refused to co-operate and started abusing her. “I had to note down the number of members in the house, including children, but Usha failed to understand this and accused me of entering wrong information,” said Sangeeta.

She added that Usha even refused to let her speak to the tenants and when she tried to meet them, she was hit by her.

“When I tried to explain her the process, she asked me for the forms I had. She tore them and slapped me,” said Sangeeta.

“When I tried to retaliate, I was hit by a bunch of keys and she even tried to pull my dupatta,” added Sangeeta.

Soon after the incident, Assistant Director, Vocational, Chanchal Singh visited the school but no action was taken by the department.

School Headmaster S.S. Kang however admitted that it was a difficult task carrying out survey in such a short notice and he had already advised teachers not to enter houses keeping in mind their security. Sangeeta later said she didn’t want any action taken against Usha since the latter had two small children.

Meanwhile, the incident has led to widespread resentment among the teachers.

On the condition of anonymity, one of the teacher said no action was taken by the department and the teacher was pressured into not filing a police complaint.

Another teacher added that in spite of teaching students of the area, they were not being treated with respect and now the situation was so bad that the teachers were being slapped.

However, Chanchal Singh said all necessary steps were taken to the satisfaction of the teacher concerned and she herself was considerate enough not to lodge a police complaint.



CBDT to target traders, professionals
Pradeep Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 17
The recent directive from the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) bringing the household expenditure under the scanner of the Income Tax Department seems to be primarily directed at businessmen and professionals.

Ostentatious lifestyle of traders and professionals, besides the salaried class, would be under the scanner of the department. The directive was in line with the Government of India's policy of taxing the expenditure and withdrawal, sources said.

In fact the department had already held meetings with trade and professional associations, including the Chandigarh Beopar Mandal (CBM), the Income Tax Bar Association and the Institution of Chartered Accountants of India to elicit their support for the implementation of the CBDT order.

Sources said here today that widening the tax base and garnering more revenue for the state exchequer were the twin objectives of the new directive. If implemented in letter and spirit, the order could get substantial amount to the department, the sources asserted.

The sources said in about 60 per cent of the cases it had been found that withdrawals of less than Rs 50,000 per annum were shown in the income tax returns. Keeping in view the lifestyle of the assesses, it could be presumed that they were meeting their household expenses from undisclosed sources of income. To check this a data base was being created, they added.

The officials said since tax for the salaried class was deducted at source, the department may go soft on this category. However, businessmen and professionals, who go in for "high spending," might be targeted, the sources added.

"The department is not against spending by the various sections of society. However, the higher spending for household expenditure must be accounted for and shown in the income tax returns," the Commissioner of Income Tax-I, Ms P Sahi, said here today.

Saying that the wrong information in the IT returns amounted to concealment of income, Mr Sahi warned of strict action.

Meanwhile, the CBM general secretary, Mr JPS Kalra, flayed the implementation of the directive from the retrospective effect from the assessment year 2005-06. However, the CBM would cooperate with the department to impress upon the general public, particularly the traders, to file correct returns so as to avoid "unnecessary harassment" later.



‘China unhappy at N-pact’
Naveen S. Garewal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 17
"China is unhappy at the Indo-US nuclear agreement, but is helpless due to the growing stature of the Indian nation. China is already surrounded by nuclear nations and does not want India to be any potential threat now or in future. However, given the magnitude of the India-China trade and both nations emerging as the economic hub of the world, the Indo-US agreement will not cast any shadow on the relationship between the two nations".

Describing the Indo-Chinese relationship as one based on need for 'mutual growth' wherein both the nations are benefiting from each other, India's former Ambassador to Cuba, Indonesia and Bhutan and co-author of "India-China: The Way Ahead", Mr. Vinod Khanna said here today "no one could predict half a century ago what way China would go. From the days of the Sino-Indian conflict, India was China's second biggest trading partner after the USA with trade between the two countries pegged at $ 18 billion.

Mr Khanna who was in Chandigarh to deliver a lecture on "China and Her Neighbours", at the Centre for Caucasian Study at the Centre for Research in Rural and Industrial Development (CRRID) told The Tribune that though the world was comparing India and China as the two brightest stars on the world horizon, China has had a headstart in its economic development. "It started from a more favourable position and is marching ahead with a higher growth rate. India needs to work hard to match China's position. India and China may compete for the second and third slots with the US after half a century".

India, he said, had an inherent advantage over China being a democracy, but multinational corporations like Microsoft after realising the potential of Chinese manpower had set up a base there. China had also started relaxing its rigid control on the freedom of expression and had introduced some elements of democracy at the grassroots level.

As China's comprehensive power grew, its neighbours, individually or jointly, would try to contain China. The best strategy for India and these other countries would be to engage China in a friendly, mutually beneficial relationship and to have adequate countervailing power.

On Tibet, he said "Tibet continues to be a big problem for China, but it seems to be in no hurry to give more autonomy to the Tibetan region. Economic compulsions in years to come may see greater design of liberalisation in China itself, which may then help in resolving this issue".



Naukri.com gets notice for Hari Sadu ad
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 17
The family of an 11-year-old Chandigarh resident, Hari Bhanot, today said they had decided to initiate legal action against web portal Naukri.com for using the boy’s name, “Hari”, in a derogatory and offending manner by giving it an abusive connotation in one of its advertisements.

The advertisement, currently being aired on TV channels, has a person speaking on the phone and giving the full form of “Hari Sadu” as “‘H’ for Hitler, ‘A’ for arrogant...”.

Claiming that the advertisement has resulted in mental harassment and agony to Hari as many of his friends and acquaintances have made him butt of ridicule, the family recently sent a legal notice to the website on behalf of Hari Bhanot through his father, Aneesh Bhanot.

The notice, sent by advocate Gurminder Singh, former Deputy Advocate General, Punjab, and a practising lawyer in the Punjab and Haryana High Court, says that the advertisement is totally insensitive to name “Hari” and is highly objectionable.

“The telecast of the advertisement has undermined the status, reputation, respect and self-confidence of my client and has severely affected his standing in the school, residential locality and social circle. After the advertisement came on air, many people known to my client have told him that they have a low opinion of him,” it adds.

Apart from asking Naukri.com to withdraw the advertisement, the notice also asks it to issue a public apology and pay Rs 1 crore as damages to the boy.



CTU alters bus routes
Sanjeev Singh Bariana
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 17
In an important development, the CTU has made certain alterations to the original grid system introduced in January following the persistent demand by the public. There were complaints regarding inconvenience for reaching certain destinations and connectivity with the Inter-State Bus Terminus, the PGI and educational institutions, besides certain others on many routes.

Senior officials said: "The broad outlay of the system is being maintained because of positive results, however, following public demands the CTU has made minor alterations on certain routes keeping in mind the public convenience. We are still open to ideas and suggestions".

One of the biggest changes has been the increased bus routes passing through the ISBT in Sector 17. "A sizeable number of buses under the grid were not touching the ISBT. It was felt that the ISBT was a major journey break point for the public going outstation and those coming to Sector 17 and adjoining areas which have a very large number of government and private offices. Bus Numbers 6, 7, 11 and 12, besides certain others now touch the ISBT".

The CTU has extended the routes of certain buses. It is learnt that bus number 3 which earlier started from Ram Durbar now starts from Zirakpur. It covers Baltana and Dhanas. The route of bus number 4 has been changed from Ram Durbar to Sector 47. The route of bus number 5 has been changed significantly. It is now covering certain internal roads. It is now connecting to the PGI and covering a number of colleges.

The route of bus number 7 instead of entering Sector 22 now goes to the ISBT, Sector 17. Alterations have also been made in the routes of bus numbers 8, 14 and 15. The CTU is learnt to have goaded Haryana Government for allowing buses for Panchkula with numbers 9, 10 and 2-F which are likely to commence next week, sources said.

A senior official said: "The rush in buses shows that people are adapting to the changed buses. The services have improved, however, we are still open to suggestions from the public. The public in the southern belt, particularly, was complaining poor linkage with the PGI, ISBT and colleges. Certain routes have been changed and new buses have also been provided".

If the daily collections on the CTU roads are any indication, the timing and routes on the grid system is settling down in the minds of the public. The collections have increased from Rs 2 lakh daily in the first week of February to over Rs 3 lakh daily, official source said. The CTU has made several changes by altering certain routes and extending others. 



Tributes paid to Sabar Dutt
Our Correspondent

Panchkula, March 17
Ch. Birender Singh, Finance Minister, Haryana, presided over a symposium, organized by the Haryana Urdu Akademi, to pay tribute to poet Sabar Dutt, today at the Red Bishop complex.

Declaring the institution of an annual award in the memory of poet Sabar Dutt,Ch. Birender Singh recalled days spent at Dronacharya College, Gurgaon, with the poet. Highlighting Sabar Dutt ‘s literary quest , he quoted a Sabar couplet ‘ Na dekha aankh utha kar azal (death) ko, mein apne kaam mein uljha hua tha..’

Born at Mirpur ( now in Pakistan) Sabar, at the age of 7 lost his father , Bua Dass, a police officer in a Kabaili attack and was brought up by near relatives writer Kashmiri Lal Zakir and actor Sunil Dutt. Later, Sahir Ludhianvi sharpened his poetic potential and Sabar penned three books, "Pal do Pal", "Mauz -e -Ariz","Shazar Akela hai".It was magazine ‘Funn and Shakshiyat’ published by him which made waves , said Zakir. Earlier, Shahid Mahauli, director Ghalib Institute , Nand Kishore Bikram, Shamas Tabrezi, Dr Farzana Naseem, and K.L. Zakir read papers on the life and achievements of the poet. 



Rs 5 lakh grant for 8 villages
Our Correspondent

Mohali, March 17
Cheques for grants to the tune of Rs 5 lakh were distributed by Ms Lakhwinder Kaur Garcha, OSD to the Punjab Chief Minister, to panchayats of various villages today.

According to a press note, Ms Garcha visited eight villages and handed over cheques for development works to members of village panchayats.

Among those present on the occasion were Mr Kuljit Singh Bedi, president of the local block Congress Committee, Mr Sukhdev Singh Mangat, member, District Planning Board, Mr Avtar Singh Dehri, member Zila Parishad, and Mr Buta Singh Sohana, member, block samiti. 



TA recruitment rally

Chandigarh, March 17
The Territorial Army (TA) is organising a recruitment rally at the location of 102 Infantry Battalion at Kalka. Enrollment for candidates from Chandigarh, Haryana and Delhi will be held on March 22, while that for candidates from Punjab, Himachal Pradesh and Jammu and Kashmir will be done on March 23. — TNS



A clarification

In a news report ‘College Annual Day’ published in these columns on March 16, it was inadvertently mentioned that the chief guest, Mr Pratap Singh Bajwa, Punjab Minister for PWD (B&R), Cultural Affairs, Archives and Museums, left without giving away prizes to the students. He had left midway through the function on account of a meeting after giving prizes to many of the students. — TNS


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