C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Teenage siblings’ murder jolts city
A family wrecked for life; ‘Goru’ and ‘Kimi’ won’t return; father of victims was out of station at time of crime
Aneesha Sareen
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 16
“Hai mere bachche, mere bachche, mera Goru, meri Kimi.” A wailing Malti Devi uttered these words repeatedly as she saw the bodies of her children lying in a pool of blood.

She fainted while the family and relatives tried their best to console her amid loud wails, which rent the air, making it a heart-rending sight. Even the cops were moved.

The double murder of Kavita and her brother Gorank, that shook the city this afternoon, shattered the life of their parents, mother Malti and father Umesh.

SSP Naunihal Singh and other officials inspect the house at Sector 41 in Chandigarh on Friday.
SSP Naunihal Singh and other officials inspect the house at Sector 41 in Chandigarh on Friday. Tribune Photos: Parvesh Chauhan

While the father of the teenagers was yet to arrive from Mewat till the time of filing of this report, a happy family of four was wrecked forever following the double murder.

While Kavita was fondly called ‘Kimi’ by her parents, Gorank was addressed as ‘Goru’.

Malti’s twin sister Maya, who wept inconsolably seeing both her nephew and niece killed, said both children were the apple of her eye. Maya, who came rushing to the spot from her office on getting the news, initially knew only about Kavita’s murder.

“Where is Goru? Please call him,” she asked neighbours in a panicky state as she reached the spot. When told that Goru, too, has been killed brutally, she screamed and wailed. “Both children were so loving and affectionate. Why will anyone kill them?” was the question that haunted everyone present. “God will punish the guilty. Such killers deserve only capital punishment,” said Maya.

Missing links

Broken knife recovered: The police recovered the knife lying beside Kavita’s body, which had been broken into three. The police said the recovery of the knife revealed that Gorank was murdered first and the killer then came downstairs to kill Kavita with the same knife, which broke.

Three cups full of tea found: The police also recovered three cups full of tea lying in the room, which revealed that the killers were known to the two and tea was being prepared when the murder occurred.

Killer tried to mislead police: The accused tried to mislead the police into believing that the murder had been committed with the intention of robbery. Pieces of broken bangles lay scattered in the room, which was ransacked. The police ruled out robbery as the motive. The police said there were also signs of struggle, which showed that the victims resisted the attack.

Police action: UT SSP Naunihal Singh formed a special investigating team (SIT), headed by DSP (crime) Satbir Singh, to crack the double murder case. Inspectors Amanjot Singh (crime branch in charge), Neeraj Sarna (cyber crime cell in charge) and Charanjeet Singh, (SHO, Sector-39 police station) were the other SIT members. The police questioned a number of friends of the victims.

Number of people not known: The police said the exact number of the accused was not known and it suspected that the murder could be the handiwork of more than one person.

Cigarette found: The police recovered a cigarette from the crime spot and was looking for clues.



Murdered between 1 & 2 pm
No forced entry; neighbours remained ignorant
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 16
None of the neighbours in the congested locality of Housing Board flats at Sector 41 had even a clue about the brutal murder in the vicinity of their area till 3 pm, when the mother of the children came home and discovered her daughter lying in a pool of blood.

While the police confirmed that there was no forced entry and the two victims knew the accused, the ignorance of the neighbours about the activity once again brought to fore the degenerating concept of neighbourhood and lack of vigilance.

The murder of Gorank and Kavita Sahoo occurred somewhere between 1 pm and 2 pm.

Seema Devi, a neighbour, said she last spoke to Kavita at 12:30 pm today, when she asked her the recipe of ‘gajar ka halwa’.

“She asked me from her balcony about the recipe, which I told her. I am shocked to learn that within a few minutes, she, along with her brother, has been killed,” she said.

“I was not well and my husband was basking in the sun on the terrace. We rushed out on hearing the loud screams of Malti, when she discovered her daughter’s body. Her son’s body in a room on the upper floor was discovered by the police,” said another neighbour.

While Kavita’s mutilated body was lying on the bed in her room, Gorank’s body, with a stab injury on his stomach, was lying in a room on the upper floor.



City shaken in past, too
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 16
The double murder of two teenagers in broad daylight in a densely populated locality at Sector 41 today sent shock waves in the city, which had been rocked by sensational murders in the past. Hundreds of residents gathered in the locality as news of the murders spread, which also resulted in a traffic jam in the sector.

The police now faced a big challenge to solve the double murder case, which had added to the list of sensational murders. With today’s murders, the total number of murders witnessed in city this year shot up to 24, the highest-ever figure of murders
in a year.

Here is a peep into some sensational murders in city in the past:

Khushpreet murder: Five-year-old Khushpreet was kidnapped for ransom from Burail village on December 21 and his body was found on January 5. The police received much flak for the failure in the case initially, but then solved the case in March this year.

n Neha murder: Still unsolved. MBA student Neha Ahlawat (22) was found brutally murdered near the taxi stand in Sector 38 (West) in July, 2010. The police was still groping in the dark in the case.

n Anuradha, servant murders: Sector 38 (West) resident Anuradha was found murdered at her residence in May, 2008. The police found the body of her servant at Ropar. Anuradha’s husband Baljinder Singh Talla, along with two servants, was arrested and had been convicted.

n Kajheri triple murder: Sucha Singh (80), his wife Balbir Kaur and servant were found murdered at their residence in Kajheri village in 2007. The police solved the case and arrested one servant, who had been convicted. The other two servants accused in the case had been declared proclaimed offenders.

n Sarla Devi murder: An elderly woman, Sarla Devi, was raped and murdered at her Sector-15 residence in September, 2006. The police arrested three persons, including a juvenile, for the murder.

n Sector-34 triple murder: A triple murder was reported at Sector 34 in 2006. The police arrested Pawandeep, along with Ravi and Anil Tyagi. On February 7, 2006, blood-soaked bodies of retired group captain TP Singh, his wife Shibani and sister Ajit Kaur were found from their Sector-34 residence.

n Mountview murder: Dr Swapna Singh murdered her husband Mandeep Sapra, executive director with a private agency, while they were staying at Hotel Mountview in 2003 owing to strained relations.



‘Tipsy’ Mayor courts trouble
Deepankar Sharda
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 16
High drama was witnessed in a residential area of Sector 32-C when BSP workers “nabbed” Mayor Ravinder Pal Singh (Pali) for creating a ruckus allegedly in a drunk state late this evening. They gheraoed the Mayor, forcing him to flee the scene. They alleged that the Mayor threatened some youngsters with a pistol.

Pali had come in his official car, but was later taken away in a private white SUV. He was also seen passing his pistol to his subordinate.

“We are filing a complaint against him. He threatened us with a pistol and was drunk. He also misbehaved with our family members. We want him to be medically examined,” said Deepak Sharma, husband of BSP candidate Mamta Sharma.

The incident occurred around 10.30 pm. The colony members allegedly caught him and locked him in a room. According to a colony resident: “He started using abusive language against some colony youths. He also flashed his pistol.”

“We are yet to receive a complaint in this regard,” said Sector-34 police station SHO Kirpal Singh.


Poll staff not keen on casting ballot?
Of 2,295 employees on election duty at polling stations, just six seek permission to vote
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 16
Those facilitating over 5.06 lakh electorate of the city to exercise their right to franchise in the municipal corporation elections tomorrow by being on polling duty are apparently not interested in casting their ballot.

Of the 2,295 employees deployed on election duty at 459 polling stations, only six have applied to the election commission for grant of permission to cast their vote.

As per the Election Commission norms, every employee deployed on duty at the polling station has to fill in form No. 13 that facilitates issuance of duty certificate for casting of vote.

Those employees who get this certificate from the election department receive ballot papers at the polling station where they have been deputed to cast their vote.

Officials said even though employees were informed about the procedure on the day of training for the elections, they received poor response from the employees to seek the permission.

However, some employees, on the condition of anonymity, said they only came to know about the procedure a day before the date for applying for the certificate was to expire.

They claimed that only two polling training sessions were conducted by the election department but no information about form No. 13 was given to them.

However, UT Joint Home Secretary Abhisekh Dev said the returning officers concerned had extended the deadline for applying for duty certificate till today evening, but even then, there was no response from the employees for getting the permission to cast their ballot.

Learnt at last minute

Some employees said they came to know about the procedure only a day before the date for applying for the duty certificate, which allows them to cast their ballot, was to expire



Complaint over PGI meeting on poll day
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 16
A city resident, Shiv Charan Gupta, has filed a complaint with the UT State Election Commission (SEC) against the PGI for conducting the Standing Finance Committee (SFC) meeting and inauguration of dialysis unit on its premises, despite declaring a holiday in view of the MC elections in the city.

In his complaint, Shiv Charan stated that the employees on duty might not be able to exercise their right to vote on account of the two engagements.

He requested the SEC to issue directions to the Secretary (Health), Union of India, and PGI Director to cancel or postpone the SFC meeting and the inauguration of the new dialysis unit.

A senior official of the PGI administration, however, said the meeting would be held between 12 and 2 pm and all employees who had been called for duty had been told to vote and come.

Meanwhile, the PGI Contract Workers’ Union has accused the PGI authorities of threatening the contract employees and making them work on the day of MC elections.

A representative of the union, Ashwani Munjal, said the union would send a complaint to the Election Commission and Regional Labour Commissioner for unfair labour practice adopted by PGI administration.

The union members claimed that around 1,400 contract employees and 400 permanent employees from administration, accounts, engineering, nephrology, security departments, etc. would be involved in the scheduled programmes and would not be able to cast their vote in the MC elections. 



Candidates do their bit; voters to decide their fate today
Tribune News Service

Congress candidate HS Lucky campaigns in Sector 20, Chandigarh, on Friday.
Congress candidate HS Lucky campaigns in Sector 20, Chandigarh, on Friday.

Chandigarh, December 16
The intense campaigning by over 150 candidates contesting the MC elections in 26 wards came to an end today. A majority of candidates made last-minute efforts to draw the voters’ support and ensure that they visited the polling booths to cast their ballot.

Several candidates preferred to hold their last round of meetings with supporters to work out the strategy for the polling day.

A seminar was also held to sensitise the fairer sex about the right to vote, which was attended by some women candidates contesting the elections. The State Election Commissioner, Rakesh Mehta, was the key speaker.

Personal touch

Congress candidate Gurbax Rawat spread her charm with dignity to draw voters by personally reaching out to them Sectors 39 and 40. Along with general development promises, she assured the residents of improving parks and parking lots in ward No. 9.

Also, Jatinder Bhatia, Congress candidate for ward No. 22, today met his ward residents and urged them to support him in the election. He along with his supporters personally reached out to the voters.

RWA’s support

Independent candidate Baljinder Singh Bittu got a major boost after he got the support of resident welfare associations of Sectors 18, 19 and 21 today. They unanimously decided to support Bittu, who is contesting the elections from ward No. 17. He is also the president of the Sector-21 Residents Welfare Association.

Car rally

On the last day of campaigning, Satinder Singh, BJP candidate from ward No. 18, along with supporters held a car rally. Local BJP president Sanjay Tandon flagged off the rally that went through various parts of the ward.

Door-to-door visits

Indu Singla, Congress candidate from ward No. 21, campaigned in Sectors 46 and 32 today. She went from door to door, urging the residents to vote for her. She assured them of focussing on development issues and trying to solve the civic problems of the residents.

Also, Independent candidate Vivek Hans finished his last leg of campaigning by going from door to door in Sectors 12, 14, 15 and Khuda Lahora. Hans also distributed his election symbol among voters. In the evening, a weighing ceremony was also held.

Foot soldiers

BSP candidate from ward No. 23 Jannat Jahan visited Hallo Majra, Ram Darbar and Faida village on foot and sought the voters’ support. Haryana Deputy Speaker Akram Khan along with BSP’s city convener Hafiz Anwar-ul-Haq also campaigned for her in ward No. 23.

Weighed against sweets

Arun Sood, BJP candidate from ward No. 8, was weighed against “laddoos” in the Sector 38C market. He urged the residents to vote for a local candidate and not an outsider.

Welcome accorded

Jasbir Singh Bunty, contesting from ward No. 10, was welcomed by residents of Sector 41 during his campaign. He also toured Attawa village. He assured the resident of rehabilitating rehri and pheri-walas of the area.



Major power shutdown today
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, December 16
Power supply will remain suspended to Sectors 11, 12, 12-A, 14, 25, 26, 27 and 28, Power Colony, BEL factory and parts of Phase I, Industrial Area, tomorrow as Haryana Vidyut Prasaran Nigam has planned maintenance work of transformers of the 220-kv substation at Madanpur and the 66-kv substation at Kalka.

All 11-kv outgoing feeders being fed from the 12.5/16-mva transformers installed at these substations will be affected during the shutdown, being effected from 9 am to 1 pm.

Kalka town, its surrounding villages, parts of Pinjore, Ramgarh, Kot Billa, Mattanwala and Dabkori will also go without power during this period, according to a spokesman.



‘India lacks strategic culture’
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, December 16
As a part of the Vijay Diwas commemorations, a seminar on “The Idea of India and Military Veterans” was organised by ex-servicemen’s fraternity here today.

Former Chief of the Army Staff, Gen VP Malik, said such events should not be celebrated in isolation by the service community but should also involve public.

Stating that the gap between military leadership and civilian government would take a long time to fill, he stressed that synergy between the two was imperative at all levels, as it cannot be built up overnight, especially if there is a possibility of limited or short duration wars.

Maj Gen KS Bajwa (retd) said the Indian soldier was a heroic icon but unfortunately there was no national monument in the country to honour the martyrs. He said India lacked a strategic culture.

Prof Rajesh Gill from the department of sociology, Panjab University, while lauding the armed forces for their sacrifices said people, especially the youth, had become selfish and aggressive.

Maj Gen Rajendra Nath (retd) gave a historical perspective of political and military events that shaped India’s destiny. He said while India had produced noted statesmen, politicians, academicians and religious teachers, it had produced a few military leaders.



Golden melodies of Bollywood revisited
SD Sharma

Chandigarh, December 16
The era of timeless and unforgettable golden melodies of Bollywood music was revisited as the magical spells of 30 songs, immortalised by the legendary maestros and sung to perfection by artistes aged between 13 to 83 years, wafted across the Tagore Theatre, much to the delight of senior citizens of the tricity here today.

The sixth edition of the annual musical bonanza of Chandigarh Sangeet Natak Akademi was veritably titled “Yadon ki Kasak”, designed by national Filmfare awardee Dolly Tewari and directed by Kamal Tewari, akademi chairperson, enraptured one and all.

The annual programme dedicated to the senior citizens was the akademi’s endeavour to pay musical tributes to the legends, both living and departed.

Musical tributes were paid to ghazal samraat Jagjit Singh, Bupen Hazarika and Dev Anand, besides other top playback singers.

Kamal Tewari doled out three captivating songs. Other star attractions included Rajendra Sen Chopra and his wife Radha Chopra, octogenarian maestro Bhupinder Singh and playback and ghazal singer Sanjay Sharda, who came especially from Mumbai.

He brought alive the magic of his mentor Jagjit Singh in “Sarakti jaye hai”, “Baat nikelgi toh” and more. Bhupinder Singh replicated the soulful voices of CH Atma, KL Saighal with brilliance. 



Cleanliness drive begins
Our Correspondent

Mohali, December 16
The Mohali Municipal Council today started a weeklong cleanliness drive following a series of reports in connection with the poor state of sanitation in the town.

The Tribune had been highlighting in these columns over the past three months the failure of civic body in providing clean roads and surroundings to residents, who often complained that sanitation was far from being satisfactory.

The cleanliness drive was initiated on the directions of Administrator JC Sabharwal and will continue till December 23.

Vijay Kumar Gupta, executive officer, appealed to the residents to cooperate with the employees on duty for ensuring proper sanitation in Mohali. The residents could play a major role in keeping the town clean, he added.

Another executive officer, Jagjit Singh Shahi, said the town was divided into four zones in connection with the cleanliness drive. As many as 60 employees had been put on the job, apart from four sanitary inspectors. Some of the safai sewaks were civic body employees, while others had been provided by sanitation contractors.

He said Phases VI, XI and Phase IX Industrial Area were cleaned to begin with. The employees would be cleaning two residential sectors and one industrial phase each day. They would be cleaning roads, road berms and parks.

Shahi further said the tehbazari wing had also been made active during the weeklong drive. They would be removing encroachments and illegally parked rehris from the town. More than 30 such rehris were impounded today.



Roadways union strike cripples commuters
Tribune News Service

Punjab Roadways employees protest in support of their demands at ISBT, Sector 43, Chandigarh, on Friday.
Punjab Roadways employees protest in support of their demands at ISBT, Sector 43, Chandigarh, on Friday. Tribune photo: Parvesh Chauhan 

Chandigarh, December 16
A twelve-hour joint strike was observed by the employees of the Punjab Roadways, Pepsu Road Transport Corporation, Chandigarh Transport Undertaking (CTU), the Himachal Road Transport Corporation (HRTC), and the Haryana Roadways. The strike left thousands of Punjab bound passengers stranded at ISBT-43 and at the Mohali bus stand today.

The passengers, including students traveling to and from Chandigarh, were left on the mercy of private bus operators who were seen fleecing them. But due to heavy rush of passengers, many could not board the private buses as well. The worst affected were on the routes operated by the state transport buses, especially in the rural areas.

All the state transporters had stopped their buses from plying in Punjab, while the bus service in the neighbouring states continued. The union leaders prevented plying the buses from 12 pm to 12 am in the midnight forcing local as well outstation commuters to desperately wait for the services to resume.

Raj Sidhu, a college student in Chandigarh, said that he had planned to leave for his home near Hoshiarpur as the colleges have closed for winter vacations. But following the strike he had to postpone his visit.

Scores of commuters were seen eagerly waiting at the ISBT-43 and Mohali bus stand for the bus service to resume. The outstation commuters were left with no other option but to wait at bus stand only.

Malkit Singh, a resident of Amritsar, had come to city for an interview. However, lesser did he know that his visit of few hours will turn into a day’s visit. “I reached Chandigarh early in the morning for an interview and I was supposed to return in the afternoon, however, now I will have to wait for over ten hours till the services are resumed,” Singh said.

Taking advantage of the strike, the local taxi operators had a good business with the commuters hiring the taxis for particular destinations. The taxi drivers were seen standing at the bus counters for Punjab, offering the commuters service at a higher rates.

The union workers raised slogans, holding the state government responsible for their plight. The commuters blamed the administration for not taking steps to ensure that the bus service wasn’t disrupted.



Foundation stone laid
Tribune News Service

Mohali, December 16
Different offices of the Punjab agriculture department, presently spread across Chandigarh and Mohali, would be housed in one complex here. Punjab Agriculture Minister Sucha Singh Langha stated this while laying the foundation stone of state agriculture complex in Phase VI here this evening.

Talking to mediapersons, the minister said the building being raised at a cost of Rs 19 crore would be completed by 2013. He said farmers coming from different parts of Punjab had to face a lot of problem in finding different offices of the agriculture department and this complex would solve the problem.



It’s girl power at pu again
Bag 409 degrees out of the total of 578 awarded
Sumedha Sharma
Tribune news Service

Students all smiles after receiving degrees at the convocation of Panjab University on Friday.
Students all smiles after receiving degrees at the convocation of Panjab University on Friday. Tribune photo: Manoj Mahajan 

Chandigarh, December 16
Continuing the decade old legacy, girls yet again outshone boys at Panjab University convocation, bagging 409 degrees, out of a total of 578, conferred by Vice-Chancellor RC Sobti.

Neither a prolonged wait of about six hours nor absence of dignitaries, including University Chancellor and Vice-President of India Hamid Ansari, could defer the spirits of the awardees who enjoyed their 15 seconds of fame to the fullest.

“Initially I was perturbed over not being given a gold medal despite being topper in my batch, but when I put the graduation robes, an unexplained excitement took over me and I forgot everything. Though I was on stage for a short duration to collect my degree, even those 15 seconds will be the most cherished ones of my life,” said a student of arts faculty.

Luminaries like Haryana Governor Jagannath Pahadia, Member of Parliament Sushma Swaraj, J&K Governor NN Vohra, Punjab minister Hira Singh Gabria, former Lok Sabha Speaker, Dr Somnath Chatterjee, were present, along with UT officials like Adviser and Finance Secretary.

“Panjab University is amongst top 500 institutions of the world and in Indian institutions its number one in terms of publication. It’s not infrastructure of faculty, but students, which define worth of an institution and I have no inhibitions to admit that it’s our students who have take us to the top,” said an enthused Vice-Chancellor RC Sobti.

Students least on priority

“Convocations are occasions to honour intellectual achievement and celebrate life in academia,” the words of PU Chancellor Hamid Ansari failed to transform in action. Over 550 students whose achievements were meant to be celebrated probably came last on the priority list at the event, which turned out to be a yet another VIP bash. The students who were seated at the venue at 2.45 pm had to wait till 6 in the evening for the varsity to get free from “distinguished” guests and hand out their degrees, which were done within two hours. While many repented not getting a degree in front of the Chancellor, it were empty chairs of Senators, who left along with VIPs, which left students feeling unimportant.

Parents left out

While it was the golden moment for them, but parents of over 500 PU toppers were left wanting. Though provisions had been made for the parents to see the convocation on LCD, they regretted not being allowed in the gymnasium. “I cannot explain the feeling of seeing your son getting dressed in a robe and getting a degree. While the universities across the country not only invite the parents but also honour their efforts, PU didn’t consider us worthy to be present in the hall. In a bid to keep their function VIP friendly, they took away the golden moment of a father, whose son has completed his doctorate now,” said a parent standing outside the gymnasium hall.

Honoris causa

Renowned medical scientist, Dr NK Ganguly who has been chosen by Panjab University for honorary doctorate was conspicuous by his absence at the convocation. However, what raised more eyebrows than his absence was the fact Vice-Chancellor RC Sobti did not even for once mentioned his name or reason of absence, leave aside confirming status of the degree meant for him. PU’s decision to confer honorary doctorate on Ganguly had come under scanner with many fellows objecting to his selection despite being named in Noida land scam. While sources said he had excused himself from taking the degree, Ganguly said he was away to Bangalore and thus couldn’t attend the convocation. On being questioned about the status of his degree, he said, “I don’t know what do they do if you fail to attend, but I am yet to get any communication.”

No age to learn

“There is no age to learn,” who can be a better exemplary of this than Raj Kumar of Chitvan Ashram, Himachal Pradesh, who was the eldest student to get a doctorate degree today. A Gandhian by thoughts and deeds, Raj chose Gandhian studies as his subject of doctorate.“Gandhi was not a mere person but embodied a near perfect way of leading human life. Gandhian way of life has immense depth and a doctorate was an attempt to understand it better,” said Raj.

Together forever

Getting a doctorate is great but when your spouse stands at the same dice to get a gold medal, its even better. “It’s a special moment for me and my wife, as we are enjoying individual success and partnering each other’s achievement. We have dreamt of this day ever since I enrolled for doctorate and I can’t explain how special it is for us,” said Shiv Kumar, now a doctorate in library sciences. Speak to his wife Lakshami and she quips, “ You know what is going to be more special for me than my gold medal? A picture of me and my husband in black robes. It’s great when you get success together.”

Twin-win situation

They have always been together, be it their birth or masters. Vikas and Ritika Kamboj, two sisters who have shared everything in life, are more than happy to share this success. “What can be better than making it to the merit list and that, too, with your sister? It’s a double brownie for us and our family, so we are enjoying the moment.”



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