Saturday, September 24, 2005

Nagpur cops to question Juhu bungalow accused

Aman Hemani


Mumbai: The economic offences wing of the city’s crime branch is hunting for two persons, one of whom claimed to be the owner of Leela Bungalow at Juhu Tara Road. The other is an accountant who prepared the evaluation report of the bungalow, saying it was worth Rs 17 crore.

“One of the accused claimed that he was owner of the bungalow and handed over the power of attorney to Aman Hemani (32), who was entrusted with the job of taking a loan from Sanket Finance company at Thakur complex, Kandivli,’’ assistant inspector Sayajirao
Deshmukh said. However, the police is unwilling to give names of the accused.

“The only clue we had was the IMEI number of Hemani’s cellphone. Whenever Hemani activated his mobile phone, we could trace him using the 14-digit IMEI. We located him at different places in the country before finally arresting him in Pune on Thursday,’’ Deshmukh said.

Stating that his company did not give ‘individual loans’, the proprietor of the finance company Jay Shah, whom Hemani had approached for the loan, said that Hemani had asked for a loan of Rs 16 crore.

When Shah went to take an NOC from the bungalow’s own
er, he was shocked to find that the owner, Gautam Nanavati, didn’t know Hemani. On the same day in November 2004, Nanavati lodged a police complaint.

A final year B Com drop-out, Hemani was born and brought up in Mumbai. Later in the mid’90s, he moved to Nagpur, where he started Aman Consultancy.
He employed Rajyashri Hemani, a computer engineer
from Nagpur for Aman Consultancy. Both fell in love and got married in 1998. Reportedly a good singer during her college years, Rajyashri too was arrested by crime branch sleuths.

The two cases of fraud—one with the Ambazari police station and other with Sitaburdi
police station—were registered against Hemani in Nagpur in 2002, when the Mahila Nagrik Sahkari Bank complained about him taking a loan of Rs 10 crore against Aman Consultancy, but not repaying it. Instead, he closed down Aman Consultancy, following which the court attached the property.

To escape the police heat, He
mani escaped to Mumbai and began staying in a rented a flat in Versova with Rajyashri. A police team from Nagpur is likely to come to the city within a day or two.

Hemani, who was arrested on Thursday evening for forgery, cheating and impersonation, alleged he was a victim of political vendetta.

Stating that he had been framed, Hemani, who is in police custody now, told TOI that a group of Nagpur politicians were jealous about the huge profits his 10 factories of softdrinks brought in.

The police have also seized the Mitsubishi Lancer car in which Hemani was travelling at the time of his arrest.

The Times of India, September 24, 2005

Friday, September 23, 2005

Encounter cops bag big bucks

By Mateen Hafeez/TNN

Mumbai: Crime may or may not pay, but fighting crime certainly does.
Since 1998, the Mumbai police has handed out Rs 5.92 crore to its men in cash rewards for eliminating dreaded gangsters and other criminals. Most encounter teams have
been rewarded in the range of between Rs 10,000 and Rs 30,000 by various commissioners of police, the amount being proportional to the notoriety of the person killed.

Albeit, the rewards in Thane and Navi Mumbai have usually been as low as Rs 10,000 for an encounter.

“In most cases, the encounter team is collectively paid a reward up to Rs 30,000. They try to nab the gangsters but if the accused opens fire then the policemen fire too at the cost of their lives,’’ said Mumbai police chief A N Roy.

A police officer who was part of an encounter team at Goregaon two years ago said the reward was, in some ways, a compensation for the hazards which law-enforcers faced. “Sometimes, there is no option but to fire in self-defence.

In one encounter, a bullet had hit my leg and I was hospitalised,’’ he said. Most officials dismissed the charge that the reward was in any way an encouragement to be trigger-happy or a license for excesses. Over the years, there have also been several allegations that encounter killings are suparis given by dons to eliminate their rivals or untrustworthy henchmen.

The Times of India, September 23, 3005

Friday, September 16, 2005

Early morning police swoop on Tannu’s home

Tarannum Shaikh

By Mateen Hafeez/TNN

Mumbai: The city crime branch raided crorepati bar dancer Tarannum Shaikh alias Tannu’s Versova bungalow in the early hours of Friday. Sources said she could be arrested under various sections of the Anti-Gambling Act, the Information Technology Act, the Telegraph Act and the Indian Penal Code.

Simultaneously, the police raided all her known properties in the city. They also detained bookie Digjam alias DJ, who introduced her to cricket betting. They were also raiding the properties of 100 other associates at the time of going to press. The decision to arrest Tarannum was taken at a closed-door meeting of senior officers on Thursday night. Sources said, prima facie, Tarannum was involved in betting and knew more than 20 bookies, most of whom were her regular clients. The role of the bar dancer in the cricket betting racket came to light after a recent I-T raid.

Pancholi may be made witness in Tarannum case
Mumbai: Crorepati bar
dancer Tarannum Shaikh is likely to be put behind bars on Friday on a host of charges.

Tarannum has admitted that she used to place bets over the phone, but has denied having any links with any cricketer or film actor.

On Thursday afternoon, actor Aditya Pancholi was asked by the cops to come to unit 3 of crime branch on N M Joshi Marg so that his statement could be recorded in the Tarannum case. Police sources said Pancholi arrived at the crime branch office in a jeep at around 4 pm.

But after seeing mediapersons and an OB van parked near the gate, he changed his mind and went back to Andheri.

When contacted over the phone, he said: “I have not come to the crime branch office at all. I am in Juhu right now.’’

An officer said Pancholi would be made a witness in the case. Pancholi had told the TOI two days back that he had taken Sri Lankan spinner Muralitharan to Deepa Bar, but has denied that he knows Tarannum.

It is learnt that the cops will also arrest a top bookie and a city-based businessman in the case.

Asked why the police wanted to invoke sections of the Information Technology Act, an officer said, “Computers were also used for placing bets and therefore it comes under the IT Act.’’

The Times of India, September 16, 2005

Saturday, September 10, 2005

Crorepati bar girl produced C-grade films, says bookie

By Bhaarati K Dubey & Mateen Hafeez\TNN

Mumbai: Crorepati bar girl Tarannum Khan not only bet on cricket matches, but also dabbled in producing films, according to police investigations.

A top bookie, who was arrested in a betting case involving an international cricketer, revealed during interrogations that Tarannum had financed a slew of low-budget C-grade Bollywood films.

According to the bookie, Tarannum used to lend money to small-time film producers at 10 per cent interest for a short period. He claimed to have recently helped Tarannum buy a bungalow in Vile Parle.

The bookie-turned film financier, whose name was found in Tarannum’s diary, was interrogated by the crime branch on Thursday. The police are also probing the role of a Bollywood heroturned-villain, who is believed to have introduced the bar girl to some cricketers.
Deepa Bar, where Tarannum used to work, had always been the favourite destination of film personalities, including big and small-time directors and a well-known music director.

A crime branch officer said: “Tarannum was caught betting with the bookie during a match between India and Australia. The link between Tarannum and other bookies is being probed. The bookie who was called for questioning was an associate of cricket bookie Shobhan Mehta.’’

Tarannum, popularly knows as Tannu, lost Rs 1.5 crore on August 9, after India lost to Sri Lanka in the finals of the Videocon Cup. This came to light when IT officers found a series of SMS from bookies on her mobile phone. “We’re probing the link between the bar dancer and the bookies. There has been some progress in the case. There is a possibility of involvement of several bookies and bar dancers,’’ a police officer said.

The Times of India, September 10, 2005

Thursday, September 1, 2005

Residents of Dawood bldg refuse to budge

The entrance to the building where Dawood Ibrahim stayed for over 30 years

33, Pakhmodia Street Is Old And Crumbling

Mateen Hafeez I TNN
Mumbai: A stranger may find it hard to locate building no 33 on Pakhmodia Street in the crowded lanes of Bhendi Bazaar. But if you ask for ‘Dawood Bhai ka ghar’, you will find it in a couple of seconds. The building where don Dawood Ibrahim and the Kaskar brothers once lived, has been issued a notice by the municipality asking the tenants to vacate. This was reported in TOI in its late-city edition on Wednesday. Like most other tenants, here too they are defending the building and refusing to budge.

The 120-year-old building is residential, commercial and religious. It has 28 shops and a musafirkhana masjid on its ground floor, and 43 middle-class tenants on the first floor. Now known as the Haji Ismail Haji Habib Musafirkhana Trust, it is supervised by seven trustees who are locked in litigation with the tenants.

The second floor, which has four rooms and a hall, was owned by Dawood’s father, Ibrahim Kaskar, head constable of the elite crime branch. All four rooms are locked but the hall is used as a classroom for mehndi classes in the morning, tailoring in the afternoon, and a madrassa in the evening.

In one corner, stands Dawood’s mother’s bed, where Amina Bi pined for her five absconding sons before she died. In
her will she stated that the property should be used to run a madrassa to impart Islamic education. At least 50 children are taught here at the Madrasa Guncha-e-Amina, named after her.

The room in which Dawood lived with his wife, is empty. In July 1984, then police commissioner Julio Ribeiro and his squad had cordoned off the building, but Dawood managed to give hundreds of policemen the slip by jumping off from the second floor at the back. Police sources say that a sub-inspector had tipped him off.

Mhada drive picks up

The Mhada drive to evict tenants from dilapidated structures in the city gained momentum on Wednesday. The housing authority convinced several residents of the decrepit Jariwala Building in Mahim to shift to a transit camp in Goregaon. Tenants of Botawala Building, Mazgaon were also discussing a move to shift to a camp in
Wadala. Details on Page 4

Tenants of Dawood bldg target trustee
By Mateen Hafeez
Mumbai: In its notice issued on August 26, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation has warned the tenants of 33, Pakhmodia Street that ‘the building is in dangerous condition and is likely to collapse at any moment and immediate shifting is essential’.

The residents think otherwise. “It is one of the safest buildings and only the toilet area is dilapidated,’’ said tenant Mohammed Imran staunchly.

The tenants say they used to pay rent of Rs 100 per month, but ten years ago Shoeb Noorani, a
trustee, upped it to Rs 1,500. The matter is in court.

The tenants allege that Noorani has ‘managed’ the BMC officials and got them to declare it a dangerous building since he wants them to vacate. When contacted, Noorani asked, “How could I have managed the Brihan mumbai Municipal Corporation officials, and for what?’’

He also rubbishes the tenants’ rent theory. “We have filed a case of trespass against the tenants in 1971. Building 33 is a musafirkhana and not a residential building.
The case is in court and I cannot comment on it,’’ the trustee said.

The Times of India, September 1, 2005