P U N J A B    S T O R I E S


Cabinet clears Innova vehicles for MLAs
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 16
A minister said the state Cabinet today cleared purchase of Innova vehicles for MLAs. The PSEB has been facing problem of funds to buy power and imposing cuts ranging from 6 to 8 hours.

Sources said the Cabinet also approved buying of eight more vehicles for the Chief Minister’s security that has about 37 vehicles.

Meanwhile, the Cabinet also approved to levy lumpsum tax on dhaba owners at the rate of Rs 10,000 in case of turnover of Rs 5 lakh and above, but less than Rs 15 lakh, Rs 22,500 in case of turnover of Rs 15 lakh and above, but less than Rs 30 lakh, Rs 40,000 in case of turnover of more Rs 30 lakh, but less than Rs 50 lakh, Rs 75,000 in case of turn over of Rs 50 lakh, but less than Rs 1 crore, Rs 1,25,000 in case of turn over of Rs 1 crore, but less than Rs1.5 crore and Rs 1,75,000 in case of turn over of Rs 1.5 crore, but less than Rs 2 crore.

The government today decided to slash the rate of VAT on compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs) under the Punjab VAT Act, 2005, from 12.5 per cent to 4 per cent.

The Cabinet also approved to reduce the rate of VAT on mentha oil from 12.5 per cent to 4 per cent to promote this crop in the state. Likewise, the rate of VAT on the kirana items had also been reduced from 12.5 pc to 4 pc. It approved to reduce VAT on desi ghee and sweetened flavoured milk from 12.5 pc to 4 pc.

It also gave approval for amending Section 3 and 3-A of the Punjab Entertainment Tax (Cinematograph Shows) Act, 1954, through a promulgation of an ordinance for exemption in entertainment tax to cinema owners in Punjab as extended to multiplexes announced by the state government.

The Cabinet also gave go-ahead to the grant of exemption from levy of VAT on raw materials and consumable procured by or sold to Sri Harmandar Sahib and Sri Darbar Sahib, Amritsar .

It also decided to amend the Punjab Agricultural Produce Markets Act, 1961.

The Cabinet also approved amending the Punjab Entry of Goods into Local Areas Act, 2000 that would now encompass the items like iron and steel as mentioned in Section 14 of the Central Sales Tax Act, dyes & chemicals, job work, and shoddy and waste yarn.

Keeping in view the acute shortage of staff in the Information and Public Relations Department, the Cabinet cleared recruitment of 16 information and public relations officers, 24 assistant public relations officers on regular basis besides supporting staff on contract. Likewise, it also approved to fill the five posts of food inspector by direct recruitment in the Health and Family Welfare Department.

The Cabinet also gave nod to amend the Punjab Civil Services (Executive Branch) (Class-I) Rules, 1976, for enhancement of the age limit from 45 years to 54 years for nominating officers/official who are to be inducted to PCS (EB) through register A-I, A-II, A-III and 'C'. The Cabinet also approved to amend the Rule 19 of the Punjab Civil Services (Punishment & Appeal) Rules, 1970.

The Cabinet okayed the proposal to enhance the monthly maintenance grant to Operation Bluestar affected 27 soldiers (Dharmi Faujis) from Rs 1,500 to Rs 3,000 per month and their 93 dependents of killed or untraced faujis from Rs 2,500 to Rs 5,000 per month.

It decided to amend the Punjab Municipal Election Rules, 1994, as per observations and recommendations of the Committee on Subordinate Legislation of the Punjab Vidhan Sabha. The Cabinet also approved the amendment in Rules, 1996, of old-age pension and other financial assistance schemes of Punjab. 


Free Power to Farm Sector
Govt fails to pay subsidy to PSEB
Jangveer Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 16
The Punjab government has failed to comply with the directive of the Punjab State Electricity Regulatory Commission (PSERC) to pay subsidy on account of free power to agricultural pump sets in instalments in advance at the beginning of each quarter.

The commission in its order on July 4 stipulated the government would pay subsidy of Rs 2,601 crore due to the PSEB in 2008-09 in quarterly instalments and directed the board to submit a status report of the payment within the first fortnight of each quarter. It directed the board to submit the first such report of payments made in the first two quarters before July 15.

According to sources, the PSEB while complying with this direction has submitted it has received subsidy amount of Rs 167 crore in May and Rs 333 crore in June. This amounts to total subsidy of Rs 500 crore paid till June 30, the last day for paying the total subsidy amount of Rs 1,300 crore due for the first two quarters of this year. The PSEB, however, also told the commission that bill of Rs 167 crore received from the government on account of subsidy was pending for clearance in the Treasury office.

The government, which has failed to submit the subsidy quotient in advance quarterly instalments, has also failed to give it in advance for the respective months.

The PSEB on its part while informing about the money received, also told the commission it had already requested the state government to release the subsidy on quarterly basis as determined by the tariff order.

Earlier, the state had through its chief secretary assured the commission that in keeping with the policy to provide subsidy to agricultural pump set owners as well as Scheduled Caste and below poverty line consumers, it would provide a subsidy of Rs 2,479 crore for 2008-09 to the board. It had also agreed to pay arrears of Rs 121 crore for 2007-08 as determined by the commission. 


Delhi Test
Advani to host dinner to NDA MPs on July 20
Sarbjit Dhaliwal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 16
The BJP leadership, that has stepped up efforts to dislodge Dr Manmohan Singh’s government, has started dinner diplomacy.

Sources said the first dinner would hosted on July 20, two days before voting on the confidence motion, by BJP’s senior leader L.K. Advani in the annexe of Parliament. MPs of all political parties, which are part of the National Democratic Alliance (NDA), have been invited to the dinner. The special session of Parliament will begin on July 21 and conclude the next day. The session has been convened by the UPA government to prove majority in Parliament following withdrawal of support by Left parties.

Earlier the dinner was planned at the residence of Advani. But later the venue was shifted to the Parliament complex, it is learnt. The MPs of the SAD, that announced yesterday to vote with the BJP to oust the Manmohan government, were today informed of the dinner.

The dinner meeting has been called to plan strategy for the special session and fielding of MPs to speak against the motion.

Besides it, a meeting of constituents of the NDA will also be held in Delhi tomorrow. Presidents of the parties, which are part of the NDA, and leaders of these parties in Parliament have been invited for tomorrow’s meeting. Apart from it, Chief Ministers of the state where constituents of the NDA are in power have also been invited to attend the tomorrow’s meeting.

Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal and his son Sukhbir will attend tomorrow’s meeting. The BJP leadership is desperate to remove the UPA because it is of the view that the holding of elections to Parliment at the earliest possible suits it to grab power at the Centre. 


N-deal: Malti Thapar writes to Badal
Tribune News Service

Moga, July 16
General secretary of the PPCC and former minister Malti Thapar has appealed to Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal to extend his party’s support to the Manmohan Singh government on the nuclear deal.

In a letter written to Badal today, she said, “No doubt that your association with the BJP is unquestionable, but SAD’s or BJP’s interests should not be larger than national interests”.

She was of the view that for rapid agricultural and industrial growth, there was a need of cheaper and surplus power. Therefore, Punjab needed to have its own nuclear power plant to meet the demands of the people.


Raikot easy ‘target’ for travel agents
Jupinderjit Singh
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 16
Gullible youths of Raikot town are falling easy prey to cheating by travel agents who promise them a comfortable life abroad. Every year, one or another Delhi-based agent hobnobs with an influential person of Raikot and dupes youths.

The youths continue to be lured and cheated of lakhs every year despite such news of such frauds appearing in newspapers. The police also takes note only when the tricksters decamp with the booty.

Victims are left regretting why they sold land, took loans for the purpose. Many even sold buses for the craze of going abroad which did not happen.

In a case reported two days ago over 50 youths, many from well-to-do families were lured into better life in Canada, America, England, Australia and New Zealand.

Some were shown fake visas and job letters, others false admission papers of a prestigious university. Others were shown local girls as NRIs to enable them good life abroad on marriage visa. Over Rs 1 crore was collected by absconding agent Vineet Jain of Delhi, said DSP Narinderpal Singh Ruby. Vineet’s modus operandi was not a new one. Since 2002, many have followed it . Yet, more and more youths keep falling in their trap. An agent based in Delhi is the leader. He hires a local merchant, who has influence and a woman who can convince the youths.

Hundreds have been duped in this way. “But the lure of foreign land is so much that many still keep falling in the trap,” said the DSP.

In 2003 a group of dancing girls, along with owners of Jain Cloth House, duped many youths. They even made the youths undergo marriage with the dancing girls, who posed as NRI girls.

In 2004, 30 persons, mostly of Raikot, were duped of lakhs by a local emigration consultancy on the pretext of sending them to Dubai and Muscat on confirmed job visa.

In 2005, a Delhi-based agent, along with a Raikot merchant, duped 40 youths who felt embarrassed and avoided media for a few days. The youths were shown job letters with a multi-national company in Japan. They were told they would go in a chartered plan to Japan. The accused took them to Ladakh convincing the youths they were in Japan as the locals looked like Japanese.

In two years also there have been dozens of cases where the youths have been duped by travel agents.

SSP Gurpreet Singh Bhullar said the police had saved many youths when shady deals of a company or persons came to light before they decamped .

But mostly, the youths and their families do not tell anyone that they were going abroad in such and such manner.



Ravi Inder asks Akalis to support Manmohan
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, July 16
President of the SAD 1920 Ravi Inder Singh has urged SAD (Badal) MPs to rise above personal and political interests to support Prime Minister on the nuclear deal keeping in view the larger national interest.

Ravi Inder Singh said here today that the nuclear deal with the US would be good for the country, especially for the people living below poverty line. The country would be able to supply electricity to them free of cost due to low cost of production on nuclear energy. He said Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had been considerate to the interests of Punjab despite the fact that the ruling SAD-BJP alliance in the state was opposing the Congress-led UPA government.

The Sikhs all over the world take pride in the able prime ministership of Dr Singh. Dr Singh has been elected on his capability and not as a Sikh. Even Dr A.P.J. Abdul Kalam, former President, has supported him over the nuclear deal.

The SAD 1920 passed a resolution to support those SAD MPs in the coming Lok Sabha elections who would support the Prime Minister on the deal. Ravi Inder said an energy crisis was looming large and the only way out seemed to be atomic energy. Expressing his dismay over the statement of the Akal Takht Jathedar, Giani Joginder Singh Vedanti, that he could not issue edict to the Sikh MPs for supporting a Sikh Prime Minister, Ravi Inder said Sikhism was based on the principles of Miri and Piri and urged him to remove the Nishan Sahib of Miri from Akal Takht if he couldn’t issue edict to political leaders.

‘Hold akhand paths for PM’
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 16
Former Congress minister Umrao Singh today urged PPCP chief Rajinder Kaur Bhattal to request people in all villages of the state to hold akhand paths for the “Chardi Kala” of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. There are more than 12,000 villages in the state.

Talking to The Tribune on the phone from Jalandhar, Umrao Singh said he had in fact asked Bhattal to request to Punjabis all over the world to hold akhand paths wherever they were settled. He said he would organise one at his native Wadala village from July 18 to July 20.

Meanwhile, Congress MP from Jalandhar Rana Gurjeet Singh has appealed to the Akali leaders to rise above petty politics as they had done on a number of occasions in the past and support Dr Manmohan Singh.

He said nuclear energy was the answer to the perpetual power problem of Punjab due to which the state had been losing out on industrial and agricultural front.

Former minister Jagmohan Singh Kang said the SAD wanted to save its government in Punjab and for fear of the BJP it was out to dislodge Dr Manmohan Singh government.


Cong accuses SAD of double standards
Tribune News Service

Gurdaspur, July 16
Senior Congress leaders of the Majha region have condemned the SAD for the alleged double standards on the vote of confidence by the Manmohan Singh government on July 22.

In a joint statement issued here today, Sukhjinder Singh Randhawa, Kanwaljit Singh Lalli, Harpartap Singh Ajnala, Jasbir Singh Dimpa, Tripat Rajinder Bajwa, Sukhbinder Singh Sukhsarkaria, Dharmbir Agnihotri alleged that the SAD leadership on the one hand sought votes from the public in the name of Panth but on the other it ignored the same sentiments when it came to vote for a Sikh prime minister.

They asked that when the SAD rose above political considerations to support the Termination of Water Act in the Assembly during the Congress regime, why they were running away on the Indo-US nuclear deal despite Badal himself admitting that only nuclear energy would end the power crisis in state as well as the country.

“In the President elections, when the Shiv Sena can support Pratibha Patil for being Marathi, why the SAD can’t support a Sikh prime minister”, the leaders questioned. 


Sud asks EC to derecognise Congress
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 16
Senior BJP leader and Punjab's medical education minister Tikshan Sud today urged the Election Commission to derecognise the Congress for invoking religion to secure votes for the forthcoming trust vote in Parliament.

Referring to an appeal made by state Congress president Rajinder Kaur Bhattal to vote for Prime Minister Manmohan Singh as he was a Sikh, he said this was a clear case of enticing voters to vote for a person purely on religious lines.

He also referred to the statement of various Congress leaders appealing to the Akal Takht to issue an edict to all Sikh MPs to vote in favour of Manmohan Singh.

Meanwhile, in a separate statement, senior BJP leader and former minister Balramji Dass Tandon said the statement of both Bhattal calling for vote as a mark of respect to the turban and former CM Amarinder Singh’s appeal to vote for the Prime Minister as he was a devout Sikh spoke of hypocrisy.


Numbers Game for Sarpanch
Panches protest Badals’ punches
Rajay Deep
Tribune News Service

Channu (Muktsar), July 16
The elections for the post of sarpanch in the home district of Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal has become so prestigious that his family is reportedly striving to get their favourite persons elected as sarpanch.

During a visit to this village in Muktsar district, The Tribune team today found six members of panchayat along with a number of supporters at the Panchayat Ghar of the village, where the sarpanch’s election was scheduled to take place at 10 am. But, no returning officer reached there till 11 am.

On the contrary, assistant retuning officer (ARO) Sukhraj Singh gave a statement to the ADC (D), Muktsar, that he had visited the place and could not find the Panchayat member there. So, the election was deferred.

The Panchayat members present over there resented the alleged pressure tactics being adopted by the Badal’s kin to get their men elected as sarpanch. They alleged that despite a majority of six members in the total nine-member panchayat, they were not finding themselves free to elect a sarpanch of their own choice.

Levelling allegations, Sukhmander Singh, the outgoing sarpanch, said there were six members on the one side, who wished to elect Gurwinder Kaur as sarpanch, while on the other there were only three members.

He said till yesterday, Badal’s brother Gurdas Badal was assuring them of fair elections, but, now, he had given up due to family pressure.

Yadwinder Singh, district general secretary of the Youth Akali Dal, alleged: “Bibi Badal had directly ordered the panchayat members that Rajinder Kaur, who has only two members in her support, should be elected the sarpanch. But, our group is not ready to accept a sarpanch who has been imposed.”

He further said when after winning the panchayat elections, they visited Bibi Badal and expressed their willingness to elect a sarpanch of their own choice, she turned down their request because of the alleged proximity of the other candidate to her.

Finding the mobile phone of ARO Sukhraj Singh switched off, the villagers contacted BDPO Naval Ram on the phone, who expressed his inability to do anything in the matter.

Additional deputy commissioner (development), Muktsar, Shivdev Singh Dandiwal, said: “The officer concerned informed the department that when he went to the village, there were only three panchayat members present. So, the election has been postponed.”

When told about the presence of mediapersons along with cameramen on the spot, he parried the query saying that he would look into the matter.

When contacted, Bibi Surinder Kaur Badal, speaking over her mobile phone, refuted the allegations saying that she had no interest in politics and was unaware of the facts.

BJP alleges admn bias in Ajnala
Ashok Sethi

Amritsar, July 16
The district administration failed to hold the election to the post of sarpanch at Gorala village in the Ajnala Assembly constituency today.

There was resentment among BJP workers, who alleged that the administration threatened the presiding officer with dire consequences if he conducted the election.

President of the district BJP (rural) Ramsharan Prashar said it was a deliberate attempt on the part of the civil officer posted in Ajnala to deny the post of sarpanch to the candidate of the BJP, which was in majority. Out of seven panches, four were of the BJP.

Meanwhile, health minister Laxmi Kanta Chawla apprised Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal of the law and order situation in the Ajnala segment.

Mattewal’s kin elected
Tribune Reporters

Amritsar, July 16
Kulbeer Singh and Sukhdev Singh, brothers of advocate-general H.S. Mattewal, have once again been unanimously elected sarpanches of Mattewal and Kartar Singh Nagar (Tarsikka) panchayats respectively.

Pathankot: The 15 panchayats of Dhar block elected their sarpanches here on Tuesday. Chet Ram (Gunere), Harpreet Singh Bajwa (Chhatwal), Surinder Singh (Dhangu Sarai), Rama Rani (Narianpur), Chand Rani (Bhamlada), Gurjeet Kaur (Dunera Chikla), Ravinder Singh (Thalhari), Kartar Singh (Awana), Sunita Devi (Gahlade), Yash Pal (Thalelari), Narotam Singh (Darban), Baldev Raj (Chikli Tareti), Anita Sharma (Dhukhniwali), Balbir Singh (Dorang Khad) and Raghunath Singh (Matti). — OC


Cops ‘manhandle’ woman panch
Chander Parkash
Tribune News Service

Sukhowal (Gurdaspur), July 16
Residents of Sukhowal village of this district today blocked the Batala-Sri Hargobindpur highway for about two hours to lodge their protest against the alleged manhandling of a woman panchayat member belonging to the SC community by the Ghoman police here.

The protesters demanded that SHO Gurwinder Singh and the other erring officials be suspended immediately. The blockade was lifted after DSP Dilbagh Singh assured them that an inquiry would be conducted into the matter.

Meanwhile, the DSP said Kanso, the member of panchayat, had alleged that Gurwinder and other police officials harassed her to put pressure on her to vote in favour of the SAD in the election of sarpanch.

According to the information, a police party, led by ASI Jagir Singh, came to Kanso’s house to arrest her in connection with a complaint lodged against her by Santokh Singh. Santokh had alleged that Kanso had contested the panchayat elections on a fake name.

When the police party failed to arrest Kanso, the SHO, along with other policemen, came to the village and allegedly misbehaved with Kanso.

The villagers alleged that out of total strength of seven members of panchayat, four candidates were of the Congress while the ruling SAD had only three members. They added that the SAD was putting pressure on Kanso to in its favour.

On the other hand, Guriwnder alleged that Kanso misbehaved with Jagir when he went to the village to make inquiries in connection with the complaint against her. While denying that he and other policemen misbehaved and manhandled Kanso, he said the villagers blocked the traffic to put pressure on the police to avoid legal action against Kanso.

Batala SSP Naresh Kumar Arora said a probe on the complaint of Kanso had been ordered.


MC chief: Consensus eludes SAD, BJP
Sushil Goyal
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, July 16
The SAD and the BJP could not reach consensus vis-a-vis the post of MC president due to sharp differences among leaders of both parties. In the 21-member MC, the SAD has seven members, the BJP four and the Congress nine. One seat has been won by an independent candidate.

District president of the BJP Jatinder Kalra has announced that as the SAD had opposed the BJP candidates in various wards of the town in the MC elections, so they will not support the SAD for the post of president of the MC and will prefer to remain silent on the issue.

BJP’s silence may benefit the Congress, which has nine MCs, besides the vote of the Congress MLA. The SAD leadership has issued show-cause notices to its two leaders to pacify the local BJP leaders.

Moreover, all is not well in the SAD also as it has two aspirants for the post of president. Besides Iqbal Singh Punia of the SAD, another SAD MC Ripdaman Singh is reportedly in the race for the president’s post.

Some people are of the view that if the Congress adopts a policy of “divide and rule” then it may support the BJP for president’s post.

Earlier, election to the post of president of the Sangrur MC was to be held on July 14, but it was postponed on the directions of the government. Now, the administration is reportedly bound to hold the election by July 23.

The sole independent councillor, Harinder Singh Khalsa, is also an aspirant for president’s post.


Punjab to introduce Bill  on doctors’ assault
Attar Singh
Tribune News Service

Patiala, July 16
To check the rising incidences of assault on doctors and ransacking of hospitals by unruly mobs in Punjab, the state government is going to introduce a bill in the next Assembly session.

This categorical assurance was given by Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal to a deputation of doctors who met him under leadership of Dr D.S. Bhullar, president of the local unit of the Indian Medical Association (IMA) and Dr O.P.S. Kande , chairman, Legal Cell of the IMA, Punjab, during his visit to Patiala yesterday.

The IMA leaders submitted a memorandum to the Chief Minister demanding the immediate arrest of the culprits involved in the ransacking of hospitals at Samana and Sangrur last week.

The doctors also demanded that directions be given to the state Police Department which should act according to the directions of the Supreme Court while registering criminal cases of alleged negligence against doctors before proceeding against the doctor accused of rash or negligent act or omission.

The IMA leaders added that the police should first obtain an independent and competent medical opinion, preferably from a doctor in government service qualified in that branch of medical practice who can normally be expected to give an impartial and unbiased opinion.

The doctors added that although the director-general of police, Punjab, has already issued guidelines to police officers in the state under directions of the Supreme Court, still the police officers were registering criminal cases of alleged negligence against doctors under public pressure, thus making a mockery of law and violation of the order of the Supreme Court.


Residents protest poor sewerage
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, July 16
Residents of Punia Colony on the Haripura road here have been leading a miserable life due to the accumulation of dirty water, leaking from some manholes caused by the choking of sewer lines in front of their houses for the past many days.

Due to choked sewer lines, dirty water has accumulated not only on the streets, but also on the main road.

The residents, including doctors, are protesting against the collection of sewerage water on the main road and on the streets, but according to them, no one is listening to their grievances for the past one month.


Compassionate appointments
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 16
The Punjab government today issued instructions to all heads of departments, divisional commissioners, DCs and SDMs to clear all pending cases of compassionate appointments within two months.

It has come to the notice of the state government that appointments for group 'C' & 'D' posts on compassionate grounds are pending in various departments due to various reasons, resulting in financial difficulty to the families of deceased employees.


PSEB conducts raids
Tribune News Service

Patiala, July 16
The Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB) has come out with various measures to check revenue loss by conducting a large number of raids across the state.

Y.S. Ratra, chairman, PSEB, informed that to check the theft of energy, wrong metering and unauthorised extension of load, the board conducted 4,00,688 raids in various zones during the quarter ending June 2008. Penalties in crores had been imposed on the defaulters, he added.

Ratra appealed to the consumers to come forward and inform the PSEB authorities about power theft. He also advised the consumers to declare unauthorised load to streamline the overloading of the system to check disruptions and for uninterrupted and quality supply to its consumers.


Probe against Ludhiana DC begins
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, July 16
On the directions of the Punjab and Haryana High Court, Chief Judicial Magistrate (CJM) Lachhman Singh today began probe against deputy commissioner Sumer Singh Gurjjar. The DC, citing health problems, had not appeared before the high court in a contempt petition against him.

Justice Surya Kant of the Punjab and Haryana High Court had taken a serious note of the absence of the DC in his court. The DC was ordered to appear personally before the high court on July 11, but he did not appear. Rather he had sought exemption from personal appearance on the grounds of illness. A medical certificate issued by Dayanand Medical College and Hospital was placed before the high court.

Taking it seriously, Justice Surya Kant has directed the CJM Ludhiana to conduct a fact-finding inquiry and submit report before the high court.

The CJM today associated several persons in the inquiry. Even statements of several persons were also recorded and certain records were taken into possession.

The judge recorded the statement of Dr Mohammed Yamin, an orthopaedician at the DMC. He had issued the certificate to the DC for taking rest for a week due to disc problem. He was advised not to travel, as per the certificate.

The medical superintendent of the DMC was also associated in the inquiry. Certain documents, relating to the checking up of the DC in the hospital, were taken into possession.

The judge also recorded the statement of Malkiat Singh, driver with the official vehicle of the DC, and checked the logbook record of his vehicle.

DC's superintendent Dalbir Bhardwaj, who was summoned today, sought some time for furnishing the record demanded by the CJM. It was learnt that he was asked to produce the record relating to the leave by official. On his request, the inquiry was adjourned till July 18. 


High Court
Preneet, son cry vendetta, apply for bail
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 16
Former Punjab Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh’s wife Preneet Kaur and their son Raninder Singh today moved the Punjab and Haryana High Court for the grant of anticipatory bail in the recently registered corruption case against them. Impleading Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal and his son Sukhbir Singh Badal as a party in the matter, the petitioners contended the FIR was the offshoot of political vendetta.

The petitioners claimed the entire action was carried out on the instructions of the Badals and was a result of political mala fides. They also elaborated on the “history of political rivalry and the relationship between Capt Amarinder Singh and the present Chief Minister” to substantiate their contentions.

The petitioners further referred to the statements made by the Chief Minister to drive home the argument of political vendetta. They claimed that in one such statement, the Chief Minister on September 15, 2006, stated on the floor of the House during the zero hour that Capt Amarinder Singh “may forget to drink his daily dose of tea and whisky, but never forgets to threaten jail. In the past four-and-a-half years, he could not send me to the jail. But, when I come to power, I will definitely send him to jail”.

On law point, the petitioners contended the allegations in the current FIR, registered in June under the provisions of the Prevention of Corruption Act, were the same as the ones contained in FIR number 5 registered on March 23, 2007, in the Ludhiana Improvement Trust matter. Giving details, the petitioners contended every “material allegations” were the same, including those related to bank accounts, assets and pen-drive. The petition is expected to come up for hearing on Thursday.

Sarpanches’ polls by secret ballot

Disposing of a petition filed by Congress MLA Jasbir Singh Khangura for holding election of sarpanches in Punjab through secret ballot, the high court on Wednesday clarified that the polls, whenever they take place, would be by way of secret ballot.

The direction was issued by the division Bench of Chief Justice Vijender Jain and Justice Mahesh Grover. Khangura, in his PIL, had highlighted the need to conduct the election of sarpanches only through secret ballot. He had contended that this was necessary because of the highhandedness of the ruling SAD. For supporting Akali candidates for the posts of sarpanch, it was exerting pressures on panchayat members owing allegiance to the Congress or other parties

Since the practice now followed for the election of sarpanches was through the show of hands or through oral affirmation for or against the contesting candidates, it invariably created bad blood as the voter’s identity came to revealed automatically, the counsel for the petitioner submitted.

Punjab’s additional advocate-general Amol Rattan Singh submitted that under rule 45, sub-section 7, of the Punjab State Election Rules, 1994, the provision of sarpanch’s election through ballot paper existed.

At this, the Bench pointed out that the provision did not specify the election would be held through secret ballot. It only specified the use of ballot paper and not secret voting. It was in this context that the Bench directed for holding future elections of sarpanches through secret ballot only, wherever required.

Order for CBI probe stayed

The division Bench of Chief Justice Vijender Jain and Justice Mahesh Grover on Wednesday stayed the single Judge’s order directing a CBI probe into the killings of 10 persons in alleged fake encounters by the police during militancy in the Moga area.

The Bench also admitted the letter patent appeal filed by police officers Bakhshi Ram, Darshan Singh and others against the orders.

The petition seeking a CBI probe into these encounters was filed by Satwant Singh Manak, a former head constable. He had claimed personal knowledge about some of the alleged fake encounters as he was a part of one such team.


Contempt proceedings filed against Amritsar border range cops
Sanjay Bumbroo
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, July 16
A city resident Prem Sagar has filed contempt proceedings in the court of Additional Civil Judge (Sr Division) against IG, Border Range, SP City-I, SHO Vijay Nagar and SI for violating the decree passed by the high court in favour of the petitioner.

According to the petitioner, he has a dispute with a sub-inspector Lakhbir Singh, who was earlier restrained from interfering in the possession of a 200 sq yd plot on the Majitha road by a local court in 2006.

He alleged that on the night of April 25, Lakhbir, along with some persons, made another attempt to dispossess the petitioner forcibly and also made attempt to demolish the boundary wall and the gate of the property. He alleged that the IG and the SHO were helping the SI and creating hindrance in the construction of work.

However, R.P. Meena, IG, Border Range, feigned ignorance about it and added that he was not aware of the case.

Feeling aggrieved, he filed a petition in the Punjab and Haryana High Court, which directed him to move an application before the SSP, Amritsar, within seven days with the speaking order to take action within 30 days of the receipt of the court order.

The SSP marked the inquiry to SP City-II, who made a report dated April 3, 2008, which clearly indicted the ASI for harassing the petitioner. The report was sent to the high court on April 11, 2008.

He alleged that Lakhbir, in order to harass him, had filed frivolous complaints against him before the IG border range. He pointed out that despite several complaints filed against the police officer and many inquiries held, no action had been taken against him. Interestingly, the petitioner also filed a case under Order 21 Rule 32 of this code of civil procedure on January 11, 2007, against Lakhbir for the attachment of his property, which is pending in a local court.


Pvt medical colleges ask CM to withdraw fee cut
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, July 16
The Punjab Private Unaided Medical and Dental College Association today urged the Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal to withdraw his decision regarding 16.74 per cent reduction in the tuition fee of special management category seats in medical and dental colleges in the session 2008-09.

Working president of the association Vikram Sharma said today that when even the state government with all its resources could not get the permission of the Medical Council of India (MCI) to make admissions to all three state medical colleges as it was not able to meet the standards laid down by the MCI and the Dental Council of India (DCI), how the managements of private unaided medical/dental colleges could run their courses of MBBS and BDS to the satisfaction of the MCI and the DCI with the reduction of fee in the special management quota seats by 16.74 per cent?

The working president further said that there were four private unaided medical colleges which together offered their 210 seats (50 per cent) at the fee of Rs 1,15000 per student and 10 private dental colleges were offering their 430 seats (50 per cent) at fee of Rs 63,250 per student per annum.

After offering 640 seats to candidates on subsidised fee, what was left with the colleges to run their courses, he questioned?

He also said that this fee did not serve the purpose even for two to three months in a session or course.

He also said that it was unfortunate that the fee of special management quota seats (left-out NRI quota seats) had been reduced by Rs 1 lakh for MBBS and Rs 77,000 for BDS unilaterally by the Punjab government, causing a revenue loss of Rs 75 lakh for medical colleges and Rs 50 lakh for dental colleges of 100 seats per annum.


Student alleges tampering with marks
Tribune News Service

Gurdaspur, July16
Minu Sharma, a resident of this district, has urged Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal to launch a probe into the functioning of the Punjab School Education Board as a section of its employees had been causing harm to students by tampering with marks scored by them in the matriculation examination.

In a letter written to Badal, she alleged that she was shocked when she came to know about the fact that marks scored by her in the matriculation examination had been tampered with by an employee of the board. She added that not only this, the Board authorities had also failed to supply a fresh certificate to her after carrying out corrections in the spelling of her name so far despite the fact that she had applied for the same to the Board about 10 months ago. 


3 held with heroin on Pak tip-off
Varinder Walia
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, July 16
The arrest of a Pakistani national by the Pakistan Customs with 10 kg heroin alerted Indian officials who consequently nabbed three Indians, including two Delhi-based Indian women with 6.50 kg heroin who alighted from the Samjhauta Express at Attari railway station last evening.

Daljit Kaur and Satinder Kaur were arrested with heroin. The third person arrested at Attari railway station is Brij Kishore Arora of Lucknow. Sources said the arrested persons, including women were working as “sawaris” (couriers), and had been to Pakistan many times for smuggling purpose. The “sawaris” most of the time operate between India and Pakistan on fake passports and smuggle prohibited items between both countries. They charge on the basis the consignment they bring from across the border.

According to sources, the seizure by Indian and Pakistani Customs was part of bigger consignment.

Earlier, the ISI operators used to send small arms RDX, gold and narcotics by the Samjhauta Express. The arrested persons had brought the contraband items in wrapped thread packets, concealed in a way that nobody could detect the same with the naked eye.

Earlier, railway coaches, forming a part of the train, were being used to cleverly conceal the contraband. It was being placed either in the compartments or underneath bogeys to deceive the Indian Customs authorities.


Man kills daughter with sword for honour
Rajay Deep
Tribune News Service

Tarkhan Wala (Bathinda), July 16
In an alleged case of honour killing, a man killed his 28-year-old unmarried daughter at Takhanwala village in the district today morning.

Hardev Singh, a marginal farmer, had doubts about the character of his daughter Harjinder Kaur. Last night, at 12.30 am, to mislead family members, she used pillows and bedsheets to pretend she was in bed and stepped out of the house. Hardev, suspicious of her behaviour, was standing outside the house with a sword in hand. He instantly killed her and went to the police station to surrender.

The Raman police registered a case of murder on the statement of the deceased’s brother, Budh Singh. Budh Singh said he saw his father slashing the neck of his sister.

After the post-mortem examination, the police handed over the body to the family. SSP Bathinda Ashish Chaudhary said, “The accused killed his daughter as he doubted her character. After killing her, he surrendered to the police.”


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