P U N J A B    S T O R I E S


‘Economic squeeze’ SAD’s major poll plank
Sarbjit Dhaliwal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 8
How to free Punjab from “economic squeeze”? This will be the operative part of the manifesto of the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD). Various measures will be proposed in the party's manifesto for the economic development of the state.

“For the past several days, we are dwelling on the economic issues facing the state. Our thinking is that Punjab needs a big push to re-capture its status as the leader state in the country,” said a member of the SAD think tank.

Explaining the economic squeeze, he said, “Neither is Punjab moving ahead on the agricultural front nor on the industrial front. Haphazard performance on both fronts has impeded its social and cultural development,” he added.

“For a long period of time, Punjab has been facing ruin for one reason or the other. All invaders passed through it, crippling it financially, socially and physically. And during Partition, it suffered the most. After Partition, during two wars - 1965 and 1971 - it was Punjab that suffered a heavy loss. However, the Union Government has not bothered much to compensate the state that has been facing heavy odds,” said the member.

The SAD would ask the Union Government to allot the surplus land available with it at various places to farmers of Punjab. "About 15 lakh hectares of surplus land is available with certain departments of the Union Government. Besides, a huge chunk of land is available with the Railways. It can be allotted to Punjab farmers who want to expand their agricultural operations,” he said.

At present, farmers of Punjab cannot buy land for agriculture purposes in Rajasthan, Himachal Pradesh, Uttaranchal and west Uttar Pradesh.

The salient features of the manifesto are likely to be announced tomorrow at a rally in Ludhiana.

The other issue is of development of border areas. "The UPA government has done nothing for the development of border areas. Because of two wars and occasional tension between India and Pakistan in the past five decades, people of border areas have faced a lot of hardships. The UPA government has stopped even the compensation that was given to farmers who own land along the fence on the Indo-Pakistan border in the Punjab belt. We will propose special steps for the development of the border areas,” said the SAD leader.

The third major step will be to promote industry. The Union Government has been dragging its feet on setting up public sector units in the state.

“The investment by the Union Government in the public sector in Punjab has remained below 1 per cent for the past five decades. The SAD will go all out to press the Centre to set up various kinds of industries and thermal plants in the state to bring it on a par with other states as far as investment in public sector is concerned,” said the SAD leader.

Being a border and land-locked state, Punjab needs to be given concessions on the pattern of hill states to promote industry, especially in its kandi belt. “This will be given prominence in our manifesto,” he added.

Punjab had not been given due recognition for its role in the freedom struggle at the national level. The Centre would be asked to set up a national gallery of freedom fighters in the Lok Sabha complex so that the names of all freedom fighters from Punjab could be prominently mentioned. “The Centre has not done enough to celebrate the first birth centenary of Shaheed Bhagat Singh nor his 75th death anniversary", said the member.

To give a boost to the urban economy, the SAD would propose connecting of all major trade centres such as Ludhiana, Jalandhar, Amritsar and Bathinda with six-lane roads.

“Providing connectivity to all major cities through expressways will be given top priority by the SAD,” he added. Their would be various other proposals for the urban sector, Dalits and other marginalised sections of society. Unemployment, rising prices, education, health and police excesses will be the main election issues of the SAD.


SAD seeks transfer of DGP, others
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 8
The Shiromani Akali Dal today met the full Bench of the Election Commission of India and demanded that the Director-General of Police, Mr S.S. Virk, along with a few other officers should be shifted immediately to ensure “a free and fair” poll in Punjab.

The party also demanded the shifting of two Patiala-based Sharma brothers. One of the brothers is in the IAS while the other is a PPS officer. The SAD’s alliance partner, the BJP, demanded that Central forces should be posted in the state for the elections, which are due on February 13.

The EC team started its two-day visit to the state. The SAD delegation comprising Mr Sukhbir Badal, Mr Sukhdev Dhindsa and Dr G.S. Cheema met the EC and alleged that “Mr Virk is known to adopt all illegal and unfair means to achieve his goals and please his bosses”. They said he showed a terrorist, Sukhwinder Singh, alias Sukhi ,dead in the police records and gave him a new name and identity and all possible support to carry on illegal activities.

The arrest of persons in Jalandhar and the subsequent recoveries made from them were found to be factually incorrect and this was done only to vitiate the atmosphere in the state before the poll. Apart from this, Mr Virk recently organised a police darbar at Patiala, where many concessions were announced for police personnel in order to secure their votes in the elections.

Continuing their allegations against Mr Virk, the Akalis said he even got his friend, Mr Jaswant Singh Mann, to form a breakaway group of the Akalis. Though Mr Virk’s name had been cleared for appointment as Director-General of a Central police organisation, the Punjab Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, wanted him to continue till the elections, the Akalis added.

The SAD said Mr Mohd. Mustafa, posted as IGP, Border Zone, was another controversial police officer. His wife, Ms Razia Sultana, was a sitting Congress MLA from Malerkotla and he should be shifted. The SAD also complained against Mr Rajinder Singh, IG, Faridkot, and SSPs Surinder Pal Singh and G.S. Chahal. However, these officers had been shifted late last night.

The SAD in its complaint also alleged that Mr Gurinder Singh Dhillon, SSP, Mohali, was also a controversial police officer. He was never posted at any public dealing post, but the present Congress government posted him as the SSP, Barnala, and Sangrur, where he allegedly got false cases registered against Akali Dal leaders, including the sitting MLA, Mr Malkiat Singh Keetu. He had now got a false criminal case registered against a major cable service provider of Chandigarh, Mohali and Ropar because the owner, Mr Manmohan Singh Bajwa, did not succumb to his pressure to air a pro-Congress channel, the SAD memorandum said.

Demanding the shifting of the Sharma brothers, Mr S.K.Sharma, Deputy Commissioner, Moga, and Mr Narinder Bhargav, SP, CM Security, the Akalis said they should be transferred to non-election related posts.

The SAD also wanted that the appointment of information commissioners should be stopped by the EC. The circulation of calendars of the year 2007, having photographs of Capt Amarinder Singh, should also be stopped. These have been printed by the DPR. The calendars were printed using public money and their distribution was a violation of the model code of conduct.

Meanwhile, the Punjab unit of the Bharatiya Janata Party expressed fear of the misuse of power and authority by the incumbent Punjab Government as it had obliged the police force in order to misuse official machinery during the elections.

The BJP also raised an important issue in the state. It asked the EC to take notice of the advertisements appearing in newspapers against one party or the other. The party said the publication of mischievous and surrogate advertisements that indulged in mudslinging should be stopped. Also, such advertisements were attributed to organisations which were actually disowning them. Such a campaign of unclaimed advertisements was dangerous, said the BJP.

The BJP said it feared that that the Punjab Police and its officers were going to be coerced into helping the Amarinder-led Congress by their superiors. The BJP also presented a CD of the Patiala MC byelection in ward number 32 held in October which was countermanded by the Punjab State Election Commission.

The party demanded Central forces to ensure free and fair elections in Punjab. DGP Virk was close to the Chief Minister. Also, other officers had been hurriedly given out-of-turn promotion to the ranks of DGP, ADGP, IG and DIG.

An association of cable operators also met the EC and alleged high-handedness, saying policemen had been sent to the control room of each operator and it was ensured that a particular channel that was pro-Congress was broadcast.

The EC also meet the DCs and SSPs. 


Cong desperate for tie-up with CPI: Dr Dyal
Varinder Walia
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, January 8
The CPI’s National Executive member, Dr Joginder Dyal, today claimed that the Congress high command had been desperate to forge political alliance with his party which was ‘out of question’.

However, he said his party would not have any truck with Congress due to the ‘autocratic’ attitude of Chief Minister Amarinder Singh and his alleged anti-farmer and economic policies. He said it was totally baseless claim on the part of Capt Amarinder Singh that CPI leaders were trying to forge alliance with Congress party.

“Let him (Chief Minister) clarify which CPI leader had approached him for the alliance,” he asked . He described Capt Amarinder Singh as ‘big liar’.

He said Capt Amarinder Singh should realise that his own party president, Mr Shamsher Singh Dullo, had been giving public statements for reaching poll alliance with Left parties.

Dr Dyal, who was here in connection with the election meetings in favour of Mr Amarjit Singh Asal, CPI candidate from Amritsar West, alleged that the Congress government had failed to mitigate the genuine problems of the people during its five-year tenure . He alleged that Capt Amarinder Singh had been using ‘foul language’ against his opponents without caring dignity of his high office.

He claimed that the Left parties had taken a firm decision one year ago both at state and national level for not having any alliance with Congress party for a variety of reasons.

Dr Dayal said that Capt Amarinder Singh had failed to get an economic package for the residents of Punjab, especially for poor, farmers and traders, despite two visits by the Prime Minister to his home town.

He said the Left parties, along with Lok Bhalai Party, headed by Mr Balwant Singh Ramoowalia, would contest 60 Assembly seats. While the CPI would contest from 30, the CPM and Lok Bhalai would field their candidates in 14 and 15 Assembly seats, respectively. He said Left parties would oppose both Congress and SAD-BJP alliance in the Assembly polls.


Farmers gherao Amritsar bus stand
To organise village rallies from Jan 15
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, January 8
Intensifying their stir hundreds of farmers, along with their family members, here today gheraoed the bus stand in protest against the state government for not fulfilling their demands.

Led by Mr Kanwalpreet Singh Pannu, convener, Kisan Sangarsh Committee (KMC), they gathered near the bus stand around 2 pm and did not allow the buses to enter or leave till 5 pm. Hundreds of passengers were stranded at the bus stand causing inconvenience to many.

Addressing the gathering Mr Pannu said that they would not relent and would further intensify their agitation until the government accepted their genuine demands. He said they would not allow the implementation of alleged anti-farmer policies of the government.

The farmers' protest has entered in 20th day today. The farmers have been demanding waiving of electricity bills of their tubewells and cancellation of false cases registered against many farmers.

Mr Pannu said protest rallies would be held in villages from January 15 and from January 24 they would start indefinite agitation by blocking rail and road traffic at various places in the state.

The district administration had made elaborate security arrangements today to thwart any untoward incident. However, the blockade by the farmers remained peaceful and they dispersed later raising slogans against the state government.


Lambra-Kangri society wins national award
Sarbjit Dhaliwal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 8
The Lambra-Kangri Multipurpose Cooperative Service Society has won the national award for excellent performance and contribution to the cooperative movement.

The society has helped bring about economic prosperity by raising avenues of employment, fighting poverty and through human resource development in a cluster of villages near Hoshiarpur.

A few weeks ago, The Tribune had highlighted the activities of the society in its columns.

From each state, one society has been given the award by the National Cooperative Development Council of the Union Government.

Elated over the award, Mr Chander Dev Singh, secretary of the society, who, along with some other members of the society visited The Tribune office here today, said the Union Government had given a cash award of Rs 50,000, besides a certificate of excellence and a trophy.

He said two teams - one from Delhi and the other from Chandigarh - had inspected all records and activities of the society before recommending its name for the award.

“To be honoured at the national level is a big achievement. For us it means enhanced responsibility to perform better,” he said.

He thanked officers of the Cooperation Department and others concerned for their support in making the society a success.

On the society’s success mantra, he said, “We have kept the society insulated from all sorts of politics. Members have been told to keep their politics to themselves and visit the society as its members. Within the premises of the society, no one is allowed to discuss politics,” he added.

The society, that caters to the needs of Lambra, Bairo Kangri, Baggewal and Dadiana Kalan villages, has a capital worth Rs 7.50 crore.

It has never secured any loan from any bank since 1999. It has advanced loans worth Rs 4.50 crore to unemployed youth, women self-help groups, shopkeepers and others to generate avenues of self-employment.

Besides, the society has helped people start dairy farming, floriculture and bee-keeping. 


Tribune Impact
Code violation: Admn removes hoardings
Tribune News Service

Kharar, January 8
The district administration today removed the hoardings put up by the state government and other political parties a day after the Tribune highlighted the violation of model code of conduct by the political parties displaying hoardings and banners on the National Highway-21 passing through Mohali district. A hoarding of the state government was removed from a sign board on the national highway near Balongi.

The Tribune had today carried a story “Hoardings defy code of conduct”.

The Tribune team had yesterday spotted hoardings carrying photographs of the Chief Minister Amarinder Singh, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Congress president Sonia Gandhi with claims about development displayed on many signboards on the national highway, besides banners of the Congress and Akali Dal party along the highway.

Although the Deputy Commissioner-cum-District Electoral Officer, Mohali, Mr Tejveer Singh, had directed all political parties to remove their hoardings from public places four days ago but none of the party had implemented on his orders.

If the political parties had failed to remove their hoardings and banners from the public places after the model code of conduct was imposed in the state, and if the administration had to do their work, then the expenses to remove the hoardings should be taken from the concerned political parties.


Ballian to contest as Independent
Sushil Goyal
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, January 8
After the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) ticket was denied to him from the Sangrur Assembly constituency, Mr Ranjit Singh Ballian, a minister in the previous SAD-BJP government, reportedly has “made up” his mind to contest from two Assembly constituencies, namely Sangrur and Sunam, to “teach a lesson” to the SAD high command and its secretary-general Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa. He holds Mr Dhindsa responsible for the denial of ticket to him.

For the Sangrur the SAD has allotted the ticket this time to Mr Parkash Chand Garg, a national vice-president of the SAD, while for the Sunam Assembly constituency Mr Parminder Singh Dhindsa, MLA from Sunam and a son of Mr Dhindsa, has been given the ticket again.

Mr Ballian has been alleging Mr Dhindsa had played a big role in the denial of ticket to him this time by putting pressure on Mr Parkash Singh Badal, president of the SAD, to allot the ticket to Mr Garg. Mr Ballian also alleged Mr Dhindsa had also become instrumental in the denial of ticket to him in the February 2002 Assembly elections.

On the other hand Mr Dhindsa refuted the allegations of Mr Ballian saying allotment of SAD ticket to Garg or any other was the decision of Mr Badal and the party.

Sources said as Mr Ballian considered Mr Dhindsa his main “enemy” in the case of denial of ticket, so he had made up his mind to contest not only as an independent from Sangrur, which he represented by him from 1997 to 2002, but also from the Sunam constituency to work for the defeat of Mr Dhindsa’s son Parminder Singh Dhindsa. Mr Ballian if contests from Sunam also he would obtain several thousands of votes from the vote bank of the SAD, which might hit prospects of Mr Parminder Singh Dhindsa from Sunam, they added.

Till now the SAD had been facing revolt in four Assembly constituencies, Lehra, Dirba, Dhuri and Sangrur from SAD ticket aspirants for the Assembly elections, but now a new name, Sunam, will also fall in the same category. Now there are many hurdles in at least five Assembly segments of this district for the SAD candidates due to revolt in the party.

Earlier on January 6 after the announcement of SAD ticket to Mr Garg, supporters of Mr Ballian had revolted against the denial of ticket to Mr Ballian at his under construction house here. They also raised slogans against Mr Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa, holding him responsible for the denial of ticket to Mr Ballian. Mr Ballian has convened a meeting of his supporters on January 12 at gurdwara Nankiana Sahib here for next course of action with regard to contesting elections as an independent.


Amarjeet Bajwa to join Congress
SAD faces dissidence in Qadian
Lalit Mohan
Tribune News Service

Gurdaspur, January 8
Dissidence in the SAD over allotment of ticket continues unabated. After Mr Gurmeet Singh Para announced that he would oppose the party in case Mr Gurbachan Singh Babaehali, Milkfed Chairman, who recently quit the Congress to join the SAD, was allotted the party ticket, another SAD leader from Qadian has declared his exit from the party.

Mr Amarjeet Singh Bajwa, a prominent SAD leader from Qadian trying for the SAD ticket from the Qadian constituency, talking to The Tribune, said he would join the Congress.

He alleged the SAD had given the party ticket from Qadian to Mr Lakhbir Singh Lodhinangal who had tasted power in the Congress government for four years as Chairman of the Batala Improvement Trust.

Mr Lodhinangal had acted against SAD workers from the area, yet he had been given the party ticket. As things stood now, Capt Amarinder Singh was a better choice than Mr Prakash Singh Badal, he said.

Mr Amarjeet Singh Bajwa had contested as an Independent in the 1996 Assembly elections and secured 12,000 votes. He has considerable following in the Qadian and neighbouring Kanuwan constituencies.

sources here said Mr Amarjeet Singh Bajwa would formally join the Congress along with his supporters at a rally to be held on January 12.

Mr Gurvinder Singh Shampura, SGPC member from the area, who was also an aspirant for the SAD ticket, has already declared his candidature as an Independent from Quadia.

The SAD also faces dissidence in Batala from where its alliance partner, BJP, is likely to field former minister Satpal Sahni.

The SAD leader and president of the Batala Industries Association, Mr Gurvinder Bajwa, had been demanding the party ticket. However, after he was ignored he announced he would contest as an Independent from the Batala Assembly constituency.

Sources said that alarmed at the increases in dissidence, the SAD had started a damage-control exercise. Mr Gurmeet Singh Para was today summoned by the party high command to assuage him.


Lobbying on for Cong ticket from Banur
Pradeep Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 8
The lobbying for the Congress ticket from the Banur assembly segment has picked up momentum even as there is a clear "divide" between the local and "outside" candidates.

With the party high command taking its own time coming out with even the first list of the candidates, the suspense as to who would oppose the Shiromani Akali Dal(SAD) stalwart and the sitting MLA, Capt Kanwaljit Singh, is getting prolonged.

Sources said a majority of the prospective candidates or their representatives are camping in New Delhi to gather support in their favour. The Congress is notorious for delaying the candidates' list and foisting outside candidates on certain constituencies.

Party sources said among the prominent claimants for the seat were Mr Deepinder Singh Dhillon, vice-chairman of the Punjab State Industrial Development Corporation (PSIDC), Ms Seelam Sohi, general secretary of the Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee (PPCC), Mr Amritpal Singh, president of the Dera Bassi Municipal Council, Mr Shiam Singh, Mr Surinder Pal Singh, Mr Balbir Singh Baltana, Mr Bahadur Singh and Mr Harkesh Sharma.

In an apparent show of strength, all claimants, except Mr Dhillon, held a meeting here yesterday and demanded ticket for the local candidate.

However, Mr Dhillon, who as the Congress in charge of the Banur assembly segment, is credited with major development works in the area, is considered to be a strong contender from the seat.

Besides these claimants, Mr Rakesh Sharma, a son of former Punjab Minister Hans Raj Sharma, has also claimed the seat terming it as the "Hindu constituency" and family's natural constituency.

In fact, the Congress claimants' list seemed to be growing by each passing day. Reliable sources said a couple of senior Congress MLAs were also eyeing the seat in case they were denied ticket from their present constituencies.

Since the Banur segment is currently being represented by the Akali stalwart, Capt Kanwaljit Singh, the party would field a candidate, who was potential winner and give SAD a tough fight, the sources added.

The Congress nominee's winning ability assumes importance in the context of fissures among SAD-BJP alliance, with the general secretary of the BJP's Mohali district, Mr Suresh Gupta, raising a banner of revolt and declaring his candidature from the Banur segment. A section of the Congress is of the view that if the rift between the SAD and the BJP widens, the Congress may be a major gainer out of this.

A senior Congress functionary told The Tribune here today that though the recommendations of the PPCC and the Chief Minister carried weight the party high command (read Congress General Secretary in charge and the AICC President Ms Sonia Gandhi) had the final say in the selection of the candidates.


Don’t field Sidhu, wife from Amritsar: Mann
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, January 8
The Shiromani Akali Dal should put up its own candidate for the byelection to the Amritsar parliamentary seat who could raise the issue concerning Harmandar Sahib.

Mr Simranjit Singh Mann, President, SAD (Amritsar), stated this to the media here today. He said Mr Parkash Singh Badal should not allow cricketer-turned-politician Navjot Singh Sidhu, who had recently been convicted by the Punjab and Haryana High Court for culpable homicide, or his wife to contest the byelection.

Mr Mann said the SAD should field a Sikh candidate from the holy city who could raise various issues in the Parliament, which included return of the books of the Sikh Reference Library seized by the Army during Operation BlueStar. He said Mr Sidhu had failed to raise the voice of the community.

On contesting the parliamentary seat from the holy city, Mr Mann said he wanted to contest the election but conditions were not viable for him now.


SAD (A) to contest 60 seats
Will also have alliance with Third Front
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, January 8
The Shiromani Akali Dal, Amritsar (SAD-A), will contest 60 seats apart from having an alliance with the Third Front to defeat the Congress and the SAD-BJP combine in the forthcoming Assembly elections, said Mr Simranjit Singh Mann, President, SAD (A), while talking to newsmen here today.

Mr Mann said negotiations were on with other panthic and like-minded parties like the CPI and the CPM to put common candidates on all the 117 Assembly seats to give a suitable alternative to the people of the state. He said they would soon release the list of the candidates for the forthcoming elections to the state.

Lashing out at Mr Parkash Singh Badal, President, SAD, for having an alliance with the BJP by giving them 23 seats to contest, including the Amritsar Central seat, Mr Mann said Mr Badal was selling the interests of the Sikhs to the Hindutva forces. He said elections to Uttarakhand were also being held simultaneously, but Mr Badal had no courage to demand an Assembly seat for the Sikhs settled there.

Mr Mann said the SAD supremo was announcing sops to the general public by promising 24-hour electricity and jobs to the 30 lakh unemployed youth in the state, but he did not specify as to how to cope with the shortage of electricity and unemployment. He said if his party came to power he would urge the Central Government to sign an MoU with Pakistan to get natural gas from there to increase the power generation in the state. He would also set up a nuclear plant which would be helpful in supplying uninterrupted power in the state, besides generating revenue by selling it to other states.

The SAD (A) chief said the Rs 55,000-crore public sector undertakings (PSUs) which were suffering heavy losses would be sold to private parties and the funds thus generated would be used to waive off the loans to the tune of Rs 23,000 crore of the farmers who were forced to commit suicide due to losses suffered by them.


Uma to interview ticket aspirants

Amritsar, January 8
Ms Uma Bharti, chief of the Bhartiya Janshakti Party, will interview probable candidates for the coming Assembly elections on January 12 here.

Mr Pawan Velocha, state president, said the party had decided to field candidates against all BJP candidates in all Assembly constituencies.

She would visit Harmandar Sahib and Durgiana Temple before that.

Mr Velocha said while ticket seekers of both the BJP and the Congress had been camping in New Delhi, Ms Uma Bharti would come all the way to Amritsar to interview the candidates .

However, the Bhartiya Janshakti Party has postponed its proposed poll rally on January 12 at Ludhiana. — TNS


Khair wood smugglers injure forester
Tribune News Service

Hoshiarpur, January 8
Khair wood smugglers critically injured Mr Gurdeep Singh, a forester in the Mehengrowal range, last evening hitting him with their vehicle at a naka.

Sources available here said the forester, along with other forest officials, had laid a naka on the Mehengrowal-Hoshiarpur road last evening. They had the information that illegally felled trees were being smuggled on the route. When they tried to stop a jeep (PB-07P-8949) loaded with illegally felled khair wood, the driver of jeep hit the forester with the vehicle and ran away.

Mr Gurdeep Singh was admitted to the Hoshiarpur Civil Hospital. He has received injuries on the forehead and other parts of the body.

The forester identified his assailants as Des Raj, a resident of Dada village and Jeet Ram, a resident of Baroti village. They were also accompanied by two other unidentified persons.

The kin of Mr Gurdeep Singh present in the hospital alleged that the assailants were influential persons. “Though their names have been given to the police, we do not expect any action against them.”


high court
High Court admits Amarinder’s plea
High Court Correspondent

Chandigarh, January 8
The Punjab and Haryana High Court today admitted for further hearing a petition filed by the Chief Minister, Punjab, Capt Amarinder Singh, seeking quashing of the complaint and subsequent proceedings initiated in a Chandigarh court by advocate N.S. Minhas. The complainant had filed a complaint against Capt Amarinder Singh for allegedly defamatory observations against the former Chief Minister and Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) president Parkash Singh Badal during the Vidhan Sabha poll campaign in 2002.

The petitioner is Secretary of SAD, Chandigarh. It has been contended by counsel for the Chief Minister that under law, defamation proceedings under Section 199 IPC can be initiated only by the individual against whom such observations have been made and none else. In this context, it was also pointed out that Mr Badal has himself filed a similar complaint which was before the trial court.

Notice on motor vehicles

The High Court on Monday issued notice of motion for April on a PIL which prays for directions to respondents to enforce the provisions of Rule 125 of the Central Motor Vehicle Act, 1989, as amended vide notification of January 15, 1998.

The petitioner, Ms Priya Gupta, has stated that this would ensure that all vehicles are equipped with auto-dippers in order to avoid loss of life and property. She has also sought directions to manufacturers of vehicles to equip their product with auto-dippers as also directions to the regional transport authorities to not register vehicles which do not have auto-dippers. She has alleged that instead of getting the amendment implemented, the respondents have omitted the very rule which was introduced earlier. She has therefore prayed that the impugned notification of September 12, 2001, and letter of September 25, 2006, issued by the respondents in this regard be quashed.

Today, a Division Bench comprising Chief Justice Mr Justice Vijendra Jain and Mr Justice Rajive Bhalla issued notices to the Union Surface Transport Ministry and the Transport Secretaries of Punjab, Haryana and the Chandigarh Administration for April 2.

Preliminary hearing

A petition seeking directions to the Punjab Government, Improvement Trust, Phagwara, and others for quashing the decision of the Trust to permit conversion of a parking place into a public park came up for preliminary hearing in the Punjab and Haryana High Court on Monday.

The petitioners, Mr Rakesh Kumar Bhanot of Mata Rani Road, Phagwara, and 15 others, have stated that the Chairman of the Improvement Trust is reported to have granted oral permission to Ambedkar Sena to put up a statue of Dr Bhim Rao Ambedkar in front of the petitioners’ shops in the shopping complex of Guru Hargobind Nagar, Phagwara, which was endorsed by a resolution passed by the Trust on December 6, 2006. The trust resolution has wrongly described the parking area as park as there is no park or open space in front of shops of the petitioners.

The resolution, the petitioners have contended, is illegal and violative of mandatory provisions of Section 43 of the Punjab Town Improvement Act, 1972. As such, the respondents should be restrained from changing the land use in such an arbitrary manner, the petition says.

Today, the Division Bench comprising Chief Justice Mr Justice Vijendra Jain and Mr Justice Rajive Bhalla have after preliminary hearing issued notices to Secretary, Local Bodies, Punjab, Improvement Trust, Phagwara, as also its Chairman for February 12 for filing their replies to the issue raised in the writ petition.


Kar seva baba surrenders
Tribune News Service

Patiala, January 8
Controversial Kar Seva Wale Baba Amrik Singh who was declared a proclaimed offender surrendered in the court of Ms Rajnish, Judicial Magistrate (First Class), here today and was sent to judicial custody till January 10.

An FIR was registered against him at Tripuri police station on September 2 last year under various Sections of the IPC, including 420, 406, 409 and 120. The case was registered on a complaint made by Mr Gurmeet Singh on behalf of Baba Jagtar Singh, a resident of Dera Baba Jeevan Singh, Goindwal Sahib, Tarn Taran district.

Two co-accused, Kanwaljit Kaur and Mukhtiar Singh, are in judicial custody while the Baba's sister, Harjinder, has already been bailed out. In September last year, Baba Amrik Singh was embroiled in a controversy when the Patiala police detected sensational documents pertaining to the purchase of prime land in certain parts of Punjab and bank accounts in the name of the alleged culprits.

He had fled from Dera Baba Jeevan Singh at Tarn Taran and went underground after allegedly embezzling donations worth crores on July 8. The FIR revealed that the Baba belonged to a poor family. The Baba shot into limelight when he supervised kar seva of Sarovar of the Golden Temple, gold-plating of Darbar Sahib, Tarn Taran, and Sikh shrines in Pakistan and allegedly collected huge donations. However, he had fled on the pretext of purchasing medicines from Amritsar. 


Saini Motors partner gets jail
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 8
A Ludhiana court today sentenced Meenakshi Saini, a resident of Ludhiana and partner in Saini Motors, to six-month simple imprisonment after convicting her in a case pertaining to misappropriation of money in the sale of Maruti cars.

The case against Meenakshi Saini and her husband, Narinder Saini, who has since expired, was registered on February 9, 1989, after an inquiry conducted by the then SP (Headquarters), Ludhiana, Mr G.S. Grewal, held the couple guilty of criminal breach of trust.

The Judicial Magistrate (First Class), Ludhiana, Mr Charanjit Arora, held the couple guilty and later ordered the sentence. She has also been asked to pay a fine of Rs 2,000, failing which the imprisonment will be extended by another month.

In a detailed order, the judge said the statement of the witnesses had corroborated the prosecution version. He said the records kept by the company showed that Meenakshi Saini and her husband were reflecting in their calculations the amount paid as interest to the customers. But the amount was actually not paid to the customers. They were charging the original manufacturers for the amount of interest, which they “claimed” to have paid to the customer.

The judge held it had been duly proved that the accused failed to pass on the amount of interest on initial deposits to the beneficiaries. Since the accused were holding on to the interest amount as mere trustees on behalf of the manufacturer and the customers, they had committed a criminal breach of trust in having appropriated that amount. The judge held Meenakshi Saini guilty under Section 406 of the IPC.

Incidentally, two of Meenakshi Saini’s sons, who were also partners in the family-run concern, Saini Motors, had gone missing years ago reportedly after being picked up by a Punjab Police team.

The case pertaining to the missing businessmen in which the IGP, Mr Sumedh Singh Saini, is one of the accused, is being taken up at a court in New Delhi.

Mr Saini was the SSP, Ludhiana, when Meenakshi and Narinder Saini were booked under Sections 406, 420, 465, 467, 471 and 120-B of the IPC. In the FIR registered at the Focal Point police station, it was alleged that they had misappropriated interest due to the costumers on the booking amount for cars and also prepared forged documents.


Moonak gets judicial court
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, January 8
Mr Justice T.P.S. Mann of the Punjab and Haryana High Court today inaugurated a judicial court at Moonak, about 60 km from here. Mr Jaspinder Singh, Magistrate, has been posted as the first magistrate of the Moonak court after his transfer from Barnala.

Among others who were present on the occasion were Mr K.K. Garg, District and Sessions Judge, Sangrur; Mr Harsh Mehta, Chief Judicial Magistrate, Sangrur, Mr Harkewal Singh Sajuma, president of the Sangrur District Bar Association, and Mr Rupinder Singh, president of the Bar Association, Moonak.


Carrying arms prohibited

Ropar, January 8
Keeping in view the coming assembly elections, the District Magistrate, Mr Alok Shekhar, today issued orders under Section 144 CrPC prohibiting people from carrying licensed arms in public places of the district till March 31. — TNS


Charred body found

Ropar, January 8
The burnt body of a woman (25), was found dumped near Bunga Sahib, here this afternoon. The police said the identity of the woman had not been ascertained as yet. It added that the woman was dumped here after being murdered elsewhere. SSP Kapil Dev, and other senior officials visited the spot. — TNS


PTA award for school Principal
Our Correspondent

Abohar, January 8
The Parent Teacher Association of India affiliated to the International Confederation of Parents, Paris, gave away national award to Mr V.K. Kuriakose, Principal, Jhamku Devi Senior Secondary School at Dhora Mehrajpur village in this subdivision, yesterday. He is among the 21 principals who were honoured with this award. Mr Deepak Pental, Vice-Chancellor, Delhi University, presented a memento and a citation to him at a function organised in New Delhi.

Prof A.K. Sahni, general secretary of the association, said the Parent Teacher Association had completed 50 years of its existence in India. Mr Kuriakose was selected for his contribution towards the field of education, he added.


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