C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Mohali murder: accused nabbed by Ropar police
Tribune News Service

Ropar, March 25
The Ropar police today arrested the absconding NRI, Amarjit Singh, who had stabbed to death a 17-year-old youth, a son of his father’s friend, Harpreet Singh, at the Asian Lodge in Phase 3B-2 on March 22.

He was held near an overbridge of the Sirhind canal by a team of police here.

After committing the murder, Amarjit Singh had escaped to Delhi and thereafter to Agra.

The Ropar police tracked him through his mobile calls. The accused even changed his mobile number in Delhi but the police managed to trace his new number by monitoring the calls of his contacts.

When he ran away to Agra, he was traced again through a call he made to her girl friend Nikki working with a call centre at Mohali.

Incidentally, Nikki was with Amarjit when he murdered Harpreet Singh. Both of them got separated later.

Amarjit was staying in India for the past two years after being deported from the USA where he was arrested for carrying cocaine.

Besides it, the accused was facing another case of assault in Punjab. He owned good wealth, including property in Jalandhar, Chandigarh and Phagwara.

His wife, three children and mother were staying in California, said the SSP, Ropar, Mr Surinder Pal Singh Virk, giving details at a press conference in this evening here.

The accused had an affair with Nikki for more than a year and the duo were planning to stay together in Mohali. Nikki had got divorced from her husband who was working as a mechanic in Jalandhar because of her affair with Amarjit Singh.

Amarjit had assured Nikki that he would buy a flat for her in Mohali.

He also told Nikki that both of them would pose as husband and wife to avoid any inconvenience, added Mr Virk.

Amarjit Singh told the reporters here that he had no intention to murder Harpreet Singh as he had cordial relationship with his father.

He was arrested in an accident case in Chandigarh and Jagir Singh, the father of the deceased, had came there to help him.

After a compromise with another party, he along with Jagir Singh, took Harpreet Singh from the latter’s shop in the Phase-II and sat for drinks at the Asian Lodge on March 22.

“I just moved out for sometime when Harpreet poured something in my glass. When I come back Nikki told me what Harpreet did. I had heated arguments at which I murdered Harpreet Singh”, Amarjit Singh said.



IAF might holds audience captive
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 25
Two Jaguar attack aircraft flew in fast and low over the city, with a pair of MiG-29 fighters in hot pursuit. As the Jaguars peeled off to simulate an attack on the Chandigarh airfield, the MiGs broke formation and manoeuvred to lock on to the “enemy” aircraft and destroy them.

It was all over in a few seconds, but for residents of Chandigarh watching a live exercise by combat aircraft flying just a few hundred feet overhead was a rare and spectacular treat. The first-ever air show organised by the IAF here today received an overwhelming response from the public as the men in blue dazzled a captive audience of the young and the old alike.

Thousands of residents converged on the Air Force Station here to have a rare, close look at aircraft on the ground and watch a spectacular aerial demonstration by combat aircraft, helicopters and transporters. The display attracted people of all age groups and crowds began making their way since morning. It was organised by the IAF as part of its public awareness campaign across the country.

Starting off with the Mi-26, the largest and heaviest helicopter in the world displaying its manoeuvrability, the aerial demonstration included formation flying by the MiG-23, three AN-32s flying in an operational strike formation and the Small Boy formation comprising an IL-76 tailed by an AN-32 on either side.

The most captivating part of the show was a demonstration of special heli-borne operations by Mi-17 and Mi-35 helicopters. The Mi-35 demonstrated a combat air patrol over hostile territory while special forces were inserted and exfiltrated by Mi-17s for covert missions. The Mi-17s also demonstrated their ability to transport a jeep-mounted commando team for a quick surgical strike behind enemy lines, in this case to interdict an oil pipeline.

The aerial demonstration was capped by a free fall demonstration by the IAF’s Akash Ganga sky diving team. The Air Warriors Drill Team also displayed its skill.

Visitors also got to have a close look at the versatile MiG-29 air superiority fighter, the Jaguar interdictor aircraft, the MiG-23 and MiG-27 ground attack aircraft and the venerable MiG-21.

On static display were helicopters and transporters, from the lightest to the heaviest in the IAF’s inventory. These included the Cheetah, Chetak, Mi-8, Mi-35 and the mammoth Mi-26. The fixed wing aircraft included the twin-engined Dornier Do-228, An-32, the Embraer-135 VIP transport and the gigantic IL-76. Also attracting the crowds were the SA-3 Pechora and OSA-AK surface-to-air missiles and radar systems.

So much was the rush, both of vehicles as well as pedestrians, towards Air Force Station that there was a virtual traffic jam on the road leading to the station. Besides Air Force personnel, the Chandigarh Police was also deployed inside the station to keep a control on the crowds.

The Governor of Punjab, Gen S.F. Rodrigues (retd), the Air Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Western Air Command, Air Marshal A.K. Singh, the General Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Western Command, Lt-Gen Daljeet Singh, senior Army and Air Force officers as well as civilian dignitaries witnessed the aerial demonstration.



Accident rate of old technology aircraft higher:
WAC chief

Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 25
As the accident rate of the Indian Air Force came in focus following two air crashes this month in which four pilots lost their lives, the Air Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Western Air Command (WAC), Air Marshal A.K. Singh, maintained that the accident rate was comparable for similar technology aircraft in service across the globe.

Speaking to media persons on the sidelines of an impressive air show organised at the Air Force Station here today, the WAC chief said the accident rate of old technology aircraft, including the MiG series, is higher than that of new technology aircraft.

He pointed out that the Pakistani Air Force suffered 10 fatal air crashes as compared to four by the Indian Air Force for the same period.

The IAF's famed Surya Kiran aerobatic display team will not be holding any public display till the court of inquiry into the accident which killed two pilots in Bidar earlier this month is completed. Air Marshal Singh said though the team was flying, no aerobatic would be done till the cause of the accident was ascertained to prevent any possible mishap in the future. He added that the pilots killed were highly experienced and the ill-fated aircraft had been serviced by the ground crew to the best of their ability.

Air Marshal Singh said the induction of the Hawk advanced jet trainer would be a quantum jump in the technology, which would help in imparting better training to new pilots. He hoped that it would reduce the accident rate. He added that the training standards in vogue would continue.

Asserting that the IAF had no problems about projection of its image in the public, he said for every one officer selected into the force, there were 187 applicants. He also ruled out lowering or changing the medical and physical standards for entry into the force. He also revealed that out of 16 candidates from the Indian Institute of Technology who had applied to join the IAF, only one was able to make it.

On the issue of a large number of pilots quitting the IAF to join private airlines, Air Marshal Singh said the IAF had a policy on the subject and it had its own considerations when deciding to release pilots. He said about Rs 2 crore was spent on training one pilot, for which the break even period was 14--9 years of service.

He added that the IAF had finalised the request for proposals to buy 126 combat aircraft and these had been sent to the Defence Ministry for further action. The IAF is buying new fighters to replace its aging MiG fleet and several Russian and western firms are in the fray.



Punjab readies for Charles’ visit
Naveen S Garewal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 25
Enthusiasm marks the visit of Prince of Wales and heir to the British throne to the region. People remember the visit of his mother Queen Elisabeth, accompanied by her husband Prince Philip to the Golden Temple at Amritsar about a decade ago. But this is the first time that a British monarch will visit the region in recent times.

Spread over two days, Prince Charles' visit to Punjab will include a trip to Anandpur Sahib where he will pay obeisance at Gurdwara Keshgarh Sahib. He will be accompanied by the Duchess of Cornwall Ms. Camilla Parker. In all the two will visit six venues in Punjab.

After Prince Charles arrives on Monday morning, he will go to village Bhattmajra in Fatehgarh Sahib district where he will meet farmers, some of whom are doing organic farming. Later he will go to the Punjab Agri Food Park. This organisation provides ground support for PoW's organic farming initiative.

Later in the evening, Prince Charles will launch the Prince of Wales' new food foundation at Yadavindra Public School (YPS), Patiala

On Tuesday he will tour the Patiala Fort in the morning and later leave for Takhat Keshgarh Sahib at Anandpur Sahib. There he will be honoured with a siropa by the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandak Committee (SGPC).

On his return from Anandpur Sahib, he will visit the National Institute for Pharmaceutical Education and Research (NIPER) at Mohali. He will also go through the garden of herbal and ornamental plants there.

Prince Charles is a state guest of the Punjab Government. The state has beefed up security. The Punjab Chief Minister, Captain Amarinder Singh, has been holding closed door meetings with officials to work out details of the visit.



City police fails to get Bheora’s custody
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 25
The operations cell of the Chandigarh Police today failed to get the custody of Paramjit Singh Bheora, one of the prime accused in Punjab’s former Chief Minister Beant Singh’s assassination case. Bheora was arrested a few days ago by the special cell of the Delhi Police.

The Chief Metropolitan Magistrate, Delhi, refused to give custody of the BKI chief to the Chandigarh Police in the absence of production warrants. The plea of the Chandigarh Police that it had warrants against Bheora as he was a proclaimed offender was turned down by the magistrate. After turning down the plea, Bheora was sent to judicial custody.

A team headed by the in charge of the operations cell, Inspector Vijay Kumar, had gone to Delhi to seek the BKI chief’s custody.

Sources in the special cell of the Delhi Police said since Bheora was not wanted in any of their cases, they did not press for further police remand. “We have given enough leads to the Chandigarh Police and the Punjab Police to work on these,” said an official.

To seek the custody of Jagtar Singh Hawara, the Chandigarh Police had last year approached a Delhi court on five occasions.

While Bheora and Hawara have been arrested, the two other accused — Jagtar Singh Tara and Devi Singh — who had tunnelled their way out of Burail Jail in January 2004, have reportedly crossed over to Nepal.

Special cell to stake claim to reward

With the arrest of Bheora, the special cell will once again stake claim to a cash reward of Rs 5 lakh announced for providing information to the Chandigarh Police regarding the whereabouts of the BKI terrorists who had escaped from Burail Jail in January 2004.

Sources said though the Chandigarh Police had failed to release the award money after the arrest of Hawara, the special cell will once again push for the money. The Delhi Police has been corresponding with the IGP, Chandigarh, on the issue. 



Raid on crime branch office

Chandigarh, March 25
A warrant officer appointed by the Punjab and Haryana High Court today raided the crime branch office in Sector 11 here after Satvir Kaur moved a habeas corpus petition stating that her husband had been illegally detained at the crime branch. However, the warrant officer did not find the person in the custody of the branch. TNS



Travel Mart showcases India’s ‘unity in diversity’
Pradeep Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 25
The India Travel Mart, a travel and tourism exhibition being organised by the Institute of Tourism and Future Management Trends (ITFT) at Shivalikview here showcases the “unity in diversity” of India with various states wooing visitors with innovative concepts blending tradition with modernity.

In fact, the visitors are in for a bonanza with information about rich cultural heritage of various states available under one roof ahead of the summer vacation. Besides, private tour operators are not behind in attracting prospective tourists to exotic destinations, including Dubai and Malaysia.

It is a virtual walk through the rich heritage of states as a visit the exhibition showed today. With elaborate glossy brochures providing every bit of information about places of tourist attractions, the tourists are thronging the venue. “It is a perfect venue to plan the coming summer vacation,” said Mr G.K. Sharma, one of the visitors.

While Andhra Pradesh promises “one state, many surprises” by offering historical, religious, heritage and adventure tourism, Rajasthan is promoting its magnificent forts and luxurious hotels.

“Every destination has something to offer to the discerning tourists. You can have your pick from wildlife, seashores and temples,” said Mr G. Mohanty at the Orissa stall.

Meanwhile, Goa, “the land of celebrations, fairs and festivals” promises a complete experience in holidaying. The God’s own country, Kerala, has put its best foot forward by featuring exclusive ayurvedic resorts.

And there is more to Pondicherry than Sri Aurobindo Ashram if hospitality of its staff at the stall and exhaustive literature is any indication.

The heritage tourism of the region is showcased by Fort Ramgarh. The host city is also represented by the Chandigarh Industrial and Tourism Development Corporation Limited (CITCO).

A representative of the Travel Mart said the event provided a single platform for international and national organisations, business avenues for entrepreneurs, decision makers, government and private organisations for showcasing their attractions and services.



RLA modernisation at applicants’ cost!
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 25
Thanks to the modernisation at the Sector 17 Registration and Licensing Authority (RLA), applicants for driving licence and registration copies are being forced to make repeated rounds of the office to get their documents.

The applicants are being repeatedly asked to come after every few days. Mr Subash Kumar, who had gone to collect the driving licence of his daughter, said, “It was my third visit and they tell that come after some days.”

Reason, the printing machine installed at the RLA office is out of order for the past few weeks. Sources in the RLA office confirm that pendency of both driving licence and registration copies has crossed 3,000. It would take a few more days to get the machine repaired, revealed enquiries made at the public dealing counter at the RLA office.

It is not the first time that the printing machine has gone out of order. The problem has surfaced after the contract of TATA Infotech with the Administration ended. Now, with the support of the Society for Promotion of IT in City (SPIC), a unit of the IT Department of the Chandigarh Administration, new computer systems and an upgraded server has been installed.

A few days ago, applicants of duplicate licence had complained of being forced to make repeated rounds of the office. Due to certain problems with the software, the computer systems were not accepting the data being punched for renewal of driving licence and duplicate licence. 



Role of professionals vital: Bansal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 25
In the globalisation and liberalisation era, the role of professionals has become vital, the Union Minister of State for Finance, Mr Pawan Bansal, said here today.

Addressing a regional conference on empowerment of professionals in the changing economic environment organised by the Institute of Cost and works Accountants of India, Mr Bansal appreciated the role of the cost and works accountants. The Joint Adviser of the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India, Mr K.V. Dhamodharan, stressed on the need for cordial relationship between the labour and the management.

The General Manager of the HMT Limited, Mr Prakash Saran, said the development of the agro industry was of prime importance in India. Mr H.S. Pall, Professor in the Staff Training College, dwelled on various incentives which the Indian Government was providing to the corporate sectors through banks.

Prominent among those who spoke were Mr Sanjay Gupta, Mr Balwinder Singh, Mr K.S. Tanwar, Mr V.K. Goyal and Mr M.K. Mittal.



Dogra Sabha to highlight J&K culture
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 25
The J&K Dogra Sabha, Chandigarh, today decided to boost its activities so as to make people aware of the rich culture and heritage of J&K, particularly the Jammu region.

As part of this, the sabha has also decided to hold a get-together of people hailing from the Jammu region in the city on April 16.

Giving this information here, Mr Kuldeep Singh, former District and Sessions Judge, who has been nominated by the sabha to work out the modalities of the get-together, said all the people residing in Chandigarh, Panchkula and Mohali, who hail from Jammu region, would be invited to the get-together.

"It is not just Dogras who will be invited. Anybody, who has ever lived in Jammu, will be welcome. We have so many eminent personalities settled in the tri-city who have lived in Jammu for certain periods of their lives," Mr Kuldeep Singh said.

He also disclosed that it had been decided to honour some eminent persons who have roots in Jammu.

"The Jammu region has a unique and distinct identity. Our main aim is to preserve and propagate the cultural ethos of the region. Ours is a social organisation which attracts people from all sectors of the society," Mr Kuldeep Singh added.

He stated that among the dignitaries who were expected to participate in the get-together were Mr Justice V.K. Gupta, Chief Justice, HP High Court, Lt.-Gen Daljit Singh, GOC-in-C, Western Command, Dr R.P. Bambah, former Vice-Chancellor, PU, and Dr B.K. Sharma, former Director, PGI.

He said among those who had been working to revive the sabha were Prof Shashi Sharma of the Department of Laws, Panjab University, Dr A.K. Gupta, Medical Superintendent, PGI, Dr Ajit Awasthi of Department of Psychiatry, PGI, Dr Vipin Kaushal, DMS, PGI, Mr Sham Lal Sharma, Mr Jagan Nath, Manager, JK House, Chandigarh, Mr Kamal Kishore Dogra, Mr Prem Sharma, Prof I.D. Sharma, PU, Mr Mulkh Raj Sharma and Mr Nirmal Singh Manhas. 



Surjewala’s date with doctors
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 25
A date with politics and its many facets of private and public life, the trappings that come with being a public figure and the opportunities it brings to give back to society---these issues might seem alien to a doctor's hectic OPD schedules, numerous rounds to the various wards and to prescribing medicines all day.

Mr Randeep Singh Surjewala promised two vans to PGI for ferrying attendants of patients in the institute's Emergency to and from the serais at the complex. "The Director evinced keen interest in making this arrangement for the convenience of the attendants. I have given my word for the same," he said.

Today, however, was a different ball game for interns and faculty of the PGI alike. For, through the one hour interaction, Haryana's Transport and Parliamentary Affairs Minister, Mr Randeep Singh Surjewala, spoke to them about "Public Life/Service---A Media for Change" in a talk liberally peppered with anecdotes and packed with real life stories.

Traversing the road down from the times of the formation of the Indian National Congress and moving through the highs and lows witnessed by the country to how doctors touched many lives, the minister's racy conversational-style speech added a dash of colour to the doctors' break time.

The Director, PGI, Dr KK Talwar, introduced Mr Surjewala as a "dynamic politician, the likes of whom the country requires'', Dr Talwar remarked to a packed hall.

Addressing the doctors as "saviours of thousands of patients", the minister said that they had given a new lease of life to numerous homes, touched people's lives in the most humane ways without wanting anything in return.

He began his talk by mentioning that the Indian National Congress, too, came into being for a social cause and got political only later. "Mahatma Gandhi too initiated the crusade against leprosy and fought for equal rights, again a social cause. So, each one, political or apoltical, can contribute his mite to the cause of public service without worrying about the quantum of service rendered," he said.

Maintaining that little drops of water go on to make an ocean, Mr Surjewala urged everybody present to contribute to society in their own small way and snatching a little time from their busy schedule.

Those present at the interaction included former PGI Director, Prof BK Sharma, Medical Superintendent, Prof AK Gupta, heads of various departments among others. 



SAD(A) seeks release of party activists
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 25
The SAD(Amritsar), led by Mr Simranjit Singh Mann, today held a rally here, demanding the release of their two party workers Ranjit Singh and Dilbagh Singh who had been arrested.

The activists alleged that the Delhi police along with the Chandigarh police had wrongfully arrested them when they had captured Paramjit Singh Bheora last week. They alleged that the police was showing the arrest of the two from sector 12-14, they had been actually picked up from their villages.

They said the Chandigarh Police should be held accountable for the wrong arrest and Ranjit Singh and Dilbagh Singh should be released immediately.

A deputation later submitted a memorandum to the Governor, Punjab. 



Jaitley avoids media
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 25
Ms Sonia Gandhi's resignation yesterday seems to have made BJP leaders speechless. Or so it seemed at the local BJP office here where Mr Arun Jaitely, general secretary of the BJP, refused to speak to the media.

Mr Jaitley who has been in the city since last night refused to speak to the media. Party workers said the orders were from Delhi.

Mr Jaitley along with Mr Navjot Singh Sidhu, MP from Amritsar, met Mr Parkash Singh Badal. According to sources, the meeting was held to discuss the distribution of seats for the upcoming elections in Punjab. 



Cong workers burn Advani’s effigy
Our Correspondent

Mohali, March 25
An effigy of the former BJP president, Mr L.K. Advani, was burnt at the traffic lights of Phase 3 and 5 here today by workers of the Block Congress Committee (BCC).

Mr Kuljit Singh Bedi, president of the BCC, led the protest at which workers also raised slogans against the BJP leader.

Mr Bedi said the leader of the All-India Congress Party, Ms Sonia Gandhi, had created a history after resigning from her MP seat and the seat of the chairperson of the National Advisory Council.

He said the leaders of the Opposition were feeling frustrated as they could no longer blame the ruling group after the resignation of Mrs Gandhi. Mr Bedi strongly criticised Mr Advani for making statement Mrs Gandhi.

Among those present were Mr Sukhdev Singh Mangat, a member of the District Planning Board, Mr Avtar Singh Dairi, a member of the Zila Parishad, and Mr Jaswinder Singh Kaka, former president of the BCC.



Burglars decamp with cash
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 25
Burglars broke into the house of a senior executive of a company in the Bhagat Singh Colony in Rajpura today and decamped with cash, jewellery and other articles worth about Rs 80,000.

According to the police, the burglars entered the house of Mr Alok Aggarwal from the rear window between 11 am and 12 noon when nobody was in the house.

Apart from cash and jewellery, the burglars also took away a video camera.

A case has been registered.


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