L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S

Vikramjit's murder: Dubai mystery solved
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, December 12
The mystery regarding the ransom call made from Dubai in the Vikramjit kidnap and murder case was solved today with the city police announcing that it had identified a UK-based Indian, who had made the call through Dubai to hoodwink the police at the behest of the main accused, Jagminder Singh, alias Aman Verma.

SSP A.S. Rai and DSP R.K. Bakshi said in a press conference here today that the police had also identified a Chandigarh-based travel agent who had allegedly helped Jagminder in securing a fake passport on the basis of which the accused had gone to Singapore after kidnapping Nikhil Joshi, son a prominent businessman.

The fake passport was recovered from a locker taken by the accused in a bank in Chandigarh.

Apart from these two, the police has in latest investigations found the involvement of a notorious car thief, Ravinder Singh, alias Sanju, of Delhi who is also an expert in making fake documents. With these three, the number of accused in the case have swelled to seven. Already, four persons have been arrested.

The police was conducting raids to nab the accused travel agent as this was the second fake passport recovered from the accused. A master in changing identities, Jagminder is known by over 10 names.

The SSP and the DSP told mediapersons that the UK-based man was Parduman Singh, who was once lodged in Tihar Jail.

He and Jagminder had met in the jail and conspired to work together in a case. The two came together in the Vikramjit kidnap case. Parduman Singh made the call via Dubai due to which the police kept on investigating Dubai gangs or other theories behind the crime.

The SSP said Parduman Singh had been named in the FIR as a co-conspirator in the case along with the Chandigarh-based travel agent and the alleged car thief Sanju. The police was taking help of the UK police as well as initiating proceedings of extraditing Parduman from the UK.

He said the police had also found a pair of Ray Ban sunglasses of the victim, Vikramjit Singh. The glasses have been recognised by his family.



Dyeing industry — A pain in the neck
Kanchan Vasdev
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, December 12
The Dyeing Industry in Ludhiana is proving to be a pain in the neck. Starting from polluting the Budda Nullah to dumping flyash in Focal Point, the dyeing units are under fire from not only the environmentalists and general public but from the fellow industrialists too.

Having attracted lot of criticism from all quarters for polluting the Budda Nullah by discharging toxic chemical residues, the Dyeing Industry is also accused of dumping fly ash in Focal Point, choking the sewers thereby causing damage to the roads in the area.

Having trained their guns at the dyeing industry, the Indian Bicycle Manufacturers Association and United Cycle Parts Manufacturing Association have been fighting against the menace but to no avail. The authorities of Punjab Pollution Control Board and Municipal Corporation seem to turn a blind eye to the problem as industrialists suffer.

Thanks to the dumping of fly ash in the area, things have come to such a pass that the roadsides, plots and Municipal parks in Focal Point have been converted into mounds of flyash.

The industrialists say that not only the fly ash was causing health hazards but business of all other units was being affected. The paints manufacturers were the worst hit as the fine ash gets mixed with paints affecting the quality. Other industrialist were also crying foul whose latest machines worth crores get spoiled as the ash settles inside the sophisticated parts.

‘‘They are saving their money by dumping fly ash on roads and into green parks and green belts. But we are suffering. Once fly ash gets into a sophisticated machine, it stops working. We import machines worth thousands of dollars to get good production so that our country's product gets recognition in markets abroad but nobody cares for us,’’ said Mr R.D. Sharma, of IBMA.

He added that the fly ash was making its way into sewerage manholes and choking the entire system. The water was overflowing on the roads and the bitumen was giving away resulting in potholes. ‘‘Roads are laid again and again. But they give away due to water logging, ’’ said Mr Varinder Kapoor of UCPMA.

Narrating similar tale of woes, the paint manufacturers said that whenever they prepare an emulsion, fine particles of ash spoiled everything. ‘‘Whenever we apply a layer of paint the finesse is never there as fine particles of ash settle in. It has made us bear losses worth lakhs. ’’

Investigations by the Tribune revealed that the dyeing units had tied up with some contractors to dispose the fly ash. Workers of these contractors filled the trolleys of the residue in morning hours and dump this anywhere and everywhere in the area in the middle of the night. By every morning quintals of fly ash is added the open spaces in Focal Point.



Kids' death: Car owner booked
Our Correspondent

Ahmedgarh, December 12
Four months after the death of three minor children, whose badly decomposed bodies were found in a locked car in Amarpura Colony here, the local police has booked the owner of the car under Section 304 A of the IPC for allegedly causing their death due to negligence.

The Punjab State Human Rights Commission, taking cognisance of a complaint of the president of the Subhas Chandra Bose Society for the Blind, had sought a report in connection with the incident from the Principal Secretary and the SSP, Sangrur.

Karamjit Singh Khatra, a resident of Amarpura Colony, has been booked for allegedly showing negligence leading to death of Rinku (7), Kaka (5) and Billu (4), sons of Tapa Nath, a migrant labourer, about four months ago.

The bodies of the trio were found in an Opel Astra (HR 10 B 4353), owned by insurance agent Karamjit Singh, at a plot owned by Kulwinder Singh, a transporter, on August 14.

While the father of the victims had accused the owner of the car of murdering his sons, the suspect had pleaded innocence. Dissatisfied with the police action, Tapa Nath had sought a probe by senior officers.

Finding substance in the complaint received from the father of the children, Mr Harinder Singh Chahal, SSP, Sangrur, directed Mr Rachhpal Singh Hara, DSP, Malerkotla, to investigate the mater and proceed against the suspect.

On the basis of information provided by Tapa Nath, Mr Bittu Singla,a former municipal councillor, and Mr Tarsem Lal Sharma, president of the Bose society, the local police observed that the children had died due to negligence of the owner of the car. The chemical examination report of the viscera of the deceased had stated suffocation as the cause of the death.

Earlier, a double Bench of the commission comprising Mr R.L. Anand, acting chairperson, and Mr N.K. Arora, had taken cognisance of the death of the children. “After careful consideration, we take cognisance of the matter and will be seeking a report in this regard under Section 17(1) of the Protection of Human Rights Act from the Principal Secretary and the SSP, Sangrur", reads a communication received by Mr Tarsem Sharma, president of the society.

The children had gone missing on August 12. Their bodies were found on August 14. Karmajit Singh said he had parked the car on the plot on August 11.

Tapa Nath and his wife Anita had been living in the town for more than a decade. Following a marital dispute, Anita left home. Her youngest son was only six months old then. 



Cong hoardings vanish, SAD’s still stand tall
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana December 12
Ludhiana Congress leaders have too many reasons, against the officials of the Ludhiana Municipal Corporation, to rue. While the hoardings erected by the Congress on the occasion of the party rally in village Badal on December 8 were removed immediately, those of the Shiromani Akali Dal, which were erected simultaneously for the Moga rally the same day, still stand tall. These have not been removed by the Ludhiana Municipal Corporation so far, even after the passage of three days.

The Congress leaders disclosed that Mr Sukhbir Badal had personally called some senior officials of the Ludhiana Municipal Corporation asking them to ensure that the hoardings were allowed to be erected by his supporters. The municipal officials also appeared to be quite obliging. They not only allowed these at all the main places, but did not deem it necessary to remove these at the earliest, lest they atagonise Mr Badal.

Although the huge hoardings cannot be erected anywhere, particularly along the main roads, the municipal corporation usually takes a lenient view and allows all the political parties to set up such hoardings wherever they want. Similarly during the big showdown on December 8, the Akalis and the Congress workers and leaders tried to outdo each other in erecting the hoardings and painting the city in their own colours.

Some Congress leaders told the Tribune that they had no objection in the corporation allowing the hoardings of the Shiromani Akali Dal. Because everybody had a right to make his or her presence felt. But the way the corporation officials went on "rampage" the next morning to remove the Congress hoardings was surprising and shocking.

They said, they had reason to smell rat. "Had the corporation officials removed all the hoardings of all political parties the next day, we would have had no objection", revealed a local leaders, while adding, "it was being made out as if the city had turned into an Akali bastion overnight".

The party leaders said, it carried "quite a wrong impression" that the hoardings of the ruling party were removed immediately, while that of the opposition still dot the main roads and crossings of the city. They said, the issue was quite serious as somebody in the corporation was deliberately trying to oblige the Akalis, particularly Mr Sukhbir Badal and some of his known loyalists. They said, the issue may seem too trivial, but it has significant impact on the common masses. "It seems as if the Ludhiana Municipal Corporation was being controlled by the Akalis and not the Congress", remarked an aggrieved local Congress leader. 



Residents shiver as cold wave persists
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, December 12
With the minimum temperature falling to 7.6°C, residents are shivering as the cold wave continues in the region.
Besides throwing the normal life out of gear, the weather is also affecting the arrival and reaching time of a number of trains. Thankfully, the sun has not become elusive as yet and bright sunny days are proving to be some respite for the residents.

Yesterday, the minimum temperature recorded in the city was 6°C.

A thick blanket of fog engulfed the city last night and this morning with denser fog in areas near the canal. People preferred remaining indoors.

The minimum temperature as recorded by the Punjab Agricultural University meteorological lab was 7.6°C and the maximum was recorded at 17.5°C.



Train stop: Rohira elated
Our Correspondent

Mandi Ahmedgarh, December 12
Heaving a sigh of relief on the resumption of stoppage of certain trains at Rohira on the Dhuri-Ludhiana rail link, near here, residents from around 10 villages of the area felicitated social activists who had impressed upon the authorities to restore the halt.

According to Mr Dinesh Sharma, general secretary of the block unit of the Rashtriya Janta Dal, the stoppage has been resumed for a period of six months.

The stoppage had been cancelled on account of decline in number of passengers buying tickets Rohira.

The residents of Rohira, Baurhai Khurad, Baurhai Kalan, Jandali Kalan, Begowal, Malikpur, Indira Colony and Kanganwal among others had approached activists of the RJD in this regard. "On receiving recommendation from Mr Lalu Parsad Yadav, Railway Minister, senior functionaries in the department agreed to resume the stoppage for those trains that had been halting earlier," said Mr Sharma.

However, the department would review the case after six months and the stoppage would be finalised in case collection exceeded Rs 70,000 per month, he said.

The residents organised a function at Rohira to recognise the contribution of social activists who had played an active role in getting the stoppage resumed. 



Telecom employees flay policies of BSNL
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, December 12
The district unit of the National Federation of Telecom Employees (NFTE) today criticised the policies of the Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) management, describing them as anti-worker and pro-private sector lobby.

A meeting of the district executive committee of NFTE, held at Mata Rani Exchange Complex here maintained that the body will continue its relentless fight against such detrimental policies of the BSNL.

Speakers at the meeting, including Mr M.L. Sharma, Circle Secretary, NFTE, Mr Baltej Singh, Circle Secretary, BTEF, Mr Harish Khanna, District Secretary, Mr K.R. Bawa, District Secretary, Amritsar and Mr Swatantar Kumar, Assistant Circle Secretary made a strong case for betterment of group C and D officials of BSNL.

The meeting discussed in detail the preparations regarding third verification process to identify the single majority union in BSNL. The past achievements of NFTE were highlighted and the failure of present recognised union came in for sharp criticism.

Among other speakers at the meeting were Mr Sarvjeet Singh, Mr Pritam Chand, Mr Mohinder Prasad, Mr Prem Singh, Mr Chanan Ram, Mr N.S. Sodhi, Mr Dwarka Prasad, Mr B.S. Sandhu, Mr Karnail Singh, Mr Nand Kumar, Mr Ram Lal, Mr Vijay Kumar and Mr V.K. Gupta.



Sabha seeks holiday on Parshuram’s birth anniversary
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, December 12
The Bhagwan Parshuram Brahman Sabha, Punjab, has demanded that the state government should declare holiday on the birth anniversary of Bhagwan Parshuram on April 19, 2007.

In a memorandum sent to the Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, yesterday, Dr B.K. Dutt, Chairman of the sabha, presented a charter of demands. He said a university in the name of Bhagwan Parshuram should be established in the state and every district should have bhawans in his name.

Mr Sanjay Kumar, general secretary of the sabha, said the terrorist victims in Punjab should be given financial aid and other facilities like the riot-affected families of Delhi were receiving.

The Brahmins should be declared a minority group and treated accordingly. He added that the importance of Sanskrit could not be undermined in rich cultural heritage of the country. For promoting the language, adequate measures should be taken at the school, college and university levels. The government should take adequate steps to promote the national language Hindi also.

Dr Dutt and Mr Sanjay Kumar said the caste-based reservations should be stopped. It should be for the economically weaker section of the society only and not for the present reserved categories.



Passport muddle: Probe begins

Ludhiana, December 12
The city police has launched a separate investigation into the manner in which Jagminder managed to get passports made on fake documents. The SSP said preliminary investigations revealed that police verification shown in the passport papers carried signatures of Ludhiana and Chandigarh-based cops who were interestingly not posted in the police stations concerned at that time.
He said the police would enquire if any employee of the passport office was involved in the case. TNS



Burglars’ scare in Focal Point
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, December 12
The city police is in the process of starting the CPO scheme (Community Policing Scheme) in the Focal Point area apart from requesting the government to give more force to man the area in the wake of series of theft cases reported from the Industrial colony.

An area notorious for stirkes of nickel thieves, the Focal Point residents spend a night of terror on Sunday when a gang of theives broke the locks of over 15 shops and houses in Moti Nagar and Sherpur areas besides attempting to commit burglary in a hospital.

The burglars decamped with a mobile phone and Rs 1100 from shru Krishna Oil Trader, looted Rs 2500 from a chemist shop, looted Rs 40,000 from the housr of Mr B K Sharma besides striking at several other places.



Singapore beckons tourists
Shivani Bhakoo
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana December 12
Those who wish to spend holidays in Singapore, will have to wait for another month or so as all good hotels in Singapore are already booked till January end. For a majority of La' creme of city, Singapore remains the all time favourite destination for holidaying. A number of tour and travel agents said there is great demand for packages to Singapore on cruise these days.

Mr Rupjit Saggar of Saggarsons Tours and Travels said these packages had been organised in collaboration with the Singapore Tourism Board and the Singapore Promotion Council. The packages are for three days, four nights or even more. "To promote Singapore tourism, their government has arranged attractive sight-seeing packages which include rides of musical fountains, visit to shopping malls, beaches etc. The normal package starts from $172 per person, including certain meals accordingly", said Mr Saggar. He added that cruise was the main attraction this season.

Residents had booked cruises for themselves which start from Rs 14,000 per person (exclusive taxes). To get the experience on cruise, city residents, who are famous to flaunt their riches, are even ready to pay up to Rs 40,000 per person but they are not getting the tickets till January.

However, for the middle class, hills and beaches in India remain the favourite places for holidaying. Mr Rajiv of Resorts Travel Services, Feroze Gandhi Market said 90 per cent of good hotels in Goa were already booked till the first week of January. He said people preferred to go to Goa during winter vacation because of Goa Carnival, which is held in the last week of December. Other than Goa, beaches of Kerala are another attraction because of easy availability of cottages.

"Holiday packages in Goa, Kerala, Agra, Rajasthan, Chail, Shimla, Mussourie etc start from Rs 10,000 onwards (per couple). We are getting many enquiries daily. Certain destinations are in great demand but majority of the hotels there have already been booked so we suggest some other places, too", said Mr Rajiv.



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