P U N J A B    S T O R I E S


Ladoo-time in Amritsar as PM wins trust vote
Varinder Walia
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, July 22
Even as Jathedar, Akal Takht, Giani Joginder Singh Vedanti has refused to comment on the winning of confidence vote by the Dr Manmohan Singh-led UPA government, Jathedar, Patna Sahib, Giani Iqbal Singh has congratulated the Prime Minister on this historic victory.

Talking to The Tribune from Patna Sahib, Giani Iqbal Singh described Dr Manmohan Singh as a true and honest Sikh who had quoted hymns from Dasam Granth while seeking confidence vote on the floor of Parliament. However, Jathedar Vedanti, who had eulogised Dr Manmohan Singh earlier, today preferred to keep mum.

Meanwhile, Bhai Ranjit Singh, a former Jathedar, Akal Takht, has said it was moral defeat of the SAD which had failed to support the government of the first Sikh Prime Minister. He said it was ridiculous the SAD leadership had stated they could not support Dr Manmohan Singh merely on the basis that he was a Sikh.

The former Jathedar said the SAD had been using Sikh religion for vested political ends and even the Dharm Yudh Morcha was launched from Akal Takht/ the Golden Temple. When it came to protect the government, led by a Sikh, they had committed a historic blunder.

Meanwhile, there is lot of jubilation in the town, especially in the houses of Surjit Singh Kohli and Daljit Singh Kohli, brothers of the Prime Minister. They distributed ladoos to mark the victory.

On the other hand, the BJP burnt the effigies of the Prime Minister and Sonia Gandhi in protest against bribe given to three  BJP MPs.

Congress leaders, led by Prof Darbari Lal, a former deputy speaker, Punjab Vidhan Sabha, distributed ladoos in the morning much before the counting of votes. Manjit Singh Calcutta, a senior Akali leader and member of the  SGPC expressed satisfaction over winning the confidence vote.


Rita Bawa Murder
Three in police remand
Bipin Bhardwaj
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, July 22
The three accused in the Rita Bawa murder case were remanded in five-day police custody by a court here today.

A party of the Ludhiana police today produced Mohammad Kadoos, Mohammad Rehman, Bittu Yadav and Mohammad Rehman in the court of judicial magistrate Barjinder Pal Singh, seeking 10 days’ police remand.

Two suspects, Mohammad Kadoos and Bittu Yadav denied their involvement in the case. Bittu claimed having been framed after he came to the rescue of his son whom the police was framing in the case.

The Ludhiana police restrained mediapersons who had been camping outside the main gate of the Jalandhar judicial complex since morning from interacting with the suspects.

Rita Bawa, principal of Kanya Maha Vidhyala (KMV), Jalandhar, was found murdered at her official residence on the college premises, along with her cook Kishore Mandal and two security guards Tarsem Lal and Shamsheedin, on January 6 morning.

Sources in the police claimed a trap had been laid to nab Sachin, the alleged mastermind of the Rita Bawa murder case, in Bihar. Sachin had left the job and returned to his village weeks before the crime.

The principal had certain obscene CD and photographs of a college student, daughter of an influential person. A couple of days before her murder Bawa had altercation with some persons who visited her office demanding the obscene CD and photographs, sources in the college disclosed.

Doubts have been raised on the functioning of the Jalandhar police that recovered cash and jewellery worth crores in two different searches at Bawa's residence after the murder. Why the police did not recover all cash and valuable in one search? 


Results tampered with, allege students
Shivani Bhakoo
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, July 22
Several students from all over the state, who took the management entrance test (MET) conducted by Punjab Technical University (PTU) at Punjabi University, Patiala, this year, have alleged that their results have been tampered with by the authorities.

The result of MBA/MCA aspirants declared on July 18 on the Internet for a few hours did not match with the one displayed by Punjabi University, Patiala, last evening, alleged the students.

Talking to The Tribune, a student from Amritsar said he had seen his 520th rank in the list displayed by the official site www.punjabiuniversity.ac.in on July 18. After a few hours, this site could not be opened.

"Last evening when I tried to access it again, to my utter shock, it showed my rank as 1,182. How can this be possible? Had I known about change in the list, I would have taken out a print-out as evidence," he said.

Another student Priyank Sandhir said many of his friends who got low rank were “given” ranks near 2,000. "My Punjab ranking was 173 as per the result declared on July 18, but the revised list shows me at 407th position. This is not done, such lapses can ruin our careers," he said, adding that when his father tried to contact officials at the varsity, nobody listened to his grievance.

Interestingly, when some parents raised objection to the issue, they were told that though the ranks (declared on July 21) were final, the whole picture would be clear at the time of counselling itself, said one of the students from Jalandhar.

MET for MBA/MCA aspirants by the PTU is conducted every year at Guru Nanak Dev University, Amritsar, PTU Jalandhar, and Punjabi University, Patiala, by rotation. This time, it was conducted at Patiala on July 13, in which approximately 10,000 students from all over Punjab appeared.

The students have been asked to report on July 26 for counselling.

Dr Jaspal Singh, VC, Punjabi University, Patiala, talking over phone, said there was some technical fault with the computer. "We had to hold the results for two more days, as thorough verification was being done by officials.

There was no fault in paper checking, preparing lists, examination etc. It was not manual but software's fault. Still if parents or student feel, they can contact the university authorities immediately to clear all their doubts," he said.



It’s victory for common man: Youth Cong
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 22
The Punjab Youth Congress today claimed that the victory of the UPA in the trust vote on the nuclear deal issue was a win for the common man who had reposed his faith in the leadership of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

Youth Congress president Vijay Inder Singla said people of the country had put pressure on their elected representatives to support the trust vote and this was the main reason behind the UPA victory. He claimed that the issue of vote buying had been deliberately raked up by the BJP once it realised it was going to lose the trust vote.

Singla said the UPA victory was also a slap on the face of the SAD, which opposed the trust vote.

He said the Prime Minister had again proved his love for Punjabis by quoting Guru Gobind Singh to drive home his point that the government was on the path to victory in the vote of confidence.

He said SAD had chosen to ignore the sentiments of the entire Sikh and Punjabi community in India as well as abroad and would meet just punishment at the hands of the people of the state in the forthcoming Lok Sabha elections.


Cong may adopt tough line against SAD
Sarbjit Dhaliwal/TNS

Chandigarh, July 22
With the Manmohan Singh government winning the trust vote in Parliament, the national leadership of the Congress is all set to adopt a tough line against the Punjab government headed by Parkash Singh Badal. 

“Things will change drastically in the days to come as far as Congress’ approach towards the Badal government in the state is concerned”, said a senior Congress leader. 

Talking to The Tribune, the Congress leader said during the past one year, the national leadership of the Congress never encouraged the Punjab unit of the party to go whole hog against the Badal government. In fact, the Congress leadership even did not encourage Capt Amarinder Singh, former Chief Minister, who had made one or two attempts during the past months to take on the Badal government.
There was a reason for it, said another senior leader of the Congress. “We have been in the know that one day the Manmohan Singh government will have to face Parliament on the issue of nuclear deal and part its company with the Left parties. In such a situation, the Congress leadership was expecting support from the SAD’s eight members in the Lok Sabha because of the Prime Minister being a Punjabi”, said the Congress leader.

“However, our calculation in this regard proved wrong as Parkash Singh Badal not only gave directions to his MPs to dislodge Manmohan Singh from prime ministership but also provided active support to the BJP in this regard.” 

Though it was not liked by the state Congress, Dr Manmohan Singh always kept his doors open for Badal. “In fact, Badal used to claim that the Prime Minister listens more to him than any state leader of the Congress”, he said. 

The leader said in the next few days, the state leadership of the Congress would be put in top gear to make things difficult for the SAD-BJP government. First of all the Congress would try hard to wrest the initiative of all major development projects going in Punjab from the SAD-BJP combine. “We will plan our strategy vis-à-vis Badal and we are now in a position to attack it hard.”


Traffic blocked over disappearance of MC candidate’s husband
Varinder Walia
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, July 22
Residents of Jandiala Guru, led by senior Congress leaders, today blocked the Amritsar-Jalandhar road in protest against the “disappearance” of one Jaswant Singh Mosha (52), husband of Manjit Kaur, Congress candidate, who lost election to the Shiromani Akali Dal-supported Independent candidate by only two votes, on June 30.

The Congress activists, led by Sardool Singh, a former minister, raised slogans against the Punjab government and the Punjab police. They alleged that Jaswant Singh was kidnapped at the behest of the ruling party on the election day.

The sudden disappearance of the candidate’s husband led to her defeat by only two votes.

Earlier, the Congress activists had gheraoed the DSP’s office in Jandiala Guru for two hours on July 3, demanding the registration of an FIR against certain leaders, who enjoy support of the SAD-BJP alliance. They alleged that Mosha was kidnapped on June 30 by Akali-supported leaders, after half an hour of the start of the polling.

His scooter was found from the Beas yesterday, but the police has no clue to the alleged kidnapping.

The victim’s brother Jattan Singh alleged that the police knew the whereabouts of his brother. 


SAD MLA in spot for ‘slapping’ secy
Sanjay Bumbroo
Tribune News Service

Baba Bakala, July 22
Employees of the revenue department here are up in arms against SAD MLA from Beas Manjinder Singh Kang for the alleged slapping of a panchayat secretary yesterday.

The employees today organised a dharna to protest the slapping of the secretary who had refused to do any favour to Kang. They decided to hold a chain fast near the office of the SDM till they got justice.

State joint secretary of the Punjab Subordinate Services Federation Avtar Singh, while addressing the protesters, demanded for a criminal case against Kang for allegedly slapping and abusing panchayat secretary Salwinder Singh.

Avtar Singh said the panchayat secretary, who was also the returning officer, had told the MLA that the elections of sarpanches would be held as per the Panchayati Raj Act.

However, when The Tribune tried to contact Kang on his mobile, every time his supporter attended the call.

The employees, in a memorandum submitted to the SDM, alleged that the MLA wanted the panchayat member of his choice to be elected as sarpanch in Dhardeo village in Rayya block. When the panchayat secretary refused to oblige him, the MLA called Salwinder at the canal rest house in Rayya and abused and slapped him in the presence of his supporters.


Job-oriented training for jail inmates
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 22
The Punjab government today formulated a scheme to utilise the optimum potential of inmates lodged in various jails of the state to impart skill development training to them on the one hand and provide job opportunities to them on the other.

A decision to this effect was taken by Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal during a meeting with top functionaries of the departments of jail, technical education, industry and employment generation here this morning.

The CM asked senior officers of these departments to have interaction with representatives of the industry to ascertain the quantum of job work to be undertaken by the inmates. He cited an example of hosiery and woollen products in Ludhiana where the services of inmates in local Borstan and Lady's jails could be utilised.


Task force constituted 
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 22
The Punjab government has constituted a task force on working business process re-engineering as well as on languages and access to higher education for recommendations of the National Knowledge Commission.

Stating this here today, a spokesman of the Punjab government said the recommendations made by the two working groups had already been accepted by the government. It had been decided to convert the groups into task force to ensure the forceful implementation of the recommendations made by them.


Army bands have a field day
Our Correspondent

Pathankot, July 22
A military band competition and mass band display was held at Mamun Cantonment, near here, yesterday. Unit bands of Rising Star Corps participated in it.

The show commenced with the arrival of the chief guest, Lt-Gen Vinay Sharma, GOC of the corps. The sprawling greens of Fort of Gurj Stadium reverberated with the harmony of pipers bands and buglers.

Various bands marched in formations and their melodious compositions kept the audience riveted for nearly an hour. The first prize was won by 3rd Battalion Gorkha Rifles, second by 19th Battalion J&K Rifles while 13th Battalion J&K Rifles got the third prize.


Court tells IO to get DNA test of accused on his on
Kulwinder Sandhu
Tribune News Service

Moga, July 22
Former sarpanch of Ramuwala Kalan village Harnek Singh, who is facing charges of sexual exploitation of a woman, today refused to cooperate with the local chief judicial magistrate to get his DNA tested to find that the if he had any relation to the child born to the victim.

Assistant sub-inspector Jaswant Singh, who is investigating the case, had moved an application before CJM Tarsem Lal Mangla through the prosecution yesterday demanding for the DNA test. Harnek Singh has been out on temporary bail (arrest stay) till July 31. The court had summoned him to appear in person in the court today.

Additional public prosecutor Lakhvir Singh told The Tribune that the CJM, while turning down the demand of the police, had given an advice to the investigating officer to use his own powers under Section 53, 53 (A) and 54 of the CrPC to get the DNA test of the former sarpanch.

According to the Section 53 (A) of the CrPC, “examination shall include the examination of blood, blood stains, semen, swabs, in case of sexual offences, sputum and sweat, hair samples and finger nail clippings by the use of modern and scientific techniques, including DNA profiling and such other tests, which the registered medical practitioner thinks necessary in a particular case”.

Harnek Singh was booked on the charges of sexual exploitation and rape two months ago on a complaint of the woman from Badhni Kalan village. Though the complaint was made in March, 2004, the FIR was registered after more than two years, probably due to the pressure of a local politician.

Harnek Singh’s had filed an application before the High Court of Punjab and Haryana for regular bail. The High Court had fixed July 31 as the date of hearing on his bail application.

Meanwhile, the investigating officer had applied for seeking copies of the latest ‘zimni’ orders of the CJM’s court so that the police could oppose the regular bail to Harnek Singh in the High Court on the pretext of the DNA test.


Blanket bail reserved
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 22
Justice H.S. Bhalla today reserved orders on a petition for grant of blanket bail filed by Punjab’s former Director-General of Police Sarbdeep Singh Virk.

The orders were reserved after the conclusion of arguments on Virk’s petition. Claiming implication in false and frivolous cases by the present Badal regime due to vendetta and malafide, Virk had asked for direction to the State of Punjab to give him an advance notice of 10 days if he was required to be arrested or questioned by the state police, vigilance or any other state agency in connection with any future case. He is now posted as DGP, housing, in his parent Maharashtra cadre.

Anticipatory bail for ex-CM’s aide

Taking up a petition filed by Chetan Gupta in the recently registered case against Punjab's former Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh, Justice H.S. Bhalla today granted anticipatory bail.

He was apprehending arrest in first information report number 28 registered on June 20 by the vigilance wing of the Punjab police at Patiala.

Taking up the petition, Justice Bhalla ruled that in the event of his arrest, he shall be released on anticipatory bail on furnishing bail bonds to the satisfaction of the arresting/investigating officer.

Justice Bhalla also directed him to cooperate with the investigating officer and join the investigations as and when called upon to do so.

Issuing notice of motion only to the State of Punjab, Justice Bhalla also fixed July 24 as the next date of hearing in the matter. It will now be taken up with related petitions filed by former Chief Minister's wife-cum-Member of Parliament Preneet Kaur, their son Raninder Singh and his media advisor B.I.S. Chahal.

Chetan Gupta was suspected to be the main conduit for putting black or ill-gotten money of 80 businessmen and top politicians in hawala transactions, investments in real estate and money laundering

State of Punjab given notice

Issuing notice of motion to the State of Punjab, Bench of Justice K.S.Garewal and Justice Daya Chaudhary today restrained Sadhu Singh Ragi from participating in the election to Bhadaur Municipal Council. The directions were issued after the court was told Ragi had concealed the fact that he had been convicted in an NDPS case and had been sentenced to 10-year imprisonment, besides being awarded a fine of Rs 1 lakh.

The High Court, while admitting his appeal, had suspended his sentence, which enabled him to be released from jail. Counsel for petitioner Jasbir Singh further alleged a fraud had been played by Ragi, who in connivance with the returning officer, had got himself elected unopposed as member of the municipal council as nominee of the ruling Shiromani Akali Dal.

The petitioner added while filing the nomination papers for the recently concluded municipal council elections, Ragi had left the column blank where candidates were to specify if they had been convicted in any case.

Pathankot MC questioned

The High Court today asked Pathankot municipal council and improvement trust to explain the reasons behind inordinate delay in removing the encroachments. The Bench of Chief Justice Vijender Jain and Justice Mahesh Grover also appointed lawyer Deepak Sibbal as court commissioner to apprise the court about the steps taken by the MC in removing the encroachments. In a detailed order, the Judges asked the MC to explain why encroachments from Dangu Road-in and around the vegetable market-as well as Amritsar-Pathankot-Kullu road and other areas of the town had not been removed.

Contempt notice

The High Court today issued a contempt notice on the chairman of M/S Montary Industries Limited for allegedly showing disrespect to the court orders on removal of hazardous waste.

The Division Bench of Chief Justice Vijender Jain and Justice Mahesh Grover also directed him to remain present in the Court on September 3.

The directions were issued after Montary Industries reportedly withdrew from the undertaking given in a meeting held on March 10 on removal of hazardous waste and chemicals from the premises by June 30. The Bench observed that on March 17 it was informed about a meeting of Punjab Pollution Control Board held with companies including Ranbaxy laboratories. The representatives of the Montary Industries were absent. The Bench had reproduced the minutes of this meeting in its March 17 order also.


Dharna by aided school teachers, other staff
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 22
On a call of the Punjab State Aided School Teachers and other Employees Union teachers and employees of aided schools held a dharna in front of the office of the DPI (Schools) here today. Retired employees of aided schools also took part in it.

They were protesting against the non-restoration of the pension scheme and retirement benefits withdrawn on June 1, 2003, and denying approval to fill sanctioned posts of teacher and other staff in aided schools. Non-release of grant for six months was also the reason for the dharna. Because of the non-release of grant, many employees have not got salary. Other demands include 15 per cent house rent allowance for schools falling in the jurisdiction of Bathinda Municipal Corporation, grant of interim relief and enhanced medical allowance on a par with government employees.

Gurcharan Singh Chahal, president, and N.N. Saini, general secretary, respectively, of the union, said the SAD-BJP government had promised to accept all pending demands of aided school employees when it came to power. However, after being in power for one year and five months, the government had done nothing for employees of aided schools. It was not releasing even grant in time, they added.

Manohar Lal Chopra, adviser, Dr Gurmit Singh, Ram Gopal Sharma, Bhupinder Singh Sharma, K.K. Joshi, Ranjit Singh, S.S. Bal, Puran Singh Sandhu, Jalwant Singh, Jagdish Singh, Mahesh Gautam, Narinder Nidhi, Pawan Bansal, Jagmohan Singh, K.C. Chaudhary, Kamlajit Singh and Bhupinder also addressed those on dharna.

They urged the Chief Minister to intervene to get the demands of the union implemented. A meeting of the union has been convened on July 27 at Nawanshahr to plan next action.


Faux Pas
PTU sends non-Punjab students in a tizzy
Pradeep Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 22
The faux pas committed by the Punjab Technical University (PTU) in its counselling schedule for engineering, architecture and pharmacy courses for the 2008-09 session has sent the students and parents in a tizzy.

This would put hundreds of non-Punjab students, including those from Chandigarh, competing for the 15 per cent AIEEE quota, to disadvantage as their counselling had been scheduled at the fag end of the counselling session(from September 16 to September 30).

This is despite the fact that the information brochure mentioned that the counselling for the 15 per cent seats of the non-Punjab category would be held immediately after the first counselling of the Punjab state quota.

However, PTU seemed to have put the cart before the horse by scheduling the counselling of the reserved categories such as sikh minority, backward classes, sportspersons, disabled persons, wards of the defence personnel and freedom fighters immediately after the Punjab state quota candidates.

With the first counselling for the 85 per cent category (Punjab state quota) ending on July 26, the long gap between counselling for the non-Punjab candidates for the 15 per cent AIEEE seats would leave hundreds of the students at the mercy of a private universities in the region.

“The Chandigarh students were already at a disadvantage since the quota for them had been reduced to 50 per cent as compared to earlier quota of 85 per cent in Punjab Engineering College, Chandigarh. With the counselling for non-Punjab students scheduled for September, uncertainty had gripped the students, particularly the average students, who are at the middle and bottom of the AIEEE merit list,” alleged a student on condition of anonymity.

A.K. Sharma, a parent, alleged that the non-Punjab candidates had been left in lurch by the PTU allegedly to favour a particular private university. “With uncertainty ruling the roost most of the non-Punjab students would prefer to seek admissions in the private university for assured admission than wait for September counselling,” Sharma alleged.


Board leaves students in lurch
Parmod Bharti

Nawanshahr, July 22
The Punjab School Education Board, Mohali, has failed to declare re-evaluation results of failed students of Class XII (medical group) even after one month of the submission of forms.

A number of students, who have applied for re-evaluation, said: “The board is going to conduct supplementary examination from July 24, but the re-evaluation results are yet to be announced.” Their parents said it seemed that the Board was just concerned about collecting re-evaluation fee rather than coming to the aid of the students.

Baba Farid University of Health Sciences, Faridkot, has allowed the failed candidates to appear for the entrance test for seeking admission in the BSc (nursing) course, scheduled for July 27. However, the students would have to clear the lower examination before the start of first counselling for the admission.

“Now, even if we get a positive result, we will have to wait for March next year to sit in the examination again,” lamented the students.

The affected students and their parents have urged the authorities concerned to either allow the students, who have applied for the re-evaluation, to appear provisionally for the scheduled supplementary examination or conduct a special supplementary examination for the students getting positive results in the re-evaluation.


Students to boycott classes from today
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, July 22
On a call of the District Institute of Education and Training (DIET) Students Welfare Association Punjab, students of DIETs will boycott their classes from July 23 to 25 throughout the state in protest against the non-acceptance of their demands by the state government.

Leaders of the association said today that the state government was ruining the future of some students of previous semester by showing their lectures as “short”.

Leaders also demanded declaration of results of the third semester of the ETT course. They also sought a “golden chance” for the failed students of the first semester of the ETT course.


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