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Mining row: Probe exposes

cover-up bid by Rana’s men

Chandigarh, October 9- Power and Irrigation Minister Rana Gurjit Singh’s front men made an attempt to cover up the sand mining scandal with a bogus partnership firm after the expose, but they “failed miserably”, Justice JS Narang Commission’s report has brought out.
The Tribune had reported on May 25 that how four employees of Rana Gurjit had bagged mining contracts. Taking cognisance, Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh had constituted a judicial commission of inquiry under Justice JS Narang (retd).
As per the report, when the commission started inquiring into the money trail of around Rs18 crore deposited with the government for bidding for mines at Mehadipur and Saidpur, Sanjit Randhawa (son of minister’s election agent Capt JS Randhawa) and Sahil Singla (son of minister’s chartered accountant Triloki Nath Singla) claimed that it was their partnership firm Rajbir Enterprises which actually placed the bid and deposited the money. They also claimed that besides others, the minister’s former cook, Amit Bahadur, and Kulwinder Pal Singh were partners in the firm and owned 5 per cent shares each.
When the commission asked Randhawa if he supplied the partnership deed to the firm’s bank branch where the account was opened, he answered in negative. Later, he said the firm did not have a bank account. “It is correct that in the partnership firm, Rajbir Enterprises, no money could be deposited as no bank account was opened. Also no money was deposited with the firm in cash as no contribution was made by any of the three partners in the capital account,” he said.
He also failed to produce the registration record of the firm. He accepted that in his earlier statement, he had “mistakenly stated” before the commission that it was a registered firm. “I had mistakenly given the statement,” he accepted.
When the commission was constituted on May 30, both Singla and Randhawa tried to cover up the money trail by floating Rajbir Enterprises, which they claimed was formed in April. They tried to show that the money came from other partners of the firm. But the commission caught their lie. In its report, the commission concluded: “A miserable effort has been made to project that the bid was given by Amit Bahadur and Kulwinder Pal Singh as partners of the firm which was created on April 10-11, 2017, in the name of Rajbir Enterprises.”
It further said: “Rajbir Enterprises does not have any bank account. Another miserable attempt was made by all of them for creating another partnership firm on June 10, 2017, again under the name of Rajbir Enterprises Mohali. This firm too could not open any bank account. ”
Amit Bahadur had accepted before the commission that “new partners were inducted in this firm after the setting up of the commission on May 30”.

Ram Rahim has renounced world, not able

to pay Rs 30 lakh costs, counsel tells HC

Chandigarh, October 9- Acting on the appeal filed by jailed Dera Sacha Sauda chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh against his conviction and the 20-year jail sentence in a rape case, the Punjab and Haryana High Court on Monday put the prosecution—the Central Bureau of Investigation—on notice.
As the case came up for hearing, Ram Rahim’s counsel told the Division Bench of Justice Surya Kant and Justice Sudhir Mittal that the Dera head had “renounced the world” and was not in a position to pay the Rs 30 lakh costs imposed by the trial court to be paid to the rape survivors.
Appearing for Ram Rahim, senior advocate SK Garg Narwana said the Dera properties had been “attached” and the Dera head was not in a position to pay the amount.
Taking up the matter, the Bench admitted the appeal filed against his conviction by Ram Rahim. Another appeal filed by the rape victims was also admitted by the High Court Bench.
The Bench asked Ram Rahim to deposit the compensation amount, awarded by the trial court to the victims, as FDR in a nationalised bank in the Panchkula court’s name. The amount would be disbursed only after the court order.
The directions by the Division Bench of Justice Surya Kant and Justice Sudhir Mittal came on Ram Rahim’s appeal filed by counsel Vishal Garg Narwana. The Dera chief was seeking directions for setting aside the August 25 order vide which he was convicted of raping two dera followers and the subsequent order of August 28 sentencing him to 20 years.
Challenging the CBI special court verdict, Ram Rahim has submitted that the prosecution—the CBI--had not conducted his potency test. Ram Rahim had claimed before the trial court that he was not virile since 1990, much before allegations of rape were levelled against him.
“The prosecution did not get the medical examination of the accused-appellant done to prove that he was capable of performing sexually. The finding of the trial court that the plea about his incapacity after 1990 is not substantiated because of his two daughters is totally erroneous. The trial court has presumed that because he is father of two children, therefore his plea was not correct without ascertaining the age of his two children, especially when the plea of accused-appellant recorded under Section 313 is after a year,” Ram Rahim’s counsel SK Garg Narwana has submitted before the High Court in the appeal.
Delay of more than six years in recording the statements of the women victims by the CBI after the incident was another ground taken by Ram Rahim in his plea.

 

Evidence of Honeypreet’s hand in

Panchkula violence: Haryana Police

Chandigarh, October 7 - Haryana Police has found evidence of Honeypreet Insan’s hand in incidents of violence in Panchkula following the Dera Sacha Sauda chief’s conviction in a rape case on August 25, Panchkula Police Commissioner AS Chawla has claimed.
Chawla said 36-year-old Honeypreet, who claims to be the adopted daughter of jailed sect chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh, was misleading and not cooperating with the police during her interrogation.
Honeypreet, whose real name is Priyanka Taneja, was arrested by Haryana Police on October 3 in connection with the deadly violence that had claimed 35 lives.
Asked if Honeypreet’s hand in incidents of violence had come to light, Chawla said, “According to the evidence we have gathered so far, she definitely has a hand in this.”
The police would put the evidence and other facts before the court, he said without elaborating.
A lookout notice had been issued earlier against Honeypreet.
However, she evaded the police by moving from one place to another in several states, including Rajasthan, Punjab and Delhi, according to police.
The officer said Honeypreet, who is currently in police custody, was not cooperating in the investigation.
“Her attitude is not proper with regard to investigation being conducted. Initially, she tried to feign ignorance.
“When she was confronted with facts and evidence about what happened in Panchkula, she started misleading,” he alleged and hoped she would cooperate in the probe.
He said Honeypreet was taken to Bathinda to verify the information she had given to the police. “We found that the entire information given by her was turning out to be false after which we decided to return,” the officer said.
The police was keen to ensure that the entire conspiracy is unearthed. “We are hopeful that we will be able to dig out the truth,” he said.
Replying to a question, Chawla said if anyone’s role in Panchkula violence came to light during investigation, that person would be asked to join investigation irrespective of the individual’s stature.
If the need arose, the person would be arrested, he said.
Asked if any political leader had given shelter to Honeypreet when she was on the run, the police officer said, “At this stage, I do not think it will be appropriate to comment on this.”
Chawla said that during interrogation of some other arrested accused, it had been alleged that an amount of Rs 1.25 crore was distributed to some Dera members to arrange logistics for inciting violence in Panchkula on August 25 if the Dera chief was convicted in the rape case.
To a query, he said raids were on to nab Aditya Insan and Pawan Insan, the other key Dera functionaries accused of involvement in the violence. “Our raids are going on continuously and we are hopeful of making early arrests,” he said.
About Aditya Insan, Chawla said a lookout notice had been issued against him earlier. “There is no input that Aditya has fled the country,” he said to a query.
Meanwhile, Chawla appealed to the media to refrain from publishing or broadcasting any news pertaining to the ongoing investigation “that is speculative and not certified”.

 

Akal Takht excommunicates Langah


Amritsar, October 6- Akal Takht today excommunicated former Akali minister Sucha Singh Langah from the community for hurting Sikh sentiments after his arrest in a rape case. The decision was taken at a meeting of the five High Priests in the light of complaints to Akal Takht.
Akal Takht Jathedar Giani Gurbachan Singh pronounced the ‘hukumnama’ (edict) from the podium of the highest temporal seat of Sikhs. “Langah has brought disrepute to the Sikhs with such immoral, disgraceful and blasphemous acts. Akal Takht has taken cognisance of the news reports and a number of complaints received against him from the Sikh Sangat after his video went viral and he was booked. An expert panel’s suggestion was sought and after deliberations, the five High Priests unanimously decided to excommunicate him,” he said.
The Jathedar cautioned that anyone who has been involved in such immoral activities must not be included in any religious organisation in future. He announced that though Langah had been discharged from all positions, be it with the SGPC or SAD, if he was still associated with any Sikh organisation, he should be immediately removed and no “ardas” should be performed in his name.
PPCC general secretary Amarjit Singh Tikka had forwarded the video clip to the Jathedar, seeking strict action against the senior Akali leader. Various Sikh organisations had also called for strict action.
Langah, a baptised Sikh, was in the race to become the SGPC president when Kirpal Singh Badungar occupied the coveted seat. He was a member of SAD’s core committee and district unit president of Gurdaspur until a case was registered against him by a lady police constable, who alleged that she was exploited for over eight years. He was arrested yesterday.
Meanwhile, the Akal Takht Jathedar, when asked if there was any provision under which the disgraced Akali leader could be brought back to the religious fold, said, “The tenets dictate that any Sikh who has been excommunicated could appear before Akal Takht and submit his apology, but ultimately it would be the sole discretion of the five High Priests to consider it or not.”

 

Geneva-based anti-nuclear campaign

ICAN wins Nobel Peace Prize


Oslo, October 6- Nuclear disarmament group ICAN won the Nobel Peace Prize on Friday for its decade-long campaign to rid the world of the atomic bomb as nuclear-fuelled crises swirl over North Korea and Iran.
”The organisation is receiving the award for its work to draw attention to the catastrophic humanitarian consequences of any use of nuclear weapons and for its ground-breaking efforts to achieve a treaty-based prohibition of such weapons,” said Norway’s Nobel committee president Berit Reiss-Andersen.
ICAN: staunch campaigners for an end to nuclear weapons
GENEVA: With the nuclear threat at its most acute in decades, the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons, which on Friday won the Nobel Peace Prize, is urgently pressing to consign the bomb to history.
The Geneva-based organisation, known by the acronym ICAN, has for the past decade been sounding the alarm over the massive dangers posed by nuclear weapons and campaigning for a global ban.
It secured a significant victory in July this year when the United Nations adopted a new treaty outlawing nuclear weapons.
But with actual disarmament of the world’s nuclear arsenal likely still far off, ICAN is not resting on its laurels.
“We’re not done yet...The job isn’t done until nuclear weapons are gone,” ICAN chief Beatrice Fihn told AFP this week.


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