L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S

DRI nabs ‘all-in-one smuggler’
Jupinderjit Singh
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 21
Sleuths of the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI) have caught an alleged former TADA detainee with fake currency worth Rs 9.53 lakh, and nearly 8 kg of heroin worth Rs 8 crore in the international market. Two pistols have also been recovered from his possession.

He had three cars- a Mercedez Benz, a Skoda and a Maruti Esteem. He owned a flat in the posh Rajauri garden and a large house in Moti Nagar, Delhi, worth crores of rupees

The accused, identified as Sarbjeet Singh and termed by the DRI officials as an 'all-in-one smuggler', is an import-export businessman based in Delhi. He had taken the consignment from some persons in Pathankot last evening. A DRI team intercepted him near Doraha Toll Tax barrier at about midnight last.

The accused, who was booked under various provisions of law, was living a lavish life in Delhi. He had three cars- a Mercedez Benz, a Skoda and a Maruti Esteem. He owned a flat in the posh Rajauri garden and a large house in Moti Nagar, Delhi, worth crores of rupees.

Highly placed sources in the Directorate revealed to The Tribune that one of the pistols was of Brazilian make. It was quite small in size. The other weapon seemed to be of Pakistani make. It was yet to be ascertained if the accused had brought the weapons from across the border.

The officials also recovered a sum of Rs one lakh from him. The sleuths also seized 46 cartridges and 3 sim cards from him. The officials also recovered a car in which he was travelling. His driver was detained for questioning. However, he did not seem to be involved in the racket, sources said.

Sarbjeet was caught unawares when the officials intercepted the car. In his interrogation so far, he has only revealed that he had taken the consignment from an unknown person, who was waiting for his car as per the plan. He was on way to Delhi for supplying drug and to circulate the fake currency. All fake notes were of Rs 1,000 denomination. The entire consignment, barring the weapons, had been kept in the boot of the car.

A DRI official revealed that the accused had spent eight years from 1990 to 1998 in Tihar Jail as a TADA accused. He had allegedly come in touch with some smugglers over there and the consignment may be for one of them.

The intelligence agencies were on his trail for long owing to his meteoric rise after release from the jail. He had amassed huge wealth and property over a few years and had a luxurious life style. He even had a bank credit limit worth over a crore rupees.

The accused, was one of the main five leading import-export businessmen of Delhi trading in Chinese products especially electronic lights.

He is the latest catch in a series of crackdown on narcotics and arms smugglers. The state is listed as an active transit point of narcotic smuggling.



5-hour combing operation fails to nab serial killer
Jupinderjit Singh
Tribune News Service

Jagraon, April 21
Nearly 150 policemen along with a large number of villagers conducted a massive combing operation along the Jagraon-Moga railway track in the wee hours today in search of an alleged serial killer, who is suspected to be behind six murders occurring in the region in last six months. The operation was not successful.

The five-hour-long combing operation, from 3 am to 8 am comes in the wake of the alleged sixth body recovered from near railway track of the outskirt of the Jagraon town last morning. The deceased was Amarjit Singh of Malik village,, who was missing since Thursday evening.

Nearly 150 cops along with villagers conducted the operation along the Jagraon-Moga railway track in the wee hours today


Though the police was skeptical if Amarjit was the sixth victim of the alleged serial killer, the combing operation was carried out to counter the panic among the residents.

Jagraon SSP Shiv Kumar Verma told Ludhiana Tribune that latest investigation suggested the man could have killed due to personal enmity or to rob Rs 10,000 , which he had taken from his house but were found missing.

He said only the injury on the rear side of the head of the deceased suggested him to be the sixth victim of the serial killer. Sources said the victim's trouser was also missing. This suggested he was thrown after the murder on the tracks to make it appear as an accident.

Verma said the police was working in tandem with the railway police for catching the criminal. Apart from the routine checking by the railway police, the Jagraon police would also keep vigil along the tracks.

The sixth murder was different from the other five as Amarjit was killed in the evening only. He had left the village on Thursday evening with Rs 10,000 which he had to pay someone in Jagraon. When he didn't return after two hours, the family went in search of him and then lodged a missing person report.

Last morning, his badly mutilated body, which some stray dogs and pigs were savouring was found from near the tracks. A brother of the deceased who reached the scene to identify the corpse fainted at the sight and had to be hospitalised.

Initially it was thought the man could have been hit by train, the police suspected it as the sixth murder of the alleged serial killer in the evening only after receiving the post -mortem examination. It said the man was probably dead before he was thrown on the tracks. The examination pointed to an injury on the head which seemed to have been caused by an iron rod hit.

The alleged serial killer, described as a six-foot tall youth had killed five labourers, both Punjabi and Migrant in the last six months. Another victims had escaped death narrowly a week ago.

All labourers were targeted on Mondays or Tuesdays when they were answering nature’s call early in the morning. All were hit on the back of the skull with a sharp edged weapon or rod. The alleged killer took away the trouser of the victims after the murder.

The statement made by the sixth target, Harbans Singh, who survived the attack led the police to concede all the incidents seemed to be the handiwork of one person only.

The victims were Gian Deen, resident of Karnail Gate Jagraon, a migrant labourer (case registered by GRP Jagraon on October 2, 2006), Charrat Singh of Agwaar Lopon (body found near Truck Union and case registered by Sadar police station Jagraon on November 1), Sohan Singh of Ajit Nagar (body found near Landa Phatak near Kothe Khanjuran and case registered by GRP on March 7), an unidentified person (body found near drain on March 26 ) and Jaswinder Singh of Kothe Raallah (body found near Railway Station Jagraon and case registered by GRP on March 29). 



Betting is big business in city
Shivani Bhakoo
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana April 21
Betting has turned into a million dollar business in Ludhiana. So much is the popularity of betting that several persons have taken it up as a full time vocation. During the ongoing world cup cricket matches, crores of rupees have been won and lost so far. And if punters are to be believed then quite a number of leading businessmen and financiers are also into the ‘game’ as they consider it to be a relatively safe investment than the stock markets.

Since betting happens to be illegal, it is not possible to find out the exact amount that is transacted. However, random calculations got after talking to some punters and people associated with them, reveal that the amount runs into crores of rupees. Exact estimates may run into several crores in Ludhiana only where cricket betting is fast picking up. The bets range from as low as a few thousands to lakhs of rupees.

While the punters place bets on other games also, but in Ludhiana betting on cricket is the most popular. The nature of the game and more or less better understanding lead to more people betting on cricket than on any other game.

Some elite clubs and leading hotels are learnt to be the hub of the betting activity. It is difficult for the police even to trace the punters and bookies as the whole show is run on cell phones. “The person might be sitting in Delhi or Chandigarh and placing bets here or the other way round”, revealed a punter, while claiming that highest level of secrecy was maintained in carrying out the business.

Surprisingly, the betting network is well woven. Even if some punters and the bookies are arrested by the police, the business goes on normally. The punter said, the network is spread in such a way that it is practically impossible for anyone to trace its roots.

All transactions are carried out verbally. Although the bookies do maintain a record, there is no proof of the punters' stakes. But everything runs on trust. If it is betrayed even once by a punter or a bookie the next day he is out of “business”.

A local punter disclosed that he has been betting on cricket for over a decade now. He disclosed that he had found cricket betting safer than the investments in stocks. He pointed out, in cricket by and large the results are along the expected lines unless there is a surprise outcome like Bangladesh defeating India or Ireland defeating Pakistan. In stocks it is quite unpredictable. “You do not know what is going to happen to the market, it can crash anytime without any prior hints and indications”, he pointed out, while adding, “unlike in cricket where you can make some last minute moves to adjust the losses, there is no such escape from the market crashes”.

It is not only the final outcome of the match, but other aspects also on which the bets are placed.

Although no senior police official was prepared to come on record on the issue, some of them maintained that it was difficult to curb it. They said, they have been depending on intelligence sources and have arrested many bookies and punters, but that has not meant end of the betting business in the city. 



Bhullar is SSP of Ludhiana-rural
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 21
Gurpreet Bhullar, PPS, was today appointed as the first SSP of the newly-notified Ludhiana-rural police district in place of Shiv Kumar Verma.

The posting is being termed as routine administrative change.

According to authoritative sources, the series of murders scripted by a serial killer has nothing to do with the transfer of SSP Shiv Kumar Verma.



Shots of celebration leave neighbourhood sore
Kanchan Vasdev
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 21
Jubilant over the naming of Prof Rajinder Bhandari as BJP state president, activists and leaders of the party today threw the law to the winds by firing shots in the air outside his residence on Rani Jhansi Road even as some residents and children hung out from the windows of their upper storey houses.

As the activists broke into celebrations on the road, district BJP president Subhash Verma pulled out a revolver from his pocket and fired two shots in the air. He was clicked in action by Tribune photographer also.

Professor Bhandari was elevated to the post of president from general secretary today and as soon as the news reached the city, the entire BJP camp started celebrating. Many activists and leaders made a beeline to his house. Some of them even danced to the tunes of bhangra on the road itself.

Many residents, who did not want to be identified resented the act of BJP leaders of firing shots in the air. They said that many of them were in the windows having a look at what was happening on the road.

‘‘We were taken aback. Nobody had expected that they would indulge in such an act. This is no way to celebrate. One can burst crackers. Where is the need to brandish a weapon? If it is their achievement that does not mean they can behave like this,’’ said a resident.

Another resident said they were acting irresponsibly in an area where there were three storey flats.

‘‘The bullet could have hit anybody if he had lost control over his hand in the ruckus that was taking place.’’

Meanwhile, the celebrations went on till late evening at his residence. Messages of congratulations were pouring from all over the state.

Later, in his first interview after becoming party president, Professor Bhandari said his top priority would be to strengthen and broaden the base of the party in the state.

He added that his party has been maintaining a good relationship with Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) for the last several decades and the combine had reaped the fruits in the recent elections.

He said that he would participate in the coordination committee meeting at Chandigarh tomorrow.



At the Crossroads
Seeking the fickle fame

Most of my contemporaries are engaged these days in trying to make their names eternal in one way or the other. Some are getting their collected works published by spending their hard-earned money. They think that the next generation is not interested in the written word in this age of computer science. So they want to preserve their writings during their lifetime. There are others who are busy writing their autobiographies in earnest. They are of the view that this is the most authentic method of impressing upon the readers the uniqueness of their struggle of life.

I am reminded of the Elizabethan poet Edmund Spenser who wrote, with his finger, the name of his beloved on the sand of a beach. In the meanwhile a wave came and washed it away. He tried again 'with a second hand' but the same thing happened. His beloved said-

Vain man, said she, that doest in vain assay a mortal thing so to immortalize for I myself shall like to this decay and eek my name be wiped out likewise

But the poet did not want to accept defeat. He felt that his sincere efforts have come to naught. He thought of devising some other method for fulfilling his desire. So he, in a way, tried to boost his own morale by assuring her-

Not so (quod I) let baser things devise to die in dust, but you shall live by fame my verse your virtues rare shall eternize and in the heavens write your glorious name

Indeed great poets and artists have been successful in earning ever-lasting fame by virtue of their inimitable creations. Leonardo da Vinci created the portrait of Mona Lisa and her enigmatic smile is still aglow in the corridors of time. Likewise, Michelangelo chiseled out such statues or painted such murals as have defied the onslaught of ages. Some other methods have also been devised by the artists and men of letters to perpetuate the memory of their loved ones. In the process these creative artists carved out niches for themselves in the hall of fame.

My thoughts at present are confined to the lesser mortals who are engaged in coveting fame. Some of them have performed well their roles on the stage of life. They could not, of course, help resisting the temptation of expressing themselves in words, colours or music. I know certain poets who regale the audience with their delectable verses. Some singers cast a spell on the listeners by their flawless renderings. The painters, on their part, gladden the hearts of viewers by tracing on the canvas the forms and contours of their likings. The stage performers too move the spectators by their breath-taking histrionics. So thereby hangs the tale.

Sahir Ludhianavi did not mince words while describing his role in the literary world. He was conscious of the ephemral nature of creative works -

Main pal do pal ka sha'er hun
Pal do pal meri kahani hai

Furthermore he was expectant of the presence of greater talented persons in the days to come. Better poets and better listeners would, he surmised, occupy the place when it was vacated by the present generation. It was vainglorious, he considered, to proclaim -

Hamare baad andhera rahega mehfil mein.
In all probability, the scenario will change for the better -

Mujh se behtar kehne wale
Tum se behtar sunne wale
Kall mujh ko koi yaad kare
Kyon mujh ko koi yaad kare

Still there is always a faint hope in the mind of a creative persons that he or she will not be easily forgotten by the people. Such an expectation, many a time, serves the purpose of providing inspiration to the sagging spirits. Even then, the best consolation lies in realizing that one's name has already been written for good on the surface of water.

— N.S. Tasneem



Tonga stand razed in midnight operation
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 21
In a midnight operation, a demolition squad of the Municipal Corporation razed a tonga stand in front of Deep Hospital in Model Town that was out of use for many years.

The razing of this structure that was serving as a haven for some anti-social elements was a long-pending demand of area residents.

Area councillor Jaswinder Singh Bholla had been taking up the issue with the MC authorities for quite some years.

The MC squad demolished the structure around 11.30 pm last night.

Jaswinder Singh said the residents were complaining against the stand as many anti-social elements used to supply and use drugs at the spot. This was creating a lot of nuisance in the residential area.

He added that he had requested the former commissioner some time ago and he had ordered the razing of structure. But due to some political pressure it could not be pulled down at that time.

MC officials said that they had to start the operation at night as they suspected a backlash.

The councillor said that the problem was yet not over as still some people still remained glued to the place even today.



3 computers stolen from school
Our Correspondent

Jagraon, April 21
In two separate incidents, the police has registered cases of theft.

In the first incident, some unknown person burgled Government High School, Gorsian Kadar Bakash, last evening and decamped with three computers, including the mouse, keyboard and CPU.

On the complaint of headmaster, Wisakha Singh, the Sidhwan Bet police has registered a case.

Transformer stolen

In the second incident, some unknown person stole electricity transformer valuing Rs 13,000 from Talwandi Khurd today. The Dakha police has registered a case under Section 379 of the IPC on the complaint of Manjit Singh.

No arrest has been made so far in both the cases.

5 booked for assault

Puppy, his son Gurbax Singh, Amna, Bashi and Buldu of Halwara allegedly stopped Jaspreet Singh of their village today and assaulted him with sharp-edged- weapons, baseball bat, iron rod and sticks.

The injured has been admitted in Civil Hospital, Sudhar.

The Sudhar police has registered a case under Sections 323, 324, 341, 148, 149 of the IPC. No arrest has been made so far.



1 nabbed in Kuljit murder case
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 21
The Sadar police has arrested one of the two main accused wanted in the Kuljit murder case. The arrest was made just four days before the first death anniversary of the murdered youth, who belonged to Rania village.

Maninder Singh, who was at large, got nabbed from a place near Guru Nanak Dev Engineering College last evening.

He was caught on the information of Manjit Singh, father of the murdered youth.

He was produced in a court today and remanded in police custody till April 23. Manjit Singh alleged that the police did not nab the suspects even though, they were roaming freely.

He pointed out that the main accused Pardeep Singh, whose gunshot had killed his son, was still at large. Though he frequents Rania and Gill villages, the police has failed to nab him.

It was mundane rivalry between two groups of youth that had led to the bloodshed. The accused said to be over 20 in number had barged into the house of the victim youth and killed him and a friend.



PSIEC showroom buyers feel harassed
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 21
Buyers of showrooms from the Punjab Small Industries and Export Corporation (PSIEC) are an unhappy lot. Even after a year and a half of having made the purchase, the corporation is yet to provide them basic infrastructural facilities like sewerage and water connections. As a result, not only are they unable to pursue development of their showrooms, but also their initial investment is blocked.

“We are feeling harrased as our repeated letters to the officials in the corporation have failed to evoke any response. Our money is blocked and we are not even able to conduct business for which we bought these showrooms,” said Amarjit Singh, a buyer, while talking to media persons here today.

“Each of the showrooms in the PSIEC commercial complex were auctioned between Rs 40 lakh to Rs 60 lakh. We made 25 per cent of the payment and the PSIEC was supposed to develop the site. However, despite repeated reminders, we have not even been provided with sewerage and water connections, what to talk of parking and lighting facilities,” he added.

“The PSIEC backed out on several promises. While allotment we were told we could raise upto four storeys but when we wanted to do the same, the Municipal Corporation took charge and they refused to grant permission beyond basement and two and a half levels. Besides, in absence of basic facilities, we fear that even if we spend money on raising the showroom structures, we would not be able to get tenants,” said Rakesh Oberoi, another buyer.

While the corporation auctioned seven sites, two buyers surrendered and the existing five buyers are having a tough time.

“Our first installment is due now. We have given it in writing to the PSIEC that we are willing to make the payment but they should provide us with basic amenities first,” said Mohinder Singh, another buyer.

Irked with absence of response from the corporation, they threatened to move to court if the PSIEC did not come forward to develop the site.



Allow mutual funds, FIIs in commodity
market: Expert

Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 21
For the Indian commodity market to grow, it is important that the government allows participation of mutual funds, banks and foreign institutional investors (FIIs) in commodity trading, said chairman of the Forward Market Commission S. Sundareshan while delivering a lecture on 'Commodity Futures in India' organised by the Ludhiana Management Association (LMA) here last evening.

"It is very important to allow mutual funds, banks and FIIs," said Sundareshan, adding, "in the initial stages, FIIs could be allowed to participate in commodities like metal and bullion , crude oil whereas banks can be allowed to trade in agriculture commodities."

Permitting these segments would facilitate market consolidation and bring in good players to commodity market.

Regarding safeguarding of clients' interest, he added that the FMC has proposed strict measures against commodity market members in the Forward Market (Regulation) Act Amendment Bill.

"Several measures are taken in this direction like auditing of books of accounts of the members. "

Sundareshan said the FMC has given a project to the IIM, Bangalore, to study the impact of forward trading on pricing of agri commodities. "The report would be submitted in a few months," he said.

On less actual deliveries taking place in this market, he said the phenomenon was on line of global patterns where in less than 2 per cent volume was taking place in deliveries.

''The key objective of forward trading is discovering pricing of a certain commodity."

He said futures markets were developed initially to help agriculture producers and consumers manage their price risks in harvesting, marketing and processing of food products every year. The modern futures industry still serves those purposes.

He also said that futures trading in commodities helped in transparent and fair discovery on account of large scale participation of entities associated with different value chains, and reflected views and expectations of wider section of people related tow those commodities.

This also helps in price risk management, he added.

Among others present on the occasion were LMA president Mahesh Munjal.



Sickle manufacturers make hay as manual
reaping shines
Mahesh Sharma

Mandi Ahmedgarh, April 21
Ancillary and industrial units engaged in the manufacture of sickles accomplished a record production and sale of the agricultural implement due to the rise in the trend of manual reaping instead of garnering by the combine-harvester.

A hike in the price of wheat chaff is said to be major reason for the development.

Besides clearing old stocks, manufactures and traders are disposing of their goods manufactured during these days. Solidarity among small and medium manufacturers fetch them a good price also.

Investigations by the Ludhiana Tribune reveal that production and sale of sickles had beaten the record of the past 30 years. Though the exact figures about the production and sale of the agricultural implement were yet to arrive at, lakhs of sickles and other agricultural implements had been dispatched to stockists and traders of Punjab and the neighbouring states.

"The demand by retailers of Punjab and neighbouring states is so high that we have had to work day and night and even on holidays. Fortunately, we were able to meet our commitments as there was negligible interruption in power supply," said Kuldip Singh, a small manufacturer. He added that the gains were also better than before. "While the dealers used to bargain in the past, this time solidarity of manufacturers enabled us sell the product at rates varying between Rs 8 and Rs 14 per piece," claimed Kuldip Singh.

Gagan Singh, another manufacturer, stated that the hike in the prices of wheat chaff had forced farmers to resort to manual reaping instead of harnessing with combine-harvester.

Consequently, the market observed a steep rise in the demand of the implement that had remained ignored during last years.

The town is known as the house of agricultural implements. Hundreds of families are engaged in the production of these implements or their parts. Though the manufacturers of combine-harvesters and reapers have been making good business during past decades, units engaged in the manufacture of sickles had suffered losses. The situation this year seems to have reversed. 



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