C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


P’kula heist kingpin held
Was involved in over 26 cases of dacoity, murders
Tribune News Service

Yamunanagar/Panchkula, March 14
In a major breakthrough, the Yamunanagar police today arrested the kingpin of a robbers’ gang, Amit Kumar Yadav, a resident of Rohtak, and claimed to have solved 26 cases, including the sensational robberies at Panchkula’s PC Jewellers on January 27 and State Bank of Patiala on February 12.

While Rs 2 crore and Rs 9 lakh were stolen, respectively, in the two Panchkula robberies, the suspect was also involved in some sensational murders, including that of a Jagadhari-based businessman and an employee of a company in Hisar.

According to police officials, Amit, an MBA graduate, had masterminded the robbery at PC Jewellers and had disguised himself as a Sikh policeman.

It may be recalled that five people had entered the jewellery shop posing as policemen and had convinced the staff that they had come to conduct investigations in a theft case.

Once they were let in, they took out weapons and within minutes, decamped with jewellery worth Rs 2 crore.

Police officials said Amit’s initial plan was to rob ICICI Bank in Manimajra, but the same was abandoned, as there were too many people around.

However, on February 12, Amit and his men struck at State Bank of Patiala and managed to flee with Rs 9 lakh.

Preliminary investigations by the police have revealed that Amit, who has a long criminal history, was residing in house no. 355, Sector 12, Panchkula.

He had reportedly left the house about a month back but had paid two months advance rent to the landlord on the plea that he was going out of town for some personal work and would return soon.

He had called up his landlord a few days ago and had told him that he would return later this month.

While the police was on the lookout for him ever since the January 27 robbery, the murder of businessman Charanjit Singh of Jagadhari had put a lot pressure on the cops who subsequently launched a massive hunt to nab him.

A team of the detective staff headed by the DSP (D) Mukesh Kumar finally arrested him. The police has also recovered a .32 bore revolver with two live cartridges from Amit’s possession.

Amit, along with his two associates, had shot dead a stone crusher owner,
Charanjit Singh, at his residence in Sector 17 of HUDA on February 28 night
following old revenge.

After Amit was identified as the main accused in the murder case, the team of six cops had been constituted to arrest him.

One of the accused, Samir Nain, had already been arrested in the case on March
8 by the CIA staff, said SP Vikas Arora, while addressing press conference here
this evening.

“During interrogation, both Amit and his associate Samir Nain have confessed their involvement in dacoity at PC Jewellers and of Rs 9 lakh robbery at State Bank of Patiala in Sector 15, Panchkula. Besides, the duo also admitted that they had murdered a businessman of Jagadhari on February 28 and also shot dead Rajinder Kumar of Magma company on September 1, 2008, in Hisar and also looted Rs 26 lakh from him,” the SP added.

“They also looted Rs 65,000 from a petrol pump at Jullana in Jind and also Rs 15,000 and Rs 25,000 in two different incidents in Rohtak. Amit was also arrested in two cases under the Arms Act registered against him in the district as he had also made an attempt to eliminate Charanjit twice last year. The involvement and whereabouts of the other accused and further details of the cases would be revealed after interrogation of the accused,” the SP said.

The name of the DSP Mukesh Kumar and the CIA in charge Pawan Kumar has been recommended to the DGP for appreciation keeping in view their efforts and courage to solve the cases, the SP said.



7-day police remand for Saji
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 14
The court of Judicial Magistrate (Ist class) Sumit Ghai today remanded controversial IPS officer and former zonal director, Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB), Saji Mohan, in seven-day police custody.

Saji was brought to the city today on production warrants from Mumbai. Soon after he was arrested by the UT Police, Saji, who was once a terror for certain local police officials, was taken for a medical examination to Sector 16 hospital and then lodged at Sector 3 police station amid tight security.

While he was slated to be interrogated later at night by senior police officials, including the DIG and the SSP, he was questioned at length by DSP B.S. Chaddha, who is the inquiry officer in the cases registered against him.

Prior to this, the UT Police had taken production warrants of the IPS officer twice from a Mumbai court but were not able to produce him due to procedural loopholes.

The cases registered against Saji include embezzlement, criminal conspiracy and corruption. The case of embezzlement was when Rs 13.81 lakh were found missing from the seizures made during his tenure.

The police has already seized the malkhana record. They are taking the handwriting sample of the IPS officer.

Seeking police remand of 10 days, special public prosecutor Manu Kakkar argued, “We have to recover the missing amount of Rs 13.81 lakh that was missing from the seizures made during Mohan’s tenure. Also, the police is to figure out the names of other people involved in it and if there is forgery of any kind.”

Contesting the remand, Saji’s counsel Sarabjit Kaur argued, “The IPS officer had submitted a report on the alleged nexus of the UT Police cops with the drug peddlers due to which he is being falsely implicated.”

Opposing to the police remand, the counsel for Saji asserted, “Being the zonal director of NCB, Saji Mohan was not supposed to deposit the money.”

The police had also arrested the superintendent of NCB, Balwinder Singh today morning who was sent in judicial custody by a local court.

The UT police has arrested him on charges of misappropriation of seized contraband arrested Balwinder.



The unexpected onlooker
Archit Watts

Chandigarh, March 14
The court of Judicial Magistrate (Ist class) Sumit Ghai where Saji Mohan was produced today had an unexpected onlooker, Sub-Inspector HS Sekhon, who was suspended on the basis of the report submitted by the former on the alleged drug peddler-cop nexus in the city.

Dressed in a T-shirt and jeans, Sekhon was visibly pleased seeing Saji in custody of cops. On the other hand Saji, who was wearing a blue shirt and grey trousers and rubber slippers, avoided eye contact with all those present in the court and kept his head down during the entire proceedings.

He refused to answer queries from the media, which was present in full strength. Some cheeky journalists, who had been apparently at the receiving end from the IPS officer during his heydays, used the opportunity to corner him by asking him if he had any “tips” to offer for reporting in his case.

While Sekhon sat through the remand proceedings of Saji?s former superintendent, Balwinder Singh, the inquiry officer in the case, DSP (EOW), BS Chaddha, persuaded him to leave the courtroom before the arrival of the IPS officer. Though Sekhon left, he was heard saying “Bas main taan ek vaari Saji di shakal dekhni hai.” But Chadha after arguing with him pushed him out of the court.



Plan of action

Cops to grill Saji to recover Rs 13.81 lakh that went missing from the seizures made

Question him on the report submitted by him on the alleged involvement of the UT Police cops in drug nexus

To uncover involvement of other officials in the case



PEC registrar appointment sparks off row
Sumedha Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 14
The alleged unilateral appointment of SK Suman as the new registrar of Panjab Engineering College (PEC) by Chander Mohan, chairman of the board of governors (BoG) of the PEC, has sparked off a major row among members of the BoG.

The appointment that was allegedly made by not only defying the administration’s orders but also the electoral code of conduct has been justified by Chander Mohan.

According to him, “There is nothing wrong in it and it has been done according to laws only. No approval from the BoG is required for this appointment and there is no electoral code imposed in the PEC.”

His reaction though has evoked huge disapproval amongst board members, according to whom, the chairman has flouted the Section 11 A(2) of the Memorandum of Association of the PEC which states that the registrar shall be appointed by the BoG on a contractual basis on the recommendation of election committee.

The same memorandum also clearly states that as the institute is recipient of government funds not only does it have to comply with electoral code but also the administration has the full right to review and revoke any such arbitrary decision.

“I think according to rules the ‘selection’ would have been brought in the BoG meeting, where it had to be approved by the members,”said Ram Niwas, Home Secretary and member BoG, PEC.

“The chairman can’t do so on his own.The appointment was done on the day of the interview itself, not informing or calling the BoG meeting and defying the electoral code and the administration’s orders. Every time such an appointment is made, we have it in the agenda of the BoG meeting which is then approved. Nothing of this sort has been done as yet,” added another member.

Meanwhile, the administration has also promised to take the requisite action after the conclusion of inquiry.

“This is no internal matter. The administration has the full right to review any of the institute’s decision, inquire and nullify it if found unlawful,” said the Home Secretary.



Chand-Fiza Episode
Is SMS talaq valid?
Sumedha Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 14
“Tele or SMS talaq”, the latest twist in the Chand-Fiza saga has evoked curiosity that whether declaration of divorce over the phone is valid or not.

While the ‘shariat nikahnama’ unveiled last year by the All India Muslim Women Personal Law Board debars men from declaring ‘talaq’ (divorce) over phone, SMS or Internet or even in a fit of anger or in a state of intoxication, the organisations like Darul Uloom Deoband consider it valid in all afore mentioned conditions and in cases where the husband declares the divorce over a message and saves it as a draft.

While many of city intellectuals are of a view that the Chand-Fiza episode is an exhibition of using the religion to marry for leisure and leave in haste the opinion remains divided over the validation of this divorce.

“Talaq over phone, message or post is valid given the fact that the communication is being done by the husband directly. In case of intoxication, if the husband is conscious enough to be held responsible for his behaviour, the ‘talaq’ uttered at that time is valid enough,” said Mufti Mohammad Anas Kasami of the Sector 26 mosque.

However, for many others, technology has its own glitches so such divorce shall have no validation.

“The shariyat clearly states that the husband has to give talaq willingly. How can one assure that whether it’s the husband only who has sent the message or spoken on phone? What is the guarantee that the decision is not under the effect of any intoxicant? In this specific case of Chand and Fiza, while Chand had publicly disowned love messages sent by him to Fiza over phone, what is the assurance that this time his phone is not being used by somebody else?” asserted another city-based cleric.


RCS officials accused of fraud
Illegally transferred flat of defence personnel’s widow
G.S. Paul
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 14
A 70-year-old widow of a defence personnel got the shock of her life after finding that her flat in a group housing society has allegedly been sold off to another person without her knowledge.

Saroj Sharma, who was allotted a “B” category flat no. 1176 in the Universal Cooperative House Building First Society, Sector 48, Chandigarh. The flat was transferred in her name last year after the death of her husband R.R. Sharma.

She alleged that she was robbed of her share by one Harsimran Kaur, in connivance with the officials of the Registrar, Cooperative Societies (RCS), Chandigarh.

Leaving nothing to chance, she has lodged a complaint with the SSP, Chandigarh, and on March 9, the complaint was marked to Deputy Superintendent Police (South) to inquire into the matter.

“After taking possession letter from the management, I decided to renovate it for myself and my dependent daughter. I was taken aback finding that the locks of my flat were broken and replaced with new locks,” she said.

A probe into the issue revealed that the two officials of RCS office - Amarjit Singh and Udham Singh - allegedly misusing their official capacity, got the flat transferred in the name of Harsimran Kaur.

The validity of the possession letter issued to Harsimarn Kaur on January 7, 2009, by both RCS officials has come under scanner as their term as administrator of society expired on December 31 after the formation of new governing council of the society.

When contacted, Joint Registrar, RCS, N.P.S. Randhawa said, “It all happened before I joined the department. But, it is a grave issue. I will inquire into the matter and justice will be done to the genuine member.”

However, Amarjit Singh when contacted on phone, assured to talk after sometime but later his phone was switched off. Udham Singh did not pick up the phone despite repeated attempts.

While Harsimran Kaur could not be contacted, her father Kulwant Singh refrained from commenting on the issue.

Devinder Gupta, president of the society, confirmed that the flat was transferred by the officials of the RCS office in a fraudulent manner.

“Actually, till date we do not know how come the share was got transferred in Harsimran’s name when she already had withdrew her share from the society by claiming back the paid amount,” he said.

Harsimran Kaur was the one of the members of the society till 2003. Thereafter, she chose to drop her claim by asking to refund her paid amount.

“Her membership was terminated after she was paid back an amount of Rs 1.69 lakh through a cheque. All of a sudden, after four years she appeared to claim her share in society. Also, giving two hoots to the cooperative society norms, Harsimran was allotted flat of B category whereas she was member for A category,” said Gupta.



Policy on real estate auction soon
Admn proposes to raise average price by 5 pc;
southern sectors to benefit
G.S. Paul
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 14
The administration will soon draft an auction policy for the real estate in Chandigarh. Taking the average per square yard reserve price of the auction organised in October as a benchmark, the Estate Office has proposed to raise the average price by 5 per cent this time.

This formula has been mooted out for about 50 residential and 56 commercial sites, mostly located in the southern belt, to go under the hammer on March 27.

The buyers will have wider choice since the residential plots ranging from 4 marla to 2 kanal will go under the hammer. In the commercial segments, the investors could have their pick from booths, bay shops and shop-cum-offices (SCOs).

Confirming this, UT Assistant Estate Officer Ashwani Kumar said: “We are working on the modalities to devise a formula for fixing the reserve price based on the average per square yard reserve price kept during the last auction held in October. But this time, the reserve price for both residential and commercial sites would be raised up to 5 per cent of what it was in October’s auction.”

The administration netted an average rate of Rs 55,299 per square yard for the residential plots in different sectors while those for the commercial property were kept at Rs 3.18 lakh per square yard in the last auction.

As per the new estimates, the average rate per square yard for the residential plot will be Rs 58,000 and for the commercial it would be near about Rs 3.20 lakh.

This implies that the average reserve price of four marla plot would be fixed somewhere around Rs 34 lakh, four marla for Rs 43 lakh; 10 marla for Rs 1.76 crore. Similarly, a kanal plot is expected to command a reserve price of Rs 2.86 crore.

The estate office had sold residential sites at an average price of Rs 25, 719 per
square yard, while the commercial sites were sold for Rs 1.17 lakh per square yard
in December 2004.

After the gap of three years, in December 2007 auction, the average rate per square yard for the residential plot was Rs 50,000 while for the commercial plot was Rs 2.9 lakh.

The administration is optimistic keeping in view the response of the auction held on October 23, 2008, in which it netted over Rs 95.31 crore.

A five marla plot in Sector-38 D was sold for Rs 83 lakh against the reserve price of Rs 41 lakh. Whereas two four marla plots in Sector 42 B were grabbed for Rs 60.60 lakh each against the reserve price of Rs 32 lakh only.

A 10 marla plot in Sector 40-B fetched Rs 1.71 lakh. One kanal plot was sold for Rs 4 crore against the reserve price of Rs 1.81 crore.

It would be interesting to see the impact of this auction as it has been scheduled just before 2008-2009 financial year closing.

Whether administration would get same response for the southern sectors especially Sector 48 onwards, which need a special package for developing the civic amenities.



Cops look for clean-shaved caller
Tribune News Service

Mohali, March 14
Two days after Sameer Watts (34), a senior official with a Mohali-based office of cellular operator, was shot at from a close range near Cosmo Hospital, Phase 8, the police is zeroing on the clean-shaved unidentified caller who used the Fortis hospital mobile telephone number facility to call the victim.

The caller, who video grab was not clear, had called the victim twice, on March 10 and March 12, around the same time (around 6 pm) from the hospital.

The victim’s wife was not on duty when the incident took place. The duty roster of the persons who were allowed the telephone facility was also being verified.

Though the victim continues to be in a critical state, police suspects that the shot was fired from a countrymade weapon. The victim’s car was being thoroughly examined by the police to look for any forensic evidence.

“Though the bleeding Samir was removed from the car and taken to the hospital, the manner in which the victim was reportedly lying shows that the attack could not have been pre-planned,”said a police official.

What was reportedly baffling the police was contradictions in the statement
given by the complainant regarding the timings and the sequence of events
leading to the incident.

The police has not been able to trace the passerby/ rickshaw puller who had helped Sandeep in taking Sameer out of his car before being taken to the hospital.

A PCR party went to the hospital in response to a phone call about a quarrel, reportedly made by Sandeep from Sameer’s mobile number.

Though the PCR party went to the spot at around 7. 40 pm, it did not notice
any car and the security guard at the Cosmo Hospital, Balkar Singh, did not
notice any commotion.

Sandeep, in his statement given to the police, has mentioned the timing of the incident at around 7.15 pm.

“ Since the distance where Sandeep was waiting and the place where victim’s car was found parked was more than 200 metres and it was pitch dark. It is difficult to see beyond few metres,” said an official.

While working out different angles, the police is still not ruling out the role of an employee of the hospital. The victim’s brother-in-law and other family members were being quizzed by the police.



Farmers flay admn policies
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 14
Thousands of farmers of villages neighbouring the city today gathered at Khuda Alisher village to discuss the “ill-conceived” policies of Chandigarh administration.

The farmers rued that the administration had forcibly acquired their lands with no rehabilitation or alternate means of earning their living.

“After acquiring all the land, now the administration has banned poultry, dairy
and piggery in villages. How is a farmer supposed to make both ends meet,”
questioned the farmers.

Protesting against the policy of Chandigarh Housing Board (CHB) to auction flats, Angrez Singh, president of Chandigarh Sanjha Morcha, said: “Worst is the plight of an employee who has left his home to serve and be part of Chandigarh. How can he ever think of building his home with the pricing policy of the CHB?” he questioned.

Maj R.S. Virk (retd), general secretary, Pind Bachao Committee, appealed that all the villages be declared as SEZs wherein the non-polluting industry should be given tax concessions and no taxes be imposed on original oustees.

Brig K.S. Kahlon, president, Sanjha Morcha, called upon all village panchayats to form a 11-member volunteer committee comprising all sections of the society to organise and support the cause of the farmers of Chandigarh.



Tips given to overcome old age depression
Tribune News Service

Mohali, March 14
Coping with old age depression is a particular challenge for elderly individuals. Especially in situations when materialism and market driven set of social circumstances are driving the individuals to unbearable levels of depression, partly because of loneliness and partially because of other variables.

However, identifying and managing depression at old age is possible, opine experts, who offer a carefully studied guide to monitor and regulate depressive tendencies amongst the elderly.

Dr Kiran Bala, a consultant psychiatrist, Cheema Medical Complex, said the recent suicides by senior citizens in the tricity was classic cases of how unaddressed mental state could play havoc with human life.

Depression emanating from death of a spouse, medical problems and bereavement are usually the trigger points for such mental states which grow into terminally suicidal tendencies.

Sadness, fatigue, loosing interest in hobbies and pastimes further accentuate in form of weight loss, appetite loss, sleeping disorders and loss of self esteem.

All these symptomise the suicidal tendencies, which may or may not take place but can be considerably propelled by isolation, fears, reduced sense of purpose and medical problems, feels Dr Bala, who offers some vital tips to safeguard against the obvious perils in old age.



Seminar on equality, human rights
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 14
Panjab University’s Centre for Emerging Areas in Social Sciences organised a seminar on equality and human rights on the university campus today.

Justice Jagdish Singh Khehar, Punjab and Haryana High Court Judge, was the chief guest. Justice Khehar said the humanity is at basic stage of human rights and it will take time before we graduate into advance stages of realising human rights.

People living below poverty line and malnutrition have yet to be brought within the ambit of equality.

Vice Chancellor Prof RC Sobti, who was guest of honour, in his address brought to light that the university was creating a “corpus fund” to give soft loans to meritorious poor students so that they can compete on equal basis.

He said in order to bring about equality, we must look within our homes and discharge our duties fully.

Dr Swarnjit Kaur said the objective of the seminar was to focus on concrete problems, issues and challenges in the wake of emerging global reality.



Prof Talwar honoured
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 14
Dr NTR University of Health Sciences (NTR-UHS), Vijaywada, has awarded Prof KK Talwar, director, PGIMER an honorary Doctor of Science (DSc) degree in recognition of his work in the field of cardiology at the 13th annual convocation.

Dr AV Krishnam Raju, Vice-Chancellor of the university, presented the degree to
the noted cardiologist.

Dr Talwar was the first to initiate the technique of radiofrequency ablation to cure arrhythmic disorders in the country and established state-of-the-art facility at the Department of Cardiology, AIIMS, New Delhi.

During his convocation address, Prof Talwar mooted the idea of a single national entrance examination for all medical colleges in the country and allotting seats strictly by merit.

He also suggested that an independent national exit examination, which could serve as a postgraduate entrance examination, could be conducted immediately after the university examination, so that students did not have to appear for a multitude of postgraduate entrance tests in the country.

Also strongly advocating the need for the restructuring of PG medical education in the country, Dr Talwar pointed out that only 10,000 seats were available in PG courses for the 30,000 graduates passing out every year. 



Syndicate meet on March 21
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 14
It will be a good news if the finance board’s decision of no fee hike for the next session is approved in the coming Syndicate meeting scheduled for March 21, 2009.

According to the board, the authorities will not increase the fee of any course run under the university in the next session whereas the authorities are planning to introduce a loan scheme, especially for economically weaker section students of the self-finance courses which will be tabled in the meeting for approval.

The students will have to return this loan after getting employed. The Syndicate will be discussing the budget of the university for the next financial year.

The agenda of the Masters in Entrepreneurship course and family business in GGDSD College, whose admission is through OCT is going to be discussed in the meeting.



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