P U N J A B    S T O R I E S


Badal allowed to go abroad
Lalit Mohan
Tribune News Service

Ropar, November 1
Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal and his wife Surinder Kaur Badal were today allowed by the special judge here to go abroad from November 10 to November 20. Yesterday they moved an application seeking permission to visit the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Dubai, Sharjah and South Africa.

In proceedings in the corruption case filed against Badals by the previous Congress government two witnesses deposed before the court.

The witnesses included Jit Singh branch manager of Oriental Bank of Commerce, Anandpur Sahib. He deposed in 2003 he was branch manager at Morinda branch. The DSP Vigilance had visited his branch and collected photocopies of two drafts. The drafts were received from State Bank of India for clearance. The drafts were cleared and his statement was recorded. The drafts pertained to year 1996.

The bank manager was earlier included in the witnesses by the Punjab Vigilance Bureau to prove the disproportionate assets of the Badal family.

The second witness who deposed today was Balbir Singh, a Punjab Police constable now posted at Ferozpur. Balbir stated before the court in July to August 1998, he was posted in in the CM’s security and remained posted their up to April 2002. At that time he was posted in 4th commando battalion. My duty was in rotation along with other constables. We were put on duty in government house Sector 2, Chandigarh, MLA hostel and house number 256 Sector 9, Chandigarh and Delhi.

The house number 256 in Sector 9 is of Badal. My duty was outside the gate. Repair and painting of house was in progress. The labour was sent into the house after checking.

The constable was included as a witness in the case by the prosecution to extract information regarding developments in the private residence of Badals. The constable, however, limited his statement to the fact that he was posted on security outside the house.

Acting president of the SAD Sukhbir Singh Badal moved an application for exemption from personal hearing for tomorrow’s hearing on the plea that he has summoned by another court. The judge granted him exemption from personal hearing for tomorrow.


Sukhbir not to be acting CM
Tribune News Service

Ropar, November 1
With Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal today being allowed by a local court to go abroad for 10 days, speculation has set in that who would be acting on his behalf in the state. According to the norm, a senior cabinet colleague looks after the office of Chief Minister in his absence.

However, the speculation is that Sukhbir Singh Badal, the son of Chief Minister and heir apparent, might take over the charge of top office during the absence of his father.

Sukhbir was present in the court today at the hearing of the corruption case against the Badals. When quizzed by The Tribune on who would take over in the absence of the Chief Minister, he said there was no need for anyone to take over the charge in Badal’s absence.

With the revolution in information technology, the Chief Minister can control the administration even while sitting in a foreign country. So there is no need for Badal to appoint an acting Chief Minister in his absence.

About the speculation of his taking over the charge in Badal’s absence, he said his father had been elected Chief Minister by the party and he would continue in the office.

In the next six months, proposed mega projects would come in the stage of implementation. One such major project is setting up of an “education city” in Mohali, which would provide useful information to all major technical institutes of the country on setting up their infrastructure. The project would be set up through private investment and the government would act as a facilitator.

He declined comments on remarks of finance minister Manpreet Singh Badal that the condition of state economy was not good.

About non-release of salary to 8,000 teachers of aided schools, he said I would take up the matter with the government.


Radicals to launch stir
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 1
Sikh radicals will start a stir against what they call the “double standards” of the authorities concerned. Members of various groups today decided to start a movement that may help in bringing relief to all Sikh families who had suffered during the riots in 1984.

The radicals plan to draw parallels between the capital punishment awarded to Jagtar Singh Hawara and Balwant Singh and the lenient approach towards those involved in the Sikh carnage of 1984.

Talking about the stir, president of the SGPC (Delhi) Baljeet Singh said: “More than 500 Sikhs were injured during the Delhi riots as no government agency protected them. On the one hand, the law gives death penalty to Hawara and Balwant while on the other those who had killed Sikhs in 1984 riots have not been arrested yet.”

The counsel for the radicals stated: “This is clearly judicial discrimination.”

President of the Delhi State Akali Dal Harmohan Singh averred: “We plan to go to every village all over India as we want the common man to raise their opinion also.”

They plan to give an opportunity to Hawara’s mother to contest elections.

They have requested Akal Takht for its support.


Let’s Go Green
Neem-based pesticide plant set up
Lalit Mohan
Tribune News Service

Patiala, November 1
Farmers of the state now can give up use of chemical fertilisers. The Punjab State Council for Science and Technology (PSCST) has set up the first neem-based bio-pesticide plant at Thapar deemed university. The unit was inaugurated by Abhijit Mukurjee, director, Thapar university, at the Science and Technology Entrepreneurs Park of the institute.

Dr N.S. Tiwana, executive director,PSCST, present on the occasion, said neem (Azadirachtin indica) is a wonder plant, known for medicinal properties. It will set new definition in the days to come as herbal bio-pesticide for eco-friendly farming in Punjab.

In an bid to switch over from synthetic pesticides to non-synthetic ones in Punjab, the council is promoting eco-friendly and biodegradable neem-based pesticide. Under the programme, the first-ever neem bio-processing unit in Punjab has been set up by the council at Science & Technology Entrepreneur’s Park (STEP) of Thapar university, Patiala.

The memorandum of understanding for a collaborative programme was also signed between the Thapar institute and the PSCST on the occasion.

Dr Jatinder Kaur Arora, additional director, PSCST, said neem bio-processing unit was set up by the council at Thapar under the national-level multi-institutional project supported by the union ministry of chemical and fertilisers and coordinated by the Regional Network on Pesticides for Asia and Pacific (Renpap). It also involves nine other participating institutions and organisations from all over India apart from the council. The council plans to set up two more such units in other parts of Punjab, he said

Dr Dinesh Goyal, executive director, Thapar, said intensive farming in Punjab had led to indiscriminate usage of fertilisers and pesticides over a few decades leading to ground water pollution and accumulation of their residues in final produce making it unacceptable in international and domestic markets.

Later, Dr Dapinder K. Bakshi, senior scientific officer from the council, apprised farmers about the simple and cost-effective technology by which they could prepare pesticide from neem fruit.


Subsidies okay, but balance must: Manpreet
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, November 1
In a milder tone as compared to his earlier stand over fiscal discipline in the state, Punjab finance minister Manpreet Singh Badal said today that subsidies are important for the development of the state. He also said balance must be maintained between the subsidies given to weaker sections of society and development as a whole.

The minister was here, along with Analjit Singh, chairman, Max Healthcare, to survey the site for the proposed cancer hospital.

The minister also said that more revenue should be generated by creating infrastructure. “Almost 75 per cent of the people living in India have a daily income of Rs 20 and so if there are no subsidies, how will these people survive,” he said.

The finance minister had earlier said that the subsidies given to various sections of society, including the farm sector, should be reviewed to improve the state’s fiscal health.

He said to help weaker sections of society and for rural areas insurance schemes in healthcare segment would be started. “We have approached several insurance companies for this purpose. Punjab ranks fifth in terms of healthcare and to upgrade this number we need to have public-private partnership in this segment.”


SGPC Election
General house preponed
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, November 1
The countdown for electing president and other office-bearers of the SGPC has begun with the pre-poning of the annual general house from November 28 to November 23.

A decision to this effect was taken at the executing meeting held at the SGPC office here today under the presidentship of Avtar Singh. Though many aspirants, including two former SGPC chiefs and some young members, are in the race for the coveted post, there are bright chances of the re-election of present incumbent due to his proximity to Parkash Singh Badal and his son Sukhbir Badal.

Meanwhile, some senior SGPC executive members met Joginder Singh Vedanti, Jathedar, Akal Takht, to hand over the resolution of today’s meeting for taking strict action against Parmjit Singh Sarna, president, Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee (DSGMC), his younger brother Harwinder Singh Sarna and other senior office-bearers for misusing gurdwara funds by inserting big advertisements against the SGPC and for printing a Hindi edition of Sikh history, which was full of distortions.

The SGPC chief, Avtar Singh, said the SGPC had already constituted a fact-finding committee and all those responsible for the publication of Hindi version of the controversial book would be punished as per Sikh maryada and bylaws of the SGPC. He said the controversial book had already been withdrawn.

Meanwhile, Parkash Singh Badal while talking to the mediapersons at the Golden Temple here today, said to avoid typographical mistakes, misinterpretation, distortion of the contents of Guru Granth Sahib and to maintain its sanctity in the process of printing and publication, it had been decided that only the SGPC should print it.

Earlier, Badal, along with his wife Surinder Kaur Badal, paid obeisance at the Golden Temple at the bhog of the akhand path held there for the peace and prosperity of the state. Giani Jaswinder Singh, head granthi of Darbar Sahib, honoured the couple with siropas.


Power Tariff
No end to row in sight
Sarbjit Dhaliwal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 1
The core committee of the Shiormani Akali Dal (SAD) met here late this evening under the chairmanship of Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal to discuss the strategy to resolve the power tariff row with its coalition partner-BJP. Other issues such as nuclear power plant, resource mobilisation and elections were also discussed.

No immediate end to the row of revised power tariff between the parties appears to be in sight as, accordings to sources, the SAD’s core committee decided to take up this issue once again with the BJP high command. Sources added that Badal would go to Delhi to discuss the issue with the BJP high command, including BJP leaders L.K. Advani and Rajnath Singh.

Sources said Badal would put up a proposal to challenge increase in the power tariff last month by the state regulatory authority before the central tribunal on behalf of the state government. He would insist that the decision given by the tribunal should be acceptable to the SAD and the BJP. The authority had suo-moto increased the power tariff as the PSEB had not filed any petition in this regard before it. However, experts say what will happen if tribunal increased the tariff further keeping in view bad fiscal conditions of the PSEB.

The BJP had high command had recently deputed Balbir Punj to resolve this issue with Badal as the BJP ministers in the state government have been insisting that the financial burden of revised power tariff should not be put on domestic and other consumers and should be borne by the state government. Punj had a meeting with Badal in this regard but it bore no fruit.

Among those who attended the meeting were Sukhbir Singh Badal, Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa, Capt Kanwaljit Singh, Prem Singh Chandumajra, Tota Singh, Mahesh Inder Singh Grewal and Manpreet Singh Badal. However, they avoided media and refused to take any calls.

Sources said the participants had been told to keep the proceedings of the meeting secret. However, with regard to nuclear power, most of the members of core committee supported it. Stress was also laid on resource mobilisation.


2 die as car hits train
Tribune News Service

Gurdaspur, November 1
Two women were crushed to death and four others injured critically when a car they were travelling by hit a train at an unmanned level crossing in Jhawar village near here this afternoon.

The car- borne women were teachers and employees of Giani Maan Singh Memorial Academy and crossing the level crossing when Ravi Express on way to Amritsar from Pathankot crushed them at 3.15 pm. Pooja, a teacher from Gurdaspur and Harjit Kaur, an employee of Jhawar village, died on the spot.

Member of the management committee of the academy Gurpreet Kaur was driving the car. The driver failed to notice the approaching train.

Villagers and motorists started rescue operation and extricated the bodies from the mangled remains of the car with the help of iron rods and other articles. 


Food poisoning figure now 362
Tribune News Service

Kharar, November 1
The number of students who fell ill after eating langar at Guru Gobind Singh Modern Technology and Polytechnic College, Khanpur, has gone up to 362. As many as 213 students were reported at the OPD yesterday and 38 were admitted. Today, 54 new patients were reported at the OPD.

The additional SMO, Dr Jai Singh, has formed a panel of two doctors and some paramedics. The team visited the college and conducted a gastroenteritis screening test. About 38 students had symptoms of gastroenteritis, out of which four were administered intravenous drugs.

In his report to the civil surgeon, Dr M.S. Toor, Dr Jai Singh stated that as the district health officer was not able to collect food samples from the college, only the number of patients and the common symptoms of the ailment were mentioned.

Dr Toor said the report would be forwarded to the deputy commissioner tomorrow for further action. He added that all students had been discharged following the administration of first aid.


Aided-school teachers to invoke RTI Act

Fatehgarh Sahib, November 1
Terming the statements issued by the state government regarding the release of grants for salary of aided school teachers to be misleading, the Aided Schools Progressive Front of Punjab has decided to invoke the RTI Act to counter the government claim.

In a statement issued here today, the front has refuted the statement of the DPI (S) that the grants for aided school teachers has been released. The front has said in case the department has released any grant for the salary of the teachers since April 1, 2007, then the DPI (S) should produce the copies of released grant before the media. — TNS


Fighting TB through magic
Sushil Goyal
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, November 1
The services of a magician are being used by the TB control society to generate awareness among the masses in the district.

The magician, Ved Parkash, from Chandigarh has performed at six magic shows organised by the society during the past four months in the district to educate people, especially schoolchildren, about the TB, AIDS and drug abuse. In one of his magic tricks he burns a piece of paper in a small container and then brings out a very long paper ribbon explaining the audience that TB and AIDS spread at a fast pace like this magic ribbon.

In another magic trick the magician shows a human skeleton and says that once this skeleton was a healthy man but when TB caught him he could not get treatment due to ignorance, which turned him into this. At this stage he asks all suspected TB persons to get themselves diagnosed in time. Similarly, he explains adverse effects of drug abuse and polluted atmosphere.

Sangrur district TB officer Surinder Singla then educates the gathering by telling that TB is fully curable, provided suspected TB persons get themselves diagnosed at the earliest and get treatment as per the guidelines of the revised national TB control programme.

This year six such magic shows had been organised in two phases. In the first phase shows were held in July at Ahmedgarh, Duggan and Lehragaga and in the second phase in October at Bhawanigarh, Ubhawal and Dirba villages. Six more magic shows will be organised in November and December in different parts of the district.


Scrap flying squads: Panchayat body
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 1
Demanding scrapping of flying squads, five organisations associated with Rural Development and Panchayat Department staged a protest by wearing black robes in Sector 17, here this afternoon under the aegis of Joint Action Committee (JAC). Members from Patiala district participated in today’s protest.

The members of Panchayat Association have been sitting on a continuous fast and have been staging a protest dharna outside the office of director, Rural Development and Panchayat Department in Sector 17 for the past four days.

The protesters include not only members of various other employee organisations, but also those associated with Congress and Shiromani Akali Dal.

Addressing the gathering, Sukhdev Singh Bare Ke, president of the JAC stated that the present SAD-BJP ruled government in the state was following the policies of its predecessor, the Congress regime, by crushing the democratic rights of sarpanches. He said the Congress government defied the Panchayat Act, 1994 by registering police cases against 700 sarpanches across the state through its vigilance bureau. He added that the current government had so far suspended 350 sarpanches and issued notices to 500 others.

Making a point, he demanded justification for conducting vigilance department checks when the department had issued utilisation certificates to the sarpanches.

Insisting on scrapping of flying squads, the representatives of the JAC, demanded that the state government reinstate the dismissed sarpanches at the earliest and withdraw cases registered against them. Besides this, they wanted the state government to deal with the panchayats under the Panchayat Act.


Body denies role in strike

Chandigarh, November 1
The Rural Development Officers Association, Punjab, has denied its involvement in the ongoing strike by some sections of the Panchayati Raj Institutions, who are protesting against the formation of flying squads.

At a meeting here today under the chairmanship of president Bahadur Singh, deputy director (land development), the association made it clear the funds meant for development works in rural areas were released and utilised by gram panchayats. — TNS


CM hits out at Central panel
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 1
Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal today came down heavily on the Central Water Commission (CWC) for what he described as its “duplicity of standards on the Hansi-Butana issue.”

In a statement here, Badal said “it is a paradoxical situation that the project of Sri Dasmesh Canal was stalled by the CWC in case of Punjab, however , the CWC never objected to Haryana’s Hansi-Butana canal for providing irrigation facilities to the areas earlier included in the SYL canal project. Surely, different yardsticks cannot be applied for clearance of projects which have been framed for providing irrigation facilities to the areas under the SYL project.

Terming the Hansi-Butana canal project as totally illegal and ill-conceived Badal said the project had inter-state implications as Bhakra Main Line (BML) canal was an inter-state channel.


14,000 teachers to be appointed in 3 years
Tribune News Service

Patiala, November 1
Minister for languages and education Dr Upinder Jit Kaur, today asserted that Punjabi language and culture would be given its due importance and Punjab languages department was making efforts to ensure proper growth and development of the Punjabi language.

In another significant development, the minister said 14,000 teachers will be appointed within the next three years and for this nearly 2.25 lakh applications had been received. Speaking at the Punjab Day celebrations, on the occasion of the inauguration of Kavi Darbar, at the Punjab languages department complex, Dr Upinder Jit Kaur said in an effort to further develop Punjabi language, the state government had decided to hold a special function, named Punjabi Saptah, from December 3 to 9 and the function will be graced by Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal.

The minister asserted that similar programmes would be held at different parts of the country, including Patna sahib. In an informal chat with mediapersons, Dr Upinder Jit added that Punjabi writers would be felicitated with Shiromani awards at a function to be held on January 8 next year.


12 hurt in mishap

Mukerian, November 1
Twelve passengers were injured, six of them seriously, when the tourist bus, in which they were travelling, overturned on the Jalandhar-Jammu highway near Talwandi village this morning. The driver of the Delhi-bound bus lost control over it while giving pass to a car.

There were over 45 passengers in the bus. The condition of Sital Kumari and Neeru from Jammu, Pallavi from Pathankot, Amit from Gurdaspur, Mohammad from Baramula and Kamlesh Devi from New Delhi was said to be serious. — TNS


Alarm Bells
Fewer girls coming for vaccination
Only 229 girls vaccinated against 1,125 boys
Lalit Mohan
Tribune News Service

Patiala, November 1
The declining number of new born girl children coming for vaccination programmes in Patiala region has once again raised concern among experts.

According to Dr Harshinder Kaur, who has been bringing to the fore alarming statistics regarding the declining sex ratio in the state, said that the number of girls in the 0-6 month age group has decreased dramatically in the compulsory vaccination programmes in the region.

Rajindra Government Medical College is the main medical care centre in the region for vaccination of children. In 2003, 1,006 girls in the 0-6 month age group came for vaccination against 2000 boys. The ratio worked to about 503 girls for 1,000 males. In 2004 the number of girls in the same age group fell to 869 against 2,040 male children. In 2005 it was 1,083 girls against 2,300 male children. In 2006 just 685 girls came against 2,000 male children. In 2007 till date just 229 girl children came against 1,125 male children.

The data presented clearly shows that the number of male children in the 0-6 month age group coming for vaccination has remained almost the same over the past four years. It has revolved around a figure of 2,000. However, the number of girl children in the 0-6 month age group has fallen dramatically.

It has come down from 1006 to 229 from 2003 to 2007. Interestingly, the numbers of girl children born as per the hospital records have remained almost stable. This can be attributed to government’s strictness in implementing the PNDT Act and monitoring the ultrasound centres that used to determine the pre-natal sex of the child.

However, another trend was emerging. The sudden disappearance of the girl children from the vaccination centre and medical care facilities in their early age early indicate that they were being neglected. This also could be the main reason behind the high rates of child infanticide that have been indicated in the recent national level studies.

Dr Harshinder Kaur had earlier carried out studies on sex ratio of children ranging between the age group of 0-5 age group. The study had also illustrated a marked decrease in sex-ratio between the said age group. The study was presented at Patiala before Chief Minister Prakash Singh Badal and the Chief Justice of Punjab and Haryana High Court. Both of them had expressed concern at the presented data. The Chief Minister had later also summoned the data.

However, despite the alarming record being presented before the government no concrete action has been taken to check infanticide. A few non-government organisations in India have come forward to offer their help to Dr Harshinder Kaur on the issue.


Cop suspended for beating up trucker

Sangrur, November 1
Head constable (HC) Kewal Singh of the police control room (PCR) team here was today suspended for allegedly “beating up” truck driver Rajbir Singh near the old truck union here yesterday.

DSP Prit Pal Singh Thind told The Tribune the HC had been suspended by the SSP after an inquiry, conducted by him in this case. He added after suspension, the HC had been posted at the police lines. — TNS


Venue for channel launch changed
Varinder Singh and Attar Singh
Tribune News Service

Patiala, November 1
Sudden change of venue for the launch of a TV channel at the Polo grounds to the YPS grounds by the SAD working president Sukhbir Singh Badal on “security grounds”, has sparked a row.

Sukhbir was scheduled to launch DE TV channel, owned by SAD leader Surjit Singh Rakhra on the evening of November 2 at the Polo Grounds. Major objection of people, opposing the holding of “private-cum-political” function, was that holding the event could lead to damage to the school premises.

Rakhra, the MD of the DE TV Channel, said the venue had been changed due to security concerns.


Jobs recommended for martyrs’ kin
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 1
A high-powered committee constituted by the Punjab Government for rehabilitating next of kin and dependants of martyrs of various operations today met under the chairmanship of Ramesh Inder Singh, chief secretary and recommended the names of 40 eligible dependants to various departments for government jobs.

Disclosing this here today a spokesman of the Directorate of Sainik Welfare, Punjab, said in 1999 Post-operation Vijay (Kargil war between India and Pakistan), the state government had initiated a major initiative towards rehabilitating the next of kin and dependants of martyrs by providing government jobs to at least one member of the family and dependant based on his/her qualification.

Paddy purchase

Government agencies and private millers procured more than 116 lakh tonnes of paddy till last evening.

The Punjab Government agencies procured 95,04,191 tonnes of paddy (82.1 per cent) till date whereas millers had lifted 20,67,836 tonnes (17.9 per cent) of paddy. The FCI had procured 1,23,081 tonnes (1.3 per cent) of paddy.

The spokesman added that Ludhiana district was leading in procurement operations whereas Sangrur district was second while Patiala was third.

The farmers have been paid Rs 6217.48 crore for paddy procured by government agencies alone till October 30. Different government agencies have been allocated Rs 7089.74 crore to ensure smooth procurement.


3 tubewells for Kharar soon
Tribune News Service

Kharar, November 1
The municipal council on Monday approved three tubewells for the town during its meeting conducted here. These three tubewells will be installed in ward numbers 8, 14 and 4.

Also, the council has approved street lights to be installed on way from Kharar railway crossing to Ambika Public School, Kanjheri road to MC limit, and Cholta road to MC limit.

New tube fittings for newly extended MC limit, Kharar, have been approved.

New cleanliness contracts for ward numbers 1, 2, 5, 8, 11, Jhungiyan village, Nawanshahr Badala, Sante Majra and other areas were also approved.

Meanwhile, cleanliness contractors of other areas have been asked to continue with the contract on old rates till March 31, 2008.

The MC had earlier written to deputy director of local bodies, asking for land to be given for Kharar ITI. However, the same was refused.

The council against passed a resolution to re-approach the local bodies officials to press the demand. The MC has also passed a resolution for allowing land for Rajinder Rosy Managing Trust to set up a herbal garden.


Removal of market committee head upheld
Saurabh Malik
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 1
In a major boost to the Punjab government, the Punjab and Haryana High Court has held that nomination to a committee can be discontinued by introducing suitable amendments in the statute, while dismissing a petition filed by the former chairman of Raikot Market Committee.

The petitioner, Avjinder Singh Sibia, was nominated during the previous government's term. Following the issuance of an ordinance by the present government, which was later transferred into an enactment, he ceased to continue as the chairman.

Taking up the petition, a Division Bench, comprising Justice Uma Nath Singh and Justice Rajive Bhalla, ruled, “Nomination to a committee is always made out of political expediency. Therefore, its further continuance may depend upon the statute where under the member is nominated; and by introducing suitable amendments in the statute the same can be discontinued.”

The Bench also ruled, “From the written statement submitted on the behalf of the state, detailing the reasons for introducing the amendment in the Act, it appears that there are valid reasons for the state government to bring the amendment.”

The Judges concluded, “We do not find any ground to hold the provisions of the Punjab Act No.5 of 2007 as unconstitutional, offending and ultra vires and, thus, it is held to be intra vires. Therefore, the civil writ petition being devoid of merits is, hereby, dismissed.”

Arguing before the court, Punjab's advocate-general Hardev Singh Mattewal had earlier contended that the present government was duty bound to carry out the responsibility of implementing its policies as it had been voted to power. As such, the impugned notification could not be termed unconstitutional or malafide and arbitrary exercise of legislative powers.


High Court
Registration of case in custodial death ordered
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 1
Taking up the Ferozepore custodial death case, a Division Bench of the Punjab and Haryana High Court today directed the registration of a case in the matter.

The Bench, headed by Chief Justice Vijender Jain, directed the Police authority concerned to do the needful and fixed November 23 as the next date of hearing in the matter.

The Bench had earlier issued notice to Punjab after Justice Rajesh Bindal had ordered an inquiry into the matter by a Sessions Judge.

The fact-finding inquiry into the circumstances leading to the death of Kewal Singh, while he was lodged in Central Jail had found that the deceased, according to the post-mortem report, had as many as 13 injuries. The news of Kewal's death on April 20 had appeared in a newspaper on April 22.

The inquiry report said after considering the evidence and analysing the description of events provided by jail authorities, it was found that Kewal’s injuries could not have been sustained in the manner the authorities were claiming. Thus it was concluded that the jail officials' story was concocted.

It was further stated in the report that injuries, according to medico-legal examination, had been inflicted by a blunt weapon or by hitting him on hard surface. Thus, torture was not ruled out.

Justice Bindal had ordered the entire report to be placed before the Chief Justice.

Bibi Jagir Kaur case stayed

Nearly four years after Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee chief Bibi Jagir Kaur was booked for allegedly flouting orders issued by Anandpur Sahib's District Magistrate banning the gathering of five or more persons, the Punjab and Haryana High Court today stayed further proceedings in the matter.

Justice Saron also stayed her arrest. The police had booked Bibi on allegations of raising slogans in the favour of Parkash Singh Badal after a case was registered against him. The prosecution had claimed that she was part of a mob even though the District Magistrate's orders under Section 144 of the CrPC were in force.

Rural dept director summoned

Taking up a petition seeking the initiation of contempt of court proceedings against Punjab principal secretary, Department of Rural Development and Panchayat, Satish Chander and others in a matter concerning recruitment of teachers, the Punjab and Haryana High Court today directed the department’s director to appear before the court on November 2.

Issuing the directions, Justice Hemant Gupta of the High Court observed, “On the last date of hearing, state counsel had sought time to seek instructions in the matter. But today, additional advocate-general states he has no instructions in the matter.”

The Judge ruled, “Let the director appear personally before the court and assist.”


DSP booked for sexual harassment
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, November 1
Within 24 hours of the publication of a news item in The Tribune, the police booked Moga DSP (detective) Darshan Singh on the charge of sexually harassing a woman of Jalandhar.

Confirming this, SSP Arpit Shukla said the DSP had been booked under Sections 354, 506, 509 and 510 of IPC on the woman’s statement.

Shukla said he had also sent a report to Punjab DGP N.P.S Aulakh in this regard and recommended suspension of the DSP and initiation of departmental inquiry against him.

About delay in the registration of the case against the accused DSP, the SSP said the woman was reluctant to give statement to the police for the registration of the case on the day of occurrence of the incident on Tuesday night.

However, this evening, she made up her mind to lodge an FIR against the DSP.

In her complaint, the woman reportedly alleged she had been falsely implicated in a `kabootarbazi’ case at Moga and the DSP wanted sexual favours from her to provide her relaxation.


GND varsity Syndic Poll
It’s Cong versus Akalis
Varinder Walia
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, November 1
Even as the election of three members to the syndicate of Guru Nanak Dev University here has already been delayed for around four months, Congress and Akali senators are likely to take diametrically opposite stand on the issue in the 100-member varsity senate.

The election of the three syndics for one year was supposed to be held in June because the one-year term of the syndics has been fixed from July 1, 2007, to June 30, 2008. However, the registrar of the university had called the meeting of senate on August 14, which was postponed a day before the proposed meeting citing some unavoidable reasons. The next meeting was, however, fixed for October 31, which witnessed acrimonious scenes over the question of electing/nominating the syndics.

While Virsa Singh Valtoha, an Akali member, suggested that the syndics be nominated by evolving a consensus by the vice-chancellor, education secretary and the DPI, who happened to be ex-officio members of the senate.

However, senior senator M.M. Singh Cheema, a vice-president of the Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee, said according to the statute of the university, there must be an election and not the nomination of syndics.

Though vice-chancellor Jai Rup Singh has been authorised to nominate the three syndics despite opposition by Valtoha, Cheema said there should be an election for the three syndics.

Talking to The Tribune, Cheema said it was unfair on the part of the state government to “impose” three new syndics through nomination.

Cheema claimed that his point of view was supported by senator N.S. Rattan, former principal secretary (higher education), Joginder Singh Mann, former minister, Dr Gurnam Singh, Dr Amarjit Singh Sidhu and Jagdish Singh.

They have stated that the senate has no power to amend the statute to authorising the vice-chancellor to select three members through consultations.


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