P U N J A B    S T O R I E S


Interviews for top SGPC posts begin
Varinder Walia
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, September 25
The process to appoint the chief secretary and five directors of different wings (to be created for the first time) of the SGPC formally started with the holding of interviews at the sub-office of the committee at Chandigarh today.

The attempt is likely to put a heavy burden on the SGPC exchequer because the supreme Sikh institution already has four secretaries looking after different departments. It was for the time that the SGPC had appointed four secretaries, making it top heavy.

The proposal to add the posts of chief secretary and five directors would certainly receive flak from Panthic circles.

The new appointees would look after education, task force, buildings, hospitals etc.

Earlier too, the experiment of appointing secretaries from outside had failed to bring the expected reforms because , mainly due to “non-cooperation” by the insiders. The secretaries who were appointed from outside included Harinder Singh Khalsa , a former diplomat, Dr Gurbachan Singh Bachan and Principal Harbhajan Singh who could not complete their respective terms due to a variety of reasons.

While Khalsa was compelled to resign, the others were unceremoniously removed. So much so that veteran Akali leader Manjit Singh Calcutta was also shown the door due to his loyalty with the late Jathedar Gurcharn Singh Tohra, former SGPC chief.

Among those who interviewed the candidates included Devinder Singh Bagga, former chief secretary, Uttar Pradesh, Jaspal Singh, former ambassador, SGPC chief Jathedar Avtar Singh and Raghuvir Singh Virk, senior vice-president of the SGPC.

The SGPC chief had been authorised by the previous executive meeting to appoint the chief secretary and five directors with a view to streamlining the functioning of the Shiromani committee.

However, sources pointed out that the SGPC Executive , proposed to be held tomorrow is unlikely to confirm the appointments as the expected number of candidates could not reach for the interview. Though the names for the prospective appointments are being shortlisted, the possibility of yet another interview cannot be ruled out.


Board Website Ready
Students can now fill forms from district HQ
Lalit Mohan
Tribune News Service

Patiala, September 25
Lakhs of students appearing for exams under the Punjab School Education Board (PSEB) will now be spared the trouble of travelling to Mohalli.

With the board going online, students can now fill migration, registration and re-evaluation forms from their respective district headquarters.

Chairman of the board Dr Dalbir Singh Dhillon in an exclusive interview with The Tribune said the students appearing for 10+2 exams can fill their examination forms online from the official website of the board, www.punjabschool.indiaresults.com <http://www.punjabschool.indiaresults.com>. The website would be fully functional within one month.

If some students have difficulty in filling the forms, they can seek the instructions from 21 offices of the board located in all the districts of the state, he said.

The results of the all board exams from the current academic session would also be displayed online.

Besides, information regarding the status of affiliation or recognition of various schools functioning under the board would also be available on the website.

Expressions of interests were being sought from software companies with the permission of the government to seek complete solutions for putting the education board online.

Dr Dhillon, who has recently taken over as chairman, said he also intends to reform the examination system in schools functioning under it. At present, the method to evaluate the students in final examination is subjective. Efforts would be made to make it objective.

The objective of the examinations should be to evaluate the knowledge of students and not their ignorance. For this, a committee of experts would be formed that would suggest measures for reforming the education system of the board.

He also hinted at removing bureaucratic formalities.


State demands 3,000 MW from Centre
Chander Parkash
Tribune News Service

Power Crisis

  • 49 per cent share in Banswara N-plant

  • Share in Kota atomic power plant

Bathinda, September 25
The Punjab government has urged the Union Power Ministry to allocate about 3,000 MW power from its unallocated quota to the state to tide over the power crises.

The government has also put pressure on the ministry to allow it to contribute 49 per cent share in the investment of the Banswara nuclear power plant being set up in Rajasthan.

Disclosing this here today, Punjab finance minister Manpreet Badal said the government had raised these demands at the meeting of power ministers of different states held by union power minister S. K. Shinde at Delhi yesterday.

He said Punjab had also urged the minister to fix a share of power from the seventh and eighth units of the Kota atomic power plant of Rajasthan, which were yet to be erected.

Claiming that the response of Shinde was positive, he added that it was unfortunate that no central agency had set up its power plant in Punjab so far. In other states, the agencies had set up thermal power stations to supplement state power generations.

He disclosed that Punjab was given 1500 MW share from the Lara power project being set up in Chhattisgarh. But the implementation of the project had been delayed and hence the Punjab government had urged the power ministry to shift its share to some other power project so that state should not suffer.

Punjab had also taken up the issue of laying down of the Dadri-Nangal gas pipeline with the authorities concerned so that the Doraha-based gas power plant could be made a possibility at the earliest.

He said it was beyond the capacity of the Punjab government to waive the loans of farmers, which was around Rs 25,000 crore. Only the Centre could help in this matter.

He said the Centre should link the minimum support price (MSP) of all the foodgrain items with the wholesale price index. The state government should strike a balance between subsidies and allocation of funds of other sectors, including health, education and infrastructure development.

He said the government was planning to reduce the stamp duty on the registration of transfer of landed properties from existing 5 per cent to 3 per cent. However, those, who indulged in the sale and purchase of landed properties, would be forced to reflect their real values in their transactions.


6 of family killed in accident
Victims were returning from Vaishno Devi 
Tribune News Service

Relatives of victims in grief at the civil hospital, Kharar, on Tuesday.
Relatives of victims in grief at the civil hospital, Kharar, on Tuesday.—Tribune photos by Vicky Gharu

Kharar, September 25
Six members of a family, including two children, were killed in a collision between a car (HR 30B 0171) and a truck near Daun Majra village this morning. The victims were traveling in the car.

The family was coming from the Vaishno Devi shrine and on way to Gurgaon. The incident took place at 5.30 am.

The victims were from Palam Vihar, Gurgaon, and Palwal. They were identified as Vishal Vidyarthi, his wife Monica, their children Urvashi (4) and Kanishk (8) and their relatives Bheeshm Yadav and Puneet Yadav. While five died on the spot, Kanishk died on way to the PGI. DSP Joginder Singh said victims’ relatives in Chandigarh were informed about the incident.

“We dialled every number that existed in the mobile phone of one of the victims and traced one call to Chandigarh,” the DSP said. However, a relative from Chandigarh, who reached the spot, was shocked to see the tragedy and could not divulge any information or even identify the victims. He was just able to provide the phone number of Vishal Vidyarthi’s brother Deepak, a resident of Gurgaon. Deepak identified all the victims.

The police has arrested the truck driver, Darshan Singh of Anandpur Sahib. 


Dam retirees get jolt, surplus money recovered from gratuity
Bipin Bhardwaj
Tribune News Servcie

Ranjit Sagar Dam, September 25
Retired and retiring employees of the Ranjit Sagar Dam have once again got a big jolt, with the state government recovering surplus money, paid to them in shape of special increments, from their gratuity and leave encashment.

The accountant-general, Punjab, has issued certificates and reports-cum-gratuity payment orders through the executive engineer of the Ranjit Sagar Dam workshop in Shahpurkandi, to a number of retired employees, giving them details of the recovery by deducting money from different heads.

As per the recovery, a majority of the retired employees, who dedicatedly served for the construction of the tunnels and other works of the project, were shocked to find that they were given gratuity of only a few hundred rupees.

In an interesting case, Ajit Singh, a resident of Haler village in Sujanpur Tehsil, who served in the project as beldar for over 25 years was granted gratuity of Rs 54 only. The letter issued by the AG office in his case reads as: the total gratuity sanctioned by the AG Punjab, Chandigarh was Rs 1,00,254. Recovery made from the retiree as per the AG Punjab, after deducting special increments was Rs 1,79,803. Recovery to be made from gratuity was Rs 1,00,200. Recovery of excess special increments benefits to be made from leave encashment and etc was Rs 79,603.

Similarly, Bir Singh of Malikpur village served with the dam as driver from 1985 to May 2006 but got Rs 145 as gratuity after the recovery of Rs 1,10,000. The total gratuity sanctioned by the government was Rs 1,10,145.

Repeated representations by the Retired RSD Employees Welfare Association, RSD Joint Action Committee and RSD Foremen Association to chief minister Parkash Singh Badal and irrigation minister Janmeja Singh Sekhwan have failed to yield any result.

TR Sharma, chairman of the Retired RSD Employees Welfare Association, said the secretary irrigation and power Suresh Kumar had asked the RSD financial adviser and chief accounts officer Sohan Lal Sharma to issue provisional pensions for the retired employees and prepare proper documents of the affected employees to solve their problems shortly. But, he lamented, the RSD management had been misrepresenting their case, thus putting hundreds of beneficiaries to great hardship.

RDS Foremen Association president Gurnam Singh lamented that the recovery by the government would break the retired and the retiring RSD employees (who already are on the verge of starvation).

Members of the RSD Joint Action Committee have threatened to launch an agitation if the government did not stop harassing them by enforcing recovery of excess money paid to them by the authorities concerned for their excellent services.


Truckers pay Rs 211 as bribe daily: Study
Our Correspondent

Hoshiarpur, September 25
The Centre for Media Studies (CMS) has revealed in its report that truck operators have to pay Rs 211 to Rs 266 daily as bribe to officials of the Regional Transport Department and policemen for plying their vehicles smoothly.

According to official sources here today, an NGO, the Transparency International India (TII), recently got a study survey conducted from the CMS on corruption in the transport sector.

The report revealed that each truck operator is paying Rs 79,220 as bribe to officials annually. There are more than 36 lakh trucks in India operators of whom are paying a bribe of Rs 22,200 crore yearly.

Transport is a vital sector of the country and the money which is going in the pockets of transport officials and policemen could be saved and deposited in the government exchequer.

The TII has sent the findings of the study to the DGPs of all states so as to initiate steps to save money.

The Punjab DGP has instructed all SSPs to take effective steps to curb the menace of corruption.


Tribune Impact
Narli village to get recognition
Varinder Walia
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, September 25
Finally, the state government has agreed, in principle, to give recognition to the border village of Narli which is the ancestral village of Shaheed Bhagat Singh on the zero line in Tarn Taran district.

The Tribune had highlighted the connection of Shaheed Bhagat Singh with Narli by quoting historical documents, including “Buried Alive”, an autobiography of Bhagat Singh’s paternal uncle Sardar Ajit Singh, and “Oral History”, given by village elders.

The ancestors of Shaheed Bhagat Singh had shifted to Khatkal Kalan in Nawanshahr district, before the period of Maharaja Ranjit Singh.

A written press statement issued by the Public Relations Department on behalf of Akali Dal MLA Virsa Singh Valtoha has said that due recognition would be given to Narli. He said it was a matter of great significance that the ancestors of Sharheed Bhagat Singh were basically from this border village.

He said a suitable memorial would be raised in memory of Shaheed Bhagat Singh.

Shaheed Bhagat Singh was a frequent visitor of Narli and would take shelter there during his underground life. The village is strategically located. It is a few kilometres from Lahore.

Bibi Paritam Kaur (85), a villager while recalling the old days, had claimed that she had a chance to see Bhagat Singh when he visited Narli a couple of years before his hanging.

However, due to ignorance of this great historical fact, neither the state nor the Centre had included Narli in any function to mark the centenary celebrations of Sardar Bhagat Singh, to be started on September 27, causing resentment among the residents of the Majha region.

An ancestor of Bhagat Singh had left the village in his youth for carrying the ashes of family members cremated in Narli to the Ganges at Haridwar. On the way one evening as it got dark, he had reached the big fortress belonging to a feudal chief (now Khatkal Kalan) and spent a night there.

The young man later married the daughter of the feudal lord of Katkal Kalan and settled there permanently.

Narli village is dominated by Sandhu Jatts, the clan of Shaheed Bhagat Singh, considered to be one of the bravest and oldest Jatt tribes.


Info under RTI Act finds chinks in rape case probe
Sanjay Bumbroo and 
P.K. Jaiswar

Amritsar, September 25
Information procured under the RTI Act has brought to light startling revelations in a rape case. While on one hand no FIR was lodged in the case, the latest police investigation on a RTI application by the accused’s father have also pointed out that the complainant probably never stayed at the spot of the crime.

Amit Bhardwaj (19) had been sentenced to seven years of rigorous imprisonment by a local court. Investigations by the police department after filing of the application by Romesh Bhardwaj of Nabha (Patiala), father of the accused, had reportedly found that no such case had been registered on the given date at the police station concerned. Moreover, the “victim” was not even a resident of that area where the incident reportedly occurred. It had been alleged that the rape took place in the house owned by a woman in Islamabad.

Interestingly, the residents of the area had denied happening of any such incident in the police investigations. Even the inquiries into the medical report submitted by the doctors revealed that no policeman had taken the swab and clothes of the victim to the chemical laboratory in Patiala.

Amit Bhardwaj was allegedly booked on rape charges made by a 36-year-old woman in Amritsar on August 30, 1997. The case was presently pending in the Punjab and Haryana High Court even though the boy had served seven years imprisonment after conviction by a Amritsar court.

Romesh said the false case and subsequent reports pertaining to the case were allegedly forged by his close relative who had been convicted by a Chandigarh court for killing his (Romesh’s) sister. He alleged that his sister was poisoned to death by her husband for not bringing enough dowry.

Bhardwaj said the police report also revealed that the statement made by the doctor that he had sent the swab and clothes of the rape victim through a constable posted at the SGTB hospital for a chemical laboratory in Patiala was found wrong as the constable had denied doing so. He added that the chemical examiner in Patiala also stated that the so-called samples had not come for examination from the SGTB Hospital where the medical examination of the rape victim was said to have been conducted.

Romesh urged the government and other officials concerned to provide him and his son justice.


Pak delegation adds green to kisan mela
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, September 25
The kisan mela organised on the premises of the local regional research station by Punjab Agricultural University (PAU) today attracted farmers from far away places.

A delegation of scientists and students of Agriculture University, Faislabad (Pakistan), including Jehangir Khan Sial, director, faculty of agriculture engineering and technology and Niyaz Ahmed, director, water management, attended the mela, adding colour to it.

Manpreet Badal, finance minister, who inaugurated the mela, urged the farmers to increase the growth rate of agriculture in the state from the existing 2 per cent to 4 per cent.

M.S. Kang, vice-chancellor, PAU, asked the farmers that they should increase the area under horticulture to improve their economic conditions. N.S. Malhi, director of extension, PAU, pointed out that by making judicious use of pesticides and insecticides the farmers could prevent their economic losses on one hand and save the soil structure on the other hand.


‘No relief for Pak farmers’

Tarn Taran, September 25
Shakeela Khanam Rashid, member of the Pakistan National Assembly, said President Musharraf had failed to give any relief to the farmers. She said the right of ownership of land had not been given to the farmers as tillers.

Shakeela was here today to participate in the birth anniversary celebrations of Shaheed Bhagat Singh. — OC


‘Bhagat Singh more important than Gandhi-Irvin Pact’
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, September 25
Shaheed Bhagat Singh’s vision of India was to achieve Independence, transform the nation into an enlightened political, social, economic and cultural democracy and bring about qualitative changes in the Indian society.

These views were expressed by distinguished scholars at a state-level seminar on the “Life and Times of Shaheed Bhagat Singh” organised by Guru Nanak Dev University here today to mark the birth centenary celebrations of the great martyr of Punjab.

Noted journalist Kuldip Nayar said Gandhi should not have signed the Gandhi-Irvin Pact as Bhagat Singh was more important than this pact.

Presiding over the seminar, Jagmohan Singh, nephew of Bhagat Singh, called upon the youth to sincerely follow the ideology of Shaeed-e-Azam. He said Bhagat Singh was himself ‘a university’ who formulated his own syllabus and prepared the people to get freedom as per this syllabus. He said GND University should undertake active research on Bhagat Singh by an ‘integrated group’.

H.K. Puri, political scientist, gave the keynote address.

Earlier, welcoming the scholars, vice-chancellor Jai Rup Singh said today there was a need to follow the way shown by our martyrs.

Chaman Lal, Department of Hindi, JNU, New Delhi, Raj Kumar Hans, Department of History, MS University, Vadodara, I.D. Gaur, Department of Evening Studies, Panjab University, Chandigarh, Sumel Singh Sidhu, G.T.B. Khalsa College, Delhi University, Delhi, Hazara Singh from Ludhiana and Sayed Iqbal Jafri from Pakistan were among those who presented their papers on the life and times of Shaheed Bhagat Singh.


Writers to celebrate martyr’s birth centenary
Sarbjit Dhaliwal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 25
Eminent Punjabi writers, playwrights and social activists will celebrate Shaheed Bhagat Singh's birth centenary at Barnala on September 28, the day it is celebrated by the Punjab Government at Amritsar. They have given a call for illumination in the state on the night of September 27.

Eminent playwright Gursharan Singh, who has been an ardent supporter of Bhagat Singh's ideology and philosophy, today said Prof Gurdial Singh, an eminent novelist, Prof Ajmer Aulakh, a famed playwright, Prof Waryam Singh Sandhu, a renowned story writer and Surjit Pattar, a big name in Punjabi poetic world, had led their support to Bhagat Singh's birth centenary celebrations at Barnala. All these writers are recipient of prestigious literary awards in the country.

Gursharan Singh, who has been made convener of the Shaheed Bhagat Singh Janam Shatabadi Committee, said the main objective of the movement would be to bring the rule of masses in the state.

Besides eminent writers, other members of the committee include Dr Parminder Singh Sandhu, Jhanda Singh Jethuke, Narayan Dutt, Kanwalpreet Singh Pannu, Baldev Singh Rasoolpur, Jora Singh Nasrali, Pavail Kusa, Atarjeet and Ram Swaran Lakhewali.


‘Ban shows on animal fights’
Our Correspondent

Hoshiarpur, September 25
A consultant secretary of the Animal Welfare Board of India (Union Ministry for Forest) K. Ramasamy has taken serious view of the recent telecast of dog fights in Punjab by a section of private TV channels.

According to official sources here today, Ramasamy in his letter to the home secretary of the state government stated that the arranging of dogs and other animals for fight shows was inhumane and a crime.

The organising of such shows are punishable under Section 11 (1) of the Prevention of Cruelty towards Animals Act, 1960, and Article 511 (G) of the Constitution.

He has asked the Punjab government to take strict action against the organisers of the said show.


Round up
Govt bans book
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 25 
The Punjab Government has banned Hindi book "Shri Guru Granth Sahib"-Sant Panapdas ji ki Wani, written by Sant Panapdas as it contains objectionable material which will cause resentment among the Sikhs. It is defamatory to the Sikh religion. 

A spokesman of the Home Department said after carefully going through the contents of the book the state government was of the opinion that the matter in the book hurt the religious feelings of the Sikh community and also promoted enmity between different groups of society on the grounds of religion. 

Justice Gill takes over 

Justice Mehtab Singh Gill, a Punjab and Haryana High Court judge, has been appointed executive chairman of the Punjab Legal Services Authority, Chandigarh. A spokesman for the authority said Justice Gill had taken over his new assignment. 


Man killed by friends over minor issue
Tribune News Service

Mandi Gobindgarh, September 25
A minor feud over a trivial issue ended up in the murder of a Nepalese labourer here last night, who was done to death by his own friends. Th accused, Rajinder Kumar and Hari Har, allegedly battered Mangan to death.

Fatehgarh Sahib SSP, Nilab Kishore, said that the three men were consuming liquor last night on the premises of a blast furnace on Amloh Road, when they started quarrelling. During the resultant scuffle the two accused got hold of some blunt weapons including an iron rod and allegedly assaulted Mangan several times. The victim sustained fatal injuries and died soon after. 

After the matter was reported to the police a team from the local police station reached the spot and arrested the two men on charges of murder. The body was shifted to the civil hospital for post-mortem examination.


Rape alleged

Ludhiana, September 25 
A polio-ridden minor girl ate poison after being allegedly raped by a youth at Shatabgarh village near Machiwara late tonight.

The 14-year-old girl was alone at home when the youth scaled a boundary wall and committed the crime. The youth identified as Kuldip Singh is son of a block samiti member. He was reportedly absconding. The alleged rape took place at 6 pm but the matter came to light when the girl’s mother reached home at 8 pm. The victim was, however, referred to the Samrala civil hospital. Doctors said her condition was stable. The police was conducting raids to nab the accused — TNS


Youth Cong website
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 25
The Punjab unit of the Youth Congress today launched its website www.punjabyouthcongress.com <http://www.punjabyouthcongress.com>. A former president of the Youth Congress Randeep Singh Surjewala, who is now the power minister in Haryana, inaugurated the website. 

The website carries the photograph of Rahul Gandhi. 


Govt says Raninder not cooperating
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 25
The former and present political powers are stuck on their much-touted stands with no one budging an inch from the stated positions and posturing.

This has been corroborated by an affidavit by a Punjab government officer, who has raised the plank of non-cooperation by Raninder Singh, son of former Chief Minister Amarinder Singh and his kin Raminder Singh.

The affidavit has emphatically ruled out politics of vendetta against the duo.

In an eight-page reply filed by Prithi Chand, additional secretary to the Punjab government, on behalf of the state of Punjab, the one thing that emerges loud and clear is that Raninder and Raminder were trying their best to dodge the investigating officer and coming out with excuses to malign the government.

Incidentally, the reply, dated September 24, has been filed in response to an additional affidavit filed by Raninder Singh and Raminder Singh as a part of their main petition.

In the main petition, the duo has sought 10 days’ notice before arrest in any case to be registered against them anywhere in and by the state of Punjab or any other state instrumentality or state agency, including the Vigilance Bureau and the Punjab Police.

The petitioners (Raninder and Raminder), through their counsel Himmat Singh Shergill, have averred that they would become a victim of political vendetta started by the present government.

They have also cited the case of alleged illegal manner of arrest of former DGP S.S. Virk to buttress their point.

The hearing on the petition has been adjourned to September 27.

The reply asserts that the additional affidavit, dated July 21, filed by the petitioners is a totally unintelligible affidavit.

The realisation that a falsity repeated over and over again does not become the truth and has not dawned upon the petitioners.

“The petitioners have devised an ingenious method of trying to project as if they are cooperating with the agency. Whenever, the investigating officer is supposed to be in the high court in Chandigarh for any hearing, the petitioners go to Vigilance Bureau office in Ludhiana knowing fully that the officer is in Chandigarh and they will be turned back,” the reply states.

Reading like a psycho-analysis report of the petitioners, the reply asserts that it is the petitioners’ own awareness of their guilt which has prodded them to make submissions and averments regarding political vendetta on the government’s part.

The present probe is merely a continuation of probe initiated by Capt Amarinder Singh only when he was at the helm of the affairs, the reply asserts.

The reply then meanders to evidence accumulated by the Vigilance and makes mention of Chetan Gupta’s accounts.

Gupta is an accused in the Ludhiana City Centre case. The Punjab Intranet Company case is also referred to.

Importantly, the reply states that it is incomprehensible how the Punjab government can implicate anybody in the Volker Scam, which was being probed by Central government.

As regarding the corruption cases or Wildlife Protection cases, the same will be probed as and when they come to light. 


HC rejects Mann’s plea to transfer Badal case
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 25
In a significant order aimed at conveying a stern message to political leaders against using courts as a turf for waging their political battles, a division bench, comprising Chief Justice Vijender Jain and Justice Mahesh Grover, today dismissed the plea filed by president of the SAD (A) Simranjit Singh Mann.

Mann had sought transfer of trial of assets’ case against the Badals, being heard in Ropar, to a court outside Punjab.

“The court cannot permit itself to be an unwitting tool to the machinations of political parties whose actions stem from scepticism and cynicism, bordering on contempt for other political parties. Therefore, we do not find any reason for interference in the case,” the bench observed in its order.

Importantly, it observed that on perusing the petition and documents annexed therewith, the court was unable to justify the apprehensions of the petitioner (Mann). The High Court found no sufficient material to corroborate the fears of the petitioner.

It was also observed that the factum of witnesses’ about turn was not enough to cast aspersions on the veracity of the trial or to suggest that trial was being subverted.

The court was not helpless as it was vested with sufficient powers to ensure a fair trial and to deal with witnesses who purposely did not either come out with truth or made conscious attempts to conceal the truth.

Mann had averred that the outcome of the trial was likely to be influenced which was clear from the fact that most of witnesses examined by the vigilance bureau during the investigation had retracted from their statements.

The copies of the witnesses’ statements were also submitted before the court.

PIL seeks action against ‘hostile witnesses’

The pace and ease with which witnesses are turning hostile in the disproportionate assets case against Parkash Singh Badal, his wife Surinder Kaur and son Sukhbir Singh Badal has led to the filing of a PIL seeking action against the hostile witnesses.

In the petition, taken up for hearing today by the division bench, comprising Chief Justice Vijender Jain and Justice Mahesh Grover, advocate H.C Arora, the petitioner, sought directions for initiating action against the witnesses who had turned hostile during the ongoing hearings of the case before the Ropar trial court.

Arora averred that the case against the Badals and others was registered during the Congress regime under the Prevention of Corruption Act on June 24, 2003, by the state vigilance bureau at its Mohali police station. Significantly, 23 prosecution witnesses had turned hostile so far.

However, the bench adjourned the petition for further consideration to October 3 when the same would be taken up again.


Judges blamed for crowded jails
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 25
It is an open secret that jails in our country are a stinking hell, overcrowded more with undertrials than convicts.

Many NGOs, human rights organisations and lawyers have raised a hue and cry against the callous system, but to no avail.

Now, Simranjit Singh Mann, too, has joined the bandwagon giving first-hand account of the nightmare that jails in Punjab are.

In an application, full of shocking details, to the Chief Justice of the High Court, Mr Justice Vijender Jain, Mann has laid the onus on the judiciary and police administration for the mess Punjab’s jails find themselves in.

Importantly, the Chief Justice has ordered that the letter be treated as a PIL and issued notice to union home secretary, Punjab home secretary and Punjab director-general (prisons) for October 30. The application has been sent through advocate Ranjan Lakhanpal.

“The toilets in the Jalandhar jail, where I had spent one night, were stinking. I have visited pig sties in Italy and can assure your lordship that they were cleaner and much better than toilets in the Jalandhar jail.”

The jail is 130 years’ old and may collapse any day killing locked inmates, Mann apprehends, adding that in that eventuality the matter would be hushed up by blaming PWD officials or monsoon.

Moreover, whenever the power goes, the cells turn into a furnace.

Importantly, Mann highlights in his application that the High Court judges are not carrying out regular inspections of the district courts and jails nor they are applying their minds to the fast disposal of pending cases.

Even if the inspections are made, they are made in a perfunctory manner.


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