C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Missing child from Mansa Devi
Two fraudsters held
Had planned to cash in on a kidnapping by unknowingly seeking Rs 10 lakh from a daily wager
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, October 22
Three persons, two of them fraudsters and residents of Dera Bassi, who sought to cash in on a kidnapping by placing a Rs 10-lakh ransom call to the parents of the missing 10-month-old baby, were arrested by the Panchkula police this morning. The child, who belongs to residents of Pinjore, meanwhile, remains missing.

The two fraudsters had hatched a conspiracy after reading an advertisement in a newspaper announcing a reward of Rs 50,000 for information leading to the recovery Nishant, the 10-month-old infant who has been missing since he was kidnapped over three weeks ago on September 29. The advertisement was published on October 12, two weeks after the infant had gone missing and a day before the police had finally registered an FIR. The third person to be arrested is Jitender, an owner of a shop in Barwala, who had sold a SIM card to the two fraudsters, identified as Ravi and Pradeep, on the basis of fake documents.

Initial interrogation revealed that Ravi and Pradeep hit upon the plan to demand Rs 10 lakh after seeing the advertisement. The police said they conceived the ransom amount, thinking if the family was willing to pay Rs 50,000, it could possibly afford to pay Rs 10 lakh. However, the fraudsters did not seem to be aware of the background of the family, the father a daily wager earning a pittance.

The duo then arranged fake identify proofs and bought a prepaid Idea mobile SIM card in the name of Yaqoob, who was shown as a resident of Bihar from a shop in Barwala. The police said the duo made the first ransom call just half an hour after purchasing the new SIM to Ashu, the kidnapped infant’s maternal uncle whose number was published in the advertisement.

The family had immediately informed the police, following which an FIR of kidnapping was registered at the Mansa Devi police station.

Pinjore residents Anil and his wife Sarita lost their son Nishant during their visit to the Mata Mansa Devi Temple when Sarita had handed her son to a couple standing in a queue, saying she needed to drink water. While handing the baby, she took the couple’s contact number, which turned out to be fake. On returning five minutes later, Sarita was shocked to find that the couple had vanished with her baby.

How the case was cracked

The police said it was able to detect Ravi as he had used the same mobile instrument to make personal calls from his personal SIM and ransom calls from the SIM bought on a different name on the basis of false documents. The police had detected the IEMI number of the mobile set, which led to his arrest followed by that of the second fraudster and the shop owner.



Burning Case
Woman was set alight over Rs 50 for booze
Paramour held, in judicial custody
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, October 22
Refusal to give Rs 50 had cost her her life. On October 8, Bhagwati was set on fire by her paramour in Rajiv Colony of Panchkula. The gruesome act of victim’s paramour, Dhirpal, alias Neta, came to light when the woman in her dying declaration named him for setting her on fire after pouring kerosene on her.

Leaving the woman to die at her house in Rajiv Colony, the accused fled to his native Bhangpur village in Uttar Pradesh. The victim later succumbed to her injuries.

On being arrested by the police, Dhirpal told the police that being an alcoholic, he needed money to meet his daily requirement for liquor.

On the day of the incident, he got enraged at being denied the money and doused her with kerosene. On seeing Bhagwati cry for help, he fled the scene.

The accused was arrested from his native village, where he had hidden himself in the sugarcane fields. One of Dhirpal’s brothers also had criminal past, said SHO Aman Kumar.

Dhirpal was today produced in a local court, which remanded him in judicial custody and sent him to the Central Jail, Ambala.



12-year-old dies
Was hit by an iron rod being carried by 2 scooterists
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 22
A week after a 12-year-old boy was injured when an iron rod, carried by the occupants of a scooter hit him, the child died at the PGI today. The police today registered a case and arrested the two occupants of the scooter in a case of causing death due to negligence under Section 304-A of the IPC.

The mishap occurred on October 15 when Vikas, who was riding a bicycle, was hit by the iron rod on the Old Ropar road in Mani Majra. A pillion rider on a scooter coming from the opposite direction was carrying the iron rod, which pierced through the child’s head. Vikas got severe head injuries and was rushed to the PGI, where he underwent a surgery. His parents work as painters in Indira Colony. The child was a student of Government School in Indira Colony.

The police arrested Mohan Singh, who was riding the scooter and Lotori Ram, the pillion rider, in the case. The accused are residents of Kishangarh village.

“We have arrested both occupants of the scooter, as they were responsible for carrying the iron rod, which endangered the lives of others. The boy died due to their negligence,” said inspector Rajesh Shukla, SHO, Manimajra police station.

Negligence on road

The mishap occurred on October 15 when Vikas, who was riding a bicycle, was hit by the iron rod on the Old Ropar road in Mani Majra. A pillion rider on a scooter coming from the opposite direction was carrying the iron rod, which pierced through the child’s head.



Cracker sales boom with Bollywood images
Amit Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 22
Gone are the days when images of various gods and goddesses used to be printed on crackers and their packets. Now these images have been replaced by Hollywood, Bollywood stars and World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) icons.

With Diwali round the corner, fireworks stalls have been set up with crackers having such pictures, which is being liked by teenagers. Brands carrying Bollywood stars seem to have topped the league of favourites.

Fireworks distributors believe that the crackers with celebrities printed on them attract children, leading to higher sales.

Pawan Goyal, a wholesale retailer in Sector 26, said children get attracted to the wrestlers and their favourite Bollywood stars. “Teenagers are more concerned with the images printed on the crackers. The sale of crackers with actresses printed on them are more,” he said.

Crackers with latest Bollywood movies’ names and their stars have been put on sale in the market. While crackers like sparkles, magic matchsticks and pop-ups have actresses like Katrina Kaif and Aishwarya Rai printed on them, loud crackers have actors like Salman Khan printed on them.

“Children are asking for crackers with pictures of their favourite stars printed on these. And the manufactures these days make it a point to make attractive crackers with images of girls printed on them. With latest stock coming in, the sales have picked up too,” said a shopkeeper who has a stall in Sector 26 market.

Shopkeepers selling crackers with pictures of famous WWE stars have also done brisk business.

Rakshit Singh, a class XI student purchasing crackers, said he had especially come to purchase the crackers with wrestlers printed on them, as he believes that those crackers make louder noises.



Changed CAT Format
Few take exam on Day 1
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 22
Once bitten twice shy, over 15,000 MBA aspirants endorsed the proverb, as only 200 candidates appeared on the first day of the Common Admission Test (CAT) to be held till November 18.

While over 150 students appeared at the Global College of Engineering centre in Abhipur village, Mohali, only 50 did so at the Everonn Education Limited centre in Sector 14, Panchkula.

Given the changed format of the examination this year, the students chose to play it safe to avoid a situation like in the year 2008 when technical glitches marred the conduct of the examination, leaving thousands hassled.

Even the examination authorities were extra-cautious on the first day, as they had allotted fewer seats. “Everything is online so technical glitches can never be ruled out. We just didn’t want thousands being affected by any glitch, so had allotted fewer seats on the first day. Now that things are better, we will have 700 students attempting the paper on an average,” said an official.

As the test will be conducted over 20 days, each set of students is bound to have different question papers.

“The difficulty levels of question papers in the morning and evening sessions were at par. Unlike the past few years, the CAT question paper was without any surprises. Some students found the verbal section a little tricky,” said a coaching expert.

The CAT has undergone a sea change this year, as it has only two sections instead of the customary three sections. The examination duration is 140 minutes and the two sections are implemented sequentially with separate time limits of 70 minutes each.

The stakes run high for students this year as two national-level MBA entrance exams, JMET & FMS, have been scrapped and the corresponding institutes would be using CAT scores for admission purposes.



MC Poll
Tussle to retain wards begins
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 22
The tussle among general ward Congress sitting councillors to retain their wards for contesting the forthcoming Municipal Corporation (MC) elections has started, as a few of the party senior leaders have lost the opportunity to contest the elections from their respective wards after its reservation among 12 reserve wards.

In fact, there are a few wards in which the clash between candidates has been over, as it has been reserved for women or SC candidates.

Party sources said there were some of the wards for which there would be major fight among senior Congress leaders to contest the elections. The main fight will be for ward number 18 where the sitting Congress councillor is Devinder Singh Babla but the party might ask sitting MC Mayor Ravinder Pal Singh to contest from this ward.

The tussle is also going on for the candidate of ward number 2 where the sitting Congress candidate is Anu Chatrath but as ward number 1, which belongs to senior leader Chander Mukhi Sharma has been reserved for women, the party is planning to ask Anu Chatrath to contest elections from some other ward.

Party sources said even though the draft of candidature list had been prepared, final decision had yet to be taken by the party high command. Sources said a core committee meeting would be held tomorrow to take decision on the finalisation of the candidature.



Dragon makes inroads into cracker market
More in demand than their Indian counterparts as they are cheaper
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 22
With Diwali round the corner, Chinese crackers have made inroads into shops selling fireworks in Chandigarh. Different varieties of Chinese crackers are more in demand this time. The Chinese crackers are cheap as compared to the Indian ones and are said to make louder noise than the locally made crackers. A firework stall owner said that people were asking for Chinese crackers, as they were cheaper in cost. “Although the demand of the locally made crackers are equally good yet the customers are prefering to buy the Chinese ones”, he said.

Crackers such as Chinese guns are available, and other items like magic match stick, pop-up, bomb bag and poppers are available at a very nominal rate.

Although the Chinese crackers are available in the market yet the firework sellers claim that they are risky to use.

One of the stall owners in Sector 26 said that, a huge cache of firecrackers have been produced locally, and are being sold under the name of Chinese brands. Since their quality is suspect, the traders have warned against their use. The covers of these fireworks have names written in Chinese, English and Hindi as well.



Licence for sale of crackers
UT ‘flatly refuses’ new players
Akash Ghai
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 22
The Chandigarh Administration has not issued any new licence for sale of crackers in the city for the past five years. Only the old licences are being renewed by the administration thus preventing the new players to enter the business.

“We do not entertain fresh applications for grant of licences for the sale of crackers,” said an official in the UT Estate Office. When asked the reason behind not issuing of licences to the new players, UT Additional Deputy Commissioner ML Sharma said that the administration did not want to increase the pollution level in the city.

The administration used to issue around 500 licences every year but now the number has decreased as many license holders are said to have left the city or the business.

“So far, we have received only 407 applications for the renewal of licences,” said the official.

Miffed over the administration’s decision, a local resident, Sarabjeet Singh, said, “It is ridiculous as they (the administration) have flatly refused to issue the licences to the new players”.

“If they want to restrict the number of licences, then they should adopt lottery system in issuing of licenses so that new persons also get a chance”, he added. On the other hand, the official said that the number of persons, who want to enter the business, is very less. “This year, only five or six such persons have come to me for the purpose,” he added.



Brace yourself this winter
Season likely to be harsher as minimum temperature has decreased by 3°C compared to last year
Sanjay Bumbroo
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 22
The winter season is likely to be harsher this year as the tricity has been experiencing decline in the minimum temperature by about two degrees as compared to the temperature recorded in October last year.

Met officials said the minimum temperature in the region had decreased by about 3 degrees Celsius during the last week and the same was registered at 17.7 degrees Celsius as compared to 22 degrees Celsius recorded during the same period last year.

The weather officials further said there would be gradual decline in the night temperature, which would lead to colder winters.

Surinder Paul, an official at the met department, Chandigarh, said it was too early to predict the winters. He said it was likely to take a few days to forecast exactly about winters. He, however, confirmed that minimum temperature is down by two degrees in October compared to what it was during the same period last year.

Notably, the Indian meteorological department had earlier predicted warm winters this year as it had failed to observe La Nina or its cousin El Nino.

However, around August, La Nina conditions suddenly became favourable, resulting in the country getting rainfall that was 101 per cent of its long period average (LPA).

The met officials were now expecting less than normal temperatures because of prevailing La Nina conditions, a weather phenomenon that results from lower ocean temperatures.



Col Bandal cremated with state honours
Tribune News Service

Mohali, October 22
The last rites of Mohali-based Colonel SP Bhandal (retired), who was one of the co-pilots killed in the Wednesday helicopter crash in Jharkhand, was performed with full state honours at the Phase VI crematorium here today.

The deceased’s son, Prabhjot Singh, lit the pyre as a contingent of BSF sounded the bugle and fired shots in the air. Senior officers, serving and retired were present on the spot to pay their last respects to the departed soul. Bhandal is survived by his wife and two children. People from all walks of life gathered at the crematorium to express their grief.



Blood donated

Chandigarh, October 22
As a part of its diamond jubilee celebrations, the Air Defence regiment at Ambala organised a blood donation camp. The event was a step to kindle a sense of responsibility towards society. The event drew huge response from local units at the Ambala Cantonment.

A large number of women also donated blood. The event was conducted with the support of Army Transfusion Centre, New Delhi. — TNS



Enthralling evening at YPS
Tribune News Service

Mohali, October 22
Yadavindra Public School (YPS), Mohali, was buzz with excitement as the kindergarten section celebrated its annual song and rhyme day on the school premises here today.

Parents applauded the tiny tots as they performed. The children, dressed in greens, reds, blues and pinks, attracted everyone’s attention present on the occasion.

The show started with a prayer, followed by an amazing show of acrobatics. The children swayed perfectly in rhythm and the audience remained glued to its seats.

The four nurseries skipped on and off the stage with great aplomb and in the process completely stole the hearts of the audience. The lower kindergarten (LKG) performed on favourites like “Beautiful Sunday”, “Twinkling Stars” and “Bubbles”.

The upper kindergarten (UKG) sang in rhythm and it was amazing to hear their voices soaring in songs like “Awara Bhawre”, “Rhythm of the Sway”, “Round and Round and Pal”.

Justice SS Sodhi, former Chief Justice of Allahabad High Court, and Harish Dhillon, former principal of YPS, Mohali, were the prominent persons who graced the occasion.



NIPER confers degrees on 653 students
Tribune News Service

Mohali, October 22
Prof MS Valiathan, National Research Professor, Manipal University, conferred degrees on 653 students of the National Institute of Pharmaceutical Education and Research (NIPER) at the 5th convocation of the institute held here today. The convocation was held for the batches 2006 to 2011.

In the convocation address, Prof Valiathan motivated the students to excel not only in their areas of specialisaton but also in interdisciplinary areas. He urged the young postgraduates to launch a crusade for generating better research opportunities in the country.

He explained modern medicine and East-West encounter in India, Pre-Modern science in Ayurveda and drug development.

Prof KK Bhutani, officiating Director of the NIPER, said the NIPER was established as a dream institute and it had emerged as a centre of excellence. He also underlined the need to have a future vision of the institute in terms of potential research and development, infrastructure advancement and innovative programmes and projects.



Maijan shines in paper-reading contest

Chandigarh, October 22
The department of political science and Prashashnika Society of the department of public administration of Postgraduate Government College for Girls, Sector 11, organised a paper-reading contest today to commemorate the arrival of the United Nations (UN) as a body of the international peace and security on October 24, 1945, immediately after the World War II. More than 15 students read papers on human rights, global terrorism, gender equality, peace missions, etc. Maijan of BA-II bagged the first prize, while Pragti Parmar of BA-II and Harleen of BA-II were awarded second and third prize, respectively. — TNS



Founder’s day celebrations
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 22
St Kabir School, Sector 26, celebrated its 30th founder’s day with great fervour by staging a musical show, “Oliver”. The show left the audience enthralled. Over 30 students enacted the play and teachers contributed by designing set props, etc.

The school authorities congratulated the faculty and students for upholding the academic standards and values professed by the school for 30 long years.



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