L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S

Fresh evidence points finger at someone else
Kiran murder case to be reopened
Jupinderjit Singh
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 9
The infamous Kiran Dhawan murder case is all set to take centre stage once again with the police trying to ascertain if the man accused of murder has been arrested rightly or not.

The police is set to reopen the case as it has been claimed that fresh evidence is pointing finger at someone else.

The police is seeking production warrant of the accused Parkash, who is lodged in Central Jail, and would demand his brain mapping and narco-analysis test.

A senior official said the police had doubts if he was the actual killer or not as there was no corroborating evidence to support the theory. Parkash had himself been seeking the tests to prove his innocence, the police claimed.

It is not usual for the police to go back on its investigation. It has happened only twice in the past three years. Earlier, the police had to eat humble pie in admitting its mistake in naming Avtar Singh Taari as the killer of high-profile businesswoman Reema Jain.

In this case, Parkash has remained behind bars for nearly 10 months for a crime which he probably never committed.

Kiran Dhawan, wife of well-known marriage palace owner Deepak Dhawan, was found murdered in her house at Barrewal on July 17, 2004.

Several theories were in circulation about the killer with the police investigating the role of her family members as prime suspects in the murder.

However, in August last year, the police named Parkash, an alleged former domestic help of the murdered woman, as her killer. This was done on the basis of his identification by Deepak Dhawan.

Parkash had been arrested by the Delhi police for the murder of an aged couple. Dhawan had seen his pictures in newspapers and on TV channels and recognised him.

The servant had been missing since the day Kiran was found murdered. After Dhawan insisted that Parkash was the domestic help, a team of the Sarabha Nagar police brought him here on a production warrant. The police later claimed he had confessed to the crime.

At present, Parkash is locked in a local jail and facing trial in the case. 



Forged VAT numbers
Traders fleeced by gang
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 9
A suspected gang of Mandi Gobindgarh-based traders have allegedly fleeced several local traders and industrialists by using their VAT numbers besides evading tax through forged documents.

The city police said, as per the revelations made by a complainant so far, the accused K.K. Garg and Ashok Kumar of Steel Age Tube Ltd, Mandi Gobindgarh, had traded business worth Rs 9.59 crore on forged VAT number and evaded tax worth Rs 40 to 65 lakh in this case alone.

The accused had sent a huge consignment of pipes in 311 trucks in a single case.

The SP (Detective) said the manner in which the accused operated, suggests that many other complainants might come forward. Garg has been arrested while his accomplice is still absconding.

The fraud has come to light when Tejinder Pal Singh, owner of Punjab Tools Ltd, complained that some trader had used his VAT number due to which his number was locked at all barriers in the country, bringing his business to a stand still.

The victim then traced truck drivers, who in turn identified the factory from which the consignment was loaded.

He then brought the matter to the notice of the police. The accused was nabbed after his business transactions were traced.

Meanwhile, the wife of the accused created a scene at the police press conference while trying to prevent photographers from taking pictures of her husband.

The SP (Detective) said the police was probing all the transactions of the accused and his accomplices to ascertain the other such frauds.



Acid attack
More help pours in
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 9
In the case of the four acid attack victims, more good Samaritans have decided to come to their help.

Close on the heels of a well-known NRI couple, two US-based NRIs gave Rs 1 lakh to the CMC hospital for the girls’ treatment besides promising monetary help for the girls in the future as well.

Legal advisor to Indo-American Sheriff Advisory Council, Los Angeles, Nachhattar Singh Bhullar, and his friend Paramjit Singh Nijjar have donated the money.

Local representative of the Zee Network, Surinder Dalla, told Ludhiana Tribune that the two were deeply moved by the tragic condition of the girls and had specially visited the CMC hospital to hand over the money.

The news channel had already collected several lakh rupees for the help of the girls. The condition of Sandeep Kaur (the main target of the attack) and her friend Rajwant Kaur was the worst. While Sandeep had lost one eye and the outer part of an ear, Rajwant was under threat of losing her eyesight completely. The other two girls, Ranjit Kaur and Sonika, suffered 40 per cent and 20 per cent burns each, They were discharged but the treatment would continue. Their families too needed monetary help.

Rajwant Kaur has also been discharged. Expensive medication was needed to save her eyesight and prepare her for surgery, which could only take place after an year.

All victims belong to poor families of daily wagers. The girls were employed in factory before the attack. Now, they had lost their jobs too. The girls were able to receive treatment only because of good samaritans. UK-based owner of Wimpy’s fast food chain Kanmaljit Singh and his wife Dr S Kaur had announced yesterday they would bear the cost of the treatment of the girls and also provide them with jobs. 



Parents want CET scrapped
Shivani Bhakoo
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 9
The Public Cause, an NGO working to highlight the problems of people, has alleged that Punjab Technical University (PTU) in connivance with the state government was minting money with regard to its admission stunt, which earns it over Rs 8 crore per year. The members of the NGO, including parents of a number of students, feel that CET should be scrapped and the university must not be allowed to “fill their pockets” in the name of counselling, which starts once the results of CET are declared.

Many parents in the city feel that the government had played a joke with the people of Punjab by starting numerous technical colleges, which lack even the basic infrastructure. The ‘victim’ parents alleged that these colleges were making money by misguiding students.

“Costly application forms, heavy examination fees, counselling fee to the tune of Rs 10,000, etc, is being imposed on parents and students. Though counselling fee of Rs 7,500 is refundable but it is refunded in instalments. We feel that there is absolutely no need to hold CET in the state. The neighbouring state of Haryana has recently scrapped CET and admitted more than 98 per cent students on the basis of AIEEE,” said A.K. Bhandari, general secretary of the NGO.

The parents said it was a matter of concern that out of 40 colleges affiliated to the PTU, Jalandhar, 36 were in private sector and only four were owned by the government. The enrolment figure in 15 private colleges in 2004 was merely 35-40 per cent and in the government colleges it was about 50-60 per cent.

Unfortunately, private colleges were being opened by big business houses only as profit making ventures with least regard for the sanctity of the teaching profession or future of the youth.

Consequently, some colleges were admitting students by charging fee far below the one prescribed by the government so that they could attract more ‘customer’ students.

Interestingly, a number of advertisements floated in various sections of media by colleges affiliated to the PTU have lured students saying: “Students who have recently passed their (10+2), reappear examination can apply immediately”, “Direct admission-eligibility 10+2 (PCM)”, “Golden opportunity for 10+2, non-medical, pass candidates to obtain admission in B.Tech courses”, etc.

“Even such tricks have failed to fill the vacant seats. Rajinder Kaur Bhattal, the then technical education minister, too, had admitted in the Assembly that there were no takers for about 37 per cent (5,252 out of 14,330) engineering seats in Punjab. She, along with the vice-chancellor, had assured that the CET will be abolished from 2006 and admissions will be made on the merit of the All-India Engineering Entrance Examination (AIEEE). In the given circumstances, there is no need to hold CET. It is a clear violation of the Union Ministry of Human Resource & Development orders passed in 2003, wherein it has been made compulsory for all government engineering colleges and deemed universities, to make admission from amongst the students appearing in AIEEE,” said Bhandari.

Dr S.K.Salwan, VC, PTU, when contacted, said the university was holding CET because of state government’s orders. “It is the decision of the state government to scrap it and not the PTU. We will adhere to the state government’s directions,” he said.



Declared topper without checking result
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana June 9
In an apparent bid at publicity by fair or foul means, the principal of Guru Nanak Girls College, Model Town, has not seemed to even check the merit list of the B.Com first year, before releasing the picture of a student supposedly having topped the exams across the state. In fact, there were at least two other girls in Ludhiana itself, who had scored more marks than Priyanka Sharma, whom the GNG College claimed to have topped the state.

Jasleen Kaur Bindra, a student of the Government College for Women, has scored 464 marks, three marks more than Priyanka Sharma, who has scored on 461. Jasleen said she was surprised to see Priyanka’s picture in most of the newspapers that she (Priyanka) had topped the exam and not Jasleen.

Jasleen said in fact there was no merit list for the B.Com first or second year and the merit list was prepared in the final year only. However, once she saw that someone was trying to get undue publicity for an achievement which she had not got, Jasleen felt bad. When she brought the issue to the notice of the principal of Guru Nanak Girls College, the principal dismissed Jasleen’s claim.

Meanwhile, principal of Guru Nanak Girls College Charanjit Kaur Mahal was not prepared to speak anything. Interestingly, she switched off her phone the moment this reporter asked her as how could she released a picture and press note that a student of her college had topped the merit list while in fact she had not.

First she received the call properly. The moment the particular question about the wrong information given to the media was asked, she claimed voice was not clear and within no time she disconnected the phone. Subsequent attempt to call her revealed that she had switched off her phone.



Voter list discrepancies: BJP smells a rat
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 9
The BJP today sought an investigation into the alleged fraud in the issue of the fake votes. The party has also written to the state election commissioner seeking to get verification done on the issue.

Addressing a press conference here, state BJP secretary Anil Sarin and district president Subash Verma said in certain cases scores of voter identity cards had the same number.

“One voter ID card can be issued to only one individual and two or more voters cannot have same voter ID card number,” the leaders pointed out. They said may be there was some error but mischief cannot be ruled out.

“Either these are the bogus voters or in some case the wrong ID card numbers have been mentioned in the voters list which needs to be checked out,” they observed.

For example, about 30 voter identity cards are having one number PB/09/05/000001. According to the leaders, there are about 5,000 such cards with common number which is quite unheard of.

Sarin, who is the BJP in charge for corporation elections, observed that this was a huge figure and it could make a lot of difference in any elections particularly in the municipal corporation were the margin of victory and defeat was quite low.

They also released the copes of the voter list to the media listing various discrepancies. They said the copies had also been dispatched to the state election commission to order a probe. 



Treatment Plant
June 20 deadline for membership
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 9
The electroplating units that have not availed membership to the Ludhiana Effluent Treatment Society, the special purpose vehicle (SPV) formed to facilitate functioning of the common effluent treatment plant (CETP), already face threat of closure as directed by the P. Ram Committee and in addition to that, the SPV too has clarified that it would take no responsibility for such units.

Such units have now been asked to become members by June 20, failing which the SPV would not forward the names of such units to the Punjab Pollution Control Board (PPCB) in the list of those complying with regulations pertaining to waste treatment.

So far, as many as 200 units from electroplating, zinc plating, bright bar and wire drawing industries have availed the membership to get their water treated.

“If industrial units do not become members by June 20, we will not hold any responsibility for the action that PPCB might take against them. They should not forget that they face a threat of closure. Since we are forwarding membership details to the board, the units that do not become members, might have to face action,” said Joginder Kumar, chairman of the SPV.

The CETP, that was earlier focusing only on electroplating units, is now open to getting members from all other industries except dyeing units.

The SPV executive members said they were expecting a good response from the industry in the coming days.

Kumar said the target was to increase the membership to 500 within a fortnight. “Over 100 units have signed MoUs and the contractor has already begun lofting water from their doorstep. More units are realising that membership will not only be convenient, it is also quite economical.”

In addition to the membership fee, a unit that avails the facility of getting its waste treated, has to pay 70 paise per litre for treatment of its water. With an average of 200 litres of water that is treated every day, the estimated cost for 25 days is Rs 3,500.

“The plant is catering to small and medium enterprises. Large scale units have their own plants. But if they want to avail of the facility, it is open to them as well.”



Weekly power cuts irk industrialists
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 9
The one-day compulsory weekly electricity supply off for the industry beginning tomorrow has caused concern in the industrial circles.

Representatives of the business segment fear the PSEB might increase the number of weekly offs which would hamper industrial production.

“This season we were continually being told that the supply is sufficient to cater to the demand. However, now a one-day off has been imposed. Our earlier experience has not been good with the electricity board which not only increased number of days power supply was to be off but also imposed unscheduled cuts. Uninterrupted power supply should be assured to industry as well,” said Joginder Kumar, president, Ludhiana Electroplaters Association.

Apart from the compulsory weekly off, the industry would have to continue adhering to peak load restrictions.

He said association members, who had a meeting with the PSEB yesterday, were assured of better electricity supply in the coming days. “Member distribution J.S. Sekhon told us that the board has managed to control electricity theft to a large extent and now the only problem was high transmission and distribution losses.

There has been a decline of 2 per cent in transmission and distribution losses and gradually there is a plan to bring this level down from over 25 per cent to around 15 per cent. If that happens, power supply would improve.”

The industrialists said power cuts led to heavy industrial losses as production was affected. Compulsory weekly offs too made a dent in production.

Besides, those affected the competitiveness of industry as it had to bear all fixed and several variable costs too despite the losses.

“To curb the demand-supply gap they impose weekly offs.

But they must ensure that the supply does not get worse.”

Emphasising the need to augment power supply, they said the government should put in more funds to increase power generation at the earliest.



Buddhist food festival
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 9
Holding a Buddhist food festival at a place like Ludhiana may not be a good business proposition. As the name itself suggests it is purely and strictly a vegetarian affair, without any non-vegetarian substitutes. However, the organisers at Majestic Park Plaza seem to have taken a good care of the non-vegetarian taste buds of the Ludhianvis with “vegetarian chicken and mutton”. There is nothing non-vegetarian in this food except for the chicken and mutton analogues driven from soya.

According to Sudahnshu Ranjan, chief chef at the hotel, it took a lot of research and spadework to organise a purely vegetarian food festival that would satiate the taste of everybody.

“Although the festival has been organised with a view to serve the vegetarian tastes of people, it is not that the non-vegetarians will not enjoy it,” he said.

Although there is precisely no Budhist food as such, the places with predominant Budhist influences have certainly specialties and delicacies that have been tried for ages. It is in fact the combination of various foods from China, Japan and other Budhist countries.

Sabhayasachi Chaterjee, manager, said keeping the moral percepts of Budhism in mind, the Budhist food festival would be completely vegetarian.



Gang Busted
Spurious cattle feed seized
Our Correspondent

Mandi Ahmedgarh, June 9
The Khanna police has busted a gang involved in unauthorised use of an MNC’s trademark and copyright on the cattle feed supplement its members produced to dupe farmers and dairy owners.

Owner of one of outlets selling the spurious cattle feed has been booked under Section 63 of Copyright Act, 102, 103 and 104 of Trademark Act and Sections 420 and 34 of the IPC. In all, 246 bags of a concentrate feed have been seized from his possession.

According to an FIR registered on the statement of business manager of VIRBAC Animal Health India Ltd, Bombay, Raman Talwar, a gang had been manufacturing and selling spurious products of the company at various outlets in the state.

After receiving the information from company officials, SSP Khanna, Gautam Cheema, directed SHO (City) Dharam Pal to conduct raids at suspected outlets after which the bags (each weighing 5 kg) were seized from Ashoka Medical Hall at Khanna.

Preliminary investigations by the police revealed that manufacturing of the spurious products was carried out at a factory situated at Amloh and various products were sold to farmers and dairy owners through outlets spread across the state. Some of the outlets have been identified in major towns and villages including Nabha, Khanna, Amloh, Dhuri, Sangrur, Mansa and Latala.

"Based on information provided by the officials of the company we conducted raids at some places and succeeded in unearthing the racket. We will try our best to nab all persons involved in the crime," said SSP Cheema.

The SSP further disclosed that fake product was also seized from Dhiman Medical Store Amloh. Machinery and intermediate products were also seized from factory adjoining the store, he told.



Two held with Rs 33 lakh

Jagraon, June 9
The local police allegedly recovered Rs 33,25,00 from the possession of two persons and later handed them over to Directorate Enforcement Investigation, Department of Income Tax, for further investigation.

According to sources the men were arrested at a police check post last night. They were travelling in a car bearing registration number PB-25-C-4808. The occupants of the car, Varun Goel and Nitin Goel had Rs 21,10,000 and Rs 12,15,100 in cash with them, respectively. Manjinder Singh of Cheemna was also travelling in the car. The two occupants with the cash could not provide a satisfactory explanation for the huge amount of cash they had with them. The matter is under investigation. — OC



Mini-bus operators hold meeting

Ludhiana, June 9
Mini-bus operators of Punjab convened a meeting here today under the presidentship of Harinder Sharma.

Jaswinder Singh Garewal, district president, apprised the meeting that Chief Minster Parkash Singh Badal had assured them at a meeting held on May 1 that within 15 days the government would declare its new policy towards the mini-bus operators.

The government had also assured that it would review the policy of the Congress regime of granting open permits for operating mini-buses in the state, he added. During the meeting, Charanjit Singh, district chief patron of the association, expressed concern over the non-implementation of the assurances given by the Chief Minister.

Darshan Singh (TarnTaran) and Trilok Singh (Batala) said several persons were plying four-wheelers without permission in collusion with the authorities concerned. They threatened agitation against this malpractice. — OC



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