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Dullo issues notices to Singla, Bajwa, Sodhi
Sarbjit Dhaliwal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 18
After suspending three supporters of, Mr Jagmeet Singh Brar, the president of the Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee, Mr Shamsher Singh Dullo, today issued notices to two senior Ministers, Mr Surinder Singla and Mr Partap Singh Bajwa, and one Chief Parliamentary Secretary, Rana Gurmeet Singh Sodhi, asking them to explain their position with regard to the statements issued by them against “ party leaders”.

All the three have been told to submit their reply to the notice within 10 days. Otherwise, Mr Dullo, has made clear to them that disciplinary proceedings would be started against them, said party sources. All the three are considered a part of the Chief Minister’s inner circle. A copy of the notice served to Mr Singla, Mr Bajwa and Mr Sodhi has been sent to Mr Janardhan Dwivedi, General Secretary of the All India Congress Committee (AICC) and in charge of party affairs in Punjab.

Sources said taking a serious note, Mr Dullo had drawn the attention of Mr Singla, Mr Bajwa and Mr Sodhi towards the recent statements attributed to them in the media. Sources said in the notices given to these three leaders, Mr Dullo had stated about the “allegation and counter-allegations made against party leaders”. He has further stated in the notices that by indulging in the war of words in the press, they have thus damaged the image of the party. It may be recollected that Mr Singla and Mr Bajwa had spoken out against Mr Brar after the latter had raked up he issue of allotment of land to Reliance.

Mr Dullo has told Mr Singla and others that a difference of opinion, if any, can be discussed in the party and brought to the notice of the party high command. Mr Dullo, sources said, had asked the Ministers that why they chose to go to the press and said it was in violation of the directive of the party high command and amounted to breach of party discipline.

Meanwhile, the Congress high command has directed Mr Dullo, to maintain discipline in the party ranks in the state and act tough against those leaders who were harming the party by issuing statements against each other.

Sources said Mr Dwivedi, had spoken to Mr Dullo in this connection in detail this morning and had told him to treat all leaders at par as far as maintaining discipline in the party was concerned. Sources said Mr Dwivedi was asked by the top brass of the party to tell senior Congress leaders, including ministers and MLAs in Punjab to be a disciplined lot and not to engage themselves in “street-level” fight.

Sources said Mr Brar, a member of the Congress Working Committee, the apex policy and decision-making body of the party, had lodged a protest with Mr Dwivedi last evening saying action had been taken against his supporters, but no action had been taken against certain Ministers and MLAs, who made statements against him( Brar).

Meanwhile, Mr Dullo has sent the case of Mr Vijay Sathi to the AICC recommending disciplinary action against him. Mr Sathi is a staunch supporter of Mr Brar. He had recently issued a statement. Meanwhile, following the tough stand taken by the party high command to maintain discipline in the party, senior leaders appear to have gone into hiding. They are not taking calls on the mobile phones from journalists.

 

Punjab Govt gets brickbats from SC
Public Relations employee’s retirement case
S.S. Negi
Legal Correspondent

New Delhi, May 18
The Punjab Government has come in for severe indictment by the Supreme Court for taking courts for a ride in a case pertaining to the settlement of retirement case of an employee of the State Public Relations Department who sought voluntary retirement about two decades ago and is now infirm and about 80 years old.

Coming down heavily on the Public Relations Department and its Director, the court, in a judgement pronounced last week and made available to media today, imposed a cost of Rs 10,000 on the State for not following its earlier order of August 8, 2005, in letter and spirit.

“We really do not appreciate the manner in which the state took the judicial process for a ride. We may place on record that a Division Bench of this court, by an order of August 8, 2005, had directed that the G P Fund should be paid to respondent employee H.B. Malhotra within a period of four weeks of the said date,” a Bench of Mr Justice S.B.Sinha and Mr Justice P.P. Naolekar said.

Dismissing the State Government’s appeal against the Punjab and Haryana High Court’s February 2, 2004, directives asking the Department of Public Relations to pay Malhotra pensionary benefits, the Bench said “we do not think it proper to interfere with the judgement of the High Court”.

The main reason for the strong indictment of the state government was that the Director, Information and Public Relations, himself had made a representation before the High Court that he would look into the matter personally and pass appropriate orders as expeditiously as possible keeping in mind the fact that Malhotra was not keeping well, but he failed to take any action.

“He (the Director) being the Head of the Department and thus a responsible officer, was expected to know the consequences of making such representation before a superior court,” the apex court said, pointing out that the Director himself had passed an order on September 18, 2003, accepting the offer of voluntary retirement made by the respondent (Malhotra) with effect from November 21, 1969 , during the protracted litigation.

The court said if the said order was passed by a “mistake”, as claimed by the government counsel, “the least which could be done by the said authority was to recall the order after complying with the principles of natural justice”.

“Not only such an action was not taken, an order was allowed to be passed by the High Court on February 2, 2004, without making any endeavour whatever to get the purported mistake corrected,” the apex court observed.

The Bench further pulled up the government for submitting that a statement to this effect was made before the High Court, observing that on the perusal of the High Court record "we do not find that such a contention was raised".

It said that from the records it was not clear it was explained before the High Court or the apex court as to why no action was taken on the offer of voluntary retirement made by Malhotra and why disciplinary proceedings against him were dropped.

 

Questionable revamp of Youth Akali Dal
K S Chawla

Ludhiana, May 18
Political activity in Punjab at the moment is completely focused on the ensuing Punjab Vidhan Sabha elections to be held in February 2007. The political parties are busy in galvanizing their workers and are taking steps to attune them to the election mode. The reorganization of the state units is being done with this end in view. The Shiromini Akali Dal led Mr. Parkash Singh Badal is a regional party having its base in Punjab. The units that this party has in other states are only meant to air the special difficulties and unsavoury situations that might affect the Sikhs in those states. For sometime, Uttranchal has remained in the news in this regard.

Delhi, however, has the distinction of having a strong and powerful faction of the Akali Dal led by Mr Paramjit Singh Sarna who is a former confidant of the late Jathedar Gurcharan Singh Tohra. He is heading the Delhi State Akali Dal which controls the Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee. The Akali Dal (Badal) too has its unit in Delhi. The Akali Dal headed by Mr. Paramjit Singh Sarna has strong bearing on the Akali situation in Punjab. The Shiromini Akali Dal has been consistently organizing rallies and dharnas throughout Punjab and they are reacting to every step taken by the Amarinder Singh Government so as to paint the Congress as a villain for Punjab.

Mr Parkash Singh Badal has the policy of projecting his son Sukhbir Singh Badal as the next leader of the Akali Dal and also entrench him at all levels of the Akali organisation. Mr Sukhbir Singh Badal has on his own been trying to make his presence felt in the Akali Dal. But his difficulty remains that he does not have the Sikh idiom and knows little that can present him as such a youth leader. Mr. Parkash Singh Badal himself remained in the rank and learnt the art of being a local as well as a leader of note in so far as the Sikhs are concerned. Now he addresses congregations of Sikhs with felicity and copious reference from the Sikh history. Sukhbir Badal has yet to learn much. Although Mr Parkash Singh Badal has nominated Sukhbir as general secretary of the Akali Dal, yet he tried to make the Youth Akali Dal a forte of his strength. He got Mr Sharanjit Singh Dhillon as president of the Youth Wing nominated to the Ludhiana Parliamentary seat in 2004. Recently, Mr Dhillon again has been appointed president of the reorganized Youth Akali Dal by Mr Sukhbir Badal. Ironically, Mr Sukhbir Singh Badal is younger to Sharanjit Singh Dhillon in age. It is understood that the youth wings of the political parties have the office-bearers who are within the age of 35 years. In the reorganization exercise of the youth wing, Mr Sukhbir Singh has taken care to see that the sons and grandsons of all the prominent Jathedars and the erstwhile ministers in the Akali Dal are accommodated as a result the exercise of reorganization has diluted the Sikh character of the organisation.

The point of discussion among the Sikh masses is that the reorganization of the Youth Akali Dal has been done to silence the critics of Mr. Badal against projecting his son as his successor. But this is not all. Mr Badal is giving him space at every level of the organization to make Sukhbir presence felt. 

 

Varsity puts MBA, MCA admission seekers to inconvenience
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, May 18
Candidates, seeking admission to MBA and MCA courses in colleges affiliated with Guru Nanak Dev University, Punjab Technical University and Punjabi University are in a fix as Guru Nanak University which is conducting entrance test this year has set up centres in seven districts of Punjab only.

The students from other districts do not have even an option to get forms through the website, postal services or courier as the university officials have specified that the application forms could be taken and submitted only at the prescribed centres for seven days beginning from today. As such the candidates from other districts have been forced to visit a centre quite a few times for getting the forms, depositing it back and appearing for the test.

The problem is serious for candidates applying from outside Punjab as the university has set up no centre for the purchase of forms, depositing it or appearing in the examination outside the state. Such students have not been allowed to take forms through internet, registered post or courier. They have no option but to travel to one of the seven centres to follow the procedure.

Another problem the applicants confronting is that the university had allowed them very limited time to purchase forms and apply. They said while the sale of forms started today, it would go on just for a week till May 22. The applicants said the schedule should have been stretched up to a fortnight as in other examinations. They said late fee of Rs 1000 for submitting form till May 29 and Rs 2000 till June 2 was also very high.

Even the managements of affiliated colleges here have said due to restrictions by the university, their admissions were bound to get affected. They said while every year the forms for entrance are sold through banks that have branches in every district of the state as well as all parts of the country, Guru Nanak University was doing it only through its own campuses in Amritsar, Jalandhar, Gurdaspur, Ludhiana, government colleges in Mohali and Bathinda and Punjabi University, Patiala. They said since access to forms would be limited, the number of applicants was bound to go down.

Another piquant situation all candidates from PTU are bound to face is that the university is yet to conduct final semester examination of its BBA, BCA and B.Tech students. While the Guru Nanak University has mentioned the result of the test would be out on or before June 9, the PTU is to conduct the final semester examination from May 25 onwards. There are chances the candidates would be appearing for counselling even before the PTU results are out.

Dr R.K. Bedi, coordinator of the test, said it was not for the first time that the Guru Nanak University had fixed such conditions. He said it was a routine practice for the university to set up select centres for delivering forms, their submission, giving on-the-spot roll numbers and conducting the test. He confirmed candidates from outside state would have to visit one of the seven centres to appear for the test.

 

Pak spy arrested, maps seized
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, May 18
The police today claimed to have arrested a Pakistani spy who was reportedly gathering information from the military area here.

The spy has been identified as Mohammad Nasar. Police sources said the police received a tip-off that Nasar, along with a Muzaffarnagar resident, Fazal, was sending key information, maps and photographs of vital military installations to Pakistan through Internet. Both of them were having links with Pak intelligence agency, ISI. The police has also seized a still camera, a mobile phone, a map of military area, besides another map of Army establishment.

On interrogation, the spy revealed his identity as Mohammad Nasar, a resident of Kot Chabari Wala, Hijrai Kalan village, Hathur district in Pakistan. He was putting up at a rented accommodation in the name of Sudhir Kumar at Amarpura Basti for the past about seven months.

The police also recovered a forged matriculation certificate, a ration card, a driving licence and an ATM card from his possession. A case has been registered against him.



Paratroopers take villagers by surprise
Deepkamal Kaur
Tribune News Service

Sidhwan Khas (Ludhiana), May 18
Hundreds of residents of villages falling in the periphery of Sidhwan Khas converged on the grounds of SK Air Range to watch 650 jawans, their weapons and vehicles being para-dropped from aircraft flown from Agra, Pathankot and Chandigarh last night.

The event was a war operation, a part of Sanghe Shakti jointly exercised by the Indian Army and the Indian Air Force after a gap of around six years.

Unfortunately, the only thing that they could see was a few sorties in pitch darkness. The main event of a battalion of the Parachute Regiment descending from 15 AN-32 aircraft was not visible with the naked eye. But that was exactly how it had been planned.

The paratroopers were being flown in the hot zone of the enemy in the night without getting noticed.

The families of Air Force jawans from Halwara, who too had come to watch the exercise, were not much enthused.

However, officials and technical staff from the Army and the Air Force, wives of select top officials and mediapersons were the privileged few who managed to get the chance to view the event on a TV screen and a computer monitor with pictures picked up by Long Range Resonance and Observation System (LORROS) equipped with laser range finder.

On the screen, silhouettes of the aircraft, each dropping 40 to 50 paratroopers, were seen.

Also seen was a jeep that had been brought down earlier by a heavy-load IL-76 aircraft.

A team of pathfinders, who too had been paradropped earlier, guided the aircraft towards a secure area and directed paratroopers towards the ground.

Low-flame fire too had been lit around a few places by the pathfinders where the dropping was taking place.

On landing, the paratroopers untied their parachutes, collected weapons that had been dropped and packed up the equipment.

Carrying the load on their backs and holding arms in their hands, they were directed to come forward to get themselves photographed by lensmen.

Later, Lieut-Gen Daljit Singh, GOC-in-C, Western Command, and Air Marshal A.K. Singh, AOC-in-C, Western Command, addressed the mediapersons.

They said over 26,000 troops from the Army and Air Force were taking part in the exercise.

They said they had alerted Pakistan in advance about the exercise as per a bilateral military accord.

They added that war games were being conducted to test the synchronisation of Army and Air Force jawans.

They added that jawans were also being made to practise handling of latest weaponry procured by the forces in recent times.

The GOC-in-C said the country was prepared for any kind of nuclear, biological or chemical warfare.

He, however, said none of the three mechanisms were being tried during the current operation.

 

DEO in 14-day judicial custody
Sushil Goyal
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, May 18
Officiating District Education Officer (Elementary) Parmod Kumar, is in judicial custody following a case registered against him and M/s R.K. Enterprises, a local firm, in connection with alleged bungling in the sale and purchase of computers. The case was registered after an inquiry report was submitted to Deputy Commissioner Arshdeep Singh.

The inquiry report regarding the supply of sub-standard computer systems to the Block Resource Centres (BRCs) under the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA) and purchase of 11 computers for 11 BRCs under SSA in Sangrur district, mentions that the district education authorities had been instructed to purchase a desktop computer (Intel Celeron) for each BRC for Rs 23,480.

The DEO (Elementary) Parmod Kumar placed an order with M/s R. K. Enterprises for 11 Intel Celeron computers of HCL on March 20, 2006, but no rates were specified.

The inquiry committee in its findings mentioned that the computers supplied by R. K. Enterprises were of poor quality. While the DEO (Elementary) was required to purchase HCL computers for Rs 23,480 each, another model was supplied which was available in the market for Rs 9,990. At Sular Gharat block, no computer of HCL make was supplied. An assembled machine with a dummy sticker of HCL was supplied to block.

The report said the role of the DEO (Elementary) was under doubt. First, he had not placed the order through the purchase committee as per the instructions. Second, no effort had been made to check the authenticity of R.K. Enterprises, which was not the authorised dealer for HCL.

The dealership certificate provided by R.K. Enterprises appeared to be fake as it was issued by Chandigarh-based imaging computers and not by any executive of HCL.

Besides, in an advertisement by HCL in a newspaper on May 5, 2006 the name of R.K. Enterprises did not figure in their list of authorised dealers in Sangrur district.

The inquiry officer in the report mentioned that R.K. Enterprises had deliberately supplied poor quality and sub-standard computers to the government in connivance with the DEO.

A local court today sent the DEO to judicial custody for 14 days.

 

Suicide by 3 of family: SDM to probe
Our Correspondent

Ferozepore, May 18
Deputy Commissioner, Arvinder Singh has ordered magisterial probe into Tuesday’s incident in which three members of a family of Sandhe Hasham village committed suicide by drowning into a canal. The probe would be conducted by SDM Bhupinder Singh and he will submit report to the DC within a week.

Meanwhile, now almost after 30 hours the district administration has been able to pull only one of the bodies which has been identified that of Harjinder Kaur wife of Nirmal Singh. The body was found near a bridge between Ranjitgarh village and Khapianwali village near Guruharsahai. The other two bodies have still not been traced as the authorities are finding it difficult to locate them due to swift flow of water in the canal. The DC told that the officials of the canal and the Drainage Department had been instructed to regulate flow of water in Ferozepore Feeder canal so as to help the people in locating the bodies.

Nirmal Singh, an electrician belonging to Sandhe Hasham village along with his wife Harjinder Kaur and 12-years-old son, Arvinder Singh yesterday committed suicide by jumping into a river near Kulgari village, 11 kms from district headquarters on the Ferozepore-Zira road.

Nirmal Singh left a note stating people would realise his worth only after his death.

 

Doctors resent delay in appointment
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, May 18
Resentment is brewing among doctors of the Service Provider Association (Punjab), who assembled at the local Zila Parishad office yesterday to know about the status of their pending appointments in rural dispensaries. However, the Zila Parishad officials had nothing to say on the matter, as they were unaware of any progress in this regard.

In a statement released here yesterday, the president of the association, Dr Aslam Parvez, stated that the counselling to appoint service providers (doctors) in rural dispensaries under the Zila Parishad was held on April 7 and contracts were signed by the doctors on April 21. On the day of joining i.e. April 24, the doctors were reportedly kept waiting till 3 p.m. and were then told that the appointment had been postponed by a month.

Since then nothing had been done in this connection. Neither the Zila Parishad had any information about it nor the doctors had been intimated by the state government on the issue. The doctors had now urged the state government to take the necessary measures immediately, as they had resigned to sign the contract and were now unemployed. They also threatened to take to the streets if the government failed to respond to their demands without any delay.

 

PSEB to seek review of no-hike order
Ajay Banerjee
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 18
The Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB) has decided to contest a decision of the Punjab State Electricity Regulatory Commission which had disallowed a hike in the power tariff for this year.

The PSEB is expected to file a review petition against the tariff order announced by the PSERC on May 10, sources in the board confirmed, adding that a meeting of senior functionaries had been held and it had been decided to present a factual picture to the government and also file the review plea.

The PSERC had said there would be no hike in the power tariff while turning down a demand of the PSEB to jack up rates by 17 per cent across the board. Well-placed sources in the PSEB say the board will suffer a shortfall of about Rs 1,400 crore if it goes by the May 10 order. Also, a realistic view needs to be taken on the rate at which power is being purchased from outside sources and the rate of purchase of power approved by the PSERC. Both are at variance with each other, says the PSEB.

The PSEB has asked its consultants to prepare a list of issues that will be part of the review petition. The PSEB Chairman, Mr Y.S. Ratra, said: " We feel these issues should have been addressed in the tariff order. Once the consultants give us a report, we may file the review petition". He refused to give an estimate of PSEB losses if it complied with the PSERC order, saying: " It will take another week for this to be finalised."

The gap between the estimated cost of buying power fixed by the PSERC and the actual buying cost of the PSEB during the summer is about Rs 2 per unit. The PSERC has said the highest price should be Rs 3.50 per unit while the sources in the PSEB said new agreements for this summer were signed at a rate which was in excess of Rs 5.50 per unit. During the coming paddy season the rates will be close to Rs 6 per unit. The average cost of power procured from various sources will be between Rs 3.65 and Rs 3.70 per unit, said a senior PSEB functionary.

A source in the PSEB said the PSERC could not possibly raise the power tariff due to the coming Assembly elections and a way out had to be found. The PSEB will have to ensure a regular supply of power during the paddy season and the government is expected to intervene.

Engineers in the PSEB feel that the PSERC has actually taken the PSEB back to the position when the Shiromani Akali Dal-led government announced free power to farmers but paid no subsidy. The PSEB reported losses and its crucial upgradation programmes suffered. At one point of time the World Bank refused to deal with the board unless it sorted out its "financial mess". 

 

5-year-old girl electrocuted as PSEB sleeps
Tribune News Service

Pathankot, May 18
A five-year-girl, Radha, was electrocuted in the Nehru Nagar locality today.

According to sources, the girl had gone to a temple in the locality to fetch water this afternoon. On the way, the girl’s leg came in contact with an iron electricity pole, which had current running through it, and she got electrocuted.

Passersby rushed to her aid but could not save her life.

People of the locality alleged that they had complained repeatedly to the PSEB authorities against loose cables dangling from the pole.

Last year, too, a horse had been electrocuted by loose cables hanging from an iron pole in an adjoining street. However, PSEB authorities did not take action then.

People complained that most of the power cables crossing the streets were very low and posed threat to the lives of residents.

The residents said a dangling transformer in Bajri locality also posed threat to the lives of schoolchildren as it was located next to a government middle school. They alleged that the transformer swung dangerously on windy days.

There are two schools in the vicinity and hundreds of children pass by every day.

The PSEB authorities have been requested many a time to get the problem fixed but all complaints have fallen on deaf ears, the residents alleged.

Houses and commercial establishments have come up right under the 11 kV line of the PSEB in the city. As per the rules, no construction can be carried out within 11 feet of the a 11 kV power line.

However, in many cases even pylons supporting power line have been made part of the premises of establishments like marriage places.

Tents are pitched dangerously close to these lines and pylons, which can lead to a major tragedy.

The PSEB authorities, when asked, said they had given legal notice to the encroachers and if any mishap took place, it would be the responsibility of the encroachers.

 

Without power for 144 hours
Our Correspondent

Abohar, May 18
The residents of Kuharian Wali Dhaani Jhullarian village have not got electricity supply for the past 144 hours.

Mr Gurpinder Singh, Mr Naripjeet Singh, Mr Amarjeet Singh and others today faxed their complaint to the Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, after exhausting all other channels.

The consumers lamented they had deposited the required amount to avail 24-hour supply under a special scheme introduced by the Punjab State Electricity Board. They were supplied power from the Khuikhera subdivisional centre for two days only. Now a senior leader of the Congress had allegedly got the supply suspended alleging that the consumers had not voted in his favour during the last Vidhan Sabha elections.

PSEB employees said they were helpless. 

 

Free ayurvedic drinks at Ramdev’s camp
Varinder Singh
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, May 18
In order to make a contribution to the war waged by Swami Ramdev against colas and soft drinks, the local Dayanand Ayurvedic College authorities have decided to offer ayurvedic alternatives to soft drinks free of cost to all those coming to attend the weeklong yoga camp of Swami Ramdev in the city from Friday.

All drinks have been prepared at the DAV Pharmacy, a subsidiary of the college.

Brahmi and shankhpushpi, according to Dr Raj Kumar Sharma, Principal of the college, are the best medicine for memory or tranquility-related disorders while sandal is an important ingredient of the time-tested aroma therapy. Sandal sticks are also used as incense to aid meditation and to enhance concentration of mind.

“Special care has been taken to ensure that the drinks have the requisite quantity of extract of herbs. For example, if a minimum of 500 mg extract works properly in case of memory loss, then our shankhpushpi drink would surely contain 500 mgs of the herb in a serving of 200 ml. No price will be charged from all those visiting the camp, said Dr Sharma and Dr Anoop Gakhar, in charge of the pharmacy. 

 

Jammu Tawi Express

Bathinda, May 18
The Jammu Tawi Express that earlier used to start from Ferozepore would now run from Bathinda, Bibi Paramjeet Kaur Gulshan, MP, said in a statement here today. The train would begin its journey at 4.30 pm from Bathinda and would reach Jammu at 4.55 next morning via Faridkot, Ferozepore, Jalandhar and Pathankot. On its return, the train would start from Jammu at 10.35 pm and arrive in Bathinda at 10.15 am next day.

Akali leaders of the region expressed their gratitude to Bibi Gulshan who as a member of the Advisory Committee to the Railway Board, raised the matter with the Railway Ministry. — TNS

 

HIGH COURT
Four asked to appear as witnesses
Our High Court Correspondent

Chandigarh, May 18
The Punjab and Haryana High Court today issued notices to four persons to appear as witnesses in an ongoing case pertaining to alleged electoral malpractices by Punjab Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh during the February 2002 Vidhan Sabha elections in the state.

Notices have been issued to the Managing Director, SpanAir, New Delhi, Secretary, Department of Civil Aviation, Punjab, Divisional Manager, Indian Oil Corporation (IOC), Chandigarh, and Secretary, Department of Sports, Punjab.

These persons have been asked to depose before the court with regard to the use of a helicopter by Capt Amarinder during the poll campaign.

During resumed hearing of the petition filed by Shiromani Akali Dal (Badal) activist Harkirat Singh, who has challenged the election of Capt Amarinder from the Patiala Assembly constituency, Mr Justice S.K. Mittal said the evidence of these witnesses would be recorded at the next hearing and decision on the objections made by counsel for the respondent would be taken at the time of final arguments.

Sometime back, the petitioner's counsel had submitted the list of witnesses that the petitioner intended to examine in support of his contentions.

Mr Harkirat Singh, who lives in Patiala, has sought setting aside of the election of Capt Amarinder Singh on the ground that the electoral process had been vitiated due to use of undue influence by him.

On April 20, three witnesses were examined at length by counsel for the petitioner. They included the nominee of the Chief Electoral Officer (CEO), Punjab, nominee of the District Electoral Officer (DEO), Patiala, and the nominee of the Secretary to Government, Department of Public Relations, Punjab.

While the nominee of the DEO, Patiala, submitted the election expense vouchers filed by Capt Amarinder Singh, the Department of Public Relations submitted six files and notings regarding the complaints about the controversial role played by Mr B.I.S. Chahal, the present Media Adviser to the Chief Minister, in the campaign.

At the time of the election, Mr Chahal was a Joint Director-rank officer with the department and there were allegations that he openly worked to ensure Capt Amarinder Singh's victory.

The petitioner has also alleged that the Chief Minister, who was the Punjab Congress Committee President at the time of elections, had not mentioned the expenses incurred on the use of helicopter for poll campaign.

After issuing the notices, the Bench adjourned the hearing to July 12.

PIL dismissed

The High Court on Thursday dismissed the PIL filed by advocate Ujjal Singh, questioning the controversial clean chit issued by the Punjab Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, to his blue-eyed bureaucrats whose residences were raised by the CBI in the Forest Hill case.

The PIL also sought directions to the CBI to submit a status report on the progress made by it so far.

Saying that the statement was tantamount to the Chief Minister sitting in judgement on the orders of the Punjab and Haryana High Court, the petitioner had alleged that the CBI was dragging its feet in the matter and pointed out that the agency was given six months’ period to complete the task but had not been able to do so despite the passage of over one and a half years.

A few days back, teams of the CBI had raided the residences of the officers in connection with the probe into the Forest Hill Golf and Country Club case. A Division Bench of the High Court headed by the then Chief Justice, Mr Justice B.K. Roy, had ordered a probe by the CBI into the alleged irregularities in the construction of the club.

Praying that the court take suo moto notice of media reports quoting the Chief Minister in this regard, the petitioner has stated that by doing so, the Chief Minister was also casting aspersions on the CBI.

Mr Sahni had also prayed for issuance of directions to the Chief Minister and the Chief Secretary not to obstruct or impede in any manner whatsoever the probe being conducted by the CBI.

However, today, when the PIL came up before the Division Bench comprising Mr Justice A.K. Goel and Mr Justice Rajesh Bindal, it dismissed the petition on the ground that a petition filed by the management of the Forest Hill Club is still pending in the Supreme Court.

 

6 forest officials summoned for felling trees
Tribune News Service

Hoshiarpur, May 18
The Judicial Magistrate has summoned six forest officials in a case filed by Darshan Singh, a resident of Mehangrowal village.

Darshan Singh, who is member panchayat, in his compliant before the court had alleged that the village panchayat had authorised him to take care of forest area falling within the jurisdiction of the village land.

On April 18, 2004 forest officials — Rashpal Singh, Harvinder Singh, Kuldeep Singh, Satwant Singh, all forest guards; forester Jagtar Singh and range officer Ram Lal — felled khair trees from the village land without the consent of the panchayat.

After felling the trees they loaded these onto a tractor-trailer. A villager, Tarsem Lal, tried to stop them from doing so but was threatened him with dire consequences.

The complainant came to know about the theft and informed the then sarpanch, Dhiwan Chand. Both tried to prevent the tractor-trailer from leaving but to no avail.

The police was informed about theft, which later impounded the tractor-trailer along with the wood. However, the wood was later misappropriated, causing losses to the panchayat.

Instead of taking action in the matter, DSP Balwant Kaur misbehaved and threatened the complainant.

The prime witnesses in the case, including former sarpanch Dhiwan Chand and Tarsem Lal, deposed before the court in favour of the complainant.

The complainant also attached the photographs of the tractor-trailer loaded with wood and media clippings regarding the incidence as evidence.

Following this, the court held the forest officials accountable for prima facie offence punishable under Sections 379, 447, 120-B of the IPC.

The court, however, dismissed the complaint against the DSP Balwant Kaur. The next date for hearing on case has been fixed as May 23.

 

Permanent Lok Adalat at Patiala
Tribune News Service

Patiala, May 18
A permanent Lok Adalat was established at the district courts complex here today in which cases relating to deficiency in transport services, postal, telegraph services, supply of power and complaints relating to deficiency in services rendered by hospitals would be taken up.

According to a press note by the Chairman, Permanent Lok Adalat, those seeking disposal of their cases can contact room nos. 134 or 217 at the district courts. 

 

One booked
Our Correspondent

Mohali, May 18
A resident of Allahpur village falling in Kharar subdivision has been booked by the police on charges of voluntarily causing hurt, wrongful restraint and criminal intimidation.

The resident has been identified as Balbir Singh.

A complaint in this regard was made to the police by a municipal council employee, Ms Satwinder Kaur. She had alleged that Balbir Singh used to follow her to the office making comments on the way. On one instance he allegedly threatened her.

The matter was brought to the notice of other council employees. They were on the look out to nab the person. When he reached the council office today while following Satwinder Kaur ,the former was caught and handed over to the police. Balbir Singh allegedly had a scuffle with Mr Avtar Singh Kalsia, president of the Municipal Karamchari Union. 

 

Woman killed in road mishap
Tribune News Service

Rajpura, May 18
A 40-year-old woman was killed and an infant seriously injured when their vehicle collided head-on with a mini truck near the Gagan Chowk here today.

According to sources, the family of Bhagwanti, a resident of Sangrur, was on its way to Sangrur after attending a marriage in Chandigarh.

Bhagwanti, who was sitting on the front seat along with her one-year-old daughter Vibhu, was seriously injured and rushed to AP Jain Civil Hospital here.

However, Bhagwanti died on way to the hospital. Vibhu, who was also seriously injured, was shifted to the PGI in Chandigarh. The driver of the mini truck, Inderjit Singh, has absconded.

 

One held with smack
Tribune News Service

Patiala, May 18
The police continuing today claimed to have arrested Parveen Kumar with 70 gm smack from near Gagan Chowk, Rajpura.

In a press note, the in charge of CIA staff, said Parveen was a resident of Panipat and was arrested on the basis of a tip-off from Rajpura. 

 

Manish tops ICSE exam in Punjab
Tribune News service

Amritsar, May 18
Manish Dhawan of Holy Heart High School (HHHS) has stood first in Punjab by securing 96 per cent marks in the matriculation examination as per the results declared by the ICSE here today.

Mr Vijay Seth, member, managing committee, HHHS, said that out of the 90 students who appeared in the examination, 11 students secured 90 per cent marks, while 12 secured 85 per cent marks.

 

Computer teachers lathi-charged
Tribune News Service

Patiala, May 18
Members of the Computer Teachers Union (Contractual), Punjab, who were holding a state-level rally at the Vir Haqiquat Rai park, faced a mild lathi charge when they tried to proceed towards the Chief Minister’s residence to hand over a memorandum to him.

Nearly 3,000 computer teachers assembled at the park to protest against the appointments made by the state government on the contract basis and also burnt their degrees.

They alleged that the Congress Government in the state had been ridiculing them by giving them only Rs 3,080 as contract money per month instead of giving them the pay scale of postgraduate lecturers after regularising their services.

Mr Gurpreet Singh, president of the Computer Teachers Union (Contractual), alleged that by promoting the contract system in every field, the state government had been running away from its responsibilities.

He added that, whenever, any organisation lodged its protest against that system, the government always tried to curb the same through illegal means.

Mr Gurpreet Singh claimed that the government was trying to overwork the teachers who were getting just a meagre amount of Rs 3,080 per month, while on the other hand the services of regular teachers, who were getting nearly Rs 20,000 per month, were being under-utilised.

Meanwhile, some teachers claimed that the DSP (City-1), Mr G.S. Bedi, misbehaved with them and showered abuses on the gathering, which also included woman teachers.

However, when contacted , Mr G.S Bedi, said the cops had to push back the agitating teachers and that at no point of time did he abuse them.

 

BCA (I) results today

Amritsar, May 18
The results of the BCA (I) examination of Guru Nanak Dev University held in April would be declared tomorrow. The results would also be available on the university website, www.gnduonline.org, in the evening.

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