L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S

Trapped in circle of smuggling
Jupinderjit Singh
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, May 4
The vicious circle of narcotic smuggling did not let her roam free for more than 15 days after spending nearly three years in jail for drug peddling. She lost her husband to the trade. He died due to illness in custody. Her son is at present in the jail for the same crime.

"I didn't want my son to languish in jail. I have already lost my husband," she said, claiming that she had no other means to earn a livelihood.

A special Ambassador car was used to smuggle 140 kg poppy husk with storage space even in headlights.

This is the sorry tale of Sukhwinder Kaur, one of the four narcotic smugglers arrested by the city police with 140 kg of poppy husk which they were transporting to the city from Jammu and Kashmir in a specially designed Ambassador car, where unique compartments were created to store the booty.

The most ingenuous storage was in the two headlights. If one thought only the life of those who consumed drugs was destroyed, the case of Sukhwinder, a middle-aged woman, exemplifies how those supplying the killer drugs live through hell.

She revealed to Ludhiana Tribune that she had no choice but to indulge in the trade again as she wanted money for arranging bail for her son. " We got the drug at 35,000 from Doda and it would have easily fetched us Rs 70,000," she said, making a conservative estimate about her earnings.

"I didn't want my son to languish in jail. I have already lost my husband," she said in choked voice, claiming that she had no other means to earn a livelihood.

She belongs to Dandewal village in Payal.

SSP R. K. Jaiswal said the staff of the special anti-narcotics cell led by SP-detective Gurpreet Singh and SI Rajesh Kumar nabbed the four persons when they were entering the city.

The police got suspicious as the woman, though middle-aged and looking rustic, was clad in jeans and top. They tried to behave arrogantly with the cops, posing as if they were some VIPs travelling in the Ambassador car.

The police searched the car as it had specific information about the gang. The cops too were surprised to see the unique compartments made to store the drugs.

The other gang members nabbed were Sukjinder Singh belonging to Harchandpur in Dhurri, Raj Kumar of Lakkar Bazar, Ludhiana, and Balbir Kaur from Munjpur in Raikot.



Man stabbed to death

Machhiwara, May 4
A 32-year-old Khanna-based man, Raman Kumar, was murdered here last night near Gurdwara Sri Charan Kanwal Sahib by an unidentified person. He died at Apollo Hospital, Ludhiana. The victim had come here to attend the marriage of his brother-in-law Prince.

Vijay Kumar, father-in-law of the victim, stated to the police that he went towards the gurdwara in his Santro car at around 8.20 pm. When he came back, he had a knife injury on the right side of his chest. Family members took him to a local hospital, from where doctors referred him to Ludhiana. — OC



Four held for rape
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, May 4
The Sarabha Nagar police has arrested all four youths who had allegedly raped a 31-year-old women for several hours near Sukhmani Enclave on Wednesday evening. The main accused Balraj Singh had been booked for a rape earlier also.

The women, who had come to the city from Kotkapura late that evening for treatment from a acupressure doctor, was allegedly tricked by two youths into accompanying them to an under-construction house, where she was raped. They then took her to another room adjoining a tube-well in fields alongside the Sidhwan Canal where two other persons, waiting for them, raped her.

She was finally left in an unconscious state early next morning. The women later lodged a complaint with the police.

Inspector Navreet Singh said the arrested youths were identified as Balraj Singh, Shailendra Tiwari, Jodha Singh and Gurjinder Singh.

The woman said she was suffering from knee pain. The doctor had told her to reach the Ferozepore road, near MC octroi post, by bus. When she was waiting there, Balraj Singh asked her if she need help as she was the only women standing there late in the evening. She told him about the appointment with the doctor.

Balraj Singh then pretended making a call to the doctor from a PCO. He had taken the number from her only. He then took her to the under-construction room claiming that he was taking her to the doctor’s clinic.

The police raids since last morning proved successful when all youths were arrested. The police had got all of them medically examined apart from the victim woman.



Zinc theft racket busted; murder case solved
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, May 4
Two special operation groups made by SSP R.K. Jaiswal have busted a nexus between zinc thieves and industrialists while solving the April 30 murder case of watchman Dhan Singh Bahadur.

The police has also found that the gang had allegedly colluded with some industrialists of Ludhiana and Jalandhar to remould stolen zinc slabs and then sell them in the market under a new label.

Briefing mediapersons, the SSP said he had formed the special groups to carry out fast investigations. This has paid dividends as one of the groups, led by SP (detective) Gurpreet Singh and including DSP Jatinder Singh Khaira and SI Balwinder Singh, managed to arrest a key gang member, Om Saran, and an industrialist, Narinder Singh, of Basti Sheikh, Jalandhar.

Om Saran was caught with 1.58 quintals of stolen zinc slabs which he had got moulded in the factory of Narinder Singh. He, along with six other gang members, had stolen the slabs from Kanwar Factory where they had murdered the watchman.

The SSP said the other members at large were Hariya Thekedar, Nanak, Kaachi, Naresh, Bachan and Ashok Pathak. All of them were from Uttar Pradesh.

The police was organising raids in Faizabad, Buland Shahar and Aligrah with the help of the Uttar Pradesh police.

The SSP said the accused had murdered the watchman as he had recognised one of them and could have spilled the beans.

The police found that the zinc thieves were working in connivance with some industrialists like Narinder Singh.

Immediately after stealing the slabs from Kanwar Factory on April 30 , they got it moulded from a nearby factory. After that the slabs were taken to Jalandhar in the factory where they were moulded again.

The police said this was done to make them pass as genuine slabs. Zinc was priced at Rs 200 per kg in the market. The slabs were of 25 kg weight each.



Villagers protest death

Amloh, May 4
Activists of the BSP, Congress and other political parties blocked traffic on the Bhadson-Amloh-Patiala road from 8.30 am to 4 pm today, demanding the registration of a murder case into the mysterious death of a youth.

The blockade was lifted on the assurance of DSP Rajinderpal Singh Anand that a case under section 302 of the IPC was registered against the suspects.

Sources said a Dalit, Kulwant Singh (22), was an employee of a former sarpanch of his village, Bugga Khurd, near here. Kulwant Singh died under mysterious circumstances on the night of May 1 and his body was brought from Rajindera Hospital after postmortem on May 3. The body was placed on the road as a protest while blocking traffic.

The DSP said the suspects, former sarpanch Didar Singh and Avtar Singh, alias Ghola, were arrested under section 302 of the IPC on the statement of Gurmeet Kaur, mother of the deceased. Gurmeet Kaur said Kulwant Singh had been working with the former sarpanch for the last two years. The sarpanch asked him to accompany him at night to the tubewell in the fields and he was murdered there, she alleged. The former sarpanch could not be contacted for his comments.



Wife deserts man for youth, betrayed
Mahesh Sharma

Mandi Ahmedgarh, May 4
Acting on the directions of the SSP, Khanna, the Payal police has booked a youth of Bilaspur village in Ludhiana district for allegedly prompting a married woman to desert her husband and later betraying her after raping her. His mother and sister have also been booked for facilitating the main accused.

Satjit Singh, son of Pritam Singh of Bilaspur, Ranjit Kaur, his mother, and his sister were booked under section 376 and 120-B of the IPC for allegedly entering into a conspiracy to instigate Maninder Kaur (fake name) of the same village to divorce her husband and then deserting her after getting her raped by the main accused. The case was registered on directions of the SSP, Khanna, who was approached by the victim.

Perusal of records revealed that Satjit Singh and Maninder Kaur had developed proximity at a tuition centre where they used to study together. Though Maninder Kaur had been married to Manpreet Singh of Ghaloti village, Satjit, with an intention to teach her a lesson for ignoring his “love” continued expressing his feelings before her.

“Though I had asked him not to disturb my family life, he continued blackmailing me emotionally and threatened to commit suicide in case I ignored him. He tried to instigate me to leave my in-laws’ house after drugging my husband and other members of the family,” Maninder told the investigating team.

She stated that she had refused to accept a mobile phone and sleeping pills he had tried to give her when she had gone to Bilaspur to meet her parents in the month of March.

Referring to information received from Randhir Singh, SHO, Payal, Rattan Singh Brar, DSP, Payal, said Satjit succeeded in making Maninder Kaur leave her in-laws’ house on March 14. The victim had alleged that Satjit had exploited her physically at a religious place, his house at Bilaspur and a transport office at Alamgir village for two days.

Though Manider’s parents had agreed to the marriage proposal of Satjit and his parents, the latter betrayed after a few days. “Instead of accepting me as their daughter-in-law as promised earlier, the trio, including Satjit, his mother and sister, insulted me and my parents when we went to their house to remind them of their assurance,” the victim told the police, adding that even social leaders who had intervened in the case had also refused to listen to their grievance. 



PPCC secy wants panel set up
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, May 4
Parminder Mehta, secretary, Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee, has demanded the setting up of a judicial commission, headed by a former judge of the Supreme Court, to look into the genesis of terrorism in Punjab.

In a letter to the Punjab Governor, Mehta alleged that Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal, by setting up a panel to look into the killing of terrorists, was aiming at placating the radical and extremist elements. He warned agaisnt its fallout.

Instead, Mehta suggested that a high-level commission be set up to look into the causes of terrorism that led to killing of so many innocent people. He regretted that Badal was trying to play into the hands of the extremists and trying to appease them. He alleged that so many leaders of the Shiromani Akali Dal, who were now holding influential positions, were regularly attending bhog ceremonies of terrorists. 



Don’t manufacture news, says editor
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana May 4
On the occasion of World Press Freedom Day, editor of Punjabi Tribune G.S. Sidhu, popularly known as Sidhu Damdami, has said a journalist has to shoulder great responsibility for presenting a fair and unbiased report before the public.

“And unless he is committed, he cannot perform his duties well,” he said.

Sidhu was addressing students and faculty of journalism at Punjab Agricultural University at a function to mark World Press Freedom Day, organised by the Centre for Communication, Languages and Culture.

He said market-driven forces in journalism were treating news as a saleable commodity, and for better selling, some newspapers and TV channels often distorted news to suit them. “It is not at all a healthy trend. News should be reported without any bias or interpretation,” he said.

The Punjabi Tribune editor was also critical of the way news sometime is manufactured, specially on television where a reporter becomes a facilitator in creating news.

Citing the example of an incident that happened last year in Patiala where a protester immolated himself in front of TV cameras, he said the journalist present on the scene merely wanted a good story ignoring the fact that a human life was lost in the process.

Sidhu said freedom of press was important, but at the same time a journalist should not forget his responsibilities as a human being. “You should be a good human being first and then a good journalist,” he said.

He called upon budding journalists to imbibe in them great values set by eminent journalists.



Excise dept to curb drug smuggling
Shveta Pathak
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, May 4
In a bid to control smuggling of narcotics, the Central Excise and Customs Department would intensify checks by strengthening the intelligence network, cultivating more informers and increasing patrolling.

"Since a large number of cases have come to light, we are taking measures to control it," D.S. Sra, chief commissioner, central excise and customs, told Ludhiana Tribune here today.

The department is also planning to merge the Jalandhar Commissionerate with the Chandigarh had Ludhiana commissionerates. With this, the Amritsar excise commissionerate would fall under Ludhiana.

Following computerisation of its work, Sra added that exporters and importers could get work done online. Documentation processing could also be done in a quicker way due to computerisation.

The department is also expecting a higher revenue collection from customs, excise and service tax. It generated a revenue to the tune of Rs 2,700 crore from excise duty, customs and service tax from the Chandigarh region, which comprises Punjab, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir and Chandigarh, in the last financial year.



BSNL staff protest TRAI proposal
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, May 4
In response to a call given by a joint forum of the Telecom Unions and the central associations of Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL), employees held a demonstration in front of the office of the general manager, Telecom, at Bharat Nagar Chowk, here, today.

Led by activists of the BSNL Employees Union, the protesters were raising their voice against the recommendations of the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) over infrastructure sharing with private operators.

Addressing the workers, Mohinder Chaudhary, assistant district secretary of the union, said giving effect to the recommendations of TRAI would prove detrimental to the financial health and future of the BSNL. He said the union would fight to safeguard the future of the employees.



8 held with illicit liquor
Our Correspondent

Mandi Ahmedgarh, May 4
Acting on the directions of Gautam Cheema, SSP, Khanna, the Payal police has nabbed at least eight persons involved in the smuggling of liquor.

As many as 98 bottles of illicit liquor have been seized from the accused booked in separate cases.

According to Rattn Singh, DSP, Payal, the police teams led by Randhir Singh, SHO, Payal, have nabbed the accused.

The accused include Ram Babu of Baleshan (Bihar) with 10 bottles, Manpreet, alias Babboo, of Jargari with 24, Amarjit Singh of Madnipur with 12, Nirbhai Singh of Chomon with 12, Surinder Singh of Lapran with 10, Sukhwinder Singh Lapran with nine, Jinder Singh of Bharthala Randhawa with 12 and Gurmit Singh of Rauni with nine bottles for allegedly carrying illicit liquor.



SIT to trace girl

Ludhiana, May 4
The DIG-Ludhiana Range has directed the city police to constitute a special investigation team (SIT) to trace a 21-year-old missing girl, whose parents have alleged she was lured by a youth and his parents.

The aggrieved parents and relatives had staged a demonstration outside the SSP-Ludhiana Urban Office yesterday. Her father Gulzar Singh claimed the girl, Harpreet Kaur had gone missing on April 2 after her exams.

He said a youth living in their area and his parents had taken her away with the motive of grabbing his property.

The DIG ordered the SIT to be headed by SP-Detective Gurpreet Singh should trace the girl and find out the truth.

Police sources said the girl was a major. — TNS



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