C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Multi-crore online trading scam
Tribune News Service

Mohali, February 23
The police today claimed to have busted a multi-crore online trading racket being run from Panama that had its network across the country. A Chandigarh-based Keralite, Soman Sundaram, has been arrested in this regard. Over Rs 5 lakh has been recovered from him.

The SSP, R.S. Khatra, today said that the accused was the Punjab circle manager of Reymont Company that facilitated online trading from its website www.reymont.com <http://www.reymont.com>. However, the company is neither registered with the RBI nor approved by SEBI.

The SSP said the company was involved in illegal online trading across the country, adding that hundreds of those who had been trading through this site had lost crores.

He said a local resident, Nitin Sharma, approached the police some days ago and told it about Sundaram. He had met Sundaram in 2007 and alleged that he had given the accused Rs 6 lakh in lieu of which Sundaram gave him the password to trade through the website.

When Nitin invested about Rs 27 lakh in this trading, he was told by Sundaram that all the money had been lost as the investments done through this site had gone awry.

Nitin alleged that Sundaram set up another company Kerford Investments, assuring investors that this company was registered with the RBI and approved by the Government of India to trade in foreign exchange. However, it was later discovered that these companies were not functioning legally.

“Nitin stopped dealing with the company. He invested another Rs 2 lakh in the company for online trading using a pseudonym to help catch the accused. He then contacted the police,” said Khatra.

Information technology experts were called in following the expose and after two days of investigation, the police registered a case with the cyber crime cell.

Sundaram was arrested last evening and was sent to a two-day police remand today.

Two of his accomplices have also been picked up for questioning. “More arrests are likely to follow. The number of those dealing with these two companies is high as Sundaram was also running a customer care centre in Sector 44, Chandigarh,” Khatra said.



For first time, 250 treestransplanted
Rajmeet Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 23
In first of its kind experiment in the city, the forest department has transplanted 250 fully grown trees of shisham and other species in southern parts of the city. Such an experiment has been successfully tried by Delhi.

These trees which were to be cut to make way for different development projects, have been given a new lease of life. At a site in Sector 51, at least 33 shisham trees have been transplanted after these were removed from a proposed parking lot at the Sector 43 inter-state bus terminus.

A trench has been dug to save the trees from animals and slum dwellers.

A total of 970 trees are being cut at the proposed parking site but 33 were found fit for transplantation.

Deputy conservator of forests, Chandigarh, Ishwar Singh, said the department would have to wait for six months to see if the trees would survive.

Hailing the initiative, environmentalists say it is never too late. The initiative should be replicated in other parts of the city, they say.

The conservator said only trees with up to 60 cm girth and not too old can be transplantated. Reason, older trees have lesser survival tress. He said the high cost involved in transporting trees was often considered a deterrent in taking such an initiative. Such transplantation required a lot of nurturing so as to enable the trees to grow again.

The adviser had advised the departments to be judicious while giving permission to cut trees for private and government projects. It had been stressed that planning should be done to save maximum number of trees and counting of trees should be done at a senior level while examining the request for cutting trees.



7 of family givendrug-lacedladdoos
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 23
Seven members of a family, including five girls, were found in a semi-conscious state after they ate laddoos laced with a sedative substance late last night.

The accused, Kanwal Bahadur, who served them the laddoos, allegedly with an intention to molest one of the girls, has been arrested for outraging the modesty of a woman and poisoning under Sections 354 and 328 of the IPC.

The incident occurred in Colony Number 5 where Sehdev Sharma, his wife Usha and their five minor girls live in a jhuggi.

All seven were found unconscious this morning, following which the neighbours raised the alarm and the police was called.

The condition of the victims is said to be stable.

The family had come to Chandigarh only yesterday and Kanwal Bahadur arranged a jhuggi for them. After they shifted, he visited them at night and allegedly offered them the laddoos.

The complainant Usha told the police that she gained consciousness after some time and saw the accused trying to molest their eldest daughter (14) at around 11.30 pm and the other family members were unconscious.

After she raised the alarm, the accused fled and was later apprehended today.



LPG-run van catches fire
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 23
Two persons in a Maruti van fitted with an LPG cylinder had a miraculous escape today when the vehicle caught fire due to a short circuit.

The incident took place right next to the petrol station of Sector 34. Tragedy was averted since the fire station of Sector 32 was nearby.

At first there was a blast, said Gurmeet Singh, driver of the van. He was on his way to office when the van broke down. Soon, the engine was up in flames and smoke engulfed the vehicle. There was, however, no loss of life or property as fire engines from Sectors 17 and 32 immediately controlled the fire.



Serve hapless children: Rotarian
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, February 23
Her concern for the children in Russia earned her the honour of taking over as the first woman trustee of the board of directors of the Rotary Foundation.

Carolyn E. Jones, known as Mother Teresa, while sharing her experiences with Rotarians, said today that the service of mankind required hard work.

Carolyn, who is here to preside over the two-day conference as a representative of Rotary International president Wilf Wilkinson, made history in 2005 when she became the first woman trustee of the foundation. In fact, her ability to raise money for the Rotary was remarkable.

This led this former assistant attorney general of Alaska to reach this prestigious position in the history of the foundation.

Sharing her experience with her project, ‘Children of Russia’, and how her commitment brought together the Rotarians from five countries to join together to fight the leukemia-affected children in Russia, she said: “There is a huge task that needs to be tackled since there are thousands of children who are mentally challenged, homeless and live a pitiable conditions.

“During a visit to Russia in 1997, it was found that children were dying of cancer as the hospital did not have the facility of chemotherapy. I was told that there was no money available for the purpose.

“We started working for the cause and within six months the Children of Russia project was launched. In 1999, the Rotary adopted 110 children from an orphanage in Tomsk.

“In fact, it was our goal that every new club in Russia would be eligible for a $20,000 grant to do something in their community to help the children. In 1997-98, we raised $620,000 and financed 30 projects in 22 communities to help kids.”

Asking the Rotarians to serve the mankind, she said “such problems are found every where and we need to help these children anywhere”. 



Decision on judicial complex to be reviewed: Sukhbir
Tribune News Service

Mohali, February 23
Decision to establish a district administrative and judicial complex in village Sanetta will be reviewed by the government.

Old bus for the college?

Sukhbir Badal presented a ‘brand new’ bus to the college. The freshly painted bus however seemed old. The windows and seats of the bus were broken. When asked about the condition of the bus, Sukhbir said, “if the bus needs repairs we would get these done.”

Stating this here today, the Shiromani Akali Dal president Sukhbir Badal, said he was not aware that the proposed site for the complex was about 20 km away from Mohali township.

However, the DC Mohali H.I.S. Grewal told Sukhbir that the complex was barely 6 km from Mohali and was abutting Emaar MGF township.

The DC also added that the area demarcated for the complex in the City Centre, Sector 62, was not sufficient for the establishment of the complex and a large chunk of land was available in the village.

Sukhbir was told that the MLA Morinda, MLA Kharar and a majority of the councillors of Mohali Muncipal Council had openly stated that the setting up of the complex at Sanetta is not in the interest of the residents. The DC however insisted that the bar associations of the district had already resolved that they wanted the complex to be shifted to Sanetta.

The former Deputy Mayor Chandigarh and general secretary of the Mohali Bar Association Manjit Singh Chauhan, had stated that lawyers were against the shifting of the complex to Sanetta.

Meanwhile, Sukhbir Badal with his wife Harsimrat Badal was the chief guest at a college in Mohali. They asked the students to launch a crusade against drugs, which Harsimrat said was the ‘sixth black river’ in the state. Sukhbir donated of sum of Rs 10 Lakh to the college. Roop Aulkah, principal of the college, read out the college report.

The special award for best student of the college on the basis of overall performance went to Iqbal Singh and Parminder Kaur. The college colour was awarded to sixteen students on the basis of their excellence in various fields. The function ended with the vote of thanks being read out by Prof. B.S. Gill.

Bunny Jasjit Singh, SSP, Mohali, Ranbir Singh Khatra, DC, Mohali, H.I.S. Grewal and Harsukhinder Babbi Badal, were also present at the occasion.



Rs 2-crore grant hangs fire 
Kulwinder Sangha

Mohali, February 23
Notwithstanding the fact that development of the town is suffering, the government has once again granted a stay on estimates for development works worth around Rs 2 crore cleared by the municipal council at a meeting held last month.

Although a letter regarding the stay orders had not been received by the office of the civic body so far, a council official confirmed that the office of the director, department of local government, Punjab, had stayed the estimates of development works such as strengthening of roads, providing road gullies, repair of streetlight points, providing an independent booster system for water supply from Sector 64 to Sector 63, sinking of a deep tubewell in Phase III B 1 etc.

Sources said that councillors of the opposition group had met the cooperation minister Capt Kanwaljit Singh and complained that council president Rajinder Singh Rana was allegedly indulging in discrimination and not including estimates from their wards for various development works.

Earlier also the government had stayed estimates for development works worth about Rs 7 crore, cleared at meetings held on March 22 and August 31 last year, after councillors of the opposition group complained to the principal secretary of the department concerned that discrimination was being done against their wards.

However, the council president made efforts and got the stay on estimates worth over Rs 2.50 crore vacated in the last week of December. As such, tenders for the works cleared in March last year were floated this month causing a delay of almost one year. A stay on estimates for works worth more than Rs 4 crore, cleared at a meeting held on August 31, 2007, still existed, adversely affecting development of the town.



Rose fest draws crowd on Day-2
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 23
The second day of the 36th Chandigarh Rose Festival witnessed heavy rush today. UT home secretary Krishna Mohan claimed that over 1.5 lakh people had already visited the Rose Garden in the first two days.

Rose prince and princess competition for children below three years was organised and the president of the Indian Council for Child Welfare, Jean Rodrigues, was the chief guest.


One year to one and a half year (Rose Princess): 1 Ridhi Sharda, 2 Asmi Kanwar; Rose Prince: 1 Drhavit Bali, 2 Stanzir.

One and a half year to two year (Rose Princess): 1 Adaa Singh, 2 Deeksha Sharma; Rose Prince: 1 Arav Gupta, 2 Udayveer Sahani.

Two to three year (Rose Princess): 1 Poornima Seth, 2 Meera Singh; Rose Prince: 1 Mihir Dodani, 2 Harshit Dhawan.

A special team was brought in from Jaipur for showcasing their skills of kite flying.

The final round of the Antakshree was also held in which Charru Sharma and Rachna Garg of Government College of Education, Sector 20, won the first position.

Seema Sharma and Sukhwinder Kaur of Government College of Education, Sector 20, got the first position in the Rose Quiz competition.

A classical music performance by Pandit Sugatu Bhaduri and a Punjabi pop night with Jelly and troupe were the highlights.



Row over Manekshaw baseless: Daughter
Saurabh Malik
Tribune News Service

Maja Daruwala
Maja Daruwala

Chandigarh, February 23
Refusing to comment on the controversy generated by television interviews on the role of Field Marshal Sam Manekshaw in the Indo-Pak war, his daughter Maja Daruwala today simply dismissed it as baseless and crap, based on hearsay.

In Chandigarh for attending a penal discussion on “Impact of 1984 carnage on Punjab”, Daruwala said she did not wish to make a statement on the defamatory issue, but added former Pakistan president Field Marshal Ayub Khan’s son Gohar Ayub Khan had made vague references and was himself not clear about her father’s role.

Manekshaw had “led the Army to victory” in the 1971 India-Pakistan war. Doubts had been cast on the Field Marshal’s real contribution to the victory during a television programme.

Maja Daruwala, a barrister, has lived and worked in England, Singapore and Sri Lanka. Back in India, she practiced for a short while in the Supreme Court and has been heading Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative, an international NGO based in New Delhi that works for practical realisation of human rights.

She has concentrated her energies on issues of accountability, particularly promoting police reform and the right to information.

Talking to The Tribune on the issue of police reforms and related issues soon after the discussion, she said the Punjab Police Act was weak and designed in a way that it defeated the main objectives of a Supreme Court order on the issue of police reforms.

“The Act goes up to the extent of saying in case any difficult arises, we won’t implement it. Besides, additional powers have been given to the police as if they were required,” she said.

Daruwala added the Act did not make a clear mention of “internal redressal system” required for solving within-the-organisation disputes and clash of interest of police personnel. Even the police hours had not been specified in the new Act.

Moreover, it categorically stated police personnel were not to form a union or an association.

Describing it as uncalled for, she questions what were the authorities concerned afraid of?

On non-compliance of Supreme Court directives issued from time to time to check human rights and other violations, she said: “When it comes to enforcing directions, we are champions of disobedience, not realising that the inaction was frustrating the intention behind the directions.”

Suggesting solutions to the problems currently afflicting the police force, she said the leader of opposition should be included in the decisions of making appointments. Moreover, there should be well-defined method of challenging the appointments made without following the prescribed procedure.

“Improper appointment is no appointment at all,” she asserted. 



Seven jhuggis gutted 
Our Correspondent

Remains of the jhuggis that caught fire in Matour village near Mohali
Remains of the jhuggis that caught fire in Matour village near Mohali on Saturday. A Tribune photograph

Mohali, February 23
Seven jhuggis were gutted at village Matour, near here on Saturday. However, no loss of life has been reported.

Lakhwinder Singh, assistant divisional fire officer, said two fire tenders were dispatched to the spot when the information was received. They brought the flames under control, but not before seven jhuggis were totally destroyed. The cause of fire has not been ascertained as yet. 



Unchhar Express delayed
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 23
Passengers travelling aboard the Unchhar Express, that runs between Allahabad and Chandigarh, had a harrowing time as the train was running eleven hours behind its schedule timings today. The train, which was supposed to reach the station here at 9.25 am, finally arrived at 8 pm.

The Chandigarh-Lucknow Sadbhavana Express was also delayed by about two hours.



Make city pedestrian friendly

Chandigarh though a modern city is still deep rooted in traditions. Ours is still a street-oriented culture. The MC’s decision to widen our gridiron street system of 7V’s comes as a shock. By widening our streets, we would be allowing traffic to permeate our neighbourhoods indiscriminately and making our streets extremely unsafe for our children, the aged and the disabled.

We should learn from western countries where the trend is now to reduce the vehicular space and give the same space back to pedestrians in form of wider street pavements. What we need in Chandigarh is not the widening of the roads, but organised traffic and pedestrian friendly streets. Improving the existing roads, developing better infrastructure for our pedestrians and enacting strict traffic regulations could achieve this.

Moreover, with the mass rapid transit system that Chandigarh Administration is envisaging, our commuters would need to walk at two points - boarding and destination. Feasible use of public transportation would depend on safe walking conditions.

Puneeta Thakur, Chandigarh

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From Schools & Colleges
Himshika Bhutani is Ms Biotech
Tribune news Service

Chandigarh, February 23
The department of biotechnology, DAV College, Sector 10, organised a farewell ‘ADIEU-2008’ for B.sc (Biotech) honours students. Karan Sharma was declared Mr Biotech and Himshikha Bhutani was Ms Biotech . Karan was also awarded with student of the year award.

Seminar: A seminar on ‘Women shackled in NRI weddings’ was organised in Guru Gobind Singh College for Women, Sector 26. S.S Baari, registrar of Panjab University, was the chief guest and IG Suresh Arora was the guest of honour.

Exhibition: An art and craft exhibition was organised by the students of Green Castle Public School, Sector 47. The items at this exhibition were gift boxes, dolls, file covers, wall paintings, pots clay models, and kites.

Prize distribution: The annual prize distribution function of St Xavier’s Senior Secondary School was conducted today. The chairman Andrew J.Gosain and Merlyn Francis gave away the prizes to meritorious students.

Environment day: Guru Nanak Public School, Sector 36, organised an environment protection day by the Eco-Club students .The programme started with the telecast of children’s environmental film called Chaka Chak .The students took active participation in cleaning the school compound and in tree plantation programme.

Annual Day: The pre-primary and junior wings of Stepping Stones, Sector 37, held their annual day function today. The students also showed their skills in gymnastics, karate and skating. The chief guests Bonny Singh and Ashok Verma gave away the prizes.

Valediction: A valediction party was organised by the students of Sanjay Public School, Sector 44. The ceremony started by lighting of the lamp and recitation of Sanskrit shalokas. Heena Raheja and Sayeed Ahmed were adjudged as Miss and Master Sanjay Public School, respectively.

Farewell party: Varun and Diksha were adjudged Mr SD and Ms SD at a farewell party which Pandit Mohan Lal S.D. Public School organised for students of Class X and XII. Various titles like Mr Handsome, Ms Simple, best hairdo and best dressed were also given to students. Principal Manju Bhardwaj gave away the prizes.

Campaign: During a campaign started by the UT education department to check 15% reservation to the students of economically weaker section of the society, four private schools were inspected. According to the officials of the department, 15% reservation condition was fulfilled in St Mary’s School, Sector 46. 

Prefects take oath
Tribune News Service

Mohali, February 23
Swami Ram Tirtha Public High School formed a new school cabinet. The perfects of the newly elected cabinet, head boy Amanpreet Singh, head girl Jaspreet Kaur, sport’s captain Kumar Rana and house captains of all the four houses took oath at the investiture ceremony.

Principal Kiran Bhandari pinned the badges. Members of the old cabinet lit candles as a symbol of handing over their responsibilities to the new members.

Annual day: Manav Mangal Smart School celebrated annual day at their auditorium, which was inaugurated yesterday evening. Director Sanjay Sardana said he was happy to provide an auditorium to the school.

Convocation: Maj Gen G.M. Nair, at the OSSIM, a security and intelligence education and training institute, ceremonially inaugurated the institute’s convocation.

Nair, additional director general (CAB), Ministry of Defence, graced the occasion as the chief guest with Dr. Rakesh Khurana, founder chairman AIMATS, former pro vice chancellor IGNOU, chairman Knowledge Network India and and B.R. Magu, former DIG and CMD Fireball Group as special guest at the ceremony.



PU Notes
Seminar on ‘Indian Ideas of Freedom’ concludes
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 23
The national seminar on the theme “Indian Ideas of Freedom” organised by the department of political science, PU, concluded here today. Prof Valerian Rodrigues and Prof Gopal Guru, both from JNU, New Delhi, focused on the theme of Ambedkar, Dalits and freedom.

Noted historian, Prof Bhagwan Josh, JNU, had a presentation on the dreaming of freedom in Gurumukhi, by exploring the vision of socialism in the journal ‘Kirti’ that started publication from Amritsar in February 1926. Krishan Chand, a research scholar from Jammu University made a presentation on the scheduled castes and development in J&K.


The 3rd inter-congress of Indian National Confederation and the Academy of Anthropologists (INCAA) organised by the department of anthropology, PU, on the theme “Man and Environment: The South Asian Perspective”, concluded at PU campus here today.

The valedictory address was delivered by Anuradha Gupta (IAS), financial commissioner and principal secretary to government of Haryana and vice-chancellor, BPS university, Sonepat. Prof S.S. Bari, registrar, PU, presided over the function. 



Science exhibition
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 23
A science exhibition was conducted by students of class 6 to 8 at Saupin's School, here today. The theme of the day was "Energy". It brought forth the message of using alternative sources of energy.

For this the students presented working models, posters, live experiments and slide shows. Among them were the models based on wind, sound, solar, light and hydro energy. The projects of pollution, bio-gas plant and safety alarms were the most popular ones.

The school staff, parents, guests and students visited the exhibition.

Meanwhile, 'Breast Cancer Awareness Camp, was also held. It was conducted by the 'Chandigarh Breast Cancer Trust'.

All trustees, including Mrs J. Saupin, President of the trust, were present for the occasion. The camp was sponsored by SBI.



Gifts for blind students
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 23
Arun Grover, managing director of Amartex Industries Ltd, a business group, presented 80 gift packs of the company’s clothing to society for the care of blind for its school students in Sector 26 here.

Maj-Gen (retd) Rajinder Nath, chairman of the society, and the staff thanked Amartex for it’s gesture.



Regular education for eunuchs
A Correspondent

Chandigarh, February 23
Education department decided to introduce education for eunuchs in regular schools. It has been decided to open special education centre for such children. Eunuchs will now be included in Sarv Shiksha Abhiyan as their matter is also being taken up with the Central Government.

The UT Administrator and education department has appreciated this proposal and the officials of the department also said the children beyond 14 years will be covered under adult education as parents do not identify children as eunuchs before this age. Moreover, it has also been planned that they will be entertained in regular schools. 



Notice slapped on ex-principal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 23
The case related to the alleged bungling Rs 42 lakhs at the Sri Guru Gobind Singh College, Sector 26, has taken a new turn with the management of Sikh Educational Society (SES) slapping a show-cause notice on the former principal Kuldeep Singh.The management has also sent a letter to the DPI(C) apprising him about the issue. Sources said a thirty-day time period has been given to Kuldeep to file his reply on why he should not be dismissed from services.

Earlier, the management had transferred Kuldeep to a college in Kadian and he had challenged this decision in the Punjab and Haryana High Court. The court had stayed his transfer but curtailed his powers.

During his tenure around an year ago one of the chequebooks of the college was lost and money to the tune of Rs 42 lakhs was withdrawn from the funds account. An enquiry was marked and Kanwar Gunwant Singh, a retired IAS officer was the enquiry officer. After he submitted his report, the management served a notice to dismiss Kuldeep.



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