The Hindustan Times – Punjab CM orders probe after 3 prisoners escape from Amritsar jail

The Punjab Police have launched a state-wide hunt for the three prisoners who escaped late Saturday night.

HT Correspondent

Chandigarh – Panjab – India, 2020, 02 February 2020. Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh on Sunday ordered a magisterial inquiry by the Jalandhar Commissioner into the escape of three undertrial prisoners from Amritsar central jail, and has also directed the Jails Minister to immediately suspend, pending inquiry, all those responsible for prison security.

A state-wide hunt has been launched for the prisoners. The Chief Minister has also ordered ADGP Jails to revamp prison security in the wake of the incident, which came to light around 3.20 am, less than two hours after the prisoners are said have broken through their barrack before scaling the inner and outer walls of the jail to escape.

Taking serious note of the security lapse, the Captain Amarinder Singh said prison security would be reviewed and further strengthened, not just in this jail but in the others across the state too.

The prison guards were alerted about the escape by the other inmates, who included the brother of one of the escaped prisoners, according to initial reports. There was no evidence of outside help, according to preliminary investigations, which suggest that the trio, among 61 prisoners in Barrack no. 7, Ahata no. 2, had planned the escape on their own.

Punjab’s Director General of Police Dinkar Gupta said the men apparently made a hole in the wall of their barrack by removing about 10 bricks.

They then appear to have scaled the inner wall (about 16 feet high) by standing one atop the other, while the outer wall (21 feet approx.) was crossed by them using a hook made of a steel bar and the cover of a quilt to make a ladder. They finally escaped the jail complex from a point near Tower no. 10, which was not under CCTV cover.

The prisoners were identified as 22-year-old Vishal of Amritsar’s Majitha Road who had been in jail since April 2019 for sexually abusing a minor. The other two are brothers Gurpreet (34) and Jarnail (25) of Khadoor Sahib, Taran Tarn. The two brothers were in jail for snatchings and dacoity.

Vishal’s brother Gaurav, also in the same barrack, chose not to flee with them, said the DGP. – To weaken and conquer, Badals disintegrated Federations, BJP did same with Akali Dal

Sikh24 Editors

Chandigarh – Panjab – India, 02 February 2020. Taking a dig at all splinter factions of Shiromani Akali Dal for lending direct or tactical support to the BJP in the ensuing Delhi assembly polls scheduled for 08 February, the Dal Khalsa said the so-called saviors of Panth have turned out to be saviors of selfish political interests.

What Badals did with the Sikh Students Federations, BJP has done with the SAD, said party Spokesman Kanwar Pal Singh. By using state power Badals corrupted federation leaders bringing them to their mercy. After acquiring absolute power, the BJP did the same with Akali leaders.

To divide and conquer, Badals disintegrated Sikh Students Federation in Punjab into several groups either through allurement and arm-twisting thus destroying the collective youth power. All Federation factions succumbed to the Badal tactics to get their share of space in power, sacrificing all that they stood for and by default strengthened the Badal’s stranglehold on all Sikh institutions.

History has repeated itself. Now it is Akalis who have been disintegrated into small factions by the powers at centre either through allurement or arm-twisting, observed the Dal Khalsa leader. “

At present Akali Dal is split into six factions and out of it four were desperate to get blessings of BJP. Some have been lured by BJP Govt’s help during SGPC and others in DSGMC ensuing polls”.

While minorities and regional identities across the country are rising in protest against CAA and NRC, the SAD was shamelessly leaning on the BJP damaging the interests of the Sikh community.

“At the time when the tyrannical regime of Modi-Shah was unleashing brutality on students of Jamia and JNU threatening their lives, the Akali’s support to BJP had shamed the Sikhs”.

Kanwar Pal Singh said the Akalis have failed the Sikhs as they had mortgaged Sikh interests to the Hindutva government. The irony of the situation is that despite baying for each other’s blood, warring Akalis had agreed to work under BJP command”.

He apprehended that the Akali Dal Taksali and Akali stalwart S S Dhindsa too looks moving closer to joining BJP’s bandwagon. Cautioning father-son, he said we could only hope that Dhindsa would think hundred times before going the Sukhbir-Manjit Singh GK route”.

To weaken and conquer, Badals disintegrated Federations, BJP did same with Akali Dal

Den Haag – Lijnbaan – Westeinde – Grote Kerk

31 December 2019

RandstadRail Tram 4 to Lansingerland-Zoetermeer

31 December 2019

School of the Dutch Reformed Congregation


Grote Kerk
31 December 2019


Rond de Grote Kerk – Tracks for Tram 16

Rond de Grote Kerk

More Netherlands pictures to be published
Harjinder Singh
Man in Blue

The Indian Express – 194 kg heroin haul in Punjab: After ‘Akali man’, son of Congress leader under scanner

The father and son run a hotel in the city and STF suspect that the hotel was used for drug smuggling and knowingly accommodating the accused, said sources.

Kamaldeep Singh Brar

Amritsar – Panjab – India, 02 February 2020. A day after Punjab Police seized nearly 200 kg heroin in Amritsar district and arrested seven people, including a member of the Subordinate Services Board (SSB) appointed by the previous SAD-BJP government, the son of a Congress councillor has come under the scanner.

Inspector General of Police (IGP), STF-border range, Kaustubh Sharma, said the role of Sahil Sharma, son of Congress municipal councillor from ward no. 51 Pardeep Sharma, is being probed. Sources said Sharma had been nominated in the case registered under the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) Act at SAS Nagar STF police station on Thursday.

“We have been probing Sahil Sharma’s role. I can’t say more than this,” said the IGP. Pardeep Sharma, “My son has nothing to do with this case. All this is to spoil my political career. My son is innocent.” The father and son run a hotel in the city and STF suspect that the hotel was used for drug smuggling and knowingly accommodating the accused, said sources.

On Friday, ADGP Harpreet Singh Sidhu had said that an STF team (led by him) had recovered 194 kg heroin, which was under processing at an illegal lab set up at a house in Sultanwind village of Amritsar district. An Afghan national and a 24-year-old woman was also arrested as part of the raid.

Later in the day, Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh had at a press conference announced “Akali leader” Masih’s arrest, adding that the house from which police seized the contraband belonged to Masih. The STF hasn’t said a word on the same yet.

Masih had told media that he had already signed a deal to sell the house. He had claimed that house was still in his possession and vacant. An STF team had raided Masih’s house in Mohali on Saturday and also searched one of his cars. An Amritsar court sent all accused to 10 days’ police remand Saturday.

Unlike the natural route from Pakistan into Punjab via border, this consignment is suspected to have been transported to Amritsar after it landed in Gujarat around a year ago, sources said.

This is not first case of heroin being pushed into Punjab via another state. However, it is the first time that such a huge quantity has not come through the border but via Gujarat.

The recovery has also put the role of local police, security and intelligence agencies under scanner.

Sources said the heroin may have been brought into Amritsar in trucks. Masih is said to have claimed that he signed a sale deed to sell the house, but there was still time for the final payment and hence rented it out in the mean time. The consignment may have been moving from one place to another.

Dawn – FBR report finds high-ranking officials involved in large-scale corruption

Mubarak Zeb Khan

Islamabad – Islamabad Capital Territory, 02 February 2020. The Customs Intelligence Department has unearthed a network of top officials involved in large-scale misdeclarations of description and value of imported goods in over 900 containers causing losses worth billions to the national exchequer.

The misdeclarations at several collectorates were detected a few months ago especially at the Karachi-based collectorates, Torkham Customs Stations and Collectorate of Appraisement in Quetta, but the issue was placed on cold burner for months.

Official documents seen by Dawn and background interviews with senior tax officials showed that those posted as ‘collectors or chief collectors’ are linked to political circles or top bureaucracy at the federal level and are using this clout to their advantage and causing huge revenue losses to the national exchequer.

The corruption in customs department has become so vivid at the collectorate level that DG Customs Intelligence Muhammad Zahid had sent several letters to FBR Chairman Shabbar Zaidi for taking action against the involved officials.

A special report on fraud at Customs Station, Torkham was also sent to the chairman on 06 December 2019. Similarly, several reports regarding corruption at Appraisement Collectorate Quetta, Port Qasim Collectorate and Appraisement East were also sent to the chairman.

However, no action was taken against those officers involved in the corruption.

One of the much-awaited actions was taken on Friday when few customs officers posted in Peshawar and Quetta were transferred and relieved from their job with immediate effect. “Few names of senior customs officers posted in Karachi were dropped at the highest level before issuing the notification”, a source in the FBR told Dawn.

To investigate the level of revenue loss and corruption, the government has given responsibility of the inquiry to the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA). “We have requested the FIA to investigate the case of Torkham and Quetta”, the source added.

But, Chief Collector North Dr Asif Mehmood Jah told Dawn that he has also initiated an inquiry into the scam.

However, he said that he was not aware of the scam even though some of the instances of misdeclarations were also reported at Islamabad dry port, Islamabad airport and Sust Dry Port, which fall under his jurisdiction. “I will complete my inquiry in two weeks”, he claimed.

As per reports sent by DG intelligence to FBR chairman, 355 containers of imported goods were cleared without duty and taxes at Customs Station, Torkham. All these containers were released on fake goods’ declarations.

The FIA will also investigate the role and responsibility of directorate officials, who have failed to detect the scam.

According to a senior customs intelligence official, the Customs Station, Torkham case is very unique in the way that trucks carrying imported goods passed through the station without filing mandatory declaration and paying duty and taxes.

The network is so powerful that even Prime Minister Imran Khan openly commented on it.

In a public speech given at Pind Dadan Khan on Dec 26, 2019, PM Imran Khan had referred to corruption in the customs department. “We found one collector customs in one area who was earning Rs 70 crore per month,” he said during that speech.

A Quetta-based customs official confirmed to Dawn regarding an incident of misdeclaration, clearance of refined steel as scrap and diesel especially at Taftan Border Station.

“We have conveyed to the FBR officially and unofficially about these corruption [instances]”, said the official while adding that no one will believe the FBR was not aware of the widespread corruption at the Quetta Collectorate.

On 21 May 2019 a Customs General Order (CGO) no.5 was issued which clearly mentioned role and responsibilities of chief collectors. One of the responsibilities of chief collector is to inspect collectorates and sub-ordinate offices.

However, chief collector was stopped from involvement in the day-to-day operational matters of collectorates. One senior customs officer believed the CGO was issued to stop collectors from monitoring collectors especially those associated with the network and powers were shifted to member customs operation.

According to sources at the intelligence office, more than 500 containers were detected in which misdeclaration was also detected involving billions of rupees in tax evasion in Karachi. “We have sent a report of more than 100 containers of steel trade misdeclarations to the FBR which were confiscated”, the source said, it involved tax in the range of Rs1-1.5bn.

The refined steel was cleared at ports for export processing zones duty-free which were actually diverted for other purposes. However, it is estimated that the number of containers cleared from Karachi port on the pretext of export processing zones was well above 500.

Some officials believe the total number of containers could be more than 1,500 but it could not be confirmed officially.

Under the garb of Landa (used garments), electronic goods were cleared at Karachi ports. “We have sent all these reports to the FBR”, the source said adding the tax authority has yet to take any action against people involved in the corruption.

According to sources, DG office sent several letters about the misdeclarations at Port Qasim, Appraisement East and many other offices.

Now, it is the responsibility of high ups to take action against these officers who are still enjoying their positions.