P U N J A B    S T O R I E S


Beant’s daughter denied entry into Burail Jail
Akash Ghai
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 28
Unlike yesterday, the Burail Jail, where the quantum of sentence to the accused in Beant Singh assassination case was to be pronounced today, turned into a fortress.

The security was so tight that even family members of the former Chief Minister were not allowed inside the jail premises.

Gurkanwal Kaur, daughter of late Beant Singh, and his grandson Ravneet Singh had to return disappointed as the security agencies did not allow them to enter the jail premises.

“Yesterday, they (the police) gave the reason that atmosphere was volatile and our presence could aggravate the situation. But, today they did not bother to give even the reasons for denial,” said a visibly upset Gurkanwal Kaur, who was social welfare minister during the Amarinder Singh regime.

“For us, being present at the time of verdict was an emotional moment. Undoubtedly, the denial hurt us, but I did not want to argue with the police, so I decided to go back”, she said while talking to The Tribune.

When asked whether she had taken permission from the authorities to attend the court proceedings, she said she had called up at the residences of inspector-general and senior superintendent of police, but they were not available.

“Now, I will meet Punjab Governor Gen S.F. Rodrigues (retd) regarding the issue”, added Gurkanwal.

Ravneet Singh, grandson of Beant Singh, while expressing disappointment over not being allowed entry, demanded that the accused should be awarded death penalty.

Echoing the sentiments of Gurkanwal Kaur, he said, “Only capital punishment will do the justice to the murderers of Beant Singh, who brought Punjab out of the darkness of terrorism”.

He also added that the whole family felt relieved and happy over the conviction of the accused.

However, he refused to comment on the acquittal of Navjot Singh.

“He has been acquitted in this case but another warrant against him is pending in New Delhi, I hope justice would be done there,” he added.

Meanwhile, N.S. Minhas, Navjot’s lawyer, informed that the CBI had taken Navjot to New Delhi today morning.

Minhas said the sessions court had issued a notice to the CBI over his plea that Navjot should not be taken to New Delhi and should be released immediately.

The CBI reply to the notice was expected on Monday. 


Navjot taken to New Delhi
Tribune News Service

Navjot Singh Chandigarh, July 28
Navjot Singh, a Mohali resident, who was acquitted by the CBI special court yesterday in the Beant Singh assassination case, was arrested today by the Delhi police as a warrant issued by a Delhi court on November 9, 1995, against him was pending.

A sedition case was registered against Navjot and four others at the New Delhi railway station police station and warrants were issued on November 9, 1995.

Navjot could not be taken to New Delhi earlier as a Chandigarh administration notification had barred those facing trial in the case to be taken out of the Burail jail. 


Four labourers die as earth caves in
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, July 28
Four labourers died in the Civil Lines area around noon today when they were digging earth at a proposed flats site when a huge volume of loose earth buried them alive. Three labourers, however, had a miraculous escape. They suffered minor injuries and were immediately taken to the civil hospital. Scores of firemen, policemen and even MC employees operating JCB machines were engaged in the rescue operation.

The volume of the earth under which the bodies lay buried was so much that two hours after the rescue operation the Army had to be called. Chief engineer of Vajra Corps Pradeep Yadu and commanding officer Dharam Rajan conducted the operation with over 50 jawans of 19 Engineer Regiment.

Those who died were Somi Dyal, Dinesh, Sunil Kumar and Ajay. The incident reportedly occurred when one of the owners, Jugal Kishore, of the building was supervising the work.

Most of the dead were from Baraich district in Uttar Pradesh. The labourers said they had been working at the site for the past six months. They said they were digging a trench for erecting a pillar when the mishap took place. They said the earth got probably loose due to heavy rain yesterday.

As deputy commissioner Ajeet Singh Pannu and SSP Arpit Shukla were trying to assess the situation, a resident from an adjacent house, Sandeep Singh, arrived on the spot, claiming that he had asked for a stay over the construction of the building in the civil court here, the hearing for which was due on August 10. He alleged that cracks had appeared in his house due to wrong construction procedures being followed.

He said he had complained to MC town planner Ramesh Chhabra and assistant town planner Dharam Pal. He added that the ATP had even visited the site 10 days back and told him that the construction rules were being duly followed.

Meanwhile, Pannu asked an MC assistant town planner to submit a report to him in this regard. Commissioner, MC, S.C. Talwar, said the inquiry was being conducted by joint commissioner, Rahul Gupta, who too stayed mum about the issue. Asked if the owner was to be blamed for the mishap, Talwar said, “We first want to get a complete inquiry conducted before passing any comments.”


Harpreet Murder Case
Co-accused allowed to go abroad
Tribune News Service

Patiala, July 28
Additional District and Sessions judge Bhupinder Singh today allowed Daljinder Kaur, a co-accused in the Harpreet Kaur case, who was daughter of Bibi Jagir Kaur, to visit England for two months against a bank guarantee of Rs 2 crore.

Daljinder, who is a close friend of Bibi Jagir Kaur, has also been accused of conniving in the killing of Harpreet. In the proceedings today she demanded permission to visit England for two months. The prosecution opposed it on the plea that she might not return.

The judge, however, allowed her to go abroad against a bank guarantee of Rs 2 crore. Manager of the State Bank of Patiala presented himself in the court to certify that Daljinder had Rs 2 crore in her account.

Meanwhile, the main witness in the case, Dalbir Kaur, a nurse who aborted the pregnancy of Harpreet, was cross-examined by the defence. Dalbir in a statement before the magistrate and the CBI had admitted that she had aborted the pregnancy of Harpreet at the behest of the accused.

The defence today pointed to variations in the statements given by Dalbir before the CBI and the magistrate. The matter that she committed an illegal act was also contested.

The arguments on the statements of Dalbir would continue on July 30, the next date of hearing. Bibi Jagir Kaur and all other main accused in the case were present in the court.


Threatening Letter
Vedanti unfazed
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, July 28
Akal Takht Jathedar Joginder Singh Vedanti here today said he was unfazed by the letter sent to him, which held out a threat to eliminate him by August 15 for going soft on the Dera Sacha Sauda issue.

The letter, received by post, has been sent by Fateh Singh Grewal of Sikhi Khandion Tikhi Action Committee to Vedanti and SGPC president Avtar Singh. It accuses both of putting off the Ratia conclave, which gave the impression that Akal Takht had failed to take strict action against the dera. This had hurt the sentiments of the Sikh community, the letter said.

Making light of the threat, Vedanti, who had come to attend a function organised at a local orphanage, said such threats were hollow and were issued by disgruntled elements who had no faith in the tenants of Sikhism.

The SGPC chief said the letter could have been sent from any quarter, even by a supporter of the Dera issue. “I have been involved in the service of the Panth for the past 32 years and I have no fear. There has been no other mission in life and I don’t think I have any reason to be scared of anybody,” he said.

He added that he had not expressed any suspicion to the police nor had sought stepping up of his security.

Meanwhile, SSP Kunwar Vijay Pratap Singh told the Tribune that Vedanti’s security had been beefed up. An FIR has been registered under Sections 505, 506, 507 of the IPC in this regard.


SAD-BJP govt faces fiscal crisis
Sarbjit Dhaliwal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 28
Punjab is in a financial spin. Its treasury is clearing bills on a selective basis. The authorities concerned in the treasury have been instructed to pass only important bills. Even employees keen on withdrawing money from their general provident fund are facing problems.

Sources said under pressure from employees, the government had now instructed the treasury to clear the bills of those employees who had applied for the withdrawal of money from their provident fund account to get their daughters married off. Besides, the bills of those employees who had applied for withdrawing money to pay the admission fee and other charges of their wards for higher education are also to be cleared by the treasury. Following a request from the wildlife department, the treasury has agreed to pass bills to procure feed and other such material for birds and animals in the Chattbir zoo.

As a fiscal imbalance has been created in the revenue receipts and expenditure, the treasury, on instructions from the state government, is resorting to the selective clearance of bills. The SAD-BJP government, which was formed only five months ago, is facing a crucial fiscal test. Its fiscal performance in the first quarter- April to June - of the current financial year is dismal. And this has happened when the economy at the national level is showing excellent growth and companies are showing big profits.

There has been only 5.3 per cent increase in the collection of revenue from VAT during the first three months as compared to the corresponding period last year. The collection from VAT in the first quarter was Rs 1407.27 crore whereas the figure for last year was Rs 1336.44 crore. The growth in revenue from VAT is contrary to the estimates of the state finance department which was expecting an increase in the range of 20 to 25 per cent. “ For us, the dismal growth in the revenue from VAT is a major source of worry”, said a senior officer of the state government.

However, a major jolt to the state government has come from the stamp duty sector. There has been a steep fall of 30 per cent in the revenue from stamp duty and registration during the first quarter this year. The collection of revenue in the first quarter is Rs 427.48 crore whereas it was Rs 611.50 crore during the corresponding period last year. In fact, the finance department has been expecting an increase of 25 per cent in the revenue from stamp duty and registration this year. It has pegged the collection from stamp duty and registration at Rs 2,200 crore during the current fiscal year while last year it was Rs 1,800 crore. After VAT, stamp duty is the second major source of revenue for the state government.

The fall in the income from stamp duty, etc, should be a major worry for the state. The slowing down of the sale and purchase of property in the state also points to the slowing down of the growth of the housing sector. “From the change of land use charges, a lot of hard cash is flowing into the state’s treasury.However, as the state government had withdrawn approvals for the change of land use in March this year, it hit revenue receipts from the real estate sector”, said a fiscal analyst.

Revenue receipts from electricity duty and Punjab Roadways have also gone down substantially. However, revenue has gone up from taxes on vehicles and state excise, etc. For restoring the fiscal balance and to gear up the tempo of development, the SAD-BJP government will have to pull its socks up in the days to come. Otherwise, the fiscal situation can worsen.


Rally, march mark protest against govt 
Tribune Reporters

Batala, July 28
Different unions of the Revenue Department organised a massive rally in protest against the state government and the police here today.

The Officers Association of Rural Development, Punjab, market committee, Punjab Subordinate Service Board and elementary trainee teachers also joined the protesting employees of the Rural Development Department of Panchayati Raj.

The protesters, wearing black badges, assembled at the New Mall Mandi. Later, they marched towards the SSP’s office, holding up traffic for four hours. The main road between the bus stand and the office of the SSP was barricaded to restrict the protesters.

Shiv Dev Singh, president of the association, Harjinder Singh Sidhu, Bahadar Singh and certain others alleged that the police had been functioning under pressure of certain political leaders as the police first registered an FIR after two days of the incident and later released the culprits. They also complained that the representations to the Chief Minister, DGP, principal secretary and ministers of the department had failed to draw their attention.

They later presented a charter of their demands to SDM Sandeep Rishi.


Red Cross rescues girl
Our Correspondent

Chabbewal (Hoshiarpur), July 28
The Family Counselling Centre of the District Red Cross Society (DRCS), Hoshiarpur, has given a new life to a young girl, who had suffered social, mental and physical torture at the hands of her family, by arranging and solemnising her marriage at the local Shakti temple on Thursday.

According to the secretary of the DRCS, the parents of the girl, Lalita Kumari (name changed), who were working in a local factory, used to torture her physically and mentally and made her do morally unacceptable work against her wishes.

Chairperson of the Family Counselling Centre Urveshi Tiwari immediately called a meeting of members of the centre and first of all made arrangements for her stay at a safe place. Tiwari initiated efforts to settle the dispute between the girl and her family. But instead of admitting their mistake, the parents of the girl started threatening their daughter.

Later, Tiwari decided to marry the girl to her fiance.

Members of the Hospital Welfare Section and the Family Counselling Centre approached Piare Lal Sharma, father of the boy, and persuaded the boy, Neeraj Kumar Sharma, to marry Lalita.


Drive to have green cover on highways
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, July 28
The Punjab government is planning to launch a major afforestation drive to cover newly built highways across the state. In order to provide green cover on BOT roads being built by private construction companies, deputy commissioner K.S Pannu has written a letter to chief secretary R.I Singh to incorporate a clause in the road-building tenders to plant trees while the roads are under construction.

Expressing concern, he said a major road-building operation was currently on under BOT, especially on the Amritsar-Jalandhar and Amritsar-Pathankot highways, where thousands of trees had been axed to pave way for the widening of roads. He said this would immediately upset the ecological imbalance and if new trees were not planted, the entire stretch of roads would not only become barren, but would also be a driver’s nightmare.

Taking the tree plantation drive to each and every household, the deputy commissioner has launched a plantation hotline at Red Cross Bhavan bearing telephone No. 0183-2500598 where plants will not only be provided free of cost, but will also be planted by the special task force constituted by the district administration. He said a number of people had come forward to take up the plantation drive.

The district administration has also planned to enhance the area under horticulture and has decided to plant fruit-bearing trees on 500 acres throughout the district. He lauded the efforts of various NGOs, individuals and commercial organisations in planting saplings along the approach roads to the city.


Include all dists in wheat scheme, says Sukhbir 
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 28
Acting president of the Shiromani Akali Dal Sukhbir Singh Badal has written to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh pleading for the "inclusion of all districts of Punjab in the wheat enhancement programme".

The union government has included seven districts of the state in the wheat enhancement and food security programme.


Protest against poor water supply
Tribune News Service

Pathankot, July 28
Residents of Ward No. 10 blocked the busy Pathankot-Dalhousie road for over two hours to protest against irregular water supply for the past over two months.

Traffic heading towards Kangra and Dalhousie was also disrupted for over two hours following the road blockade.

Up in arms against the local civic body for ignoring their genuine problems, the residents assembled at Simbal Chowk and held a protest raising anti-government and anti-municipal council slogans.

The protesters alleged that a tubewell supplying water to the ward had developed snags nine times in the past 45 days following which the daily lives of scores of residents had been affected adversely. Repeated representations to the officers concerned had failed to yield results, they alleged.

Municipal councillor of the ward Akshay Kumar alleged that the executive officer of the municipality was often unreachable, as he did not receive phone calls.

Interestingly, Master Mohan Lal, local MLA and Punjab transport minister, who is also a nominated member of the elected civic body, also got struck in the jam. He assured the protesters that regular supply of tank-load of water would be made to the ward and the defective tubewell would be repaired immediately. 


Protest against toll plazas
Our Correspondent

Hoshiarpur, July 28
Members of the Punjab Sangharsh Committee (PSC) today blocked vehicular and railway traffic at various places in the district to pressurise the state government for removing toll plazas, installed at the Balachaur-Dasuya and Hoshiarpur-Tanda routes.

Traffic on the Hoshiarpur-Jalandhar railway section was paralysed for more than an hour, as members of the PSC, led by their president Harish Khosla, squatted on the railway track at the Hoshiarpur-Phagwara railway crossing. Later, the SDM, Hoshiarpur, intervened and the traffic was resumed.

Earlier, the members assembled at the local Gaushala Bazar and took a procession to the railway crossing.

The activists also blocked vehicular traffic at Singriwla on Hoshiarpur-Jalandhar road, Naloian Chowk and Mangarh on the Hoshiarpur-Dasuya road, at Phagwara bypass on the Hoshiarpur-Phagwara road, near Hardokhanpur on the Hoshiarpur-Tanda road, near Truck Union, Mahilpur on the Hoshiarpur-Chandigarh road, Banga and Nurpur Bedi Chowks at Garhshankar and at Saila Khurd on the Garhshankar-Mahilpur road. They parked tractor-trailors, trucks and canters across the roads. The commuters of these roads had to face a lot of inconvenience.

Harish Khosla said the PSC had given an ultimatum to the Punjab government to remove all toll plazas from the above said build-operate-transfer (BOT) roads within 15 days, failing which they would further intensify their stir.

Meanwhile, Anita Punj, SSP, Hoshiarpur, claimed that vehicular traffic was diverted at all blockade points for the smooth running of vehicles and to avoid any inconvenience to the public. No untoward incident had been reported from any part of the district. The police had been deployed at all main crossings in Hoshiarpur city as a precautionary measure, she added.


Suicide by young live-in couple
Tribune News Service

Jagraon, July 28
A live-in relationship of a young couple ended in a tragedy when both allegedly immolated to death in Shanti Nagar colony of Jagraon this evening.

Manpreet Singh (25) and Raishi (30) had met in central jail where the man used to go to meet his mother, who was jailed for killing her daughter-in-law(Manpreet's first wife). Raishi was also facing trial for murder for killing her mother-in-law. Both fell in love and started living together a year ago when she was freed on bail.

Police sources said today evening, the man took Rs 100 from her to buy vegetables. Instead, he came home after consuming liquor. This led to arguments at which the woman allegedly set herself on fire. The man too followed suit, according to the police.Neighbours took the two to civil hospital where they died. 


Panel on gurdwara Bill
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 28
The Punjab Governor today set up a committee for making recommendations in the draft of the All-India Sikh Gurdwaras Bill-1999. The Chief Minister will be a chairman of the committee. Its other members will be Jasbir Singh Ahaluwalia, Kharak Singh, Jodh Singh, Jaspal Singh, Balwant Singh Dhillon, Jasbir Singh Sabar, Wariam Singh, and Sukhdev Singh Bhaur. President of the SGPC, legal rememberancer, advocate-general will also be its members. Chief secretary will be a member secretary of the committee.


Burail Jail secured at last
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 28
The Chandigarh police finally woken up to security concerns today after yesterday’s fiasco. As the pronouncement on the quantum of sentence in the Beant Singh assassination case was scheduled for today in a court in Burail Jail, the police converted the area around the jail into a virtual cantonment.

Besides one water canon, an anti-riot vehicle, two PCR vans, over 100 police officials were deputed around the jail premises to avoid any untoward incident.Apart from the gate, the road circumventing the jail’s wall was also under surveillance of a PCR van and three mounted policemen.

Four barricades were put up within a distance of 100 metres from the jail gate to check the entry of any person. Only mediapersons and relatives of the accused were allowed in.

“Yesterday, over 30 members of the Khalsa Action Committee reached the jail to show their solidarity with the accused. It was a crucial day today so the police did not want to take any chances,” said a police official. 

In the morning, the extra-vigilant force blocked the view inside the jail by putting blankets on the gate.

DSP raps fellow officer

Following a minor scuffle between the jail police and media photographers, DSP (south) K.I.P. Singh admonished deputy superintendent jail Subhash Chander outside the Burail Jail this afternoon.“Tell your men to stay in limits,” Singh told the jail officer. “Do not create nuisance here”, he said while instructing the officer to take his men, including welfare officer Parveen Kumar, inside.


Bitta seeks death for Beant’s assassins
Our Correspondent 

Mohali, July 28 
The chairman of the All India Anti-Terrorist Front, Maninderjit Singh Bitta, today sought the death sentence for those held guilty in the Beant Singh assassination case. 

Addressing a press conference here, Bitta also said he was not happy at the acquittal of Navjot Singh in the case and said an appeal should be filed against this verdict. 

Bitta demanded strict action against the chief of Dera Sacha Sauda, who he said had allegedly disturbed peace in Punjab. 

He said Daljit Bittu, Jasbir Singh Rode, Paramjit Singh Sarna had former chief minister Capt Amarinder Singh had close links with the dera chief. He demanded a CBI inquiry to expose these links. 

He said Capt Amarinder Singh should clarify whether he was with the dera head or the Guru. Bitta said a 72-page report was lying with the Punjab DGP which should be made public so that the activities of many political persons get exposed and peace prevails in Punjab.


Cancer or ...? 10 dead, 11 suffering
Chief medical officer not aware
Neeraj Bagga
Tribune News Service

Chandbaja (Faridkot),July 28
This village has reportedly lost as many as 10 persons to cancer while 11 are suffering from it.

Located about 13 km away from Faridkot on the Faridkot-Amritsar road, the ailing persons are battling against the disease with little resources at hand. Penury, illiteracy, ignorance and rumour mills have added to their complications.

Rakesh Gupta, chief medical officer, Faridkot, said he was not aware of the prevalence of the disease in the village and added that it would not be appropriate to call it cancer. He stressed that it was only after verification by medical experts that the real cause behind the deaths could be ascertained.

According to villagers, 10 persons have died in the past two-three years. Panicky villagers are approaching self-styled healers.

An ailing Shinder Singh said he was suffering from liver cancer. He came to know about his illness some years back. “I go to Bikaner for treatment where an NGO is running a hospital for cancer patients,” he added. Already battling poverty, he rued that the disease had consumed whatever little they possessed. He even had to sell his dwelling. Presently, he was putting up in a room with his wife and two children.

Majority of the villagers go to the Bikaner-based hospital for treatment.

A farmer, Sarbjit Singh Dhillon, said his father Jagir Singh and brother Hardeep Singh had died due to cancer. He said they were not aware of the reason behind the spread of the disease.

Villagers claimed that no government agency had visited the village to take stock of the situation and they had to bear the cost of treatment on their own, despite the fact that majority of them belong to economically weaker families.

Gupta said help could be extended only if the villagers had brought the matter to his notice. “I will send a team of experts to conduct a survey to ascertain the cause behind the deaths,” he assured.


Transporters block traffic
Tribune News Service

Ropar, July 28
The bus and truck operators of Ropar, under banner of Punjab Sangharsh Committee, staged a dharna and blocked traffic for an hour at Nangal Chownk in protest against the toll tax barriers there.

The protest, which was held simultaneously in Hoshiarpur, Nawanshahr, Kapurthala and Jalandhar, put commuters through discomfort. The transporters are opposing newly-installed toll tax barriers, known as toll plaza, in the respective districts. They said that for every 37 kms they paid Rs 88 as toll at these plazas.

"The toll tax is weighing heavy on the pocket of common man. The bus fares have increased by 10 paise per kilometer," said Maghar Singh, one the transporters' leaders. Prominent against those who addressed the gathering included Gurdev Singh Baghi and Daljit Singh.

Meanwhile, the transporters have threatened to intensify their stir, if their demands are not met soon. 


Chahal’s remand extended
Tribune News Service

Patiala, July 28
The Chief Judicial Magistrate, Patiala, today extended the judicial demand of B.I.S. Chahal, former media advisor to Capt Amarinder Singh, till August 11 in the Mercedes Benz case.

He was produced in the court today after his judicial remand expired today.

Meanwhile, the judge on bail application of B.S. Dhillon, an alleged aide of Chahal, was reserved today for August 30.

Dhillon has been arrested by the Vigilance Bureauofficials on the plea that Chahal invested his ill-gotten money in his transport business.


HC dismisses plea on homoeo council poll
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 28
The Punjab and Haryana High Court has dismissed a petition, filed by Tejinder Pal Singh, former dean of the Baba Farid University of Health Sciences, Faridkot, challenging the election to the lone seat from Punjab for membership of the Central Council of Homoeopathy.

A Division Bench, comprising Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel and Justice Ajai Lamba, dismissed the petition on July 24 stating that “we do not find any ground to entertain this petition”.


Ravi Sidhu Case
Cross examination of witness completed
Tribune News Service

Ropar, July 28
The cross examination of a witness of prosecution, Ajit Singh Ghai, was completed today in the case of assets disproportionate to known sources of income against former chairman of the Punjab Public Service Commission (PPSC) Ravi Sidhu.

The court of special judge G.S. Saran has fixed the next date of hearing for August 18 and summoned two witnesses, including one Yashpal Dua and Inderjit Singh.


Bittu sent to judicial custody
Tribune News Service

Fatehgarh Sahib, July 28
The court of ACJM Sanjay Kumar today sent Daljit Singh Bittu to judicial custody till August 10. He was produced before the court amidst elaborate security arrangements this morning.

Presenting its side, the police stated that it had completed interrogation of Bittu and it no longer required him. Following which, the court sent him to judicial custody. He would be lodged at Nabha high-security jail.

The counsels for Bittu later moved an application in the court, seeking directives for the police to allow Bittu meet and interact with his supporters and the press. The counsels stated that being a political figure, he should be allowed to meet mediapersons and his supporters. The court, pronouncing a verdict in this regard, asked the jail superintendent to allow Bittu meet the press and his supporters as per the jail manual.

Bittu had been arrested by the police after he was booked for raising provoking slogans during a protest march organised against the chief of Dera Sacha Sauda on May 31. He was arrested from near Muktsar on July 22.

Meanwhile, the youth wing of SAD (A) today announced that it would stage a dharna in Chandigarh on August 3 to lodge protest against the arrest of Simranjit Singh Mann and Bittu. It stated that the youth wing would also submit a memorandum to the Governor in this regard. 


UT XEN Killing
Life imprisonment for 2
Megha Mann
Tribune News Service

Ropar, July 28
Additional district and sessions judge M.S. Randhawa today convicted two persons for murdering Varinder Kumar Chopra, XEN, UT Public Works Department, in Mohali on February 18, 2003. He also imposed a fine of Rs 5,000 each on both.

Brij Bhushan and Anil Kumar, both residents of Chandigarh, were awarded life imprisonment for killing the XEN in Phase V, near Mehak Restaurant.

Amrik Singh, Chopra’s driver and eyewitness to the incident, told the court that Chopra had gone to attend a function at the restaurant. When Chopra went few metres away from the car, three persons on the scooter fired at him. He was rushed to the PGI, where he was declared dead.

Amrik had identified Brij Bhushan and Anil Kumar but failed to identify the third one, Nitin Kumar, who is also a Chandigarh resident.

During the investigation, the accused revealed the names of two conspirators, Ravinder Kumar and Parampal Singh. While Ravinder Kumar was then posted as junior engineer with the PWD, Parampal Singh was a contractor with the department. During the trial, Parampal Singh died.

The eyewitness informed the court that Chopra had some professional tussle with Ravinder Kumar and Parampal Singh. Chopra often apprehended that the duo would frame him in some fabricated case.

However, the court acquitted Ravinder Kumar and Nitin Kumar. 


Two foreign nationals held
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, July 28
The district police today nabbed a Pakistani and a Bangladeshi national near Gurdwara Baba Atal Rai in the Golden Temple premises. The two were identified as Samasu Din of Pakistan and Juma Khan of Bangladesh.

The police here today said the two were sitting near a tree in suspicious conditions. They raided the spot and arrested them. An expired passport was found from Juma Khan while Samasu Din could not present any document.


Woman with 3 kids jumps into canal, survives
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, July 28
Three minor children (two daughters and a son) today died when their mother jumped along with them into the Bhakra canal near Jogewal village, near Khanauri.

According to sources, alleged continuous quarrelling at the house of her in-laws at Chhajla village (near Sunam), made the 30-year-old woman take the extreme step. She was rescued by passers-by. The body of her son (3) was recovered while those of her daughters are yet to be recovered. The woman had got married about 10 years ago.

Sources said she, along with her children, took a bus for Patran, where a woman of Lad Banjara village met her and she gave the woman her ornaments and a note to hand over the same to her parents. After that she went to Khanauri. When her father’s family received the note they immediately started a search for her.


No hike in fee for govt medical colleges 
Sarbjit Dhaliwal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 28
There will be no increase in the fee and other charges in the government medical colleges of Punjab. Fee hike has been proposed only in the private medical, dental and other such colleges.

According to sources, though the fee and other charges in government medical and dental colleges were revised some years ago, it would not be revised this year.

In fact, the proposal to increase the fee in private medical institutions was mooted during the previous government, but it could not be cleared because of the Assembly elections.

The sources said the file with regard to the proposed hike in the fee had been sent to the medical education minister, Tikshan Sud. He would discuss the proposal with Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal.

Only after clearance from the Chief Minister, private colleges would be allowed to charge the balance amount from students. The private colleges were directed recently to admit students on the basis of old admission fee and other charges and to recover the dues from students after the government cleared the proposal regarding the fee hike. Managements of private colleges have been urging the state government to increase the fee.

The sources said, for annual fee in medical colleges, the increase would be in the range of Rs 50,000. It is at present about Rs 1 lakh per annum. 


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