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Chandigarh Judicial Academy
UT police to probe charges against ex-director
Saurabh Malik and Ramanjit Singh Sidhu
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 15
Less than two months after the director of the Chandigarh Judicial Academy, N.S. Saini, was placed under suspension, a complaint has been forwarded to the Chandigarh Police stating that the “various acts of omission and commission” allegedly committed by him are required to be investigated. The academy, set up in the city, imparts training to judicial officers passing out of Punjab and Haryana.

The sources in the Chandigarh Police say Saini is facing the allegations of spending several lakhs without prior or ex-post facto administrative approval or financial sanction.

A senior officer in the Chandigarh Police says the economic offences wing is looking into the matter. On the face of it, the case appears to be that of irregularity.

In his complaint to the police, the present director, A.S. Sodhi, has stated that Justice J.S. Narang (retd) was appointed as the academy’s director-general on February 1. After he took over the academy’s administration, he examined the expenditure incurred by Saini in detail and found that he had made excessive purchases of books for the academy library, paid highly inflated rates for potted plants and got a telephone exchange installed without obtaining competitive rates from the market and by directly issuing the order to a particular firm.

Giving details, Sodhi has asserted that Saini began purchasing a large number of books for the academy from November 2006 and continued purchases till the end of April this year. A bulk order for a large number of books was placed with M/S Mohindra Capital Publishers Limited for Rs 14, 11,459, while a single copy or negligible number of copies were purchased from others. The purchases were made without following the procedure of inviting quotations.

Sodhi has added that Saini did not obtain any specific or general administrative approval or even financial sanction either from the training programme committee (TPC) up to December 18, 2006, or from the executive committee before February 19, 2007.

Likewise, no administrative approval or financial sanction was obtained from either the TPC or the executive committee or the director-general for the supply of potted plants by Bagia Nursery or the installation of telephone exchange by M/S Ram Enterprises.

He added that Saini, without any authority, rented 1,200 potted plants at an exorbitant rate of Rs 45 per pot. When confronted for creating a huge liability of Rs 1,72,250 up to March 31, 2007, he said the provider was now ready to rent at Rs 25 per pot, thus indicating some nexus between him and R.L. Parjapathi of M/S Bagia Nursery.

Sodhi further added that Saini issued two cheques for Rs 2,25,000 and Rs 2,00,000 in a single day on March 31 in favour of M/S Ram Enterprises Ram, shop number 70, ISBT, Sector 17, Chandigarh, although his financial power was limited to issuing cheque up to Rs 2.5 lakh in one transaction.

Not only this, he made a payment of Rs 2,40,000 to M/S Ram Enterprises late at night on May 4 without taking permission from the director-general or without his approval.

Sodhi said the academy accounts had been audited by a chartered accountant. He reported that no administrative approval or financial sanction was taken by Saini in making the purchases from any of the committees or from any individual member.

It is estimated that Saini spent several lakhs up to March 31 without prior or ex-post facto administrative approval or financial sanction from either the TPC, the executive committee or the director-general.

The complaint further said the matter was placed before the executive committee where Saini admitted he was prepared to refund the cost of excess books, which may be identified by the committee. His statement was incorporated in the proceedings of the executive committee on August 13, but he later resiled.

After taking many opportunities, he submitted a supplementary explanation. The matter was placed before the high court Chief Justice, who is the chairperson of the governing body. He ordered Saini’s suspension. Accordingly, Saini was placed under suspension on October 23 and he (Sodhi) was asked to look after the office and duty of the director.


Edict against serving langar on tables to stay
O’Dwyer portrait should stay in museum: Vedanti
Sarbjit Dhaliwal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 15
Akal Takht Jathedar Joginder Singh Vedanti here today said the hukamnama issued by Akal Takht against serving langar on tables at Sikh religious places abroad and in the country would not be annulled.

Talking to The Tribune here today, Jathedar Vedanti said serving langar on chairs and tables in gurdwaras was against the Sikh religious code of conduct and would not be allowed. He said no one could be allowed to temper with the basic principles and philosophy of Sikhism. He said at the time of serving langar exception could only be made in case of an invalid person.

Asked about the unveiling of the portrait of Sant Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale at the Sikh Museum, he said certain people had created an unnecessary controversy in this regard. “Unveiling of the portrait of Bhindranwale was in internal issue of Sikhs and no one else should interfere,” said Jathedar Vedanti.

“For us, Bhindranwale was a great hero”, he added. Whenever historians would write history of this region, they would not be able to ignore Bhindranwale. When asked why was the putting up of the portrait delayed, he said only a few years back, Bhindranwale was declared a martyr by Akal Takht.

He said the portrait of Lieut-Gen Sir Michael F O’dwyer should stay in the museum. O’dwyer was the man behind the massacre at the Jallianwala Bagh. To educate new generations regarding the most shameful role played by him, his portrait was required at the museum.

Asked about discrimination with Dalits in Malwa areas, Vedanti said he was planning to launch a campaign in this regard.


Badal the only head of SAD-BJP: Bhandari
Sarbjit Dhaliwal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 15
“There is only one head of the SAD-BJP family in Punjab and he is Parkash Singh Badal,” said Prof Rajinder Bhandari, president of the state unit of the BJP, when asked a question with regard to Sukhbir Singh Badal. “The SAD-BJP combine is doing well under the leadership of Parkash Singh Badal,” he further added.

Even in his brief speech at the inaugural ceremony of the SAD office here yesterday, Bhandari did not make any mention of Sukhbir. However, he lavishly praised the SAD chief Parkash Singh Badal and gave all credit to him for an enduring sort of political relationship between the SAD and the BJP.

“Our entire top leadership in Delhi often talks about the political foresight of Badal with regard to politics of the country and his close political relationship with our party,” said Bhandari. The BJP chief, in fact, used the Akali idiom profusely to impress the gathering at the ceremony. Like Bhandari, the focus of the entire speech of Navjot Singh Sidhu, BJP’s charismatic leader, was also on the senior Badal.

However, yesterday’s function was all Sukhbir’s show and speakers like Avtar Singh, SGPC chief, projected him as a dynamic and visionary leader of the party.

For the past several weeks, there has been speculation in the media regarding Sukhbir’s elevation from the acting president of the SAD to the Chief Ministership of the state. However, from yesterday’s talk with Bhandari, it was clear that the SAD leadership has not approached the BJP leadership yet.

Sukhbir, however, said his party’s political relationship with the BJP was smooth and free from any sort of trouble. Talk of differences between the SAD and the BJP was just a creation of the media. Otherwise there was no substance in such stories, he added.

Though it is an internal matter of the SAD to decide who should lead its legislative wing in the Punjab Vidhan Sabha and who should be the Chief Minister of Punjab, as the BJP is its important coalition partner, Badal will have to take the BJP leadership into confidence before making his son the executive head of the state.

Though it is not confirmed, sources say the issue of making Sukhbir the Chief Minister of the state may be raised by one or two Akali members at the joint meeting of MLAs of the SAD-BJP on December 16, a day before the beginning of the session of the Punjab Assembly. Insiders in the SAD say that a strong group of supporters of Sukhbir is silently working for the past several weeks to mobilise opinion in support of their leader.


Doctor on duty beaten up, BSP leaders arrested
Our Correspondent

Hoshiarpur, December 15
General secretary of the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP), Punjab, Onkar Singh Jhamat, district secretary Somnath and city president Ranbir Singh were arrested yesterday by the Model Town police in an FIR No. 269 registered under Sections 353, 332, 506, 147 and 149, IPC, on a complaint of an emergency duty doctor of the local Civil Hospital Dr Naresh Kumar in which the latter alleged that the aforesaid persons created obstacles and beat him while he was performing his duty.

It was reported that head munshi of Sadar police station Jagjit Singh suffered head injuries at work yesterday as he had alleged that a senior officer CIA in charge inspector Daljit Singh Khakh, who were not allegedly on good terms with him due to his not obliging the latter in an FIR No. 237 of July 6, 2006, registered under Sections 307, 324, 506, 148, 149 and 120-B, IPC, in which the name of Khakh was also figured, had roughed him up in his office.

Seriously injured Jagjit Singh was admitted at the local Civil Hospital where activists of the BSP gathered and demanded a case under Section 307, IPC, against the police officer.

Later, Jagjit Singh was referred to the DMC, Ludhiana, in a critical condition late last night.

All arrested leaders of the BSP were today produced before the Chief Judicial Magistrate here who had sent them in judicial lock-up till December 29.

Meanwhile, activists of the BSP led by the general secretary of Punjab unit Gurlal Saila demonstrated against the arrests of their leaders and presented a memorandum, addressed to the SSP, Hoshiarpur, and to DSP, special branch, Joginder Pal.

Meanwhile, members of the PCMS Association led by their leader Dr Surinder Singh Dardi staged a dharna and a rally in the hospital premises to protest against the manhandling of Dr Naresh Kumar. They demanded to provide security to the doctors of the hospital.

Later, district health officer Dr M.L. Puri apprised them about the registration of a case against the assaulters and their arrests, only then they lifted the dharna.


City Centre Scam
VB likely to file challan against Chahal, others
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, December 15
The Vigilance Bureau is reportedly preparing a supplementary challan in the multicrore City Centre Scam in which B.I.S. Chahal, former media adviser to Amarinder Singh, an alleged conduit Capt Rajesh and some prominent political personalities could be named.

Sources have revealed that the vigilance held back their names at the last moment as it wanted to gather more evidence. Sources even claimed that the role of MP Preneet Kaur was also under scanner.

The vigilance was exploring the possibility of her being held responsible for exchange of money in her official residence in Delhi. She has, however, never been questioned in this case. Her name has been mentioned in the investigation to the extent that Amarinder had received Rs 5.50 crore as first instalment of kickbacks at her Delhi residence.

Chahal had already been quizzed in this case. The sources added that in the challan filed in the court of

Sessions Judge, Ludhiana, G.K. Rai, column No. 2 was left blank, meaning thereby that the vigilance had not given a clean chit to him and Capt Rajesh. In this column the names of those persons were mentioned who were declared innocent.


Spinal Injury Centre
Punjab okays Rs 2.8 cr
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 15
The Regional Spinal Injury Centre (RSIC), the exclusive centre for the treatment of the spinal injuries in the region, is set to go on fast track with the Punjab Government approving an amount of Rs 2.8 crore for the creation of the state-of-the-art infrastructure.

In fact, the general body meeting of the RSIC held here under the chairmanship of Swarna Ram, Punjab minister for social security and women and child development, took several initiatives for the early starting of the centre aimed at benefiting patients from the northern region.

Sources said evincing of keen interest by the top functionaries of the state government, including the minister and the chief secretary Ramesh Inder Singh, would go a long way in making the first phase of the centre functional from next year.

To speed up the process of the functioning of the centre, the meeting decided to include Prof K.K. Talwar, director of the PGI and Col Sapoia, in charge of the Paraplegia Centre for Armed Forces, Command Hospital, Chandimandir, in the general body.

The minister, on his part, reiterated the commitment of the SAD-BJP government to complete the centre on a priority basis in line with government's policy of bringing Mohali on the medical map of the country. He also underlined the need for providing affordable medicare to the poor keeping in view the social security objective of governance.

The inclusion of Prof Talwar would prove to beneficial for the centre in the long run as it intended to enter into an MoU with the PGI for the sharing of staff.

The director-principal of Government Medical College and Hospital, Sector 32, Prof Raj Bahadur, who is also the RSIC project-director, hoped that minister's initiative would go a long way in making the premier centre functional. The starting of the centre would prove to be beneficial for thousands of spinal injury victims in the region, the renowned orthopaedic surgeon added.

Spread over an area of five acres in Sector 70 of Mohali, the super-speciality hospital would be the second such advanced centre in the region - the first being at Vasant Kunj in New Delhi. Under the first phase of the centre, the OPD, operation theatres, ICU and recovery room are planned for the rehabilitation of the spinal injury patients.

Meanwhile, Lajpat Rai Munger, an NRI from Hoshiarpur and noted philanthropist, has pledged an amount of Rs 12 lakh per annum for the poor patients to be treated in this centre.


French court upholds turban ban
Manish Sirhindi
Tribune News Service

Fatehgarh Sahib, December 15
Despite strong protests by various Sikh organisations across the globe, France's highest court, the Conseil d’Etat, in a recent verdict has upheld the ban on turbans in schools.

The court has ruled that the ban was legal as there was a greater interest to be served in preserving secularity than a religious belief. The verdict came exactly three years after Bikramjit Singh, Jasvir Singh and Ranjit Singh were expelled from the Louise-Michel High School of Bobigny (Seine-Saint-Denis).

In the verdict that was pronounced on December 5, the court ruled that the ‘keski', the under-turban the Sikhs wore to school, was not a discreet sign, but an ostensible manifestation of religion which was prohibited by the French law that was passed on March 15, 2004.

Mejindarpal Kaur, director, International Civil and Human Rights Advocacy (ICHRA), in an e-mail informed that lawyers of the three students had contended before the court that the expulsion of the schoolboys had infringed Articles 9 and 14 of the European Convention of Human Rights, which provided for the freedom to manifest one's religion and the right against discrimination, respectively.


Jalalabad: Founded by Akbar, ruined by encroachments
Varinder Walia
Tribune News Service

Wheat straw being stored in the Diwan-e-Khas building
Wheat straw being stored in the Diwan-e-Khas building. — A Tribune photograph

Jalalabad (Tarn Taran), December 15
It is a sad story of a town losing out to negligence. It was founded by Mughal emperor Jalal-ud-din Mohammed Akbar.

Even as many heritage buildings of the town have lost their existence, residents of this ancient town have encroached upon some invaluable sites. So much so that the nambardar of the village has been misusing the Diwan-e-Khas building for storing wheat straw. The elegant frescos in mosques and other heritage buildings have also been damaged due to negligence of the residents.

Situated on the ruins near the bank of the Beas, 48 km from Amritsar, Jalalabad is an ancient town. Its population in 1961 was 2,213 as against 2,373 in 1951.

The Diwan-e-Khas and Diwan Khana have cellars, said to have been built by Sheikh Shabab Din of Kapurthala. Some old wells have also lost their existence. Outside the village there is an old pucca drain, traces of which can be found up to 2 km. Before the Partition, Jalalabad was a flourishing Muslim-dominated town. But after it Muslims left for Pakistan.

Since Akbar founded a new religion, Din-e-illahi (divine religion) in 1582, people of different religions started settling in the new township set up by him. The town was also inhabited by a number of Hindus who migrated to other states following Operation Bluestar. Now the Jat Sikhs who had migrated from Pakistan dominate the town.

Nambardar of the village Harbans Singh said there were many old wells, artificial lakes and ponds here which had disappeared with the passage of time.

Most of the dwellings here are still made of old Nanakshahi bricks.


Indiscipline in party won’t be tolerated, says Bhattal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 15
Former minister and spokesman of the Punjab Congress Jagmohan Singh Kang here today said Rajinder Kaur Bhattal, president, Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee(PPCC), had taken a serious view of the unfortunate incident of indiscipline by some party workers and leaders on the occasion of staging a dharna at Ferozepur to protest against misdeeds of the SAD-BJP government on December 13. Bhattal had warned the party rank and file against going to the Press to air their grievances in public, if any.

She had referred the complaint made by president, District Congress Committee, Ferozepur, against Ravinder Singh Sandhu, a former MLA, to the disciplinary action committee of the PPCC to enquire and submit a report in this regard.

Kang further said the PPCC president had given a clear signal that indiscipline and leg pulling in the party would not be tolerated at any cost and whosoever indulging in indiscipline and spoiling the image of the party, irrespective of his position, would be dealt with severely.


Rationale of Punjabi suba defeated: Mann
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, December 15
“The rationale of the Punjabi suba stands defeated as no demand of Punjab, including control over head works, transfer of Chandigarh and Punjabi-speaking areas to the state etc, has been fulfilled so far”.

Talking to The Tribune yesterday, president of the SAD(A) Simranjit Singh Mann said neither the Congress nor the SAD-BJP alliance had ever thought about the demands of the state.


Train-bus Accident
Villagers yet to come to terms
Neeraj Bagga
Tribune News Service

Chuhar Chak (Moga), December 15
Residents of Purana (old) and Nawa (new) Chuhad Chak remained under a pall of gloom and despair and many of them did not light their hearths. Pernicious impacts of the ghastly accident were visible on the faces of the natives and desolate stretch of the railway crossing.

Finding it difficult to come to terms, the visit of education minister Upinderjit Kaur could not lift the sagging morale of the villagers.

There is a distance of nearly 4 km between the old and new Chuhad Chaks. The village got divided into the two following migration of some of its families to their farmland earning the prefix Nawa. Hardly about 25 houses are located in the Nawa area of this village falling on the Jagraon road.

Mostly, students commute the distance to join the Government Senior Secondary School located at Purana Chuhad Chak. Hence, the education minister visited the families of eight students who had perished in the accident between the train and the mini-bus yesterday.

The minister announced a relief of Rs 52,000 to all families who lost their dear ones and Rs 5,000 to the injured. She informed that Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal had decided to give Rs 1 lakh grant and a job to each member of the family of the killed.


Sikh intellectuals to launch campaign against social evils
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 15
The World Sikh Confederation, the Institute of Sikh Studies and the Kendri Sri Guru Singh Sabha here today decided to launch a sustained campaign against female foeticide, use of drugs by youth, suicide by farmers and casteism issues in Punjab.

The confederation and other organisations had held a convention here today of the Sikh intellectuals, saints and others opinion leaders to enlist their views on important social issues faced by the society in the state.

At the end of the meeting, a resolution was passed to wage a war against such social evils. Pressure would also be built on the state government to discourage it from opening liquor vends in the countryside.

Jathedar of Akal Takht Joginder Singh Vedanti also attended the convention. Discrimination against certain castes in the countryside was discussed at length. The intellectuals said there was no place for casteism in Sikhism.

Deep concern was expressed over the poor condition of educational institutions in Punjab. Of the 12,972 government primary schools, 4,448 schools are without proper buildings and 8,577 government schools are without proper sitting arrangements. As many as 1,727 schools are without proper drinking water facility.

The performance of government schools in Punjab is even worse than those in Uttar Pradesh and Bihar. In 2006, the result of 79 government senior secondary schools was 0 per cent and of 210 only 10 per cent. There are 40 schools the result of which is 10 per cent for the past 10 years. And such a bad situation on education front has promoted evil of copying in schools.

Ragbir Singh Bains, NRI, talking about the evil of female foeticide, said if the present trend continued, there would be shortfall of 60 lakh girls in Punjab in the next 20 years. Use of drugs was three times more in Punjab compared to Haryana.

Raghbir Singh said in 1944, liquor vends were auctioned for Rs 1 crore only. And now income from liquor vends had gone up to Rs 1,649 crore.This showed the way Punjabis were guzzling the liquor.

Among those who addressed the gathering were Dr Kharak Singh, Budh Singh, Giani Harinder Singh, Bhai Ashok Singh Bagarian, Inderjit Singh Jaijee, Sant Lakhmir Singh, Sant Kashmir Singh, Manjit Singh Mangat from Canada.


CM promises rly overbridge on Mukerian-Gurdaspur road
Tribune News Service

The Punjab Chief Minister was reluctant to talk on health minister Laxmi Kanta Chawla and agriculture minister Sucha Singh Langah episode. When asked what action was he going to take on a complaint which the health minister had made to him at his sangat darshan, Badal claimed that he was looking into the matter. He, however, kept mum when asked that the issue had again exposed the infighting between the BJP and the SAD.

Mukerian, December 15
A railway overbridge on the Mukerian-Gurdaspur road will be constructed shortly. This was stated by the Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal at the bhog ceremony of Jathedar Pritam Singh Mukerian here, who was killed in a road accident on the same road on December 4.

He nominated Jaswinder Singh, elder son of the deceased, as member of the general council of the SAD and handed over the appointment letter to him.

He also announced a grant of Rs 5 lakh for Guru Nanak Senior Secondary School, Mukerian, for constructing a building in the memory of Pritam Singh, who was vice-president of the school.

Those who spoke on the occasion included former SGPC chief Jagir Kaur, Avinash Rai Khanna, MP, Hoshiarpur, Sewa Singh Sekhawan, former revenue minister, Varinder Singh Bajwa, member, Rajya Sabha, Arunesh Shakar, Desh Raj Dhugga and Mohinder Kaur Josh, chief parliamentary secretaries.


‘Badal suppressing our voice’
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, December 15
Ram Singh, general secretary of the SAD (A), has alleged that the police is registering false cases against Opposition leaders in the state under directions from Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal to suppress their voice.

Ram Singh told this to The Tribune on phone while being presented before a local court today for organising a fateh march in the city yesterday.

The police had arrested eight others, along with Ram Singh, outside the Golden Temple complex yesterday to thwart any untoward incident in the city, in view of the fateh march organised by the SAD(A) and the bandh call given by the Shiv Sena Hindustan (SSH).

Ram Singh said if the police wanted to register a case it should do so against the Chief Minister and president of the SGPC Avtar Singh for installing the portrait of Sant Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale. He stated their party had organised the march to welcome the decision of the state government and the committee for installing the portrait.


Mauritius President pays obeisance at Golden Temple
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, December 15
“I had learned and listened a lot about the Golden Temple and it was my long cherished desire to visit this holy shrine, but did not get any opportunity before,” said Sir Anerood Jugnath, President of the Republic of Mauritius, after paying obeisance at the Golden Temple here today.

Jugnath was here on the invitation of the National Integrated Forum of Artists and Activities (NIFAA). He was accompanied by his wife Sarojini Jugnath. Raghujit Singh Virk, senior vice-president, SGPC, and Harbhajan Singh, manager of the Golden Temple, honoured him with a siropa and presented him a set of books.

He also visited the Jallianwala Bagh and Durgiana Temple. Justice V.S. Kokje (retd), Governor of Himachal Pradesh, also paid obeisance at the Golden Temple.


Ophthalmologic conference commences
Tribune News Service

Patiala, December 15
A state-level 11th Punjab Opthalmological Conference commenced at the Government Rajindra Hospital and Medical College Auditorium here today.

Dr Ravinder Singh, vice-chancellor of Baba Farid University of Health Sciences, Faridkot, inaugurated it. He honoured former DRME Dhanwant Singh with the lifetime achievement award.

Dhanwant also released a souvenir compiled by J.K. Kansal and a video journal by Dr R.S. Dhaliwal.

Prominent among those present were S.K. Malik from AIIMS, Daljit Singh from Amritsar, Amod Gupta from PGI, Chandigarh, B.N. Nagpal from Ahmedabad, Fogle from Chennai and B.S. Bajwa from DMC, Ludhiana.


Govt proposes loan through auction
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 15
The Punjab government has proposed to float a state loan of Rs 900 crore to raise part of the borrowings through the auction system.

A spokesman of the government said the consent of the Central government had already been obtained. The stocks would be of 10-year tenure which would commence from December 19.

The loan would be repaid at par on December 19, he added. The interest would be paid half yearly.


SAD (A) activists released
Tribune News Service

Patiala, December 15
About 56 SAD (A) activists, who were arrested yesterday in connection with the bandh call, were released from the jail here today on the directions of a local court.

SAD (A) president Simranjit Singh Mann, along with office-bearers of the district unit of the SAD(A), reached the Central Jail to welcome the activists.

A minor altercation took place outside the jail premises with the SAD (A) activists bashing up a local Shiv Sena leader Harish Singla who incidentally was being taken by the local police to the jail. Singla had allegedly raised slogans against Jarnail Singh Bhindrawala after which the SAD activists beat him up. The jail authorities subsequently refused to take him in the jail following which Singla was admitted to a local hospital.

A case has been registered against the activists at the Tripuri police station.


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