Saturday, February 24, 2007

Samjhauta suspect left home years ago

LOOKING FOR CLUES: The parents of suspect Salman Ahmed live on the fourth floor of Topiwala mansion on Mohammed Ali Road

Had Been Held For Theft On Complaint By Parents, No Other Case Against Him In City

Mateen Hafeez I TNN
Mumbai: Salman Ahmed, one of the six Samjhauta Express suspects arrested in Bikaner, is a school dropout from Mumbai. He was a nuisance at home and had been arrested for theft in 1990 by the LT Marg police on a complaint lodged by his parents. Apart from this he has no record in Mumbai.

The Maharashtra anti-terrorism squad (ATS) reached his parents’ Topiwala Mansion flat at Mohammed Ali Road on Thursday midnight. The ATS recorded the statements of his family members. “They said that he left home six to seven years ago,’’ said an ATS officer.

Another person arrested is a brothel owner, Saira. Her husband, Taj Mohammad, a railway employee, is absconding since the blast took place. Salman used to visit Saira’s house for the last six years. Howev
er, the police are yet to disclose how Salman came in touch with Saira and her husband. It is also learnt that Taj Mohammed is originally from Mumbai.

“We have conducted a verification at Salman’s residence. He has not been staying there since many years and we didn’t find anything suspicious about him in Mumbai,’’ said Krish Pal Raghuvanshi, inspector general, ATS.

ATS sources said that Salman’s father, Abdul Sattar, had lodged a complaint against him with the LT Marg police and he was arrested on charges of theft.

“His relatives said that he used to steal things from the locality and when the parents failed to convince him to reform, they handed him over to the police,’’ said an anti-terrorism squad officer.

The family also complained to the police that Salman would beat up his
siblings at home. “They told us that he ran away to Ahmedabad around six to seven years ago and fell in love with a Gujarati girl. He reportedly married the girl and would come to Mumbai once or twice a year,’’ police said.

Salman, currently in the custody of the Haryana police, is being interrogated by a joint team of the Haryana police, military intelligence and the intelligence bureau.

When TOI visited Salman’s Topiwala residence on Friday, the corridors of the fourth floor were deserted. Most of the flats were locked from inside. The five-storey building is located in a densely congested Muslim area and flats here cost around Rs 50 lakh.

When asked about Salman, a woman in her mid-20s said, “We have nothing to do with Salman. He never stayed here.’’

The Times of India, Feb 24, 2007

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Beer man subjected to further tests

OPENING A CAN OF WORMS


Mateen Hafeez | TNN

Mumbai: While a section of the special investigation team (SIT) is struggling to collect evidence against suspected serial killer Ravindra Kantrulu to prove his involvement in at least seven murders, the accused was on Tuesday subjected to a series of forensic tests at the state forensic science laboratory in Kalina.

Kantrulu is believed to have told forensic experts at Kalina that he liked red colour and hated those who wore this colour. He further said that he wanted to kill his last victim at Marine Drive, but had to kill him on a footover bridge near Income Tax office at Churchgate after he argued with Kantrulu over going there.

According to sources, Kantrulu (36) was subjected to four more tests after his return from the forensic science laboratory at Bangalore. The tests included brain electrical oscillation signature, psychological profiling, polygraph and electro einspallography.

All the four tests were conducted to corroborate the information collected from Kantrulu during a series of forensic tests at Bangalore last week.

“The intention to subject the suspect to a series of tests
was to find out the motive behind the killing. The Kalina lab had conducted a brain mapping test on him before he was taken to Bangalore. These (recent) tests were just to corroborate the earlier information and tally the results,’’ said a police officer.

Incidentally, Kantrulu is the first person to be subjected to so many tests at the newly refurbished lab at Kalina.

“We have received the report and it will help us in the investigation. We are exploring all the angles and cannot reveal the content of the
report,’’ said zonal deputy commissioner of police Brijesh Singh. While narco analysis test is not admissible as evidence in the court of law, in many cases in the past the courts have accepted brain mapping reports as evidence.

According to the police, the last victim whose body was recovered on January 11 this year was a passive homosexual. A lot of the information collected at the Bangalore FSL was said to be corroborated during the tests in Mumbai.

mateen.hafeez@timesgroup.com


The Times of India, February 22, 2007

Monday, February 19, 2007

Religious bias made beer man target gays: Cops

Ravindra Kantrulu



Mateen Hafeez I TNN

Mumbai: The man suspected of serial killings in south Mumbai, Ravindra Kantrulu, alias Abdur Raheem (36), has admitted that he had killed many homosexuals because such sexual behaviour was condemned by Islam, said investigators.

Kantrulu, who is facing charges of theft and murder, admitted during a narco-analysis test that one of his motivations was the victim’s sexual orientation. “During the test in the Bangalore Forensic Science Laboratory, Kantrulu said Islam banned homosexuality and he hated people who indulged in unnatural sex,’’ said an officer.

Kantrulu’s modus operandi involved identifying pavement dwellers or vagrants who were homosexuals and then befriending them. “He would occasionally treat them to a meal, drug them and after they fell unconscious, would kill them,’’ said the officer.

According to Islamic law, men who indulge in sodomy
are liable to be stoned to death.

Deputy commissioner of police (zone-I) Brijesh Singh said the Bangalore lab was yet to submit the results of the brain-mapping, polygraph and narco-analysis tests.

Kantrulu, a Hindu by birth, converted to Islam around six years ago after giving up crime. Kantrulu had been arrested under the National Security Act in the past for his links with the Amar Naik and Dashrath Rane gangs.

Joint commissioner of police (law and order) Arup Patnaik said, “He has been a robber, gangster and police informer and knows how the police would try to make him speak. He would counter investigators’ questions and confuse them. He would talk a lot about many things but not about these cases.’’

Meanwhile, the SIT has sent two more shirts of Kantrulu for a chemical analysis test. Earlier, the police had seized a blood-stained shirt and a chopper from him after picking him up on suspicion.

Kantrulu was booked on February 6 for one of seven unsolved murders committed in Mumbai’s streets between October last year and January this year.
mateen.hafeez@timesgroup.com



The Times of India, February 19, 2007

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Serial killer being framed, says wife




Suchandana Gupta & Mateen Hafeez | TNN

Raipur/Mumbai: The wife of suspected serial killer Ravindra Kantrulu said on Friday that she fled Mumbai out of fear for herself and her children after her husband was made the prime accused by police in the south Mumbai serial killings case.

Kantrulu, who once worked for the Dashrath Rane and the Amar Naik underworld gangs, had attempted to leave his criminal past behind and became a paid police informer about ten years ago.

Anjali Kantrulu, 38, who is presently in Raipur, claimed that her husband’s knowledge of both the police and the underworld is what has actually got him into trouble. “My husband knows a lot of secrets about the underworld and the police. The police and the underworld ‘bhais’ are hand-in-glove. This is a conspiracy. My husband has been framed because he is a small fry who knew too much,’’ she said.

Anjali also said that she would speak publicly soon, but wants to meet her husband first. “I will speak out on February 20, but I need to have a word with my husband first. I have to meet him once. Can you help me?’’ she pleaded.


In Mumbai, a senior police officer involved in the investigation said that Kantrulu did know a lot about the police and underworld, but if the motive was to frame him he would have been framed by now. “We are taking our time to corroborate the facts and evidence in the case. The police do not frame innocent people,’’ said the officer who did not wish to be named.

Kantrulu, who is a prime suspect in seven murders, reportedly confessed to killing 15 people during narco-analysis in Bangalore on Wednesday.


The Times of India, February 17, 2007

Suspected Serial Killer Kantrulu’s Involvement With The Police And Mafia Was Not Known To Those Who Knew Him

TAKING THE LOW ROAD: The small alley in Dhobi Talao where Ravindra Kantrulu used to sleep on the street


Under a cloud of secrets

Mateen Hafeez I TNN

Outside the Baba Bahauddin shrine near Bombay Hospital, the people who run food stalls, juice shops and paanbeedi stalls have suddenly become interested in the day’s news. They buy English, Marathi and Urdu papers and discuss the south Mumbai serial killings. This may not differentiate them from most Mumbaikars, except that they regularly met the prime suspect, 36-year-old Ravindra Kantrulu, everyday for the past several years.

“We are recognising his picture in the papers and so we are reading the news,’’ said one stall owner, who like most people refused to be named. “But before this we never knew he had a criminal past or was a police informer,’’ he added.


Kantrulu, who slept on the nearby 4th Marine Street, had been visiting the dargah for 15 years so he could eat at the shrine where ‘langar’ food, which is funded through charity, was distributed. “He seemed friendly with the police, but only now are we learning about his secret life,’’ said Irishad Sheikh, a stall worker.

Regulars at the shrine are now becoming acquainted with the cloud of secrets under which Kantrulu lived. “Though we don’t know much about him, he told us he left home when he was around 15. He told us his drunken father would beat his mother and when he intervened he was also beaten up,’’ said Saleem Shaikh, owner of a shop Kantrulu visited twice a week.


Kantrulu studied at Our Lady of Dolours School, Marine Lines, before dropping out and selling fruits on the streets as a teenager. His father, Parshuram, was a peon at the school. “His father lost most of their possessions through betting, which upset his mother. She used to beg. Sometimes, Kantrulu gave her money,’’ said Chand Shah, a beggar who has been visiting the Marine Lines shrine for 30 years.


After leaving home, Kantrulu took shelter with drug addicts at Dhobi Talao and visited the shrine thrice a day for breakfast, lunch and dinner. With food being no problem, Kantrulu didn’t work. Several robbers also visited the shrine and one group befriended Kantrulu. Police said that he joined the Dashrath Rane gang and participated in at least seven crimes. “He knew south Mumbai well and provided them information. Soon he got a higher position in the gang, but was jailed for two years in the mid-1990s,’’ said a police officer.


In 1993, Kantrulu fell in love with a commercial sex worker, Anjali, and married her. They lived in a hut on 4th Marine Street. Later, he was arrested for attempted murder and jailed. In jail, he joined Amar Naik’s gang. In 1997, Naik was killed by police and Kantrulu was arrested.

While in custody, a police officer convinced him to lead a respectable life. Kantrulu was released on bail and became a police informer. “Six years ago, he converted to Islam and took the name Abdur Raheem,’’ said a shop owner near the Marine Lines shrine.


After his conversion, he started a fruit stall outside the shrine, but it was demolished by the BMC since it had no licence. His temporary shanty was also demolished when the road was widened. This led to a fight with his wife and she started living with her parents in Chhatisgarh more often.

Kantrulu’s attempts to reform through marriage, religion, becoming a police informer and running a legitimate business have now fallen apart. If he is the serial killer, then he lived a double life, informing the police by day and murdering at night.

Abdul Gani Shah, 84, who has been visiting the shrine since 1950 said he knew Kantrulu well. “I don’t think he has killed anyone. He would come here regularly, eat and leave quietly. He would smoke ganja or charas, that was all.’’

mateen.hafeez@timesgroup.com


The Times of India, February 17, 2007

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Narco tests confirm brain mapping results



SERIAL MURDERS CASE


Mateen Hafeez | TNN

Mumbai: Suspected serial killer Ravindra Kantrulu alias Abdul Rahim was subjected to narcoanalysis tests at the Bangalore Forensic Science Laboratory on Wednesday. Police sources said that during the tests Kantrulu admitted to carrying out at least four killings.

Kantrulu (36), who was arrested on January 22 on charges of theft, was officially booked in one
of the seven serial murder cases on February 6. A brain mapping test was conducted on him on January 29 at Bangalore. A report subsequently submitted before the police stated that the brain mapping test yielded a positive result.

The special investigation team (SIT) probing the seven murders in
south Mumbai took Kantrulu to Bangalore for the narco test on Monday night. Top sources in the police said that a set of questions was submitted to the forensic experts in Bangalore on Tuesday and the date for the tests was set for Wednesday. A team of four doctors led by Malini Subramaniam, assistant director, Bangalore FSL, started the tests at around 11 am. The tests continued for almost four hours.

Kantrulu was picked up for questioning in January and the po
lice have recovered a bloodstained shirt and a chopper from him. When contacted, joint commissioner of police (law and order) Arup Patnaik confirmed that a narco-analysis test had been conducted on Kantrulu. However, he refused to divulge any further information about the results of the test.

Kantrulu, former associate of slain gangster Amar Naik, is alleged to have been involved in at least seven cases other than the serial killing charges.

mateen.hafeez@timesgroup.com


The Times of India, February 15, 2007


SERIAL MURDERS CASE

Narco tests confirm brain mapping results

Mateen Hafeez | TNN

Mumbai: Suspected serial killer Ravindra Kantrulu alias Abdul Rahim was subjected to narcoanalysis tests at the Bangalore Forensic Science Laboratory on Wednesday. Police sources said that during the tests Kantrulu admitted to carrying out at least four killings.

Kantrulu (36), who was arrested on January 22 on charges of theft, was officially booked in one
of the seven serial murder cases on February 6. A brain mapping test was conducted on him on January 29 at Bangalore. A report subsequently submitted before the police stated that the brain mapping test yielded a positive result.

The special investigation team (SIT) probing the seven murders in
south Mumbai took Kantrulu to Bangalore for the narco test on Monday night. Top sources in the police said that a set of questions was submitted to the forensic experts in Bangalore on Tuesday and the date for the tests was set for Wednesday. A team of four doctors led by Malini Subramaniam, assistant director, Bangalore FSL, started the tests at around 11 am. The tests continued for almost four hours.

Kantrulu was picked up for questioning in January and the po
lice have recovered a bloodstained shirt and a chopper from him. When contacted, joint commissioner of police (law and order) Arup Patnaik confirmed that a narco-analysis test had been conducted on Kantrulu. However, he refused to divulge any further information about the results of the test.

Kantrulu, former associate of slain gangster Amar Naik, is alleged to have been involved in at least seven cases other than the serial killing charges.

mateen.hafeez@timesgroup.com


The Times of India, February 15, 2007

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Drug addict held in train-mugging case

MARINE LINES ATTACK


Mateen Hafeez | TNN

Mumbai: The Churchgate railway police on Monday claimed to have arrested a 22-year-old drug addict for injuring and robbing a saleswoman travelling in a local train at Marine Lines on February 4. The robber, who had hit the woman with a stone, was detained on Saturday.

According to the police, the suspect, whose identity has not been revealed, is a resident of Kalyan. “We had detained at least 20 people including drug addicts and history-sheeters but are sure that we have caught the right man,’’ said a police officer.

“We are collecting evidence in this case and therefore don’t want to disclose anything. It could hamper our investigation. We have made the first formal arrest in this case,’’ a police officer said. The accused is a drug addict and was picked up from the
Churchgate locality while he was loitering there. When contacted, Suresh Khopde, commissioner of police (Railways), refused to divulge any information.

A police team took the suspect to his Kalyan residence and did a thorough search to recover the stolen cellphone and other valuables belonging to the victim, Rose Kanjulna alias Aayesha Sarkar.


On February 4, Sarkar (26) who is employed as a saleswoman with the Lifestyle store in Lower Parel was attacked and robbed in a ladies’ train compartment.The victim said the incident took place at around 9.45 pm while the train moved from the Marine Lines railway station towards Churchgate.


The Times of India, February 13, 2007

It’s a win-win deal for beggars & businessmen





Mateen Hafeez | TNN

Mumbai: Nizambhai runs a fairly successful business close to Byculla bridge. His tobacco stall, located near the road leading to Nagpada, draws a constant stream of smokers and paan lovers. But that’s not really the secret of Nizambhai’s success.

A large chunk of his profits come from a surreptitious arrangement that he has with a group of beggars in the neighbourhood. They hand over all their earnings to him for safekeeping; he earns the interest but ensures their money is protected. “These beggars sleep near my shop. They hand over between Rs 200 to Rs 400 per day. But since I can’t keep all the money at my residence or shop, I’ve started putting it in fixed deposits. Whenever they ask for it, I give it,’’ he says.


The transactions are sizeable considering the shopkeeper deposits over Rs 9 lakh a year from the funds accumulated by the 13 beggars under his charge. “I earn a lot of interest but whenever any of them requires money to send home or to visit their native place, I’m prompt with the payment,’’ says Nizambhai.

The beggars, not many of whom are known to keep bank accounts, need to protect their earnings from petty thugs and beat cops patrolling the streets. It’s a mutually beneficial agreement though the shopkeeper does try to put an altruistic spin on the deal by saying, “They are socially ostracised, I think it’s my duty to take care of their earnings.’’

In the bylanes of central and south Mumbai, numerous small commercial establishments are known to maintain such arrangements. Farhad
Seth at Grant Road, who runs a Grade III eatery, says the benefits go far beyond the mere earnings on deposits. A steady supply of loose change, for instance, is among the perquisites. Farhad pays a 10% commission over the value of the change, and if the amount is large, say around Rs 500, he throws in a meal of dal-rice as well. He has been managing funds for about 10 beggars for the last seven to
eight years but prefers to park it in his savings account.

“Earlier they would come here to hand over change but after a while many of them began requesting me to keep their money,’’ says Farhad. The chaps who deal with him make Rs 200-400 a day. The experienced ones earn as much
as Rs 70,000 a year despite a couple of long holidays.

Barring a small portion of funds set aside for daily needs or things like bidis, cigarettes or liquor, all the money is deposited in the bank. “Sometimes they get smart by saying they had given me more money, but we maintain an account book,’’ says Farhad.

Paan-beedi shops, tea stall owners, newspaper vendors and restaurants also get the beggars they deal with to spend their nights outside their shops. This is to ensure a certain level of security. “We don’t need a watchman or security guard. Besides, they keep the area clean and are early risers,’’ say an eating house owner.

Lucky, who begs at a traffic junction in Mumbai Central and keeps his money with a shopkeeper near Mahalaxmi, says the relationship is one of trust. “On many occasions, I buy vegetables, cigarettes and other things for him. When I leave for my hometown he takes care of my belongings,’’ says Lucky.

The Times of India, February 13, 2007

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Brain mapping tests nail suspect in 4 of 7 murders



SERIAL KILLER?


Mateen Hafeez | TNN

Mumbai: Based on the brain mapping tests conducted on South Mumbai serial killings suspect Ravindra Kantrulu, the police now believe that he is involved in four of the seven murders which took place in the city between October 5 and January 11.

When contacted, joint commissioner of police (law and order) Arup Patnaik was non-committtal. Another senior officer said the bloodstains found on a shirt seized from Kantrulu matched the blood of one of the victims. Senior officers refused to go on record on the motive behind the killings. “We don’t want to disclose anything right now,’’ said an officer.

Kantrulu, a ‘reformed’ robber who lived in a shanty off Marine Drive, was first arrested on January 22 in a case of theft. Later, he was booked for a murder that occurred on January 11. The Azad Maidan police said the murder was committed on a foot overbridge near Marine Lines.


It was the last in a series of seven unsolved killings which took place between October 2006 and January 2007. In each case, the victim’s body was found either stabbed or
stoned to death. In all but one of the cases, the victims remain unidentified. Kantrulu was formally charged on February 6 for the January 11 murder.

The police have recovered the bloodstained clothes Kantrulu was wearing at the time of the murder. Investigators have also seized a chopper which Kantrulu allegedly used to kill his victim.

The police also say that Kantrulu’s handwriting matches that which appears on a slip of paper found near
the victim’s body on January 11.

A special investigation team was formed to crack the serial killings which had terrorised pavement dwellers in the area. At least 450 men, all selected from various police stations for their good detection record, were deployed across south Mumbai. Most of the policemen put on night patrol.

Police also picked up and questioned as many as 1,000 people including history-sheeters, drug addicts, beggars and pavement dwellers across the city.

Kantrulu, a former associate of slain gangster Amar Naik, was married to a former sex worker and had an eight-year-old daughter. According to sources, his wife had left their roadside shanty due to frequent fights. After he was arrested by the Azad Maidan police, she came to meet him from Raipur but left without any success. She claimed her husband was innocent and that he was not accustomed to drinking.


The Times of India, February 11, 2007

Friday, February 9, 2007

Investigators draw blank on fraud money

AIR-TICKETING SCAM


Mateen Hafeez I TNN

Mumbai: The investigators probing the Kingfisher airline ticket fraud has failed to recover the money the accused collected by illegally selling cheap tickets of the airline to flyers. The airline has reportedly suffered a loss of Rs 13.47 crore due to the scam.

The economic offences wing (EOW) has arrested two more persons, Vijay Ingole and Satyam Patole, taking the number of arrests to nine. However, the police have failed to recover a single rupee from the nine accused. The police have no clue if they had bank accounts and kept money in
banks. “An air ticket costs Rs 5,000. The accused sold it for Rs 2,500, and there was a chain of agents who were paid commission. They hardly got between Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 per ticket. We are interrogating them and trying to find out where the money was used or kept,’’ said a sleuth from the EOW. When asked whether these accused kept money collected fraudulently in different banks, the officer said, “Our investigation is going in the right direction and we will soon find it out.’’

Ingole and Patole are believed to have provided some vital information to the cops in this case. Ingole, a FYJC dropout, and Patole, a class IX dropout, are residents of Adarsh Nagar in Jogeshwari. They were first arrested by the NM Joshi Marg police station
for abducting a courier boy, Satish Pirmule, and robbing 37 credit cards from him. Pirmule, a delivery boy with the Elbee couriers, had identified the kidnappers when they were arrested. The accused had used 20 credit cards and did shopping at a few malls. The police recovered garment, seven mobile phones, gold and cash of over Rs two lakhs.

The EOW is now probing the involvement of three gangs in the air-ticketing fraud. The first group comprises of Imran Shaikh, Sameer Kasam and Surya Dobe, alias Pappu, who had floated an aviation agency, KGN, and later shut it down; the second gang is made of Ingole, Patole and their associates; and the third gang has Qayyum Shaikh, Nazir Shaikh, Arbaz and civil engineer Gulam Shaikh.

Investigations have revealed that the data of many credit cards used in this racket were misused by Qayyum, an employee of an Andheribased hotel, time and again. The data were later sold to the other accused who booked air tickets fraudulently.

As many as 15,255 air tickets, mostly of Kingfisher Airlines, were booked fraudulently. The accused knew the credit card numbers, their expiry dates and the CVV codes. They would log on to websites of leading private airlines and use these details to book tickets. The airlines would then issue an email confirmation, the printout of which could be exchanged for a boarding pass or a ticket. The accused would contact frequent flyers and offer them air tickets on a discounted rate.

mateen.hafeez@timesgroup.com


The Times of India, February 9, 2007

Wednesday, February 7, 2007

Blood-stained shirt provided first clue


LOOKING FOR EVIDENCE

Mateen Hafeez I TNN

Mumbai: It was a blood-stained shirt recovered from 36-year-old reformed thief Ravindra Kantrulu alias Abdur Rahim Malik which led the police to suspect that he was the man behind a series of murders in south Mumbai.

Investigators learnt that Kantrulu was married to a former commercial sex worker and had an eight-year-old daughter. According to sources, his wife, Anjali, had left Kantrulu’s roadside shanty at Marine Lines due to frequent fights. She and her daughter now stay with her in-laws in Raipur where she works as a housemaid.

During questioning, the police found that Kantrulu was earlier associated with the Amar Naik gang and was involved in at least six robberies. A Std X dropout, Kantrulu had drifted

into crime and for some time was also member of the Dashrath Rane gang. He had been arrested thrice but had given up crime a few years ago when he converted to Islam. This Englishspeaking vagrant’s profile intrigued the police.

But it took two days of questioning before they could claim their first breakthrough: Kantrulu led them to a public toilet at Marine Lines where an ironed grey shirt was hidden. “He admitted it was his shirt and we also recovered a chopper,’’ said an officer. On closer examination, the shirt showed blood stains. Forensic tests are now on to match the blood type of the victim in the January 11 murder case with the stains on the shirt.

The police are aware that the evidence available so far is insufficient to stick in a court of law. “As of now we don’t have any clinching evidence of his involvement in the case. He has been booked as a ‘suspect’ so that he could be kept in police custody for a longer period,’’ said an officer from SIT. He added that the police were yet to receive the report of the brain-mapping done on Kantrulu on January 29.

mateen.hafeez@timesgroup.com

The Times of India, February 7, 2007

Tuesday, February 6, 2007

Woman injured in robbery on local

Aayesha Sarkar with a sketch of the attacker

Mateen Hafeez | TNN

Mumbai: A 26-year-old woman was attacked and robbed by a ruffian who entered a ladies’ compartment which had no police escort on Sunday night, highlighting the rising vulnerability of women in the city.

The victim and her family have also complained that she was made to sit through nearly two hours of paperwork by the police before they took her to GT Hospital so she could receive medical attention for the
head injuries sustained in the attack.

Rose Kanjulna aka Aayesha Sarkar was attacked at around 9.45 pm on the Churchgate-Marine Lines stretch while she was returning from her shift at a shop in Lower Parel’s Phoenix Mill Compound where she works as a saleswoman.

While the thief escaped with her bag containing her mobile phone, PAN card and some cash, Sarkar, who had to later get stitches for the head wounds, could only manage to lodge a robbery complaint against an unidentified man with the Churchgate railway police.

The police have prepared a sketch of the suspect and have detained five history-sheeters.


There was no policeman in the compartment, says victim

Mumbai: Aayesha Sarkar, who was robbed on a Churchgate-bound local train on Sunday night, said she had boarded the train at Lower Parel station at 9.27 pm after finishing her shift at a shop in the Phoenix Mill Compound

“Three other women who were in the ladies’ compartment got down at Marine Lines and I was left alone. Soon after the train started again at Marine Lines, a scruffy man who looked like a drug addict entered the compartment and came towards me. Initially, I thought he was a beggar. I was scared and looked everywhere but could not see a policeman.

“All of a sudden, the man started hitting me on the head with a stone. I cried for help but no one could hear me. He even tried to throttle me. I then pushed him back and pulled the chain. He snatched my bag and escaped when the train stopped.’’

A passer-by on the road parallel to the tracks saw Sarkar screaming and bleeding. He informed the men in the next compartment. When the train reached Churchgate, the men took her to the Churchgate railway police and called her husband, Noor Mohammed, a taekwondo trainer.

“It was a horrible experience for
us. The police made me sit for two hours, recording my statement, asking all the questions, all the time ignoring that my head was bleeding, and then sent me to the hospital at a quarter to midnight,’’ Sarkar complained.

At 1.15 am on Monday, she was released from the hospital and, along with her husband, returned to the police station for a copy of
the FIR. “We left the police station at 2.30 am without a copy of the FIR as the formalities had still not been completed,’’ said Noor Mohammed on Monday evening, still waiting for a copy of the FIR.

While Sarkar is a Goan, Mohammed is Assamese. They met five years ago and married a year later.

Explaining the absence of a policeman in the woman’s compartment, police commissioner (railways) Suresh Khopde said majority of his personnel were engaged in anti-terror duties. “Foiling terror plans has become our priority after the 7/11 bombings. The trains are a soft target, so most of our men are deployed for frisking commuters, checking luggage and patrolling on platforms. We send our men to ladies’ compartments only after 10 pm,’’ Khopde said.

Special teams comprising a constable from the Railway Protection Force, two home guards and two Government Railway Policemen patrol round-the-clock on platforms, but such a team was missing at Marine Lines when the attack took place.

Khopde also said that for the 95 railway stations from CST to Karjat and Kasara and Churchgate to Dahanu Road, the entire GRP force has only 3,000 personnel.

Aayesha Sarkar


The Times of India, February 6, 2007

Saturday, February 3, 2007

Hotel staff sold info on credit cards

AIR TICKET FRAUD


Mateen Hafeez I TNN

Mumbai: Investigation into the online air ticket booking fraud has revealed that confidential information about several credit cards was misused by an employee of a city-based hotel. The data was later sold to the other accused, who booked air tickets fraudulently.

As many as 15,255 air tickets of Kingfisher, Spice Jet, Jet Airways etc were booked fraudulently. In a case registered with the economic offences wing (EOW), it was disclosed that Kingfisher Airlines suffered a loss of Rs 13.47 crore in the fraud.

The EOW found that two persons, Vijay Ingole and Satyam Patole, who had earlier been arrested by the NM Joshi Marg police for kidnapping courier boy Satish Pirmule and robbing 31 credit cards of ICICI bank and SBI, had links with the accused in the fraud case. The duo, currently in Arthur Road jail, will be taken into custody on a transfer warrant soon.

The police have arrested seven persons of two separate gangs involved in the case, including Imran Shaikh, Nazir Shaikh, Shabbir Ahmed alias
Arbaz, Surya Dube alias Pappu, Gulam Shaikh, Tanveer Aslam and Abdul Qayyum.

Sources said Qayyum was employed with Hotel Time & Again, Andheri. Police sources said Zubair Ahmed Chaudhary, legal advisor to Kingfisher Airlines, had lodged the complaint saying 15,255 tickets were fraudulently booked on the net and in each case, the gang had used a different credit card number.

Ingole and Patole, who are currently lodged in Arthur
Road jail, had purchased goods worth Rs 10.29 lakh in the previous case and later sold this data to Pappu. The gang had booked tickets online using credit card numbers obtained from restaurants, hotels, shopping malls and other retail outlets.

Sources said Qayyum, who was employed with the hotel at Andheri, intercepted the data through the credit cards given by the customers for payment. He sold the data to Tanveer, who in turn sold this information to Pappu. Investigations revealed that Pappu
later sold the details to Nazir and Arbaz at a huge price.

The two accused, Nazir and Arbaz, used the data to book Kingfisher tickets. The police got
verification of their involvement through at least nine IP addresses and found that the duo was involved in at least 16 such transaction.

Imran’s associate, Sameer Kasam who is alleged to be a mastermind in this case had even floated a firm called KGN Aviations, along with one Ajit Duraphe and Pappu to conduct the whole operation. Sameer would book the tickets from Galaxy Cyber Cafe at Antop Hill, Pappu and Duraphe would approach potential customers offering them tickets at concessional rates.

The accused had intercepted details of 15,255 credit cards, including their numbers, expiry dates and CVV codes.

The modus operandi was to log on to websites of leading private airlines and use details to book tickets. The airlines would then issue an email confirmation, the printout of which could be exchanged for a boarding pass or a ticket. The accused even informed their customers about tickets through SMS.

The Times of India, February 3, 2007