C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S

Youth dies in police custody
Family calls it murder, cops suicide
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 12
Death of a youth in police custody, apprehended on “mere suspicion”, has put the Mani Majra police in a spot. While the police claimed that the victim, 21-year-old Anil Kumar, had jumped to death at the police station, the victim’s family alleged that he was tortured in custody and “murdered” by the police. Anil was married. His wife was away at their native village. He worked with a private company in the industrial area. His neighbours claimed he was a docile man and had no criminal record.

The victim’s family and acquaintances assembled at the Mani Majra police station this morning. They were told by SHO Hari Kumar that Anil was picked up by the police on a complaint by one Surjit Kaur of Modern Housing Complex, Mani Majra, alleging that she had seen a youth roaming in suspicious circumstances. A DDR had been recorded.

Anil was picked for verification of his antecedents. He gave an address, which was found to be incorrect. Then he told the police that he lived in Colony Number 4. He got panicky and jumped.

The victim’s uncle, Ved Prakash, alleged that the case in charge, SI Narinder Singh, had been misleading them about the death. He had changed his statement thrice and was coercing them into taking away the body without post-mortem.

Ved Prakash lodged a complaint with the SSP. He alleged on Wednesday at 7 pm, police personnel of beat box in Colony Number 4 informed him that his nephew had met with an accident and was admitted to the PGI. He reached the PGI at 7:30 pm, where the doctors told him that Anil had died at 5:30 pm.

Ved Prakash alleged that there was no police officer there and the staff at the police post asked him to meet SI Narinder Singh at the police station. He reached the police station at 11 pm along with acquaintances. SI Narinder Singh told him that Anil had jumped from the third floor of a building in the Modern Housing Complex. Asked about the address, the SI was evasive and asked him to come the next morning.

Today when he reached there, he was told that Anil had jumped from first floor at the police station.

SSP Dinesh Bhatt said experts from the Central Forensic Science Laboratory had been asked to examine the spot. A department inquiry had also been initiated. The SDM (central) was investigating the matter.

The police has initiated inquest proceedings.



Trees to make way for govt quarters
Sanjeev Singh Bariana
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 12
The horticulture department of the Chandigarh administration has cut at least a dozen full-grown trees along Dakshin Marg to clear the path of slip roads.

Confirming the official orders, a senior official said another 20 trees had been marked to be cut in Sector 24 to make space for government accommodation. The trees had been cut after formal approval by the adviser to the UT Administrator.

The Axe Factor

There has been no reduction in the city’s green cover. In fact, the overall data shows improvement

— Deputy conservator

One wonders why the trees have been axed now when the slip roads were constructed nearly two years back.

The official said: " Development demands that land be cleared.” Among the trees felled were arjan, inter-lobum, alstonia and 'pahari keekar'.

Trees on Dakshin Marg did not have commercial value. The dozen trees cut there fetched only Rs 7,500 at an auction. The trees in Sector 24 were of high commercial value and fetched a heavy price. The trees in Sector 24, where government quarters are to come up, included those of eucalyptus, 'tahli', zamoa and keekar.The trees were auctioned for approximately Rs 4 lakh, reliable sources said.

"We never touch a tree without orders.The slip roads were made nearly two years back yet could not become functional because of the trees. The decision to remove these has been taken after due deliberations.”

Ishwar Singh, deputy conservator, said: "There has been no reduction in the city’s green cover. In fact, the overall data shows improvement. For each single tree that is axed because of different reasons, we plant at least 10 new ones."



Man kills ‘unfaithful’ wife
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 12
In yet another case of domestic violence, a labourer who suspected his wife’s fidelity, allegedly strangled her to death at their Mauli Complex residence here last night. He then phoned his brother-in-law about the crime. The victim, Sharmila Devi, was 26.

Sharmila’s body, found from the top floor single-room dwelling, bore signs of struggle with bruises and other injuries on the limbs. There was a nasty gnash on her throat, indicating strangulation with a dupatta. Pieces of broken bangles lay scattered at the tin roof. A few household articles and utensils also lay scattered.

The neighbours expressed surprise at the murder. None had noticed anything unusual.

The police nabbed the accused, 30-year-old Shyam Sunder, from a bus stop in Sector 6, Panchkula. He was apparently trying to flee. Unfazed, he admitted killing Sharmila, calling her a “whore”.

The murder came to light at 8:30 am when Shyam Sunder, who worked at a cycle repair shop in the Motor Market in Mani Majra, phoned his brother-in-law, informing him that he had killed Sharmila, as she was a “whore”. He further threatened that he would eliminate the family. He alleged Sharmila had relations with Raju, a labourer.

The victim’s father, Tulsi Ram, said he rushed to his daughter’s house and found the door bolted from inside. He opened the bolt through a window and found the body on the floor.

Tulsi Ram told the police that Shyam was a drunkard and would squander whatever he earned on liquor. Sharmila had often complained against her husband to her father and brother. He had no inkling that Shyam would kill his daughter. Sharmila’s six-year-old daughter Punam lived with them.

Shyam Sunder hails from Uttar Pradesh and had come to the city for work four months ago. Sharmila joined him about a month back.

Shyam Sunder told the police he came home at 10 pm and went to his in-laws’ residence with Sharmila.He left for a party asking Sharmila to wait for him there. But she returned to their residence. He came back past midnight. She was alone at that time, but he suspected that Raju had visited her. Enraged, he killed her.

He strangled her while she was asleep at around 1 am. At 5 am he went to his employer and asked money from him, saying his wife was admitted to the PGI. His employer asked him to come again at 8am, which he did. He was given Rs 300. After making calls from a PCO, he headed towards the bus stand in Panchkula.

A case of murder and criminal intimidation has been registered on a statement by Tulsi Ram.



Girl kills herself

Nayagaon, July 12
Residents of Shivalik Vihar here woke up to the shocking sight of a girl hanging from the top of the colony’s overhead reservoir.

Subhash Kumari, a resident of the colony, allegedly committed suicide by hanging herself with a dupatta in the wee hours of the morning. She was suffering from a painful disease of the spine, the police said, and it may have prompted the action.

The girl had walked out of her house at 4.30 am and climbed the stairs that led to the top of the water tank at a height of over a 100 feet.

The police said the watchman saw the body at about 5 am when he woke up to put on the motor. The police was called in and it took at least three hours to remove the body from the tank.

As the news spread, residents collected around the water tank.

The girl’s father, Tilak Ram, a taxi driver in Chandigarh, said his daughter and his wife were awake till 4.30 am as Subhash was in a lot of pain. “Then she told her mother that she has taken a medicine and was feeling better and she, too, should go to sleep. The minute my wife went off to sleep, she walked out of the house and took this extreme step,” he said.

The victim’s brother said Subhash used to study in school till some years ago but had to stop her education as she had a medical problem. She was being treated at the General Hospital in Sector 16.

The police has ruled out any foul play. The SP (headquarters) said the postmortem report had made it clear that the girl had committed suicide.

Reservoir had no boundary wall

The reservoir that caters to the drinking water needs of the entire area has no boundary wall to keep away trespassers. Even the stairs that lead to the top of the reservoir do not have a gate, which can be locked.

Watchman Chandra Bhushan was admonished by the police. — TNS



Roof Fall
Residents have right to know
Rajmeet Singh/TNS

Chandigarh, July 12
Can the public be denied access to findings of an inquiry held in the interest of public security?

A two-member committee headed by the deputy commissioner which held a probe to ascertain reasons for the roof collapse in the Sector 26 Grain Market submitted its findings to the Chandigarh administration on July 10. However, these are not being made public on “administrative” grounds.

While the union government as well as state governments have been encouraging people to use the Right to Information Act (RTI), yet such findings conducted in the interest of public safety are being held back, simply because the top bosses have had no time to go through the findings.

This has resulted in speculation about the “real” reasons for the roof collapse.

Former member of Parliament Satya Pal Jain said city residents had every right to know the findings at the earliest, especially when several other public buildings in the Sector 26 market and other parts of the city are in a dilapidated condition.

A senior functionary said the findings would be soon made public after the Administrator had gone through the report.

Instructions had been issued to the officials concerned to keep the findings “highly confidential.” The police, after lodging an FIR against unknown persons, is waiting for the inquiry report so that criminal action may be initiated against those found responsible.

“The residents have every right to know what the findings are,” said SK Sood, a trader in the Sector 26 market.

It may be mentioned that the probe committee was to suggest corrective and precautionary measures to be adopted in respect of other buildings and sheds in the market complex.



Poll officials leave residents fuming
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 12
With the team of the UT election department entrusted with door-to-door videography for preparing photo ID cards failing to keep date with the electorate of Sector 44 yesterday, residents have been put to a lot of inconvenience.

They alleged the team, which was to prepare voter ID cards of those who were left out yesterday, did not turn up. This was despite the fact that the department, through written notices a few days ago, had asked the residents to remain at home for being videographed for the cards, Jai Dev Sharma, a resident, alleged.

In the absence of the team, scores of residents, were irked at the official apathy. Efforts of residents to contact the department failed as BSNL telephones in Sector 17 were not working. The matter would be brought to the minister of state for finance Pawan Bansal and the EC, Sharma added.



350 structures knocked down
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 12
The enforcement staff today resumed its demolition drive to remove unauthorised structures in the Sector 25 Kumhar Colony. The land under the colony has to be handed over to Panjab University.

Around 350 vacant structures were removed. Since the affected persons have already shifted to alternative sites, the demolition could be carried out without resistance.

The drive would continue tomorrow to remove another 400 structures, an official said.



Broadband link still poor
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 12
Even as the BSNL claims “near normalcy” in the restoration of the landline services, the restoration of broadband services is giving it a tough time.

According to sources, the telephone exchange had been repaired and “normal” landline services resorted. However, individual complaints continue to pour in. An official informed that about 1,000 broadband connections of the 2,000 connections being served through the Sector 17 telephone exchange were yet to be made functional. They should be functional in a day or two, the official added.

The sources said it had taken a long time to replace the cables which had melted in the fire. Officials claimed that the complaints, particularly those related to the broadband, were on account of the fact that field staff had been deputed for the laying of the cables for the restoration of the telecom link.



Pubs, hotels to stay open till 2 am
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 12
The District Magistrate has prohibited commercial operations at restaurants, pubs, wine shops, discos and clubs operating till late in the night.

The magistrate has ordered that running of such activities on roadsides and public places between 1 am and 4.30 am would be prohibited for 60 days, starting from July 12.

The order would not apply to coffee shops in hotels, hospitals, chemist shops and petrol pumps. Restaurants, pubs, discos and clubs have been allowed to be open up to 2 am on Saturdays and Sundays. Cyber cafes would be allowed to be open up to 2 am on all days.



I was forced to compromise, says Sanghi
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 12
Former nominated councillor, P.C. Sanghi, today alleged that the Chandigarh police, in connivance with the president of the local Samajwadi Party, forced him to compromise.

In his complaint with the SSP, Sanghi alleged that supporters of the Samajwadi leader, Shivi Jaiswal, and K.K. Beniwal, husband of councillor Anju Beniwal, along with Dr A.P. Sanwaria “forced” him to sign a compromise. He alleged that he was harassed at the police station for three hours.

Sanghi had alleged that Beniwal and Jaiswal, along with two others, manhandled him in a park in Sector 21-B.



IT raid on business units

Chandigarh, July 12
Officials of the income tax department today conducted surveys at several business establishments in the city and Mohali.

According to sources, IT sleuths searched the premises of leading furniture sellers and kitchen accessory units in Industrial Area, Phases I and II, Chandigarh. Establishments in Phase 7, Industrial Area, Phase I, Phase 7 and Phase 9 were also searched.

Several incriminating documents were seized. The amount of evasion would be known later. — TNS



Tribune lensman’s pic voted best

Chandigarh, July 12
Pradeep Tewari, a staff photographer with The Tribune, has bagged the first position in the prestigious worldwide photo contest ‘Images of Health and Disability 2007’, organised by the WHO.

His picture, ‘Running’, taken in early 2006, steered clear of three rounds of selection to make it to the top, out of several thousand entries. ‘Running’ brings alive a polio-affected child’s zeal to compete with his able-bodied peers in a race organised at a local slum.

Voted the best picture by WHO delegates, who presided over the last round of selection, ‘Running’ has won for Tewari $ 1000 and one set of ICF publications. — TNS



City not ready for rains
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 12
Despite tall claims by the Chandigarh administration regarding monsoon preparedness, travellers today had a tough time at the subway dividing Sectors 11 and 15 following heavy rain. Water in low-lying areas made it difficult for vehicles.

Gurnam Singh, a resident, said: “I climbed the road divider on the top of the subway to cross the road because there was no place to walk across safely in the subway.”

Nanhi, a student of Government College, said: “I could not cross over on my scooter when I came for my classes in the morning. In fact, some cars had to turn back.”



Tips for safe driving
Right turning lane

When a car has to make a right turn, the correct way to do so is to move to the area marked Y and then enter the right turning lane.

‘Use headlights to see and let others see too!’

Courtesy: Safe Driving, compiled by Cdr Swarup J Sarma




BSNL fails to connect

The major fire that broke out at a telephone exchange of Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL), Punjab Telecom Circle, Sector 17, recently has badly affected the telecom services all over the region. More than one lakh phones were disconnected, broadband and internet users were left in the lurch while banks and ATMs were practically non-functional. Other telecom networks, railway and airline bookings were also affected. The stock market and other financial transactions conducted through the net virtually collapsed. This caused a loss worth several crores. Although BSNL authorities are trying to restore the services, the results are far from satisfactory even after 11 days.

M.L. Garg, Chandigarh

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‘Molestation’ bid by PGI guard
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 12
An attendant at the PGI has alleged that a security guard used abusive language and tried to molest her. However, a PGI spokesperson, denying the allegation, said the guard had asked her for her identity card as she was trying to go inside posing as a staff member.

Kusum, a paramedic at a private clinic in the city, said she was attending to a relative admitted in the labour room of the PGI. As some tests were carried out at a private laboratory, she was going to the labour room to give the reports.

The guard deputed at the gate of Nehru Hospital misbehaved with her and tried to molest her, she alleged in her complaint.

The PGI spokesperson said the complainant was asked to show her identity card as she was wearing a white coat and posing as a staff member of the hospital. This led to an argument, the spokesperson added.



Three cars stolen
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 12
Three cars were stolen from the city. Sikha Gupta of Sector 37 reported to the police that her Skoda car was stolen from Sector 35 on Thursday.

Similarly, J.S. Bedi of Sector 40 lodged a complaint with the police that his Indica car was stolen from his house on Tuesday night.

In another incident, Pankaj Sharma of Sector 33 reported to the police that his Verna car was stolen from his house on July 10.



Drunkard found dead

Nayagaon, July 12
A 50-year-old Kansal resident was found dead outside his house here this morning. The victim, Wazir Singh, reportedly died due to heavy consumption of alcohol.

According to the police, Wazir Singh was working at the Haryana secretariat and had not gone to office for the past two-three days. “His friends have said that he used to drink heavily and had been drinking for the past two days. Neighbours had seen him fall many times,” the SHO of Nayagaon said. — TNS



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