C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S

Maid murder: 3 youths allege police torture
Cops violate SC ruling on detention
Aditi Tandon
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 15
Three Bengali youths, working as domestic servants here, today alleged torture at the hands of personnel of the Chandigarh Police crime branch. Not just that, the police also allegedly violated the rules of detention/ interrogation laid down by the Supreme Court of India in the D.K. Basu versus The State of West Bengal case.

The police, according to Roshan, Surya and Bajirang, were not in uniform when they came to pick them up from Kansal for interrogation into the murder of a maid servant in Sector 30 recently. The law clearly says that when a person is to be interrogated, he/she must be given information as regards the grounds of interrogation/arrest. Also a notice under Section 160 CrPC must be served on the person sought to be interrogated.

In this case, however, these rules were not abided by. In charge of crime branch Satbir Singh said police personnel were not bound to be in uniform when on interrogation. "We only go to courts in uniform," he said, denying the allegations of torture.

The youths, however, maintained, "The police did not tell us why we were being detained or where we were being taken. Supposedly, Ashok, an agent for domestic servants, had taken our names." Of the three boys, Roshan and Surya further alleged that during detention, the police gave them electric shocks in private parts and ears.

"They had first asked us if we knew the murdered girl. When we answered in the negative, they attributed the murder to us. They told us to confess to murder. When we refused, they gave us shocks. This had continued for two hours during which they kicked us and punched us several times," the boys alleged, adding that they were unable to walk or hear properly.

Most terrorised of them was Roshan, a 17-year-old domestic work, who bore marks of injury on his back. "I recently had an accident. So I have some injuries on my face. They linked my injury to the maid's murder and said it resembled nail scratches. They split my legs apart, held me down by hands and gave me shocks," Roshan alleged, while Inspector Satbir Singh said, "If they got shocks, they should have died."

Following today's incident, all domestic servants hailing from West Bengal are terrified. They have brought the matter to the notice of the National Domestic Workers Movement (NDWM). Sister Namrata of the NDWM said she would take up the matter with the authorities.

Meanwhile, Satbir maintained such interrogations were part of police duty. Never mind the directions of the SC on interrogation and detention.



Police makes little headway
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 15
The investigating team of the Crime Branch has made little headway in connection with the murder of a Sector 30-based maid despite having questioned a number of persons.

Five days after the murder case was registered following an autopsy of the victim, Urmila, the police has not been able to establish the motive behind the crime. Neither it has been able to identify the accused.

Believing that the assailant(s) did not have a forced entry into the house, the police investigations are focused on those who were linked to the deceased or had an easy access to the house.

Sources said 16-year-old Sarita, another maid servant living in the vicinity of Archana Bhardwaj’s residence, was picked up for questioning in connection with the case today.



Dimpy case: protesters demand Badals’ arrest
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 15
The family of Prabjinder Singh Dimpy, who was shot dead at Sukhna Lake on July 7, today called on the Punjab Governor and UT Administrator, Gen S.F. Rodrigues (retd), alleging police inaction in the case and sought his intervention to unravel the mystery behind the killing.

Earlier during the day, a large number of people from Muktsar, Faridkot, Malerkotla and Bathinda held a massive rally at Matka Chowk, Sector 17, demanding the arrest of Punjab’s former Chief Minister and president of Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) Parkash Singh Badal and his son Sukhbir Singh Badal for their alleged involvement in the murder case. They also burnt effigies of the Badals.

The Governor reportedly met the family in the afternoon and assured of speedy action. Members of the family claimed the Governor told them that he would go through the case and asked them to come after two days to talk about the issue.

Accusing the Chandigarh Police of shielding the accused, the family demanded transfer of the investigation to the CBI.

Pawandeep Kaur, widow of Prabjinder Singh Dimpy, accompanied by her father Hardeep Singh Kadian, alleged the police did not properly interrogate Harneev Kaur, the lone eyewitness in the case, who enticed Dimpy to come out of the Lake Club on that day minutes before unidentified motorcycle-borne assassins opened fire on him.

It was further alleged that Harneev’s family did not bother to shift injured Dimpy to a hospital; instead he was left alone there to die.

Pawandeep Kaur further alleged that the killers chased Dimpy to Harneev’s residence and fired shots at him, which were heard by Harneev’s neighbours. Pointing to the dubious role of the Chandigarh Police, she alleged Harneev was taken by the police to the PGI despite the fact that she was not seriously injured in the firing. This was done only to take her away from the mediapersons.

Apprising the Governor about the political pressure, she said in the end of June this year, her mother-in-law Gurpreet Kaur received a massage from Sukhbir Singh Badal, through Mantar Singh Brar and Kiki Dhillon, saying she should keep her son away from political activities or else he would be killed.

It was also alleged in the complaint that the police had not properly investigated into the role of close associates of the Badals, Sandeep Bhau and Rocky, whose names were disclosed by one Raju, who was planted by them to keep an eye on Dimpy.

Raju reportedly told the police about two Uttar Pradesh-based shooters, who fired at Dimpy. The family said instead of interrogating them, the police released them within two hours of intervention by top SAD leaders.

In charge of the Crime Branch of the Chandigarh Police Inspector Satbir Singh said the investigation was being conducted in a fair manner and the police was not under anybody’s pressure. About Sandeep Bhau and Rocky, he said, “We have not given clean chit to anybody at this stage. Their role is being investigated in connection with the case.”



Divali fest: Sec 17 traders at loggerheads again
Pradeep Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 15
The Sector 17 will see parallel Divali shopping festivals again. Even as the shopping festival of the Trade Promotion Council (TPC) is under way, the Business Promotion Council (BPC) today unveiled its festival, which will start from October 16. With these parallel festivals, dissensions within the business community in the major shopping centre of the city have again come to the fore.

In fact, with the charges and counter-charges flying thick, the Divali has clearly failed to unite the city traders. The BPC today sought to blame the Chandigarh Administration, the Municipal Corporation of Chandigarh (MCC) and the TPC for delay in the launch of its festival.

“The shopping festival, which was scheduled for the navratras, was delayed due to the TPC and the non-cooperative attitude of the MCC and the Administration for permission to hold the festival. Due to this non-cooperative attitude of the authorities concerned, the BPC has decided not to display the mega gifts, including a Maruti Baleno, two Maruti Esteems and two Wagon Rs”, a BPC representative said.

However, the TPC members alleged that they had been “forced” by the BPC to go in for a separate shopping festival. It may be recalled that till 2004, there was only one shopping festival for Sector 17. However, last year a section of the traders walked out of the BPC, alleging non-transparency in the functioning of the BPC. The BPC, on the other hand, claims to be a non-profit organisation working for the promotion of the business and tourism in the city.

Last year, the BPC was also at the receiving end of embarrassment when two claimants came for a car offered by it as a prize. The matter ultimately landed in the court.



Dry fruits go out of reach
Ruchika M. Khanna
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 15
This Divali, almost all dry fruits have gone beyond the reach of the middle class. Keeping up with the rising price trends of all fruits and vegetables and groceries, the prices of dry fruits have gone up by Rs 30 - Rs 40 per kg, in the past 10 days.

Though the dry fruits were never the pick of common man, this festival season, even the middle class will be unable to afford these. Ranging anything from Rs 350 to Rs 600 per kg., only the elite will be able to savour these on Divali this year.

The highest rise in a price has been seen in pistachios which has gone up by Rs 40 a kg since last week. Traders in the city say with lesser imports of pistachios and the escalating demand because of Divali, the price is expected to lead to a further increase in the coming week.

Almonds, which were selling at Rs 475- Rs 500 a kg five days ago is now available for Rs 425- Rs 430 a kg now. Says Mr Rakesh Vasudeva of Top Departmental Store, Panchkula,”Since there is a huge demand for almonds on Karva Chauth and lesser availability, the prices had shot up. Because of early Divali and late onset of winter, only the stored dry fruits are available. The fresh stocks are yet to arrive”.

Agrees Mr Hitesh Peshawari of Peshawaris Departmental Store, “The prices of most nuts have shot up because of the huge demand during the Divali season”.

Cashews are available for Rs 350- Rs 700 a kg, depending on their quality (last week these were available at Rs 330- Rs 350 a kg.). Dried grapes are available for Rs 100 - 350 a kg while walnuts are available at Rs 340 - 380 a kg.

Says Ms Anju Sharma, a schoolteacher and resident of Sector 7, “This Divali it is not just the prices of dry fruits, but also the fresh fruits which have skyrocketed. A common man cannot even buy a handful of these nuts for garnishing in the sweets made at home”.



In Town

The city will be swamped by blue turbans and saffron flags tomorrow as the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) plan to stage a massive rally at Matka Chowk in Sector 17.

More than one lakh farmers are expected to reach here from all across Punjab to protest against the state and the Central Government. Top most on the agenda of the politicians will be the recent spate of farmer suicides.

Commuters have been advised to avoid routes leading to Matka Chowk, especially from Mohali side. Among the top politicians to address the rally will be Parkash Singh Badal, Sukhbir Singh Badal, Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa, Harjit Singh Garewal, P.K. Dhumal and Avinash Rai Khanna



Dengue threat from Sukhna choe
Bipin Bhardwaj
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 15
The threat posed by dengue and other water-borne diseases not withstanding, the Sukhna choe passing through the north-eastern part of the city has become a major health hazard for residents of Bapu Dham, Shastri Nagar colonies and parts of Manimajra with the authorities turning a blind eye towards the menace.

The residents have been exposed to mosquitoes along the choe originating from Sukhna Lake. The choe carries sewer and filthy discharge of colonies and pits of stagnant water on the choe bed have posing a serious threat to the health of scores of residents of the area.

The foul smell emitting from the solid waste dumped on choe banks nauseates not only to the area residents but also of the road users commuting on the road linking Manimajra with Chandigarh at Sector 26. The area is proving an eyesore for visitors too who take the road to reach Rajiv Gandhi Chandigarh Technology Park.

A survey by the Chandigarh Tribune revealed that wild growth on the left side of a causeway on the road and scores of deep pits filled with filthy water on the choe bed have become mosquito-breading grounds. Various outlets of Bapu Dham and Sahstri Nagar have been discharging the water into the choe.

Mr AP Gandhi, a resident of Modern Housing Complex, Manimajra, said the stagnating water on the choe bed and the foul smell has become a cause for concern to the area residents. Moreover, dumps of solid waste, trash and polythene bags are blocking the natural course of water.

Mr Muhammad Yameen, a resident of Shastri Nagar colony, claimed that though the UT Health Department claims to have launched an operation for tackling dengue, nothing has been done in this pretext as yet. “Neither any spray nor any fogging operation was carried out in the colony till date,” he claimed.

Mrs Geeta Devi, a housewife from Bapu Dham Colony, revealed that the authorities had dug up choe bed some days ago and left the work unfinished, thus blocking the natural course of water.

The residents were of the view that the problem could be solved if the Administration made efforts for give slope to the choe bed or canalising it in a proper way.



Number of dengue cases goes up
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 15
The number of confirmed dengue cases in the city hospitals have gone up to 177. Out of these 48 cases are from Chandigarh only.

A total of 320 cases have been reported at the Government Multi-specialty Hospital, Sector 16, the PGI, the Government Medical College and Hospital, Sector 32, and the Fortis hospital.

A majority of the confirmed cases of dengue belong to Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Delhi and Uttaranchal.

According to Dr J.S. Thakur, Assistant Professor of the Department of Community Medicine, PGI, the number of dengue cases is likely to go down once the temperature falls below 16°C.

Meanwhile, the UT Health Department carried out fogging operations in Sectors 29, 30, 31 and 34 today.

Shruti, a resident of Sector 14 and daughter of district’s Chief Judicial Magistrate Anshu Shukla, tested positive for dengue today. Prikesh, a resident of Sector 15, was the second such case from the city.

The Civil Surgeon, Dr G.P. Saluja, said the CJM had informed the health authorities about her daughter’s fever a few days ago. However, she was tested only today for confirmation of dengue.



Parking blues at car bazaar
Rajmeet Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 15
Car dealers in the Sunday car bazaar are ruling the roost as the Municipal Corporation has failed to regulate the parking area used for sale and purchase of secondhand four-wheelers.

Over 40 car dealers use the parking area on every Sunday. In absence of rules and regulations, most dealers claim their right over the parking area in their possession. This has also resulted in bad mouth between car dealers and shopkeepers in the Sector 7 market.

Sources in the corporation disclosed that it was a conventional car bazaar and those who have been running the business for the past many years claim possession over the land. The enforcement branch of the corporation issues a receipt of Rs 565 to each dealer.

Mr Chander Mukhi, councillor of the area, said the corporation should frame rules and give the parking area to a private contractor for the Sunday car bazaar.

Though officials of the corporation claim that they issue receipts to the dealers, shopkeepers in the market have produced receipts which were being issued to new dealers. It seems that the corporation has not been keeping track of the dealers who are doing business.

Today, Owner of a liquor shop, “World of Whiskies” parked his multi-axle truck in front of his shop. Another dealer, Mr GSP Singh, who runs Max Car Bazaar, claimed that he has been running his business from the parking area in front of the shop for the past few years. Last Sunday also, a similar situation had arisen. The owner of the liquor shop has also been issue a receipt for the sale of cars.

The traffic police had to intervene to remove the trucks out of the car bazaar. “The car bazaar is meant for sale of cars and scooters only”, said an official of the corporation.

There was no guidelines regarding the entry of other vehicles. “With new showrooms coming in the markets, there are complaints from shopkeepers. Rules and regulations for the car bazaar are on the cards”, said the official.



Thousands pay last respects to ‘Veerji’
Our Correspondent

Mohali, October 15
Thousands of persons from Punjab and other parts of the country paid their last respects and bid a tearful adieu to the well-known religious preacher Bhai Jasbir Singhji Khalsa Khannewale here today.

The funeral procession of “Veerji”, as he was affectionately called, began from Gurdwara Gur Shabad Parkash Akal Ashram, Sohana. It went through Ambwala chowk, the Phase VII market, the PTL chowk and then to the cremation ground in Phase VI here. The body of “Veerji” was carried in a flower-bedecked tractor-trailer from the premises of the gurdwara, which he had got constructed with the help of the sangat.

Devotees in large numbers accompanied the body in different vehicles and also gathered at some places along the route. Cold water was served to the sangat at different points on the route.

Earlier, in the morning the body was brought from the mortuary of the Fortis hospital to Bhai Jasbir Singhji’s residence in Phase VII, and after rituals it was taken to the gurdwara premises. Kirtan and prayers continued at the gurdwara and thousands stood in long queues to have the last darshan of the man who over the years not only spread the message of Sikhism in the country and abroad but also served the poor and the downtrodden. Veerji was also the Chairman of Sri Guru Harkrishan Sahib (C) Eye Hospital Trust, Sohana, a charitable institution set up by him.

Although the cremation was scheduled for 1 pm, it got delayed by about three hours because of the rush of followers and other mourners. Kirtan was performed by Bhai Tejinder Singh Shimlewale and Bhai Amrik Singh Jakhmi at the cremation ground while the mourners waited for the arrival of the body. A huge number of mourners, who had been waiting for hours at the cremation ground, surged forward to have a glimpse of their beloved Veerji when the body reached there. They showered flower petals on the body.

A wreath, on behalf of the Punjab Chief Minister, was placed on the body by Mr A.S. Miglani, Additional Deputy Commissioner, Mohali. Another wreath was placed on behalf of the Deputy Commissioner by the SDM, Mr Sandeep Hans.

Among those who came to pay their last respects were Akal Takht Jathedar Giani Joginder Singh Vedanti, SGPC President Avtar Singh Makkar, Jathedar of Keshgarh Sahib Tarlochan Singh, Jathedar of Damdama Sahib Balwant Singh Nandgarh, Jathedar of Patna Sahib Iqbal Singh, Head Granthi of Darbar Sahib, Amritsar, Gurbachan Singh, Head Granthi of Gurdwara Sisganj Sahib, Delhi, Hem Singh, and Head Granthi of Gurdwara Bangla Sahib, Delhi, Satnam Singh.

Also present at the funeral were Mr Bir Devinder Singh, Kharar MLA, Mr Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa and Mr Sukhbir Singh Badal, both SAD leaders, and Mr Balbir Singh Sidhu, president of the Mohali unit of the Congress.

Bhai Jasbir Singhji Khalsa suffered a heart attack yesterday at Gurdwara Gurshabad Parkash Akal Ashram. He was taken to Shri Guru Harkrishan Sahib Hospital where he breathed his last. He is survived by his wife, Mrs Daljit Kaur, and two sons, Mr Jagmohan Singh and Mr Jatinder Mohan Singh.



Community service recommended in lieu of jail for petty offences
Saurabh Malik
Tribune News Services

Chandigarh, October 15
The reel-life story of five convicts undergoing reformation process away from the prison environment in 1957 Bollywood flick “Do Aakhen Baara Haath” may eventually come true.

For, the Institute for Correctional Administration here has strongly recommended “community service” as a possible alternative to imprisonment for petty offences.

The recommendations were, in fact, discussed at length during a workshop held late last month at the Institute. Among other participants, Mr Justice P.S. Patwalia of the Punjab and Haryana High Court was also present at the workshop.

The institute’s Deputy Director, Dr Upneet Lalli, says the law will eventually have to be amended for bringing the recommendation into force. But the suggestion has already been included in the “Draft National Policy on Prison Reforms and Correctional Administration” prepared by the Bureau of Police Research and 

She says the offenders will be given an option at the “sentencing stage” to either choose community service or go behind bars in non-compoundable cases, once the suggestion is accepted and necessary amendment in law is made.

As of now, the offenders stand a chance of avoiding imprisonment by paying fine in certain compoundable offences registered under the Indian Penal Code (IPC). In all such cases, the trial court uses its discretion to order imprisonment, or fine, or both.

“The offenders can be asked to clean up places, educate people, work in hospitals and even institutes for the physically challenged in case they prefer community service. The period of community service will be specified by the courts,” says Dr Lalli.

She adds that unlike the movies there will not be any prison officer to keep tabs on the activities of the offenders. “They will just be asked to report to the community officers,” she asserts. “For preventing their escape, the delinquents will be asked to fill up bonds. In case the offenders violate the terms and conditions of the bond, they will be sent to the prison.”

The recommendations, Dr Lalli asserts, are significant as penologists across the world are already questioning the use of imprisonment for crime prevention. Describing “deprivation of liberty” as “severe punishment”, they assert that incarceration not only results in “acute personality maladjustment” and life-long stigma, but also affects the family and the entire society.

“In fact, it amounts to continuation of punishment even after an individual has undergone full sentence in the prison and hampers his re-assimilation into the society. In some cases, it actually weakens his resolve to lead a law-abiding life. Overcrowding of jails is another related problem”.

Dr Lalli adds: As such, introduction of community service as an option after amending Section 53 of the IPC will not only save the convict from the aftereffects of custodial punishment, but will also be less expensive. “As it prevents his labelling, community service is more conducive for social reintegration of the offender after his release.”

She concludes by saying that through community service, the offenders not only get to realise that they are undergoing punishment, but also repay the debt they owe to the society without getting labelled.



Army orders court of inquiry
Jawan recruited on basis of fake certificates
Vijay Mohan
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 15
The Army has ordered a court of inquiry (COI) into a case where a jawan allegedly got himself recruited into the service on the basis of fake certificates and rose to the rank of Risaldar Major, the highest position for personnel below officer rank.

The COI was ordered last week by the commander, 39 Armoured Brigade, Brig S. Bhatia, after a police investigation established that a prime facie case in this regard existed. A report in this regard was forwarded to the Army by the Superintendent of Police, Narnaul. The commanding officer of an armoured regiment, Col Arvinder Singh is the COI’s presiding officer, sources revealed.

A written complaint was made to the Superintendent of Police (SP), Narnaul, by a resident of Khol village in Mahendragarh district, Bhup Singh, earlier, alleging that one Om Pal Singh, a JCO, had got himself enrolled in the Army on the basis of fake school certificate in October 1973.

Later, he allegedly got another fake matriculate certificate of the Haryana School Education Board, Bhiwani, on the basis of which he got further promotions. The serial numbers which figure on the certificate do not exist.

The SP, Narnaul, Mr Bhim Singh, had earlier told The Tribune that information obtained by the police from the school education board authorities revealed that no such certificate was issued by them.

A police team as well as villagers had also visited Government High School, Dhanonda, in Mahendragarh, from where the JCO had purportedly passed out, but records revealed that no such person had studied there. The same was confirmed by the school’s headmaster, Mr Om Parkash, when contacted.

According to Som Pal, a former sarpanch of the village, the JCO hailing from a nearby village had developed friendly relations with Bhup Singh, who ran a welding shop in the village.

The JCO offered to get him enrolled in the Army, but when he was informed by the complainant that he was illiterate, he offered to get a fake certificate made for him. The JCO, according to the complaint, told Bhup Singh that he too had joined the Army on the basis of fake certificates. He even gave him copies of his certificates

The JCO took Rs 1 lakh from Bhup Singh to get him enrolled into the Army, but nothing materialised for several months. This strained relations between the two and eventually the JCO returned the money in installments. This also instigated Bhup Singh to file a complaint with the police.



Book 2 firms for giving bogus addresses: sabha
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, October 15
Members of the Panchkula Punjabi Sabha today demanded that an FIR should be registered against two electrical companies for providing bogus addresses in their applications for tenders of streetlighting in the city.

A spokeperson of the Sabha, Mr Hemant Kinger, said he had informed the Deputy Commissioner about the bogus addresses before the tenders were opened on October 9. “I have checked the addresses provided by the two companies in their applications. While a book depot runs from one address, the other address belongs to an individual not connected with the tenderers at all,” he stated.

Mr Kinger further alleged that councillors and the companies were hand-in-glove with each other and a loss to the tune of Rs 40 lakh was expected to the exchequer, if the district authorities went ahead with the allotment of the tender.

“Also, the tender has been allotted to a relative of the councillors which is in violation of the Municipal Act which lays down that a councillor himself or his relative cannot apply for any MC tender,” Mr Kinger stated.



Unique way to celebrate birthday
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 15
Mr Suresh Sharma, managing director of Allengers Medical Systems Private Limited, manufacturers of X-ray machines and specialised equipment, celebrated his birthday in a unique way yesterday.

He organised a blood donation camp in Sector 34 here in which 35 persons donated blood. A team of doctors from the Government Medical College and Hospital, Sector 32, conducted the camp.

Mr Sharma said the blood donation camp was part of the social commitment of the group in its pursuit of service to society. “We have been organising free medical camps in the past, too. Since blood demand always outstrips the supply, we thought of organising a blood donation camp this year,” he added.



2 from Chandigarh killed in accident

Srinagar, October 15
Two persons from Chandigarh were killed and two others wounded when their car skidded off the road and fell into a deep gorge at Kangan, about 30 km from here, today, the police said.

They said the car with four occupants was on the way to Srinagar from Kargil in the Ladakh region when it skidded off the road and fell into a deep gorge at Gund, near Kangan.

While two occupants — Nirmal Singh and Atul Bawa — were killed on the spot and two others wounded, the police added. The wounded have been hospitalised. — UNI



MCPI for life term to Afzal

Chandigarh, October 15
The Marxist Communist Party of the India (United) today demanded that the death sentence of Afzal Beg, convicted in the Parliament attack case, should be commuted to life imprisonment.

In a press note issued here, the party asserted that the death penalty had been done away with in several civilised democratic countries and India being the largest democracy should follow these countries.

Hanging one person would not end terrorism, the press note said, adding that certain political parties were giving communal colour to the issue. — TNS



Saplings planted
Tribune News Service

Zirakpur, October 15
The Women’s Welfare Society started a sapling plantation drive at Saini Vihar, Phase V, Baltana, today.

The general secretary of the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) and Banur MLA, Capt Kanwaljit Singh, inaugurated the drive by planting the first sapling.

Later, saplings were also planted in Parvati Enclave, Tribune Colony, Preet Vihar, Gobind Vihar and Saini Vihar (Phase II).

Speaking on the occasion, Capt Kanwaljit Singh said in the coming five years Baltana would be made a model town.

Ms Alka Saini, president of the Women Welfare Society, highlighted the activities of the society.

Prominent among those present were Mr Tilak Raj Bhullar, Mr Harbhajan Singh, Mr Parveen Sharma, Col Surjeet Singh Sandhu (retd), Ms Shashi Kapoor, Ms Leela Goel and Ms Krishna.



Vehicle thief arrested
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 15
With the arrest of Vicky, a 25-year-old Mauli Jargan resident, the police today claimed to have recovered a stolen Maruti Esteem car and a motorcycle from him. Five cases of theft committed within a span of less than two months had been solved with his arrest, the police further claimed. Vicky had over 25 cases of theft registered against him in Chandigarh and neighbouring areas.

The Crime Branch in charge, Inspector Satbir Singh, said acting on secrete information a police team arrested Vicky at a naka laid on a road separating Sectors 48 and 49 this afternoon. At that time, he was travelling in a Maruti Esteem car (CH-03-K-8172) , which was stolen from Sector 34 in September this year. His further interrogation led to recovery of a stolen Hero Honda Splendour motorcycle (PB-15-B-4841), which was stolen from Sector 9 on October 9.

During preliminary questioning, he told the police that he was living in a rented accommodation in Mohali as he was thrown out of his house by his mother after she came to know about his deeds.

He said he had sold the stolen cars to Ludhiana residents for anything between Rs 10,000 to 15,000. He said he met those Ludhiana residents in the Burail Jail. He said he took to stealing when he was only 16 and had stolen more than 30 cars till now.



75-yr-old man dies in mishap
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, October 15
A 75-year-old resident, Durga Das, of Bitta village on the Ramgarh-Shahbad road died in an accident in Ramgarh, here today. Durga Das was on his way back home after visiting his daughter at Billa village, near Ramgarh, when the accident took place.

Police sources said Durga Das was crossing the road when he was hit by a school bus from Yamunanagar, taking children back home after a picnic at Pinjore Gardens and Fun City.

The accident took place around 6 p.m. after the accident the driver parked the bus a little distance away from the accident spot and fled. The children were accommodated in the other two buses of the same school.

A case has been registered against the bus driver.



Two men crushed to death
Tribune News Service

Dera Bassi, October 15
Two factory workers were crushed to death when their bicycle was hit by a car on the Barwala-Dera Bassi road late last night.

According to sources, Ram Kumar and Bhagwan, both natives of Uttar Pradesh and currently working with Winsome Yarns, were on their way to Dera Bassi when an Indica car(HR-03-G-9003) hit their bicycle. The workers died on the spot and the car driver fled after abandoning the vehicle.

The police has impounded the car. Meanwhile, the bodies have been sent for a post-mortem at the Civil Hospital, Mohali.

A case under Sections 279,304-A and 427 of the IPC has been registered. However, no arrest has been made so far.



New directions to pension-disbursing bank branches
Ruchika M. Khanna
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 15
Having detected a large number of irregularities in the disbursement of pension to telecom pensioners through public sector banks, the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology has now issued directions to all pension-disbursing branches regarding the module for pension disbursement.

The ministry has now calculated the model pension payable for its employees before the formation of the BSNL (in October, 2000); for those who were absorbed in the BSNL and got the IDA pay scales ; and, pension payable to those who retired after the formation of the BSNL but were not absorbed in the BSNL (on the basis of CDA pay scales).

Banks have been asked to prepare a list of all telecom Pension Payment Orders lying with them, by calculating basic pension minus the pension commuted, and adding dearness pension, dearness relief and medical allowance.

For quite some time now, telecom pensioners had taken up the matter with the ministry that banks had not been paying them the revised dearness relief. Banks had failed to implement the conversion of 50 per cent of dearness relief (DR) into dearness pension (DP), which was done with effect from April, 2004.

In its letter to the various bank branches, the ministry has said that the position with regards to payment of DR on pension has been made clear to the head offices of various banks, so that instructions in this regard can be passed on to their bank branches. "…But banks are still committing mistakes in calculating the DR…." states the letter.

The ministry has now also put the revised rates of DR on its website and urged the banks to ensure that DR on pension is made at the rates revised from time to time.

The Department of Telecommunications in the ministry has also pointed out that family pension is authorised for payment on enhanced rate for a certain period of time. This rate is to be reduced to normal, on a date specified in each Pension Payment Order (PPO). However, banks continue to pay family pension on enhanced rate, even after the specified date when this enhanced pension is to be reduced.

"This negligence results in overpayments of huge amounts, where it becomes difficult to recover the overpayments at a later state…" observes the Joint Controller, Communication Accounts.

Banks have also been asked to classify the telecom pensioners as per their entitlement of DR on IDA/ CDA pattern to avoid any confusion in this regard.



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