P U N J A B    S T O R I E S


Kandahar hijack case verdict deferred to Feb 5

Patiala, January 29
A Special Court here today deferred to February 5 its judgement against three persons arrested on conspiracy and other related charges in connection with the hijacking of an Indian Airlines plane IC-814 during its flight from Kathmandu to New Delhi nearly eight years ago.

Special Judge Inderjit Singh Walia, on January 18, had reserved its judgement for today after the conclusion of the arguments in the case of the hijacking of Indian Airlines flight IC-814 from Kathmandu on December 24, 1999.

The hearing was conducted inside the high-security Patiala Central Jail where the three conspirators Abdul Latif, Dalip Kumar and Yusuf Nepali are lodged since their arrest about eight years back. The hearing was held in camera and over 120 witnesses were examined.

The decision of the judge to defer the case to February 5 was announced to mediapersons outside the prison by defence lawyer Barjinder Singh Sodhi.

The three have been accused of helping the hijackers in procuring fake passports and other papers and also helping them take weapons aboard the aircraft that was hijacked later.

The hijackers sought and secured the release from Indian prisons of dreaded terrorists, including Jaish-e-Mohammed (JEM) chief Maulana Masood Azhar, Ahmed Zargar and Sheikh Ahmed Omar Sayeed.

Rupen Katyal (25), returning after his honeymoon in Kathmandu, was killed while other passengers were released after a seven-day ordeal at Kandahar. The plane was taken towards Pakistan, but later landed at the Amritsar airport from where it took off and landed in Lahore. After refuelling it took off and finally landed at Kandahar after a stopover in Dubai. — PTI


‘84 riots: He is ready to nail Sajjan Kumar
Naveen S. Garewal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 29
The trauma Gurcharan Singh Rishi faced was so intense that for 23 years he stayed in oblivion, fearing that his persecutors may still be hounding him.

Though he survived the attempt on his life on November 1, 1984, in the anti-Sikh riots in Delhi, he continues to remain paralysed and has burns waist below.

After all these years, he has finally received strength from Akal Takht that has asked people to come forward and testify against those who had indulged in the crime.

Having remained in hiding, first in Mohali and now at Balongi on the city’s outskirts, Gurcharan, whose entire family became victim of the riots, came out before the media today and said, “Even today Congress MP Sajjan Kumar’s voice echoes in my ears. While inciting his henchmen he told them not a single Sikh should escape, these dogs should be punished,” he said with a choked voice.

He said he was willing to make a statement before the CBI or any other court to ensure that the guilty are brought to book.

When asked why it took him so long to respond, Gurcharan, who was accompanied by his brother and some friends, said, “We registered an FIR in Delhi and took the same to the administration in Delhi and Mohali a couple of times, but no one listened to us. Till day not a single paisa has come to my family as compensation, but in the state I am in, it is not possible to continue my struggle for compensation or justice”.

Recalling his nightmare, Gurcharan said on November 1 he and his family were caught unawares by a mob led by Sajjan Kumar. “We were told that nothing will happen to us and they only wanted to ensure that no unwanted element was hiding in our house. The moment my father and my maternal uncle came out, they started hitting them. My uncle Santok Singh died on the spot. The rest of the family fled, but most, including my brother, were injured. I hid in the kitchen, but soon I was overpowered and thrown into a burning truck outside the house.”

He was rescued by Bonnie and Tarlok Chand, a Dalit and a Hindu neighbour, after the mob left. For three days they kept hiding in a burnt-down house of a relative.

On the third day, a rescue team took him to the ESI Hospital, while his father was taken to the Ram Manohar Lohia Hospital. But they were discharged without much medical aid as a result of which Gurcharan till date has many open wounds on his legs and knees.

Gurcharan’s family approached the All-India Sikh Student Federation (AISSF) president Karnail Singh Peer Mohammad, who asked him if he was ready to face the media. Gurcharan told mediapersons that he saw Sajjan Kumar inciting his henchmen at Nawada in Delhi, who later burnt a Gurdwara Singh Sabha, Mohan Garden, where his father was the president and also properties of many Sikhs.

Apprehending threat to his life and his family, Gurcharan has sought CRPF protection and added that if anything were to happen to him, Sajjan Kumar should be held responsible.

Demanding that Sajjan and his henchmen like Kirpa Ram be punished, he said he was willing to file affidavits or statements as per law.


Fiscal crisis stares in the face
State Cabinet to meet today
Sarbjit Dhaliwal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 29
Caught in a serious financial crunch, the Punjab government will spend the next week on the exercise of wriggling out of the critical situation. The Punjab Cabinet will meet tomorrow when the Finance Department is to begin the exercise to write the Budget proposals and the Planning Department is to finalise the annual plan for the next financial year. The Planning Commission has fixed February 19 to discuss the Punjab plan in Delhi.

Chairman of the Punjab State Electricity Board Y.S. Ratra is to brief the Punjab Cabinet with regard to the financial crisis being faced by the Board and what are the options available to save it from collapsing. He is also expected to brief the Cabinet with regard to the option available for the unbundling, the cut-off date for which is February 29, of the Board.

Obviously, the issue of free power will also come up for informal discussion at the Cabinet meeting. The Finance Department, which is facing a tough time to overcome the financial hardships, is of the opinion that freebies, including free power, should go for a while to put the state on the road of financial recovery. The department is for giving subsidised power instead free power to farm sector. On January 1, the department is scheduled to give presentation to the state government on state’s fiscal status, it is learnt.

Punjab needs to mobilise additional resources to the tune of Rs 3,000 crore to Rs 4,000 crore to expand the size of its annual plan for the next fiscal year and meet the financial liabilities, including the liability of power subsidy etc to the tune of Rs 1,500 crore, that will be carried forward to the next fiscal year in the Budget proposals. Then there will be enhanced bill of the atta-dal scheme during the next year. Even interest liability on the loan will go up by Rs 300 to Rs 400 crore during the next fiscal year.

The Badal government has reached a stage where it will have to take a decision to mobilise the additional resources. It is left with no escape routes.

At present, Punjab is giving Rs 4,000 crore as interest on the loan worth Rs 50,000 crore availed during the past decades. Next year the loan money will go up to Rs 55,000 crore. Punjab has already availed loan of about Rs 3,000 crore during till date during the current fiscal year. The loan figure will touch Rs 5,000 crore for the current fiscal year by March 31.

Punjab is keen to expand its annual plan for the next fiscal year to Rs 6,000 crore whereas Haryana’s plan is of Rs 6,300 crore. Actually, even if Punjab’s plan is pegged at Rs 6,000 crore, it will be 50 per cent of the Haryana’s plan because of a particular reason. Haryana’s entire plan of Rs 6,300 is a budget plan, which means that it will be funded from the provisions made in the budget, whereas Punjab’s plan will include component of the PSEB, PIDB and RDF projects which are not funded from the budget.

Till the December-end Rs 1,325 crore was released for the implementation of the core plan. Collection from VAT by the end of December was just Rs 3,950 crore. That indicated just an increase of 11.5 per cent over the corresponding period last fiscal year against the 25 percent increase projected in the budget estimates.


Dictionary of Punjabi Language
It’s different, says Pbi varsity
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 29
Punjabi University, Patiala, will soon bring out a dictionary that will present a definitive epistemological departure from those published so far world over.

Under the command of Harjeet Singh Gill, Punjabi University is preparing “The Conceptual Dictionary of Punjabi Language and Culture”. Gill, professor emeritus of semiotics, Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU), has spent considerable time in France before joining Punjabi University in 1968. He later shifted to the JNU, where he served till 2000.

“I believe that there is no dictionary in English and some other language that has focused on defining the concept and discursive constitutions of words,” asserts Gill. “The dictionary being prepared by Punjabi University will be the first of its kind. Its first volume will come out in July and 10 more will follow,” says Gill.

“The dictionary deals with the three registers of the discourse of Punjabi during the last 500 years, the Gurbani, Sufi mysticism and the folklore. Janam Sakhian, Bhai Gurdas and Punjabi Qisse have also been included,” he adds. “In the dictionary concept of each word of the Gurbani that is part of Adi Granth would be explained by giving citations from the Gurbani.

Giving an instance in this regard, he says “we have conceputalisation of sat/asat, gian/agyan, parkash/andhkar, gurmant/durmat, gurmukh/manmukh, etc.” To understand the concept of sat (truth) one also needs to understand the concept of word asat (falsehood), he says.


Jolt to Badal Govt
Congress leader rejoins as MC chief
Dharmendra Joshi
Tribune News Service

Kapurthala, January 29
Congress leader Sudesh Kumar Agarwal re-joined as president of the Kapurthala MC today, exactly two months after his removal from the post.

Agarwal went to MC chief’s office along with Congress councillors and assumed his charge after the direction of the Punjab and Haryana High Court of staying operation of his removal by the state Local Bodies Department.

The order, a copy of which is procured by The Tribune, further stated that the offence alleged against the petitioner is such which involves a civil liability, the petitioner is on bail and is still to face trial. No order has been placed on record regarding the petitioner having ever been declared a proclaimed offender, the order stated.

“I was removed under Sections 22 and 16 of the Punjab Municipal Act which deals with the misutilisation of council funds, which I had never done,” Agarwal added.

Earlier, in its order on November 29, principal secretary of the Local Bodies Department D.S. Bains stated that Agarwal was not only removed with immediate effect from the MC chief post, but also from the primary membership of the council.

The order stated that Agarwal had been issued a show-cause notice under Sections 22 and 16 (1) (A) of the Punjab Municipal Act on April 16 on the basis of a report sent by Jalandhar-based deputy director of the department and executive officer of the council.

Agarwal submitted his reply on May 3. Before giving its final decision, the Local Bodies Department heard Agarwal in person on October 10, the department’s order stated, adding that the department found his reply unsatisfactory and decided to remove him from his post.


Khera for ban on SAD elections
Our Correspondent

Hoshiarpur, January 29
In a fax message to the Election Commission, Balwant Singh Khera, chairman, Malta Boat Tragedy Probe Mission, has sought a ban on the election of the SAD to be held on the premises of the SGPC complex in Amritsar on January 31. He has also demanded an inquiry into the alleged irregularities committed by SAD leaders in the election process of the organisation at the district-level.

In a press note here today Khera alleged that elections of the district presidents and delegates were not held according to the rules. According to its constitution, 90 delegates of the party should be elected from outside Punjab, of which 30 from Haryana, 10 each from Rajasthan and Delhi, eight from Uttar Pradesh, five each from Canada and USA and one from Singapore. None of the election officer had either been deputed for holding the elections of the abovesaid presidents and delegates nor any of their election had been held in the above states and countries.

He said the party had launched its website for making available all information on the party, but no list of its district presidents and party delegates was available on it.


PPSC directed to supply information
Aditi Tandon
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 29
The Public authorities in Punjab will not be able to seek exemption from the RTI Act citing grounds they are serving in fiduciary capacity for the state government, hence obliged to protect information concerning its client.

In an order here, the Punjab Information Commission has directed the Punjab Public Service Commission (PPSC) to provide in 15 days information sought by Sachin Saggar who had asked the PPSC for the criteria it followed in selecting candidates called for interview for the post of drug inspector, number of candidates called for the interview who had M. Pharmacy degree; weight given to higher educational qualification of M. Pharmacy or Ph.D over and above the minimum required qualification of B. Pharmacy and number of candidates who possessed the minimum experience prescribed under the Drug Act, 1940.

The PPSC had been denying this information saying it is “serving in a fiduciary capacity for the state government” and, therefore, any information sought is exempted under Section 8 (i) (e) of the RTI Act.

The commission clarified under Section 8 (i) (e) of Act, information being sought and which is required to be given has to be held by an individual in his fiduciary relationship (in confidence on behalf of the individual with whom it has a fiduciary relationship) before a claim of exemption could be made.

“In this case, the information asked for is plain and simple. By no stretch of imagination can this information be described as being held by the PPSC or any individual working in the PPSC in any kind of fiduciary capacity on behalf of the government,” ruled Punjab Information Commissioner P.K. Verma.

He also overruled two other objections the PPSC raised in the case. In the first, it claimed the complainant had not made proper application under the RTI Act, but made a representation instead. Lastly, the PPSC had argued the present complaint should be disallowed as the complainant had not availed himself of the remedy of first appeal provided under Section 19 of the RTI Act.

The commission set aside this objection stating in the framework of the RTI Act, there was an option available to the citizen either to make a first appeal or to make a complaint to the commission.


Sonia to visit in February; Rahul on March 23
Package for farmers soon: Bhattal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 29
Punjab Congress president and leader of the Opposition Rajinder Kaur Bhattal has said the state unit of her party has prevailed upon the party’s Central leadership to come out with a package for farmers wherein loans of all farmers with holdings up to 5 acres will be waived. “We are confident that the Centre will waive Rs 26,000 crore due from small farmers across the state. The announcement will be made soon”, Bhattal said.

She said her party had the interest of the entire farming community in mind and had asked the UPA government to come out with a package for the farmers. But given the financial constraints, she said her first priority were the smaller farmers. “We met the Prime Minister, finance minister and agriculture minister and pleaded the case of Punjab farmers. After deliberations, they assured us that the interest of the Punjab farmers would be protected,” Bhattal said.

She said it had taken her and her party leaders three months to persuade the Centre to agree to the proposal for a package for the agriculture sector.

Bhattal said she had also met Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and asked him to take up the turban issue with French President Nicolas Sarkozy during his visit to India. “Since he did not have the time, we asked the Prime Minister to convey the sentiments of the Sikhs to him on the turban issue which he did,” she said.

Bhattal announced that leader of the Congress Rahul Gandhi would be visiting Punjab on March 23. Sonia Gandhi too would come to Punjab sometime between February 15 and 25


Naujawan Manch contributors felicitated
Mahesh Sharma

Raikot, January 29
Terming the response of the youth of the state to platform provided by Punjabi Tribune for airing views, as revival of Creativity Era, Sidhu Damdami, Editor of the newspaper, claimed that the trend would inspire more people to fill the vacuum in literature created following frustration of veteran writers of pre-terrorism era.

Addressing readers and writers of vernacular newspapers at Swami Ganga Giri College for Women here at a function held to felicitate contributors to the Naujwan Manch, Damdami claimed that the publication had emerged as 'Listening Post' for budding writers, deprived of the right to express their views.

"As the youth, which constitute over 30 per cent of the total population of the border state, was agonised for being not listened to, The Tribune Trust decided to launch a movement to enable them express their anguish and views through the columns of Punjabi Tribune. We are happy that the hands that could have become prone to sway swords, savoured the might of the pen when given chance to do so," said Damdami maintaining that thousands of youth had enjoyed seeing their writings published in their mother tongue. Damdami reminded that a majority of thinkers and authors had started hesitating to express genuine views after 1984, obviously due to gagging of the media by terrorists.

Commenting on the contents of various letters published during the recent past, Damdami claimed that a majority of the budding authors had overcome frustration after making their confessions public.

Showing concern about the falling standard of journalism, Damdami called upon mediapersons to identify their role in restructuring social edifice. "Observations have revealed that we (journalists) have been focusing on claims and counterclaims made by constituents of government and political bigwigs and scandals, a trend that has annoyed sections of the society which expected us to work for only noble cause. It is high time we realised significance of our profession and mend our methodology," said Damdami.

Writers of prize-winning letters were felicitated by Damdami and Surinder Singh Garoya, senior sub-editor, on behalf of The Tribune Trust.


75 eye collection centres proposed in state
Tribune News Service

Ropar, January 29
The Punjab government has decided to open 75 eye donation collection centres in the state.

Societies have been registered at three government medical colleges located at Patiala, Amritsar and Faridkot to open eye banks. These eye banks will have the facility to store donated eyes and for their transplantation.

Minister for medical education and forests Tikshan Sud gave this information while talking to The Tribune.

Earlier, there was an eye bank at Government Medical College, Patiala. However, after a scam in which it was alleged that eyes of inmates of Pingalwara Ashram at Patiala were taken out without the consent of their kin came to the fore, doctors posted at medical colleges and other government hospitals stopped accepting donated eyes.

The minister said the first such eye donation collection centre had been opened at Hoshiarpur. The remaining centres would be opened soon to help the health authorities counter the menace of blindness.

The draft Act for establishing an auyurvedic university at Hoshiarpur was also ready. The Act would be presented before the Cabinet soon.


Fresh charge sheet against Guru Nanak varsity FDO
SAD MLA to complain against VC
Varinder Walia
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, January 29
Fresh charge sheet against suspended finance and development officer (FDO) Varinder Pal Sharma, tabled at the meeting of Syndicate of Guru Nanak Dev University today annoyed Akali MLA and Syndic Virsa Singh Valtoha who threatened to complain against vice- chancellor Dr Jai Rup Singh to Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal here tomorrow.

Valtoha threatened if the university could “harass” a person by bringing fresh charge sheets, the state government could also order inquiries into alleged “violation of rules” in the universities.

However, details of alleged criminal cases and irregularities, committed by the FDO were also circulated in the Syndicate meeting.

Education secretary Anjali Bhawra said the varsity should bring all charge sheets in a stipulated time instead of bringing these one by one. On this, the meeting decided to table all charge sheets against the FDO in a couple of months .

The fresh preliminary inquiry conducted by a charted accountant “indicted” the FDO for causing loss of over Rs 25 lakh to the employees due to delay in re-investment of Provident Fund in specified banks. However, Valtoha claimed going through the file, it was found the FDO had raised the issue of re-investing in the banks which were giving higher interest to the university.

When Valtoha raised objections to the appointment of director, Sports , pro-VC Syndic Dr Gurnam Singh said the (director, Sports) was absolved of all charges by the court.

Agricultural scientist S.S. Chahal, former dean of post-graduate studies of Punjab Agricultural University, has been appointed director research of the university. The press note said the central government had approved ,in principle, a prestigious centre of excellence in genetic engineering and cleared the nano project of the university for which grant of Rs 3 crore had been sanctioned. The university will introduce M.Sc. in nano science and technology course from next academic session( 2008-09).

The Syndicate has also decided to grant special chance to the students to improve performance or clear compartments in post-graduation in any subject, B.Tech, LL.B. (three-year course) and LL.B. (five- year course). This special chance will be one time chance to be given in 2008 and it will be given to the students who have appeared in final examination in 1997 or later.

The meeting discussed 100 items and approved these. Registrar, Dr R.S. Bawa presented the agenda. 


2 Generals, Vice-Admiral visit alma mater
Our Correspondent

Nabha, January 29
Two Generals and a Naval officer visited their alma mater at Punjab Public School (PPS) here. Lt-Gen O.P. Nandrajog, GOC-in-C, Central Command, Vice-Admiral G.S. Bedi, Chief, Western Naval Fleet, and Lt-Gen T.K. Sapru, GOC-in-C, Western Command, were accorded a rousing welcome on their arrival.

General Nandrajog exhorted the students to join the military service. Vice-Admiral Bedi urged the teachers to act as role models for students. Lt-General Sapru emphasised on inculcating good habits.

School Executive Committee president Kanwal Nain (IAS retd) Major-Gen Sureshvar Tiwari, Major-Gen G.S. Dhillon and Brig Anil Diyantha were also present.


Panel to resolve Gurbani telecast row
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 29
The issue of Gurbani telecast by Tata Sky from Golden Temple, Amritsar, today trudged towards a solution with a committee, comprising representatives of Shiromani Gurdwara Prabandhak Committee (SGPC), ETC Channel of Zee Group, Tata Sky and the Chandigarh-based Guru Nanak Brotherhood Universal deciding to resolve the matter within seven days.

This was agreed before a Punjab and Haryana High Court Division Bench of Chief Justice Vijender Jain and Justice Kanwaljit Singh Ahluwalia during the resumed hearing of Tata Sky’s writ petition.

The Guru Nanak Brotherhood Universal is an intervener in the matter and is seeking directions for making the telecast available to all devotees, preferably without charges.

The organisation is asserting that the SGPC has no right to go in for an exclusive tie-up for telecast with one group.

Meanwhile, the SGPC in a reply maintained that it was practically not possible for it to ensure free Gurbani telecast to every operator as it involved Sikh religious sentiments and maryada.

“Every platform or channel cannot be considered fit to telecast Gurbani from Golden Temple as all channels cannot be provided entry in Golden Temple for this purpose as that would create chaos.

Rooms and other services could not be provided to more than one operator.”

It has further pointed out that Gurbani telecast was available also on DD Direct, besides Dish TV.

The SGPC further stated that ETC channel, according to the agreement, pay Rs 50 lakh annually as contribution towards its education fund and as reimbursement of charges for control room in Darshani Deori and broadcast room in Akal Takht complex area.

The reply added that prior to ETC, two other channels, Punjabi Word and Channel Punjabi, too had entered into an agreement with the SGPC for Gurbani telecast, but they failed to ensure continuity of telecast. The ETC channel has now transferred its rights to Zee Next media.

During the hearing, counsel for Tata Sky submitted it would not charge any money from the subscriber for providing Gurbani from Golden Temple and pay Rs 5 lakh to the SGPC. The case will now come up for further hearing on February 13.


Nanakshahi calendar ‘adopted in haste’
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, January 29
The alleged arbitrary attitude of the SGPC on the implementation of Nanakshahi calendar at the behest of SAD chief Parkash Singh Badal was responsible for crises confronting the Sikhs.

Addressing reporters Ravi Inder Singh, president of the Akali Dal 1920, said the calendar was adopted in haste and without taking various Sikh sects and organisations into confidence. Had their views, suggestions and objections been taken into consideration, the community would not be at the crossroads today, he pointed out.

He said they would meet Akal Takht Jathedar Joginder Singh Vedanti and impress upon him the need to evolve consensus on this issue to defuse the situation. If nothing is done by February 5, we would be forced to call a Sarbat Khalsa, he warned.


Stray dogs wreak havoc on wildlife
Lalit Mohan
Tribune News Service

Ropar, January 29
Pack of stray dogs that have taken to hunting in the Shivalik forest ranges are wreaking a havoc on wildlife. These dogs recently killed a large numbers of wild animals, including sambar, blue bulls, barking deer, monitor lizards and mongoose etc in the forest ranges of Ropar, Garhshankar and Hoshiarpur.

Nikhil Sanger, president, Wildlife Conservation Society, has captured many wild animals killed by stray dogs on camera. Talking to The Tribune, he said a group of about 10 stray dogs had taken to hunting wild animals in areas adjoining Ropar. The pack chases its prey like groups of wolves for a long distance. They generally separate the cubs from their mothers and kill them.

The dogs generally catch hold of their prey from the back and pull them down. The injury marks on the killed animals showed they had been killed by dogs.

In winters there is a scarcity of water in forest. Animals generally come to water holes. The dogs have made these water holes their favourite hunting spots.

Sukhdeep Singh Bajwa, honorary wildlife warden, Hoshiarpur, has also reported incidents of killing of wild animals by stray dogs. He said these dogs normally used to feed on places where dead animals were dumped in villages. However, now the practice of dumping dead animals on the outskirts of villages had reduced. The hungry stray dogs had, therefore, taken to hunting.

Forest officials, however, expressed doubts that stray dogs had taken to hunting wild animals. They suspect it to be the handiwork of poachers. They alleged that a few poachers had trained their dogs to hunt in the forest areas. Since no case of wild life act violation can be made against the dogs, the poachers get away if caught while poaching by stating that it was the dogs who killed the animals.

Animal activists, including Sonika Mann, vice-president, Wildlife Conservation Society, said officials of the Department of Forest should check the menace of stray dogs venturing into forest areas. Stray dogs are vermin and not protected under the Wildlife Protection Act. The government should cull these dogs to protect the meager wildlife left in the forests of Punjab, she said.


Lawyer threatened in court complex; Bar up in arms
Our Correspondent

Tarn Taran, January 29
The local District Bar Association has condemned the threatening of a Ferozepur lawyer, Rajan Aul, and his family here today by the opposite party in the Sessions Court in connection with a case.

Baljinder Singh, president, and Inder Pal Singh Saluja, secretary of the association, alleged that Kashmir Singh of Patti subdivision, who had filed a criminal complaint against the lawyer and his family, along with two others persons, allegedly threatened to eliminate the lawyer. The Bar members said one officer on special duty to former Chief Minister Amarinder Singh was behind all this as the mother of a lawyer, Swarn Syal, had filed a case against him in a court.

Rajan, along with his father Gulshan Lal Aul, mother Swarn Syal and wife Parveen Lata, had come here to appear in a case.

The Bar members submitted a complaint to T.P. Singh Maur, SP (Operation), who forwarded it to the local city police station.


Virk Case: Centre files reply
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 29
Considering the last opportunity given by the Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT), the Union of India has filed its reply today to the application filed by former Punjab DGP S.S. Virk challenging his suspension by the Punjab government.

In the reply, the centre stated that they have not taken decision on both the pleas of the former DGP and they have asked the appointment committee cabinet (ACC) to take the decision, which was pending.

In his application, Virk has challenged a memorandum “whereby the articles of charges were served upon him”.

He has also challenged the failure of the centre to decide statutory administrative appeals filed by him on April 18 and May 25 and sought directions for declaring that the order of suspension no longer subsists.

He was placed under suspension during the period when the government of India was considering his case for the termination of his state-to-state deputation so as to save him from Punjab government’s wrath.

Even though he was ordered to be prematurely repatriated to Maharashtra, his parent cadre, the state of Punjab refused to even acknowledge the Central government’s orders and a charge sheet dated April 20 was sent to him.

In the last hearing on January 10, the tribunal has asked the union government to file reply by January 29 failing which an official not below the rank of joint secretary, home, would have to appear before the tribunal to explain the delay in filing the reply and their stance on the applicant’s suspension.

The case has been adjourned for February 1. 


Graft case against Badal
We gave statements under pressure: Witnesses
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh January 29
In replies submitted to the Punjab and Haryana High Court, a substantial number of witnesses declared hostile by Ropar special judge for resiling from their statements earlier made in corruption case against Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal and others, have submitted that they had given their initial statements under pressure and threat at that time.

Of almost all witness, who submitted replies to a public interest litigation seeking action against them for retracting from their earlier statement, have added that the latest statements given in the special judge court were without any pressure from the accused.

Harmohinder Pal Singh, one of the witnesses, who had recorded his statement before a magistrate earlier, in his reply stated that he gave that statement under pressure from Bharat Inder Singh Chahal, media advisor to the former Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh and A.P. Pandey, the then Chief Director Punjab Vigilance Bureau.

Another witness, K.S. Bhinder, in his reply has claimed that he was present in his office on the dates when he has been shown to have visited Orbit Resorts at Gurgaon and Balasar village in Sirsa district.

Advocate H.C. Arora had earlier filed a PIL seeking directions to prosecute under Section 340 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, the witnesses declared hostile by the special judge. The case will now come up for hearing on May 8.


Firing in Sangrur Govt College
Two injured; 7 booked
Sushil Goyal
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, January 29
Panic gripped the campus of the local Government Ranbir College today when a group opened fire with a pistol or revolver on members of the rival group. In the firing two youths were seriously injured and admitted to the local Civil Hospital from where they were referred to the DMC Hospital, Ludhiana, for treatment.

DSP Pritpal Singh Thind said from preliminary investigation revealed that there was a dispute between two groups over the presidentship of the college student union. He said in this firing Amandeep Singh, said to be president of the union, sustained multiple bullet injuries and his friend Jatinderjit Singh, an outsider, sustained one bullet injury.

The DSP further said after an altercation, a group opened fire with a pistol or revolver on Amandeep Singh, Jatinderjit Singh and Simranjit Singh. Simranjit escaped unhurt. He said on the statement of Chamandeep Singh, a brother of Amandeep, the police had registered a case against seven persons, Kamal (Kamomajra village), Magjit, Monu, Gagandeep and three unidentified persons under Sections 307 (attempt to murder), 324, 148 and 149, IPC, besides Sections 25/54/59, Arms Act.

The DSP said the police was conducting raids on the houses of the accused persons, but no one had been arrested so far.

Meanwhile, Prof Uday Partap Singh, a former president of the college unit of the Government College Teachers Association, has demanded adequate security on the college campus from the district administration to maintain peace, law and order. He said this was the first incident of firing in the college since its establishment several decades ago.


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