L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Audit report finds irregularities at ESIC Hospital
Anshu Seth
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, October 7
An external audit and inspection of the accounts for the period from 2006 to 2009 of the office of the medical superintendent of the city’s ESIC Model Hospital has indicated misappropriation of funds amounting to Rs 64,34,687. The audit, conducted by a team headed by AAO, KK Goel from the accountant general (audit), Punjab & UT of Chandigarh, in March 2010 points at irregularities in expenditure in various departments of the hospital.

Irregular payments made as advances against incomplete works, short deductions of TDS (tax deducted from salary), no deduction of VAT from contractors’ bills and inadmissible payment of hotel charges/travel allowance to doctors and irregular payment of arrears to service providers are among major irregularities pointed out in the audit report.

After receiving a complaint from a hospital employee, a city based NGO, the Anti-Corruption & Crime Investigating Cell, procured this information from the ESIC Model hospital under the Right to Information Act. "There are various other incongruities that mark the functioning of the ESIC Model Hospital and our organization has already taken up the matter with the central health ministry”, said Rohit Sabharwal, who heads the NGO.

Interestingly, hospital officials have also failed to pay the audit fee to the office of the accountant general (audit), Punjab & UT of Chandigarh from the year 2006 to 2009.

The most shocking disclosure is the "review of old objections" made by the audit team from 2002 to 2006, which include irregular purchase of goods worth Rs 11 lakh, expenditure of Rs 48 lakh without any financial powers, nonensuing of deposit of service tax of Rs 3.85 lakh, irregular payments of departmental charges of Rs 16 lakh and - most importantly - nonpayment of audit fee of Rs 19,850.

Hospital to reply to objections

When contacted Dr Suresh Kohli, medical superintendent of ESIC Model Hospital, Ludhiana said he was on leave, adding deputy medical superintendent Dr Parmanand would comment on the issue. Parmanand in turn stated Kohli “knew about the issue”. “However, the hospital is already in the process of submitting a detailed reply to the objections raised in the audit and inspection report," he added.


Accused admits to Rs 3000-cr fraud
Manav Mander
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, October 7
As the fake bill scam in the excise department gets unearthed, more skeletons are tumbling out of the closet.With Ganga Ram, instrumental in issuing bogus bills, surrendering before the excise and taxation department, Mandi Gobindgarh’s bogus bill racket has taken a new turn. The mastermind behind the scam is still absconding.

Accepting before Assistant Excise and Taxation Commissioner Rishipal Singh, Ganga Ram said he had prepared fake bills amounting to Rs 3,000 crore in four years.

Most of the bills were made in the name of firms located at Mandi Gobindgarh and many top-notch industries were also involved in it.

Ganga Ram had made several fake companies like Guru Nanak Trading Company, Dwarka Jagdish, Rakesh Trader, VK Trader, Maa Gangadhar Steel, Kailashpati Steel and Ispat Udyog, of which the first two were in his name.

In four years, he had earned Rs 10 crore and supplied fake bills worth Rs 3,000 crore to nearly 400 companies, said Rishipal Singh.

“The companies used to enter fake sale and purchase. Ganga Ram used to issue fake bills. We were following the case for a month-and-a-half. Several notices were served to him. After investigation, we found that there was no movement of goods and only money was moved to bank accounts,” he added.

A case under Section 420 of the IPC was registered against Ganga Ram. “We will follow more links and trace the fraudulent firms. All fake firms are interlinked,” he said.



Iron trader robbed of RS 10.5 lakh at gunpoint
Mohit Khanna
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, October 7
Two armed youths robbed a local iron trader of Rs 10. 5 lakh after taking him on a ride on his scooter at a vacant plot near the Dugri canal road here today.Narrating the incident, Nawal Kishore alias Jeevan, 50, said he withdrew the money from the Union Bank of India branch on Dugri road at about 11:30 am. “I put the cash in my scooter’s glove compartment and was about to drive to my shop on Gill Road when two youths, who were probably standing near the ATM outside the bank, approached me. One of them pulled out a pistol and put it on my chest. While the latter sat on the back seat of my scooter, his accomplice began driving it and I was made to sit in the middle”, he stated.

Kishore said before stopping the scooter at a vacant plot near the Dugri canal, the youth rode the scooter through several narrow streets. The duo then alighted from the vehicle taking the cash from its glove compartment and fled from the scene, he added.

Kishore said he then made his way to his shop and told neighbouring shopkeepers about the incident. The latter immediately informed the police, which arrived at Kishore’s shop.

Later during the day the cops took the iron trader to the bank branch where he had withdrawn the money in the course of further investigations. Police officials questioned the bank’s security guards about the presence of suspicious elements in the area.

While a few police officials called the incident a “concocted story and a bundle of lies”, other cops appeared convinced about the veracity of the iron trader’s claims.

"Lets probe the matter thoroughly. To term the robbery claim as fake would not be justified. I don't see any reason why a man in mid- 50s would make false claim that he was robbed. It was his own money," said a senior police official investigating the crime scene.

However, additional deputy police commissioner Sushil Kumar seemed suspicious about the whole affair. "Why Kishore took so much time in complaining about the incident to the police is my only concern. However, we’re investigating the matter”, he added.

This was the second robbery incident in the city within a week. Only four days ago armed men waylaid a bank vehicle and robbed employees of the Indian Overseas Bank branch near Dhandra village, fleeing with Rs 20 lakh in cash.



Building rule violations under scanner
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, October 7
In the wake of massive violations of building bylaws in the mega city, Chief Vigilance Officer (CVO) of local bodies department AK Kansal today inspected an under-construction building in Udham Singh Nagar locality against a specific complaint to see whether the building plan had been got approved, and further if the approved plan was being followed by the builder.

Kansal was accompanied by officials of the building branch of the municipal corporation, including assistant town planner SS Bindra.

Although the CVO could not be contacted for comments, it was learnt that some variations from the approved building plan were pointed out to the owner of the building and directions were issued to scrupulously follow the building plan as approved for the residential house by the MC.

MC officials were further asked to get an undertaking from the owner of the building that it would be used only for residential purpose and no commercial activity would be carried out as apprehended by the residents in the neighbourhood.

Later, Kansal visited some other sites related to pending inquiries into violations of the building norms in various parts of the city.

Inquiries made by The Tribune revealed that complaints of blatant violations of building bylaws, both in the residential buildings and commercial complexes, were pouring in at the vigilance cell, which were under different stages of investigation.

“Norms for approval of building plans for commercial buildings being very stringent, the intending builders circumvent the entire regulatory process by seeking approval for a residential building, which, when completed, is used for commercial purpose,” say highly placed sources in the MC, while adding that big money was involved in such violations and spoils were shared by officials as well as supervisory staff of the civic body in direct proportion to the authority wielded.



Anti-RSS Remarks
Rahul Gandhi’s effigy burnt
Our Correspondent

BJYM activists burn an effigy of AICC general secretary Rahul Gandhi in Ludhiana on Thursday.
BJYM activists burn an effigy of AICC general secretary Rahul Gandhi in Ludhiana on Thursday. A Tribune photograph

Ludhiana, October 7
Up in arms against All-India Congress Committee general secretary Rahul Gandhi for his remarks against the Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh (RSS), activists of the Bhartiya Janata Yuva Morcha protested here today.

They also burnt an effigy of the Congress leader at the Clock Tower Chowk. The protest was led by district unit president Kantendu Sharma. District BJP chief Rajiv Katna was present.

Sharma said it was unfortunate that Rahul Gandhi had compared the RSS, known for patriotism and nationalism, with the anti-national militant group SIMI.

“It appears that the young Congress leader has either lost his mental balance or his knowledge about the RSS is zero,” he said.

The speakers charged the AICC general secretary with spreading misinformation about the Sangh Parivar and courting friendship with Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah, known for his separatist views.

“The Congress leader owes the nation an apology for hurting the sentiments of the patriotic youth and making a bid to divide the country. Such nefarious designs will not be allowed to succeed,” they added.



Slide show on drug abuse

Ludhiana, October 7
The CII and Lions Club organised a seminar and a slide show on drug abuse at Lions Bhawan. Dr Rajesh Thapar, chairperson, Drug Abuse Committee, Lions Club, 321- F, was the guest speaker.

Dr Thapar advised parents to keep a watch on their kids, as they might fall prey to drugs.

“Give a friendly atmosphere to your kids. Don’t give them excess money,” he said.

HD Johar, former minister, Bhushan Thukral and Dr RK Garg, president and secretary, respectively, expressed their views on the topic. — TNS



NCC camp reaches halfway stage
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, October 7
The annual training camp-77, which is being held at 1 Punjab Remount and Veterinary NCC Squadron of College of Veterinary Science, GADVASU, has reached the halfway stage.

Maj MM Madhusudan, camp commandant, said cadets were undergoing a rigorous training. He said cadets got up at 5.45 am. Their day started with PT followed by equitation management and grooming parade.

“During the forenoon, cadets undergo drill practice. They are taught about the NCC activities and how to develop commandership in their personality,” he added.

He said Col HPS Sahni, Commander, Ludhiana group, visited the camp and inspected the activities. Col Shani apprised the cadets about the importance of NCC, its aims and importance of discipline in life. Deputy Camp Commandant Dr RS Sethi said guest lectures on general awareness, current issues and equine management were also being organised for the cadets.

Col S Sehgal delivered a special lecture on personality development, career opportunities in defence services and “acupressure”.

Dr Simart Sagar Singh, Dean, College of Veterinary Science, spoke on “horse lameness and handling and management of horses”.

Dr Simrinder Singh Sodhi, camp adjutant, said apart from PT and drill, cadets were also being exposed to various activities like shooting, group discussion, extempore, volleyball, football and kho-kho.

Dr Sodhi added that cadets in the camp had been divided into four houses namely Zorawar House, Pride House, Trident House and Rustam House. 



From Schools
Wildlife Day

Students take part in a poster-making competition at Green Land Senior Secondary Public School, Ludhiana, on Thursday.
Students take part in a poster-making competition at Green Land Senior Secondary Public School, Ludhiana, on Thursday. A Tribune photograph

LUDHIANA: GMT Public School celebrated Wildlife Day yesterday. A special morning assembly was held. A speech was delivered by science teacher Vijay. He urged students to save the wildlife. He apprised them about food chain and deforestation. He advised them to plant saplings on their birthday. Tiny tots participated in a fancy-dress competition. They were dressed as peacock, trees, parrots and rabbits. Poems were also recited by students. Principal Amarjeet Dhaliwal and coordinator Shalini delivered a speech on how to preserve wildlife.

Darshan Academy

Tiny tots of Darshan Academy celebrated Wild Life Week from October 1 to 7 as part of their class project activity. Students were shown a documentary on wild life. A class discussion on natural habitat of animals was held. Young learners, along with their class in charges, visited a zoo. They enjoyed the Tiger Safari. Head mistress Gunmeet said children could work together for wildlife conservation.

World Animal Day

World Animal Day was celebrated at Green Land Senior Secondary Public School. An inter-house poster-making competition was held, wherein students made charts depicting “India's future if fauna extincts”. Chairman of the chain of Green Land Schools Rajesh Rudra and principal Baldeep Pandher appreciated the ideas and creativity of students.


GGN Institute of Management and Technology (GGNIMT) organised an interactive workshop on “Cracking Interviews with Ease” for BCA and MCA final year students. Simardeep Singh, trainer from Talent Hub, Delhi, was the resource person. Singh initiated the session by informing students that going for an interview was a very daunting and stressful task for a candidate, if one was not prepared thoroughly to face it. He said cracking an interview with ease was only possible through an elaborative preparation in the areas of interpersonal and technical skills, aptitude tests and group discussions. He pointed out that a good preparation not only made one perform well during an interview, but also enhanced the chances of one being hired.

To give a practical exposure of the interview process, Singh conducted mock interviews, GD sessions and aptitude tests with the students. During these mock sessions, Simardeep Singh highlighted that most interviews consisted of fairly similar questions pertaining to one's past projects, hobbies, interests and job specifications. He guided students to practise answering questions and also to keep their answers brief and to the point. He also advised students to dress appropriately for the occasion. Singh conveyed to students that good communication was the key to a successful interview. He said one should be well-versed to be able to convince an employer that he would be a positive and beneficial addition to their company. — TNS



Doctors at receiving end
Supporters of injured create ruckus
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, October 7
The working at Lord Mahavira Civil Hospital was disrupted following a protest staged by a group of people supporting an injured seeking expert opinion in medico legal report (MLR).Sameer Ali, a resident of the EWS colony, had sustained some injuries during a brawl on Tuesday evening. Having been examined by emergency medical officer (EMO) Dr JS Gill initially, the patient was referred to Dr RP Singh in dental department for the expert opinion.

Dissatisfied by the suggestions made in the medico legal report, the supporters of Sameer Ali today staged a protest on the hospital premises and started raising slogans against Dr RP Singh.

A senior doctor at the hospital stated that some outsiders, who were a part of the MLR mafia functional on the hospital premises, blew the situation out of proportion. “Raising slogans against a specific doctor is uncalled for and the cops in the hospital must take action against the people creating ruckus,” the doctor stated.

Dr US Sooch, the senior medical officer (SMO) at the civil hospital, when contacted, said: “Sameer Ali and his supporters instead of coming to me with their grievance created tension in the hospital. A panel of experts, including Dr Pradeep Sharma and Dr Pawandeep Singh, immediately redressed the grievance of the patient thereby giving an expert opinion.”

The SMO also said the opinion was very genuine and was not given under any pressure from any quarter. 

Kin protest patient’sdeath at DMCH
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, October 7
Following the death of Pawan Kumar (26), undergoing treatment for renal failure, his relatives and friends protested in front of the casualty ward of the DMCH here today.

A resident of Shivpuri, he came for dialysis last evening and was in a critical condition.

His family called the doctor on emergency duty, but were not satisfied with his conduct.

The situation became tense after his death, with more than 30 persons raising slogans against the hospital and demanding an apology from the doctor concerned.

The police was called to defuse the situation. Dr Rajoo Singh Chhina said the patient had a long history of renal failure and was at a critical stage for the last few weeks.

“Owing to a rush of dengue patients at the hospital, it is not possible for doctors and other staff members on duty to be present beside every patient, but they are doing their best,” he said.



Navratras start today
Festivities already on in city
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, October 7
Navratras, nine days of fasting in the name of Goddess Durga, will start from tomorrow. Devotees are all geared up for the first day to enjoy the festival in full spirit. Contrary to the ancient belief, festivities had started even during the “Shradhs” which were earlier considered inauspicious. Fairs announcing the festival season had already begun in some parts of the city. Fair at city’s famous Daresi Ground has also begun before Navratras.

“People today are not following the age old traditions. Initially, there use to be no festivities during this time. But today people are going in for shopping and even fairs have begun before Navratras,” said 62-year-old Kamleshwari.

Fairs heralding the festival season are already on at Daresi Ground, Aggar Nagar and few more places in the city.

Decked with fancy lights, the temples wear a distinct look. Nine days of fasting would finally culminate into feasting. City hotels and restaurants are also offering vegetarian ‘thali’ prepared for the occasion. Special food is being prepared by the restaurant kitchens without using ginger, onion and garlic.

Apart from restaurants, department stores are also keeping special food
articles prepared especially for Navratras. Kittu flour, especially prepared namkeen, special rice for kheer and groundnuts are available at every department store.

“This is the most auspicious time in the year to fast. Every year I keep fast. Today I relished a tasty Navratra thali at one of the city restaurants,” said Supriya, a city resident.



Teacher fights back at snatchers, loses chain
Mohit Khanna/TNS

Shallu, a schoolteacher, shows her wounds in Ludhiana.
Shallu, a schoolteacher, shows her wounds in Ludhiana. A Tribune photograph

Ludhiana, October 7
A government school teacher showed exemplary courage when she fought chain snatchers near a gurdwara on Pakhowal road in Karnail Singh Nagar here last evening. Though she lost her gold chain worth over Rs 50,000 she put up a stiff resistance to the snatchers. Her act of bravery earned her accolades from area residents as well as the gurdwara authorities.

The incident took place when Shallu, a teacher at Government High School, Khandur, was returning home on her scooter. "Two motorcycle borne youths began chasing me from street no 16. I was cautious about their movement and stopped my scooter at a gurdwara located near my house," she stated.

Five minutes later when she was coming out of the gurdwara, one of the youths entered the premises and asked her about an address.

"I told him I didn’t know anyone here and asked them to go inside and enquire about the address from the gurdwara authorities. I was about to step outside the gurdwara when the youth tried to snatch my neck chain. I fought him and threw my purse and mobile phone away so that the snatcher couldn’t get hold of them," said Shallu.

In the meantime the youth’s accomplice also entered the gurdwara and clutched at the schoolteacher’s neck. They managed to snatch her gold chain weighing 3.5 tolas. However, she did not let the two get away so easily. She got hold of one of the youths and raised an alarm, but he hit her face and she fell down on the floor.

Shallu, the mother of two daughters, quickly got up the floor and gave the snatcher a chase, but the duo managed to flee the scene. She sustained injuries on her face and legs. She rued that during the time of incident the resident were inside their house and it gave ample time to the snatches to flee. She said she could recognise the snatcher in million.

More than 24 hours after the snatching the Dugri police has yet to register a case, though head constable Daljit Singh arrived at the scene after the incident and wrote down Shallu’s complaint. He reportedly told her if she wanted the police would register an FIR in the case.

“I was surprised to know that even family members of policemen have also been victims of snatching. A PCR cop who first arrived at the scene after yesterday’s incident told me his wife’s neck chain was also snatched,” said Shallu.



Mela Dhian Da
Heritage, cultural itemsto dominate
Lovleen Bains

Doraha, October 7
A variety of competitions, predominantly highlighting the heritage and culture of Punjab, shall be organised during the two-day heritage festival “Mela Dhian Da” to be organised on October 28 and 29 at Government College for Women, Ludhiana.

Various competitions like heritage exhibition, clay modelling, crocheting, wall decoration, mehandi competition, ‘kavishri’, ‘vaar gayan’, poem recitation, traditional dresses and poster making (environment) would be organised on the first day of the mela.

On the concluding day of the festival Punjabi kitchen competition, slogan writing competition, tree decoration, knitting, phulkari, spinning wheel, hand fans, folk song competition, cutural discussion, etc, would be organised.

A special attraction of the mela would be the ‘Dhi Punjab Di Mukabala’. Girl students of various colleges, wearing traditional clothes and jewellery, singing traditional ‘Teej’ songs and showcasing their cultural talent, shall participate actively in this mela. Issues like environment and female foeticide shall be given special emphasis throughout the programme.

The girls and women, who have made a mark in educational, social and cultural fields, shall be especially felicitated on the concluding day of the festival.

“By organising such a cultural extravaganza we wish to spread a social message to one and all that social evils like female foeticide and killing of women for dowry should be stopped. Moreover, the dying culture has to be revived at all costs if we wish to see Punjab as lively as it used to be at one point of time,” said Ranjodh Singh, the chief organiser of this event.

Gurminder Kaur, principal, GCW, informed that the last date for sending the entries by different colleges was October 4. “We are getting a very positive response from the colleges all over Punjab and it is the spirit and the zeal of all participating colleges which is sure to make this programme a grand success,” she added.



Mining guard heldfor graft
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, October 7
The vigilance bureau today caught a guard of the mining department red-handed while accepting a bribe of Rs 5,000 from a resident of Chaunta village, near here. The accused, Joginder Singh, was caught accepting bribe from complainant Avtar Singh.

According to SSP (vigilance) SS Mand, the accused had taken the bribe to allow the complainant to mine sand from his land without initiating action against him for the illegal activity.

Avtar Singh had been getting sand mined from his land without seeking the permission from the mining department. His neighbour had complained against him to the Deputy Commissioner, following which Joginder Singh had visited the village.

The complainant then wrote to the mining officer, seeking permission to ferry sand from his land.

When he went to the office of the mining officer to know the status of his application, Joginder Singh allegedly threatened to take action against him for indulging in illegal sand mining.

He then demanded a gratification of Rs 10,000 from Avtar to let him off the hook. A deal of Rs 5,000 was struck between the guard and Avtar.

Avtar later complained to the vigilance bureau and its sleuths laid a trap. The accused was caught red-handed in the presence of witnesses and shadow witnesses.

A case under Section 7/13 (2) of Prevention of Corruption Act has been registered.



Assault victim succumbs to injuries
Our Correspondent

Mandi Ahmedgarh,October 7
Tension gripped Kup Kalan village following the death of a labourer who was beaten up mercilessly by a mother-daughter duo and some villagers a fortnight ago.The deceased, identified as Tula Singh, worked in a factory. He was thrashed by Paramjit Kaur, her daughter Mandeep Kaur and their accomplices on September 21. Spinal chord of Tula Singh was fractured in the incident and he was shifted from one hospital to another for the treatment.

The victim died last evening following which activists of a few labour unions led by Tarsem Jodhan had gathered outside the Sadar police station to get the accused booked in an attempted murder case.

Labourers alleged that the mother-daughter duo first invited innocent persons to their place and then accused them of misbehaving with them. Later, the duo blackmailed them with the help of the police.

DSP Amargarh Gupreet Singh Sikand said he had directed Sadar SHO Amritpal Singh to identify accomplices of the accused and nab them at the earliest.

A case under Sections 302, 452, 342, 323 and 34 of the IPC was registered.



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