P U N J A B    S T O R I E S


Protest march: SGPC wants to shorten route
Varinder Walia
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, May 30
Even as the SGPC has decided to cut short the route of the protest march, which was proposed to be taken from Gurdwara Fatehgarh Sahib to Chandigarh tomorrow, the Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee (DSGMC) headed by Parmjit Singh Sarna, a section of Sant Samaj and a few Panthic factions have announced that they would stick to the original route.

The rival Akali factions, including a few Panthic organisations, have announced that “come what may they would reach Chandigarh” and won’t stop at Fatehgarh Sahib as decided by the SGPC. Sarna said they would proceed towards Chandigarh despite heavy police deployment. Khalsa spokesman Kanwarpal Singh said the Damdami Taksal and SAD (A) would also reach Chandigarh at all costs.

The protest march is being taken out on the directions of the Sikh clergy, against the blasphemous acts of dera chief. It is learnt that Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal and the SAD’s working president had conveyed to the SGPC chief that the proposed march should conclude at Gurdwara Jyoti Swarup in Fatehgarh Sahib lest it should be “hijacked” by hardliners. The SGPC secretary asked the Sikhs not to display any weapon during the protest march against the dera. As per the changed programme, the SGPC would take delegation, led by Shiromani Committee’s chief to meet the Governors of Punjab and Haryana.

However, while talking to The Tribune, the DSGMC chief said the Damdami Taksal, Sant Samaj and various Panthic factions were determined to take out the protest march up to Chandigarh as already announced. The sources pointed out that Jathedar of Akal Takht Giani Joginder Singh Vedanti initially opposed shortening of the route.

Meanwhile, American Gurdwara Prabandhak Committee President Yadvinder Singh and its coordinator Pritpal Singh appreciated the stand taken by the Sikh clergy against the dera.

Damdami Taksal spokesman Bhai Mohkam Singh said the Akal Takht Jathedar should stick to the original programme of taking out the protest march from Gurdwara Fatehgarh Sahib to Chandigarh.


2,000 cops deployed

Patiala/Fatehgarh, May 30
The administration is making hectic parleys to limit the gathering in the procession to prevent any untoward incident.

Over 2,000 policemen, drawn from various districts of the state, and 10 duty magistrates have been deputed in Fatehgarh Sahib to prevent any untoward incident during the procession.

Patiala zone IG M.K. Tiwari said the police had made adequate arrangements to maintain peace. There were no directions from the government to prevent anyone from proceeding towards Fatehgarh tomorrow for participating in the proposed march. Security had been provided to all deras of the Sacha Suada sect in the area, he said. The Sikh high priests would gather at Dewan Todar Mal Hall of Fatehgarh Sahib gurdwara at about 9 am tomorrow.

Officials of the SGPC here were making arrangements to receive a huge gathering. They were expecting a gathering of over 1 lakh people in the procession. — TNS


SAD (A) seeks Mann’s release
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, May 30
Members of the Shiromani Akali Dal (Amritsar) today held a meeting at Gurdwara Mehal Mubarak here and submitted a memorandum to the local SDM demanding the release of president of the SAD (A) Simranjit Singh Mann, along with 20 others, and the arrest of the head of Dera Sacha Sauda for hurting the religious sentiments of the Sikhs. They also demanded the closure of all deras of the Sacha Sauda sect and strict legal proceedings against the killers of Kanwaljit Singh who had died on May 17 in the firing at Sunam.

The meeting was addressed, among others, by two general secretaries of the SAD (A) Dhayan Singh Mand and Ram Singh, president of the kisan wing of the party Satnam Singh Behru, SGPC member Nirmal Singh Gharachon, district president of the party Jeet Singh Alloarkh and district president of the Muslim wing of the party Wazir Khan. All speakers asked the state government to initiate harsh steps, including arrest of the dera head and closure of all deras, against the Dera Sacha Sauda in the larger interests of the state.


No politician in religious team

Chandigarh, May 30
No politician will be part of the Sikh religious delegation that will hand over memorandums regarding the Dera Sacha Sauda issue to the Punjab and Haryana Governors here tomorrow. “It is a religious issue and is being dealt with by the Sikh religious personalities”, said a senior Akali leader. — TNS


Villagers seek action against dera followers
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, May 30
A large number of residents of Mangwal village, led by sarpanch Bachittar Singh, yesterday met the deputy commissioner and submitted a memorandum to him. They requested him to take action against dera followers who on May 28 had filed a “false” application with the police on the pretext that a few villagers had fired and burst crackers at their houses.

The sarpanch said the deputy commissioner had assured them to enquire into the matter and initiate legal proceedings in this regard. 


Information Technology
Rs 70-cr Central grant to PSEB lapses
Lalit Mohan
Tribune News Service

Patiala, May 30
The PSEB has missed an opportunity to equip the electricity department with the latest information technology.

Under the accelerated power development programme of the Centre, the board got Rs 70 crore from the union government to acquire the latest information technology. It included 25 per cent grant amounting to Rs 17.5 crore.

However, owing to the non-utilisation of the money, the grant has lapsed.

Earlier, to utilise the grant, a comprehensive IT plan was chalked out by the board. That included proposals for energy unit counting, metering, billing, cash collection and account maintenance through an online system. The consultancy for the project was given to Puncom that further hired James Martin Company for the project.

The tendering process for the project was started in March, 2006. The conditions of the tenders were changed many times that caused an inordinate delay. Later, the Oracle Corporation submitted a complaint to former Chief Minister Amarinder Singh that the conditions of the tender were doctored to favour a certain company.

An inquiry was ordered into the complaint and the tender was cancelled.

After that no new plan in that connection was prepared. Employees recruited by the PSEB to implement the project have become a liability on the organisation.

The power boards like Karnatka and Andhra Pradesh have upgraded their entire system using the grant provided by the Centre. At these boards customers can pay their bills and file complaints online.

Even the Haryana Power Utilities has documented its data under the programme.


Land grab: Officials’ connivance found
Chitleen K.Sethi
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 30
Involvement of officials of the Amritsar tehsil, the Amritsar Municipal Corporation and the Amritsar Improvement Trust has been found in the “usurpation” of government land by a private company. The company- RP Empires, is owned and run by Rakesh Sharma, brother of a senior Punjab Police officer. RP Empires bought two acres on the Ajnala road for a five- star hotel. According to the police, the Amritsar Improvement Trust owned the land sale of which was executed by forging revenue records.

Role of a principal secretary level officer of the Punjab government and a former chairman of the trust in the illegal sale is also likely to come under scrutiny in the inquiry being conducted by the Amritsar police.

Sharma is the only one arrested in the case though names of 19 others and three government offices figure in the FIR booked by the Amritsar police. Report of the inquiry officer in the case states revenue officials “forged” records to facilitate the sale. The Amritsar Municipal Corporation officials, who changed the land use in favour of RP Empires and sanctioned plans have also been held responsible in the report. The report says 52 kanals belonged to the Brahm Buta Akhara, a part of which was leased to certain persons. The akhara land later was acquired by the Amritsar Improvement Trust for a residential scheme. Some of the pattedars (lessees) however moved court and secured stay against their eviction by the trust.

They then “sold” their portion of the land to RP Empires projecting themselves as the owners using bogus documents prepared in connivance with revenue officials.

Site plan for the hotel was approved by the Amritsar Municipal Corporation which also allowed RP Empires change of land use from residential to commercial. The company paid Rs 1.90 crore conversion charges to the municipal body for it.

A principal secretary of the Punjab government also reportedly waived a public hearing and calling of objections following the change in land use in this case.

R.P. Empires allegedly demolished the structures on the land which they now “owned” to begin construction. The police report states while these demolitions were on the Improvement Trust remained a mute spectator and so connivance of the trust officials cannot be ruled out.

In a representation to the Punjab Chief Minister for a transfer of investigations, Sharma has claimed ownership of the land and stated as a prudent buyer he obtained non-encumbrance certificates from the revenue authorities before purchasing the land. He pointed out the sellers claimed they had all rights to sell the land which he cross- checked with the revenue authorities before getting the sale deeds executed. He has further pointed out the original lease deed between the akhara and the lessees conferred the rights of alienation on the lessees, which they transferred to him by way of sale deeds.

Meanwhile the Punjab and Haryana High Court has stayed the arrest of Rakesh Sharma in the case.


VB looking for ex-CM’s confidant
Ajay Banerjee
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 30
The Punjab vigilance bureau, acting at the behest of the central vigilance commission (CVC), has been trailing Jeet Mohinder Singh Sidhu, MLA from Talwandi Sabo. However, his case is not related to the Ludhiana City Centre case or any other cases being investigated by the bureau.

Sidhu, one of the supporters of Amarinder Singh, has been served a notice relating to a complaint against him.

Sources in the bureau confirmed today that a notice had been sent to Sidhu, but he was not at home to receive it. The commission has forwarded the complaint against Sidhu to the bureau to “take action as per law and report”, a top source confirmed.

The case has not been initiated by the bureau here rather the investigations are being carried out on the basis of a CVC request, said a bureau official.

He is the fourth person from Amarinder Singh’s “inner circle” to face the bureau action since the SAD-BJP combine was voted to power three months ago. The bureau has named former finance minister Surinder Singla and former media adviser to Amarinder Singh BIS Chahal in its investigations in the Ludhiana City Centre scam. However, no cases have been registered against them so far.

Interestingly, the CVC has not disclosed the name of the complainant, but has asked the bureau to probe what was termed as “serious charges of corruption” by a functionary here.

The complainant has also named Sidhu’s father, Bhupinder Singh Sidhu, former chairman of the Punjab Public Service Commission in the complaint. The details of the complaint and its basis and allegations levelled in it have been kept a secret with only two officials having seen the original CVC reference.

Jeet Mohinder Singh Sidhu had won as an independent candidate in 2002. He had developed links with Raninder Singh, the son of Amarinder Singh, in the past three years.

Explaining why the name of the complainant has not been disclosed, a bureau official said, the CVC has started this practice a few years ago. However, it does not mean that the complaint is anonymous or pseudonymous, he added.

The CVC started holding back the identity of the complainant after an engineer, who blew the lid off the scam in the construction of national highways in Bihar, was murdered.


Rift between Dhindsa, Kanjhla comes to fore
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, May 30
Sharp differences between secretary general of Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa and in charge of the SAD for the Sherpur Assembly constituency Gobind Singh Kanjhla came to the surface when Kanjhla demanded the expulsion of Dhindsa from the party at a meeting at Gurdwara Akal Parkash,Sherpur, today.

Talking to The Tribune over the phone this evening, Kanjhla said he had demanded the expulsion of Dhindsa from the party for his “anti-party” activities, as he (Dhindsa) and his supporters had openly supported the Congress candidate from Sherpur to defeat him in the last Assembly elections. He said Dhindsa’s attitude had always remained pro-Congress.

Kanjhla also said there was no post of the secretary general in the SAD’s constitution, but Dhindsa on his own had created and captured this post. He said the gathering had also instructed him to be ready to contest the next Lok Sabha election from Sangrur to defeat pro-Congress persons in the SAD.

The Tribune contacted Dhindsa on his mobile phone to seek his reaction, Dhindsa refuted all allegations saying Kanjhla had been levelling such allegations in frustration and that he and his supporters had not worked against Kanjhla in the elections.


Digging of graveyard
Manwal village still tense
Bipin Bhardwaj
Tribune News Service

Pathankot, May 30
Manwal village continues to remain tense over the digging of a graveyard by a few influential persons of the Rajput community for the second day today.

Muslim Gujjar families of the village alleged that a few members of the Rajput community, backed by the local MLA, had illegally dug the graveyard. The administration, however, claimed that Muslim families had been encroaching upon the common land by using it as a graveyard.

However, the families alleged that the influential villagers were “grabbing the land” as its prices had considerably increased in the past.

Panchayat member Allahadeen, who is also a vice-chairman of the district minority cell, alleged that a few persons along with a block development project officer under the police protection had dug up the 25-year-old graveyard. There are 25 Muslim families in the village and the land was allocated to them for burial purposes about two decades ago, he added.

BDPO Ram Lubhaya said the panchayat had allocated 4 kanals to the Muslims for using it as a graveyard. Despite this, the community had been encroaching upon the land, adjacent to the graveyard, which otherwise was being used as a playground by children, he added.

SDM S.M. Sharma, however, said notices were served on Muslim families against encroaching upon the land. SP Bhupinderjit Singh Virk claimed that a police team was sent to the spot after receiving complaints from the local administration. 


Man, son-in-law torture case
Rights panel seeks report from home dept
Vishal Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 30
Taking notice of a Tribune news item, ‘Man, son-in-law tortured in illegal detention’, which appeared on May 28, the Punjab State Human Rights Commission has sought a report on the matter from the department of home, Punjab, and the SSP, Batala.

The news item had highlighted the case of alleged police torture of a man and his son-in-law belonging to the Scheduled Caste. The duo was allegedly detained in the police custody illegally and third-degree methods were used on them.

According to the news item, the incident had occurred last week when Darshan Singh, sarpanch of Aulakh Berian village, near Kahnuwan, lodged a DDR with the Udhanwal police post against Manjit Singh of his own village.

The sarpanch had alleged that Manjit Singh did not turn up for work even after taking Rs 10,000 from him. At this, the police picked up Manjit Singh from his in-laws’ house and allegedly gave him a sound thrashing. His father-in-law Sulakhan Singh also bore the brunt of alleged police brutality.

The victims later gave a representation to R.N. Dhoke, SSP, Batala, seeking action against the Udhanwal police post in-charge Kulwant Singh and his subordinates. They also sought action against sarpanch Darshan Singh.

The SSP had remarked that an inquiry had been marked in the case and action would be taken against those found guilty.

A copy of the commission’s order had been sent to the ADGP (IVC-cum-human rights) and the SSP, Batala, for information and compliance. The next hearing of the case is on June 29.


PUDA to set up urban estates in Gurdaspur, Bathinda
Our Correspondent

Hoshiarpur, May 30
As many as 3,075 cases relating to unauthorised colonies have been detected by PUDA, of which 2,500 cases have either been moved in the courts or informed to the police.

This was disclosed by chief administrator of PUDA Som Parkash while talking to this correspondent here today.

He cautioned the people not to purchase land from unauthorised developers, adding that PUDA would set up two urban estates at Gurdaspur and Bhatinda cities on 125 acres each. The land for these projects was being acquired. No land would be acquired without the consent of the farmer concerned, he added.

Som Parkash said PUDA was providing existing market rates for acquisition of land for the projects.

He was here to participate in a meeting of PUDA officials convened in connection with the plan for setting up a multi-purpose complex at the old offices of deputy commissioner and SSP at the district courts complex.

The authority had constructed a mini-secretariat to house all government offices under one roof on the Hoshiarpur-Chandigarh road here about five years ago. Though all state government offices located in the district courts complex have been shifted to the mini-secretariat, the complex couldn’t be handed over to PUDA for non-shifting of the courts.

Som Parkash said leaving the area of existing structure of the district courts complex, PUDA would prepare a master plan for the multi-purpose commercial project on the remaining land.

The adjoining areas of the Hoshiarpur Central Cooperative Bank, old offices of civil surgeon, assistant registrar (cooperative societies) and forest range would be acquired for the planned complex.

Later, he, along with officials of PUDA, inspected the site at the district courts complex and adjoining areas.


PUDA staff question transfer of assets
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 30
Raising questions over the transfer of the assets of PUDA and administrative control of its employees to the greater Mohali area development authority (GMADA) and other proposed area development authorities in Ludhiana, Patiala, Bathinda, Amritsar and Jalandhar, the diploma engineers’ association, PUDA, here today said this had created a scare among the staff concerned.

The association, which held a meeting here today, said PUDA should remain the custodian of all its property and assets and the administrative control of its employees at the zonal level should also remain with it.

Amar Singh Randhawa, president, and Narinderjit Singh, general secretary, of the association, said the entire staff of the zonal office of PUDA at Mohali had been sent on deputation to GMADA. A similar pattern was to be followed in Ludhiana, Jalandhar, Amritsar, Bathinda and Patiala, they added. They said such steps on the part of the government had created confusion among employees and their future had become uncertain.


Farmers’ Suicides
Bid to conceal cases: Jaijee
Sarbjit Dhaliwal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 30
The movement against state repression (MASR) has urged the Punjab farmers’ commission to specify the date from which the state government began conducting a census with regard to cases of suicide by farmers.

MASR’s convener, Inderjit Singh Jaijee, was the first person to highlight the problem of suicides by farmers in the state about 10 years ago. In fact, Jaijee has documented hundreds of cases of suicide in the Sangrur region since 1992.

He has urged the commission to give details about the districts in which a census of such cases is being conducted and also the methodology adopted in this connection. He also wants to know whether village panchayats are being involved in the process.

Jaijee apprehends that efforts are being made to conceal the actual number of suicide cases in the state. In a separate letter to the deputy commissioner of Sangrur, Jaijee has pointed out that the district police has sent a report to the state headquarters stating that there is no case of farmer’s suicide in the rural areas of that district. However, another branch of the police, the CID, has sent a separate report indicating almost the same number of cases of suicide as was reported by MASR, says Jaijee. Pressure has been put on the CID to downplay the number of cases, he adds.

Jaijee has told M.S.Swaminathan, head of the centre for rural and sustainable development, that economic distress and rural suicides have not been acknowledged the way these should be.

“Till date, no district, or even a subdivision, has been surveyed comprehensively to find the number of suicide cases. Suicides have started showing an increase in the recent past”, adds Jaijee in the letter. He has urged Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal to disburse financial relief to next of kin of farmers who had committed suicide.


Beant Singh aide refuses extension in service

Chandigarh, May 30
Ujjagar Singh, a right- hand man of a former Chief Minister of Punjab Beant Singh, has refused to accept extension in service as public relations officer of the state government. Former editor of the Punjab government’s monthly Punjabi magazine-Jagriti, Ujjagar Singh, at present is posted district public relations officer at Patiala. He will retire tomorrow after putting in 33 years of service in the Public Relations Department.

Ujjagar was offered extension in service by the department. However, he has decided not to accept. When Beant Singh took over as Chief Minister of the state in 1992, Ujjagar Singh remained with him. Beant Singh offered him party ticket twice but he refused to contest the poll. — TNS


‘Evolve hassle-free pollution clearance system’
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 30
Punjab environment minister Bikram Singh Majithia today asked the state pollution control board to evolve a hassle-free, transparent and environment-friendly pollution clearance system to expedite industrial growth in the state.

The minister listened to a delegation of the Dera Bassi industries association at a meeting held at Punjab Bhavan here. He said there was increasing awareness among people regarding the enforcement of environmental laws and industry would have to change according to the requirements of the time. Meanwhile, it was imperative for the board to become an advisory agency rather than a purely regulatory one.

He said the aim was to encourage not discourage investment in the state while protecting the environment.


Environmental Pollution
Act now or repent, says DC
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, May 30
The level of pollution is peaking and we must take appropriate steps now so that our coming generations would not have to suffer. This was stated by deputy commissioner Alaknanda Dayal while addressing a seminar on growing pollution and its effect today.

The seminar was organised by the Punjab Pollution Control Board in collaboration with the local Good Earth Club and the Punjab Green Saviors at Mandi Gobindgarh.

She said it was the need of the hour for every section of the society to take the responsibility and wage a war against the menace of growing pollution.

Dayal said the district administration would extend all possible help in this campaign and need was to create awareness among the people.

She also highlighted how the pollution was affecting our lives. She said for economic development industrialisation was necessary, but at the same time pollution factor should be kept in mind. The DC said for the cleanliness of sewerage drains, Rs 10 lakh were being spent in Mandi Gobindgarh town.

B.K. Dua, chairman of the Punjab Pollution Control Board, highlighted the policy of the government to control pollution. He said industrialists should act at their own to control the growing air and water pollution in this industrial town, before the government took stern action. He said the board was ready to help them in controlling pollution.

Dr Gurmohan Singh Walia, principal, MG College, said the college had initiated various steps, including tree plantation and cleanliness drive, to control pollution.

Gurkirpal Singh Ashk, journalist, Amir Chand Dhawan, Chanan Singh Matharu and Ran Singh Kalsi, all industrialists, also addressed the gathering and assured to cooperate with the district administration in controlling pollution. 


Dharna for hike in minimum wages
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, May 30
Labourers led by Amarjit Singh Aasal, state secretary,All-India Trade Union Congress (AITUC) and other senior leaders today organised a dharna in front of the labour office here.

They urged the Chief Minister to increase minimum wages for the unskilled, less skilled, skilled and highly skilled labour to Rs 5000,Rs 6500,Rs 7500 and Rs10,000 per month respectively.

Aasal, in a memorandum tothe CM, appealed to review the minimum wages being given to labour in the state which were lower compared to those in neighbouring states of Haryana, Chandigarh and Delhi.

He said the government should review the wages after every two years as done by other states. However, in Punjab it was not reviewed for past six and half years. 


Miscreants thrash medical officer
Our Correspondent

Abohar, May 30
Two motorcycle-borne miscreants intercepted the car of Dr K. D. Vashisht, a medical officer, on the Canal Colony road here today when he was proceeding to the Nehru Memorial Civil Hospital for morning duty and thrashed him. They reportedly snatched the paper from a person who tried to note down the registration number of the two-wheeler. Dr Vashisht received some injuries and was hospitalised.

The Indian Medical Association held an urgent meeting to express resentment over the broad-daylight incident. Dr G. S. Kalra and Dr Rajinder Singh Sevta, president and secretary, respectively, of the association demanded immediate action against the culprits. 


No-confidence motion against MC chief
Our Correspondent

Pathankot, May 30
Seven councillors of the local municipal council, including five from the Congress, have decided to bring a no-confidence motion against municipal chief Sharvan Kumar for his alleged corrupt activities.

The councillors Vibhutti Sharma, Darshana Devi, Seema Devi, Anil Vij, Rani Choudhry (all from the Congress) and two Independent Romesh Tolla and Romesh Kumar, submitted today a memorandum to the council’s executive officer in this regard. In it they alleged that during Kumar’s four-year tenure all development activities came to a halt and corruption became rampant.

Tolla said Kumar should prove his majority in the house within 14 days. He also asked the civic chief to convene a meeting and explain his position on the development works carried out by the council.


Cheema for national sports policy
Tribune News Service

Gurdaspur, May 30
With a large number of youth, living in border districts of Gurdaspur, Amritsar and Ferozepore, taking to drugs recruitment to the Central police forces and defence forces has drastically been hit in past decade.

Taking the serious view of this menace, Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee (Intellectual Cell) chairman Amardeep Singh Cheema said youth were getting attracted towards drugs in the absence of enough sporting activities and poor facilities in this part of the state.

He recently took up this issue with Union minister of youth welfare and sports Mani Shankar Aiyer and apprised him of the fact that despite all this numerous budding players were excellently performing at the state and the national level.

He also urged him to introduce a national sports policy besides strengthening the sports departments, organisations, associations, NSS, Nehru Yuva Kendras, sports clubs, self-help groups of the state.

The minister assured Cheema to adopt sportsperson -friendly policies soon. Aiyer also said a Central team would tour the bordering areas of the state to monitor the problem of drug abuse.


Ramsara sub-canal breached
Our Correspondent

Abohar, May 30
About 60-foot wide breach in the Ramsara sub canal near here has inundated 300 acre of agricultural land.

Affected farmers said the irrigation department was immediately informed about the breach. Efforts to plug the breach that started at 5 am were still continuing. Sandbags were rushed to the site.

The water supply from the head work was suspended. The breach has damaged 350 ft of pucca lining in the sub canal, sources said.


Improve water supply to villages, officials told
Tribune News Service

Ropar, May 30
Deputy commissioner Alok Shekhar has directed the executive engineer, rural water supply, to improve the supply of drinking water in the Kandi area of the district and install a booster as per the requirement to increase the pressure in villages that are facing water scarcity.

He issued these directions here today after receiving complaints of shortage of water in the villages during “sangat darshan programme”. He also asked the executive engineer to pay special attention on this problem to ensure the supply of portable water during this summer season.

The DC received about 56 new complaints and directed the departments concerned to settle them in a fixed time. As many as 158 old complaints were discussed, out of which 88 were settled.

Shekhar also asked ADC (G) B Purushartha to take up all complaints received in previous such programmes regarding local Municipal Council and fix responsibility of officials for settling the complaints in the desired period.

He also warned the public against fake complainants and said strict action would be taken against those who tried to mislead the administration.


Banker’s murder
CBI court to hear case on June 2
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, May 30
The case pertaining to the nine-year old sensational broad daylight murder of Oriental Bank of Commerce manager Naresh Mahajan will be heard on June 2 in the CBI court at Patiala.

While accepting the fresh petition filed by victim’s wife, Suman Bala and his nephew Puneet Mahajan, Special Judicial Magistrate, CBI Court, Harinder Sidhu had in its earlier order dated April 25 stated that the CBI had casually investigated the case and there was scope for further investigation with special emphasis on points raised by the petitioners.

A fresh petition was filed in the CBI court in which the victim, who was working in the Putligarh branch of the bank, was found murdered on October 23, 1998. The petitioners had alleged flaws in CBI investigations as it neither tried to establish the place of occurrence nor recovered the missing articles from the deceased’s car. The petitioners had further alleged that no effort was made to conduct narco-analysis tests on the four accused who were declared medically unfit.

Eyebrows were also raised over the way 10 investigating officers from the state police and four CBI officers were transferred on one pretext or the other. Even, the victim’s father, Banarsi Das, died waiting for the justice.

The petitioners had alleged that the CBI did not search the textile mill of one of the accused as a few fibers were found on the victim’s body. These were handed over to the then SP (city) by Puneet Mahajan. Later on, the fibers were allegedly destroyed to protect the culprits. 


High Court
Judges not entitled to use state emblem on vehicles: Centre
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 30
Emphasising that it was the policy of the Centre not to expand the list of dignitaries entitled to use state emblem on their vehicles, Arvind Mukherjee, under secretary, Ministry of Home Affairs, in an affidavit on behalf of the Centre, said the use of emblem had been allowed on select vehicles only.

The affidavit highlighted that the emblem could be displayed on the vehicles used by the President of India, Vice-President, Governors or Lieut-Governors and in some cases the cars of Rashtrapati Bhavan or Raj Bhavan when used by visiting heads of foreign states, including Vice-Presidents or dignitaries of equivalent status.

The Centre’s affidavit also stated that cabinet ministers of the Union or state governments, ministers of state in the Union or state governments were also not allowed to use the state emblem on their vehicles. In fact, the Prime Minister and other ministers could display on their vehicles only triangular metal plaques showing Ashoka Chakra i.e. Dharma Chakra that was part of the state emblem.

The point driven home through affidavit was that the use of emblem was selective and could not be equated with the use of national flag on the cars of judges of the high court. Even the judges of the Supreme Court were not entitled to use the emblem on their vehicles.

Dera case

The high court on Wednesday adjourned hearing on the petition, titled ‘Abdul Rehman Vs state of Punjab, Haryana and others’, seeking directions to Sant Gurmit Ram Rahim Singh, Dera Sacha Sauda chief, to remove word Rahim from his name and modify his philosophy.

Petitioner’s counsel Harvinder Kaur submitted before the court that dera chief’s philosophy was creating confusion and disturbance in the minds of Muslims over their identity. Counsel averred that devotees of the dera should be prohibited from going to mosques in the states of Punjab and Haryana.

The petitioner, a Muslim and secretary of the Society Against Corruption, had filed many complaints against the dera chief before various authorities in Haryana over the use of word Rahim by the dera chief. The next hearing is on June 11.

Notice to Punjab

The high court on Wednesday issued notice to the Punjab government over a petition seeking that investigation into an alleged scam worth Rs 8 crore be handed over to the CBI as the committee of IPS officers that unearthed the scam had been dissolved.

It was submitted in the petition that the investigation had been handed over to Kanwarjit Singh Sandhu, SSP, Vigilance Bureau, Ludhiana, only due to political interference of SGPC president Avtar Singh Makkar, who was the relative of the main accused, Rajinder Singh.


2 held for driver’s murder
Tribune News service

Bathinda, May 30
The district police claims to have solved the murder of Ludhiana-based driver Tarsem Lal, who was done to death by unidentified accused, in this town yesterday.

SSP Nau Nihal Singh said Tarsem Lal murderers were arrested by a police team led by DSP (D) Surinder Pal Singh. They had been identified as Rajesh Kumar and Amit of this town.

Tarsem Lal’s body was found from an uninhabited area of this town yesterday.

The accused had taken Rs 1.68 lakh from the deceased. They had also taken away the Tarsem Lal’s car after murdering him.

The SSP said Rs 1, 48 lakh was recovered from the accused while Rajesh had deposited Rs 20,000 in the bank.

The accused took Tarsem’s car to Kabarwala village near Abohar town of Ferozepore and burnt it to destroy all evidence. Both accused and Tarsem were in photography business.

As per plan the accused first called Tarsem to their on premises on the pretext of purchasing photographic materials. The accused sat in Tarsem’s car and took him to an uninhabited area.

On reaching there Amit overpowered Tarsem Lal and Rajesh stabbed him. After throwing Tarsem’s body, the accused went to Gidderbaha town and purchased new clothes.

They changed blood-stained clothes and headed towards Kabarwala village on Tarsem’s car.


Bathinda dist: 3 murders in 3 days
Minor gang-raped, murdered
Tribune News Service

Rampura, May 30
Close on the heels of two murders which took place on May 28 and 29, another murder took place at a brick-kiln located in this area late last night.

Miscreants kidnapped a minor (five years) from her place at a brick-kiln. They raped her before murdering the child.

This is the third murder in the district in the past two days. A student of local Giani Zail Singh College of Engineering and Technology, Amandeep Singh, and a driver belonging to Ludhiana city were murdered in the earlier incidents.

In both the crimes, the accused used sharp-edged weapons.

Sarvesh Kumar, who works as an accountant at the brick-kiln, situated on the Rampura-Pitho road, was sleeping with his family when the kidnappers took away the minor, who was sleeping with her mother.

When her mother came to know that her daughter was not around, she, along with her husband, started looking for her daughter.

Meanwhile, certain workers found her body lying in a watercourse in the fields.

The bereaved family belongs to Uttar Pardesh.

A case under Sections 376 and 302 of IPC has been registered.


Sex racket: Another girl held
Our Correspondent

Abohar, May 30
The city police today made another breakthrough in the inter-state sex racket with the arrest of a Sirsa-based girl. The court remanded her in police custody till June 1. The three other girls along with Rohit Munjal, who were arrested on Monday, were remanded in judicial custody.

Rohit had to be hospitalised due to health problem, sources said. The police was reportedly examining the mobile phones used by Palak, who had shifted from Sriganganagar to Subhash Nagar.


CBSE Class X
Ropar school gets good results
Tribune News Service

Ropar/Mohali, May 30
Students from Shivalik Public School, Ropar, have shown excellence in the CBSE Class X examination. Ronak topped the school with 95.6 per cent marks, Amritbir Singh stood at second position with 95 per cent and Jaskaran Kaur and Amandeep Kaur shared the third position both scoring 93 per cent marks. Bhupinder Singh got 92.4 per cent and Rajkiran scored 92 per cent marks.

The number of students who scored above 90 per cent include Aastha, Amandeep Singh, Manpreet Kaur, Manan Sharma, Mohit Sharma, Navreet Saini, Ravneet Kaur.

APJ School had 100 per cent result in Kharar. As many as 80 per cent students got the first division. Jeevanjot Kaur got the first position by scoring 90 per cent marks. Amanjot Kaur stood second with 88 per cent marks. Harmanjot Kaur third with 86 per cent marks.

Principal Jasbir Chander gave all credit to school staff and students for their sincere efforts. 


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