P U N J A B    S T O R I E S

Atta-dal scheme after groundwork is over: Badal
Action against Capt if charges are established
Lalit Mohan
Tribune News Service

Patiala, May 3
The SAD/BJP government was in no mood to arrest Congressmen, including former Chief Minister Amarinder Singh. The Vigilance Bureau has been directed first to probe and establish charges if any against the former CM. Only if something substantial comes up only then further proceedings in the case would be carried out. Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal stated this at a press conference her today. He said the SAD/BJP government would not follow the policies of the previous Congress government. The former government ordered the arrest of the SAD leaders even before any charge was established against them. The SAD leaders were arrested on fictitious source reports. On the allegations levelled by Amarinder Singh the SAD/BJP government was following vendetta politics, Badal said not a single Congress leader had been arrested as yet. 

The instructions to the investigating agencies of the state were clear that no one was to be arrested till charges were established. The case against BIS Chahal, former media adviser to Amarinder Singh was going on in the Punjab and Haryana high court. If the court ordered his arrest the Congress would start terming it as political vendetta, he said. To a query on the establishment of Punchhi Commission to go into the Centre- state relations, Badal said earlier also many such commissions had been formed . Let us hope this commission would deliver . All states have been feeling suffocated due to too much centralization of powers.

On the atta-dal issue the Chief Minister said t the survey reports for the schemes were being received by the government. A meeting in this regard is scheduled on Monday. The scheme would be implemented as soon as the ground work on it was completed. Badal, however, evaded queries on all controversial issues. He declined to comment on the demand of the BJP for the post of deputy chief minister saying it was an internal matter of the alliance partners and would be sorted out at the party level. He also declined the possibility of Sukhbir Badal contesting the assembly elections in the near future. About the controversy regarding vice-chancellor of Punjabi University Patiala Swaran Singh Boparai, Badal said if substance was found in the complaints against himan inquiry could be ordered.

Badal was here to meet Yoga teacher Baba Ramdev. He attended his camp organized at Polo Ground here. He also visited Dukhniwaran Sahib gurdwara and Kali Mata temple. 

Badal denies vendetta
Prabhjot Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 3
“I am ready to act as a human rights activist for looking into any complaint of political victimization of any Congress worker,” declared Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal while denying that any policy of political vendetta was being pursued by his government.

Claiming that clear instructions had been issued to police personnel in the state that no Congress worker or any of his or her family member should be harassed, he called upon the police not to arrest anyone merely because of his or her political affiliation.

Reacting to allegations levelled by former Chief Minister Amarinder Singh and the leader of the opposition Rajinder Kaur Bhattal, Badal retorted that not even a single case of political victimization had been brought to his notice by any Congress leader so far.

Meanwhile, Talwandi Sabo MLA Jeet Mohinder Singh announced that Amarinder Singh would address a press conference here tomorrow, where cases of police high-handedness against Congress workers would be highlighted.

“Though I have been under tremendous pressure from within the party to expedite investigations into cases of corruption, nepotism and favoritism pursued by the previous Congress government, I have instructed the police that no innocent person should be harassed,” maintains Badal.

“In case any instance is brought to my notice where a Congress worker has been harassed, called to the police station or arrested without any rhyme or reason, I am ready to look into it not only as Chief Minister but also as a human rights activist and take exemplary action against the police personnel involved,” he said.

Recalling how repression was let loose against Akali ministers and legislators by the Congress government within a few months of its coming to power in 2002, Badal rued that ministers were arrested even before a case was registered.

“But we are not going to do that. We want rule of law to prevail,” said Badal.

The decision of the SAD-BJP government to investigate all cases where alleged fake killings of some terrorists by the Punjab police during the period of militancy may open a can of worms as no previous government has ever ordered such an inquiry with limitless scope. A thorough inquiry into all fake killings of known terrorists may put many senior police officers who had claimed huge cash prizes for eliminating “known dreaded terrorists” in the dock, remarked a senior spokesman of the government. The scope of the inquiry may extend to highly publicized cases like those of Jaswant Singh Khalra and others.


Tribune Impact
Thai magur traders’ premises raided
Tribune News Service

Patiala, May 3
The department of fisheries conducted a raid on the premises of Thai magur seed traders at Patiala today. The raids were conducted after the matter of illegal trade of the fish banned by the Supreme Court was reported in these columns.

However, the raids of the department did not yield any response. The assistant director fisheries Vijay Dogra said raids were conducted at the shops of Farkhan, who is the main trader of the banned fish. However, the shops were found to be closed.

Raids are also being conducted in other parts of the district to check the illegal rearing of magur. Letters have also been written to block development and panchayat officers against allowing magur fish farming in village ponds.

Interestingly, while The Tribune has photos of Thai magur fish seed being sold in huge quantities at Patiala, the department authorities have failed to find even single seed in its raid.

The fish was first imported to India from Thailand. The fish farmers started cultivating the fish due to it hardy qualities. The fish is boneless and being air breathing the fish farmers don’t have to maintain the quality of water in the ponds in which it is reared. Moreover, it can be transported live in tankers in just moist conditions.

Environmentalists, however, moved the SC for ban on its culture in the country. The environmentalist also alleged that if the magur escapes into the Indian river system it would destroy many Indian varieties of fish. Being air breathing this fish can move from one water body to another on land also.


Bureaucracy needs to be tamed: Kanwaljit
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, May 3
Minister for cooperatives Kanwaljit said today that the bureaucracy in the state needed to be tamed in the interest of the people and the government. Addressing a function organised by the pradesh beopar mandal here today, the minister remarked, sooner it was done, better it would be, as the bureaucracy, according to him had not come out of the hangover of the previous regime.

The minister was speaking in context of the imposition of VAT in the state. “The way it had been imposed in the states makes it to be a good source of corruption”, he alleged. The minister maintained that the tax regime, particularly the VAT, as it was imposed in the state was discriminatory. The traders and industrialists of the state were being made to pay much more tax than those in other states.


Political Vendetta
Cong to collect data on cases
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 3
The Punjab Congress has decided to collect data on police cases which it perceives have been filed against its party workers on the basis of “political vendetta.” All block presidents of the party have been asked to come to the party’s state headquarters here on May 7 with all details of such cases, the party chief Shamsher Singh Dullo announced today.

The party will give a coordination programme for the party. The party will stand up for all cases of political vendetta but not in case of those who are found corrupt. When asked about the benchmark of corruption, Dullo was non-committal saying “ we know when it is found.”

Dullo went on to add: “Officers should not become tools in the hands of anybody as this is bad for democracy.” On the arrival of former Chief Minister Amarinder Singh he said: “It is good that he has come back I have been saying in the past that he should come back.” Seeking cooperation from senior leaders of the party he denied that there was a rift and added that there was no such thing as separate camps of Bhattal, Amarinder Singh or his own. It is good that Amarinder Singh has also realized that.

Interestingly, Dullo today demanded a probe into specific allegations levelled by Maninderjit Singh Bitta about how a consignment of RDX was meant to eliminate top leaders, including Rajinder Kaur Bhattal, Harnam Dass Johar and Dullo.

Dullo today said these specific allegations need to be probed. About 11 kg of RDX was seized by the Punjab police in December. Dullo said a probe was needed to verify the claims of Bitta on this. It may be mentioned that Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal has already alleged that the RDX was meant to eliminate him and his son, Sukhbir Badal.


SAD-BJP to challenge Cong on vendetta issue
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 3
The ruling SAD-BJP combine plans to counter the Congress on the “politcal vendetta” issue by challenging the Congress men to show any case where a leader or worker of the party had been called to a police station for questioning. Also to bring a single case if womenfolk were being called to police stations or were booked.

No arrests have been made so far, not even in the alleged cases of murder, and this needs to be highlighted, said sources within the SAD-BJP combine.

The two parties held a coordination meeting here tonight at the residence of Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal to discuss various issues. It was decided to counter the propaganda of vendetta with facts. Information will be sought from the grassroots to bring out the truth, said a leader who attended the meeting.


Stop canal construction: SAD
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 3
General secretary of the Shiromani Akali Dal Prem Singh Chandumajra today said the party had demanded intervention of the central government in stopping the under-construction Hansi Buttana link canal in Haryana. 


‘Rebel’ SGPC secy to be dismissed 
Varinder Walia
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, May 3
The sub committee of SGPC today recommended immediate dismissal of Raghbir Singh as secretary, Shiromani Committee, on charges of "indiscipline". His dismissal from the post of SGPC secretary would be formally accepted by the SGPC Executive, scheduled to be held at Ludhiana tomorrow.

He is the second secretary in the 82-year history of SGPC whose services would be terminated tomorrow. Earlier, Harbeant Singh had been dismissed on charges of getting job in Shiromani Committee on the basis of "fake matriculation certificate" during the presidentship of Jathedar Gurcharan Singh Tohra. However, after the death of Jathedar Tohra, Harbeant Singh was re-instated .

Raghbir Singh had floated the Shiromani Akali Dal (Majha) to challenge SAD (Badal) and contested the recently held Assembly election from Rajasansi as "rebel candidate". However, he had lost the election and his security deposits were forfeited. Raghbir Singh had levelled serious charges against SAD supremo Parkash Singh Badal and SGPC chief Avtar Singh. He had also filed a number of cases in the local Sikh Gurdwara Judicial Commission and High Court.

Though two members Sukhdev Singh Bhaur and Kewal Singh Badal were conspicuous by their absence from the sub committee meeting today, there was consensus among the rest of the members, on the dismissal of SGPC secretary. Talking to The Tribune, one committee member said Raghbir Singh had been given enough opportunity even through a Public Notice, which he failed to avail. Another sub committee member, Jaswinder Singh Mehta said the proceedings had been finalised to dismiss Raghbir Singh from service.

On the other hand, the sub committee has decided to defer the decision to install AC in the sanctum sanctorum of Golden Temple for the time being. It has sought the opinion of world renowned conservationists on the issue. The SGPC, however, assured that AC won’t be installed if it would damage the old structure in any way. However, the sub committee has given go ahead to the installation of Close Circuit TV cameras and mobile jammers in the SGPC complex.


Golden Temple 
SGPC open to debate on airconditioning

Ludhiana, May 3
The Shiromani Gurdwara Prabandhak Committee (SGPC) has not yet closed the chapter of airconditioning of the Darbar Sahib at the Golden Temple.

“The issue is still not closed and we are exploring all possible options. If it is viable without causing any damage to the heritage, it would be done”, SGPC president Avtar Singh Makkar said here today.

He further added that expert opinions were being sought about preserving the heritage as well as modernising the facilities there. “I am a strong votary of preserving the heritage and will not allow anybody to cause any damage to it”, he said.

“Even if the sanctum sanctorum was to be air conditioned, none of its four gates would be closed”, he said.

Makkar maintained that the SGPC was well aware about its responsibility towards preserving the sanctity of Darbar Sahib and the glorious heritage. He appealed to the people to submit their suggestions to the SGPC in writing so that a viable and practical opinion can be framed. — TNS


PIL challenges ostracisation of newly weds
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 3
A public interest litigation was filed before the Punjab and Haryana High Court today seeking to impose exemplary fine on the sarpanch and panches of Mansurpur Wadala gram panchayat (near Jalandhar) for ordering the social boycott of a newly wedded couple.

The petitioner, H.C. Arora, also pleaded before the Division Bench comprising Chief Justice Vijender Jain and Justice Rajive Bhalla for the prosecution of the sarpanch and panches of the gram panchayat under the Protection of Civil Rights Act,1955.

The petitioner referred to an incident of April 25, 2007, when two persons, Gurjot Singh and Poonam Sangha of Mansurpur Wadala village entered into a love marriage. This infuriated the village panchayat which expelled the couple from the village after blackening their faces. The mother, a widow, of the girl was manhandled too.

The Division Bench observed that the sarpanch and panches should be added as respondents. The matter was adjourned thereafter.


Love lost: Same-sex marriage ends after 3 yrs
Varinder Walia
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, April 3
The love affair between a lesbian couple that had appalled their families and the society three years ago ended on a sour note today.

One of the partners, Raju (28), was admitted to a local government hospital after consuming poison while the other partner, Mala, has reportedly decided to marry her "boyfriend".

The two local girls, Raju and Mala, both residents of Sandhu Colony in the Vijay Nagar area on Batala road, had eloped on November 27, 2004, and had gone to New Delhi where they got married in a temple. The girls were fast friends and used to mostly stay together.

In December 2004, the local Duty Magistrate had pronounced that the lesbian couple - Raju and Mala - could live together even as the police was totally “confused” about the law.

Both of them were presented in the court on the basis of the complaints lodged by their parents. The girls had declared that they would continue to live like a married couple and even death would not separate them. They had threatened to commit suicide if they were forced to live apart.

Now, three years after the promises, the same-sex marriage ended amid allegations and counter-allegations.

Mala denied that she had given poison to Raju, who has been admitted to a local government hospital. She, however, expressed desire to marry her “boyfriend” Sonu in the local court in near future.

It may be mentioned here that Raju’s family had accepted the same-sex marriage after initial hiccups, while Mala’s family was strongly opposed to it.

Mala, who was in the hospital, reportedly disappeared from there when Vijay Nagar Police reached there to record their statements. 


‘Promote Punjabi language’ 
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, May 3
Urging the government to set up a Punjabi Language University in the state, various organisations of Punjabi writers have sought that due status be accorded to the language. They stated that this would promote Punjabi language, literature and culture, and would lead to proper research and evaluation.

Talking to The Tribune on behalf of Kendri Punjabi Lekhak Sabha (Sekhon), Sangrur; Punjabi Sahit Academy, Ludhiana; and Kendri Punjabi Lekhak Sabha, Jallandhar, general secretary of the Kendri Punjabi Lekhak Sabha (Sekhon), Dr Tejwant Mann, said besides setting up a Punjabi Language University, the state government should also pass Punjab Public Library Bill for promoting the books in the language.

He said it was regrettable that there was no policy relating to Punjabi language in the state.

Dr Mann added that the implementation of Punjabi as the state’s official language in an effective manner was the duty of the state government as Punjab had been carved out as a language-based state under the provisions of the Indian Constitution in 1966. 


Rs 58 lakh given to 53 sarpanches
Our Correspondent

Abohar, May 3
Balluana MLA Gurtej Singh Ghuriana distributed cheques worth Rs 58.22 lakh among sarpanches of 53 villages of his assembly segment for sanitation and water supply schemes at a function in the panchayat samiti complex here yesterday. Most of the recipients were Congress activists. Ghuriana also presented cheques of Rs 2.86 lakh to sarpanches and Rs 1.43 lakh to the sanitation workers against fixed allowance.

He said the government had drafted a plan to improve condition of the village ponds.

There were reports sewage was discharged into the ponds in some villages. Ponds will be provided with boundary walls and cow ghats. 


Goatherd’s daughter dies of smallpox, 7 others suffering
Our Correspondent

Abohar, May 3
The family of Mangi Ram, which had to shift from the drought-hit Guda village in Kalayat sub- division of Bikaner in Rajasthan, to save goats and sheep might not forget the May Day as it lost daughter Kola due to small pox at Arniwala village near here on Tuesday. Seven other members of the family are also 
suffering from the same disease, Mangi Ram said.

The livestock was the only source of income for them and such families had almost every year been shifting temporarily to this sub- division from the drought- affected Rajasthan regions. Some of them had lost hundred of sheep near Khubban village in 2004 as they consumed excess of canal water on reaching here.

Mangi Ram's group is camping near the sub -divisional complex of the Punjab State Electricity Board taking shelter under trees.

Even their minor children have been doing hard work, as doors to school for education have been closed for ever to children of such 

Kola had been suffering from small pox for the past three years but the family used to get treatment from private practitioners without ascertaining whether they were

registered with any medical stream or not. They were unable to identify whether the cattle/animal livestock had infected some of them.

Those who had symptoms of small pox, included Roshani and Bhaka (daughters of Mangi Ram), Anguri daughter of of Babu Ram, Rajji daughter of Mahabir, Chakki daughter of Ranjit Ram, Thakur son Ranjit Ram and Pandu son of Bahadur Ram. Spots, reddish in colour, on their body had appeared after four-five days of high fever, Mangi Ram said.

Sukhdev Singh Sandhu a social activist and poet today urged the Health Department to arrange free of cost treatment 
for the affected family, to cure minors and prevent spreading of the fatal 


State Round-up
57 posts in medical colleges to be filled
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 3
The Punjab government today decided to fill 57 vacant posts in the teaching faculty in medical colleges of the state. These will be on ad hoc basis and through departmental selection committees.

The decision was taken by Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal here. Badal also approved the proposal of the medical education and research department to re-designate 60 posts of medical officer to that of lecturer. Also a decision was taken to fill the vacant 266 paramedical and 159 class IV posts through outsourcing.

The Chief Minister said services of architects should be engaged in consultation with the Punjab Infrastructure Development Board (PIDB) to give a facelift to buildings of medical colleges of Patiala, Amritsar and Faridkot. It was also decided in the meeting to grant financial autonomy to these medical institutions with a small coordinating committee to supervise its functioning in a result-oriented manner.

Online PMT

The Punjab government today said it was considering having an 'online' PMT examination in the state.

Tikshan Sood, minister for medical education and research, claimed that the Punjab government would study in detail this system. Private sector companies in this field would give their presentations at Government Medical College, Patiala, on May 15.

The minister said certain institutions had successfully conducted online entrance exams, he added.

NRI investment offer

NRIs of Punjabi origin today offered “investment in improving academic standards and educational infrastructure in the state.” An assurance to this effect was given by a delegation of the NRI Sabha which called on Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal here this morning. The delegation was led by Resham Singh Hayer and Kamaljit Singh.

Badal directed the state civil and police administration to chalk out a joint action plan to sort out all pending issues of NRIs.

In a significant decision, Badal said cases of NRIs in future would not be handled by persons below the rank of DSP. He also assured them that he would soon take up the matter of setting up of fast track court for NRIs in civil courts.

Information hubs

All district industries centres in the state would function as information hubs, which would provide required information to entrepreneurs, besides guiding and motivating them about latest technology and working opportunities.

This was stated by Manoranjan Kalia, minister for industries, said here today. He said the DIC, Ludhiana, would be operational within three months. Thereafter, work in DIC, Jalandhar and other districts should be taken during this year. He also said that latest computers and equipment should be installed in these offices.

Regarding the new industrial policy, the minister said it would have provisions for providing requisite support for the growth of existing industry as well as facilitating new industrial investment in the state.


Rs 1, 560 cr power subsidy sought
Former SE moves regulatory body
Lalit Mohan
Tribune News Service

Patiala, May 3
Retired superintending engineer of the Punjab state electricity board (PSEB) Gurnek Singh Brar has filed a petition before the Punjab state electricity regulatory commission (PSERC) seeking directions to the government to pay cash subsidy to the PSEB for supplying free and subsidised power.

In a copy of petition that is available with The Tribune, former PSEB employee has alleged that the government was to provide cash subsidy of Rs 1560 crore to the board in lieu of supplying free power for tube wells during a period extending from 1996 to 2001.

The former superintending engineer has petitioned that in case the government in advance does not give cash subsidy then the PSEB may be allowed to restrict the supply of power to subsidise and free-category consumers. The government should be instructed to give cash subsidy to the board by 3rd of each month.

In case the government fails to pay by 3rd of every month then the PSEB should be allowed get full tariff from the customers, the petitioner has pleaded.

He has also sought direction to the PSEB for filing the tariff revision petition on time. As per the Electricity Act 2003 each generating company and licensee has to file tariff revision petition before November 30 every year, which includes annual revenue requirement (ARR) for the previous year.

He has alleged that polices of the government have led to increase in revenue gap for 2006-07 to Rs 2,756 crore. It is projected to grow to Rs 5,114.7 crore by the next financial.

If the things continue in similar manner the board’s operation like the procurement of coal might collapse especially in the coming months when the revenue receipts are at the lowest while expenditure is at its peak.

Meanwhile, the PSERC has rejected the PSEB’s plea for seeking extension for filing tariff review petition. The PSEB in petition filed with the regulatory commission had pleaded extension of time period till May 31st for filing the tariff review petition.


Public asked to report water-borne diseases
Tribune News Service

Patiala, May 3
A health awareness camp was organised by the rapid response team and mass media wing of the civil surgeon office at Gurdwara and Dhudial Khalsa School in Khalsa Mohalla under the guidance of Punjab health and family welfare minister Laxmi Kanta Chawla here today.

Joginder Singh, MEMO, gave information about

“Balri Surakhsha Yojna” and “Janani Surakhsha Yojna”. He spoke about the waterborne diseases like typhoid, hepatitis, gastroenteritis and also about the anti-malaria and dengue campaigns going to be held in June and July.

Pamphlets and health education material regarding waterborne diseases, malaria, dengue and female foeticide were also distributed in the area.

Civil surgeon appealed to the general public to report all cases of waterborne diseases to their nearest government dispensaries and hospitals for proper investigation and treatment.

For public convenience, a control room has been set up in the civil surgeon office with telephone No. 2211619. The camp was also attended by Dr Y.S. Banga, health officer, municipal corporation.


PAU board members for Dhillon as Pro-VC
Sarbjit Dhaliwal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 3
The Punjab government has been urged by certain members of the board of management of PAU, Ludhiana, to appoint Dr B.S.Dhillon, a highly talented academician and scientist, as Pro-Vice Chancellor of the university.

Dr Dhillon, director research at PAU,was a candidate for vice-chancellorship of the university. However, as Dr Gurdev Singh Khush, an internationally known rice breeder settled in America, had recommended the name of Dr Manjit Singh Kang for the post, Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal preferred Dr Kang instead of Dr Dhillon.

Sources today said at the PAU 's board of management meeting held last Monday, most of the members of the board had urged the government to give Dr Dhillon his due. Dr Kang was selected as VC at that meeting. The members had urged Punjab Chief Secretary Ramesh Inder Singh, who had presided over the board's meeting, that Dr Dhillon was well versed in the affairs of PAU and he should be appointed Pro-Vice-Chancellor to manage its affairs.

Members expressed the opinion that as Dr Kang had stayed abroad, he would take some time to adapt to the local conditions as far as management of human resources and other affairs are concerned. There is a huge difference between the functioning of the institutions and scientists abroad and in India. Because of this reason, Dr Kang will take time to settle down.

Dr Baldev Singh, according to sources, has an excellent offer from the German government. Earlier, he served in the Indian Council of Agriculture research at the higher level. 


Non-cooperation with court
HC directs action against ‘lax’ forest officer
Aditi Tandon
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 3
This one will come as a deterrent to forest officers who charge people with wildlife offences but never pursue those cases in courts.

Taking up a case involving the alleged recovery of 559 kg of sambhar’s antellars by Hoshiarpur forest staff in November last, the Punjab and Haryana High Court has directed Punjab DGP to take action against the investigating officer (IO) for his failure to assist the court in the matter. The court has rapped the forest range officer for his laxity and non-cooperation.

Having registered a damage report regarding the recovery of animal parts and skin from a shop in Hoshiarpur, forest range officer Kulraj Singh failed to appear in the High Court to oppose the bail application of the accused. On December 7 last year, the High Court had granted an interim bail to accused Pankaj Sud, and fixed January 16, 2007 for the next hearing.

Significantly, on all the four consecutive hearings - January 16, February 22, March 16 and April 24 - the IO was absent from court proceedings, causing justice Mahesh Grover to pass a strongly-worded order. Taking note of the IO’s absence, the High Court granted absolute bail to the accused.

The court further observed, “Having regard to the contentions raised by the counsel for the petitioner, which have gone uncontroverted because of the laxity and non-cooperative attitude of the investigating officer, the petition is accepted and the interim directions are made absolute.”

Justice Grover directed that necessary action be taken against the IO. “A copy of the order be sent to Punjab DGP for compliance,” the order stated.

It may be mentioned that Pankaj Sud was charged with trading in animal skin and parts. On secret information, a team of Hoshiarpur forest staff, comprising of forest range officers Kulraj Singh, Ashok Kumar and two foresters, raided a shop in Nai Abadi, Hoshiarpur, and recovered 559 kg of antellars of sambhar.

The shop, the staff stated in its damage report filed under the Wildlife Protection Act, was co-owned by Pankaj Sud, who, however, denied allegations and maintained that the case was false and obtained interim bail from the High Court.


Jaspal principal secy (transport)

Chandigarh, May 3
D.S. Jaspal will be new principal secretary, transport, an official announcement said today.

D.S. Kalha, principal secretary, finance, will hold additional charge of cultural affairs, archives, archaeology and Museums, while Ravinder Singh Sandhu has been made principal secretary, Defence Services Welfare. Narinderjit Singh will be secretary, Social Security, Development of Women and Children in addition to secretary, Welfare of SCs and BCs.

Police postings

The government also ordered following postings of SP today. Narjinder Singh Sekhon will be SP (Headquarters) Patiala; Gurmit Singh Chauhan, SP (Detective) Patiala; Bhupinderjit Singh Virk SP, Pathankot; Rajinder Kumar Sharma, SP, Crime II, Chandigarh; Paramdeep Singh, SP (Headquarters), Batala; Surinder Singh, SP (Security and Traffic) Amritsar; Tejinderpal Singh, Commandant, 4th IRB Jalandhar; and Surjit Singh, Assistant Commandant, 9th Battalion, PAP, who also holds additional charge of AIG, CID, Amritsar.

However, Paramjit Singh Khaira is attached with Vigilance Bureau; and Jagmohan Singh, SP (Security) with Capt Amarinder Singh. — TNS


Minor Dalit girl abducted, murdered
Tribune News Service

Budhlada (Mansa), May 3
A minor girl(7) from Scheduled Caste community, who had been abducted while she was asleep with family members in her house in this town on April 28 night, was found dead last night in fields skirting the town .

Body of Harjeet Kaur alias Rimpy was found in the fields by one of the10 police search parties formed by SSP Ram Singh.

News of the death of Harjeet Kaur triggered panic among residents . Harjeet Kaur’s father Raghbir Singh is a labourer .

A case of kidnapping was also registered in the police station here.

While searching fields on the outskirts of the town, a body was found lying there. It was in bad shape and was sent to Faridkot medical college for a post- mortem examination. The girl’s throat was slitted.

Ram Singh SSP said the police had had obtained vital clues and the accused would be arrested shortly.

Medical professionals had told the police Harjeet Kaur had been murdered more than three days ago,sources said. Initial reports also revealed the deceased was not raped.

A case under Section 302 of the IPC had been registered in connection with the murder of Harjeet Kaur. 


Gang of cheats busted, 3 held
Our Correspondent

Nabha, May 3
The police claimed to have busted a gang of cheats with the arrest of three people yesterday. The accused were deceiving innocent people by selling them fake gold coins and biscuits by offering them at discounted prices.

The gang, which belonged to Patriana of Ferozepur district, included a local resident also. The arrested have been sent on police remand.

Nabha DSP Rajinder Pal Singh Anand said accused Jaswinder Singh, who was staying at Ripudaman Pura here, became friendly with a local youth, Gurvinder Pal Singh Maini, and lured him in the illegal business. The DPS said because of timely action, the accused could not implement their plan of selling 5 kg artificial gold for Rs 30 lakh, a deal struck with a local resident.

Maini had also reportedly sold a coin to Gurmit Singh for Rs 6,000. When Gurmit Singh got the coin tested at a jeweller’s, he found it to be fake. It was then that he approached the city police.


3 held for possessing narcotics

Abohar, May 3
The CIA staff today arrested three persons for possessing 3.5 kg opium smuggled from Rajasthan through different routes.

Incharge of CIA staff Gurbhej Singh intercepted Babu Ram Bawri near Bhagsar village on Hanumangarh road and recovered 1.5 kg opium from him during a search carried in the presence of DSP (D) Rajinder Singh. Bawri is a resident of Devria village, Jetaran Police Station, Pali district (Rajasthan),

Additional SHO Fauja Singh intercepted a car (PB 08 AP 2120) near Kikkarkhera village and recovered 2 kg opium during a search carried out in the presence of DSP Parampal Singh.

Sandeep Singh and Harbhej Singh, residents of Chugawa village and Thindewal (Mattewal), respectively, were arrested under sections 18, 61 and 85 of the NDPS Act, sources said. Another police party arrested a resident of a seed farm on recovery of 15 gm smack from him. — OC


Fake currency seized, 2 held
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, May 3
In one of the biggest ever recovery of fake currency, the Amritsar (Rural) police today seized fake currency amounting Rs 10 lakh.The notes had allegedly been printed in Pakistan .

SSP Iqbal Singh said two international smugglers, Gulzar Singh and Balwinder Singh, residents of border village Hawellian in Gharinda Police Station, have been arrested in this connection. He said more arrests were likely to be made in the coming days. He, however, admitted that the route of the smuggling of fake currency could not be confirmed as yet. The role of BSF and others in the smuggling of fake currency is also being investigated.


Master Mohan Lal courts controversy again
Bipin Bhardwaj
Tribune News Service

Pathankot, May 3
After the cancellation of his Ph.D registration in 2001 by Punjabi University, Patiala, while he was holding the portfolio of higher education minister, Master Mohan Lal Sharma, transport minister, Punjab, has got involved in another controversy now.

This time Sharma, who is a local MLA, has been accused of having passed his L.L.B from N.M Law College, Hanumangarh, in Ajmer, Rajasthan, while serving as a social studies teacher in Arya Senior Secondary School (Boys), Pathankot during the same time period.

In a petition filed in a local court by Gurdev Singh, a resident of Sunder Nagar locality of the town, it was alleged that Sharma had enrolled as a regular student in N.M Law College, Hanumangarh, from 1989 to 1991 as per the college records. During the same period he had also been working as a teacher in Arya Senior Secondary School (Boys) in Pathankot as per the school attendance register.

The complainant also said that prior to getting admission in the law college, the 'minister' did not seek mandatory permission from the education department or school authorities. The complainant also questioned how could Sharma manage to attend classes as a regular student at the college in Hanumangarh while teaching students at Pathankot about 700-800 km away at the same time?

In his petition, the complainant further alleged that Mohan Lal had been drawing salary and other emoluments from the school management. Being a government-aided institution the school authorities are also involved in misappropriation of funds in this case.

Challenging his law degree also, the complainant alleged that Sharma had obtained the degree fraudulently and then got himself enrolled as a member of the Punjab and Haryana Bar Council and subsequently as a member of the Pathankot Bar Council.

He said Sharma had committed a criminal breach of trust besides ‘embezzling’ salary from the government aided school so complaint under Sections 420, 467, 468,471, 408, 409 and 120-B should be registered against him.

Taking a note of the allegations levelled by Gurdev Singh, the court had summoned the authorities of N.M Law College and the Arya Senior Secondary School (Boys), Pathankot, management, and asked them to submit Sharma’s degree in the court. The N.M Law College authorities had, in the previous hearing, submitted records in the court proving that Mohan Lal Sharma was a regular student of law course from 1989 to 1991.

The Arya Senior Secondary School management had stated in the court that Mohan Lal was serving as a social studies teacher in the school from 1989 and 1991 and had drawn salary from the school.

The court has asked the school management to produce the attendance register of the school where Sharma had marked his presence.

The case now would come up for hearing in the court on May 9.


KV-3 celebrates Annual Day
Tribune News Service

Patiala, May 3
Kendriya Vidyalaya No. 2, DMW, organised its annual prize distribution function with great zeal and enthusiasm on the school premises today. The function was inaugurated with lighting of a lamp by the chief guest Jayanta Ghosh, CAO of DMW. Students of the school presented a colourful cultural programme on the unity in diversity of India through vibrant dances, songs and skits.

Later, principal of the school M.P. Mahajan presented the annual report highlighting the achievements of the school. At the end of the function, the chief guest gave away the prizes to the best performers in various fields.


Liquor vends
New licensees left in lurch
Sanjay Bumbroo
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, May 3
The state government has been suffering huge losses to its exchequer as the liquor shops continue to do brisk business in the holy city even after three days of expiry of licences of old licensees.

Various new licence holders, who were awaiting the allotment of the sites, while talking to the Tribune said they had applied for the site plan after successful bidding in the auction of liquor vends held by the Excise and Taxation Commissioner last week. The new licensees have alleged that the old licensees whose term had expired had failed to vacate their premises and were continuing to sell their stock in violation of the excise policy as they were supposed to stop functioning on the midnight of April 30.

However, assistant excise and taxation commissioner P. S Randhawa said the department had received reports about continued functioning of the old vends and added that the persons concerned had been asked to shut the shops and vacate the premises immediately. He said the new licensees had already been allotted new site plans so that they could start operating their vends.

The new licensees have alleged that they were losing heavily as they were supposed to deposit about Rs 19,000 as licence fee per day and they were yet to start operating the vends while the old licensees were continuing their business without paying the licence fee which was a big loss to the exchequer.


Industrialist gets life-time achievement award
Tribune News Service

Patiala, May 3
The National Theatre Arts Society (NTAS) today honoured Dr Satya Paul, an eminent industrialist and president of Apeejay Education Society, Delhi, during a function organised at Apeejay Satya House, Delhi.

NTAS director Pran Sabharwal and many other prominent persons, including S.D. Sehgal, joint director, ministry of defence, presented the Bharat Gaurav Award, a life-time achievement award of honour, to Dr Satya Paul for his outstanding contribution to industry, education, cultural renaissance in Punjab.

Dr Satya Paul, founder of Rajeshwari Kala Sangam and Apeejay College of Fine Arts in Jalandhar, had set up the Apeejay Education Society in 1967, which was now running 13 schools and institutions of higher education all over India, with more than 32,000 students on roll, said Pran Sabharwal here today.

On this occasion, NTAS chief coordinator S.D. Sehgal lauded the efforts of the Apeejay group for their steel products which contributed immensely in the expansion of railway network, development of tools and equipments for agriculture in Punjab and other states.

He congratulated Dr Satya Paul on the recent conferment of the Punjab Government’s prestigious Udyog Ratna Award on him for his outstanding contribution to industry and education.

Earlier, Dr Satya Paul expressed appreciation and gratitude for the selfless artistic services of NTAS director Pran Sabharwal and assured full cooperation for the development of the Punjabi theatre in India and abroad.



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