P U N J A B    S T O R I E S


SC resurrects Bhagat Singh
Asks Pak SC to loan original files of Lahore conspiracy case for special exhibition
Aditi Tandon
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 26
The Supreme Court of India may well be on its way to scripting a historic exchange with its counterpart in Pakistan. At the heart of this exchange is Bhagat Singh - our shared heritage.

Last month, the apex court wrote to the Supreme Court of Pakistan, asking it to loan to India all the original documents related to the Lahore conspiracy trial involving Bhagat and his comrades. The deal looks good, with the Pakistani authorities responding positively so far.

If it works out, the original case exhibits will become part of the special exhibition on the historic Bhagat Singh trial, the second in the series of pre-Independence judicial trials conceived in 2006 by the Supreme Court of India.

The first in the series of exhibitions, displayed at the Supreme Court Museum in Delhi, was on the Alipore Bomb Conspiracy Case in which Khudiram Bose and Aurbindo Ghose were charged with the conspiracy to kill D.H. Kingsford. An infamous Presidency Magistrate in Calcutta, Kingsford attracted the ire of revolutionaries whom he would persecute at the slightest provocation. So on April 30, 1908, Bose and Prafulla Chaki set out to kill Kingsford, but ended up killing someone else. While Chaki committed suicide, Bose was charged with murder; Aurbindo Ghose was charged for being a mastermind behind the murder.

The exhibition ran for six months, showing that people were interested in knowing about the glorious past. “The very objective behind showcasing these historic trials is to revive the memory of martyrs and inspire people,” said Noorul Hoda, curator of the SC Museum, who was in Chandigarh today to scout for materials related to Bhagat Singh. Accompanied by Rajmani, an archivist from the National Archives of India, Hoda spent hours at the Dwarka Das Library in Sector 15, The Tribune archives and the National Gallery of Portraits in Sector 17, putting together memoirs of Bhagat and other archival materials concerning the martyr.

Curators of the exhibition have divided it into four parts - the genesis, the retaliation and police action, the trial and judgment; and the aftermath. From The Tribune they got the entire record of the turbulent period; from the Dwarka Das library they got personal belongings of Lala Lajpat Rai including his “achkan” and “pyjamas” and a list of books Bhagat Singh used to read. The list is based on the narrations of Raja Ram Shastri, the librarian of Dwarka Das Library from 1926 to 1931.

“We are equally delighted to get from Chandigarh the “crown” which Balgangadhar Tilak presented to Bhagat Singh’s uncle Ajit Singh as a symbol of revolutionary bonding. The crown is on display at the National Gallery of Portraits,” Hoda said in an interview to The Tribune.

The team will tomorrow proceed to Kharkarkalan (Nawanshahr) and Ferozepur to fill the gaps in the information already collected.

The most precious section of the exhibition wil,l however, be the original exhibits and documents of the Lahore conspiracy case which Pakistan is expected to provide. The documents are currently in the archives of Borstal Jail, Lahore and the Lahore High Court where the actual trial took place. As for the exhibition, it will roll in the fourth week of March.


Human Trafficking
Manpower recruiters oppose new Act
Prabhjot Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 26
Authorised emigrant and manpower recruitment consultants have threatened to wind up their operations in Punjab in case the state enacted the Punjab Prevention of Human Trafficking Act, 2008.

Regulation of emigration and working of manpower recruiting agencies is in the domain of the Central government and the states lack legal sanction to enact a law on a subject which is not in its purview, says Anil Yadav, general secretary of the Overseas Manpower Recruiters’ Council.

Punjab earns a minimum of Rs 300 crore a year through skilled and unskilled workers sent abroad in a legal manner by emigration and recruitment agents, claims Yadav. The state should not close this channel on the pretext of controlling unauthorised travel agents in the name of regulating emigration from the state.

The council members were invited yesterday by the Punjab Home Department to file objections on the proposed Act. Principal secretary home B.C. Gupta, Inspector-General Suresh Arora, besides the legal remembrancer, were present at the meeting.

The members also objected to clubbing of travel agents with emigration and manpower recruitment consultants. “We are not travel agents and have nothing to do with ‘kabootarbazi’. We are already approved and registered with the Union government under the Emigration Act, 1983,” they held.

“The state government under the new legislation was trying to put pressure on us and insisting that we should also be registered here after making a security deposit of Rs 10 lakh each. When we have the authorisation of the Central government, we see no reason for registration with the state and that too by making a hefty security deposit,” maintain the emigration and manpower recruitment consultants. The consultants feel the state government was unnecessarily classifying or identifying them with the travel agents.

The council maintained it had no objection if emigration and manpower recruitment agents were identified separately in the new Act. Enacting of laws alone cannot solve the problem. According to estimates, business of trafficking in human beings in Punjab was roughly about Rs 100 crore a year. Unless existing laws are enforced, illegal trafficking in humans cannot be checked, asserts Yadav.

Chairman of the council Narinder Kumar Sharma says the new law by the state will provide the police additional weapon to harass legal and authorised emigration and manpower agents.

The council members also said that even the police was not aware of the provisions of the Emigration Act, 1983, and always equated them with unauthorised travel agents. Vesting the police with penalty clauses in the proposed Act was also resented by the emigration and manpower recruitment agents.


Cop faces sexual harassment charge
PSHRC entrusts probe to ADGP
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 26
A woman from Barnala has complained to the Punjab State Human Rights Commission (PSHRC) against a head constable for outraging her modesty.

This is second complaint in two days by a woman against the Punjab Police of sexual harassment for extorting money. The commission has directed the ADGP of the commission to look into the case.

The woman accused head constable Parminder Singh of sexual harassment and extorting Rs 30,000 from her to let her and her sister go. She said she had been living with her sister. She claimed that she was going back to Barnala on February 1 this year.

As she and her sister reached near the chowk to board a bus, Parminder Singh and one assistant sub-inspector (ASI) wrongfully picked them up. She stated to have been brought to Sadar police station, where the two were illegally detained for two days.

The head constable also demanded Rs 50,000 to release them. On the contrary, the cop started outraging the modesty of the complainant and her sister. Finally, the complainant agreed to pay Rs 30,000. Rupees 30,000 was arranged and it was paid to the cop and they were allowed to go.

Taking cognisance of the matter, the commission ordered an inquiry under Section 17(ii) of the Protection of Human Rights Act,1993. The investigation is entrusted to the ADGP of the Commission Jyoti Trehan.


PSEB will have to spend Rs 5,200 cr on power
Lalit Mohan
Tribune News Service

Ropar, February 26
Cash-starved Punjab Sate Electricity Board (PSEB) will have to spend about Rs 5,200 crore in the financial year 2008-09 to control power cuts. As per the aggregate annual report submitted by the PSEB before the PSERC, the state will have to buy 16,850 million units from other states, central utilities and private players to meet the gap between supply and demand.

As per the report, the total demand of power in the state has been calculated at 40,239 million units for the current financial year. It includes transmission and distribution losses of about 25 per cent, metered sale of 20,085 million units and 9,537 million units for agriculture purposes.

Against the demand of 40,239 million units the state produces 23,389 million units. This includes net thermal production of 14,212 million units and 9,177 million units from hydel sources, including state’s share in the BBMB. The gap that comes to about 33 per cent (16,850 million units) will be met through purchase from other sources.

Sources said the Rs 5,200 purchase bill of the PSEB might increase as it had been estimated at an average cost of Rs 3.10 per unit that the organisation attained last year due to its advance agreement with power providers. Last year, however, board’s member, finance, had objected to high power purchase bill of the organisation.

Owing to this, the PSEB cannot enter purchase agreements in advance. The result is that now it is being forced to purchase power at rates ranging between Rs 9-Rs 10 per unit. It is presently over drawing power from the grid at higher frequencies that invokes a penal cost of about Rs 10 per unit. Such-high cost purchases might increase the average price of power and the purchase bill of the board.

The PSEB officials are hoping that as per the recent order of the PSERC the state government will allow them to charge tariff rates from March 1.


1st Anniversary of SAD-BJP Government
Punjab Cong to observe black day on March 1
Sarbjit Dhaliwal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 26
As the SAD-BJP combine has raised the political temperature by organising a political rally in Delhi against the Congress-led UPA government in the Centre, the Congress today decided to give the combine a befitting reply by observing March 1, the day SAD-BJP combine completes one year of its rule, as black day.

Leader of the opposition and the Punjab Pradesh Congress president Rajinder Kaur Bhattal today said on March 1, Congress MLAs, MPs and other senior leaders would expose the “misdeeds, misrule and malfunctioning of the SAD-BJP government during the past one year”.

In a statement released by Congress spokesman Rajpal Singh, Bhattal said the party would hold protest marches and meetings in all districts in the state on March 1, the day the SAD-BJP combine completes its “one year of misrule”.

Reacting to the SAD-BJP rally held in Delhi today, Bhattal said the rally was an exhibition of misuse of government machinery and SGPC funds. All that was against public interest and wastage of time, energy and resources. She said the SAD-BJP combine was more concerned about the SGPC issue in Haryana than in raising worthwhile issues. She said the SAD-BJP leaders raised the farmers’ issue when they got information that the Centre was ready with a package for farmers.

She said Congress leaders from Punjab were able to focus on important issues of farmers and bring them to the notice of the Prime Minister and the Congress president Sonia Gandhi yesterday.

Meanwhile, other senior Congress leaders said Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal, BJP chief Rajnath Singh, SAD president Sukhbir Singh Badal and BJP Punjab president Rajinder Bhandari should answer one question: Who set Punjab on the path of industrial and economic downfall?

They alleged it was the BJP government led by Atal Bihari Vajpayee that in 2003 gave the concessions to states like Himachal Pradesh to set up industries that led to the flight of industry from Punjab in a big way thus laying the foundation for Punjab’s destruction on the industrial and economic front.

Congress leaders said the damage caused to Punjab by the Vajpayee government of which the SAD was a coalition partner in 2003 would never be compensated. Because of the flight of industry from Punjab, the state was now facing problems in meeting even its basic fiscal needs.

They said the SAD leadership should explain to the people of the state why it observed silence when the Vajpayee government played with the future of Punjab by giving a big industrial package to hill states in its neighbourhood. They said they would raise this question again and again to confront the SAD-BJP combine with Punjab’s reality.


After message from Akal Takht
Nandgarh lifts agitation
Our Correspondent

Abohar, February 26
The sit-in led by Jathedar Balwant Singh Nandgarh, on this side of the inter-state border, on Abohar-Hanumangarh road was lifted after receiving a faxed message from the Akal Takht today afternoon.

Nandgarh along with scores of followers had started the sit-in on Saturday evening, as the Rajasthan government had not allowed his cavalcade to enter Sadulshehar, which lies in Sriganganagar.

The administration on Saturday evening had given permission to the anti-Dera protesters for taking out the Dushat Daman Sikh March subject to some conditions after apprehending their clash with the followers of the Dera Sacha Sauda in Sriganganagar. The representatives of the Khalsa Action Committee had reportedly agreed to abide by the modalities finalised during a marathon meeting with the district magistrate and SP on Saturday evening. The march was to be taken out on Sunday morning. But some of the leaders after meeting the Jathedar conveyed that there would be no march sans Jathedar. The Sikh leaders had approached the district authorities to allow Nandgarh to visit the Gurdwara Deep Singh but the latter put a condition that the Jathedar would enter without cavalcade. However, this offer was rejected.

According to information, the Akal Takht Jathedars, after a meeting presided over by Joginder Singh Vedanti today, resolved to fax a message to Nandgarh to end the protest “in larger interests of the Sikh community”.

The faxed message condemned the Rajasthan government in strongest terms for banning Jathedar Nandgarh’s entry and clarified that the Dushat Daman March was not against any Dera or sect, but was aimed at bringing awareness among the people against social evils like drug addiction and female foeticide. Meanwhile, hundreds of heavy vehicles, which had been stranded on both sides of the inter-state border since Saturday evening, today started moving to their respective destinations. Some of these were carrying perishable goods.

The authorities had earlier made alternate arrangements to ensure movement of buses. Some of the police officers from Punjab had yesterday met the Jathedar and requested him to lift the sit-in but in vain. It was learnt that the state government then approached the “highest level” to pursue Nandgarh to end the sit-in, sources said.


Damdama Sahib Jathedar reluctantly calls off dharna
Varinder Walia
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, February 26
Takht Damdama Sahib Jathedar Balwant Singh Nandgarh is unhappy over the appeal by Akal Takht which led to the lifting of the four-day-old dharna on the Rajasthan border.

The Jathedar, Nandgarh, had to call off the indefinite dharna on the Rajasthan border though he had told SGPC chief Avtar Singh, “Come what may I will lead the Khalsa March in Rajasthan as announced after the ardas (prayer)”. The SGPC chief urged the Jathedar, Nandgarh, on telephone yesterday to call off the dharna.

The Jathedar, Nandgarh, told The Tribune on the telephone that he was in a fix since he could not comment on the appeal made by Sikh high priests, including Giani Joginder Singh Vedanti, to call off the “principled dharna” against the administration of Rajasthan which had played a “dubious role”. He admitted he was the first Jathedar who sat on dharna in support of the just demands of the Sikhs to take out Khalsa March in Rajasthan as part of Dharam Parchar. However, he said he was bound to accept the appeal made from Akal Takht, though it had come as “bolt from the blue”.

However, the Jathedar Nandgarh had tough time persuading his followers who were not ready to lift the dharna. He alleged that the Rajasthan government did not allow him to take out the Khalsa March under pressure from the Dera Sacha Sauda chief.

Followers of the Jathedar, Nandgarh, were surprised over the wording of the appeal of Akal Takht which read: “Call off the protest dharna in the larger interest of the Sikh Panth”. They were of the view that instead of issuing an appeal to the Jathedar, who was sitting on a dharna, Jathedar Vedanti and other Sikh high priests should have personally gone to the site of the dharna and forced government of Rajasthan to take out the religious procession. The Jathedar,Nandgarh, himself had made appeals to Jathedar Vedanti and other Sikh high priests to join him and protest against the decision of the Rajasthan government which had invoked Section 144, Cr PC, to disallow the Khalsa March. It is a pity he (Jathedar, Nandgarh) stood isolated in the given circumstances.

He, however, said he had no choice but to lift the dharna following an appeal by the Sikh high priests. He said saner elements told himb that he being a Jathedar himself must respond to the appeal made by the five Sikh high priests, otherwise it would send a wrong signal across the Sikh masses. However, he said the appeal had made his position awkward but he was bound to accept it .

Despite appeals made by Jathedar, Nandgarh, hardly any senior leader from the ruling Akali Dal except Bhola Singh Gillpatti, district Youth Akali Dal who sat with Jatherdar Nandgarh. Gillpatti equated Jathedar, Nandgarh, with Akali Phoola Singh who continued to sit on dharna for three nights and three days without any tent. Women and children from the Malwa region also sat with Jathedar, Nandgarh .

A senior leader while addressing the gathering at the dharna site alleged the appeal to call off dharna was made at the behest of Shiromani Akali Dal president Sukhbir Singh Badal.

Coming heavily on the state of Rajasthan, Jathedar, Nandgarh, said it was most unfortunate that he was not allowed to reach gurdwara in Ganganagar despite assurance that the Khalsa March would be peaceful.


NRIs share views on development
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, February 26
The local Scientific Awareness and Social Welfare Forum organised a meeting with two non-resident Indians (NRIs) Jora Singh Sohi and Rupinder Singh to know about progress in developed countries. The meeting was held at the Sehyog School of Special Education here on Sunday.

Talking about the economic development of Canada and the USA, Sohi said by massive industrialisation these countries had been able to shift major workforce from agriculture to industries. About the political system Sohi said it was very clean in developed countries and tainted persons could not contest elections. Sohi said women too worked in night shifts there. Old-age pension of around $ 1,200.

Rupinder said agriculture in Australia was carried out on rainwater. Crops were planned as per the weather and quality of land. Boring was not permitted for drawing water from the earth.

Political system was clean and corruption-free in Australia. Politicians worked for society and had no special facilities like heavy security cover etc.

President of the forum Dr A.S. Mann, Jagdev Singh Sohi, Amrik Singh Gaga, Anil Goyal, Kulwant Singh, Rajinder Kaur Mann, all teachers, and Mohan Sharma, a social worker, also participated in the discussion.


CBSE affiliation for Adarsh schools
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 26
The Punjab Education Development Board that met under the chairmanship of Punjab Chief Minster Parkash Singh Badal has decided to affiliate Adarsh schools to the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE).

Presiding over the first meeting of the board held late last evening at Kapurthala House, New Delhi, Badal directed the school education department to invite expression of interest in this regard. It also decided that initially these schools would be set up in rural areas in proximity to the block headquarters to attract highly qualified and talented teachers.

Badal also said the teaching of Punjabi subject would be made compulsory up to class X for the students.

The Government of India had already sanctioned Rs 75 crore as additional central assistance for the setting up the Adarsh schools. Badal directed the state finance department to release this amount to the board for speedy implementation of the project. The Chief Minister also conceded to the demand of the board for direct transfer of the cess of Rs 37 crore levied and collected by the state excise and taxation department in a separate head of the Education Development Fund.

Members of the corporate sector and companies impressed upon Badal to allow them to run short-term vocational courses on the premises of Adarsh schools.

The board also decided to allow groups, companies and individuals having a net worth of Rs 50 crore instead of Rs 100 crore to be eligible for opening an Adarsh school.

This condition would also be applicable to charitable funds and trusts being run by business groups. 


Site for IISER
Centre’s team calls on Badal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 26
A four-member high-empowered team of the Government of India (GoI), led by Dr T. Ramasami, secretary, Department of Science and Technology (GoI), yesterday called on Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal to apprise him with the latest developments regarding the setting up of the Nano Technology Institute and the Indian Institute of Science Education and Research (IISER) at Mohali.

Ramasami informed Badal that they were here to finalise the site and other formalities related to the infrastructure with the Punjab government. He also informed him that the Union government would make all necessary clearances in this regard shortly to initiate the construction work by May-June this year and it would take 18 months to complete the entire project.

Badal said the Punjab government was committed to impart high quality education in the state He also directed GMADA to transfer the proposed land to the institutions.


Rail Budget
Superfast train brings cheer to Gurdaspur
Bipin Bhardwaj
Tribune News Service

Gurdaspur, February 26
The introduction of a superfast train -- Delhi-Amritsar-Pathankot-- in the new rail budget has brought cheer to Gurdaspur.

Residents of Pathankot and Batala, however, have expressed their unhappiness over this. People of the area said the train would not serve any purpose for those travelling to Delhi as the passengers have to first go to Amritsar.

While the economic growth of the area will get a boost with the superfast train, commuters to Amritsar from Pathankot, Gurdaspur, Batala and surrounding areas would benefit the most.

The train would also be of great convenience for the residents of bordering areas of Himachal Pradesh who, at present, have to change buses to reach Amritsar.

The trader community of Pathankot has lauded union railway minister Lalu Prasad for extending the superfast train from Amritsar to Pathankot.

While the announcement of merging the coolies as gang-men has brought relief to the licence holders, it has failed to make the elderly coolies happy.

A former MLA of Pathankot, Ashok Sharma, termed the decision of introducing the superfast train a wise one.

Raman Bhalla, former Congress minister, said the people of Pathankot, Gurdsapur, Batala and surrounding areas of Jammu and Himachal Pradesh also would have been the beneficiaries had a direct train from Pathankot to Delhi been introduced.


Corridor ext denial disappoints Amritsar industry
Ashok Sethi

Amritsar, February 26
The business community in this border region today expressed its disillusionment over the railway budget as Lalu Prasad has failed to accede to their request to extend the western railway corridor from Mumbai to Amritsar via Ludhiana.

Various industrial and trading associations told The Tribune that they had sent many representations to the railway ministry to extend its ambitious project to give a boost to the local sagging industry which was facing near extinction. They said the project would have triggered massive industrialisation in this beleaguered border township which had suffered due to its locational disadvantage.

Meanwhile, BJP MP Navjot Singh Sidhu on phone from New Delhi said he was disappointed by the budget which had failed to focus on the miserable industrial scenario in Punjab and failed to extend the railway corridor to the Attari border.

Describing the city as the gateway to Pakistan, Afghanistan and other central Asian countries, he said the stepmotherly treatment would deprive the holy city of its share in the economic boom in view of its strategic location. Sidhu said he had sought an appointment with Lalu Prasad to once again plead the case of the city.

The CII Amritsar chairman Gunbir Singh said the industry was disappointed and anguished at the total neglect of this area by the railway minister. He urged the Members of Parliament from Punjab to forcefully take up the matter with Lalu Prasad for the extension of the corridor.


Rs 353-cr health plan proposed
Tribune News Service

Mohali, February 26
A meeting of the executive committee, State Health Society, under the National Rural Health Mission (NRHM) was held here today under the chairmanship of Vijay Kain, principal secretary, health and family welfare, Punjab, to discuss the State Programme Implementation Plan for 2008-09. A Rs 353-crore plan was proposed by the committee.

Kain said the plan would be submitted to the Government of India for approval by director, NRHM Punjab, T.R. Sarangal on February 28.


Water corpn staff go on mass leave
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 26
Work in the Punjab Water Resources Management and Development Corporation came to a halt as 2,200 employees of the corporation took mass casual leave demanding jobs on compassionate grounds for relatives of 80 employees.

Members of five organisations, under the aegis of the Mulazim Action Committee, staged a protest in front of the head office of the corporation in Sector 26 here.

Among the protesters were operational staff, revenue staff, and clerical workers, engineering drawing cadres, drivers and class IV employees.

The representatives of the protesting employees claimed that the work at the head office remained suspended throughout the day with even the drivers of the senior officials participating in the protest.

The employees gave an ultimatum of 15 days to the corporation that in case it failed to meet their long-pending demands, they would be forced to go on an indefinite strike.

They would not give any memorandum to the authorities as they had discussed the demands with the authorities.

The agitating leaders of the employees while lambasting secretary (irrigation) Suresh Kumar, stated that it was his dictatorial attitude which proved a roadblock in giving job to kin of 80 employees on compassionate grounds even as there was no legal hassles in it.

They said the state government had already excluded the corporation from the list of corporations to be brought under disinvestment.

The corporation has bagged several new projects, making it financially sound and enabling it to tackle the problem of surplus staff, claimed the leaders.

They held that they had a meeting with irrigation minister of Punjab Janmeja Singh Johal on October 10 where the secretary (irrigation) was also present.

The minister had promised them to give jobs on compassionate grounds. The issue has been pending since 2002.

The secretary has not been giving permission to the managing director to give jobs to the kin of the employees.


Pass Farmer Debt Relief Bill: Sabha to govt
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, February 26
The Punjab Kisan Sabha today asked the SAD-BJP government to pass the Farmer Debt Relief Bill on the pattern of the Kerala government in the Assembly’s Budget session to waive the outstanding debts of farmers.

President of the sabha Lehmbarr Singh Taggar said here today that though the Amarinder government had prepared a draft Bill to give relief to debt-ridden farmers but the same had not been presented in the Assembly by the then government. However the Kerala government after removing discrepancies from the Amarinder government’s draft Bill, passed an Act to waive the loans of the farmers, he added.

He added that they would be holding a state-level “kisan karja mukti” rally in Jalandhar on March 5. 


BSNL told to pay Rs 10,000
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, February 26
The local District Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum has directed the BSNL, Barnala and Sangrur offices, to pay Rs 10,000 as compensation for mental tension and harassment caused to Amrik Singh of Barnala. Besides, the forum has also directed it to pay Rs 1,000 to the complainant as litigation expenses.

President of the forum M.D. Sharma has also directed the BSNL to restore the incoming facility on rest of the mobile connections of the complainant, except on mobile No. 94172-58708.

Amrik has six post-paid mobile connections under the corporate scheme of the BSNL. The complainant’s case was that he had not received the bill for the period from June 7, 2007, to July 6, 2007. As such he could not deposit the same and the BSNL without serving any notice barred incoming facility on these mobile numbers. He approached the authorities concerned but instead of restoring the facility the authorities raised the bill amounting to Rs 12,510. He immediately deposited it on August 14, 2007, requesting the BSNL authorities to restore the incoming facility on the said mobile connections. The complainant said the incoming call facility was restored only on 94172-58708 on August 15, 2007.


Motive significant in a case of circumstantial
evidence: HC
Saurabh Malik
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 26
In a significant judgement, the Punjab and Haryana High Court has held that motive behind the commission of offence may assume greater significance in cases of circumstantial evidence.

The ruling by a Division Bench of the High Court, comprising Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel and Justice S.D. Anand, comes on an appeal filed in a murder case by one Kulwant Rai alias Nona.

In his appeal against the State of Punjab challenging the trial court’s orders sentencing him to life imprisonment, the appellant had earlier claimed circumstances against him were not clearly proved.

Arguing before the court, his counsel had added that proving the same was essential as the case against the appellant depended on circumstantial evidence, motive and certain other factors. As such, there were clear grounds to acquit the accused of the charge framed against him.

Allowing the appeal, the Bench observed: “In a case based on circumstantial evidence, motive alleged may become significant. The motive alleged in the present case is clearly doubtful. Thus, the circumstances relied upon by the prosecution cannot be held to be fully established and are not conclusive of the guilt of the appellant”.

In their detailed order, the Judges added the evidence of motive, and the victim being last seen in the company of the accused being inconclusive; the appellant was entitled to be granted the benefit of doubt in the case.

The Judges concluded by observing: “Accordingly, we allow this appeal and set aside the conviction and the sentence of the appellant and acquit him”.

The prosecution had alleged that on October 16, 1987, accused Kulwant Rai took away the alleged victim, Jagroop Singh, along with him.

After Jagroop Singh did not return home till late evening, his son and father started searching for him. Later, they found Jagroop Singh’s body.


High Court
Provide copy of Gurbani telecast agreement,
Punjab told
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 26
The Punjab and Haryana High Court today asked the Shiromani Gurdwara Prabandhak Committee (SGPC) to place on record by March 11 a copy of its exclusive agreement with ETC channel for live telecast of Gurbani Kirtan from the Golden Temple, Amritsar.

A High Court Division Bench, comprising Chief Justice Vijender Jain and Justice Kanwaljit Singh Ahluwalia also asked the SGPC to also place on record a copy of the agreement vide which ETC had transferred its rights to M/S Gee Next Media. The matter will now come up for further hearing on March 11.

The directions were issued in an open courtroom while taking up the plea of intervener Chandigarh-based Guru Nanak Universal Brotherhood Society. It had earlier sought directions for placing these agreements before the court.

Society’s head Dr.M.S.Rahi had submitted in his application that in order to see whether the affidavit to be filed by SGPC was in conformity with the agreement or not, a copy of the agreement should be on the file of the court for proper adjudication. In its short affidavit, the SGPC reiterated its endeavour of making Gurbani Kirtan available on every platform for maximum number of viewers and listeners worldwide. It also gave details on how it was available on payment through cable operators, direct to home service of Dish TV, DD Direct and IPTV of Mahanagar Telephone Nigam Ltd. Meanwhile, Mohali-based Channel Punjab through its chairman Ranjit Singh Derewal moved an application seeking directions to SGPC and others concerned to make available free telecasting of Gurbani and offered to provide the same free of charge to viewers in Britain and other European countries.

Notice to Mann

Just over a fortnight after the Punjab and Haryana High Court directed the issuance of seven days notice in writing to SAD (Amritsar) president Simranjit Singh Mann in any case to be registered against him, the State of Punjab today sought the setting aside of the same. In an application filed before the High Court, the state added the order was issued without issuing notice to it, or granting it the opportunity of hearing. Taking up the application, Justice H.S. Bhalla issued notice for March 5. Mann had earlier sought blanket bail and had asked for seven-day notice in case he was to be arrested.

Notice of Motion

The High Court Division Bench of Chief Justice Vijender Jain and Justice Kanwaljit Singh Ahluwalia on Monday issued notice of motion for May 19 on a petrition alleging the failure of the competent authority to grant licence applied by a Ludhiana-based builder for setting up a group housing colony on a 49.55 acres in Dhandra-Thakanwal village in Ludhiana disrict.

The petitioner, Dev Builders and Colonisers, alleged that the licence was not granted despite clearance from quarters concerned, including the Town and Country Planning Department, Improvement Trust, District Forest Officer, Pollution Control Board and the Public Works Department. The colonisers, who had applied later than him, had been granted licences, the petitioner complained.


Suspected terror conduit nabbed
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 26
The city police has arrested Bhupinder Singh, an alleged conduit between Germany-based Babbar Khalsa International and other terrorist organisations and local terrorists trying to regroup in the state. He is accused of running the financial supply line funding terrorism from abroad.

A Ludhiana police team nabbed the 47-year-old Batala resident at the New Delhi airport this morning when he was about to board a flight for Germany. SSP R.K. Jaiswal said the man was a prime suspect in providing finances to terror groups.

Police sources said the accused was providing money to Gurpreet Singh, prime accused in the Shingaar blast and RDX smuggling case.

“We are questioning the accused. Media would be given details as soon as we find out about all his dealings,” said Jaiswal. The police learnt about the financial supply line while investigating the Shingaar blast case. 


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