Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Pak spy did recce at Gateway: Cops


VANTAGE POINT

Agent Used Ferry Service To Photograph Vessels

Mateen Hafeez | TNN

Mumbai: An alleged Pakistani secret service agent, Qamar Shafi Afghani, who was held last week in Mumbai, had carried out a recce around the coast off the Gateway of India and clicked 52 photographs of naval vessels stationed off the local base, investigators said on Tuesday.

Afghani (29)—who was arrested by the state’s anti-terrorism squad (ATS) and booked under the Official Secrets Act—had used the ferry service near the Gateway while on the mission.

Investigations have revealed that Afghani along with other material had sent copies of magazines including Sainik Samachar and Forbes to Pakistan. “He was asked to send copies of Force, a defence newsmagazine, but by mistake he sent Forbes,’’ said an officer.


Interestingly, the clarity of the photographs of the ships clicked by Afghani has stumped the police, who suspect the involvement of more people in providing some form of technical back-up. Afghani is likely to be subjected to a narco analysis test this week.

Afghani, who was employed as a zari worker in the city, was arrested on a tip-off from the Intelligence Bureau (IB) which had been keeping tabs on his activities since his return from Pakistan in February last year. Afghani had gone back to Pakistan in February this year. IB officials
were surprised when they spotted him clicking photographs of ships, sources said.

In February last year, Afghani had visited Pakistan on the pretext of watching the India-Pakistan cricket matches; he had mentioned in a visa application that one of his uncles lived in Karachi. “Pakistani secret service agents had assigned him the job of recruiting youths who could work for them and collect in
telligence on defence bases. He was trained for a month during his second visit,’’ said ATS chief K P Raghuvanshi.

“Afghani would roam around CST and the Dock area to get in touch with some retired officers so that he could befriend someone and get information about naval ships. However, his attempts went in vain,’’ stated an officer.

The police have seized eight SIM cards, a CD, ration card and five credit cards of international banks from Afghani. His passport has also
been seized. Afghani had withdrawn Rs 2 lakh using the credit cards in the last one and half years. The police are also in touch with the Foreign Exchange Management Authority (FEMA) to verify if any rules were violated while using the foreign credit cards.

Afghani, who has six siblings including five sisters, suffered severe losses a few years ago while running his own zari unit at Govandi. Later, he began working on a monthly salary of Rs 2,500 at a zari unit and also enrolled for a course in computer hardware at a local institute. “He learnt to operate the internet and would e-mail information to his mentors. He was asked to get intelligence about the Western Naval Command in Mumbai since it’s the biggest in the country. His bosses wanted to get detailed information of ships and the naval base. Also, it is easier to click photographs here by travelling on boat which is not possible in other naval areas,’’ sources said.

However, ATS sources said it is unlikely that Afghani may have been of much use to his ISI handlers. He is believed to have repeatedly demanded money from them though.

Meanwhile, sleuths of the Anti-Narcotics Cell (Mumbai) have arrested Afghani’s brother-in-law, Rizwan, in connection with a drug case and seized one kg charas from him. Rizwan is being questioned if he had any information on Afghani’s activities.

The Times of India, October 17, 2007

Monday, September 17, 2007

Fake currency gangs have genuine visas

Mateen Hafeez I TNN
Mumbai: Investigations into fake currency rackets have revealed that every month, halfa-dozen groups of people leave Bangladesh for India on a month’s tourist visa to circulate counterfeit Indian currency.

“To evade suspicion from any quarter, the group usually includes a couple and all pose as members of the same family. These people travel on genuine visas and their other documents are also genuine. As a result, often they cannot be questioned thoroughly,’’ said a police officer from the I-branch unit of the Special Branch department. The prime task of the I-branch is to collect information on Bangladeshi, Pakistani and Afghan nationals.


On September 11. four persons—Annu Shaikh (25), her husband Sahebali Shaikh (32), Gulam Ali (40) and Iqbal Rehman (33)—were arrested on September 11 following which they have been remanded in police custody till September 19.

“Even that group was travelling as a family and had come to India on a tourist visa. When they were caught they said they had come to Mumbai for sight-seeing. However, after a search, we recovered fake Indian currency with a face value of Rs 1.29 lakh from them,’’ said senior inspector Prakash Singh Boparai of the Dongri police.


According to the police, earlier, illegal migrants would be given the job of circulating counterfeit notes. However, after their frequent arrests, the gangs changed the modus operandi and began sending Bangladeshis on legal visas. While the I-branch records state that there are somewhere around 100 illegal migrants
from Bangladesh in the city, the unofficial figure is in thousands. Instead of picking them up and deporting them to their country, the police take ‘haftas’ from them regularly “for not sending them back’’.

The police said the gang members first circulate fake notes in the market and then deposit the genuine ones in an Indian bank. Later that mon
ey is withdrawn through ATM card at the Indo-Bangla boarder. “In the latest case, the four persons arrested were promised a commission of 20 per cent for circulating fake currency. In addition to that, they were also provided with travelling and accommodation expenses by their mentors,’’ said an officer.

The police is now busy matching the notes with other notes seized from several other groups arrested. They suspect that they have already circulated counterfeit notes with a face value of Rs 2 to 3 lakh in the market.

The Times of India, September 17, 2007

Friday, September 14, 2007

4 held with fake currency in Juinagar

Mateen Hafeez I TNN
Mumbai: The Dongri police arrested four Bangladeshi nationals including a woman and seized fake Indian currency amounting to Rs 1.28 lakh from them. The accused had come to Maharashtra in August and were staying at Juinagar in Navi Mumbai.

The accused Annu Shaikh (25), her husband Sahebali Shaikh (32), Gulam Ali (40) and Iqbal Rehman (33), have been sent to police custody till September 19.

Police sources said that a new modus operandi has come to light. A group of fake distributors in India opened an account in a specific bank at Habra, a small town on the Indo-Bangaladesh border. The account was opened in the name of a carrier and he was asked to go to any Indian city. However, the account holder was not given possession of his ATM card. It was indeed kept by one of the group’s members at Habra.

“When a carrier reaches an Indian city as instructed by his mentors, he is contacted by their local agents and provided with the fake currency,’’ said a police officer.

The carrier is then given fake notes with a 20% commission. The carrier can spend this money as he wants. Once he succeeds in circulating the fake currency, he deposits the 80% (original notes) in a bank which is later withdrawn using the ATM card by his mentors in Habra. The money is converted into Taka—Bangaladeshi currency, by a money changer and sent to Ban
galadesh, the officer added.

While the police have zeroed in on this modus operandi, it is yet to establish the identity of the culprits.

The police also say that this is a unique modus operandi unlike the one used in hawala transactions. In the Dongri police case, the woman, Annu, went to the Dongri market and bought apples for Rs 50 and forwarded a Rs 1,000 note.

Later, she bought a few utensils from another shop for Rs 250 and gave yet another Rs 1,000 note. A few shopkeepers suspected the notes were fake and thus informed the police. Later, she was picked up. “Her husband who was waiting for her at the Sandhurst Road railway station was also arrested and fake notes were recovered from his possession.

The notes are in the denomination of Rs 1,000 and Rs 500. They said they were given the fake notes by a local man in Mumbai who is also wanted in the case,’’ said inspector Prakash Singh Boparai of the Dongri police station.

The Times of India, September 14, 2007

Thursday, September 6, 2007

State to open e-police station




Growing incidents of cyber crime and the need to protect BPO interests spur home department to byte back at online criminals

Mateen Hafeez I TNN Mumbai: Maharashtra is finally getting its own fullfledged, cyber crime police station. City police sources said the rising number of cyber crimes as well as the need to protect the growing Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) industry has made it imperative for the state to get its own committed cyber crime-fighting unit with access to stateof-the-art technology.

The police station has been sanctioned by the home department and is expected to be functioning within three months. It will be the third such police station in the country after the ones in India’s IT meccas of Bangalore and Hyderabad. The cyber police will also tackle financial terrorism, which involves money-laundering and hawala, and the online flesh trade.

The police station, with state-wide jurisdiction, will get money from the budget set aside for modernisation plans approved by the central and state governments. The present 18-member Cyber Crime Investigation Cell (CCIC) in the Mumbai police force will be absorbed by the 61-strong cyber crime police station.

Joint commissioner of police (administration), Hemant Karkare, said, “The cyber crime police station will have the authority to register FIRs and investigate cases, unlike the present CCIC.’’

“All cases under the Information Technology Act will be dealt with by the cyber police station, which will also make
arrests. However, the 2,000-square-foot police station may not have a lock-up, so suspects may be kept at other lock-ups,’’ added Karkare.

A senior police officer said the creation of such a police station could also attract more IT companies to the region. IT companies are attracted to Bangalore and Hyderabad because the cities afford protection from cyber crime, he said. “Once the police station is started, MNCs may prefer to make Mumbai their base,’’ he said. Bangalore’s cyber crime cell, in existence from 1999, was converted into a police station in September 2001.

Recently, the CCIC detected a huge case of e-crime in which an airline had to suffer losses of Rs 13.47 crore after 15,255 tickets were booked online. In another case, the CCIC arrested a Bhopal teenager, Mohammed Sharique, after he sent threatening emails posing as a member of an unknown terror outfit in the wake of the 7/11 bombings.

The CCIC also helped arrest a man who sent an email threatening to bomb the World Trade Centre, Cuffe Parade.

Former IPS officer and esecurity expert, Sanjay Pandey, said there was also need to define cyber crime in central and local laws. “It’s good that the government is making an effort to tackle cyber crime, but it’s also necessary to define cyber crime in laws,’’ said Pandey. “The Information Technology Act is an IT act and not an IT crime act.’’

WHAT IS CYBER CRIME?
Crimes that involve the use of computers and do not result in direct damage or loss to life and/or property are classified as cyber crimes

COMMON CYBER CRIMES
Hacking into websites, webpages, e-mail accounts etc Illegally transferring bank deposits through online means Illegal borrowing or purchasing on others’ credit/debit cards Unauthorised online booking of air tickets, hotel reservations etc Online flesh trade Financial terrorism, including money laundering and hawala scams Theft of intellectual property rights Illegal data conversion from one form of computer data to another Internet time theft Virus/worm attacks Email bombing, spamming

FREQUENCY OF CASES
On average, the city police deal with 35 to 40 cases a year
The cyber crime cell assists in 10 to 12 of these cases
The new police station will be expected to handle all cases One of its major tasks will be to protect Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) establishments

CYBER CRIME INVESTIGATION CELL
Set up in December 2001 as part of Mumbai police’s Crime Branch (Enforcement)

Can operate only in jurisdiction of Mumbai police
Does not have power to register cases
Cannot make arrests
Has power to only assist city police stations in cyber crime investigations
Has staff strength of 18 Is headed by an assistant commissioner of police Located in a 250-square-foot office at police headquarters, Crawford Market

CYBER CRIME POLICE STATION

Expected to be functioning in three months. Will absorb the city police’s existing cyber crime cell
Will be the third such police station in the country after the ones in Bangalore and Hyderabad
Jurisdiction will be statewide. City cases will be reported to Crime Branch, other cases to DGP
Will have authority to register FIRs and investigate all cases
Can make arrests
Staff strength will be 61

Will have 4 assistant commissioners, 4 inspectors, 17 sub-inspectors and 36 constables
Will be a full-fledged, hi-tech police station with better hardware and software than existing cyber cell. Money will come from budget for the police modernisation plan approved by the state and central governments
Could be set up on 2,000 square feet either at Worli police station or Bandra-Kurla Complex police station

The Times of India, September 6, 2007

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Why Mumbai has been a favourite with bombers



Mateen Hafeez | TNN

Mumbai: Time and again, the country’s financial capital has been targeted by terrorists. In fact, in the last five years, Mumbai has topped India’s metros for the highest casualties in terror attacks, twice as many as the next worst-affected which is Delhi.

Since 2002, 14 blasts have killed 258 people in Mumbai while Delhi has seen seven explosions in the same period claiming 142 lives (see box). The third most vulnerable city is Hyderabad, which has been repeatedly targeted this year starting with the Mecca Masjid blast. The Mecca Masjid incident killed nine people while the two latest blasts at Lumbini Park and a sweet shop named Gokul Chat have claimed 41 lives.


Barring these three, the others are relatively safer. Bangalore has seen one firing incident at the Indian Institute of Science, in which a researcher was killed, while Kolkata and Chennai have not experienced a single terror attack in the last five years.

Experts say the reasons why Mumbai has been repeatedly targeted are as much about the prominent position the city enjoys in India’s public life as about the absence of pro-active measures to provide adequate security.

There’s a growing view — which even old-timers are beginning to concede — that the attacks expose failure to gather or act on intelligence. A former state intelligence department (SID) official revealed that soon after the 7/11 attacks in Mumbai, the SID had sent dossiers of around 400 people to the Anti-Terrorism Squad. “Most of them were SIMI members trained in Pak
istan,’’ he said. They include people like Asif Basheer Khan alias Junaid who has now been named as a planter in the 7/11 case, but was very much in police records even before; the only problem was the Mumbai police did not know about his whereabouts.

Today, more than a year has gone by since the 7/11 attack, but police have not carried out any preventive detentions of such suspects, pre
ferring instead to keep “movements and networks’’ under observation. When asked why the police do not have an effective pre-emptive strategy to close in on sympathisers and collaborators of various outfits, an officer replied, “On what charges should we book them? It may enrage a community if the charges cannot be proved in the court.’’

Clearly, the lack of political and executive will to adopt counter strategies has translated into lax surveillance and information-gathering. The Malegaon blasts of September 2006 are a case in point.
“Prime conspirator, Shabbir Masiullah, was caught much before the blasts took place but police failed to extract information from him regarding the bombings,’’ said a source.

Masiullah who owned a battery manufacturing unit allegedly acted as a conduit to receive the RDX and store it in his workshop. His workers were among the five suspected to have assembled and planted the bombs.

Curiously, he was already in custody when the blasts took place in Malegaon. He had been picked up on suspicion in August 2006 for his
SIMI links in the aftermath of the 7/11 attack and spent a month in jail before the explosions. However, the police was not able to scent the September 8 plot.

Y P Singh, ex-IPS officer, said the attacks exposed the incompetence of Mumbai’s police. “Corruption in the force, reluctance and incompetence to tackle hawala operations, a well-spun network of fundamentalists and enormous media sensitivity, these factors make Mumbai a prime target for terrorists,’’ said Singh.


CITY OF GRIEF

Terror attacks since 2002: poor intelligence-gathering and lack of pre-emptive measures have left India’s financial capital open to repeated strikes

Mumbai
December 2, 2002
Ghatkopar, BEST bus Killed: 2 Injured: 49
December 6, 2002
Mumbai Central, McDonald’s Killed: None Injured: 25
Jan 27, 2003
Outside Vile Parle railway station Killed: 1 Injured: 20
March 13, 2003
Mulund train Killed: 11 Injured: 70
July 28, 2003
Second blast at on a BEST bus at Ghatkopar Killed: 4 Injured: 32
August 25, 2003
Twin blasts at Gateway of India and Zaveri Bazar Killed: 53 Injured: 161
July 11, 2006
Seven bomb blasts in local trains Killed: 187 Injured: 817

*
New Delhi
February 11, 2004
Blast near IIT Killed: 1 Injured: 2
May 22, 2005
Twin blasts at Satyam and Liberty cinema halls Killed: 5 Injured: 50
Oct 29, 2005
Three blasts at Sarojini
Nagar, Paharganj and Govindpuri Killed: 67 Injured: 70
April 14, 2006
Jama Masjid blast Killed: 1 Injured: 16
February 19, 2007
Samjhauta Express which left Delhi station Killed: 68 Injured: 100


* Hyderabad
May 18, 2007
Mecca Masjid blast Killed: 9 Injured: 50
August 25, 2007
Twin blasts at Lumbini Park and Gokul Chat Killed: 41 Injured: 50


* Bangalore
December 29, 2005
Unidentified man opened fire near Indian Institute of Science Killed: 1

*Kolkata
No terror attack

* Chennai
No terror attack

The Times of India, September 4, 2007

Sunday, June 3, 2007

Cops play it safe in ‘beerman’ probe

Mateen Hafeez | TNN
Mumbai: Faced with the prospect of embarrassment in court over the south Mumbai killings probe, the police seem to be playing it safe by not filing the chargesheet as they don’t have any clinching evidence against alleged serial killer Ravindra Kantrulu.

Reformed robber Kantrulu (36) was picked up by the police before being first booked for theft and later for four of the seven murders that took place from October 2006 to January this year. The police claimed to have recovered a blood-stained shirt and a chopper from where he lived. Kantrulu is lodged at the Arthur Road jail.

While the police successfully filed a chargesheet in mid-May in one of the four murders that took place on January 11 on a foot overbridge near the income tax office at Marine Lines, it failed to do the same in the second case, resulting in Kantrulu’s bail on Saturday.

Following the serial killings that shook south Mumbai, the city police formed a special investigating team comprising 450 personnel, which nabbed Kantrulu.

Trying to explain their position, deputy commissioner of police Brijesh Singh (zone-I), who headed the SIT, said, “The bail is in one of the cases we booked him. The 90-day limit is for entitlement to the accused for bail. The magistrate has no right to ask for an explanation as to why the police didn’t file the chargesheet.’’


A few police officials, after Kantrulu’s arrest, were happy to divulge information on the interrogation and the various tests conducted on him (like brain-mapping, polygraph, brain-electrical oscillation signature and psychological profiling). But they clammed up when other murders took place near the railway tracks after Kantrulu was arrested.

A new theory was floated then—”the murders could be the work of Kantrulu’s associates’’ and the “associates’’ included a taxi driver, a tour operator and a tantrik. But all efforts to solve the murders failed. At least three more kiilings took place after Kantrulu was picked up. The D B Marg police arrested another drug addict, Abdul Salam Shaikh, for the murders and chargesheeted him on May 18. But no link has been established between Kantrulu and Shaikh yet.

The police, who claimed to have “two witnesses’’, failed to pick up any of Kantrulu’s “associates’’ and were yet to establish the identity of six of the seven victims allegedly killed by the suspect. He was booked for the murder of an unidentified man that took place on October 25 near the Bombay Hockey Association at Churchgate and also for a killing that took place on December 25 near Rukhsana Apartment, under the jurisdiction of the Azad Maidan police.

Officials said Kantrulu’s brain-mapping report was positive and admissible in court. They also claimed Kantrulu spoke about his modus operandi during the narco analysis and how and why he chose and killed his “targets’’.
mateen.hafeez@timesgroup.com


Kantrulu

The Times of India, June 3, 2007

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Malegaon’s new Front shows up old parties




Mateen Hafeez I TNN

Malegaon: The unexpected success of a loose, threemonth-old coalition supported by religious and community leaders in Malegaon’s civic polls has exposed the disenchantment with mainstream parties like the Congress and veteran socialist Nihal Ahmed’s Janata Dal (Secular).

The people’s mandate to the Indian Muslim Congress Party (IMCP) comes at a time when the established parties have betrayed the faith of an electorate looking for solutions to systemic problems such as unemployment, a spiralling electricity crisis, lack of educational opportunities and decrepit civic infrastructure.

The Third Front led by the textile township’s most prominent religious leader, Mufti Mohammed Ismail, had contested the election with development and education as its primary planks and emerged as the single largest party with 28 out of the 72 seats.

On the other hand, Nihal Ahmed, a trade unionist who rose to become Malegaon’s most enduring political figure, has ended up suffering one of his worst political debacles in an over 50-year career. The onetime minister in the Maharashtra Cabinet has found his outfit’s tally reduced from 35 seats in 2002 to 12 in the latest municipal polls. His son was among those who lost the poll.

The other big loser is the Samajwadi Party whose tally has gone down from 12 seats in 2002 to one in the present House.

Even the Congress has been at the receiving end of the Malegaon voter’s wrath though the party’s tally has risen from seven in the last House to 15 now. The township’s reigning MLA, Sheikh
Rashid, had managed to get his son Asif Sheikh installed as mayor the last time through blatant opportunism and by persuading rival corporators to support the Congress candidate in exchange for favours. However, despite such strategic moves, the party has not emerged as a dominant force in one of Maharashtra’s biggest Muslim-majority enclaves.

“The residents of Malegaon have been divided and exploited by these veteran politicians. Everyone promises better facilities but see how many public toilets Malegaon has. Look at the plight of the civic schools. There is not a single technical, engineering or med
ical college in Malegaon. Hundreds of our students have to go to Mumbai or Pune for further studies. We wanted to change this, and we couldn’t have done it unless we had power in our hands,’’ says 50-year-old Mufti Ismail.

The Mufti, who has led the congregation for the Eid-ul-fitr and Eid-ul-azha namaaz at the historic Camp ground in the town for the last one decade, was the rallying force behind the movement. Born and raised in a weaver’s family in the township, he’s long been familiar with its problems.

Yet, the Third Front’s rise has been nothing short of amazing. Community leaders and maulanas banded in the
months ahead of the polls and discussed the need for an effective political alternative to govern the town. Disillusionment was especially strong in the wake of the serial blasts in 2006.

To start with, announcements were made in various mohallas to nominate the right candidates. Interestingly, the Third Front’s office-bearers played no role in this process; instead they asked residents of every constituency to select an “educated, honest and social person’’ untainted by a criminal record.

The only hiccup was when the Front’s leaders realised they were not recognised as a political party nor had they been allotted a symbol. They then approached their counterparts in an Ahmednagarbased outfit called the Indian Muslims’ Congress Party and managed to get permission to adopt their name and symbol just 15 days prior to the polls. Besides, there was an unambiguous consensus at work: caste, religion and intra-community disputes were to play no role in selecting a candidate. Most of the nominees were thus people with at least some academic qualification— a welcome change given Malegaon’s colourful history of illiterate, criminal and scam-tainted corporators. “We have got the sort of candidates we wanted. Now, in case a corporator does not work, we will hold a dharna outside his residence to make him fulfil his promises. And if he refuses, we will have no option but to oust him from the party,’’ Mufti Ismail said.

Hopefully, the Mufti and his followers, with the help of a few Independent corporators, will get the roads, parks and playgrounds they aspire for.


POWERLOOM POLLS

Malegaon, a powerloom township in northern Maharashtra, has always been in the news for the wrong reasons. Communal tension, sectarian violence, seizure of firearms and ammunition, and a series of bomb blasts. In a population of six lakh, Muslims are in a majority of 65%. The rest are Hindu Marwaris, Jains and Sindhis, who traditionally vote for the BJP-Sena. This year, for instance, the Sena has bagged seven seats while the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena has captured two seats.

The conflict between powerloom labourers and their employers was the central theme in various elections until recently and allowed veteran socialist Nihal Ahmed ample scope to hold centrestage. Now, however, residents are keen to see a makeover of the town and find a solution for long-standing problems such as bad roads, power shortage, poor healthcare—Malegoan does not have a single civil hospital—and lack of adequate educational opportunities. TNN


The Times of India, May 30, 2007

Haseena case : cop maintains he is innocent. Says He’s Being Victimised

WRITES LETTER TO ACB CHIEF


Mateen Hafeez I TNN

Mumbai: Senior inspector Anil Mahabole, who is under the scanner of the anti-corruption bureau (ACB) in an alleged bribery case, on Monday wrote a letter to ACB directorgeneral of police J D Virkar, maintaining that he was innocent and was being victimised in the case.

The ACB summoned Mahabole and assistant inspector Rajendra Nikam on April 12, after it
arrested a builder Chandresh Shah, who, the agency said, had taken a bribe of Rs 1.5 lakh on behalf of the two police officers to dilute a case involving him and seven others.


The ACB, in its report submitted to police commissioner D N Jadhav early this month, said Mahabole had replaced a phone when he was asked to deposit his two mobile phones. One of the deposited phones (with the number 9322171857) belonged to someone else and contained an SMS from a person called Danish, the ACB said. The message read: “D ko live karna kaliye Mahabole saab ne paise liya hey.’’ The ACB had said that it appeared that Mahabole was not using the phone. The agency said it was probing about Danish.


But, in his letter, Mahabole maintained that the phone belonged to him. He elaborated that Danish was a police informer working for the crime branch and the anti-terrorism squad (ATS) for over 10 years. Danish was paid Rs one lakh for a piece of information from the police secret fund but the information turned out to be false and he was asked to pay back the amount. Danish paid the Rs one lakh in cash to the crime branch (unit-I) and SMSed Mahabole that he had given the money, the letter stated.


The ACB, in its report, said that to settle a civil matter and recover money involved in the case, Shah and one Raju had sought crime branch’s help. But Mahabole, in his letter, said that during probe, the crime branch came to know that it was a criminal case. The crime branch officers never threatened Shukla or demanded money to dilute the case, he said. “We never called up Shukla or tried to contact him from this office,’’ he wrote. Shah and Baba Shukla, on whose complaint the ACB arrested the builder, were accused in the crime branch case.

The ACB also questioned why the crime branch gave to Shah, the summons issued against the three accused in the criminal case. Mahabole said, “The police handed over
accused Shameem Qureishi’s summon to Shah since only he knew about the whereabouts of Qureishi. Baba Shukla also could not be contacted. Therefore. his summon was given to his nephew, Sandeep, in Shah’s presence. Hence, we obtained his signature along with Sandeep’s on the receipt of acknowledgement.’’

In response to ACB’s allegations that crime branch didn’t do any inquiry about Haseena, the officer’s letter said, “Our officers went to Haseena’s residence on March 6 but she was not there. On March 13, her daughter signed the summon letter. Meanwhile, we also sent a letter to senior inspector, Nagpada police station, asking to check if there was any case against Haseena. Moreover, we were checking the mobile phone records of all the accused.’’
mateen.hafeez@timesgroup.com

The Times of India, May 30, 2007

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Parkar grilled on property, income


Mateen Hafeez | TNN

Mumbai: Dawood Ibrahim’s sister Haseena Parkar, an accused in an extortion and forgery case, was on Saturday thoroughly questioned about her properties, sources of income and her relationship with the co-accused in a case registered by the anti-extortion cell of the crime branch.

Haseena (46) arrived at the police headquarters near Crawford Market around 11 am on Saturday along with her daughter Qudsiya in a taxi. Completely covered in a black burqa, mother and daughter went to the AEC office. They were immediately taken into the chamber of inspector Ramesh Mahale, who questioned Haseena at length for around two-and-a-half hours.

Metropolitan magistrate V K Sharma had on May 24 granted Haseena bail on a surety of Rs 25,000. Sharma instructed Haseena “to assist the police in the investigation’’ and go to the police head quarters for the next 30 days. While Haseena was being questioned by Mahale, Qudsiya sat on a chair in the corner.

Haseena, whose husband Ibrahim Ismail Parkar, was shot down by Arun Gawli gangsters on July 26, 1992, near Grant Road, now stays
with her mother in-law and her two children at Gordon Hall apartment. The AEC officers wanted to know Haseena’s source of income and how she managed to maintain a plush flat at Gordon Hall. Haseena had last year bought a flat worth Rs 41 lakh in Bandra (west). The police were also curious to know how she procured the amount.

The police wanted to know about her relationship with Saleem, Shameem Qureishi, Baba Shukla, Chandresh Sah and Arshad Shaikh. AEC officers wanted to know more about Saleem, who stays in the same area. Saleem was arrested from Kanpur. They also asked her about how she got in touch with Shukla, owner of Build Tech Engineer and Developer. Shukla had allegedly demanded Rs 1 crore from Vinod Avlani, a real estate agent, for the rights of a slum redevelopment project.


TAX TROUBLE

The BMC will soon issue a demand notice to Haseena Parkar for property tax amounting to RS 65, 000 for a building owned by her on Pakmodia Street in Bhendi bazaar. TNN

The Times of India, May 27, 2007

Saturday, May 26, 2007

‘We got Haseena Parkar to appear in court’

Police commissioner D N Jadhav

Mateen Hafeez | TNN

Mumbai: Having failed to secure her custody, the police will now move the sessions court to ask that the bail granted to Dawood Ibrahim’s sister, Haseena Parkar, be cancelled. Parkar was granted bail in an extortion and forgery case on Thursday.

“We are preparing to move the sessions court against the magistrate’s
order,’’ police commissioner D N Jadhav told TOI on Friday.

When asked where the police had gone wrong, Jadhav said the Crime Branch had still to review the case. “An investigator’s viewpoint may be different from that of the court. We represented our case before the court, however the court granted bail. We don’t get emotionally in
volved in any case. The court has just granted her bail, the case is not yet closed,’’ he said.

Rebuffing talk of a total failure by the police, Jadhav said, “It’s a positive sign that we got her to appear in court. It shows that she has faith in the system.’’ He also asked, “If she has not played any role in the case, why has the court directed her to appear before the police for 30 days?’’

The police have so far arrested Krishnamilan ‘Baba’ Shukla, Sandeep Shukla, Shameem Qureishi and Saleem Patel in the case. The Shuklas and another accused, Chandresh Shah, are out on bail. Two others, Arshad and Maqsood, are still at large.

Former police commissioner M N Singh said he was shocked to hear that a Crime Branch officer could not explain the extortion and forgery in court. “It seems like a flop show. Parkar was granted bail because the police were unable to present the case properly. Moreover, there was a delay in filing the FIR. It seems the FIR was registered only after the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) started probing the Crime Branch officers who allegedly asked for bribes to go soft on the case. In such a situation, it looks like the police have not done their homework properly,’’ Singh said.

On December 19 last year, real estate agent Vinod Avlani told the Crime Branch that he had given Rs 1 crore to Baba Shukla for a redevelopment project. The Crime Branch FIR said the money was paid through a demand draft at Parkar’s Gordon Hall resi
dence at Nagapada. When the deal fell through, Avlani received only Rs 70 lakh in return. Shukla refused to pay the balance and allegedly got Parkar to threaten Avlani. The Crime Branch filed an FIR on April 21, 2007.

The Crime Branch sounded a high alert across the state, from railway stations to the airport. But six police teams failed to trace Parkar. Jadhav told TOI that Parkar had left her resi
dence six days before the FIR was filed.

A magistrate then issued a non-bailable warrant against Parkar. The police listed her properties and announced that they might attach them. On May 22, Parkar appeared before the sessions court and applied for bail.

Avlani’s complaint was being probed by Crime Branch Unit I, but
later it was handed to the Anti-Extortion Cell because two Unit I officers, Anil Mahabole and Rajendra Nikam, were being investigated by the ACB. The Crime Branch then filed the FIR.

JUDGESPEAK
Dawood Ibrahim’s sister Haseena Parkar and seven others were accused by realty agent Vinod Avlani of taking Rs 1 crore from him for a business deal, but repaying only Rs 70 lakh when the deal fell through. Here are the main observations made by magistrate V K Sharma when granting Parkar bail of Rs 25,000 on Thursday.

Why did the Crime Branch wait till April 21, 2007 to register an FIR against Parkar and the others when Avlani’s complaint of extortion and forgery was made on December 19, 2006?

The FIR was lodged only after two Crime Branch officers investigating the case were arrested by the Anti-Corruption Bureau for seeking Rs 10 lakh from the accused to go soft on Avlani’s complaint

The police relied on a ‘strange definition of extortion’ as the Rs 30 lakh was paid by Avlani through a demand draft

‘At the most it is a case of cheating and not extortion’

Parkar’s custody is not necessary to ascertain if documents are forged. The documents can speak for themselves



The Times of India, May 26, 2007

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Violence once ruled in ‘the den of the dons’ at Nagpada


GODFATHERS’ GANGLAND: Nagpada’s narrow lanes and bylanes were once home to not just big-league gangsters, but also ‘galli ka shers’


Archana Sharma & Mateen Hafeez | TNN

Mumbai: If the Mumbai underworld once had an address, it would have been here. Nagpada was home to some of the most dreaded criminals of the country—and is now home to Dawood Ibrahim’s sister Haseena Parkar.

Nagpada and its surrounding areas could have been called ‘the den of the dons’. Dawood, Chhota Shakeel, Aalam Zeb, Ameerzada, Ahmed Kashmiri and Asif Baatla all grew up here or had their mafias operating from here.

Apart from such big notorious names, every lane also had a dada or self-styled “galli ka sher’’. ‘Patthar-baatli’ (stone and soda bottle) fights were the order of the day. At the sight of the smallest of scuffles, restaurants would down shutters. But gang members would anyway storm in and pull out crates of soda bottles, the one-time standard weapon.

There were defences too, and they were the coir charpoys. “Two boys would hide behind each ‘khatiya’ and throw soda bottles. They would drag the khatiya along as their offensive increased,’’ recalled 40-year-old Yaqub Kaandi, whose window at his Qazipura house in Nagpada opened to such scenes.

Soon, swords and ‘awaazwala rampuri’ (a noise-making knife) were employed by the local goons to settle scores. Then, one day in 1980, Noora Ibrahim was attacked at Qazipura Mohalla as his cycle apparently hit someone. Some local goons ran a liquor den there. A few days later, Nagpada, woke up to the sound of gunshots for the first time.

“No one knew that Noora was Dawood’s brother. He was wearing a lungi and riding a cycle and a scuffle broke out. He was beaten up by the Qazipura men and his lungi was stripped,’’ said another resident who witnessed the fight as a teenager.

A few days later, Dawood’s men beat up Noora’s assailants and opened fire as well. “That was the first time a gun was used in our area,’’ the resident said.

Having seen such dramatic street fights, shootouts and subsequently police encounters, the people of Nagpada are not in the least excited about the current news involving Haseena Parkar.

Nagpada has on its south side Pakmodia Street, where Dawood was brought up with his 10 other siblings. To its north is Dagdi Chawl, the bastion of gangsterturned-politician Arun Gawli and jailed gangster Amar Naik. To its west is Jairaj
Gully and Shuklaji Street, where Karim Lala’s Pathan gang had a stronghold. To the east is JJ Hospital, which has treated several gangsters and even witnessed shootouts within its premises.

Dawood is not a target of hatred here. Quite the opposite. “He never troubled any one locally. If his men ate at our hotel and refused to pay up, Dawood would hit them if he was told about their behaviour. His dealings were in the big league. People like us were never af
fected,’’ said the owner of a famous restaurant there.

However, there are those who praise the passing of the gangsters’ era. On Wednesday, while seated comfortably in his garment shop at Surti Mohalla, Abdul Majeed was surrounded by stacks of clothes ready for sale.

“There was a time when we couldn’t dare to show so much material in the shop. The local goons would immediately demand money. Police encounters killed many of these goons and there’s a lot of peace now,’’ he said.

Nagpada was known as a secular place, with a lot of Hindus and Jews living together during the pre-Partition era. In fact, the neighbourhood derives its name from a Shiv temple in the area. The snake wound around Shiva’s neck lent its name to the place.

Novelist Sajid Rashid, who was Dawood’s classmate in Ahmed Sailor School, said, “Till around the mid-50s, Jews would sit on the kerb and drink kehwa (Middle Eastern tea). After Israel was formed in 1948, many Jews slowly started leaving India.’’

In fact, Gordon Hall, Haseena Parkar’s residence, was reportedly built on an erstwhile Jewish cemetery.
The Hindus of the Nagpada area started their exodus following the communal riots of 1984.
archana.sharma@timesgroup.com
mateen.hafeez@timesgroup.com



Haseena Parkar(circled)


The Times of India, May 24, 2007

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Catch her if you can


WILL THE REAL HASEENA PLEASE STAND UP? Haseena Parkar (left) and one of her four imitators outside the sessions court


Dawood’s Sister Makes An Appearance Even As Cops Couldn’t Trace Her And Speculation Was Rife She Had Fled City

Mateen Hafeez/tnn


By appearing in a sessions court on Tuesday, underworld don Dawood Ibrahim’s younger sister Haseena Parkar put an end to speculation that she had fled to Gujarat, Nepal, Bangkok, Dubai or some other place to elude police looking for her for a month.

When TOI visited her Gordon Hall residence at Nagpada later on Tuesday, she was offering the ‘magrib namaz’ after a hectic day in court.

By 5.30 pm, the Nagpada police received a wireless message to keep her under surveillance. Parkar was allowed by the court to return home, but has to show up in court on Wednesday for the hearing of her anticipatory bail plea. She has been accused along with seven others in a cheating, forgery and extortion case.

Over a dozen plainclothes men from the police station, Crime Branch and Special Branch kept watch in and around her building on Tuesday. A police Qualis was stationed in the premises of Gordon Hall. A team led by inspector Arvind Sawant visited her first-floor residence to check if she had returned from court. To queries, Sawant simply said, “We have been asked to keep a watch on her.’’

The Anti-Extortion Cell registered the case against Parkar and seven others on April 21. According to the cell, which is part of the Crime Branch, officers did all they could to arrest Parkar, but failed to locate her. A magistrate had issued a non-bailable warrant for her on May 10. Speculation was rife, even in the media, that she had gone to Nepal via Gujarat or was planning to escape to Bangkok. Crime Branch chief M C Borwankar said her personnel made every effort to trace Parkar

TOI had earlier reported that Parkar, a widow, was at Nagpada and had not left the city.

“My mother never left the city, even after a case was registered against her for extortion. She is suffering from diabetes, blood pressure and back pain and is resting in our flat,’’ said Haseena’s eldest daughter Qudsiya.

Qudsiya got married two years ago and stays with her in-laws, but she has been at her mother’s house ever since the case was registered. Several guests also visited the residence on Tuesday.

Qudsiya said, “The matter is sub judice and I don’t want to comment. My gradmother is bedridden and there are guests with my mother and grandmother.’’ When asked whether the police presence was a bother, Qudsiya said, “Let the police do their job. My mother is at home so we don’t have to worry about anything.’’

Qudsiya complained, “Even the media knows the truth, but they show anything deliberately. Some said my mother is absconding, but I would like to say that she is very much in Mumbai,’’ said Qudsiya firmly.


TIME TRACKER: HOW THE CASE UNFOLDED


A BROKER’S DEAL BREAKS: THE INITIAL CASE

Last year, while looking for properties to redevelop, 42-year-old real-estate broker Vinod Avlani identifies a plot in Wadala where he thinks a multi-storey building can be constructed. He approaches the slumdwellers there for a no-objection certificate

He comes to know that the slumdwellers have already given an NOC to Krishnamilan ‘Baba’ Shukla and his nephew, Sandeep Shukla

Some time before September 2006, Avlani approaches the Shuklas and gives them and six others, including Haseena Parkar and broker Chandresh Shah, a
demand draft of Rs 1 crore for the NOC. Haseena is the brother of underworld don Dawood Ibrahim

It is in Haseena’s presence, at her Gordon Hall apartment which is opposite the Nagpada police station, that Avlani hands over the demand draft of Rs 1 crore, police allege

The deal does not work out and Avlani asks for his Rs 1 crore back

He gets a demand draft of only Rs 70 lakh in return

Avlani makes repeated attempts to get the remaining money back. He finally goes to

Haseena’s residence. Police allege that when he asks for the Rs 30 lakh, Haseena tells him: ‘Yahan se nikal ja, nahin toh goli maar doongi.’’


On December 25, 2006, Avlani complains to deputy commissioner of police (Crime Branch) D D Kamalakar

No action is taken even as he makes several rounds of the crime branch

ACCUSED VS ACCUSED: A TWIST IN THE TALE
An unexpected twist occurs when Shah is arrested by the Anti-Corruption Bureau in April 2007 for accepting Rs 1.5 lakh from Baba Shukla. Both Shah and Baba Shukla are among the eight people named in Avlani’s complaint

Shah allegedly tells ACB officials that the money is for Crime Branch cops Anil Mahabole and Rajendra Nikam, to help make them go soft on Avlani’s complaint
ACB officials visit Crime Branch
headquarters and question officers for two days

The case is transferred from Crime Branch (Unit I) to the Anti-Extortion Cell, which is also in the Crime Branch

The cell converts Avlani’s complaint into an FIR on April 21

SURPRISE, SURPRISE: THE ‘ELUSIVE’ HASEENA APPEARS
Baba Shukla and nephew Sandeep Shukla, who is also among the eight accused, are arrested. The Rs 30 lakh was encashed through Sandeep’s account

Shah applies for anticipatory bail. The judge says he will hear his plea only after Haseena’s arrest

On May 10, a magistrate issues non
bailable arrest warrants for Haseena Parkar, Arshad Shaikh, Saleem Patel, Shameem Khan and Maqsood Ansari. They are among the eight accused. Of the other three, the Shuklas are already in custody and Shah has applied for bail

On May 11, Mahabole is transferred to Local Arms. Top police officials say it is part of a routine reshuffle of more than 40 senior inspectors

Police start identifying Haseena’s properties. Sources say the Crime Branch is planning to move court to attach her properties if she is not arrested

On May 18, a sessions court gives 10 days interim relief from arrest to Shah

On May 22, Haseena pleads for anticipatory bail in a sessions court

The Times of India, May 23, 2007

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Cops to question arms haul accused in Hyd blasts case

LET LINKS


Mateen Hafeez I TNN

Mumbai: Naeem Shaikh, an accused in the May 2006 Aurangabad arms haul case, had helped four Pakistanis board a Hyderabad-bound train from Kolkata in February this year. This was stated in a narcoanalysis test report conducted on Shaikh in Kolkata in April this year.

Shaikh alias Sameer alias Naiyoo (26), the 18th accused to be arrested by the Maharashtra anti-terrorism squad in the arms haul case, is alleged to have links with a Lashkar-e-Taiba operative Shahid Bilal. A native of Gujarat, Bilal is suspected to have masterminded the blast in the Mecca mosque in Hyderabad
on May 19. The Hyderabad police will soon take custody of Sameer to question him.

Sameer had allegedly revealed during narco-analysis that he had bought tickets and made other necessary arrangements for the four Pakistanis
to enter Hyderabad. However, when the police questioned him after the narco test, he denied having said these things.

Sameer, a resident of Aurangabad district, quit college five years ago while he was doing his Bachelor in Computer Science (BCS). He is currently in Arthur Road jail and has been booked under MCOCA.


“In late 2005, Sameer had gone to Jeddah where he met Amjad, an LeT operative. Sameer reportedly expressed his wish to work for the LeT and was told he would be contacted later on. In January 2006, Sameer was called in Kolkata and since then he was missing,’’ ATS chief Krish Pal Raghuvanshi said.

“He is not speaking about the people he helped cross the border. He says he never admitted during the narco-analysis that he had gone to Kolkata or Bangladesh. The Hyderabad police will soon take his custody and question him. He has been denying any involvement in other cases,’’ added Raghuvanshi.
mateen.hafeez@timesgroup.com


The Times of India, May 22, 2007

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Lakdawala still strikes fear among celebs

PORTRAIT OF A GANGSTER


Mateen Hafeez | TNN


Mumbai: While gangster Ejaz Lakdawala, 40, is untraceable, unidentified callers have been threatening film personalities in his name. Though no complaints have been filed with the police, several celebrities have approached the police for protection in the last one year.

Lakdawala, one of the most-wanted fugitives from Mumbai, studied at Bandra’s St Stanislaus school and entered the crime world in 1993 after he killed one Haren Mehta, following an altercation at a cricket match. He was arrested, kept at Arthur Road jail and acquitted in 1995.

According to a police source, Lakdawala has been threatening film personalities and attempting to recruit young boys, but has not succeeded in forming a team of extortionists. “The problem is that no one comes forward to complain,’’ the source said.

The extortionist has worked with all the top dons, including Dawood Ibrahim and Chhota Rajan. Police sources say that Lakdawala parted ways with Dawood after an argument with gangsters Abu Salem and Chhota Shakeel.

Soon after he left the Dawood gang, Lakdawala started terrorising Bollywood. In 2003, his men opened fire on director Lawrence D’Souza, who survived the attempt.

When he was jailed for the first time, he met Sunil
Madgaonkar alias Matya who fled to Bangkok and later gave Lakdawala the supari (contract) to kill Farid Rajji, an alleged Shakeel aide. Rajji was fired upon in his office in Goli Mohallah at Pydhonie in October 1996. Rajji survived the attempt, and Lakdawala was arrested and sent to Nashik jail, from where he escaped to Malaysia in 1998. He then joined the Chhota Rajan gang. After Rajan was shot at by Shakeel men in Bangkok in 2000, Lakdawala formed his own gang.

In 2004, he was arrested by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police in Ottawa, following a red corner notice against him. Lakdawala is involved in more than 20 cases of extortion, at
tempts to murder and rioting.

It is learnt that in November 2003, a man who introduced himself as Ejaz Lakdawala had called up a news channel in Mumbai and threatened to kill Akshay Kumar. In 2003, Lakdawala was shot at by unidentified men in Bangkok. He suffered serious injuries and was admitted to a hospital from where he escaped in June to South Africa.

Lakdawala uses Canadian and Malaysian SIM cards to make his extortion calls to celebrities and others, according to police officers.
mateen.hafeez@timesgroup.com

The Times of India, May 20, 2007

Thursday, May 17, 2007

14 YEARS 100 CONVICTS


TIME TAKEN FOR TRIAL TO NEAR CONCLUSION TADA JUDGE P D KODE WILL START SENTENCING THEM IN BATCHES FROM FRIDAY As Tada Court Gets Set To Sentence The Guilty, TOI Recalls Defining Moments That Put The Probe On The Right Track

Mateen Hafeez | TNN


It has taken the system 14 years to get close to punishing 100 of those responsible for Mumbai’s first — and, till date, deadliest — brush with terror. But it was only 10 hours of some solid detection work — blessed by some amount of luck — that set investigators on the trail of those who bled Mumbai on 12 March 1993.

Rakesh Maria was a deputy commssioner of police (traffic) then but had no problems in recalling the defining moments of the probe. “It was around 5.30 pm that fateful day when police police found a Maruti (MFC-1972) parked near the Siemens office at Worli. It yielded seven AK-47 rifles, four handgrenades, two timers, one zamzam water bottle (water brought from Haj), dates and a tasbeeh (used for prayers). Officials made a panchnama and the vehicle was kept at Worli police station,’’ Maria said. But it took them two days to realise the car’s worth and put it to use.

A Bajaj scooter (MH-04/Z-261) was found parked outside physician Mandot’s dispensary on Naigaon Cross Road two days after the blasts. Mandot found it suspicious and informed Matunga police station. Officials came to inspect it and found a black substance kept in the scooter’s hold. Very few, even in the force, knew much about RDX then. So the Bomb Detection and Disposal Squad was called to defuse the bomb. The scooter was towed to Matunga police station and, along with the car, later proved to be two key recoveries that solved the case. “I was present near the spot when the bomb was defused and was busy diverting traffic because of the huge crowd that had gathered. Little did I know then that I would be pressed full-time into the probe,’’ Maria said.

At 6.45 pm that evening, Maria was told to meet police commissioner A S Samra and joint commissioner of police (crime) M N Singh. “I was entrusted with the probe,’’ Maria re
called. A team, comprising 15 officers, met at the police headquarters at 8.30 pm that evening itself. “We
spected the car and were told it was registered in the name
of Raheen Memon, staying at Al-Hussaini Apartments, Mahim. I earlier had the zone, which included Mahim, in my charge. So I called up my informers and asked about the Memons. One of them said Tiger Memon, Raheen’s brother in-law, was a smuggler,’’ Maria said. The team then raided Tiger Memon’s flat.

“I was standing near a refrigerator next to the door when my elbow touched something; it was a Bajaj scooter key. I asked assistant commissioner of police (traffic) Bhaskar Dangle to go and check the key with the scooter that was recovered. Dangle called me back and said the key was the scooter’s,’’ Maria said, admitting he was “very excited’’ and a thought crossed his mind that the team was on to a big thing. Informers then told him Tiger’s manager, Asgar Yusuf Mukadam, knew all about the family. Mukadam was not at his Malad residence but, at 4 am on 15 March, he was brought to the police headquarters along with his uncle and aunt from Goregaon; his parents were picked up later.

“I told Mukadam we had evidence of his involvement and threatened to make him speak. That was enough,’’ Maria said. Those 10 hours, from the evening of 14 March to early morning on 15 March, set the pattern for the rest of the probe. Mukadam divulged the minutest details about the entire conspiracy hatched by Tiger Memon, the meetings and their venues, the boys who were sent to Pakistan via Dubai, the landing of arms and explosives and the money spent on the blasts. Mukadam also told police that Tiger had boarded an Emirates flight at 5 am on 12 March itself, hours before bombs exploded in the city. Mukadam also said filling of explosives in the 11 vehicles (six new cars and motorcycles were bought) started at 10.30 pm on 11 March and continued till midnight. He became the first arrest in the case.

THE BRAINS BEHIND THE BLASTS
Most of the blast masterminds are out of the law’s grasp

DAWOOD IBRAHIM KASKAR ROLE: Was the chief conspirator and financier of the blasts; he provided the bulk of the Rs 28 crore that went into planning and execution NOW: Is believed to be in Pakistan


TIGER MEMON ROLE: He was the one who organised the blasts at hoth micro and macro levels NOW: Alternates between Dubai and Pakistan


MOHAMMED UMAR DOSSA ROLE: Was one of the main conspirators; he organised all the meetings between the conspirators NOW: Lives in Dubai


ANWAR THEBA ROLE: He was one of the key planters who was left behind in India but managed to later escape abroad NOW: Is believed to be in Dubai


JAVED CHIKNA ROLE: He remained in India till after the blasts and led the packing of vehicles with explosives and later their parking across the city NOW: Is believed to be in Dubai





The Times of India, May 17, 2007

Cops shed khaki for big bucks in pvt companies


Mateen Hafeez & S Ahmed Ali | TNN

Mumbai: It’s perhaps an unprecedented exodus from the Mumbai police force. In the last 15 months, at least 110 policemen have resigned from the department, with most taking up jobs in private firms.

While the spate of resignations may be new, what’s not is that salaries of policemen have not increased in the last five years despite home minister R R Patil’s assurance on hikes.

Compounding the problem of low salaries are long duty hours and pressure from superiors, and it’s not surprising that the cops are opting for jobs with higher pay packets and incentives.

On Monday, the department accepted the resignation of a subinspector and an inspector through the Voluntary Retirement Scheme. Inspector Sunil Brahme (1983 batch), who was a reader to Krish Pal Raghuvanshi, chief of the state’s anti-terrorism squad, and sub-inspector Ajay Shinde, attached to unit-I of the detection crime branch, put in their papers.


Brahme is the first policeman of the encounter specialist batch to quit for a job in a private company. With an experience of 23 years in the force, Brahme would have become senior inspector next year.

Sub-inspector Ramesh Bhosale (SB-CID) quit on February 1, and his resignation was okayed on May 15. While the reason for the resignation of these officers has been cited as “personal’’, sources within the force said one of these cops was slated to join TataSky as deputy manager.

A section of policemen observed that the winds of change were rapidly blowing in the force. “Corporates pay six-digit salaries when they hire a police officer as a security or legal advisor.

“There is huge demand for police officers who have experience of more than 15 years in the department and have an expertise on legal issues,’’ said a police officer.


City police commissioner D N Jadhav termed the resignations as ‘purely an individual decision’. “I know several policemen have taken VRS but it was completely their choice. There was no compulsion,’’ Jadhav said.

Of the 110 policemen who have resigned between January 1, 2006 and March 31, 2007, 76 are police constables. A constable’s salary is between Rs 5,500 and Rs 7,000. Similarly, an officer with an experi
ence of around 20 years earns between Rs 10,000 and Rs 11,000. Several policemen also use the excuse of a low salary for accepting bribes. ‘How can you expect to support a family on this salary?’ is the common grouse.

Several officers who have resigned from the force in the recent past include inspectors Sohail Buddha and Anil Makwan. Both are now posted as vice-presidents of Star TV. Sources said MNCs were paying them salaries of more
than Rs 50,000. For the cops it means due monetary recognition for their talent and expertise.

Former IPS officer, Y P Singh who was posted as commandant SRPF resigned from the force and became a law consultant. The trend started with former inspector general of police, A A Khan, who resigned from the Maharashtra police to start his own security agency, Enterprises of Intellectual Property Rights (EIPR). Currently, EIPR has its offices in most metros across the country.

Last September, a private firm had advertised in the police’s daily notice promising cops huge salaries.

Several well-known police officers have also joined private companies after their retirement. These include assistant commissioners of police Vinayak Kadam, Ramakant Padwal and Subhash Jadhav. While Kadam is with TOPS, Jadhav is employed as consultant with Barclays Bank PLC.
mateen.hafeez@timesgroup.com
ahmed.ali@timesgroup.com




The Times of India, May 17, 2007

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Malegaon youth all set to join IAS

Mohammed Qaisar is the first IAS officer from Malegaon

Times News Network
Mumbai: Malegaon may be synonymous with communal riots and the clutter of powerlooms. But Mohammed Qaisar has sought to give the Muslim-dominated township, situated about 300 km away from Mumbai, an all new identity.

Born and brought up in Malegaon, Qaisara son of a loom labourer—has cleared the prestigious Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) exams, ranking 32nd among the 472 candidates from India. His ranking is bound to secure him a place in the coveted Indian Administrative Services (IAS).

What makes the 29-year-old’s achievement a truly commendable feat is the fact that he achieved success without any professional guidance, the comforts of a spacious study room or for that matter a wellequipped referral system or access to a library.

The absence of life’s luxuries is so evident in Qaisar’s dingy MHB colony flat in Malegaon where he stays along with 10 members from his family. It was his raw determination to prevail over circumstances which saw him achieve the near-impossible.
“It was my dream to clear the UPSC exams and I was determined to achieve it no matter what. I had cleared the written tests thrice but my performance in the personality
tests was not up to the mark. This time, however, I wasprepared and corrected all my shortcomings. My first choice will be the IAS,’’ an overjoyed Qaisar told TOI over the phone on Tuesday.
Qaisar, fourth among 11 siblings, opted for Urdu literature, history and physics in the main exams. Qaisar’s eldest brother is a lecturer with Bandra Junior College.

He did his schooling from Shaikh Usman Urdu High School and Malegaon High School and Junior College and completed his graduation from MSG College. “I could not get admission in engineering and, there
fore, I studied B Sc in Malegaon but continued studying for the civil services examinations,’’ he said.

“It is a dream that has come true. I have studied hard for five years and, with the grace of Allah, I have finally made it,’’ Qaisar added.

“My parents were a great support during my difficult days. I would study 14-16 hours a day and my father would bring all the necessary notes for me. My family stood with me even after I failed in the earlier attempts,’’ Qaisar said.

The textile town of Malegaon is known to be “riot-prone’’ and hit the headlines last September when four bombs exploded near mosques, killing 38 people and injured 297 others.

The Times of India, May 16, 2007

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Now, her kids go missing


Mateen Hafeez | TNN

Mumbai: After Haseena Parkar, it’s now the turn of her two teenaged children to do the disappearing act. A police team, which went to Parkar’s residence at Gordon Hall apartment in Nagpada on Monday, found that her kids had abandoned the flat.

According to sources, Haseena’s children, Ali Shah (19) and daughter Umera (17), continued to stay in the house even after the anti-extortion cell registered a case against their mother on April 21. “Ali Shah was busy with his exams when the police registered real estate broker Vinod Avlani’s complaint against Haseena.But now, though his (Ali Shah’s) bike is parked in the building premises, he is not in the house,’’ the sources said.

The children’s disappearance has only added to the problems of the police department which is already under pressure to trace the mother. “We are receiving vague reports of Haseena being holed up in Gujarat, Raigad, Mahad, Lucknow etc. Our informers are also giving us leads which we are working on. But it’s not possible for the Mumbai police to send teams everywhere to check if the information is authentic,’ a crime branch officer said.

When asked if the two children had fled along with Haseena, the police said they had no clue. The duo has been living with Haseena after their father, Ibrahim Parkar, died in a shoot-out on July 26, 1992. Ibrahim was allegedly gunned down by gangster-turned-MLA Arun Gawli’s men over an extortion dispute.
mateen.hafeez@timesgroup.com


The Times of India, May 15, 2007

Friday, May 11, 2007

Warrant for Haseena arrest


Haseena Parkar

SRA PROJECT ROW


Mateen Hafeez I TNN

Mumbai: An Esplanade metropolitan magistrate on Thursday issued non-bailable arrest warrants for five people, including underworld don Dawood Ibrahim’s sister Haseena Parkar, in connection with a cheating and extortion case involving an unsuccessful Slum Rehabilitation Authority (SRA) project.

The four others for whom non-bailable warrants were issued are Arshad Shaikh of A M Developers, Saleem Patel, Shameem Khan and Maqsood Ansari. Shameem is said to be Haseena’s bodyguard. All five are among eight of the people accused in a Crime Branch complaint made by real estate broker Vinod Avlani, who says he had been cheated out of Rs 30 lakh.

Of the remaining three of the eight accused, Baba Shukla and his relative Sandeep Shukla are already under arrest and in judicial custody.
The eighth person, real estate agent Chandresh Shah, was arrested by the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) in a related case and is out on bail. Shah has applied for anticipatory bail in the Crime Branch case.

Meanwhile, a senior Crime Branch officer has said that Shah had offered to return the Rs 30 lakh to Avlani in return for the latter withdrawing his extortion complaint. However, Shah’s arrest a couple of days before Avlani received the offer letter made him unable to go through with the deal, the officer maintained.

Avlani had lodged his complaint with the Crime Branch in December 2006. He said the eight accused had taken Rs 1 crore from him and promised to hand over documents for the SRA project. When the deal didn’t materialise, they returned only Rs 70 lakh, following which Avlani complained to the Crime Branch.

“Shah and the co-accused knew that the Crime Branch was probing Avlani’s application. By then the police had taken statements from Avlani, Shah and Sandeep Shukla. Shah then asked a lawyer to
send a letter to Avlani to settle the dispute,’’ the officer said.

According to him, the letter was prepared in the first week of April this year and was received by Avlani on April 13. However, by then the ACB had arrested Shah for accepting a bribe from Baba Shukla, allegedly at the behest of Crime Branch officers to shut the case.

“By that time the ACB had already arrested Shah and two Crime Branch officers, Anil Mahabole and Rajendra Nikam, were being questioned by the ACB,’’ the Crime Branch officer said.

Crime Branch sources said their investigations were at a vital stage and they were preparing to register a case against Haseena, Shah and the six others. They also said that had Shah not been arrested by the ACB, the accused could have convinced Avlani to withdraw his complaint.
mateen.hafeez@timesgroup.com


The Times of India, May 11, 2007

Encounters in the LOCK-UP

Custodial Deaths, Like Encounters, Deny Suspects Fair Trial And Deserve The Severest Punishment, Say Legal Experts

Mateen Hafeez I TNN
Mumbai: There have been at least a couple of deaths in police custody every single year in the recent past. But, if the police probes into those deaths are to be believed, not a single person died because of police torture.

Mumbai Police has completed probes into 15 of the custodial deaths that occurred between 2001 and 2006; all these deaths have been blamed on suicide or natural factors. Probes into six more custodial deaths that occurred in the same period are now on.

The men in uniform may have given their own colleagues a clean chit in all these cases but legal experts, who have dealt with both suspected criminals and officials because of the nature of their work, say it is never so simple. Most deaths in police custody are the result of torture. “Why should so many people, most of them otherwise hale and hearty, suddenly die of natural factors — or opt for
suicide — in police custody?’’ asked a senior criminal lawyer on Thursday. “Death in custody is perhaps the severest crime known to a civil society that claims to be governed by the rule of law. It, therefore, warrants the severest of sentences,’’ criminal lawyer Majeed Memon said.

Officials, however, insist the probes into custodial deaths are conducted impartially. “We always try for a fair investigation,’’ he said. But he, too, admitted that there would always be some suspicion as long as police themselves probed deaths in police custody.

But there have been instances, where the probe is not complete, of policemen being arrested or suspended after a custodial death.

Sub-inspector Pramod Pawar of the N M Joshi Marg police station was arrested by the crime branch on 19 April last year and charged with the custodial death of accountant Premnath Rao.
He was employed with a private organisation and was
arrested on 5 April 2006 for allegedly stealing Rs 5 lakh. Pawar was the investigating officer and Rao’s body was found hanging in a bathroom outside the lock-up on 6 April. The family alleged thirddegree torture and the postmortem probe showed signs of internal bleeding and injuries. The police said it was a suicide but the Bombay High Court ordered a second post-mortem probe that showed injury marks and bruises on his body and neck. Three others — constable Salahuddin Sayyed and assistant sub-inspector Pandurgang Gaikwad of the Agripada police station and a local arms division constable posted at the lock-up) — were suspended for dereliction of duty and negligence.

CUSTODIAL
SUICIDE
Cops, almost always, claim custodial deaths are just suicides

VINOD CHANDORKAR
Chandorkar was picked up by the Wadala police this February after his wife complained of torture. But, after he was found dead within one-and-a-half hours after his arrest, his wife alleged he had been tortured to death by cops. Officials did not say much besides stating that he committed suicide by hanging himself in the toilet.

SHIVKUMAR JAISWAL
The body of this 27-year-old alleged thief was found in a drum containing 300 litres of water inside the Mahim police station lock-up one December morning in 2005. But officials found it extremely difficult to explain how Jaiswal, more than five feet six inches tall, could drown in a water tank that was not more than three-and-a-half feet high.