P U N J A B    S T O R I E S


Land Grab Case
Chahal relative’s claim to be probed
Jupinderjit Singh
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 12
In what could be further trouble for relatives of B.I.S. Chahal, arrested along with him in an alleged land grab case, the Economic Offences Wing have started investigating if Kartar Singh, grandfather-in-law of Chahal’s son had in 1988 made a false freedom fighter certificate and was later shown as dead in the sadar police station files in 1993 when he was about to be exposed.

R.K. Jaiswal, SSP, has ordered the investigation on the complaint of Sukhwant Singh of Daad village. He is a son of Harchand Singh on whose complaint Chahal and others were arrested. Sukhwant is on parole these days. He is serving life sentence for the murder of grandson of Kartar Singh.

According to the allegation, Kartar Singh had allegedly made a false freedom fighter certificate to get pension. He had then applied for a petrol station in the freedom fighter quota. He was even honoured by former Chief Minister Beant Singh for his role in freedom struggle.

Sukhwant claims that it was only after this that the villagers came to know about it. When a complaint was made, Kartar Singh allegedly stopped withdrawing the freedom fighter pension. He further alleged that the Treasury Department later lodged a report with the then deputy commissioner, Ludhiana, that Kartar Singh was not taking pension.

He said when an inquiry was started, the accused allegedly in connivance with the police showed in police records that he was dead. The police records give the names of his family correctly but mention Kartar Singh as a Dalit. The complainant claims that he is the same Kartar Singh who is in police custody now.


Close aides picked up by Vigilance
Tribune News Service

Patiala, June 12
Close aides of Bharat Inder Singh Chahal were picked up by the Punjab vigilance in the early hours today.

Highly placed sources said here that those who had been picked up for questioning include information officer and an additional superintendent engineer in the Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB) and a local property dealer.

The property dealer was reportedly picked up last night. The sources stated that the vigilance was suspecting that Chahal had invested his ill-gotten money in real estate through the property dealer.

The vigilance officials here, however, remained tight-lipped on this. None of the said officials was present on duty today.

Meanwhile, the mediapersons remained on tenterhooks here amid reports that Chahal would be brought to his Patiala residence here by the Ludhiana police.

The sources added that the Ludhiana police was to search his residence in an attempt to murder case registered against him. However, the police party failed to turn up till the time of the filing of this report. Relatives of Chahal gathered at his residence and also made arrangements for lunch for the visiting police party.

Meanwhile, sources said Chahal was not brought here today due to ill health.


Another case against Chahal
Tribune News Service

Patiala, June 12
The Patiala police has booked B.I.S. Chahal, former media adviser to Amarinder Singh, in an another case. He has been booked on the complaint of Jagjit Singh, owner of Bhagat Motors, in Patiala.

Jagjit Singh in his complaint to the police has alleged that Chahal took his Mercedes Benz in 2005 but never returned the vehicle. He got it registered in his own name on the basis of fake papers.

The Patiala police has registered a case under Sections 384, 406, 420, 467, 468 and 471 of the IPC against Chahal today on the complaint of Jagjit Singh.

Sources in the police stated that Chahal would be brought to Patiala for questioning in the case after his police remand in the attempt to murder case in Ludhiana expires.


SIT to probe plaints
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, June 12
The city police has formed a special investigation team (SIT) to deal with the plethora of complaints made against B.I.S. Chahal after he was arrested in a land-grab case.

R.K. Jaiswal, SSP, said a number of land-grab cases had been filed after his arrest.

The SIT would be headed by SP-detective Gurpreet Singh and SP city-II Harish Kumar.


City Centre Scam
Despite bail, Chetan to remain in jail for a day
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, June 12
Despite getting bail today from a local court in the City Centre scam, Chetan Gupta, a Delhi-based businessman, will have to remain in the jail for one more night.

He was granted bail by special judge Gurbir Singh here today. The judge ordered his release on bail, subject to his furnishing of surety bonds to the tune of Rs 25 lakh.

Apart from it, he was also ordered to surrender his passport and not leave India without prior permission of the court.

Lawyers pursuing his bail application - Pawan Ghai, Nitin Kapila and Devinder Gupta - stated that they could not furnish the surety bonds.

The orders were pronounced by the court after 4.30 pm. Due to paucity of time, they could not complete the legal formalities.

They would furnish the surety bonds and surrender the passport tomorrow in the court.

The family of Chetan was present outside the court since morning.


Jassi murder case
Extradition process begins
Jupinderjit Singh/Rajneesh Lakhanpal
Tribune News Service

Jaswinder Kaur Jassi fell in love with Sukhwinder Singh, a taxi driver. Both secretly married in 1999. However, as her parents and relatives were against their marriage, she returned to live with her husband in India. The couple was attacked by a contract killer, which left the woman dead and her husband seriously injured.

Ludhiana, June 12
More than seven years after Jaswinder Kaur Jassi was murdered and her husband seriously injured after contract killers hired by her Canada-based parents attacked them, the Canadian government has finally initiated the process of examining the extradition of her parents.

Jassi and her husband Sukhwinder Singh, alias Mithu, had broken caste and economic boundaries and got married but this brave couple had to face the wrath of the girl’s parents who chose honour killing over their daughter’s life in May 2000.

Meanwhile, it was a red-letter day for Mithu, who is in central jail facing trial in a controversial rape case, as a two-member team of Royal Canada Police recorded his statement in the presence of jail superintendent Kuldip Singh, among others.

The team, which included Paul Mc Carl and Amarjit Chauhan, had moved an application in a city court, seeking an interview with Mithu. Jail officials said the recording of the statement began in the afternoon and would continue till late evening.

The interview was necessary for ascertaining the identity of the accused and as a legal requirement for the extradition case pending with the Canadian government.

The tardy extradition process gathered momentum owing to the media outcry in India and signing of a web-based petition run by a Canadian newspaper, Asian Pacific Post.

Mithu, his mother Gurdev Kaur and younger brother Gurvinder Singh have in previous interviews with The Tribune shared their wish of seeing Jassi's parents face trial in the case. “We would celebrate the victory only then. The conviction of the contract killers is no reason for happiness.”

The family is facing a financial crisis with all their resources exhausted on fighting the murder case and the rape case against Mithu.


Badal must quit: Bhattal
Sarbjit Dhaliwal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 12
After visiting the Nurmahal area where a youth, Balwinder, was killed in police firing and others were injured a few days ago, leader of the opposition in the Punjab Vidhan Sabha Rajinder Kaur Bhattal here today asked Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal to resign for his failure to check police excesses.

Bhattal was accompanied to Nurmahal by Amarjit Singh Samra, Lal Singh, Avtar Singh Brar, all former ministers, and other senior Congress leaders.

Bhattal, who visited Bahadurpur to meet Balwinder’s close relations this morning, said the police had let loose repression on people. “ Badal has completely lost control over the law and order situation in the state and people have been left at the mercy of the police, which is subjecting them to torture at the behest of SAD jathedars ”, she said talking to The Tribune after her return from the area.

“On my return, I discussed the entire issue with my party MLAs, who had come here in connection with the meetings of various committees. Only those party MLAs who are abroad could not attend today’s meeting”, she said.


‘Board chiefs in a month’

Patiala, June 12
Chairpersons of various boards and corporations in the state will be appointed within a month. Senior BJP leaders who were denied party ticket will be adjusted as chairpersons. Senior leaders of the SAD will also be adjusted.

Sahib Singh Verma, in charge of BJP Party Affairs in Punjab, stated this while taking to newsmen here today.

When asked about the distribution of posts, he said the ratio would be the same as it was in the distribution of Cabinet portfolios. He also said the BJP wanted the post of Deputy Chief Minister. The sooner the decision on it is finalised, the better it would be for the party.

Verma, along with Rajinder Singh Bhandari, state president of the BJP, and Navjot Singh Sidhu was here discuss the forthcoming corporation elections with the party workers. — TNS


Death toll rises with temperature
Tribune Reporters

Bathinda, June 12
The heat wave which has been sweeping this region for the past five days today claimed four lives. While three persons died due to sunstroke, one person drowned when was taking a bath in a canal.

Parveen Kumar, who was found in an unconscious state in this town, was taken to the civil hospital by volunteers of Sahara Jan Sewa, an NGO, died minutes after he was treated upon by doctors. He was an employee of a tent house. A beggar was found dead under a shed on the Mall road while a sadhu, who had come to this town on a train from Sirsa, also died due to sunstroke.

Avtar Singh, who had come to Teona village from Faridkot district to meet his relatives, drowned in a canal when he was taking a bath. Though people tried to save him, but in vain.

Meanwhile, Bhawar Dass, a labourer belonging to Gorakhpur area of Uttar Pradesh, Sudershan, a migratory labourer, and a youth, Rinku, who have been admitted to the local civil hospital after they fell unconscious due to sunstroke, are battling for lives for the past 20 hours.

Abohar: Two deaths due to heat stroke were reported from Jammu Basti and Nai Abadi localities here in the past 48 hours as the mercury remained between 46-49°C. The victim included Shanti Devi (60) of Nai Abadi, who felt uneasiness after a power breakdown on Monday.

Barnala: In the past 24 four hours six lives were lost to heat wave in Barnala district. Gurdarshan Singh, a teacher, Sewa Singh, a peon at the local tehsil office, and Baljinder Singh, a sweeper with the SDM, and Mahant Ram Dass (80), Joginder Singh Aulakh (75) and Dalip Kaur of Hameede village, 14 km from here, were the victims.


Makkar goes soft on dera issue
Says people misunderstood SGPC
Manish Sirhindi
Tribune News Service

No move to remove Nandgarh

The SGPC chief said as of today there was no move to remove the jathedar of Takht Sri Damdama Sahib. He said it could be rumours that jathedar Balwant Singh Nandgarh would be shunted out. He also denied that the SGPC was pressurising the jathedar to resign from the post.

Fatehgarh Sahib, June 12
Coming out clean on the SGPC’s stand on the Dera issue, its president Avtar Singh Makkar stated that the SGPC never wanted to forcibly get the deras evicted from Punjab.

He said it was sheer anger of the masses that led to wrong perception among many. Instead, the SGPC intended that the masses should boycott deras in the state so that these die a natural death, Makkar said.

Speaking to The Tribune here today, the SGPC chief said it was beyond the purview of the SGPC to capture the deras in the state by using force. He said the state government took a positive stance on the whole issue, as registration of the cases against dera chief Gurmit Ram Rahim Singh pacified the masses.

The SGPC chief, who appeared to be calm on the issue of the arrest of the dera chief, stated that the law would take its own course. He stressed that the masses should themselves see reason and boycott the deras.

He said a lawyer’s panel to pursue the issue against the dera was in the process of being constituted and it was most likely that the panel would be finalised in a day or so.

Being cryptic on the issue of Sukhbir Badal contesting legislative elections in the state, Makkar said it was not a subject matter of the SGPC and it was for Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal to decide. He, however, said being the acting president of the SAD Sukhbir Badal could contest the elections as he pleased.


DGP visits Salabatpura
Chander Parkash
Tribune News Service

Salabatpura (Bathinda), June 12
In a goodwill gesture DGP, Punjab, N.P.S. Aulakh visited this town, where the main dera of the Sacha Sauda sect is located, and listened to the grievances of policemen deployed there since May 17.

The DGP, who was accompanied by IG, Patiala zone, M.K. Tiwari, DIG, Faridkot range, Jatinder Jain and SSP, Bathinda, Nau Nihal Singh, also listened the problems being faced by villagers.

Policemen told the DGP that they were not being allowed to take leave and they had been finding it difficult to meet their social responsibilities. They also informed him that they were performing their duties in extreme hot weather without any break.

The DGP told the Punjab police functionaries that the paramilitary forces would have to stay in the village for more some time.


No salary makes hospital staff suffer
Vibhor Mohan
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, June 12
The staff of the SGPC-run Sri Guru Ram Das Institute of Medical Sciences and Research has reportedly not been paid salaries for nearly four months now. Despite repeated assurances by the SGPC and the institute authorities, the paycheques are nowhere in sight, leaving the team of doctors frustrated.

Even as the SGPC has equipped the attached hospital of the institute with state-of-the-art infrastructure, the non-payment of salaries remains a sore point.

Institute’s director-principal Dr U.S. Dhaliwal said, “Speak to the SGPC president. Only he can give this information.”

Asked to at least confirm or deny if the salaries had been disbursed for the past four months, he said, “I don’t know anything.”

Interestingly, talking to The Tribune on May 28, Dr Dhaliwal had admitted that the salaries had not been paid for over three months and Rs 3 crore had been sought from the SGPC.

“About Rs 50 lakh has been released and this would enable the institute to disburse salary to some staff members. However, the remaining amount is awaited,” he had then said.

A senior doctor with the institute said the non-disbursement of salaries had started affecting the performance. “We have been working overtime for the MCI inspection, trying to set up the infrastructure.”

On the other hand, SGPC president Avtar Singh Makkar said he was aware of the problem and that salaries would be disbursed soon.


Plan to put Mohali on e-governance track soon
Tribune News Service

Mohali, June 12
The Punjab government proposes to make Mohali an e-governance district to pass on the benefits of information technology(IT) to the general public in Chandigarh's periphery, this was stated by Adesh Pratap Singh Kairon, food, civil supplies and information technology minister here today.

The e-governance will go a long way in redressing the grievances of the people and monitoring various government projects, Kairon, who is also the chairman of the district development and planning board, said while presiding a meeting of the board here.

In fact, a Microsoft academy is proposed to be set up at Phase 3-B-1 here to cater to the needs of the IT industry in the region, he added.

The four-laning of the Kharar-Landran road and widening of Landran-Tepla road was under the active consideration of the government as the traffic on these roads had increased manifold, the minister said.

Demanding special package for developing townships in Chandigarh's periphery, including Kharar and Zirakpur, senior SAD leader Jasjeet Singh Bunny, regretted that only about 20 per cent population of these towns had access to sewerage and water supply facilities.

Calling upon the education department to take over eight school sites allotted by PUDA, Bunny said the education facilities needed to be provided on a priority basis.


Probe begins in water supply case
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, June 12
An officer belonging to the vigilance wing of Punjab Local Government Department, Rajinder Rai today gathered reports in a probe related to the alleged unplanned execution of water supply work by the Punjab Water Supply and Sewerage Board (PWSSB).

He was acting on the orders of principal secretary, Local Government, Punjab, D.S. Bains. Rai gathered the information from executive officer of local municipal council Ranbir Singh, local BJP municipal councillor Jatinder Kalra and the SDO of PWSSB.

The probe was ordered after Kalra raised a question regarding the alleged unplanned execution of water supply work by the PWSSB in Sangrur.

Vigilance officer Rajinder Rai said he conducted a preliminary inquiry today and that now he would study the gathered reports. 


Farmers gherao DC office
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, June 12
A large number of farmers led by the Bhartiya Kisan Union (Dakonda) gheraoed the Deputy Commissioner’s office after no officer visited their dharna site to receive a memorandum from them, here today.

They lifted the gherao only when Sangrur ADC Indu Malhotra received the memorandum from the agitating farmers.

Earlier, hundreds of farmers staged a protest dharna against the proposed acquisition of 1,300 acres of farmland in two Sangrur district villages, Bibbar and Majhi, by the government for setting up a thermal power plant on Bhawanigarh-Nabha road, near Nabha. The protest, which continued for about four hours, was held outside the district administrative complex.


Ram Bagh Clubs Vacation
Decision reserved for today
Varinder Walia
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, June 12
Even as SDM-cum-Collector Vimil Setia has ordered the vacation of all three clubs from the historic Ram Bagh - the summer palace of Maharaja Ranjit Singh - by June 20, the Commissioner of Jalandhar Division today reserved his decision of granting the stay to clubs for tomorrow.

Perturbed over the eviction orders, the management of all the three clubs have convened an emergency meeting of the general houses tomorrow where they have invited BJP MP Navjot Sidhu. Service Club president Dr A.L. Adlakha said the managements of the clubs were ready to give an undertaking to bear the expenses of the maintenance of the entire Ram Bagh Garden in case the administration withdrew the eviction orders.

The eviction orders clearly mention that having failed to vacate the premises by June 20, the Municipal Corporation would be at liberty to get the area vacated under Section 5 (2) of the Land Eviction and Land Recovery Act, 1973.

However, DC K.S. Pannu, who is also ex-officio president of one of the appellant clubs, had transferred the case to Commissioner, Jalandhar Division. In his orders, Pannu had said being an ex-officio president of the Amritsar Club, it was not legally and morally proper for him to pass any order in the matter.

Meanwhile, Dr Adlakha, while quoting from a historical document, claimed that initially Ram Bagh Garden was in a bad shape and was known as ‘Jungle Gardens’ during the British era. Showing the MC map of 1849, Dr Adlakha said the garden was square in shape and much smaller than its present size.

Dr Adlakha claimed that the details given in the book proved that the area marked by Archaeological Survey of India was not the original Rambagh Garden and that extra land had been added after annexation of Punjab. He said clubs that were more than 120 years old must be saved from destruction.

Chairperson, Punjab State Social Welfare Board, Ratna said the clubs should not be removed as these were part of the city’s heritage.


NREGS to cover more districts

Chandigarh, June 12
The centrally-sponsored National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (NREGS), which has already been successfully implemented in Hoshiarpur district, would now be extended to Jalandhar, Amritsar and Nawanshahr districts.

A government spokesperson stated this during a review meeting of the Department of Rural Development and Panchayats, here today. Rural development minister Ranjit Singh Bharampura said the scheme had already been launched in Hoshiarpur.

A sum of Rs 9 crore has already been spent so far under this scheme, he added.

The government has urged upon the Centre to include Tarn Taran district under this scheme.

A State Employment Rural Guarantee Council has been formed and Tejveer Singh had been appointed as its commissioner. — TNS


One held for selling drugs illegally
Tribune News Service

Patiala, June 12
A team of the drugs department, including Dinesh Gupta and Dr Vikas Goyal, raided two chemist shops in Gurbax Colony here.

The team raided Bhupindra Medicine Centre and K.P. Clinic in the locality and pointed out some discrepancies, which were forwarded to the State Drugs Controller for further action.

The team also raided Khurana Medicos in the Tripuri area and recovered 220 bottles of cough syrups, 2 lakh tablets of Microlit and 400 capsules of Spasmoproxyvon, which were misused as intoxicants.

Drug inspector Dinesh Gupta along with the team also raided the godown of Surjit Singh at Krishna Colony near Lahori Gate and recovered a huge stock of drugs without any document proof. Surjit even failed to produce any drug sale license. The team seized 6.95 lakh tablets, 1.08 lakh capsules, 1,420 bottles of cough syrups and 859 injections.

The seized drugs were produced in the court of the CJM, which has passed orders for further investigations.


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