P U N J A B    S T O R I E S


101 Indians back home
Sanjay Bumbroo
Tribune News Service

Attari, November 26
There were tears in the eyes of Jaspal Singh of Kapurthala, who met his father Joginder Singh after five- year- long ordeal in a Pakistan jail, when he crossed over to India through Attari/wagah joint check post today.

Jaspal was among the 101 Indian prisoners released by the Pakistani authorities in a goodwill gesture in view of the ongoing home secretary- level talks being held in Islamabad as part of the confidence- building measures to improve relations between the two nations.

The dubious role of travel agents once again came to the fore for heaping miseries on innocent and illiterate Punjabi youths who wanted to go abroad for greener pastures.

Expressing deep anguish Jaspal said the government was unable to discipline fake agents who continued to rope in people for sending them abroad. He said he had gone to Lebanon in search of green pastures where he worked for about two and a half years before his troubles started. He said he had applied for visa to work in Greece through an agent however fake entries were made in his passport and was caught on the way by Turkey police which handed him over to Iranian authorities who pushed him into Pakistani which led to his imprisonment. He said he was sentenced to five months but was released after 11 months. He also remained in Turkey and Iran’s jails.

Another Punjabi youth Bhupinder Kumar of Jalandhar said he had also applied for visa for Greece by coughing up Rs 30,000 to a agent in Delhi. Instead of landing in Greece he found himself in Turkey much to his shock and bewilderment where he was taken in custody and took away his passport. The authorities there later handed him over to Iran which huddled him with a group of 129 Pakistanis and pushed them into Pakistan’s territory. He said about 15 persons in Kot Lakhpat jail were suffering from serious ailments while six others were afflicted with TB.

Horror of these youths bore testimony to their misadventure into foreign lands due to fake agents who continued to induce them to go abroad on false hopes.

Narsi, a fisherman from Daman and Diu, who lost his dear friend Daya in Landi Jail of Karachi, said he was not happy at his release as he had lost his friend soon after their arrest in the Indian sea in 2006 by Pakistan’s Navy.

He said though the body of his friend had been sent to his native village but he continues to feel unhappy as his release had no meaning now. He said he along with five others was fishing in the Indian territory and were picked up by the Pakistan’s navy which took four of them in custody while released two others also with their boat.

Commenting on the poor health of some of the 358 Indian prisoners in Landi jain at Karachi Narsi said at least five to six had died in jail while other were suffering from various ailments. He urged the governments of both countries to draw up a policy to release the innocent people caught inadvertently crossing over to each others territory. 


Hope floats in Sarabjit’s hometown
Varinder Walia

Amritsar, November 26
There is atmosphere of festivity in the border town of Bhikhiwind on learning that Sarabjit Singh may get reprieve from the gallows following intervention by the Central government, even as Dalbir Kaur, his sister, has been camping in New Delhi to meet external affairs minister Pranab Mukherjee and Rahul Gandhi, general secretary of the All-India Congress Committee.

Talking to The Tribune from Delhi, Dalbir hoped that her brother might be released in the coming year.

A decision on Sarabjit is likely to be taken shortly. Sarabjit’s case came up for discussion as the home secretaries of Pakistan and India began their fifth round of talks yesterday to review the visa regime among other issues. Dalbir said the bilateral talks between the two countries won’t disappoint her, wife and two daughters of Sarbjit, who had inadvertently crossed over to Pakistan in 1990 in an inebriated condition.

Sarabjit’s mercy petition has been pending with the President of Pakistan. The Lahore High Court had sentenced him to death for his involvement in bomb blasts in Lahore and Multan and the Supreme Court upheld the decision.

Sarabjit has been in Lahore’s Kot Lakhpat jail. New Pakistan government is actively considering a proposal to convert capital punishment into life imprisonment.

Earlier, Sarabjit’s execution had been set for April 1 after the rejection of his appeals by courts and a mercy petition by then President Pervez Musharraf, who later delayed his execution for a month after fresh appeals from India.


Shoring up Export Infrastructure
Central panel visits Amritsar today
Ashok Sethi

Amritsar, November 26
The union government has shown seriousness to shore up export infrastructure to meet growing international trade with Pakistan and other countries.

A high level sub-committee of parliamentarians attached with the Ministry of Commerce will pay a two-day visit to Amritsar commencing tomorrow to examine export excellence and export infrastructure at airports, inland container depots, dry ports besides the proposed integrated check post at Attari/Wagah joint check post near the zero line on the Indo-Pakistan border and the railway cargo terminus.

The holy city has emerged as the key transit commercial station due to its international airport, rail link and the Attari/Wagah land route and the government has shown its keen desire to build up modern international cargo complex at all the three sites. The panel will examine the present infrastructure and review plans to build a hi-tech cargo terminus with state of the art gadgetry with hassle- free trade with Pakistan and other important countries across the globe through rail, road and air routes.

The central government has already approved the construction of integrated check post with an outlay of Rs 120 crore for trade with Pakistan and other neighbouring countries. The government will acquire 120 acres for the proposed trade terminus.

The sub-committee includes six Rajya Sabha members including Kashi Ram Rana, E. Ponnuswami, Nikhilananda Sar, S.P. Y Reddy, Sippiparai Ravichandran and Thennala G Balakrishna Pillai along with a battery of senior bureaucrats from the Ministry of Commerce.

The committee would supervise the export infrastructure at the international Rajasansi airport, visit the site of central warehousing corporation, Attari international Railway station and the Attari/Wagah joint check post. 



BJP MP denies controversial statement
Jangveer Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 26
Bharatiya Janata Party MP from Amritsar Navjot Singh Sidhu today denied making the controversial reference telling people during electioneering in Chhattisgarh that siding with a rebel BJP leader would amount to eating beef while submitting his reply to the Election Commission today.

Sidhu, who was given time till today to submit a reply to the Election Commission for violation of the model code of conduct for swaying caste and community feelings and promoting hatred between different castes, completely denied the statement attributed to him.

The BJP MP however maintained even if the statement attributed to him was presumed to have been made; it did not attract para 1(3) of the model code of conduct (appealing to caste and communal feelings) and Section 123 (3) of the Representation of People Act, 1951.

Sidhu while explaining the alleged statement made at a rally at Kereli village in Narginghpur in Chhattisgarh, said he was reported to have asked the rebel BJP leader and former MP Prahlad Singh Patel to come back to the party by referring to the party as ‘mother’. He said he was quoted as saying that if Patel came back to the party he would get due honour. The “alleged statement” also urged people to vote for Anna (the BJP candidate) and said if someone did not vote for one’s mother it would be like eating beef.

The explanation claimed the cow is symbol of culture not of religion. “The expression ‘gow-maans khane ke barabar’ is used in common parlance for an act which one should strictly refrain from. The cow is an animal that nourishes the human being with milk products like a mother. In the alleged expression gow-maans is used to point out the highest kind of treachery. Here the undersigned wants to say if anyone votes for Prahalad, it will be a treachery because he left his mother political party (Bharatiya Janata Party) and joined the Congress”, the BJP leader’s reply said.

Sidhu also claimed the notice did not specify on which religion, caste or communal feeling appeal for vote was made by the undersigned. “From the notice it seems that your esteemed office construed the expression relating to the word “gow-maans” as communal in nature”, Sidhu said by way of explanation, adding “in the contrary it is only used as a phrase”.

The reply also maintained whether such expressions amounted to corrupt practices or not, did not fall within the jurisdiction of the Election Commission. “These grounds can be taken only in petition before the competent court of law to challenge the election of returned candidate”. Sidhu also urged in view of this the notice served on him be withdrawn “in the interest of just and fair election”. 


12 women leaders in race
Varinder Singh
Tribune News Service

Patiala November 26
Race to grab the top slot of the Punjab Mahila Congress, one of the front organisations of the PPCC, has started among women Congress leaders with the elevation of the organisation chief Gurkanwal Kaur as general secretary of the Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee (PPCC) recently .

Though, Gurkanwal, daughter of former Chief Minister late Beant Singh, was brought into the party mainstream by way of her elevation as PPCC general secretary by the party high-command 20-25 days back but, the race for the top slot has started of late, with 12 active women Congress leaders vying to grab the opportunity to head the party’s front organisation.

It was, however, a different matter altogether that the party high-command and top leadership had not given its mind whether, it would be removing Gurkanwal under its ‘oft-repeated and lesser implemented one- person, one -post norm’, or not, or it would be just allowing Gurkanwal to retain both party positions.

The possibilities both ways notwithstanding, more than 12 active and heavy weight Congress women have started to be in contact with the party high command at New Delhi, assuming Gurkanwal will have to go in accordance with the party norms and stance. Besides, visiting the party headquarters at New Delhi or lining up in front of the offices of All- India Mahila Congress chief Dr Prabha Thakur and the AICC’s in charge for Punjab affairs Mohsina Kidwai, these contenders, it was learnt, have started approaching the PPCC acting president Mohinder Singh Kaypee or their area MPs to muster much-needed support for their own cause.

More than 12 women Congress leaders, including, Seelam Sohi, PPCC vice-president Satinder Gujral, Jagdarshan Kaur, former Punjab Social Welfare Advisory Board chief Harsimrat Kaur, former Punjab minister Dr Malti Thapar, MLA Harchand Kaur, and PPCC secretary Amita Chawla were said to have joined the race for the top slot. But, the front runners, PPCC sources revealed, were Dr Malti Thapar, Harsimrat Kaur and Harchand Kaur.

While, Dr Thapar has been a former chief of the Mahila Congress, Harsimrat Kaur, was not only close to late Beant Singh but, she had considerable influence in Doaba, particularly, for her being the NRI Sabha Punjab’s women wing’s president. Similarly, Harchand Kaur was a sitting MLA so she stands good chance if one person, one post principle was ignored. Satinder Gujral also stands a good chance of landing h the top Mahila Congress post for her proximity to former union minister and veteran Congress leader Raghunandan Lal Bhatia. Jagdarshan Kaur, it was learnt, was close to former Punjab minister Chaudhary Jagjit Singh while, Amita Chawla too was said to have been supported by Chaudhary Jagjit Singh and former minister Lal Singh.


Will contest Hoshiarpur seat: Dullo
Our Correspondent

Hoshiarpur, November 26
Though the allotment of party ticket for the coming Lok Sabha elections will be decided by the Congress high command, keeping in view workers’ response, I have made up my mind to contest the election from the Hoshiarpur (reserved) Parliamentary constituency.

This was stated by former PPCC chief Shamsher Singh Dullo while talking to mediapersons at the residence of former minister Romesh Chander Dogra here this evening.

Following the delimitation of the Parliamentary constituencies, the status of the Hoshiarpur segment has changed from the general to reserved category. A majority of the local leaders and party workers had approached him with the plea that he should contest the seat. On their assurance of full support, he had finally decided to contest from here.

Referring to the working of the SAD-BJP government in Punjab, Dullo alleged that law of jungle was prevailing in the state. Criminals were virtually ruling and there was no law and order. Incidents of bank robbery, kidnapping, etc, were increasing day by day. Contraband drugs were easily smuggled by the unscrupulous persons and there was no check on their activities. More than 40 kg of heroin had been seized, said Dullo.

Leaders of SAD-BJP committed atrocities on Congress workers during the recent panchayat elections. Notification of more than 2,000 pro-Congress sapranches had not been done even after six months of the panchayat polls, Dullo alleged.

No policy had been formulated to provide employment to the unemployed youth. The state government was facing serious financial crisis as it had completely failed in enhancing its income sources. 


Cong MP stands up for tanneries
Dharmendra Joshi
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, November 26
Congress MP Rana Gurjit Singh has come to the rescue of defaulter polluting tanneries, power supply to which was disconnected by the PSEB authorities yesterday on the directions of the Punjab Pollution Control Board.

Rana has demanded that these 21 tanneries should be provided three months to install effluent treatment plants (ETPs).

However, when confronted with the fact that these industries are running in residential areas of Basti Danishmanda and Basti Nau and were issued notices nearly two decades ago, Congress MP said he was also not in favour of the units causing pollution, but only those industries should be given more time which had given affidavit that they would install ETPs. If the units failed to install the plants in time, these should be closed.

Rana further demanded that instead of closing these tanneries these should be provided pieces of land in leather complex or some other place designated for industries as hundreds of workers would render jobless after their closure.

President of Small Units Split Leather Makers and Processors Association Sushil Rinku, along with other factory owners, were present.

Meanwhile, Rana said he would also write to the chairman of the board to give more time to these units.

Earlier, the PPCB had ordered the closure of 21 tanneries situated in the residential areas in the city a few days ago for non-installation of ETPs despite notices were issued to them many a time under the Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act 1974. These units reportedly discharge untreated effluents into sewers which are further carried into the Sutlej. 


Punjab YC chief’s poll on Dec 23
Dharmendra Joshi
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, November 26
The Central Election Authority of the Indian Youth Congress has set December 23 for the declaration of new Punjab Youth Congress president and committee. Disclosing this, state secretary of the Youth Congress, Uttarakhand and district returning officer, Jalandhar Urban, for the elections, Reetu Kandiyal said that nomination for Block Youth Congress election would be filed on November 28 and 29.

After campaigning from December two to six, the voting for block level would be held on December eight. The list of elected candidates would be out the next day. However, in case of re-poll, which would be held on December 10, the final list would be out on December 12.

For district election, the nominations would be filed on December 13. December 14 has been fixed for withdrawal of nominations and final list of the district level elections would be out by December 17 after the voting and counting on December 16. 


CPI for relief to terrorism-hit
Sushil Goyal
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, November 26
The CPI and the CPM will contest more than six seats in Lok Sabha (LS) elections in the state. Besides this, the state leadership of both parties will meet in a fortnight to finalise modalities of alliance with other Left democratic and secular parties.

Member of the national executive committee of the CPI Dr Joginder Dayal said today the CPI had already decided to contest Faridkot and Bathinda Lok Sabha seats, but on other seats , it would take a decision on December 20 and December 21 at its state executive committee meeting.

Demanding punishments for the culprits of “anti-Sikh” riots of 1984, Dr Dayal asked the Union government to announce compensation for the terrorist hit the state on the pattern of victims of “anti-Sikh” riots as thousands of Punjabis had lost lives and their families suffered in a big way at the hands of the terrorists in the state. He also asked Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal to announce financial assistance for the terrorist victims as the Akalis had been demanding from the Union government for victims of the “anti-Sikh” riots.


AISAD to contest 110 LS seats
Sushil Goyal
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, November 26
To broaden its base in the country, the All-India Shiromani Akali Dal (AISAD) has identified 110 seats (where Sikhs have decisive vote bank of above 10,000 votes) in various parts of the country where it will field its candidates for Lok Sabha elections.

The seats include 13 in Punjab, one in Chandigarh, four in Jammu and Kashmir, two in Himachal , seven each in Haryana and Delhi, 16 in Uttar Pradesh, four in Uttarakhand, eight in Bihar, 10 in Maharashtra, 12 in Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh, six in Rajasthan, two in Gujarat, three in Karnataka, four in West Bengal and five in Orissa.

Talking to The Tribune over the phone today, its president Jaswant Singh Mann said his party would contest all 13 Lok Sabha seats in Punjab, one in Chandigarh and six in Haryana on its own while on the remaining seats it would negotiate with local parties and groups, which accepted their poll agenda. 


Music industry losing to pen drive
Varinder Singh
Tribune News Service

Patiala, November 26
Global meltdown has hit the Punjabi music industry hard with hardly any new music albums being cut these days by singers or music companies, otherwise known for releasing hundreds of music albums every month.

The advent of USP pen drive, a normal accompaniment of car music systems, has given a final blow to the industry, which was already facing crumbling returns due to the ever-growing spectre of piracy.

Attracted by high yields, new and old companies used to churn out hundreds of albums of established and unknown singers every month for demand was too high to meet.

Post-meltdown, the situation has virtually taken a U-turn to such an extent that most of newly floated companies were even forced to wind up their shops, what to talk about planning of new numbers. Demand for something new from the stables of the native music industry has also got dipped abroad where NRIs had been known for patronising established and upcoming singers till about last year.

“Everything seems to have come to a standstill. Though, the Punjabi music industry was already facing a resource crunch owing to lack of something fresh, the meltdown has resulted in crashing of demand of singers and their albums. Since, panic has gripped buyers all over the world, they won’t spend even a single penny without giving it a proper thought.

“Furthermore, cheap cultural shows at marriages have given a big blow to the business of singers as people tend to spend Rs 10,000-20,000 on such shows instead of giving Rs 1.5 lakh to Rs 2 lakh to a singer,” says Punjabi singer Sukhnain of ‘Lachhi’ fame, adding that the industry, which was at its peak in 2002, was currently at its lowest ebb.

Noted Punjabi music director Kuljit attributed the downturn to the inability of singers and music directors to come out of the rut and present something new. “People have got fed up with same beats and identical songs and that too in hundreds. Meltdown, of course, has its effect as far as demand and intention of people to spend their hard earned money is concerned. The situation has come to such a pass that upcoming singers are forced to spend money from their pockets while, established singers are reluctant to spend money in the wake of sky-rocketing input costs,” said Kuljit.

Well-known Punjabi writer and journalist Kuldip Bedi observed that the meltdown has stalled the circle of money, which, in turn, has cast a shadow on the fortunes of those in the music business. “Not only the Punjabi music industry, entire Bollywood is reeling under resource crunch these days,” says Bedi.

Sources in the music industry revealed that the final blow to the industry has been given by the USB pen drive. “The effect of the pen drive was even more worse than that of pirated CDs. One pirated CD or MP3 could have eight to about 100 songs, but a USB pen drive could easily carry 500-600 songs. So, cassettes and CDs have staged a vanishing act from cars of people which, were preferring the convenience offered by the pen drive,” said Kuljit.


Delay in sales tax refund 
Punjab plans to plug loopholes 
Saurabh Malik
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 26
Finally, Punjab is evolving a mechanism to fix responsibility in cases of inordinate delay in refunding illegally recovered sales tax amounts.

The development is significant as the pile of petitions seeking refund is ever mounting in the Punjab and Haryana High Court. In one such case, it took the authorities concerned 17 years to refund the amount without even paying the interest.

For the purpose of evolving the mechanism, the state chief secretary has already held a meeting with the financial commissioner, excise and taxation. An affidavit to this effect was furnished by the chief secretary in a petition against the State of Punjab by J.K. Tyre and Industries Limited.

The company has sought refund of amount “in light of an order dated September 1, 2005, passed by the sales tax tribunal”.

In the affidavit, the chief secretary has asserted the refund has been made to the petitioner and “explanation of some officers has also been called”. Appropriate action would be taken after considering their reply.

Taking on record the affidavit, the Bench of Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel and Justice L.N. Mittal asserted: “In the minutes, it has been mentioned that method and system should be in place so that the right of a person to receive refund can be processed.

“It has further been observed that the monitoring system needs to be drawn up to ensure compliance of the statutory provisions”.

Determined to take the matter to its logical conclusion, the Bench directed the chief secretary to file a fresh affidavit after ascertaining the progress. The matter will now come up on February 27 next year for further hearing.

The Bench had earlier held Punjab sales tax authorities in the wrong for “gross dereliction of duty” in refunding illegally recovered amounts. It had ruled: “If the department has the right to recover, it cannot ignore its duty to refund the amount found to have been illegally recovered”.

In its detailed order, the Bench had observed: “There is a flow of cases of this nature and at times it is stated that the refunds are not given for extraneous considerations. In another petition, it has been pointed out that the refund has been given after 17 years and that too without any interest.

“This shows a dismal picture of honesty and responsibility of the sales tax officers responsible for giving refund…. A mechanism has to be evolved by the administration to fix accountability and responsibility for the abuse of power,” the Bench concluded.


Mandi Board’s lottery scheme for farmers

Moga, November 26
The Punjab Mandi Board has introduced a lottery scheme with to motivate the farmers to bring entire kharif and rabi produce in 'mandis' (grain markets).

The scheme will involve distributing Rs 3.70 crore among the lucky draw winners at the end of every paddy and wheat season.

It will only cover the farmers who sell their produce in the 'mandis'. With this scheme, the board hopes to increase its income through market fee and development fund, Mandi Board chairman Ajmer Singh Lakhowal said here today.

Lakhowal has directed the chairpersons of all the 145 market committees of the state to earmark Rs 2.55 lakh each in each kharif and rabi season for the scheme.

After each rabi and kharif season, lucky draws will be taken out at all the market committees. The first prize will be of Rs 50,000, with three second prizes of Rs 35,000 each and five third prizes of Rs 20,000 each.

The first such lucky draw function will be held here in January next year.

Under the sceme, a farmer will get one coupon from the market committee for every 50 quintal of his produce sold in the 'mandi'.

The Mandi Board has decided to get printed about 1.50 lakh coupons at a cost of Rs 10 crore for the scheme.

Lakhowal hoped that with the introduction of the scheme, farmers will stop selling their produce to private traders or millers and will also not holdback their stocks.

For the time being, the scheme will be limited for paddy and wheat, he said while hoping to extend it to other crops, including cotton.

Lakhowal observed that by taking various measures to check theft and evasion of market fee, the board's income increased by 47 per cent in this fiscal year, from Rs 346.45 crore to Rs 508.85 crore. — UNI


Declared dead, man starts breathing at crematorium
Anil Jerath
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, November 26
A man who was presumed dead, today started breathing when he was about to be cremated. It all started on Monday night when Rajpal Singh (35) who after consuming liquor, mistakenly took some poisonous substance lying nearby at his home. All other family members were away to a marriage function at that time.

Despal, cousin of Rajpal, who happened to visit him, found Rajpal in a critical condition, He took Rajpal to a private clinic in Bhagta Bhaika where doctor declared him brought dead.

In the meanwhile, family members were also informed about the death of Rajpal who rushed home. But all of a sudden the presumed ‘dead’ started moving his leg. He was readmitted to a hospital at a private hospital in Bathinda and doctors began treatment. He was put on a ventilator and was doing well.


BSF, Pakistan Rangers hold meeting
Tribune News Service

Attari, November 26
Senior officials of the Border Security Force and the Pakistani Rangers here today held a routine monthly meeting in the conference room on the Pakistani side to discuss bilateral and local issues. The Indian side was led by Vimal Satyarthi, commandant C sector while the Pakistani delegation was headed by Tariq Sultan Awan, wing commander B Sector. 

Both sides reportedly held talks about construction of, pillars, drug smuggling and inadvertent crossing by the nationals of both the countries. The talks began this morning at 10 am and lasted till 3.30 pm. According to sources the meeting was held in a cordial and warm atmosphere.


SAD (A) seeks arrest of killers
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, November 26
Hundreds of persons, including women, led by general secretary of the SAD (Amritsar) Jeet Singh Alloarkh today staged a dharna and held a rally in front of the office of the deputy commissioner here in protest against the non-arrest of alleged killers of a woman and three men.

The protesters also blocked traffic for about 15 minutes at the traffic lights chowk, near main bus stand. Alloarkh said the police could not locate the murderers of Jaswant Singh, husband of Gian Kaur of Kakra village, who was a worker of their party. Jaswant Singh had been killed on August 19. Besides this, a newly elected panch Jagseer Singh had been murdered at Tallewal village (Barnala).

The police had not arrested the murderers of the panch so far. Likewise, Raj Kumar of Moonak and Daljit Kaur, wife of Karnail Singh, of Manakmajra village (Malerkotla), had been murdered, but no arrest had been made in these cases also, he alleged.

Alloarkh demanded arrest of the alleged killers without any delay otherwise the SAD (A) would be compelled to stage dharnas in front of the police station concerned. 


HC notice to Akali MLA Harish Dhand
Frontier Cycles Rape Case
Swati Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 26
An Akali MLA may soon be made party in the Frontier Cycles rape case.

Taking up an application moved by counsel of the victim Bhupinder Singh Thind, in Punjab and Haryana High Court, seeking to make sitting Akali MLA Harish Dhand party in the case the court issued notice to him. The case’s hearing was adjourned to December 15.

The petition was moved under Section 482 of the Cr PC for impleading, summoning and issuing notice to Harish Dhand. The counsel for victim stated Nilabh Kishore, senior superintendent of police, Fatehgarh Sahib had conducted an illegal and unconstitutional inquiry at the behest of Harish Dhand. It was further stated the inquiry was started by the officials concerned on the application of Rajinder Singh brother of Narinder Singh, the accused and director of Frontier Cycles in Ludhiana.

On May 28, 2007, a case was registered against Narinder for charges of rape and criminal intimidation on a complaint from a 24-year-old girl of Ropar. She had alleged Narinder raped her in his house in Sector-34 Chandigarh on the pretext of giving her a job.

During the last hearing, the SSP giving explanation on the inquiry report stated the inquiry was conducted on the application submitted by the victim seeking inquiry in the matter. It was further added the inquiry was conducted to inquire into the conduct of DSP Rajinder Pal Singh Anand because Rajinder Pal Singh Anand was brother of the accused in the case, Narinder Singh.

The inquiry report concluded: “It seems from my inquiry that it was a well thought planning. The victim lured Narinder Singh and had intercourse with him. Thereafter the victim got registered a rape case against him. This planning was made either to harm or extort money from him.”

The inquiry report stated call records of the 'victim' and three others indicate a conspiracy to frame him.

The phone records show frequent exchange of calls between the 'victim', her friend (a key eye witness); a DSP (posted at Ropar, when the incident took place) and a businessman (a friend of Narinder Singh's relative).

According to the inquiry the four were in constant touch with each other before and after the alleged rape took place. 


HC releases increments to five retired judges 
Saurabh Malik
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 26
As the recommendations of the First National Judicial Pay Commission (Shetty Commission) have been accepted by the Apex Court, the state government cannot escape its implementation.

With these observations, the Punjab and Haryana High Court today directed the release of four increments on account of stagnation to five retired district and session judges. The payment of arrears with interest has also been ordered.

Allowing the petition against the State of Punjab and others filed by judges K.K. Garg, Amarjit Singh Sodhi, J.P. Gupta, Hardial Singh and G.S. Khaurana, Justice Permod Kohli further ruled the benefits had been conferred by the Shetty Commission, and the recommendations had to be implemented.

Pronouncing the orders in an open court, Justice Kohli made it clear that it was the constitutional obligation of all the states to implement the Apex Court’s directions. Neither the state, nor the courts, could deviate from implementing the Apex Court orders.

Justice Kohli also quashed the impugned communication granting only one increment to the judicial officers on account of stagnation. The Judge also directed that the arrears should be calculated and paid, along with the interest, to the petitioners within three months of receiving the order’s copy. The retirement benefits too would be re-fixed.

During the hearing, the counsel for the respondents asserted the petitioners were not entitled to the benefits of four increments on account of stagnation under the rules. The counsel added there was no provision for the grant of such benefits in view of the Shetty Commission recommendations.

The counsel for the petitioners, on the other hand, also referred to the recommendations to build up their case for the grant of the benefit. Referring to recommendation number 5.94, the counsel said it provided that an officer, reaching stagnation level, must be given stagnation increments as prevalent.

The petitioners had earlier asserted they were given four increments to compensate them for stagnation.

But when the recommendations of the Shetty Commission were implemented under the Supreme Court directions, the benefit of the stagnation increment was withdrawn. 


Transport tribunal to get facelift
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 26
Punjab State Transport Appellate Tribunal will soon get a facelift.

The state has informed the high court that the authorities concerned have decided to carryout alterations in the existing premises in Sector 39 here.

The modifications would make the accommodation suitable for the tribunal. The state has also claimed a committee was constituted for the government for “hiring” a private building for shifting the tribunal. But only one offer was received, that too unsatisfactory.

Taking on record the assertion, Justice Tirath Singh Thakur and Justice Jasbir Singh directed: “Any process of altercation or modification in the accommodation available to the tribunal at present must suit the requirement of the presiding officer. The respondents would, therefore, do well to undertake the process of alteration or modification in consultation with the presiding officer.”

In his petition, advocate Arvinder Arora had sought directions to provide necessary facilities to the tribunal. He had added the tribunal should be provided space in a government building near the high court, preferably in the Mahatama Gandhi State Institute of Public Administration.

He had added District and Sessions Judge Birender Singh had joined. But on seeing the pathetic condition of the building, he had written a letter to the state government and had categorically stated the tribunal was functioning from a private building and did not give the impression of a court.

Appeals’ decision

Taking up a petition filed by Amritsar Vikas Manch, Justice Tirath Singh Thakur and Justice Jasbir Singh today asked the deputy commissioner concerned to decide within six weeks appeals against eviction filed by several clubs in Amritsar Ram Bagh.

The Bench also directed the payment of use and occupational charges. The petition, filed through S.S. Behl, had earlier sought directions for preserving the Ram Bagh as a historical monument. Behl had contended it was a “priceless treasury of historical value” of national importance. 


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