C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Another shocker for plot owners
Administration finalises conversion fee of industrial plots at Rs 28,000 per square yard
Rajinder Nagarkoti
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 17
After finalising the collector rates of vacant converted plots in the Industrial Area on a par with prime commercial properties in other parts of the city, the UT Administration is all set to give another shock to the converted plot owners.

Following the Audit Department's objection and the Punjab and Haryana High Court’s intervention, sources said the UT Administration had finalised the conversion fee at around Rs 28,000 per sq yard instead of the fee of Rs 20,000 per sq yard, which was charged in 2005-06, when the conversion scheme was started. The sources said the Administration would soon inform the plot owners about the decision through notices.

An official of the UT Administration said they would inform the Punjab and Haryana High Court about their decision, where the matter was pending. The final decision would be of the High Court.

The sources said the decision would affect around 88 plot owners, who had applied in the scheme later. A total of 125 industrialists had opted for the conversion scheme.

The Chandigarh Administration issued a notification in 2005, allowing conversion of industrial plots to commercial ones at the rate of Rs 20,000 per sq yard. The policy was to expire on September 18, 2007. However, the Administration extended it by another six months till March 18, 2008, on the same terms and conditions. The Finance Department, however, issued a notification on July 14, 2008, with retrospective effect, which stated that the new rates of Rs 29,713 would be applicable with effect from December 18, 2007.

The plot owners made a plea to the Chandigarh Administration. After failing to get any response, the industrialists moved the Punjab and Haryana High Court and challenged the Administration’s decision to charge them higher rates for conversion.

Recently, a Division Bench of the Punjab and Haryana High Court had made it clear that till the time the High Court decided the petitions challenging the revised charges, the balance amount (Rs 9,713) would be deposited by the applicants in the shape of a bank guarantee.

Chander Verma, president of the association, said how could the Administration charge a higher price, that too with retrospective effect. The Administration first convinced the industrialists to opt for the scheme and later changed the rates at its will. He appealed to the Administration to allow conversion to industrialists at the old rate of Rs 20,000 per sq yard.

Audit report's findings

In a case pertaining to the conversion of a plot (2,394.6 sq yards) at Phase I of the Industrial Area into a commercial site, the audit report has pointed out the department’s folly in fixing the rate of conversion fee, resulting in short realisation. The report states that the department did not comply with the terms of the "Chandigarh Conversion of Land Use of Industrial Sites into Commercial Activities/services in Industrial Area, Phases I and II, Scheme-2005". The department had fixed the rates of conversion fee at Rs 29,713 per sq yard. According to the rules, the actual fee was Rs 50,413 per sq yard. This meant that the department had charged Rs 20,700 per sq yard less than the actual rate.



7 acquitted in Rs 2-crore bank fraud case
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 17
The CBI Special Court today acquitted seven persons in the Rs 2-crore bank fraud case involving officials of Punjab National Bank (PNB) as accused. The court acquitted PNB managers SB Gupta and RK Chaba, senior manager RK Dhar, chartered accountant Harish Soni and property evaluator SR Bakshi after the prosecution failed to prove the charges against them. In addition, two civilians, Ashish Kapoor and Seema Kapoor, to whom the loan was sanctioned, have also been acquitted.

In 2007, a loan was sanctioned for building an institute of hotel management at Zirakpur by the PNB. The loan was sanctioned in the name of AV Kings Oak Hotels and Resorts Private Limited. The CBI had registered a case of corruption and criminal conspiracy against the seven accused after it came to light that no such institute was constructed, for which the Rs 2-crore loan was sanctioned and the loan was obtained as part of a conspiracy.

According to the CBI case, SB Gupta, the then bank manager, had got the loan sanctioned in connivance with RK Chabba and RK Dhar, who were also employed with the PNB. Chartered Accountant Harish Soni and SR Bakshi, evaluators of properties, were also framed in the case for conspiracy.

The Sector 16 branch of the PNB granted the construction loan to Ashish Kapoor for the construction of an institute on six acres at Chatt Banur village, Zirakpur. The loan was issued in the name of the institute’s directors, Ashish Kapoor and Seema Kapoor.

Ashish had applied for the loan on March 26, 2007, for setting up a new hotel management institute and submitted an evaluation report of the building. The proposal stated that the institute would have the capacity to accommodate 300 students in a hostel.

The bank sanctioned the loan on March 29, 2007. While the company took all money, no construction was carried out on the land. The case of corruption and criminal conspiracy came to light when the institute issued an advertisement for selling the land, mortgaged with the bank as collateral security.

However, all seven were acquitted today after the CBI failed to prove the charges of conspiracy against them.

PNB managers

The court acquitted PNB managers SB Gupta and RK Chaba, senior manager RK Dhar, chartered accountant Harish Soni and property evaluator SR Bakshi after the prosecution failed to prove the charges against them. Two civilians, Ashish Kapoor and Seema Kapoor, to whom the loan was sanctioned, have also been acquitted



'Missing' children keep cops on toes at Mansa Devi shrine
Hina Rohtaki
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, October 17
Children of devotees who lose track of their parents while coming to pay obeisance at the Mansa Devi temple have become a pain in the neck for security guards deployed in the complex, who have to spend hours reuniting "constantly crying children" with their parents.

According to the information centre, as many as 25 children went missing in two days, though later on they were reunited with their parents. It shows that no lessons have been learnt from the 10-month-old Nishant’s kidnapping case that took place during the last Navaratras.

During the Navaratras in 2011, 10-month-old Nishant was kidnapped by a couple under the garb of being a good Samaritan while he and his mother were in a queue waiting for their turn to pay obeisance at the shrine. After six months of the incident, the police had recovered the child from Gurdaspur and investigations revealed that the child was sold twice.

“As many as 25 children went missing within two days of the Navaratra festival. Most of the children were in the age group of two to four years. All children have been reunited with their parents,” said Sukhbir Singh, who makes announcements at the information centre.

He said, “Children keep crying till the time they are united with their family. Children who are very small can't even tell their name and in such cases we have to keep making announcements like the clothes he or she is wearing to help identify the child.”

“Sometimes we need to make announcements even at 2.30 am when families

start queuing up for their turn to pay obeisance even before the temple opens. We get such cases round the clock,” said another official.

He said, “Parents should be careful about their children so that incidents like the Nishant kidnapping case do not take place.”

“The shrine board authorities should ensure that the queue is made in a systematic way. Devotees' wait for darshan gets longer as many people break the queue and join in between. Even policemen can be seen 'adjusting' their relatives by breaking the queue. This results in chaos and at times children get lost,” said Rajat Sharma, a devotee. He said, “This can even result in a stampede.”

Palak Arora, a devotee whose four-year-old daughter went missing but was found later, said, “Some people joined the queue in between. This resulted in a chaos because of which my daughter Trisha went missing.”



ASI’s death: Four of family acquitted
Tribune News Service

Chandgarh, October 17
Five years after an Assistant Sub-Inspector (ASI) of the Chandigarh Police allegedly committed suicide by taking poison, the court of Additional District and Sessions Judge Shalini Nagpal today acquitted four members of a family who were booked on a charge of abetment to suicide. ASI Karnail Singh had committed suicide in April 2007, leaving behind a suicide note, blaming his paramour, her husband and two sons for forcing him to take the extreme step.

The court acquitted Kusum, her husband Devi Dutt and their two sons Mukesh and Rakesh of all charges. The four were acquitted as the cause of the death could not be ascertained in the post-mortem as well as the CFSL report. The prosecution argued that the ASI had taken poison, but in the absence of any evidence, all four were acquitted.

ASI Karnail Singh was declared brought dead at the hospital. A case of abetment to suicide was registered in 2011, four years after the ASI’s death when Balbir Kaur, Karnail's wife, submitted a complaint to the police.

According to the prosecution case, the ASI had an affair with Kusum and she used to demand money from him. Karnail had taken a huge loan to give money to Kusum and she and her husband Devi Dutt used to harass him to bring more money. Karnail had named all four accused in the suicide note, accusing them of blackmailing and harassing him.

Cause of death could not be ascertained

The court acquitted Kusum, her husband Devi Dutt and their two sons Mukesh and Rakesh of all charges. The four were acquitted as the cause of the death of the ASI could not be ascertained in the post-mortem as well as the CFSL report



Constable bangs head against grill in lock-up
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 17
Arrested on a charge of bid to murder his wife, constable Rajesh Kumar banged his head against an iron grill in a lock-up while in police custody at the Sector 26 police station today. The constable, who was reportedly under stress after his arrest, suffered a head injury and was taken to the Government Multi-Specialty Hospital in Sector 16. He suffered an injury on his forehead.

In an attempt to cover up the case, the police has ruled out suicide attempt and has stated it "was an accident".

Inspector Anokh Singh, SHO, sector 26 police station, said the constable was under stress and suffered dizziness when he banged his forehead against the iron grill accidentally.

“We got his medical examination done and it is not a suicide attempt. He may have fallen on the grill due to stress,” he said.

The police had yesterday arrested constable Rajesh Kumar and his lover constable Niharika for attempting to murder Santosh Devi, Rajesh Kumar’s wife.

Both of them are in three-day police custody. The attempt to murder took place on August 18 when Rajesh Kumar and his lover allegedly pushed Santosh Devi into the Ganga river

However, she survived and returned to her house in the Police Lines, Sector 26, on August 20.



21-yr-old commits suicide
Studying in Canada, the youth was in Mohali on holiday
Our Correspondent

Mohali, October 17
A 21-year-old Chandigarh youth allegedly committed suicide by shooting himself with a country-made pistol here today. DSP Rajinder Singh Sohal said that the deceased, Raunaq Singh, was a resident of Sector 40, Chandigarh. He was attending a hospitality course in Canada and had come home on holiday. Today he had to go to Delhi to catch a flight for Canada.

Raunaq had come to Phase IV in Mohali along with his mother and sister to meet his paternal aunt, Gurpreet Kaur. Later, he told his mother and sister to go back to their home in Chandigarh as a taxi would pick him up from Mohali for Delhi.

Sohal further said that after his mother and sister had left, Raunaq locked himself in a bathroom and allegedly shot himself with a country-made pistol. When his aunt heard the shot, she rushed to look for him and found the bathroom door bolted from the inside.

The door was broken to bring him out. Raunaq Singh was taken to a local hospital from where he was referred to the PGI, Chandigarh. At the PGI, he was pronounced brought dead.

The DSP said that a suicide note was recovered in which the deceased had stated that he loved his mother very much, was taking the extreme step on his own and that nobody should be held responsible for his death.

Raunaq’s father had died 2-3 years ago and his mother worked as a teacher in a school in Sector 38. The family hailed from Batala, the DSP added.



Teacher’s suicide: Mystery deepens
In-laws booked for destruction of evidence too
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 17
The mystery involving the suicide of a teacher, Monica Goyal, in Sector 21 on Monday morning has further deepened with the police adding sections of destruction of evidence in the abetment to suicide case today. Also, the police has arrested Vishal Goyal, brother-in-law of the victim. Meanwhile, a local court has extended the police custody of all the accused including Monica’s father-in-law GP Goyal, husband Vikas Goyal, and mother-in-law Prem Lata Goyal to two days.

Monica Goyal was found dead under mysterious circumstances at her residence. She was brought to the hospital in a private ambulance by her in-laws, where she was declared brought dead. The hospital futher informed the police.

Monica’s father Bhagwan Das had alleged that she was mentally and physically tortured by her in-laws over the last many years. He also accused them of murdering her.

Inspector Harjit Kaur, SHO, Sector-19 police station, said that Monica’s in-laws have been booked for destruction of evidence, as they removed blood stains from a bedsheet and washed it.

While the post-mortem report has stated asphyxia due to hanging as the cause of death, some injuries were also found on her stomach, suggesting she was beaten up. Moreover, the post-mortem report stated that the victim died at around 4 am on Monday morning, while the in-laws have told the police that Monica died at 8.30 am after sending her eight-year-old son Krish to school on that day.

Unanswered questions

  • Was Monica murdered? Post-mortem report, which has stated death due to hanging as the cause of death, also reveals there were deep injuries on her stomach.
  • Time of death. Post-mortem report says Monica died at around 4 am on October 15. This is contradictory to the statements of her son Krish and her neighbour who told the police that they saw Monica at around 7 am.
  • Why did the family wait for private ambulance? On finding her dead, Monica's in-laws waited for an hour for a private ambulance to take her to the hospital. There were three other cars parked at their home.
  • Why were blood stains removed? Police investigations revealed that Monica's in-laws washed the blood stains found on a bedsheet before the police reached the spot to investigate.



With festive season, come parking problems
Tribune news Service

Cars parked on a road in Sector 22, Chandigarh, on Wednesday. Tribune photo: Parvesh Chauhan

Chandigarh, October 17
With the commencement of festival season, the residents of the city should be ready to face parking problems as the municipal corporation has not made any plans to maximise the utilisation of space in the parking lots. Though the corporation is planning to increase the number of paid parking lots, there is no concrete proposal for their proper management.

If one visits the major parking lots in Sector 17, 18, 19, 20, 22, 34 and 35 during the peak hours, a large number of vehicles are seen parked on the roadside as no parking space is available inside the parking areas. Residents also get challaned for wrong parking without any fault.

Interestingly, mismanagement is also evident in the paid parking lots where the contractors allow parking of vehicles in excesss of the capacity. In fact, the contractors also allow parking on the fire zone lane which is demarcated for fire-fighting vehicles.

During a visit to Sector 17, it was found that though a number of decisions have been taken to utilise the underground parking lots, till date the proposal is only on paper.

When contacted, MC Additional Commissioner Lalit Siwach said there is a plan to increase the number of paid parking lots and auction the vacant ones by next week.



Tribune impact
Admn creates awareness about golf carts for physically challenged at Mansa Devi shrine
Hina Rohtaki
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, October 17
Finally, the administration has woken up to the needs of differently abled persons who are visiting Mansa Devi temple to pay obeisance during Navratras. On the second day of the auspicious nine-day festival, awareness was created about the availability of golf carts through banners, announcements and hoardings.

It was today morning that Chandigarh Tribune reported about the lack of awareness among physically challenged as well as elderly persons about the availability of golf carts, resulting in inconvenience.

In a first-of-its-kind initiative, the Panchkula Administration had introduced three golf carts for the movement of the elderly and the physically challenged persons from the parking lot to the temple.

It was, however, found that the authorities had not put up any banners or hoardings, or made any announcements about the availability of golf carts. In absence of awareness, the probable beneficiaries could not have a hassle-free darshan on the first day.



Need to coordinate studies on Central Asia: Ansari
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 17
Different aspects of the modern Central Asia are being studied in different research institutions of the country. The need of the hour is to enhance coordination and cooperation between these institutions to avoid overlapping, ensure better utilisation of available resources and, eventually, to provide more meaningful inputs to our foreign policy objectives.

This observation was made by the Vice-President of India, M. Hamid Ansari, while delivering the inaugural address at the national seminar on “India and Central Asia: Perspectives on Bilateral and Regional Cooperation” organised by the Centre for Research in Rural and Industrial Development (CRRID) here today.

The Vice-President opined that over the past two decades, Central Asia had emerged as one of the fastest growing regions in the world, despite being land-locked. It is resource rich in terms of oil, gas, gold, cotton, rare-earth metals, has relatively advanced infrastructure and human capital, and is strategically located between Asia and Europe, he said.

He further said that India’s own approach to the region has recently been spelt out in its “Connect Central Asia” Policy.



Fire safety equipment
PU to spend Rs 90 lakh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 17
Waking up from deep slumber after various notices served by the Fire Department, the authorities at Panjab University have now decided to equip the university buildings with fire-safety equipments. The university has placed a proposal regarding this before the Board of Finance for the final approval today. The project is expected to cost around Rs 90 lakh.

The university has planned to install fire hydrant systems in girls' hostel no III to VIII.

Earlier an inspection conducted by the Fire and Emergency Department of the Chandigarh Municipal Corporation had established that the PU had breached the fire safety norms. The report said the PU had not installed fire-safety equipment in any of its departments and in the administrative block and there were no signboards on entry and exit points of the university departments. The fire safety norms say a fire-control room should be established in every hostel. The officials of the department said there were many buildings at the PU that needed to be equipped with fire-safety systems as per the National Building Code of India, 2005.

During the meeting the board has also approved the proposal of digitisation of 8,000 PhD theses. Moreover, the university has decided to spend Rs 15 lakhs on Manmohan Singh Chair.



Minor fire reported from Mohali gurdwara
Our Correspondent

Mohali, October 17
A fire broke out on the first floor of Gurdwara Singh Sabha in Phase XI today, damaging "Bir Sahib". The incident left the devotees agitated. According to reports, the fire was caused by a short-circuit. A fan in a room in which "Bir Sahibs" of Guru Granth Sahib were kept is reported to have fallen, leading to electrical sparking and fire.

Smoke was noticed coming out from the room early in the morning. When people rushed to the room, the fire had already caused damage. They controlled further spread of the fire.

Senior officials of the district administration, including the police, reached the gurdwara and pacified devotees, bringing the situation under control.

The incident was reported to the jathedar of Takht Kesgarh Sahib. On his directions, the damaged "Bir Sahib" was sent, with due religious ceremony, to Goindwal Sahib.

An “akhand path” will be organised in the gurdwara as a mark of repentance.



From schools
World Food Day celebrated

Ryan International School staged a 'nukkar natak' on the occasion of the World Food Day on Wednesday. The students sang beautiful poems based on healthy food. They also highlighted the benefits of healthy food.

Mini Olympics

Players of CL Aggarwal DAV Model School, Sector 7, bagged many medals in the Mini Olympics 2012. The players won medals in table soccer and karate championship. Meanwhile, players of St Soldier School, Sector 28, won 13 Gold medals in 100m, 200m, 400, 5000m and 4x100m relay races, during the games. The athletes also bagged eight silver and 9 bronze medals in various events.

A trip to library

Satluj Public School, Sector 4, Panchkula, organised a special trip for the students to British Library on Wednesday. The students read many books on the subjects like science and literature.

Zonal youth parliament competition held

The 25th KVS Zonal Youth Parliament Competition concluded at KV 3BRD, AFS, Chandigarh. The competition was hosted by KVS, Chandigarh region. Teams from Delhi region ,Sirsa region, Jammu region and Chandigarh region participated in this competition. — TNS



Varsity to have vigilance officer

Chandigarh, October 17
Panjab University for the first time will have a post of Chief Vigilance Officer (CVO) to encourage the culture of honesty and integrity. The Board of Finance (BOF) has given its nod to the proposal today. The CVO will be appointed on deputation.

The proposal had suggested to appoint a CVO on permanent basis, however, after deliberations it was decided that the CVO would be appointed on deputation. The rationale behind the decision is to investigating complaints regarding corruption.

One of the senior senate members said with the the creation of the post accountability of PU officials and teachers would increase. "The CVO will not only help in checking corruption, but will also have a close watch on the appointments made in the PU," senate member said. — TNS



YPS students stage play
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 17
Good things come in small packages and the class V students of Yadavindra Public School, Mohali, proved this saying after staging "The Emperor's New Clothes" at the Tagore Theatre today. The play was based on the story written by Hans Christian Anderson. Vijay Kumar directed the play and 125 students participated in the play . The play was about two weavers who promise an emperor a suit, which was invisible to those; who are unfit for their positions. The play started with two characters Coke and Pepsi, played by Bhavkirat and Amol, which kept the audience glued to their seats.

The character of a vain and pompous emperor, obsessed with his attire, was convincingly portrayed by Sidhantveer. The pitiable economic condition of the villagers of Bechara Nagar was also well-depicted. "The students along with their teachers has shown how Hans Andersen's stories can be linked with today's reality," said Janajit Ray, Principal of the school.



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