P U N J A B    S T O R I E S


Cong MLA awarded three-year sentence
Varinder Walia
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, August 1
The ruling Congress today suffered a big jolt when a local court awarded three years sentence to Sawinder Singh Kathunangal, a Majitha MLA and Chairman Punjab Food Agro Corporation, and five others each, in an old land case, here.

The sentence was pronounced by Mr Daljit Singh Ralhan, Judicial Magistrate Ist Class at around 4.30 p.m. Mr Kathunangal and his supporters were present at the time of pronouncment of the decision. The others who have been sentenced along with Mr Kathunangal included Balwinder Singh, Mangal Singh, Sukhwinder Singh, Devinder Singh and Dalip Singh.

The decision reads , ‘from the detailed discussions, it is established that the accused forged the sale deeds after the death of one Amar Singh’. It further said that ‘in the present case, the accused had entered their names in the revenue record as owners on the basis of the sale deed which had been proved to be forged document and accused were having knowledge that the document is forged one.

‘Under these circumstances, it was established that the accused had dishonestly and fraudulently used the sale deed as genuine as such the charge under Sections 471 of the IPC stands proved against the accused beyond shadow of reasonable doubt.’

They were also asked to deposit Rs 4000 each as Muchalka in the court. However, Mr Kathunangal and Dalip Singh were granted bail after depositing the security bonds today.

However, Mr Kathunangal alleged that the petitioner had nothing to do with the land case. Many purchasers and sellers had already died. However, he alleged that one of his ‘old friends’ was behind the filing of case in the court. He claimed that he had simply one of the witnesses in the land deal. Mr Kathunangal said that he would challenge the decision.

The complaint was filed by Ms Parmjit Kaur, a resident of village Pindi Saidan (Ajnala). She accused that Mr Amar Singh, father of the complainant, was owner of the property, measuring 57 kanals. Mr Amar Singh died on August 14, 1988. The petitioner alleged that all the alleged accused in connivance with another person trespassed over the property of the complainant and got ‘forged and fabricated’ power of attorney, dated April 1, 1988 and registered sale deed in the same year. She claimed that her deceased father had not executed any power of attorney in favour of one Joginder Singh. She alleged that her father was old and ailing person and did not understand his welfare and hence there was no question of executing any power of attorney.

Mr Bikramjit Singh Majithia, an Akali leader, in a conference, alleged that Congress leaders of the area had strong links with land mafia. He alleged that Chief Minister, Amarinder Singh had been ignoring the cases of ‘land grabbing’ in Amritsar . The Chief Minister himself had inaugurated a private colony in Amritsar. He urged the district administration to provide security to the petitioner.


Bonanza for heads of market panels
Sarbjit Dhaliwal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 1
Extending financial largesse to the chairpersons of market committees, the Punjab Government has approved conveyance allowance of Rs 10,000 per month for them. Besides, it has increased their entertainment allowance to Rs 2,000 per month and their quota of telephone calls as much as three times.

There are 145 market committees in the state. The chairpersons, vice-chairpersons and members of all market committees are political appointees of the Congress government in Punjab.

Sources said the chairpersons had sought cars for official use. However, the government rejected the demand for exclusive official cars for them because it would have created a permanent liability for the Punjab Mandi Board. However, it approved a fixed conveyance allowance for them. They could hire any vehicle for travel purposes during the year, the sources added.

Earlier, the entertainment allowance, which was fixed in the 1990s, was in the range of Rs 700 per month, but it has now been increased to Rs 2,000 per month for the chairpersons, it is learnt. The government has also approved reimbursement up to Rs 1,000 per month to each chairperson against the mobile phone bill submitted by him or her to the committee concerned. The reimbursement in the case of the vice-chairpersons will be up to Rs 500 per month. The government has also increased the meeting allowance of the members of the committees to Rs 50 per meeting from the existing Rs 25, it is learnt.

The committees have been given powers to approve their budget at their own level. However, there will be powers vested in the chairman of the Mandi Board to make amendments, if he so desires, to the budget proposals of any market committee. The committees have also been allowed to spend at their own level at least 10 per cent of the funds kept for development projects such as the repair of roads, etc. Earlier, these committees had to seek administrative approval for any expenditure from the Mandi Board authorities.


Big companies out to grab
prime land in state: Kanwaljit

Pradeep Sharma
Tribune News Service

Banur, August 1
Joining issue with the Punjab Chief Minister on crop diversification, the general secretary of the Shiromani Akali Dal(SAD), Capt Kanwaljit Singh, today alleged that big companies were out to grab prime land for residential and commercial purposes by signing pacts with the Punjab Government on the pretext of helping farmers come out of the paddy-wheat cycle.

Talking to The Tribune after addressing a rally organised in connection with the martyrdom day of Shaheed Udham Singh here, Capt Kanwaljit Singh alleged the Punjab-Reliance MoU, signed in Chandigarh today, would not benefit the farmers in any way. In fact, the issue of diversification of agriculture was being marketed by Capt Amarinder Singh ahead of the February, 2007, assembly elections with a view to diverting the attention of the people from the failures of the government on all fronts, the former Finance Minister alleged.

The experiences of Pepsi and Quark had shown that the big companies were out to grab prime land for monetary gains and cared two hoots for the welfare of the farmers.

Claiming that the paddy-wheat cycle was best bet for Punjab under the present circumstances, the Banur MLA asserted that his party was not against crop diversification. However, before any major diversification drive in the state, an effective economic alternative should be placed before the farmers.

Earlier, addressing the rally, Capt Kanwaljit Singh dared the Chief Minister to waive off the Rs 2,6000 crore debt of the farmers and Dalits before next session of the Punjab Vidhan Sabha starting September 14. Ridiculing the claims of Capt Amarinder Singh that the state government would soon come out with a liberal economic package to bail out the Punjab farmers from the debt trap, the Akali leader said the Chief Minister had been making irresponsible statements on the issue for the past over four-and-a-half years.

Charging the government with failure on all fronts, he alleged that 30 lakh youths in Punjab were without jobs. Over 95,000 employees had been retrenched during the past four years. Similarly, 750 schools were lying closed for want of teachers, he alleged.

The general secretary of the youth wing of SAD, Mr Jasjeet Singh, while exhorting the general public to throw out the "corrupt and inefficient" government in the coming assembly elections, alleged that the Congress government had always resorted to "divide and rule".

Prominent among those, who spoke on the occasion included Mr Surjit Singh Garhi, member of the SGPC, and Mr Jagtar Singh Rajla, president of the district unit of SAD. 


SAD, BJP legislators to stage dharna in Delhi
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 1
To demand a hike in the MSP of paddy and a special package for farmers of Punjab on the pattern of the one given to their counterparts in other states, the SAD-BJP combine has decided to stage a dharna in front of Parliament House on August 8.

This was stated by the President of the Shiromani Akali Dal, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, in a press release issued from the party head office here today. He said all MPs and MLAs of the SAD and the BJP would participate in the dharna in Delhi. 


Teachers block traffic, want pension scheme
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, August 1
Members of the Punjab and Chandigarh College Teachers Union (PCCTU) carried out a march and blocked traffic in order to impress upon the government to accept their long- pending demands. The PCCTU would organise a poll promise reminder march from Barnala to Patiala on August 18.

The protest march began from BBK DAV College for women and concluded at Novelty Chowk where traffic was blocked. Commuters had to face long traffic jam.

The teachers employed in non-government aided colleges affiliated to Guru Nanak Dev University (GNDU) remained on strike after attending two periods. They were protesting against delay in implementation of pension and gratuity scheme of December 1996.

Teachers from as many as 13 colleges participated in the agitation and formed a human chain at the cross to block the traffic. Prof H.S Walia, President, PCCTU, Punjab, said that congress government of the state had altogether forgotten the poll promise made in its manifesto about the implementation of pension scheme.

He said even financially not so well off states like Uttar Pradesh and Bihar had granted pension and gratuity to the college teachers.

He announced that they would carry out the same protest on August 7 and 11.


Mystery shrouds recovery of 6 bodies from nullah
Varinder Walia Gurbaxpuri

Kalia Sankattra (Tarn Taran), August 1
Mystery shrouds sighting of six unidentified bodies found in Kasur nullah of the village, which goes to Pakistan. Panic-stricken villagers brought the matter to the fore here yesterday.

The villagers alleged that though they intimated the Khem Karan police about the appearance of bodies for the past some days but no action was taken in this regard.

Inhabitants of this village, which is located near to the border of India and Pakistan, are so scared that they are not going to the drain for bathing animals and discharging other chores as they do usually. Mr Rajdeep Singh, young nephew of sarpanch of the village, said that they brought the matter to the police but no official had visited the spot so far.

Residents gathered on the spot claimed that they had noticed 20 unidentified bodies in the stream of the drain to Pakistan’s side during the past seven months. They revealed that whenever such bodies were noticed in the nullha more water was discharged in order to drive them to Pakistan. Bodies are being noticed frequently in drain as the water level is high and they get stuck to bridge.

However, indifferent attitude of the police had come for criticism in the matter. When contacted at police station Khem Karan, the station house officer (SHO) and duty officer were not present there.

Mr Rajinder Pal, DSP, Bhikhiwind, under whose jurisdiction the village falls, said that these bodies came from behind and it was very difficult to identify their places. He refuted claims of the villagers that they had informed the police well in time about the appearance of bodies. He said that he did not have any knowledge about the matter and said that as the matter had been brought to him he would direct the SHO of the area to look into it.

According to Officials of the Canal Department the drain comes from Gurdapur and falls into Sutlej in Pakistan. 


2 killed, 14 hurt in road accident
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, August 1
Two persons were killed and 14 others injured seriously when the truck in which they were travelling in overturned on the refinery road near Tarkhanwadh village last night.

Sources said the incident took place when 24 residents of Kotguru village of the district were on their way back after performing ‘kar sewa’ at a gurdwara in Talwandi Sabo. The truck driver spotted a peter engine coming from the opposite direction and in a bid to avoid a collision with it lost control.

The truck overturned resulting in serious injuries to 16 persons and minor injuries to the rest. While the former were rushed to Civil Hospital, Bathinda, the latter were provided first aid at a hospital in Mandi Killianwali. Two of the critically injured breathed their last today. They were identified as Sewak Singh and Gurmail Singh. Another injured, Baldev Singh, has been referred to Ludhiana.

Meanwhile, in another incident, a farmer was killed over a petty issue at Dhansinghkhana village yesterday. Sources said the deceased, Ajaib Singh, was draining out rainwater from his field to which another farmer, Gurmail Singh, objected stating that water would enter his fields.

Following an altercation, Gurmail Singh reportedly hit him with a farm tool that led to his death.

On the basis of the victim’s statement, the police registered a case against Gurmail under Section 302 of the IPC and also arrested him.


Compensation paid to widow
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 1
The family of Ram Dulara, an employee posted with the Garrison Engineer (GE), Ferozepore, who died while on duty last year has been paid a compensation of Rs 3.62 lakh. The cheque was handed over to his widow, Savitri Devi, by the General Officer Commanding, 7 Infantry Division, Major-Gen Mahavir Singh at a function organised at Ferozepore.

Ram Dulara had been working with the GE's office since September 1983. The case for compensation was taken up under the Worksman Compensation Act, 1923. 


Plea to quash Patti’s appointment
Our High Court Correspondent

Chandigarh, August 1
The Punjab and Haryana High Court today admitted a petition filed by Mr Jasmer Singh, a member of the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC), and four others, seeking directions to quash the appointment of Mr Kashmir Singh Patti as Chairman of the Sikh Gurdwara Judicial Commission (SGJC).

During resumed hearing of the petition, the Division Bench comprising Mr Justice Viney Mittal and Mr Justice H. S. Bhalla ordered that the petition be listed for hearing within six months.

Challenging Mr Patti’s appointment, the petitioners have also appended a letter that the Punjab Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, wrote to Mr Patti in 1997, opposing the Commission’s alleged pro-Akali Dal stance.

Saying that Capt Amarinder, who was then President of the Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee, had reportedly written to Mr Patti, requesting him to stop being a rubber-stamp of the Akalis.


Narender Chanchal granted bail
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, August 1
Bhajan singer Narender Chanchal was today granted bail by the court of Chief Judicial Magistrate in a copyright case. He was charged with the violation of copyright act by Brij Mohan Bhardwaj.

According to the case, Mr Bhardwaj had filed a case in the court alleging that Narender Chanchal had ‘stolen’ the religious songs authored by his father late Chaman Lal Bhardwaj in his famous book Shiv Vivah. He said the accused released a cassette of the songs.

The Bhajan singer today personally presented himself in the court of CJM. The magistrate accepted the bail with a surety of Rs 50,000. Later, on the direction of the court Chanchal paid compensation of Rs 10,000 to Mr Bhardwaj.


SHO shifted for thrashing patwari
Tribune News Service

Gurdaspur August 1
The SHO Dhariwal, Mr Harjeet Singh Bajwa, was today transferred to police lines after he allegedly thrashed a patwari Bhupinder Singh at behest of powerful minister from the area.

The sources available here told that yesterday a resident of Dhariwal alleged before the minister that the said patwari had taken money from him for providing the revenue document. The minister called the patwari by sending a local municipal councillor. The patwari who in an inebriated state accused the councillor and asked him go away.

Peeved at this the minister asked the local SHO to teach patwari a lesson. The SHO taking the minister’s directive very seriously picked up the patwari and brought him to the police station. At the police the patwari was allegedly trashed throughout the night.

Today morning, however, the patwari union of the district organized a protest against the treatment meted to their colleague. They met the deputy commissioner Mr Vivek Pratap Singh who marked a magisterial inquiry into the case. The SDM Dhar has been directed to inquire into the case.

The SSP on receiving the complaint transferred the SHO to police lines. When contacted he said that the SHO has been shifted to police lines on the complaint of patwari.

Meanwhile the patwari union of the district has threatened to launch an agitation in case the action was not taken against the accused police official. They have demanded the registration of case in the matter.


Teenaged girl abducted, father, son booked
Our Correspondent

Tarn Taran, August 1
A father and his son, residents of local mohalla Tonkkashatry, have been booked for abducting a teenaged girl of local Mohalla Nanaksar .

Police sources told this correspondent here today that the third accused include Shanti who resides near the victim girl. The case has been registered on the complaint of father of the victim who alleged that his daughter was abducted by Vikramjit Singh with the help of his father Arjun Singh and sister of Arjun Shanti residing near the house of the victim girl. A case under Sections 363,366 of the IPC has been registered in this regard. The girl was missing for the past twenty days but the case has been registered only last night. 


Jail for three in fake currency case
Tribune News Service

Muktsar, August 1
A fast-track court today sentenced three persons to different jail terms, besides slapping fine on them in a fake currency case.

Sources said the convicts were involved in circulationn of fake currency in Malout and its surrounding areas about three years back. Sources said the accused, Kuldeep Singh, a resident of Berwala village in Rajasthan, and Raj Kumar, a resident of Tibbi village, were already into fake currency trade when the third accused Ashok Kumar came in contact with them. Ashok was earlier working as an accountant with a commission agent. He had nothing to do when the two of them persuaded him to join their trade. They then began circulating fake currency in the area. Following a tip-off, the Malout police nabbed them and recovered fake currency worth Rs 1.06 lakh from their possession. The currency seized was in the denomination of Rs 500 and Rs 100. A case was registered against them under section 489B, C and D of Indian Penal Code.

The Additional Session Judge, Mr P.P. Singh, today sentenced Kuldeep Singh to six-year jail term and slapped a fine of Rs 5,000, while the remaining two got four-year imprisonment and a fine of Rs 2,000 each.

In another case, a local court today sentenced Dayal Singh, a resident of Bundi in Rajasthan, to 10-year imprisonment and Rs 1 lakh fine for possessing 15 kg opium. 


Gang stealing rice from trains busted
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, August 1
The GRP today claimed to have busted a gang involved in theft of rice and wheat from goods trains heading to other states with the arrest of two of its members.

The GRP sources said the two arrested were involved in the theft of 22 bags of rice from a goods train on its way from Rampura Phul to Kerala on July 29.

They said the gang carried out the operation when the train had reached Bhucho outer. Those arrested have been identified as Bittu Singh and Nirmal Singh, while their other three aides are still at large.

Sources said the gang used to break open the seals of coaches and unload rice bags from it. The GRP said the gang was also suspected to be involved in similar thefts in the past too. 


20,000 teachers to be recruited
Tribune News Service

Morinda (Ropar), August 1
The state government has decided to recruit 20,000 teachers in the state in the coming months. This will provide jobs to a large number of unemployed youths of the state, announced the state Education and Public Works Minister, Mr Partap Singh Bajwa, here today. Mr Bajwa said so far the government had recruited 13,000 teachers in various educational institutions.

Addressing a gathering at a function here Mr Bajwa said the government made the appointments in a transparent manner and merit was the only criteria.

He was here along with PPCC President Shamsher Singh Dullo, Finance Minister Surinder Singla, and Minister of Animal Husbandry and Tourism Jagmohan Singh to take part in a function held here after the inauguration of Morinda bypass, and a Model Dairy Training and Extension Centre.


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