C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S

PMET leak mastermind grilled
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 6
He had big dreams! Married just a week ago, he wanted to set up his own dental college and had no qualms in using wrongful means to climb up the social ladder of success on the rungs of illegality.

So, he allegedly connived with a classmate to open a new chapter in the country’s crime history. The duo “joined hands” to “leak” the PMET question paper of the Baba Farid University of Health Sciences, Faridkot.

That’s in short the story of Adarsh Thakur and his classmate Ram Bahadur, both first-year BDS students of Lucknow-based Career Dental College. The two students in their early 20s pulled a scam that subsequently led to the involvement of “hard-core businessmen” and even “notorious criminals”.

Thakur, described as the prime suspect in the scam, was arrested from a bus stand in Lucknow on Wednesday and was brought to the city this evening, while part-time taxi driver Bahadur is still at large.

Giving details of the preliminary interrogation of Thakur, sources in the crime branch of the Chandigarh Police said 23-year-old-Thakur, a first-year student of Bachelor of Dental Surgery in Career College at Sitapur Highway in Lucknow, along with his classmate Ram Bahadur, a part-time taxi driver, allegedly procured the question papers from Maxwell Printing Press in Lucknow.

They were in touch with Jay Jeet, a machine man working in the printing press, who allegedly stole the question papers for them.

Sharing the information, the in charge of the crime branch, Inspector Satbir Singh, added that Ram Bahadur was known to Jay Jeet, who was still at large. Ram Bahadur was a nephew of Dr Anil Bhelia, a Lucknow resident, who was already in police custody. The raiding police team of the crime branch took Dr Bhelia to Lucknow for identification of Thakur and Thakur was arrested following secret information.

Thakur reportedly disclosed that three persons — his brother Ashok Kumar, pursuing a dental mechanic diploma, Parmod Kumar, an MSc student of a Jhansi-based college, and Dr Bhelia — were flown to Delhi from Lucknow after procuring the question paper. Parmod and Ashok are still at large.

The sources in the crime branch said Thakur got married on June 29 this year and was given a Maruti Swift in dowry. He had also struck a deal to purchase a one-bigha plot in Lucknow to raise a dental college there. In an attempt to make quick money, he allegedly contacted the printing press and started the racket.

“Thakur was well-connected and has links with several persons involved in the scam. His brother, Ashok, his friend Ram Bahadur and others are wanted by the police and things would get clear after the cross-examination of all accused. A police party is still camping in Lucknow to trace the other accused,” said one of the police officers investigating the case.

The police said it would seek a police remand of Thakur to interrogate him to unravel the whole episode. The call details of the accused and the other persons, who frequently called them during and before the intervening night of July 1 and 2, would also be verified to identify other persons involved in the scam.

The Chandigarh Police had busted the inter-state gang involved in the scam on July 2. The police has so far arrested 10 accused in this regard. The accused used to charge anything between Rs 15 and Rs 18 lakh for providing the solved question paper. 



Education system in Dera Bassi in shambles
Absenteeism, staff shortage plague schools
Pradeep Sharma
Tribune News Service

Dera Bassi, July 6
Rampant absenteeism and staff shortage are playing havoc with the education system in the rural areas of the Dera Bassi sub-division. Even as the Education Department turns a blind eye to the plight of the rural schools, a raid by the Amlala panchayat on the village school yesterday has exposed the chinks in the education system.

Shocking facts came to light during the raid conducted under the supervision of the sarpanch, Ms Gurdev Kaur, at Government Senior Secondary School. While only two of the teachers were present in the school at the scheduled time 8 a.m. three of them came 15 minutes late. However, two teachers came over one hour late and one of those was allegedly in an inebriated state making a mockery of the education system.

And in the wake of the alleged teachers’ indifference, recent results of the middle standard examination speak for themselves with only three of 64 students passing the exam, alleges a village resident. Gurdev Kaur demanded that strict action should be taken against the “habitual” late comers.

Meanwhile, Mr Suresh Sharma, acting Principal, claimed that yesterday’s incident had been blown out of proportion by vested interests. However, he conceded that the school was facing an acute staff shortage with science, English and art and crafts teachers on leave.

Refuting charges of absenteeism, Mr Sharma said some of the teachers might get late by a few minutes as the school was not very well connected being located on the link road. On the performance front, Mr Sharma claimed that 32 of the 33 students passed in senior secondary examination, results of which were declared recently.

However, a random survey of the subdivision revealed that the twin problems of absenteeism and late coming plagued a substantial number of schools. The problem was more acute in those schools, which were situated along the link roads.

A principal conceded on condition of anonymity that absenteeism and late coming by teachers was rampant in the far-flung areas. Since these areas were not well-connected with main roads, there were less chances of inspections by the education officials. And with a substantial number of teachers reportedly “highly-connected”, there is nothing much the head of the educational institutes can do to check this act of indiscipline, he lamented.

Warning the erring teachers of strict action, a senior functionary of the Education Department claimed that the “problem schools” were under a watch.



Whistleblower’s wife assaulted; no case registered
Pradeep Sharma
Tribune News Service

Zirakpur, July 6
The wife of Mr K.D. Bakshi, a retired IAF official, who blew the lid off blocking of a nullah passing through Vikas Nagar located along the Zirakpur-Kalka highway by certain persons, was allegedly assaulted by at least 10 persons this morning.

Ms Chandra Kanta Bakshi (60) was pushed around and abused by the assailants around 11.30 am when she was alone at her home. “Hurling abuses, they barged into the house and caught hold of my hair. However, when I raised the alarm, they fled seeing people gathering at my house,” said a visibly upset Ms Chandra Kanta. Mr Bakshi was away to Yamunanagar on a personal visit.

The assailants, it seemed, were angered by Mr Bakshi’s complaint to the Zirakpur Nagar Panchayat that certain residents of the area had blocked the natural flow of the nullah. The blockage of the nullah would prove to be detrimental to the houses during the monsoon, it was feared in the representation by Mr Bakshi.

Acting on the complaint of Mr Bakshi, the civic body staff today cleared the nullah by removing encroachments on public land, Mr Narinder Sharma, nagar panchayat president, said.

The blockade of the natural flow of the nullah was viewed seriously by the civic body following which the civic body initiated the action, he added. This action of the municipality seemed to led to the assault on Ms Bakshi by the assailants.

The Bakshis live alone at their house here. Their son, Maj V.K. Bakshi, who is posted at Nasik, told Chandigarh Tribune over the telephone that the attack on his mother was a serious matter and the police should pursue the case to its logical conclusion.

“In fact, my father had acted in public interest and if whistleblowers are targeted by anti-social elements in this manner, then no right-thinking person would come forward to expose their wrongdoings,” he said, demanding police protection for his family.

Meanwhile, the Dera Bassi DSP, Mr Varinder Brar, while promising action against the guilty, said the police was investigating the matter. However, no case has been registered yet.



Rodrigues inspects road work
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 6
The Punjab Governor and UT Administrator, Gen S.F. Rodrigues (retd), conducted a spot inspection of the road construction work in various sectors here today. He directed the officials concerned to introduce the latest technology of using waste plastic material for the construction of roads and pavements to enhance their life, durability and utility.

He said the technology would prove cost-effective in the long run. He emphasised on the need for creating effective mechanism for monitoring the quality of construction and maintenance work so that the premature deterioration of roads could be checked.

Accompanied by the Secretary, Finance and Engineering, Mr S.K. Sandhu, and the Chief Engineer, Mr V.K. Bhardwaj, General Rodrigues inspected the concrete pavement work in Sector 22. He appreciated the effort and asked the Engineering Department to apply this technology in a phased manner on all-important roads of the city.

He also visited the pilot concrete road project in progress in Sectors 31 and 32. He asked the Chief Engineer to speed up the work and complete various road projects within the targeted schedule. He said Chandigarh had the advantage of alternative road connectivity and there would be no problem in undertaking the work of strengthening the road network.

Meanwhile, he asked the Home Secretary and the Finance Secretary to identify various unutilised open spaces in the city and make suitable developmental plans for their optimal use.

Mr V.K. Bhardwaj, Chief Engineer, said since August last year, the Engineering Department had carpeted 80 km of V3 roads. He said the work on another 53 km stretches of the Udyan Path, the Chandi Path, the railway road, modern bakery, industrial area Phase-I road and the Sector 54-55 road was in progress and it would be completed by October.



Need to develop post-harvest technologies for food crops: minister
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, July 6
The Haryana Agriculture Minister, Mr H.S. Chatha, has stressed the need to develop post-harvest technologies for vegetables, fruits, food crops. The focus should also be on loss reduction, value addition and employment generation, he said. He also suggested that the soil of every field should be tested so as to take corrective measures, if required.

Mr Chatha was speaking after inaugurating a discussion on the draft National Policy for Farmers: primary sector growth interest of Haryana. The discussion was organised jointly by the Haryana Institute of Public Administration, the Haryana Agriculture Department and allied sectors here today.

Mr Chatha was all praise for the National Commission on Farmers, which, under the chairmanship of Dr M.S. Swaminathan, had formulated a draft national policy for farmers. He hoped the final policy would go a long way in addressing various problems in the farming sector.

It would also play a crucial role in revitalising our farming system by making agrarian prosperity the bottom line of investment and agricultural and rural development policies.

He said today’s consultation on the draft policy was a precursor to the state-level consultation to be held with the National Commission on Farmers on August 25.

He also stressed the need for developing technological interventions for the rainfed areas. The Financial Commissioner and Principal Secretary, Agriculture, Ms Asha Sharma, emphasised on assisting the farmers to diversify to other crops.

The Director, Agriculture, Mr R.K. Khullar, said a special campaign had been launched to test soil content of panchayat lands in the state and each panchayat would be issued a soil health card.



Chief Secretary reviews mega projects
Our Correspondent

Mohali, July 6
A meeting to review the ongoing work in connection with mega projects was held under the chairmanship of the Chief Secretary, Punjab, Mr K.R. Lakhanpal, at PUDA Bhavan here today.

The meeting was held as the Chief Minister, Punjab, Mr Amarinder Singh, had desired that the work on mega projects should be expedited. He wanted to see that some ground work relating to mega projects started by July 31.

It is reported that out of the developers approved by the empowered committee very few wanted to go ahead with their projects. Some of them were interested in selling off the projects and were looking for buyers.

It is learnt that even though letters of intent were issued to owners of more than 60 mega projects that were approved by the empowered committee, less than 15 had so far gone in for signing of agreements with authorities concerned. It is said that according to rules an agreement had to be signed within three months from the time letters of intent were issued to developers.

It is reported that some mega projects were sent for approval to the empowered committee in haste without checking the locational plans. It is learnt that four developers had come up with projects in Sector 86 alone. An estimated area of one sector normally comprised about 250 acres.

The review meeting was attended among others by Mr S.C. Aggarwal, Secretary, Industries, Mr D.S. Jaspal, Principal Secretary, Forests, Mr A.R. Talwar, Secretary, Housing, Mr Tript Rajinder Singh Bajwa, Chairman, Punjab Pollution Control Board, Mr M.S. Narang, Additional Chief Administrator, PUDA, and the Deputy Commissioner, Mr Tejveer Singh. 



Phase IX residents protest against shortage of water
Our Correspondent

Mohali, July 6
Residents of Phase IX staged a protest here today against the failure of the Department of Public Health (DPH) to ensure adequate water supply in the area. The protesters, including women, gathered at the waterworks in the area and raised slogans against the Punjab Government and the DPH. They demanded that adequate water supply should be ensured in the area at the earliest.

They complained that they had been facing shortage of water over the past more than one year but the position had worsened over the past few days. Very little water was being supplied to HIG, HL and HE houses and that, too, at low pressure.

Ms Parkashwati said water was being provided at a very low pressure. Even those living on the ground floor were facing problems, what to talk of those living on the upper floors?, she said. A complaint was made about 20 days ago and the staff on duty assured that the problem would be solved within a week, but nothing had happened so far.

Another resident, Mr H.S. Bhatia, said when he went to file a compliant in this regard, he was told by staff on duty that the complaint register was not available.

Earlier, there were seven tubewells for supplying water. Out of which four had stopped functioning over the past some years. No new tubewell had been sunk in their place by the Municipal Council.

They said officials of the department concerned claimed that water problem had arisen due to long power cuts. But why the generator sets installed at two tubewells were not functioning, they asked. The generators were lying idle over the years as no diesel was being made available to run these, they said.

The protesters said a part of their share of the canal water was being given to residents of Phases X and XI. They said Phase X was getting 24-hour supply of water.

Mr Rakesh Kumar, general secretary of the Residents Welfare Association, Phase IX, appealed to the authorities concerned to provide more canal water to the area till alternative arrangements were made.

Mr Partap Singh, Executive Engineer, DPH, said he had taken over the charge in the town recently and that he was studying the entire system. He said he had increased the supply of water to the affected area by an hour since yesterday. He said he would meet power board officials to find out if an additional motor could be run to provide more water. He said problem was arising as PUDA had so far not made the Sector 57 waterworks fully functional.



600 poor kids shown “Krrish”
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 6
The Department of Social Welfare of the Chandigarh Administration took approximately 600 children of weaker sections of society, enrolled in different anganwari centres of various colonies, to “Krrish” movie at Nirman Theatre, Sector 32, here today.

Ms Jean Rodrigues, wife of the Governor of Punjab and UT Administrator, interacted with the children and gave them eatables. After the movie, happiness was writ large on the children’s faces.

The owner of the Nirman Theatre, Mr Anil Verma, and an eminent businessman, Mr M.P.S.Chawla, sponsored the show. The Director, Social Welfare, Mrs Amandeep Kaur, was also present on the occasion. 



New rose garden in Sector 24
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 6
Creating another milestone, the Municipal Corporation of Chandigarh (MCC) has developed Mini Rose Garden in Sector 24 here.
The garden will be dedicated to the public on July 8. It has been developed in a record time of 5 months at a cost of Rs 38 lakh.

A spokesman of the MCC said here today that the Sector 16 Zakir Rose Garden was developed in 60s. Since then, a lot many new varieties of roses had been developed, he added. Therefore, the MCC thought it proper to find a place for new varieties. An area of 5.5 acres was selected for the purpose in Sector 24, he said.




Mohali, July 6
A resident of Phase IV got electrocuted while returning home after a walk here this evening. Hukam Singh suffered an electric shock while crossing a road near his house. The police, however, said he did not die from electrocution. OC



Constable dies in road accident, 5 hurt
Our Correspondent

Panchkula, July 6
Sohan Lal, a constable of Himachal Pradesh police, died on the spot while five sustained injuries in a head-on collision of a police bus and a truck near Chandimandir late on Wednesday evening.

According to the police, about 12 Himachal Pradesh police employees were on their way back to Shimla from Chandigarh where they had come for some official duty.

As the Swaraj Mazda bus, driven by Sohan Lal reached near Saket Hospital, a truck coming from the opposite side rammed in to the bus. Puran Chand, Kehar Singh, Chattar Singh, Gian Chand and Rooplal sustained injuries and were in the General Hospital here and their condition is stated to be stable. A postmortem examination of deceased Sohan Lal was conducted today after which the body was handed over to his kin.

Meanwhile, the police has registered a case against Karnail Singh, the driver of the truck, and has arrested him.

He was produced before the court today from where Karnail Singh was released on bail. 



Woman ends life, brother alleges dowry harassment
Our Correspondent

Mohali, July 6
A young woman of Kansal village died yesterday after consuming some poisonous substance. Monica, aged 28, was taken to the General Hospital, Sector 16, Chandigarh, by her in-laws where she died .

The police said the body was handed over to the parents of the deceased after a post-mortem examination. Her viscera had been sent for a chemical examination to Patiala.

Action would be taken in this regard after getting the report from Patiala, the police said.

According to the police, Monica had got married on April 24, 1999, and had two children. Her daughter was about five years old while her son was about two and a half years old.

She used to remain mentally upset and when she was alone in the house yesterday she tried to take the extreme step.Her parents lived in Maloya village.

The police has registered a case under Section 304-B and 34 of the IPC on the complaint of the brother of the deceased, Mr Sanjiv Kumar.

The brother of the deceased alleged that her sister was harassed by her in-laws who demanded dowry. No arrests have been made by the police so far. 



Heroin worth Rs 2 lakh seized; 1 held
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 6
With the arrest of an Uttar Pradesh resident, the police today claimed to have recovered 200 gm of heroin worth Rs 6 lakh from his possession.
Sources in the Sector 17 police station said the accused, 32-year-old Mukesh Kumar of Uttar Pradesh was arrested from behind the Neelam cinema in Sector 17, here this morning. His search led to the recovery of 200 gm of heroin.

The accused during the preliminary interrogation told the police that he had smuggled the contraband to deliver it to a local customer. A case was registered in this regard.

The police said they would take him in police remand to trace the network, behind the trafficking of the contraband and its buyer.

Smack seized: The Operation Cell of the Chandigarh Police arrested Surjit Singh of Sector 41 from Sector 40 and 41 roundabout on Wednesday and claimed to have recovered 3 gm of smack from his possession. A case was registered in this regard.

Theft: Dr Archana of Sector 35-D lodged a complaint with the police alleging that Raman, her employee, working as a lab technician, at her Sector 44-based laboratory allegedly stole Rs 27,000 from her office on June 30. A case of theft was registered in this regard.

Three wheeler stolen: Mr Raksha Kumar of Bapu Dham Colony, reported to the police alleging that his three-wheeler was stolen from his residence during the intervening night of July 4 and 5. A case of theft was registered in the Sector 26 police station.



Doctors wanted in paper leak case
Tribune News Service

Mohali, July 6
Following a lead in the Punjab PMET paper leak case, the Mohali police is working on nabbing a group of doctors of Malerkotkla, Sangrur and Gurdaspur. These doctors, some of whom are in government service, were reportedly in touch with a doctor from Ropar who was to supply the “leaked” question paper for their wards.

Mr Naunihal Singh, SSP, Mohali, said the question paper was to reach this “paper retailer” just after midnight from the chain of those dealing in the question paper in Delhi and Lucknow.

“However, the paper never reached this person since the chain broke in the middle. He had demanded Rs 5 lakh from buyers before the test and following the test another Rs 10 lakh had to be paid,” he added.

The Mohali police had some days ago picked up a doctor from Anandpur Sahib for questioning before letting him off.



Three surrender in fake currency scam
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 6
Three accused in a four-year-old case of fake currency notes today surrendered in the court of Judicial Magistrate (First Class), Mr RK Mehta, here.
The accused convicted by a court of the Additional District and Session Judge had sentenced them for being involved in the fake currency note scam.

The accused, Javeed, Rasheed and Mohammed Hussain, could not avail the opportunity of filing an appeal against the conviction in the higher court. Following this the accused surrendered before the Judicial Magistrate.

The main accused, Mohammed Hussain, a resident of Daria village, used to exchange fake currency notes of Rs 500 denominations. The accused used to exchange the notes with the passengers at the Chandigarh Railway Station on the pretext of exchanging notes of smaller denominations.



Rash driving claims motorcyclist’s life
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 6
A motorcyclist was killed while the pillion rider was seriously injured when the vehicle they were riding rammed into a road divider near Fun Republic today morning. Police sources said the accident took place around 2.30 am when the person driving the motorcycle lost control over the it while negotiating a curve. The motorcycle was being reportedly driven at a high speed.

The driver and the pillion rider sustained multiple injuries in the accident. One of them later died while the other is still admitted tot the PGI.

They were identified as Ashwani Kumar and Sunil Kumar of Sector 24, both in their early 20s.



Air fare to increase from today 
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 6
From tomorrow, air travel from the City Beautiful to Delhi, Mumbai and Jammu will cost more. In wake of the increase in aviation fuel surcharge, the air carriers operating from the city have decided to increase the fares with effect from tomorrow.

All three airlines, operating from here — Indian Airlines, Jet Airways and Air Deccan, have decided to increase the fares by Rs 300 per person. Sources say that the aviation fuel surcharge has increased from Rs 200 per head to Rs 500 per head, and thus they have decided to increase the fares.

While those who have booked their tickets earlier will not have to pay the enhanced fares, those who book the tickets tomorrow onwards will have to pay the extra fares. 



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