L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S



Delayed Promotion
Humiliated, cops apply for long leave
Mahesh Sharma

Mandi Ahmedgarh, October 7
Successive lists of promotions released by the state police department have disappointed officers appointed as ASI in 1990 and are yet to be promoted as inspectors while a large number of PAP officials, much junior to them, have been posted at higher ranks to them.

Humiliated on being made to salute their juniors, these officers have started applying for long leave to pursue their cases in various courts for justice.

“We are agonised mentally and socially as we have to explain to our family that our stagnation in the department is due to the violation of rules and not due to our default,” reads one of the applications forwarded by an SHO to SSP, asking for leave for six months to pursue a case that he along with his associates has filed in the Punjab and Haryana High Court.

The applicant is among those recruited as ASI in 1990, confirmed in 1992 and promoted to sub-inspectors following upper school course clearance.

They had joined the force when terrorism was at its peak 17 years ago and had to virtually beg for promotions, while officers much junior to them had since attained higher posts.

All appeals made before the parent department and other constitutional bodies have proved futile so far.

Investigations by Chandigarh Tribune revealed that hundreds of such policemen had confronted hard-core terrorists, but had been running from pillar to post to get promoted. Whereas some of the policemen much junior to them had been promoted.

At least 20 ASIs of this batch were killed in service during terrorism.

Apparent discrimination with the batch started when the department, instead of confirming them after three years of service, delayed the process for years.

Acting on the orders of the apex court in the case of SI Niranjan Singh versus the Punjab government, the authorities confirmed them with effect from 1992.

But their seniority list was not amended accordingly. The alleged indifferent attitude of the officials concerned forced the officers to work under those who were much junior to them.

Their agony was compounded when they were made to salute certain officials who had joined as havildars under sports quota and were promoted to the level of circle officers and inspectors.

With an aim to maintaining a clean record, some of the “victimised” SIs and ASIs, who had earlier made up their minds to “hibernate” at posts that involved little or no public dealing, have now sought long leave. This, according to them, besides saving them undue humiliation, will enable them pursue cases filed at the court.

“I apprehend causing loss to the department by working under consistent pressure. I have to pursue two writ petitions filed by me and my associates. So kindly grant me a leave for at least six months if not one year,” concludes one of the applications addressed to SSP, Fatehgarh Sahib.

The applicant, posted as SHO here, on the condition of anonymity, said the sanctioning authority had kept his application pending. “Though I had submitted my application on September 15, the SSP office has neither sanctioned nor rejected it,” he said.

Similar applications have been reportedly submitted by policemen at Rajpura, Jalandhar, Khanna and Patiala.

Ludhiana Tribune had earlier published a story regarding demands of police officers and the IG Zonal, Patiala, had assured them of taking up the matter with higher authorities, but the move had proved futile.

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Living in fear of eviction
Raina villagers meet DC
Sanjeev Singh Bariana
Tribune News Service

Raian (Ludhiana), October 7
Hundreds of inhabitants of the Raian village, near Kohara, are running from pillar to post to avoid eviction from their houses.

For, government officials have been allegedly making rounds of the area and telling villagers that they had been ordered to make an estimate of the village land and demarcate the inhabited area within the “phirni” into different zones. The village has around 500 houses. Villagers say they have visited the office of the deputy commissioner and handed over a representation.

“We do not want to be uprooted from our ancestral land. We waited for one full day for our representation to be accepted by the DC office. We have not been heard properly,” Amanpreet Singh, a villager, said.

Deputy commissioner Sumer Singh Gurjar said he was not aware of any such representation and would look into the case. “As far as I am concerned, there is no move to acquire any village,” he added.

Leaders of different parties, meanwhile, descended on the village today and spoke in unison against the proposed move, if any, of the Ludhiana administration. They assured that an agitation would be launched if an attempt is made to dislodge the residents from the village.

Randev Singh, a resident, said: “We were surprised to see certain officials from the PWD making rounds of the village streets and having a close look at the houses. On questioning, one of the officials told us that the land inside the ‘phirni’ was proposed to be divided into A, B, C and D categories. One of the reasons for making categories can be to work out the compensation for the quarters.”

Leaders who have assured help to the residents of the village include former MLA Iqbal Singh Atwal, SAD rural unit district president Baba Santa Singh Umedpuri, SAD (Sahnewal circle) leader Baba Jagroop Singh, and SAD (A) district unit office-bearers Jasdev Singh Sandhu and Anoop Singh Sandhu among others.

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PO held with pistol, cartridges
Our Correspondent

Mandi Ahmedgarh,October 7
The Hathur police has arrested a proclaimed offender who was wanted in connection with at least six criminal cases registered at various police stations in the state. A 12 bore pistol, two live cartridges and a motorcycle were recovered from his possession.

Bharpur Singh, son of Geon Singh of Nohra village in Patiala, was arrested by a police party led by Inder Jit Singh, SHO, Hathur, near here yesterday. According to Gurpreet Singh Bhullar, SSP, the accused had been evading arrest at least for six years.

Preliminary investigations revealed that he had been booked under varied Sections of IPC at various police stations in the state, including PS Bhawanigarh district, Sangrur, Payal, Sadar Khanna, Jagraon, division no. 5, Ludhiana and Nakodar.

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Can’t fake: Man booked for tax evasion

Ludhiana, October 7
The Division No. 5 police has booked a Mandi Ahmedgarh resident for allegedly duping the excise and taxation department, Moga, of lakhs of rupees by operating on a fake registration number.

The accused has been identified as Avtar Singh, resident of the Gaushala road. He has been booked on the complaint of H.S. Chadda, assistant excise commissioner, Moga.

The accused is reportedly absconding. Police sources said the accused did business on a fake registration number to evade tax. — TNS

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In Basta
Bank heist files gather dust
Jupinderjit Singh
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, October 7
One of the major bank heists in the region has not been solved and the files are gathering dust in the police record room.

Nearly Rs 50 lakh, other than jewellery, was stolen from Allahabad Bank, Ferozepore road branch, on New Year’s eve in 2003. The burglars broke into the bank by making a big hole in the rear wall.

The police had closed the case last year. It had given “untraced” certificate to the bank management, felicitating the payment of insurance for the loss.

The bank eventually paid the cash to account holders, but those owning lockers have not got anything as there was no insurance cover for them.

The police followed many leads but none helped. A similar heist had taken place in a bank in Ghaziabad. The police of the two cities tried to crack the case jointly, but it reached a dead end.

The police could not lift many fingerprints from the scene of the crime. The burglars seemed to be well-versed with the bank. They came armed with gas cylinders and headed straight to the chest and lockers. They melted the lock area and decamped with the cash and jewellery.

The SSP, R.K. Jaiswal, said the police had no option but to categorise the case as untraced. “My predecessors probed the heist from all possible angles. The police had to term it unsolved as no lead was developing,” he said.

“But,” he added, “the case has not been forgotten. We would open investigation if we get a clue or some definite information.”

The bank branch was shifted to Bhai Randhir Singh Nagar two years later. Another attempt to burgle the bank was made a year later.

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Ludhiana Calling

The city Mayor Hakim Singh Giaspura is finding it tough to tame his rival Simarjit Singh Bains. Giaspura scored over Bains for being double his age to become the Mayor. But the young turk does not appear to be letting it go. Immediately after Giaspura took over as the Mayor, Bains started operating from another zonal office of the Ludhiana Municipal Corporation at Sarabha Nagar. Since that office is much frequented, Giaspura also made it a point to visit there regularly. Things had hardly settled down, when the councillors belonging to Bains reportedly occupied a room in the MC office. The Mayor had to use his authority once again. Mayor or not, Bains seems to be giving Giaspura the run for his money.

Overbilling

Overbilling is one problem which , seems , even phone companies do not want to pay much attention to. One such harried phone user after failing in his attempts to get his bill corrected surrendered the connection and shifted to another company. The problem only followed him. Irked, all he could do was vent out his anger at the customer care executives.

Rare gourd

Pawan Kumar Kailey, a resident of Goraya, throws up a big surprise for visitors at his tailoring shop as these days when visitors see a fully grown gourd inside a bottle placed near the entrance. One wonders as to how a gourd could have entered the bottle which is cut from no side. When asked as to how it happened Kailey smiled and disclosed that the plant inside the bottle was grown inside over the past week. Kailey also has his name registered in the Limca Book of records for creating a set of 35 jackets which could be detached and components fit into each other to give 9800 possible combinations.

Yatra

Recently the local chapter of the the International Society for Krishna Consciousness organised the Jagan Nath Rath Yatra in the city. While thousands of people participated in the yatra, organisation claiming itself to be the real representative of the Jagan Nath Puri temple here, comprising of some people from Orissa , however objected to the organising of the yatra during the period of “shrads”, which it said was not an auspicious period. Apparently having been taken by surprise by the ISKCON, which certainly has a better organisational network, the Puri affiliated organisation which also felt ignored and left out, came out with the strange argument. The ISKCON organisers argued that there was nothing inauspicious about remembering the lord.

CM’s visit

The organisers of the Jagan Nath Yatra here are sore over the Chief Minister, Parkash Singh Badal having cancelled his programme to flag off the yatra. This is the second occasion when the Chief Minister cancelled or had to cancel his visit to a religious function at the last minute. Apparently it was made out that Badal had cancelled the programme due to the death of Balwinder Singh Bhunder’s son and he had to attend his cremation in his native village.

Tailpiece

There is a massive drive against drug smuggling in the city. So much so that the offices of the SHO’s of different police stations have adorned slogans like, “I will not allow sale or smuggling of drugs in the area of my police station.”

— Sentinel

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Power Game
Transfer of villages upsets sarpanches
Tribune Reporters

Mandi Ahmedgarh, October 7
The inclusion of 12 villages of the Kila Raipur constituency, falling under the jurisdiction of the Dehlon police station, in Ludhiana (rural) police district has become a bone of contention.

While sarpanches of nine villages have sought the intervention of a court to restore the administration of the villages to the Payal police, the SHO Dehlon, acting on the directions of the SSP Ludhiana (rural), is keen to take over the charge of the records pertaining to the villages.

Meanwhile, residents of 16 more villages of the Kila Raipur constituency falling in the jurisdiction of the Sudhar police station have initiated a move to get their administration shifted to the Dehlon police.

According to Rattan Singh Brar, DSP, Payal, SHO Prem Singh had visited the Payal police station to take over the charge of 12 villages whose administration had been included in the Ludhiana (rural) police district three days ago.

“Though the records pertaining to these villages are yet to be handed over to the Dehlon police, all matters regarding law and order and crime committed during the past two days would be dealt by the Ludhiana (rural) police.

The circle officer further said the heads of panchayat of nine villages had approached him and sought the restoration of the administration of their villages to the Payal police. “But we can not delay the decision of the home department,” Brar said, adding that the records would be shifted soon.

The villages that have been included are Sihar, Kalarh, Nanakpur Jagera, Jhammat, Kila Hans, Bhikhi Khatra, Dhaul Khurad, Dhaul Kalan, Pandher Kheri, Roshiana, Saharanmajra and Zirakh.

Now the residents will approach the Dehlon police station of Ludhiana (rural) police station for the redress of cases.

Ludhiana: Apparently this decision was taken after senior Akali leader Jagdish Singh Garcha, who represented the Kila Raipur constituency twice and had lost the last election, impressed upon the government to do so. He wants to have full control over the villages which have now been transferred to the Delhon police station from Payal.

The Payal police station itself falls in the Payal Assembly segment, where officers are appointed at the behest of Mahesh Inder Singh Grewal. He unsuccessfully contested an election from here. Similarly in Kila Raipur, it is the Garchas who have a lot of say in the posting and appointment of officers.

Kila Raipur MLA Jasbir Singh Khangura said he was taken aback by the decision. He pointed out that the DSP in charge of the Delhon police station sits at Dakha, which is quite far from their villages. The villages had been kept with Payal for geographical reasons as it was close to them, he added.

Moreover, even the SSP, Ludhiana (rural), sits at Jagraon that is far from Payal than the office of the SSP Khanna. Khangura said it would cause a lot of inconvenience to the people of these villages. He observed that the government before issuing the notification should have talked to the locals as it was their fate which had to be decided. I will oppose the decision tooth and nail, he added.

On the other hand former minister and senior Akali leader Jagdish Singh Garcha defended the decision. He alleged that anarchy prevailed in villages under Congress MLA Khangura and senior Akali leader and added that sarpanchs of these villages were being pressurised to oppose the move. 

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At The Crossroads
Stereotyped existence takes away life’s charm

No more rat race but race for the ultimate has gripped the minds of people from all walks of life. Sometimes I feel caught in a jam that has ignored time or find myself marooned on a traffic island while vehicles pass by me at full speed. The mind does not collaborate with the speed and in the process it moves round and round like whirligig. Mind and matter, time and space, thoughts and actions and aspirations and achievements seem to have collided with each other.

Every age is a transitory age, so they say, but some ages are bound to stay for long in the memory of the people. The seventh decade of the last century and the first decade of the present century can be considered the memorable spells of time. The Chinese aggression in 1962 made us sit up and look around for taking stock of things. We were made to realize that relationship with a neighbouring country cannot be taken for granted. Similarly in 2007, when nuclear deal with the USA is the burning topic of the day, is going to be the most memorable year. The circumstances have so conspired as to establish historic relations with a country on the other side of the globe.

In a different context, this year can be considered a turning point in the lives of the inhabitants of this land, when classes in social parlance converge on each other with unprecedented haste. The working class has put its foot down to reclaim in society the status it deserves. No more pushing it down to the dregs of society. The so called dregs, on their part, have consolidated themselves into a sizeable community that has to be reckoned with. Now the struggle is among the lower, middle and upper classes for ascending the ladder. They jostle each other, grapple with each other and compete with each other. Then there is some yielding of the ground that prompts others to climb up with no holds barred. In the long run, not the fittest but the shrewd manipulator survives assertively.

What annoys the most is the breakneck speed that a few people have taken recourse to as a refuge from stresses and strains in their lives. Apart from its metaphorical meaning, its literal meaning can also be deciphered while travelling on the road. Lack of road sense and mindless honking indicate an alarming trend to bypass others ruthlessly. Roads are now the killing fields where the victims lick their wounds in abject state of the mind. Else the dead lie on the roads, exposed to the sneers of the season and the passers-by. Long hours of wait ultimately end in providing them with a dirty rag, shoveling them into a van and subjecting them to the process of statutory post-mortem. The guilty manage to escape with impunity while the longs arms of the law are kept dangling by the side of the statue of justice.

The mind of the common man, at this juncture of senseless rejection of the old and the reckless acceptance of the new, is in the grip of bafflement and bewilderment. The stony silence, the deep seated frown and holier-than-thou attitude of others has taken away the charm of his life, leaving behind stereotyped existence. Like automatons, people move about taking sorrows and suffering in their big strides as there is no hope for the mitigation of these. Not that they feel relieved in this manner from the trauma of miserable way of life. In fact the insensitivity and callousness of compatriots to their plight render them incapacitated to act in a purposeful way. Hence the agony of their miserable existence.

Admittedly change is the law of nature and it is the moving with the times that keeps a person in the proper frame of mind. To be cynical of modification and mutation is, in a way, the negation of the spirit of progress. But the attitude that leads to waywardness, hooliganism and lack of decorum is condemnable. It is nothing but retrogression and deterioration of the society, caught in the web of materialistic approach to life. Certainly “the time is out of joint” as Hamlet put it so succinctly.

— N.S. Tasneem

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Truck unions’ standoff
Farmers, agents feel the heat
Our Correspondent

Mandi Ahmedgarh, October 7
Agitated by the indifferent attitude of the administration towards their alleged harassment due to tussle between two truck unions of the Sihar area, farmers and commission agents of the area have threatened to launch an agitation if lifting of around one lakh bags was not effected soon.

Around 10 paddy-laden trucks, belonging to operators registered with the Truck Union Malaudh, were stranded as the Punsup authorities did not issue them gate passes reportedly due to factionalism of SAD leaders at Kila Raipur and Payal constituencies.

Deputy commissioner Sumer Singh Gurjar, however, denied laxity on part of any official in the administration and maintained that differences among office-bearers of the unions had led to the standoff.

“However, lifting will be regularised soon,” claimed Gurjar, adding that he had held meetings with leaders of both factions.

Around one lakh bags of paddy had been procured by the state agencies at Sihar purchase centre but no lifting was effected due to the alleged factionalism between truck unions led by former minister Jagdish Singh Garcha and his brother Mann Singh Garcha on the one hand, and Mahesh Inder Singh Grewal on the other.

Farmer Kanwal Jit Singh and Aarhtia Union, Sihar, president Jagtar Singh alleged that the factionalism among SAD leaders of Payal and Kila Raipur constituencies had caused unnecessary harassment and consequent loss to farmers and commission agents of the area.

Disappointed over the indifferent attitude of officials, the farmers have started taking their produce to other grain markets.

“This besides increasing the cost of transportation will erode the income of commission agents,” apprehended the leaders.

Referring to a decision taken at a joint meeting of farmers and commission agents, Kanwal Jit and Jagtar Singh threatened that an agitation would be launched if the deadlock was not broken.

Meanwhile, Gurjar called a sequence of meetings of leaders of the Truck Union, Pohir, and the Truck Union, Malaudh, supported by the Garchas and Grewal, respectively.

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Truck unions illegally minting lakhs in demarcated areas

Ludhiana, October 7
A few truck unions in the state are illegally minting lakhs of rupees every month from truckers as a“special union fee” for doing business in the “self-demarcated” area. This fee ultimately contributes to the price rise thereby making people pay extra for the commodity.

Each foray of the truck costs the driver Rs 50 for normal load and Rs 100 for load double than the permissible limit. The illegal charge started over a year ago.

All this money goes in the unions’ kitty.The government neither does any accounting nor deducts any tax. This despite the fact that receipts of the special union fee is issued. Those truck drivers who don’t oblige are not allowed to do business in the area.

Government officials have refused to intervene. A truck union employee candidly admits, “All unions take money from drivers in this form. When our trucks transport material in other areas, they to have to pay the fee. Similarly, others have to pay in our area.”

He is frank enough to ask why should the government intervene, “The money is for meeting the expenses of the union. After all our vehicles do lot of free work for the government.”

Both unions and government officials miss one major point. The money charged from the truck driver by each union eventually is added to the cost of the commodity. Thus the common man is forced to pay more. In this way, he indirectly pays for the illegal gratifications of the unions.

But, the government and the police would act only if a truck driver complains about the forcible demand of money. An official of the district administration and another of the police department first feigned ignorance of the matter.

Ludhiana Tribune is in possession of dozens of such receipts issued by the Koomkalan Truck Operators Union. Sand mining business is quite high in the area due to which a large number of trucks pass through the area under union’s control. All pay the “fee” despite paying Rs 500 to the state mining department for quarrying the sand.

Truck drivers reveal that rough estimate would peg the collection at around Rs 6 lakh per month.

Jagdev Singh, a union representative, who issues fee receipt, said there was nothing illegal as every union dose it. “The practice is going on for over a year. The money is for running the unions, maintaining staff, offices and to meet “necessary” expenses like obliging politicians. We don’t charge from drivers transporting material for religious purposes or for the government,” he remarked. When asked what if a truck driver refuses to pay, Jagdev promptly said he then would not be allowed to do business in the area.— TNS 

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Unique marriage anniversary
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, October 7
It was a special day for Yash Pal Gosai, former president of Rotary Club, Ludhiana South-end and his wife when they were celebrating the silver jubilee of their marriage earlier this week, and the couple wished to make the occasion a memorable event.

Motivated by Dr Satish Jain, medical director of Mohan Dai Oswal Cancer Treatment and Research Foundation, who is also the immediate past president of the club, the Gosai couple donated blood as a noble gesture towards the suffering humanity in the course of blood donation awareness week being observed by the institution.

Through this noble act, the Gosai’s also sought to deliver a message to the members of public to come forward for voluntary blood donation.

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3 killed in accident

Ludhiana, October 7
The Dakha police has booked Sukhwant Singh, a resident of Baddowal village, for allegedly causing the death of three persons in a road accident last evening near Mulanpur.

As per an FIR, Sukhwant was driving his Accent car rashly and ran over three persons coming on two scooters from the opposite direction. He is yet to be arrested. The car has been impounded. — TNS

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Manch organises Bhagwati Jagran
Our Correspondent

Mandi Gobindgarh, October 7
Eleventh Bhagwati Jagran for peace and prosperity of the people was organised by Deshmesh Kala Manch, Mandi Gobindgarh, on Saturday night in ward no.11 of the town. The SAD executive committee member Randhir Singh Bhambri lighted a lamp at the stage of worship and presented Rs 11,000 to the manch.

Manch president Sativ Ghai and Sonu Rouni welcomed the devotees. Bobby and party, Sujjan Pur, Bikram and party, Mukerian, Srinku and party, Mandi Gobindgarh, and Jagat Ram from Jullundher presented hymns. People of the town 
and neighbouring villages were present in good strength throughout 
the night.

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Dugri residents resent lack of amenities
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, October 7
Residents of Dugri in Urban Estate have complained against lack of civic amenities in their area. The roads and parks are in a bad shape and the street lighting system is not functioning properly.

The vacant plots have been turned into fields of congress grass. Kuldeep Singh Kreer, a resident of the area, said the Dugri Road was dotted with encroachments and the place had become a traffic bottleneck in the absence of any law enforcement agency taking interest.

He added that the MC had calculated an estimate for constructing a bridge on Dugri canal. But nothing came of the project.

There was no postal facility in the area and they had to go all the way to Basant Avenue to post a letter. The residents demanded allotment of a site in Urban Estate and construction of a post office.

The area was devoid of any healthcare facilities as there was no primary health centre for poor people, said Kreer.

The New Millennium Club in the area thanked PUDA for providing them a space for senior citizens home.

The residents have also urged upon the area councillor to open his office somewhere in phase I or phase II so that the people may contact and meet him easily for any problems to be resolved.

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Love for Lord Krishna brings Uzbek here
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, October 7
Satyawati was born in a conservative Muslim family in Uzbekistan’s capital, Tashkent, in early sixties, the heydays of Communism and the mighty USSR. It was in the late eighties, when the Communist empire was on the verge of collapse that, she came in contact with ISKCON while doing her PhD in Physics from St. Petersburg University, Moscow. Today she as a devotee is “married to Krishna.”

She came to the city to take part in the annual Jagannath Rath Yatra here. She keeps on moving all over the world for preaching the philosophy of The Gita.

Even in an orthodox society of Tashkent, where no other religion is tolerated, there were at least 150 ISKCON members, she adds. 

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Letters
Polythene pollution

Besides the traffic and industrial pollution, polythene pollution is another cause of concern for the people of the city.

Though, there is a great demand for polythene bags in Ludhiana, yet there is the dire need of banning or curtailing the use of polythene; otherwise it will choke the entire drainage system of the city.

Since polythene bags are non-biodegradable, their disposal remains a serious problem.

With each passing day, the problem would get complicated as more and more polythene bags are being thrown out of houses.

Few NGOs should come forward and launch public awareness campaign, where the people should be asked to avoid the use of polythene bags to the maximum possible extent.

Even a ban on the use of the polythene bags might not work until the people cooperate.

At the same time, the government should also take disciplinary measures against those contributing towards the polythene pollution.

Ibs Nanda, Ludhiana

Readers are invited to mail letters (not more than 200 words) at "ludhiana@tribunemail.com" or post the same to The Tribune, 1, 2 Improvement Trust Building, Badaur House, Clock Tower, Ludhiana.

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Robbers posing as cops loot resident

Ludhiana, October 7
A group of three highway robbers, including a girl, posed as cops looted a local resident near a hotel on National Highway No 1 on September 20.

The victim, Laxmi Kant, lodged an FIR with the Salem Tabri police on Thursday. The FIR states the accused were Sonia, Harpal Singh and Seetu. These were the names by which the accused addressed each other during the crime.

Kant said on that night, he, along with his friend Rajesh, was returning to Ludhiana from Phillaur when the three dressed in police uniform stopped them. They sought the documents of the car. The accused then took away his gold chain, besides Rs 650, accusing him of not keeping proper documents of the vehicle. — TNS

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