C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S

2 PU professors face suspension
Sharma for fudging data, Sehgal for molestation
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 20
The Panjab University Syndicate today recommended the suspension of two senior faculty members Dr Manoj Sharma and Dr N.K. Sehgal. Dr Sharma of the University Business School is facing allegations of having fudged data provided to B-School rating agencies to improve the ranking of the UBS.

Dr Sehgal of the Department of Evening Studies is facing allegations of outraging the modesty of a school student who took tuitions from him.

The suspension orders are likely to be issued tomorrow. Full-fledged disciplinary enquiries are also being initiated against the two professors. They will remain suspended till the completion of the enquiry.

The PU’s retainer, Mr Anupam Gupta, has, as part of his legal advice, added an interesting remark with respect to the conduct of the enquiry, “The enquiry itself should be made time-bound, lest it becomes yet another of those university enquiries which never seem to end.”

The decision was taken by syndicate members during its meeting today. The Vice-Chancellor, Prof RC Sobti, is learnt to have told syndics that preliminary enquiries into these allegations had found the two blameworthy. He added that before initiating full-fledged enquiries, he had sought legal opinion in both cases.

In case of the UBS, the fact-finding committee headed by the Dean University Instructions, Prof Veer Singh, had found that in the absence of a formal arrangement within the department for the collection and dispatch of data to ranking agencies, Dr Sharma had been looking after the whole business.

It also found that Prof Satish Kapoor, chairman of the department, did not scrutinise the data prepared by Dr Sharma properly. “For the fudging of data for the purpose of ranking of the UBS among business schools, Dr Manoj Sharma and Prof Satish Kapoor are accountable for the unfortunate fiasco which had brought a bad name to the UBS and the Panjab University,” concluded the report.

Following newspaper reports that there were gross anomalies between the facilities that existed in the department and what had been projected, the VC had recently set up a fact-finding committee to look into allegations against Dr Sharma.

Dr Sehgal, a teacher in the commerce stream at the Department of Evening Studies, was booked and arrested by the Chandigarh police in September last year following a complaint by the father of the girl, an XIth standard student. Dr Sehgal was later released on bail.

The PU had ordered a preliminary enquiry that recommended that while the allegations regarding molestation were for the police to look into, the fact that Dr Sehgal was taking tuitions must be looked into. The report was tabled before the syndicate and senate and the VC has been authorised to taken further action.



Morni mishap: Police arrived late, ill-equipped
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, January 20
Missing the last bus to Morni proved costly for these youth of Madhna village who hitched a hike in a pick-up truck yesterday night and ended up in hospital.

The truck skidded off the road while trying to evade a scooterist. One person died and eight others were injured in the accident while the driver and the scooterist fled from the spot.

Virender Singh, one of the injured, said that he was late to catch the last bus to Morni which leaves at around 6.30 pm. "I was waiting at Majri chowk in Sector 1 looking for a conveyance which would take me home. I curse my luck for taking that truck which belonged to our village. There were 12 of us in the truck which left Panchkula at 9.45 pm," he recalls.

Varinder said that their vehicle was negotiating a bend when a scooterist came right in front. "The driver swerved to the side and lost control. We were sitting in the backseat which was open on all sides. We fell into a ditch at the side of the road," he said.

Rajneesh Sharma, an employee at a shop in Sector 11, suffered two fractures. He said that Ravi, who was sitting next to the driver, died on the spot while the others were thrown into a ditch.

"Our families reached the spot long before the police came," he said.

Ashok Kumar, who was bleeding profusely, was checked for dental, eye and orthopaedic injuries.

The victims said that there was only one vehicle to ferry the victims from the accident spot to the General Hospital, Sector 6. "Our family members went down the ‘kuchha’ road to pull us out of the ditch. The police arrived over an hour after the accident and was not adequately equipped to ferry us from the accident spot. The victims reached the hospital at around 1 am," explains Rishi Pal, a student.

The doctors on duty said that most victims had suffered spinal injuries due to the fall but were stable and undergoing treatment at the hospital.

Dheeraj, who had reported to the hospital with a head injury, was referred to PGI, Chandigarh. The police has registered a case under Section 279 and 304 A.



Haryana’s excise policy a relief for Bacchus lovers
Rajmeet Singh
Tribune News service

Chandigarh, January 20
Now it is Haryana’s turn to dictate the terms as far the excise policy for the next year is concerned. Expecting an appreciation after the recently floating public-oriented draft excise policy for the new year, Haryana has made the Chandigarh Administration sit up and take notice of the relief offered to liquor contractors and Bacchus lovers.

Admitting that the liquor policy of Haryana can adversely affect UT’s excise policy, a senior officer in the UT Excise and Taxation Department said Haryana’s policy was anti-trader. The UT will not like liquor smuggling from the inter-state border as over the years the city’s excise policy has been anti-smuggling oriented. Haryana’s policy has been made keeping in mind Rajasthan and Delhi, he added.

Going by the relief given to Haryana’s liquor contractors by the slashing of the minimum retail price (MRP) of IMFL and country liquor, the cut in excise duty on liquor sold from CSD canteens, and the increase of an individual’s possession, the UT has to offer more similar sops. The price of beer has also been slashed.

“If the UT’s draft excise policy, released for public opinion in January this year, is implemented, then the prices of popular brands of liquor will be either at par or more than those of neighbouring areas of Haryana. On one hand, it will attract the consumers and on the other it will also hit the traders and provoke more competition”, observed a liquor trader in the city.

“Already liquor here was being sold much less than the MRP in Haryana. If they are not been able to stick to the MRP, there is no sense in reducing it”, observed an excise official.

In the draft excise policy released for 2007-2008, the policy makers of UT have hinted at marginally reducing the minimum retail price of IMFL and country liquor. The price will be reduced by Rs 10, said sources.

Reacting to Haryana’s policy, liquor traders said they should be offered relief in the form of allowing vends from temporary structures instead of installing a pre-fabricated structure. Allotting such structures through lots or allowing IMFL and country liquor vends under one-roof can also bring relief.



Labourer hit by train, dies
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 20
A labourer died after he was hit by a train on an overhead bridge on the Chandigarh-Morinda railway line on the Ambala highway today.

Raju, a resident of Kabari Colony, Phase 1 of Industrial Area, died around 10 am after he was hit by a train coming from Morinda to Chandigarh.

According to sources, Raju, who was in his early twenties, went to Ram Darbar, Phase II, to load a truck along with five-six fellow labourers. As the truck did not arrive, all labourers started walking along the railway line to go to another place in search of work.

Raju was crossing the bridge when the train arrived. On seeing the train, he started running on the track as there was no extra space to move. The train hit him and he died on the spot. He belonged to Gopal Ganj district in Bihar. His body has been handed over to the family. This was the fourth accident since the inauguration of the bridge in September last year.

In another incident, the body of a youth was found in Sector 21, opposite Piccadily Hotel, here today.

Police sources said it seemed that the youth belonged to a good family as he was wearing branded clothes. However, the police did not find anything on his person except three Haryana Roadways tickets.

The police thought the youth was a student and sent some officials to the university with his photo to get some information about his identity. The youth seems to have died a natural death, it felt.



One year on, martyr’s kin await memorial
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, January 20
The morning of January 20 last year left the Bakshis speechless, numb and heartbroken. Lt Col Rajeev Bakshi, a third generation officer, had died in a counter insurgency operation in Manipur. Today, on his first death anniversary, the Bakshis came together to be each other's strength and remember the martyr.

The day began with a prayer meeting at home and ended with a distribution of sweets at Bal Niketan, an orphanage in Sector 2 here. The martyr’s father Col L.M.L. Bakshi, mother Usha Bakshi, brother Rajesh Bakshi and sister Ranjana Bakshi pledged to come to the orphanage every year on his martyrdom and birth anniversary.

Even as they await the construction of a memorial by the district administration as was promised last year, they have no complaints against anybody. "We were disappointed that his valour was only rewarded with a Sena medal. We don't want any mileage out of his martyrdom. He will not come back. Our effort is to remember him in a way that befits a soldier," his brother Rajesh Bakshi, serving in Kasauli, said.

Recounting the brave act of her brother, Ms Ranjana Bakshi, said that her brother received information about United National Liberation Front insurgents hiding in a temple in a remote village of Manipur on January 19 last year. "In the ensuing fire between the Army column and the insurgents, he was hit by a bullet and died while being evacuated to the nearest hospital," she recalled.

The operation was accomplished on January 20 and for the first time in nine years, the Indian flag was hoisted at the village. To express their gratitude to the soldier and to immortalise him, the villagers named the hill where the operation took place after Rajeev. It is now called the Bakshi hill.

Stating that Rajeev had last visited them in August 2005, his mother, Ms Usha Bakshi, said that he had promised to come back for his birthday on March 10. "He came back earlier than expected but our joy was absent as he came back wrapped in the Tricolour and sealed in a coffin," she said.



Ontario eager to do business with India
Pradeep Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 20
Making a fervent appeal to take Indo-Canadian relationship to the next level, Mr Dalton McGuinty, Premier of the largest Canadian province of Ontario, today coaxed the Indian industry to forge “mutually-beneficial” ties.

Addressing delegates at the session on “trade and investment opportunities with Ontario” organised by the Confederation of Indian Industry, Northern Region, here today, Mr McGuinty said the most important reason why India should do business with Ontario was that it was home to one of the largest Indian populations outside India, who had made it big in every field of life.

Trade between India and Ontario reached the $ 1 billion mark in 2005, representing an increase of 80 per cent in five years. This needs to be further enhanced, he added.

Ontario matters because we are cost-effective, innovative and offer access to one of the world’s richest markets. In this age you cannot claim to have an intelligent economic strategy for 21st century if you do not have an India strategy, he said, praising booming economy.

Mr Bhupinder Singh Hooda, Haryana Chief Minister, urged the Premier to invest in Haryana as there were a number of areas of mutual cooperation with the Ontario, especially in the field of automotive industry, power, agriculture and agrifood, education, infrastructure projects and environment.

Similarly, the government was also encouraging university to university linkages with Haryana Agricultural University, Hisar.

Mr Harinder Takhar, Ontario’s Minister for Small Business and Entrepreneurship, said the province was in the process of collaborating with the universities to region for industrial cooperation.



Pak elections not to hamper peace process
Vijay Mohan
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 20
Stating that the forthcoming general election in Pakistan would not be an impediment to the ongoing Indo-Pak dialogue, Lt-Gen Talat Masood said that bilateral relations as well as the problems the two nations were facing would have a bearing on the poll process.

Speaking to The Tribune here today, General Masood, who retired as the Secretary of Defence Production in Pakistan’s Ministry of Defence, claimed that Pervez Musharraf’s re-election for a second five-year term as president would have a “positive impact” on the peace process.

“It would increase the burden on the political parties if some solution could be found to normalise relations,” he said. Musharraf is seeking re-election from the present national and provincial assemblies before they are dissolved in November this year. His own term expires on November 15.

General Masood was here to attend an interactive session on Indo-Pakistan Dialogue: The Way Ahead, organised at the Centre for Research in Rural and Industrial Development here.

Stating that Indo-Pak relations were moving in the right direction, he said that there was a positive response from both sides which gave rise to hope that the two countries could arrive at some sort of a concrete solution. Ongoing delineation of borders in Sir Creek was one example of moving towards co-operation. In Siachen, he said that the second channel of diplomacy was trying to see if some headway could be made.

A sustained dialogue along with emphasis on people-to-people contact and an impetus to bilateral trade and commerce and a change in the attitude on either side are prerequisites for improving Indo-Pak relations.

Stating this, former Vice Chief of the Army Staff, Lt-Gen Vijay Oberoi said that the key to normalising relations was reciprocity and not grand-standing. “We should look for areas of convergence,” he remarked. “We should go in for options which can be reciprocated instead of stand-alone issues as they are unlikely to be resolved,” he added.

On the issue of troop withdrawal from Kashmir as suggested by Musharraf, General Oberoi said that it must be understood that there were two categories of troops operating in Kashmir. Those manning the LoC and those involved in counter-terrorist operations. The second category, he said, could be reduced only if infiltration and terrorist activities came down. In Pakistan-occupied Kashmir, on the other hand, there ware only troops manning the LoC.

Terrorist training camps in Pakistan and support of all types to terrorists as well as continuing infiltration into Kashmir was a major stumbling block in normalisng relations, he said.

Stating that there is no alternative to a gradual, incremental peace process through political, economic and military confidence-building measures, former Chief of the Army Staff, Gen V.P. Malik said that we needed greater transparency and lesser surprises.



Search operations in Colony No. 4

Chandigarh, January 20
Keeping in view the forthcoming Republic Day celebrations, the Chandigarh Police conducted a search and combing operation in Colony No. 4 in the Industrial Area, Phase 1, here on Friday night.

As many as 150 police officials, including the DSP, East, all Station House Officers of the East Division, Operation Cell and Crime Branch, participated. Over 45 persons were rounded up to verify their antecedents. Later, all were let off after a proper verification. The operation started at 3.30 am and continued till 6.30 am. — TNS



R-Day function
Our Correspondent

Mohali, January 20
The state-level Republic Day function will be held at Government College here in which the Punjab Governor, Gen S.F. Rodrigues (retired), will take the salute at the march past.

The celebrations, the first in the newly created district, will include a presentation of tableaux and a cultural programme by students from different institutions.



Silver foil in fried rice at Hot Millions II
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 20
The Hot Millions II management found itself in a soup when a family allegedly found pieces of kitchen foil in their meal, here tonight.

Mr Jagwant Singh, resident of Sector 42 C, was taken aback when he found some pieces of wrapper in his ‘Fried Rice’ bowl. “I came along with my family to have a dinner here and ordered a Chinese dish. I was shocked to find silver foils in the rice bowl. I brought the matter to the notice of the manager of the restaurant, who immediately offered to exchange it with a fresh one”, said Mr Jagwant.

When the Tribune News Service contacted the manager on the phone, he did not utter a word on and surprisingly did not even tell his name.

“We could have developed problems after eating such unhygienic stuff”, added Mr Singh.



Fire in industrial unit
Our Correspondent

Mohali, January 20
A fire broke out in an industrial unit of Phase V, here today. No one was hurt in the accident. According to fire brigade officials, oil stored on the premises of the unit, caught fire while being heated. The flames were brought under control by the fire brigade.



CFSL team to probe assault case
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 20
Bowing to the pressure from the legal fraternity, the Chandigarh Police today summoned a team of the CFSL to verify the allegations of Gaurav Sharma, who was allegedly assaulted by three unidentified persons on Thursday night.

The CFSL team visited the spot - along the road dividing Sectors 23 and 24 near the Children’s Park - for further investigations. According to police sources, the team did not find any blood stains there.

On the other hand, Mr Jagdish Chand Sharma, father of Gaurav, had alleged that the previous day the attackers left unconscious Gaurav near the park. At that time Gaurav was bleeding profusely as his left wrist was slashed.

“There was a little chance of getting blood stains at the spot today as many labourers had been working there on the construction of the park”, said Mr Sharma.

The police, too, has been working on many theories. It also procured the medical reports of Gaurav from the General Multi-speciality Hospital, Sector 16, today.

The matter would be solved in a day or two, added the police.



Man fools GMADA and acquires land of deceased
Our Correspondent

Mohali, January 20
In a serious case of cheating, a man claiming to be someone else acquired the land of a deceased person, and then sold it off. It is suspected that at least two employees of Greater Mohali Area Development Authority (GMADA) may have connived with the alleged cheat in the disposal of the plot.

Although the police is investigating the complaint lodged by the Estate Officer (EO) of GMADA and has registered a case, the man who claimed he was the allottee of the 10-marla plot in Phase X, is still at large.

It is strange how the trickster, who seems to have known details of the family and played his game over a period of about two months, was not caught by the GMADA officials concerned. The man obviously was aware that the plot allottee, Darshan Singh, and his wife had died and were childless.

Darshan Singh had applied to the PUDA in 1983 for the conveyance deed of the plot allotted to him. The conveyance deed, one copy of which was retained, was handed over to him. However, Darshan Singh allegedly did not give copies of any other documents later to PUDA, indicating that the plot had been duly registered in his name at the tehsil office.

The cheat had approached GMADA in November last year identifying himself as Darshan Singh and claiming that he was now living in Nagpur. He claimed that all documents relating to the plot, including the conveyance deed, had been lost and an FIR had been registered in this regard on August 8, 2006, at Nagpur. He then applied to the GMADA, (this work has been transferred from PUDA), for a new conveyance deed and was asked to complete the necessary formalities.

On obtaining the new conveyance deed, he got the plot registered in his name at the tehsil office. He asked two stamp vendors, a husband and wife, to sign as witnesses in the property documents, with a lawyer signing as the identifier. It is reported that a GMADA employee purchased the required stamp papers for the transaction. The alleged trickster then obtained a no-objection certificate from the GMADA, sold the plot worth lakhs of rupees, and disappeared.

The case came to light recently when close relations of Darshan Singh, claiming to be his heirs, contacted the GMADA authorities in connection with the plot. 



First private security training institute
Our Correspondent

Mohali, January 20
The Orion School of Security and Intelligence Management (OSSIM), claimed to be India’s first-ever private security training institute, was opened here today.

The institute’s promoter and president Mr Gerald O’Connell has won the Queen’s Police Medal. The former Chief Officer of the Police in the UK aims at bringing standard training programmes for the security and intelligence market in India. Mr O’Connell has worked in three major police forces in the UK at various ranks during the 35 years of his police service and also in other countries.

Kunwar Vikram Singh, president, Central Association of Private Security Agencies in India, and chief guest, said the private security industry in the country at present involved about Rs 21,000 crore with more than 50 lakh employees. The Government of India had introduced the Private Security Agencies Regulation Act , 2005, which was likely to come into force soon. This law would make it mandatory for security companies to obtain a licence from the government and private security guards to undergo training and get a certification.

Mr Sarabjit Singh, former DGP, Punjab, said the security industry came up in Punjab during the days of terrorism when the demand for security rose to such an extent that it was not possible for the state police to cater to it. This field had tremendous potential and the demand would rise in the days to come.



Two more ‘apni mandis’

Chandigarh, January 20
A decision has been taken to hold ‘apni mandi’ regularly in Sector 49 on Saturday and in Sector 29 on Tuesday.

These two ‘mandis’ are in addition to the other ‘apni mandis’ being organised in various sectors of the city. — TNS



Chandikrit concludes
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 20
The three-day local trade fair, Chandikrit, organised by the Department of Industries, Chandigarh, concluded here yesterday. Around 50 stalls exhibiting products ranging from home and garden furniture, incense, solar equipments and food items were on display here.

Organised at the Plaza, Sector 17, the fair saw a huge rush of people. A on-the-spot painting competition for children was organised yesterday.



10,000 mutilated notes, coins exchanged at camp
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 20
The HDFC bank organised a special one-day camp for the exchange and adjudication of mutilated notes and coins at its Sector 17-C branch, here today. The camp, organised in line with the clean note policy of the Reserve Bank of India, received an encouraging response from its customers.

People in large numbers availed of the facility. Over 10,000 pieces valued at over Rs 6 lakh were exchanged at the camp, according to a press note issued, here today.

New portal: HP IT Solutions today launched the online psychological counselling portal: relationshipforever.com. It is a user-friendly website which can be used even by a person having no computer skills and the services are available at a nominal cost.



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