L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S

Fake Army job scam detected, ex-jawan held
Tribune News Service

SP Harish Kumar shows documents used in the scam
SP Harish Kumar shows documents used in the scam. — Tribune photographs

Ludhiana, June 18
The detective wing of the city police and Army Intelligence sleuths have busted a major recruitment scam by nabbing a former soldier and his three accomplices on the charges of duping scores of youths on the pretext of enlisting them in the Army.

The ex-soldier, Rajinder Singh Gulleria of Kalar village in Kangra district, ran the racket in North India. The cost ranged from Rs 40,000 to Rs 75,000.

SP detective Harish Kumar told reporters that the police had information about 16 youths having been duped by the gang. Six of them told the police about the accused and their modus operandi today.

The gang was active mainly in Uttranchal, Himachal and Punjab.

“More youths would come forward after learning about the real face of these ‘recruitment’ officers,” the official said.

Gulleria had been jailed thrice for playing the same fraud with several other youths desperate for a job. He posed as a Subedar and travelled in a car with pads and stamps of the Army unit, besides the attitude of a senior officer.

The SP said the three accomplices —Amarjit Singh of Khalra village in Amritsar district, Balwant Singh of Bhola Colony, Ludhiana, and Raju of Jassowal in Ludhiana—had also been jailed earlier for different crimes. They had met Gulleria in a jail and planned the fraud.

Army officers had received complaints about the activities of the gang when a number of youths approached them to enquire about the delay in receiving appointment letters promised by Gulleria.

The Army Intelligence sleuths and the SSP made a plan to bust the gang.

A police team led by SI Dilpreet Singh, in charge of the CIA-II wing, nabbed the accused from Sherpur village last night. The police seized an Indica car and Rs 44,000 from them.

Gulleria used to take half of the amount in advance and won the trust of the youths and their parents by saying that the remaining amount would be taken after he gave them the appointment letter.

He used to call the youths to a hotel in Ludhiana. The youths would also pay hotel bills that ran in thousands.

Sukhwinder Singh and Jagjit Singh of Rattangarh village were waiting for their appointment letters, but all they got was a call from the police last evening asking them to identify Gulleria.

“We were hoping there would be some mistake. At stake was Rs 36,000 each that we had given to the accused. Our world came crashing down when we saw him in police custody,” they said.

Both of them had passed the senior secondary examination some year ago and were desperate for a job in the Army.

Two other victims—Ashwani Bhalla and Vikas Rana of Mussoorie—had left their B.Com final year studies in between on the assurances of the accused. They had given Rs 20,000 each to get enlisted in the Army.

The Army has been stressing that no agent was required for recruitment and only those who qualify the physical tests and the entrance exam would be inducted.



Sarpanch booked for misusing public money
Our Correspondent

Mandi Ahmedgarh, June 18
The local police has booked a woman sarpanch of Kalyan village in Sangrur village and a panchayat secretary of the area under Sections 406, 408 and 120 B of the IPC for allegedly conspiring and misappropriating public money by paying pensions lower than entitlement of the beneficiaries.

The case was registered after Ludhiana Tribune published a story regarding police inaction despite explicit orders by the Deputy Commissioner Sangrur who, acting on the report submitted by the SDM, Malerkotla, had asked the SSP to register a case under appropriate Sections of law against the suspects.

The SSP sought clarification on the jurisdiction of Kalyan village, before directing Circle Officer at Malerkotla to get the case registered.

According to the sources, Mr Dharam Singh, panchayat secretary and Ms Ranjit Kaur, sarpanch, Kalyan village had been booked for allegedly misappropriating public funds and conspiring to deprive pensioners of their right to get full amount of pension for a particular period of three months.

The FIR has been registered on the orders of Mr H S Chahal, SSP Sangrur who was apprised of the indictment of the suspects by Mr S R Ladhar, D C Sangrur,. The police had been asked to register a case against Ms Ranjit Kaur sarpanch of Kalyan village for allegedly duping 40 innocent pensioners by paying them a lower amount than that was entitled. Though the DC had passed the orders on May 22 and the same were received by the staff concerned at SSP's office the next day, the local police had not received any orders by last week. The Tribune had then carried a report on the matter after which the present case has been registered.

In her inquiry report submitted to the Deputy Commissioner of Sangrur, the SDM, Dr Indu, had held that Ranjit Kaur had duped pension beneficiaries of a substantial portion of their monetary benefits and thus had cheated the state government also.

Dharam Singh the panchayat secretary, the government official who had handed over the withdrawn money to the sarpanch instead of getting it disbursed in the presence of designated members had also acted irresponsibly, Dr Indu had mentioned in her report.

Earlier, Amar Kaur, wife of Bant Singh, Malan Kaur, wife of Wariam Singh, Amarjit Kaur, wife of Dhir Singh, Gurdev Kaur, wife of Darbara Singh, Gurdial Kaur, wife of Jarnail Singh, and Kulwant Kaur, wife of Sadhu Singh, had complained to the Deputy Commissioner, Sangrur, and stated that Ms Ranjit Kaur had exploited their illiteracy and paid them pension amounts much less than their entitlement.

Though the orders by DC clearly mentioned that Kalyan village fell under jurisdiction of Malerkotla-II block, the SSP on receipt of orders on May 23 sought clarification about the jurisdiction of the village. 



For now, it’s musical chairs at MC
Kanchan Vasdev
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 18
Development in the city remains on the backburner with the bureaucracy playing musical chairs at the local Municipal Corporation if recent transfer orders of the Commissioner and his subordinates is any indication.

Starting from the MC chief, Mr S.K. Sharma, to around 200 of his subordinates, there were transfers orders for everyone. But just three days after these orders, most of them seem not willing to leave their chairs barring joint and zonal commissioners, whose portfolios have been changed for better efficacy.

Employees used all their influence to stay put, from involving the city Mayor to various employees unions. But a court order was said to have come to their rescue of Mr S.K. Sharma, who was able to get his transfers stayed.

Interestingly, the transfer orders of Mr S.K. Sharma, who was posted as Managing Director, Sugarfed, were also revoked on June 15, a day after these were passed. Mr Vikas Partap, who was asked to join immediately, had joined on June 14 evening and had even convened a meeting of his staff. But the very next day, he was asked to go back to his previous post.

Meanwhile, many a eyebrow was raised when Mr S.K. Sharma transferred certain employees on the day when his own transfer orders were being announced in Chandigarh. Surprisingly, while the process of transfers had been going on for the past few days, some select mediapersons were handed over a list of transferred employees late in the evening on June 13.

As if this was not enough, the city Mayor too jumped into it by staying the orders of the Commissioner in contravention of the rules. The unions also came into the picture and pressed for revoking the orders.

This has been happening in the civic body in the past three-four days. “It is really shocking that everyone wants to keep their seats and nobody wants to work at a different place. The employees who do not even have to leave city and have to just change the seat are raising such a hue and cry. This shows that they have some interests attached to their seats,” said Mr S.S. Channa, a retired forest officer.

“We were shown dreams of flyovers to de-congest the traffic, better civic amenities and cleanliness but today the incomplete projects which have long ago passed the deadline of completion have added to our woes. The local body seems to work for the VIPs alone,” added Mr Channa.



Poverty forces father to abandon child
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 18
Poverty had allegedly driven a Samrala-based man to abandon his new born daughter, who was fished out from Sidhwan Canal by two youths near south city yesterday.

Baljit Singh, arrested by the Sadar police today for abandoning the girl, said he had left her to her fate as he was unable to arrange money for the treatment of a congenital defect. A beldar with a warehouse in Samrala, Baljit Singh said he had abandoned the girl near the canal without the knowledge of his wife Gurdev Kaur.

The girl was their third child born two days ago in CMC Hospital. They have a son and a daughter earlier. Both were living in Samrala.

‘‘It was a costly treatment. The doctors here told me they had no treatment for the girl. I left her to her fate. I had not left her to drown but to her fate,’’ he told the police.

SHO (Sadar) Sandeep Kumar told Ludhiana Tribune that the man was deeply upset. The girl has been shifted to the PGI, Chandigarh, where doctors have successfully treated such complex cases. Baljit Singh has been booked under Section 317 of the IPC (exposure of a child under 12 years of age by parent or any persons with intention of abandoning it).

It was shocking that the man was driven to abandon the girl after she was born in CMC, a charitable medical institution. There were social workers in such hospitals who claim to provide medical and financial aid to needy persons but no one seem to have come to their help.



Ludhiana Calling

The City police has launched a massive public education drive by putting up billboards in the mini-secretariat complex about their rights, facilities available at different police offices and the Right to Information Act. The boards having green as the base colour and the messages written in white make attractive and easy reading. It has explained briefly and simply many queries related to police work. One just hopes that other departments of the government would take cue and spread awareness on other public issues.

Timer lights

The Bhai Bala chowk lights have finally gone digital after years of wait. The timer lights prove highly beneficial to the commuters who know when the green light would be on. This proves good for environment and helps in fuel conservation also as the drivers can switch off the engines. The traffic police and the Municipal Corporation plans to put timer lights on the busy crossings.

Transfer jinx

Mr Vikas Partap, an IAS officer who was posted as Ludhiana Municipal Commissioner, would be remembered in the MC’s history for holding the chair for a single day only. He joined the city on June 14 and packed his bags on June 15 after his transfer orders were revoked. In fact he was transferred two months back also but these were stayed. Two years ago, he was tipped to be the Registrar of Punjab Agricultural University, but the teachers resorted to an agitation, demanding that a faculty member hold the post. Their demands were answered and Mr Partap was sent back. One wonders whether there is a jinx attached to his postings in Ludhiana.

Monsoon scare

Given the condition of dug-up roads in the entire city, residents living in affected areas are dreading the monsoon. They fear that they would have to wade through slush once it starts raining. Various representations to the authorities to get the roads recarpeted have fallen on deaf ears. Residents claim that all claims of development would go down the drain this monsoon.


Seen written at the back of a truck, “Rabba sab da bhala kari, shuru sade to karin” (God please bless everyone, but start from me.)

— Sentinel



Efforts to stop Mann at Tarn Taran
K.S. Chawla

Ludhiana, June 18
Functionaries of the SAD and the SGPC tried out to prevent Mr Simranjit Singh Mann, president Akali Dal (Amritsar ) and other office-bearers from attending the quadri-centenary function of martyrdom of Guru Arjan Dev at Tarn Taran on June 16.

According to information available here today Mr Mann accompanied by Mr Daljeet Singh Bittu, senior vice president, Mr Charan Singh Lohara , general secretary and Mr Satnam Singh Paonta Sahib of the Dal Khalsa and other supporters went to the stage of the SGPC to participate in the shaheedi shatabdi function to pay homage to guru Arjan Dev. They were allegedly stopped by Mr Avtar Singh Makkar, president SGPC, who was accompanied by the task force of the SGPC. Mr Makkar told Mr Mann that this was a purely religious function and there would be no political speeches. Mr Mann along with his supporters took seat in front of the stage among the sangat. After sometime, Mr Zora Singh Mann MP and Mr Tota Singh former Minister came to Mr Mann and requested him to come to the stage. But Mr Mann refused. But at the same time Mr Sukhdev Singh Bhaur, general secretary of the SGPC who was conducting the proceedings of the function announced from the stage that Mr Mann should come on the stage. Thereupon Mr Mann, Mr Daljit Singh Bittu and Mr Satnam Singh went to the stage and took their seats. In the meantime, the organisers were feeling uncomfortable and Mr Mann and his supporters again came down from the stage. At this stage, the supporters of Mr Mann announced that they would not allow anyone to make political speech from the religious stage.

Sensing that there might be some trouble, Mr Zora Singh and Mr Parkash Singh Badal requested Mr Mann to come to the stage and make his speech.

Mr Charan Singh Lohara Singh here today that they had also made up their mind that they would not allow Mr Rajnath Singh, BJP president to speak.

However, Mr Mann made his speech and paid his homage to Guru Arjan Dev and also talked of revival of the Anandpur Sahib resolution.

Mr Rajnath Singh who also addressed the gathering spoke about the conversion of sikhs.

Mr Charan Singh Lohara said that no conversion of Sikhs had taken place and Mr Rajnath Singh had tried to unnecessarily mislead the Sikhs.

Mr Charan Singh said the Congress and the SAD leaders were feeling threatened with the growing popularity of Mr Simranjit Singh Mann and they would surely be causing problems for the congress and the SAD led by Mr Badal in the ensuing Vidhan Sabha elections in Punjab. 



BSP launches signature campaign
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, June 18
The Bahujan Samaj Party (Ambedkar) has chalked about an ambitious plan to hold 10,000 rallies and meetings in different parts of the state and launch a signature campaign to press its 8-point public welfare programme.

Addressing a party workers' meeting at Basti Jodhewal here today, the state president of the party, Mr Devi Das Nahar, claimed that the state government had conceded some of the demands but still a lot of work remained to be done to achieve justice for repressed sections of society and dalit community.

‘‘The implementation of 85th Constitutional amendment is incomplete, unconditional supply of 200 units of power to Dalit families is being denied and the promise of a public holiday on Dr Ambedkar jayanti remains unfulfilled.’’

Making scathing attacks on BSP supremo Maya Wati, he said the party was committed to taking the message of Dr Ambedkar to the masses to achieve the goal of empowerment of Dalits, but the main obstacle in the way of this task was proving to be Ms Maya Wati, who had adopted an anti-Dalit stance. ‘‘The BSP headed by Ms Maya Wati has turned in to a 'Brahminian' organisation right from the top to the grass roots. The leadership is thoroughly corrupt, self-seeking and has sacrificed the interests of the dalit community.’’

Mr Nahar exhorted the party cadre to gear up for a two pronged fight for the rights of Dalits. On one side the party had to make the government dispense justice to the Dalits and on the other, the rot caused by selfish leadership of the BSP had to be stemmed.

Outlining the 8-point welfare programme, chalked out by the party, he said it aimed at restoration of due respect to Maharishi Valmiki and martyr Baba Jiwan Singh, announcement of public holidays on birthdays of Dr Ambedkar and Bhagat Kabir, implementation of Mandal Commission report and 85th amendment, fulfillment of all poll promised by the Congress government and scrapping contract labour. To press these demands, the party would seek signatures of a minimum of 10 lakh persons and the signed memorandum would be forwarded to the government.

Other speakers at the meeting included Mr Shankar Singh Sahota, Mr Dilbagh Singh, Mr Manjit Singh Sikar, Mr Joginder Singh Salhotra, Mr Avtar Ram, Mr Parwinder Singh, Mr Nasib Chand, Mr Tilak Raj Thapar and Mr J.P. Waraich.



Bittu open to pact with democratic parties
Mahesh Sharma

Mandi Ahmedgarh, June 18
Blaming the successive governments at the Centre and in the state and a section of media of projecting him and his associates as extremists, Mr Daljit Singh Bittu, senior vice president, SAD(A) claimed that he like many others had faith in teachings of the Sikh Gurus who had preached fundamental ideals of universal fraternity and self respect for all.

He accused office-bearers of the SGPC of using the platform of 400th martyrdom at Tarn Taran for pleasing Mr Parkash Singh Badal and allowing SAD and BJP leaders take political mileage out of a religious congregation.

Talking to Ludhiana Tribune after addressing a meeting of activists of his party Bittu alleged that the successive governments had been using a section of media to paint us as hardcore extremists. “Though we may be wrong at certain points, we like many others follow Sikhism in letter and in spirit. As our Gurus had taught us a lesson of universal fraternity and self esteem for all we respect all sections of society. At the same time we wish that the Sikhs should be respected and should not be treated as second grade citizens anywhere in India and abroad,” said Mr Bittu.

On the issue of probable alliance with political parties Mr Bittu said SAD(A) would welcome alliance from all democratic parties provided they do not follow discriminatory policies being adopted by the Congress and the BJP. “We do not mind even the SAD joining us provided its leaders agree with Mr Mann on the issue of interests of the state and revival of Anandpur Sahib resolution,” stated Mr Bittu.

Mr Bittu maintained that officials of the SGPC should have extended invitation gracefully to all Sikh leaders, including Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh. “The organisation did not accord due respect to those who had been invited to the function. Apparently they act on behest of leaders of SAD instead of treating all Sikh leaders and personalities equally,” lamented Mr Bittu. He said majority of leaders, including Mr Simranjit Singh Mann had tolerated cold reception just to maintain sanctity of the function.

Mr Kuldip Singh Karwal, general secretary, youth wing, Mr Ajit Singh Walia, president, gurdwara committee, Gurinder Singh Grewal and Navin Goel accompanied him on the occasion.



Tributes paid to Hazur Singh
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 18
Rich tributes were paid to the Hazur Singh, a former Assistant Excise and Taxation officer and father Mr Harjit Singh, Special Secretary, General Administration, Punjab, at a largely attended shardhanjali samaroah organised at Gurdwara Sri Guru Singh Sabha, Model Gram, here today.

Recalling the services of the departed soul, Education Minister Harnam Das Johar said Hazur Singh was a great social and religious personality, who during his life, had served the cause of the poor people. Mr Singh had served the state earnestly and honestly during his service as an officer in the Excise and Taxation department.

After Partition, the deseased had been instrumental in the establishment of many religious, social and educational institutions in the city and done a great job in spreading education in the poor people, being associated with many educational institutions.

PWD Minister Partap Singh Bajwa also expressed his condolences with the aggrieved family. Mr B.I.S. Chahal, Advisor to Chief Minister, in a condolence message expressed his sympathies with the family. Condolence messages from around thee dozen prominent associations and institutions, including IAS and PCS Officer’s Association, industry, transport, education, social services, NGOs, traders etc. were also read out on this occasion.



Use IT to promote tourism: expert
Our Correspondent

Mandi Ahmedgarh, June 18
Showing concern over the fading status of tourism in the border state, Ms Sukhjit Kaur, an information technology expert, has urged the state government and private organisers to understand tourism enterprise and incorporate and utilise IT strategically. This would help them serve their target markets, improve efficiency and maximise profits, maintained the expert.

While talking to Ludhiana Tribune on the state of tourism in northern India, Ms Sukhjit Kaur said the success of tourism would be determined by a combination of innovative management and marketing, intellect and vision and strategic use of advanced components of information and technology.

“Gone are the days when mere ‘travel and stay of a non-resident was considered tourism. A tourist now finds a reason for his or her visit to a particular place, knowledge for which has to be collected before hand,” she claimed.

Stating attraction, accommodation and transport to be the main components of tourism she stressed that tourism information and communication technology in tourism sector was of special significance. Accordingly, various high-tech information and communication technologies are in use in tourism sector around the world. They are used for tourism product development, marketing, distribution and training of tourism sector personnel.

Information technology at present is used most by travel intermediaries like travel agents, tour operators, conference organisers and booking agents. Unfortunately, the tourism product supply is fragmented, both geographically and as product component.

Coupled with their relatively low capital volume, individual components cannot afford to market and distribute their product for the dispersed potential and individual customers on their own.



Railway contractors to boycott tenders
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 18
The Northern Railway Contractors’ Association today decided to boycott the tendering process of the Railways till it improved the working. A meeting of the association was held here today, which expressed regrets over the functioning of the Railway tendering system demanding that it needed a lot of improvement.

According to an association spokesman, the contractors had come from Jammu, Pathankot, Bathinda, Jalandhar and Ferozepore.

They said the tendering process in Ferozepore division needed a thorough overhaul and the contractors were suffering on this count.

The meeting was presided over by Mr Jagpal Singh Sibia and Mr Pritpal Singh. The contractors said a lot of work was already in pipeline, but the Railways were not evolving a proper tendering system resulting in a lot of harassment and loss to the contractors. They said further course of action would be decided soon. 



Pandhi flays Congress policies
Our Correspondent

Amloh, June 18
Under the banner of the SAD, Sikh devotees from this constituency led by former minister Dalip Singh Pandhi participated in the 400th anniversary of the martyrdom of Guru Arjan Dev at Tarn Taran on June 16.

Mr Pandhi thanked the people for extending their cooperation. He spoke about the anti-people policies of the Congress government which had given nothing to the people except slogans.

Schools were running without teachers, hospitals without doctors and corruption was rampant in all departments, he alleged. 



Jain is chief of cost accountants’ body
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, June 18
Mr Sanjeev Jain and Mr Gurjant Singh were elected chairman and secretary, respectively, of Ludhiana chapter of Cost Accountants at the general body meeting held here today.

Mr Shiv Kumar Jindal will be the vice chairman, Mr Brij Pal Dhiman its joint secretary while Ms Anju Pardesi would be the treasurer of the association.

According to Mr Jain, the members of managing committee would include Mr R.C. Singal, Mr Neeraj Verma, Mr Gurmeet Singh Kharay, Mr V.K. Jain and Mr Vikas Moudgil.



10 lakh cr eroded in capital stock markets
K.S. Chawla

Ludhiana, June 18
Volumes of business on the Ludhiana Stock Exchange through its subsidiary — LSE Securities Ltd — have fallen drastically eversince the indices on the Indian stock markets have nosedived since second week of May 2006. The average daily turnover which hovered around Rs 250 crore in April and early May has fallen to a mere Rs 150 crore in June thus recording a fall of over 40 per cent. This turnover pertains to volumes registered in three segments — capital market segment of BSE, NSE and futures and options (derivative) segment of NSE. It is pertinent to mention here that a major portion of volumes comes from trading in futures and options.

The experts feel that this has been mainly due to steep fall in stock prices from May 11 onwards when the bench mark BSE index touched a peak of 12,672 and within a month it has fallen to breach the level of 8,800 even though it has also recovered the lost ground by about 954 points within the last two trading sessions on June 15 and 16.

The experts are of the view that the fall in the sensex was first triggered by whispers that foreign institutional investors (FIIs) have started selling. The draft circular put by the CBDT on its website regarding taxation of traders/investors in capital market added fuel to the fire and resulted in single day fall of over 1100 points when the regulating authorrities had to close the trading for about one hour. This is another point that soon after reopening of trading sense also recovered around 500 points the same day.

Secondly, the fear of hike in interest rates in India and the USA also created panic amongst FIIs who wanted to exit from emerging markets, including India.

The experts point out that once panic started many investors put in redemption requests to withdraw money from mutual funds. In order to meet their commitments, Mutual funds who till recently had been not buyers became net sellers in the markets and a chain reaction started.

The experts are perplexed that the stock markets have witnessed fall in volumes despite the fact that forecast for monsoon is very good and economic fundamentals are intact. It is estimated that in the recent fall about Rs 10 lakh crore of market capitalisation has been eroded.

However, experts are confident that with the forecast of a good normal monsoon economy is already reviving and feel good factor is evident and it is hoped that industry is going to improve further with demand picking up in almost every sector and particularly in cement, steel, paper and pharma.

Over the past couple of months it has been observed that delivery based transactions have increased from about 20 per cent to 30 per cent on stock exchanges.

The Ludhiana stock exchange has already taken effective steps to move faster on growth path. Its demutualisation scheme to SEBI has already been approved and it proposes to implement the same in due course of the addition to this the Ludhiana stock exchange has started a certification course in collaboration with the Panjab University to impart in depth knowledge on capital markets to the participants. It has already completed successfully two batches and third batch is in session. The registration for the fourth batch is already in progress.



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