C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Booth Scam
1,500 Cong, BJP workers taken into custody
* Violated prohibitory orders imposed under Section 144 of the CrPC  * Mild lathicharge against Cong workers for marching towards BJP office 

Akash Ghai &Aarti Kapur
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 12
Almost 1,500 Congress and BJP leaders and workers were taken into custody from different points in the city by the Chandigarh Police for violating prohibitory orders imposed under Section 144 of the CrPC as they tried to gherao each other’s party office on the issue of the booth allotment scam this morning.

All were later let off without being charged. The break-up comprised 809 BJP workers and 675 Congressmen.

At the Sector 35 office of the Chandigarh Territorial Congress Committee (CTCC), local party president B B Behl, Municipal Corporation mayor Ravinder Pal Singh, party vice-president Subhash Chawla, MC councillor Pardeep Chhabra, Kamlesh, Chander Mukhi Sharma Vijay Singh Rana and other 675 party workers were arrested by the police before they could proceed towards the BJP office in Sector 33.

The Congressmen were protesting against the BJP for “misguiding” the public on the issue of the booth scam and maligning the image of the Congress leaders. The police had to resort to a mild lathicharge to prevent the Congress workers from marching towards the BJP office. Some Congress workers, who tried to break the police barricades, suffered lathi blows, but none of them was seriously injured. The police arrested party leaders and workers, who were bailed out after being produced before SDM South Abhishek Dev.

High drama was witnessed near the Sector 28 house of the Central Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pawan Kumar Bansal when BJP workers tried to breach police cordon outsides the house. Ultimately, the police thwarted the BJP’s move by arresting as many as 809 activists of the party from various parts of the city as a preventive measure.

The party’s national secretary Dr Kirit Somaiya, along with president, Chandigarh BJP, Sanjay Tandon, former Member of Parliament Satya Pal Jain and around 200 supporters were arrested from Ram Lila Ground, Sector 27, when they set in their march towards Bansal house around 11.30 am today.

Former Union Minister Harmohan Dhawan, along with around 250 activists, was rounded up from Sector 9, while several party members were taken into custody from different parts of the city, including Dariya near the local Railway Station, Colony No. 4 and 5, in front of Sector 28 and Mani Majra where they started to assemble in different groups around 10.30 am with a plan to reach Bansal’s house between 11.30 and 12 noon. The arrested members were immediately taken to two police stations - Sector 26 and Mani Majra before being bailed out. 



Commuters face parties’ apathy
Aarti Kapur
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 12
Hundreds of commuters travelling by different modes of transport were put to a great inconvenience, as workers of the Congress and BJP today laid a siege to some of the busiest roads in the city.

The worst sufferers were the commuters travelling by CTU buses, as they remained stranded for several hours.

Cashing on the situation, auto-rickshaw operators fleeced the hapless commuters, who were eager to reach their destination. Chaos prevailed on the roads leading to Sectors 27, 28, 33 and 35 as the police had done barricading to stop the workers of the BJP and Congress.

Even the bus passengers had to face the ire of the protesters. As many as 20 local buses were withdrawn from some routes and deployed by the police to carry the arrested party workers to the police stations.

One of the drivers on the basis of anonymity said on some routes where the buses plied five times a day were reduced to three, as the fleet of buses was deployed on the duty of the police department. Gaurav, a bus passenger, said auto rickshaws were charging double the amount from the passengers today, as they knew about the irregular bus services due to the protest rallies by the political parties.

UT Administration SDM Abhishek Dev while commenting on this issue said, as it was a weekend there was not much inconvenience to the bus commuters.

Policeman injured

A sub-inspector suffered minor injuries when he tried to stop Congress workers from making an effort to jump the barricades put in front of Congress Bhawan.

Physically challenged not arrested

Complaining against the alleged biased attitude of the police, a physically challenged Congress worker Rakesh Chalania, a resident of Sector 56, who was part of the rally, protested on the road after the police declined to arrest him along with other Congress workers.

Bansal visits police station

Union Minister and local MP Pawan Kumar Bansal, along with his wife, went to the Sector 39 police station in the afternoon to meet party workers who had been arrested during the protest today.

2 boys reach Bansal’s house

Despite strict arrangements made by the police, a group of 27 BJP members, led by Satinder Singh, the party’s local general secretary, managed to reach near Bansal’s house. Raising slogans against the Union minister, they tried to break the barricade erected near the house, but the police arrested them immediately. The cops found themselves in a piquant situation on seeing two pre-teenager boys - nine-year-old Arjun Singh and eight-year-old Anirudh Singh - managing to enter Bansal’s residence, shouting slogans against him. After taking both youngsters out of the house, the cops asked them to go and play. The police made elaborate arrangements by laying check points on different roads leading to Bansal’s house in Sector 28. Two water canon vehicles and around 100 cops, including mounted police, were deployed in Sector 28 to thwart any untoward incident.

High drama

High drama was witnessed when BJP’s national executive member Ranjana Shahi reached near Bansal’s house all alone around 12 noon and tried break the barricade erected near Bansal’s house. When the police arrested her, she was seen shouting at the cops: “I wanted to meet the minister and coming all alone is no violation of Section 144 of the Cr PC. How can you arrest me?” she asked.

At the Sector 26 police station, she again declined to alight from the police Gypsy, demanding instead that she be dropped at the spot from where she was lifted. She remained in the police vehicle for around five hours.



Scam takes a political turn
Akash Ghai
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 12
Union Minister for Parliamentary Affairs Pawan Bansal, whose name figures in the Shergill report, indicating his alleged involvement in the “booth scam”, today said that he had called UT Adviser Pradip Mehra to inquire about a row between two groups.

“I told Mehra to make sure that no partiality should take place in the matter. This is how my name got dragged in the report,” said Bansal here.

“The inquiry officer has exposed himself by accusing an MP of supporting a mafia merely because he figured in a phone conversation between Mehra (the UT Adviser) and Shergill,” said Bansal adding that the inquiry was neither a magisterial probe nor ordered by the Governor.

He claimed that he was ready to face any inquiry if BJP leaders Satya Pal Jain, Harmohan Dhawan and Sanjay Tandon were willing to give affidavits of their charges against him.

“Those who are trying to malign my name and image will get their dues,” said Bansal. “I will not let the issue die till it reaches to its logical conclusion,” he said while stating that he was ready for any inquiry, be it by the CBI or an inquiry by a sitting judge of the Supreme Court or the High Court.

Talking to Chandigarh Tribune, Bansal termed the development a pre-planned conspiracy of the Bharatiya Janta Party and Akali Dal.

“The opposition party seems to be perplexed seeing my growth in the national politics.

Since they have no issue, they have made the inquiry officer, PS Shergill, their pawn to vilify and tarnish my image,” claimed Bansal.



BJP threatens to intensify stir
Akash Ghai
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 12
With th Municipal Corporation elections round the corner, the Bharatiya Janta Party (BJP) here seems to have latched on to the “booth allotment scam” as a key political issue.

“We will intensify our stir in the coming days,” said former BJP Member of Parliament Satya Pal Jain and BJP’s national secretary, Dr Kirit Somaiya after their arrest under cautionary measures during their agitation on the “booth allotment scam” here today.

Demanding Pawan Bansal’s resignation for his name surfacing in the inquiry report by the UT’s former Additional Deputy Commissioner PS Shergill, Jain said, “He (Bansal) should step down immediately on moral grounds. We are not going to sit silently on the issue.”

“The more you suppress us, the more our agitation will intensify,” said Dr Somaiya, while criticising the imposition of Section 144 in the city.

The BJP leaders demanded that Shergill’s report be made public. “This way the people here would come to know about the ‘criminalisation of politics’ and teach them a lesson in the forthcoming elections,” said Jain.



5-yr-old girl sexually assaulted
Was abducted from Community Centre in Sec 40 during a marriage function; later found abandoned 
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 12
A five-year-old girl was allegedly sexually assaulted after being abducted from a marriage ceremony being held at a Community Centre in Sector 40 last night. The victim was later found abandoned near the gate of Government Senior Secondary School in the same sector. The police has registered a case of kidnapping at the Sector 39 police station and attempts are on to arrest the accused.

The incident came to light at 11 pm when the police control room received a call that a five-year-old girl had gone missing from the community centre where a marriage was being solemnised. The girl’s father reported to the police that he had come to attend the wedding along with his wife, seven-year-old son and five-year-old daughter. “At around 10 pm, the girl was found missing and an eyewitnesses said she was last seen with a person who later took her to the rear of the dance floor,” he said. The victim is a resident of Sector 40.

The police swung into action and launched a search. At around 11.45 am, the police control room received a call that a girl had been spotted near Government Senior Secondary School in Sector 40-D. The call was made by the security guard of the school, Pritam Singh, who resides in a quarter there along with his family after he saw the girl.

The police and the girl’s family reached the spot and recovered the girl, who was found to be in a pitiable state. Her clothes were missing and she was crying loudly. The security guard’s wife was seen consoling the girl.

Although a subsequent medical examination ruled out rape, it nevertheless confirmed that she had been sexually assaulted as injuries were found on her genitals.

“We are scrutinising the video footage of the marriage ceremony for any clues of the accused. Investigations are on to identify and arrest the perpetrators,” said Inspector Charanjit Singh Virk, SHO of the Sector 39 police station.

Previous incidents

* March 5, 2011: Eight-year-old raped by 60-year-old man near a tubewell in Industrial Area

* January 22, 2011: Five-year-old raped by 30-year-old man in Dhanas



Teenager battered to death in PGI
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 12
An 18-year-old boy was battered to death by over half-a-dozen assailants near his residence in the PGI today over an issue involving a girl.

The incident took place in the evening when Kanhaiya Lal was summoned by some persons known to him outside his house. The police has arrested three persons for the murder and further investigations are on.

Kanhaiya, who was in a private job, was watching the India-South Africa match along with his brother at his house when he went outside on receiving a call on his mobile phone. The call was made by his friend, Bunty, the police said.

He was then taken to a deserted area in the PGI and was attacked by a group of over half-a-dozen youths with sharp-edged weapons, bats and rods.

In bid to save himself, Kanhaiya rushed inside a gurdwara and tried to hide himself in a shelter home located on the premises. The group of youths chased him and launched the attack again. They then fled from the spot leaving Kanhaiya in a pool of blood.

The police was informed and the family members rushed the victim to a hospital where the doctors declared him brought dead.

Kanhaiya’s father, Roshan Lal, is working as a Class IV employee at the PGI. The police said the victim had some enmity with Rohit Thakur, a resident of Khuda Lahora, over a girl and they had entered into a violent clash some months ago.

Rohit allegedly came to avenge the attack today along with his accomplices, the police said.

The police has arrested three youths and has impounded the car in which they had come to the PGI. ASP (Central) Deshraj Singh said the names of the accused could not be divulged as they were still verifying the statements.


Don’t turn legal profession into business: Jethmalani
Kulwinder Sangha

Mohali, March 12
Cross-examination has become a dying art in our country and the truth will not emerge till the last question is asked in a court, said Ram Jethmalani, MP, and a senior advocate of the Supreme Court of India, here today.

Jethmalani, who was the chief guest at the National Seminar “Changing Facets of Criminal Law: An Interface” organised by the Army Institute of Law (AIL), exhorted students to nurture the courage to ask inconvenient questions in order to reach the truth once they took up the legal profession. Legal profession had reached a low water mark today. He said if the students wanted to join law as a profession, they should do it “with determination and try to bestow it with the glory it once had”.

He said the legal profession should not be turned into a business. A fee should not be fixed for fighting cases because then a poor person who cannot hire an experienced lawyer will never be able to get justice.

“A lawyer should never lose his conscience even if he lost a case, a client or a court. Your duty to the conscience is the supreme duty,” added Jethmalani.

Criticising political leaders, Jethmalani said that “those who got into a position of power became gods” but there was no self-respecting politician in our country.

He laid stress on the preservation of sovereignty and democracy and highlighted the importance of directive principles and constitutional duties which were to be fulfilled by political leaders.

A senior lawyer of the Supreme Court of India, KTS Tulsi, urged students to join the legal profession instead of the corporate world. He said that nothing much had changed in the criminal law but the crime rate had certainly gone up.

Speaking about the importance of “Rule of law”, he motivated the students to plug the loopholes that existed even in the most perfect of laws. He said that society was dynamic and so should be the laws to cater to the needs of the people.

Parmjit S Jaswal, Vice-Chancellor, Rajiv Gandhi National University of Law (RGNUL), Patiala, condemned the recent judgement of the Supreme Court exonerating the prime accused in a recent rape case by letting them off after a compromise of a mere Rs 50,000. He also commented upon how a religious country like India was witnessing judgements allowing passive euthanasia in another recent and well-known judgement.

Earlier, Dr Geeta Joshi, Principal, AIL, welcomed the esteemed guests. 



‘High voltage’ causes fire at house
Our Correspondent

Mohali, March 12
The house of a former panch in Lakhnour village caught fire, damaging various items here today.

According to reports, Dharam Singh complained that two rooms of his house got engulfed in a fire, which allegedly took place due to high voltage. He alleged that electrical appliances of other residents of the village had also got damaged.

Fire brigade reached the spot to bring the situation under control. BS Sandhu, station fire officer, said the fire probably occurred due to a spark. The house was locked at the time of the incident. It took only about five minutes to douse the flames.

However, an official of the Punjab State Power Corporation Ltd denied that the fire had occurred due to high voltage. He stated that corporation employees, who had gone to the spot, found that the wiring in the house of the former panch was faulty.



Bone density check-up camp 
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, March 12
Even as people above the age of 50 years were more vulnerable to knee arthritis, the younger generation was also exhibiting its symptoms these days, said Dr Manuj Wadhwa, director and head, orthopaedic and joint replacement, Fortis Hospital, during a free bone density check-up camp organised here today.

Addressing over 100 senior citizens, who availed the facility of free bone density check and consultation, Dr Wadhwa said arthritis was more common in patients who were overweight. He said every overweight elderly should lay emphasis on shedding those few extra kilos to get freedom from arthritis pain. With the introduction of latest tissue preserving total knee replacement surgery, things were changing for good for arthritis patients, he added.



2 cops escape unhurt in accident
Tribune News Service

Zirakpur, March 12
Two Punjab police cops had a miraculous escape when the official Reva car (PB65-F-8906), in which they were patrolling, was hit by an unidentified vehicle near the Singhpura road on the Chandigarh-Ambala highway here last night. However, the car got damaged from one side.

The police had registered a case against the driver of the unidentified vehicle on the complaint of Varinder Singh, a Punjab police cop posted at the Zirakpur police station.

Vehicles stolen

Two vehicles were stolen from different parts of the town late last night. According to information, Guljar Singh, a Punjab police cop posted at the Zirakpur police station, stated that he parked his Zen car outside a marriage palace and he left for his duty. When he returned, he found that the car had gone missing from the spot. In another incident, a Balero car was stolen from Amrit Vihar.



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