P U N J A B    S T O R I E S


Mob attacks demolition squad
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, July 17
Two residents of the Dhapai Road locality here today threatened self-immolation in case the demolition squad, accompanied by a police team, acting under the direction of the Punjab and Haryana High Court, did not return. The squad had gone to the locality to demolish illegal structures on government land.

The Municipal Corporation demolition squad also faced stone-pelting from a mob which had collected in the locality. Municipal Corporation vehicles also sustained damage and the squad had to make a hasty retreat at the crack of dawn here today.

The residents damaged the vehicle of the assistant town planner who, along with duty magistrate Rajinder Singh and a police party, had gone to demolish the encroachments in the Dhapai Road locality. The police fired tear gas shells after the pelting began. This led to two persons getting injured.

The police has registered a case and arrested Surjan Singh, Ramesh Singh and also Sonu and Lal Chand for their attempt to commit suicide, besides registering cases against half a dozen residents of the locality.

Giving details of the incident commissioner Hussan Lal said the corporation was acting on the orders of the High Court to demolish the illegal buildings. He said the entire episode had been videographed and the recording would be presented to the High Court.


Cricket academy for Bathinda: Sukhbir
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 17
Reflecting different moods at a meet-the-press programme at the Press Club here, Sukhbir Badal today denied reports that he was waiting to “become the Chief Minister,” said efforts were on to convince the third front on the candidature of B.S. Shekhawat, promised that urban development would be top priority and claimed that a cricket academy would be set up in Bathinda.

On his own succession to the top post in Punjab, he said “it is for the party to decide.” The SAD-BJP combine, under Parkash Singh Badal, would continue to rule Punjab for the next 25 years.

Sukhbir Badal, who is the working president of the Shiromani Akali Dal, said “Shekhwat is the best choice for the country” and efforts were being made to convince the UNPA in this regard.

The statement assumes significance as the party, which is one of the constituents of the NDA, enjoys good rapport with certain UNPA allies, including the Indian National Lok Dal .

Sukhbir Badal maintained that Pratibha Patil was the wrong choice made by the UPA. "Never before has there been so much of mudslinging in a presidential poll", he added. Describing as "unfortunate" that there was no unanimity among political parties on the name of a single candidate for the office of President, he said "it is for the first time that a debate has been taking place among political outfits on the name of the person to be elected President."

Sukhbir Badal claimed that none of the SAD workers was involved in alleged forcible conversion of followers of Dera Sacha Sauda in Punjab.

He said the main stress of the state government would be on improving the infrastructure, attracting investment in the industrial sector and rejuvenating the agri sector. “You will see a new Punjab,” he said.

The Board of Control for Cricket in India had approved a cricket academy at Bathinda and a Rs 25 crore stadium would be built.

Commenting on the economy of Punjab, Sukhbir Badal claimed that the previous Congress government had no economic vision and made no efforts to rejuvenate the economy.

Not a single unit of power was added in the past five years, he said, pointing out that the SAD-BJP government had drawn up a blueprint to make Punjab a surplus power state in the next three to five years.

Referring to the revival of the vidhan parishad, he said the state government would be approaching the central government on this issue. Many persons who could not make it to the Vidhan Sabha could be adjusted in the parishad, he added.

He also talked about grand plans to have new transport and irrigation policies. The irrigation policy would focus on the remodelling of canals and new water channels.


Two cops, scribe booked for extortion
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, July 17
The local police registered a case on the complaint of a local resident, Ajit Pal Singh, against two policemen and a journalist under Sections 7 and 13 (2) of the Prevention of Corruption Act and Sections 384 (punishment for extortion) and 511 of the IPC.

Talking to The Tribune here today DSP Pritpal Singh Thind said the police had arrested ASI Maghar Singh in this case so far, while the another accused, head constable Kewal Krishan, was still at large. However, as the name of the journalist was not mentioned in the FIR, the police was investigating the matter to know his identity, he added.

The DSP also said Maghar Singh was today produced in a local court, where he was remanded in daylong police custody.

The DSP said Ajit had submitted an application to the Sangrur SSP, stating two policemen and a journalist were harassing him and demanding money from him.

The DSP said as per the occurrences of July 14 a girlfriend of Ajit came to Sangrur from Bagrian village and Ajit took her to a vacant house situated in Gurdaspura basti, near here. When the residents of the area made a noise about the two being in the house, Ajit and the girl escaped by jumping from the roof of the house. Ajit managed to flee, but the girl sustained injuries.

The residents caught her and handed her over to the police. He further said the girl had told the policemen that Ajit was her friend and she had come here to meet him on her own.

The DSP further said according to Ajit ASI Maghar Singh and Kewal Krishan had demanded Rs 15,000 from him so as to not take any action against him and the girl. He said the journalist had demanded Rs 20,000 from Ajit through his friend, Pardeep, so as to not make the case public through the media.


One-time settlement scheme for ST arrears
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 17
The Punjab government today announced a scheme for one-time settlement to clear sales tax arrears by trade and industry.

The government will charge Rs 300 per lakh for the clearance of such arrears under deemed assessment for the pre-VAT period. The government also decided to consider the adoption of the Haryana model for the VAT regime in the state.

The government is expected to slash VAT from 12 per cent to 4 per cent on certain commodities after the recommendation of the newly constituted committee. Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal here today held a meeting with representatives of trade and industry on these issues.

Badal said a committee of officers led by the chief secretary would look into various aspects of the demands raised by members of different delegations at today's meeting.

Badal announced that district industries committees would be constituted to give representation to all segments of trade and industry to bridge the communication gap between industry and the government.

Sources said that such meetings were being held by Badal keeping an eye on the Municipal Corporation elections in cities like Ludhiana, Jalandhar and Amritsar.

Badal also announced that in future no official of the PSEB would visit the premises of industrialists for the checking the power load if electronic meters were installed outside the factory.

Badal also asked PUDA to look into the matter of external development charges under the PAPR Act, 1995, and conversion charges to check the depression in the real estate market. The Chief Minister also agreed to the proposal of the Laghu Udyog Bharti led by its president, Dinesh Lakra, to grant capital subsidy to industry instead of any specific partner.


Jain’s detention: CM was unaware of orders
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 17
More than 24 hours after the Punjab police detained MLA from Moga Joginder Jain, it today realised the need to clarify that the action was taken at the behest of the central investigating agency.

Surprisingly, Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal was kept out of the loop of information relating to the detention of Jain last evening. Badal came to know about it from his own office, which was informed by reporters seeking the version of the Punjab government, a well-placed source said, adding that it could have easily been construed as a case of “political vendetta” and the Chief Minister wanted to know all details.

Today, the Punjab police said the orders to detain Jain were passed by a joint secretary, government of India.

It was said that Jain was going to Hong Kong via Bangkok by a Thai Airways flight (no.TG-915). After customs clearance at Indira Gandhi airport , New Delhi, on January 29, 1988, he was intercepted and was accompanied by a friend, Manohar Lal Grover, who, on questioning, alleged that the person with whom he was travelling in the name of Mohan Lal on passport no.Y-152085 was actually Joginder Jain.

On the search of Jain’s suitcase, foreign currency amounting to Rs 16.12 lakh was allegedly found concealed under a layer of sweets. The amount recovered was seized under the customs act, 1962.

The detention orders were sent to the Punjab government by the government of India on February 3, 1988, and then sent to the SSP, Faridkot, for implementation. The orders could not be implemented because Jain had obtained a stay from the Calcutta High Court.

Correspondence ensued between the Punjab police and various agencies, the government of India and the state home department. The joint commissioner of customs, IGI airport, in a communication dated June 16, 2006, again asked the Punjab police about the status of the case with reference to the execution of the detention orders. The letter also informed the Punjab police that the representation of Jain stood rejected. 


Contempt Notice
Punjab issues modified notification
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 17
The Punjab government has removed Category III and Category IV from clause 39 of the notification pertaining to admission to postgraduate degree and diploma medical programmes for the session 2007.

Category III refers to “NRI-sponsored candidates ” and Category IV refers to “Indians who were ready to pay in foreign currency (US dollars)”.

This was stated in an affidavit by Jagjit Puri, secretary, Medical Education and Research, Punjab, against whom the Punjab and Haryana High Court had issued contempt notice on July 12. The High Court had on July 12, while considering a petition by Sohrav Arora, observed that Category III and Category IV incorporated in clause 39 of the Punjab government’s notification, dated March 21,2007, were in flagrant violation of the law laid down by the Apex Court in P.A.Inamdar vs State of Maharashtra .

The High Court had asked the secretary to explain why contempt proceedings should not be initiated against him for flouting the Apex Court orders.

The secretary further stated in his affidavit that the provisions regarding the NRI seats were incorporated in the various graduate and postgraduate courses and an Act was passed by the state legislature vide Act No 6 of 2006. As such, the action taken and the necessary changes brought out were done in a bona fide manner.

A new modified notification, dated July 13, has been issued which says that “the Governor of Punjab is pleased to amend the para 39 of the notification to the extent that ‘Category III and Category IV’ stands deleted”.

Another note has been inserted after Category II in para 39 of the notification saying “any seat remaining vacant under the NRI quota till the last date of admission in state colleges shall go to general pool and in the private colleges shall go to the management/minority quota”.

A copy of the modified notification has been forwarded to the Vice-Chancellor, Baba Farid University of Health Sciences, Faridkot, the Vice-Chancellor of Guru Nanak Dev University and the Vice-Chancellor of Punjabi University.

Incidentally, the Chandigarh administration is also going to carry out similar modifications according to Anupam Gupta, senior standing counsel of the administration. The next hearing on the case is fixed for July 24.


Boy thrashed by teacher for skipping school
Manish Sirhindi
Tribune News Service

Rajpura, July 17
A 14-year-old boy, Paramjit Singh, was hospitalised after his maths teacher mercilessly beat him up yesterday for having failed to attend school on Saturday.

Paramjit Singh, a student of Khalsa Senior Secondary School, was allegedly thrashed several times by his teacher, Harpreet Singh.

“My son was traumatised and would not speak to us on his return from school. It took a lot of coaxing on our part to have him tell us what had happened,” said Mukhtiar Singh, the boy’s father, adding that he seemed to have developed hearing problems after the incident.

Mukhtiar Singh said his son could not attend school on Saturday as he had fallen ill. When he attended school on today, his maths teacher began beating him, even before he could explain the reasons for his being absent.

Perturbed, Mukhtiar Singh accompanied by friends went to the principal’s house. Principal Harchand Singh Gill simply showed them the door, taunting:” Your child has just been beaten, not killed.”

The boy’s parents reported the matter to the police, which registered a case. DSP Bhupinder Singh said action would be taken after a preliminary inquiry.

Meanwhile, the school authorities today constituted a three-member committee to verify the allegations levelled against the schoolteacher. The principal of the school could not be contacted for his comment.


Transport Unions
‘Follow pattern of southern states’
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, July 17
Charan Singh Lohara, president, All-India Motor Transport Congress, today urged motor transporters of the state to follow the pattern of transporters of southern states in the formation of transport unions.

Addressing a press conference here after attending a function organised here by motor transporters from various districts of Punjab, Lohara said motor transport unions had been politicised in the state. It had caused huge damage to their organisational set up as factionalism had increased among truck operators.

He added that to overcome this problem, the truck operators should form and conduct their respective unions on the pattern which was being followed by truck operators belonging to the southern states. There the state governments always give due honour and recognition to the truck operators union while the same thing was missing in Punjab, he said.

Lohara said though the truck operators were being taxed by the state government as truck operators were being taxed in foreign countries, they were not being given any facilities in Punjab which are available to them in foreign countries. He said that he would meet the Chief Minister in this connection shortly.

He said the All-India Motor Transport Congress would also demand that transport driving schools be set up in each district.

He added that his organisation would also fight against the corruption prevailing in various state government departments connected with motor transport.

Malkit Singh Keetu, president, Transport Congress, Punjab, Birinder Singh Mann and Ram Singh were present were also present on the occasion.


Amritsar MC: Sidhu alleges billboard scam
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, July 17
BJP MP Navjot Singh Sidhu has urged the state government to formulate an advertising and taxation policy for the municipal corporations in the state. He said this while talking to mediapersons here today as he had an inkling of a scam in the allotment of billboards sites by the Amritsar Municipal Corporation (AMC).

Sidhu said he would seek details from the commissioner of the AMC about the total number of billboards being put up in the holy city and why tenders were not floated to auction these during the past five years.

This could have generated extra revenue to the tune of Rs 5 to 6 crore per annum to the cash-starved corporation, he added.

He alleged that the corporation was charging a meagre amount of Rs 5,000 for each unipole from the councillors, who later sublet these for Rs 1 lakh each, pocketing the excess amount. The meagre amount that the corporation received made it difficult to run the civic bodies.

He said he had written to local bodies minister Manoranjan Kalia in this regard and urged him to formulate a constant policy in this regard so that whoever wanted to put up billboards should pay for the same to the corporation.

He said unless and until sufficient funds were not provided to these corporations, they would not be able to function properly. 


DFO’s MoU with wife’s NGO
Punjab govt sets new record: To allow DFOs to plant trees 
Aditi Tandon
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 17
The issue involving divisional forest officer (DFO) R.R. Kakkar signing an MoU with the NGO chaired by his wife took an interesting turn today, with the Punjab government legalising the DFO’s action by taking a policy decision on the matter.

A high-level committee of the government today met and decided to accord to all territorial DFOs in the state the power to undertake tree plantation through recognised NGOs and under the guidance of DFOs concerned. Guidelines to this effect would soon be issued.

Maintaining studied silence on the fact that Kakkar signed the MoU on the behalf of the forest department without seeking its permission, the department patted the officer’s back for his public spirited action “meant to enhance the green cover to maintain ecological balance and aesthetic beauty” of the road in question. Incidentally, these are the exact words the DFO used for describing his action in the MoU he signed with NGO Sahyogi, on May 8.

Further “setting the record straight”, Punjab forest secretary RN Gupta said the government is of the view that involving NGOs for scientific plantation of trees is accorded priority by the Central government since the governments face paucity of resources for vital afforestation.

Considering this, Punjab has decided to issue guidelines to territorial DFOs to undertake plantations through recognised NGOs under the guidance of DFOs. Not just that, the government also decided to permit Sahyogi and other NGOs of “high repute” to undertake plantation in the ecological interest of the state.

The secretary said that a draft MoU was being examined to ensure that there was no violation of relevant acts and rules that cover forest plantation by NGOs. “It will be stipulated clearly that the NGOs shall undertake this project as approved by the Punjab forest department and the NGO Sahyogi cannot claim right, title or interest in the land in question and will have no commercial interest in the trees so planted,” he added.

It is pertinent to mention here that Sahyogi was formed only on April 15 this year and the MoU signed soon after. It is thus yet to prove “high repute”. Forest secretary, when contacted, said nothing about the remarks of Principal Chief Conservator of Forests (PCCF) who had yesterday made clear to the government that a DFO could not sign MoUs on the government’s behalf, unless authorised.

In fact, the department found a way out of the problem by taking DFO Kakkar’s case as a reason to frame a major policy on the matter. Soon all DFOs will have the power to allow plantations through NGOs – something Punjab government says will help enhance the forest/tree cover from 6.3 per cent to 15 per cent. 


Abandoned child adopted
Our Correspondent

Photo by Raj SadoshAbohar, July 17
An abandoned girl child found near the sub canal here was adopted by Yogesh Chhabra and his wife Amita of Santa Cruz, Mumbai. Sarpanch of Daulatpura, Kuldeep Singh, had on Thursday morning informed the Khuyiansarwar police and an NGO, Nar Seva Narayan Seva, about the abandoned child.

Volunteers and the police rushed to the village and got the baby admitted in a child-care centre run by Dr Satish Jain here. The process to find parents to adopt the girl was started. Many couples came forward to adopt the girl. Finally, the sub-committee meant for the purpose, headed by SDM Dr N. S. Brar, chose the couple from Mumbai. The couple was childless 12 years after getting married.


Minimum wages for safai karamcharis sought
Our Correspondent

Hoshiarpur, July 17
Despite working in squalor, a majority of safai karamcharis are not being covered under the Minimum Wages Act and are getting the lowest monthly wages in the country. This was stated by Santosh Chowdhary, chairperson, National Commission for Safai Karamcharis, while taking to mediapersons here yesterday.

The first Minimum Wages Act was introduced in 1936, implemented in 1948 in which safai karamcharis were completely ignored. On account of her efforts, Parliament amended the Act on November 7, 2005, and had included sweeping and cleaning in it, she claimed.

She had recently written to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh requesting him to issue directions for a uniform wage pattern for the safai karamcharis in the country.

“Their work is similar in nature irrespective of the place they are working at. Therefore, they should not be put at the mercy of different authorities to get their minimum wages fixed. A safai karamchari in Arunachal Pradesh gets Rs 55 daily as minimum wage. In Nicobar district, he gets Rs 139.

Only 15 per cent of them are on permanent payroll and the remaining are working at daily wages, contract or part time in urban local bodies and other civic institutions, she said.


‘Keep off religious matters’

Fatehgarh Sahib, July 17
State president of the Bharatiya Janata Party Rajinder Bhandari today said the party had kept silent on the dera issue as it considered that the political parties should not interfere in religious matters. Speaking to mediapersons at a local college at Alour, near here, Bhandari said the Shiromani Gurdwara Prabandhak Committee (SGPC) was playing a positive role in resolving the dera row. He, however, condemned the attack on the convoy of Dera Sacha Sauda chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh at Sirsa yesterday.

Bhandari said there were no differences between the BJP and the SAD and the two parties would share seats in the upcoming municipal elections just like they did in 1997 and 2000. — TNS


Master plan for rural areas on anvil
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, July 17
Minister for rural development and panchayati raj Ranjit Singh Brahmpura while addressing the media here today said a master plan for the proper and planned development of rural areas of the state was on the anvil.

He said the master plan would be meant for rural areas and would help stop unplanned construction there. He said the government would construct concrete walls around village ponds to stop encroachments.

The minister said the ministry had constituted flying squads in the three zones of Patiala, Jalandhar and Ferozepur to check on the development works being undertaken with the government grants in these areas. He said he has also instructed the BDPO to decide the cases of alleged grabbing of panchayati land within three months.

He said recently the Centre had sanctioned Rs 126 crore for the development of the rural areas in the border districts of Gurdaspur, Amritsar, Tarn Taran and Ferozepur. He said the state government had also sought Rs 8,000 per acre as compensation for the farmers having their fields across the barbed wire on the Indo-Pak border.


Officers were busy elsewhere, Josh clarifies
Absence during visit
Our Correspondent

Hoshiarpur, July 17
Reacting sharply to the allegation levelled against her by Santosh Chowdhary, chairperson, National Commission for Safai Karamcharis, which appeared in a section of the press today, Mohinder Kaur Josh, chief parliamentary secretary, Punjab, refuted the charges.

She said that she had defeated Ram Lubhaya, husband of Santosh Chowdhary, in the last Assembly elections from Shamchaurasi segment. This might be the reason that Santosh Chowdhary had allegedly developed ill will against her.

It may be recalled that Santosh Chowdhary in a press conference yesterday alleged about the uncooperative attitude of government officers of various departments at the behest of Mohinder Kaur Josh during her visit to Simbli village, Phgulana, Mehtiana and Bhungarni where none of them turned up.

In a press note here this afternoon, Mohinder Kaur Josh clarified that on account of the Hoshiarpur bandh call in the ongoing dispute of Dera Fattu Shah Bibi Sahiba Rameshvarm Mahadev temple, Rahimpur, all officers were engaged in maintaining law and order in the city yesterday. This was the reason why they could not be present on Santosh’s visit to various villages.


Relief for BJP dist chief in suicide case
Tribune News Service

Kapurthala, July 17
In what may be termed as temporary relief to district BJP president Hira Lal Dhir, the police has decided not to arrest him, at least for the time being, for abetment to suicide in a case registered against him on July 12 on the basis of a suicide note of Sukhdev Singh of the Tarlokpura locality.

The district police has decided to send the note to the forensic lab in Chandigarh to get the opinion of a calligraphist.

SHO P.S. Bajwa, investigating officer (IO) in the case, said prima facie it seemed that the statement in the suicide note had not been written by Sukhdev Singh. It had come to his notice that the signature in the note was that of Sukhdev as the police had matched it with his bank signatures,but the statement in the note does not seem to have been written by him. Charanjit Kumar, SP (HQ), said he was also verifying the allegations levelled in the suicide note that Sukhdev had been tortured by the police.

When contacted, Dhir claimed that he was not at fault in this case. He had just called city SHO Satnam Singh to take action against Sukhdev Singh as a contractor Jamir Khan had approached him claiming that the police was taking no action in connection with the theft at his house despite he having named Sukhdev.

Jamir Khan had formally submitted a complaint on June 25 accusing Sukhdev of stealing Rs 30,000 and a passport from his house. However, no FIR had been registered in the theft case.

Sukhdev had allegedly been called and detained for several hours a number of times at the city police station. Feeling humiliated, he reportedly committed suicide by taking some poisonous substance on July 12.


Manpreet for freezing power subsidy
Sarbjit Dhaliwal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 17
The power subsidy bill, which will touch Rs 2,200 crore for the current financial year, is worrying the Punjab government .

The government is providing free power to the farm and some other sectors. Two years ago, the subsidy bill was about Rs 1,450 crore. Last year it was about Rs 1,800 crore.

Asked in this regard, finance minister Manpreet Singh Badal said there was a strong case for freezing power subsidy at a certain level. “ Otherwise, the way the bill is increasing, it will go up to Rs 5,000 crore in the next four years”, he added. For paying the power subsidy bill to the PSEB, the government will have to cut capital expenditure in the case of some other sector.

The growing power subsidy bill has added to the worries of Manpreet Badal. He is not a supporter of giving free power to the farm sector. He has been arguing for making the PSEB a financially robust organisation as it has to play the most important role in the development of the state.

Experts on the power sector say the PSEB, which is a sick organisation, has reached a stage where the power subsidy to the farm sector will have to be withdrawn. Otherwise, the collapse of the PSEB is imminent.

By way of increase in power tariff, the PSEB is not expected to gain much during the current fiscal year.


PSEB engineers question govt policy
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 17
The Punjab government was today urged to take immediate steps to save the Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB) from financial collapse. Under the banner of the PSEB Engineers Association, a deputation of senior engineers held a lengthy meeting with the finance minister Manpreet Singh Badal here today.

The engineers present told the finance minister that the state government, PSEB management and Punjab State Electricity Regulatory Commission were leading the PSEB to ruin.

Among those who met the finance minister were Padamjit Singh, M.S. Bajwa, P.S. Sarao, Baldev Singh and H.S. Bedi.

They asked as to why the PSEB was not being allowed to file the petition to enhance power tariffs.


PSEB worker electrocuted

Banur, July 17
A repairman (work charge) working for the Punjab State Electricity Board of electrocution here today while he was repairing a switch near Jaanfali village.

Victim Ranjit Singh a resident of Banur, was working on a line atop a pole. Suddenly current ran through the line and he was electrocuted. He was rushed to a private hospital where he was declared brought dead. Ranjit was working on the line with a requisite permit during which the electricity supply to the area had been shut down. — TNS


Arora takes over as MC commissioner

Patiala, July 17
S.P Arora has taken over as the new commissioner of the Municipal Corporation. He has taken over from S.K Ahluwalia, who has been given additional charge in addition to his duties as commissioner, Patiala division.

Arora took over his assignment in the presence of Ahluwalia and other officers of the municipal corporation. Several Akali and BJP leaders were also present.

Earlier, Arora was additional secretary, department of food and civil supplies. He has also been the ADC of Bathinda and Fathegarh Sahib. — TNS


Power suspended today
Tribune News Service

Patiala, July 17
Due to repair work at the 66 Kv power grid sub-station, Lower Mall, the power supply to Desi Mehmandari, T.B. Hospital Road, Sheran Wala Gate and Tawakli Mor will been suspended from 7 am to 9 am tomorrow.


Amarinder’s bail plea hearing to continue today
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 17
Retaining the probing tone and tenor of yesterday’s hearing, the two-hour-long arguments (to be continued tomorrow) on former Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh’s bail plea today resulted in an intense debate on points of law and merit.

Justice Ranjit Singh of the Punjab and Haryana High Court started the hearing on a profound note saying: “First thing to consider is that if Adri Dharan Dass judgment by the Supreme Court has laid down any proposition which is different from the apex court’s Constitution Bench’s judgment on parameters to be considered while granting bail, anticipatory or otherwise.”

Importantly, Amarinder’s counsel R.S.Ghai submitted: “Adri Dharan Dass judgment is not applicable in this case.In fact, the judgment is per incuriam (ignorant of settled provisions of law).”

The judge then asked if the counsel meant the Adri case should be ignored as it had not taken into consideration earlier settled provisions of law laid down by the apex court. To this query, the counsel replied in affirmative.

He said a part of the Adri judgment was per incuriam,i.e a part of the judgment should be ignored as it was careless and without any consideration to the settled provisions of law enunciated by the Constitution Bench of the apex court.

There was a discussion on the admissibility as evidence of the pen drive and veracity of Chetan Gupta’s (co-accused in Ludhiana City Centre case) statement made to the Punjab Vigilance Bureau.

Taking up cudgels on behalf of the state of Punjab, advocate-general H.S. Mattewal said: “It is not a fit case for grant of bail. The court should consider the seriousness of the case. The city centre case involves a big scam and the FIR was registered when the petitioner was the Chief Minister.”

The judge acknowledged the seriousness of the case but asked Mattewal to “highlight the role of the petitioner”. Mattewal averred that the contract given to a private party bore the final stamp of approval by the petitioner (Amarinder). The advocate-general also referred to the high court Division Bench’s decision refusing relief to B.I.S. Chahal and said the averments of the petitioner in the case in question too were similar to Chahal’s contentions.

At this, the judge observed: “ I am not bound by the Division Bench judgment. You have to convince me that material with prosecution is sufficient in this case so as to warrant no relief to the petitioner. The Division Bench may have found sufficient material in case of Chahal to arrive upon its decision.”

But Mattewal continued relentlessly to impress upon the judge that “investigation is going on and the state needed proper orders from the court. The bail orders will hamper the investigation”.

SLP ghost refuses to die

During the course of proceedings, Justice Ranjit Singh made a mention of the language used in the SLP by Punjab against the high court orders whereby relief had been given to various accused in the city centre case. At this, Mattewal replied that “regretfully, the language was inappropriate and the state counsel were always polite though there were some aberrations occassionally”.

Mattewal also said, to the utter surprise of those present, that he was not shown the SLP and it had been vetted by a senior lawyer. The judge expressed concern over this submission and said “it was not a good sign that the advocate-general of a state is not shown the SLP”.

The intense proceedings witnessed a lighter moment when the judge quipped that “Judges too are human beings so they can be touchy too” and Mattewal pitched in with “My Lords are more than human beings and enjoy a special grace of God to occupy this high chair”.


High Court
Notice to Punjab over Dera chief’s plea
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 17
Justice L.N. Mittal today issued notice of motion to Punjab over a petition by Dera Sacha Sauda head Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh seeking quashing of the FIR registered against him by the Bathinda police.The petitioner, through his counsel S.K.Garg Narwana, submitted that the FIR was nothing but an abuse of process of law. It was averred that the petitioner had never imitated Guru Gobind Singh and never wore blue attire as alleged in the FIR.

The petitioner submitted that the FIR was based on “false, frivolous and absurd charges”. It was asserted in the petitoin that the FIR was based on newspaper photograph and even that photograph did not give impression that Guru Gobind Singh’s “pictorial presentation”. It was also alleged that the FIR was lodged after “consultations, deliberations and confabulations”. The next hearing is on September 28.

PIL on martyr’s house disposed of

The Division Bench of Chief Justice Vijender Jain and Justice Mahesh Grover today disposed of a PIL on the preservation and protection of martyr Sukhdev’s house in Ludhiana following an affidavit by joint secretary of Cultural Affairs, Archeology and Museums, Punjab.


Flying academy gets stay
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 17
The Division Bench of Justice P. Sathasivam and Justice Rajive Bhalla of the Punjab and Haryana High Court yesterday issued a notice to Punjab for September 27 on the petition by the Birmi Flying Academy, Patiala. The court also stayed the dispossession of the academy located at the Patiala Flying Club.

The academy belongs to former Congress minister Malkit Singh Birmi. The Punjab government had leased out a hangar at the club to the petitioner academy. Recently, the government cancelled the lease, allegedly due to erratic functioning of the academy.


Grain Storage
Moga gets a first
Tribune News Service

Moga, July 17
The town has earned the honour of being the first in the country to have a state-of-the-art foodgrain storage and handling facility with the staggering capacity of 2 lakh tonnes.

Alok Sinha, chairman and managing director, Food Corporation of India (FCI), here today commissioned the base depot constructed by Adani Agri Logistics Limited (AALL), a member of Rs 18,000 crore Adani Group, under BOO (Build, Own and Operate) basis. The other base depot spread on 32 acres has been set up at Kaithal. He stated that the combine value of the projects at Kaithal and Moga was Rs 700 crore.

A.K Chaturvedi, adviser, FCI, said the central government awarded the first project to Punjab and following its success it would be implemented in other parts of the country. He congratulated the company for completing the project in 24 months against the scheduled 36 months.

Constructed on 42 acres, entire handling of the foodgrains is fully computerised and automated.


Students return from Canada
Tribune News Service

Ropar, July 17
Twelve senior students of Sahibzada Ajit Singh Academy here were invited by the City Council of Kamloops in British Columbia, Canada, to participate in the weeklong Canada Day celebrations.

The students left for Kamloops on June 20 and returned on July 10.

The students in the team were Parminder Singh, Amrinder Singh, Amandeep Singh, Anoop Singh Chahal, Harmandeep Singh, Hemant Rana, Suraj Jasra.


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