P U N J A B    S T O R I E S


Complaint against IGs Saini, Reddy baseless: VB
Ajay Banerjee
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 6
A complaint against two IGs of the Punjab Police — Mr Sumedh Singh Saini and Mr C.S.R. Reddy — has been found to be "baseless" by the state Vigilance Bureau. In the complaint lodged by the Chandigarh-based Lawyers for Human Rights International (LHRI) allegations were levelled regarding the ownership of property against the two officials.

The bureau has "filed" the complaint. The word "filed" in official language means no further action will be taken on the matter.

The DGP, Vigilance, Punjab, Mr Mohd Izhar Alam, confirmed the development to The Tribune today, adding that the complaint lodged by the LHRI against the two IGs was "filed" a couple of weeks ago as it had "no basis" to it. There was nothing which could have been inquired into, Mr Alam added. The LHRI had lodged a series of complaints in November, 2005, relating to land in Kansal village, Mohali district. Copies of the complaint were also sent to the Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, and investigating agencies like the CBI and the Central Vigilance Commission.

In the case of Mr Reddy, it has been found that he does not even own the 28 kanals mentioned in the complaint. This land is actually owned by Dr Sri Dhara Reddy, a brother of a senior Punjab IAS official, Mr D.P. Reddy, who is not related to Mr C.S.R. Reddy, confirmed sources in the bureau.

In the same complaint the LHRI had alleged that Mr Saini "occupied" 4 acres in Kansal along with his brother, Mr Dinesh Singh, a UP-cadre IAS officer. The sources said the bureau was satisfied that Mr Saini had purchased the land in 1998 by making payments through cheques. The money was from the sale proceeds of ancestral property — a bungalow built by his parental grandparents, both doctors, in Jalandhar.

The LHRI had alleged that the revenue records were changed, tampered with and forged to bring in the names of purchasers in the column of ownership of this land in Kansal. It had also alleged that huge construction had been carried out on the said land. On the land of Mr Saini there was no construction and trees were planted, and the bureau was satisfied with the evidence on record, said the sources.

Mentioning more property owned by Mr Saini, the LHRI had said that he owned 1 acre in Hoshiarpur, 10 acres in different villages of Mandi district, Himachal Pradesh, 3 acres in Sohana, Mohali district, one bungalow in a posh locality in Delhi, two flats in Ghaziabad, two flats in Shimla, one flat in Chandigarh and a house in Lucknow.

The sources in the bureau said that Mr Saini, in his reply to a written reference from the bureau, provided evidence to prove that his grandfather or his father (a retired Chief Engineer, now deceased) originally owned most of these properties. Mr Saini had said that he was just an inheritor. These were purchased before he had even joined the IPS in 1982 and were reflected in his property returns with due intimation to the Government of India and also the Income Tax Department, Mr Saini had told the bureau in his reply.

Mr Saini has further explained that the flat in Chandigarh was allotted to him by the Chandigarh Housing Board. He had raised a loan and also used the rental income — running into a couple of lakhs of rupees a month — from his ancestral property. A flat in Ghaziabad and the house in Lucknow (owned by his brother) were purchased from the money accruing from the rental incomes of ancestral property, bank loans and partly from the sale of ancestral property. All other property mentioned in the complaint was purely inherited.


Cong opens new front against SGPC
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, July 6
Even as the dirt of clash between the two warring factions of the Akali Dal in the Golden Temple premises is yet to settle down, the SGPC today got into another controversy for the alleged misuse of gurdwara funds worth Rs 2.50 crore at the behest of the SAD chief, Mr Parkash Singh Badal.

Mr Harminder Singh Gill, general secretary, Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee and member Punjab State Subordinate Services Board and Prof Gurvinder Singh Mammanke, Chairman Improvement Trust, Tarn Taran, on Thursday produced documentary proof of ordering gurdwara managers to hire buses to bring people to the SAD conferences held on June 14 and 16 at Tarn Taran to mark the 400th martyrdom of Guru Arjan Dev.

Showing documents, Mr Gill alleged that Mr Harbeant Singh, secretary, SGPC, asked the managers of 54 gurdwaras under the committee to hire buses with all other expenses of petrol etc for the women's conference held on July 14 and main conference of Mr Badal on July 16.

This was done on the orders of Mr Avtar Singh Makkar, president, SGPC, and on the demand of Akali MLAs and SGPC members belonging to various constituencies.

The Congress leaders said the SGPC had spent about Rs 2.50 crore from the Guru ki Golak for this purpose only. He alleged that leaders of the Delhi Akali Dal were given 100 buses after hiring (Rs 17,000 each) from Dharam Prachar Committee funds.

They alleged that the SGPC also spent huge amount on arranging five star langar for the visiting BJP leaders and dignitaries, which was against the tenants of Sikhism, as it does not allow separate ‘pandals’ and langar for VIPs. They alleged this was all done to get political mileage and as a show of strength in view of the forthcoming Assembly elections in the state.

They claimed that they would leave politics if any of the allegations were proved wrong. They threatened that they would file a writ petition with the Sikh Gurdwara Judicial Commission if the SAD failed to deposit the money in the Guru ki Golak.

Mr Makkar, president, SGPC, was not available on his mobile for comments. Mr Iqbal Singh, media manager, SGPC said he could not say anything officially as it was matter of records.


Golden Temple under siege of Badal: AISAD
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, July 6
The All India Shiromani Akali Dal (AISAD) today offered 'ardas' at Akal Takht amid tight security by the SGPC's task force, seeking forgiveness for the recent melee at Akal Takht, where supporters of Parkash Singh Badal and Simranjit Singh clashed with each other on the 400th foundation day of Akal Takht.

Later, while talking to the press, here today, Jaswant Singh Mann, president of AISAD, called upon the Sikh sangat to 'liberate' Akal Takht which was allegedly under siege of the SAD (Badal) controlled clergy. He said there was a need to make supreme sacrifice to liberate Akal Takht. A formal announcement would be made on November 5, Guru Nanak Dev's birthday, he added.

Mr Mann said it was unfortunate that Akal Takht Jathedar and Sikh high priests of other takhts had lost their sovereign status as SAD and SGPC had abdicated their role.

Commenting on the Akal Takht incident, Mr Mann said it had lowered the heads of the community in shame, exposing them to derision, mockery and ridicule. He said an open display of ego, false pride, and fratricide was made. He further said these forces had amounted to desecration of the sanctum sanctorum, Darbar Sahib and Akal Takht and humiliated the high principles of 'Miri Piri'.

He claimed that SAD ceased to represent the Sikh panth and had backtracked from the principles and aspirations of the community. He further said the entire SAD leadership was involved in corruption and land mafia and was asserting to bring forth their sons and sons-in-law. He said Mr Badal was projecting his son as the next Chief Minister of the state but it is the people who would decide whether he is competent or not.


Withdrawal of edict against Mann demanded
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, July 6
Baba Ram Singh of Damdami Taksal, while addressing a press conference today at Kila Harnam Singh, official residence of Mr Simranjit Singh Mann, has urged the Jathedar of Akal Takht to withdraw the edict issued against the SAD (A) president, Mr Simranjit Singh Mann and others. He termed the decision taken by the five head priests as arbitrary and a move to please one faction.

He said the appeal made by five head priests to boycott Mr Mann and his five colleagues has been strongly criticised by the Sikh Sangat not only in India but abroad also. He said this unfortunate incident could have been avoided had the Jathedar acted in an impartial manner. He said this incident had not only hurt the sentiments of Sikhs but had also denigrated the supreme temporal seat of Sikhs.

He said the Singh Sahibans should have acted in positive manner and should have tried to unite all factions. However, they created chaos and rift among the Sikh organisations, he said.

He said to celebrate the centenaries the head priests should have called a meeting of all Sikh organisations a month ago and chalked out a programme to avoid any rift. He said no Sikh martyr was even remembered from the stage nor their sacrifices highlighted or their families honoured.

He said when non Sikhs, Hindu fundamentalist like Advani, Vajpayee and Rajnath Singh; Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, and Kuldeep Nayar, who spit on the faces of Jinda and Sukha, assassins of General Vaidya, had been given time on panthic stages then why not a true Sikh like Mr Mann, who sacrificed his entire comforts and life for the Sikh cause. He said the institution of Akal Takht was open to all Sikhs.


SC stays trial in case against Ajnala
Legal Correspondent

New Delhi, July 6
The Supreme Court today stayed the trial proceedings against Shiromani Akali Dal MP Rattan Singh Ajnala in a corruption case registered against him by the Punjab Government for the alleged misuse of official position as a minister in the Badal government to possess assets disproportionate to his known sources of income.

Mr Ajnala, who was a minister between 1997 and 2002 and elected to the Lok Sabha in 2004, moved an appeal in the Supreme Court against the Punjab and Haryana High Court order rejecting his plea for stay of the trial on the question of “proper sanction” from a competent authority.

A Bench of Mr Justice K.G. Balakrsihnan and Mr Justice D.K. Jain admitted his appeal and ordered that it be tagged with the cases Mr Badal, three other SAD leaders, Mr Sohan Singh Thandal, Mr Tota Singh and Mr Gurdev Singh and some other leaders, involving the identical question of law on the issue of sanction.

The court issued notices to the Punjab Government, its Principal Secretary, Home, the Chief Director Vigilance, and the SP, Vigilance Bureau, Amritsar, seeking their replies to the special leave petition (SLP) moved by Mr Ajnala.

Mr Ajnala in the SLP said the sanction for his prosecution was obtained from the Speaker of the Punjab Vidhan Sabha by the state Vigilance Bureau on May 4, 2006, which was “wholly out of jurisdiction” as he had been a Member of Parliament since May 2004 and the competent authority to grant it was the Lok Sabha Speaker.

The High Court had rejected his petition on May 31 and directed that the trial in his case should continue but the Special Judge, Amritsar, holding the trial would not deliver the judgement till the decision of the Supreme Court on the issue of “proper sanction” raised in Mr Badal and other SAD leaders’ appeal.

The Congress government in Punjab had registered an FIR against Mr Ajnala on January 19, 2003, under the Prevention of Corruption Act and the Vigilance Bureau had subsequently filed a charge sheet on February 27, 2004, before the Amritsar Special Judge.

Mr Ajnala’s argument was that at the time of filing of the charge sheet he was an MLA but the Vigilance Bureau had not submitted any sanction papers from the Vidhan Sabha Speaker at that time. Later it got it from the Speaker when he (Mr Ajnala) was an MP.

A subsequent sanction was a defective sanction as it had to be accompanied with the charge sheet, he contended.

Besides appeals from Mr Badal and other SAD leaders, the apex court is seized of a bunch of appeals of leaders like Punjab Deputy Chief Minister Rajinder Kaur Bhattal, Railway Minister Lalu Prasad, former Kerala Chief Minister K. Karunakaran on the sanction issue and all these matters would be decided on this important question of law in a common order and, therefore, all these cases had been clubbed together.


Expelled members can’t convene meeting, says Ajnala
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, July 6
Dr Rattan Singh Ajnala, MP and president of the district unit of the Shiromani Akali Dal (Rural), here today clarified that he was still holding the post and can’t be removed.

Dr Ajnala, talking to The Tribune, said that Mr Harvinder Singh Randhawa, a senior Akali leader, and others expelled by him had no right to convene any meeting of the delegates of the district unit of the SAD and expel him from the primary membership of the party.


DEO office fails to send full relief amount
Perneet Singh
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, July 6
While the substandard rice sent to tsunami-hit states had already earned a bad name for Punjab, the local DEO (Elementary) office did something similar by not sending a part of the relief amount collected for the tsunami-hit even after one-and-a-half years of the tragedy.

When the matter was brought to the notice of the Deputy Commissioner, Mr Rahul Bhandari, he marked its enquiry to the Assistant Commissioner (Grievances), Mr Balbir Singh on June 26. The Democratic Teachers Front (DTF) had also raised the issue.

In a release issued here, Major Basant Kumar of the DTF said that Rs 72,100 from Bathinda block, Rs 29,400 from Phul East, Rs 38,120 from Phul West, Rs 45,000 from Sangat block, and Rs 8,050 from office staff, which were collected for the tsunami-hit, were sent through a draft on March 24 last year.

However, Rs 23,140 raised from Nathana block and Rs 29,950 collected from Talwandi Sabo block remained unsent.

The Assistant Commissioner said the dealing clerk got promoted as teacher and transferred to Lehra Bega. Neither she gave any account of the funds lying with her nor did the education department officials seek any details from her.

He said a large-scale reshuffle of superintendents also took place in the department at that time. Amid these transfers, the record of these funds amounting to Rs 53,090 remained unattended to.

However, the order for a probe by the DC sent the Education Department officials in a tizzy and they traced the amount and got it deposited from the then clerk. As of now, the amount has been deposited in the Red Cross fund.

The Assistant Commissioner said that he had already submitted his report to the DC who would now decide the fate of the relief amount.

When contacted, the Deputy Commissioner, Mr Rahul Bhandari, said he would seek an explanation from the DEO (Elementary) and the clerk as to why the relief amount was not sent in time.

As the tsunami relief account would have closed by now, the money would be sent to the Chief Minister’s Relief Fund.


SAD-BJP meeting on seat sharing on July 9
Suhshil Goyal
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, July 6
On the issue of seat sharing between the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) for the ensuing Assembly elections in Punjab, a joint meeting of both the parties will be held at Ludhiana on July 9.

This was disclosed by Mr Parkash Singh Badal, president of the SAD, at Bhalwan village, 13 km from here, today. Mr Badal visited Bhalwan village to participate in a “shardhanjali samaroh”, organised to pay tributes to Jathedar Nachhattar Singh Bhalwan who sacrificed his life during Operation Bluestar.

Mr Badal said Mr Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa, secretary-general of the SAD, had been made chairman of the SAD committee, which would hold negotiations with other political parties on the issue of seat sharing in the months to come. He said the SAD had started constituency level rallies in the state and would organise about 20 such rallies every month.


IMA plans stir on Venugopal issue
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, July 6
The sudden removal of Dr P. Venugopal, an internationally renowned cardiac surgeon and Director of the All-India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), by the Union Health Minister, Dr Anbhumani Ramadoss, has irked the Punjab unit of the Indian Medical Association (IMA), which, has dubbed it as ‘nothing but, direct political interference in the affairs of the premier medical institution.’

Dubbing Dr Venugopal as “father figure” and “pride of the country” who dedicted his entire life to the medical profession, Dr M.S. Randhawa, the patron of the IMA, Punjab, said the IMA was not going to take Dr Venugopal’s removal lightly. “Actually, Dr Ramadoss is a villain and he wanted Dr Venugopal to use arm-twisting measures against doctors during their recent strike against renewed reservation,” said Dr Randhawa.

Dr Randhawa alleged that the step taken by the Union Health Minister was a step to “browbeat medical fraternity.” “We are not going to tolerate all this. We are in the process of coordinating a protest in northern region. We won’t allow Dr Ramadoss to go ahead with his moves aimed at dividing the medical fraternity,” asserted Dr Randhawa.

Deploring the act of Dr Ramadoss and the Centre government, Dr G.S. Gill and Dr Yash Sharma, president and assistant secretary of the IMA, Punjab, respectively, demanded immediate revocation of the removal orders of Dr Venugopal. “We support the agitation carried out by the doctors of the AIIMS and the IMA, Punjab, would be participating in any agitation contemplated and planned by the national IMA.”

AMRITSAR: “Shakti” a women’s organisation, headed by the district vice-president of the BJP, Ms Lakshmi Kanta Chawla, staged a dharna at Hall Gate here on Thursday to protest against the expulsion of Dr Venugopal.

Speaking on the occasion, Ms Chawla said that expulsion of the head of a premier institute like AIIMS reflected the dictatorial attitude of the UPA government headed by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. She said the government, by taking action against the head of AIIMS, was inciting the highly educated and talented professionals to leave the country.


Sack of Venugopal unfortunate, says Sukhbir Badal
Our Correspondent

Hoshiarpur, July 6
Mr Sukhbir Singh Badal, MP and general secretary of the SAD, has termed the sacking of Dr P. Venugopal from the post of Director of the All -India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) was most unfortunate following which members of the Resident Doctors Association of the institution had gone on strike.

He said the political procedure followed to terminate his services was a direct insult to a person of great stature. Before taking such a drastic decision, members of all the organisations of the AIIMS should have been taken into confidence. Mr Sukhbir Badal was talking to media persons at the residence of Mr Avtar Singh Johal, a local SAD leader here today.


Sarpanches yet to get honorarium, says union
Sarbjit Dhaliwal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 6
“When will the Punjab Government start giving Rs 600 per month as honorarium to sarpanches and Rs 300 per month to each panchayat for cleanliness and sanitation in the village concerned?” This question was posed today by the Punjab Panchayat Union to the state government.

Union leaders said that while presenting the Budget in the Vidhan Sabha on March 7 for the current financial year, the government had announced that each sarpanch in the state would be given Rs 600 as honorarium and each village Rs 300 to engage a safai sevak to maintain sanitation. However, the government had failed to implement the announcement, said Mr Sukhdev Singh Barke and Mr Yadvinder Singh Kasam Bhatti, president and general secretary of the union.

They said the government had also made an announcement with regard to enhancement of the honorarium of chowkidars in villages from Rs 200 to Rs 600 per month. “We have information that chowkidars are already getting Rs 600 per month”, they added. With regard to the honorarium to sarpanches and the engaging of safai sevaks, union representatives had met senior officers concerned but they had been saying that they had not finalised the scheme in this regard yet.

Mr Sukhdev Singh said the state government was treating a village sarpanch and a chowkidar on a par because it had announced the same amount of honorarium for both. “One can imagine how much respect the government extends to a sarpanch”, he said.

“The government is keen on getting publicity by making high-sounding statements in the Budget but practically it is doing nothing”, said Mr Sukhdev Singh, announcing that the union would start a stir against the government.

“We will organise a dharna in front of the Punjab Vidhan Sabha at the time of its session on September 14 and 15 to protest against the denying of powers to panchayati raj institutions”, said the union leaders. Mr Yadvinder Singh said that the Government had been misleading people as well as the Union Government and the Congress chief, Mrs Sonia Gandhi, as far as giving powers to village panchayats was concerned. He said the “union has sought an appointment with Mrs Gandhi to bring to her notice the reality. We will tell her how the Punjab Government is denying powers to panchayats”, he said.


Commission hears grievances of SC members
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, July 6
Hundreds of members of the Scheduled Caste community today aired grievances before the chairman and members of the Punjab State Scheduled Caste Commission (PSSCC) at a meeting of the PSSCC in the district administration complex here.

They presented their grievances with regard to police atrocities, problems in availing benefits of the welfare schemes, bank loans, subsidies, disrespect to the representatives of the Scheduled Castes in police and civil offices, BPL facilities and social security pension schemes.

Mr Naranjan Singh, Chairman, PSSCC, Mr B.R. Banga and Mr Kewal Singh, Ex-MP both members of the PSSCC, heard the grievances in the presence of the district officers from the police and the civil administration. However, about the absence of Mr S.K. Asthana, SSP, Barnala police district, from the meeting Mr Naranjan Singh, chairman, said that he could not attend the meeting as he had been running from high fever.

Most of the grievances and problems of the Scheduled Castes (SCs) were heard in a hasty manner as their applications or representatives had been handed over to the ADC (D) or other officers for redressal.

Mr Naranjan Singh said the Deputy Commissioner and the SSP, Sangrur, would told a meeting on first Tuesday of every month at Sangrur to redress the problems of the Scheduled Castes while the Deputy Commissioner and the Barnala SSP would hold such a meeting on first Wednesday of every month at Barnala. He also asked the authorities to set up de-addiction centres in the jails.

Mr Naranjan Singh also asked the officers to give due respect to the SC sarpanches and panches in their offices. He also heard the grievances of the sarpanches and the panches.


Nabha police faces MCPI’s ire
Our Correspondent

Patiala, July 6
The Punjab unit of the Marxist Communist Party of India (MCPI) has condemned the alleged police inaction against the culprits responsible for beating up one Mr Nachattar Singh, an office-bearer of the MCPI.

In a press statement, Mr Prem Singh Bhangu and Mr Chander Shekhar, members of the State Preparatory Committee of the MCPI, said the Nabha Kotwali police officials had falsely implicated Nachattar Singh in cases under Section 502 and 452 IPC.

They said following a dispute over the possession of a shop in Nabha, the police allegedly dragged Nachattar Singh out of the shop using hired men and started beating him up.

Mr Bhangu and Mr Chander Shekhar also alleged that the sons of Nachattar Singh were also being harassed by the Nabha police and this despite the fact that they had been granted anticipatory bail by a court.

The party leaders urged the Patiala Senior Superintendent of Police to intervene in the case and also maintained that the “party will not remain silent spectators in the case and will start a struggle in the form of a peaceful dharna in front of Nabha kotwali if the police continued to harass Nachattar Singh”.

Meanwhile the Nabha DSP, Mr Santokh Singh, when contacted, said Nachattar Singh and his accomplices had tried to illegally demolish the shop after breaking its lock despite the fact that a court case was going on in this connection.

He denied all allegations levelled by the MCPI and added that action would be taken against the party office-bearers if they held the dharna being planned by them. 


Badal writes to PM on visa to Pak Sikhs
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 6
The Shiromani Akali Dal President, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, has urged the Prime Minister, Dr Manmohan Singh, that visas should be issued to all Sikhs settled in Pakistan who wanted to visit historical Sikh shrines in Punjab and other parts of India.

He also demanded that for the convenience of Sikh pilgrims a visa centre should be opened in Amritsar. He wrote a letter in this regard to the Prime Minister today.

Mr Badal said that during his recent visit to Pakistan representatives of the Pakistan Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee briefed him that Sikhs settled in Pakistan wanted to visit historical Sikh shrines in India especially in Punjab, but they were not getting visas for this purpose.

He said “since Indo-Pak relations have improved and people on both sides of the border want to have better contact with each other, there is no reason for this discrimination.”

While informing the Prime Minister about the difficulties being faced by Sikh pilgrims visiting shrines in Pakistan, Mr Badal wrote: “Though the Amritsar-Lahore bus service has been started, the number of persons who can avail themselves of this facility is very low. The major hurdle is that first people go to Delhi for visas and then come to Amritsar for boarding the bus. So, to visit Lahore, which is only 45 km from Amritsar, people have to travel 900 km extra. This is very tiring as well as expensive.”

Reacting to Mr Badal’s demands, several Congress Ministers said that he need not worry in this regard as the Chief Minister had already taken up all these issues with the Centre.


Mother demands punishment for accused
Tribune News Service

Ropar, July 6
The mother of a four-year-old boy who was sodomised and strangulated to death on July 1 along with a local resident of the city today took out a rally from Dashmesh colony to Deputy Commissioner's Office demanding that the accused juvenile be arrested in the case.

The mother of the deceased, Poonam, also submitted a memorandum to the DC, Mr Alok Sekhar, for the Chief Minister and the DIG, police, appealing that the juvenile who had committed a heinous crime should be given punishment so that in future he dares to commit such a crime.

The body of, Aditya Dhanraj (Bilu), who had been missing since July 1, was taken out from a gutter located in the accused house on July 3. The police on July 4 had arrested a 17-year-old juvenile, in connection of the brutal murder case of Aditya. The accused turned out to be a neighbour of the deceased.

A case under Sections 302 and 377 of the IPC has been registered.


Memorial to BSF martyrs unveiled
Our Correspondent

Ferozepore, July 6
To commemorate bravery and devotion of the duty of BSF officers and jawans while fighting insurgents in the Kashmir Valley, the Border Security Force has raised a memorial at Faridkot Chowk at the entrance of the town. It was inaugurated here today by Commissioner, K.S. Sidhu.

At a moving ceremony smartly dressed BSF men reversed arms as a mark of respect to departed heroes when Mr Sidhu unveiled the memorial. Mr Sidhu said no nation can afford to forget gallant sons of the soil who went to the gallows and attained martyrdom for the sake of motherland. Recalling contribution of Punjabis from the days of Anglo Sikh wars to the Independence struggle and thereafter in Indo-Pak conflicts, Mr Sidhu said the memorial in the memory of BSF personnel from this border town of Punjab, who died fighting for the nation would continue to inspire generations.


Nominations for Bravery Awards
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 6
The Indian Council for Child Welfare, New Delhi, has invited applications for Bravery Awards, 2006. Children between the age of six and 18, who have shown exemplary courage between July 1, 2005, and June 30, 2006, are eligible for nomination.

The applications can be forwarded to the Child Welfare Council, Punjab, at their Karuna Sadan Office in Sector 11, Chandigarh. The application forms are available at the offices of Deputy Commissioners of respective districts or at the office of the Child Welfare Council, Punjab. The last date for receipt of applications is September 15, 2006.


Oil tank catches fire at thermal plant
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, July 6
A tragedy was averted when a fire that broke out on the thermal plant premises was doused in time with the aid of fire engines here today.

The Chief Engineer of the Guru Nanak Dev Thermal Plant, Mr N.S. Thethi, said that the incident took place while installation work of fire censors in four oil tanks was on. He said the tank that caught fire was almost empty and sludge was lying at its bottom.


Transfer of schools to panchayats challenged
Our High Court Correspondent

Chandigarh, July 5
The Punjab and Haryana High Court today issued notice of motion on a petition challenging the action of the Punjab Government in transferring control of 3949 government primary schools in rural areas and 232 primary schools in urban areas to the panchayati raj institutions and urban local bodies such as panchayats, zila parishads, etc. Earlier, the administrative control of these schools was with the Education Department.

In their petition, Ms Kuldeep Kaur and another lady, both of Fatehgarh Sahib, prayed that the notification issued by the government in this regard on March 3 be set aside and the panchayats, etc, be restrained from making appointment of 10004 primary schoolteachers. They also prayed that the advertisement issued for recruitment of 9384 elementary trained teachers be quashed as only the government is empowered to make such selections and not panchayats and other such institutions.

Today, the Bench headed by Mr Justice J.S. Khehar issued notice to the respondents for September 7.


One held for duping people
Tribune News Service

Batala, July 6
The police has busted a fake human rights group which was duping people of the area in the name of providing government jobs and grants under social welfare schemes.

SSP Batala L.K. Yadav said counter-intelligence wing got the information regarding the working of such group. Officials contacted Harvinder Singh of Chahal Kalan village who claimed to be the chairman of Human Rights group and was running his office on the Batala-Dera Baba Nanak road. Harvinder Singh offered Rs 5000 bribe to officials who contacted him for hushing up the case.

He was called to a place today and arrested while handing over Rs 4000 as bribe to police officials. As people came to know about the arrest of Harvinder Singh, they came to the police with complaints against the accused.

Surinder Kaur and Gurdev Singh of Kajampur village in a complaint to the police alleged the accused took Rs 1.20 lakh and Rs 70,000 from them, respectively, to get government jobs to their children.

Manjeet Kaur of Araket village also alleged the accused took Rs 50,000 to get government job to her son.

The accused also duped 25 poor persons of Kotha village to help them get grants under the Indira Nivas Yojna. He took Rs ranging from 1000 to Rs 1700 from the residents of the said village to help them get loans. All duped persons have now given a joint affidavit against the accused to the police.

The SSP said further investigation into the case was on. The police is receiving complaints from victims of the accused. Links of the accused with government officials are also being probed.

A case under the prevention of corruption act and for duping common people has been registered against Harvinder Singh and his brother Palvinder Singh. Harvinder Singh has been arrested.


Leader of ‘supari’ gang arrested
Our Correspondent

Hoshiarpur, July 6
The police has arrested Avtar Singh, a son of Dilbag Singh of Mohkamgarh, a leader of the gang of “supari” killers, under Section 25 of the Arms Act and seized one .315-bore pistol along with five live cartridges and one .12-bore pistol along with 10 live cartridges from him today. This was stated in a press release by Mr R.N. Dhoke, SSP, here. Two FIRs had been registered against him.

It was revealed in the press note that during interrogation, Avtar Singh said that he purchased the arms and ammunition from Uttar Pradesh and used to take “supari” for making assaults and looting.

Eight other members of his gang, Jaswinder Singh, alias Chira, and Vijay Kumar, both of Kharal Khurd, Jaswinder Singh, alias Laddi of Dehriwal, Sham Singh of Khakhan, Paramjit Singh, alias Pamma of Ghallan, Gurwinder Singh, alias Baba of Sahibazpur, Panna Lal of Tanda and Pawan Kumar, alias Pamma of Urmur, had already been arrested.

He said that members of this gang assaulted Hardial Singh, a son of Mohan Singh of Dehriwal, after taking “supari” for Rs 40,000 from Master Sukhdial Singh.

The members snatched a mobile phone, a gold chain and cash in the area under Begowal police station (Kapurthala) on June 28, 2006. They also snatched Rs 15,000, one mobile phone and a gold bangle from Gurmit Singh of Talwandi Dadian.


SI arrested for rape bid
Tribune News Service

Mansa, July 6
Sub-inspector Balbir Chand has been arrested on the charge of attempting to rape a woman who had lodged a complaint regarding a family dispute. SSP Ram Singh said that Jasvir Kaur, a resident of Mansa, had lodged complaints against her father-in-law Sukhdev Singh and brother-in-law Ranjeet Singh earlier this month.

The investigation into both complaints was marked to SI Balbir Chand. The victim met the sub-inspector in connection with the probe on the same evening.

The SI told her to come to his residential quarters after 8 pm to get her statement recorded as the files of the complaints were kept there.

He, reportedly, rang her up many times to ensure that she reached on time.

On her arrival, the SI invited her in and took her to his bedroom where he allegedly tried to rape her. However, she managed to escape on the pretext of bolting the door. A case has been registered against the SI under Sections 376 and 511 of the IPC.

Meanwhile, the CIA staff has arrested Preetam Singh alias Raju and seized half kg opium from his possession. The interrogation revealed that he had brought the opium from Sirsa. A case has been registered under the NDPS Act.


CM in search of 3 VCs
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 6
The Punjab Government is looking for prominent academicians to fill three posts of Vice Chancellors in three universities of the state. A committee under the Chairmanship of the Chief Secretary, Mr K.R. Lakhanpal, has been set up to find eminent academician for appointment as the Vice Chancellor of Guru Nanak Dev University, Amritsar, in place of Mr S.P. Singh, who will complete five years as VC in the third week of July.

The other two universities are Rajiv Gandhi University of Law and Guru Angad Dev University of Veterinary and Animal Sciences.

Sources said that by the end of this week, two more search committees would be formed to look for eminent scholars for appointment as Vice Chancellors of the Rajiv Gandhi University of Law and Guru Angad Dev University of Veterinary and Animal Sciences. The task will be completed by end of July, it is learnt.


PU go-ahead to law college at Sidhwan Khurd
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 6
The newly-established law college at Sidhwan Khurd, near Ludhiana, Guru Hargobind Institute of Law for Women, was yesterday granted provisional affiliation by Panjab University, Chandigarh, for running law courses. This follows the recommendation by the university’s inspection team which visited the campus recently.

In a communique to the Sri Guru Hargobind Ujagar Hari Trust, Sidhwan Khurd, the Deputy Registrar (Colleges) of Panjab University today informed that the law institute was being allowed to run two courses. These include LLB (three-year course) and BA LLB (Hons) which will be a five-year integrated course. Both the courses will have 80 seats each.

The SGHUH Trust at Sidhwan Khurd is already managing several educational institutes, including a degree college and an education college affiliated to Panjab University.


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