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.



Thursday, May 10, 2007

1857 A MALEGAON STORY

WEAVER’S NEST: Mohammed Toufique, whose grandfather migrated from Barabanki, still runs a handloom outfit in his memory


Mateen Hafeez I TNN


With its Muslim profile and powerloom economy, Malegaon in Maharastra is a child of 1857. Community elders who have been handed down tales of the slaughter that engulfed Meerut, Awadh and Lucknow, have not forgotten their Gadr origins, and with the 150th anniversary commemoration, memories are stirring once again.

Ninety-one-year-old Basheer Adeeb’s grandfather, Kallu Haji and his two sons Mohammed Usman and Mohammed Sultan, joined the river of migrants that flowed out of the United Provinces. Ironically, it was transportation technology introduced by the British, the railways, that helped the weavers and peasants in their flight. “My grandfather told me they used bullock carts and trains to leave Uttar Pradesh,’’ said Adeeb, who has written a book on Malegaon’s history. “The trains came up to Burhanpur (in Madhya Pradesh) and after that they had to walk. Burhanpur was the weavers’ first shelter town. Some stayed on, others kept on towards Jabalpur, Nagpur, Kampti, Shahda, Dhule, Malegaon, Yeola, Bhiwandi, and their last stop, Mominpura and Madanpura in Bombay.’’

Apart from the advancing bayonets of the East India Company it was also exploitation by the zamindars that the peasants wanted to escape. “The weavers did not even have the right to name their own children,’’ said Adeeb. When their wives gave birth a a child, the zamindar had to be consulted. He would typically brand the children with degrading names like Buddhu, Chhedan, Kallu, Kallan, or Khaddu. When the zamindar found out my grandfather had named his sons Usman and Sultan, he was furious. My grandfather was tied to
a tree and lashed for having the audacity to name his children on his own. This was the reason my grandfather decided to leave.’’

The migration did not take place in one single burst but was spread over years. Once a family reached Malegaon, word was sent back to those still in Awadh or Lucknow, telling them to join—
a family pattern that is still followed by migrants who flock to big cities for jobs.
It was not as if Malegaon had not existed before 1857. The local fort built in 1765 by the Marathas indicates it was already an important centre. However, its powerloom economy is a result of the migrant weaver population. Since
the first census was conducted only in 1881 (Malegaon then had 10,622 people) there are no pre-1857 figures to compare the expansion in population or to record the influx of refugees. Adeeb says about 75 families settled in Malegaon after the gadar, in the Sangmeshwar, Islampura, Rasoolpura and Belbaug areas.

Until 1857, there were only six mosques in Malegaon—today the town boasts 250, as well as the biggest Islamic education institution for girls and the biggest Muslim cemetery in the country, where the September 8, 2006 bomb blasts took place killing 25.

The most dramatic event in the modern history of Malegaon was the arrival of electricity in 1936. Today Malegaon has around one lakh powerloom machines and 80 per cent of the city’s four lakh population is dependent on this industry. But there are those who have turned their back on electricity and stuck to the old craft of handlooms.

Mohammed Toufique, whose grandfather migrated from Barabanki in UP after the mutiny, still runs a handloom outfit in Ramzanpura on the outskirts of Malegaon. “My father used to say handlooms should not be replaced by powerlooms. This is the reason I still operate a handloom at this age,’’ said the 77-year-old weaver, who supplies cotton to the town’s doctors for dressing wounds.

Electricity turned Malegaon’s weavers into merchants and businessmen and ushered in a wave of prosperity that they have never dreamed possible. Adeeb’s grandfather had arrived from Allahabad in his kurta-pyjama with two children. Today, Adeeb’s family has 110 members, they own several powerloom units and shops and one of his sons is an American citizen with a clinic in Texas. It’s been a long journey.



Basheer Adeeb


The Times of India, May 10, 2007

Wednesday, May 9, 2007

HASEENA HAATH AAYEGI?


IS ANYONE STAYING HERE:
This is the building where Haseena Parkar lives with her two teenaged children (above); the picture on the left focuses on her residence. Her Nagpada neighbours believe she is very much in the locality despite police claims she is untraceable


Mumbai Police, A Force Of 39,500, Has Failed To Catch Dawood’s Sister. But There’s Speculation She Could Be In The City


Mateen Hafeez | TNN

Did Mumbai Police lose a golden opportunity to arrest Haseena Parkar on the evening of April 21? Yes, say officials who have been following the extortion case in which she is absconding. A case was registered against Haseena on April 21 but she was unaware of the police move and could easily have been picked up that evening itself if those probing the case were interested, a section of senior officials in the force said on Tuesday.

Mumbai Police, a 39,500-strong force, has not been able to trace Haseena since that date. And reports in a section of the media, quoting public prosecutor R V Kini as saying that the force is under pressure “from above’’ not to arrest Haseena, have only added to the speculation that cops are
not interested in arresting her. That the judge in the case, A V Nirgude, also questioned the Crime Branch’s “seriousness’’ in arresting Haseena did not help matters.

All this forced Mumbai Police chief D N Jadhav to comment on the issue on Tuesday. “If someone tries to create pressure on the police not to arrest Haseena, they will pressurise me. But I am under pressure from no one,’’ he said. “I will tell the joint commissioner of police to find out who has beentrying
to pressurise the police and the prosecutor,’’ Jadhav added.

Deputy commissioner of police (detection) D D Kamalakar agreed with his boss. “We are taking all efforts to nab her. Our teams went to her residence soon after the case was registered but she was not there,’’ he explained. Embarrassed Crime Branch officials also got into the act, issuing a note saying they were under no pressure.

But the damage seems to have been done. Haseena’s neighbours at Nagpada, where she lives with two of her children at Gordon Hall Cooperative Housing society, say it is unbelievable that the police cannot trace her. They also feel that she is very much in the same locality.

“She is global terrorist Dawood Ibrahim’s sister. The Intelligence Bureau, the Crime Branch, the city police and hundreds of informers keep tab on her. Is it so difficult to trace her?’’ asked a 45-year-old man at Nagpada, echoing what the neighbourhood had to say about the latest round of drama involving Haseena.

A locality social worker, said to be very close to a section of the police, was more categorical: “I think some people in the force are afraid of Dawood’s anger and his political connections.’’ But a section of officials say the court’s observations have now left very little room for the probe team to manoeuvre. She, however, may not be shown as having been arrested from Mumbai, they say, explaining that it will give credence to all the speculation and allegations about the force going soft on her. “They may show her being arrested from some place outside the limits of Mumbai Police jurisdiction,’’ a senior official said.

Officials said Mumbai Police had arrested 2,539 extortionists in 1,549 cases since 2000. “Why is this one extortionist proving so difficult to catch?’’ asked one of them.

A real estate agent, Vinod Avalani, complained that he had paid Rs 1 crore to Haseena and her associates, including Baba Shukla, Sandeep Shukla and Chandresh Shah, but got only Rs 70 lakh back when the deal fell through. The complaint, filed on 25 December last year, was finally converted into an FIR on 21 April this year and named eight persons, including Haseena, as accused. Anti-Extortion Cell sleuths claimed to have visited Haseena’s Gordon Hall residence several times but did not find her. “We are trying our best to arrest her. You will come to know about it once she is arrested,’’ inspector Ramesh Mahale, heading the probe, said.


GODMOTHER’S FAMILY
Despite brother Dawood Ibrahim warning her not to get involved in police cases, Haseena Parkar has found it difficult to stay away from trouble

THE SIBLINGS
The 1960-born Haseena is the seventh of Crime Branch head constable Ibrahim Kaskar’s 11 children; Dawood is the third of the siblings.
Elder sister Saeeda passed away over a decade ago and brother Sabir was gunned down in 1981 by the Samad Pathan gang.

THE MARRIAGE
Haseena was married off to Ismail Ibrahim Parkar, a junior artiste in films, and lived in a 10 feet-by-10 feet room in Feetwala Chawl on Jairaj Lane near Grant Road; Ibrahim also owned a restaurant, Qadri Hotel, on Shuklaji Lane.

But Ibrahim soon turned to settling business disputes with the help of a mechanic and earned good commission; he courted trouble after he hijacked a “deal’’ from the Arun Gawli gang in 1991.

Four shooters from the Gawli gang barged into his restaurant in 1991 and opened fire. He tried to escape but was followed and shot to death. Haseena moved into a spacious apartment at Gordon Hall in Nagpada after the four-and-a-half months of iddat (the time a Muslim widow has to spend at home).

ANOTHER TRAGEDY
Her eldest son, Danish Ahmed, died in an accident near Mahad one-and-a-half years back while returning from an Ajmer shrine.

THE SURVIVORS
Haseena’s elder daughter was married to a businessman two years ago. Haseena herself lives with her two school-going children.

HER BUSINESSES
Haseena is believed to have bought a guest house, called Good Luck Lodge, on Peer Khan Street at Nagpada and stated it as her source of income; officials suspect she owns a guest house on Pakmodia Street but, in records, someone else is the owner.

Two commercial complexes on Shuklaji Street near Grant Road, registered in Dawood’s name, were sold to a New Delhi-based businessman during an I-T auction. Officials suspect that Haseena ran the show here. Tenants of these complexes, who are believed to have Haseena’s support, have refused to vacate the place even after the auction.


THE TWISTS AND TURNS
A property deal gone awry is what prompted the complaint against Haseena Parkar

THE COMPLAINT
Real estate broker Vinod Avlani was looking for properties that could be redeveloped.
He identified one plot in Wadala, where he thought a multistoreyed building could be constructed, and approached the slum-dwellers for the no-objection certificate.
But he came to know that they had already given the noobjection certificate to Baba Shukla and his nephew, Sandeep Shukla.

Avlani then approached the Shuklas and gave them and six others (including Haseena and Chandresh Shah) a demand draft of Rs 1 crore for the no-objection certificate.
But, for some reasons, the deal did not work out and Avlani asked for his money back.
Avlani, however, got a demand draft of only Rs 70 lakh.
This prompted him to complain to deputy commissioner of police branch (Crime Branch) D D Kamalakar.

THE COMPLAINANT
Vinod Avlani is a 42-year-old realty broker.
His primary job is to look for properties for redevelopment, mainly for the Ravi Group of Constructions; he is believed to charge a commission for deals that go through.

HASEENA’S ROLE
It was in Haseen’s presence and at her Gordon Hall apartment (opposite Nagpada police station) that Avlani handed over the demand draft of Rs 1 crore some time before September 2006.
Avlani got back Rs 70 lakh and made repeated attempts to get the remainder of the money after the deal fell through. He finally went to Haseena’s residence, where the original deal had taken place. But, when he asked for the Rs 30 lakh, Haseena allegedly told him: “Yahan se nikal ja, nahin toh goli maar doongi (Get out of here or I will shoot you).’’

THE CASE SO FAR
Avlani complained to deputy commissioner Kamalakar on 25 December 2006.
He then made several rounds of the crime branch after no action was taken.
The Anti-Corruption Bureau arrested Chandresh Shah last month for accepting Rs 1.5 lakh from Baba Shukla; both Shah and Baba Shukla were among the eight persons named in Avlani’s complaint.

Shah told ACB officials that the money was for Crime Branch cops Anil Mahabole and Rajendra Nikam so that they would go soft on the case.

ACB officials visited the Crime Branch headquarters and questioned officers for two days.
Avlani’s complaint against the eight was converted into an FIR soon after the ACB visit to the Crime Branch headquarters.

The case was then transferred from the Crime Branch (unit I) to the Anti-Extortion Cell.
Baba Shukla and his nephew, Sandeep Shukla, were arrested after it was found that the balance of Rs 30 lakh was encashed from Sandeep Shukla’s bank account.
Baba Shukla and Sandeep Shukla are now in police custody.

Shah has applied for anticipatory bail but the judge has said he will hear his plea only after Haseena’s arrest.
Haseena Parkar



The Times of India, May 9, 2007

Friday, May 4, 2007

High court’s FIR ruling may be ‘double-edged sword’




Fears Of A Cop-out


Shibu Thomas & Mateen Hafeez | TNN

Mumbai: When it comes to filing a complaint at your local police station, the all-important point is to get the cops to consider the offence as cognisable as opposed to non-cognisable. A cognisable offence means the cops have to file a First Information Report (FIR), which forces them to investigate and brings the case under the purview of the courts.

A non-cognisable, or milder, offence requires no such action from the cops. The victim has to themselves approach the courts for help in getting the police to start a probe and make arrests.

Now, a Bombay High Court ruling permits the police to delay deciding whether an offence is cognisable or non-cognisable, and instead first embark on a preliminary enquiry (PE). No time limit or other procedures exist for the enquiry.


The ruling has evoked mixed reactions, with many saying an already lax police force now has further reason to put off taking action on complaints. However, others, like public prosecutor Satish Borulkar, say the judgment will prevent the unnecessary harassment of individuals.
State director-general of police, P S Pasricha, sought to clarify by saying that the court ruling had bearing on only certain cases. “It means if the facts of a case are ambiguous and doubtful, then a preliminary enquiry can be conducted. Generally, if an officer feels that the facts of a case are not clear and doubtful, then he can conduct a PE before registering a formal FIR,’’ Pasricha said.
When asked why complainants in genuine cases sit in police sta
tions for hours while the cops on duty show no interest in filing FIRs, Pasricha maintained, “Let me first read the judgment and know in what context the judge has said this. We need to know the points that were raised before the high court.’’

The ruling came in a case in which two Thane residents petitioned the high court because the police wouldn’t file an FIR after they alleged they were asked to pay Rs 50,000 by a Bhayander senior inspector for a noobjection certificate for a passport.

A senior police officer, speaking on condition of anonymity, said that in most cases the police are reluctant to register an FIR.

“The new ruling will give the police more freedom to delay FIRs, especially because presently complainants approach senior officers when efforts to lodge an FIR fail. Generally, every deputy commission
er of police (DCP) receives at least four such complaints a week,’’ said the officer.

Sources said that in 2005, a 26-yearold man was robbed of his gold chain, mobile phone, cash and was beaten up near Mumbai Central railway station.

The on-duty staff at the Nagpada police station agreed to register an FIR only after the DCP called up the police station. The policemen took almost eight hours to register the case, delaying the matter by saying they were busy in verifying and scrutinising the facts of the case.

Criminal lawyer Mubin Solkar said the judgment is a double-edged sword. “It is welcome in the sense that it would prevent individuals from using the police to settle scores. However, it could be used by unscrupulous police officers to refuse to lodge an FIR even in serious cases,’’ Solkar said.

According to Solkar, police are normally hesitant to file FIRs for a variety of reasons. One is to ensure that the crime-detection rate of a particular police station does not fall. If more FIRs are registered, more cases need to be solved.

Cop-turned-advocate Y P Singh said the response to the judgment should be cautious until a full copy of the judgment is made available. “If indeed discretion is given to the police whether to lodge an FIR or not, there is a chance it would result in misuse,’’ he said.

Interstingly, former Mumbai police commissioner A N Roy had instructed all police stations to verify the facts of a case and file an FIR within half an hour. However, this was not done at the ground level.

What to do when cops don’t file FIRs
Mumbai: If the police fail to call an offence cognisable and do not register a First Information Report (FIR), there are a few options available to the complainant.

The first option is to complain to the higher-ups. The complainant can approach, in person or in writing, the assistant coomissioner or deputy commissioner, or even the superintendent of police, commissioner of police or director general of police.

A more potent alternative is to file a private complaint before the local metropolitan magistrate under whose jurisdiction the area falls. Section 190 of the Criminal Procedure Code provides for filing of such private complaints, and the magistrate can take cognisance of it and
order the police to investigate.

Complainants can also lodge protests before the State Human Rights Commission or the National Human Rights Commission. TNN


Why FIRs matter
The benefits of lodging an FIR are many. For example, the police do not need to wait for court orders to begin investigations or make arrests. The chief benefit is that an FIR makes the police answerable to the courts about the progress of a case. Even if the police feel that no offence has been committed, they have to still seek the court’s permission to close the case. The result is that the complainant gets a proper hearing before the court. “If no FIR is filed, both these recourses are not available to the complainant,’’ said advocate Y P Singh.


On A Police Chase
In 2005, a victim wanted to register an FIR after being allegedly beaten by a mob at Agripada. The main accused was a historysheeter, with at least 30 cases against him across the city. The duty officer and other Agripada police were aware of the reputation of the accused, but did not file an FIR. The complaint was lodged only after the victim contacted the police commissioner. By then, eight hours had passed. However, the police did not mention the name of the prime accused in the FIR until the complainant again contacted the police commissioner.
In 2005, a 26-year-old man was robbed of his gold chain, mobile phone, cash and was beaten up near Mumbai Central railway station. The Nagpada police agreed to register an FIR only after the DCP called up the police station. The cops took almost eight hours to register the case.


CBI model may help
While the police have been given the discretion to do a preliminary enquiry before filing an FIR, no time limit or other procedures have been specified for the same. The police have to only informally take note of a complaint and get back to the complainant later.
In this regard, cop-turnedadvocate Y P Singh points towards the procedure followed by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI). For the CBI, an enquiry is mandatory before registering an offence. The CBI has to officially register the enquiry, number it and send a copy to the concerned department. TNN

The Times of India, May 4, 2007

Wednesday, May 2, 2007

Chargesheet against ‘beer man’ ready

R Kantrulu


SERIAL KILLINGS CASE


Mateen Hafeez | TNN

Mumbai: The Azad Maidan police are likely to file the chargesheet in one of the seven murders allegedly committed by south Mumbai serial killer Ravindra Kantrulu, this week. According to the police, this is the first case where scientific evidence is much more than the circumstantial evidence.

Kantrulu (36), a drug addict and a vagrant, was on February 6 booked for a murder that took place on January 11 on a foot overbridge near Marine Lines. The victim was stabbed nearly 20 times on his chest, abdomen, arms and thighs. The killing was the last in a series of seven unsolved murders between October 2006 and Jan 2007. A special team of 450 policemen was formed to nab the serial killer.

The 90-day stipulated time to file the chargesheet will be over on May 5. Normally, the police ask for more time if the chargesheet is not ready within the stip
ulated time of three months. In this case the police have prepared all the necessary documents to be clubbed with the chargesheet.

Deputy commissioner of police Brijesh Singh said the police had completed all the formalities and the paper work was being reviewed. “We have done our investigation meticulously and professionally. This is perhaps the first case where the police subjected an accused to a series

of scientific tests to get the truth out of him. It would be a landmark case. We are going to file the chargesheet in the January 11 murder case,’’ Singh said.

The police have collected the reports of the brain-mapping test, narco-analysis, polygraph, brain electrical oscillation signature, psychological profiling and electro einspallography. These reports, along with the statements of witnesses, case history, circumstantial evidence and the accused’s statement, besides other evidences will be attached with the
chargesheet. The scientific tests were conducted at the Bangalore Forensic Science Lab (FSL) and Maharashtra FSL at Kalina. The police claimed that, in a narcoanalysis test, Kantrulu had confessed killing over 15 persons.

Though this test is inadmissible in the court, debate on whether forensic test reports should be made admissible in a court of law has begun. Last year, union home minister Shivraj Patil had said in Mumbai that the Centre will take initiatives to make forensic tests admissible in a court of law.

The post-mortem reports of the victims had confirmed that at least four of them were sodomised before being killed. The police are yet to recover the weapon Kantrulu had allegedly used for the murders. In each case, the victim’s body was found on a streetside, either stabbed or stoned to death. In all but one of the cases, the victims also remained unidentified. Later, the police narrowed down on him as a suspect in the serial murders and booked for three murders. Kantrulu is currently in Arthur Road jail.
mateen.hafeez@timesgroup.com



The Times of India, May 2, 2007