P U N J A B    S T O R I E S

Suicide Attempt
SHO suspended, ASI sent to Police Lines
Magisterial probe ordered
Tribune News Service

Talwandi Sabo, October 1
Taking suo motu notice of suicide attempt by five members of a family of Behman Jassa Singhwala village of this subdivision on Saturday, Rahul Tiwari, district magistrate, Bathinda, has ordered Anil Garg, local SDM, to hold a magisterial probe into the same.

On the other hand, SSP, Nau Nihal Singh Aulakh, has started a department inquiry against Amritpal Singh, SI, for dereliction of duty as he preferred to run away from the spot instead of saving the five victims.

He said he had also placed Mohinder Kumar Ghai, SHO, Talwandi Sabo police station, under suspension after he received a complaint that Ghai had misbehaved with the family of the victims.

Gurjant Singh set himself, his wife Jasvir Kaur and their three daughters on fire when a police party raided his house on the night of September 29.

Aulakh said the DSP, Talwandi Sabo, had been asked to probe the role of members of the raiding team so that it could be found out that why they ran away from spot instead of saving the family. Interestingly, instead of taking care of the victims Amritpal allegedly went to the police station and got a case registered against all those who had suffered burn injuries.

Ramanpal Kaur, one of the daughters of Gurjant Singh, who escaped the wrath of her father, alleged in front of SSP Aulakh that SHO Ghai misbehaved with her.


Mobile court from today
1.2 million cases pending in courts: CJ
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 1
There was a whopping pendency of more than 1.2 million cases in various courts in Punjab, Haryana and Chandigarh, said Chief Justice of the Punjab and Haryana High Court Justice Vijender Jain while announcing the launch of Punjab’s first mobile court at Talwara in Hoshiarpur tomorrow.

Such mobile courts are required, said Justice Jain while adding that these courts take judicial system closer to the people.

Justice Jain said out of the total pendency, the High Court alone had 2.60 lakh cases pending while there were only 33 judges to hear these cases. The High Court had a sanctioned strength of 55 judges. The lower courts in Punjab Haryana and Chandigarh had the rest of one millon cases pending. There were only 480 judicial officers working on these cases.

Justice Jain and Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal are scheduled to perform the launching ceremony of the mobile court on October 2. Last month the first mobile court of the country was launched at Punhana in Mewat district of Haryana.

The decision to launch the mobile court at Talwara has been taken because of its isolation, location and backwardness. This court would take up cases at four centres -- Jandwal, Talwara, Hazipur and Kamahi Devi. The hearings at these places would be held on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays, by rotation beginning from October 4 to 30.

Justice Jain said on Wednesdays and Saturdays the presiding officers of the mobile court would hold regular sessions at Dasuya.

The mobile court would be a regular feature and would transact all types of judicial business, he said. It would also take cognisance of criminal cases on the basis of police reports or criminal complaints, he added. The hearing of the cases would be just like that of a regular court, Justice Jain added, in the presence of other judges of the High Court and the Punjab Chief Secretary Ramesh Inder Singh.

Referring to the mobile court at Punhana, Justice Jain said it had proved to be a success. This court at Punhana began hearing cases from August 6 and since then had 256 sittings, he said, adding that regular courts normally hear not more than 70 cases in a month. ''The mobile courts are very helpful for the people in remote areas as they do not have to travel long distances to attend to their cases. Witnesses are local people and they tend to speak the truth in the mobile courts,” the Chief Justice said.

Justice Jain revealed that more mobile courts might be opened in Punjab and Haryana very soon. Badal had requested him to open more mobile courts in the remote areas of Punjab, he added.

Like the mobile court in Haryana, the one being launched tomorrow would have a specially equipped bus in which the presiding officer would be able to work in his privacy in his retiring room in the rear of the bus. The record or judicial files will be kept in cabinets provided in the bus, which will be air-conditioned.

The presiding officer would also have a separate personal vehicle and he, as well as the other staff, would receive additional pay and allowances in view of the arduous nature of their duties.


Govt to probe misuse of grants to panchayats
Tribune News Service

Gurdaspur, October 1
The state government will probe into the bungling of about Rs 1,400 crore while releasing grants to various panchayats just months before the Assembly elections, said rural development minister Ranjit Singh Brahmpura here today.

“The money released as grants for the development works to various panchayats was used to woo voters during the elections and a majority of officers issued fake utility certificates for the money that was not spent for the purpose it was allocated,” added Brahmpura.

The minister also distributed cheques worth Rs 6.31 crore for the panchayats of Gurdaspur, Batala, Dina Nagar and Pathankot subdivisions under the Rural Water Supply and Sanitation Scheme introduced by the central government.

The minister alleged that instead of releasing grants for development works to panchayats on annual basis, the previous government released grants just a month before the elections and misutilised the funds in a big way.

He said panchayat secretaries, DDPOs, BDPOs, sarpanchs and other officials of the rural development department were involved in this big scam.

The minister said special magisterial powers have been given to the DDPOs and BDPOs to settle the cases of illegal possession of panchayat lands in various villages. The powers have been delegated to the officers on the pattern of the Haryana government.

Meanwhile, Brahmpura said elections for the panchayats, block samities and the zila parishads would be conducted in March or April next year.


Role of 2 IAS officers under VB scanner
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, October 1
After the City Centre scam, a deputy inspector-general of the Vigilance Bureau is now investigating if former CM, Capt Amarinder Singh, his family and his “powerful” coterie of IAS officers and personal assistants, took kickbacks for favouring different companies in three other projects and a land dispute case during the Congress regime in the state.

The projects under the scanner are - a deal with an Indo-Dubai joint venture company, MRMGF, for developing two sectors in Mohali, the Goindwal Power Project, a project with Ambuja Cement company and alleged forcible vacation of a taxi stand opposite Radison Hotel in Jalandhar. Two IAS officers figure prominently in these scams, the vigilance officials said today.

DIG S.S. Chauhan said the scams have come to light during the investigation of the City Centre scam. “ I would be verifying the allegations and submitting the report for necessary action.”

As per the information with the Vigilance Bureau, the MRMGF company was told to withdraw a writ petition they had filed against allotting the City Centre project to Today Homes. In lieu of that they were given two sectors in Mohali for development. Family members of the ex-CM apart from some mediators allegedly pocketed Rs 200 crore as kickbacks for settling the dispute.

Vigilance SSP Kanwarjit Singh Sandhu claimed that Kila Raipur MLA and owner of Park Plaza Hotel Jassi Khangura was involved in arranging call girls and providing a palatial house for alluring politicians, bureaucrats and various company officials. The official said former additional advocate-general Harpreet Sandhu, who was also involved in arranging the girls, had made most of the disclosures about the scams and use of girls.

Meanwhile, Khangura termed the allegations against him were made by a depraved mind, a failed officer and an ineffective inquiry. He said Vigilance SSP had mounted a personal vendetta against him and his family members. “The SSP was still hurt because four years ago, he exceeded his brief and came to the hotel looking for a shareholding owned by Sukhbir Badal (which did not exist) and he was transferred.”

He said he never had any business dealing with Harpreet Sandhu and never hired any residence in Ludhiana or indulged in any illegal activity. 


Building Collapse in Jalandhar
9 MC officials suspended 

Chandigarh, October 1
The Punjab goverment has suspended two municipal town planners, four ATPs and three building inspectors of the Municipal Corporation, Jalandhar, for their alleged negligence in the construction of a building which led to collapse during construction, causing death of four labourers.

Stating this here today, a spokesman of the Local Bodies Department, Punjab, said the incident occurred on July 28 at the Civil Lines, Jalandhar, in which four labourers were buried under the debris of an under-construction building.

An inquiry was conducted in this regard in which nine officials belonging to municipal corporaion were allegedly found guilty in their duty.

The officers whose services have been placed under suspension are Tirlok Singh, municipal town planner, Jalandhar, now at Bathinda, and Hemant Batra, municipal town planner, Jalandhar, now at Ludhiana, Ramesh Chabbra, Dharm pal, Raj Kumar and Mohan Lal, all ATPs Jalandhar, Rohit Sahota, Balwinder Singh and Ajit Kumar, all building inspectors, in Jalandhar. — PTI


Landran Clash
3 students held; 12 rusticated
Tribune News Srevice

Kharar, October 1
Three students involved in a bloody clash at Chandigarh Engineering College (CEC), Landran, were arrested this afternoon.

They were identified as Kushaldeep Sekhon from Abohar, Kulbir Singh from Fazilka and Hardev Singh from Patiala.

The Majat police arrested them from near Bhagomajra while travelling in a Maruti car. They will be produced before the court tomorrow. Five students 
are at large.

The college's fact-finding committee today recommended rustication of 12 students involved in the tiff. They are Hardev Singh, Kulbir Singh Randhawa and Harkirat Singh, all from IT seventh semester, Jasjeet Singh and Gagandeep Singh Sandhu from IT fifth semester, Baldeep Singh, Kushaldeep Singh Sekhon and Kulbir Singh Sran from mechanical fifth semester, Manpreet Singh Gill of mechanical seventh semester, Pritpal Singh from MBA, first semester, Ravi Chaudhary from BSc, hotel management, and Gagandeep Singh of BCA third semester.

Satnam Singh Sandhu said:"We will not tolerate any kind of violence on campus."

Student Raj Brar, injured during the incident, was discharged from the PGIMER, Chandigarh, today. 


It’s Gaganjit show in Dhuri
Tribune News Service

Dhuri, October 1
With a view to prove his supremacy in the Shiromani Akali Dal in Dhuri area, organising secretary of the SAD and area in charge of the party Gaganjit Singh Barnala today nominated his confidants as presidents of the Dhuri rural and urban circles of the party.

However, Gaganjit termed these appointments as unanimous decision of the party workers. Hardev Singh Kherri Jattan and Makhan Lal Garg have been nominated as presidents of the Dhuri rural and urban circles, respectively.

Gaganjit said nomination of presidents of Dhuri rural and urban circles of the SAD had been necessitated as party president Parkash Singh Badal had expelled the then president of Dhuri circle Bhupinder Singh Bhalwan for his “anti-party” activities during previous Assembly elections. However, nomination of president of Dhuri urban circle had been made in the light of ensuing municipal council elections, he added.

Gaganjit also declared the executive bodies of rural and urban circles today. Besides these, he announced office-bearers of the Ramgarhia wing, Bazigar wing, Scheduled Caste wing and Backward Classes wing of the Dhuri circle of the party.

Regarding Independent MLA from Dhuri Iqbal Singh Jhundan, who is now supporting the SAD, Gaganjit said he did not disown Jhundan.


Cong leaders come to rescue of Amarinder
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, October 1
Senior Congress leaders, including Sukhjinder Singh Randhawa, Tripat Rajinder Singh Bajwa, Harpartap Singh Ajnala, Savinder Singh Kathunangal, Harminder Singh Gill, Sukhbinder Sukh Sarkaria, Tarsem Singh and others, in a joint statement today condemned the SAD leadership for murdering the legal system in the state and destroying basic tenets of democracy.

The statement pointed out that the selected leaks to the Press by the Vigilance Bureau under the pressure of Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal in the Ludhiana City Centre probe proved their complete desperation as they had run out of the leads in the much publicised alleged scam. 


‘CM should guarantee freedom of Press’
Tribune Reporters

Muktsar, October 1
In a sharp reaction to the attack on the offices of a Punjabi daily in different parts of Punjab, the media fraternity here today demanded that Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal should guarantee freedom of the Press and also the safety of journalists in the state.

In a memorandum submitted to deputy commissioner Vikas Garg here, journalists of various newspapers and news channels sought arrest of the culprits who had attacked the newspaper office here. The communique, signed by the scribes from Muktsar and nearby stations like Malout, Gidderbaha and Kotkapura, also stated that the government had failed to ensure freedom of the Press.

The government should also apologise for the incidents of attack on newspaper offices, it added.

Amritsar: Expressing solidarity with Daily Spokesman, representatives of different organisations here on Monday took part in the protest march taken out from the sub-office of the newspaper to the deputy commissioner’s office.

In their memorandum to deputy commissioner K.S. Pannu, the district in charge of the newspaper demanded that Swami Ashutosh be arrested immediately and the CBI be asked to investigate what was going on inside the dera.

Former SGPC secretary Majit Singh Calcutta, Balwant Singh, president of the Sikh Youth Federation, Pradeep Singh, former district president of the Akali Jatha, took part in the march.


Malwa: Development plan unveiled
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, October 1
The Punjab government has drawn up a comprehensive development plan to turn a major part of Malwa region into one which will have fast-food joints, tourism centres, air-condition bus stands with business hubs, apart from basic amenitis like potable water, sewerage and good roads.

The state government has started holding talks with private players in this regard. Efforts are on to ask private entrepreneurs to set up an ultra-modern hospital here and a world-level tourism hub.

Unfolding the development plan, working president of SAD Sukhbir Badal said here today that the government had prepared vision documents for all towns of major districts of Malwa region.

Addressing a press conference here today, he said about 80 per cent of the total expenditure would be generated by the state government and the remaining would be arranged from the Centre.

He added that a drive to give the town a green cover by planting saplings in lakhs would be launched in the urban areas from next month. Private organisations would be involved in this exercise.

Sukhbir further said a flying academy would be set up at Talwandi Sabo. Stating that the Central government had sanctioned Rs 100 crore for improvement of slums in Ludhiana, he said Rs 5,000 crore had been arranged for the overall development of Ludhiana. He said he had written a letter to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to set up a central university in Bathinda.

To another question, he said the Centre had selected eight districts under its National Food Security Mission.

When asked that why the state government could not implement the kanak-dal and shagun schemes properly, he said it would be streamlined within a month or so.

Later, he held a meeting with organisational in charges of Bathinda and Mansa districts. 


Stones for strengthening of roads laid
Tribune News Service

Muktsar, October 1
Working president of the SAD Sukhbir Badal today laid three foundation stones for the strengthening of village link roads under the Prime Minister Gram Sadak Yojna in Faridkot parliamentary constituency.

Laying the first one at Chak Sherawala village, Sukhbir said the present SAD-BJP government had begun the development works across the state since the day it assumed power.

He laid two foundation stones for the strengthening of the 37-km stretch of the Muktsar-Chaksherawala-Panniwala road (one each at Chak Sherawala and Panniwala) and another at Kuteanwali village for the 18.5-km-long Bam-Rata Tibba-Kuteanwali road. 


Birth Anniversary of Partap Singh Kairon
Social worker on mission 
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 1
Though Punjab government and Chandigarh administration failed to remember third Chief Minister of Punjab Partap Singh Kairon on his birth anniversary, but a 71-year-old social worker from the city, carrying a photograph of the former Chief Minister, cycled around trying to acquaint the new generation with the great freedom fighter and creator of the city beautiful.

The 106th birth anniversary of Kairon fell today.

Narinder Singh “International” ,a recipient of the Punjab state’s highest award, Punjab Sarkar Parman Pattar, wrote letters to the secretary, public relations, Punjab, the director, public relations, Chandigarh, and even the director of the PGI, suggesting the birth anniversary of great visionary of his times, Kairon be celebrated in a befitting manner. Narinder Singh wrote even to Punjab Governor and Chandigarh Administrator S. F. Rodrigues also. Neither did he get any reply nor the authorities concerned did anything in this direction.

Not disheartened by the authorities’ attitude towards the visionary former CM of the state , Narinder Singh, garlanding the photograph of Kairon took to the city roads to celebrate the birth anniversary of his hero in his own way.

Narinder Singh has suggested to the Punjab Governor for naming the Punjab Agricultural University, Ludhiana, after the former Chief Minister. He also suggested Panchayat Bhawan at Chandigarh be named after Kairon as he laid the foundation stone of the building. Buttressing his point Narinder said there were so many universities in the country, including in neghbouring state of Himachal ,which were named after the names of former Chief Ministers. The Dr Y S Parmar Horticulture and Forestry University was named after the first Chief Minister of Himachal said Narinder Singh.


Balbir Singh is Budha Dal chief
Tribune News Service

Patiala, October 1
Baba Balbir Singh was today installed the fourteenth head of the Baba Budha Dal. He was declared head in the presence of the jathedars of the Takhts and SGPC president Avtar Singh.

Baba Balbir Singh’s “dastar bandi” was done by Baba Santa Singh, his predecessor. The ceremony was carried out just after the bhog of an akhand path organised in memory of four Nihangs who were killed by a rivals group in a clash.

Baba Santa Singh was brought to the venue in a wheel chair. The ailing baba was in semi-conscious state and the “dastar” was just placed in his hands before being put on the head of Baba Balbir Singh.

Jathedar of Akal Takht Joginder Singh Vedanti called for the boycott of Nihangs accused in the killing of a kin of Baba Balbir Singh here recently. He said the matter would be discussed by the jathedars of all Takhts.

Chief of the SGPC Avtar Singh said the incident regarding killing of Nihangs was deplorable.

Baba Balbir Singh seems to have got support of the ruling party. Political secretary of Sukhbir Badal Paramjit Singh Sidhwan, former SGPC presidents and Akali leaders Bibi Jagir Kaur, Kirpal Singh Badungar and Prem Singh Chandumajra were present at the function.


Chahal gets pre-arrest bail
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 1
Allowing pre-arrest bail application filed by the then medial adviser to Punjab’s former Chief Minister, BIS Chahal, in the Ludhiana City Centre case, the Punjab and Haryana High Court today observed ‘he appears to have been implicated merely on the basis of suspicion’.

The Court also allowed pre-arrest bail applications filed by three other accused associated with Today Homes and Infrastructure Private Limited, while turning down the bail plea of the organisation's Director G.K Gambhir in the same case.

Justice Surya Kant directed Chahal, along with Today Homes vice-president Vinay Subhiki, General Manager Sunil Sharma and former marketing manager Syed Arshad Husain Naqvi to appear before the Investigating Officer (IO) as and when required.

Justice Kant held, “Chahal’s name does not figure anywhere in the contest of allegations of adoption of corrupt means by the chairman/officers of the Ludhiana Improvement Trust or the state government.”

He has been implicated on the basis of a statement of a property dealer under Section 161 of the code, wherein it was claimed that he paid Rs 1,00,000 for getting good space allocated in the Ludhiana City Centre. The petitioner, thus, appears to have been implicated merely on the basis of suspicion, and there is no material against him, except for a bald statement, he said.

Making it clear that the observations in the judgement ‘shall not be construed as an expression of opinion on the merits of the case,’ the Judge asserted that the same had been made just for the disposal of the petitions.

I am of the considered view that Gambhir does not deserve the concession of pre-arrest bail and his petition is accordingly dismissed.”


Hawara moves court on illegal confinement
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 1
Sentenced to death in Punjab's former Chief Minister Beant Singh assassination case, Jagtar Singh Hawara today moved the Punjab and Haryana High Court against his alleged segregation from other convicts. His petition is likely to be taken up on Wednesday.

In his petition against the Chandigarh Administration and Burail Jail Superintendent, Hawara has sought directions for declaring illegal the action of lodging him and co-accused Balwant Singh in solitude and segregation.

He has added that the death sentence awarded to him by the special court was yet to be confirmed. In an attempt to substantiate his contentions against the segregation move, Hawara has also quoted Apex Court judgements.

Beant Singh was assassinated on August 31, 1995, in an explosion outside the Punjab Civil Secretariat. 


Land Acquisition
Farmers threaten a Nandigram in Chandigarh
Sanjeev Singh Bariana
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, October 1
The state unit of the BKU today threatened the Chandigarh Administration that it could face a Nandigram on city roads in case farmers, whose land was being acquired for different projects, were not compensated according to the existing market rates.

He was referring to the public outrage following the transfer of land to Indonesia’s Salim group in West Bengal, earlier this year.

Talking to The Tribune on the sidelines of a press conference, here today, Ajmer Singh Lakhowal, president of the Punjab unit of the BKU, said, "The union territory was making a mockery of the payment terms as compared to the market prices. Imagine a farmer is being paid a mere Rs 25 lakh for an acre being sold at Rs 20 crore in public auction. We have sent warning signals through different mediums".

He said, "One of the proposals brought to the notice of the UT Administration was that leaving aside the developmental share of 40 per cent in any project, the cash benefit on the remaining 60 per per cent of land should be shared equally between the administration and the farmers. We have supported the cause of Chandigarh farmers, in principle, in the past and now will garner greater support from other state as well to champion their cause".

Lakhowal, also chairman of the Punjab Mandi Board, said all major farmer related issues, including the land rates in the UT, would figure at the 'maha kisan panchayat' of the state unit in Chandigarh on December 4. Preceding the maha panchayat, a special national-level meeting of the BKU is scheduled to be held in New Delhi on October 15.

He was referring to the public rage against the transfer of land to Indonesia’s Salim group in West Bengal, earlier this year.

The BKU leader pointed out that the government was not giving the actual market rates for rice and wheat produced by farmers. The price index revealed that the price for paddy worked out to Rs 916 per quintal whereas the farmers were being paid Rs 675 only. Same was the case of the wheat where farmers got only Rs 850 odd.

He said the Centre had procured wheat at Rs 1617 per quintal from abroad when the country had enough stock. " We hear that wheat was also available for Rs 1225 per quintal, however, the bid was rejected. We want a CBI probe into the grain purchase fiasco", he said.

Giving the latest figures in the ongoing paddy procurement scenario in Punjab, Lakhowal said the government had purchased only 29 per cent out of the 22.57 lakh metric tonnes of paddy procured till date. The remaining 71 per cent had been procured by private entrepreneurs. 


Three held for driving boy to self-immolation

Batala, October 1
The police here has arrested Sawinder Singh, alias Kala, and Rattan Singh for driving Sandeep Singh,alias Sonu (14), a Dalit boy of Matholla village in the Sri Hargobindpur area, to commit self-immolation. The third suspect in the case, Raghubir Singh, is absconding.

Forced by the village panchayat to confess to stealing of a mobile phone of his master, Sonu had attempted self-immolation on September 22. The victim died in the hospital.

The family members also pointed fingers on the police alleging Sonu was detained by the police for a long time, thus, adding to his agony and pain. Harassment by the villagers and the police forced Sonu to take the step, they alleged. — TNS


5 arrested from court complex

Sangrur, October 1
The Sunam police today arrested five persons and seized weapons and vehicles from them. These persons had reportedly come to Sunam court complex in support of an alleged criminal, known as Kala Dhanaula, who had come to the court complex at Sunam for appearing in a court there today.

The police had also seized a .315 bore rifle, a double barrelled gun, two swords, a “gandasa” and four vehicles from them. A case against them and seven to eight other persons had been registered at city police station, Sunam, he added. — TNS


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