P U N J A B    S T O R I E S


A Day of High-profile Cases
Judicial remand for Tota Singh’s son
Attar Singh
Tribune News Service

Patiala, November 10
The CBI court of H.S Madaan today remanded Barjinder Singh, alias Makhan Brar, accused in the Moga sex scandal-cum-corruption case, in 14-day judicial custody.

Barjinder Singh, as directed by the Judge, reached the CBI court before 1 pm today. He was escorted by Chandigarh police DSP Karnail Singh and CBI counsel S.K. Kantiwal.

A case had been registered by the CBI in Chandigarh against eight persons, Davinder Singh Garcha, AIG, Paramdeep Singh, SP, Raman Kumar, SHO, Amarjit Singh, Sukhraj Singh, Bhupinder Singh, Manpreet Kaur and Manjit Kaur. They had been arrested by the CBI and at present are out on bail.

In today’s hearing, the CBI counsel pleaded for two-day additional CBI remand for Barjinder. However, his argument was countered by Barjinder’s counsel Satnam Singh Kler, who said earlier the CBI had said that they needed his custody for four days. He added that there was no need for Barjinder’s CBI remand to be extended.

The CBI counsel said they needed Barjinder for two more days in remand since he had not cooperated with the CBI.

Barjinder was medically examined before and after the CBI custody. The CBI court witnessed a heavy rush as his father, former Akali minister Tota Singh, was there in the court with a large number of his followers, including 65 sarpanches of Moga district. Members of the Moga Nagar Council too were present.

Tota Singh, while speaking to mediapersons outside the court complex, said his son was being implicated by his political rivals.


Passport plea against Daler dismissed
Tribune News Service

Patiala, November 10
A local court today dismissed the application of Bakshish Singh, a complainant in a case pertaining to an alleged immigration racket floated by pop singer Daler Mehndi.

Bakshish’s counsel had urged the court to seize the passport of Daler Mehndi. However, the court rejected his pleas.

Daler was represented by his counsel Barjinder Singh Sodhi. Bakshish’s counsel had claimed that the singer might go abroad fearing imprisonment.


In Ludhiana City Centre case
Capt seeks time for studying file
Rajneesh Lakhanpal

Ludhiana, November 10
Former Chief Minister Amarinder Singh, an accused in the alleged multicrore City Centre scam, has moved an application seeking more time for the inspection of case file, before hearing the arguments on framing of charges in the case.

The deadline given for carrying out the file inspection had lapsed on November 8. The case was fixed for consideration on framing of charges on November 15.

On the last date of hearing, sessions judge of Ludhiana G.K. Rai had fixed the deadline, after Vigilance Bureau officials pleaded that the framing of charges had witnessed a record delay due to the non-completion of inspection work by defence lawyers for more than six months. The court had also fixed November 15 for hearing arguments on framing of charges.

Justifying his demand for more time, Cap Amarinder Singh’s counsel Trilok Singh Sood said the inspection work could not be completed due to the voluminous record produced by the bureau. It was the right of an accused to inspect the file and get all documents produced by the prosecution on record.

Apart from this, several defence lawyers representing various employees of Today Homes Company had also moved application accusing the bureau for not supplying all relevant documents. One of them has alleged that the statement of a DSP provided to them differs with that produced for court record. The case comes up for hearing tomorrow.

The bureau had chargesheeted 36 persons on December 12, 2007. It contained more than 12,000 documents. Accused were summoned for January 10, 2008. On January 22, 2008, and February 13, 2008, the prosecution supplied the copies of challan to almost all accused.


Rural women take up BSF challenge
Bipin Bhardwaj
Tribune News Service

Hoshiarpur, November 10
While scope for government jobs is quite bleak nowadays, educated girls from rural areas have been coming forward to take up the job of constables (general duties) in the BSF.

The trend came to light after the BSF organised the first-ever recruitment of women constables in the North-West at the BSF Headquarters in Jalandhar in June.

The first batch of 200 women recruits started its nine-month basic recruitment training at BSF’s subsidiary training centre at Kharka Camp, near here, today.

Inaugurating the training, IG of the BSF (frontier), Punjab, Himmat Singh claimed that 612 candidates had been selected for the training, during which they would be trained in weapons and explosive handling, physical exercises, drill, map reading, field craft and border management. Apart from this, they would be given training in all major Indian laws, including IPC, CrPC, Customs.

The schedule would include jungle training for a month in a forest area. After the completion of the training, they would be deployed on the Indo-Pak international border. The woman constables would be given tasks of frisking of women going across the fencing for cultivating their lands.

The IG claimed that their services would also be utilised on the international security duties.

Talking to The Tribune, Himmat Singh said special arrangements had been done to provide residential accommodation to the women constables during training period at Kharka. Two women sub-inspectors from the CRPF had been attached with them for the entire their training period while a lady doctor had been asked to provide required medical assistance to them.

He revealed 84 places had been identified for creating “mahila” barracks at different places of their deployment.

Replying to the queries relating to chances of sexual harassment of women jawans and mental stress while performing duties on frontiers, the IG said: “The recruits are being prepared to tackle such problems with courage and come forward openly if any such case occurs. The BSF would strictly deal with defaulters in cases of sexual  harassments.”

“Provisions are being made to keep the constables busy either in yoga or other recreational programmes during free time at places of their posting”, he claimed.


A step to redeem dignity

Among the women recruits are two widows. Dejected over the attitude of their in-laws, Chander Kala (Uttarakhand) and Suman (Gurgaon) decided to join the BSF.

Chander Kala and Suman
Chander Kala and Suman

Chander Kala, mother of three children, said she had decided to join the force after her in-laws started harassing her just months after the death of her husband Diwan Chand, a Lance Naik with the BSF. Diwan had been killed in a road accident in Delhi in 1994.

Chander Kala said she her in-laws would even refuse to give them food. She left her kids with her parents and joined the BSF.

Leaving her four-year-old daughter with her parents, Suman joined the force to redeem her dignity in the society. Widow of Inderjit Singh, a constable with the BSF, Suman had been thrown out of her house by her in-laws. Inderjit had died of brain fever.

Amarjit Kaur from Lehragagga said she joined the BSF to help her father in rearing a family of six members. A BA-III student, Anu Bala from Talwara in Hoshiarpur joined the BSF to meet the expenses of her brother’s study. “My father is an old person and he has neither any landholding nor a house to live in”, she said.



Dera gets anti-SAD feedback in Malwa
Jangveer Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 10
The Dera Sacha Sauda sect may have announced that it is still to decide on which party to support in the coming parliamentary elections in Punjab, but its followers are clearly anti-Akali and have spoken as such during recent meetings organised by the sect’s political wing in the Malwa region.

The sect, led by Baba Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh from its headquarters in Sirsa, Haryana, had played a crucial role in helping the Congress gain the upper hand in the last Assembly elections.

Despite immense controversy over why a religious order was dabbling in politics, the sect has again decided to make its vote count in the coming parliamentary elections. Its seven-member political wing visited 87 blocks in the Malwa region in the last week to emphasise the need of casting the ‘dera vote’ with complete unity.

“We have a right to vote unitedly”, said Ram Singh, a key representative of the political wing of the sect. He said following interactions with followers, the sect would hold a meeting on November 12 at Sirsa to decide on the next course of action. When questioned whether the dera head would preside over the meeting, he said: “Maharaj does not interfere in political matters”.

Speaking about the Malwa meetings, Ram Singh said sect followers had come out against the SAD in the meetings and alleged that false cases had been registered against them at the behest of Akali workers. Ram Singh also claimed that the sect followers claimed that they were not allowed to hold prayer meetings or even perform rituals like wedding ceremonies according to their customs.

The sect leader said other suggestions of the sangat also included contesting the elections on its own or contesting the Bathinda seat. He, however, said as of now he did not think the sect would fight the elections. He claimed that the sect had received feelers from the SAD also but talks had not borne fruit so far.

SAD secretary Daljit Singh Cheema, however, refuted that the SAD was in touch with the dera. He said the issue was yet to be discussed even in the party forum.

Labh Singh, a former dera loyalist who is the maternal grand son of the earlier dera head Sant Satnam Singh, said he, along with his supporters, would start a drive asking dera followers not to be swayed into voting for any political party. He said if the dera did not refrain from political activities, its ordinary followers would again be at the receiving end.

Meanwhile, according to senior followers of the dera, any move to support a party other than the Congress could result in a split in the sect’s vote bank which is mainly from the backward communities and pro-Congress.

They said choosing to vote for the BSP would not be a pragmatic choice as the dera would not be able to reap any real benefit from such an alliance.


Akalis to contest 4 Delhi seats
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 10
MP and SAD supremo Sukhbir Singh Badal today said the Akalis would be contesting four seats in the Delhi Vidhan Sabha in alliance with the BJP.

He said all four SAD leaders would emerge victorious and at least two would be ministers in the Assembly.

Sukhbir was addressing a meeting of the SAD leaders before inaugurating Vipul World here today. He said the BJP had given them a chance to represent in the Delhi Assembly also.


Now, farmers to sow seeds of social values at grass-roots level
Sanjeev Singh Bariana
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 10
In a new face to the farmers movement in Punjab, the Bharti Kisan Union (BKU) has launched a mission of spreading the message of social and political consciousness among rural masses, particularly against misuse of drugs, alcohol and foeticide.

Giving details on the sidelines of the meeting of the state executive today, Ajmer Singh Lakhowal, president, BKU, said the first programme would begin from November 28 in Hoshiarpur.

A detailed programme chart had been laid out for December 5 at Gurdaspur, December 10 at Moga, December 12 at Patti (Tarn Taran) and December 19 at Bathinda.

"We appreciate the activities of social welfare initiated by different private organisations. However, it is organisations like the BKU that can get the message among the masses at the grassroots level. We have realised that besides our struggle for MSP rates, crops etc, society needs a social overhauling because of falling values".

"The programme will begin with union meetings with farmers at the district level. At the same time the organisation is tying up with different organisations to create a chain of repeating the messages. We will like to make use of better academic inputs in possession of NGOs in particular," he added.

Lakhowal said the imposition of export duty of Rs 8,000 on a tonne of Basmati 1121 yield was a very unfair step by the government. The government needs to give us Rs 1,500 per quintal according to the Swaminathan report. Even the farmers commission has suggested Rs 1,050 as the MSP.

The executive has asked the government to link the prices of rabi crop with the price index. The suggested prices are Rs 1,527 for wheat, Rs 175 for sugarcane, Rs 4,250 for cotton and Rs 4,000 for pulses and oil seeds.

The government has been urged to cut the prices of petroleum products as the crude oil costs have come down. The union has expressed concern over "undue delay in compiling of a report on farmer suicides".

Lakhowal said, "It appears that some conscious effort is being put in to stop a report that may turn to be an eye-opener on a burning issue that plagues the farming community. The massive gap between the official figures and the NGOs on the farmer suicides has raised many an eyebrow. A fair survey is needed to put the entire problem into the correct perspective".


Proclaimed Offenders
Police to review cases of NRIs
Tribune News Service

Mohali, November 10
The Punjab police has set the ball rolling to review the cases of the NRIs who have been declared proclaimed offenders. After finalising the list, the applications for cancellations of the FIRs would be put up before the concerned courts.

Talking to mediapersons here, DGP, Punjab police, NPS Aulakh said cancelled applications would be put in those cases that appeared to be prime facie false. Earlier this year, the Chief Minister, during an NRI sammelan, had announced to examine cases of more than 1,300 NRI proclaimed offenders. A proclaimed offender can be arrested at the airport at the time of his landing in the country.

The DGP, who was in the city to lay the foundation stone of a state-of-the-art cyber crime police station and forensic science laboratory in Phase IV here, said the centre would go a long way in tackling the cyber crime. The building to be constructed by the Punjab Police Housing Corporation would also house a physics lab, texilogy lab, lie-detection lab, biology, chemistry and a ballistic lab.

M.K. Tewari, managing director, Punjab Police Housing Corporation, said the four-storeyed building with basement would cost Rs 8 crore and it be completed in a stipulated period of two years.

He said the housing corporation was ready to undertake projects other than those of Punjab police. With this aim, an MoU was being signed with the Karnatka State Police Housing Corporation for a web-based project management system. It would help in close monitoring of the progress, including quality control, besides introducing the e-tendering system within a period of six months. Besides this, another MoU would be signed with the BSF to undertake the construction of their future projects in the state.

Earlier, the DGP disclosed that the construction work of Rs 10 crore Punjab police training institute for private security guards at Jahan Khelan was going on full swing. The institute will provide training to 4,000 security guards in a year and with the implementation of the Private Security Agencies (Regulation) Act 2005, the training of private security guards to be hired by the private security agencies would become imperative.

On this occasion the DGP gave away certificates to 18 officers of the housing corporation for their excellent performance during the year 2008.


Five dengue cases detected
Sushil Goyal
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, November 10
Though there are reports about thousands of suspected dengue cases in Sangrur district, yet the district health authorities are not accepting it by saying that only five confirmed dengue cases have come to their notice so far, while one patient has lost his life due to the disease.

The district health authorities have reached this conclusion on the basis of an on-going door-to-door survey being conducted by the Health Department teams in Sangrur, Khanauri, Longowal, Malerkotla, Sunam, Dhuri and Ahmedgarh areas of the district. Malerkotla has been found to be the worst-hit area, followed by Khanauri.

Sangrur civil surgeon Dalip Kumar said the teams had visited more than 12,000 houses. He admitted that Ranjit Singh (58) of Malerkotla had died. While the remaining four Ridam (8) of Sangrur, Khetar Singh (8) of Sheron (Sunam), Amzad (19) of Malerkotla and Tulsi Ram (35) of Dirba, were now in good health after treatment.


Dengue cases on rise
Varinder Singh
Tribune News Service

Patiala, November 10
There is no respite in sight from the spectre of dengue with a rise in the number of dengue patients pouring in at the local Rajindra Hospital for treatment, which, apparently defies claims of the Punjab health department that onslaught of dengue has shown a decline due to fall in temperature.

As per information available, local government Rajindra Hospital had treated 291 cases, admitted with symptoms of dengue fever, since mid October. Of these, serum of as many as 163 patients was tested positive for dengue virus infection. The estimated daily admission or stepping in of patients has increased from an earlier average of five to 20.

Acting on instructions of the minister of medical education and research, Tikshan Sud, Professor of social and preventive medicine and the joint DRME Dr Kooner and Dr Surinder Singh, medical superintendent, inspected the dengue isolation ward in the emergency block of the hospital and had an interaction with patients, their attendants, the doctors and the medical staff.

Alarmed at wide-spread area affected by dengue, which included almost whole of Patiala city with patients admitted from 14 colonies of Patiala city and cases coming from surrounding areas like Sanour, Samana, Patran, Malerkotla, Sangrur, Bathinda and Muktsar, Dr Kooner instructed the concerned staff to prepare a “demographic epidemiological pictorial display chart” to show with flags the affected areas of the city and the state.

He maintained that this would not only depict the gravity of the situation to visiting senior functionaries but will also help to take measures on war footing by immediately passing the information to the health department to take effective steps required to control fast spreading disease which has acquired epidemic proportions.


Coordination centres for Nanak Panthi Sikhs
Tribune News Service

Patiala, November 10
In a bid to bring over two crore “Nanak Panthi” Sikhs scattered in 104 Parliamentary constituencies all over south and central India in the Sikh mainstream and to get them due recognition, the All-India Shiromani Akali Dal (AISAD) has decided to set up two coordination centres at Nanded in Maharashtra and Bilaspur in Chhattisgarh.

There are more than two crore “Nanak Panthi” or “Kabir Panthi” Sikhs in India, as per estimates of Jaswant Maan, the AISAD chief and the party’s media advisor Sham Singh.

Though, these Sikhs have a considerable presence around Hyderabad in Andhra Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, Gujrat and certain south Indian states, they are deprived of due recognition in the existing political set up of these states.

Not only this, being far away from Punjab, they are allegedly ‘drifting away’ from the Sikh mainstream. Since they are isolated and almost on their own, these Sikhs, according to the AISAD, are economically not sound.

“Our main focus is to bring them into the mainstream Sikhism and to ensure their welfare and all-round development. For this purpose, we have decided to open two centres at Nanded and Bilaspur where our workers will work for their welfare,” said Maan.

Reacting to the nomination of folk singer Hans Raj Hans from Jalandhar Lok Sabha seat, Maan said that Sikhs would not accept a person who was ‘Pir’ of a ‘mazaar’ in Nakodar.


‘Khalistan’ map found from escaped terrorist
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, November 10
The Ferozepur police today raided the house of Harmit Singh, a terrorist who was on the run in the smuggling of arms, ammunition and narcotics through the riverine belt of Ferozepur district, and reportedly found several incriminate documents, including map of ‘Khalistan’.

He was living in the Chheharta area, an industrial suburb, and working on his PhD in Sikh religious study after enrolling himself in Guru Nanak Dev University.

His name figured during investigations in the seizure of arms, including AK-56 rifles, pistols, heroin and fake currency, which was “home delivered” from Pakistan. The special narcotics cell earlier had seized 14 kg of heroin from two smugglers, including Sarpanch Sukhwinder Singh.

It was found that the arms were delivered to kill the chief of Dera Sacha Sauda. He was the key member of the gang who used to provide training to handle firearms to other members of the group.


Jet Airways to stop flights to London from Dec 1
Ashok Sethi

Amritsar, November 10
A big question mark on the sustainability of the international airport has been raised and fingers have been pointed at the lack of financial viability which has made the management of Jet Airways to completely shut down the international flight schedule from December 1.

It is official now that the airways has put up the notice to all departments, including its travel agents, immigration, airport authority, customs and ground staff, that its last flight to London on November 30 would be the last and it would be curtains for the two-year-old Amritsar-London operations.

Station manager Noel Penkar said they had been weighing various options as the economic turbulence had hit the aviation sector the hardest and the management had to reschedule its flight operations.

Jet Airways used to operate its 220-seater aircraft to London seven days a week and was able to solicit a good response.

A spokesman of the Travel Operator Association said it would be a major setback to Punjabi NRIs travelling to and from here to London.

Meanwhile, Singapore Airlines, which operates three weekly flights from here, has decided to close down operations from February next year.


Hans’ kin chief of Kapurthala MC
Dharmendra Joshi
Tribune News Service

Kapurthala, November 10
It may be a mere coincidence that a day after singer Hans Raj Hans joined the SAD, his brother-in-law Paramjit Singh Pamma was elected Kapurthala Municipal Council (MC) president at a meeting of 27 councillors here today.

BJP councillor Hardayal Singh Jheeta proposed SAD councillor Pamma’s name as president. All 16 Akali and BJP councillors, except SAD councillor Monica Goel, seconded him by raising their hands.

Similarly Parshotam Passi has been elected vice-president of the council. His name was proposed by former chief Mohinder Aggarwal and seconded by all 16 SAD-BJP councillors.

Ten Congress councillors, a Devi Dass Nahar’s BSP (Ambedkar) councillor and ex-officio member of MC House Kapurthala MLA Rana Rajbans Kaur neither supported nor opposed the election of Pammi and Passi.

While the councillors were elected in June, the election of the president and vice-president could not be held earlier due to court cases.

National general secretary of the Youth Akali Dal, Pamma had won from ward number 27 in the election held on June 30. He had joined the SAD after winning the elections as an independent.

He remained MC vice-president before his election as MC president in 2000-01. Also district SAD vice-president and district president of its legal cell, Paramjit Singh contested 2003 MC elections on SAD ticket and won the elections with a huge margin.

Three SAD councillors Pamma, Mohinder Aggarwal and Monica Goel were in the race for the top post.

Talking to mediapersons, SAD observer for Kapurthala MC president election Tarn Taran MP Rattan Singh Ajnala said according to the directions of the SAD chief, Pammi would remain president for first two and a half years, whereas former MC president Mohinder Aggarwal would hold the post for the last two and a half year.

SAD had already made same arrangement in Sultanpur Lodhi where Jagpal Singh Cheema was made MC president for first half whereas former MC chief Jaimal Singh was promised to be made president for the past two-and-half-a-year term.


Purchase of security equipment
Costs imposed on Punjab
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 10
If the State of Punjab is trying to gain time by not furnishing the details of equipment purchased for the intelligence and other wings of the police, the attempt has cost it dear.

Taking a serious note of the state’s failure to furnish the details and seeking three consecutive adjournments in the case, Justice Ranjit Singh of the Punjab and Haryana High Court today imposed costs of Rs 2,000 on the state.

After passing a comprehensive order in the matter pertaining to the purchase of equipment, Justice Ranjit Singh had on September 16 made it clear that the court wanted to know how much was the total equipment purchased by the state for intelligence or other wings, the total value of the apparatus purchased, the nature of equipment and also the officers responsible for making payments for the purchase.

The issue had cropped up during the hearing of a petition filed by Anurag Saxena. He runs a security equipment supply agency and is co-accused in a case registered against Punjab’s former police chief S.S. Virk.

As the case came up today, the state counsel said the document was ready, but yet to be submitted. Taking the details on record, Justice Ranjit Singh fixed November 25 as the next date of hearing.

Justice Ranjit Singh had previously observed: There are allegations made in the petition that the present investigating officer is facing prosecution. State counsel would also have instructions in case it is possible to change this investigating officer to give a fair look to the investigation that is being conducted.

Saxena, through the petition, is seeking the quashing of the FIR against him. The case against Virk and Saxena has been registered by the Punjab Vigilance Bureau. It has been alleged that Virk used his position as Additional Director-General of Police (Intelligence) to procure equipment worth crores for the police department through Saxena, a close “family friend”.


PO case
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 10
The case pertaining to the CBI probe into alleged elimination of proclaimed offenders (PO) in the Saini blast case will come up for hearing before the Supreme Court on December 19.

The plea, which is to come up for hearing, has been filed against the earlier Apex Court orders staying the Punjab and Haryana High Court directions on the CBI probe into the alleged elimination matter.

The information regarding the hearing before the Apex Court was given to the Bench of Justice Mehtab Singh Gill and Justice Harbans Lal by counsel Navkiran Singh.

Taking on record his statement in the main case which is still pending before the high court, the Bench has fixed January 16 next year as the next date of hearing.

The petition before the Apex Court has been filed by an affected party, Davinder Singh Bhullar.

On death row for another offence, Bhullar had earlier moved the high court alleging torture and elimination of his father and uncle, as he was an accused in the 1991 blast case.

Manjit’s plea

The Bench of Justice Hemant Gupta and Justice Nawab Singh today dismissed Akali leader Manjit Singh Calcutta’s petition for the restoration of security cover.

In his petition against the State of Punjab, director-general of police (DGP) Additional DGP and others, Calcutta had contended the cover was withdrawn abruptly, without any intimation or reason.

The petitioner had contended he was expelled from the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) due to some differences in opinion. The cover was withdrawn with the formation of the Badal government in the state, he had added.

MLA gets bail

Justice Arvind Kumar today confirmed the anticipatory bail granted to Moga MLA Joginder Pal Jain in an attempt to murder and rioting case.Jain, through counsel Sant Pal Singh Sidhu, had moved the high court following the dismissal of his anticipatory bail plea by the Sessions Court.

The FIR in the matter was registered under the provisions of the Arms Act and Sections 307, 148 and 149 of the IPC on May 26. The complainant Guriqbal Singh had claimed his brother was contesting elections for the post of panch.

The complainant had added he, along with his brother, was returning after soliciting votes when they met Jain and others. On Jain's call, he was fired upon.


HOME PAGE | Punjab | Haryana | Jammu & Kashmir | Himachal Pradesh | Regional Briefs | Nation | Opinions |
| Business | Sports | World | Letters | Chandigarh | Ludhiana | Delhi |
| Calendar | Weather | Archive | Subscribe | Suggestion | E-mail |