P U N J A B    S T O R I E S


Beas Poll
Dimpa’s bail plea gone; campaign on

Varinder Walia
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, March 6
The Congress today suffered another setback when District and Sessions Judge Gurdev Singh dismissed anticipatory bail applications of Jasbir Singh Gill, party candidate from Beas, his younger brothers - Harmanbir Singh Gill, SP (Traffic), Chandigarh and Harpinder Singh Rajan and seven others, paving the way for their arrest in connection with the killing of an Akali worker on January 29 in poll-related violence.

Immediately after the formation of the SAD-BJP government, Dimpa and his brother Harmanbir Singh had moved applications for anticipatory bail on March 1. Rajan and others are already in Central Jail . However, the public prosecutor pleaded that the bail would hamper further investigations.

Rajan and Balkar Singh, chairman, block samiti, Rayya, had surrendered before the police, here on February 9.

The other accused whose bail applications had been dismissed include Varinder Singh, alias Vickey, Jaswant Singh, Sarbjit Singh and three constables, Pawan Kumar, Kashmir Singh and Jaspal Singh and Jaimal Singh (the main accused) and Surjit Singh.

However, the four accused, mentioned in the report of the special investigation team (SIT) , headed by Manminder Singh, SP (headquarters) have absconded. The SIT had recommended to the district police Majitha to initiate necessary action to declare them proclaimed offenders.

The then DGP Punjab, R.S. Gill had given a clean chit to Harmanbir Singh Gill by claiming that he was present at Chandigarh at the time of the violence. The district court had summoned the record of the Beas police also.

Meanwhile, the Beas police swooped on some supporters of the Congress nominee Dimpa. However, Lok Nath Angra, SSP, Majitha, denied that the police had picked up innocent Congress activists as alleged by Dimpa in his complaint to the election commission. He, however, said raids were being conducted to arrest those who were mentioned as accused in the report of the SIT. The SIT had also given a list of those who were spotted in the video footage of the incident.

Sanjay Bumbroo
Tribune News Service

Beas, March 6
Jasbir Singh Dimpa and Manjinder Singh Kang, Congress and SAD candidates, have started door-to-door campaigning for the coming election to be held on March 11.

The election was postponed due to violence between supporters of Congress and SAD that led to the killing of one Akali supporter on January 29.

However, the people of the area seemed less interested as the government has been formed by the SAD-BJP. But the two political parties was in no mood to leave any stone unturned for this constituency as political bigwigs were scheduled to arrive in the town to support their candidates.

Meanwhile, SAD and the Congress have divided the constituency into 21 and 15 zones and assigned duty to party workers for each zone.

Parkash Singh Badal, Chief Minister, is scheduled to camp in the town for three days and will address an election rally at Dana Mandi on March 9, besides addressing rallies in Mahita Chowk, Dhardiun, Wadala Kalan, Dhulka, Chilchian and Rayya on March 7 and Borsi Rajputan, Lidhar, Sheron Bhagga, Butala and Beas on March 8. Even BJP leaders have also arrived in the town to campaign for Kang.

On the other hand, Rana Gurjit Singh of the Congress, who had been made in charge of the election campaign for the party candidate Jasbir Singh Dimpa, is also scheduled to arrive in the town tomorrow. Kang, who had been provided Z-plus security, was busy in campaigning in various rural areas of the constituency.



Vigilance Bureau takes U-turn in Badal case
Kiran Deep
Tribune News Service

Ropar, March 6
In yet another move, which could be aimed at helping scuttle the prosecution case, the Punjab Vigilance Bureau today changed its stand on the income tax reports in the corruption case involving Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal and members of his family.

Before the elections, both bureau and prosecution counsels had termed the IT reports, which purportedly give a clean chit to the Badals in connection with their properties, as irrelevant.

In fact, the prosecution had earlier steadfastly maintained that it had no knowledge of the IT reports.

Today, investigating officer and bureau SSP Surinder Pal Singh told Special Judge G.S Saran that the IT reports related to the properties owned by the Badal family as also the letters exchanged between the bureau and the IT Department had thrown up new facts. Those facts, he stressed, required further probe into the matter by the investigating agency.

In his affidavit, the SSP gave details of 11 letters exchanged between the bureau and the department. However, in his last affidavit file in the court on February 23, the same SSP had taken the stand that any document of the Income Tax Department was provided solely for the purpose of tax proceedings and was not part of the report submitted under Section 172 of the CrPC.

Not only this, Ropar district attorney Pradeep Mehta, while arguing for the necessity of further probe, told the court that that, if found true, the reports could even lead to the discharge of the Badals in the case.

“It is only further investigation which can verify the facts discussed in these assessment and valuation of the IT reports,” he argued.

Incidentally, a few days ago, the special public prosecutor appointed by the previous government had expressed complete ignorance about the IT reports. The prosecution had taken the stand that no document except challan could be taken into consideration by the court while framing charges. Moreover any document submitted by the accused had no relevance.

Today, the Badals’ counsel told the court that the prosecution could be allowed to further investigate the case in order to place true facts before the court.


Badal toughens stand on river waters
Sarbjit Dhaliwal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 6
Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal has further toughened stand on the abolition of the Section 5 of the Punjab Termination of Agreements Act (PTAA), through which all agreements on river waters among Punjab and neighbouring states of Haryana and Rajasthan were annulled by the previous Amarinder regime.

The Amarinder government had incorporated Section 5 safeguarding the current usage of river waters by Rajasthan and Haryana.

Asked that former Chief Minister Amarinder Singh has advised that the Section 5 should not be removed as the matter pertaining to it is subjudice, Badal said he did not need the advice of the former Chief Minister on this issue. He reiterated that he was determined to scrap the Section 5.

Badal said he had not received any advice from the union water resources minister Saifuddin Soz against the abolition of the Section 5. When Amarinder regime had terminated the agreements, the union government, led by Manmohan Singh, did not react strongly.

By taking a tough stand on river waters, Badal wanted to recapture his political base in the Malwa belt where his party suffered an unprecedented defeat in the Assembly elections. He knows it well that to win over the Malwa’s Jat-Sikh peasantry to his side is a must to maintain political importance of his party in the Punjab’s politics.

Following the termination of river water agreements by the Amarinder regime, people of the Malwa heartland had turned towards him.

Meanwhile, cabinet minister Kanwaljit Singh said the union government was no body to interfere in the affairs of the states. He said irrigation was a state subject and the Punjab government was fully competent to take any decision with regard to its river waters.

He said the SAD had had a consistent stand on the river water issue for the past 50 years.

Kanwaljit Singh said the SAD would be able to take the Punjab unit of the BJP along on this issue.


11 killed, 42 injured in road accidents
Our Correspondent

Abohar, March 6
Eleven persons were killed and 42 injured in different accidents in this subdivision and neighbourhood in the past 24 hours, sources said.

Vijay Kumar Shailey (55), a resident of Mumbai, was killed yesterday when his car collided head on with a loaded truck near the information collection barrier at Kallarkhera village on the Sriganganagar-Abohar road. His kin Shilpa and Shalu studying at Chandigarh were injured.

Mahabir Bhardwaj, a clerk in the accounts department, DAV College, was injured and his pillion rider, Shudhir Sharma, a resident of Dharam Nagari, died when a car reportedly hit their motor cycle near Pakki on the Abohar-Malout road.

Four students were killed and 28 others injured as Nohar bound buses collided in the Hanumangarh area yesterday official sources said today. Ajay Kumar (14) and Mukesh (15) died on the spot, Rakesh (13) and Naresh (18) died on way to the Civil Hospital. Drivers and conductors of both the buses fled after the accident leaving their vehicles.

Those injured and admitted to the Civil Hospital have been identified as Dhaapa Devi, Sabina, Rukina, Shahrukh Khan, Sakina and her husband Nazir Hussein Nohar, Pappu Khan, Ganpat Ram, Suresh Kumar, Raju, Mula Ram Swami, Khiali Ram Jat, Subhash Chander Aradki, Kanshi Ram Pandusar, Bhagirath Soni, Krishan Chander, Munir Khan, Birju Singh, Brij Lal Nanau, Jeet Ram Meghwal Jorasar, Ghadsi Ram, Om Parkash, Phoola Ram, Ganga Ram, Parkash Sahu, Hari Ram, Harish Chander, Jetha Ram, Dula Ram Bhagwansar, Rohtas and Munni Bai Karamsana. SDM Harsahay Meena has asked the Executive Magistrate to hold an inquiry.

According to a report from Sriganganagar, Devi Lal (36) was crushed to death as a bus hit his motor cycle near Baba Ramdev temple yesterday.

Six passengers were injured as a speeding bus overturned near Mehrajka village in the Sriganganagar area on Monday after the driver lost control over it.

A cyclist Chiman Lal resident of Peelibanga died after hitting the road side electricity pole. Rajesh Kumar resident of Hiranawali was injured as the two-wheeler, he was driving, hit a bullock cart. He later succumbed to his injuries.


Cong MLA backs Badal’s move
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 6
Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal’s move to withdraw excise concessions given to leading companies has been appreciated by a young Congress MLA.

Sukhpal Singh Khaira, MLA from Bholath, who defeated Akali heavyweight Bibi Jagir Kaur, said today “it is my personal opinion that Badal has done a good job. The money should have been used for the poor and not to benefit industrial families”. “I am saying so to play the role of constructive Opposition leader”.

It is okay that a decision on concessions was taking by the Congress government, he did not mean to oppose his own party, he added.

Giving the possible background for Khaira’s outburst, a source said he was at loggerheads with one of the beneficiaries of the excise concessions.

Khaira said the Congress would oppose the scrapping of the Vigilance Commission in the Vidhan Sabha. The Cabinet today scrapped the commission. He said it was a constitutional body. If the Akalis did not like the chief of the commission, they could have changed him. But, the commission should not have been scrapped. 


Kahlon pro tem speaker
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 6
The Punjab Governor, Gen S.F. Rodrigues(retd), administered oath of office to Nirmal Singh Kahlon as pro tem speaker of the Punjab Vidhan Sabha at a brief ceremony at the Punjab Raj Bhavan here today.

Meanwhile, Parkash Singh Badal said the portfolios of ministers would be announced in a day or two.

The portfolios to be allotted to the BJP ministers would be approved by its high command. For that reason, the allocation of portfolios would take one or two days more, Badal said.

Though BJP cabinet minister Manoranjan Kalia has not been designated as deputy chief minister yet, he has been allocated the same room as occupied by Rajinder Kaur Bhattal, deputy chief minister in the previous Amarinder Singh government. Moreover, he had been sworn in as minister at number two, after Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal, which indicates that he will preside the meetings of Cabinet whenever Badal is away on a foreign tour. The BJP has demanded the post of deputy chief minister.


Akali rebels join hands
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 6
Under the chairmanship of Ravi Inder Singh, a meeting of various Akali leaders opposed to Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal, was held here today. They decided to merge their units in the Shiromani Akali Dal. It will be headed by Ravi Inder Singh.

Making a statement in this regard, Gurinder Pal Singh Dhanula, secretary of the new party, said office of the party had been set up in Sector 34.

He said he would be the office secretary of the party. He said Badal had ruined the Akali character of his party.

Those who attended the meeting included Inderjit Singh Zira, Jaswant Singh Mann, Amrik Singh Aliwal, Harinder Singh Khalsa, Ranjit Singh Chhajjalwadi, Manmohan Singh Sathiala, Rajinder Singh Badheri, Suchha Singh Chhottepur, Harbans Singh Kandhola and Bhajan Singh Shergill.


Change in holidays
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 6
Making a partial modification in the government notification issued on December,28 2006, with regard to public holidays in the state during the year 2007 under Section 25 of the Negotiable Instruments Act, 1881, the Punjab Government has declared holiday on April 2, and September 29 instead of April 1 and September 30 respectively.


Completion of rail link sought
Our Correspondent

Abohar, March 6
The consumer associations of the region today made a strong plea before V N Mathur, general manager, northern railway, to complete the construction of the Abohar-Fazilka rail line project on a war-footing.

Mathur was here on an annual inspection coinciding with checking security measures following recent blasts in the Samjhauta Express.

The consumer association based at Fazilka told the GM that no train was available for Ferozepore between 6 pm and 6 am. A deputation led by Harmeet Singh, president of the association, regretted that no direct train for New Delhi was available at Fazilka even while the Army and the BSF had brigade-level headquarters in view of its strategic importance. The train introduced on January 13, 2003 for the Capital was withdrawn in July 2006.


Nijjar given farewell
Our High Court Correspondent

Chandigarh, March 6
The Punjab and Haryana High Court Bar Association yesterday organised a function to bid farewell to Justice S.S. Nijjar, who has been appointed the Chief Justice of the Calcutta High Court.

He will take oath on Wednesday. Speaking on the occasion, Anmol Rattan Sidhu, president, Bar Association, said Justice Nijjar would always have a special place in the heart of the legal fraternity here for his good nature and encouraging attitude.

Among others, Chief Justice Vijender Kumar Jain said in his short tenure here, he had found Justice Nijjar to be an able judge. He said though the transfer of Justice Nijjar would be a loss to this high court, the fact that he was going as the Chief Justice of the oldest high court in the country was a matter of pride for all those associated with the Punjab and Haryana High Court.

Senior advocate Manmohan Lal Sarin said Justice Nijjar, who is a Bar-at-Law from England, had earned a name for himself due to the quality of his work. Judges, advocates-general of Punjab and Haryana, senior advocates, and staff of the high court were present.


Bar council poll on March 11
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 6
The Bar Council of Punjab and Haryana has fixed March 11 as the date of election to fill the vacancy caused by the resignation of former chairman Harish Rai Dhanda, who resigned sometime back after being elected to the Punjab Vidhan Sabha.

According to Bar council secretary Lekh Raj Sharma, nominations can be filed on March 7 and 8, while scrutiny will take place on March 10. Withdrawal of nomination will be held on March 11 and voting, if necessary, will be held on the same day. Results will be announced on the same day.

Meanwhile, the Bar council has decided to hold a two-day international seminar on the subject of 'Witness Expert' on March 31 and April 1.

Lekh Raj Sharma informed that the general house of the Bar council had also decided to organise seminars on alternate dispute redressal mechanism in all districts of Punjab and Haryana.


Lawyers keep off work
Tribune Reporters

Ropar, March 6
Lawyers at the district courts here abstained from work today, demanding the arrest of the person who murdered advocate Khushwant Rai Joshi in Morinda on Saturday.

They had given an ultimatum to the police to arrest the accused till March 11, failing which they would intensify the agitation.

Mohali: Lawyers struck work here on Tuesday to express resentment against the murder of an advocate in Morinda.

They condemned the murder and observed a two-minute silence.


Inside Babudom
Virk seeks repatriation
Ajay Banerjee
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 6
Former director-general of Punjab police S.S. Virk, has asked that he be relieved of his duties in Punjab for further deputation to the Central Government. He has also sought long leave citing personal work.

Sources in the government confirmed tonight that Virk had sought leave of about 3 weeks starting March 5. Yesterday, he sent in a formal request to the Punjab Government asking that he be sent on the Central deputation. He was in the race for DG of the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF), a post that has now been filled. Virk is a 1970 batch IPS officer of the Maharashtra cadre on deputation in Punjab since the early 1980’s. His period of deputation in Punjab ends in May.

In case the Badal-led government does not allow his immediate repatriation, Virk automatically will be reverted back to his cadre in May as his period of deputation is not likely to be extended by the Union Government, official sources said.

Virk is presently working as the chairman of the Punjab Police Housing Development Corporation after the Election Commission of India had removed him as the DGP in the days preceding the elections. The Shiromani Akali Dal had alleged that: “free and fair” elections were not possible under Virk on which the EC had acted.

In his capacity as the DGP, Virk had clarified his position in detail, however, the EC chose to remove him. A senior official today said that Virk had done the right thing by going on a long leave till his deputation was cleared. Also the SAD chose to appoint a 1972 batch officer NPS Aulakh as the DGP. Since the DGP was his junior, this may have added to Virk’s embarrassment.

Meanwhile, the Punjab Government today sent chief secretary K.R. Lakhanpal to an inconsequential place of posting. Lakhanpal has been appointed as the presiding officer of the state colleges and state schools tribunal. This post was long held by Bikramjit Singh, who was treated like a bureaucratic pariah by the Amarinder Singh government. In government circles this is considered a punishment posting. Sources, however, added that this may be a temporary posting for Lakhanpal and he will be adjusted as per his “experience” in some commission or a main stream tribunal directly connected with the governance.

Meanwhile, the new chief secretary Ramesh Inder Singh is expected to take over tomorrow. His appointment order today detailed that he will retain the important Department of Vigilance and Power with himself.


Class X student raped by neighbour
Our Correspondent

Tarn Taran, March 6
A Class X girl of Patti was allegedly raped by her neighbourer yesterday morning. A case under section 376, IPC, has been registered by the police.

The district police said here today that the accused had been identified as Amarjit Singh, alias Gaggari, of Sangal Basti, Patti. The girl, in her statement to the police, said that the accused forcibly took her to his house when she was brushing her teeth in her house in the morning. He bolted the door and raped her. The accused ran away after committing the crime.


Shahkot SDM held for accepting bribe
Varinder Singh
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar March 6
The Vigilance Bureau today nabbed Shahkot SDM Bakhtawar Singh allegedly for accepting a bribe of Rs 50,000 from a deed writer.

Bakhtawar Singh allegedly had been demanding bribe from Raj Kumar Manga, a deed writer based at Shahkot for the registration of some land deeds.

Manga alleged despite initial reluctance, ultimately he was forced to shell out Rs 50,000 by Bakhtawar Singh for getting the deeds registered. But, instead of giving in he decided to fight it out and approached Vigilance Bureau officials at Jalandhar before handing over the money to the SDM.

Bureau officials, it was learnt, gave 50 marked currency notes of the denomination of Rs 1000 to Manga, who, in turn, handed these over to Bakhtawar Singh. Later, a VB team led by DSPs Dilbagh Singh Gill and Tarsem Singh raided the residence of Bakhtawar Singh at 5.30 p.m.

Dilbagh Singh Gill said the bribe money of Rs 50,000 was recovered from the coat of the official in the presence of two official witnesses-Paramjit Singh, BDPO and Lakhwinder Pal Singh, District Welfare Officer and shadow witness Nachattar Singh. 


Train blasts: Pak national taken to Haryana
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, March 6
Pakistan national Azmat Ali of Mustafabad, Lahore, who was arrested by the immigration authorities at Attari railway station on February 28 while he was trying to illegally board the Samjhauta Express ,was taken to Haryana by the police today.

He was in judicial remand in Amritsar till March 14. He was taken by the Haryana police on production warrant in connection with Samjhauta blasts near Panipat.


Classical music casts spell
Attar Singh
Tribune News Service

Patiala, March 6
A concert of classical music was organised by the department of music at the Kala Bhavan in Punjabi University here today. It featured two eminent artistes, Ustad Sayeed Khan on sitar and vocalist Pandit Ramlal. Khan performed “raaga Gujri Todi”.

His son Adnaan, a student of class VIII, provided him support on sitar. Khan was supported on tabla by Madhuresh Bhatt of department of dance.

His understanding of players’ ideas enabled him to provide brilliant “sangat” on tabla. Khan concluded his recital with a “dhun”.

Ramlal started with “raaga Megha” and presented a slow “khayal” composition “Barkha ritu aaee” in it, depicting rain scenes through it.

The elaboration of the “raaga” was decorated with embellishments of the Patiala “gharana”. It was followed by the fast composition “Ghanan ghanan barse badarwa” in an aesthetic manner.

Ramlal was provided vocal support by his son Piare Lal. The duo gave a colourful recital. Tabla accompaniment was provided by Bhatt. He presented a “tarana” in “raaga Megha”, owing its origin to Hazrat Amir Khusro. The concert was well attended.


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