C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S



Cop stoned to death
Hunt on for mysterious woman
Mandeep Puri
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 2
Kashmir Singh, an inspector with the UT police, was found murdered in Dadumajra colony, here, early morning. The victim was bludgeoned to death.

The incident came to light at about 5:45 am when a resident, Muna, found the body lying in a pool of blood in a street. The victim’s face was smashed with big pieces of concrete slabs and the body also bore stab wounds. There were deep cuts on the victim’s head. The victim was wearing a grey-coloured safari suit. Besides his wallet, Kashmir’s official motorcycle (CH-01-G-1-6135) was found near his body.

Sources in the colony said he had gone to meet a woman. He reportedly went for dinner to the woman’s house. A senior official said raids were being conducted to trace the whereabouts of this mysterious woman.

A bloodstained stone, used by assailants, was lying near the body. The police suspect that there were more than two killers.

Muna claimed that a woman, living nearby his house, had informed him that “a man is lying dead in front of his house”. Central Forensic Science Laboratory experts were pressed into service to examine the spot and pick up vital clues. The police is yet to ascertain the motive behind the killing, however, they are working on various theories. An official did not rule out possibilities of love angle in the incident. “We are exploring all angles, including enmity, financial disputes and illicit relations,” said an officer.

According to Kashmir’s family members, he had left his residence in Sector 26, yesterday morning, saying that he would first go to a bank and then buy wood for their underconstruction house in Sector 51.

At about 8:30 pm, he called up his family informing that he would come a “little late”. The family members kept on waiting for him till late midnight, following which they informed the police.

According to Rinku, younger son of the victim, he received a call for his father in the evening. After waiting till about 11 pm, he along with the elder brother searched a number of places, but failed to trace his father.

His licensed pistol, mobile phone and the wireless set were said to be lying in the house.

S.S. Srivastava, SSP, said, “Though, we have not got an substantial evidence, still we are working on different theories. The post-mortem reported clearly that he was stoned to death.

A senior official said though it was too early to comment but till it could be a robbery, an illicit relation or even sudden scuffle, which could have led to the murder. Sources revealed that the police even rounded up the maid of Kashmir Singh, a resident of Sector 56, for interrogation.

Meanwhile the police has registered a case of murder under Sections 302 of the IPC.



Merc mows down boy
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 2
In yet another case of rash driving, a four-year-old boy lost his life when rashly-driven Mercedes hit him in front of his residence in Sector 28, here, this morning. The victim has been identified as Akshit Lakhpal.

Akshit was reportedly at his maternal uncle’s residence, which was next to his residence.

According to sources, Akshit, a nursery student of Param Hans School, was standing outside his house when a speeding Mercedes (HR-03-9999) hit him from behind. The driver of the car immediately fled, leaving Akshit injured. The victim sustained head injuries and was rushed to the Sector 32 hospital, where he succumbed to injuries.

Akshit’s father Vikas Lakhpal, who is working in a private company, said about 2:30 pm, he was informed by family members that Akshit was admitted to the hospital. Residents of the area alleged that the car, at first, collided near the turning point before knocking down the child. Before they could catch the driver, he drove away at a high speed.

The driver reportedly came to an accessory shop, Film Point, to get new number plates. Owner of the shop said, “Salil Gupta of Sector 6, Panchkula, owner of the car, came to my shop a week ago and had ordered for new number plates. As the driver did not enter the shop, I am not sure who it was.” The agitated residents thrashed the shop owner and his employees as they refused to disclose the name of the driver. The situation was brought under control when mayor, Pradeep Chhabra, visited the area and assured them that action would be taken against the accused.

Meanwhile, Deepak Giri, driver of the car, has been arrested.



Boy sodomised in Mohali
Tribune News Service

Mohali, August 2
Another four-year-old boy was allegedly sodomised by an 18-year-old labourer at the Amb Sahib Colony here this afternoon.

The accused, Suraj, tried to commit suicide by consuming a poisonous substance when colony residents gheraoed his jhuggi. Both victim and accused were rushed to the Civil Hospital where the accused has been admitted but is out of danger.

According to the police, the incident took place at about 12.30 pm when the child was playing in the colony and Suraj, who also lived nearby, took him into his room and allegedly sodomised the child. The child came out crying and reported the whole thing to his mother, who then informed other residents.

The enraged neighbours gathered and reached Suraj’s room demanding him to come out. The residents later told the police that Suraj took a poisonous substance and refused to open the door. The resident entered into his room through the roof and got him out. He was conscious and reeked of liquor, said the police.

A case was registered under Sections 377 and 511 of the IPC. The child was sent for a medical examination. The accused was arrested and taken to the civil hospital where his stomach was washed out.



Teenager abducted, raped
Tribune News Service

Nayagaon, August 2
A 14-year-old girl of Dashmesh Nagar was allegedly raped by a married man with the help of his friends. The accused Rakesh Kumar allegedly took the victim away while she was going to school.

According to the police, the incident took place on Thursday. The victim was going to her school in the morning when Rakesh and two of his friends stopped her on the way. They were armed with knives and allegedly threatened to kill her. They forced her into an autorickshaw and took her to another friend’s place where she was asked to change out of her school uniform. The three then took a bus to the Mansa Devi temple where they looked for a room. However, they came back to Nayagaon.

Rakesh allegedly took her to a room in a khera near Dashmesh Nagar and raped her while his friends stood guard outside.

The girl’s father, Kishen, told the police that when Rakesh and his friends were bringing back his daughter, another person who knew them stopped them and demanded an explanation. “Rakesh then attacked him with a knife three times. My daughter came back home and told us about the whole incident,” said Kishen.

He added that Rakesh lived in Kumaon colony with his mother, wife and children and worked in a stud farm in Nayagaon. “He had been hounding my daughter for the past one month and was pressing her to become friends with him. When she refused, he threatened to kill all her family members in case she did not do what he said. She was scared of him,” said Kishen.

Kishen alleged that yesterday Rakesh threatened to kill his nephew and today sent some of his friends outside his house which is when he contacted the police. The police has registered a case under Sections 363, 376, 366A, 120B and 506 of IPC against Rakesh and his friends, Jai Singh and Dabra.



Control of Excise Dept
It’s secy vs secy in UT
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 2
The administration is witnessing an intense game of oneupmanship between two secretary-level officials to wrest the control of the “crucial” excise and taxation department.

It is a matter of record that the officials, secretary, excise and taxation and commissioner, MC, Roshan Sunkaria, and commissioner, excise and taxation-cum-DC, R.K. Rao, are questioning each other’s actions on different matters. Though this tug of war is being projected as the reason behind the recent controversy over the issue of increase of VAT on liquor, there is more than what meets the eye.

Neither Sunkaria nor Rao were available for comments.

The trouble between the two started a few days after administrator Gen Rodrigues (retd) redistributed the work of secretaries. In the third week of June, when Sunkaria was on a week’s leave, Rao, who was officiating in his place, passed orders allocating the work of assistant excise and taxation commissioners and excise and taxation officers to himself, a privilege earlier enjoyed by the secretary.

On returning from leave, Sunkaria was peeved about the move and raised objections on the issue with the seniors. While questioning Rao’s intention to get the orders passed from the adviser in his absence, Sunkaria is learnt to have objected to the haste shown by Rao in passing the orders on June 24.

Sources said the secretary had pointed that the commissioner never consulted him before “procuring” the privilege for himself.

While all this was going on, Sunkaria on June 9 moved a proposal to the administrator for increasing VAT on liquor. This apparently provided Rao an opportunity to corner Sunkaria and he raised objections on the proposal on grounds that it was never routed through him and it was not in interest of the UT.

That this game of oneupmanship has become a no-hold barred war that can be gauged from the fact that the officers have been rushing to the media to sell their side of stories. And the result has been an embarrassment for the administration.

While the administrator has marked an inquiry on the VAT issue, the differences between the officers is yet to be addressed.



Justice Jain retires
Leaves behind a trail of controversies

Saurabh Malik
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 2
Punjab and Haryana High Court's former Chief Justice Vijender Jain, who today bade adieu to the city, has left behind a trail of controversies.

Right from the appointment of judges against the opinion of the High Court collegium, to sharing the dais with chief ministers and going abroad for seminars and conferences, his actions were always under scrutiny of the Bar and the Bench.

Justice Jain had arrived in the city some 18 months back, at a time when the High Court's image among the masses had taken a direct hit due to the sharp divide between the Chief Justice, with extra administrative powers, and brother Judges.

Much before his occupation of the coveted seat, the High Court had witnessed a series of crisis during the tenure of former Chief Justice Arun B. Saharya and Chief Justice B.K. Roy, due to a difference in opinion with the other Judges.

It was worse during Justice Roy's tenure, as all except one Judge had proceeded on mass casual leave. The crisis had ended with Chief Justice Roy and some other Judges of the High Court being transferred out.

Chief Justice Jain, under these circumstances, was expected to “take everyone along”. By the end of his tenure, the High Court was divided over appointments and other issues. Even the Judges who strongly supported his moves during his initial days turned critical of his actions. At times they even spoke openly against him.

Interestingly, almost every thing Chief Justice Jain did during his tenure evoked diametrically opposite reactions from the Bench and the Bar. If he went around cutting ribbons for inaugurating judicial complexes and other buildings, he was appreciated by some for his progressive designs, blamed by many for wasting precious court time.

The use of the state chopper for such purposes also metamorphosised itself into a topic of animated discussion, with even politicians of Punjab openly passing judgment against the Chief Justice for taking obligations from the government and not being analytical enough of its actions.

His tirade against female foeticide also did not go down well with many. Punjab claimed the situation had improved, Haryana agreed. But what many could not understand was why the Chief Justice would go about lecturing, instead of issuing directions to the authorities concerned, an action that would have proved far more effective.

Chief Justice Jain's sharing the stage with the chief ministers too did not go unnoticed. He was particularly blamed for getting himself clicked with the Punjab Chief Minister at a function organised by the Punjab and Haryana High Court Bar Association in the High Court premises. In it, the Punjab Chief Minister had presented the Bar Association a cheque for Rs 1 crore to undertake development work.



Khehar takes over as acting Chief Justice
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 2
Justice J.S. Khehar today took over as the acting Chief Justice of the Punjab and Haryana High Court. He replaces Justice Vijender Jain, who has retired upon attaining the age of superannuation.

The roster of the benches has also changed. The new roster will come into effect from August 4

Born on August 28, 1952, Justice Khehar did his law from Panjab University in 1977 before acquiring LL.M. degree from the same university in 1979. For the latter, Justice Khehar was awarded a gold medal.

He was enrolled as an advocate in 1979 and practiced mainly in the Punjab and Haryana High Court, Himachal Pradesh High Court, and the Supreme Court of India.

Justice Khehar was appointed as Punjab additional advocate-general in January 1992 and was also senior standing counsel for Chandigarh. He was designated senior advocate in February 1995. Justice Khehar was elevated to the Bench on February 8, 1999.


Sharma is Zirakpur MC chief
Tribune News Service

Zirakpur, August 2
The day belonged to N.K. Sharma who was elected the president of the Zirakpur municipal council for the second consecutive time today.

Registering a meteoric rise in his career, 38-year-old soft-spoken former sarpanch of Lohgarh village Sharma, whose group rendered humiliating defeat to the candidates supported by Punjab cabinet minister Captain Kanwaljit Singh, has finally arrived at the Punjab political arena in a big way.

The much-awaited elections to the posts of president and vice- president of the council were held amidst tight security at the MC office here. Sharma’s group had swept the MC polls on June 30 and had a clear majority in the 15-member council.

Sharma and nine other elected members of his group were the only ones who reached the MC office for the elections today. None of the five members belonging to the Captain Kanwaljit group was present. Kharar MLA Balbir Sidhu, who has voting rights in the council, was also absent. However, hundreds of supporters of the Sharma group were present outside the MC office with garlands and sweets.

The election to the president’s post began following the arrival of the convener of the meeting, ADC, SAS Nagar, Jaspal Mittal. The present councillors were administered the oath following which Nachattar Singh proposed Sharma’s name for the president’s post. Ajaib Singh seconded the name. The convener called for a show of hands and each of the present members raised their arms in Sharma’s support. Kulwinder Sohi was elected the vice-president of the council.

As the newly elected MC president moved around the township celebrating his victory, thousands of supporters joined him in celebrations. The victory cavalcade virtually brought everything else happening in the township to a standstill and residents came out of their houses to see their garlanded councillors.

Sharma thanked residents of the township for having shown faith in him and his team. “I will always remain a municipal councillor and each one of you would be the president of the council,” said Sharma addressing a large gathering of supporters outside the MC office.

The status of the five councillors, who did not come for the oath ceremony, is still that of an elected member and only after the oath ceremony can they participate in the day-to-day functioning of the council.



Documentary maker from Scotland on green mission
Babli Hooda

Chandigarh, August 2
We all may be contributing to environmental pollution in some way or the other, but Shrenik Rao is the one who is burning calories to create awareness about preserving environment.

Rao, a documentary film-maker, who has done his masters in political communication from the London School of Business and is a teacher of information and politics in Scotland, is a UNEP (United Nations Environmental Policy) volunteer on a cycle mission from Kanyakumari to Kashmir.

His cycle journey of 72 days started on World Environment Day (June 5) and he has till date covered about 4,500 km. Talking to The Tribune, he said, “Our group till now has planted about three millions trees. My father motivated me and cycling is my real passion.”

He said he was satisfied with people’s response to his mission and added that the government was doing well, but the efforts were not sufficient and more incentives could be given to environmental activists. The only difference between the European strategy and Indian planning was firmness in practice and good incentives.

He emphasised that responsible citizenship was necessary, adding that individual participation was the key to solve environmental problems. He concluded by saying that a shift in the consciousness of the general public towards environmental causes and transformation of policies was today’s necessity.



1.76 lakh assessees file IT returns
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 2
More than 1.76 lakh assessees filed their income-tax returns for 2008-09 till July 31, the closing day for TDS (tax deducted at source) payers, the salaried class and those who file their returns unaudited.

According to income-tax officials, the rest are expected to file their returns by September 30 when the deadline for audited returns ends. Last year, 1, 67,842 people had filed returns for the same period in CIT I and CIT II.

As compared to last year, more than 8,000 assessees filed the income-tax returns for 2008-09. Senior officials of the income tax department said that due to change of range, it was very difficult to assess the total number of salaried class assessees in each range.

As per the change in jurisdiction, Range I includes Industrial Area, Phase II, Sectors 1 to 16 and Nangal, while Industrial Area, Phase I, Sectors 17 and 18, Ropar and Morinda fall into Range II . Range III includes the Manimajra area and Sectors 19 to 25, Range IV has Sectors 28 to 39 and Range V includes Sectors 26, 27 and Sectors 40 to 61 and Mohali district falls in Range VI.

All over India, there was an eight-fold rise in the number of people choosing to file their returns online. This hike got reflected in Chandigarh also. As many as 6,343 people used the online services.

However, the final deadline is March 31, 2009. The July deadline merely ensures that tax payers don't have to pay interest on the taxable income. It also means that if an assessee makes an error in filing the return before July 31, he can rectify it later, which is not the case for returns filed between July 2008 and March 2009.



Verify status of PGs: DGP tells SP
Our Correspondent

Mohali, August 2
Punjab director-general of police N.P.S. Aulakh has asked the Mohali SSP to verify whether any anti-social element was residing as a paying guest or tenant in the town.

The DGP has also asked the SSP to convey to him whether any orders from the deputy commissioner regarding supplying information about tenants and paying guests to the police authorities had been received.

The municipal council has urged GMADA to withdraw its policy which on the one hand allows paying guest accommodation in residential areas despite it being a ‘commercial activity’, but on the other, it bans shops and other commercial establishments in such areas. Various residents’ welfare associations, under the banner of the coordination committee against paying guests in residential areas, have also condemned the GMADA’s policy on paying guests.



Govt schools alumni get tips on placement placement feedback to passouts
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 2
Alumni meets were held at various government schools here today. DPI (S) S. K. Setia was the chief guest. “The main aim of these meets was to develop academic potential and personality of the students and to interact with passout students. Schools also got a feedback of placement in their respective fields,” said Setia.

GMSSS-33 organised a subject-wise alumni meet of commerce courses, which included information technology, accountancy and auditing, stenography, marketing and salesmanship, LIC, and financial marketing management. As many as 400 students participated in the meet.

Students of the respective schools brought their resume along with. Rahul Sales Company conducted on-the-spot interviews. Various other companies also provided information about job avenues in different fields. Saroj Mittal, assistant director, vocational education, was also present.

Around 250 students participated in the alumni meet of engineering stream held at GMSSS-23. Chanchal Singh, deputy DEO, was present. Anita Sharma, subject expert, and Surinder Singh, an industrialist, provided career guidance to the students.

Students were from electronic technology, electrical technology, automobile technology, AC and refrigeration and structure and fabrication technology. Students took part in various cultural events.

The meet of home science courses, like textile designing, fashion designing and healthcare and beauty culture, was organised at GMSSS-8. Around 270 students were registered on the spot. Prospective employers related to these vocations were also invited to encourage the placement of the students. Saroj Gupta, deputy DEO, stressed on the benefits of learning and earning simultaneously in vocational courses.

Alumni meet for the students of hotel management, bakery and food service management was organised at GMSSS-10, while GMSSS-32 was the host for vocational students of MLT, OT and ANM today.

Chandigarh administration aimed to provide placements to the vocational passouts and also to provide them a platform to know the organisations having more potential to absorb the unemployed youth through these alumni meets.



PU Notes
Ecological society cleans campus
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 2
Panjab University Ecological Society members, led by the vice-chancellor, went around cleaning the campus, including market and residential areas, early in the morning here today.

On noticing a large number of non-biodegradable used wrappers, the vice-chancellor felt concerned that the contents of some of those wrappers could be carrying carcinogenic substance. He asked his colleagues to spread awareness so that vulnerable users could be saved from hazardous substances. He also appealed to the shopkeepers to ensure not to sell anything, which could cause health problems.

VC exhorted the residents to come forward, involve their families and neighbours in making Panjab University campus a frontrunner in the city for cleanliness.

WORKSHOP: The Punjab State Council for Science and Technology, in collaboration with Vigyan Prasar, DST, GOI and PU department of physics, organised a five-day astronomy workshop for Vigyan Prasar Network (VIPNET) clubs of Punjab. The workshop was attended by 65 physics teachers, from all the districts of Punjab. The training programme had been designed by a team of scientists and professors, who had been engaged in designing and disseminating the astronomy to the teachers.

The programme was inaugurated by Dr M.M. Gupta, head of physics department, PU. Dr Neelam Gulati Sharma from PSCST outlined the objectives of the workshop and informed about the various activities of the council. Dr Manjit Kaur, who was the co-ordinator of the programme, gave the details of the same.

Arvind C. Ranade helped the participants to assemble the 39mm Galilean simple refractor telescope. Dr Sandeep Sahijpal from Panjab University spoke on the origin of solar system.

Dr Vipin Bhatnagar from PU gave a demonstration on night sky watching with R. K. Yadav from Vigyan Prasar. M.S. Marwaha from Guru Gobind Singh College, Sector 26, Chandigarh, gave a demonstration on practicals in physics at various undergraduate levels.

Punjab State Council for Science and Technology (PSCST) additional director Dr Neelam Gulati Sharma organised a special session for live program on solar eclipse of August 1.



From Schools and Colleges
Freshers’ Party at SD school
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 2
Itika and Harshit were adjudged Ms and Mr Fresher during the Freshers’ Party held at PML SD Public School, Sec 32, here today.

The party was organised to welcome the students of Class XI. The function started at 9.30 with a song sung by Monica of Class XI. Bhangra was performed by the students. Mrigya of Class XII left the audience spellbound with her dance. Following were the prize winners:

Ms Simplicity-Neha; Mr Simple-Gautam; Ms Western-Ankita; Mr Western-Karan; Ms Charming-Raveena; Mr Handsome-Misha; Best Dancer (girls)-Harleen, Best Dancer (boys)-Jaspreet.

Water Conservation Day

St Kabir Public School, Sector 26, held an exhibition to observe Water Conservation Day today in the school premises. Students of Classes VIII and IX took part in the display and presentation of models on the subject. The exhibition was inaugurated by S.K. Sharma, director and president of Environment Society of India.

The winners were team W, comprising Lakshaya Juneja, Akshay Bhardhwaj, Chakshi Sharma, Jaideep Singh Sidhu, Shehzad Singh Bhinder of Class VIII and team Q, comprising of Akansha, Deepika, Shreya, Veronica and Mahima.

Swar Udgam

Inter-School Hindustani Classical Vocal and Geet/Ghazal Competition was organised by Mount Carmel School, Sector 47, here today. In Indian classical vocal competition, Preetika Bhasin of St Kabir-26, stood first, while Arshdeep Kaur of AKSIPS-41 and Samdisha of St Stephen’s-45 got second and third places, respectively.

Harshita of SH-26 got consolation prize.

In geet/ghazal competition, Dikshant of Shivalik School-41, emerged winner followed by Neha from AKSIPS-41 and Sumpreet of St. Stephen’s-45. Sanci Khurana of SH-26 got consolation prize.

Communication workshop

Commerce department of GGDSD College, Sector 32, here, organised a workshop on effective business communication in college premises today. Ashima Dhir, lecturer of the college, addressed the faculty and students about the needs of communication skills in corporate world. The seminar was organised for the students of MEFB (masters in entrepreneurship and family business) and MBE (masters in business economics) as a part of their curriculum training programme.

Plantation drive

The NSS and NCC wings of Governement College-11, planted medicinal and fruit plants in the campus as a part of the tree plantation drive conducted today.

Founder of the Rock Garden, Nek Chand, inaugurated the drive. Dr A. L. Gauba, principal of the college, also planted a sapling. The plants were sponsored by Rakesh Kumar Sharma of Pandit Chaman Lal Advocate Memorial Trust, Kharar.



Guru Hakrishan school celebrates Parkash Utsav
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 2
The Parkash Utsav of Guru Harkrishan was celebrated with great reverence at Sri Guru Harkrishan Public School here today.

Punjab finance minister, Manpreet Singh Badal, joined the school for the celebrations.

The programme commenced with the bhog of Sehaj Path followed by Shabad Gyan by the school choir. S. A. S. Rawel, secretary, Guru Harkrishan Sahib Educational Society, Chandigarh, presented a brief life sketch of Guru Harkrishan.

Meanwhile, Manpreet Singh Badal inaugurated the newly-constructed basketball court. He awarded 30 merit cum scholarships to the deserving students and two scholarships each for divinity and music. He also presented silver coins to the toppers of Class 10th, besides awarding an ex-student of the school, Amninder Singh, for his meritorious performance in AIPMT, CBSE, AFMC and PMT a silver coin and a medal.



High Court
Ads on police beat boxes
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 2
Taking up a PIL by Chandigarh-based Jasleen Singh Jaidka regarding the illegality of allowing advertisements on the police beat boxes and traffic umbrellas, speed limit signboards etc. in Panchkula, the Division Bench of Chief Justice Vijender Jain and Justice Mahesh Grover issued notices for August 14 to Haryana local government secretary and Panchkula municipal council.

The petitioner pointed out the existence of such boards was in violation of the Haryana municipal (control on advertisements) bylaws 1976, hence the need to remove the same.



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