C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Justice comes in record 17 days
Labourer sentenced to five years and three months in jail for bid to rape three-year-old
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 19
In a case of the fastest delivery of justice in the city, the court of Additional District and Sessions Judge Shalini Nagpal today sentenced a convict, Veer Bahadur, alias Ram Bahadur, in an attempt-to-rape case to undergo rigorous imprisonment of five years and three months.

A fine of Rs 5,000 has also been imposed on the accused.

The incident was reported on March 2 and the case reached the court on March 7 with the police filing a chargesheet. The court framed charges on March 12, when the trial began. The accused has been sentenced within 17 days of the incident and within seven days of the beginning of the trial.

On March 16, the accused was convicted under Sections 376 and 511 (attempt to rape) of the IPC and Sections 8 and 18 of the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, 2012. This was the first case registered by the UT police under this Act. The evidence in the case was recorded in an hour on March 14.

According to the prosecution case, the police had arrested 40-year-old Ram Bahadur, a labourer, for attempting to rape a three-year-old girl on March 2. The accused, a resident of Kajheri village, is the victim’s neighbour. In a complaint to the police, the victim's family alleged that the accused, who was in an inebriated state, took the child to a secluded area and tried to rape her. The victim raised the alarm and started to cry loudly following which her mother rushed to her rescue. The accused was thrashed by residents of the area before being handed over to the police. The prosecution had examined four witnesses in the court.

The police had filed a chargesheet in the case five days after the incident. The victim's father is an auto driver.

Trial trail

  • March 2 The UT police registers a case of rape bid against the accused
  • March 7 The police files a chargesheet
  • March 12 The court frames charges
  • March 14 Evidence recorded in an hour
  • March 16 Accused convicted
  • March 19 Accused sentenced to five years and three months in jail

Other fast-track cases that made history

January 22 The court of District and Sessions Judge SK Aggarwal acquitted a 26-year-old man in a case of attempt to rape a minor girl. The trial was completed in just three days as the charges were framed in the case only on January 19.

March 8 On March 8, the court had sentenced a man to five years' imprisonment in an attempt-to-rape case and evidence in this case, too, was recorded in an hour. The case was registered in September last year and the charges were framed in the case on December 4. The court had sentenced Gurminder Singh, alias Bindri, to five years' rigorous imprisonment for an attempt to rape and kidnapping a girl in Khuda Ali Sher.



Police faces BJP men’s anger
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 19
Tempers ran high at the Sector 19 police station late this evening when BJP men protested against the registration of a case against two party workers for allegedly assaulting a constable in Sector 20.

The incident occurred when Gaurav and Devinder Sharma, both BJP workers, were going on a scooter and a police constable stopped them for routine checking.

The BJP workers alleged that they had slowed down their scooter but the constable pushed them and hit the pillion rider with a stick. As a result, Gaurav fell on the road and suffered a head injury. It was alleged that the police threatened to book them in a case instead and had not taken them for a medical examination for three hours.

The police said the two were without helmet and accelerated their scooter when they were signalled to stop. They lost balance and their scooter skidded, hitting the constable.

At 10.30 pm, more than 50 BJP workers laid a siege to the Sector 19 police station. A huge posse of police was deployed there.



Four years on, CBI submits proof in Sarita suicide case
Hina Rohtaki
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, March 19
ASP Satish Dagar, CBI investigating officer, today produced evidence in court in the Sarita suicide case. The investigating officer gave evidence how two policemen allegedly raped Sarita after which she committed suicide and also how her husband was falsely implicated in a theft case.

The case under Section 376 (rape) had come up for hearing before the CBI court today. Sarita, a resident of Rohtak, took poison at the Haryana DGP's office in Sector 6, Panchkula, in 2009 after no action was taken against the policemen.

The investigating officer presented all statements and proofs before the court, alleging that head constable Balraj and constable Silak Ram raped her on the premises of the CIA, Rohtak. The evidence also included Sarita’s complaints before she committed suicide and the call details of the other accused, Ramphal and Ram Dhaari, who called her to the CIA premises.

The court was also informed how the documents were "fabricated" by the policemen to frame her husband in a false theft case. One of Sarita's complaints also mentioned that the policemen had asked her for Rs 6,000 to settle her husband’s case.

On April 10, 2008, Sarita (26), a resident of Rohtak, was allegedly raped by police officials. After the incident, Sarita tried hard to get a case registered against the accused police officials, but in vain. In her complaint to the police, she had alleged that no action had been taken against the CIA staff, Rohtak, head constable Balraj, constable Silak Ram and the other accused, who had allegedly raped her on April 10 after calling her to the police station in connection with her husband's arrest in a theft case.

In June 2009, alleging police inaction and harassment, she committed suicide by taking poison at the Haryana DGP's office.

On August 20, 2011, investigating officer Prahlad had filed a statement in the CBI court that the then Rohtak DSP, Dheeraj Setia, and the then SHO of the police station concerned, Pawan Kumar, forced him to change the Sections of the FIR from 376 A (rape by policemen on the premises) and 376 G of the IPC (gangrape) to 376 B (rape by a public servant) and 34 (act done by several persons in furtherance of common intention) of the IPC.

The case

Sarita, a resident of Rohtak, took poison at the Haryana DGP's office in Sector 6, Panchkula, in 2009 after no action was taken against policemen who allegedly raped her



Girl, mother get notice for turning hostile
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 19
In a first, the court has issued a notice to a 19-year-old girl and her mother for turning hostile before the court in a case of rape attempt. The court of Additional District and Sessions Judge Shalini Nagpal has issued a show-cause notice to the two asking them to explain why proceedings under Section 340 of the CrPC should not be initiated against them.

Last week, the court had sentenced the accused in the case to five years' imprisonment for a rape bid. The court had sentenced Gurvinder Singh, alias Bindri, for an attempt to rape and kidnapping of a girl in Khuda Ali Sher. It had imposed a fine of Rs 6,000 on him. Initially, there was no eyewitness in this case and it was termed a blind case till the police got the footage of a CCTV camera, which was installed on the rooftop of a house.

The court had convicted the accused on the basis of the CCTV footage. Both the victim and her mother retracted their statements in court.

In the CCTV footage, a well-built man was shown overpowering a girl and taking her to a nearby isolated plot. Later, he allegedly forced himself upon her, but ran away after she resisted and raised the alarm.

The victim and her mother had told the court that they did not remember the accused and had turned hostile.



Accused had refugee certificate, used to frequent Myanmar for selling drugs
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 19
Investigations into the international drug racket, that was busted yesterday, have revealed that one of the accused possesses a refugee certificate and has been frequently travelling to Myanmar on the basis of the certificate.

Police sources said one of the six accused, Devittag, had a valid refugee certificate from Myanmar and frequently crossed the border from India to Myanmar.

The revelation has further established the drug nexus as the accused had been frequenting Myanmar for the sale of drugs.

Over 20 pharmaceutical companies located in Baddi, Panchkula, Chandigarh and Ambala are under the scanner of the crime branch for illegal cross-border trade of the banned salt, pseudoephedrine, to China and Myanmar.

The prime accused, Karan Kakkar (32), owns two pharmaceutical plants in the Industrial Area of Panchkula and another one in Baddi.

The police today called a language expert of the North-East, who interrogated the four accused from Mizoram, and it came to light that Devittag had a valid refugee status in Myanmar and frequently crossed the border from the Indian side to Myanmar.

The police has sent three samples of the seized pseudoephedrine tablets to the Central Forensic Science Laboratory, Sector 36, for a chemical examination.

The crime branch of the UT police had yesterday busted an international drug racket and had seized a huge haul of drugs in the form of 15 lakh tablets of pseudoephedrine, which are used to manufacture substances banned under the NDPS Act. The tablets, weighing 176 kg, were seized from the possession of six accused, all of whom have been arrested. The police also seized Rs 2.31 crore from their possession.

The value of the seized tablets was estimated to be around Rs 12 crore in the international market, the police said.

The other accused arrested have been identified as Chanchal Nag, Zosanga, Sangchhunga, Lalnuhiua and Devitthag, who had come from Mizoram.

Banned drug

An NCB official said the banned salt was being smuggled into Myanmar and China, and was sold as heroin in these countries. He said the use of the drug without permission was an offence. Recently, the NCB had made two seizures of the same salt in Assam and Manipur.



UIET goes soft on girl student who created ruckus
Parents told to give an undertaking that she would behave and observe discipline in future
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 19
The disciplinary committee of the University Institute of Engineering and Technology (UIET) has expelled a girl student from the department, who reportedly created a ruckus in an inebriated condition and misbehaved with policewomen, till the time her parents give an undertaking that she will not create indiscipline in the university. Keeping in mind the career and the mental state of the student, the institute has decided not to take stern action against her.

Taking a lenient view, the UIET committee, that met today, issued a warning to the student.

UIET Director Renu Vig said keeping in view the mental state of the student, the institute had decided to counsel the student for which it would take the help of the psychology department of the university. "As the student has volunteered to get counselling, we will help her," the Director said.

Vig said the student's parents, who were yet to reach Chandigarh, had been asked to give an undertaking that their daughter would maintain discipline, only after which she would be allowed to attend the classes. "The student has a good academic record and we want her reformed," she said.

Sources said the girl, in her statement given to the committee formed by the Dean, Students Welfare (DSW), has mentioned that she was upset following which she took beer.

She said she procured the drink from Sector 24 and she took it alone.

She said the police staff misbehaved with her and even abused her. The UIET Director said if the student repeated the same mistake again, she would be permanently expelled from the department.

What the director says

Taking a lenient view, the UIET committee, that met on Tuesday, issued a warning to the student. UIET Director Renu Vig said keeping in view the mental state of the student, the institute had decided to counsel the student for which it would take the help of the psychology department of the university.



Threat to wardens
Complaint against PU ex-student
Amit Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 19
Seven hostel wardens of Panjab University (PU) have filed a police complaint against a former PU student leader, who had forcefully entered the Dean Student Welfare (DSW) office and threatened the wardens on Monday. The committee headed by the DSW was interrupted by the student leader, who came in support of the final-year girl student of UIET who created ruckus on PU campus, during the meeting called by the authorities to discuss the case.

The girl student was also present in the meeting when the leader tried to interfere in the official functioning.

The student was asked to appear before the committee, comprised three wardens of girl's hostel number 3, 4 and 5 and wardens of boy's hostel number 1, 2, 4 and 7 apart from the DSW.

One of the wardens said that while the meeting was going on, a former PUSU leader Simranjit Singh Dhillon entered the Dean Office during the meeting, asking the committee to take a lenient view while deciding the case of the student. "We asked him to wait till the time the meeting is over, however, he forcefully entered the office thrice", said a warden.

The officials further added that as soon the UIET student left the office Simranjit returned and threatened the members of the committee of dire consequences.

The wardens said that Simranjit Singh Dhillon was not even a student of the university anymore and his interference in the functioning of the office was not acceptable. The warden further expressed that, "It's a question of teacher's safety on campus, as how can anyone come into the university offices and threatened the staff?".

When contacted Simranjit Singh Dhillon about the incident, he refuted all the allegations and claimed that he had gone to the DSW office, however, on the objections made by the committee over his interference in the meeting, he returned and went back only after the meeting was over. "I respect all of them and I might be misunderstood by the wardens", he said.

Interestingly, despite the complaint by the wardens no actionhas been initiated by the police.

However, SHO of the Sector 11 police station, Gurmukh Singh could not be contacted for his comments, despite repeated attempts.



Fans give warm send-off to cricket players
Deepankar Sharda
Tribune News Service

Cricket fans wave at members of the Indian team as they leave for the airport in a bus on Tuesday
Cricket fans wave at members of the Indian team as they leave for the airport in a bus on Tuesday. Tribune photo: Manoj Mahajan

Chandigarh, March 19
Local cricket fans gave a warm send-off to Indian and Australian teams at the JW Marriott Hotel here this afternoon. The players were in the City Beautiful to play the third Test match of the ongoing Border-Gavaskar Trophy at the PCA Stadium, Mohali.

Many fans gathered outside the hotel around 1 pm to catch a glimpse of the cricketers. “I came to know through a friend that the teams were leaving for Delhi this afternoon. When I reached the hotel, was not allowed in because of security reasons. Yet we managed to see some of our favorite stars,” said Kulbir Mahant.

Rakshita Jain, who came outside from the hotel’s café lounge said: “I reached here around noon. Luckily, I managed to get autographs of Shikhar Dhawan, Cheteshwar Pujara, Ed Cowan and Mathhew Wade. It was an exciting moment, although I missed my favorites Sachin Tendulkar and Virat Kohli,” said Akshita. Her fiancé Prabhat Bansal said: ”It was the first gift she asked for and we just landed here. I am looking forward to the Indian Premier League matches when these players will come again. It’s the first time I have witnessed such a fanfare,” said Bansal.

The Indian side has taken an unassailable lead of 3-0 in the ongoing 4-match series with Australia. The team won the last match at Mohali by 6 wickets. The last day of the match saw a huge rush of fans inside the stadium.

“Watching and waving at your favourite players is a matter of hardly 15 minutes. But it is worth the effort because it doesn’t cost you any money,” said Aman Aggarwal.


40 jhuggis razed at Grain Market
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 19
The UT Estate Office today carried out a demolition drive at the Grain Market in Sector 26 here today. Forty jhuggis, which had been built on the open space in front of the Police Lines, were razed.

A joint team of the UT Estate Office and the municipal corporation carried out the drive. Tehsildar Amarinder Singh said the jhuggis had come up on the Estate Office land. Last time, 35 jhuggis were demolished on the same land.

However, no action was taken against those who have encroached upon the public area by extending concrete platforms in front of their shops.



Only 16 objections, suggestions received
Kulwinder Sangha

Mohali, March 19
Despite residents raising a hue and cry about the levying of the property tax in the town, only 16 objections and suggestions have been received by the Mohali Municipal Corporation in this regard.

The corporation had invited objections and suggestions from residents through a public notice issued on February 8 giving them one month’s time to present their views. The one-month period expired on March 9.

The objections have been received from individuals and residents’ welfare organisations. The areas from which residents have filed objections include Sectors 60, 69, 71 and Phase 3B1.

The main objection filed by residents is that as a part of the town did not fall within the municipal limits of the town, people living in these sectors would not have to bear an additional financial burden in the form of property tax. This would lead to discrimination among residents living in Mohali. The other important objection raised by residents was that people living in Mohali had already paid development charges to the PUDA, now the GMADA. Those owning vacant plots were also paying non-construction charges to the GMADA and the levying of property tax under such circumstances was unjustified.

Residents also objected to why Sector 62 had been kept in Zone D for property tax purposes when the entire area fell in a commercial pocket.

A resident of Sector 71 pointed out in the objections that there were many commercial, residential and institutional properties in that sector. Keeping all these properties in the same zone would result in the same unit value for each of these, which would be quite high as the area had been kept in Zone A. He said institutional and commercial property should not be kept together in the same zone.



Stone of court complex to be laid today

Mohali, March 19
A court complex will come up in Sector 76 at a cost of Rs 65 crore.

The foundation stone of the complex will be laid on March 20 by the Punjab and Haryana High Court Chief Justice AK Sikri.

Justice Ranjit Singh, chairman, Building Committee, Punjab, yesterday visited the site and inspected the arrangements made for the function. —OC



Attempt to loot cash at petrol station

Panchkula, March 19
Four unidentified miscreants who were travelling in a Sedan broke open the window pane of a petrol station in Sector 20, Panchkula, where the cash was lying late last night. However, nothing could be stolen since the workers woke up and the youths fled from the spot. The footage of one of the youth has been captured in the CCTV cameras installed on the premises of the petrol station.

Inspector Surinder Kumar, Station House Officer of the Sector 20 police station, said there was no such attempt. It was just a mischief by some boys who actually wanted the workers to get up and fill petrol in their car. “Initially four youths came out from a maroon Sedan. When they saw that CCTV cameras were installed on the premises, they parked their car at a distance to avoid the camera,” said an official at the petrol station.

He said, “Then one of them moved towards the room where the cash was lying and broke the window pane. But as we got up, they fled away from the spot.” — TNS



Another extension for Additional Secy (Home)
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 19
The Union Ministry of Home Affairs has extended Additional Secretary (Home) Prerna Puri's term for another one year. The Chandigarh Administration has received a communication from the MHA in this regard.

The UT Cadre officer, Prerna Puri’s term was to end on March 31.

In 2011, Prerna Puri was given a year's extension to serve in Chandigarh after her transfer from here to Arunachal Pradesh was ordered.

Besides, the administration has given the charge of Director Industries-cum-General Manager, District Industries Centre, Chandigarh, to Mahavir Kaushik, Registering and Licensing Authority, Chandigarh, in addition of his own duties, relieving Balbir Singh of this additional charge.



Admn launches tourist info kiosk
Tribune News Service

Visitors use the tourist information kiosk at the Le Corbusier Centre in Chandigarh on Tuesday
Visitors use the tourist information kiosk at the Le Corbusier Centre in Chandigarh on Tuesday. Tribune photo: S Chandan

Chandigarh, March 19
The Administration today launched a tourist information kiosk at the Le Corbusier Centre, Sector 19, in Chandigarh. The administration also launched a vast array of souvenirs on the city on the occasion.

While inaugurating the kiosk, Secretary, Tourism, DK Tiwari said the kiosk, which wad a touch screen, had been equipped with a user friendly Android-based smart application, “Chandigarh City Guide”. One can get instant tourist and entertainment information in different categories like "Hotels", "Tourist Attractions" and "Restaurants".

Director, Tourism and IT, Tanvi Garg said it was an important step in realising the dream of developing Chandigarh as a tourist destination. The souvenirs are available at the Le Corbusier Centre as well as at the Sukhna Lake, said AK Malhotra, GM (Tourism), CITCO.



Rs 274-cr penalty on CHB waived
Rajinder Nagarkoti
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 19
In a major relief to the Chandigarh Housing Board (CHB), the Union Ministry of Finance has waived the penalty of Rs 274 crore, which was slapped on it by the Income Tax Department. The ministry has also waived the Rs 79 crore interest on the amount. The penalty was slapped on the CHB for not disclosing as “income” the money it got in a deal with realtor Parsvnath.

At a recent meeting held in Delhi among RS Gujral, Secretary, Finance Ministry, and CHB Chairman Satyagopal and other UT officials officials, Gujral directed the IT officials to waive the penalty and interest slapped on the housing board.

The Prideasia project, which was expected to generate a revenue of Rs 4,500 crore, allegedly did not receive a portion of the 123 acres committed by the CHB for the development of a residential and commercial property in Chandigarh.

However, construction could not be taken up due to arbitration even as the buyer-seller agreements were signed in 2008. Prideasia went into arbitration in 2009 as the escrow account, in which Parsvnath had deposited the amount, was frozen by the CHB.

In its appeal, the CHB had stated that it acted only as a “nodal agency” and that a major portion of the money received by it under the deal was already submitted to the Consolidated Fund of India.



Contractual teachers move CAT for arrears
Vivek Gupta
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 19
More than 200 contractual government teachers have moved Chandigarh Administrative Tribunal (CAT) to claim the arrears of their enhanced salary for the year 2007-09. Earlier, ten contractual teachers had already secured financial relief for their arrear from the tribunal.

The issue, dates back to the year 2007 when Chandigarh Administration issued various policy circulars for enhancing the consolidated salary of the contractual employees of UT, corresponding with the regular pay scales of the concerned posts.

The department however revised the salary of the contractual teachers only from the circular issued in July 2009, and the revision of salaries as per earlier circulars were ignored.

Talking the cognisance of the matter, contract teachers Rupinderjit Kaur, Aneetinder Kaur and others moved to the Chandigarh Administrative Tribunal for the release of these due arrears. Their petition was allowed by the CAT in April last year.

However the education department challenged the order of the tribunal in the Punjab and Haryana High court, which was dismissed by the division.

A fresh petition by these 213 teachers may arise an overall liability of approximately Rs 10 crore for the education department. The pending arrear in case of JBT teachers is close to Rs 60000, Rs 70000 for Trained Graduate Teachers and Rs 80000 for PGTs.

The hearing is scheduled next month on April 11.



Seventy students take part in workshop on gender equality

Chandigarh, March 19
"Hum Hain" the Society of Post Graduate Government College for Girls, Sector 11, for Gender Equality and Non-Discrimination, organised a two-day workshop for the postgraduate students of various departments of the college on "Women's Well-being and Health".

As many as 70 students from English, sociology, public administration,music, dance, economics department took part in this unique interactive workshop.They expressed their personal concerns and anxieties about discriminatory social structure that threatened to erode their aspirations. Students were sensitised about the process of appreciative enquiry and collaborative activities.

Later, the college principal, Achila Dogra stressed upon the impotance of maintaining a good emotional quotient and staying physically strong.—TNS



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