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“Peti” mafia going strong
Kuldip Bhatia

Ludhiana, December 21
“Peti” mafia is thriving despite efforts by the enforcement staff of the excise and taxation department to check evasion of taxes through this network.

Operators of the “peti” mafia collect goods from traders and manufacturers, arrange for their transportation to the parcel office, and book and load packages on trains. They take fee per package.

For incoming packages as well, the network provides similar facilities to consignees.

In engaging their services, traders and manufacturers not only evade taxes, but also are protected against the interception or seizure of goods being transported without the payment of taxes.

Tax sleuths do seize outward-bound goods without proper documents, but inquiries by The Tribune revealed that the seizures are not even a fraction of the volume of goods dispatched by the mafia.

Sources in the railway goods booking network revealed that the transportation of goods to the parcel office, booking and loading works like a well-oiled machine, with each component playing its part. The mafia operators seem to keep railway officials, besides the GRP and RPF staff, in “good humour”.

Senior officials of the excise department admitted that it was impossible to set up barricades at all entry points to the railway station complex spread over nearly 10 acres.

“Moreover, the enforcement staff is working against odds. Railway employees and GRP and RPF personnel do not cooperate.

Also, we have to face political interference,” an official said, requesting not to be quoted. 

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Reports on crime update tardy: DIG
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, December 21
Call it transparency or a major faux pas, an official letter written by the DIG Ludhiana range to the SSP’s office and other police branches, expressing displeasure at the tardy supply of crime update to him, has been pasted on the police notice board at the mini secretariat here.

The letter was, however, hurriedly removed from the board after a journalist noticed it.

A constable even tried to prevent the journalist from taking a picture of the letter.

The letter by DIG Ishwar Singh to the SSP, R.K. Jaiswal, a copy of which was sent to all police branches, says that the replies to his queries on crime and regular updates are reaching him late. Due to this, he was facing problems in forwarding information to senior officials.

The DIG remarked that even though all SHOs and other officers had got e-mail facility, it was surprising that so much time was being taken to send the updates.

When asked to comment, the DIG said it was an internal matter and such correspondence was a routine affair. He was not surprised to learn that the letter was on the notice board. “This is the age of transparency. Every one has the right to information and every correspondence is open to public,” he said. 

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Goat goes for Rs 30,000 on Id
Shveta Pathak
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, December 21
As devotees celebrated Id-ul-Zuha with fervour, goat traders from other states made brisk sales. According to market sources, the highest price for a goat was Rs 30,000.

Hectic activity was witnessed at Bakr Mandi and other areas of the city where truckload of goats from Uttar Pradesh, Delhi and Rajasthan arrived. The buying and selling of goats started three days ago, but was on its peak this morning.As per estimates, goat sales of around Rs 50 lakh took place.

The price that the animal fetches is determined by its health and beauty, which makes people rear goats specially for this occasion.

“It is not local traders, but those who come from outside that make big gains,” said a trader at Bakr Mandi. “The last day records the highest price as it is the day when the sacrifice is made,” he added.

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15 booths fetch Rs 11.77 cr
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, December 21
The PUDA has registered 300 per cent rise in property rates over the reserve price during an auction of commercial booths in Canal Colony on the Pakhowal road today.

The auction held under the optimum utilisation of vacant government land (OUVGL) scheme, left the state exchequer richer by Rs 11.77 crore. This revenue was earned by the auction of 15 booths measuring 33.33 sq yard each.

The reserve price for all booths was Rs 3.92 crore.

According to S.R. Kaler, additional chief administrator, GLADA, bids for the booths went between Rs 2.04 lakh and Rs 3.75 lakh per sq yard. The reserve price was Rs 78,540 per square yard. He said they would auction more properties next month. 

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RDX Case
Youths detained for questioning
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, December 21
The panchayats of Kamalpur and Kote Isse Khan villages gathered outside the office of the CIA wing-I after the police picked up two youths from the villages for questioning in the Shingar blasts and RDX seizure case.

Pappu and Harjeet were brought here last night for questioning. The police had found evidence that the two were in touch with an alleged terrorist Sandeep Singh, booked in the RDX case.

Police officials refused to comment on the issue. Villagers alleged that the youths were in illegal detention and had been picked up earlier, too. 

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Id-ul-Zuha celebrated with fervour
Gabria: Shagun scheme for Muslim girls soon 
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, December 21
Muslims in their thousands attended prayers on Id-ul-Zuha at Jama Masjid on the Jail Road, Field Ganj, here today. The prayers were offered under Shahi Imam Maulana Habeeb-ur-Rehman.

Among those who extended their greetings to devotees were Lok Sabha deputy speaker Charanjit Singh Atwal, minister for jails, tourism and cultural affairs Hira Singh Gabria, CPS Harish Rai Dhanda, MP Sharanjit Singh Dhillon, Man Singh Garcha, Gurdawara Dukh Niwaran Sahib president Pritpal Singh and Maulana Atiq-ur-Rehman.

Addressing the gathering, Atwal said the Muslims had made enormous sacrifices during the freedom struggle and for the preservation of independence of the country.

He exhorted the congregation to pledge for strengthening the fabric of communal harmony and mutual brotherhood, the message preached by all holy books, spiritual leaders and saints.

The deputy speaker said unity among Hindus, Sikhs and Muslims had remained intact in Punjab even during trying periods.

He urged people to unite in the fight against extremists who were trying to destabilise communal harmony in the country.

Gabria said the “shagun scheme” would be extended to Muslims girls soon, wherein they would benefit upon marriage.

He assured the preservation of mutual brotherhood and peace in the state. Dhanda said people of the three faiths had always stood by each other in times of joy as well as grief in the state.

He also assured that a piece of land would be provided for an Idgah here shortly.

Maulana Habeeb-ur-Rehman said the Muslims had made enormous sacrifices for the unity and integrity of the country and would always work for the furtherance of communal harmony. 

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Industry resents move on advance power bills
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, December 21
Local industrialists said today that the Punjab State Electricity Board’s (PSEB) decision to take advance bills from January onwards would not only affect the industrial units but residential consumers as well.

In a letter to Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal, knitwear club president Vinod K.Thapar said as against the usual expectations of the industry for receiving any incentives/ concessions as a New Year gift, the decision would be burdening.

“Industry in the state is already passing through a tough phase. Unscheduled and frequent power cuts have adversely affected the production, business and profitability of the entrepreneurs. Advance electricity bills will further deteriorate their capacity to stand up to the competition on the national and international level.” 

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Travel Money
Cops turn down rape victim’s plea
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, December 21
The city police has turned the “unusual” condition laid by an alleged Australian rape victim, who had sought $ 3,000 (US) for joining probe into the rape case filed by her against a Rishi Nagar-based doctor in August this year.

The police said as such there was no provision to pay the expenses incurred by her in coming from Australia to testify in the rape case filed by her, undergo a DNA test to certify that the accused was the father of the baby.

The woman had in November sought money for meeting her travel expenses in response to summons issued by the police to come and join investigation. SSP R.K.Jaiswal said the extraordinary request could not be accepted as per the country’s law.

With the alleged victim not willing to come to India on her own and the police, citing rules, refusing to give any financial assistance, the investigation into the case have hit a major roadblock.

The case had unusual elements from day one. First, an FIR was lodged on the basis of an e-mail sent by her from Australia. She alleged that on a tour to India, she came close to accused, Anand Parkash Nayyar, an MBBS doctor and resident of LIG Flats, Rishi Nagar, here.

She alleged that he established physical relationship with her on the promise that they would soon get married.

The crime was spread over a few months as per the FIR. She claimed that the accused met her in Australia in 2004. They became friends. In February 2005, she came to India. The accused took her in a few hotels and allegedly raped her.

They stayed together for a few months after which she returned to Australia. A girl was born out of their relationship, she claimed.

However, she alleged that the man went back on his promise prompting her to file a complaint via e-mail. The Australian Embassy also intervened in the matter on her behalf. The doctor was booked for rape under Section 376 of the IPC. He has been absconding since then.

The girl neither appeared before the cops nor got herself medically examined. It was probably the first case of he kind where the cops booked a local resident for raping a foreigner without any medical evidence. 

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Schools celebrate Xmas with gaiety
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, December 21
Schools from across the area celebrated Christmas amid fun and gaiety today. Sacred Heart Senior Secondary School, BRS Nagar, wore a festive look as carol singing competitions and bulletin board decorations were held in classes. School principal Sister Sobel and Sister Mary greeted students on the occasion.

Children came dressed as Santa Claus, fairies, Mary and Joseph. A food festival was held. Sister Sobel distributed sweets among students and gave the message of spreading peace and harmony.

At Guru Nanak International Public School, Model Town, the day was celebrated by students of pre-primary wing.

Sweets were distributed among students by Santa Claus. The students were greeted by school principal B. Gulati and coordinator Abhineet Sarna.

At Green Land School, students sang carols as school resonated with “Jingle bells” and “We wish you a merry Christmas”.

Chairman and director Rajesh Rudhra along with Usha Rudhra greeted the students. Rudhra gave the message of love and universal brotherhood.

Children of Small Wonders Nursery School, Sangat Road, Civil Lines, celebrated Christmas by coming dressed up as Santa Claus and fairies.

They sang carols in the backdrop of Christmas trees bedecked with stars, bells, balloons and bunting.

Children along with their teachers danced to latest songs. They later exchanged gifts with each other.

Drishti Dr RC Jain Innovative Public School, Narangwal, got into celebratory mood with schoolchildren exchanging gifts to inculcate the value of sharing.

Gifts and chocolates were distributed among children.

The campus resonated with Christmas carols, while children danced to the music.

Christmas was also celebrated with gaiety and fevour at St Xavier’s Playway yesterday.  

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Hockey
Ferozepur lads blank Sangrur
Our Sports Reporter

Ludhiana, December 21
A brace by Amit Sodhi helped Ferozepur carve out an easy 4-0 win over Sangrur in u-14 match of the Punjab Hockey League for boys being organised by the Punjab Sports Department at the Prithipal Singh Memorial Astroturf Stadium of Punjab Agricultural University campus, here today.

Jaspreet Singh opened the account for his team in the 15th minute and nine minutes later, Amit Sodhi found the target to consolidate the lead 2-0.

Four minutes before the half time, Ferozepur added another goal through Gurcharan Singh, while Amit Sodhi struck again in the second half, which sealed Sangrur lads’ fate 4-0.

In the second match (u-14), Moga, after trailing by two goals, bounced back into the game to hold Faridkot to a 2-2 draw.

In another match (u-14), Baba Uttam Singh Academy, Khadoor Sahib, scored an emphatic 5-0 victory against Takhanwad, Moga.

In the fourth match of the day, Khaira Academy managed to squeeze past Muktsar 1-0. The all-important goal came off Jaspreet Singh’s stick in the 40th minute.

In the last match of the day (u-16), Kurali beat Bathinda 3-1 after leading by two goals at half time.

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