C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Doc convicted of husband’s murder
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 18
The court of Additional District and Sessions Judge Raj Rahul Garg today convicted Dr Swapna for murdering her husband on July 11, 2003, at Hotel Mountview. She was held guilty under Sections 302 and 201 of the IPC today. The quantum of sentence would be pronounced on July 20.

The circumstantial evidence led to her conviction. Earlier during the trial, the prosecution had recounted the whole incident in the court that on July 11 the couple had dinner with a cousin’s family and they were back in their room around 12.15 am. Around 2.30 am, Swapna ordered a lime drink through the room service but didn’t let him in and herself went till the doorstep to fetch the order without switching on the lights.

The couple was in room number 344 of Hotel Mountview.

The neighbours had also heard loud noises of the couple arguing. Next day on July 12, their driver Ajit, who was made to stay at the cousin’s place, came at around 8 am to drive them. She refused to let him in and asked him to go back to their relatives’ house and get the cousin sister along.

At around 8.50 am, after her sister’s arrival, Swapna handed her over her vanity case that had syringes of diazepam and told her to take it away.

At around 9 pm, the manager of the deceased came to call him, as they had a meeting fixed with a client. After the manager repeatedly called on the intercom and no answer came, the hotel staff opened the room with a master key and loud shrieks were heard from inside the room. Swapna was lying in a bathtub with her dupatta tied around her neck.

She was taken to the PGI and she concocted a story and told the examining doctor that there was a third person that entered into their room and did all this.

Later she changed her statement and under Section 313, she said there was an argument between her and her husband during which he hit her and she resisted and he committed suicide.

However, it was labour done by the prosecution to find out the reaction of diazepam on human body that actually led to the conviction.

The prosecution referred to international medical journals and the works of the renowned toxicologists across the world was referred to prove that as the post-mortem was conducted after three days, the traces of diazepam were eliminated from the body.

Investigations by the police revealed that she was carrying stress-busting drugs like alprex (90 tablets), diazepam (13 injections) and other medicines.

It may be recalled that Dr Swapna Singh, who was working with a Delhi-based hospital and wife of Mandiv Sapra, executive director of Group 4 Securities, killed him with a “surgeon’s precision” by first hitting him with a bottle of soda water and then slitting open his throat with a pair of surgical scissors.

Her husband was found dead in the room of Hotel Mountview in Sector 10. Dr Swapna Singh, a dentist, wore surgical gloves to ensure that she did not leave any fingerprints.

She reportedly told the police that ever since their marriage in February 2001, they were having strained relations, as Sapra was an alcoholic.

A vanity bag containing blood-smeared clothes of the assailant, some gold jewellery, credit cards and Rs 7,000 in cash were also recovered by the police.

Swapna had earlier lied that she did not know anything about the murder of her husband, as she had been administered an injection by a doctor after she complained of dysentery.



Govt offices function from residential areas
GS Paul
Tribune News Service

The office of Gurdwara Election Commission at the residential area in Sector 8
The office of Gurdwara Election Commission at the residential area in Sector 8. Tribune photo: Pradeep Tewari

The NCB office in Sector 2
The NCB office in Sector 2. A Tribune photograph

Chandigarh, July 18
Running an office from a residential accommodation is a violation but cocking a snook at rules, several government offices responsible for maintaining law and order have been found to be on the wrong side of the law by running their offices from residential compounds in the city.

While taking a round of the city, a Chandigarh Tribune team could locate some of these offices, namely the Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) in Sector 2, All-India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) in Sector 42 and Gurdwara Election Commission, Government of India, Ministry of Home Affairs in Sector 8.

These offices cannot operate from the residential areas because here domestic rates are applicable for electricity and water charges, whereas these offices are liable to pay commercial rates for both electricity and water charges.

As per the law, the owner of the house stands liable for the violation by paying the penalty amount calculated at Rs 500 per sq feet per month for “misusing” the area.

Estate officials said this penalty amount would be imposed only on the area being used for the office purpose barring toilet, bathroom and kitchen.

Admitting it a blatant violation, Ashwani Kumar, assistant estate officer (AEO) said barring the two, the NCB office had already came under the scanner of the UT estate office.

“The estate office has already served upon a notice under the “misuse of the premises” to the owner of a house in Sector 8 from where the NCB is operating their zonal office against drug traffickers. Rest of the two has escaped our attention”, he said.

The national premier agency responsible for maintaining the law and order was found to be on the wrong side of the law by operating its office from the residential premise (House No 88, Sector 2-A). The office is being run in over 1,000 sq ft area.

Investigations revealed that in response to the notice served to the NCB, it had submitted that the office would be shifted soon but over three months had already been lapsed since they responded and the situation was still as it was.

Col JS Khera, owner of the house, had put on records a letter of the Government of India, Ministry of Home (Narcotics Cell), New Delhi, which stated that the matter had been taken up with the UT administration and the office would be shifted from its present location.

The NCB communication stated that they were looking for some suitable place in Sector 18 and the office would be shifted soon and the UT administration had been intimated about it. “Still the penalty at nearly Rs 1 lakh per month would have to be borne by the owner of the house under any circumstances. The penalty amount has to be calculated since November last,” maintained Ashwani Kumar.

Similarly, the AICTE, responsible for granting affiliation to the technical studies institutes has been found to be on the violators’ list by running their regional office from a whole block consisting four flats (No 1310, 1310-A, 1310-B and 1310-C) located in the residential complex of the National Institute of Technical Teachers’ Training (NITTT) in Sector 42-B.

Yet another office of Gurdwara Election Commission was spotted to be run from over one-canal house no 23 in Sector 8-A. Though, no official could be found at the said place but the residents living nearby told they had been seeing this office for the past many years.



Five call girls, pimp in the net
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 18
The police arrested five sex workers and a pimp from outside a Sector 45 hotel here today. The police claimed that it was a big sex racket and after interrogation more names involved in the trade might come.

The in charge of Sector 45 police post said after getting a tip-off, they sent a decoy customer, who struck a deal for Rs 3,000 for a night. Following this, the police nabbed them outside Sukh Guest House.

According to the police, pimp Tarun Goyal is from Batala and is staying in Mohali, Phase I. He has been in the trade for more than a year. He used to bring girls from Punjab and Delhi.

The pimp told the police that he used to contact girls on the phone only. He today called them up and asked to come to the Sector 43 bus stand from where he hired a taxi to Sector 45. The pimp would use his Mohali residence also for the trade.

Three girls hailed from Amritsar while one from Darjeeling, who was staying in Delhi, and one from Batala. All girls were in the age group of 19 to 23 years.

One of the arrested Amritsar girls said, “I was promised a job in a company at the package of Rs 30,000 for a week. I don’t know these people.” Another girl said Goyal was her friend and had asked her to come to the city for a good job.

The police told reporters that all girls had come from poor families and were sixth or seventh passed. “We are inquiring them and trying to find out how many involved with them,” said the police.

All accused have been arrested on the charges of immoral trafficking and will be produced in the local court tomorrow.



MC staff plant 400 saplings
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 18
The Municipal Corporation (MC), Chandigarh, has started a tree plantation drive ward wise in all sectors and villages falling under the corporation.

Under this drive, all wards will be covered till August 31.

Xen horticulture Arun Kumar Kansal revealed that the drive had started on Thursday from ward no. 9, which was inaugurated by area councillor Jagjit Singh Kang at Sector 39.

As many as 400 saplings were planted by area residents and staff of MC, including neem, bahaera, amaltas, jacranda and gulmohar.

Kansal said around 41,000 saplings would be planted in the drive, including trees, shrubs, climber and hedge.

Day markets may be allotted on auction basis

In the larger interests of public and Municipal Corporation (MC), Chandigarh, Apni Mandi Committee under the chairmanship of Resham Chand Jakhu recommended that all day markets would be allotted on the basis of an open auction by the corporation under the supervision of a senior officer and two councillors as observers during the auction of the day markets on the stipulated terms and conditions.

Members observed that the previous system of the allotment of the day markets should be changed. Earlier the day markets were allotted on licence basis to the successful candidates through draw of lots wherein the licencee deposit 15 per cent profit of the margin to the corporation against the allotted sites duly handed over by the SDE concerned.

However, the committee members are of the view that the licencee allows more phari/rehri walas to sit in the day markets more than the sites allotted to them, which creates hue and cry.



Cultural bonanza ends at Tagore Theatre
SD Sharma

Chandigarh, July 18
For music lovers in the city, memories of an old Bollywood blockbuster “Barsaat ki raat” got refreshed as they enjoyed a live qawwali muqabla in a specially designed “Sham-E-Qawwali” at the Tagore theatre here today.

The programme featuring two qawwalis led by Anwar Nizami and his counterpart Firdaus Saba marked the conclusion of three-day cultural bonanza organised by the culture affairs department.

Anwar Nizami started with a musical tribute to Syed Amir Khusro through his classic composition “Chhap Tilak”.

He embellished the renditions interspersing with couplets and mystic utterances of other Sufi poets followed by a ghazal. He was, however, at his best in “ Mein kya janu Ram” defining a spiritual and secular fervour.

Firdaus Saba supported by Amanant on vocals, however, spelt the boisterous devotional number “Damadam mast qalandar” and a ghazal before entering into a musical duet with qawwal Anwar Nizami.

Both attempted to score over the other by throwing related couplets in a musical “Swaal- Jawaab” format marked by stray brilliance. Despite the artists especially Saba failing to make to the expected level, the audience enjoyed the vitality of “qawwali muqabala,” as such performances are a rarity in the region.



220 donate blood at PGI
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 18
Thalassaemic Children Welfare Association (TCWA), Chandigarh organised, 110th blood donation camp, 6th in the series of six blood donation camps in Zakir Hall, Block -A, PGI, here today.

It was inaugurated by head of pediatric department, Prof Sunit Singhi. He congratulated the donors hailing from Punjab, Haryana, Chandigarh, Uttar Pradesh and Himachal Pradesh for the noble cause.

Dr Singhi said more efforts should be made for preventing the disease from further spread. Over 220 donors donated blood during the camp.

The camp was conducted by a team of doctors headed by Dr Neelam Marwaha, head of blood transfusion department and also the member of medical advisory board of the association.



2 swine flu cases test positive
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 18
Two cases of swine flu have been confirmed in the city. A PGI doctor (29) from the experimental medicine department, PGI, and a 50-year old woman, a resident of Sector 11, were both tested positive for swine flu.

The doctor had returned from UK while the woman had returned from Singapore and they were now kept in the isolation ward of the PGI and GMSH, Sector 16, respectively.

“The sample of throat swab of both were sent to National Institute of Communicable Disease (NICD) yesterday, which tested positive for both,” said HC Gera, UT nodal officer for swine flu.

The family members of woman, including her husband, daughter and maidservant, have been kept in home quarantine for seven days.



Wrong parking unabated
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 18
It seems the parking contractors and vehicle owners have not learnt a lesson from the special drive launched by the traffic police yesterday, in which a number of vehicles parked in the no parking zone were challaned.

A visit to Sector 17 today revealed that the parking contractor and workers were requesting the vehicle owners to park their vehicles on the pavements, as there was no space left in the parking area.

Even vehicles were allowed to be parked on the fire zone area, which had been specially demarcated for fire-fighting vehicles and any hindrance in the passage was prohibited.

As per the terms and conditions of the paid parking, the contractor has to put a board of “parking full” when there is no space, but most of the time, to earn more money, they allow more vehicles to be parked.

One of the senior officials revealed that in order to disciple the violators, there is a need to impose heavy fine on them.



Nominations invited for PM’s awards
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 18
The Government of India has instituted the “Prime Minister’s Awards for Excellence in Public Administration” to acknowledge, recognise and reward the extraordinary and innovative work done by officials of the Central and state governments.

The nominations can be submitted to the Home Department, Chandigarh, by August 1.

The scheme rewards the outstanding and exemplary performance of civil servants. Discharge of routine duties and responsibilities or implementation of programmes, projects in the normal course, is not qualified for the award.

Initiatives and projects whose qualitative and quantitative outcomes/results are of a high order and benefit a large number of citizens/ stakeholders will be considered.

All serving officials, either individually or as a team, or as an organisation, are eligible for the awards, according to a press note.



DPS excels in dance contest
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 18
“Samanvay”, an inter-DPS fusion dance (Choreography) competition, was hosted by DPS School, Chandigarh, at the Law Auditorium, Sector 37, Chandigarh, today.

Twelve teams from North Zone I and II participated in the competition. Samanvay was an attempt to depict choreography that represents a genre of creative and fusion dance form, blending music and rhythm and thereby creating a visual impact of an abstract theme.

Guru Shobha Koser, a renowned danseuse from Chandigarh, graced the occasion as the chief guest. It was a privilege to have Lt Gen JS Bawa, chairman, DPS Chandigarh, presiding over the function. Renu Chaturvedi, additional secretary, DPS Society, was the guest of honour. The competition was adjudged by dancers like Samira Koser, Puneet Jewandah and Bandeep Rekhi. Participants performed on one of the following themes, i.e., “Ecstasy”, “Jashn-e-Bachapan”, “Pravah” and “Godhuli”.

Principal of DPS, Reema Dewan, welcomed the chief guest and all dignitaries present and said such competitions gave an opportunity to compete and yet learn from each other.

DPS, Chandigarh, was adjudged as the winner and DPS, Azad Nagar, Kanpur, bagged the second position.



Each one, grow one echoes at Mount Carmel
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 18
The eco-club “Qudrat” and the gardening club of Mount Carmel School, Sector 47, Chandigarh, celebrated Vanamahotsava Day today.

Students recited poems on trees and nature during the assembly.

Some students also spoke on the harmful effects of cutting trees and on the importance of preserving environment.

Later, saplings of silver oak and mango trees were planted by the principal, vice-principal and students.

The students were informed about the importance of trees and plants. They raised slogan “Each one, grow one” to spread awareness amongst other students of the school.

They were also reminded about the consequences of depletion of forests and to stop others from cutting trees.



Govt Model School-28 pitches in too
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 18
A tree plantation function was organised in Government Model High School, Sector 28, here today.

Ashoka trees were planted on the school campus during the function and General Avtar Singh, president of Karir Memorial Scholarship Trust, an NGO, presided over.

School PTA members also participated in a programme where students conveyed “Go Green” message to conserve forests.

Besides, a kit and painting competition was also organised. The headmistress Asha Johar gave the message to the students highlighting the importance of trees.



Meeting to check ragging
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 18
Panjab University Vice-Chancellor RC Sobti at a meeting with all chairpersons of the teaching departments, wardens and other senior functionaries of the university announced a series of preventive measures such as display of anti-ragging banners/posters exhibiting ingredients and forms of ragging and the punishments to be awarded to curb ragging.

Rounds of at least two PCR vehicles after every half an hour will be held on the campus up to August 31 to instill confidence in students in addition to deputing additional staff in hostels and teaching departments to check the menace.



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