Thursday, December 29, 2005

Jail menu has biryani too

By Mateen Hafeez/TNN

Mumbai: Prison diet means undercooked rotis, stale dal and rotten vegetables, right? Wrong. Arthur Road Jail is actually popular among undertrials as the best destination among all the prisons in the state when it comes to food.

There are three categories of food available inside. The first is ‘bissi’—free food provided by the jail. Served thrice in a day, it comprises a breakfast of tea, toast and butter. Lunch is dal, rice, vegetables and chapatis. The same menu is repeated for dinner with the addition of a curry, which has the flavour of mutton or chicken.

The second category of food is what money can buy. “There is a canteen where you can exchange
coupons for purchasing good quality roti, mutton gosht, boiled chicken and other food items.’’ A third category is home food, provided the court allows it. Dawood gangsters have anything from biryani to the best of sweet dishes. There are some who cook their own food in jail, albeit illegally.

“The prisoner stocks some amount of chapatis daily, and when he has saved upto 70 to 80 chapatis in a fortnight, he uses the dry chapati as fuel. An oil container is kept between two bricks and heated for cooking rice, chicken and other dishes,’’ an undertrial said, adding, such desperate means were adopted by prisoners who were finicky about jail food. “But of course, they must bribe jail officials for it,’’ he added.

The Times of India, December 29, 2005

Saturday, December 24, 2005

Interpol notice in dowry case

IT Professional, Parents Dump Kolhapur Girl After Marriage

By Mateen Hafeez/TNN

Mumbai: A 27-year-old IT professional Abhijeet Khatav along with his parents, who are based in Sydney and are of Australian nationality, have been listed by the Interpol as wanted for demanding dowry from an Indian. This is probably the first case where an Interpol notice has been issued in a dowry case, city police said.

Usually, a red-corner notice is issued against those accused in crimes like drug trafficking, bomb blasts, hijacking, child sexual abuse, terrorist activities, illegal remittance of foreign exchange, etc. The request for a red-corner notice was issued on the basis of a complaint filed with the Borivli police station. Interpol is expected to issue a request to the Australian police for their extradition.

Kamal Bansode, police inspector attached to Borivli police station, said the complainant, Sapna (name changed), has named husband, Abhijeet, father-in-law Suresh Khatav (57), and mother-in-law Chhaya (55). In her complaint, Sapna said that her husband, who works as Credit Officer
with M/s Haier Electricals in Sydney, had demanded Rs 5 lakh as dowry after the marriage. She further alleged that her mother-in-law Chhaya had taken away her jewellery worth Rs 85,000, while Abhijeet had cast aspersions on her integrity.

“Abhijeet’s uncle, Dashrath, had gone to meet relatives in Kolhapur, where he saw Sapna for the first time. As the Khatavs had asked him to look for a suitable girl for Abhijeet, he recommended her name for Abhijeet to his brother,’’ said inspector Bansode.

Abhijeet and Sapna met each other through video conferencing for the first time. They married on December
5, 2003, after which the couple went to Goa for a honeymoon. Within a week of the wedding, Abhijeet allegedly told her that he suspected her character.

He allegedly also demanded Rs 5 lakh as dowry. When she approached police, Abhijeet apologised and promised that he would send a visa for her once he reached Australia.

Months after Abhijeet and his family left for Australia, she received a letter from the Australian embassy, informing her that a visa could not issued to her as her husband had told Australian officials that the marriage would be annulled soon. It was then that Sapna approached the Borivli police and lodged a complaint against Abhijeet and his parents on May 21, 2004.

The Borivili metropolitan magistrate on July 21 last year issued nonbailable warrants against the three accused. Later, the extradition cell of the city crime branch took charge and sent a request to the CBI to issue a redcorner notice against the three accused. Sapna who continued with her education in the meanwhile stays with her parents in Kolhapur.

Rogues’ Gallery




The Times of India, December 24, 2005

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Victim’s story helps nail brothel owner

By Mateen Hafeez/TNN

Mumbai: The revelations of a girl, forced into flesh trade, have helped the police nail her tormentors for good.

Savitri Gowda, 45, probably the richest female brothel owner in the city, was convicted to three years’ rigorous imprisonment on December 14. The D B Marg police, which booked Gowda for prostitution, was forced to cement the case against her after the young girl narrated to the chairman of the child welfare panel in 2003 how she had been kidnapped, sold, raped, resold and finally forced into prostitution by Gowda and two others.

The two other women convicted along with Savitri were 40-year-old Ammani Pujari and the victim’s stepmother Pyaari Jaan Shaikh. The girl was rescued from Gowda’s brothel at Jamuna Mansion at Khetwadi near Grant Road. The victim, Shakila (name changed), now 19, was brought from Karnataka to Mumbai by stepmother, aunt Pyaari Chaand and uncle Ibrahim Chaand in 1997.

“Shakila was sold to a pimp for Rs 30,000 on a contract of one week, during which the 11-year-old was raped. Later, Shaikh, Chaand and Ibrahim took her to Jamuna Mansion, where Gowda ran a brothel. Gowda bought the child for Rs 10,000 and forced her into flesh trade,’’ said investigator Dinkar Mohite.

Naval Bajaj, who was then the zonal deputy commissioner of police, said: “It’s mostly brothel-keepers who are involved in the buying and selling of minors, thereby supporting child prostitution. A Nirmala Niketan study has said child prostitution is highly profitable and the brothel-keeper can earn over 75% of his total in
come only from minors.’’

Gowda had come to the city 29 years ago and, within a short span of three years of her stay, became the owner of a room on Grant Road, police said. Of 84 brothel rooms at Jamuna Mansion, she got hold of nine in her name and five as benami property. She then went ahead and bought a 1,000-square-foot bungalow in the Congress House area for Rs 80 lakh on January 1, 2004. Soon, she added another flat

(1,500-sq-ft, behind Apsara Cinema, Grant Road) worth Rs 1 crore to her list.

Apart from the string of residences, Gowda owns an STD/ISD centre evaluated at Rs 50 lakh near Prarthana Samaj signal. When the police turned on the heat, she bought a flat at Dadar in April this year for Rs 60 lakh, police added.

Of the nearly 500 CSWs in Jamuna Mansion, 70-80 were controlled by Gowda, who has a 12-year-old daughter and a seven-year
old son, both studying in an English-medium school. She travelled in an air-conditioned Fiat and had two drivers appointed for it.

During a raid under PITA in June 2001, at least 84 commercial sex workers, many of them minors, were rescued by the police. Shakila, who was one of them, was later sent to a rescue home at Chembur, where Andheri-based NGO St. Catherine Home took responsibility of bearing her expenses till she turned 18.

It was here on August 1, 2003, that she narrated her story before the chairman of the Child Welfare Committee, following which D B Marg police swung into action. Gowda, Pujari and Shaikh were arrested immediately but Shakila’s uncle, aunt, another accused Pujari Girja and pimp Raju Shengha are still at large,’’ said PI Rajan Katdare.

An NGO has helped Shakila marry a Kurlabased man, with whom she now stays.


Savitri Gowda, who came to the city 29 years ago, owned her first room at Grant Road within three years.

Soon she had nine of the 84 brothel rooms at Jamuna Mansion in her name.

After buying a 1,000-square-foot bungalow in the Congress House area for Rs 80 lakh on January 1, 2004, Gowda soon added another flat (1,500-
sq-ft, behind Apsara Cinema, Grant Road) worth Rs 1 crore to her list.

She owns an STD/ISD centre evaluated at Rs 50 lakh near Prarthana Samaj signal.To escape police heat she then bought a flat at Dadar in April this year for Rs 60 lakh.

Gowda controlled 70-80 of the nearly 500 CSWs in Jamuna Mansion

The Times of India, December 22, 2005

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

At Nagpada, police marshals on a different beat

By Mateen Hafeez/TNN

Mumbai: It’s a common sight at Nagpada. Beat marshals from the Nagpada police station come out every Saturday night and from 10 pm to 1 am go around conducting a drive on their bikes. Only, it has nothing to do with the welfare of citizens. A TOI investigation revealed that the marshals carry out a weekly drive to line their pockets.

“If we give them their fixed amount, they leave silently. If we don’t meet their demands, they abuse us,” said Rasheed Khan
(name changed), a food stall owner.

This correspondent was recently witness to such an ‘extortion drive’ and found that there are even slabs for hafta payment. A paan shop owner has to shell out Rs 20 while a food seller is asked for Rs 100. They sometimes also accept payment in kind. If a beat marshal wants to eat Chinese food or biryani, they don’t claim the full amount but take the food asking the stall owner to deduct the price from the hafta.

When TOI asked deputy commissioner of police Santosh Rastogi and additional commissioner of police
(central region) S K Jaiswal informing them about the corruption, the duo did not reply. When asked what action the police would initiate against such beat marshals, Jaiswal said, “You have informed me about it and I will inquire into the matter.’’

Senior inspector Ashok Duraphe of the Nagpada police said, “I spoke to the beat marshals. They tried to be evasive but I didn’t believe them. They’ve been transferred.”

Interestingly, every stall owner in the area has also maintained a record of how much hafta has been given and to whom. They have maintained books where the receiver signs on receipt of payment and if someone else comes (by mistake) to collect the money, the stall owner shows the diary saying, “We have already paid money to other cops.”

Rate Card

Paan beedi shop—Rs 20 per week

Kabab pav,vada pav stalls—Rs 30 per week

Pulao, biryani stall—Rs 50

Chinese food stall—Rs 50 to Rs 100

Other stalls—Rs 200 onwards

The Times of India, December 20, 2005

Hunt on for Rao’s mystery aide

D K Rao

By Mateen Hafeez/TNN

Mumbai: After the arrest of gangster D K Rao, known for masterminding robberies from behind bars, the intelligence unit (operation) of the city’s crime branch is now looking for his mystery aide. This unidentified associate apparently maintained a record of Rao’s properties and monetary transactions, including collection of commission and extortion money.

“Rao reportedly took a 40% commission for carrying out robberies from jail,’’ said Dilip Patil, who is heading the probe. A Dharavi resident, Rao’s parents died some time ago. He is unmarried and has no relatives. Hence the police suspect an aide would have definitely maintained the record of his property and other transactions. However, the police are yet to zero in on the bank account where Rao kept his money before it would be sent to his mentor Chhota Rajan through hawala routes.

“Rao would instruct his men and talk frequently to Rajan using a cellphone from the jail. We are now looking for the man who used to collect extortion money and Rao’s commission for the contract robberies and deposit it in a bank,’’ the source added.

Rao was the 11th accused to be arrested in a Rs 50 lakh extortion case, which was unearthed after the arrest
of Rajan’s trusted extortionist Vicky Malhotra on July 11, 2005 in New Delhi. The arrest of Malhotra, who had been dodging the police of four states for 15 years, was followed by that of Fareed Tanasha, John D’Souza, Dharmesh Shah, DK Rao and others.

In the two months prior to his arrest, Malhotra had issued extortion threats to least 40 jewellers, business
men, builders and doctors in the city. It was the first time when a single extortionist had frequently demanded money from a large number of businessmen in a span of less than two months. So, it was not surprising when 25 of his victims came forward to register police complaints.

Details of properties left behind by the several Rajan aides who were
eliminated, either in police encounters or in inter-gang rivalry, would also be with Rao—the sole man who along with his unidentified associate kept a ‘watch’ on Rajan’s properties, amassed by ‘capturing’ those belonging to slain fellow gangsters.

TOI had earlier reported about Rajan’s technique of capturing the properties of several of his slain buddies, including Rohit Verma, O P Singh, Balu Dokre etc. “Verma, who was gunned down by the Chhota Shakeel gangsters in Bangkok in September 2000, ran a magnificent jewellery shop in Bangkok. After his death, Rajan took over the jewellery shop since his source of income has been limited now,’’ a crime branch officer said.

O P Singh, who was strangulated to death in the Nashik Jail in November 2002, had several benami properties, bought with extortion money, at Madh Island, Mira Road and Bhayandar. After his death, Rajan, under whose name the properties were bought, allegedly captured all, including a lodge in Kathmandu.

The modus operandi was that every gang member had to inform Rajan about the use of their extortion money. They usually bought property, the details of which would be passed on to Rajan, who upon their death would replace the caretakers of the properties with his own men.

The Times of India, Decembere 20, 2005

Saturday, December 17, 2005

Rivals locked in jail warfare

By Mateen Hafeez/TNN

Mumbai: Rivalry between the Dawood Ibrahim and Chhota Rajan gangs doesn’t just play itself out on mean streets, but flares up even inside prisons, especially in the Arthur Road jail. In fact, the recent arrests of former D-gangster Abu Salem and the Dubai-based don’s associate Riyaz Siddiqui point to a revival of D-company in the famed jail.

Salem and Siddiqui, who are both in police custody, will soon be sent off to jail, which police sources say, will only enhance chances of internal clashes between the Dawood gang and the members of the Chhota Rajan gang. And the fall-out of these clashes, as in most of the earlier cases, will be borne by the Arthur Road jail authorities.

A recent clash on August 24 between Rajan gang members—Vicky Malhotra, Fareed Tanasha, Sajid Joses and Vineet Yadav, and Dawood gang members—Salem Kutta and Ehtesham Shaikh—took place outside the jail’s dispensary. Though a jail official quickly broke it up by dragging Kutta back into the barrack, he managed to communicate the incident to some of his supporters, who began pelting bricks at Malhotra and his accomplices, who in turn retaliated, inflicting severe head injuries on assistant sub-inspector Shabuddin Mulani in the process.

This was not the first such face-off inside the jail where the authorities suffered. Dawood’s ‘absconding’ aide Feroz Konkani, who fled from J J Hospital after killing two cops on May 4, 1999, had assaulted three Rajan men inside the jail before being shifted to Thane central jail in 1997. A source from the jail, citing example of D-gang’s terror in the Arthur Road jail, said, “If they are near a toilet or sitting somewhere, nobody dares to go near. They are very organised. Any untoward incident in the jail brings them together immediately while nobody dares to save their rivals. Moreover, if they feel that Rajan gang members are allowed more facilities than them, it becomes very difficult for jail authorities to control them.’’

It all started on August 8, 1985, when Dawood aide Abdul Hameed, after suspecting that his cellphone was being tapped, pulled out a revolver and fired at a jail warden Baba Saheb Tukaram. Although the latter survived the attack and Hameed soon overpowered, a police search unearthed one revolver, two daggers, imported cigarettes and bottles of liquor.

A departmental action resulted in the suspension of four jailers held responsible for negligence. Sources said that in 2003, at least six Dawood aides were deported from the UAE and sent to the Arthur Road jail. These included the don’s brother Iqbal Kaskar, his aides Mustafa Dossa, Anil Parab, Rajkumar Sharma, Ejaz Pathan and Tarique Parveen. Before their arrival, at least 50 accused of 1993 serial bomb blasts had been languishing in the jail.

The Times of India, December 17, 2005

‘Vested motives did Nani in’

Sujata Nikhalje

By Mateen Hafeez & Somit Sen/TNN

Mumbai: Criminal advocate Satish Maneshinde on Friday alleged that a crime branch officer indicted in an IB (intelligence bureau) report had ‘falsely implicating’ Chhota Rajan’s wife in an extortion case. Rajan is believed to be working for the Indian intelligence agencies.

While Maneshinde did not name the officer, he said he had adequate proof to show that the arrest of Sujata, Rajan’s wife, pointed to ‘vested motives’.

Claiming the extortion charges against her as false and concocted, Maneshinde asked, “If she demanded extortion money in January, 2004, as the police claim, then why did it take them 22 months to register a case?.’’ The advocate, known for representing Sanjay Dutt in the serial blasts case and for appearing for ‘encounter specialist’ Praful Bhosale in Khwaja Yunus case, said, “Even in a small case, the police summon the accused at least
10 times. But, here they chose to directly arrested my client.’’

Indicating that the crime branch cop had deliberately concocted the case, the lawyer said, “The report has been sent to higher authorities and soon you will see action on it.’’

The police are now ascertaining whether Sujata can be booked in the Vicky Malhotra case, in which six persons have already been chargesheeted. Another of top Rajan aides D K Rao was arrested on Thursday. Refuting charges of hounding the gang’s members, deputy police commissioner Dhananjay Kamlakar said, “We have been keeping a surveillance on the gang’s activities for the past few months and have only decided to strike at the right moment.’’

The police are also trying to track down Bharat Nepali, who is believed to be shuttling between Mumbai and Nepal occasionally. The police will also question a few more family members of Rajan in the case.

The Times of India, December 17, 2005

Friday, December 16, 2005

Cell jammer plans jammed in jail

By Mateen Hafeez/TNN

Mumbai: With the discovery that Chhota Rajan aide D K Rao was merrily using a cellphone to keep in touch with mentor, the Arthur Road prison authorities’ tall claims — about ensuring that inmates were incommunicado with the outside world — have fallen flat.

Rao, who was booked under the Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act on Thursday, was arrested after the crime intelligence unit (operation) recorded over a dozen telephonic conversations between him and Rajan two months ago. Rao has been in jail for the last seven years.

TOI reported how mobile phones were being used by Rao and other Dawood gang
members inside the Arthur Road jail on August 23. Officials blame a delay in implementing a plan to instal a mobile-jammer device inside the jail (despite five trials) for the security lapse.

The mobile phone, used by Rao in the Arthur Road jail, was allegedly provided by three constables posted at the jail, officials said. Rao, arrested for opening fire on a police team and attempting to kill them in 1998,
was sentenced to a decade in prison.

Officials say the plan to instal jammers, which can disconnect communication on any frequency, has been delayed because of lengthy state government paper-work. The jammers, priced between Rs 50,000 and Rs 5 lakh, have been here in India for six years.

Officials say the Arthur Road prison, one of the most sensitive jails in the country with over 75 gangsters of gangs led by Dawood, Rajan, Arun Gawli and Abu Salem gang, is on top of the list of jails considered for the installation of jammers. But over two dozen mobile phones were circulating in the jail and constables would be assigned (by gangsters) to get them refilled.

“Several bomb blast accused also use mobile phones and the
crime branch has arrested one person for sending mobile phones to the jail,’’ deputy commissioner of police (detection) D D Kamalakar said. SIM cards bought under fake names are sent inside the jail through undertrials who attend court frequently. “We have seized several mobile phones in the past and action was taken against those who were found guilty,’’ inspector-general (prisons) Shrikant Savarkar confirmed.

The Times of India, December 16, 2005

Jewellers demand more security for couriers


By Mateen Hafeez/TNN

Mumbai: Following the spate of robberies in which delivery boys carrying cash and gold ornaments were waylaid, jewellers and courier firms in Kalbadevi and Zaveri Bazaar have demanded intensive patrolling in the area.

Considered as the hub of Mumbai’s gold trade, the busy bylanes of these two areas house around 300 courier companies which service the over 1,000 jewellers by carting large amounts of mostly readymade gold ornaments to various parts of the country.

Moreover, smaller jewellers land at Kalbadevi to buy gold ornaments at wholesale rates.

Dispatching a gold consignment involves wrapping it in an inconspicuous cloth or jute packaging and send it along a small group of escorts, who as a rule do not include uniformed or armed security guards, to avoid attention. The pack
age is then taken to either CST or Mumbai Central and booked as a regular parcel. Often, the courier firm deploys a staffer to guard the package during journey.

The last two years have seen at least three major robberies on the stretch between Metro Cinema and CST, wherein valuables worth over Rs 70 lakh were robbed. Sources said that last year, a police team had
spotted a gang of robbers fleeing in a taxi, but could not nab them as their vehicle ran out of fuel. Apart from these, there have been a number of incidents involving smaller sums.

Kalbadevi street, incidentally, falls in the jurisdiction of two police stations—Pydhonie and LT Marg. Interestingly, the area also has the police commissioner’s office apart from Esplanade court, Azad Maidan police station and the office of the Special Task Force. Courier firms
in Kalbadevi say that it is high time the police post three to four vans in the area. “Increased patrolling and mobile policing on this road will prevent incidents of robbery,’’ said a courier agent.

However, the city police insists the area is safe and “nakabandis carried out regularly’’. Deputy commissioner of police Naval Bajaj, who claimed that not a single inci
dent had taken place in the area in the past seven months, said, “We have already increased the patrolling and it has helped.’’

And some of the courier firms did vouch for the police’s record. In the most recent case, they point out, the robbery was committed by a gang who trailed the couriers to Nampally railway station in Hyderabad. “Our belongings were sent to CST railway station in heavy security. The robbers did not get a chance here. So, they targeted us outside
the state,’’ Sanjay Jain, owner of Marudhar Express Couriers said.

Employees of Marudhar Express were robbed of five kilograms of gold worth Rs 35 lakh near Hyderabad on November 6 this year. The police have arrested six persons in this case thereby solving other robberies as well.

The other aspect to these crimes is the fact that most of the gold that is transported is anyway insured against theft or damage in transit, which means neither the buyer nor the seller incurs a loss in the event of a robbery.

A jewellery shop owner said, “Several jewellers who sell goods on wholesale rates to retailers outside Mumbai don’t care if their jewellery is robbed because they claim insurance for each and every item. Once they take a Block Policy Insurance (insurance of fixed amount for a fixed period), even if it is robbed or damaged they can claim the insurance policy’’.

The Times of India, December 16, 2005

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Better halves have done dons’ work

By Mateen Hafeez/TNN

Mumbai: Chhota Rajan’s wife is not the only one to take up her husband’s extortion racket after he left India. Most of the better halves of the Mumbai underworld took over the reins of the family business after their husbands fled the city.

Seven women, including Chhota Shakeel gang’s Amina Bi, Tabassum Shaikh, Shamim Baig alias Mrs Paul, Rubina Siraj Sayeed, slain gangster Suresh Manchekar’s wife Supriya, his mother Laxmi and Chhota Rajan’s wife, Sujata Nikhalje, have been booked under Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act. The first to be booked under it was Amina Bi.

Tabassum Shaikh was booked on 17 January 2002 with six others for trying to kill Aziz Malik, owner of a Chinese restaurant in Andheri.

The court fined her Rs 5 lakh and sentenced her to five years’ rigorous imprisonment.

Shamim Mirza Baig, Chhota Shakeel’s girlfriend, also booked under MCOCA, was reportedly the most powerful woman in Byculla jail. D-gang member Rubina Siraj Sayyed would go to the courts to meet gang members who would be brought to the court for hearing, officials said.

The Times of India, December 15, 2005

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Gang busted after 3-yr run

Name: Ayyub Chikna, 27 Resident of: Muzaffar Nagar, Delhi Wanted in: 15 cases of robbery

Targeted Delivery Boys Of Courier Firms That Handled Jewellery, Cash

By Mateen Hafeez/TNN

Mumbai: Twenty-nine-year-old David Thevar was on his way to sell a stash of looted jewellery when he was intercepted at a crowded bus station in Tamil Nadu. His interrogation led to the arrest of five more persons and the busting of a gang that targeted courier agencies handling large amounts of jewellery and cash.

The property cell of the crime branch puts the value of the stolen loot, most of which is yet to be recovered, at over Rs 1 crore. Inspector Arun Chavan, who is leading the investigation, said that along with Thevar, the other accused—Adhishtaraj Nadar (26), Punnaswamy Nadar (33), Mani Kollar (28) and Ibrahim alias Langda Sharif (54)—have been remanded to police custody till December 22.

“Every one of them is involved in five cases each, including four big robberies. The most recent was on November 6 this year,’’ said Chavan. “Two of the accused boarded the Hussain Sagar Express
from CST; some jewellery and other cargo was being sent to Hyderabad on the train by the Marudhar Express courier company. On reaching Hyderabad, the duo along with some aides there robbed the employees of the courier company while they were waiting for their company’s vehicle outside the railway station. The accused then fled with the booty worth Rs 35 lakh to Tamil Nadu.’’

The Hyderabad police had informed their counterparts in Mumbai that a Maruti 800, found abandoned outside the railway station, was a stolen car which could be traced to Mumbai.

For Ayyub Chikna, the gang leader, this was the 15th major robbery he had planned. Chikna (27) had assembled the group inside Arthur Road Jail where they were all serving terms. “Chikna picked men who were to be released in the near future and managed to gather information on courier agencies,’’ said Chavan. Five of the gang’s members are still at large though.

“The gang had been active for the last three years. They would keep a watch on their target and after detailed planning they would rob them. Their arrest will definitely help us solve some other cases,’’ DCP (crime) D D Kamalakar said. Police said two accomplices of Chikna, Majeed Shaikh (26) and Aslam Pathan (30), had been recently shot down in an encounter near Bandra-Kurla Complex by inspector Vijay Salaskar of the anti-robbery squad. The duo had planned to rob a consignment of jewellery while it was going from Kalbadevi to the Santacruz airport.

The earliest case that could be traced to the gang was one in 2002 when they intercepted a taxi in which two employees of a courier company were travelling. Their second robbery was near St Xavier’s College at Marine Lines in September 2004. Similarly, in July this year, four of the accused, travelling in a stolen vehicle, robbed a courier firm’s staff of jewellery near Cama Hospital.

A gang of four intercept a cab carrying two employees of a courier firm, Andhra Express. They smash the taxi’s windscreen, threaten the two with choppers and make away with jewellery of over Rs 21 lakh

Marine Lines, Sep 2004: Rs 35 lakh
Gang waylays employees of a courier company and robs them of jewellery and ornaments worth over Rs 35 lakh. A case is registered at Azad Maidan police station.

Cama Hospital, July 2005: Rs 21 lakh
Four men in a stolen vehicle ambush a group travelling in a private vehicle. They threaten the passengers and make away with jewellery worth over Rs 21 lakh.

Nampally, Nov 2005: Rs 35 lakh
Robbers trail employees of Marudhar Express from CST to Nampally station near Hyderabad and rob them of jewellery while they wait for a company car. The booty is worth Rs 35 lakh.

It all started at Arthur Road Jail

The gang of 13, involved in over 10 robberies in Mumbai and surrounding suburbs, came together under one Ayyub Chikna (27) at Arthur Road Jail three years ago. Chikna also put together an information network to rob delivery boys working for courier firms that specialised in handling large sums of cash and jewellery.

On the run
Three gang members were arrested from Tamil Nadu. Three other accused were nabbed in Dharavi. The remaining five are still on the run.

Two shot down
Inspector Vijay Salaskar of the anti-robbery squad along with officers from the property cell shot down two of the accused, Majeed Shaikh (26) and Aslam Pathan (30), near Bandra Kurla Complex in July this year. The duo had planned
to rob a courier firm of a consignment of jewellery which was on its way from Kalbadevi to Santacruz airport.

The Times of India, December 13, 2005

Friday, December 9, 2005

State approves legal officers for police dept


By Mateen Hafeez/TNN

Mumbai: The state government has finally approved a police proposal to appoint law officers and legal advisors to the department to help push up the percentage of convictions.

“With the home department’s sanction, we will soon create 27 posts for law experts to will provide us with legal assistance to ensure a better conviction rate,’’ Mumbai police commissioner A N Roy said.

Every zonal deputy
commissioner of police will be assisted by at least one law officer; regional additional commissioners and the police officer in charge of the economic offences wing (EOW) will be provided deputy legal advisors; and joint commissioners of police (crime, ATS and law and order) will be supported by legal advisors. The chief legal advisor, who will head the team of law officers, will assist the commissioner of police.

The directorate of prosecution located near Crawford Market, which used to be a part of the city police, was given the status of an independent
body a few years ago; the city police has not had any legal advisory committee since then. Roy said the new legal body would work under the city police as the directorate of prosecution did in the past.

Owing to lack of legal officers, the city police could not secure convictions in several important cases. These include the state’s first Pota accused Mohammed Afroze (acquitted by a special court), don Dawood Ibrahim’s deported associate Riyaz Siddiqui, who
was accused of conspiring a double murder in Bandra in 1996 (bailed out), Rajkumar Sharma who conspired the killing of a Chhota Rajan gangster was acquitted (as the cassettes in which his conversation was recorded went missing).

Similarly, Dawood’s brother Iqbal Kaskar was acquitted in a murder case for want of timely legal help. Moreover, the conviction rate in economic offences are less than 20 per cent.

Several senior officers opined that a legal assistance from the law experts will definitely help the police in securing more convictions.

The Times of India, December 9, 2005

Bar raised for crime branch, skills on test

By Mateen Hafeez/TNN

Mumbai: The process of getting a much-coveted posting in the elite crime branch has just become tougher, thanks to joint commissioner of police (crime) Meera Borwankar’s efforts to make the section “more professional.’’

“The Mumbai police force is the quickest in the country and the crime branch is the best division within it,’’ said Borwankar. To make it more effective, the criteria for posting in the crime branch and the economic offences wing (EOW) has been changed. Henceforth, an officer with a degree in commerce or law will be given preference. Earlier, a policeman could look forward to a crime branch posting at least once in his career. However now, one has to be an expert in detection, investigation, interrogation, as well as be dedicat
ed, computer savvy and possess leadership qualities to earn a place.

“Commissioner of police A N Roy has given us the freedom to select officers. I want to make the crime branch an ideal and completely professional,’’ said Borwankar.

At present, a case is handed over to the crime branch when the concerned authorities feel it requires han
dling by more efficient staff. Cyber crimes, economic offences, fake currency rackets, cases relating to organised crime syndicates, crimes against minors and women need special expertise for detection.

With the selection procedure becoming tough, an officer willing to join the crime branch will have to be a braveheart. “We prefer officers who have handled or can tackle hardened crimi
The officers are trained for quality paper work and they are taught to take a case to its final stage, conviction,’’ Borwankar said. Putting forward her own example, the joint commissioner said, “Every week I study two cases regularly. One is about acquittal and the other is about conviction. We take the points based on which an accused was acquitted or convicted. The study is to make sure that we don’t lose the case.’’

The Times of India, December 9, 2005

Wednesday, December 7, 2005

MCOCA slap for D-gang conduit

Underworld don Dawood Ibrahim

Mistry Took Care Of Financial And Legal Matters

By Mateen Hafeez/TNN

Mumbai: The crime branch claims to have found the ‘missing link’ between Dawood gang members behind bars in Mumbai and those who operate underworld activities from abroad. According to the police, Rasheed Mistry, a hawala operator and extortion money collector for gangster Chhota Shakeel, was also the man who took care of the D gang’s financial matters and legal expenses.

The crime branch on Tuesday booked Mistry alias Raju Bhai (33), a resident of Dongri, under the stringent MCOCA for his alleged nexus with the underworld. Mistry was intercepted by the immigration authorities after they suspected him of travelling on a fake passport at Sahar airport on November 30.

During interrogation, the police recovered four fake passports and several credit cards from his possession. He was about to leave for Dubai on a fake passport bearing the name Shoeb Ahmed Raza, when intercepted.

“We have been looking for him for the last one-and-a-half
years. His four accomplices were arrested in 2004 but he evaded us. He would travel very often but under fake identity,’’ deputy commissioner of police (detection) Dhananjay Kamalakar told TOI.

An investigating officer from the crime branch said Mistry reported to gangster Faheem Machmach alias Fatwa in Dubai. He would also coordinate with Tahir Merchant alias Tahir Taklya for the collection and distribution of extortion money. “Chhota Shakeel and Mach
mach have accomplices who go and collect extortion money. Then it is handed over to Mistry who sends half the money to Dubai and the rest is distributed to D gang members who are behind bars. Each gangster’s kin would be paid between Rs 4,000 and Rs 6,000 per month to run their families,’’ an officer said.

Earlier, on June 10, the crime branch had arrested Rubina Siraj Sayyed, said to be the girlfriend of Chhota Shakeel. Her arrest was followed by those of Mohammed Ameen alias Mansoor alias Anthony alias Junior, Uday Pawar alias Pankaj and Rubina’s husband Siraj Sayyed. The police said Rubina would go to all the courts to meet the gang members who were brought to court for hearings. She would pay some money to them and also their families. The court premises was the only place where Rubina would meet all the accused.

The Times of India, December 7, 2005

Saturday, December 3, 2005

Family was informed many hours later

Shivkumar Jaiswal alias Shakal

Cops To Carry Out Demo To See How Undertrial Drowned

By Mateen Hafeez/TNN

Mumbai: The family of Shivkumar Jaiswal alias Shakal (23), who died in the Mahim police lockup early on T h u r s d ay morning, alleged that the police did not inform them about the death for several hours, choosing to keep it a ‘secret’.

“Around noon a constable came to my house and escorted me to the Dadar police station. The police made me sit for over an hour and then I was sent back home. I didn’t know what was happening. They didn’t even inform me about my son’s death,’’ a mourning Hiravati,
Shakal’s mother, said. According to the family, Rajkumar, the eldest son of the family, was finally informed about the incident at around 1.15 pm.

The body of Shakal, who was arrested in mid November on theft charges, was removed from a 3.5fttall water drum inside the police station. The post-mortem report said he died due to drowning. How
ever, Shakal’s family refuses to buy the police’s suicide theory. “How can a person more than 5 ft tall die in a drum 3.5 ft high?’’ Shakal’s sister, Hausladevi, asked.

Shakal’s mother, who was widowed 12 years ago, stays in Heera Seth Chawl, near Worli Koliwada bus depot. Her son, who worked in a pizza shop near Grant Road, was caught stealing cash from his employers. It was his second offence. “We had arranged his engagement
in June this year. I met him in the Bhoiwada court on Thursday and he promised he would never commit a crime again,’’ Hiravati told TOI.

Shakal was the fourth in a family of five siblings. His brothers, Rajkumar and Mahendar, work in a spice making plant in Vashi as daily wage earners.

Police said Shakal was arrested
by the Gamdevi police after the robbery at his employer’s office. Later, he was sent to the custody of the Dadar police station on November 22 for a burglary at Dhanlaxmi Jewellers from where he had allegedly stolen ornaments worth Rs 3.44 lakh on September 9.

Hiravati, who last met her son on Wednesday, said Shakal was hopeful that he would be released on December 5. “He told me he would go to my home town in Uttar Pradesh
along with his sister. But we didn’t know he would be killed in the lockup,’’ Hiravati said.

Senior officers probing the death in custody—the eighteenth in the last five years in umbai—are bemused. “It’s one of the most unusual cases I have ever come across in my life. So the probe has been handed over to the crime branch,’’ joint commissioner (law and order) Arup Patnaik said.

Patnaik said custodial deaths were usually accidental, suicides, natural deaths or due to torture. “It is still not clear how this man died. There is no question of suspending anyone until we come to know the exact reason for the death.’’

The police is likely to conduct a demonstration to verify if it was possible for Shakal to sit in the drum and drown himself. The doctors are also waiting for a report to see Shakal suffered epileptic seizures, which may have caused his drowning.

The Times of India, December 3, 2005

Thursday, December 1, 2005

Get ready for a quiet new year party

By Mateen Hafeez/TNN

Mumbai: The countdown to new year has begun. But, Mumbaikars may have to welcome in 2006 without the accompaniment of live bands, loudspeakers and fire crackers.

Loudspeakers will be allowed till midnight, two hours beyond the 10 pm deadline and so will bursting of crackers and music. But after 12, everything has to fall silent. Mumbaikars, known for their boisterous and noisy new year parties, have to abide by the SC order, police said.

“One can celebrate even after midnight, but without loudspeakers. And no fire crackers after the deadline,’’ said city police chief A N Roy. He maintained that police will do their jobs as they did during Navratri and Ganeshotsav.

Social activist Sumaira Abdulali said, “There is a sizeable number who may not celebrate the new year. The law has been formed keeping the majority in mind.”

The Times of India, December 1, 2005