L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S

Killers of taxi drivers held 
Tribune News Service

The SSP Ludhiana, Mr A S Rai has recommended to the DGP that appreciation awards may be given to Inspector Gurdeep Singh, SHO Division No 1 and Inspector Gurpreet Singh, SHO Division No 2 police station for their role in nabbing the gang of alleged serial killers of taxi drivers.

The two police officials had worked in tandem and traced the links in different cases under a team headed by DSP Jatinder Singh Khaira.

Ludhiana, July 29
The police has busted a gang of alleged serial killers, who killed taxi drivers to steal their vehicle and had committed 10 such murders in the past two years. The arrested five gangsters were also suspected to be involved in 15 other murders.

Addressing a press conference here today, the SSP, Mr A.S. Rai, the SP (City-I), Mr Rakesh Aggarwal, and the DSP, Mr Jatinder Khaira, said the police had evidence that the notorious gang was involved in 10 murders and FIRs had been registered in different states in this regard.

The arrest has provided a sigh of relief not only to taxi operators but also to the police of Himachal Pradesh, Haryana and Delhi, besides Punjab. The police of these states were struggling to trace the murderers with one body after another of a taxi driver was found abandoned near highway in the past two years.

The bodies were proving quite a headache for the police. Most of the victims belonged to Ludhiana only.

The arrested gang members have been identified as Amandeep Singh, alias Sonu of Ropar, Gurmail Singh of Ranchi Colony, BRS Nagar, Lakhwinder Singh, alias Gony, Shamsher Singh, alias Tony, and Balvir Singh, alias Golu, all residents of Bhagat Singh Colony Jalandhar bypass, Ludhiana.

The officials said the police was strongly suspecting their involvement in 15 or more blind murders of taxi drivers pending investigation.

The gang has been busted just a year after a similar gang that targeted truck drivers was busted in Patiala. Another gang that targeted rickshaw and auto-rickshaws in Ludhiana was also busted last year.

Similarly, this gang targeted taxi drivers only, waylaid and killed drivers at an isolated place.

They lived in style for a month or so after selling the taxi cab at a throw away price.

The police said the accused started with stabbing the drivers but then thought strangulation was a better method.

Their latest target was Fateh Singh of Mor Karima village near Mullanpur Dakha. They had hired his black Scorpio No. PB 10 BL-6219. They killed him near Phagwara on July 24. The vehicle was sold through Kuka.

The police has recovered two sharp-edged weapons from the accused.



Man found murdered
Our Correspondent

Amloh, July 29
Baldev Singh (60) was found murdered in the compound of his house yesterday. The body was handed over to his family after post mortem today. Mr Balwant Singh, DSP, Amloh, and Mr Gurkirpal Singh, SHO, alongwith police force reached the site immediately. The police has registered a case under Section 302 IPC, against his only son Kulwinder Singh (28) for his alleged involvement in the murder of his father.

Deceased Baldev Singh lived at his small farm house in Ward number 2, Amloh. He owns about one acre piece of land in which he cultivated vegetables etc for his livelihood. He used to earn some money from the sale of milk from two buffaloes. He lived in his house along with his wife, Ms Harbans Kaur and his son, Kulwinder Singh. His son is married at Sounti village near here. His wife, along with her child, was living at her parental house for the past one month, according to Mrs Harbans Kaur.

When asked about the incident, Mrs Harbans Kaur said she along with her son were sleeping in the room while her husband was sleeping in the compound of the house. The boundary wall has a broken gate. They found him dead in the morning with head injury. 



Akali factional fight may lead to fratricidal war
K.S. Chawla

Ludhiana, July 29
The factional fight between various Akali groups has started taking a serious turn particularly after July 2 incidents when Mr Simranjit Singh Mann, President, Akali Dal (Amritsar) was prevented from addressing the congregation and there was scuffle between the supporters of Mr Mann and the Akali Dal (Badal). Consequently the turbans of prominent personalities among the Sikhs flew in the air.

This was a sad incident for the Sikhs who have always insisted that the turban had special place in the Sikh identity. Unfortunately the party in power in the SGPC failed to handle the situation and respond to the claims of various dissident groups that all the Sikh groups irrespective of their ideology should have been allowed to speak at the 400th anniversary of the establishment of the Akal Takht. This could have been a good manifestation of the solidarity of the Sikh Panth towards the Akal Takht. Sadly this has sharpened the factional fight. The July 2 incident was followed by another serious incident at Circuit House at Ludhiana on July 9 and another such incident at Patiala at Gurdwara Dukh Niwaran. The SGPC authorities in both the incidents at the Golden Temple Complex and Gurdwara Dukh Niwaran ordered the task force to go into action and they behaved like a private army.

This was unprecedented. The use of private army by the erstwhile mahants at Nanakana Sahib triggered off the gurdwara reform movement. If the present party in power also resorts to such tactics, none can predict the turn of events in the Akali politics. It is in this light that the call of Mr Manjit Singh Calcutta and the other Sikh organisations and the Akali factions for launching gurdwara reform movement can be understood. The aggressive postures takenby the SGPC authorities, task force and the Akali Dal (Badal) are leading the entire Sikh community to fratricidal warf. The task force was organised to weed out anti-social elements from the gurdwaras. Subsequently, the political masters inducted many persons of questionable conduct in this force who have assumed the position of musclemen of the SGPC. This is a dangerous trend. what will happen in future is yet to be seen.

The events that followed prove the above postulates. A desperate Akali Dal (Badal) advised the Jathedar of Akal Takht to grant general pardon to those who have been excommunicated from the Khalsa Panth. According to Prof Prithipal singh Kapoor former pro-vice chancellor, Guru Nanak Dev University and a renowned Sikh scholar it is an unprecedented act on the part of the Jathedar of the Akal Takht which has no parallel in history. For any violation of traditions, people had to submit to Akal Takht and atone for the violation.

This was, perhaps, an attempt to elicit the support of people who matter and who could help Mr Parkash Singh Badal in his tirade against the splinter group and toe his line blaming the Congress for all ills of the Sikh community.

By implication it can be said that hukamnamas issued against the Nirankaris and the rashtriya Sikh Sangat by Akal Takhat have been nullified. The Jathedar of the akal takhat owes an explanation to the Sikh community on this point.

Lt Col Chanan Singh Dhillon (Retd) president, Ex-Services League, Punjab and Chandigarh and a Sikh intellectual has also taken exception to the edict issued by the Akal Takht granting general amnesty to all those who have been excommunicated from the sikhism and calling them to rejoin the Sikh mainstream.

Col Dhillon observed that this edict like many other edicts had confused Sikhs and had also eroded the authority of Akal Takhat. The Sikhs were perplexed over the pardon granted to Nirankaris and it smacked of political overtones. This edict would have far reaching and adverse effects on the sentiments of Sikhs. “We feel that behind this edict, there are people who masquerade as Panthic leaders but are pulling the strings to achieve political power as they had been doing after the Operation Bluestar to which they were privy and they did nothing when they came into power.”

Whatever is happening on the Sikh religious scene in Punjab is unlikely to help Mr Parkash Singh Badal whose credentials as custodian of the Sikh interests have always been in doubt. On the other hand it may damage the interests of the Akalis for their return to power.



Ex-MP visits ancestral village in Pak
Our Correspondent

Sahnewal, July 29
The visit of former Member of Parliament Rajinder Kaur Bulara to her native place in Pakistan was not less than a second birth for her, after she left it as a five-year-old.
She owes her indebtedness for this journey to the SGPC, which enabled her to relive the memories of her childhood. "I was literally elated to visit my forefathers' place along with my daughter Harlep Kaur, daughter-in-law Jaskirat Kaur and two grand-daughters."

Talking of her inheritance, she says, “Our haveli comprised 26 rooms that served varied purposes. My grandfather Bahal Singh Raja Jung was a magistrate in those times and an uncle was inspector. A 'court' was held in the haveli periodically and cases were settled by my grandfather.”

"Even today every Pakistani Punjabi, like us, wishes that the two Punjabs should unite to rejoice, celebrate and share each others joys and sorrows once again. I am confident that the thin political line is so fragile that it will break one day when the tide of 'love' shall overflow its banks," she added.

Jaskirat, the daughter-in-law,said they visited the Food Street, the Mall, Lyalpur, the memorial of Ranjit Singh and Nankana Sahib Gurdwara.

According to Harlep, the daughter of Ms Bulara, "We can never forget their hospitality.

Nothing is different from this Punjab except that we have to learn a little more hospitality from those people."

"Our visit was a grand achievement. It gave me an ecstatic bliss that my heart was yearning for the past six decades,"concluded Ms Bulara. 



Congress gears up for elections
Vimal Sumbly
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 29
As part of the mass contact programme jointly launched by Congress party and Punjab Government a ‘jan sampark’ function was organised, here last evening at New Model Town in Ludhiana West constituency being represented by Mr. Harnam Dass Johar, Minister for Public Health.

Mr Shamsher Singh Dullo, president, Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee (PCC) presided over the function. Prominent among those who addressed the function included Mr Lal Singh, Rural Development, Panchayats and Food and Civil Supplies Minister, Mr Harnam Dass Johar, Mr Manish Tiwari, secretary, All-India Congress Committee and others.

Addressing the function, Mr Dullo asserted that the party cadre had been fully geared up and during the mass contact programme, a series of rallies, one in each constituency was being organised to educate the people about the achievements of the government in the state.

He claimed that during the present tenure of the Congress government, the state had witnessed a record allround development and the economy had recorded substantial improvement, as a result of which funds amounting to thousands of crores were being spent on the development projects in all parts of the state.

The PCC president claimed that the farmers problems had been properly looked into and all their crops had been lifted without any harassment and many new schemes had been started for the weaker sections, particularly Dalits.

Mr Lal Singh while addressing the function said, with the improvement in the financial condition, the state had emerged as a most favoured destination of the corporate sector and so far, the empowered committee on mega projects had approved 203 mega projects worth Rs 73000 crore with a potential of 16 lakh jobs for unemployed youth. He said the government had also released funds of Rs 650 crore under Punjab Nirman Programme for the fast development of urban and rural areas of the state.

Mr Manish Tiwari called upon the workers to educate the people about the excellent performance of both the state government headed by Capt Amarinder Singh and the UPA Government headed by Dr Manmohan Singh.

Mr Harnam Dass Johar thanked the people for turning up in large numbers in the mass contact function and assured that he would continue to strive hard for the development of the constituency for which he had already spent more than Rs 36 crore on various projects.

Mr Gurbinder Singh Atwal, general secretary PPCC, Mr Malkiat Singh Dakha, Mr Nahar Singh Gill Mayor, Mr Jagmohan Sharma, president, DCC, Dimple Rana, Usha Malhotra, Mr Mohinder Pal Lalka, Mr Som Nath Grower, Mr Prem Mittal, Senior Deputy Mayor, and Mrs Shushil Gupta, Deputy Mayor, also attended the function. Mr K.K. Bawa, Chairman, Housefed, Mr Gurkirat Singh Kotli, Adviser to Mr Dullo, Mr Parminder Mehta, secretary, PPCC, Mr Atik-ur-Rehaman, Mr Ajay Johar, Mr Bittu Bhullar and Mr Pawan Dewan were also present on the occasion.



Manhole victim to get Rs 1 lakh as relief
Kanchan Vasdev
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 29
Coming to the aid of a local resident, who had become paralysed after falling in an open manhole, the Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, has granted him Rs 1 lakh from the Chief Minister Relief Fund.

Mr Rakesh Talwar, a resident of Haibowal Kalan, has received a letter from the CM’s office stating that he can collect a cheque of Rs 1 lakh from the office of the Ludhiana Deputy Commissioner.

The CM has also directed the Deputy Commissioner to hand over the cheque to Mr Talwar and send a receipt to CM’s office at Chandigarh. The letter states that the CM had decided to provide economic help to the manhole victim through his fund.

Thanking The Tribune and the Chief Minister, an elated Mr Talwar said that had his plight not been highlighted in these columns repeatedly nobody would have cared for him.

The former Deputy Commissioner, Mr Anurag Verma, had sent the clippings to the CM’s office which Mr Talwar had gathered from the newspapers about his plight.

He said that he would go to the DC’s office to collect the cheque on Monday. “Though I am feeling very happy at the development, at the same time, I am disappointed that the MC had not bothered about me. It was the moral duty of former Commissioner, Mr S.K.Sharma to compensate me as I had fallen in the MC manhole which was uncovered pointing towards civic body’s negligence.”

Mr Talwar had been fighting his case to get compensation from the MC for the past many years. Even the Punjab State Human Rights Commission had closed the proceedings of a case moved by him stating that his case was subjudiced.

On the day of the incident in 1998, he claims that he was driving his scooter through a flooded street in the Dhobi Ghat area. He was not able to anticipate the open manhole and his scooter had got stuck in it. He fell on the road and the cover of the manhole hit his head. He was injured in his head and the right side of his body was totally paralysed. 



ASI suspended for faux pas over posters
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 29
The city SSP, Mr A S Rai, today suspended an Assistant Sub-Inspector of police (ASI) for his alleged negligence leading to the pasting of the photo of an ‘innocent’ girl on the ‘most-wanted’ posters of Neeru, alias Pooja, an allegedly notorious conwoman accused in four murder cases.

Besides suspending the police official, ASI Gurwinder Singh posted with CIA-II, for not properly verifying the picture, the SSP told a press conference here today that Shob Raj alias Bobby, brother of the accused woman, Neeru, had mislead the police by furnishing the wrong picture. Both Bobby and his mother were already arrested as co-accused in the Raghav Jeweller murder case.

Bobby has been booked under Sections 419 and 201 of the IPC. Mr Rai said the case against him was registered on the statement of ASI Gurwinder Singh only. The ASI had stated that Bobby had handed him the wrong picture.

The faux pas of the city police in circulating an innocent girl's picture as a criminal was exposed by the media.

The goof-up shook the Police Department. Senior officials including IG Hardeep Dhillon, and DIG Parag Jain had ordered an inquiry. 



Prayers for fellow villagers stuck in Lebanon
Mahesh Sharma

Kalhaarh, (Ahmedgarh), July 26
Residents of this nondescript village in Ludhiana are praying for an early and comprehensive ceasefire in Lebanon, as at least six persons of the village, four from one family, are still stranded there.

This despite assurances from some NRIs that they were settled far from strategic installations, which could be the targets of Israeli forces. But the growing tension in the Middle-East have villagers glued to their TVs to keep abreast of the fluid situation in Lebanon.

A large number of youths left this village for Lebanon during the dark days of terrorism. At least 10 persons of this village are living in the war-ravaged zone. Six of them, including three brothers, and two couples are said to be waiting for their turn for evacuation.

Ajaib Singh (70), a farmer, is praying, as three of his six sons and one daughter-in-law are stranded there. "Though my sons have tried to console me by saying they were settled away from strategic installations and had no risk to their lives, I know that they were trying to hide the exact situation. This is not the first time that we are praying for a ceasefire, but I cannot bear the tormenting situation any more and would insist that they should return and live with their families," he says.

Referring to the information received from his daughter-in-law, Ms Gurdip Kaur, wife of Jasmel Singh, on telephone today, even basic amenities, including potable water, was not available to them these days.

Gulzar Singh, one of the three brothers, had a narrow escape last week when a bomb fell near a gurdwara where he had gone to pay obeisance during a fierce shelling.

Jasmel Singh shifted to Lebanon during terrorism period and later called his brothers Tara Singh and Gulzar Singh to shift there. Though the three brothers had gone there in search of greener pastures, they had not earned much till now and were working at a horticultural farm.

"Compared with the sacrifice my sons have to make by living in isolation, away from kin and children, their income can't be termed good. Even after 25 years of persistent toiling, they are yet to construct their houses in Punjab or Lebanon," rued Ajaib Singh.

The family further said that the employers of the stranded persons had been discouraging their evacuation. The three brothers had been visiting Punjab by turns in the past. Employers allow one of the three every year to come for a certain period. Thus they visit India once in three years.

Chamkuar Singh (45) and his wife Rachhpal Kaur were also stranded in Lebanon. They have two children, one of whom lives with paternal uncle and other with maternal uncle.

Brothers of Chamkaur and Rachhpal Kaur find it more difficult to console children as they get scared by reading reports about random bomb attacks on Lebanon. "Though Chamkaur and Rachhpal want to return, it is not in their hands. Everyone in Lebanon is on the mercy of Israelis or the authorities managing evacuation," said Kaka, Chamkaur's brother.

Children of these stranded persons were living with various relatives, obviously for the convenience of the host families.

Jagir Singh, one of four persons who had returned to their native home after spending around 12 years in Lebanon, is the most-sought person these days. When media reports do not satisfy the villager's quest, he explains the circumstances in the war-ravaged region.

"Devastation by war cannot be gauged by any device. Despite all international rules and restrictions about war ethics, civilians were the worst-hit in all wars in that region," stated Jagir Singh while talking to Ludhiana Tribune.

He decided not to return to that country for the sake of future of his children. "The only satisfaction I used to have during my stay there was that my salary was equal to that of an SHO in the Punjab Police," he adds in a lighter vein. 



Our Correspondent

Sukhdev Singh Gill Ludhiana, July 29
Mr Sukhdev Singh Gill, a retired Deputy Chief Engineer of the Punjab State Electricity Board, has been appointed as wholetime member of the district consumer forum, Moga.

Mr Gill has been serving as part time member of forum for the past few years.

Mr Gill has remained active in the Punjab State Electricity Board Engineers Association and served as its general secretary and vice-president. Mr Gill is also quite popular in the social circles.




Travel agent dupes youth of Rs 11 lakh 
Tribune News service

Ludhiana, July 29
The dream of a youth of making big bucks on foreign shores has once again been shattered by an unscrupulous travel agent who duped the former of Rs 11 lakh. In yet another example of how such unscrupulous agents cheat the unsuspecting unemployed youth of Punjab, who are hell bent on going abroad at any cost, has come to light with the Samrala police registering a case under Sections 406, 420 and 120 B of the IPC against the alleged accused, Parminder Singh, his wife Ranjit Kaur, daughter Jaspreet Kaur, Raju and Paramjit Kaur, on the complaint of Rajinder Singh of Katana Sahib village.

According to information, the accused were known to the complainant and they enticed him to go abroad by fraudently claiming that they had managed to send many a persons to foreign countries. Sensing that Rajinder was biting the bait they said that he should have the first installment of Rs 1 lakh ready and during a visit in October 2004, they promised to carry out the necessary arrangements on receipt of the amount.

The sum was handed over in the presence of Karnail Singh, Paramjit Singh and Balbir Singh in Kubba village. Rajinder was informed that he would be sent to Bangkok first and from there he will be sent to the United Kingdom (UK). As per the agreement, the remaining amount would be paid when he reached England.

As per the plan, Rajinder reached Bangkok on December 11, 2004, and met Parminder Singh, who had reached there earlier. It was here that things took a turn for the worse. Rajinder was pressurised to make the balance payment and threatened that if he did not heed to the warnings, he would be handed over to the local police, where Parminder claimed, he had a lot of influence.

Finding no way out of the mess, Rajinder telephoned his parents back home and the payments of Rs 1 lakh were made to Hardev Singh by Paramjit and Balbir on December 20, 2004, Rs 2 lakh on December 25, Rs 1.5 lakh on January 2, 2005.

But that was not the end of story. Parminder who wanted the rest of the money to be deposited in his bank account, number 001701515210 with Feroze Gandhi market branch of ICICI, that was done on various occasions in January, 2005.

As per the complaint, not satisfied with the money received so far, Parminder got Rajinder arrested by the Bangkok police on some charges. He was fortunate enough to inform his relatives and managed to reach back home on February 25, 2005.

On reaching here, he visited Parminder on many occasions for the refund of his money but was threatened with dire consequences every time.

He finally gathered some courage and met the Khanna SSP on March 8, 2005, who marked an enquiry to the Economic Offences Wing (EOW). The matter was investigated by SI Bhupinder Singh of the EOW who recommended registration of the case.



Couple held for cheating
Our Correspondent

Jagraon, July 29
Amarjit Kaur, sarpanch of Bhaini Dareran village, and her husband Kuldip Singh have been booked for accepting Rs 1,000 as graft from Dogar Khan of the same village for issuing government grant. The Raikot police has registered a case under Sections 406 and 420, IPC. No arrest has been made so far. OC

FOUR BOOKED: Ranjit Singh, Sarabjit Singh of Pakhowal village and two other persons have been booked under Sections 452, 294, 34 of the IPC for allegedly entering the house of Harjit Kaur of the same village and using abusive language and assaulting her. Some old dispute is said to be the reason behind the incident. No arrest has been made so far. OC

ONE ARRESTED: The Sidhwan Bet police arrested Resham Singh of Khurshaidpura and seized 15 kg of lahan and 11,430 ml of illicit liquor from him. A case under Sections 61, 1, 14 of the Excise Act has been registered. OC

BOOKED FOR SUICIDE ATTEMPT: The Jagraon police has booked Surinderpal Singh of Agwar Ladhai under Section 309, IPC, for attempting suicide. According to information, the wife of the Surinderpal allegedly had illicit relations with Sawinder Singh of Philli Gate, Jagraon. Surinderpal was reportedly disturbed over it and consumed poison at his residence. He, however, survived. No arrest has been made so far. OC

9 BOOKED FOR ASSAULT: Charanjit Kaur, her husband Inderjit Singh, their son Charan Singh and Jassa Singh of Dhaipi have been booked for allegedly assaulting Manjit Kaur of the same village with sticks and sharp-edged weapons. In another case, the local police has booked Chamkaur Singh, alias Kaura, Banti, Kuldip Singh, alias Manik of Kothe Pona, and two others for allegedly threatening and assaulting Harminder Singh of Bardeke. No arrest has been made so far in the cases. OC



Shreyans announces rights issue
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 29
Shreyans Industries Limited, a flagship company of the Shreyans Group, announced a rights issue today for its shareholders in the ratio of 1:2 (one equity share for every two shares held) following an increase in its turnover to Rs 46.35 crore for the first quarter of the current financial year from Rs 44.55 crore for the corresponding quarter in the last financial year.



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