L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S

Arrest of serial killer
Morning walkers heave a sigh of relief 
Jupinderjit Singh/ Vijay Bansal
Tribune News Service

Jagraon, June 2
Residents of this town, especially morning walkers, have heaved a sigh of relief with the arrest of an alleged killer, who had murdered at least four persons and injured two others.

His attacks had forced the morning walkers as well as evening walkers to stay indoor.

Ashwani Attraya, Pardeep Kumar and Vinod Singhal disclosed that for the past eight months, during which all these murders were committed, they had become scared and had discontinued their morning walk.

The serial killer, Mewa Singh of Hansa Kalan village, had confessed to murdering six persons, even though the police attributed only four killings to him.

SSP Gurpreet Singh Bhullar said other cases were under investigation and the police would name him as an accused only after gathering more evidence.

The SSP said the killer had put immense pressure on the police. On one hand, catching him and preventing other murders was a challenge and on the other hand, most of the force was focused on his trail or on patrolling duty thus, taxing all the resources the police had.

Interestingly, the police claim that the serial killer had murdered Amarjit Singh and Sohan Singh, besides Gayadin and Charrat Singh, was contrary to its proclamation last month that the murders of Sohan Singh and Amarjit Singh were not linked from the police investigation about the involvement of the serial killer .

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Attack was result of battle for supremacy
Killing of youth in district courts complex
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 2
The city police today claimed that the attack on two persons in the district court complex that led to the death of one and serious injuries to the other was the result of a battle for supremacy between two groups. These groups also have students as members, who had targeted the members of the other group a number of times.

SP (detective) Gurpreet Singh and SP (city-I) Sukchain Singh said three persons accused of the attack and murder of Ravinder Pal Singh in the district court complex on May 29 had been arrested. They are Sukhdarshan Singh, Raghwinder Singh, alias Ricky, and Inderjit Singh.

The main accused, Baljeet Singh, brother of Sukhdarshan Singh, was still absconding. Baljeet, alias Baljeet Rangi, is the head of the group. The other group was led by Ravinder, who was killed in the assault.

The police said both groups were involved in a shoot out at the Cheema chowk last month. They had targeted the Rangi gang. The police said the assailants retaliated and attacked Ravinder and another member of his gang.

The arrested youths claimed that they belonged to landlord families and they were involved in a battle of one-upmanship.

The attack in the district courts had sent shock waves in the city raising concerns about the safety of lawyers and litigants. While the lawyers struck work for two days in protest against the lack of security, the police was forced to set up a special post housed in tents in the court complex.

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Conman who is kingpin of swindlers’ gang
Our Correspondent

Mandi Ahmedgarh, June 2
The conman who is reported to have disappeared after duping three traders of lakhs by taking consignments of various products against fake drafts seems to be the kingpin of a Ludhiana-based gang that had been active in this area for many years.

Investigations show that some manufacturers of the area lost lakhs to members of the notorious gang that was later found to be operating from the Dugri area of Ludhiana city. Though the gangsters had been identified by the victims, the police failed to get the manufacturers’ money refunded as they were shielded by political bigwigs and certain police officials. 

Though members of the gang had been identified by the victims, the police could extract nothing from them as the swindlers allegedly enjoy patronage of certain political bigwigs and the police.

A manufacture of fuel cake machines of Lehra village was duped in a similar manner about seven years ago. The kingpin of the gang later identified as a resident of the Dugri area had approached Nahar Singh of Lehra village, the owner of a bio-fuel cake machine manufacturing unit, for purchasing a machine and had duped him of lakhs then.

A DDR was registered at Dehlon police station on July 20, 2000.

According to Nahar Singh, the gangsters had won their confidence by visiting their factory about three to four times before taking the consignment worth Rs 9.60 lakh. Luckily, the fraud was noticed before the delivery of the machine. Though the manufacturers had not reported any monetary loss to the police, sources revealed that the gangsters had taken away cash worth more than Rs 4 lakh on some pretext.

The gangsters had allegedly impressed upon the manufactures to make bills for a higher amount and pay the difference in cash to them. " As we have to meet certain other expenses, we will manage higher loans on the basis of bill given by you. You pay us the difference after receiving the draft from us," the gangsters had impressed upon the manufacturers. Believing that a bank draft is equally good as cash, the Lehra industrialist paid his 'customer' his share and was shocked to learn later that the draft was fake.

Sanjiv Singla, a RCC pipe manufacturer of Akbarpur village, told that the same gang had also tried to dupe them by giving a fake cheque worth Rs 10 lakh about five years ago. "They posed as office-bearers of a cooperative society and showed their intention to purchase RCC pipes worth Rs 10 lakh initially. Though they had fixed the deal and handed us over a cheque worth Rs 10 lakh drawn on a nationalised bank at Bathinda, we became suspicious when they insisted on taking Rs 4.52 lakh for purchasing some allied products from the market," said Mr Singla. However the consignment was stopped by the supplier.

According to Mr Singla, the gang had also tried to dupe another RCC manufacturer at Saila Khurd in the Hoshiarpur area then. "They approached him with an offer for purchasing tiles worth Rs 2 crore. They told him that the tiles were to be installed at the Beant Memorial at Chandigarh. Fortunately, he rang us for partial supply of goods and became suspicious when we told him about our experience in the matter," told Mr Singla, adding that the Saila Khurd manufacturer had probably taken photographs of some of the swindlers then.

The gang had allegedly duped owners of the Punjab Pipe Mullanpur of Rs 1.40 immediately about five years ago. Mr Bajrang, one of the partners, alleged that the police had then succumbed to political pressure and had let the accused go scot-free though they had been caught red-handed. 

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Old Courts Complex
State set to raze yet another piece of history 
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 2
The state government has started demolishing buildings in the Old Courts complex spread over about 30 acres. Due to its prime location, the government expects to reap a good harvest from either the direct sale of the land or after constructing commercial buildings.

There would be no memory of these buildings which used to house the offices of the administration since the days of the Raj.

While the offices of the district administration were moved to the new Mini- Secretariat Complex about three decades ago, the session courts and the other courts moved to the Mini-Secretariat Complex only a few years ago.

Some of the buildings are in a dilapidated condition and beyond any scope of renovation. However, there appears to be no effort by the government to ensure the memory of the past.

There have been suggestions that the government should keep the photographic record of the buildings. “No matter to what use the place is used for later, but at least there would be a statement inscribed somewhere so that the future generations memorise it”, pointed out Prof M.S. Cheema, who has seen the "decline of these" buildings himself.

Cheema regretted that people had a poor sense of history. He pointed out there were other places named after historical buildings such as the Bhadaur House, where a number of hotel and commercial complexes are situated. "Nobody knows what Badaur House actually was and same would happen with the Old Courts, one of the emblems of the British Raj".

The Punjab Urban Development Authority, Ludhiana, said a final decision about the use of the land had not been taken. They disclosed that it might take at least a few months.

The officials hinted that land might be either sold directly in open bids or PUDA might build commercial sites which would later be sold to the bidders.

According to Manjit Inder Singh Johal, an engineer, said some of the buildings could still be retained after some repairs. He said the District Court Building of Shekhupura in Pakistan was more than 150- year old and was still in use. “It could be done here as well, but nobody seemed to bother", he regretted. 

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MC drive to save Budda Nullah begins
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 2
Under fire for being one of the agencies polluting Budda Nullah, the Municipal Corporation (MC) today began a major cleanliness and awareness drive to prevent throwing of litter, carcasses and untreated industrial effluents in the nullah.

A Tribune news report had highlighted how the nullah was being polluted by different agencies including the MC and the May 31 deadline of stopping all kinds on inflow into the nullah was not being followed.

The MC organised a rally at a bridge over the nullah in Ward No.11 to educate city residents about the situation and also started a cleanliness drive. MC zonal commissioner Ashok Bajaj said the commissioner Vikas Pratap had ordered the drive.

Public address systems were used to spread the message against the pollution of the nullah. Doctors educated people about the diseases that might originate from a polluted nullah.

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City Centre Scam
Hearing on Chetan’s bail plea adjourned

Ludhiana, June 2
Special Judge Gurbir Singh today adjourned hearing till June 6 on the bail application filed by Chetan Gupta, a Delhi- based businessman, who was arrested in connection with the City Centre scam.

The Vigilance Bureau could not produce the case file before the court. Special Public Prosecutor Mitter Sain Goyal moved a written request to the court, seeking adjournment. He submitted that the case file had been sent to the High Court. 
— OC

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Local bodies pensioners demand redress
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 2
The Local Bodies Pensioners Welfare Association urged the government to redress their long pending demands at a function here today.

Chief parliamentary secretary Harish Rai Dhanda was the chief guest on the occasion. Welcoming him, V K Khanna and Kalyan Singh Panchhi, chairperson and general secretary of the outfit, said they had great hopes from the present government which had promised to solve all the problems of the pensioners once voted to power.

Khanna said the pensioners were an aggrieved lot since they were not getting their dues on time and in most instances they were receiving their pensions after many months. “Gone are the days when we would receive the pension on the first of every month. In the fag end of our lives we have to run from pillar to post to get our pensions. This is unfair on the part of the government,” said Khanna.

He said whenever the pensioners complain about the delay, the government claims it does not have enough funds to pay them. He said there should be a dedicated fund set aside for the pensioners so that they do not feel discriminated against. Khanna said the serving employees do get their salaries on time in spite of the lack of funds.

He said a majority of the ailing pensioners have to wait for more than one year to get their medical reimbursement.

He added while in the past the process was very simple and the pensioners used to get their dues in days, now the file has to be cleared at several levels adding to the delay, he said.

He also said the government should immediately release the six per cent DA which was announced for them as a part of the party manifesto.

Dhanda assured the pensioners that he would do the needful to get their demands addressed as soon as possible.

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At the Crossroads
Reaping the golden harvest at 69

The man,who has kept alive the memory of great Urdu poet Sahir Ludhianvi by holding poetical symposium on his birthday, is himself a short story writer. He has rubbed his shoulders, over the years, with the well-known Urdu storytellers in India and Pakistan. He has earned laudable comments on his narrative skill by Krishan Chander, Rajinder Singh Bedi, Ahmed Nadeem Qasmi, Ramanand Sagar, Inder Kumar Gujral, Gopi Chand Narang, Kashmiri Lal Zakir, Bushra Rahman, Balraj Komal, Shabana Azmi, Gulzar et al. This is no mean achievement as the contemporaries are seldom inclined to praise the works of one another. His suavity of manners and sincerity of purpose have won the hearts of writers and readers alike.

Dr Kewal Dhir’s first collection of short stories, ‘Dharti-Ro-Pari’, was published in 1957. During the past 50 years he has authored more than 50 books, including the collections of short stories, novels, biographies, travelogues and literature for children. His focus is mainly on the middle-class society that is in the throes of psychic tension, weakening moral fibre, hypocritical stances, double standards and pretensions of prosperity. His choice of words verges on finesse and his style is sophisticated. His narrative art captivates the heart of the average reader and the endings of his certain short stories are at times stunning. He is forthright in his comments and ever eager to comprehend reality.

Born at Gaggo (Montgomary district), now in Pakistan, on October 5, 1938, he migrated to this side of the border with his parents at the time of Partition. His father Dr Hans Raj was a noted social reformer of his time. Kewal did his graduation in medicine from Patna in 1960. He retired some years ago as a senior medical officer in the health department of the Punjab government. Now he is free to devote his time to the creative work of his choice.

His recent visit to Lahore from April 28 to May 14 proved to be a morale booster for him. In Lahore, he was interviewed extensively by the print and electronic media, apart from his participation in a good many functions organised by various literary and cultural societies. He was once again ‘at home’ in the land of his birth. Incidentally, he found time on May 5 to visit the house where he had taken birth. Back home, he is busy writing his second travelogue regarding his recent visit to Pakistan.

At 69, Dr Kewal Dhir has come up with two volumes - ‘Golden Harvest’ and ‘Adabi Safar Ke Pachas Baras’. ‘Golden Harvest’, a coffee-table book, celebrates 50 years of his creative writing. It is replete with photographs that span 60 years of his super active lifetime. It can be called a commemorative volume that transcends time and space. In fact it presents a montage of literary personalities, social figures and well-known artists associated with silver screen.

‘Adabi Safar Ke Pachas Baras’ is a voluminous book wherein his contribution to Urdu fictional literature has been assessed and evaluated by a large number of writers, scholars and critics. It can be said without any fear of contradiction that whosoever matters in the world of Urdu literature is present in this cavalcade. Indeed, he has been honoured time and again in India and abroad for his literary achievements. Foremost among the awards, which have been conferred upon him, is the Punjab government’s ‘Shiromani Urdu Sahitkar Award’ (1997).

In the near future, a collection of his 51 short stories in Urdu entitled ‘Bad-Chalan aur Doosre Afsane’ will be published by Educational Publishing House, Delhi. This book will also be published at the same time by the Maqbul Academy, Lahore. He is indeed reaping the golden harvest with eclat.

— N.S. Tasneem

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Man gets cheque for son’s treatment
Our Correspondent

Khamano, June 2
Parliamentary secretary and MLA of Khanna, Bikramjeet Singh Khalsa, presented a cheque for Rs 30,000 to Nasib Singh, who needs the money for the treatment of his son, Kulbir Singh, who has been unconscious for the past two months and survives with the help of food pipes.

He is the only son of Nasib Singh, a widower. Khalsa had earlier also helped this family and the villagers are also helping them. Khalsa said the cheque had been given from the quota of the Punjab Chief Minister. Several residents of Bhathan, Saidpura, Kotla Badla Bhari, Mohan Majra, Luhar Majra and Bhamian presented their problems to the parliamentary secretary. Khalsa announced that a dispensary would be constructed and the primary school of Bhamian village would be upgraded to the middle level. He also announced that village sports clubs would be given grants shortly.

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Youth held with 4.5 gm smack

Mandi Ahmedgarh, June 2
The Khanna police arrested a youth for possessing 4.5 gm of smack from near AS College here last night.

According to Gautam Cheema, SP, Khanna, a team led by ASI Manmohan Sharma nabbed Darshan Kumar, alias Kallu, of ward No. 10 of the Guru Nanak Nagar Galwatti area in Khanna, at a naka at the T Point near AS College last night. The smack was seized from his possession.

Cheema said the youth was arrested following a secret information. “After receiving information about the activities of addicts and drug peddlers in the city, circle officer DSP Gursharan Bedi directed SHO Dharam Pal to intensify vigil. It was around midnight that the team stationed at the T Point, near AS College, stopped a youth coming from the Amloh side and during checking seized small packets of smack from his pocket,” he said. — OC

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AMW launches Tipper in region
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 2
Asia MotorWorks Ltd. (AMW), a heavy commercial vehicle manufacturer, today announced its entry in the Northern region and launched its latest product offering - 2518 (6x4) Tipper. While announcing its expansion plans, the company shared that it plans to capture 90 per cent market share from 70 per cent in the niche segment of 
49-tonne vehicles.

"With state-of-the-art technology, AMW Global Truck series meet Euro II emission norms and has world-class aggregates from global leaders like Cummins, Valeo, Meritor, Dana Spicer and ZF. The new series carries highest permissible load along and is priced in the range of Rs 15 to 28 lakh," a company press note said.

Anirudh Bhuwalka, MD and CEO, AMW, said, "The Indian truck industry has gradually evolved in the recent years with ample business opportunities. With rapid industrialisation, sustained GDP growth and the government's focus on building the new highway projects like the Golden Quadrilateral project and the NSEW corridors, we see the freight industry poised for a major leap. With Northern India contributing nearly 30 per cent to the tractor market, it's an extremely important market for us. We aim to sell around 1,000 vehicles in Northern India out of the 5,000 HCVs targeted for this fiscal year."

He said the company saw itself a niche player focusing on specific industry segments. The new product offering is designed for a wide range of construction and tough road applications. The company also plans to set up its sales and service operations in Delhi and NCR to stock parts, he added.

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Kinetic, Taiwan partner to launch two-wheeler
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 2
Kinetic Motor Company, in association with Taiwan-based Sang Yang Motor Company (SYM) is planning to launch a new two wheeler in India soon. The two companies recently got into partnership which includes SYM's 11.1 per cent equity stake in Kinetic.

The collaboration is now gearing up to launch its first product in India which would be aimed at the scooterette riders.

Chen, executive director, Kinetic from SYM, said India is a large, growing and changing market and the company would launch products that are up to date in the world, not products that are outdated in terms of design and technology.

SYM, part of (San Yang Industry Company Limited), a $1.1 billion company, manufactures a complete range of automobiles from scooters, motorcycles, all terrain vehicles (ATVs) to four-wheelers. The company has five factories in Taiwan, Indonesia, Vietnam, China and now, with Kinetic, in India.

In line with its global growth ambitions, SYM would now enter the Indian market by way of partnership with Kinetic. Ajinkya Firodia, vice-president, Sales and Marketing at Kinetic Motor Company said: "SYM is a major player in the world and has proved its success in many markets. In India we believe that the automatic scooter segment that has posted a 16.4 per cent growth over last year will continue to grow. Being pioneers in this segment, we expect that the Kinetic-SYM partnership will further accelerate this growth rate and enable us to reach a leadership position in the market. We are very confident about this product range and our market research results have also been encouraging."

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