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March 22, 2001 - March 22, 2001

Wadhwan, Limbdi, Wankaner declared quake-affected after 2 months Thursday, March 22, 2001

RAJKOT: The state government declared Wadhwan and Limbdi in Surendranagar district and Wankaner in Rajkot district as quake-affected areas. One hundred and thirteen villages in Surendranagar district have been declared 100 per cent drought-affected.

Government rehabilitation package will now be made available to these two areas. Also with these areas put under seismic zones four and five, industry in the area is expected to get a fillip too.

BJP legislator from the area Dhanraj Kela said kar seva for rehabilitation of people in these areas would begin from April 2. Party workers from Ahmedabad, Amreli and Bhavnagar would come down to Surendranagar for the kar seva. Workers will bring their own material and stay with villagers till completion of work. They are expected to build houses for people within 21 days.

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Corporal punishment has left students disturbed Thursday, March 22, 2001

VADODARA: Frightened students at Bhavan's school Munshi Hall Hostel are finally unwinding and coming out of last Thursday's trauma, with the school management suspending and restricting the entry of warden B K Bakshi and house-master Vijay Kumar on to the school campus. Bakshi and Kumar are accused of brutally beating up Munshi Hall students.

The directive, issued on Monday, seems to have lessened the fears of students who were allegedly victimised through corporal punishment by the two said teachers of the school. But even as the students have welcome the school management's decision, last Thursday's incident did have a psychological impact on students who were allegedly subjected to brutal treatment.

"I was frightened. My Hindi exams were scheduled last Thursday when I was badly beaten up. This incident left me emotionally disturbed and adversely affected my performance in that particular exam", said class X student Nitin Abhishek. Bakshi and Kumar's alleged punishment left Abhishek with a fractured shoulder.

"Each time I tried to recall some important point, I was reminded of the merciless beating we had to take. I was scared and felt insecure", Abhishek said. A couple of days after the incident, with school teacher's right intervention and emotional counselling Abhishek, now feel normal. "The unfortunate incident is over. I am all geared up for my maths exam", he says.

Most of the students who were subjected to corporal punishment say that they were initially disturbed, scared and annoyed by the very fact that action was not being taken against the teachers who treated them brutally.

" I thought I wouldn't be able to take my board exams. I was confused, tired and felt very sleepy while answering my Hindi question paper. But now I feel quite relaxed. I have overcome the anxiety and apprehension that dogged me for quite a while" says Gaurav Singh, another standard X student.

"I was scared for sometime but now I am normal. I am happy that the principal has suspended the teachers who beat us. The school's action has assured us that guilty would not be spared and justice would be done to us. Now I am able to concentrate better on my studies," says Vivek Ranjan, inmate of Munshi Hall and standard X student. Ranjan's class mate Kuldeep Dangar says too said that he was emotionally disturbed. "Whenever I tried to solve a sum, last Thursday's incident haunted me. But now things are different. We have come out of it", Dangar says.

Most students praise their current teachers, principal and school director, saying that they have helped them cope with the situation and emerge as stronger students.

"We won't let one sad episode sore the relations between students and teachers. After Thursday's unfortunate incident we are making all our efforts to win back our students and help them take get back to normalcy", said Bhavan's principal H L Chopra. He said that every day four teachers were assigned to Munshi Hall students. "These teachers talk with them, engage them in different activities, counsel them and try make things normal for them. This approach has helped", Chopra said.

School director V Sheshan said that teachers are taking all measures to ensue that students perform well in exams. "These students are our responsibility. We have taken action against the two teachers accused of corporal punishment. Simultaneously we are also helping our students to get over the incident and focus on the exams", Sheshan said.

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GFIL to refund Rs 70 lakh to investors Thursday, March 22, 2001

VADODARA: After busting the Rs 26 crore investment racket of Golden Forest India Limited (GFIL), the detection of crime branch's economic wing is now about to make the dubious company pay back investors of Gujarat.

Investigating officer and economic cell police inspector N K Rathod told The Times of India that police's follow-up action in the said case has ensured that GFIL coughs up Rs 70 lakh in first phase of repayment to the investors.

"We have rounded up the directors and after our preliminary inquiry have asked GFIL repay about Rs 70 lakh to its investors", Rathod said.

GFIL had duped its investors from Gujarat by promising to double their investment in three and a half years. The company had issued advanced maturity checks to investors that bounced. The company was started in 1994 and had a network of over 1200 agents in Gujarat. GFIL managing director R K Shyal and vice-president Pamela Shyal have been arrested in New Delhi for duping investors.

The company's Gujarat directors were also arrested. PI Rathod had investigated the case and arrested GFIL local director Khanduja. GFIL agent in Diu Mahendra Harjivan Shah had lodged a complaint with the city police saying that he got the company an investment of about Rs 11 lakh from Diu but the advanced cheques issued to investors had bounced. Shah had to sell his house to repay the investors and was thrown out of GFIL office by Khanduja when he inquired why the company did not keep its commitment.

GFIL had branches across India and had pooled an investment of Rs 1600 crore. The total investment from Gujarat was Rs 2crore. In Diu the overall maturity amount that the company had to give investors stood at Rs 40 lakh. The economic cell had sealed GFIL office in Ivory Towers here.

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Octroi, house tax collection falling short of targets Thursday, March 22, 2001

With just 10 days left for the current financial year to end, the octroi and house tax departments are well short of their collection targets. Interestingly, the octroi department had downsized its target to Rs 54 crore from Rs 63 crore earlier.

Even then it is Rs nine crore short of its target and with the daily collection of nearly Rs 13 lakh the target is unlikely to be met. Similarly, the house tax department is Rs five crore short of its target of Rs 30 crore, civic sources told TOINS on Wednesday.

District collector P N Patel has appointed a receiver to oversee the entertainment tax collections made daily at the windows of Dharam Cinema.

The collections had suddenly dropped by more than 50 per cent during the last two months as a result of which the district authorities started having doubts about the actual earning.

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Vyas murder case exposes city police's claim Thursday, March 22, 2001

Osho follower Navin Vyas's final journey, after his murder, from his house to an obscure spot where he was dumped, half burnt and buried by his killers, has raised serious questions about city police's tall claims of night patrolling.

Sample this. There is a cold blooded murder. The victim's body is rolled into a bed-sheet. The bed sheet is dragged out from the house where the murder has been committed and physically thrown from one compound to other before finally placing it on a hand cart. All this happens in a thickly populated and well lit locality. The timing is midnight, not that dark for a cosmopolitan city like Vadodara.

Finally, the hand cart carrying the corpse is whisked through the city roads - Harni, Karelibaug, Sama, parts of Mehsana Nagar and Chhani - all densely populated areas. The handcart, stolen from Karelibaug, makes its way through these areas conveniently, even bypasses a couple of police check posts!

In Chhani, the body is downed from the cart and dumped into a canal. This happens in daylight (at 6 am on February 20, to be precise). The killers, two of them actually, manages to get a Maruti van and take help of an octroi check post employee to shift the body in the vehicle -- under the pretext that body is a sick person who needs to be hospitalised. The van is then driven towards Tarapur highway and at a desolated place near Kanvad village the body is disposed of -- burnt and buried. By this time it is February 21, 2 am.

For about 48 hours in and outside city, Suresh Vagasia and Jivraj Patel, accused of killing Osho follower Navin Vyas, caught the police napping. While the city police make tall claims of night patrolling, Vagasia and his accomplice, did not encounter any policemen while executing their nefarious plan. Ironically, in shifting the corpse from Indrapuri Society in Harni to site of burning it near Kanvad village, the corpse passed through the jurisdiction of not one but three police stations -- Karelibaug, Fatehgunj and Chhani. All the three police stations boast of a vigilant watch on criminals, especially in the dark and has a dedicated staff set aside for night patrolling!

At Chhani when the body was taken out from the handcart and kept in a canal it was day break. Incidentally, the Fatehgunj police uses horse mounted policemen to check the area near the canal which incidentally is the entry point for criminals coming from adjoining tribal dominated pockets on the north-east of Vadodara.

"We admit that it was a failure of the night patrolling team. Or else how could a hand cart openly carrying a body rolled in a bed-sheet can go undetected", admits a police inspector wishing anonymity. He adds that had the night patrol team be vigilant the Vyas murder case would have been solved on that very day instead of the one month it took. "A lot of police resources, energies and time could have been saved", the PI said.

"It is really surprising that Vagasia and Patel actually managed to load Vyas's body in the handcart, took it through city roads for a few km and finally disposed it. All this while escaping police's attention completely", said principal investigator of the Vyas murder case and police inspector with economic wing of the detection of crime branch N K Rathod.

"We did not come across any policemen while shifting the body from Indrapuri Society to a place near Kanvad village", admitted Vagasia and Patel who are detained in the DCB police station.

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