P U N J A B    S T O R I E S


City Centre Scam
VB gets incriminating documents
70 per cent of deal money was usurped
Jupinderjit Singh
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, October 13
In the biggest evidence of corruption in the City Centre project deal, the Vigilance Bureau has found incriminating documents on how the officials of the Today Homes Ltd duped the public exchequer by leasing out showrooms and showing in government papers only one-third of the actual lease money taken from traders.

Documents unearthed by the Vigilance reveal a showroom of 650 sq ft was leased out for Rs 65 lakh at the rate of Rs 10,000 per sq ft to local trader Gurpreet Singh. He paid Rs 24 lakh as booking amount and was given a receipt of the deal also. The showroom was later rented out to an international apparel company for Rs 58,000 per month.

However, the company, in the records submitted to the government, showed the deal money as Rs 22.75 lakh at the rate of Rs 3,500 per sq ft only.

The deal on the showroom thus earned the government mere about 8 lakh as per the 70:30 ratio of sharing the deal money between the company and the government.

The Vigilance has got documents of deals of nearly 250 showrooms showing the revenue earned by the company at over Rs 500 crore. However, the company records show only about one third of the amount as the deal money.

The City Centre scam hinged on this evidence. The scam came to light following allegations that the company had made underhand deals to evade taxes and make profit of crores of rupees.

Vigilance sources said this could not be done without the connivance of government officials, especially those in the Improvement Trust, Ludhiana, and some high-profile ministers.

The investigation has also found a document revealing trust chairman P. S. Sibia had taken the bids of six companies in his custody prior to their opening. The Vigilance has got a receipt given by Sibia to an trust official that the bids were in the custody of Sibia.

Vigilance SSP Kanwarjit Singh Sandhu refused to divulge much into the fresh developments in the case, saying the investigation was on in the matter.

Most of the traders who had booked the showrooms were from New Delhi.


Dullo hits out at previous Cong govt
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 13
Shamsher Singh Dullo who today quit as president of the Punjab Pradesh Congrress Committee, poured his heart out against the previous Capt Amarinder Singh government at a function organised at the Punjab Congress Bhavan. Though Dullo did not name Amarinder Singh but he said the previous government did not extend him any support.

“I ran the party with the support of workers,” he said, adding that there was Rs 75 lakh in the account of the PPCC today.The money was given by workers and not feudal lords who enjoyed the power.

Speaking at the function held to celebrate the installation of Bhattal as new president of the Punjab Congress, Dullo said even Congress MLAs and ministers used to stay away from the Congress Bhavan for fear of the unknown. The party lost the elections because the Congress government ignored its workers and poor sections of society.

He said leaders like Beant Singh, Chowdhary Jagat Ram and Darshan Singh Kaypee made great sacrifices for the party.


PSGPC likely to be reconstituted
Varinder Walia
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, October 13
The Pakistan Evacuee Property Trust Board (PEPTB) is likely to reconstitute Pakistan Sikh Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (PSGPC) shortly with announcing the nomination of its new president, replacing Bishan Singh.

The present incumbent of the PSGPC is considered close to president of the SGPC Avtar Singh. Sources said the PSGPC is practically “non-functional” these days though Bishan Singh had honoured president of the Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee (DSGMC) Parmjit Singh Sarna and other Indian dignitaries at Gurdwar Chunna Mandi, Lahore, to mark the birth anniversary of Guru Ram Das. It is reliably learnt that the government of Pakistan is not happy with the present PSGPC incumbent due to more than on reasons.

The sources pointed out that Sham Singh and Swarn Singh were in the race for the coveted post. However, emerging of a dark horse could not be ruled out since the government of Pakistan would like to nominate a person as committee president who could toe its line. At least three or five members of the PSGPC were likely to be removed.

Most of the members of the PSGPC are not well-educated. Hence could not raise their voice for protecting dilapidated buildings of Sikh shrines in Pakistan. Though, several crores have been spent on renovation of gurdwaras in Pakistan, building of at least 70 gurdwaras are in poor shape.

The president of the DSGMC said the representatives of various Sikh organisations of the world should come on a single platform to save gurdwaras in Pakistan. He admitted that there were many gurdwaras where maryada was yet to be restored. He, however, praised the efforts of the Pakistan government in constituting the PSGPC, which had been instrumental in carrying out renovation of many gurdwaras. 


SAD urges Centre for direct visa to Pak visitors
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, October 13
The Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) has been urging the government of India to issue direct visas for Punjab to the Pakistanis, aspiring to visit Punjab, especially, Malerkotla, from the office of India’s High Commission in Pakistan, in place of issuing visas to them from Delhi for Punjab.

Secretary- general of the SAD and MP from Sangrur Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa said today the SAD wanted direct visas for Punjab, especially Malerkotla, to the Pakistani Muslims visiting India. He said in the absence of facility of direct visa for Punjab now the Muslims from Pakistan had to go Delhi first before visiting Punjab.

Dhindsa said due to SAD efforts the government of India now had extended the visa period from one week to one month for Pakistanis, visiting Punjab. He said the SAD was in touch with the Prime Minister on this issue.

To a question Dhindsa admitted there were some differences between the SAD and the BJP over hike in power tariff, but these differences would be sorted out amicably soon as the relations of the SAD and the BJP were on firm footing.

Dhindsa said on various issues, including hike in power tariff, the SAD leaders, including Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal had met senior BJP leaders L.K. Advani and Rajnath Singh. Both BJP leaders had agreed to the views of the SAD leaders both alliance partners should not create differences, he added.

Dhindsa said on the issue of hike in power tariff Badal had also talked to the state BJP leadership to settle the issue.


Nostalgia grips Baring college
Sanjay Bumbroo
Tribune News Service

The alumni at a literary conclave at Baring Union Christian (BUC) College, Batala, on Saturday.
The alumni at a literary conclave at Baring Union Christian (BUC) College, Batala, on Saturday. — Photo by Rajiv Sharma

Batala, October 13
Nostalgia was the dominant emotion among more than 60 alumni of the Postgraduate Centre of Department of English, Baring Union Christian (BUC) College, Batala, who descended on the complex today to once again listen to their favourite teacher, 78-year-old Dr Paul Love.

The alumni have excelled in various fields like the Indian Administrative Service and Indian Police Service, apart from the field of education. Dr Paul used to deliver lectures on English literature at the college.

Some of the eminent alumni include joint secretary, Ministry of Defence, Jatinderbir Singh, commissioner, Income Tax, Kolkata, Bhupinder Dogra, executive director, Madhya Pradesh Tourism, G.S. Chahal and president, director and chief vigilance officer with Reliance, H.S. Pannu.

Dr Paul had been instrumental in setting up the Study Centre for Indian Literature in English and Translation at Madurai. The institute has also started distant learning programme by setting up 650 centres across the country, especially in the northeast for students of Ph D and M Phil.

Recalling the period when post-graduate courses in English were started in one of the private colleges of the state for the first time in 1965, which was affiliated then with Panjab University, Dr Paul said as head of the department he had an arduous responsibility of teaching the students who were not so well-versed in English literature.

Dr Paul said he would soon set up a library which would have literature of Asian countries like Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Malaysia, the Philippines and Hong Kong. 


Removal of SAD youth leader sought

Amritsar, October 13
Former councillor Gurvinder Singh Vicky and his mother Parkash Kaur, independent councillor from Ward No. 40, have urged Sukhbir Singh Badal to remove president of the Youth Akali Dal Gurpartap Singh Tikka for his anti-party activities. Vikky said here today that Tikka was harassing him and his family and trying to drag him in false cases.

However, refuting the allegations, Tikka alleged that Vicky was levelling baseless allegations against him out of frustration as he was not inducted in the SAD. — TNS


Ayurveda varsity takes roots in state
Our Correspondent

Hoshiarpur, October 13
Punjab Ayurvedic University will be set up at Kharkan village, 12 km from here, on the Hoshiarpur-Una road. For this purpose, the draft of the Punjab Ayurvedic University Act, 2007, has been prepared and will be placed in the forthcoming session of the state Assembly for its enactment. However, necessary approval will be obtained from Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal before placing the draft in the state Assembly. The university is being set up to promote the ayurvedic system of medicine.

This was disclosed by minister for medical education and research, forest, labour and parliamentary affairs, Tikshan Sud, while addressing a press conference at Forest Rest House here this evening.

“The gram panchayat, Kharkan, has already decided to transfer, in principle, 15 acres for the setting up of the university. Necessary resolutions have been passed by the panchayat and the case regarding the transfer of land will be moved through the district collector for getting formal approval from the government. In addition to this, the management of a private ayurvedic college of the village has also agreed to provide 5 acres, including buildings spread over 8,000 square feet, free of cost. The Punjab Planning Commission will provide Rs 5 crore in the initial stages. A similar amount will be provided by the state government. Former director of ayurveda, yoga and naturopathy, unani, siddha and homoeopathy, Union Ministry of Health, S.K. Mishra has been appointed as chairman of the Advisory Committee for setting up the proposed university,” said Sud.

Members of the Advisory Committee, Ayurvedic and Forest Departments, will make joint efforts for the promotion of medicinal plants and herbs in state. The Forest Department will prepare a booklet containing complete information of medicinal plants and herbs, including their medicinal utility and plantation methods.

Medicinal Plant Board of Punjab, which was inactive till now, will also be made operational and the Forest Department will prepare a detailed note in this regard.

The Board will set up herbal parks in urban areas, in collaboration with Punjab Agricultural University, where medicinal and herbal plants will be planted.

The Forest Department will also plant medicinal and herbal plants on its land instead of fast-growing trees. The department will also set up divisional-level herbal parks throughout the state. Training for planting herbal and medicinal plants will also be imparted among the youths at Forest Research and Training Institute, Hoshiarpur.

The state government had recently appointed Dr Asvani Sharma as director, Ayurvedic Education Research, Punjab, for the promotion of the ayurvedic system of medicine.


Bureau probes ‘benami’ land deal by Virk
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, October 13
A 13,000 sq yard piece of land in South City, worth over Rs 1 crore, has figured in the vigilance investigations into aimed at collecting details of the property of former DGP S.S. Virk.

Vigilance sources said the piece of land was allegedly purchased by the former DGP and another senior police officer of the Punjab police in a benami deal. The sources said the vigilance had made a list of the persons in whose name the land had been transferred.

The sources revealed that in lieu of the deal cases against a local developer might have been dropped.


Sarpanch’s sons ‘forcibly occupy’ NRI’s house
Tribune News Service

Moga, October 13
NRI Nasib Kaur has alleged that her house at Smalsar village was forcibly occupied by sons of the sarpanch here today. The Baghapurana police has registered a case against Angrej Singh and Gurnam Singh, sons of the sarpanch of the same village, and Major Singh for engineering an assault on Friday night.

She stated in her complaint that before leaving for abroad she had handed over the keys of the house to Angrej Singh for taking care. 


CM greets people on Id-ul-Fitr

Chandigarh, October 13
Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal today extended warm greetings to all Punjabis, especially Muslims, on the eve of Id-ul-Fitr.

In his message, Badal said the festival marked the culmination of the holy month of Ramzan and brings to the fore noble thoughts in people. — TNS


Rs 500 cr for rural roads
Tribune Reporters

Bathinda, October 13
Public works department minister Parminder Singh Dhindsa said today that Rs 500 crore would be spent on the expansion and strengthening of rural link roads.

Dhindsa said links roads, on which traffic was increasing, would be widened up to 18 feet from the existing 10 feet.

The road connecting Anandpur Sahib and Hujur Sahib would be named as Guru Gobind Singh Marg.

Former cabinet minister C.L. Garg was also present at the press conference.

150 cr earmarked for Barnala

Barnala: An amount of Rs 150 crore has been earmarked for improving infrastructure in Barnala district. Disclosing this here today, PWD minister Parminder Singh Dhindsa said work on three railway over-bridges, including one each in Barnala and Sangrur, would be started soon.

Dhindsa said the state government was aiming at encouraging tourism and travel in the state by improving infrastructure.

In Barnala alone, 150 km link roads would be widened up to 30 feet.

Answering a query on the establishment of a district office complex in newly created Barnala district, Dhindsa said it would be constructed at the courts complex and Rs 21 crore had been approved for the project.


SAD leader opens fire over land row
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, October 13
Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) leader Baljit Singh, who is a resident of the Baba Bakala area falling under the Amritsar (Rural) police district, allegedly opened fire in the area in the evening today. Sources said he did this due to a land dispute he was involved in.Baljit Singh is a SAD circle president.

The sources said Baljit Singh was involved in a land dispute with one Sandeep Singh of the area. Sandeep Singh had allegedly kidnapped Rajbir Singh, a relative of Baljit, and was allegedly beating him up in a locked room. Baljit reached the spot, along with his accomplices, and fired in the air to get Rajbir released. Rajbir Singh and a woman, Manjit Kaur, were injured in the incident. However, no case was registered.

SSP Amritsar (Rural) Iqbal Singh confirmed the incident and said DSP Harjit Singh Brar had been deputed to investigate the case.


Students raise voice against child labour
Tribune News Service

Beas, October 13
The Bachpan Bachao Andolan, an NGO, in collaboration with the Navchintan Kala Manch carried out an awareness rally against child labour here today, which had students from 40 schools taking part in it.

Social workers, teachers and volunteers also participated in the rally and pledged to provide free education to child labourers at their schools.

NGO’s national convener Bhuvan Ribhu flagged off the rally that passed through various bazaars of the area. Ribhu said the government should also provide education to all children working as labourers, besides trying to eradicate this evil. He said the Indian Constitution had provided the right to free, essential and quality education to children and forcing them into labour was a violation of these rights.

Ribhu said the NGO had got about 75,000 children freed from hazardous workplaces like glass factories, brick-kilns and quarries. He said the population of child labourers had increased manifold due to globalisation. He said according to rough estimates there were about 6 crore child labourers in various trades while the number could be much more as a large number of girls and boys were working as domestic labourers.

He advocated legal action against officials who allowed this activity to continue.

He said the government and administration should make special arrangements for the rehabilitation of those children who were freed from the clutches of their employers.


Gurjant’s daughter cremated
Tribune News Service

Rampura Phul (Bathinda), October 13
Twenty-year-old physically challenged daughter of Gurjant Singh Rampal Kaur today submitted a memorandum to the SDM here to be forwarded to the Chief Justice of Punjab and Haryana High Court, Justice Vijender Jain.

Meanwhile, the body of Veerpal Kaur, Gurjant’s daughter who succumbed to her burns at the PGI in Chandigarh on Thursday, arrived in Behman Jassa Singh village in the afternoon. The body was cremated in the evening. 


Drug addiction: CJ for nabbing mafia
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, October 13
“The menace of drug addiction can be checked only if the administrators cut the line of supply by nabbing the drug mafia”. Stating this, Mr Chief Justice of the Punjab and Haryana High Court Vijender Jain said the law could help to a great extent in checking this problem.

Presiding over a seminar on drug de-addiction here today, the Chief Justice said, “I have heard about a village near Dabwali, where 1,500 addicts have licence to consume opium. The government has fixed sizeable quota for these licensed addicts. This is intolerable.”

“The administration should keep a check on all chemists in the villages who sell drugs without a prescription,” he recommended.

Pointing out “roadside dhabas are the main source of the supply” of drugs, he said drugs were also being used as source to spread terrorism in the country.

The Chief Justice laid the foundation stone of the judicial court complex at Rampura Phul here today.


IAF organises air show
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, October 13
To mark its platinum jubilee, the Indian Air Force (IAF) organised an air show at the Air Force Station, Bhisiana, near here, today. Air warriors of the station took a pledge on the occasion. It was followed by an impressive static display and flypast in which MiG-21 and microlight aircraft, besides an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV), took part.

The IAF had organised the show especially for young students from schools and colleges of neighbouring areas.


Truck owners resent multiplicity of taxes
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, October13
Truck owners are unhappy over the policy to be announced by the government shortly and threatened statewide agitation the day it is implemented.

President of the All-India Motor Transport Congress Charan Singh Lohara yesterday alleged that the government had decided to levy additional taxes that would make it impossible for them to earn a living. It would be disastrous for them since they were already finding it unviable to ply vehicles due to multiplicity of taxes, he added.

The new taxes to be levied, include the city entry tax, sticker tax, goods tax and setting up of toll barriers at every 25 km. The existing charges for passing fee and other allied charges would also be hiked, he informed.

Lohara alleged that the existing taxes were so high that many transporters had got their vehicles registered in Haryana where taxes were lower. Many truckers also preferred to ply vehicles in other states for the most part of the year to survive, he pointed out.

The toll barriers at regular intervals too were bleeding them dry. A trucker is charged Rs 438 per toll barrier for a loaded truck and Rs 219 for plying an unladen one. This burden could not be passed to the consignees since they refused to pay this fee, he said.

Citing an example of high taxes he said, the road tax was Rs 10,000, up from Rs 4750 earlier. Similarly, the goods tax for trailers was Rs 15,000, which was Rs 4,200 earlier. The passing fee too had been hiked from Rs 400 to Rs 5,500, he added.

He also alleged that the Transport Department was on a challaning spree and each DTO had been asked to challan a pre-determined number of trucks every day. While the fines were sent to the treasury, transporters who had been imposed heavy penalities are forced to bribe the officers adding to their harassment, he said.

In view of this, they had been left with no option but to start an agitation the day the new policy was implemented.


Accountants robbed of Rs 16 lakh

Faridkot, October 13
In a daring daylight robbery, two unidentified persons snatched a bag containing Rs 16 lakh from two accountants of a private firm at Kotkapura, near here, today. Dina Nath and Company, Ashok Kumar and Rajesh Kumar were returning from a Punjab National Bank branch after withdrawing Rs 16 lakh.

The burglars threw chilli powder in the eyes of Ashok, who was driving the scooter. When Rajesh offered resistance, they drew out a sharp-edged weapon and attacked him. — TNS


Sale inside temple sparks controversy
Manish Sirhindi
Tribune News Service

Fatehgarh Sahib, October 13
Selling items inside the temple premises in the main market of the Sirhind Township here has become a bone of contention between the shopkeepers and the management of the temple.

The custodians of ‘Mai Ananti Dharamshala’, which also has a temple, had recently allowed sale of various household items on its premises. Being located in the midst of the main market of the town, the shopkeepers raised objections stating that it was a violation of rules to use the religious shrine for commercial purposes. While they rued the sale affected their businesses, they also contended that the dharamshala was meant for holding of community functions like ‘bhog’ or marriage ceremony and not for selling items.

Executive officer of the municipal council, Charanjit Singh, said no permission had ever been sought from the MC for selling items. He said as the matter has been brought to his notice, strict action would be taken.

However, Rajinder Sood, manager of the dharamshala, said it was the vested interest of the some individuals, who had raised the issue. He added that the money received from the organisers of the sale was to be spent on the maintenance of the dharamshala and there were no personal reasons for it.

Subhash Sood, president of the Ashoka Educational and Management Society, who oversees the affairs of the dharamshala, said as the premises of the temple were lying vacant so it has been decided to rent it out for a couple of days.

Meanwhile, the shopkeepers are up in arms against the management society and are demanding that the temple premises should only be used for holding community functions.


Doctor booked for foeticide
Tribune News Service

Muktsar, October 13
A team of the Health Department has detected a case of foeticide at a private hospital here and the suspect doctor has been booked under the Medical Termination of Pregnancy (MTP) Act.

The team, led by Dr Sanjeev Sethi and Dr Renu Singla, raided the private hospital at Ghamandi here on Thursday. It submitted a detailed report to the Muktsar chief medical officer (CMO), stating that Dr Alpana Sudhir Raj had aborted the foetus of a local patient named Jyoti, wife of Nirmal Singh.

The hospital was not registered under the MTP Act. It was the same hospital where ultrasound machine was sealed twice by the health authorities last year.

Muktsar DSP Baljit Singh Sidhu told The Tribune that the police had registered the case under the MTP Act after the CMO formally lodged a complaint in this regard.

The CMO, Dr P. N. Girdhar, said it was yet to be revealed whether the foetus was of a female or a male.


13-year-old raped
Son of block samiti member booked
Tribune News Service

Banur, October 13
In a shocking incident, a minor girl of village Khaspur was allegedly raped by the son of Banur block samiti member. The accused is the son of block samiti member Narmail Singh Khaspur.

The accused, 24-year-old Kulvir Singh, allegedly kidnapped the girl from her home on Thursday midnight and took her to sugarcane fields. There he raped the 13-year-old and then gagged her, the police said.

At the time of the incident, girl’s father and two younger brothers were present at home. However, her father was asleep and while two brothers raised an alarm, no one came to their rescue. Her mother was away to a relatives place in Haryana.

When her mother returned in the morning, she raised hue and cry and approached the police. The terrified girl was found from the fields and her medical examination confirmed the rape charges.

The Banur police have booked Kulvir under section 376 of the IPC (rape). No arrest has been made so far.


26 kg of gold recovered from conman
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, October 13
With the arrest of a conman, the Amritsar (Rural) police today claimed to have busted a gang of robbers and recovered more than 26 kg of gold jewellery worth Rs 20 lakh.More recoveries are expected to be made from the accused identified as Rajvir Singh of Pabbawali village.

Iqbal Singh, SSP, Amritsar (Rural), in a press conference here revealed that the accused had robbed the jewellery from a goldsmith, Harjinder Singh of Bhagatpura, after kidnapping him at gunpoint on October 3. The police also recovered a .30-bore pistol, one magazine and two live cartridges from Rajvir.

The SSP said about three or four more persons were involved in the gang.

In another incident, the Ramdas police has arrested Bikram Singh Banti and Raju Mehra, both residents of Ramdas and recovered a double-barrelled gun along with a .12-bore pistol and eight live cartridges from them. The accused were allegedly involved in snatchings.


Campus placement drive at CEC
Tribune News Service

Kharar, October 13
Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) today conducted a joint campus placement drive at Chandigarh Engineering College, Landran.

Students from various degree colleges of Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Delhi, J&K and Chandigarh participated in this drive.

All those who were to pass out in 2008 in their B.Sc. computer science, physics, chemistry, mathematics, economics and statistics and have 60 per cent or above marks throughout were eligible to appear.

Rashpal Singh Dhaliwal, president, CEC, said this was for first time that such a big placement drive had been conducted for BCA and B.Sc. students in state.

The IT industry had also turned out to be the leader in providing opportunities to young technocrats said Satnam Singh Sandhu, Chairman, CEC.

Sandhu added that the IT industry would require about 1.2 million more professionals by 2009 as projected by NASSCOM, which is one of leading organisation looking after working of Indian IT industry. The selection procedure included an online test as well as HR interview. Those selected will be given a chance to work in company offices in country and abroad.


Chak De’ girl wishes to pursue mgmt course

Kharar, October 13
After winning accolades for her performance in ‘Chak De India’, actress Tanya Abrol, now wishes to pursue management course after completing her graduation. Interacting with students of Aryans Business School (ABS) here today, she said team effort and winning spirit are best illustrated in the movie.

Besides narrating her experiences of working for the movie, Tanya interacted on the concepts of management like group behaviours, motivation, stress management, co-ordination and leadership reflected in the film with the students at the Chandigarh Press Club here today.

The ABS has made ‘Chak De India’ as a part of its MBA/ PGDM syllabus with the film included as a case study in its course curriculum. Anshu Kataria, chairman, ABS said his business school would adopt innovative methods to teach management concepts to their students.


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