C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S

3 of family killed in hit-and-run case
Four-year-old girl sole survivor
Chitleen K. Sethi
Tribune News Service

Mohali, September 24
Tragedy struck the family of Suresh Kumar (35), a dhaba owner of Sector 21, Chandigarh, late tonight. Suresh Kumar, his wife Aarti (32) and two-year-old son Harry were killed in a hit-and-run case in Phase XI here.

According to police sources, Suresh Kumar was returning home on his Chetak scooter (PB 05 C 5406) after a dinner at his brother's dhaba in Phase IX when the scooter was hit from rear by a speeding unidentified four-wheeler near a culvert where some construction work was going on.

The sole survivor of this gory tragedy is four-year-old Trishu, daughter of Suresh Kumar.

The family of Suresh Kumar originally belongs to Gurdaspur. He had been running a tandoor-cum-dhaba for the past few years.

Immediately after the mishap took place after midnight, a large number of residents of Phase XI where the victim’s family lived, and the surrounding areas gathered at the scene.

Shocked at the tragedy, people of the area complained that instead of trying to identify the killer vehicle and the erring driver, the police tried to dismiss it as a hit-and-run case.

Some of the witnesses alleged that soon after the tragedy took place, a white Maruti car bearing Chandigarh registration reached the site and made enquiries about the casualties. They further alleged that instead of detaining the car occupants and questioning them, they were allowed to go.

The injured girl, who suffered multiple fractures, has been admitted to Silver Oaks Hospital, while the bodies have been shifted to the Civil Hospital, Phase VI, for a post-mortem examination. Doctors at the hospital declared Trishu out of danger.

Suresh Kumar and his family had gone to Ram Darbar in Chandigarh to visit an uncle of Aarti. While returning home, they halted at Vinod’s dhaba and had dinner there.

A shell-shocked Vinod was speachless when he reached the scene. Only an hour earlier he had served dinner to his brother's family.

Eyewitnesses also blamed the authorities for not widening the narrow culvert, which was littered with boulders and construction material. The bodies of both Suresh Kumar and Harry were extricated from a nearby ditch. They were apparently thrown over the drum barricades into the ditch by the impact of the collision.

Phase X councillor B.S. Shergill was among the first to reach the scene. He also organised the removal of bodies to the Civil Hospital after 45 minutes of the tragedy. Ironically, Suresh had taken a day off to take his family for an outing and visiting his wife's uncle. Before returning home, he made it a point to visit his younger brother and have food at his dhaba.

Meahwhile, the police was yet to register a case till reports last came in.

This is not the first case of hit and run in and around Chandigarh in the past few months and most of the cases, both in Chandigarh and Mohali, have gone untraced.



Three children go missing
Tribune News Service

Mohali, September 24
Three children — two sisters and their brother — of Kamoan colony, Nayagaon went missing under mysterious circumstances, this morning here. According to Mr Mohan, the uncle of the missing children, his nieces Mamta (10) and Pooja (7) along with their younger brother Tarun (6) had gone to the temple in the locality at around 9 am. When the children didn’t return two hours later, the parents launched a search operation, but in vain.

They went to the Nayagaon police station to lodge a complaint. The cops after taking down the complaint asked them to come at 10 pm in the evening. When they insisted on registration of the daily diary report (DDR), the police officer on duty said he was not authorised to register the DDR.

When contacted, an officer of the Nayagaon police station said they had lodged a DDR in this regard and a message has been flashed to various police stations in the region giving the description of the missing children.



STI cases highest among UT migrants 
Aditi Tandon
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 24
If a study conducted by the PGI here is anything to go by, migrant population in the city is highly vulnerable to HIV/AIDS. Migrants also have high incidence of sexual transmitted infections (STIs) and reproductive tract infections (RTIs), making them more vulnerable to HIV/AIDS.

In the last evaluation conducted on HIV/AIDS targeted intervention projects being run to cover rickshaw-pullers and migrants from Colony no 4, the Department of Community Medicine, PGI had showed links between migration and risk to HIV/AIDS. Sharing the findings of the study with a group of development experts gathered at Parwanoo to discuss the implications of the issue today, Dr Lakshmi from the PGI said 10 to 15 per cent rickshaw-pullers and migrants inhabiting Colony number 4 had STIs and RTIs.

Among rickshaw-pullers, who were surveyed during the evaluation of projects being run by the State AIDS Control Society some time ago, experts found that 3 per cent of them had pus formations in the genitalia; 10 to 12 per cent of wives of the surveyed rickshaw-pullers had the problem of pustules and ulcers. Prevalence of STIs increases the risk of HIV/AIDS.

As regards awareness, although 76 per cent were aware of HIV/AIDS, only 56 per cent were using condoms to prevent contracting it. “We found that in the past one month from the period the study was conducted, 54 per cent of rickshaw pullers had indulged in sex, and 15 per cent had indulged in sex with multipile partners. As many as 75 per cent of them had not used the condom during sexual contact,” Dr Lakshmi informed Chandigarh Tribune, adding that the situation among migrants in Colony number 4 was no better. At least 11 per cent of them had STIs and RTIs. Consistent use of condoms was low among the population.

The study further endorsed the evidence that shows linkages between migration and high vulnerability of HIV/AIDS. It finds huge knowledge gap among migrant populations. A sizeable numbers among the surveyed migrants (rickshaw pullers and those inhabiting Colony number 4) did not use the condoms consistently and some did not use them at all.

Presented today on the occasion of a regional seminar held to map trends in migration, mobility and HIV/AIDS vulnerability in Chandigarh, Punjab, Haryana and Himachal Pradesh, the study provided a base to stress policies for addressing the issue in National AIDS Control Policy - III.



Sons, wife held for Nayagaon resident’s murder
Tribune News Service

Mohali, September 24
Claiming to have solved the murder of Sajjan Singh of Nayagaon within two days of the crime, the Mohali police arrested the victim’s wife, two sons and a nephew.
The SSP, Mohali, Mr Naunihal Singh, said during a press conference today that the murder was solved “most scientifically” and irrefutable forensic evidence had led to the conclusion that the man was murdered by his two sons, Harvinder and Rajinder, with the help of Dilbagh and their mother Kuldeep Kaur.

The family members said the family was tired with the way Sajjan Singh lived his life.

The body of Sajjan Singh was found lying almost 3 km from Nayagaon on Friday. The face was smashed. The sons of the victim had contacted the police and a case was registered on their complaint.

“Sajjan Singh was blatant about his relations with various women. Initially, the police was made to believe that since Sajjan had met a new woman less than a fortnight ago, the murder could have been plotted by that woman’s other male friends,” explained Mr Varinderpal Singh, SP, Mohali.

Stating that the sons had admitted to the crime, he added: “They have told the police that Sajjan Singh, who also was an alcoholic, would often threaten to disown them.They, hence, decided to kill their father, bludgeoning him to death.”

The SSP said other than the murder, the way the sons carried out the rest of the plan was remarkable. “While the murder could have been an act of rage, the sons, the nephew and the mother planned the disposal of the body with great detail.

They defaced the body hitting it again and again, put it into a mattress cover and dragged it out of the house on to a motorcycle in the dead of the night. The sons drove with it planning to cross over to Himachal so that the local police does not take cognizance of the murder. Moreover a defaced body would not have been recognized by anyone in a far off village. But as luck would have it, on the way the motorcycle skid and the dead body fell off. They took the body out of the mattress cover, leaving it there and came back. On the way back they even burned the mattress cover,” said Mr Naunihal Singh.

“The mother in the meantime cleaned the entire house of blood. But like it is said, the most clever of criminals also leave traces. The police Noticed a few spots of blood in the house of the victim. Samples were collected by the CFSL team who reported that it was the victim’s blood following which the arrests were made.

We have sent the samples for DNA testing also,” added the SSP adding that they have recovered the blunt wooden weapon which the sons used to kill and also traces of the burnt mattress which was used to cover the dead body.



Milk shortage casts shadow on festival season
Ruchika M. Khanna
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 24
Shortage of milk and milk products in Chandigarh, Mohali and Panchkula is casting a shadow on the festival season. After more than a month of milk being in short supply, ‘desi’ ghee and cottage cheese seem to have disappeared from the market.

Prices of ‘desi’ ghee have been hiked by manufacturers by between Rs 5 and Rs 10 per kg. Its shortage has been causing concern among residents.

“This is the time when there is maximum consumption of ghee, but Nestle ghee and Amul ghee are not available while the supply of Verka ghee is regulated”, says Mr D.M. Kapoor of the Poornima Stores, Sector 9.

The availability of ghee is down by one-fourth as compared to the availability in August, claim shopkeepers.

“Our average daily sale of ghee is about 12 kg, but because of the slump in availability, we are getting an average of three kg of ghee a day”, says Mr Binny Mehta of the Jai Maa Departmental Store, Mansa Devi Complex.

Residents say it is unfair to hike the prices of ghee now.

Prices have shot up from between Rs 160 and Rs 165 a kg last month to between Rs 170 and Rs 175 a kg.

“During the festival season, everybody cooks sweets and Navratra meals in ‘desi’ ghee and the hike in prices will turn the household budget upside down and make sweets in the market costlier”, says Ms Amarjit Kaur of Mohali.

Verka cottage cheese has not been available at various places in Mohali and Mani Majra for the past one week. Prices of paneer have been hiked by Rs 10 a kg, with a Rs 2 hike on every 200g pack.

There has been acute shortage of milk this year, leading to an increase in milk procurement prices.

Green forage is not available because of scanty rainfall, leading to a reduction in yield of milch animals, which are now under heat stress.



Watch out

RC Sobti
RC Sobti

Panjab University’s Vice-Chancellor Dr RC Sobti would be the chief guest at a seminar on ‘Water conservation and management” at Lala Lajpat Rai Government College, Dhudike, in district Moga on Monday. It would be for the first time that the village known for its association with the great martyr and freedom fighter Lala Lajpat Rai would be the venue for a state-level seminar.

Being organised by the Saryu Singh Sewa Society, eminent water management scientists will express views about the sub-soil water problem.

Moga is one of the many areas in the state where the problem of water level going down is acute. Mr DK Chadha, former Chairman of the Central Ground Water Board of India, will also be at the seminar. 



Olympian on a mission to warn against NRI conmen
Rajmeet Singh
Tribune News service

Chandigarh, September 24
After being cheated of crores of rupee by a father-son duo, Olympian and a Non-Resident Indian (NRI), Mr Mohinder Singh Gill, is on a noble mission to spread awareness about the modus operandi of the USA-based conmen.

White-collar criminals continue to target the Indians who have made fortunes in the foreign pastures and those have invested in properties in their motherland, says Mr Gill, who is based in California, USA.

A prominent face in the world of athletics, the Olympian, who has to his credit several medals in different international triple-jump events, is camping these days in Punjab to organise the victims of the father-son duo and save hundreds of unsuspecting persons from being duped.

“I have already lost over US $ 4 million due to these conmen. I have spent several hundred dollars on litigations to protect my leftover business. My family life has been ruined,” said Mr Gill while talking to the Tribune.

Giving details of the modus operandi of the white-collar criminals, he said that they first minutely studied their victims and treated them like their family members to win over their confidence. Usually they took three to four months to trap their victims and then forge property papers.

“My suffering started in May 1999 when I gave an advertisement in newspapers to sell my super market in Oroville, California, for $ 695000. They came to me offering to sell the property at much higher price than listed. I was taken in and authorised them to sell the property. They brought Mr Glen Rodgers, saying he owns chain of supermarkets. Then the alleged NRI cheat said he wanted to run the business on his own and took my signatures in good faith”.

The Olympian said he only realised his mistake when the conman started manipulating the papers with an intention to take over the business. “My liabilities increased as they kept on manipulating the papers - making it difficult for me to afford the high litigation costs,” he added.

“This is how they unsuspecting cheats hit their targets. Make friends and then ultimately take over the businesses of their victims by deceit.”

“The father-son due is involved in a number of lawsuits in the USA. After duping NRIs the conmen have transferred over US $ 1 million to India and invested in properties in Punjab and Chandigarh. At least two NRIs, who own properties in Chandigarh have been duped by the conmen,” claimed Mr Gill. 



Estate Office error puts man in a bind
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 24
Mr Bhupinder Nagpal, a resident of Sector 35, rues the day he purchased a residential property in Sector 35 through an auction conducted by the Debt Recovery Tribunal.

Almost four years after he purchased the property, he is making repeated rounds of the UT Estate Office to get a refund of Rs 1.3 lakh which had been "erroneously" charged from him.

The money has not been refunded despite a court order for the refund. The court orders were passed two years ago and contempt of court proceedings are pending against the Estate Office.

Even the Right to Information Act (RTI) has not come to the rescue of Mr Nagpal, who had sought the reason for delay in payment from the Estate Office.

Mr Nagpal had purchased the house though a public auction for a sum of Rs 11 lakh on June 21, 2002. The sale in favour of the buyer was confirmed on August 26, 2002. The buyer approached the Estate Office for transfer of plot in his name and permission to construct the plot. A sum of Rs 65,000 was demanded as extension fee and Rs 66,000 as stamp duty.

As per the allotment rules, he was not liable to pay either extension fee or the stamp duty as the plot had been purchased at an auction conducted by the Dept Recovery Tribunal.

The buyer then moved the court against the charging of Rs 1.3 lakh by the Estate Office. The court upheld the plea of the buyer but the Estate Office did not comply with the order.

"The court served a show-cause notice to the Estate Office seeking a reply as to why contempt of court proceedings should not be started against it. But the Estate Office has not filed any appeal," he stated.



Help sought to infuse life into art of circus
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 24
Circus is a dying art. The government should play a more proactive role to ensure that the circus is not wiped out This was stated Mr Satish Dutt Sharma, director-cum-promoter of Asiad Circus, which is currently holding shows in Sector 34 here. Most big circuses in the country have closed down and small circuses are on the brink of closure, he said.

Mr Sharma demanded the lifting of ban on animals in the circus, saying this alone could bring back audiences to the circus. "A number of wild animals are also dying in zoos. These animals are well taken care of by circus owners but are still banned," he said. He also demanded that child artistes should not come under the purview of child labour laws.

Addressing a press conference here today, he said though the Chandigarh Administration had waived the entertainment tax for the circus, the Estate Office was charging them rent for using the Dusehra Ground at the rate of Rs 6,000 per day.

"There have been instances when commercial exhibitions allowed here have been paying just Rs 1,000 per day. Concessions could also be granted to us," he said.



76 motorists challaned

Chandigarh, September 24
The Chandigarh Traffic Police has booked 76 motorists for various traffic violations during an early morning special drive. Besides this, the police impounded a vehicle for not complying with rules and regulations. A spokesman said two nakas were set up at the Aroma Hotel and the Sector 32, 33, 45 and 46 traffic lights point from 6.30 am to 8.30 am. The police challaned 14 persons for driving two-wheelers sans safety helmets, 47 for jumping the red light, and 15 more for other offences. — TNS



3 youths held while selling stolen taps
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 24
The police today arrested three persons, who were accused of stealing high quality taps worth over Rs 1 lakh from a showroom in industrial area, from Sector 47, here. The police said the fourth accomplice is still at large.

According to SHO, Sector 31 police station, Inspector Har Sahai Sharma, the accused were arrested following information that the three youths were trying to sell the stolen taps to junk dealers. The police recovered 10 taps each from the three youths.

The accused have been identified as Ram Singh alias Guddu and Varinder alias Vicky, both residents of Hallo Majra village and Ram Kishan alias Raj Kumar of Ram Darbar.

During the preliminary interrogation, they confessed to having burgled Kaushal Enterprises, Phase II, Industrial Area, during the intervening night of September 20 and 21.

Mr Anil Kushal, the shop owner, had filed a complaint the next day alleging that taps worth Rs 1.25 lakh were stolen from his shop. A case had been registered in this regard.

The police recovered 110 taps from Ram Singh, 195 from Ram Kishan and 162 from Varinder. In all 467 taps were recovered from their possession.

The police said as the fourth accused, Vicky, is still at large, the remaining taps are likely to be recovered after his arrest.

The accused had also been arrested on similar charges and were recently released from jail. Several cases of thefts and burglaries had been registered against them in Sectors 17, 26 and 31 police stations.



Spat turns ugly, 4 hurt
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, September 24
In the third incident of a spat taking an ugly turn, four persons were injured outside Shiv mandir in Sector 17 here today. The injured were admitted to the General Hospital, Sector 6.

Police sources said Rakesh, Parmesh, Raju, Mangal and Pardesi, all residents of nearby slums, were drinking liquor in the open. Two others, Ram Kishore and Lal Bahadur, were passing by when they got into a verbal duel with the group.

In no time, the two groups began hurling stones at each other. All received injuries, though most of them were discharged after first aid. 



Man held with opium
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 24
The Special Crime Investigation Cell of the Chandigarh Police arrested a Mohali resident on allegations of carrying 550 gm of opium.
According to the police, Bhajan Singh of Lohgarh village in Mohali district was arrested from Hallo Majra Chowk on Friday night. His search led to the recovery of 550 gm of opium. A case has been registered.

Vehicles stolen: Mr Paramjit Singh of Sector 28 reported to the police that his Bajaj Chetak scooter (CH-03-6588) was stolen from a parking site in Sector 17-D on September 20. In another incident, Mr Prince Singh of Sector 3-C lodged a complaint with the police alleging that his Bajaj Chetak scooter (DL-2-SH-0144) was stolen from his residence during the intervening night of September 22 and 23. Two separate cases of theft have been registered.

Purse snatched: Ms Manpreet Kaur of Sector 46-A reported to the police that an unidentified motorcyclist snatched her purse from near Sector 22 and 23 traffic light point on Saturday. The purse contained Rs 2000, a mobile phone, a gold chain and some documents. A case has been registered.

Theft: Mr Sajal Koser of Sector 15-A reported to the police alleging that his maid, Savita, of Sector 12, Chandigarh,had stolen Rs 10,000 from his pocket on September 22. A case has been registered 



Three booked for assault

Zirakpur, September 24
The local police has booked three persons on the charges of assaulting a resident of Chatt village, near here. In a complaint to the police, Sajjan Singh, a resident of Chatt village, alleged that Ballu, a resident of Naya Gaon, and Balwinder Singh and Gurmit Singh, both from Chatt village, assaulted him when he tried to enter a piece of land under dispute.The matter is in court. A case under Sections 324,323,341,506 and 34 of the IPC has been registered. TNS



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