P U N J A B    S T O R I E S

Kidney Removal
‘Parents were aware of disease’
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, September 15
Unscrupulous elements within the college and outside were out to defame me and country’s premier medical institute, said J.P.K. Shergill, principal, Government Medical College, to the media here today.

DC to probe
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, September 15
Minister of Medical Education Tikshan Sud today directed the deputy commissioner to hold an inquiry into the alleged unauthorised kidney removal. This had led to a controversy in view of the implications due to the involvement of a senior government doctor.

Shergill was commenting on the recent allegations of a migrant sevadar of Durgiana Temple, Shridhar Dubey, that she had removed the left kidney of his four-year-old daughter Sonia without his consent while removing a tumour in a surgery done last year. She said the operation was conducted by Sudesh Gulati and not by her.

The principal said that the parents of the child were well aware of the disease at the time of the admission of the child to the hospital as they had got the ultrasound done from a charitable clinic of the city. She said Gulati and his team of doctors, who had conducted the operation on August 21, had obtained written permission from the parents.

Gulati said the child was suffering from retroperitonial mass nephroblastoma also known as Wilm’s tumor (a disease in which the kidney itself becomes the tumour). He said at the time of the discharge he had advised the parents of the child to come for follow-up treatment. However, the parents did not turn up during the past one year, he added.

Mridula Manjri, head of the Pathology Department of the hospital, said the girl would have died if the kidney was not removed immediately.


Toll barriers add to commuters’ woes
Ashok Kaura

Phagwara, September 15
Now, every car owner has to shell out Rs 56 as toll tax to travel a distance of 125 km from Phagwara to Chandigarh with the state government setting up tax centres at three places on the route. These centres have been functional near near Behram, Kathgarh and near Kurali. While the centre near Kurali started functioning a few months ago, the other two started collecting toll tax on Thursday.

When the The Tribune team visited the toll collection centre near Behram on Friday morning, there was a long queue of vehicles waiting to pay toll tax. Commuters told The Tribune that they had to wait for about half an hour to get the receipt after paying the tax.

Sanjeev Kumar of Banga, who runs a chemist shop, said he had to go to Jalandhar daily to purchase medicines and now his journey by car would be more expensive.

Manager of Rohin and Rajdeep Tolling Company H.S. Minhas said vehicles belonging to the Army, police, paramilitary forces, civil officers, judicial magistrates, ministers, MLAs and VVIPs fitted with red or blue beacons, ambulances, mortuary vans, etc, had been exempt from the tax.

The tax worth Rs 23 is charged for cars for one side while the return tax has been fixed at Rs 37.

It was learnt that a nominal charges of Rs 10 for one side and Rs 15 for both sides for a car are charged at the Kathgarh toll tax barrier. Charges for other vehicles are same at this centre.

A person travelling from Phagwara to Chandigarh in a car will have to pay Rs 23 at Behram, Rs 23 at Kathgarh and Rs 10 at the Kurali barrier, which comes to a total of Rs 56 for one side only. Imposition of heavy toll taxes at different toll plazas has led to resentment among people.


Gill for panel on terrorism
Ajay Banerjee
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 15
Former Punjab DGP K.P.S. Gill today demanded that a commission be set up under the Chief Justice of India to study all aspects of terrorism in Punjab to curb any selective targeting of officers as had been done in the case of former Punjab DGP S.S. Virk.

The commission should study all aspects of terrorism in the state starting from the Anandpur Sahib Resolution of 1973, said Gill while talking to The Tribune here this evening.

Gill admitted that such a commission might not suit any government, however, the people of Punjab deserve to know what was the truth, who fanned the militancy and how terrorism was brought “under control”.

“Let the CJI come out with a report in Punjab. The anti-terror operations have been well documented and the stance of the Punjab police stands vindicated except for a few minor aberrations,” he said.

His opinion “cats” was on expected lines: “Harbouring can only be judged by circumstances and the intentions. To catch a thief you set a thief behind him”. The very people, who were busy decimating people during those dark days, have now turned into community leaders, said Gill.

Gill said amnesties had been granted to militants from time to time to allow them to lead normal lives and some recruitment had also been made in the police from them. “This is the national policy,” he added.

Former DGP went on to stoutly defend Virk and said the case against him was false. When asked how he could say this with such authority, Gill said, “ I have seen the documents pertaining to the alleged land grab, there is no such thing involved”. He also claimed that there was no need to arrest Virk at this stage as normally people in disproportionate assets cases were arrested at the time of presentation of a challan in the court.

Asked if he has spoken to his former protégé and now director of Punjab Vigilance Bureau Sumedh Singh Saini, Gill said “there has been no communication with Sumedh since the day he arrested B.I.S Chahal”. Saini and Chahal once formed the inner circle of Gill’s strategy. However, he said, “ the case should not be turned into Virk-Saini fight”.

Meanwhile, Virk had a surprise visitor at his bedside yesterday. A former senior Intelligence Bureau official visited him at the PGI. Sources said Virk was referring to the official with respect that indicated that the man was senior to him in service. The former IB man had been posted in Punjab during militancy and had worked with Virk closely. After his visit, the jail authorities rushed from Patiala and placed a visitors’ register outside the private ward where Virk was admitted.


Sukhi gives Vigilance the slip
Dharmendra Joshi
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, September 15
Giving Vigilance Bureau (VB) the slip, a former militant- turned-police “cat” Sukhwinder Singh Sukhi managed to flee Punjab.

Talking to The Tribune over phone from a neighbouring state, Sukhi denied all charges levelled against him.

While VB wanted him in connection with a case against former DGP S.S. Virk of amassing property disproportionate to his known sources of income, he managed to flee just a few minutes before Sunday raid at his Mota Singh Nagar house.

Reiterating that he was being made a target just because he had close links with Virk, Sukhi said that all three criminal cases registered against him in 1992 in Jalandhar and Ludhiana, including that of killing nine BSP workers, were false.

Denying charges of forcibly taking Rs 1.10 crore from Jalowal sarpanch Tejpal Singh after getting registered a false case against him, he said the FIR was registered on the direction of the then Kapurthala SSP, Arunpal Singh, after an inquiry by the then DSP, Chaman Lal.

Terming both police officers as honest and competent, he said even if now VB thought that the case was false then why not the process for cancelling the case was started. Sukhi said that Tejpal Singh had given his cousin Mehar Singh Rs 80 lakh through cheque and not to him (Sukhi) because he prepared fake documents of land.

Further denying charges of grabbing land at Tanda, he said he had bought 10 acres and 6 kanals from the Waqf Board. He also refuted the charges of grabbing land of a war widow, Mohinder Kaur, in Mohali. He said he had not even met her.

Regarding recovery of blank certificates of different universities and state education board, he said those had been planted by the VB.


Sub-committee receives complaints against Boparai
Tribune News Service

Patiala, September 15
The sub-committee headed by Syndicate member and SAD general secretary Prem Singh Chandumajra today received complaints of aggrieved employees against Punjabi University Vice-Chancellor Swaran Singh Boparai.

The committee was formed in the last syndicate to resolve the ongoing tussle for power in the university between the joint action committee (JAC) and the V-C. Besides Chandumajra, other committee members including DPI colleges, director languages, dean academic affairs Punjabi University and principal of an aided college heard the grievances of JAC and others.

H.S. Kokhar, a formed APRO in the university, said he had joined the varsity after leaving the job with the PIB as Patiala was his hometown. Just on the perception that he was close to the former V-C, the present management abolished his post to throw him out of university, he alleged. However, after abolishing his post, the university employed another APRO, who recently left the job, he said, adding that another offer was made to a person without calling for an interview for the post. However, his request of being adjusted back in the university fell on deaf ears.

He also alleged that he was an SC category employee and had crossed the age limit of getting employed elsewhere when Boparai abolished his post.

The members of the JAC alleged that though the Syndicate and government had withdrawn the powers of the V-C, he was still making appointments. The student leaders demanded the reinstatement of the students who were ousted mid-session by the V-C.

Chandumajra assured the aggrieved employees that the Syndicate would consider their problems sympathetically. Interestingly, in a press release issued recently, the V-C had questioned the credibility of the sub-committee headed by Prem Singh Chandumajra.

The observations of the sub-committee are to come up for hearing before the university Syndicate in the next meeting scheduled for October 6.


India Today finding puts Punjab on top 
SAD claims credit
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 15
Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) working president Sukhbir Singh Badal said here today that although it was a matter of great satisfaction that Punjab had emerged as the No. 1 state in the country, the steep fall on all parameters of development between the years 2002 and 2007, was a matter of grave concern.

"It was only the recovery made in the past six months that the Punjab was able to maintain its lead over others. This is in spite of the gross misgovernance and mismanagement of Capt Amarinder Singh regime”, said Sukhbir Badal.

In a statement Badal said the findings of a magazine survey clearly showed that the gap between Punjab and other states had narrowed down dangerously during the past five years ending in February 2007.

"The findings have also fully exposed the claims of former CM Capt Amarinder Singh that he had brought investment of over Rs 1 lakh crore to the state. During this period the state slipped to No. 7 in matters of investment friendly policies", said Sukhbir.

The Akali leader further said it was mainly because of the rear-guard action by the present government in the past six months that the state managed to stay on top in infrastructure development and agriculture. 


It’s due to us: Amarinder
Tribune News Service

Patiala, September 15
The former Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, today claimed credit for the State of States Award given to Punjab by the India Today group of publications.

In a press statement issued here today, he said the award pertained to the financial year that ended this March. It reflects the performance of last year during the stint of the Congress government.

“Our efforts in agriculture, infrastructure development and macro economy have also been applauded”, said Amarinder.

The previous government took major initiatives to stabilise the fiscal position to major investments in the past two years of the previous government.

While the incumbent governments always try to take credit for all that happens during their stint, Parkash Singh Badal, the fourth time Chief Minister, should claim the credit of the deeds of the previous government.

He also congratulated the previous Congress Cabinet and state bureaucracy for the said award. 


Ram Setu
BJP burns copy of affidavit
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, September 15
In a protest against hurting the sentiments of the Hindus by the UPA government by filing an affidavit, regarding the non-existence of Rama and Ram Setu, in the Supreme Court, members and activists of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), led by its district president Jatinder Kalra, held a protest march and demonstration in Sunam, about 13 km from here, today.

The protesters also burnt a copy of the affidavit and an effigy of the UPA government, raising slogans against the UPA government.

Addressing the protesters, Jatinder Kalra, described the affidavit filed by the UPA government as an ‘anti-Hindu’ act of the Central government. He also condemned the attitude of the government towards Lord Rama and Ram Setu by saying that this attitude might lead the country towards disintegration.

Kalra asked the Prime Minister to tender an apology for this condemnable act.

BJP leaders and workers from various parts of the district attended the protest march and demonstration which included Prem Gugnani, Lajpat Rai Garg, Ramkaran Sharma, Shankar Bansal, Rajiv Garg, Bhagat Singh, Vinod Kumar, Bikramjit Pali, Bablesh, Satish Bansal and Mohan Lal.


Virk’s arrest illegal: Counsel
Chitleen K. Sethi
Tribune News Service

Mohali, September 15
Counsel of former DGP of Punjab S.S. Virk today told a local court that Virk’s arrest by the vigilance bureau was illegal.

Appearing before the sub-divisional judicial magistrate (SDJM) Lalit Singla, Virk’s counsel submitted that investigations in the case began without the vigilance bureau having informed the inquiry magistrate, which, he said, was mandatory under Section 157 CrPC read with Section 159 CrpC.

He pointed out that under Section 159 CrPC the mandatory procedure was not followed and without having any orders from the inquiry magistrate the vigilance team arrested Virk in New Delhi.

“The investigation report and a copy of the FIR in the Virk’s case should have been immediately forwarded to the SDJM. But, it was done after a delay of about 26 hours which is not only unwarranted in law but also a blatant illegality, as distinguished from a mere irregularity in law,” the counsel told the court.

The SDJM also heard arguments on Virk’s application for return of the briefcase and other documents seized by the bureau at the time of his arrest.

The counsel said the documents were required to prepare Virk’s defence. “Under the Constitution of India, every accused has the right to defend himself by producing enough evidence. If the originals are needed by the bureau, then we should be given photostat copies of these,” he said.

Opposing the plea, the public prosecutor said the documents were required for investigations. He also wanted to know which specific documents were needed by Virk.

“We do not even know which documents the vigilance has taken away. There were at least 50 books there,” said the counsel.

The SDJM asked for the list of documents recovered from Virk. However, when the public prosecutor handed him a list of articles like stapler, pasting gum and other stationery items as having been recovered from the former DGP, the SDJM smiled. “If these are needed for investigation by the vigilance they can keep it,” quipped Virk’s counsel.

Reserving orders for September 17, the SDJM told the public prosecutor that he would like to keep the investigation file and go through it before passing the orders. Later, however, the case file was returned after the vigilance bureau submitted to him a list of the documents and articles recovered from Virk.

The SDJM also wanted to know if taking up the case and passing orders in this regard was under his jurisdiction or not.

Virk’s counsel pointed out that since the SDJM had remanded Virk in judicial custody till September 24, till then the case is under his jurisdiction.


Virk’s kin demand judicial probe into land deals
Ajay Banerjee
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 15
Family members of arrested DGP S.S. Virk today demanded that a judicial commission be set up to probe all land deals in the periphery of Chandigarh and claimed that there were serious discrepancies in some of the issues raised by the Punjab Vigilance Bureau.

Ramandeep Virk, a nephew of the DGP, said it was incorrect to assess the Chimney Heights - a resort at Zirakpur on the Chandigarh-Patiala road - at today’s price. The price at the time of purchase should be taken into account and also how the DGP and his brother Col R.D.S. Virk had sold off their ancestral land in Jalandhar to purchase land in Zirakpur. Moreover, the sale of the Jalandhar land and the subsequent purchase of the Zirakpur land was intimated to the government, he said.

The resort was constructed after Col Virk took a loan of Rs 5 crore on the said property. He said the PUDA had been paid partially for the fee it had demanded from for regularisation of such places. However, Chimney Height was not the sole beneficiary of this scheme.

The VB has also booked Virk for allegedly using his influence to manipulate the inclusion of about three acres of land of Chhat village within the municipal limits of Zirakpur and also for buying several acres of land for setting up a mega project that was approved by the previous Amarinder Singh government.

Meanwhile, Ramandeep showed attested copies of the revenue record to The Tribune, according to which Mohinder Kaur, the widow on whose complaint Virk has been booked, was the owner of a disputed piece of land in Mohali since 1994 and not 2004 as claimed by Mohali SSP in a letter to the government in March this year.

The letter had formed the basis of investigation for the VB. The copies of the khasra/girdawaris number show Mohinder Kaur as the owner of the land since 1994. The VB sources have in the past claimed that the widow did not have possession of the land as some other person had taken its forcible occupation. The widow had approached Virk to get the land vacated. The land was the purchased by VPS Dimpy, who has also been arrested in the same case for allegedly forcibly taking away the land from the widow.


Meeting on Giani Iqbal Singh’s ‘sacking’ not held
Varinder Walia
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, September 15
Giani Iqbal Singh, who was “sacked” as Jathedar Patna Sahib by the secretary of the Takht Patna Sahib Management Committee through a controversial order, is heading towards more trouble following fresh charges of furnishing wrong information for getting his passport prepared.

In a setback to Giani Iqbal Singh, the meeting of the committee convened by him today could not be held at Takht Patna Sahib to discuss his “sacking”. Talking to The Tribune from Takth Patna Sahib, the jathedar said the meeting was likely to be held tomorrow. On the other hand the warring groups of the committee held parallel meetings to chalk out their respective course of action.

However, Giani Iqbal Singh said that he was still the jathedar since the secretary alone had no authority to sack him as per the rules.

Answering a question, Giani Iqbal Singh said the name of his wife had been changed from Kulwant Kaur to Inderjit Kaur after marriage and hence he had mentioned the original name of his wife in the passport. He said as far as the money belonging to US-based Didar Singh Bains was concerned it was still in his account, which would be spent on creating a trust. The committee had alleged that the jathedar had not handed over the money to Takht Patna Sahib as per service rules.

He said that Bains had given him the power of attorney to sell his 10 acres in Garshankar tehsil, which he had sold. “The amount was deposited in his (Giani Iqbal Singh’s) account as per the wish of Bains.

A petition has also been filed in the court of Takth Patna Sahib against Giani Iqbal Singh by Surjit Singh, levelling serious charges that he had undertaken various foreign tours on the basis of the passport which carried wrong information. He had also alleged that the birthplace of the wife of the jathedar given in the passport was also not correct.


Memorial for Namdhari martyrs 
Vimal Sumbly
Tribune News Service

Bhaini Sahib (Ludhiana), September 15
Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal today announced that the Punjab government would raise memorials in the memory of five Namdhari martyrs of Amritstar in their native villages on the pattern of Kuka martyrs of Malerkotla.

Badal was addressing a shaheedi conference organised to commemorate the martyrdom anniversary of five Namdhari martyrs, Sant Hakam Singh Patwari, Sant Fateh Singh, Sant Lehna Singh, Sant Jhanda Singh and Sant Beehla Singh, who sacrificed their lives to protect the sanctity of Sri Harmander Sahib by launching an aggressive movement against cow slaughter in 1871, here today.

While paying tributes to the martyrs in the presence Satguru Jagjit Singh, Badal said these martyrs sacrificed their lives by presenting themselves before the court admitting that they had killed those who had slaughtered the cows.

He elaborated that year-long programmes had also been chalked out for the centenary celebrations at various places in the state.

Rajinder Bhandari president, BJP, Punjab, was also present on the occasion.


Mohali Airport 
Dhumal supports plan
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, September 15
Former Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Prem Kumar Dhumal supported the proposal of Kila Raipur MLA Jassi Khangura urging Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal to involve the state governments of Himachal Pradesh and Haryana in the setting up of an international airport at Mohali.

In a letter addressed to Union civil aviation minister Praful Patel, a copy of which has been sent to Khangura, Dhumal said it would be in the mutual interest of all three states to have an expanded airport at Mohali.

He said the three states must be involved in developing the airport in terms of identifying and providing land and funds and other logistics for this purpose.

He urged Patel to initiate measures at the earliest so that the Mohali International Airport comes out well and counted among the best in the country and which will cater to the needs of North India for another 50 years.


PSEB engineers condemn attack on SE

Patiala September 15
PSEB engineers have condemned the manhandling of an additional sectional engineer (SE) of the Patiala circle by a group of workers.

Over 100 engineers attended a meeting here yesterday during which they said engineers of the south zone - comprising Patiala, Mohali, Sangrur and Ropar circles - would join them and strike work from Monday if culprits were not arrested by the police and strict action was not taken by the management against them.

An FIR has already been lodged with the Kotwali police station over the incident.

They raised suspicion over the role of the police after some of the accused staged demonstrations in the town and reportedly met police authorities to pressure them against initiating action.

The attack took place yesterday when some workers opposing the decision of the board management to implement “spot-billing” through contractor, turned off the power of the office of the additional SE/OP, east division, Patiala. — TNS


‘The Deaf Way’ holds contests
Tribune News Service

Patiala, September 15
The Patiala Deaf Friendship Club celebrated the 50th International Day of the Deaf, under the aegis of The Deaf Way, here today. On this occasion, schools from Amritsar, Sunam, Bathinda, Ludhiana and Barnala participated in the events.

A painting competition was organised in which about 80 students participated in the junior and senior categories. In this competition, Patiala bagged the first two places, while the third and fourth positions went to Barnala and Ludhiana, respectively.

In an intensely fought out quiz competition, early leaders Amar Ashram School, Patiala, held on to the lead while Deaf and Dumb School, Bathinda came second. Barnala challenged them to a tough fight but ended at a third position. Patiala tehsildar G.S. Ahluwalia was the chief guest on this occasion.


Cultural show marks ‘Crescendo '07’

Ropar, September 15
A freshers' party was organised at the Rayat and Bahra Institute of Engineering and Biotechnology, Sahauran. The event marked the beginning of the new academic session.

The event, Crescendo '07, featured a cultural show and series of performances by senior students. Gurvinder Singh Bahra, vice chairman of the Rayat and Bahra Group, welcomed youngsters and exhorted them to imbibe versatile work culture at the institute. Prof C.M. Bahl, director, Rayat and Bahra Group, congratulated seniors for putting up a good show.

The director of the institute, Prof S.K. Sharma, said such occasions provided opportunities to develop positive vibes amongst students. — TNS


Bhattal visits jail, meets ‘premis’
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, September 15
Former Punjab Chief Minister Rajinder Kaur Bhattal, along with MLA from Dirba Surjit Singh Dhiman, today visited the local district jail reportedly to meet her supporter, former sarpanch Darshan Singh.

According to reports, besides meeting Darshan Singh, she also inquired about the well-being of “premis” of Dera Sacha Sauda lodged in the district jail here. A jail official confirmed her visit. He said both stayed there for 5 to 7 minutes. 


4 Horse expedition
Our Correspondent

Pathankot, September 15
The cycle expedition of 4 Horse, which was undertaken as part of celebrations to commemorate the 150th year of raising, received a warm welcome on its return at the regiment location here today. The expedition lasted from September 7 to 15. Major-Gen B.S. Grewal, Colonel of the Regiment, and Col Hardeep Singh Dhodi, Commandant, accompanied the team to the last leg of the expedition that covered 62 km.

The team comprising two officers, four junior commissioned officers and 14 other ranks of the regiment, led by Capt V.S. Ghuman, covered a distance of around 1,000 km across the states of Punjab and Himachal Pradesh, including Derababa Nanak, Amritsar, Moga, Ludhiana, Hoshiarpur, Jawali, Kangra and Kotla. The expedition achieved its aim of promoting interaction with the ex-servicemen and the veer naris of the regiment and also promoting awareness about the Army.


Surgeons’ body meets today

Ludhiana, September 15
After nearly four decades, a special meeting of the Association of Surgeons of India will be held here tomorrow on the hosting of the 68th annual conference of the All-India Surgeons Association slated from December 25 here.

Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal will be chief patron of ASICON-2008. — TNS


Bhindranwale’s widow dead

Jalandhar, September 15
Bibi Pritam Kaur, widow of late Sant Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale, died after a brief illness at her residence here late last night. The 60-year-old was a heart patient and admitted a couple of days ago at a local hospital following high sugar levels. Two sons, Isher Singh and Inderjit Singh, survive her. Her cremation will be held tomorrow at 2:30 pm at Rode village. — TNS


Chahal case: Hearing on Nov 3
Tribune News Service

Patiala, September 15
A court here adjourned hearing in the disproptionate assets case against B.I.S. Chahal former media adviser to Amarinder Singh till November 3. Chahal’s counsels N.P S. Waraich and J. P. S. Sarao pleaded that Chahal was admitted to a hospital and a medical certificate to this effect was also produced in the court saying he was suffering from a back problem.

The kitchen renovation case against Chahal was also adjourned to September 27 while the Mercedes case against him was also adjourned till October 13.


SDM begins probe into lathi charge
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, September 15
On the deputy commissioner’s orders, a magisterial inquiry into the police lathi charge on September 11 here on the protesters (especially women) began here today and continued till evening. Local SDM Mohan Lal initiated the inquiry proceedings by recording statements of about 10 persons, including Kaur Singh and Rajwinder Kaur, father and sister ,respectively, of Harjit Singh, (26) of local Baguana basti, who was shot dead on August 13 here.

On September 11 hundreds of protesters, including a large number of women, assembled at the traffic lights chowk, near the DC’s office, after holding a protest march and demonstration through the town. They were demanding inclusion of names of advocate Kiranjit Singh Sekhon and another person Karminder Singh, alias Galoori, in the FIR under Section 120-B of the IPC and their arrest in the murder case of Harjit Singh. In this murder case Sanjay Chohan, owner of Punjab Public School, Baguana basti, Sangrur, and his driver Rakesh Kumar had already been arrested .

The police lathicharged protesters on the plea the mob had first thrown stones and bricks on it and in self-defence it had to lathicharge them. 


Tara Murder Case
Key witness deposes

Chandigarh, September 15
The prime witness in the Avtar Singh Tara murder case, Chand Singh, got his statement recorded at the district courts today.

Deposing in the court of Raj Rahul Garg, Chand Singh, who is Tara’s younger brother, said Gurdial Singh, village sarpanch, had told him that he had seen the accused, Makhan Singh, with Onkar Singh and Tara standing outside Makhan’s shop. Later, the severed body of Tara was recovered near a village stream.

The witness added that he had gone to Makhan’s house on September 25, 2003, some days after Tara’s disappearance, and then lodged a complaint with the Kharar police station. He deposed that he had gone along with the police to the Prem Pura jungle where parts of Tara’s body had been found.

He added that during the course of investigation in the case, his statement was not recorded by the police.

Three witnesses — Manga Singh, Swaran Singh and Jasmair Singh — have so far turned hostile in the case.

Makhan and Tara were childhood friends. The murder came to light when the police exhumed parts of the body of Tara from a stream near Prem Pura village in the Pinjore area. The head and torso of the deceased were recovered later.

Avtar Singh had gone missing on September 25, 2003 and his body parts had been found on October 10. — TNS


Bhattal case: Hearing deferred till Nov 17
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 15
A local court today deferred hearing in the alleged corruption and embezzlement case of former Deputy Chief Minister Rajinder Kaur Bhattal till November 17.

In 2002, charges were framed against Bhattal for alleged misappropriation of Rs 20 lakh from the Chief Minister’s Relief Fund during her brief tenure as the Chief Minister.

The complainant in the case, Balwant Singh Dhillon, had alleged that Bhattal had embezzled Rs 20 lakh from the fund in 1996.

An FIR in the matter was registered against Bhattal by the Punjab vigilance bureau on the complaint of Dhillon.


Farmers call off stir
Our Correspondent

Abohar, September 15
The Kisan Sangharsh Samiti has called off its agitation against discrimination in the supply of canal water for irrigation. The Irrigation Department authorities had devised a formula under which remodeling of all waterfalls/distribution points would be completed within a month. This, the officials claimed, would ensure the availability of water even to the fields located on the tail-end of sub canals in this area.

Later, the affected farmers shifted their dharna to the divisional office of the Irrigation Department in the canal colony here.

The authorities had a series of meetings with political and administrative high-ups at Chandigarh and finally resolved to remodel the waterfalls/distribution points besides reshaping the outlets in the sub canals. This convinced the samiti leaders resulting in an end to the agitation for the time being, the sources said today.


Separate directorate for ayurvedic colleges
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, September 15
Medical education and research minister Tikshan Sud today ruled out any rollback on the recently hiked fees of the management quota in privately managed medical colleges in the state which forced many aspiring candidates to surrender their MBBS seats and opt for the BDS stream.

Taking to mediapersons on the sidelines of the 31st annual conference of the North-West Zone Association of Otolaryngologists of India here, Sud said there would be no reviewing of the fee structure at present.

There was a lot of resentment among the candidates from middle and lower middle-class families who made a strong representation to the government to review the fee structure and make it more affordable for all sections of society.

Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal had also earlier quoted to suggest that the government was contemplating to take a second look at the fee structure so that it remains within a common man’s reach.

Meanwhile, the minister said a separate directorate for ayurvedic colleges was constituted as per demands of ayurvedic doctors, which would directly link the ayurvedic colleges with the government. Earlier, allopathic doctors dominated the ayurvedic department and now with the segregation of both, ayurvedic doctors would have equal opportunities in presenting problems faced by ayurvedic colleges.

The process had already been initiated towards establishing an Autonomous Ayurvedic Medical University, the minister said and other concerned officials were visiting similar universities in Jodhpur and Jamnagar to gather first hand information about their working.

Meanwhile, the state government earmarked Rs 25 crore for the upgradation of medical colleges at Faridkot and Amritsar.


HOME PAGE | Punjab | Haryana | Jammu & Kashmir | Himachal Pradesh | Regional Briefs | Nation | Opinions |
| Business | Sports | World | Mailbag | Chandigarh | Ludhiana | Delhi |
| Calendar | Weather | Archive | Subscribe | Suggestion | E-mail |