L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S

IT surveys yield Rs 6 cr concealed income
Kuldip Bhatia

Ludhiana, March 9
As the current financial year is about to end, the income tax department here has gone into overdrive mode in a bid to achieve the target for revenue collection. A series of simultaneous surveys conducted on eight business houses in different parts of the city on March 7 and March 8 had yielded an unaccounted income of Rs 6 crore while surveys on a couple of more units were still in progress.

According to sources in the IT department, officials of range I, V and VI had carried out surveys on Shiva Woolen Mills in Industrial Area, Balbir Silk Store in Model Town, Om Parkash Salig Ram Timber Store in Bharat Nagar and Nagpal Exports on Wednesday. On the conclusion of the survey operations, which continued till late in the night, these four firms, between them, volunteered an additional income of Rs 2.80 crore and agreed to meet the tax liability.

Similarly, the IT officials targeted Punjab Hardware on Gill Road, General Electric on GT Road, Jai Bhole Electricals and a steel trader for surveys on Thursday, which led to surrender of concealed income of Rs 3.20 crore.

These surveys were conducted under the supervision of joint commissioner range I J.S. Minhas, joint commissioner range V S.S. Rana and additional commissioner range VI Sandeep Dahiya.

Officials of range II, led by additional commissioner J.R. Kajla, had launched yet another survey on Punjab Skin Industries here. The officials were reported to be inspecting books of accounts of the firm of last three years, records pertaining to sale and purchase, stock of raw material and finished goods and the computer data. The survey was continuing till the filing of this report.

That the income tax surveys would not only continue till the end of this month, but the operation would be further intensified, was indicated by sources, who said the department was eyeing quite a few segments suspected of evading tax compliance with specific reference to high value transactions.

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Dead girl’s identity: Police still groping in dark
Jupinderjit Singh
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 9
Mystery still shrouds the identity of a girl found murdered and packed in a trunk aboard Malwa Express at railway station here on November 9, last year.

The investigation team of the Government Railway Police recently returned empty-handed after scanning stations from Ludhiana to Indore on March 4.

Exactly four months after the recovery of the body, the railway police is left scratching its head over the motive behind the murder. The investigation starts from the identity of the deceased. In this case, it is stalled at the first step only.

Highly placed police sources revealed to the Ludhiana Tribune that various teams have been making tours of the route of the train from Indore to Ludhiana. None could succeed in getting any clue.

This despite the fact that apart from the Government Railway Police of Ludhiana, Ambala, Gwalior, Indore, other police and investigative agencies had failed to find any lead in the case.

The latest report sent to the ADGP Railways by the local railway police officials on March 4 termed the case yet to be traced. Even, it could not be ascertained on which station the trunk was loaded.

The message ‘Papa- 0562265...’,found scribbled on the left hand of the girl also could not help the police. The initial figures form the telephone code of Agra.

The body of the girl bore tell tale signs of intense struggle. She seemed to have been tied with ropes before done to death and suspected to have been raped. She had injuries inflicted with nails on her face and arms too.

No one has approached the police so far for identifying the girl so far. She was wearing a white top and a blue jean with a black belt.

ADGP-Railway Chander Shekhar had told the Ludhiana Tribune that love and lust always form the basis of such soul-stirring crime.

Referring to the number on her hand, Shekhar had said the only problem was that the accused could have written the number to mislead the police. Further it was also perplexing that how and when the girl managed to write the number. ‘‘ If she had free hands to do so , she could have pulled out the cloth from her mouth.’’

The police suspects that the girl was strangulated and then dumped in the trunk. No pen was found from the trunk. No clothes or documents of the girl were found from the trunk. A sari, a top and a pair of jeans found from the trunk does not seem of the girl.

The post-mortem examination report had stated the girl was neither raped nor had any physical relations.

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Punjab can't stop water to Rajasthan, Haryana: experts
Vimal Sumbly
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana March 9
Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal's assertion to stop all water to Rajasthan and Haryana notwithstanding, legal and constitutional experts maintain that Punjab, as on now, cannot stop flow of water to any of the states for various legal and practical reasons.

On the same very day when Badal took oath of office, he announced that he would abrogate section five of the Termination of Water Treaties Act, 2004. Questions are being raised about his sincerity and seriousness on the issue.

While his predecessor Capt Amarinder Singh, who got the Act enacted has maintained that the section five, that stipulates continuing the current supply of water to Rajasthan and Haryana cannot be repealed, others are also raising questions about the legality of the abrogation of this section.

Section five of the Termination Act 2004 is directly linked with the sections 78 to 80 of the Punjab Reorganisation Act, 1966, that guarantees the supply of water to Haryana.

Capt Amarinder has also been arguing that the section five of the Act cannot be repealed unless the Punjab Reorganisation Act, 1966, is not modified.

Although it is within the jurisdiction of the Parliament only, the state could always challenge these sections (78 to 80) in the apex court as these go against the constitution of India which guarantees the Riparian rights of the states.

The state cannot stop supply of water to Rajasthan either. Because all the headworks from which water flows into that state can be controlled by the Centre as per the Punjab Reorganisation Act, 1966. The experts suggest best course of action available for the government is too approach the apex court only.

According to DS Gill, chairman, International Human Rights Organisation, who has done extensive work on the issue, if Badal is really sincere he must bring the amendment for repealing in the first session of the assembly itself. He suggests that Badal should act on both legal as well as legislative fronts together.

The issue is being discussed in the farming community as well. Balbir Singh Rajewal, president of the Bhartiya Kisan Union (Rajewal), said that everybody concerned on the issue must exercise restraint, particularly the political leadership in Haryana.

He specifically referred to Haryana Finance Minister Birinder Singh’s statement that Badal must be prepared for the dismissal of his government under Article 356 of the Indian Constitution if he went ahead with repealing of the section five of the Termination Act, 2004.

He observed that such statements go against the tenets of the constitution as people like Birinder Singh were trying to question the legality of a legislation that would be passed by an elected assembly. 

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Health admn order quashed 
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, March 9
The district health administration had to eat a humble pie as its orders to seal an ultrasound scan centre in the city were quashed.

Also, the show-cause notice issued to the centre for alleged violations of the PNDT Act was also set aside by the State Appellate Authority.

An appeal was filed by Kuka Diagnostic Centre in Udham Singh Nagar here against the orders of sealing the centre for a period of four weeks for some irregularities in maintenance of record, as laid down in the PNDT Act.

The chairperson of the State Appellate Authority, while accepting the appeal, observed on March 5 that the district family welfare officer, Dr Reena Sandhu, who had inspected the premises of the scan centre on January 23 and suspended its license for four weeks and subsequently issued a show-cause notice on February 19, was not competent to do so.

The submission of the civil surgeon, Dr Yash Pal Singla, who is also the district appropriate authority under the PNDT Act, that he was present during the inspection and also when the show-cause notice was issued, was not accepted by the authority with the remarks that the presence of Dr Singla was not recorded anywhere, nor was his presence marked. "The contention of Dr Singla that he was present during the raid or when the show-cause notice was issued is repelled being contrary to the facts, quoted the order of state authority.

The state authority took a very serious view of show-cause notice issued on February 19, terming the same as meaningless.

"Principles of natural justice require that a person should be heard before passing any adverse order against him. To issue show-cause notice after passing of the adverse order is meaningless and mockery of justice,” said the orders.

The state authority concluded that in view of the facts stated by the appellant, the appeal was accepted and the impugned order, dated January 23, to seal the scan centre and the show-cause notice issued on Feb 19, 2007 were set aside.

The district health administration was further directed to act accordingly and allow the opening of the scan centre forthwith.

Hailing the verdict of the state appellate authority, the Indian Medical Association (IMA) has forwarded a copy of the orders to the Punjab chief minister and the state health minister, demanding immediate action against the officials, who had transgressed their jurisdiction to deliberately defame the scan centre and the doctor concerned.

Dr O.P.S. Kande, chairman, legal cell, IMA, Punjab, and Dr Gursharan Singh, president, district branch of IMA, in a representation made to the chief minister, have sought compensation to the scan centre for the period the ultrasound scan machine remain sealed. They also asked the government to take appropriate effective steps to curb the corrupt practices under the guise of PNDT Act.

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Desperate father pins hopes on new govt 
Kanchan Vasdev
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 9
Formation of new government in the state has rekindled hopes of this desperate father who lost his son and had been fighting in vain for justice during the regime of former Congress government.

N.M. Hansi, a local resident, whose son was allegedly compelled to commit suicide, has now knocked at the doors of new Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal to give him a personal hearing.

Hansi had been fighting this case for last four year at various platforms including police, Punjab State Human Rights Commission and National Human Rights Commission, but to no avail.

Reiterating that his son had received SMS and long calls from a phone number just a few hours before committing suicide, Hansi said that the contents of the SMS were suggestive of some threats and when he asked the BSNL about the identity of the number, they refused stating that the number was not a private number but of the customer care of BSNL. But the documents, procured by him did not match with the reply by BSNL.

Claiming that he had knocked at the doors of Punjab State Human Rights Commission (PHRC) soon after his son had committed suicide on February 20, 2003, Hansi said it did not reach anywhere.

Though his case was taken up and district police chief was asked to look into the details, he could not get the guilty for his son's death booked. He was shown the door by PHRC also.

In his request to Badal, Hansi said that the local police had submitted a report by a DSP who had stated that there was nothing substantial in the case so the matter be closed. He claimed that it was shocking that he had never met that DSP in his life.

How could he conduct an inquiry into the case when he had not met the complainant.

‘‘The police did not listen to me in Congress government's regime. I have all hopes on the new government, ’’ he said.

Mr Hansi had been reiterating that the mobile number in question (9417099995) belonged to a bureaucrat's ward, who had forced his son to commit suicide. He alleged that his information had revealed that the SIM card of this mobile was sold in the last week of October 2002 at Ludhiana and a history file was prepared in March 2003. He had been claiming that the identity of mobile user was deleted in the records of BSNL and this can be found out after taking the services of a software expert who can check the hard disk of BSNL server. 

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Seminar on role of women in media
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, March 9
“When a few years ago I was doing journalism, there were a few women in the profession. But I am glad to see more women in this profession now and doing a very good job,” minister for jails, stationery and printing Hira Singh Gabria said.

He was addressing a seminar on role of women in media. The seminar was organised by the India Media Centre in collaboration with the Punjab Union of Journalists and the Hindi Department (postgraduate) of SCD Government College for Boys here today. It was held to commemorate the International Women’s Day of the SCD College.

At the start of function, chairman Dr H.S. Lall accorded a warm welcome to the guests.

MLA Harish Rai Dhanda, who was guest of honour, said the laws were loaded in favour of women. “Unfortunately the mechanism to implement these laws are lacking. Gradually women are gaining power through their ability and the day is not far when it will be the turn of men to get empowerment”.

The three key speakers were senior journalist of the AIR Shaina Khan, Assistant Editor of Dainik Tribune Renuka Nayyar and Rita Sharma of Channel No. 1 TV.

Khan said the wrongs being done to women could be felt more by them hence we need more women reporters in broadcasting and print media. She said, “Without the cooperation of women, improvement cannot be attained. When the contribution of women in society through media increases, there will be positive changes in society. So more women should come forward in print, broadcasting and electronic media to highlight domestic violence, exploitation at the work places to get rid of them”.

Renuka Nayyar said she had to face a lot of gender bias in the beginning of joining profession. She said, “We have a real shortage of journalists in Hindi. The story of female foeticide was first broken by a woman reporter, but unfortunately female reporters are not given their due. They are sent on soft beats and hardly ever involved in investigative journalism”.

Rita Sharma blamed parents for creating gender bias initially. The parents did not give equal share of their property to daughters.

Later the women journalists of different newspapers were given mementos.

Talk on rights for rural women

Doraha: Staff and students of Doraha College of Education, in collaboration with the community members of Doburji, 7 km from Doraha, yesterday organised a rally to commemorate the International Women’s Day.

The rally ended with college principal J. Kiran Gera presenting a memorandum to Charanjit Kaur, president, mahila mandal, Doburji.

A programme focusing on women’s rights, health, literacy, female foeticide and dowry was also staged in Sarkari Middle School, Doburji. The B. Ed students presented a skit ‘Bebasi’.

Meritorious students of Doburji were given awards by the management of Doraha College of Education. Pushvinder Singh and Pawandeep Kaur got the prizes for standing first and second, respectively, in Class VIII board examination, Mandeep Kaur for standing first in Class X board exams while Jatinder Kaur was honoured for standing first throughout her student life.

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Exhibition on products for women 

Ludhiana, March 9
The Woman 2007, an exhibition dedicated to women, was inaugurated here today. The three-day event would offer a wide range of products, including apparel and jewellery for women.

A spokesperson of Excelsior PR, the organisers for the event, said fashion designers, jewellery designers and women entrepreneurs from different industries were participating in the event.

Among the fashion designers participating are Dolly Jhunjhunwala, Siaram Arts, Aditi Boutique, while jewellery designers include Alta Auro from Thialand, Jusra International and other participants like Mystique Arts. — TNS

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Narrow escape for woman
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 9
A local resident on the Mall Road had a narrow escape when a huge bill board fell in her house after getting dislocated from the top of a multi-storey Lodhi Complex building here this morning.

Jogesh Gupta said his mother was there just a few seconds ago when the board fell. As soon as she entered the room, the board fell. She escaped unhurt.

He said he had complained to the owner of the building a number of times and requested him to remove the board but to no avail.

The boards were put up precariously on the top of the building that was surrounded by houses.

Finally, it fell today even though there was no wind blowing. Gupta has complained to the police.

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