P U N J A B    S T O R I E S


Back from Pak after 10 years
Ram Prakash was arrested by the Pak authorities on the charge of espionage
Varinder Walia
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, July 7
Indian national Ram Prakash, who was freed last week after spending 10 years in Pakistan’s jails for ‘spying’, reached here through the Attari-Wagah check-post today. He was handed over to the BSF by the Sutlej Rangers of Pakistan.

Ram Prakash (54), a resident of Tawi district in Jammu and Kashmir, was received by his son Deepak Kumar awaiting his father for one week. He was taken to the conference hall by officials of intelligence agencies at the Attari border for preliminary questioning.

Ram was choked with emotion on learning that his mother died four years ago during his imprisonment. Deepak said he wanted to take his father to Bishnah village (Jammu Tawi) where his mother Raj Kumari (wife of Ram) and his two sisters were waiting for him.

Ram said though jail authorities of Pakistan were kind towards Indian prisoners, yet many of them were suffering from deadly diseases for want of medicines. He said he had strayed into Pakistan’s territory on June 11, 1997, and arrested by the Pakistani authorities after a couple of days on the charge of espionage.

On the physical and psychological state of Sarbjit Singh, an Indian prisoner on death row in Pakistan’s jail, Ram said he (Sarbjit) gets disappointed whenever any Indian prisoner is released.

Deepak said the family had learnt about whereabouts of his father after receiving a letter from Kot Lakhpat Rai Jail in 1998. Agony of Ram and his family was prolonged for a week because the Pakistani authorities had not informed the Indian High Commission in Islamabad about his release.

Ram said he was arrested in June 1997 while trying to cross over to India after smuggling liquor to Pakistan. Ram was convicted for espionage in 1998 from Kot Lakhpat jail in Lahore after he served 10 years in prison.

Officials of the Pakistan Interior Ministry directed the provincial government on June 30 to hand Ram over to BSF officials as he had served his 10-year term. Ram could not cross Wagah border on July 1 because BSF officials had refused to accept him.


Vigilance Probe
Amarinder’s position strengthening in PPCC
MLAs from Bhattal’s camp also backing him
Jangveer Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 7
Like the lease of life given to Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal following his arrest for possessing assets disproportionate to his income during the last regime, the state Vigilance crackdown on former Chief Minister Amarinder Singh has also helped him politically with more and more legislators, including some known supporters of Pradesh Congress president Rajinder Kaur Bhattal, gravitating towards him.

Amarinder’s political managers shrewdly used the call given by the Vigilance Department to answer questions at the Circuit House in Patiala to present a show of strength both to the government and even more significantly to the Congress high command, which is likely to take a decision on revamping the Pradesh Congress unit in the state soon.

The impressive line-up of 26 legislators as well as some former legislators and ministers besides proving that Amarinder has been able to keep his core group intact also saw others reaching out to him for the first time. Among the new contacts, the most important was the presence of Ripjit Brar, brother of senior leader Jagmeet Brar, who is also one of the contenders for the post of Pradesh Congress chief.

Besides this, the Amarinder camp has claimed that former minister Partap Singh Bajwa, who is also in the race for PPCC presidentship and has his own group in the state party, also rang up to extend support to the former Chief Minister. Also present for the first time was Kapurthala legislator Rana Rajbans Kaur, wife of Kapurthala MP Rana Gurjit Singh, one of the richest politicians in the state.

Others who came for the first time included Nabha legislator Randeep Singh, currently aligned with the Bhattal camp. Amarinder said his former ministerial colleague Lal Singh’s son Rajinder Singh had also dropped in at his residence in the morning though he could not meet him. Lal Singh is one of the most ardent supporters of Bhattal at present.

Amarinder’s detractors, however, claimed that some of Bhattal’s supporters, including Randeep Singh, had only visited Patiala yesterday because of a personal appeal from the former Chief Minister and it did not mean they had shifted their political affiliations. They also claimed Lal Singh’s son did not show support to Amarinder yesterday.

But after yesterday’s exercise, Amarinder is upbeat. He said “many friends” had supported him for the first time and he was thankful to them for extending support at a time when a change in the PPCC leadership was imminent. His supporter Jeet Mohinder Singh Sidhu, an MLA from Talwandi Sabo, was more candid. “ There have been meetings with five to six legislators from Bhattal’s camp who are coming to us as they too realise a change is imminent”, he added.

Bhattal, Congress sources said, had lost out by directing party leaders not to indulge in a show of strength as Amarinder was appearing before the Vigilance Department in a personal case. 


Capt hits out at Vigilance team
Varinder Singh
Tribune News Service

Patiala, July 7
Hitting back at the Vigilance Bureau (VB) for its “misleading campaign” against him, former Chief Minister Amarinder Singh has asserted that he had no intention of concealing anything. He, however, refused to divulge any details pertaining to the FIR No. 5 registered against him at Ludhiana.

Amarinder said he had informed the VB team, which quizzed him yesterday, that he owned a flat in Dubai and a car and that he had gone to Dubai as a guest of Delhi-based Akali leader Paramjit Singh Sarna, who had arranged a ticket for him.

Talking to The Tribune, an anguished Amarinder said: “The press briefing of investigating officer Shiv Kumar is seemingly an effort to give an impression aimed at conveying it to the public that I am trying to conceal something. I gave them all details pertaining to general things, but how could I remember certain very specific things like meeting somebody at a specific date? I have sought a list of such things so that I am able to give a reply to it. Moreover, I have told the VB team that I will not divulge anything related to the FIR No. 5 registered at Ludhiana as that matter was sub judice and, hence, the bureau had no jurisdiction over it”.

The former Chief Minister said he was being targeted with “repetitive allegations” to tarnish his image in New Delhi. “My opponents have come to know that some positive developments are in the offing in New Delhi with regard to the PPCC. So, they have come out with a novel idea to disgrace me with repetitive and baseless allegations. The Akalis should realise that they will also have to face the music in a similar fashion once we will be back in power,” said Amarinder.

He said he had cleared the air regarding his property in Dubai. “I don’t understand the VB motive and approach. They are investigating the so-called ‘disproportionate assets’ allegedly acquired by me during my tenure as Chief Minister between 2002 and 2007. But I acquired my Dubai flat after relinquishing the charge as Chief Minister. Similarly, I bought my car in March this year. I purchased my Dubai flat with permission of the government of India and they should not have any objection to it,” said Amarinder.


Makes a plea to visit Dubai
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, July 7
Former Chief Minister Amarinder Singh, an accused in the alleged multi-crore City Centre scam, today sought permission from a local court to visit Dubai for registration of a property bought by him. In an application to Sessions Judge M.S. Virdi, the former CM has sought permission to visit Dubai from July 10.

The state Vigilance had recently questioned the former Chief Minister about the properties owned by him in India and abroad. In support of its contentions, two letters written by the real estate agent to Capt Amarinder Singh were placed before the court.

In one letter, he has been requested to come to Dubai for making the balance payment of the property purchased and to get the sale deed registered . In the other letter, he has been offered discount for making the payment well before time. 



State to float Rs 500-cr loan
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 7
The Punjab government in line with the Reserve Bank of India has proposed to float a state loan of Rs 500 crore to raise part of the barrowings through the auction system.

Disclosing this here today, a spokesman of the government said the consent of the Central government has already been obtained to float this loan. The stocks would be of 10 years tenure and the tenure of the stock would commence on July 11. 


Missing Banker
Police clueless, shifts onus to Chandigarh cops
Chander Parkash
Tribune News Service

Pathankot, July 7
Family members of ‘kidnapped’ bank manager Samir Gupta, a local resident, are in a state of shock as the police has failed to make any headway in the case.

Naresh Dogra, DSP, Mukerian, who initially investigated the case, said the kidnapping had taken place in Chandigarh, hence the Chandigarh Police would register a case in this connection.

Samir had left this town yesterday morning for Chandigarh, made a call to his wife Neeru at 4 pm telling her about his kidnapping in an Ambassador car and being taken to an undisclosed destination. The whereabouts of Samir were not known and his mobile phone was switched off.

After getting this information, the family members approached the police at Mukerian where Samir was manager in Punjab Agriculture Development Bank (PADB) and suspected an employee of the bank and one other person associated with the bank management.

Kailash Gupta, mother of the victim, said today that the family had informed the Mukerian police about two persons having soured relations with Samir and suspected to be involved in his kidnapping.

She said Neeru had gone to Chandigarh to get the case registered in connection with the kidnapping of Samir. She said the family had received no message from the kidnappers so far.

She said Samir had gone to meet the managing director (MD) of PADB, Punjab at Chandigarh, yesterday to inform him about the incident which occurred with him a few days ago as a peon of the bank had a spat at him.

The DSP pointed out that peon Gurpal, suspected by the family of the victim, had been questioned for his involvement in the disappearance of Samir. He added that Gurpal, detained by the police, would be handed over to the Chandigarh police for investigation.

He said another suspected person was a friend of Samir. But the police had found that the person had no role in the incident, he said. 


Advocates seek suspension of Saini
Swati Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 7
If government’s approach in dealing with the case of Punjab IGP Sumedh Singh Saini is any indication, it seems that the guidelines for taking action against erring IPS officials vary from person to person.

Taking up this issue, a group of 20 advocates today submitted a representation to the Punjab Governor wherein they demanded suspension of Saini. The advocates said former Punjab DGP S.S. Virk and Himachal Pradesh ADGP K.S. Thind, involved in different cases, were suspended once they were booked but Saini was still holding on to a plum post.

The representation stated that Saini, Sector 3 SHO Harsahai Sharma, and Industrial Area SHO Jagir Singh should be immediately suspended. It mentioned that the FIR was lodged against the police personnel on July 2 on the directions of Punjab and Haryana High Court under Sections 330, 343, 364, 167, 193 and 120-B IPC for allegedly murdering son of Balwant Singh Multani, a retired IAS officer.

One of the advocates who signed the representation, Rajinder Singh Jolly, said, “It is the rarest of the rare case in which the investigation agency has proved that there used to be fake encounters but no action has been taken by the officials against the persons involved. Saini has been booked for a crime serious in nature while ADGP Thind and DGP Virk were booked in corruption and misappropriate assets cases, respectively. Still the action taken against Thind and Virk was much more serious.”

Agreeing with him, advocate Mohinder Singh asserted: “An FIR of abduction has been registered against Saini but he has not been suspended yet. But Virk was suspended as soon as he was chargesheeted. It seems that the government changes the rules as per its wish and will.

Commenting on the fake encounters a police official said:“These officials were a part of the team that have played a major role in finishing terrorism in Punjab. So all these factors should be taken in account.”


Molestation Charge
GCM for Maj-Gen’s trial assembles, adjourned
Vijay Mohan
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 7
The general court martial (GCM) convened to try a Major-General for allegedly molesting a woman officer assembled at Bathinda today, but could not hold meaningful proceedings as the accused could not be presented before the court.

Sources said the accused, Maj-Gen A.K. Lal, had lost his mother recently and had proceeded on leave. The court has fixed July 23 as the next date for further proceedings.

This is the first time that an officer of the rank of Major-General is being tried by a GCM on such charges. He is facing four charges, which include molestation under Section 354 of the Indian Penal Code, read with Section 69 (civil offences) of the Army Act and holding meditation classes in his bedroom.

The other two charges include attempts to influence two officers who were witnesses in the case. General Lal was commanding the strategic 3 Infantry Division at Leh when the alleged offences were said to have taken place last year.

The General Officer Commanding 10 Corps, Lieut-Gen R.S. Sujlana is the GCM’s presiding officer, while Deputy Judge Advocate General (DJAG), Eastern Command, Brig A.V. Tashkar is the judge advocate. General Lal is presently attached to Mathura-based 1 Corps under the South-Western Command after having been moved out of the Northern Command on technical grounds.

Last year, a Signals officer, Capt Neha Rawat had, in a written complaint alleged sexual misconduct on his part on the pretext of holding meditation classes at his residence. In September, the Army ordered a court of inquiry (COI) into the matter and General Lal was removed from command and attached to Headquarters 15 Corps in Srinagar.

The COI, presided by Lt-Gen A.S. Sekhon, the then corps commander had, in November 2007, held him prima facie blameworthy. The allegations were strongly denied by his family.


‘MCI satisfied’, way cleared for admissions to medical colleges
Jangveer Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 7
With the state government today claiming that the Medical Council of India (MCI), which had put on notice till July 19 the three colleges at Faridkot, Patiala and Amritsar for deficiencies, was satisfied with the compliance report sent by the state, the way for admission to medical colleges seems to have been cleared.

Secretary, Medical Education and Research, Jagjit Puri said while the first compliance report was sent to the MCI on July 2, the government was in the process of dispatching the second compliance report on July 9.

Puri also announced that counselling for admission to the medical colleges would be held on schedule on July 15. “The Chief Minister himself has spoken to the president and the secretary of the council and explained that the model code of conduct, which has been on and off for the past three months due to elections to Panchayati Raj institutions as well as panchayats and municipal committees, was responsible for the delay in removing some of the shortcomings,” the secretary added.

The government is moving with 26 posts being advertised through the Punjab Public Service Commission (PPSC) to address the shortage of teachers in the three medical colleges. More vacancies as well as the issue of promotion of teachers is also being taken up in a time-bound manner, according to the status report submitted to the MCI.

Puri disclosed that the MCI had pointed out 22 deficiencies, which needed to the addressed in the three medical institutions. He said of these, the list had been whittled down to 13 in the first compliance report. Only eight to nine deficiencies would be left after July 9 and the government hoped to meet the other issues also before the deadline of July 19.

Earlier, the MCI had following two inspections this year threatened to de-recognise the medical colleges in the state due to the inability of the government to ensure adequate staffing as the government was rotating staff in the medical colleges before inspections to meet the requirements of the council.

It also reported shortage of equipment like MRI and CT scan machines at Patiala.

The government has approved two projects worth Rs 187 crore for Amritsar and Faridkot to meet infrastructure needs of the institutions and is in the process of finalising a project for the Patiala medical college. 


Teachers of aided schools sans salary
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 7
Resentment prevails among 8,000 teachers and other employees of 484 aided schools of Punjab at not getting salary since February, 2008, due to the non-release of grant by the Punjab government. This is despite the Punjab Finance Department having sanctioned more than Rs 105 crore for this purpose.

Ashwani Kumar Sharma, press and publicity secretary, and Gurcharan Singh Chahal, president of the Punjab State Aided School Teachers and Other Employees Union, stated this in a statement.

Union leaders alleged that the delay had been caused by the inefficiency of the audit section of the DPI office.

Sharma said a deputation of the union called on S.K. Gupta, special secretary, Education, Punjab, and complained to him about this. He said the main demand of the union of restarting pension scheme had not been accepted despite promised in the SAD and the BJP manifestos in the Assembly elections. 


Need to take notice of public ‘humiliation’ of Takht chief
Varinder Walia
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, July 7
Sikh bodies like the Shiromani Gurdwara Prabandhak Committee (SGPC) and various Akali factions need to take notice of public humiliation of jathedar, Akal Takht, Giani Joginder Singh Vedanti, in Jamrai (Tarn Taran) village yesterday.

It is not for the first time that Jathedar Vedanti was given this treatment by leaders of various Sikh bodies, leading to an unsavoury situation in India and abroad. The SGPC and the SAD are primarily responsible for the denigration of the highest Sikh institution because merit is ignored while installing persons to esteemed posts. Earlier, no Sikh would challenge authority of the jathedar.

However, Jathedar Vedanti has been receiving flak from Sikh masses due to his pliability and proximity to the SAD. Many controversial “hukamnamas” (edicts), pronounced from Akal Takht during his term, amounted to denigrating the age-old institution. The on-going war between Jathedar Vedanti and Giani Iqbal Singh, jathedar, Patna Sahib, has brought humiliation to the Sikhs. The Sikh masses say the warring jathedars had no right to take up Panthic issues in the prevailing situation because they themselves were at loggerheads with each other.

An unsavoury situation arose yesterday at a gathering organised to pay tributes to Balkar Singh shot dead by a guard of Dera Sacha Sauda chief in Mumbai, when Jathedar Vedanti and Mann had a verbal fight. Mann said the hymn, “Raj bina nahi dharm chale hai...,” was part of Gurbani. Vedanti contradicted it, accusing Mann of misleading the Sikhs by relating it to Gurbani. During their argument, the gathering raised slogans of “Khalistan” zindabad and brandished swords. Jathedar Vedanti stopped his address midway and left the venue. Earlier, the Dal Khalsa and its sister organisations had disowned Jathedar Vedanti when he had called “Sarna brothers” at Akal Takht without giving them a chance to plead their case. However, the decision was revoked later.

The Shiromani Khalsa Panchayat, headed by Rajinder Singh Khalsa, had also sought resignation of Vedanti as jathedar, Akal Takht, in wake of serious allegations against him.Jathedar Vedanti had also failed to organise a function to commemorate foundation day of Akal Takht on July 2 this year. Earlier, on July 2, 2006m, quadricentennial celebrations of the foundation of Akal Takht were marred by a clash in the presence of Jathedar Vedanti.

Though Jathedar Vedanti has said repeatedly that Akal Takht is supreme authority of the Sikhs, yet he failed to prevail upon Takht Patna Sahib and Hazur Sahib to implement Nanakshahi calendar and bring uniformity in the Maryada.


Panel reviews state Plan
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 7
A team of the Planning Commission led by Prof V.L. Chopra undertook the annual review of the performance of Punjab's state plan for the year 2007-08 here today.

The Punjab government team, including chief secretary Ramesh Inder Singh, apprised the panel officials of the plan performance of the state in 2007-08. As per the data collected by the Punjab State Planning Board, the state incurred a plan expenditure of Rs 5,184 crore against the original plan allocation of Rs 5,111 crore which was subsequently revised to Rs 5,050 crore.

Expressing satisfaction with the state's overall plan performance in 2007-08, Professor Chopra stated it was necessary for Punjab to further consolidate its performance in the remaining years.


Police sits on dowry case against babu
Rajay Deep
Tribune News Service

Muktsar, July 7
The police is yet to take action in the case, which was registered against a Karanataka cadre IAS officer hailing from Hoshiarpur by his wife and her parents on the charges of cruelty, dowry demand and attempt to outrage her modesty.

Showing the copy of the FIR registered at the city police station in Muktsar, Pritpal Singh Dhaliwal, father of Preet Inder Kaur, 26, medical officer with the rural hospital in Bhagsar, Muktsar district, alleged that Preet’s marriage was not consummated for they had not fulfilled her in-laws demand for a Mercedes in dowry. “I spent more than Rs 50 lakh on her wedding and even paid around Rs 8 lakh in two instalments to them when they first threatened my daughter with break-up," he added.

She alleged that her husband Ravneet Singh, a 2005 batch IAS officer, an assistant commissioner at Bidar, Karnatka, refrained from conjugal relationship on their wedding night due to the non-fulfilment of his demand for the car. Preet alleged that her brother-in-law even attempted to outrage her modesty.

The Muktsar police had booked Ravneet Singh, his father Pritpal Singh, mother Jaswant Kaur and younger brother Ravpreet Singh under Sections 498-A, 506, 354 and 420 of the IPC on July 5.

Pritpal Singh, while speaking over the phone from Hoshiarpur, said: “The marriage took place through matrimonial columns in the newspaper and with the help of a well-known industrialist from Muktsar. Just on the day of the wedding, we came to know about the mental disorder of the girl. She was taken to the DMC, Ludhiana, for a check-up and doctors confirmed the ailment”.

“For the annulment of the ‘one-day marriage’, my son filed a divorce petition. Despite the divorce petition lying sub-judice in the Bathinda sessions court, they have been defaming us by levelling false allegations. To make us withdraw the divorce case, her family assaulted us on August 26, 2007, which was reported to the police,” he alleged.

Muktsar city DSP Baljeet Singh said: “I was out of the station. So I could not even go through the FIR. Action will be taken after confirming the facts.” 


Farmers protest against PSEB
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, July 7
A large number of farmers, led by Jamhoori Kisan Sabha (JKS), Punjab, and the Board Area Sangharash Committee (BASC) today protested against the state government and gheraoed the office of the chief engineer, Punjab State Electricity Board, in protest against long power cuts and their wrong policies.

Farmer leaders, including Dr Satnam Singh Ajnala, state president, JKS, and vice-president Rattan Singh Randhawa, Arsal Singh of BASC, said the consecutive governments of the Congress and the SAD-BJP had failed to increase the production of electricity. They had failed to complete the Shahpur Kandi project in which about 200 MW electricity, besides 10,000 cusec water, was to be produced. 


Publication of ‘false news’
HC issues notices to 5 newspapers
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 7
After a judicial officer reacted to the publication of “false news” against him, the Punjab and Haryana High Court today issued notices to the editors, publishers and reporters of the Times of India, Jagbani, Rozana Spokesman, Punjab Kesari and Daily Ajit.

The notices were issued by a Division Bench of Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel and Justice S.D. Anand on the basis of a representation by Ludhiana-based judicial magistrate Karamjit Singh Sullar.

In his representation for justice to the Administrative Judge of Ludhiana Sessions Division, Justice Mehtab Singh Gill, Sullar had asserted that on May 30 news-reports carrying false allegations levelled against him by a woman in Chandigarh appeared in the newspapers. The allegations, he added, were not only false but also frivolous and baseless.

Notice issued to IAS officer

The Bench of Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel and Justice S.D. Anand today issued notice to Punjab IAS officer G.S. Cheema in a contempt of court matter.

A single Bench of the high court has already observed that Cheema had, prima facie, left no stone unturned to malign the institution of high court by attributing motives to different sets of judicial proceedings.

Justice Surya Kant had observed that Cheema, in his affidavit, was not at all repentant. He did not express his remorse for expressions repeatedly used in the inquiry report, which, prima facie, would tantamount to contempt of court.

Rejecting the “so-called explanation” offered by Cheema, Justice Kant had added let notice be issued to him to show cause why proceedings under the Contempt of Court Act be not initiated
against him.

SGPC members’ security

A division bench of the High Court, comprising Chief Justice Vijender Jain and Justice Jaswant Singh, wants to know from the state how public money could be used to provide security cover to SGPC

Taking up a petition filed in public interest by Vaneet Mahajan against the provision of security to the members and permitting them to use red beacons, the Bench observed: “If SGPC is a statutory body having its own fund and having its own Constitution, how the state with public money can give security cover to its members, is another question which only the State has to answer.”

Notice on Virk’s plea

Taking up former Punjab DGP S.S. Virk’s plea for restoration of security cover earlier provided to him and his family, Justice Ajay Kumar Mittal today issued notice of motion for July 11 to the State of Punjab and UT Administration.

In his petition, Virk, posted currently as DGP (Housing) in Maharashtra, had stated that he and his family were entitled to security cover under the rules regulating the security arrangements of former DGPs. Virk had stated that he and his family had been receiving ‘serious threats’ to their lives from terrorist outfits since the days of terrorism.


Spell out criterion for security: HC to Punjab
Saurabh Malik
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 7
The Punjab and Haryana High Court wants Punjab to spell out the criterion adopted by it to provide security to the threatened.

A division bench of the High Court, comprising Justice M.M. Kumar and Justice Sabina, has, in fact, directed the state to “place on record the policy for providing security to those who are facing threats from terrorists or other goonda elements”.

The directions are significant, as the state government’s “pick and choose” policy has always been exposed to criticism.

Recently, it came under attack for withdrawing the security provided to Punjab’s former Director-General of Police S.S. Virk’s family.

After the issue was raised before the court by former state minister Naresh Thakur today, the Bench also took note of the fact that security had been provided to the undeserving while denied to those facing actual threats.

The judges observed: “We are unable to substantiate the criteria for providing security at state expenses. If threat perception is the basis criteria, as is projected by the state counsel, in our opinion both Balbir Singh Maini, ex-minister-cum-senior leader of SAD (B), and Avtar Singh Karimpuri, ex-MLA-cum-state president of BSP (K), would not deserve the grant of any security because there is no assessment of threat perception.”

Referring to a report by the Additional Director General of Police (Intelligence) to the Additional Director General of Police (Security), the judges added the only thing it revealed was that “these persons had to go to other districts in the state for party work during odd hours. As such, threat from bad elements to them could not be ruled out.” The judges added: “A perusal of the report shows that it is based on conjunctures and anticipation without there being any real threat perception”.

Before parting with the orders, the judges added: “In view of this, we direct the respondent state to place on record the policy… In the meanwhile, we also direct that Avtar Singh Karimpuri and Balbir Singh Maini be impleaded as party respondents; and notice be served on them to show-cause why security provided to them at the state expense be not withdrawn.” The case will now come up for further hearing on August 12.


Khangura seeks directions for quashing notifications
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 7
Raising vital questions of law, Congress MLA Jasbir Singh Khangura has asked should deputy commissioners be assigned the crucial task of hearing election petitions as they are also the district election officers for polls to local bodies.

In his petition filed through counsel Mansur Ali, Khangura has sought directions for quashing the notification of September 19, 1994, and subsequent notification of June 22, 2001.

These notifications provide for appointing deputy commissioners as the presiding officers of district election tribunal under the State Election Commission Act, 1994.

Khangura has also sought directions to restrain, during the pendency of the petition, the deputy commissioners from hearing the election petitions arising out of panchayats and municipal body polls held recently.

Taking up the matter, the high court Division Bench of Chief Justice Vijender Jain and Justice Mahesh Grover have issued notices for August 7, 2008, to the Punjab Rural Development and Panchayat secretary, Election Department secretary and others.


Pvt medical colleges warn Badal against fee cut
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, July 7
The Punjab Private Unaided Self-FinancedMedical/Dental/ Ayurvedic College Association has urged Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal not to reduce the tuition fee for the management category seats in medical/dental colleges during 2008-09 as even the existing fee is not sufficient to run these colleges according to the norms of the Medical Council of India.

A spokesman for the association, Dr Vikram Sharma, said today that if the management category fee was reduced, the private medical and dental colleges would not be able to sustain. He warned the state government of boycott of the counselling for admissions to MBBS and BDS courses if the fee was reduced.

Dr Sharma said the fee of management category in the state was the lowest in the country. Medical/dental colleges were already facing a financial crunch with the salary of the staff, infra-structural costs and day-to-day expenses going up.

Dr Sharma said the association wanted that the fee of government and management quota should be averaged rather than reducing the fee.

Sidhu for rollback in fee hike

Patiala: Navjot Singh Sidhu has demanded rollback in fee hike for private medical colleges. He said the fee hike was unjustified for medical students who came from middle-class families. He, however, welcomed Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal’s decision to form a committee to review the fee structure in these colleges. 


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