Tuesday, June 30, 2009

ATS will grill sadhvi’s aide in blast case

Mateen Hafeez I TNN

Mumbai: A state ATS team will soon head to Delhi to question Vishwa Hindu Mahasangh member Shailendra Chauhan (26) to ascertain if he played any role in the 2008 Malegaon blast case.

Chauhan was arrested by the special cell of the anti-terror wing of Delhi Police on June 25 in connection with the murder of a church employee.

Chauhan, the police said, was a close associate of Malegaon blast suspect Sadhvi Pragya Singh Thakur and was spotted with her a few weeks before her arrest in October last year. He was working for the radical outfit and had visited Mumbai two years ago, the police officials said.

The Times of India, June 30, 2009

Monday, June 29, 2009

Malegaon blast: ATS to make accused MP a witness

Mateen Hafeez I TNN
Mumbai: Nine months after the Malegaon blast in September 2008, the state anti-terrorism squad (ATS) has decided not to arrest former BJP member of parliament, B L Sharma (Prem) and several others for conspiring to engineer blasts across the country.

Sharma, who was elected twice from east Delhi on a BJP ticket, had participated in a meeting in Nashik on September 21, 2007, in which some of the Malegaon blast accused were present. The ATS officials claimed that they had sought legal opinion to book Sharma and the others but now they are considering to make Sharma a witness against the other accused. “Sharma and the other accused were talking about a bomb blast in a closed room. It was not in a public gathering, so we don’t think it’s a case of even spreading enmity between two communities,’’ said a senior ATS officer.

Those present included Bhai Dalvi, Ninad Bedekar and Malegaon blast suspects Swami Dayanand Pandey, Sudhakar Chautrvedi and Lt Col Prasad Purohit.

“We have recorded the statements of Bhai Davli and B L Sharma. We will make them witnesses against the Malegaon blast accused,’’ said ATS additional commissioner Param Bir Singh.

The meeting’s CD and transcripts are now part of evidence in the Malegaon case.

The Times of India, June 29, 2009

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Cops still probing if CCI chief attempted suicide

Cricket Club of India's CEO Kamaljieet Rajpal

Mateen Hafeez I TNN

Mumbai: More than a month after the Cricket Club of India (CCI) CEO Kamaljeet Rajpal (53) was found lying in a pool of blood at his Cuffe Parade flat, the police are yet to establish whether he attempted suicide. Rajpal was discharged from the hospital three weeks ago.

While Rajpal’s family claimed that the licensed country revolver went off accidentally while it was being cleaned, the police suspect that it was a suicide attempt. The bullet went through his mouth towards the head, causing damage to the skull. “If you are cleaning a gun, you need to have the stuff to clean it. In this case, neither the gun cleaning rod, cleaning oil nor pullthrough was found. Rajpal’s family insists that it was an accident. On what ground should we believe their theory?’’ a senior officer questioned.

The incident occurred
around 6.30 pm, shortly after Rajpal returned from the sessions court. Rajpal was facing a case of sending an obscene e-mail to a woman member of the CCI. Police suspect that he was tensed following the case against him and took the extreme step. “His wife Rita said in the statement that Rajpal went into his study and soon after, they heard a gunshot and screams. They found Rajpal in a pool of blood and rushed him to hospital,’’ added an officer.

Rajpal, who resides on the ninth floor of Venus building behind Cuffe Parade police station, was discharged from Bombay Hospital three weeks
ago. “His son, Survir, had given a letter to the police station seeking three weeks’ time for this father to give a statement. Survir said the doctors suggested that Rajpal should avoid speaking for at least three weeks,’’ said DCP V N Patil.

“First, we will record Rajpal’s statement to ascertain his intention. If it is established that he attempted suicide, we will register a case of attempt to commit suicide,’’ said assistant inspector Vilas Bhole of Cuffe Parade police station.

Rajpal’s 7.65-bore revolver was loaded at the time of the incident. He had one bullet injury in the head.

The Times of India, June 24, 2009

Police chief hints at intel wing for state

Mateen Hafeez I TNN
Mumbai: Police commissioner D Sivanandan has suggested starting a dedicated intelligence gathering wing on the lines of the State Intelligence Department (SID) to build a strong information network for the city police.

Sivanandan stated that he would use his SID experience to implement the plan. Sivanandan had worked as SID commissioner before taking charge as the Mumbai police chief.

“We need a dedicated intelligence
wing to fight terror,’’ the commissioner said. However, he did not specify the time-frame for the plan’s execution. “I am planning such a wing but it will take time,’’ he added.

Last month, the SID recruited the first batch of 50 assistant inspectors, who will be part of the intelligence wing only. They will work with the SID till they retire. They will have more salary than the normal police personnel. “I have just taken charge. Give me some time. I will do everything possible,’’ said Sivanandan.
The Times of India, June 24, 2009

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

New armoured jeeps give more teeth to police force

Mateen Hafeez I TNN
Mumbai: Home minister Jayant Patil on Monday handed over the keys of over 200 vehicles to the city police, including three armoured vehicles, as part of the modernisation of the force. He also emphasised the need for a helicopter for Mumbai’s cops.

The armoured vehicles cost about Rs 38 lakh each and can shield bullets fired from an advanced AK-47 assault rifle. Two more will be obtained later so that all five regional control centres in the city has its own armoured vehicle.

The other new vehicles include four buses, 20 jeeps, 21 towing cranes, nine lightweight vehicles and 160 motorcycles for patrolling. The total cost of procuring the vehicles is around Rs 4 crore.


City police commissioner D Sivanandan said 12 more buses would arrive in the city to ferry police personnel for patrolling and bandobast. He added that 100 police personnel were being trained to deal with 26/11-like situations in collaboration with security forces in every zone. They were being equipped with latest weapons for this purpose.

“We are training the squads so that they can effectively reply to 26/11-like terror attacks within an hour and send the terrorists back in body bags,’’ said Sivanandan.

Meanwhile, Patil emphasised that there should be a helicopter at the disposal of the
police, which would help them reach crisis zones swiftly. The government would try to acquire such a helicopter, he assured, adding that it should not be used by ministers.

Patil said there was a need for a squad with around 100 sniffer dogs and that the city also needed horse-mounted policemen so as to make cops
visible on the roads.

“Small teams of police officers will be formed and sent to Chicago, China, Israel and England to study the modes of investigation there. This will help us,’’ he said.

Two high-speed motorboats have been given to Raigad and Thane to monitor the coast and the next one will be given to Mumbai, said the police chief.

The home minister denied having received specific intelligence inputs regarding aerial attacks on the city.


Traffic cops get stick
Home minister Jayant Patil criticised the traffic police for “not having proper data and records”. “The traffic police need to maintain complete data and records,’’ he said.

ARMED TO PROTECT MUMBAI
Vehicle | Mahindra Rakshak
Cost | Rs 38 lakh
Speed | 80-90 kmph
Capacity | 5+1(driver)
Thickness of glass | 50 mm
Safety factor | Can protect against AK-47 bullets
Firing ports | 6; the convertible portion can be opened from the roof of the car and a standing guard can fire from there
Maximum horsepower | 76 HP

The Times of India, June 23, 2009

Monday, June 22, 2009

ATS to take fresh voice samples of blast accused

Mateen Hafeez I TNN

Mumbai: The MCOCA court on Thursday granted permission to the anti-terrorism squad (ATS) to take the voice samples of two Malegaon blast accused.

The accused whose voice samples will be taken are retired major Ramesh Upadhyay and self-proclaimed seer Dayanand Pandey. Both are currently in judicial custody.

“We had taken their voice samples earlier, but they were not clear. We filed an application in the court for a fresh
voice sample and the court has permitted us,’’ said ATS chief Krish Pal Raghuvanshi. He added that there was evidence of Upadhyay talking over phone with co-accused about the blast conspiracy.

The telephonic conversation between several accused in connection with the conspiracy runs over 400 minutes. “We will soon take their voice samples and send it to the state forensic science laboratory for tests. We do not want any loopholes in the probe from our side,’’ added Raghuvanshi.

The Times of India, June 20, 2009

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Hacking lands shipping co staffer in cop net

Mateen Hafeez I TNN
Mumbai: Hema Shah (name changed), employed with a shipping company was shocked when she got an email on her official ID in April this year saying the nude pictures sent by her were not good. To add to her horror, she found that the mail had come from her personal ID.

What Hema did not realise that someone had hacked into her personal ID. From this ID, the hacker sent nude pictures to Tamil Nadu resident Rajkumar Swami, who was trying to befriend Hema. Swami believed that the pictures came from Hema.

Wife of a police sub-inspector, Hema (31) lodged a complaint with the Powai police. On Friday, the cops arrested Vijay Pal Singh (33), an HR executive with a shipping firm who had hacked into her personal ID, and Swami. The police said Swami was likely to be made an approver.

In December last year, Hema
received an email on her official ID from sudha123452005@yahoo.co.in wherein Swami—without disclosing his identity—praised her beauty and said that if he made a film on Ramayana, he would offer Sita’s role to her. Swami had met Hema when he appeared for a job interview in the company where she worked. Hema replied to the sender’s ID asking him to not send mails.

Vijay, who by then had hacked into her account, began replying to Swami’s mail pretending to be Hema. In
April, Swami sent a mail to Hema stating that he did not like her nude photographs that she had sent to him and instead requested for her photos in proper clothes. “Hema was shocked as she had not sent any of her pictures to Swami,’’ a police officer said.

“During investigation, the IP address of Swami’s computer was found to be allotted to a shipping company. While examining Swami’s mailbox, we found that he had met with a minor accident on board and was to come to Mumbai for treatment. In all the
mails, Swami referred to himself as Sudha,’’ said an officer.

The police went to the company’s Lower Parel office and, following inquiries, learnt that “Sudha” was actually Swami. They picked up Swami who confessed to having sent some mails. However, the hacker was still at large. The police traced the IP address of the hacker to a shipping company’s office in Andheri where Vijay worked.

On Thursday, Hema received—on her official ID—birthday greetings from her hacked personal ID. Simultaneously, she received similar greetings from her former colleague, Vijay. The police got suspicious and questioned Vijay.

“This is a good piece of investigation,’’ said ATS additional commissioner Param Bir Singh. Inspector N T Kadam, assistant inspector Nasir Kulkarni of the ATS (cyber unit) and the Powai police investigated the case.

The Times of India, June 20, 2009

ATS to take fresh voice samples of blast accused

Mateen Hafeez I TNN

Mumbai: The MCOCA court on Thursday granted permission to the anti-terrorism squad (ATS) to take the voice samples of two Malegaon blast accused.

The accused whose voice samples will be taken are retired major Ramesh Upadhyay and self-proclaimed seer Dayanand Pandey. Both are currently in judicial custody.

“We had taken their voice samples earlier, but they were not clear. We filed an application in the court for a fresh
voice sample and the court has permitted us,’’ said ATS chief Krish Pal Raghuvanshi. He added that there was evidence of Upadhyay talking over phone with co-accused about the blast conspiracy.

The telephonic conversation between several accused in connection with the conspiracy runs over 400 minutes. “We will soon take their voice samples and send it to the state forensic science laboratory for tests. We do not want any loopholes in the probe from our side,’’ added Raghuvanshi.

The Times of India, June 20, 2009

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Govt took almost 3 years to recruit for intel wing

Mateen Hafeez I TNN
Mumbai: It’s almost three years since the serial train blasts rocked the city, killing over 180. Soon after the blasts, the state government had announced the setting up of a dedicated intelligence wing with 900 direct recruits. The government had also promised a 50% hike to officers of this dedicated intelligence wing. However, the first batch comprising 50 officers of the rank of assistant inspectors was selected only a few months ago and has been sent for training. This special wing will be part of the existing state intelligence department (SID).

The state administration has repeatedly drawn flak
over the lack of intelligence inputs and coordinated efforts to act on them even when inputs were available. Even the Ram Pradhan committee report on 26/11 has emphasised the need for effective intelligence gathering and dissemination.

A senior SID officer blamed the Maharashtra Public Service Commission, the body that conducts the exams for the delay. “The MPSC did not clear the test dates for almost two years. We made a special case and asked the state government to instruct the MPSC to conduct the examination.’’ the officer said.

Explaining the idea behind the constitution of a special wing, a former SID commissioner said, “We need a wing where officers are dedicated to intelligence gathering till the time of their retirement.” In most of the cases, those posted with the SID take a year to understand the functioning of the department, he said. “It takes these officers two-three years to establish a good network of informers. Just when the officers are beginning to pick up the ropes, they are shunted out of the department.”

Despite the city being targeted by terrorists time and again, Mumbai police’s special branch, once a premier intelligence gathering unit, has now become a dumping ground for officers who are facing inquiries. “The special branch is now considered as a side posting,” said an officer.

The Times of India, June 18,m 2009

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Rape was violent, say police

IN FRONT OF THE LENS FOR THE WRONG REASON: The script has gone awry for actor Shiney Ahuja after his maid levelled allegations of rape against him

Cops Say Med Report Of Shiney Ahuja’s Maid Confirms Sexual Assault. Actor Says Sex Was Consensual

Vijay V Singh & Mateen Hafeez | TNN

Mumbai: While Oshiwara police said on Tuesday that actor Shiney Ahuja has said he made a “mistake’’ by having “consensual sex’’ with the maid who has levelled allegations of rape against him, they also said that the teenaged girl has described a “violent’’ and traumatic scene.

Meanwhile, Oshiwara police officers confirmed that they have received a report from the Nagpada police hospital saying that medical tests show the girl was sexually assaulted. However, while the girl had injuries on her private parts, indicating forcible sex, there was no evidence of injuries elsewhere on her body.

According to a senior police officer, the victim was allegedly hit by Ahuja while she was resisting him. An officer said, “As per her statement to us, Ahuja became so desperate that he hit her. He pinned her hands down and raped her. She felt severe pain in her private parts after the alleged rape.’’

The officer further stated that the victim told the police that her condition was so bad that she could not get up for almost half-an-hour after the incident. The officer said that what the girl described was a “violent rape’’. When the girl first came to the police station, “she looked completely shattered, just like what a rape victim would go through’’, said the officer.

Bollywood actor Shiney Ahuja’s maid has accused him of raping her on Sunday, when the two were alone at home. Ahuja has been remanded to police custody till Thursday.

The police on Tuesday also recorded the statement of another maidservant working at the actor’s house, who de
scribed Ahuja as a “good person’’. This maid, who had left the house about two hours before the alleged incident, reportedly gave a statement in favour of the actor.

An interrogator said that Ahuja has told the police that “he made a mistake, but with the girl’s consent’’. However, the interrogator added that the police have enough evidence to prove Ahuja guilty of rape. Ahuja has also been arrested for wrongful confinement and giving a death threat.

While the actor regretted what had happened and told interrogators that the sex was consensual, police said he had no reply to why the alleged victim filed a rape complaint. When the police asked him why the girl filed a case, Ahuja reportedly said, “I don’t know.’’

Zonal deputy commissioner of police Niket Kaushik said, “We have re
ceived the medical report from the police hospital, which supports the FIR. The report also indicates the victim’s age as being 17 to 18 years. We are going to conduct an age determination test to find out her exact age.’’

The girl reportedly broke down twice while giving her statement to the police on Sunday evening. She was accompanied by a family mem
ber to whom she was taken after the alleged incident by a lady who got her the job at the Ahujas’ house. Police said the girl was too traumatised to speak. “She found it difficult to explain what happened because she was going through trauma. The actor never thought she would be able to lodge a complaint against him,’’ the source said.

The Times of India, June 17, 2009

Actor runs away barefoot from cameras

Mateen Hafeez & Bharti Dubey | TNN

Mumbai: Bollywood actor Shiney Ahuja is not keen on being in front of the cameras right now. On Tuesday afternoon, when the police brought him to the Oshiwara police station from the Santa Cruz lock-up, a barefooted and hooded Ahuja sped away from waiting cameras and into the confines of the interrogation room.

The Oshiwara police had brought him for interrogation in a hired autorickshaw from the Santa Cruz police lock-up. The actor hid from the media
and jumped out of the auto even before the driver had brought the vehicle to a halt within the premises of the police station. He then desperately sped into the interrogation room in bare feet and with the hood over his head.

Police said a depressed Ahuja has yet to come to terms with the situation he is in. He did not eat anything on Monday night. A source said, “All he did was drink mineral water. He has been wearing the same clothes
since Sunday evening.’’

Ahuja, who was arrested on Monday on charges of raping his maidservant, was kept on Monday night in a deserted room at the Santa Cruz police lock-up. Though the designated lock-up for suspects is at the Andheri police station, the police decided to secretly keep him at Santa Cruz to avoid the media glare.


There are four to five small rooms on the first floor of the Santa Cruz police station, which are used as lock-ups. Actor Salman Khan has also spent some time there during his arrest in the hitand-run case.

“Though in
mates are kept together in various cells according to the capacity of the rooms, Ahuja was kept alone in a room. It neither had a light nor a fan. Generally, lock-ups do not have fans since there have been cases of suicide by hanging in lock-ups,’’ said an officer.

Ahuja was offered two cup of tea and pav on Tuesday morning. During the day, an inmate must be given dal, rice and sabzi, according to the police manual. The meal is similar at night.

The Times of India, June 17, 2009

Actor runs away barefoot from cameras



Mumbai: Bollywood actor Shiney Ahuja is not keen on being in front of the cameras right now. On Tuesday afternoon, when the police brought him to the Oshiwara police station from the Santa Cruz lock-up, a barefooted and hooded Ahuja sped away from waiting cameras and into the confines of the interrogation room.

The Oshiwara police had brought him for interrogation in a hired autorickshaw from the Santa Cruz police lock-up. The actor hid from the media
and jumped out of the auto even before the driver had brought the vehicle to a halt within the premises of the police station. He then desperately sped into the interrogation room in bare feet and with the hood over his head.

Police said a depressed Ahuja has yet to come to terms with the situation he is in. He did not eat anything on Monday night. A source said, “All he did was drink mineral water. He has been wearing the same clothes
since Sunday evening.’’

Ahuja, who was arrested on Monday on charges of raping his maidservant, was kept on Monday night in a deserted room at the Santa Cruz police lock-up. Though the designated lock-up for suspects is at the Andheri police station, the police decided to secretly keep him at Santa Cruz to avoid the media glare.


There are four to five small rooms on the first floor of the Santa Cruz police station, which are used as lock-ups. Actor Salman Khan has also spent some time there during his arrest in the hitand-run case.

“Though in
mates are kept together in various cells according to the capacity of the rooms, Ahuja was kept alone in a room. It neither had a light nor a fan. Generally, lock-ups do not have fans since there have been cases of suicide by hanging in lock-ups,’’ said an officer.

Ahuja was offered two cup of tea and pav on Tuesday morning. During the day, an inmate must be given dal, rice and sabzi, according to the police manual. The meal is similar at night.

The Times of India, June 17, 2009

Monday, June 15, 2009

Actor Shiney Ahuja’s maid accuses him of raping her

Actor Shiney Ahuja was arrested on June 15, 2009 for raping his maid

Mateen Hafeez & Vijay V Singh | TNN

Mumbai: The Oshiwara police on Sunday evening detained Bollywood actor Shiney Ahuja for questioning in connection with a rape case. Ahuja’s teenaged domestic maid lodged an FIR against the actor alleging that he had raped her while they were alone in the actor’s flat on Sunday afternoon. Police sources said Ahuja was likely to be arrested on Monday.

The 18-year-old maid (name withheld) has been working with Ahuja (36) for the last one-and-a-half months, said police sources. “She approached the Oshiwara police at around 7 pm and told the police that Ahuja had raped her,’’ said Amitabh Gupta, additional commissioner of police.

The complainant told the police that she had come for domestic work to Ahuja’s flat. The actor’s wife was not at home. “He took me into his bedroom, gagged and raped me,’’ the victim reportedly said in the FIR. The alleged incident took place between 3 pm and 5 pm on Sunday. “The complainant told the police that she was traumatised after the incident and went to her relatives’ place. Her relatives took her to the police station,’’ said DCP Niket Kaushik.

Soon after the complaint was registered, the girl was sent to the Nagpada police hospital for a medical examination. The preliminary report of the examination is expected to come on Monday morning. Police officers said that they were yet to verify the complainant’s age.

‘Cop told me it was consensual sex’
After the complaint was registered, a police team went to actor Shiney Ahuja’s flat and called him for inquiry, said an officer. Ahuja (36), is married and has a one-yearold daughter. He has acted in films like Hazaaron Khwaishein Aisi, Gangster and Hijack.

Mahesh Bhatt, who produced Gangster, said, “This is a body blow to me. I spoke to a top police official who told me that he was informed by his juniors at Oshiwara that Shiney claimed that he had sex with the consent of the maid. However, she has claimed that she was forced into it. The police officer added that they had to accept the woman’s version. I had spoken to Shiney only yesterday. If he is found guilty of rape, we have to condemn him.’’

The Times of India, June 15, 2009

Sivanandan was a key architect of MCOCA

HANDING OVER THE REINS: Hasan Gafoor (right) and new police chief D Sivanandan on Sunday

DSivanandan’s appointment as Mumbai police chief comes as little surprise to many at a time when a firm hand is needed in the force. He, after all, is credited to a large extent with getting the state its stringent and dreaded anti-underworld law, the Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act (MCOCA).

Sivanandan was joint police commissioner (crime) in Mumbai when M N Singh was police chief. The draconian law Terrorist and Disruptive Activities (Prevention) Act (Tada) had lapsed in 1995 and extortion was on the rise. Only the ordinary Indian
Penal Code (IPC) was available as legal arsenal.

City businessmen were so fed up and at their wits’ end that they even celebrated a Black Diwali, which some say hastened the promulgation of MCOCA in 1999 to counter organised crime and acts of terror. Sivanandan was one of the key architects of the law that 10 years on is still going strong. The first case in which MCOCA was invoked involved the armed attack on former Mumbai mayor Milind Vaidya. It ended with the guilty assailant getting a death sentence. —Swati Deshpande | TNN

Real to reel
Some highlights from D Sivanandan’s two-and-ahalf-year crime branch tenure beginning in 1998:
More than 200 gangsters and criminals killed Film financier Bharat Shah arrested, but later acquitted of MCOCA charge Lead role in Ram Gopal Varma’s ‘Company’ is based on Sivanandan’s Crime Branch stint

The Times of India, June 15, 2009

Gangsters’ bane takes up war on terror

Over 200 Criminals Were Killed During Sivanandan’s Reign At The Crime Branch. As Police Chief, He Has A New Enemy

Mateen Hafeez | TNN

Mumbai: “If there is a 26/11-like terror attack, you will see a befitting reply from us. I will promise less and deliver more,’’ said a confident D Sivanandan after taking charge as Mumbai’s 34th police commissioner on Sunday.

An IPS officer of the 1976 batch, Sivanandan took charge from his predecessor Khwaja Hasan Gafoor at 12 noon at city police headquarters near Crawford Market. “The challenge before us is to combat terrorism. The city has earlier suffered in 1993 (serial blasts), 2003 (twin blasts) and 2006 (7/11 blasts) and tackling terrorism is on my agenda,’’ said the Tamil Nadu-born officer. Besides this, Sivanandan stated that the protection of women and minorities, especially Muslims, Christians and Dalits, would be given special attention.


Young women were mo lested in two separate New Year Eve incidents at the Gateway of India in 2006 and outside a five-star hotel in the western suburbs in 2007. The attacks had led to a public outcry and questions being raised about the safety of women in the city.

Sivanandan called for interaction between the citizens and police. “We want citizens’ help in building a safe Mumbai. The responsibility of your safety is mine,’’ said Sivanandan.

He said a web site would be started to to be in touch with citizens, especially youth. “I want to start a web site for citizens and will try to interact with them. We will also try to control the use of drugs by students in colleges. We have to give them a secure and bright future. I am also thinking of doing something for street children. I am fond of them,’’ the new police chief said.

Talking to the media, the new commissioner insisted that there was no factionalism in the police force. “I have been given this hot seat and will try to make some changes. There is one command, one leader and one force,’’ he added.

Sivanandan, who has served for six years in the intelligence bureau, stated that his primary focus would be intelligence gathering. “Even a hawaldar has a good network and we need to utilise that. We will give you results, do
not ask us to demonstrate how we do it,’’ he stated.

When asked about the underworld, the police chief said, “The underworld is not a serious issue now.’’ Sivanandan was crime branch chief in the late 1990s when more than 200 hardened

gangsters and criminals were shot dead in over two years. Moreover, during his period, the stringent Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act was implemented. When asked whether he would reinstate the encounter specialists’ squad, Sivanandan said, “We
will think about it only if it is required. It will be need based.’’

Sivanandan also spoke about police
health programmes. “We will try to improve hospital facilities. I will study the matter and try to bring about improvement,’’ he added. In 2005, over 60 hospitals were already roped in to give police free treatment, however a police maternity hospital in Worli has been shut for over eight years.

Sivanandan said that the force has to be transparent for tackling corruption. “Cleaning your own house is one’s responsibility,’’ he said. The police chief said that he would also review the cases of suspended police personnel and see if they can be reinstated according to law.

He said new equipment is being purchased for the city police and his force would show the results to Mumbaikars.


26/11 FALLOUT HITS GAFOOR
Conclusions Of The Pradhan Committee Report

Mumbai police commissioner Hasan Gafoor failed to show qualities of leadership
Gafoor did not implement measures laid out in the Bombay Police Manual


Anti-Terrorism Squad’s functioning was confused as it had more than one boss, the DGP
and police chief
Intel reports were processed at the state level mechanically
Taj and Oberoi did not taken sufficient note of prior warnings
Joint commissioner of police (crime) Rakesh Maria took charge of the situation
DCPs Vishwas Nagre-Patil and Rajvardhan Sinha showed courage during the attack on the Taj
State DGP Roy coordinated well between state and police officials

Recommendations
Establish effective coordination between central and state intelligence wings Establish better coordination between DGP’s office and state home department Post special officers in the government and the DGP’s office for 26/11-like situations Post a DCP-level officer to coordinate between the private sector and government on security matters
The Times of India, June 15, 2009

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Meet Mumbai’s New Police Commissioner


Mateen Hafeeez & S Ahmed Ali I TNN
Tamil Nadu-born IPS officer D Sivanandan, who had a two-year stint in Mumbai as joint commissioner of police (crime) in 1998, has been crowned the new city police commissioner. Prior to this, he was state intelligence chief. An IPS officer from the 1976 batch, Sivanandan is known for the record number of encounters during his tenure as the head of the crime branch in the city. During his two year tenure as crime branch chief, over 200 criminals and gangsters were shot dead in police encounters.

It was also during his reign when the crime branch arrested sessions court judge J W Singh under MCOCA. The judge was later acquitted by the court. Sivanandan, known to be media
savvy, also made headlines when he claimed to have cracked down on the Bollywood-underworld nexus with the arrest of film financer and diamond merchant Bharat Shah in 2000. The police also arrested incarcerated film producer Nasim Rizvi and Chhota Shakeel aide Allah Baksh. However, in this case, too, the court acquitted Shah of the MCOCA charges levelled against him.

His seizure of a huge consignment of arms and ammunition from a flat in Jogeshwari based on information provided by Directorate of Revenue Intelligence was another feather in his cap.
In 2001, Sivanandan worked with the CBI as joint director. He was then assigned to Nagpur as police commissioner, but had to face censure from the state government after a mob killed a rapist in Nagpur.


After Nagpur, he was assigned to Thane as police commissioner. Here, he faced the ire of the Muslim community when the police fired on a mob in Bhiwandi, killing two people. The IPS officer has also been immortalised in Ram Gopal Varma’s film Company. The plot revolved around the underworld, and the lead role was based on Sivanandan’s tenure in the crime branch. Before joining the force, he was a teacher in Tamil Nadu.

The Times of India, June 14, 2009

Safety and security is my priority: Sivanandan

New police commissioner D Sivanandan

Mateen Hafeez I TNN
Mumbai: In an interview with TOI, newly appointed city police commissioner D Sivanandan emphasised the need for safety and security in Mumbai. This, he said, would be his top priority.

Sivanandan, an IPS officer of the 1976 batch, will replace Khwaja Hasan Gafoor. “Tackling terrorism and giving Mumbaikars a sense of security is top on my agenda. We will leave no stone unturned, and will make every effort to ensure that citizens are safe.’’ said the Tamil Nadu-born officer, adding that he hopes to ensure an immediate police response to citizens’ complaints.

Prior to this, Sivanandan headed the State Intelligence Department (SID). “Plans for security are already in place, we have to implement them. The city police force is one of the best teams in the country, and we will try our level best to make Mumbai a safe place,’’ he added. “I will give you the complete details of my agenda once I take charge.’’

Sivanandan is expected to take charge on Sunday.

The Times of India, June 14, 2009

Force divided over transfer

Outgoing police commissioner Khwaja Hasan Gafoor

Some Officers Blame Gafoor For 26/11 Lack Of Leadership, Others Say He Is A Scapegoat

Mateen Hafeez I TNN
Mumbai: There were differing opinions from both retired and serving police officers on the transfer of city police commissioner Hasan Gafoor. While a section of the police force said that Gafoor drew flak for the inadequate way the police responded to the 26/11 terror attacks, others felt that he was being made a scapegoat. “There were other senior officers who came under criticism, but were treated mildly,’’ said a police officer.

Another senior police officer was of the opinion that Gafoor had failed to act as a leader dur
ing the attack. “The team was on the field and instructions were coming in bits and pieces. Besides, after the attack, there was no debriefing session for the officers. There was also no attempt to prepare a vision for the future, though it is true that the same could not have been completed in his tenure,’’ said the officer.

BJP’s Ramadas Kadam, opposition leader in the state legislature, had alleged that Gafoor was found ‘sleeping’ in his car near the Oberoi Hotel while the entire force was busy fighting the terrorists.

Gafoor, however, has taken
the news in his stride. Brushing aside any criticism linking his transfer to the 26/11 terror strike, he said, “I am happy that I have been promoted from additional director general to director general of police. I was expecting this promotion. Why is my transfer being twisted and linked to the 26/11 strike? I led the team from the front during the attacks.’’

When asked whether his transfer could have anything to do with the Pradhan Committee Report (see box), he said, “I have not seen the Pradhan Committee Report, so it would not be proper for me to comment on this.’’ The report that looked into the terror attacks, is slated to come up before the state legislature, which meets next week.

One factor that could have probably gone against Gafoor was his initial claim that 16 locals were involved in the 26/11 conspiracy, by providing logistical support to the 11 terrorists. He retracted his statement that evening itself.

Another statement given by Gafoor about the Indian Mujahideen’s (IM) involvement in the 7/11 Mumbai train blasts also created uproar, as later, the theory was rubbished by the anti-terrorism squad.

But Gafoor has his supporters. Senior retired IPS officer S S Puri said, “It would be unfair to say that his transfer was due to the 26/11 Mumbai terror attack. It would also be unfair to link to his transfer to the Pradhan Committee Report, as it has not been made public. If Gafoor was indicted in the report than why would he be promoted?’’

Retired police commissioner M N Singh added that there was a vacancy in Housing and Gafoor;s assignment was a promotion. “The Pradhan Committee Report is yet to be made public, so I cannot comment on it. I would not like to link Gafoor’s transfer with the committee’s report,’’ said Singh.

IPS officer-turned-lawyer, Y P Singh said that it seemed to be a one-sided action. “There were far severe allegations against other senior officers. These included the coastal security's failure to meet, not paying attention to specific intelligence, and so on. However, the commissioner of police has been made a scapegoat,’’ said Singh.


Pradhan Committee Report

After the 26/11 terror attack, the then chief minister Vilasrao Deshmukh had asked for an inquiry into the police response. A two-member panel comprising former union secretary Ram Pradhan and retired IPS officer V Balachandran was appointed to look into the lapses following a public outcry. Though the committee was asked to submit its report in three months, it took more than the stipulated time and submitted its 100-page report to the chief minister on May 27, this year.

The Pradhan Committee Report is
yet to be made public and will come up before the state legislature, which meets next week. However, it is believed to have come down heavily on the Central government for intelligence failure, as well as on the police force for poor handling of the situation. The panel’s report is based on the testimony of over 50 police officers.

Balachandran said, “We checked the logs of 5,000 calls made to the police control room. The response as well as action taken by the control room staff was satisfactory.’’


The Times of India, June 14, 2009

Saturday, June 13, 2009

LeT headhunter was tech-savvy, say investigators

Omar Madni (in the pic) was caught on June 4 near Qutub Minar

Mateen Hafeez I TNN

Mumbai: Suspected Lashkare-Taiba operative Omar Madni was computer-savvy. He operated four email accounts,but neither sent or received any mail to or from other LeT operatives, said police sources who are examining Madni’s email accounts.

On a tip-off by the intelligence bureau, Madni (50) was arrested on June 4 by the special cell of Delhi Police from Qutab Minar. “Two of Madni’s email accountsvakassud13@yahoo.com and vakas.shams@yahoo.comdo not have any email in its mail box. Madni neither sent any mail nor received any. We found four email drafts which speak about the LeT’s terror activities. He would type messages and save it in draft box, which could be accessed by other LeT operatives,’’ said an ATS officer.

“The Delhi police have written to Yahoo asking for details of the internet protocol (IP) address from where the account was accessed,’’ the officer said.

A Maharashtra ATS team is camping in Patna to claim Madni’s custody, who is likely to be brought face to face with Mumbai’s 7/11 train blast ac
cused Ehtesham Siddiqui and Kamal Ansari. The ATS had earlier said that Siddiqui wanted to set up a training camp for new recruits in Nepal. Madni had stayed in Nepal since 1984 and the police suspect that he might have been in touch with Siddiqui. Ansari was trained in Pakistan by the LeT.

Madni, who originally belongs to Madhubani district in Bihar, is now a Nepalese citizen. The Delhi police claimed that Madni was on a trip to India to recruit ‘young talent’ who are graduates and computer experts for LeT’s operations. The ATS had said train blast suspect, Siddiqui, who visited Nepal on several occasions, wanted to set up a training camp in Nepal. He had met Indians there who were part of LeT’s operations in Nepal, the ATS senior officers had said after Siddiqui’s arrest.

Madni did his BA (in Shariah) from Madina university in Saudi Arabia. Thereafter, he started introducing himself as Madni. He married and later went to Nepal in 1984 to work as a teacher. He returned to India in 1994.By then,he had obtained Nepalese citizenship. In 1997, he visited Pakistan for the first time and in 1998, he started working for the LeT. He has a wife in Bihar and is also married to a Nepalese girl in Kathmandu. “Madni told the cops he had just ‘facilitated’ Ansari’s trip to Pak via Nepal,’’ said an officer.


The Times of India, June 12, 2009

Monday, June 1, 2009

Well-diggers taught Beed blast accused bomb making

Mateen Hafeez I TNN
Mumbai: Investigations into the Beed mosque blast have revealed that the three accused, including a minor boy, had learnt bomb-making from well-diggers.

The Beed police had early this month arrested three youngsters for planting a crude bomb in a mosque on April 4 this year. No one was injured in the blast which occurred at midnight.

“The accused told us that they learnt bomb-making from the village’s well-diggers who assemble explosives for excavating quarries and wells. They did not attend a training programme by any radical organisation,’’ said investigating officer Masood Hayat. Those arrested were a mechanic Ashok Lande (21), Mayur Lande (20), who is studying agriculture, and Tulsidas Lande (17). “Ashok and Arun have been sent to judicial custody while Tulsidas, being a minor, was sent to a juvenile remand home and released on bail on Friday,’’ said Hayat.

The accused in their statement to the police said that there were only 10 to 12 Muslim families in the village and the accused could not “tolerate’’ seeing the construction and renovation of a mosque there. “They purchased gelatin sticks, batteries, cable wires, detonators and other material. Mayur assembled the bomb. Ashok planted it in the mosque,’’ said Gautam. The suspects had purchased gelatin sticks for Rs 450 from a driver and fled after the blast.

The Times of India, June 1, 2009