C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Corruption Case
Ex-NCB official convicted
Pawar gets 18-month jail; released on bail
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 31
The CBI special court today convicted Ravi Kant Pawar, a former intelligence officer with the Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB), in a corruption case.

Nearly three years after he was booked for demanding bribe, the CBI court of Darshan Singh today held Pawar, the then intelligence officer of the NCB, guilty under Sections 13 (1) (d) and Section 7 of the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988.

Pronouncing the orders, the court sentenced him to one-and-half-year of imprisonment and a fine of Rs 7,500. He later furnished bail bonds of Rs 50,000 and was released on bail.

The CBI court ruled: “A public servant is required to maintain high standards of integrity and honesty, and the fact cannot be disputed that the officer while being posted as narcotics officer indulged in corruption, which is a social evil.”

The CBI had registered a case against him on June 21, 2006, on a complaint of a Kullu resident, Devinder Kumar, whose brother, Narender Kumar, was one of the three accused in a drug haul case.

The investigating agency had caught Pawar while accepting a bribe of Rs 40,000 from Devinder. Devinder’s brother, Narender Kumar was arrested by the NCB in one of their biggest drug hauls in which Narender, along with two foreign nationals, Lior Ben Moyal and Jiri Andreev, was arrested with 154.5 kg of charas on February 9, 2005.

Devinder, in his complaint to the CBI, had alleged that Pawar demanded Rs 40,000 from him for giving him ‘favours’ in the case involving his brother Narender.

The CBI had then laid a trap and nabbed Pawar from a confectionary shop in Sector 15 and caught him red-handed while accepting the bribe.

Earlier, while requesting for leniency in the case, the defence counsel had pleaded that the convict had elderly parents and a wife and unmarried son to support and thus leniency be shown. On the other hand, special CBI public prosecutor Pawan Kumar Dogra had urged the court that the social evil of corruption be dealt strictly and maximum punishment be awarded to the accused.

May affect Lior case

Ravi Kant Pawar’s conviction may have an impact on the drug haul case involving Israeli national Lior that was registered in 2005 and is in final stages. Experts apprehend that it can help strengthening the defence. However, the special counsel for the NCB maintained that there was no connection between the case involving Lior and Pawar and it will not impact the case in any way.



Services of St John’s teacher terminated
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 31
Dismissing reports in a section of the media about the inaction of the school authorities, St. John’s High School today released a statement, announcing the termination of services of the teacher accused of corporal punishment.

The decision was made following an emergency meeting of the school managing committee held on Thursday. This came a day after the legal opinion of the administration was submitted by the senior standing counsel Anupam Gupta, who suggested to file a criminal case against the teacher under Sections 323 and 352 of the IPC, if the school failed to terminate teacher’s services.

At the meeting, which lasted for over two hours, it was unanimously decided to accept the recommendations of the administration, advising the termination of services of the accused teacher.

According to St. John’s School Principal Kavita Das, “As a responsible institution, we are absolutely clear that no one is above the law.”

Denying allegations that the school had not taken immediate action, she said, “St. John’s is a responsible institution that does not believe in knee-jerk reactions. The school acted in a fair, just and speedy manner.”

She also stated that the report of SDM Neeharika Rai was received by the school at 7 p.m. on Wednesday and an emergency meeting of the managing committee was called the next day.

Was not heard: Teacher

Accused teacher Reema Talwar said not only the administration but the media was also “biased” against her in the case. “I was not given a chance to put my side of the story”, she said.

Claiming that she had been held “guilty” without even hearing her side, Reema said even the school management did not bother to take her version. Questioning the “haste” shown by the administration in ordering an inquiry and then completing it in a day and pronouncing her punishment a day later, she said, “Such alacrity is unheard of”.

She claimed that officials had succumbed to the hype created by the media. The entire inquiry hinged on the statement of three students while there were 40 others also in the class. “why weren’t they heard?”, she questioned.



Tribune Impact
Needle removed, courtesy Cosmo
Anuja Jaiswal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 31
What GMSH-16 and the PGI couldn’t do in one month, a Mohali-based private hospital, Cosmo, has done it in barely 95 minutes and that too without charging a penny.

Nine-year-old mentally challenged boy Gurcharan Singh alias Rohit, whose sufferings were published in these columns, “Poor boy’s long wait for surgery”, this morning, was finally successfully operated today and a four centimetre sewing needle that was embedded in his back was removed. The hospital had approached this correspondent after reading the story and offered to conduct the surgery free of cost.

The hospital authorities subsequently approached the family and after they agreed they picked up the patient from his residence in Dhanas and brought him to the hospital. Dr Ashish Dharmik, who conducted the surgery, said, “The needle was found in the muscles and we removed it successfully”.

Maintaining that though the surgery was a routine one, the boy’s mental condition was a slight problem and the operation took long because of various tests that had to be carried out. “We will discharge him tomorrow”, he said, adding that the hospital would also help the family treating the child for his mental state.

While Cosmo took the lead in providing relief to the child, several conscientious residents of the city contacted The Tribune to offer help to the boy. Rohit’s family was contacted by Bagar, who offered to get the surgery done free of cost at Guru Harkishan Charitable Trust, Sohana. He also offered to pay all expenses for the boy’s travel to Sohana.

In a touching gesture, an unemployed girl, Nidhi, a resident of Sector21, Panchkula, also offered help to Rohit. “I do not earn but I’ll foot the bill from my savings”, she said.

Shalani Negi, of Sector 38, also offered to pay for the boy’s surgery. Similar help offers also came in from some other residents too.

Unfortunately, even after the publication of the news, neither GMSH-16 nor the PGI made an effort to mitigate the boy’s sufferings. The family had been visiting the GMSH 16 since June 30 and was later referred to the PGI.

Meanwhile the boy’s family has expressed deep gratitude for the offers that came to them. “Insaaniyat abi bhi zinda hai (humanity is still alive),” said Rohit’s grandfather.



Fan falls at Saupin’s, 2 hurt
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 31
Two students of Class V of Saupins School, Sector 32, had a narrow escape today when a ceiling fan fell in the classroom when the teacher was teaching.

The girls, Shreya Goyal and Ishani, suffered bruises and swelling in their arms following which they were taken to the medical room in the school.

According to sources, when the students discovered the fault in the fan and found it swaying, they instantly raised an alarm. However, the two girls had a close call.

The students had earlier reportedly complained to a school teacher that the fan was in a bad shape, but the authorities did not pay any heed.

“The school authorities could not rectify the fault even after getting the complaint by the students, which amounts to negligence on their part. Moreover, there are four sections, including this particular classroom, that are held in the basement and as a result children are having health problems,” said a member of the PTA.

Though the parents of the girls refused to comment on the issue, the classmates of the injured narrated the episode.

Meanwhile, the school authorities confirmed the incident and said nobody was critically injured in the accident.

“Despite best efforts, there was some error in the fan and it fell. Though nobody was hurt in the incident, a girl suffered a slight bruise and her parents were informed,” said ABS Sidhu, director of the school.

Adding that the school would now check the infrastructure more “regularly”, he said there was no need to panic.



2 kids die as water tank caves in
Tribune News Service

Parol (Mohali), July 31
Two children were buried alive and two others were injured when a wall of a water tank collapsed on them while they playing near a brick-kiln in Parol village here this morning.

While Chuman and Kajal, both 3-year-old, were buried under the debris, Sonia and Dilshad were admitted to the PGI, Chandigarh.

The SHO, Mullanpur, said inquest proceedings under Section 174 of the CrPC had been initiated.

The labourers working at the site said the water tank had only been filled a few days back and the children were sitting under a tap when it suddenly caved in.



Bangkok tuk-tuks for city
GS Paul
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 31
The City Beautiful will soon have a touch of Bangkok in it, if the administration gives a thumbs up to a proposal of having LPG-driven pink coloured tuk-tuks running on its roads.

Wondering what these tuk-tuks are? The name has its genesis from the sound which three-wheelers make and that’s what these coloured popular public transports is known as in Bangkok. And if this proposal goes through, women driving the tuk-tuks may also become a reality.

With this, the administration will be the first city in the country by adding a new chapter in the city public transport system through its much-talked about 24X7 radio autos fitted with global positioning system (GPS).

Though the exact time has not yet been disclosed by the administration to make this scheme materialised, the Secretary, Transport, Ram Niwas, said the modalities were being chalked out to make this scheme successful and viable.

One of the aspirant operators for the scheme has proposed to introduce women drivers during day time for these pink autos to distinct its identity from normal autos.

Dr Vandana Disodia, Secretary, State Transport Authority (STA), said, “The name tuk-tuk appeared to be quite interesting. The idea has been derived from Bangkok where women drive them. Operators have proposed to employ women drivers, especially to cater women clients. It will be a great hit among tourists and women, especially from the security point of view”, she said.

These tuk-tuks, as proposed by the administration, will be at your doorstep for Rs 10 for first kilometre and Rs 5 for every subsequent kilometre during the daytime. But, during late evening hours i.e. between 10 pm and 6 am, there will be 25 per cent extra charges over and above the fare.

There will be no luggage charges up to 20 kgs, but Rs 2 per article (suitcase) above 20 kgs will be charged.

The last date of applying for this scheme is August 5.


Nominated councillors stage walkout
Seek development funds
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 31
Considering themselves equivalent to elected councillors, nominated councillors, for the first time in the corporation, walked out from the House meeting on the decision of taking legal opinion on provision of city development funds for nominated councillors tabled in the House today.

The agenda of providing city development fund of Rs 40 lakh on the pattern of elected councillors was tabled in the House in the post-lunch session.

Elected councillors suggested that the Bill should be sent for seeking legal opinion whereas the nominated councillors pleaded that as they always supported in passing their Bills they should reciprocate the gesture.

The nominated councillors were completely isolated in the House as the councillors of all other parties united opposed the Bill to provide them discretionary funds for taking up development works in their areas. They raised objection to the need of such a fund to any nominated councillor when they had not been allocated any specific area in the city.

Councillors suggested that before giving green signal to this agenda the House should take a legal opinion from the legal cell of the administration so that they would not reject it.

Objecting on this, nominated councillor Dr AP Sanwaria stated that there were hundreds of agendas that were passed by the House and later rejected by the administration. Another nominated councillor, MPS Chawla, suggested that the House could discuss the agenda and send its proposal to the administration and let it take the final decision.

Congress councillor Chander Mukhi Sharma said if this agenda would be cleared by the House it would degrade the chair of the Mayor as such kind of fund is only under the jurisdiction of the latter, which could be utilised for any ward of the corporation.

Referring to one of the House meetings held last year, he said this agenda was earlier also table in the House, but rejected.

BSP councillor Jatinder Bhatia said the nominated councillors never approached to the area councillor for any development work then why suddenly they felt the requirement of such funds. He said even if residents complain them for any work they could ask the area councillor to do the needful.

Considering the suggestion Mayor Kamlesh made an announcement in the House that this agenda would be sent for seeking legal advice on which five of the nominated councillors, who were present in the House, staged a walk out by saying that they will consider it as rejected in the House.

When contacted, MC Commissioner Dr Roshan Sunkaria stated that the agenda had been deferred by the House and act was silent about the provision of having funds for nominated councillors.



MC takes 2 hrs to pass Rs 8-cr agendas
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 31
While the legislatures were always criticised for not holding serious discussion on the important bills tabled in the Vidhan Sabha, the councillors of the Municipal Corporation also followed the same pattern and in just two hours, the agendas of over Rs 8.52 crore were passed in the today’s house meeting.

Though the house proceedings were carried on for more than five hours, but the councillors did not even discuss developmental agendas of the city. But they passed it by voice vote.

Interestingly, most of the councillors in the house pointed out that the execution of agendas, which were passed in the earlier meetings, had not yet seen the light of the day.

A number of councillors raised the issue of construction of community centre proposed in Sector 30, proposed green belts, putting of pavement blocks in their area, which are pending for a long time.

Many councillors pointed out the sorry state of affairs on cremation grounds in the periphery of the city. Congress councillor and ex-mayor Pardeep Chabbra informed the house that a committee had been constituted under the chairmanship of Pallav Mukherjee to give suggestions for the improvement on the cremation ground, but it was unfortunate that no meeting had been called till date for it.

When the Mayor questioned the officials, why they had not formulated a project to improve the conditions of cremation grounds in the periphery, an official informed that as it fell in the lal dora, so no work could not be taken up there.

Kamlesh asked Mukherjee to submit the report about the suggestions before the next meeting, so that action would be taken to improve the infrastructure of the cremation ground. Referring to the proposal of Martyrs’ Gallery, Brig Kuldeep Singh Chandpuri said the proposal had been tabled in the house almost two years ago, but nothing had done till date. Officials informed the house that the proposal had been rejected by the administration.

Mayor Kamlesh proposed that pictures of martyrs could be put up in the libraries of all the community centres’ ward wise and in green belts, the history of the martyrs would be depicted.

Finally, the house approved the proposal of appointing a consultant for the augmentation of water supply, sewerage system in Chandigarh under the JNNURM scheme and rehabilitation of storm water drainage system.


In the post-lunch session, most of the councillors complained of poor quality of food. Nominated councillor Dr AP Sanwaria made an announcement that if any councillor had any stomach problem, he or she would get 50 per cent concession in his clinic.

BJP leader Gurcharan Das Kala made objection on usage of English most of the time in the house, which he had not understood.



Mukherjee panel reconstituted
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 31
Following a rap from the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) for composition of the PK Mukherjee committee to review the working of the Chandigarh Municipal Corporation, the UT administration has reconstituted the panel.

The committee will now have former UT chief engineer VK Bhardwaj as the expert member in place of businessman Sanjiv Malik and MC Additional Commissioner PK Sharma as the member-secretary.

At a recent meeting, the MHA officials had desired the inclusion of a senior official as the member-secretary and an expert as the member in place of a businessman. Besides PK Mukherjee, the committee had Chandermukhi Sharma, a Congress councillor, Iqbal Singh Sokhi, a former government engineer, and Sanjiv Malik, a businessman, as the members.

The panel was to assess the performance of the corporation during the past five years and the usefulness of the “highly-controversial” study tours undertaken during the past five years by councillors and officials.

Identifying loopholes in the existing administrative mechanism and suggesting ways and means for implementation of the Punjab Municipal Act more effectively were the other terms of reference of the committee.

The panel was formed in the backdrop of the tussle between Commissioner Roshan Sukaria and Mayor Kamlesh that had seriously affected the development in the city.



Major Mohali towns off Metro route
Punjab government seeks report from UT
Rajmeet Singh
Tribune News Service

Mohali, July 31
In the Comprehensive Mobility Plan (CMP) of the mass rapid transport system, including Metro for the Chandigarh Urban Complex, major peripheral towns in the Greater Mohali region have been left unrepresented. On the issue, the Punjab Government has sought a copy of the report from the Chandigarh Administration.

In the CMP, the Rail India Technical and Economic Services (RITES) has proposed only one metro corridor of 12 kilometre from Sector 51 of Chandigarh to Sector 104 of Mohali, via Sector 62 Central Business District. It has otherwise proposed various bus rapid transport system corridors between Chandigarh, Mohali and Panchkula.

Various stakeholders in the project, Haryana, Punjab, and Himachal Pradesh, have been demanding extension of the Metro corridors to their respective areas due to emerging economic scenario. But the economic viability of the Metro corridors is a hurdle.

Public transport corridors

In the integrated master planning study, the public transport corridors have been demanded among Mohali, Chandigarh, Panchkula, Zirakpur, Dera Bassi and Lalru. The total estimated number of trips between these areas was around 96,000 in peak hour. Several mass transit desire lines in the Greater Mohali regional plan area have been projected

One of the major stakeholders, the Greater Mohali Area Development Authority (GMADA), has already sought inclusion of major peripheral towns in the proposed project. Inclusion of peripheral towns like Zirakpur, Dera Bassi, Lalru, Banur, Kharar, Mullanpur and Kurali had been sought in the corridors.

The nodal agency to watch the interest of the state in the Metro project, GMADA is keen that future growth potential as projected in the integrated master planning for Greater Mohali region “2008-2058” gets a fillip with an integrated mass transit system, including road and Metro.

The Punjab government pointed out that in the Chandigarh Inter-state Metropolitan Region Plan, prepared by the Town and Country Planning Organisation (TCPO), Ministry of Urban Development, a metropolitan or regional rail shuttle system had been advised for the region.

For the transportation needs, the recommendations had covered the entire Chandigarh and eight tehsils in its immediate periphery - four in Punjab and two each in Haryana and Himachal Pradesh.



Embezzlement of Funds
Admn marks inquiry against principal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 31
The UT Administration has finally marked an inquiry against Anil Sharma, principal GMSSS, Sector 23, for the grave irregularities found in the expenditure from various funds during his past tenures at GMHS, Sector 20, and GMSSS, Sector 32.

Taking the cognisance of the suspected embezzlement exposed by the Tribune, Home Secretary Ram Niwas marked an enquiry and has demanded detailed report within 15 days.

“I have asked the education department to look into the matter, as this does not seem to be a small procedural lapse. If he is found guilty we will take stern steps against him and also initiate a vigilance enquiry if required,” said Ram Niwas.

The Tribune through a series of reports had revealed that how an audit note based on the recent audit of the SSA funds at GMHS, Sector 20, for the period of Anil’s tenure had revealed that lakhs of rupees were being claimed to have been spent without any bill or voucher or proper documentary proof.

Similarly, as per the information provided to a local RTI activist, VB Khanna, while a loan worth Rs 20 lakh was shown withdrawn from the funds of GMSSS, Sector 32, no subsequent bills or vouchers were provided and even any documentary proof of the repay of this loan was missing.

The GMHS authorities in response to the RTI had provided no bills or vouchers but certain receipts to justify the expenditure but surprisingly they bore just then signature of Anil Sharma and no other recipient.

“How can he spend so much without even a single bill or voucher? And if this record was present with him then why was it shielded when it was asked repeatedly under the RTI. I am happy that they have marked an enquiry but still given to the past plight of such enquiries, I would urge the department to immediately seal all records and make me a party in this so that I can expose the embezzlement evident in the information given to me in the RTI,” said Khanna.



Huge rush on last day of filing IT returns
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 31
Like always, the last day for filing income tax returns witnessed large crowds of taxpayers at the special counters set up by the department at various places in the city. The IT department added a personal touch to this yearly ritual by making arrangements of tea and coffee for the assessees.

According to the figures available with the income tax department, about 1,61,030 returns were filed in CIT I and II till this evening. Majority of the returns pertained to the salaried class.

Around 90,000 assessees from CIT II (Sector 26 onwards, villages surrounding Chandigarh, Mohali) filed their IT returns up to July 31 last year. The number is 1,04,763 till this evening.

From CIT I (range I, II, III), 56,267 assessees filed their returns till July 31. Last year, around 1,11,000 had filed till July 31.

Crowds gathered at the Bassi building and Hot Millions building, Sector 17, and special counters at Rajathan Bhavan since morning to file their taxes.

There were arrangements for the special staff to deal with the crowd and special counters were made for senior citizens and women. Apart from various counters, there were tax returns payers (TRPs) to assist in filing forms.



IT surveys detect tax evasion worth crores
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 31
Surveys conducted by the Income Tax department at manufacturers of sanitary items under brand names of Nova and Czar yesterday had detected a tax evasion of a few crores.

While a Ropar-based coloniser surrendered the concealed income to the extent of Rs 1 crore.

The IT department surveyed all business premises of the manufacturers of the sanitary items in the Industrial Area, Phase I, Chandigarh.

Several teams of income tax officials under the supervision of Commissioner Income Tax CIT I, GS Randhawa, had launched the survey and recovered several indiscriminating documents.

A team led by Additional Commissioner, Range II, Yogesh Verma, started the survey yesterday, which continued till 10 am today. Sources said the survey was conducted on the basis of a tip-off regarding the discrepancies in the accounts.



Man Electrocuted
Kin seek govt job, compensation
Tribune News Service

Zirakpur, July 31
Residents of Bharat Enclave and Vikas Nagar today alleged that no official from the district administration had come to redress their grievances even two days after the death of Kamal Sharma.

The administration has not announced any relief for the bereaved family, alleged residents.

They are demanding that the administration should give compensation to the family members and also a government job to the wife of the deceased. They also urged the local administration to provide them basic amenities like roads, streetlights, sewerage and water supply.

On July 29, Kamal, a resident of Bharat Enclave, was electrocuted while he was trying to save the inverter from rainwater that entered his house. He is survived by his wife and two daughters.

Residents claimed that Ward No. 12 MC Jagtar Singh had made promises before MC elections, but he had neither visited the area, nor listened to their problems. “We have submitted our complaints to authorities concerned, but nothing has been done so far,” they added.

They alleged that Jagtar was indifferent towards this area. Blaming MC councillor of adopting a dual policy they said one part of the area had been spruced up but the other was still in a state of neglect.

Archana Verma, a resident of Bharat Enclave, said the electricity department had fixed the electricity meters in a box that was too low and unsafe for small children, she added.

Mahesh Raj, a resident of Bharat Enclave, said if their grievances were not heard, they would hold strong protest and block the national highway again.

Prabhjot Singh Mand, DC Mohali, said the report of the incident from SDM office was still not received. Further action would be taken only after going through the report, he added. The SDM Dera Bassi was on the election duty and he would submit the report only after the election was over, he added.



Bank employees stage dharna
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 31
On a call given by the United Forum of Bank Unions, employees of the public sector banks today staged a dharna in Sector 17 to protest against the delaying tactics of the Indian Banks Association (IBA) in arriving at the wage settlement.

Addressing the dharna, Devinder Singh, convener of the forum, alleged that the IBA was retracting from its earlier stand of effecting an increase of 17.5 per cent in the total wage. The apathetic attitude of the IBA has forced the forum, comprising nine national unions representing about 10 lakh employees, to give a two-day strike call from August 6.

He warned that if the government and the IBA did not come forward to resolve the demands amicably, the forum would intensify its agitation. MK Vermani, TP Singh and BS Gill also spoke.



Fire at Sec-8 clinic
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 31
A fire broke out in the electric panel of the Sector 8-based Dr Batra Clinic here this morning. No major loss of property was reported, however, students of an educational institute, which was on the second floor, got trapped due to heavy smog.

According to fire officials, three fire tenders were pressed into service to control the fire. The officials suspect short-circuit as the reason behind the fire.

The fire broke out at around 6.30 am in the electric panel in the store of the clinic. Since the doors of the clinic were locked, the firemen broke the windowpane to enter the premises. The loss has been estimated at around Rs 50,000.

A fire official said a batch of students attending classes on the second floor of Career Launcher got trapped as the smog engulfed the floor partially. “The smog prevented the students to come out of the building. Some of the students came out themselves while the rest of them were rescued by the firemen,” he added.

However, the tutors at the centre claimed that they had no problems in coming out.



Ward No. 10 Poll
Campaigning hots up
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 31
Senior Congress leaders today went for door-to-door campaigning at Badheri village in support of party candidate Bhupinder Singh Badheri from Ward No 10.

Led by Chandigarh Territorial Congress Committee (CTCC) president BB Bahl, senior leaders, including Pardeep Chhabra, Anu Chatrath, DD Jindal, Ravinder Palli, Jatinder Dhami, Jasbir Singh Bunty, Gurdeep Singh Attawa, Ramesh Ahuja and Raman Khanna appealed to public to vote for the Congress for taking forward various development works in the city.

Chhabra, who is also former Mayor of Municipal Corporation of Chandigarh (MCC), criticised the statement by the senior BJP-Akali alliance leaders that various development works were done only during the tenures of the alliance Mayors.

The people of Chandigarh had given a befitting reply to the “false propaganda” of the alliance in the last municipal elections and the recent Lok Sabha elections in which the Congress won by a massive margin.



Robbery at Morni
Doctor dodges police
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, July 31
Dr Sumit Sofat was once again successful in misleading police, as the police team sent to Ludhiana and Mohali to trace him returned without any success late last night.

Earlier, on Wednesday, the police could not find him when he was reportedly in Chandigarh to consult legal experts following which, the police started searching him with the help of Pashan family, who presented evidence before the police proving their innocence in the robbery case at Morni.

Last night the police got the information that Sofat was staying in a house at Phase III-B1, Mohali.

The police was sent to the place, however, Sofat could not be traced but it was found that he was staying in his in-laws house, said the police.

The police also searched for him in Ludhiana during the day, but returned disappointed at Panchkula.

The Panhckula Police is on a look out for Ludhiana-based doctor Sumit Sofat for questioning him regarding a robbery case of Rs 33 lakh and attempt to murder.

A criminal complaint by Ramesh Pashan, who was named by Dr Sofat as accused of robbery attacked him at Morni on last Sunday led to the arrest of doctor allegedly for forgery last year.

Earlier, the police booked him and his wife Dr Sumita Sofat, who runs an infertility clinic, for fraud and fabrication of documents with the intent of grabbing 1,200 square yards on Ferozepore road owned by Pashan.

Before that, in February 2003, the Ludhiana Police arrested him on charges of extortion, trespass and illegal confinement of a city resident. So far his father, along with eight others, have been accused of beating up Rampal, a resident of Krishna Nagar. They have also been charged of breaking into his house and taking his signatures on papers.

Three years ago, in April 2006, the Sudhar Police booked him, along with ten others, allegedly for developing a colony on Ludhiana-Pakhowal road, near Mansooran village in violation of norms.

The professional life of Dr Sofat also remained full of controversies.

In 2000, the IMA initiated the process of action against Dr Sofat and his wife for misleading people through advertisements.

Similarly, in April 2006, the District Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum, Sangrur, had directed Dr Sumeet Sofat and his wife to refund Rs 2.25 lakh charged by them from a couple for undergoing treatment for infertility.

The forum also directed the Centre to pay to the complainants Rs 1 lakh for unfair trade practice, Rs 50,000 as compensation for mental torture and agony and Rs 2,000 as litigation expenses.

The decision came following a complaint by Des Raj and his wife, Devinder Kaur, residents of local Guru Nanak Colony.

The doctor told Devinder, who was under treatment, that she was pregnant on July 9, 2003. She, however, underwent a pregnancy test on August 20, 2003, at a diagnostic laboratory, Sangrur, when it was found that Sofats duped her by providing false report following which the patient filed a complaint in the forum claiming refund of Rs 2.25 lakh.



Pvt airline strike on Aug 18
C(r)ashing in on tax payers
Jyoti Rai

Chandigarh, July 31
The decision of the private airline operators to “suspend” domestic flight operations on August 18, in a bid to “pressurise” the Union Government for a “bail out”, has not gone down well with the regular fliers in the city.

Residents felt that the airline operators had no right to hold the people at “ransom” by adopting such tactics.

Country’s major private airlines, including Kingfisher, Jet Airways, Spice Jet and Indigo Airlines have called for a one-day domestic strike on August 18, that will affect the inward as well as outward air traffic in the city. On a daily basis, while Kingfisher operates four flights, Jet Airways and Go-airways operate two flights, each.

Besides, Indian airways also operate two flights, which are expected to operate on schedule.

“The government has no right to use taxpayers’ money for bail outs of private airlines that otherwise splurge on their other business ventures,” said a local businessman, S Kumar.

However, the regional Jet Airways officials had not received any intimation in this regard. The Airport Authority of India, Chandigarh, was also clue less.

However, travel agents here have voiced concerns. “We have around 35 bookings on domestic routes from the Chandigarh airport and we are expecting more,” said Manjeet Singh from Grand Travels.

Kingfisher has already intimated the press that this might turn into indefinite suspension of domestic flights if their losses continue to increase. The airlines justify their strike by arguing that they were burdened by high fuel costs, low fares and a sharp plunge in passenger traffic.

The strike, however, will not affect the international flights. Air India will not be a part of the strike.

Speaking Out

Airlines run the businesses and enjoy the profits. Why should we or the government bear their losses?”

— Charanjiv Singh,
president Chandigarh Beopar Mandal

This is ridiculous. Such discrepancy will be problematic for our athletes. They will have to resort to road transport that will lead to fatigue and mess up their schedules. If this continues beyond one day and domestic fights are suspended for longer, we will have to arrange for overnight stays as well.

— MP Pandove,
honorary secretary, Punjab Cricket Association

These airlines are trying to trouble common man then
why should the common man pay fortheir losses?”

— Jaspal Bhatti



Police takes out flag march
Tribune News Service

Zirakpur, July 31
The Mohali police took out a flag march today in Zirakpur and Dera Bassi to restore the confidence of general public and to maintain law and order situation prior to Banur bypoll.

The flag march was led by SP Mohali (Headquarters) Sarabjit Singh along with DSP (Headquarters) SS Bains, DSP Dera Bassi JS Khaira, four BSF companies with their senior officers and SHOs of Zirakpur, Dera Bassi and Lalru.

These flag marches were carried out in Zirakpur, Dera Bassi and all the nearby villages.



Police verification drive of little use
Ramanjit Singh Sidhu
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 31
Notwithstanding the UT administration’s fresh directive to landlords for registration of their tenants and servants with the police, this verification scheme appears to be an exercise in futility as thousands of such applications are piling up with no follow-up action.

The arrest of three inter-state smugglers, including a tenant of DSP Roshan Lal with 200 kg of poppy husk and 120 grams of opium, hinted that the anti-social elements are using rented accommodations to carry out their activities. Though the police claimed that the DSP had submitted the tenant verification form, the failure or the delay in the follow-up action had allowed the accused to carry on the illegal trade.

The figures show that the record of the scheme is nothing but dismal. As per the records antecedents of only 3.09 per cent of the total applications forms submitted to the police are verified. Take the figures of April this year, out of the total number of 11,449 verification forms submitted with the police, only 354 forms were verified, while the rest of the 11,034 are pending at one stage or the other.

Admitting that the response to the scheme was really poor, the officials put the blame on their counterparts in other states for “non-cooperation”. “In a large number of cases, we don’t get back the verified reports,” the officials maintained.

The UT on July 15 had directed all landlords,owners and managers of commercial establishments to furnish details of their tenants before renting out their accommodations.

“The order will remain effective up to September 13. The police action seems to have been restricted to publishing advertisements in newspapers requesting the residents to comply with the rules than randomly checking the violators,” said an official.

The city is dotted with a large number of illegal and unauthorised paying guest accommodations. As per the records, only 237 paying guest accommodation are in the city, which do not present the real picture as illegal paying guest accommodations are mushrooming with each passing day.

“There are no paying guest accommodations in the jurisdiction of the Sector 31 and Industrial Area police station while the Manimajra and Sector 26 police stations have one and two such accommodations under their area. To check the reality just go through the classified section of any newspapers, you will come across several advertisements regarding paying guest accommodation,” said a police officer.



Tributes paid to Mohd Rafi
SD Sharma

Chandigarh, July 31
The Information and Public Relation Department, Haryana, paid musical tributes to the peerless music maestro Mohamed Rafi in a specially designed musical bonanza “Mujh ko mere baad zamaana dhundega” at Tagore Theatre here today.

About 12 singers, selected after a state-level contest, presented twenty songs immortalised by Mohd Rafi and Lata Mangeshkar under the direction of invincible music director’s duo of Sonik-Omi.

The star attraction of the musical evening remained the Bollywood music director Omi Sonik, who shared memories of his long association with Rafi and paid tribute through a poem in laudation of Rafi’s towering genius.

The most accomplished artist of the lot, Ankit Balhara gave a majestic start with rendition of “Mann ke khazaane mein” before Shivam came out with a bit intoxicating “Chera surkh Sharaab hua”. The melody flowed in songs presented by Nishant, Sahil, Priya, Deep, Ramanpreet, Arvind, Anshu and others.



Goods worth lakhs destroyed in fire
Our Correspondent

Mohali, July 31
Fire broke out early this morning in an office and a store of an industrial unit here today destroying finished goods as well as raw material, apart from other items.

Office and store of the company producing automotive filters and auto parts are located side by side and the fire, which is suspected to have broken out due to short-circuit, damaged office record, refrigerator, TV set, packing material, finished goods and also raw material worth lakhs of rupees.

Fire was noticed by a watchman around 5 am who informed about it to a person of a neighbouring unit, Jaswant Singh, who then informed the local fire brigade and also the owner of the fire-hit unit, Hardeep Singh.

Hardeep said he suspected that the fire must have taken place due to short-circuit from a refrigerator.

He said the extent of loss could not be ascertained immediately, but it was being assessed.

Two different offices were functioning from one industrial plot where the fire broke out.



Youth hurt in attack
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 31
A youth was seriously injured after he was stabbed by one of his friends with a sharp-edged weapon on Madhya Marg, Sector 8.

The injured has been identified as Manish, a resident of Bapu Dham Colony. He has been admitted to the Sector 16 Government Multi-Specialty Hospital.

He told the police that he was standing outside Score Disc when he had an argument with Sumit Shami following which Rajesh and Salim attacked him.



PEC counselling to be on hold
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 31
Counselling for admission to the courses in the Punjab Engineering College (PEC) will continue to be on hold.

The controversy over clubbing UT pool quota and the all-India quota of seats reserved for the wards of military and para-military personnel had led to the passing of the stay orders by the Punjab and Haryana High Court.

As the matter came up for hearing, the Bench of Justice MM Kumar and Justice Jaswant Singh Alos fixed August 4 for arguments.

The Bench had earlier observed: We are of the view that further data will be required to determine the time schedule and holding of counselling for admission to engineering graduate courses under the defence or ex-servicemen category.

“We direct the respondents to furnish the details of the applicants under the category under separate heads of Chandigarh quota and the all-India quota as per the criterion. Necessary information will be furnished on July 31. However, counselling, which is slated for tomorrow will be deferred till further orders.”

Earlier, during the proceedings, the Bench took on record a reply filed by joint secretary, technical education, Pirthi Chand. He said, in PEC till 2007, seats reserved under the defence quota were filled both in the all-India quota and the UT quota separately.

In Chandigarh College of Engineering and Technology, the UT pool seats and the all-India seats were filled up separately till 2009.

The administration, after considering the matter, realised that the UT pool quota should not have been abolished. He said the matter had been discussed in a meeting at the level of the adviser, where PEC director said admission could only be carried out in accordance with the terms and conditions of the prospectus of the joint admission brochure and no deviation could be made there under in view of the law laid down in various judgements.

Thereafter, letter dated July 20 was issued, in which it was advised to complete the admission process strictly in accordance with the terms and conditions of the brochure; and from the next academic session, the admission will be regulated separately for the UT pool quota and the all-India pool quota.

The High Court had earlier asked UT administration to file an affidavit on the decision of the admission committee for engineering courses to club the UT pool quota and the all-India quota of seats reserved for the wards of military and para-military personnel for admission to Punjab Engineering College.

Petitioners Avneet Hira and Arshdeep Sandhu had earlier sought the quashing of provision relating to admissions to the PEC in defence quota. Directions have also been sought to conduct admissions in accordance with a letter of Chandigarh administration issued on July 15.

Decision of MC’s vice-chief challenged

Haryana’s decision of July 3 of directing vice-president of Panchkula municipal council BB Singhal to perform the duties of the president till the post is filled up was today challenged in the Punjab and Haryana High Court by the ousted president Ravindra Kumar Rawal.

In his petition, Rawal has also sought directions to declare the by-law 36 of the municipal council Act ultra vires, illegal and contrary to the provisions. He claimed it was also in violation of the high court orders of July 14 and 22, whereby the state government had clearly been told not to proceed further to fill up vacancies of the president and the vice-president of the council, while adjourning the hearing on his previous writ petition to August 5.

The division bench of Justice M.M.Kumar and Justice Jawwant Singh, after preliminary hearing, issued notice of motion for August 13 to the financial commissioner, urban local bodies, its director, Panchkula Deputy Commissioner, and the executive officer.



533 seats filled in sports dept
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 31
The Chandigarh sports department has filled a total of 307 sports wing seats out of 378 in various disciplines in different schools for the current academic year. The sports wing will start functioning from tomorrow.

Disclosing this here today, joint director sports, Dr JPS Sidhu, said 226 seats had been filled out of 268 in various coaching centres run by the sports department.

The selection trials of the sports wing and sports coaching centres were held from June 17 to 22. The final list of the selected players for the sports wing have been circulated to all concerned. The selection trials for the remaining sports wing seats will be re-fixed shortly.

Sports wing seats in schools:

Athletics: Government Model-35 (8), Govt Model-37 (10), Govt Model, Manimajra (3).

Basketball: Govt Model-23 (5), New Public School-18 (12), Govt Model-33 (5) and St Joseph's-44 (12). Boxing: Sharda Sarvhitkari Model-40 (10).

Cricket: Guru Nanak Public School-36 (14).

Football: St Stephen's-45 (16).

Gymnastics: SGH Model-38 (3), MRA SSS-27 (10). Handball: GN Khalsa SSS-30 (10), Govt Model-23 (10), GNPS-36 (12), Govt Model-19 (12), GGS SSS-35 (5).

Hockey: Govt Model SS-35 (12), Govt Model -37 (12).

Kabaddi: Govt HS-40 (20), Govt Model-10 (9).

Kho-kho: Govt HS-46 (10).

Skating: SGH Model-38 (10).

Table tennis: NPS-18 (4), SGH Model-38 (3), Manav Mangal-21 (12).

Volleyball: SGGS Collegiate PS-26 (10), Govt SSS-27 (14), Govt SSS, Kaimbwala (10), GNKSSS-30 (6). Wrestling: Sharda Sarvhikari-40 (10) and Govt SSS-38 West (10). Out of total 378, 307 have been allotted. Sports coaching centres: Sector-18 Hockey Stadium (16), Table Tennis Hall-23 (8), Lake Sports Complex (rowing 3), Sector-46 Sports Complex (volleyball 9), (basketball 16), (athletics boys and girls’ 14), Sector-7 Sports Complex: (Volleyball 16), (basketball 12), (athletics boys and girls’ 16), (gymnastics 9), Sector-42 Sports Complex: (handball 15), (kabaddi 12), (judo 14), (wrestling 15), (weightlifting 13), (boxing 12), (badminton 9), Sector-16 Stadium (cricket 11) and Swimming Pool Nursery-23 (6).



Arts College suspends two students
Tribune News Service,

Chandigarh, July 31
Two girls of Master of Fine Arts, Arts College, Sector 10, Seema of second year and Urmila of first year, have been suspended for a week from the college in a case of alleged brawl which took contours of ragging yesterday.

The incident which kept the administration and the college authorities on toes happened on Tuesday when following a late night brawl Urmila approached the Home Secretary with a written complaint of verbal abuse and mental harassment against Seema.

The Home Secretary asked the college authorities to inquire into the matter to rule out any possibility of ragging. According to sources during the inquiry it was found that Urmila and Seema had entered into a heated argument which led to a short fist-fight in the hostel on Tuesday.

Though a committee from the college was immediately deputed to meet the girls, Urmila filed a complaint against Seema to the Home Secretary.

Ruling out any possibility of ragging, the college suspended both the girls for creating nuisance in the hostel.



Monsoon celebrated at KB DAV-7
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 31
Primary teachers of KB DAV-7 celebrated Rainy Day on Friday. Children attired in bright colourful dresses carrying umbrellas in their hands danced on thrilling tunes along with their teachers.

Students exchanged sweets and welcomed monsoon. Principal Madhu Bahl blessed the tiny-tots and distributed sweets.



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