24122016-TTC-01.qxd 12/24/2016 1:09 AM Page 1 13 established in 1881 saturday, december 24, 2016 chandigarh | gurgaon | jalandhar | bathinda | jammu | srinagar | www.tribuneindia.com | vol. 136 no. 355 | 32 pages | ~5.00 | regd. no. chd/0006/2015-2017 THE GREAT PUNJAB CHIT FUND SCAM PART-I Allure of monthly returns, and the point of no return Jupinderjit Singh Tribune News Service Sunam (Sangrur), December 23 Then 40, PSPCL junior engineer Jai Kumar had everything going for him — a loving wife, a child they doted on, the financial security that his government job provided and a house of his own. Six years hence and a suicide attempt later, he owes Rs 32 lakh to banks, his family has survived a murderous attack recently and his relatives — duped, like him — have chosen to boycott him. In his zeal to earn more through legal means, Jai Kumar invested Rs 1 lakh in a registered chit fund scheme, Crown Credit Cooperative Society, in 2010. It promised to double the money he invested in two years with a return of up to 4 per cent per month. Till 2012, he got monthly returns and what’s more, Rs 2 lakh — double his investment — after two years. In total, he got Rs 2.48 lakh out of an investment of Rs 1 lakh. Completely taken in, Jai took a loan and invested Rs 8 lakh, and since the returns kept coming, his investment shot up to Rs 32 lakh — much of it sourced from bank loans, even his provident fund sav- Chandigarh: Punjab Governor VP Singh Badnore has given his nod to the nine Bills passed at a special Vidhan Sabha session earlier this week, including the Bill regularising the services of 27,000 ad hoc and other temporary employees. The SAD-BJP government was keen to get this Bill signed well before the code of conduct ahead of the Assembly elections. The Governor had earlier refused to clear an ordinance in this regard. PAGE 3 Stranded, MLA Bains lifts toll barrier (From left): Vipin Kumari, husband Jai Kumar and other chit fund victims in Sunam. TRIBUNE PHOTO MONEY INVESTED ~10,000 crore TOTAL INVESTORS 2.5 lakh FIRs LODGED 35 ACCUSED ARRESTED 4 ACCUSED ABSCONDING More than 50 ings. In the process, he mortgaged his house and the jewellery of his reluctant wife. Taking a cue, his relatives, too, invested Rs 1.92 crore. And then, it all came crash- ing down. In 2015, the company downed shutters overnight and the managers could not be traced. Now, after repaying loan instalments, Jai is left with Rs 8,000 a month to run the house. A few months ago, he consumed pesticide. When saved, his wife Vipin Kumari asked him: “What is the fault of your family? How do you think we would have managed without you?” Today, Jai is one of the prominent faces of the “2.5 lakh duped investors” who have formed the Crown Chit Fund Company Sangharsh Committee. “Now, I don’t think of ending my life but seeking justice for us all,” he says. For the past two years, Tribunal: Pay Pak Samjhauta victim’s family Cong drops two MLAs, Akali Dal shifts Kotfatta Tribune News Service NEW DELHI: The Congress dropped two sitting MLAs and renamed six in its second list of 16 Punjab candidates on Friday. It has so far announced nominees for 77 of the 117 seats. Tejinder Soondh and Joginder Singh Panjgraian, MLAs from the reserved constituencies of Banga and Jaito, have been dropped. Former BSP leader Satnam Kainth replaces Soondh. Mohd Sadiq, MLA from Bhadaur, has been shifted to Jaito. Meanwhile, the Shiromani Chandigarh, December 23 The Railways Claims Tribunal, Chandigarh, has ordered the Northern Railway to pay Rs 4 lakh to the kin of Pakistani national Mohammad Waqil, who was killed in the Samjhauta Express blast on February 18, 2007. “The manner in which the case was contested by the Railways is highly regrettable... Whosoever the deceased may be, a human life was lost. Moreover, he (Waqil) was a guest in our country. The manner in which the case was investigated by the police and the claim not settled immediately has brought a bad name to our country,” the Bench comprising judicial member Sanjiv Dutt Sharma and member (technical) Surendra Kumar Jatav said while deciding the six-year-old case. The tribunal noted, “No information was provided to the applicant, despite her best efforts to know the whereabouts of her father. This shows the callous attitude of the officers assigned the job. There is no explanation why the respondent prolonged this case when the top investigating agency (NIA), continued on page 9 Finally, Punjab Guv clears all nine Bills Akali Dal has announced three more candidates from three reserved constituencies. Darshan Singh Kotfatta will contest from Malout, Harpreet Singh from Bhucho and Amit Ratan from Bathinda Rural. Kotfatta earlier represented the Bathinda Rural seat. Harpreet is the sitting Malout MLA. Amit Rattan, an engineer, is the new face from Bathinda Rural. His wife, Sumneet Kaur, is a Punjabcadre IPS officer. The Akali Dal has so far declared 85 candidates. — TNS they have been fighting against the company owners and claim having resisted “threats, attacks and allurements” to withdraw complaints. Harpreet Singh Khalsa, who committed suicide this week at Chhaajli village of the district, is the latest victim of perhaps the biggest-ever chit fund scam of Punjab. He had invested Rs 9.18 lakh after selling 4 acres of land. Another victim, Bikramjit Singh — a farmer from Longowal village, lost 4 acres of land, all his savings and jewellery after investing Rs 50 lakh. “My land is scheduled for auction on December 29 and I am helpless. continued on page 9 Ludhiana: High drama took place at Ladhowal Toll Plaza on Friday after Independent MLA Simarjit Bains and his men forcibly lifted the toll barrier and let commuters pass through without paying toll. Simarjit was seen arguing with the plaza employees, complaining that he had been stranded for nearly 30 minutes whereas “six minutes is the stipulated time”. TNS Libyan plane hijack ends, all 118 freed Valletta (Malta): Hijackers forced an airliner to land in Malta on Friday, then freed all 118 hostages unharmed and surrendered after declaring their loyalty to Libya’s late leader Muammar Gaddafi. The Airbus A320 had been on an internal flight in Libya when it was diverted to Malta, after one man told crew he had a hand grenade. PAGE 21 PoS machines at all ration shops DELHI: To promote cashless economy, the government hopes to equip all 5.27 lakh ration shops across the country with Point of Sale (PoS) machines by March 2017 to make them etransaction enabled. NEW Meanwhile, amid reports of shortage of wheat and widespread criticism of its decision to slash import duty on wheat to zero, the government said it would not import the grain for domestic consumption. PAGE 20 CD sting: CBI summons Rawat DELHI: The CBI has asked Uttarakhand Chief Minister Harish Rawat to appear before it on December 26 in connection with a probe into the purported sting operation involving him. This is the second time that Rawat NEW has been summoned by the CBI on a preliminary enquiry (PE) registered by it in last seven months. He had earlier appeared before the agency on May 24 during which he was questioned for nearly five hours. — TNS New passport rules to benefit single moms Simran Sodhi Tribune News Service New Delhi, December 23 The Ministry of External Affairs today came out with a new set of rules for passport applicants, allowing single parents to apply for their child’s passport with the name of either parent. Also, for divorced or separated individuals, it is no longer required that the name of the spouse be mentioned on the passport. The new rules make it easier for adopted, orphaned and children born out of wedlock to FRESH GUIDELINES ISSUED BY MEA ■ Online application form will now the divorce decree either require the applicant to provide the name of only one parent ■ The applicant need not provide the name of spouse in case of separation or divorce ■ Such applicants will no longer be required to provide ■ Now on, a birth certificate obtain a passport. These changes will benefit single mothers and divorced women the most — an acknowledgement of the change in societal norms and the new reality. Until now, single mothers could not apply for their child’s passport without the father’s signature and a noobjection certificate while single fathers faced no such will no longer be mandatory to get a passport issued ■ Documents such as PAN card, driving licence, Aadhaar card or matric certificate would suffice Today’s issue consists of 32 pages, including four-page The Tribune Trends and four-page Real Estate. restrictions. Under the new rules, the online passport application form will now require the applicant to provide the name of the father or mother or legal guardian; in other words — only one parent. Further, the passport application form will not require the applicant to provide the name of her or his spouse in case of separation or divorce. Such applicants won’t be required to provide the divorce decree either. Also, a birth certificate will no longer be mandatory for a passport. LET IT BE AN ARMS RACE: TRUMP PM ASKED ME TO CARRY ON: JUNG strengthen ❝ The US must greatlyits nuclear and ❝ I had offered to resign as I had been expand appointed by UPA govt, but capability until such time as the world comes to its senses regarding nukes… Let it be an arms race. We will outmatch them at every pass and outlast them all. Donald Trump, US PRESIDENT-ELECT P21 Prime Minister asked me to carry on… I requested the PM again on Tuesday that I’d like to resign on personal grounds, but he said carry on. I’ve decided to quit. Najeeb Jung, DELHI’S LT GOVERNOR P9 Armed forces to get pay parity with civil services Vijay Mohan Tribune News Service Chandigarh, December 23 The Principal Bench of the Armed Forces Tribunal (AFT) today allowed a bunch of petitions seeking grant of nonfunctional upgradation (NFU) to all armed forces officers on similar lines as it was implemented for civil services in connection with the Sixth Pay Commission. The AFT’s order marks a turning point in a long battle for parity that saw a lot of legal and bureaucratic wrangling. The NFU was among several issues involving benefits and status that the armed forces wanted to be addressed. Several issues are still to be resolved. Justice BP Katakey and Lt Gen Sanjiv Langer said the NFU for all officers of the three services would be applicable with effect from January 1, 2006, although the arrears would be restricted to three years from the date of the petition. Disposing of the petitions filed by Col Mukul Dev from the Judge Advocate General’s Department and about 160 other officers, the Bench also directed that in case the government decided to include NFU for civilians under the Seventh Pay Com- mission, the same would also be extended to armed forces officers. The Bench also rejected the Union of India’s prayer for leave to appeal to challenge the order in the Supreme Court. The NFU scheme, implemented by the UPA government in 2008, entitled IAS officers and other Group-A officers to get pay scale of the highest promoted officer of their batch even if they were not promoted. The affected non-promoted officers are given the higher grade two years after their batchmates are elevated. continued on page 9
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