C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Shimla girl’s gangrape
Charges to be framed against ex-Home Secy
Swati Sharma
Tribune News Service

NK Jain
NK Jain  

Chandigarh, August 3
Additional District and Sessions Judge RN Bharti today ordered framing of charges against former UT Home Secretary NK Jain and four others in the gang rape of a Shimla girl in 2002.

The court will frame charges against NK Jain, Ram Lal, Surinder Sharma, Baldev Kumar and Head Constable Narveer Singh under Sections 376-G (gang rape), 389 (putting a person in fear of accusation of offence, in order to commit extortion), 328 (causing hurt by means of poison), 506 (criminal intimidation), 120-B (criminal conspiracy) of the IPC on August 7.

On August 14, 2002, a Shimla-based girl was raped and thrown out of a moving car near the Sector 33 petrol station here. She had accused Chandigarh Sector 8 resident and industrialist MK Jain of raping her and he was booked for the same.

Subsequently, the police found that MK Jain had been framed, allegedly at the behest of the former UT Home Secretary.

The rape victim then moved the Punjab and Haryana High Court seeking directions to the Chandigarh Administration to protect her life and liberty.

On November 19, 2002, the Chandigarh Police asked NK Jain to join investigations for his alleged role in conspiring against the industrialist. However, he did not turn up.

Thereafter, non-bailable warrants were issued against NK Jain on December 5, 2002. Acting on a tip-off from the CBI, the Chandigarh Police arrested Jain on December 23 from outside the bureau’s Sector 30 office where he had gone in connection with a corruption case against him.

Subsequently, a local court directed Jain to appear in court by January 30, 2003. The police named Ram Lal, Surinder Sharma, Narveer and Baldev Kumar as co-conspirators.



Three Haryana cops killed in accident
Tribune News Service

Zirakpur, August 3
Three Haryana police personnel were killed and four, including a Superintendent of Police (SP) Vigilance, Hisar, were seriously injured in a head-on collision between a Punjab roadways bus and a Sumo near Jhuggian village on the Zirakpur-Patiala highway here this afternoon.

The occupants of the bus sustained minor injuries in the accident that led to a traffic jam for more than an hour.

The police personnel of the Haryana vigilance department were travelling in an official vehicle and were on their way to Hisar after visiting the Haryana DGP’s office at Panchkula.

The deceased have been identified as ASI Surja Ram, head constable Surjit Kumar and constable Anil Kumar. The injured are SP Vigilance Patram, Ashwani Bajaj (ADA legal) and head constables Ravinder Bajaj and Dharamvir.

The Zirakpur police reached the spot and removed the mangled remains of the vehicles from the spot with the help of cranes.

The SHO, Yogi Raj, stated that the incident took place around 3.15 pm when the bus rammed into the vehicle head-on. The bus was being driven rashly and the driver overtook from the wrong side. The bodies of the victims have been sent to the Civil Hospital in Dera Bassi for postmortem and the injured have been taken to the GMCH-32, Chandigarh, where another cop was declared brought dead.

A case has been registered against the bus driver, who fled after the accident.



Minor booked for kidnap, rape
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 3
The police has booked a minor for allegedly kidnapping and raping a 14-year-old girl in his neighbourhood in Sector 41. The police has arrested the elder brother of the accused, a peon in the Punjab accountant-general’s office, for allegedly shielding the accused.The victim, a student of class IX, had lodged a complaint that her classmate and neighbour had raped her on July 29 at his brother’s house.

The victim, who lives with her grandmother, told the police that the accused had told her to come to her whenever she had any problem. On July 29, her grandmother scolded her and she went to his house. After midnight, the accused called her to the terrace and raped her.

In the meantime, the brother of the accused, Tirlok, came there and thrashed the accused after finding him in a compromising position with the victim. However, instead of sending the girl to her house, he sent her, along with his brother, to Ambala, where their mother lives. Their mother did not allow them to stay with her and sent them back to the city.

On returning home, the victim narrated the incident to her grandmother when she asked about her whereabouts. The matter was then reported to the police, which registered a case of kidnapping, rape and criminal conspiracy.

The police said the minor boy was still absconding and Tirlok had been arrested for allegedly conspiring with his brother to cover up the crime.



House tax in offing
Admn may also force water tariff hike on MC
Aarti Kapur
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 3
The Chandigarh administration is mooting a proposal to hike water tariff and impose house tax in the city by using its power under Section 405 of the Punjab Municipal Corporation Act.

As per the proposal, if the municipal corporation (MC) does not approve both agenda items during the ensuing session of the House, the administration will tell the MC to impose those under Sections 405 and 406 of the Act.

According to Section 405, if the local government is of the opinion that duty has to be imposed, it can direct the corporation to impose it. Under Section 406, the local government has powers to enforce these directions.

For the last year and-a-half, the MC has been postponing the tabling of both agenda items for approval in the House, due to which the grant of various projects of the administration are lying pending under the Jawaharlal Nehru Urban Renewal Mission.

A senior official of the administration confirmed that such a move had been discussed during a meeting of officials of the MC and the administration recently.

The official said it was revealed at the meeting that all major taxes imposed by the MC in the last 14 years had been forced by the administration under Sections 405 and 406.

MC Commissioner Roshan Sunkaria stated that after the rejection of tabling of the water tariff hike by the Mayor, no further communication had been made in this regard.

Referring to the imposition of property tax and parking fee in the city, a senior official said councillors were not in favour of imposing any new tax in the past due to political compulsions.

The official said it took five years to impose minimal commercial property tax in the city and parking fee was imposed by the MC after directions of the Punjab and Haryana High Court.

During a recent public hearing meeting of the UT Administrator, the Federation of Sector Welfare Associations had supported the administration’s plea for imposing minimal taxes to get grants from the Centre for speeding up development projects in the city.



Student ‘ragged’ at PU
Neha Miglani
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 3
Tejas Anand, a first year student of the University Institute of Chemical Engineering and Technology (UICET), Panjab University, today alleged that he was ragged by two second year students of the same department at the boys’ hostel 3.

He said he was ragged three-four times and told his father, who is a non-teaching employee at the IIT, Delhi, about it. His father is reported to have contacted a senior university official in this regard. Tejas also submitted a written complaint to the hostel authorities, following which a six-member committee and the security was sent to the hostel by the Vice-Chancellor to look into the matter.

Talking to the media this evening, Tejas said he was thinking of with drawing his complaint on his father’s suggestion. “There is no point in ruining someone’s career,” he stated.

Recounting his experience, he said yesterday, two seniors took him to block A, where he was asked to dance and give his introduction. He said they abused him verbally. Hostel inmates identified one of the seniors as a resident of Ludhiana and another as an outsider who is staying in the hostel and hails from Jodhpur.

Before this, Tejas claimed that he was forced to eat a chapatti with excess sauce by the same boys a day before. He was also asked to hold the dirty inner wear of a senior while he took bath. Yet another senior told him to get his beard trimmed.

Tejas said he did not report these two incidents to the authorities and mentioned the names of only two seniors who constantly bothered him.

According to sources, the university is considering strict action against whom the allegations have been levelled.

On the condition of anonymity, a senior university official said Tejas should give details of the incidents else strict action would be taken against him for harassing the authorities and levelling serious allegations against other students.

Hostel warden MC Sidhu said they were working on the case and an official version of the university would be released soon.

The anti-ragging team comprised UICET chairperson VK Rattan, the hostel warden, Dean (Sciences) and PU security members. 



Three dreaded criminals nabbed in encounter
Arun Sharma
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, August 3
With the arrest of three dreaded criminals, the police today claimed to have solved the robbery of Rs 78,000 on July 29 from two ex-servicemen belonging to the Uttar Haryana Bijli Vitran Nigam (UHBVN).

The accused, identified as Vikram of Ambala, Kuldeep of Maankyan village in Panchkula, and Naveen of Panipat, are members of the Nishan Singh gang of Ambala and allegedly involved in several cases of murder, extortion and kidnapping in the region.

The gang was involved in the killing of Bobby, a gangster, in the court complex of Ambala on March 3. Earlier, it had killed Bobby’s sister Ritu and another relative at Ambala Cantonment on September 1 last.

Vikram and Kuldeep were also involved in a shootout with the Haryana Police in Chandigarh on July 2. One of their accomplices, Gobind, who tried to flee after taking a lift on a scooter, fired shots near the lights of Sectors 20-30, was nabbed by the police.

Panchkula SP Maneesh Chaudhary said the gang also took away a Skoda from two youths on July 14 near the road separating Sectors 25 and 26. Kuldeep fired shots to terrorise the youths and fled in the car towards Ramgarh.

The police had information that the gang members were hiding in Patiala and had the Skoda, the SP said. A team of the Panchkula police and the Ambala special task force raided the hideout near the bus stand yesterday, leading to a shootout. All four managed to escape in the car towards Ambala, where they were intercepted by the police. They again fired at the police and Vikram was injured in the encounter. Baring Gurvinder, all others were nabbed.

The accused told the police that one of their accomplices, Aneesh, was also involved in crimes at Panchkula. Aneesh is at large.


Railways to take over e-ticketing from IRCTC
Anil Jerath
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 3
After taking over catering services in trains from its subsidiary, the Indian Railways Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC), the Railways is planning to directly undertake e-ticketing operations also.

The reason is mismanagement of e-ticketing by the IRCTC, as shown by continuous complaints of touts siphoning off tickets in fictitious names, leading to unavailability of seats to legitimate customers. Currently, 30 per cent of all rail bookings are done through the IRCTC website.

The Centre for Railways Information Systems (CRIS), the IT arm of the Railways, is understood to be working on providing e-ticketing facility on the Railways website www.indianrailways.gov.in.

According to a senior Railway official, passengers will stand to gain from such a move as getting access to the IRCTC website has been proving difficult, especially during initial hours in the morning, when booking commences.

The Railways had recently banned IRCTC web-based agents from accessing tatkal bookings after complaints that they were cornering berths to sell those at premium. In the first move towards the transfer, the Railways asked the CRIS to plan for expansion in the time period during which e-tickets could be bought.

As of now, e-ticketing could be done for a limited period during the day. “We want to facilitate e-ticketing round the clock. We have planned to extend this facility from 12:01 am to 11:30 pm and keep half an hour for maintenance work,” an official said.

The CRIS had been asked to prepare a strategy to implement this considering the limited resources with Railways. The Railways had noticed close to 1,000 cases of touts purchasing tickets in fictitious names and selling those at a premium from January to March this year.

Earlier last month, the national transporter had barred agents from accessing the e-booking portal to buy tatkal or other advance tickets in the first hour of the day, from 8 am to 9 am. The Railways had also decided to carry out special checks at all major reservation offices between 7:30 am and 9 am to prevent touts from buying seats in the first hour of the opening day of the advance reservation period.

Highly placed sources in the Railways said the new facility would be one of the several passenger-friendly features planned to be rolled out before Dussehra. While the IRCTC made a business of approximately Rs 450 crore from catering during the last financial year, it earned Rs 122 crore from selling e-tickets.

Clarifying that the public-sector undertaking would not be wound up, the official said, “The IRCTC will focus on tourism and manage food plazas. Tourism is a growing industry and there is excellent scope in it.”



Neha’s rape not confirmed
Ramanjit Singh Sidhu
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 3
Even as the parents of murder victim Neha Ahlawat are traumatised by the media reports leading to ‘character assassination’ of their daughter, the post-mortem report has not confirmed that the victim had been raped.

“In fact, doctors have reserved their opinion on the cause of the death and also about whether the victim was raped. We have not received any report from the doctors, apart from the injuries found on the victim’s body. The doctors are yet to ascertain which injury proved fatal,” DSP (South) Vijay Kumar said.

The police had already taken into its possession a blood-stained rock weighing around 5 kg, with which the victim was attacked. A police officer said the victim’s forehead and temple bore blunt injury marks and there was a big injury on her abdomen, believed to have been inflicted by a blunt and heavy object.

Talking to mediapersons, former MP Satya Pal Jain said the victim’s parents expressed shock over the reports raising a finger on their daughter’s character, while the police was clueless in the case.

Though the investigators had quizzed a number of suspects, including two groups of drug addicts and the victim’s friends and acquaintances, they were yet to achieve any breakthrough in the case.

The police was keeping a close watch on the activities of the miscreants living in nearby colonies, especially drug addicts, to get a lead in the case.

A senior police officer said they were working on all possible angles to the murder, including love triangle and old enmity, among other theories, and had not been able to eliminate a single theory so far.

The police also claimed that it was working on all possible leads and would reach a conclusion soon.



NGO favours car pool

Chandigarh, August 3
ArriveSAFE, an NGO for road safety, and the Chandigarh traffic police organised a campaign at the plaza in Sector 17 here to spread awareness among commuters to use alternative modes of transport to decongest the city roads.

“We are trying to get road users de-addicted from ‘autoholics’ to ‘cured’ ones by opting for alternative modes of transport. Our idea to make city roads, burgeoning with vehicular traffic, free from cars by promoting car pool in the city,” said Harman Sidhu, ArriveSAFE president.

A single person driving in a car occupied approximately 50 square feet on the road. In the wake of limited resources in India, road widening was no solution as it only ended up facilitating vehicles, not people. The United Nations Road Safety Collaboration’s ‘Decade of Action for Road Safety 2011-2020’ and the Ministry of Urban Development’s ‘National Urban Transport Policy’ called for more equitable allocation of road space with people, rather than vehicles, as main focus, said the NGO. — TNS



Panel suggests master plan in six months
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 3
The co-ordination committee for the development of Chandigarh has suggested the preparation of Chandigarh’s master plan in six months and an integrated inter-state regional plan within a year.

It was also decided that the committee of secretaries would undertake “the work of integration and shall be associated at each and every stage of development of these plans”; and the “committee of chief secretaries and UT Advisor would meet every quarter to oversee the progress”.

The decisions were taken during the 18th meeting of the co-ordination committee in New Delhi on June 26. The minutes of the meeting were placed before the Punjab and Haryana High Court Division Bench of Chief Justice Mukul Mudgal and Justice Ajay Tewari by Central Government standing counsel Onkar Singh Batalvi.

During the meeting the Secretary (Urban Development) underscored the “key issues” including “development of master plan for Chandigarh, integration of master plans of Mohali and Panchkula with Chandigarh, along with regional plans of adjoining areas in Punjab and Haryana”.

The Punjab Principal Secretary, Housing and Urban Development, said Punjab had already prepared the master plans for seven towns falling in the peripheral areas of Punjab. In addition, regional plan for the 
greater Mohali area had also been developed.

The participants were also informed that a comprehensive mobility plan for Chandigarh had been prepared and a detailed project report for Chandigarh metro had also been prepared.

The Haryana Chief Secretary said the present road connecting Panchkula was “very congested and hence, there should be a parallel road, which should not only connect Panchkula, but also provide connectivity to the airport and the railway station.

No Representation

Though the co-ordination committee met for discussing the development of Chandigarh and its periphery, the city went unrepresented. The minutes clearly say: “At the outset, the Secretary (Urban Development) welcomed the members of the co-ordination committee, particularly the Chief Secretaries of Punjab and Haryana. He also expressed concern regarding the absence of any officer from Chandigarh.”



MC seeks budget share for transferred depts
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 3
The municipal corporation (MC) has demanded that the budget share of those departments which are being transferred by the Chandigarh administration to the corporation be made to run them efficiently.

This demand was raised by Mayor Anu Chatrath at the coordination committee meeting of the MC and the administration held here today under the chairmanship of UT Adviser Pradip Mehra.

The Mayor said it would not be possible for the corporation to bear the entire expense at its own for these departments. She also said all the primary schools should be transferred in the first phase, rather than adopting a pick and choose policy.

Administration officials agreed to it and asked the Mayor to submit a list of schools that were not included earlier.

She also assured the administration that she would ask the department concerned to work out the proposal of water tariff and table it in the next house meeting of the MC.

It was also decided at the meeting that the corporation will undertake the work of widening the road in Sector 26 located in front of schools and colleges and also construct a temporary parking lot for the convenience of the public.

It was pointed out that due to the non-availability of any parking area, there were frequent traffic jams on this road in the afternoon. 


l All primary schools to be transferred to the MC in the first phase

l Water tariff proposal to be tabled in the next MC house meeting

l Sector 26 road to be widened



NRI gives thumbs up to PGI healthcare
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 3
Although the PGI, a premier health institute of the region, quite often attracts criticism for its internal politics and decreasing quality of healthcare, an NRI patient from the US is all praise for the staff and medical facilities at the hospital. Kuldip D Rampal, a professor of mass communication at the University of Central Missouri in Warrensburg, said the real story about the PGI was the quality of medical care it provided.

Unlike US medicine, which dealt more with symptoms than the cause of a medical problem, here at the PGI, they went a great length to get to the root cause of the issue, said Professor Rampal. While visiting India, he came for treatment to the departments of physiotherapy and ophthalmology at the PGI. He had worked with the Indian Express before moving to the US.

He was a visiting senior fellow at Singapore’s National University during 1992-1993 and at the Nanyang Technological University during 1994-95, where he also served as part-time assistant news editor at The Straits Times. He received a PhD in journalism from the University of Missouri, Columbia School of Journalism, and MS in journalism from the Boston University. “In my opinion, the real news story about the PGI may be buried behind the perceptions that it is overcrowded and chaotic. Overcrowding is natural in a medical facility open to everyone at practically no cost,” he said.

There might not be similar pressures on physicians at commercially operated hospitals and so, there was a great deal to be said about medical care available to people with little or no financial resources in a welfare state like India, he opined.

“I came here for hand physiotherapy, which I received from competent staff, with a humane touch. I am not suggesting that India move to a socialist, state-funded healthcare system. A parallel private system is necessary,” he said.

Talking to mediapersons, Prof MS Dhillon, head of the departments of orthopaedics and physiotherapy, said hand injuries could leave serious and lasting problems. Given the significant role of hand, hand injuries should be taken seriously, he asserted. Hand physiotherapists could help diagnose and assess movement dysfunctions, restore mobility, alleviate pain and provide education on specific injuries and disease, he said.



Religious places on public land
GMADA told to draw plan for regularisation
Tribune News Service

Mohali, August 3
In what may come as a ray of hope for various religious establishments set up on public land in violation of rules in Mohali, Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal has directed the secretary, housing and urban development, to come up with a plan to regularise illegal structures.

The secretary has been asked to prepare the plan in the next 15 days.

District Planning Committee chairman NK Sharma said the directions had been issued after he took up the issue with the Chief Minister during a meeting in Chandigarh today.

Badal said apart from framing a policy for religious structures, he would review the progress of various development projects of the town during a meeting at Mohali on August 26.

Regarding religious structures, Sharma said the places were of importance as religious functions and congregations were held there.

Greater Mohali Area Development Authority (GMADA) had issued notices to at least 30 religious institutions in the town asking them to explain their position.

Of the 30 illegal structures, half are temples and the remaining are gurdwaras located in different parts of the town.

Sources said of the 70 establishments in the town, 30 existed on public land and had not sought permission from the government. Some premises were even being rented out for commercial activity.

So far, the government has not decided on taking action in these cases.

As per the existing allotment policy, sites are allotted on leasehold basis at a rate of Rs 6 per sq yd per annum.

Recently, six such sites have been allotted by GMADA.



Sand mining sites go for Rs 8 cr

Mohali, August 3
Sand mining sites in the district were auctioned for Rs 8 crore at an auction conducted by the District Industries Centre in the Industrial Area, Phase 1, here today. For 55 sites, the reserve price was Rs 3.4 crore. In Ropar, 63 mining sites went for Rs 10.3 crore, against a reserve price of Rs 2.03 crore.

The sites in Patiala district went for Rs 1.75 crore against the reserve price of Rs 63 lakh. The auction was disrupted when some participants objected to the bidding process. The police had to intervene to resolve the issue. With today’s auction, the prices of sand are expected to increase further. — TNS



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