C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S

Not Their Day
Teachers put away
G. S. Paul
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 5
On Teacher’s Day today, 147-odd teachers working in government schools on contract were forcibly taken to the Sector 19 police station here under Section 107/151 of the CrPC. The teachers planned to hold a silent protest along with family members outside the Tagore Theatre in Sector 18 where teachers were to be given state awards at a function.

The convener of the UT Government Schools Contractual Teachers’Association, Chandigarh, expressed regret over the police action. He said the teachers were dragged into police vehicles. “On the one hand we are celebrating the birthday of our scholar-president Dr S. Radhakrishnan and on the other hand, teachers have been thrown into lockup like animals,” rued R.S. Saini.

Attired in black and carrying a giant protest banner, they raised slogans against the authorities while in the lockup. They said that they were compelled to choose this day as protest day after the administration paid no heed to their demands.

The Chandigarh administration had recently advertised posts to replace these teachers. “The administration is bent upon removing us from our jobs, ignoring qualification and experience,” said Meena, another teacher.

These teachers want regularisation in service on the pattern of neighbouring states. “Where was the need for such a harsh treatment when we were not violent. We only planned to submit a memorandum to the Administrator ”, said the angry teachers.

Karamjit, a contractual teacher in physical education, who was among those held, was among the seven teachers honoured on the National Sports Day by the education-cum-home secretary at a state function on August 29.

Governor’s assurance

During his address at the Teachers’ Day function at the Tagore Theatre, UT Administrator Gen S.F. Rodrigues, said a panel of officers would examine and consider individual cases of teachers working on a contract basis for regular job on merit.



21 college teachers court arrest
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 5
As many as 21 college teachers from Punjab and Chandigarh courted arrest on a call given by the Punjab and Chandigarh College Teachers' Union (PCCTU) today. They were remanded for two days by SDM Ankur Garg.

Meanwhile, the Punjab and Chandigarh College Teachers’ Union staged an impressive protest rally in front of the DPI (Colleges) Punjab in Sector 17.

PCCTU president Prof S.S. Hundal, addressing the dharna, condemned the government for dilly-dallying on teachers’ demands. The government had not initiated a dialogue with the union to resolve their long-pending demands.Union general secretary Dr Kuldip Singh criticised the SAD and BJP government as it had gone back on its poll promises such as pension and gratuity to teachers, full (without any cut) 95% grant-in-aid and lifting ban on recruitment. Not only had the government failed to keep its poll promises, but it had imposed a further financial cut of Rs 26 crore on grant to colleges in its maiden budget.

Vice-president of the union Prof Anil Sarwal also spoke. Others who addressed the gathering were Prof Mukhtiar Singh from GNDU, Prof Iqbal Singh and Prof P.K. Sharma from Punjabi University and Prof Manjit Singh Komal from Panjab University.

The MCM and DAV College Teachers’ Unions also submitted a memorandum.



CHB officials thrashed
They were demanding money, allege assailants
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 5
A Mauli Jagran resident with his relatives and other persons allegedly detained and thrashed a junior engineer (JE) and a junior technician (JT) of the Chandigarh Housing Board (CHB), who were carrying out a survey of encroachments in the locality here this morning.

Taking note of the incident, the police arrested Kanhiya Lal of Mauli Complex and booked his two relatives, a servant and a few more for rioting, causing injuries to public servant, causing obstruction, trespass and unlawful detention.

On the other hand, shopkeeper Kanhiya Lal alleged that the CHB officials were demanding money from them. The JE had demanded his Rs 20,000 while the JT had asked for Rs 10,000. The residents alleged that the officials were “harassing” shopkeepers and collecting money under the pretext of carrying out surveys against encroachments.

The policesaid JE Krishan Gopal and JT Daler Singh came to the Mauli complex for a survey regarding encroachment in the locality on complaints about shops being run in residential areas. The two went to Kanhiya Lal’s shop and Daler Singh took pictures of a refrigerator lying outside his shop. Inside the shop, they saw five persons drinking liquor Daler Singh began taking pictures. Enraged over the action, Kanhiya Lal had a heated argument with them.

Sources said, Kanhiya Lal, with Paras Nath, his servant, and other persons dragged both officials inside the shop, locked them in and thrashed them. When Daler tried to inform the police on his mobile phone, the accused snatched the phone from him. In the meantime, someone informed the police, which reached there.

The police said the victims were taken to hospital and medically examined. Krishan Gopal alleged he lost his chain during the assault. Daler Singh’s mobile was also missing.



Excise Policy
Exercised over vend-effect, babus pore over data
Rajmeet Singh

Chandigarh, September 5
UT policy-makers are studying the correlation between the rising road accidents and the increase in the number of vends. Before deciding on the framework for the excise policy 2008-2009, the UT excise department is analysing the effect of alcohol on public order and the health of residents.

Senior officials are thinking of either limiting the number of vends per lakh of population or freeze the number at the present strength of 215. Sources in the administration said the officials had collected data from the PGI, Government Medical College and Hospital, Sector 32, and Government Multi-Specialty Hospital, Sector 16 from 2002 to 2006.

The number of alcohol-related cases at the three hospitals had gone up from 985 in 2002 to 1,336 in 2006. The officials, however, said the figures incleded patients coming from neighbouring states.

Police records show that crime under various heads related to alcohol ( like drunken driving and brawls after drinking), increased dfrom 325 in 2002 to 533 in 2006.

The excise officials believe that the data does not show a direct correlation between excise policy and public order. The issue is scheduled to be discussed at tomorrow’s meeting to be chaired by the adviser to the Administrator.

They said that vends per population was the lowest in Chandigarh. The population vend ratio here was lower than that of neighboring states of Punjab and Haryana. As per the 2001 census, the population per vend was 4,331 (Chandigarh), 3,750 ( Punjab) and 2,957 (Haryana).



Fan of rival team stabs kabaddi player
Tribune News Service

Mohali, September 5
A district-level kabaddi final between Arya Senior Secondary School, Sohana, and Khalsa Senior Secondary School, Kharar, at Khalsa School Sohana, Phase VIII, turned grisly here this afternoon when the losing team’s supporters attacked the winning team, severely injuring one player.

While the former won, supporters of the Kharar school attacked the winning team. During the scuffle, Rajvinder Singh (resident of Chamkaur) allegedly stabbed Amrit Pal in the stomach with a small knife. While Amrit Pal has been admitted to the PGI and is reportedly in a serious condition, Rajvinder has been booked under Section 324 of the IPC.



Ammo scam: Colonel acquitted on 4 charges
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 5
The general court martial (GCM) trying a Colonel for alleged misappropriation of ammunition in the Kargil sector today found him not guilty on four of the five charges faced by him. The court held him guilty on one charge of not maintaining documents properly and awarded him a reprimand.

The GCM, convened by the general officer commanding, 8 Mountain Division, Maj Gen V.S. Tonk, had started in Chandigarh on April with Brig K.K.V. Raghvan as the presiding officer. The GCM’s findings are to be confirmed by the convening authority.

Colonel Vishal Bhargav, former commanding officer of 4/8 Gorkha Rifles had been charged with throwing away surplus ammunition into the Indus river, thereby causing a loss of Rs 20 lakh to the exchequer. He was also charged with negligence, with failing to resolve discrepancies while taking over ammunition from 14 Mahar and not reporting some ammunition which was fond lying near one of his posts.

The court did not accept the prosecution’s version of the charges against him and came to the conclusion that none of the aforementioned charges could be proved. On the fifth charge, which pertained to maintaining documents, the court observed that in a document of July 2005, some batch numbers of ammunition contained in the document did not match with the batch numbers of ammunition handed over to 5 Sikh Light Infantry.

During the trial, the prosecution has contended that 4/8 GR had taken over the ammunition in September 2003 based on provisional vouchers from 14 Mahar. The commanding officer of 14 Mahar did not take on their ledger charge, the entire ammunition, thereby creating unaccounted surplus ammunition in the unit.

Since Colonel Bhargav had come to sector along with the main body of the unit towards the end of August 2003, it could be presumed that he was fully aware of the quantity of ammunition which 4/8 GR took over from 14 Mahar, even though he was away from the unit on leave or tour, the prosecution contended. The ammunition, the prosecution argued, could not have been thrown away without the commanding officer’s knowledge.

The defence, on the other hand, maintained that the prosecution has failed to prove any of the charges beyond reasonable doubt and there was no direct or circumstantial evidence to link the accused directly or indirectly to the charges.

The defence contended that the prosecution witnesses have themselves, not only doubted the truthfulness of the contents of the provisional vouchers and final issue vouchers, but also deposed that 4/8 GR did not take over ammunition from 14 Mahar on the basis of provisional vouchers.

The defence also maintained that all prosecution witness have stated that they did not know who had thrown the ammunition in the Indus. The case was based not on evidence, but on presumptions and conjectures, it added.

Reacting to the court’s verdict, defence counsel, Col S.K. Aggarwal (retd) said since the accused was acquitted on all major charges, the question of discrepancies in documents did not arise. He added that he would wait for the the confirmation of the GCM’s proceedings before deciding the further course of action.



Saini bomb blast case
Proclaimed Offender in California: FBI
Saurabh Malik
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 5
Manmohanjit Singh, a proclaimed offender in the "Saini bomb blast case" is working with multinational computer giant IBM in the USA and has also received asylum, according to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).

The blast was carried out in August 1991 in Chandigarh in an attempt to eliminate the then UT senior superintendent of police Sumedh Singh Saini. Three cops were killed and several injured in the explosion.

In a communiqué to the assistant director (Interpol), Central Bureau of Investigation, New Delhi, the FBI and the US Department of Justice has stated that the US law enforcement agencies cannot arrest Manmohanjit Singh alias Minta without arrest warrants.

A copy of the letter was placed before Justice Mehtab Singh Gill of the Punjab and Haryana High Court today. It said that Interpol Red Notice states Manmohanjit Singh is a member of a terrorist organisation which took part in the bomb attack in Chandigarh on August 29, 1991, in which three persons were killed and others injured.

"He currently works at IBM facility in San Francisco Bay area and lives in Freemont, California." He received asylum and has currently petitioned for change in status, the communiqué adds.

Taking note of the fact that the Red Corner Notice, issued against him, expired in December 2006, Justice Gill observed that the Indian Government till date has not filed arrest warrants against him. He also directed CBI's superintendent of police Satpal Singh to furnish before the court whatever information the premier investigating agency had by submitting a status report in the matter.

Justice Gill also granted the special investigative team (SIT), constituted by the Chandigarh police, four weeks time for placing on record the status report giving details of the investigations and attempts made by it to procure the presence of proclaimed offenders living abroad. The report would also state whether any of them had been eliminated in fake encounters.

The directions are significant as human rights lawyer R.S. Bains, on the last date of hearing, had asserted that five suspects were shown to be proclaimed offenders. As far as two of them were concerned, apparently there was credible information to show they had been killed in encounters - fake or real. In all likelihood, the other three had also "met unnatural deaths".

Earlier during the hearing in the jam-packed courtroom, CBI counsel Rajan Gupta said the Chandigarh Branch required time as it was not fully aware of the case. Counsel for Chandigarh police R.S. Rai also requested the court to give the SIT time to file a status report for giving details of the investigations and the proclaimed offenders.

He also informed the court that complying with its directions UT inspector-general of police had constituted a SIT, comprising SI Jagbir Singh and deputy superintendent (CID). He would be assisted by inspectors Vijay Kumar and Kulwant Singh, along with ASI Janak Singh.

The matter will now come up before the High Court on September 19 for further hearing. The blast case was registered under Sections 302, 307, 323, 427 and 120-B of the IPC and under the provisions of the Explosive Substances Act. Minta was declared proclaimed offender on May 22, 1993.



Dhawan finally goes with Maya
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 5
Harmohan Dhawan, former union minister and president of the Chandigarh Vikas Manch (CVM) today formally announced merger of CVM with the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) at his Sector 9 residence, here, today.

The announcement was made in the presence Mann Singh Manheda, the national general secretary of BSP and a large number of BSP activists and CVM supporters. Dhawan added that the Uttar Pradesh (UP) chief minister and president of BSP, Mayawati, would come to Chandigarh on October 28 to address a massive rally to further announce the party’s programmes.

Manheda informed mediapersons during a press conference that a few days ago Dhawan had met Mayawati in Delhi and discussed the issue in which the BSP supremo welcomed his intention to join the party. Terming Dhawan as an institution in himself, Manheda added that the merger of CVM in BSP would positively help the party to grow in the region as the city is surrounded by three reserved seats of Ropar in Punjab, Ambala in Haryana and Shimla in Himachal Pradesh.

Flaying the Congress and the BJP for their anti-poor policies, Dhawan stated that both the parties had failed to address the problems of the underprivileged, which forced him to switch over his loyalties. He added that he was impressed by Mayawati’s social engineering formula in UP. By uniting different sections of society, the UP chief minister had achieved a task which no other leader could do.

Interestingly, no formal announcement regarding the position to be given to Dhawan in the party was made, it was believed that Mayawati would make an announcement in this regard during the October rally.



Save this Prince too
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 5
Parents of Prince of Badoli Majra village in Saharanpur district are helplessly watching their son inch towards death as they are unable to arrange the money required for the treatment of the baby.

Prince was diagnosed as suffering from Ventricular Septum Defect (hole in heart) and doctors prescribed immediate surgery for the closure of hole, said Priti Devi, mother of the child.

The doctors have asked me to arrange Rs 65,000 for the surgery, said Priti Devi. But the amount is too big for the family to arrange as Vinod, father of Prince, earns not more than Rs 70 a day after working in the fields of landlords at the village, rued the mother who is staying with relatives in Pinjore.

The donors can contact the PGI PRO to help the family at PGI or on phone no. 0172-2756003.



Now, irrigation schedule info at sampark centres
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 5
For the first time, the e-Gram Sampark Centres in UT villages would provide information on the rotational schedule for supply of water for irrigation purposes.

At present the villagers have to travel all the way to the water works to know about the schedule. Officials in the public health department have been asked to work out the modalities so that the schedule can be provided at the gram sampark centres.

The decision in this regard was taken following inauguration of a e-sampark centre in Kaimbwala village. The UT Administrator while inaugurating the centre asked the villagers for effective participation in the developmental process.

He said the sampark centre will not only provide them the various public utility services etc. but it will act as a Rural Knowledge Centre equipped with an IT support structure.



Water tanker reaches Saketri
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, September 5
A water tanker finally reached Saketri two days after water connections of half a dozen families were cut off by the public health department.

Villagers had gheraoed the director-general, health services, to lodge their protest against the the disconnection and the inability of the administration to make alternative arrangements, besides paucity of medicines.

While 20 new cases of diarrhoea were reported, the health department stocked medicines and SDM Saket Kumar, along with civil surgeon Kamla Singh, took a round of the village.

They directed officials to get dirty drains cleaned and interacted with the villagers.



Lizzy in burger

Panchkula, September 5
Pathankot resident Suresh Kumar today almost consumed the head of a lizard in a burger he bought from the snack bar at the Chandigarh railway station. The incident too place when Suresh was waiting for his train. He was on his way from Chandigarh to Kalka.

On first bite, Suresh, a vegetarian, felt something bitter in his mouth and he threw up. To his horror, he discovered that he had almost eaten the head of a lizard. He was rushed to the General Hospital, Sector 6, where he was kept under observation. Doctors attending on him said that there was no symptom of poisoning. — TNS



Dharna against N-deal today
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 5
The Bhartiya Communist Party (ML) New Democracy will hold a demonstration against the Indo-US nuclear deal at Parade ground here tomorrow.

This was stated today by Darshan Khathkar, secretary of the party.




Check felling of trees

An article published in The Tribune on August 26, 2007 was very disturbing. Just imagine how many years it takes for a tree to grow full size and the Chandigarh administration has agreed to pull them down so easily to make way for the survival of the upcoming malls.

It is sad to know that Chandigarh administration has itself launched this onslaught. Why did the administration not take up this need before sanctioning the construction of the malls? It is very unfortunate that the Municipal Corporation and the administration that is supposed to protect the trees are allowing the axing of the trees. For sure we need trees more than malls. Will the Chandigarh administration please wake up and halt the unfortunate cutting of tree.

Dr Premila Verma

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Punam’s in-laws arrested
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 5
The police today arrested the father and mother-in-law of Punam, who allegedly hanged herself to death at her Sector 10 residence on Monday. Girja Dutt Tiwari and his wife were arrested following a complaint by the victim’s family.

Meanwhile, a local court today bailed out 30 persons, including parents of Punam, who were arrested by the police on Tuesday for rioting, causing injuries and trespass.

Earlier during the day, president of Chandigarh Vikas Manch and former union minister Harmohan Dhawan, during a press conference at his residence, gave a four-day ultimatum to the police to release the arrested persons, including their councillor Sarita, or face agitation.

Giving a political twist to the matter, he said Punam’s in-laws were associated with the BJP and it was under BJP pressure that the local police had registered a case against Punam’s family.

He alleged that the police had also registered a “ wrong case” against him and his supporters. He demanded removal of SHO Ram Gopal and said investigations into the case should be handed over to the CBI.



Man commits suicide
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 5
Stung by accusations levelled by a woman in his neighbourhood, a 26-year-old mason of Palsora Colony hanged himself to death in the forest area near the colony, today.

The SHO of the Sector 39 Police Station Inspector Satbir Singh said the body of the deceased, Satish Kumar, a widower, was found hanging from a tree this afternoon.

A suicide note recovered from the body mentioned that he was shamed after a woman levelled false accusations against him.

The police said Satish’s wife had died about six years ago and he is survived by his minor daughter and father.

The body has been shifted to the Sector 16 Government Multi Speciality Hospital and the post mortem would be conducted tomorrow.

Meanwhile, the police, while ruling out any foul play in the incident, has initiated inquest proceedings under Section 174 of the Criminal procedure Code.



Inter-state gang of robbers busted; one held
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 5
The police today arrested a member of an inter-state gang involved in targeting high profile passengers, including foreign tourists on Delhi-Chandigarh, Delhi-Jaipur and Delhi-Agra routes to rob them. The smartly dressed robbers used to target passengers carrying branded briefcases.

The accused, 25-year-old Gagandeep Singh, alias Veenu, of Ghaziabad in Uttar Pradesh, along with his other two accomplices had drugged Omit Ghosh (50), chief manager of Baddi-based wing of Vardhman Textiles during a bus journey from Delhi to Chandigarh on July 14. Ghosh was found in unconscious state at the Sector 17, ISBT, during late night hours, he was rushed to Sector 16 Government Multi Speciality Hospital, where he later succumbed.

Giving details about the sequence of events leading to the arrest of Gagandeep, the SHO of the Sector 17 police station inspector Kulwant Singh Pannu told TNS that the police procured the details of stolen debits cards of Ghosh and found that the accused had made purchases by using the cards and also withdrew Rs 75,000 in Ambala.

The police gathered information about the movements of the accused through its sources. Following a tip-off a police party went to Ambala today and nabbed Gagandeep while his other accomplices managed to escape.

Pannu informed that the gang consisted of as many as 20 members.

Sources said two other accused, identified as Vijay Kumar and Harpreet Singh, were involved in heinous crimes. Gagandeep was the mastermind of the Ghosh episode. They had several cases registered against them and had also been declared proclaimed offenders by a Delhi court. The accused were active on Delhi-Chandigarh route and were said to be having links in Haryana and Delhi police.

Gagndeep was today produced in a local court which remanded him to police custody till September 10.

The accused took away all belongings of Ghosh after robbing him.



12 hurt in group clash
Tribune News Service

Dera Bassi, September 5
At least 12 persons were injured in a group clash at Dhanoni village, near here, last night.

According to the police, the clash took place when two groups clashed over disconnection of electricity supply to a particular house.

Jaswinder Singh alleged that the other group attacked him and his relatives with stones, bricks and iron rods following a dispute over a boundary wall.

Manjit Singh, Harminder Singh, Jagtar Kaur, Mohinder Kaur, Darshan Singh, Baljinder Kaur, and Darshan Singh were injured from this group and were admitted to the local Civil Hospital. Later, Darshan Singh was admitted to Government Medical College and Hospital, Sector 32, Chandigarh.

Meanwhile, the other group alleged that their power connection was snapped by the opposite group and when they resisted this, they were attacked. Ajmer Kaur, Kamla, Salim and Gurdeep were injured from this group. A case has been registered.



Man held for bid to snatch purse

Chandigarh, September 5
The police has arrested a resident of Baterla on the allegations of attempting to snatch the purse of a woman in Sector 35 tonight.

Narrating the incident, Munish Kumar, a resident of Sector 40, told the police that he was coming towards Kisan Bhavan Chowk on his motor cycle with his mother riding pillion when a motorcyclist came near them and tried to snatch the purse of his mother, but failed. In the process, he lost his balance and fell on the road and got injured. Munish immediately nabbed the miscreant and informed the police.

The SHO of the Sector 36 police station inspector Ishwar Singh Mann said a case of attempt to snatch had been registered and the accused, identified as 25-year-old Vijay of Baterla had been arrested in this connection. — TNS



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