Thursday, June 30, 2005

Chhota Rajan goes on property grabbing spree

Absconding underworld don Chhota Rajan

Assets Owned By Slain Gangsters Become Don’s Booty

By Mateen Hafeez/TNN

Mumbai: If crime branch sources are to be believed, Chhota Rajan’s men are losing faith in the underworld don as he has been usurping the estates of several of his slain henchmen. At present, he is said to be eyeing the properties of Balu Dokre, who was murdered in Malayasia on May 20.

“Though Dokre did not own much property in Mumbai, Rajan is eyeing the properties that were bought as benami by Dokre. It is difficult to track all the properties owned by gangsters as they are mostly benami,” a police official said.

A senior crime branch officer confirmed that Rajan had taken over real estate assets owned by several of his former associates. “Rohit Verma, who was shot dead by Chhota Shakeel’s men in Bangkok in September 2000, owned a magnifi
cent jewellery shop in Bangkok. After Verma’s death, Rajan just took over the shop as he was short of money,” the officer said. The other properties of Verma which were re p o r t e d ly taken over by Rajan include a bar in Chembur, a flat at Thane, a plot in Pune and a farm house in Panvel among others.

As a rule, every gang member has to inform Rajan about the use of his extortion money. Most often, they buy property. They have to inform the don about the property, its location, market value and under whose name it is regis
tered. Following the killing of several of his gang members, Rajan is said to have replaced the watchmen of the properties of his slain aides with his own men.

Citing another example, the source said that Rajan aide O P Singh, who was strangulated in the Nasik Jail in November 2002, owned several benami proper
ties at Madh Island, Mira Road and Bhayandar. After Singh’s death, Rajan captured two flats owned by him at Greater Kailash in New Delhi, a mall at Gurgaon, an industrial estate at Noida and a building at Vasai in Thane. Also on the captured list was a hotel in Kathmandu. An encounter specialist who refused to be quoted, confirmed the confiscations saying, “The property of a gangster is the gang’s property. If the gangster hides his property, it is taken over by Rajan after his death.”

Rajan is also said to be taking over the properties of those whom he gets killed for betrayal.

Vinod Shetty, owner of several restaurants and bars, was shot dead in Panvel after Rajan suspected him of tipping off those Chhota Shakeel gangsters who attacked him in Bangkok. Several of Shetty’s hotels are now being run by Rajan’s men in Mumbai and in the outskirts.

Similalry, Mohan Kotian, a Rajan aide, who was killed as a result of inter-gang rivalry in Bangalore, owned two bars in Bangalore and a plot in Mysore, which were later taken over by Rajan.

The Times of India, June 30, 2005

Friday, June 24, 2005

Now city policemen are put on the de-addiction beat


Mumbai: In the wake of the recent Marine Drive incident, wherein constable Sunil More raped a college student while drunk, the police department has decided to spread awareness about de-addiction among its lower rung staff.

To begin with, zone II of the
city police will start a de-addiction counselling programme for constables posted within its jurisdiction. The week-long programme is the brainchild of additional police commissioner S.P. Yadav and DCP Pratap Dighavkar.

The programme, which emphasises health promotion and destressing, will also seek to wean away employees from liquor addiction. The force is negotiating with CASP, a nongovernmental organisation that deals with counselling and suicide prevention, in this regard. CASP in turn will
take the assistance of experts and psychiatrists to kickstart the programme.

In 2004, 38 policemen were suspended from work for consuming alcohol while on duty. This year, over 17 policemen have been suspended so far for reporting to work in an inebriated condition or drinking liquor while on duty. Commissioner A.N. Roy has asked
his deputy commissioners and additional commissioners to keep watch over the offenders. However, figures reveal that there has been little change in the behaviour pattern within the force.

Interestingly, this is the first time that the city police has included de-addiction in an awareness programme. The force has in the past conducted programmes on yoga, fitness, care
and competence and positive thinking. A senior officer revealed that the steps are being taken to help those who drink habitually to kick the habit. Commenting on the new programme, additional commissioner of police Yadav said, “After constable Sunil More’s case, we do not want our men to consume alcohol and commit any mistake that affects the image of the department.”

Director of CASP Farrokh Buchia said members of his team will meet officials from the police force to discuss the programme.

The Times of India, June 24, 2005

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

State plans a roof for 3,100 cops

By Mateen Hafeez/TNN

Mumbai: The debt-ridden state government is following the Slum Rehabilitation Authority (SRA) pattern to construct houses for 3,100 policemen in the city.

The Maharashtra State Housing Police Corporation is likely to float tenders within two months to construct tenements at five places. The state wants a sum of Rs 100 crore from the builder who undertakes the project. The builder, on the other hand, will be rewarded with floor space index (FSI) of 2.32 lakh sq m at Marol. It would be the
state government’s second attempt to float tenders since December 2004.

Sources in the Housing Corporation said tenders were floated last year but none of the 10 bidders could meet the norms.

Plans for the new constructions are being worked out since two years through the Public Participation Project (PPP), which was planned by a ‘High Power Committee’ that includes the chief secretary, director general of police and the city police commissioner, and drafted by a private firm, Infrastructural Development Con

Suprakash Chakravarty, managing director of the police housing corporation, said, “It’s like an SRA scheme. We have land, a portion of which will be given to the builder who constructs the tenements at our locations. The builder has to pay a minimum of Rs 100 crore to the state government once the contract is given to him.” Chakravarty added that fresh tenders may be issued in two months. The project for 3,100 quarters will be implemented at Marol, Vakola, Mulund, Santacruz and Malabar Hill.

The Times of India, June 22, 2005

Monday, June 20, 2005

ACB to move from rented place to Rs 6-cr office

By Mateen Hafeez/TNN

Mumbai: Here’s some good news for the state Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB). It will soon be saved from having to pay over Rs 42.24 lakh as annual rent for its 16,000-sq-ft office at Worli as the state has sanctioned its longpending proposal for a new office at Worli Naka.

Work on the Rs 6-crore, plush seven-storeyed office is likely to start in August. But a new building is not the only change the ACB has planned for itself; the new building will be equipped with over 75 computers and is now negotiating with four agencies to computerise its over-a-decade-old data from paper to computer.

“We are negotiating with several agencies to computerise our data and, once this
is done, we will start work on the computerisation of data,’’ special inspector-general, ACB,, Anil Dhere said. This, officials said, will help save time as they would not need to hunt for old records.,

The new building will accommodate its Mumbai unit officers on the second and third floors. The state ACB officers will work from the fourth and fifth floors. Officers of the additional commissioner rank and above will work from the sixth floor and the seventh floor will have a conference room.

The first floor will have separate changing rooms for male and female personnel, a canteen, a reception, a separate room for drivers and a new library.

An officer said that the new building would also have a “strongroom’’ to keep all seizures. The ACB now keeps all seizures in an old room filled up with hundreds of files and other stuff.

But the new office, unlike the one in use right now, will not have a lock-up. “When we arrest someome, we usually keep him/her in the custody of the nearest police station. A lot of security bandobast is required if we want to keep the accused here,” an ACB officer said.

The Times of India, June 20, 2005

Saturday, June 18, 2005

DNA test proves More’s guilt, chargesheet next week

By Mateen Hafeez/TNN

Mumbai: The city police are all set to file the chargesheet in the Marine Drive rape case. The DNA test carried out by the forensic department has confirmed that constable Sunil More had raped the 17-year-old college girl.

“The DNA report supports the evidence in this case. The twopage report will be attached with the chargesheet copy which is likely to be filed next week,” police commissioner A N Roy said on Friday.

Roy indicated that all the formalities for the chargesheet have been completed and that they had prepared a water-tight case.

“There will be hundred per cent conviction in this rape case,’’ he said. This is the first time when the police commissioner has made a categorical statement on the progress in the Marine Drive rape case.

When asked why it took so long to
file the chargesheet, the city police chief said, “It was one of the most sensational cases. We do not want any loopholes in the investigation or
in the final report. The Kalina Forensic Laboratory had sent the DNA report long back. Our officers studied the report and will be sending it to the court with the chargesheet as an evidence.’’

Constable More, attached with the Marine Drive police station, had allegedly raped a teenager when she had come to Marine Lines with her
friends on April 22. A drunk More was arrested on the same day and is in judical custody at present.

In a rape case, the DNA test involves laboratory testing of body fluids from both the accused and the victim. Every individual has unique DNA markers by which they can be identified.
If DNA from the semen of the accused is found to be identical to the DNA from semen found on the vaginal swabs of the victim, the test proves that the accused is guilty. When contacted, Rukmini Krishnamurthy, director state forensic laboratory, said,

“Once the case comes on the board, we will send a forensic expert to explain the report before the court. We don’t want a non-technical person to speak about technical points of the forensic tests.”

More’s defence lawyer Prakash Wagh said he wouldn’t make any comments until he receives and studies the chargesheet copy.

Sunil More

A N Roy

The Times of India, June 18, 2005

Friday, June 10, 2005

City’s street kids under scanner

By Mateen Hafeez/TNN

Mumbai: The anti-narcotics cell is keeping a close vigil on city’s street children, especially after cops discovered that these kids were being used as drug carriers in the city. Though no child has been nabbed so far in the drug smuggling case this year, the police, however, is confident that the smuggling is done with their help. Police said that the use of street kids as drug carriers was revealed during the course of their investigations and admitted that it’s difficult to gauge the total narcotic consignment which is smuggled into the city every month.

Around 60% of the said narcotic is consumed by the street children themselves. The smuggled opium and brownsugar are packed into small packets, ranging from 10 gm to 100 gm, mainly in slums, police officials revealed.

The anti-narcotics cell, sometime ago, had arrested an 18-year-old boy who was given the job of packing brown sugar in shoe sole in Bandra. A drug carrier would wear these shoes and go to Gulf countries where he would deliver the consignment. S M Zarekar, DCP, anti-narcotics cell, said that presently the narcotic is being smuggled into the city from states like Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan. “Most of the local businessmen in UP, MP and Rajasthan who have licence to cultivate Poppy—used as an ingredient for manufacturing medicines—help in manufacturing narcotics,’’ Zarekar said.

The Times of India, June 10, 2005

Thursday, June 9, 2005

Police don a reel role for elderly safety

By Mateen Hafeez/TNN

Mumbai: In an effort to make citizens aware about safety issues, the Gamdevi police have turned filmmakers. The police station has produced and directed a 10-minute film on safety of senior citizens and women which is being shown to residents in the area.

The police have so far conducted at least 15 shows of the film which highlights a few recent cases and their detection. It also informs people about the precautions they could take against burglaries and
murders adding that it was essential for residential buildings to insist on biodata, photographs and fingerprints of employees, domestic help and watchmen. “Our aim is to make citizens aware. This project has been started in the jurisdiction of the Gamdevi police station and will soon be taken up by all the other police stations in our zone,’’ said zonal deputy commissioner of police Pratap Dighavkar. “We have been conducting meetings on safety and our target is to reach at least 50,000 people in the next one year,’’ he added. The screening of the film is followed by a question-answer session. “If the police have started the project for awareness, it should be welcomed. It will help make people more aware,’’ said Veena Singhal, chairperson of the Peddar Road Residents’ Association.

A 75-year-old widower was strangled to death by the watchman of his build
ing in his flat at Bhulabhai Desai Road a week ago. In more than 80% cases of murder of senior citizens, the domestic servants or watchmen were found to be involved.

Another proj
ect by the Gamdevi police is lectures on cyber crime, cyber laws and use and misuse of the Internet in schools and colleges. “We have conducted lectures at Wilson College, Bhavan’s College, St Columbo High School and a number of other places. The students are imparted computer education by senior inspector I M Zahid, who was the first in-charge of the city’s cyber crime investigation cell,’’ a police officer said. He added that children from kindergarten are also taught about computer education and traffic rules by the policemen.

The Times of India, June 9, 2005

Tuesday, June 7, 2005

EOW gets cracking on pending cases


Mumbai: The city’s economic offences wing (EOW) is all set to nab over 1,000 wanted accused in 274 cases. The top officers of this branch have instructed all the seven assistant commissioners to nab the accused and make the final report.

“I have instructed my officers to finish all the pending cases as soon as possible. My target is to complete the investigation of all pending cases (between 2000 and 2003) by December 2005,’’ additional commissioner of police (EOW), K L Bishnoi told TOI on Monday.

The EOW, in the last 10 months, has completed the investigation in 335 cases which were pending since the EOW’s inception in 1994. Though the officers have been asked to keep a vigil on the wanted accused and file chargesheets in pending cases, the officers would not neglect the current cases, Bishnoi added.

The officers have been set a deadline of July 15 to make the final reports or file chargesheets in all the cases pending between 1994 and 2000. In the second phase, chargesheets for pending cases between
2000 and 2002 will be filed.

The EOW, since 2002, has registered a total of 317 cases, of which 192 were detected. Property worth Rs 354.55 crore was involved but the police could recover only Rs 55.71 crore from the accused.

“It becomes difficult to nab the accused since most of the time they are either out of the city or abroad. It also hampers our investigation and other legal formalities,’’ Bishnoi said.

The arrest of Ashok Advani, director of the Jai Hind Bank was the biggest case of EOW in 2004, a police officer said. Advani had allegedly misused a trust’s fund collectively worth Rs 32 crore.

Another big case of cheating was that of Sayyed Zeeshan Hayder, chairman of Inspire Marketing Group, who lured middle-class and lower middle-class people saying their investments would double in three months. Hayder, accused of making away with at least Rs 20 crore, was later arrested.

The police said they had filed chargsheets in over 70% cases. “We have disposed 268 cases that were pending till 2003. We are yet to make the final report in 130 other cases during the same period,’’ Bishnoi said.

The Times of India, June 7, 2005

Thursday, June 2, 2005

Separate changing rooms for women cops in 2 months

By Mateen Hafeez/TNN

Mumbai: The muchawaited separate restrooms for women police personnel are finally about to materialise. The first phase of a special project—bathrooms and rest rooms for female police personnel in 37 police stations in the city—will be completed within two months.

The Rs 1.50-crore contract for the project was given to the state government’s Public Works Department (PWD). “We assessed the space limit at every police station and started this project in 12 different zones,’’ says police commissioner A N Roy. “At present we have selected police stations which have enough space for rest rooms and changing rooms to be constructed. In the second phase, the other 46 police stations will be provided with these facilities.’’ Police stations with additional rooms have also been selected and will be converted into ‘ladies special’ rooms.

There are 2,000 women
personnel in the Mumbai police—who work as hard as their male counterparts and for equally long hours—but there is not a single separate room for them. Female police constables have been demanding for their own rooms for a long time.

“The number of women police personnel will also increase now. We have recruited more women in the force and the number will keep increasing,’’ Roy said. Recently, the city police had 191 vacancies for women police constables but only 54 candidates could pass the fitness and written exams.

Another project is the construction of a hostel for 1,000 policemen at Kalina. The hostel, only for trainee policemen and those who do not have proper accommodation, will be inaugurated in 2006. Police sources said that policemen who came from outside the state found it difficult to manage in an expensive city like Mumbai and were forced to live in a slum or as paying guests.

The Times of India, June 2, 2005