L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S

Garcha’s charge of multi-crore city centre scam vindicated
Jupinderjit Singh
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, September 13
The alleged exposure of a scam in the Ludhiana City Centre Project has vindicated the stand of former Improvement Trust Chairman Ashok Singh Garcha who had resigned in June 2004, alleging corruption beyond his control in the same project.

The exposure has caused quite a stir with almost all key employees of the trust summoned to CM’s office in Chandigarh for explanation. The trust Chairman, Mr Paramjit Singh Sibia, held a close-door meeting with the trustees this morning before rushing to Chandigarh. None of the trustees was willing to comment on the exposure. Mr Sibia said he would give a reply to the media tomorrow.

Mr Garcha, who had sought to take corruption by the horns in the trust, had resigned after making a stunning disclosure two years ago that some Chandigarh-based influential person had asked him to arrange Rs 100 crore from the project for the Congress party fund.

Not only he, but mediapersons in Ludhiana have also raised the banner of corruption when mediapersons were given Rs 500 in sealed envelopes on the eve of the inauguration of the project in a party organised by Mr Sibia.

He had immediately scrapped the project even as people had laughed at his claim, arguing how could anyone pocket Rs 100 crore from a Rs 200 crore project. The latest figures claimed in news reports and a TV Channel sting operation strongly suggest that the Garcha’s claim was largely undermined.

This revelation was made by Mr Garcha in replies to the members of the Improvement Trust, a copy of which was sent to the state government and mediapersons.

Mr Garcha had, interestingly said in the same breath that he did not know the identity of the caller and Mr H S Hanspal, the then president of the Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee (PPCC), had denied that there was any such demand by the Congress party.

Mr Ashok Singh Garcha was not available for comments on the issue today. All efforts to contact him at his home proved futile as he was stated to be out of station by the house staff.

Mr Garcha had carved a niche for himself by remaining steadfast against attractive offers of bribe and was well known for honesty. So much so that he himself did not bend the rules to get the possession of his plot from the Improvement Trust for which his family was fighting for the past many years.

Mr Garcha had also stated in his resignation letter that in his opinion, the city centre scam was basically the result of skewed reasoning that has led to the cost of the land being undervalued by anything between Rs 50 to 100 crore. This is the result of organised corruption.

“Organised corruption is a baby that can claim no real parents—it simply becomes the adopted child of whichever bureaucrat or politician that occupies the seat of power,’’ he commented.



LIT den of corruption, say agitating SAD members
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, September 13
Activists of the Shiromani Akali Dal today staged a dharna against the alleged multi-crore scandal in the Ludhiana Improvement Trust outside the Mini Secretariat. They demanded a high-level judicial inquiry into the alleged scandal and action against the guilty.

The activists were led by senior party leaders.

Addressing the dharna, the Akali leaders alleged that the Congress government in the state was neck deep in corruption. They asked the Chief Minister about the action he was going to take against the guilty as he had been claiming himself to be a champion against corruption.

The Akali leaders alleged that the LIT was turning into a den of corruption. They pointed out, earlier also a former Chairman of the trust, Mr Ashok Singh Garcha, had publicly alleged that some senior Congress leader at the Centre had demanded Rs 100 crore from him. Since Mr Garcha refused to compromise his integrity, he resigned from the post of Chairman.

The Akali activists were carrying black flags and banners. They also burnt an effigy of the government. They said the protests would continue against the corrupt and as long they are not punished.



Gang of highway robbers lands in police net
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, September 13
A highway robber's gang which was striking at will in the region has finally fallen in the police net after a brief encounter in Subash Nagar on Tuesday morning.

Announcing this at a press conference here today, SSP A.S. Rai, said the prized catch among the four accused arrested was the alleged gang leader Jagdev Singh alias Jagga, who was reportedly declared a proclaimed offender after being named in about 15 cases.

Mr Rai said Jagga had planned to rob a trader near fodder market early last morning, when the police pre-empting his move on the basis of secret information, raided their hideout in a cremation ground near Subash Nagar and nabbed the accused.

He said Jagga fired at the police party led by Inspector G.S. Bains but the cops overpowered him while returning fire. No cop was injured in the exchange.

Apart from him, his three accomplices, Shukar alias Pinki, Maheshi and Gajjan Singh were also nabbed.

The police said the accused were booked in many cases in Bathinda, Jagraon, Khanna, Patiala and Jalandhar.

The police recovered one pistal, three knives, two live and one used cartridge.

The accused have been booked under Sections 307, 399 and 402 of the IPC alongwith 25-A of the Arms Act.

Many more victims could also come forward now after their arrest.



Nurse booked for abortion bid
Kuldip Bhatia

Ludhiana, September 13
The police has registered a case under the PNDT Act against Ms Mohinder Kaur, a staff nurse, posted at the primary health centre, Sidhwan Bet, in this district for an unlawful attempt to terminate the pregnancy of a local woman.

According to Dr Yash Pal Singla, Civil Surgeon, a team of health officials comprising Dr Reena Sandhu, District Family Welfare Officer, and the Senior Medical Officer, Sidhwan Bet, along with the police, conducted a raid on the residence of the staff nurse and seized drugs and equipment used in carrying out abortions.

In a complaint lodged with the police, it was alleged that the staff nurse, also working as a midwife, had made unsuccessful attempt to abort the 14- week pregnancy of Ms Seema Rani, a city resident.

The woman was given a medicine to be taken for two days and in the course of termination of pregnancy on the third day, she suffered excessive bleeding.

She was rushed to Dayanand Medical College and Hospital, where she was treated for the complications.

In a note of warning, Dr Singla made it clear that the violations of the provisions of the PNDT Act would be dealt with a firm hand and the offenders would have to face action.



Rs 15-cr concealed income detected
Kuldip Bhatia

Ludhiana, September 13
In the course of the stepped-up drive to unearth concealed income in the Ludhiana Chief Commissionerate, a series of surveys conducted in different towns in the region have yielded an unaccounted income of nearly Rs 15 crore during the past two months.

Giving this information here today, Chief Commissioner of Income Tax (CCIT) Ms Aarti Sawhney, said during survey operations in the city, a hosiery group had made a declaration of Rs 1.50 crore while another steel casting unit had surrendered a similar amount of additional income.

Income tax surveys carried out at Moga had led to the detection of a substantial amount of concealed income.

One group of companies involved in the business of commission agent and wholesale grain trading had disclosed additional income of Rs 3.25 crore followed by another business house having marble trade and brick-kiln had come out with concealed income of Rs 2.20 crore.

According to Ms Sawhney, the IT sleuths had struck it rich in Khanna town as well where two groups of companies carrying out business of wholesale karyana trading and commission agent, made disclosures of additional income of Rs 1.70 crore and Rs 1.50 crore, respectively.

In Malerkotla, a survey on a firm of estate agents and property dealers yielded concealed income of Rs 2.25 crore.

A similar survey on a foundry unit in Phagwara led to the detection of unaccounted income of Rs 1.06 crore.

She said that in the current financial year, the survey operations had been carried out on 31 group companies in the region with a total surrendered income of Rs 36.08 crore with an average surrender of undisclosed income of Rs 1.16 crore per group.

The CCIT emphasised on the importance of voluntary compliance and urged the taxpayers of the region to pay their due tax to the government.



BJP alleges excise scam
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, September 13
The state Trade and Industrial Cell of the Bharatiya Janata Party today alleged that excise officials had fraudulently cheated a businessman, Mr N.K. Aggarwal, of Rs 64 lakh by crediting this amount to someone else’s name.

Addressing a press conference here today, the president of the cell and former Punjab Assembly Deputy Speaker, Mr Satpal Gosain, said in 2001-2002 Mr Aggarwal had handed over this amount to an excise inspector for daily receipt from the liquor sales. However, the particular inspector allegedly deposited the amount against another contractor’s account.

When Mr Aggarwal learnt about it, he approached the officials. He said although the officials admitted to the “mistake”, they were not paying back the amount.

Mr Gosain alleged that the particular officials were being supported by senior officers. “Otherwise how can an inspector dare to dupe someone of Rs 64 lakhs”, he asked, while adding that they party would raise the issue in zero hour.

He said protest demonstrations would also be staged against the scam if action was not taken against the guilty officials and money is not paid back to Mr Aggarwal.



Bank employees hold protest
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, September 13
Protesting against the management policies, employees of the State Bank of Patiala held a protest demonstration in front of the bank’s regional office at Miller Ganj, here, today.

The employees, who staged the protest on a call given by the All-India State Bank of Patiala Employees Federation, said they had been forced to revive their agitation programme as the management showed no keenness on resolving their problems. They alleged that the management had adopted a “rigid, adamant and uncompromising” attitude.

Addressing the employees, Mr Sushil Gautam, general secretary, State Bank of Patiala Employees Union, said the management had unilaterally stopped re-deployment of staff whereas a policy should be framed in consultation with employees. He also raised demands like review of transfers effected in the re-deployment policy, stoppage of all outsourcing jobs, recruitment of security staff, clerical, sub-staff and part-time workers.

The federation members said that bilateralism should be restored and management should hold structural meetings on the head-office level to sort out all pending issues. They also asserted on the review of cases of unauthorised recovery from cash department.



Dairy workers hold protest

Ludhiana, September 13
In protest against non-fulfillment of their demands, members of the Milk Plant and Dairy Workers Union held a demonstration outside milk plant here today.

Employees of 14 co-operative milk plants and cattlefeed plants held demonstrations at three places, Amritsar, Ludhiana and Bathinda today.

The protesting employees, including employees from Chandigarh, Patiala, Mohali and Khanna, alleged that the management was causing unusual delay in fulfilling their genuine demands of payment of 50 per cent dearness allowance pending for 13 to 19 months, measures to curb corruption, giving employment to kin of deceased employees and taking action against corrupt officials. — TNS



NRI woman case: UP cops not helping local police
Our Correspondent

Mandi Ahmedgarh, September 13
Accusing the UP police of obstructing investigations in a case registered against an NRI woman and her accomplice for allegedly duping innocent Punjabi youths in the name of fake marriages, the local police has appealed to the SSP of Sangrur to impress upon his counterpart to direct the Gorakhpur police to hand over certain pieces of evidence, including a Scorpio van for which a court had issued seizure warrants.

Mr Darshan Singh, SHO of Sadar, investigating an FIR registered against Dr Parwinder Kaur, daughter of Gurdeep Singh Sandhu of Marwah Khurad, Yamunanagar district , an NRI mother of two daughters for allegedly duping Kuldeep Singh of Manakheri village of Rs 12 lakh by marrying him dishonestly and deserting him later, has appealed to Mr Harinder Singh Chahal, SSP of Sangrur, to impress upon the SSP of Gorakhpur to direct the SHO concerned to hand over a Scorpio van belonging to the complainant.

Referring to information received from a police party that returned empty-handed despite seizure orders from a court Mr Darshan Singh alleged that the UP police instead of facilitating the local police, helped the accused by registering a ‘fictitious’ case against her and her accomplice.

“Instead of enabling our team to recover evidence, including the Scorpio van and certain documents which were lying in a room at President Hotel at Gorakhpur, the police allegedly with connivance of the accused, seized the van and other articles concerned with the case on the pretext of recovering Rs 80,000 as pending bill of the hotel after registering an FIR under Sections 419, 420 and 406 of IPC against Parwinder and Viney Kumar her accomplice, on September 8,” reported Mr Darshan Singh to the SSP.



16 booked for assault
Our Correspondent

Jagraon, September 13
In four separate incidents, 16 persons have been booked by Jagraon, Sidhwan Bet and Dehlon police on charges of assault.

In the first incident, Dehlon police booked Salem, Shahabudin, Aslam, Bashir, Ruldu Khan, Satar and Jamir of Dehleej Kalan of Sangrur district on charges of assaulting Sikander Ali, Farjand Ali and Lal of their village. The police has registered a case under Sections 326, 324, 323, 148, 149 of the IPC. The injured have been admitted to Civil Hospital, Pakhowal. The accused are still at large.

In the second incident, Sidhwan Bet police has registered a case under Sections 341, 323, 34 of the IPC against Sukhwinder Singh, Beant Singh, Sukhwinder Singh when they allegedly intercepted Jagjiwan Singh of their village and assaulted him with sticks and hockey. Sources disclosed that the accused had an alleged affair with a female member of the complainant’s family. The injured have been admitted to Civil Hospital, Jagraon. No arrest have been made so far.

In the third incident, Jagraon police has booked Vicky of Jagraon when he allegedly trespassed into the shop of Baldev Raj of Jagraon and assaulted him and damaged his belongings. The police has registered a case under Sections 451, 323, 427 of the IPC. The complainant had allegedly tried to prevent the accused from teasing girls.

In the last incident, Jagraon police has booked Binder Singh of Kular alongwith three unknowns persons on charges of assault and committing theft. The accused allegedly assaulted Bhinder Singh of Kular and stole a mobile phone and Rs 3500. The police has registered a case under Sections 324, 323, 379, 34 of the IPC. The injured have been admitted to Civil Hospital, Jagraon. Some old dispute is said to be the reason behind the incident. No arrest has been made so far.



BHL adopts SAP solutions
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, September 13
SAP India, a provider of business software solutions, today announced that Bajaj Hindustan Limited has decided to deploy its SAP ERP (enterprise resource planning) for the management of its business processes.

A company press note said today that the implementation of SAP ERP would create an IT platform within the company that would support standard and shareable business processes.



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