Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Bhansali owes me Rs 1.93 cr: Antique dealer

Hoosenally says Bhansali is yet to return some pieces he had borrowed

By Mateen Hafeez/TNN

Mumbai: Antique dealer Farida Hoosenally has alleged that for the past several months the city police have been refusing to register an FIR she wanted to file against directorproducer Sanjay Leela Bhansali. According to her, Bhansali, who had taken antiques on rent from her shop for his film Black, reportedly owes her Rs 1.93 crore.

Hoosenally runs the antique shops Faheen Designs and Shantez at Prabhadevi. According to her, Dadar Police failed to lodge an FIR against the film-maker. “I have given a written complaint to the Dadar police station but they didn’t register the FIR against Bhansali. I approached deputy commissioner of police (zone-V) Ashutosh Dumbre for the same reason, but he too showed no interest,’’
she said.

Hoosenally said she has been collecting antiques for over 20 years. “We have never rented out properties to the film industry, but Bhansali appealed to me and convinced me that he will take care of my antiques. We had given around 1,200 items on rent but are yet to receive over 300 items which were destroyed in the fire during the film shooting. Moreover, some of the items that Bhansali returned to us were damaged,’’ she alleged. When contacted, Bhansali said,
“Why is she asking for payment after one-and-ahalf years? I don’t want to comment.’’ The complainant said that in January 2004, Bhansali paid Rs 12 lakh as two months’ rent of her pieces. “Bhansali then paid Rs 20 lakh for the goods that I lost in the fire and then never made any payment,’’ Hoosenally said.

Meanwhile, DCP Dumbre admitted that Hoosenally had come to his office a few months ago. “The fire had taken place in the jurisdiction of Aarey sub police station. The police also contacted Bhansali regarding this matter and he has sent his reply,’’ he said.

Dumbre said Hoosenally had mentioned something about “insurance of her antiques by Bhansali” which was being verified. “We have sought legal opinion from the experts and if it is proved that some offence had taken place, we will register an FIR,’’ Dumbre said.

The Times of India, July 26, 2005

Monday, July 25, 2005

Baby abandoned in Deccan Queen

Found under a train seat, now stable at JJ


By Mateen Hafeez/TNN

Mumbai: After four babies being found abandoned on the streets of Mumbai in the last one week, another baby was found on Sunday, this time in a compartment of the Deccan Queen.

The four-month-old girl was found by a hawker, Mohammed Ibrahim, in a second-class compartment of the train at Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus at around 1.30 pm.

“The hawker heard a baby crying and was surprised since all the commuters had left and the entire compartment was empty,’’ said a police source. However, he soon realised that the sounds were coming from under a seat in the train. “I saw the baby lying on the floor. She was covered in a cloth. I didn’t know what to do, so I approached the CST railway po
lice,’’ Ibrahim told the police.

The CST police said that the Deccan Queen is usually on time but it had come in late on Sunday. The baby was sent to J J Hospital for a check-up and is said to be stable.

“The police are trying to trace the whereabouts of the mother who abandoned the baby in the train,’’ said M B Gavit, a woman constable posted at the hospital to take care of the baby. She added that it was the first time she had come across a case of a baby being abandoned under a seat in a train. “What if nobody had come and found the baby?’’ she said.

Three other infants were found abandoned on Saturday, while a baby, now named Komal and currently at Shraddhanand Ashram in Matunga, was found near Chowpatty on Monday.

No of children abandoned in 2003-04: 280
l No of children abandoned in 2004-05 (till June): 95

The Times of India, July 25, 2005

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Government plans free treatment for policemen

By Mateen Hafeez/TNN

Mumbai: There’s good news for the state police force. Policemen can now get ‘cashless treatment’ in over 300 private hospitals all over the state. The state government has fixed a corpus of Rs 12 crore for the ‘Family Health Plan’ scheme.

A similar scheme, implemented in Mumbai, requires constables and assistant subinspectors to pay Rs 40 per month and officers of sub-inspector level and above to pay Rs 60 per month for treatment in 60 private hospitals including Bombay Hospital, Wockhardt, Breach Candy, Jaslok, Lilavati, Nanavati etc. However, in the new plan, treatment will be completely free.

The proposal for the Family Health Plan was sent to the state government last year and has been sanctioned by the state cabinet. Once given
a nod during the ongoing monsoon session, it will be implemented from August this year. “After research for a few years, we identified 300 hospitals and discussed the proposal with them. At present, the policemen, after their treatment in any hospital, have to produce bills, prepare vouchers for reimbursement and then it goes to the concerned sanctioning authority. A policeman who pays the bill from his pocket gets money from the department after a year or two,’’ said Madhu Shinde, special inspector general (administration). All police personnel will be provided a special ‘identity card’ which they can show at hospitals listed in the scheme for free treatment.

The plan, if approved, will help 1.52 lakh families since policemen who currently go to private hospitals sometimes borrow money to pay their bills. While the state does not have police hospitals, Mumbai has three—the Nagpada police hospital, the Worli maternity home and a police hospital at Naigaon.

The Times of India, July 19, 2005

Saturday, July 16, 2005

Girl arrested for knocking down constable

Satpute with son

By Mateen Hafeez /TNN

Mumbai: A 19-year-old girl was arrested by the Marine Drive police for knocking down a traffic constable near Taraporewala Aquarium on Thursday. Feroz Aaadi Farshi, a college student, rammed into Ramesh Satpute (33) of the Tardeo traffic police as he was clearing traffic for deputy chief minister R R Patil who was on his way to Mantralaya.

Satpute, who was shifted to the traffic branch only 15 days ago, had
motioned vehicles coming from Girgaum to stop for some time to enable Patil to drive through. However, police said that Farshi, who was riding a Honda Activa ignored Satpute’s instruction. She moved forward and suddenly rammed into Satpute. “The scooter knocked me down and I became unconscious,’’ said Satpute. He sustained injuries on his face, legs and arms.

Police said Farshi fled from the scene. Her registration number was noted and traffic policemen alerted. “She was spotted near Tardeo and a police van brought her to the police station. She was
arrested for not helpig the victim and also for not informing the police about the accident.

The Times of India, July 16, 2005

Friday, July 15, 2005

EOW zeroes in on job racket accused

By Mateen Hafeez/TNN

Mumbai: The Economic Offences Wing of the city police may be tight-lipped but it has reportedly managed to zero in on at least one person accused of duping several unemployed city youths of their money in return for finding jobs for them in foreign countries.

If sources are to be believed, a team of EOW sleuths is right now in New Delhi looking out for the accused. Significantly, this case is
just one of the three being currently investigated by the EOW whose personnel estimate that a whopping amount of Rs 3 crore may have been siphoned off from unsuspecting victims. According to a police officer, who didn’t want to be named, the accused who is being hunted down in the national capital is one Mandar Tambe, who has been duping people since 2000.

Tambe had released advertisements in newspapers promising to provide youths “residential visas’’ to New Zealand. He had rented a office in SEEPZ in Andheri, where his other associates would “guide the job seekers’’. Tambe had allegedly promised that they had few hotels in New Zealand in which they required Indian employees. Over 100 people approached
Tambe’s office and paid him—as high as Rs 4 lakh—as per the post offered to them.

Oblivious about Tambe’s intention, the candidates, mostly from lower-middle class families, either borrowed money or sold their valuables to pay Tambe, who disappearedin early 2005.

According to the police, unemployed youths eager to earn easy money are softtargets in such job rackets thriving in the city.

Similarly, an Andheri-based re
cruiting agency, Chaudhuri India, which claimed of supplying manpower to foreign countries and duped at least 150 people to the tune of Rs 1 crore, is also under the EOW scanner.

Another such company is Joy Enterprises located
at Andheri. The recruiting agent of this company promised that he would send the candidates to Dubai, Saudi Arabia and other Gulf countries and charged over Rs 50,000 from each of them. The company shut down early in April after the agent vanished.

But it’s not that all such recruiting agents have managed to escape from the long arms of the law. One Joshva Tribhuvan (43), owner of Unimex Shipping, has been arrested for cheating over 50 persons to the tune of Rs 35 lakh.

The Times of India, July 15, 2005

Thursday, July 14, 2005

Agents find way around Iraq ban

A camp where labourers from India stay in the Gulf

Send Labourers Illegally To The War-Torn Country Via Gulf

By Mateen Hafeez/TNN

Mumbai: Despite the Union government’s ban on sending Indians to Iraq, a number of agents are illegally sending Indian labourers to the war-torn country. Immigration officials last month rescued 25 Indians at the Sahar airport who were about to leave for Iraq via Dubai.

A senior officer from the immigration department said that the gov
ernment has banned Indians from going to Iraq following the continued attacks, bomb blasts, murders and kidnappings in that country since the US invasion. “It’s not in public interest to send Indians there for jobs. There will be no guarantee of their lives, return and safety,’’ a senior police officer said.

However, agents are managing to find ways around the ban. “The agents in India are sending our people to Iraq via Dubai or some other Gulf countries,’’ the police officer said. The new government in Iraq and the US administration are desperately looking for labourers, engineers, doctors, workers etc. from across the world. Sources said
that the agents charge between Rs 25,000 to Rs 30,000 per head from prospective candidates. They are later sent to Iraq by road.

Last month, 25 Indians were rescued while they were about to leave for Dubai. “The agent initially promised them that they will be sent to Dubai but at the last moment he said that they would have to work in Iraq. The poor labourers, most of whom had borrowed money from their friends or relatives to go to abroad, agreed to work in Iraq. Meanwhile we received information, rescued them and nabbed the agent, Ali Khan,’’ a police officer said.

Police sources also alleged that the
officers of the Protector of Emmigrants (POE) are hand-inglove with the agents. “This syndicate can’t be run without the knowledge of the POE officials,’’ a Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) official said. It may be recalled that following reports of alleged corruption in the POE office, the CBI had a few months ago, raided the POE office located at Khiranagar in Santacruz (East).

The CBI had also busted an immigration racket on June 25, 2004, in Chandigarh, in which 341 persons were sent
abroad on fake documents in alleged connivance with Randhir Singh, a former POE. The raids were conducted both in Delhi and Chandigarh.

On September 29, 2004, the CBI booked the POE in Chandigarh and five recruiting agents for allegedly sending 106 persons from Punjab, Haryana and Himachal Pradesh to various Gulf countries on forged documents.

Sources said that the agents are still sending Indians to Iraq via Dubai, Musqat, Bahrain and other Gulf countries. “The POE officials and the agents prepare all the necessary documents for those who want to go to abroad,’’ said a source from the CBI.

The Times of India, July 14, 2005

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Corrupt cops aiding passport rackets

Constable Held For Clearing 49 Dubious Applications

By Mateen Hafeez/TNN

Mumbai: The probe into slain gangster Balu Dokre’s fake passport has revealed that most of the policemen posted in the ‘passport verification section’ do not bother to verify the authenticity of documents provided. And, if sources are to be believed, this section is flooded with fake documents from unscrupulous people seeking passports.

The revelation gained further impetus after the crime branch on Sunday night arrested another constable, Balkrishna Newase (42), for clearing bogus documents (like fake ration cards and school-leaving certificates etc) of nearly 50 people. Newase’s name
popped up after a passport agent Hemant Peduskar was arrested a month ago on charges of getting the fake passport for Dokre. The first constable to be arrested in this case was Anil Bhosale who had allegedly cleared Dokre’s bogus documents.

Newase, attached to the Borivili police station, had cleared bogus documents for at least 49 pass
ports in 2000, while being posted in Aarey police station. Newase would charge between Rs 1,000 and Rs 1,200 ‘to clear’ the documents, and had even cleared the documents of at least five persons who were staying in the city as ‘paying guests’ by producing bogus residential proof. “He did not bother to go and verify the addresses and whether the applicant was a genuine resident of a place or not,’’ a investigating officer said. Newase has been remanded to police custody till July 18.

Police sources said that even today the verification
of documents is not done carefully. “For example, when an applicant submits a school-leaving certificate to the passport office, it is later forwarded to the concerned police station for verification. (But) Most of the time, the policemen do not verify it with the school concerned, asking them whether the applicant was a student of that school or not?’’ a police officer said.

Sources said in the 1980s and 90s, Dawood Ibrahim gang member, Saleem Passport, had forged a large number of school-leaving certificates and ration cards to prepare passports for associates.

Saleem Passport had helped over 15 of his accomplices to get passports on bogus documents. He was later killed. During that period, doubts were raised on the verification of documents, however, no stern action was taken against the erring cops.

The Times of India, July 12, 2005

Saturday, July 9, 2005

Commissioner talks tough on indiscipline in police force

Police commissioner A N Roy


Mumbai: City police commissioner A.N. Roy is getting tougher on indisciplined police personnel. He has warned that if any policeman is found guilty of criminal activity, misconduct or found consuming alcohol on duty, then strict action will be taken against him.

In fact, the department’s speedy action can be seen from the number of inquiries it has conducted in the last two years: Over 287 cases had been sent to the inquiry section that resulted into either dismissal or compulsory retirement of 37 police personnel. In other 93 cases, the department ei
ther stopped giving increment or reduced the increment of the guilty policemen. Thirty policemen even saw a cut in their salaries.

According to Roy, indisciplined cops are under scanner. He also instructed senior officers to keep a check on their subordinates and that if a departmental inquiry has to be initiated against any erring cop, it has to be
completed in short duration.

“High standards of discipline and conduct must be maintained by all officers and, at the same time, they should extend a helping hand to citizens in distress,” Roy said.

But in the upper ranks, departmental inquiry has been rarely seen. Till now, only one IPS officer Deepak Pandey, former ADC to
then the Maharashtra governor Mohammed Fazal, faced the inquiry. Pandey had allegedly ‘punished’ a traffic constable, who took action against him as he was using cellphone while driving.

The inquiry department is armed with a stringent law— Article 311(II) of the Constitution—which allows the department to dismiss any officer even without
conducting inquiry if the crime committed by him is severe. Eleven policemen have been dismissed under this Act till now. The latest case was of constable Sunil More, who allegedly raped a minor in the Marine Drive police chowky. According to the rule, the guilty would even be deprived of employee benefits like gratuity and provident fund.

The Times of India, July 9, 2005

Thursday, July 7, 2005

Government drags feet in giving ACB green signal

Only Seven Govt Employees Prosecuted This Year As Opposed To 37 Last Year

By Mateen Hafeez/TNN

Mumbai: The state government is taking its own time to clear files put up by the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB), seeking permission to prosecute arrested government officials.

The state government has sanctioned the prosecution of only seven government employees this year as compared to
37 last year.ACB sources said most of the files, sanctioned in 2005, were sent to the home department last year. During 2004, at least 50 government employees were trapped by the ACB.

An ACB official said that, according to Section 19 of the Prevention of Corruption Act-1988, it was compulsory to take prior permission
from a ‘competent authority’ to prosecute an accused who was a government employee. In case of a gazetted officer, the competent authority is either the state government or the central government. A chargsheet, too, needs a prior permission.

According to a police official in the ACB, the state government had cleared the files of all the government servants who were accused in the infamous Ma
harashtra Public Service Commission (MPSC) scam. Around 27 persons, most of them government employees, were arrested for malpractices, forgery and replacing the original answersheets with duplicate copies.

The original answersheets of over 398 candidates, who appeared in MPSC examination, were later scrutinised by the ACB during the investigation. Former
Maharashtra Public Service Commission chairman Shashikant Karnik was also held in this case. All the accused in this scam were chargsheeted.

ACB officials said that they had sent the file to the central government asking permission to prosecute Rahul Gopal, former managing director of the state police
housing corporation, who was caught in December last year. Gopal was accused of “favouring a housing project contractor, Govind Chandak’’. The ACB had also found Rs 1 lakh in his official vehicle.

“Gopal will be charghseeted and prosecuted only after the permission comes,’’ an ACB official said.

Special inspector-general (ACB) A P Dhere said: “The charghseet is filed in almost 95 per cent of the cases.”

The Times of India, July 7, 2005

Tuesday, July 5, 2005

Cops sound alarm bells on Nigerian email fraud


Mumbai: Alarmed by increasing cases of Nigerians cheating people through emails, the Mumbai police have launched an awareness campaign to alert the people.

The email fraud is internationally infamous as “Four-One-Nine”, which refers to the Nigerian criminal statute for fraud. Nigerian criminals use the Internet to first trap victims and then dupe them without leaving a trace.

A 21-year-old woman in Colaba recently became their target. She was duped of Rs 1.30 lakh. An accused who contacted her through email, promised to marry her. He was able to operate the woman’s ICICI bank account and then one day, encashed a bogus international money order.

In a similar case, a Nigerian national sent an email to a Mira Road resident, Rubina Shaikh, in April. He convinced the woman that she had ancesteral property in Nigeria and that she should come to claim it. The accused posed as an advocate and asked Shaikh to book a room in a Colaba hotel and bring Rs 70,000 as his fee.

However, the police managed to nab the accused before he could cheat the woman.

At least 10 such cases have come to the notice of the city police in the last one year.
Deputy commissioner of police (detection) Dhananjay Kamalakar said, “All the units of the crime branch and all police stations have been alerted against the scam. Whenever we come to know about any such incident, we immediately take action,” he said.

The Times of India, July 5, 2005

Monday, July 4, 2005

This idle unit is no one’s workshop


EOW Unit Finds Itself With No Work After Helping CBI Crack Telgi Case

By Mateen Hafeez/TNN

Mumbai: The stamp unit of the Economic Offences Wing, which has assisted the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) in the Telgi fake stamp-paper scam, has been left with no work.

The one-room office on the third floor of the Chhatrapati Shivaji market building hardly has any work now, say officials. The staff — comprising a senior inspector, two police inspectors and three constables —
was posted here almost one-anda-half years ago. But they had no work in the the last three months, officials said.

All this has made its impact; the senior inspector is on leave and one of the two police inspectors has been transferred to some other branch. There is the same effect on the furniture; the unit has been left with a few old chairs and there is no ‘official telephone’ for this unit. “We have to attend our calls in the office of the preventive crime branch, located in front of our office,’’ a policeman from the stamp unit said.

The Bund Garden police
station in Pune brought to light the fake stamp-paper case, involving Abdul Karim Telgi, in 2002. The state government later formed a Special Investigation Team (SIT) to probe the case. But it was finally handed over to the CBI since the scam spread to several states. The basic job of the stamp unit was to assist the CBI in over 10 different fake stamp-paper cases registered in various police stations and crime branch and furnish details to CBI.

But the CBI had not asked for a single detail for at least the last three
months, officials said.

But assistant commissioner of police (stamp unit and general branch) Dilip Sawant maintained that the stamp unit was functioning properly. “Our staff is working from the EOW’s unit-III office located in commissionerate. Here they have a telephone connection as well. The stamp unit staff is busy in the investigation of other cases of unit-III as well. It is functioning properly and there is no question of closing it,’’ said Sawant.

The Times of India, July 4, 2005