P U N J A B    S T O R I E S


Punjabi University
After black money, now its foreign donations
Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act violated

Lalit Mohan
Tribune News Service

Patiala, May 14
After the black-money controversy, now it is the foreign donations for poor students of Punjabi University which have led to another one. The foreign donations received by the university in 2005 allegedly violate the Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act, 1976.

As per information available with The Tribune, the university moved an application for registration under the said Act on June 9, 2005. The Union Ministry of Home Affairs allotted registration number 115310014 to the university on January 30, 2006, for receiving foreign donations for education purposes.

In 2005 a delegation headed by the vice-chancellor of the university Swaran Singh Boparai went to foreign countries and collected donations, violating the provisions of the Act. Former dean, resource mobilisation, Baltej Singh Mann said in 2005 only the VC had gone officially after approval of the syndicate to collect foreign donations in June.

Three other members, including him, Jodh Singh and a faculty member from the Music Department, went as unofficial members of the delegation, he added. The tickets of unofficial members of the delegation were sponsored by Baba Daljit Singh Chicagowale at the behest of the VC.

When asked about the donations, Mann said at that time I was not officially on the trip. Only the VC was responsible for the collection of the donations. I was appointed dean, resource mobilisation,  in 2006.

Spokesperson of the university B.S. Sandhu, however, said the VC had never gone alone on foreign trips to collect donations. He had made two trips to foreign countries to collect donations in 2005 and 2006. On both occasion Mann accompanied him. Since Mann was dean, resource mobilisation, he was responsible for ensuring the legality of the donations, he added.

Meanwhile, Mann has also written to the DGP, demanding security.

He has alleged that his office has been ransacked and his belongings have been taken away by unidentified persons.


Punjabi varsity affairs under watch
Sarbjit Dhaliwal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 14
Unhappy over the recent events, the Punjab government is in a mood to take a tough stance with regard to the affairs of Punjabi University, Patiala.

A senior government functionary said a close watch was being kept on the affairs of the university.“ We had recently requested the Punjab Governor, who is the chancellor of the university, to intervene to set the house in order.” However, the government would wait for a month or so. “ And if normalcy does not return there, the government will take a decisive step to restore order, ”added the functionary.

The functionary said “ if the government can appoint the vice-chancellor, it has also the powers to remove him. There should be no doubt in this regard”. Of course, universities were autonomous bodies but it was the elected government which was answerable to the people of the state on all issues, including the functioning of educational institutions.

However, when asked for comments in this regard, higher education minister Upinderjit Kaur declined to say anything. “ I have nothing to say in this regard”, she said.

Asked about other issues in the education department, she said the government would recruit 20,000 teachers to fill vacant posts in schools. Earlier, the figure was of 32,000. After transferring the surplus staff from schools in urban areas to staff-deficient schools in rural areas, there would be need to recruit only 20,000 teachers.

A test would be conducted to recruit teachers and there would be no interview. However, educational qualifications and the marks secured in the qualifying examination would be given due weightage while selecting teachers.

She said a committee of education experts of national repute and also from the state would be set up to advise the state government on matters pertaining to elementary and higher education. She said norms would be fixed for teaching in primary schools. Norms had not yet been fixed with regard to the number of working days in the case of primary and secondary schools.“My entire focus at the moment is on primary and secondary education”, she added. “ I would like that passing in the subjects of mathematics, English and science at the matriculation level should be made compulsory.”

She said a cell would be created at the state headquarters for the handling the student exchange programmes with reputed international universities. The upgradation of the syllabus on a regular basis was another issue that required the attention of educationists.

She said the national institute of science education and research would start functioning in July here at Mahatma Gandhi institute. The union government had given an assurance that its director would be appointed by July, she added.

Asked about the controversy regarding the controller of examinations in the Punjab school education board, she said a temporary arrangement had been made there. However, the post would be filled on a regular basis soon after advertising it.


Human bones in police station debris
Bipin Bhardwaj
Tribune News Service

Gurdaspur, May 14
Finding of human bones from an old and collapsed building of Kahnuwan police station near here has raised many eyebrows besides putting a question mark on the police functioning.

The bones of a woman who died in October, 1999, were exhumed by labourers while removing the debris from a police station building during a reconstruction process.

According to police sources, bones of Daljit Kaur, a resident of Sahari village, were kept in the police station following a court case.

Gurdaspur SSP Lok Nath Angra said Daljit Kaur had committed suicide after consuming poison in October, 1999. Since her parents had filed a case against her in-laws alleging that she was murdered, so the bones were picked up by the police from the cremation ground.

The bones were kept at the Kahnuwan police station as ‘case property’ because of shortage of space in the malkhana of the main police station at the district headquarters, the SSP added.

Daljit Kaur was married to Satnam Singh, son of Harbhajan Singh, a resident of Putta village. She was found dead under mysterious circumstances in her in-laws’ house following which her parents had alleged a foul play. They complained to the police alleging that Harbhajan Singh and his wife Balwinder Kaur had murdered their daughter.

Acting on the complaint, the police had arrested the in-laws after registering a case under Sections 306 and 201 of the IPC. The police had also picked the bones of the deceased from the cremation ground and preserved them at the police station for producing before the court as evidence.

In March, 2003, the court ruled in favour of Harbhajan Singh and his wife Balwinder Kaur.

Legal experts claimed that either the claimants of the bones or the police must have sought permission from the court for disposing of the bones after closure of the case. 

Man beaten to death
Sister raises objections

Tribune News Service

Pathankot, May 14
In less than 24 hours, after residents of Shastri Nagar beat up an unidentified man to death, the deceased has been identified as Vijay Ahire (30) from Bachora village in Jalgraon district of Maharashtra.

A diploma holder in engineering, Vijay had come to stay with his sister Jaishree, wife of B.G. Saindrane, an Army havildar at the Mamun Cantonment area.

Talking to mediapersons, Jaishree, who identified the body, said her brother had been suffering from depression after his divorce last December. He had been running a provisional store at Bachora and had been to Mamun for a change. The body of Vijay was taken to his native place this afternoon.

She said Vijay went missing on May 8 when he went to Pathankot. Complaints were lodged in different police stations, including railway police posts in the city, when he did not turn up.

Meanwhile, Jaishree raised objections over the functioning of the police saying that conducting of postmortem was an attempt to destroy evidence. Why the police did not wait for the family members to come as reports regarding his missing were already registered with the police, questioned Jaishree.


Bathinda Violence
CM orders probe
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 14
While ordering an inquiry by the IG (zonal) into the incidents of violence in Bathinda today, Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal said peace, communal harmony and law and order would be maintained in the state at all costs.

Badal met senior police officials this evening to review the law and order situation.

He urged people to remain vigilant against attempts to inflame communal and religious sentiments and help the government foil such designs.

"No one will be allowed to disturb the hard-earned atmosphere of peace and communal harmony. The government will deal firmly with anyone trying to take the law into his own hands," said Badal in a statement here.

The Chief Minister appealed to all Punjabis to rise above communal or ideological differences and preserve and safeguard communal harmony. "On its part, the government will deal with a firm hand with anyone trying to throw Punjab back into the jaws of tragic and fratricidal bloodshed.

Punjab has already paid a heavy price for years of mindless violence and the state government is fully alive to the danger posed by some politically rejected and desperate elements to stoke communal fires in order to make political capital out of it. But we will not allow their designs to succeed at any cost," said the Chief Minister. 

Cong MLAs blame it on SAD
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, May 14
A section of the Congress MLAs who descended on this town following a clash between the activists of various Sikh organisations and followers of Dera Sacha Sauda alleged that today’s clash took place as the district civil and police authorities failed to act in time. They added that had the authorities concerned prevented the members of various Sikh organisations from taking out the effigy of Baba Gurmit Ram Rahim from the local gurdwara, the situation would have been different.

The Congress MLAs included Gurpreet Singh Kangar, Ajaib Singh Bhatti, Makhan Singh, Ajit Singh Shant, Joginder Singh Panj Garain and Darshan Singh Brar.

They alleged that tension was building up in the state after a number of Akali leaders, who lost the last Assembly elections, started harbouring animosity against the followers of Dera Sacha Sauda. They added that what had happened today was pre-planned by the Akalis. The leaders said the district administration should hold all-party meetings at the sub-division level.

They said when they visited the injured at the local Civil Hospital they were told that no officer of the district administration had visited the injured.



Row over Beant’s statue
Mann protests installation, Congress justifies it
Dharmendra Joshi
Tribune News Service

SAD (Amritsar) chief Simranjit Singh Mann and his supporters hang a portrait of Dilawar Singh, assassin of Beant Singh, around the neck of the statue of the former CM in Jalandhar on  Monday
SAD (Amritsar) chief Simranjit Singh Mann and his supporters hang a portrait of Dilawar Singh, assassin of Beant Singh, around the neck of the statue of the former CM in Jalandhar on  Monday. Tribune photo by Pawan Sharma

Jalandhar, May 14
Blaming late Chief Minister Beant Singh for killing Sikhs during his rule, workers of the SAD (Amritsar) and the SAD (Zafarwal) protested here today against the installation of his statue at BMC Chowk a few weeks ago.

The protesters were led by SAD (Amritsar) president Simranjeet Singh Mann and SAD (Zafarwal) chief Wasan Singh Zafarwal. They were carrying placards on which slogans were written in favour of Dilawar Singh, reportedly a human bomb who blasted himself to eliminate Beant Singh.

In an attempt to dishonour Beant Singh’s statue, Mann and one of his supporters put placards around the neck and one arm of the statue at around 12.35 pm, while others raised slogans in favour of Sant Jarnail Singh Bhindrawale.

The police detained Mann, Zafarwal and their 18 supporters at the chowk for about 45 minutes before formally arresting them as a preventive measure under Sections 107 and 151 of the CrPC.

Earlier, talking to The Tribune at the chowk, Mann alleged that the Congress, BJP and SAD were humiliating Sikhs by putting up statues of those persons who were responsible for Sikh killings.

SAD (Amritsar) held a meeting at Model Town Gurdwara in the morning and then reached the chowk to express dismay over installation of the statue.

Later taking a strong note of the incident, the DCC held a dharna at the chowk in protest against the attempt of dishonouring Beant Singh’s statue.

DCC chief Arun Walia, PPCC secretary Virendra Sharma and Sanjay Sehgal also submitted a memorandum to the GA to DC in which the state government was criticised for not making proper arrangement for the security of the statue. The Congressmen also washed the statue with milk to restore its purity.

Meanwhile, Mann along with 20 others were produced before SDM Bhupinder Singh in the evening, who remanded them in judicial custody till May 21.

Chandigarh: President of the Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee Shamsher Singh Dullo, Congress MLA Sadhu Singh Dharamsot and another party leader, Gurkirat Singh Kotly, have condemned Simranjit Singh Mann and his supporters for dishonouring the statue.

In a joint statement released by Rajpal Singh, general secretary of the PPCC, here on Monday the Congress leaders said the nation could not forget the supreme sacrifice of Beant Singh, who restored peace and tranquility in the state after 15 years of turmoil.

The Congress leaders warned that miscreants led by Mann would not be allowed to disrupt the hard-earned peace in the state.


Defence authorities raise objections
Ludhiana Ring Road project runs into rough weather
Ruchika M Khanna
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 14
The ambitious Ludhiana Ring Road project has run into trouble with the Ministry of Defence objecting to the alignment of the project. With the alignment of the project converging near the Baddowal ammunition depot on the National Highway 95 (Ferozepur Road), the defence authorities have raised objections.

Top officials in the Punjab Government informed TNS that as per the Defence Works Act, 1903 and norms fixed by the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), construction within a 1000 meters radius of the ammunition depot is not allowed.

Since the alignment of the ring road was falling within this radius, objections have been raised and Punjab Infrastructure Development Board (PIDB) has been asked to re-think on the road alignment.

Officials said the Punjab Government was according top priority to the project so as to end the traffic woes of Ludhiana and beyond by constructing a ring road around the industrial capital of the North. “We hope to have a new alignment ready within a couple of months, so that the project can take off by the end of the year,” said the official.

The total length of the proposed ring road is proposed to be around 62. 5 km and will be constructed on a public private partnership format. Officials in Punjab Infrastructure Development Board (PIDB) informed TNS that Chandigarh Road (National Highway (NH) 95), Ambala Road (NH 1), Gill Road (State Highway (SH) 11), Ferozepur Road (NH 95) and Jalandhar Road (NH1) will all converge on the proposed Ring Road.

The Sidhwan Canal road, Dhandaran Road, Pakhowal Road, Sidhwan Bet road, Tajpur Road and Rahon road will be the sub-arterial roads along the proposed Ring Road. This carriageway is being designed for a speed of 100 km per hour.

The first 26.1 km of the carriageway will have six lanes, while the remaining 36. 4 km will have four lanes. The four-lane portion will have two lane service roads on either side of the Ring Road. The estimated cost of the project would be between Rs 1500 crore and Rs 1800 crore.

The PIDB had invited Expressions of Interest (EOI) for the project last year and top infrastructure companies had submitted their EOI. The PIDB had also initiated the process of financial and technical evaluation of the bidders. It was decided that the company selected for the project will arrange for finances to construct the Ring Road, and will be responsible for creating wayside amenities along the carriage-ways.


SAD (A) seeks action against Valtoha
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, May 14
Action should be taken against SAD MLA Virsa Singh Valtoha for violating the hukamnama of Akal Takht directing the Sikh community for not maintaining any link with the Nirankaris, said Gurjatinder Pal Singh Bhikhiwind, general secretary, SAD (A), in a missive to Giani Joginder Singh Vedanti, Jathedar, Akal Takht. He urged Vedanti to take strict action against Valtoha for attending functions of Nirankaris.

Bhikhiwind pointed out that Valtoha had attended the bhog ceremony of Kuldip Singh Mashike at Mashike village near Khemkaran on April 6, 2007, and a large number of Nirankari leaders from Delhi were present at the ceremony.

He cautioned the Jathedar that if he failed to take any action against Valtoha, it would send wrong signal to the Sikh masses.


Cong workers hold protest
Our Correspondent

Hoshiarpur, May 14
Congress workers, led MLA Lov Kumar Goldy, staged a dharna and blocked traffic at Garhshankar, 40 km from here, today in protest against the Garhshankar SHO for allegedly instigating SAD workers to demonstrate before the office of block Congress committee. The protesters were demanding the immediate transfer of the SHO.

Later, when SDM Harminder Singh assured them that the SHO concerned would be transferred before May 16, they lifted the dharna.

It is reported that a meeting of SAD workers had been convened at Gurdwara Tilkuji at Garhshankar today to discuss the action to be taken against Goldy for his alleged derogatory remarks against the SAD leaders on the ongoing dispute between the acting senior medical officer and a laboratory technician of the local civil hospital. In his statement, Goldy allegedly stated that being illiterates, SAD leaders were not aware of the functioning of the civil hospital.

Taking serious note of his statement, the SAD leaders had asked Goldy to tender his apology by May 13, but Goldy refused to accede to their demand.


Embassy sends back body of mishap victim
Tribune News Service

Gurdaspur, May 14
A pall of gloom descended on Meerpur village soon after the body of Sameer Chaudhary, who was killed in a road accident in Auckland on Sunday, reached here late yesterday night.

Sameer and his friend, Rajesh Kumar from Ambala, died when their car went out of control and rammed into a multi-excel vehicle.

Sameer, son of State Bank of Patiala’s branch manager Sheetal Chaudhary at Banyal, had gone to Auckland in New Zealand for higher studies about six months ago after completing his degree in hotel management from a local institute.

The body was sent by New Zealand Embassy to the village along with his passport and a few necessary documents and was cremated today morning. His cremation was largely attended. 


Setting up of petrol station objected to
Sanjay Bumbroo
Tribune News Service

Baba Bakala, May 14
Eyebrows were being raised over the way a petrol station was being set up near a local gurdwara in violation of the guidelines laid down under the Town and Country Planning Act. As per the Act no outlet could be set up within 100 m of any road 

According to sources, the district town planner had on January 16, 2004, rejected to issue NOC to the parties concerned as the site was just 80.4 m away from the junction on the 22nd road of Baba Bakala. Even various religious organisations had objected to the setting up of this outlet as it would disturb gurdwara’s tranquillity.

However, Gurdaspur district town planner M.L. Kaushal, who is also holding the additional charge of the Amritsar department, clarified that the state government through a circular No. 2016 dated December 29, 2004, had waived the condition of not setting up the petrol station within 100 m from the junction on the 22nd road. While doing this the department had followed the norms laid down by the state government, he added.

The sources claimed that the persons concerned after lying low for the past three years had misguided authorities concerned to get the NOC for setting up the retail outlet. They further said there was no change in the ground position as the site was still within 100 mts of the junction. Opening of the petrol station could be dangerous as it could lead to fatal accidents as heavy traffic flows on the road which leads to Batala, they added.


1857 First War of Independence
Debate over Punjab’s role
Lalit Mohan
Tribune News Service

Patiala, May 14
On the eve of the 150th anniversary of the First War of Independence in 1857 a debate has started over the non-participation of Punjab in it. The issue has also been raised in Parliament by SAD members of Parliament.

The historians here are, however, of the view that it is not the people, but the princely states of Punjab who sided with the British.

Some of the historians stated that princely states of Patiala, Jind and Nabha provided men, money and material to the British in the war and helped crush the uprising from Lahore to Delhi.

Kulbir Singh Dhillon, reader in the Department of History, Punjabi University, Patiala, in his book, “British Impact of Punjab States,” has stated that the revolt of 1857 provided an opportunity to the chiefs of Punjab. They wanted to serve the British to win over their gratitude and procure concrete territorial and administrative concession from them.

Maharaja Narinder Singh of Patiala was the first to send troops to Delhi, Thanesar, Karnal, Jagadhari, Amabala Cantonment, Ferozpore, Hisar, Rohtak and Saharanpur after the 1857 war broke out. His troops helped in quelling disturbances at the said places.

The total numbers of troops of the Patiala princely state employed in the aid of the British government consisted of 2,156 horsemen, 2,846 troops, 156 officers, 970 camp followers and eight guns.

The then lieutenant-governor of Punjab remarked about the help provided by the Patiala Maharaja, saying that had he hesitated to join the cause, the whole CIS-Sutlej states would have risen and our communication with Delhi would have been cut off, Kulbir Singh has stated in his book.

D.S. Dhillon, former professor of history, said Raja Bharpur Singh of Nabha acted with utmost loyalty for the British government. As per the instructions of the commissioner, he proceeded to Ludhiana with his forces of 350 cavalry, 450 infantry, two guns, 15 camel guns and 25 artillerymen and protected the city from the Indian rebel forces. Another detachment of 50 horsemen, 100 infantry and two guns assisted British deputy commissioner of Ludhiana in opposing Jalandhar mutineers at Phillaur and prevented them from crossing the Sutlej. Raja Sarup Singh of Jind also send his troops to keeps routes leading to Delhi clear.

The historians have accused the princely states of Patiala and Jind of siding with the British even during the first Anglo Sikh war in 1845-46. However, during the first Anglo Sikh war Raja Davinder Singh Nabha did not provide active support to the British. Patiala and Jind states were rewarded with additions to their territories. Even during the second Anglo Sikh war (1848-49) again Patiala and Jind states helped British in the annexation of Punjab.


1984 riot victims’ red cards
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 14
The Punjab government has given the last opportunity to 1984 riot-affected persons in the state to submit their applications for the issuance of red cards.

The government said an advertisement would be issued in various newspapers soon to seek the applications.

A decision in this regard was taken at a meeting of the cabinet subcommittee held here today under the chairmanship of Manoranjan Kalia, local government and industries minister.

Kalia said it had also been decided to release Rs 2 lakh each to 347 cases of riot victims found to be correct after due verification of 662 cases. The committee decided to give one more chance to those riot victims of 1984 who had lost their red cards. 


Sacha Sauda head’s effigy burnt
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, May 14
Members of the Ek Noor Khalsa Fauz and other Sikh organisations today burnt the effigy of the head of the Dera Sacha Sauda, Baba Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh, at Bahadurpur village, about 5 km from here. They also took out a protest march under the leadership of a leader of the Ek Noor Khalsa Fauz Jaswant Singh at the village.

Talking to The Tribune over the telephone this evening Jaswant Singh said they had burnt the effigy against his “anti-Panth” activities. He further said later followers of the Dera Sacha Sauda visited the village to create tension there. They informed the police in this regard. The followers of the dera left the village as soon as the police arrived.

The DSP, Pritpal Singh Thind, said the police was investing the matter, so nothing could be stated at this stage.


Residents threaten to launch stir against land mafia
Sanjay Bumbroo
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, May 14
Residents here threatened to launch an agitation if the district administration failed to get the land vacated from the land mafia, reserved for setting up Baba Jiwan Singh Memorial (BJSM) at Ranjit Avenue.

Kulwant Singh Sidhu, general secretary, E-Block Welfare Association of Ranjit Avenue, talking to the media here yesterday alleged that Davinder Singh Mann, president, Jiwan Singh Memorial Trust (JSMT), in connivance with some trust officials had grabbed the 1042-sq-yard plot on the intervening night of February 8 and 9 reserved for establishing the BJSM as announced by the state government in the year 1985. He further stated that even some senior leaders of the Shiromani Akali Dal had been supporting Mann in his nefarious designs.

The chairman of the Improvement Trust said the JSMT had deposited the amount in the Improvement Trust, but had later failed to initiate the case further. He said the JSMT had already sent the status report to the state government and were awaiting the decision in this regard. He said earlier the JSMT had done some construction, which was demolished. However, the president of the JSMT could not be contacted on his mobile number as it was out of use.

Sidhu said their association had brought the matter to the notice of the Improvement Trust officials, who had disposed of their complaint stating that there was no unauthorised encroachment on the site. He said they had also complained to Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal in this regard on March 3, 2007, but no action had been taken against the land mafia till now.

The general secretary said the project was announced by the then Punjab government for setting up the memorial in 1985 and the consideration amount of Rs 1.3 lakh for 1,000 yards stands deposited in the same year by government grants with the Improvement Trust, Amritsar. He said though the trust had not issued any allotment letter to the JSMT, it had asked the trust to deposit the cost of 42-sq-yard land at Rs 130 per sq-yard. He said in 1995 the then deputy commissioner of Amritsar, K.B.S. Sidhu, had written to the Improvement Trust to prepare a case to transfer the said land in the name of the Punjab government, which did not materialise because the land mafia became active and floated a trust in the same name in 2002.


Govt at your doorstep
Bridging the public-govt gap
Tribune News Service

Kharar, May 14
With the view to bridging the gap between the public and government functionaries, the SAD-BJP government intends to start a “government at your doorstep” programme, said Jasjit Singh Bunny, in charge of the Kharar assembly segment and general secretary of the youth wing of SAD, at Fatehpur Theri village, near here, today.

These special camps will go a long way in boosting development in rural areas and in redressing people's grievances, said Bunny at a function in Fatehpur Theri after distributing cheques for development works there.

The Parkash Singh Badal government was committed to the overall development of the state, he said, adding that the Amarinder government had tried to befool the people by initiating developmental works just a few months before the Assembly polls, with an eye on winning elections.

Bunny, who lost to Congress candidate Balbir Sidhu during the recent Punjab elections from Kharar, claimed that he was committed to his pre-poll promises of developing the area as a model segment in the state.

A 66 KV will be commissioned before the coming paddy season which will directly benefit 12 villages of the area. He said he would leave no stone unturned to ensure the all-round development of the area and added that today's function was just a beginning.

Bunny said he had got more than 73,000 votes in the last Assembly elections, despite the fact that he had only 21 days to campaign.

On the occasion, six village sarpanches - Ranjit Singh(Sakrulapur), Bhag Singh (Gharuan), Mahima Singh (Rora), Gursharan Singh (Bibipur), Malkiat Singh (Fatehpur Theri) and Jaspal Singh (Silkapra) - were given cheques of Rs 2 lakh each. SAD leaders Gurprem Singh, Avtar Singh Dhanoa and Parmjit Kaur Landran also spoke on the occasion.



Protesters block train

Phagwara, May 14
Irate residents of Sham Nagar Shivpuri mohalla today detained Nawanshahr-Jalandhar DMU at Phatak No. C-4 at Shivpuri on the Phagwara-Nawanshahr railway branch line in protest against the continued insanitary conditions and contaminated water supply to the locality.

The protesters blocked the DMU from 12.45 pm to 1.30 pm by squatting dharna on the railway track.

They also raised slogans against the authorities. — PTI



high court
Dhindsa’s plea dismissed
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 14
The Punjab and Haryana High Court today dismissed a petition filed by Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa and six other Akali MPs seeking to quash the Punjab government notification, dated January 2, 2004, by which it had set up Justice B.S. Nehra Commission of Inquiry to look into the alleged Punjab Intranet scam.

The petition had also sought an impartial probe by the CBI into the alleged hawala transactions involving Raninder Singh, son of former Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh.

A similar petition by the same MPs had last year been dismissed by the High Court on the ground that the petition “at this juncture is misconceived”.

Maintaining that the Punjab government could not have appointed the Nehra Commission as it related to an alleged crime of illegal hawala transactions, which is a Central subject as per the Seventh Schedule, the petitioners have also sought setting aide of the report of the Nehra Commission.

The Nehra Commission was constituted by the Amarinder government to inquire into the truthfulness or otherwise of the allegations about the alleged involvement of Raninder in hawala transactions and violation of foreign exchange law.

Saying that the findings of the Commission were without any basis and could not be justified, the petitioners had alleged that they seemed to be tailor-made to exonerate the Chief Minister and his son.

Pointing out that the report of the Commission was presented in the Vidhan Sabha on March 21, 2005, the petitioners had submitted that the action taken report (ATR) by the government was tabled only on October 12, 2005. They had also questioned the ATR.

The petition sought an investigation into the alleged transaction of $ 1 lakh via a Singapore-based firm and a Mauritius firm by Raninder to his Dutch friend, Leonard A. Freeke, for investment in a project named Punjab Intranet Company in August 2003.

Basing their allegations mainly on media reports, the Akali MPs alleged that Punjab Intranet had sent the money to Singapore-based firm SMX, which forwarded it to Mauritius company Esquare. The Mauritius firm had then sent $ 55,000 to the Dutch company, the petition alleged. The petitioners have also stated that the Commission formed its opinion without examining Freeke. 


Civic chief’s poll postponed
Our Correspondent

Hoshiarpur, May 14
Pandemonium prevailed in the municipal council’s election meeting organised here today, following SDM-cum-meeting convener Karnail Singh’s announcement to postpone the council president’s election.

Congress municipal councillors, who have a strength of 20 in the House of 33, including two ex-officio members, provoked by SDM’s decision, started raising slogans against the Punjab government, the SDM, minister for medical health and research Tikshan Sud, chief parliamentary secretary Mohinder Kaur Josh and the district administration.

Both, Sud and Josh, ex-officio members of the council, were neither allowed to vote nor come out from the venue by agitating councillors.Both of them were forced to take refuge in the executive officer’s office. However, Karnail Singh with the help of his security guards managed to leave the venue.

Rajya Sabha member and DCC chief Dharampal Sabharwal, former MLA Gurwinder Singh Atwal and PPCC vice-president Vijay Khullar, both Congress poll observers, PPCC general secretary Jasvir Singh Pal, along with Congress workers traded charges of atrocities against congressmen at the behest of ruling SAD-BJP government.

Later, they were joined the agitating councillors. They condemned the SDM’s attitude and alleged that he acted as Sud’s henchman, who had been trying to install president of his choice by a hook or crook. On seeing his defeat, he got the meeting postponed, they alleged.

Meanwhile, Sud and Josh strongly condemned the behaviour of Congress municipal councillors. Former council president Ajay Mohan Babbi had resigned from his post on April 22 as a large number of councillors had revolted against him. His resignation was accepted and the election date was fixed for today.

Names of Congress official nominee Surinder Singh Chhinda and BJP’s Ajit Singh Lucky and Kharaiti Lal Katna was proposed by the councillors of their respective parties. The name of Congress councillor Brij Mohan Batra was proposed by Independent councillor Mohinder Pal. Instead of starting the election process, the SDM allowed a few councillors of the ruling party to select an unanimous candidate. Despite repeated requests of the Congress councillors for starting the election, the returning officer did not care which provoked them.


Panel on fake encounters meets
Sarbjit Dhaliwal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 14
A high-level committee set up by the Punjab government to probe fake encounters has summoned the relevant records from all districts concerned.

The meeting of the eight-member committee headed by ADGP J.P. Birdi was held here today. It is not known whether all relevant records are available with the police authorities or not.

Sources said the committee had sought copies of the FIRs registered with regard to police encounters and also details of the award money given to officials for encounters. The sources said the committee would confine its probe at this stage to controversial cases such as those of Gurnam Singh Bundala, Sukhjinder Singh Sukhi, etc.

Bundala, who was shown as killed in a police encounter, was later found alive. The question had been raised who was killed in place of Bundala. Later, other cases may also be taken up for investigation.

After examining the records, the officials associated with controversial cases of encounters will be called for collecting detailed information, it is learnt. After that those who have submitted complaints regarding fake encounters will also be called for recording their statements.

The issue of fake encounters has been hanging fire for several years in the state. There were certain persons who were shown killed in encounters but were found alive later. Already, certain cases had been reported by the media. Besides, there are cases of certain police “cats” who were rehabilitated under assumed names by the police. 


DC, SSP hear complaints

Fatehgarh Sahib, May 14
To redress the grievances of the people, deputy commissioner Alaknanda Dayal and SSP Nilabh Kishore held a district-level “sangat darshan” programme at Bachat Bhawan here today.

The DC and the SSP along with other district officials heard the grievances of the people and redressed many of them on the spot.

Most of the problems related to the non-availability of drinking water, poor power supply, no ration on cards, no doctors in dispensaries, shortage of teachers in schools, non-disposal of sewer water, repair of roads etc.

The DC and the SSP said as per the directions of the Chief Minister, the administration had been organising such programmes. They said all officers had been directed to work in a transparent manner. — OC



Flesh trade racket busted
Tribune News Service

Mukerian, May 14
A flesh trade racket was unearthed today after the police conducted raids on various hotels and restaurants here. The police nabbed nine women and four men from three hotels in the locality.

Acting on a tip-off, DSP Naresh Dogra conducted raids on Shehnai, Alishan, Wonder Land and certain other hotels. The police has also registered cases against owners of Shehnai and Wonder Land hotels.

According to the police, pimp of the racket, Aruna alias KD, has been arrested along with his four accomplices - Onkar Singh of Uchi Basti, Malkiat Singh of Sahora, Shamsher Singh of Dehpur and Baljit Singh of Inderbagh, Gurdaspur.

The police said the women arrested belonged to Gurdaspur, Jalandhar, Kapurthala, Hazipur and Mukerian. A case under the Prevention of Immoral Trafficking Act has been registered against them. 


IIT for Amritsar sought
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, May 14
The Amritsar Vikas Manch (AVM) today has sought the setting up of an Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) in Amritsar.

Welcoming the statement of union labour and employment minister Oscar Fernandes that the Centre would set up about 500 IITs across the country in the next five years, Dr Charanjit Singh Gumtala, former president of the AVM, said the Centre had already set up many IITs in other states, but none had been established in Punjab.

Dr Gumtala, in a joint missive to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal, Oscar Fernandes and Lok Sabha member Navjot Singh Sidhu, has urged them to immediately announce an IIT for the holy city.

He said Amritsar had been discriminated against by the Centre in the allotment of the projects as the World Institute of Biotechnology project announced by the Prime Minister on September 1, 2004, in Amritsar had been shifted to Mohali. Even no land had been acquired to set up a special economic zone in the city to boost the sagging industry in this border district, he added. 


500 ad hoc computer teachers seek regular grade
Tribune News Service

Gurdaspur, May 14
At least 500 computers teachers raised anti-government slogans, staged a dharna and even boycotted a seminar arranged by the director general of secondary education at DIET here today.

They were demanding summer vacation like the one given to regular teachers besides regular grade. Computer teachers, a majority of whom are women, have been posted in rural areas like the Dhar and the Narot Jamel Singh blocks.

Even though no student turns up during the vacation yet they had been called to do duties in their respective schools, they rued.

They added that about 8,000 computer teachers were working on contractual basis in government schools of the state, but were not getting allowances and perks being extended to regular teachers.


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