L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S

SIT to investigate Cheemna rape case
Victim re-admitted to civil hospital
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, October 6
The Ludhiana police has set up a special investigation team (SIT) to probe the Cheemna rape case even as police investigations so far suggest the brutal incident could be the outcome of an eight-year-old murder case, besides an old rivalry.

SSP Gurpreet Singh Bhullar said the SIT would be headed by SP (detective) Ashok Bath. The crime took place on the night of October 2.

On that fateful night, four assailants kidnapped the victim from her house after beating up her husband. The woman was later traced from fields near her house in semiconscious condition.

Nearly 10 suspects have so far been detained. Of those, the police has zeroed in on a rickshaw-puller but there is no corroborative evidence against him. The victim couple has identified him. But they have identified many others also.

Police sources said the investigation is specially concentrating on whether the seeds of the brutal assault on the couple lay in a seven-year-old murder case or rivalry of residents of Cheemna village with a neighbhouring village.

The police was also following a lead that the couple had a tiff with someone of their own community. It was also exploring a possibility, albeit remote, that landlords could be involved in the crime. Incidents of exploitation of lower caste field labourers are not uncommon.

Meanwhile, the victim was re-admitted to the civil hospital this morning. She was discharged last evening. 



Posing as girl, man cheats friend
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, October 6
In a unique fraud case, a youth from Bhanaur village had defrauded his close friend Devinder Singh of the same village by posing as a rich NRI girl on the phone and taken Rs 1.50 lakh to arrange emigration of the victim to Dubai.

The accused, Tejinder, a Dubai-returned youth used his expertise in speaking like a girl over the phone and played with the emotions and money of his childhood friend for a couple of months before the truth came out.

The police has arrested the accused for the fraud and cheating. A passport of the victim, along with Rs 60,000, have been recovered from him. Devinder takes contracts for installing decorative lights at marriage palaces. He became an easy target mainly because of the love expressed by the girl and partly also due to his dream of going abroad.

Tejinder, claiming himself to an unmarried girl Anita, had told him that “she” was attracted by his looks and had fallen in love with him. “She” kept seeking money from the victim telling him to deliver it in a gift pack to a washerman in Sarabha Nagar.

After giving Rs 1.50 lakh in several instalments, besides documents, including passport required for emigration and several sets of photographs, once Devinder thought to see who come to collect the pack. To his astonishment, it was his friend Tejinder. Navreet Singh, SHO, Sarabha Nagar police station, said when Devinder complained to them, they did not believe him, “Later on investigation revealed he was not lying.”

The SHO said the “girl” did not meet Devinder even once. She kept making excuses that she had suddenly fallen ill or it won’t be proper for them to meet. She used to make a lot of telephone calls to Devinder.

He started believing her but at times insisted on seeing the girl. On his persistence, the girl used to tell on the phone that she would be sitting in a certain car at a place and he could see her.

The accused, who worked as a driver, actually showed a girl of the same name to Devinder several times. 



Nigerian Internet fraud strikes again
City resident duped of Rs 98,000 
Jupinderjit Singh 

Ludhiana, October 6
A world-wide alert about an Internet lottery fraud, infamous as “419” fraud mostly scripted by Nigerians, has gone abegging with a city resident becoming fresh victim of the racket.

The city police had warned residents against this racket in January when four persons were caught running the racket from Mumbai with the help of Nigerian nationals.

Manpreet Singh of Phase-II, Dugri, a victim, came across an Australian lotto lottery floated on the Internet, and got lured when he came across $1 million prize money.

In an FIR registered with the Model Town police station, the accused identified as Devid Brown of Pacific Company, Nigeria, along with a Gurgaon-based Indian, Awantika Upadhaya, a resident of New Palam Vihar, was accused of defrauding the complainant.

Manpreet alleges in the FIR that the racket began in July when the accused informed him via e-mail to play the Australia lotto lottery. Later, he was told that he had won $1 million prize. He received letters and a certificate via e-mail pronouncing him the winner.

The accused then told him to deposit $2,500 to become eligible for receiving the payment. He deposited Rs 98,000 in the account of the accused. He didn’t hear from them again.

The accused were booked under Sections 420, 120-B of the IPC and Section 66 of the Information Technology Act. DSP Simratpal Singh Dhindsa is investigating the case.

In January the Ludhiana police had done what the police world over has been trying hard to do for the past several years. The cops had busted multi-billion dollar Internet fraud also referred to as the Nigerian scam or “419” fraud which was run from Nigeria with agents all over the world. 



City Centre Scam
Hearing on Sandhu’s bail plea on Oct 12
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, October 6
Former Additional Advocate General, Punjab, Harpreet Sandhu, co-accused in the multi-crore city centre scam has moved a bail application.

Taking cognizance of his bail application, Additional Sessions Judge Gurbir Singh has issued notice to the Vigilance Bureau for producing the record on October 12. The arguments on the bail application will be heard on the fixed date.

The Vigilance Bureau had accused Sandhu of allegedly accepting Rs 3 crore for striking a deal between Today Homes Company and top politicians during the allotment of the city centre project.

Claiming himself to be innocent, Sandhu said that he had worked as a law officer with the state Vigilance Bureau during the Congress regime and perused the corruption case against Parkash Singh Badal, in his official capacity. All this annoyed Badal, who is presently the Chief Minister of the state.

It has been further alleged that he has been made a scapegoat. He was neither named in an FIR. No recovery was affected from him during the police remand. Due to political reasons, he was falsely implicated in the case. Moreover, the conclusion of trial will take long time and no useful purpose will be served by detaining him in the jail for such a long time.

The former Additional Advocate General was arrested by the Vigilance Bureau on September 28.



Drunk driver hits scooters, couple killed

Mullanpur, October 6
A couple was killed and four were injured when a car, allegedly driven by a drunk driver, hit two scooters, before banging the car into an auto-rickshaw near Bhanaur village on the Ludhiana-Ferozepore road this evening.

The dead included Daljinder Singh and his wife Satinder Kaur. He worked in a bank in Chandigarh and belonged to Sunet village in Ludhiana. Another scooter rider Gurdeep Singh, a teacher belonging to Dakha, was seriously wounded. Auto-rickshaw driver Shingara Singh also injured in the accident.

SHO Balbir Singh said the car driver fled from the scene, while a woman traveling in the car was injured and admitted to Medicity Hospital. — TNS



Man falls in furnace, rescued 
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, October 6
Four labourers were injured, one of them seriously, in a freak incident at a machine tool manufacturing factory in the Industrial Estate this morning.

The labourers were repairing a pipe near the furnace in the Patrick Machine Tools factory when one of them, Kanchan Prasad, fell in the furnace. Other labourers rushed to help him but fell unconscious due to the intoxicating gases emanating from the furnace.

The victims were eventually taken out with all of them suffering burn injuries besides problems for inhaling gases. Of those, Kanchan Prasad suffered the most with over 50 per cent burns. The others requiring hospitalisation were Gyan Chand, Raj Kumar and Dharampal. They had less then 20 per cent burn injuries. Two other labourers were discharged after first aid. The injured were under treatment at the Lifeline hospital, Gill road.

The police has taken a statement of the injured labourers. 



Lakhs turn out for rath yatra
Vimal Sumbly
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, October 6
Thousands of devotees, including hundreds from foreign countries, participated in the Jagannath Rath Yatra taken out by the International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON) here today.
A European devotee carries the idol of Radha and rishna during the rath yatra in Ludhiana
A European devotee carries the idol of Radha and rishna during the rath yatra in Ludhiana on Saturday. — A Tribune photograph

The yatra was earlier scheduled to be flagged off by Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal. However, Badal could not come due to the death of the son of senior Akali leader Balwinder Singh Bhunder.

People came out of their houses, shops and vehicles to have the darshan of Lord Jagan Nath, mounted on a specially decorated rath. It moved slowly as there was a huge rush of devotees. It took about six hours for the rath to complete the 6-km yatra from Durga Mata Temple, near Jagaraon Bridge, to Durga Temple in Sarabha Nagar.

The yatra started in the afternoon. As it moved ahead thousands of people joined it. The number of people kept on increasing as it moved towards the final destination, Durga Temple.

The entire route was fully decorated with huge hoardings and big banners greeting the yatra. Thousands moved along the rath right up to the final destination chanting “Harre Krishna, Krishna, Krishna, Harre Harre”.

Probably for the first time the organisers of the yatra and the traffic police acted in tandem. Route diversions were announced in advanced and the people did not face many difficulties. People preferred alternate routes as directed by the police.

Devotees from foreign countries, including the USA, the UK, Russia, Ukraine, Uzbekistan and the Philippines, have descended on Ludhiana to participate in the yatra.

Some of the devotees said they had a long association with ISKCON. Like Vichitra Sunder Dass of Ural state in Russia, who has been associated with the movement since late seventies. Dass, whose original name was Valleri, said his life had transformed after joining the ISKCON movement.

“It gives you inner peace and once you have peace within there would be total harmony outside,” he remarked, while claiming that he had realised his inner peace. He has been moving around the world to spread the message of Swami Prabhupad, the ISKCON founder.

Janardhan Dass was born in Philpine. His original name was Joram Cadorna. It was in Toronto that he came into contact with ISKCON and decided to devote his entire life to the movement for healing the world.

There were some young girls like Leela Prema (originally Lisa) and Nandimukh (originally Natalia) from Russia, Dayawati (originally Diana) from Ukraine and others, who said, they had felt the ISKCON movement most appealing.

Mahamanan Dass, co-zonal secretary of ISKCON, North, said they would be setting up the world’s largest temple at Mayapur in West Bengal.



Selected, but not given job letter
Shivani Bhakoo
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, October 6
Despite his selection and name on the merit list, Sukhbir Singh has been making rounds at the Education Department of Punjab, Chandigarh, for the past several months to get an appointment letter as science master. Besides giving assurances by the department officials, nothing really is being done for him.

Son of an ex-serviceman and resident of Chukimaan village, Jagraon, Sukhbir said he had applied for science master, got selected and his name was published in "serial number 4 under Male SC-Ex Servicemen". He got 61.18 per cent marks.

Talking to Ludhiana Tribune, he said one of his acquaintances scoring 58.96 per cent marks in the exam was issued the appointment letter immediately but his fate hanged in balance in absence of satisfactory reply by the department 

"Those who got appointment letters, are getting over Rs 10,000 a month whereas I am getting just Rs 2,000 for teaching in a school at Bhairowal Kalan. Though I had represented my case at Sangat Darshan recently, they have told me to have patience as it could be time consuming because of departmental formalities and procedures", added Sukhbir Singh.

His septuagenarian father Shyam Singh, ex-serviceman, said he had great hopes from his son. "For how long, I will feed him? He has to take care of his own responsibilities. But If I ask him, he expresses his helplessness in the matter. Despite assurances, he has not been able to get the appointment letter", he said.

Sukhbir Singh said that the DPI (Sec), himself had promised him on April 10, 2007, that he would get the appointment letter within a month, but six months had been passed and he was still waiting for the letter.



Mai Bhago scheme for women floated
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, October 6
Minister for cooperation and defence services Capt Kanwaljit Singh has said the cooperative and corporate sectors can jointly play an effective role in bringing about social and economic development by inducting modern techniques of governance and marketing.

The minister was addressing the inaugural function of two-day 3rd Punjab state conference of company secretaries organised by the Northern India Regional Council here today.

He said the corporate sector had attained excellence in governance and was now completely shifting to e-governance and was even playing an important role in boosting the country’s economy. He said the high-level professionalism adopted in corporate sectors in India had set up a new trend for our trained youth to compete at the global level.

Expressing concern over the state’s poor economic growth rate as compared to 9.5 per cent at the national level, the minister said special emphasis should be laid on bringing in professionalism and e-governance in Punjab’s agriculture sector on which more than 70 per cent of the population was dependent. He said unemployed youth of the rural areas should be absorbed in the industrial and corporate sectors by imparting vocational and technical training to them and added that the state government had launched skill developing centers in this regard.



Development projects on hold
Reason: SAD councillors don’t see eye to eye
Kanchan Vasdev
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, October 5
Due to differences among leaders of the SAD in the Municipal Corporation House, a finance and contract committee has not been constituted and a number of development projects are on the hold for want of consent by the committee.

It has been a month since the House met and unanimously elected Hakam Singh Gyaspura as mayor on September 7. Still the House cannot constitute the committee.

The city is suffering as a number of tenders need to be called but for want of approval by the finance committee, these are being delayed. The cleanliness is also being affected as the mohalla sanitation committees were dissolved before elections and are not reconstituted.

Sources in the MC said many tenders needed to be recalled as orders of the pending works were not released due to dissolution of the House before elections. Now all those projects need to be cleared by the finance committee first.

Several councillors are raising a hue and cry that their areas were in bad shape. Sewer manholes are choked and the residents are staging dharnas against them.

Parminder Mehta, a councillor, said due to unavailability of sanitation committee, manholes were not being cleaned and his ward was full of filth. He added that the temporary employees of the corporation had stopped working as nobody was paying them.

The mayor said the major hiccup in constituting the finance committee was lack of unity among Akalis. ‘‘It is very difficult for us to make the leaders agree on the decision. We are working out a solution so that all leaders agree on the members.’’ he said.

He added that it would take another week and the committee would be constituted and none of the works would be put on hold. He, however, said the cleanliness in the city was not affected. Garbage was being lifted everyday and all roads were being sewpt clean even though there were no sanitation committees but the permanent employees were working.



One held with poppy husk
Our Correspondent

Jagraon, October 6
Harjit Singh of Beer Gagra was arrested by the police in the Agwar Lopon area, Jagraon, and seized 6 kg of poppy husk from his possession. The police has registered a case under Sections 15, 61 and 85 of the NDPS Act. Illicit liquor

The Sidhwan Bet police has seized 4,680 ml of illicit liquor from Kot Umra village. The accused, Ram Singh, of the same village managed to flee. A case under the Excise Act has been registered.

One booked

Harpreet Singh of Jodhpur allegedly trespassed into the house of Mukhtiar Singh of Raikot and was arrested red-handed while allegedly attempting to steal goods. The Raikot police has registered.



Price Watch
No more tears; onion prices down by Rs 4
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, October 6
After bringing the common man to tears, onion prices have finally started looking down. The rates, that had shot up to more than Rs 30 in retail market, have come down to nearly Rs 26 per kg. Prices of most other vegetables remained relatively stable in the last 
10 days.

In wholesale market, onion rates have recorded a downfall of Rs 100 per 40 kg. For common man, the price is still on the higher side but vendors are expecting rates to remain more or less stable in the coming weeks even as the festive season lies ahead.

Onion prices had started rising rapidly around 10 days ago when supply here had reduced to almost half. Residents were even cutting down on consumption as a result. However, an improved supply is expected to bring more relief to 

In wholesale market, onion prices hovered around Rs 23-24 today, capsicum was available for Rs 16-17 per kg whereas radish was priced at Rs 10 per kg, bitter gourd at Rs 10-11 per kg and gourd at Rs 5-6 per kg. Brinjal rate per kg hovered around Rs 5-6 while lady finger was available for Rs 7-8 and potatoes for 12-13 per kilo.

In wholesale markets, the prices were 30 per cent to 100 per cent higher. Hit by inflation, the residents rued that prices of essential commodities and vegetables had turned their budgets upside down.



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