Monday, August 31, 2009

OBJECTIONABLE PHOTO CASE - Laptop of actor’s hubby sent for test


Actor Sheena Sahabadi who acted in the film Tere Sang

Mateen Hafeez I TNN

Mumbai: The crime branch has procured the mirror image of a laptop belonging to actor Sheena Sahabadi’s husband and has sent the computer for a forensic analysis. Sheena, who made her debut with the film ‘Tere Sang,’ two weeks ago lodged a complaint at the cyber police station in Bandra-Kurla Complex, alleging that someone uploaded her personal photos on a social networking site.

The actor told the police that she suspected her estranged husband Vishal Gore of being behind the act. Vishal is the son of
retired assistant commissioner of police Ashok Gore.

“The crime branch has recorded Gore and Sheena’s statements. The laptop was seized and sent to a forensic science laboratory for an analysis. We are expecting its report in a day or two,’’ said crime branch chief Rakesh Maria. He added that their probe led them to Gore’s friend Tarun Advani. “We have questioned him too,’’ he said.

The police said there were several personal photographs of the actor and Gore, including some objectionable ones. According to the police, Sheena (19) and Vishal got married in October 2008, but the marriage did not last for more than two months. According to Sheena’s parents, in the past too, she has lodged police complaints against Vishal and his family for harassing her.

The Times of India, August 31, 2009

Mafia in state takes a beating under MCOCA

Mateen Hafeez I TNN
Mumbai: The Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act (MCOCA) has been successful in curbing organised crime, if one goes by conviction figures. The stringent law, introduced in 1999, has achieved a conviction rate of 58% as compared to 25% under the IPC.

Of the 95 cases, where the courts have passed their verdicts, the state got convictions in 57 cases. After Maharashtra, the Act was also adopted by New Delhi and Tamil Nadu.

Prior to MCOCA, the prosecution agencies relied on Terrorism and Anti- Disruptive Activities Act (Tada) till it was repealed in 1995. Between 1995 and 1998, a total of 203 cases of shootout were reported to the police and in most, the underworld was found to be involved.

Soon after MCOCA was put in place in 1999, the number of shootouts fell to 40 from 93 in the previous year. The figures shrunk to 23 in the year 2000. Only 90 shootouts took place in the past nine years, the police say. “Criminals fear MCOCA as confession under this Act is treated as evidence. Moreover, the police secure their custody for a minimum period of 30 days as bail provisions are tough,’’ said crime branch
chief Rakesh Maria.

Because of the designated courts, the trials begin within two years and are completed at the earliest. 209 members of the Dawood gang and 167 associates of gangster Chhota Rajan were booked under this law.

Former IPS officer-turnedlawyer Y P Singh said it is easy to procure permission under MCOCA for tapping suspicious phone calls and using them as
evidence. “The higher conviction rate in MCOCA may not be a healthy sign. The draconian provisions not only ease the rules of evidence but are also inimical to the human rights of innocent persons who have to languish in jails for years,’’ said Singh.

Film financier Bharat Shah and director Nazim Rizvi, along with several others were arrested in 2000.This was the first high-profile MCOCA case.


CAUGHT IN CONTROVERSY

* Thirteen accused of the July 11, 2006 Mumbai train blast cases, 19 suspects of the Aurangabad arms haul case and nine SIMI suspects in the 2006 Malegaon blast case approached the Supreme Court against ATS saying MCOCA was not applicable to them.
* The ATS booked 11 persons belonging to Abhinav Bharat for their ‘alleged’ role in the
2008 Malegaon blast. The special court dropped the MCOCA charges from the case on July 31.
* The crime branch invoked MCOCA against businessman Mahendra Agarwal, saying he was part of the organised crime syndicate led by gangster Ravi Pujari and threatened a developer in a SRA project. The court dropped the charges

CRIME CHECK
Total cases since 1999 |
153
Total charge sheets | 135
Judgment delivered | 95 cases
Conviction secured | 57 cases
Acquittal | 38 cases

Arrests
Total held - 758
Dawood gang - 209
Chhota Rajan - 167
Arun Gawli - 43
Ashwin Naik - 13
Others - 327

The Times of India, August 31, 2009

Crime branch yet to decide on Hashmi case


Actor Emran Hashmi

Mateen Hafeez I TNN
Mumbai: The city crime b r a n ch , probing the alleged discrimination against actor Emraan Hashmi in the purchase of a Bandra flat, is yet to decide whether to continue its investigation or close the case. The state human rights commission (SHRC) has said that it was not discrimination but a case of ‘misunderstanding’.

Emraan had a month ago ‘alleged’ that he was refused a NoC to buy a flat at Nibbana housing society in Pali Hill ‘allegedly’ because he was a Muslim. While a section of the society agreed with his ‘allegations,’ several Muslim film stars criticised Emraan’s statement saying Muslims are not discriminated against. This resulted in a stir and subsequently minister of state
(home) Naseem Khan told crime branch chief Rakesh Maria to investigate the ‘alleged’ discrimination case.

“The crime branch personnel went to Emraan and the seller of the flat, asking them to give their statements. However, none of them have turned up for a statement yet,’’ said Maria. The matter was later taken to the SHRC. “We will be asking for a copy of the commission’s order to learn what it has found during the hearing,’’ said Maria. He said the SHRC has sent them a letter stating it was a case of misunderstanding between Emraan and the other party. “We are legally examining if it was a case of discrimination,’’ Maria said.

The crime branch is still in the process of obtaining legal opinion on whether it will be proper on their part to continue a probe in the case when SHRC has already delivered its verdict. “We don’t know if the SHRC has closed the case. We are yet to get and read the order copy,’’ he said.

The Times of India, August 31, 2009

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Director files plaint against TV channels

Film director Anees Bazmee

Mateen Hafeez I TNN

Mumbai: Director of Singh is Kinng, Anees Bazmee, on Friday lodged a criminal defamation complaint against two city-based television channels for showing that he was hand-in-glove with the underworld.

The complaint was filed in Andheri court. Bazmee’s advocate, B R Tiwari, said that the two channels had aired a story on May 24 this year with the title “Bollywood me Vasooli’’ in which Bazmee was shown talking to three peo
ple. “The three people shown in the tape were actually Bazmee’s debtors. They had introduced themselves as share market investors and claimed they had good knowledge of shares,’’ said Tiwari.

According to the lawyer, Bazmee gave them a loan of
Rs 3.5 crore on the condition that they will return the money within 30 days. When they did not pay within the stipulated time, Bazmee called them up and demanded his money back. “The debtors then issued 12 different cheques, but all of them bounced,’’ said Tiwari.

One Iqbal Attarwala called up Bazmee, claiming to be his childhood friend, said Tiwari. Attarwala, who was deported from the UAE in 2006, sought a meeting with Bazmee and
the filmmaker agreed. Attarwala came to meet Bazmee along with the latter’s debtors. Attarwala had a hidden camera and shot the entire conversation, while Bazmee allegedly claimed to have contacts in high places, claimed the lawyer.

The Times of India, August 30, 2009

Saturday, August 29, 2009

26/11 key witness disappears, returns

Times News Network
Mumbai: In a day of high drama, key witness Nooruddin Shaikh who deposed on Thursday in the 26/11 terror trial against the two Indian accused Faheem Ansari and Sabahuddin Ahmed failed to turn up on Friday for cross examination. He left home early morning and was only traced late at night. “Shaikh has been traced. He returned home at 9.30 pm. He had gone to his friend’s house and slept there the whole day. After breaking roza he returned home at night,’’ said joint polce commissioner and crime branch chief Rakesh Maria.
The non-appearance of the witness who had identified Faheem and Sabahuddin in court sent the police into a tizzy. The crime branch prepared three teams of seven policemen each to trace him and to find “if he was threatened or taken away,’’ said the police even as special public prosecutor Ujjwal Nikam said it was a “a serious issue.’’

Special judge M L Tahaliani, too, said, “this is a serious matter.’’ Shaikh’s cross examination by Faheem and Sabahuddin’s lawyers was fixed for 11 am on Friday.

Nikam informed the court that crime branch officials
had gone to the witness’ Goregaon house to fetch him but his wife said he had left home early morning, saying he had to go to court. Nikam said the identity and address of the witness was kept secret earlier, but was disclosed in court on Thursday.

The witness identified the accused and informed the court that he had met Faheem,

his “childhood friend’’ and Sabahuddin in Nepal last year and that they had in his presence discussed some maps of Mumbai locations. The prosecution case is that Faheem and Sabahuddin played a role in connection with the maps that helped the ten terrorists reach their targets.

Nikam told the court the police was on a look-out for Shaikh, whose testimony is crucial to the case. “We have have taken adequate measures to gaurd potential wit
nesses,’’ he said.

Before Shaikh was traced, Maria told mediapersons, “his non-availability for cross-examination would affect the prosecution case adversely. He is a very important witness who can nail the two accused.’’

Recounting his first meeting with the witness, Maria said Shaikh himself turned up at his office claiming that he was a childhood friend of Faheem and he had seen maps of the terror sites.

Meanwhile, family members of Shaikh, too had lodged a “missing’’ complaint with the police. Shaikh a driver, earned around Rs 6,000 a month and lives in Goregaon with his family.


Faheem and Sabahuddin have been termed the “local support’’ in the 26/11 terror attack. Allegedly trained by the Lashakr-e-Taiba, both were in the custody of Uttar Pradesh Special Task Force during the 26/11 case. They were later brought to Mumbai and arrested in this case.

Faheem aka Hammad Hasan, was first arrested in Uttar Pradesh on charges of being a LeT man in February 2008. Faheem was one of the six suspects arrested who were allegedly involved in an attack on a CRPF camp at Rampur on January 1, 2008.

The Times of India, August 29, 2009

Friday, August 28, 2009

ATS confirms LeT man’s links to 2006 arms haul

TERROR TRAIL: Yusuf alias Salim alias Aslam Kashmiri was arrested by New Delhi police on August 25, 2009 with two packets of sweets containing chemical explosives, 4 detonators and 2 timers

Mateen Hafeez I TNN

Mumbai: A two-member Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) team that questioned arrested Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) operative Salim alias Yusuf alias Aslam Kashmiri confirmed that they had established his role in the 2006 Aurangabad arms haul case in Maharashtra.
The Mumbai Crime Branch said it would also question Aslam in connection with the 26/11 investigation.

The Aurangabad arms haul mastermind, Zabihuddin Ansari alias Zaby, had managed to escape when the ATS was on his trail three years ago. According to ATS officials, Aslam Kashmiri, who was suspected to have smuggled some weapons into India and delivered them to Zaby, could be the same accused who is wanted in an ATS case in Maharashtra.

Aslam, during his interrogation, said he underwent training in a Pakistani camp two years ago and had met banned outfit Jamat-ud-
Dawa’s (JuD) top leaders, including Zarar Shah and Zakiur-Rehman Lakhvi.

“We mentioned Aslam Kashmiri as a wanted accused in the arms haul charge sheet,’’ ATS chief and additional director-general of police Krish Pal Raghuvanshi said.

Aslam, who ATS officials said could be Aslam Kashmiri, was arrested in the capital by the New Delhi Po
lice’s special cell on August 25. The special cell, Delhi’s anti-terror wing, claimed to have seized an Amritsar-to-Nanded railway ticket, two packets of sweets containing chemical explosives, four detonators and two timers from Aslam.

“It’s too early to say anything about his involvement in other cases,’’ said P N Aggrawal, joint commissioner of police, special cell. The special cell claimed that two of Aslam’s associates dodged the police and managed to escape on Tuesday.

“We are looking at all the angles to find out if Aslam could be brought to Mumbai for a detailed interrogation,’’ said ATS additional commissioner Param Bir Singh.

Mumbai Crime Branch’s joint commissioner Rakesh Maria said: “If he (Aslam) has met Zarar Shah and Lakhvi during his training in Pakistan, we will definitely question him as |the two Pakistanis are prime conspirators in our 26/11 case.’’

The Times of India, August 28, 2009

Lie tests for I rape suspects

Mateen Hafeez & V Narayan | TNN

Mumbai: The Bandra-Kurla Complex police, who are investigating the alleged rape of a 42-year-old woman by four businessmen in a parked car in the complex, will subject the four accused men to a polygraph test. This will be followed by the victim taking the same test at the forensic laboratory.

The woman, who is the mother of a 17-year-old boy, went to the Bandra-Kurla Complex police station on August 21 and stated that four persons—all of whom were known to her—had raped her on the back seat of a Tavera parked across from the Asian Heart Institute at the Bandra-Kurla Complex.

The woman said she was going to have dinner with the accused, but they stopped the car by the roadside and raped her one by one.

The investigators, however, appeared to have made up their mind right from day one that there were discrepancies in the victim’s allegations, because two of the four accused claimed that they were not even in the city at the time of the alleged rape.


If the police do put the woman through forensic tests, it would be the first time an alleged rape victim is subjected to such a procedure.

This is also among the rare cases in which the police have refused to reveal the identity or whereabouts of a rape victim to even the media.

A doctor who examined the victim said that there were no injury marks on her private parts. Experts, however, said that the absence of injuries on a rape victim may be inconclusive, given the possibility that she may have acted under coercion.

Police officials suggested the rape allegations could be a frame-up intended to malign the accused. They said the four accused had started constructing a residential complex in Bhuj in Gujarat, and wanted to erect statues of their parents there. But a Gujarat builder, identified as Gada, had filed a case against them which was later classified as “B summary’’, that is, it was false case filed with the intention to malign someone. “The four suspects say that Gada is now using the woman to wrongly frame them in a rape case,’’ said a senior police official.

The Times of India, August 28, 2009

Lie tests for I rape suspects

Mateen Hafeez & V Narayan | TNN

Mumbai: The Bandra-Kurla Complex police, who are investigating the alleged rape of a 42-year-old woman by four businessmen in a parked car in the complex, will subject the four accused men to a polygraph test. This will be followed by the victim taking the same test at the forensic laboratory.

The woman, who is the mother of a 17-year-old boy, went to the Bandra-Kurla Complex police station on August 21 and stated that four persons—all of whom were known to her—had raped her on the back seat of a Tavera parked across from the Asian Heart Institute at the Bandra-Kurla Complex.

The woman said she was going to have dinner with the accused, but they stopped the car by the roadside and raped her one by one.

The investigators, however, appeared to have made up their mind right from day one that there were discrepancies in the victim’s allegations, because two of the four accused claimed that they were not even in the city at the time of the alleged rape.


If the police do put the woman through forensic tests, it would be the first time an alleged rape victim is subjected to such a procedure.

This is also among the rare cases in which the police have refused to reveal the identity or whereabouts of a rape victim to even the media.

A doctor who examined the victim said that there were no injury marks on her private parts. Experts, however, said that the absence of injuries on a rape victim may be inconclusive, given the possibility that she may have acted under coercion.

Police officials suggested the rape allegations could be a frame-up intended to malign the accused. They said the four accused had started constructing a residential complex in Bhuj in Gujarat, and wanted to erect statues of their parents there. But a Gujarat builder, identified as Gada, had filed a case against them which was later classified as “B summary’’, that is, it was false case filed with the intention to malign someone. “The four suspects say that Gada is now using the woman to wrongly frame them in a rape case,’’ said a senior police official.

The Times of India, August 28, 2009

‘BKC rape victim was undressed with knife’

V Narayan & Mateen Hafeez I TNN

Mumbai: The 22-year-old woman, who slit the throat of a 28-year-old man, was undressed by the man using a knife and in the process she sustained at least 10 injuries to her body, revealed a medical examination conducted on her last week.

A medical report of the woman at Nagpada police hospital has confirmed rape. The police are also waiting for forensic reports. According to the BKC police, the medical report stated that the injuries to the victim were fresh and were the result of a knife that was used to undress her. The victim slit the throat of the rapist, Feroz Ansari, while he was wearing his clothes after the alleged rape. The victim in her statement said, “Ansari overpowered me and I kept resisting him. He used the knife to undress me and because of this I got injured.’’

A police officer said only two of the injuries sustained by the victim were serious.


The Times of India, August 28, 2009

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Arrested LeT man may be linked to 2006 arms haul

Mateen Hafeez I TNN

Mumbai: The anti-terrorism squad (ATS) suspects that the arrested Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) operative, Salim alias Yusuf, could be involved in the 2006 Aurangabad arms haul case. Salim was arrested by the special cell of the New Delhi Police on Tuesday.

The special cell claimed to have seized an Amritsar-to-Nanded railway ticket, two packets of sweets containing chemical explosives, four detonators and two timers from Salim. The police said he was also carrying an ID that displayed his name as Salim and a Pakistani passport bearing his name as Yusuf.


“Two senior ATS officers will be leaving for Delhi on Thursday. They will question Salim and then decide on further action,’’ ATS additional commissioner of

police Param Bir Singh said.

“We are also trying to check if Salim had any role in the 2006 Aurangabad arms haul. He also has an alias of Aslam. There is a wanted accused with this name in the arms haul,’’ Singh said. The ATS, between May and July 2006, arrested 19 youths and claimed to have recovered a huge haul of ammunition. The police said the youths were just courier boys. “The mastermind, Zabihuddin Ansari alias Zaby, had managed to escape while the ATS was chasing him three years ago,’’ said an officer.


Asked whether Salim had any plan to carry out terror strikes in Nanded, ATS chief K P Raghuvanshi said: “The Delhi Police are yet to establish if Aslam alias Salim had any plan to travel to Nanded.’’


Home min on arrest
Home minister Jayant Patil said Yusuf did not have plans to create disruptive activities during the 10-day Ganesh festival. “I am given to understand that he did not plan any subversive activities during the Ganpati festival. But he did have a ticket for Nanded. We are trying to find out why he was going to visit Nanded,’’ he said.

Yogesh Naik I TNN

The Times of India, August 27, 2009

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

State moves high court over dropping of MCOCA

Shibu Thomas I TNN

Mumbai: The state government has moved the Bombay high court to challenge the dropping of all charges under the Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act (MCOCA) against 11 Malegaon blast accused, including former armyman Lt Col Prasad Purohit and Sadhvi Pragya Singh Thakur.

A division bench of Justice Bilal Nazki and Justice A R Joshi on Monday declined to entertain a request by the prosecution to stay the MCOCA court order. The judges, however, asked a Nashik sessions court not to commence trial in the case till September 8.


The state’s principal argument is that the special MCOCA judge erred in not appreciating the prosecution’s case. The petition said the state had followed all requirements man
datory under MCOCA, including the existence of two charge sheets as well as permission from appropriate authorities.

A special court’s decision last month to drop MCOCA charges in the case came as a blow to the Anti-Terrorism Squad. The deletion of the stringent anti-gangster law’s provisions meant the accused would have to only face the provisions of the Indian Penal Code. MCOCA admits confessions made by the accused to the police but this is not possible under IPC. Bail provisions are also tougher under MCOCA.


A blast in Malegaon on September 29, 2008 killed six persons. A bike used in the blasts was allegedly traced to Pragya, whose trail led to other accused.

(With inputs from Mateen Hafeez)

State moves high court over dropping of MCOCA

Shibu Thomas I TNN

Mumbai: The state government has moved the Bombay high court to challenge the dropping of all charges under the Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act (MCOCA) against 11 Malegaon blast accused, including former armyman Lt Col Prasad Purohit and Sadhvi Pragya Singh Thakur.

A division bench of Justice Bilal Nazki and Justice A R Joshi on Monday declined to entertain a request by the prosecution to stay the MCOCA court order. The judges, however, asked a Nashik sessions court not to commence trial in the case till September 8.


The state’s principal argument is that the special MCOCA judge erred in not appreciating the prosecution’s case. The petition said the state had followed all requirements man
datory under MCOCA, including the existence of two charge sheets as well as permission from appropriate authorities.

A special court’s decision last month to drop MCOCA charges in the case came as a blow to the Anti-Terrorism Squad. The deletion of the stringent anti-gangster law’s provisions meant the accused would have to only face the provisions of the Indian Penal Code. MCOCA admits confessions made by the accused to the police but this is not possible under IPC. Bail provisions are also tougher under MCOCA.


A blast in Malegaon on September 29, 2008 killed six persons. A bike used in the blasts was allegedly traced to Pragya, whose trail led to other accused.

(With inputs from Mateen Hafeez)

Sunday, August 23, 2009

BKC rape case: Cops await forensic report

V Narayan & Mateen Hafeez I TNN

Mumbai: The Bandra-Kurla Complex cops are awaiting the report by Forensic Science Laboratory (FSL) before taking further action against the four businessmen alleged to have raped a 42-year-old woman on Thursday night. Investigators said it would take a week or two to get the FSL report which would clear the picture.

Picking holes in the victim’s story, investigators said they found some discrepancies in the allegation because two of the four accused said they were not in the city.


Deputy commissioner of police (zone VIII) Brijesh Singh told TOI on Saturday the FSL report would clear
the air. “We are getting details about the mode of transport that the two suspects are claiming to have used to travel,’’ he said.

A doctor from Nagpada Police Hospital told police officials there were no injury marks in victim’s private parts. This, officials said, did not necessarily
prove that there was no rape, but added that the forensic report had become more important in proving the rape.

The victim said she was raped in the rear seat of a parked Tavera by the four businessmen at an isolated spot behind the Asian Heart Hospital at BKC. The victim runs a small catering business and supplies tiffin to clients, including two of the accused. “The four suspects are from Andheri and Malad. The
victim is a divorcee and stays with her teenaged son in Malad,’’ a BKC police officer said.

According to the victim, she received a call from one of the suspects on Thursday, asking her to meet him at a place near the Asian Heart Hospital around 8.15 pm. She saw him and
three others in the vehicle. “Two of them came out of the vehicle, but the other two repeatedly raped me,’’ she said.

The victim stated that the men threatened her and dumped her at an isolated spot. Around 11 pm, she managed to walk to the BKC police station and lodged a complaint.


The Times of India, August 23, 2009

BKC rape case: Cops await forensic report

V Narayan & Mateen Hafeez I TNN

Mumbai: The Bandra-Kurla Complex cops are awaiting the report by Forensic Science Laboratory (FSL) before taking further action against the four businessmen alleged to have raped a 42-year-old woman on Thursday night. Investigators said it would take a week or two to get the FSL report which would clear the picture.

Picking holes in the victim’s story, investigators said they found some discrepancies in the allegation because two of the four accused said they were not in the city.


Deputy commissioner of police (zone VIII) Brijesh Singh told TOI on Saturday the FSL report would clear
the air. “We are getting details about the mode of transport that the two suspects are claiming to have used to travel,’’ he said.

A doctor from Nagpada Police Hospital told police officials there were no injury marks in victim’s private parts. This, officials said, did not necessarily
prove that there was no rape, but added that the forensic report had become more important in proving the rape.

The victim said she was raped in the rear seat of a parked Tavera by the four businessmen at an isolated spot behind the Asian Heart Hospital at BKC. The victim runs a small catering business and supplies tiffin to clients, including two of the accused. “The four suspects are from Andheri and Malad. The
victim is a divorcee and stays with her teenaged son in Malad,’’ a BKC police officer said.

According to the victim, she received a call from one of the suspects on Thursday, asking her to meet him at a place near the Asian Heart Hospital around 8.15 pm. She saw him and
three others in the vehicle. “Two of them came out of the vehicle, but the other two repeatedly raped me,’’ she said.

The victim stated that the men threatened her and dumped her at an isolated spot. Around 11 pm, she managed to walk to the BKC police station and lodged a complaint.


The Times of India, August 23, 2009

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Cheaper counterfeit notes in circulation

Mateen Hafeez I TNN
Mumbai: The making of fake notes is getting more economical but that is also telling on their quality.

Investigations into the latest fake currency bust in Mumbai have revealed it takes only Rs 20 to churn out a fake Rs-100 note. This is less than half the cost that making the fakes recovered in the past entailed. Senior police officials, who busted fake-currency rackets in the past, told TOI fraudsters would spend at least Rs 450 on making a Rs-1,000 fake.

But all this is telling on the quality of the fakes. The old fakes were at least 95% close to the original Rs-1,000 notes. But the new fakes, that cost only onefifth of the originals, have only about 70% features matching with the originals.

In April, the ATS seized 45 notes of Rs 1,000 denomination, of high quality. The case was handed over to the National Investigaing Agency (NIA) after notes of the same series were found in Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh and Goa. “Those notes were from a government printing press in Quetta, Pakistan,’’ said the officer. He added the foreignbased manufacturers do not want to earn profit but to subverse the Indian economy. The seizure was followed by several meetings between RBI officials and the police.

On Wednesday, the ATS arrested three persons, Mohammad Arshad (35), Zakir (37) and Matlu (36), from Juhu and recovered fake currency of Rs 78,400 from them. The trio was staying in Malvani. Police claimed they got a tip off and arrested them. Two of the three accused are from Delhi and the third is from Lucknow. “The notes are of low quality and the paper used to manufacture them is also of poor quality. Those arrested were carriers and the notes were made in India only,’’ said ATS chief K P Raghuvanshi.

Police said the notes were made in Kanpur. “The manufacturers would scan a Rs 100 note and then print it on plain paper. They used a cutter to cut the note. Due to lack of technical expertise, there are several loopholes, like the image of Mahatma Gandhi on the left side of the note is almost invisible,’’ said an officer.

He added poor ink was used to print the watermark and silver line. “The manufacturers hardly spent Rs 20 for each note’’ said an offier.

The notes were circulated not on commission basis, but the carriers “bought three Rs 100 notes by giving a genuine Rs 100 note to the manufacturers,’’ added the officer.

What gave away the fake Rs 100 notes:
* Paper quality is poor, instead of imported paper used by the government printing press
* The paper was too thick as compared to the original notes
* Security thread was not prominent. Besides, the Gandhi image on the left of the Rs 100 note was too light, making it almost invisible
* There was no watermark on the notes
* The silver line in the middle was visible on some notes
* The fake notes were scanned and printing was blurred
ORIGIN: Manufactured in Kanpur
COST: Police suspect that the cost of manufacturing a fake Rs 100 note was around Rs 20 each
AIMED AT: These notes were aimed to be circulated in slums and among semi-literate or illiterate people like auto drivers, porters and roadside tea stalls etc

Reality about fake notes How the Rs 1000 fakes stood apart
* The Rs 1,000 denomination notes seized by the ATS in April, 2009 contained Optically Variable Ink, but the RBI said the ink was not of too good quality
* The notes had latent image of the numeral ‘1000’ on the right side of the note, but the ink was light
* The letters ‘RBI’ and the numeral ‘1000’ can be seen with the help of a magnifying glass in the area between the Mahatma Gandhi portrait and the vertical band. However, the ‘RBI’ and ‘1000’ were less in number
ORIGIN: Suspected to have been printed in a government press in Quetta, Pakistan
COST: Cops say such high-quality fakes would cost Rs 450 per note to make
AIMED AT: Such notes were aimed for circulation in big cities like Mumbai, Ahmedabad, and Goa

RBI panel’s observation:
A report by an RBI-appointed committee says in 2008-09, the number of counterfeit notes detected at RBI offices and bank branches rose 103.3% over the previous year. It has recommended several measures including installing note sorting machines at banks

The Times of India, August 22, 2009

Woman alleges rape by dinner mates

42-Year-Old Says Incident Occurred In Car


Mateen Hafeez & V Narayan I TNN


Mumbai: A 42-year-old woman has alleged that she was raped in a parked vehicle by four businessmen on Thursday night at an isolated spot opposite Asian Heart Hospital at Bandra-Kurla Complex.

The police have registered a case of rape against the four but the sections of gang rape have not been invoked. The complainant said in the FIR that she knew all the four accused. The victim ran a small catering business and supplied tiffins to clients, including two of the four accused. The police believe that she would often dine in restaurants with the accused.


“We have registered a case of rape and criminal intimidation against four persons. The victim was sent for a medical examination at the
Nagpada police Hospital and the report is awaited,’’ said DCP Brijesh Singh.

While one of the accused is a developer, three others are said to be businessmen. The victim is a divorcee who
stays with her teenaged son.

Asked why the accused have not been arrested yet, a police officer said, “I don’t want to defame those men (accused) at this stage since our investigations are at a premature stage.’’


Talking about the case, an officer said, “The victim in her statement said that she along with the four suspects was going to have dinner. When the Tavera car reached the Bandra-Kurla Complex, the driver stopped the car and she was raped in it
one by one.’’

The victim said that after the rape, the accused threatened her with dire consequences if she told anyone about it. They later dumped her there and left. She claimed
to have come to the police station on her own and lodged a complaint around 11 pm. The police have examined the vehicle and collected the victim’s clothes which will be sent to the forensic laboratory for medical examination. Meanwhile, the four suspects have been asked to come to the BKC police station on Saturday for interrogation.

An investigator said, “We have found some loopholes in the complaint. The picture will be clear once we interrogate the four suspects.’’

The Times of India, August 22, 2009

Thursday, August 20, 2009

HELPLINE IN THE PIPELINE




Soon, dial for info on house help

Police Compiling Database Which Will Also Include Fingerprints

Mateen Hafeez I TNN

Mumbai:
The city police are now planning to start a helpline that citizens can use to seek information about domestic helps working in Mumbai. “We are compiling a database of all servants as well as their fingerprints. If everything goes according to plans, one can just dial a number and get details about a servant working with them,’’ an officer said.

“All the police stations in the city are preparing database of servants, milkmen, watchmen as well as liftmen. This data will be stored at the police headquarters. It will help us in providing details to callers who want to to crosscheck the background of their servant,’’ said an official.

The database will contain a servant’s photograph, his educational qualification, his temporary as well as permanent address and, most importantly, if he has any criminal case registered against him. “Caller can also find out the places where the house help had been hired before. Simply put, the employer can check the servant’s entire record with the police over the phone,’’ said an officer.

Currently, the status of a passport application, hotel and theatre licences can be sought from the police’s call centre. “In most of the robbery cases, the domestic help are found involved,'' said an officer.

The Times of India, August 20, 2009

Murderer was raped: Med test

Mateen Hafeez | TNN

Mumbai: The medical report of the 22-year-old woman, who allegedly killed her rapist when he was wearing his clothes after the act, has indicated rape. Senior police officials have sent the samples to the Kalina Forensic Science Laboratory to make a water-tight case of rape. According to officials, the woman had washed herself soon after the rape.

The incident occurred on August 14 at the Bharat Nagar slums of BKC. A case of rape against autorickshaw driver Feroz Ansari and a case of murder against the woman were registered. “A preliminary medical examination has confirmed rape.
But she went to the washroom after the rape. We thought it better to send the samples to the forensic lab for a DNA test,’’ an officer said.

Officials said the woman’s husband, Zakir Maniyar, used to work as a driver with a police officer and called up the police station early on August 14. “The woman told the po
lice that Ansari knocked on her door around 3 am and barged in and, after threatening her with a knife, raped her,’’ DCP Brijesh Singh said. he added that no family member of the woman has been arrested. Ansari reportedly told the victim to keep quiet to protect her “dignity’’. “At that point, the woman slit his throat,’’ an officer said.

According to police, Ansari and Maniyar went to a beer bar on the night of Au
gust 13. Later, Ansari asked Maniyar to accompany him to a dance bar but a sozzled Maniyar refused and went home. “Ansari dialled Maniyar’s number and gave a different identity to speak to his wife. It was only after making sure that Maniyar was asleep that Ansari went to their house with a dagger,’’ an officer said.

Ansari’s family alleged that it was a planned murder.

The Times of India, August 20, 2009

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Shot in the arm for cops as Dawood kin gets jail







(Iqbal Kaskar, Haseena Parkar and Zanjeb Khan)

Mateen Hafeez I TNN
Mumbai: The noose is slowly tightening around I n d i a ’s Crime Family No. 1. In a development that the city police is considering as a major victory, a Sewree fast-track court has convicted fugitive don Dawood Ibrahim’s brother-inlaw, Zanzeb Khan alias Guddu Pathan (40), and sentenced him to three years’ rigorous imprisonment.

“Pathan was accused of trying to kill a police informer on August 21 last year. The conviction on Monday has come as a boost for us as most of Dawood’s kin facing criminal cases are either out on bail or have been acquitted,’’ a police officer said.

“The two victims in the attempt-to-murder case approached the police against Pathan, deposed before the court and gave their testimonies. It shows that ordinary Mumbaikars are no longer afraid of the don’s family. Now, complainants come forward if they have a problem with the underworld. It was not the case earlier,’’ said crime branch chief Rakesh Maria.

Policemen believe it’s a positive development. “The verdict will encourage several other victims to come forward and file complaints if they are being threatened or harassed by gangsters,’’ another officer said.


THE D-CONNECTION


SAMEER WAGLE (33) |
He is the son of Dawood’s elder sister Shahida and runs a travel agency at Mazgaon. He, along with four others, was arrested by the Byculla police in February 2006 on charges of extortion. The accused were arrested after the victim, confined in a room at Dockyard Road, dialled 100. The police then rescued the victim and his brother. The suspects had allegedly forced the victim to sign on a stamp paper, giving Wagle the ownership rights of his butcher shop at Mazgaon.
Haseena and her associates had taken Rs 1 crore from him “to help sell off a property’’. However, the deal never materialised. When Avlani demanded his money back, he was allegedly threatened. Avlani then approached the police. The crime branch has filed a chargesheet against Haseena. The trial is pending.

DANISH PARKAR (28) | Another nephew, he was Haseena’s son. There was one criminal case registered against him in the JJ Marg police station. He died in a road accident in 2005. His friends allege he was killed in a “planned operation’’.

IQBAL KASKAR | Dawood’s younger brother, he was deported from the UAE in 2003 and booked in murder and land-grabbing cases. He was subsequently discharged from the murder case. On June 14, 2007, a special MCOCA court acquitted him in the controversial Sara-Sahara shopping complex case for lack of evidence. With no cases pending against him, Kaskar was released from jail.

HASEENA PARKAR | Dawood’s younger sister, she came under the crime branch scanner in 2006 for allegedly extorting money from a builder. While the 48-year-old widow managed to dodge the police, her lawyers proved in the court that it was not a case of extortion but cheating and was granted bail. A real estate broker, Vinod Avlani, had complained to the police that Parkar had threatened him.

SAJID WAGLE (38) | Dawood’s nephew, Sajid Wagle, was arrested in July 2008 for targeting cable operators in several areas of south Mumbai. Popularly known as Bhanja, Wagle has a group of boys working for him who go about threatening cable operators to pay hafta. The don’s nephew owns Nawaz cable and internet service agency. Son of a technical head clerk in the Merchant Navy, Bhanja is the second among four siblings. He was earlier arrested in February 2008 in an extortion case. A Std-VI dropout, Wagle, stepped into the world of crime in 1999 when he was first arrested in connection with an extortion case. Though Bhanja has never met his uncle in the past 25 years, he never fails to use his name. His mother, Shahid who was Dawood’s elder sister, passed away last year.

The Times of India, August 19, 2009

Monday, August 17, 2009

4 held for Rs 83K credit card fraud

Mateen Hafeez I TNN
Mumbai: The Antop Hill police, with the help of anti-terrorism squad (ATS)’s cyber unit arrested four persons for hacking into credit card holder’s bank accounts and using the money for paying electricity bill online. The accused would also charge a “commission’’ from their customers, whose bills they would pay.

The prime accused, Ramzan Aurangzeb, has been sent to police custody.

The Antop Hill police registered a case of cheating on July 1 after Yogendra Singh, an engineer, approached them. He told the police that he received a call from an unidentified caller who introduced him as a customer care executive from a leading bank. Singh had a Citibank
credit card. “Asking if I would want a Standard Chartered Bank’s credit card, the caller took down details, such as my date of birth, mother’s name and the last two digits of my Citibank card. The next day, another man came and collected documents supporting these details and said I would get a new credit card,’’ Singh told the police.

A few days later, he received another call and this time, the man posed as Citibank employee. He asked Singh if he would like to increase the credit limit on his card. “Even after a week, when no one from Citibank did not contact me about the credit limit, I tried to log on
to my bank account, but failed. It was hacked,’’ Singh told the police. Singh called up the customer care service and learnt that his password had been changed and Rs 82,940 had been transferred from his account to pay Reliance Energy bills of several people.

The Antop Hill police then took help from inspector N T Kadam, API Nasir Kulkarni and ATS officers to solve the case. The ATS traced the IP address to Ashish Cyber Cafe in Kandivli and instructed the owner, Ashraf, to keep a tab on the suspect, Aurangzeb. Ashraf checked CCTV images in his cafe and a few weeks later, when he spotted the man, he alerted a Dahisar police station’s constable who detained Aurangzeb. The accused has admitted to being involved in at least eight such cases.

The Times of India, August 17, 2009

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Woman slits rapist’s throat













1) Feroz Ansari barges into the victim’s home around 3 am
2) He threatens the woman with a knife and rapes her
3)As Feroz is about to leave, the victim slits his throat


Mateen Hafeez I TNN
Mumbai: A 22-year-old woman stabbed a 28-year-old man to death while he was wearing his clothes after raping her.

The incident took place
around 3 am on Friday at Bharat Nagar slums near the BKC where the rape victim slit open Feroz Ansari’s throat, killing him on the spot. In fact, she used the same knife with which Ansari had threaten her.

The BKC police have registered a case of rape against Ansari and a case of murder against the woman, who has been arrested and sent for a medical examination.

Officials said the woman’s husband, Zakir Maniyar, who used to work as a driver with a cop, called up the police station and informed officials about the incident. “The woman told the police that Ansari knocked on her door around 3 am and barged in; threatening her with a knife, he
dragged her to the corner of the room and raped her,’’ DCP Brijesh Singh said.

After the alleged act, Ansari reportedly told the victim to keep quiet as it would harm her “own dignity’’. “At that point, the enraged woman picked up Ansari’s knife and slit his throat open even as he was putting on his clothes,’’ an officer said.


However, Ansari’s family alleged that it was a pre-planned murder. “Zakir is my sister’s son and we have been embroiled in a property dispute for the past 10 years. My sister had once alleged assault on her for which, I was arrested. The case is still pending in court,’’ said Ansari’s father, Yusuf. According to him, Zakir and his wife had got
Ansari drunk and killed him when he lost consciousness.

He added that Ansari left home around 11 pm on Thursday. “The police were called around 4 am, but they told us about the murder at 6 am. The police did not even allow us to see the body,’’ said Yusuf, ruling out the possibility of an extra-marital relationship between his son and the woman.

The Times of India, August 15, 2009

Friday, August 14, 2009

Accused in blast case seeks discharge

Mateen Hafeez I TNN
Mumbai: Malegaon blast suspect, Rakesh Dhawade, has approached the Parbhani sessions court seeking discharge in the 2004 Parbhani blast case. Last month, he was discharged in the Porna blast case of 2003. There are four blast cases pending against Dhawade.

Dhawade was first arrested on November 2, last year, for his alleged role in the 2008 Malegaon blast that killed six people. Dhawade’s lawyer, advocate S K Jain, has filed a discharge plea in the Parbhani sessions court stating that he was neither a suspect or present at Mohammedia mosque where the blast occurred.

“Dhawade has been wrongly implicated in all the cases,’’ said advocate Subhash Jadhav, Dhawade’s lawyer. He added that the police, without having any direct evidence, booked him in several terror related case. Dhawade is also accused of organising a training pro
gramme for youth to operate firearms and assembling bombs in Sinhagarh, Pune.

On July 23, additional sessions judge M H Baig, while discharging Dhawade in the Porna blast, said: “The entire case of prosecution against Dhawade is based on the statements of three witnesses who are alleged to be the witness of Dhawade’s activities’’. The Porna blast took place in Au
gust 2003 outside Meraj-ul-Uloom mosque.

The order stated, “Dhawade and some youngsters went to a place which was not visible to the witnesses and sometime later, witnesses heard some sound which they thought were of some sort of blast and from that event they had come to the conclusion that Dhawade was involved in some sort of training to the youngsters for handling band blasting bombs.’’

The Times of India, August 14, 2009

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Cops get new bullet-proof vehicle

ARMED AND READY: Police chief D Sivanandan inspects the vehicle

Mateen Hafeez I TNN
Mumbai: The Mahindra Defence System (MDS) on Wednesday handed over an armoured capsule-based light bullet-proof vehicle to the city police to combat terror-like situations. Nine more such vehicles will be given to the city police soon, said a senior police officer.

Raghu Raman, CEO, Mahindra Special service group, handed over the first tranche of the Marksman, India’s first such vehicle, to the police chief, D Sivanandan. “Using this bullet- and grenade-proof vehicle, the policemen can enter the terroraffected areas and fight ter
rorists,’’ said Raman. The vehicle, manufactured at Faridabad, has firing pots and can seat at least six persons. “It enables the unit to carry out both aimed and prophylactic fire from within the vehicle. It is an ideal vehicle to counter terror in urban areas,’’ added Raman.

On June 22, home minister Jayant Patil had handed over the keys of over 200 vehicles to the city police, including three armoured vehicles, as part of the modernisation of the force. The armoured vehicles cost about Rs 38 lakh each and can shield bullets fired from AK-47. Two more will be obtained later so that all five regional control centres in the city their own armoured vehicles.

Joint commissioner of police (Law & Order), K L Prasad, said the new vehicle will help in crisis situation.

The Times of India, August 13, 2009

Navy intercepts satphone calls to Bangladesh

Mateen Hafeez | TNN

Mumbai: A few days after the Union government sounded an Independence Day high terror alert, security establishments intercepted a series of sensitive conversations over a satellite phone near Alibaug off the western coast.

According to sources, the countries where the international calls were being made included Bangladesh—the headquarters of banned terrorist outfit Harkat-ul-Jihad-Islami (HuJI). Some intelligence reports suggest that Lashkar-e-Taiba is financing HuJI to wage a war against India. HuJI’s name had cropped up during investigations into several terror cases across the country. Sources refused to disclose the conversation’s contents, but said that the satellite phone has been under surveillance since the first week of July.


It is learnt that Navy intelligence was monitoring some other “suspicious’’ calls along the western coast when it stumbled upon the satellite phone conversations. Coast guard authorities were also
informed about them.

“Last week, the investigation was taken over by the Intelligence Bureau (IB). The user of this phone is an Indian national. The operation is on and hence we cannot disclose much,’’ said a source.

Satellite phones are priced
between Rs 1 lakh and Rs 1.25 lakh. A satellite phone was extensively used by terrorists during the 26/11 attacks to communicate with their Pakbased handlers. It is used by individuals is illegal and if someone is caught using it, a case can be registered by the police under the Telegraph Act. In several countries such as Holland and Singapore, it is allowed with government’s permission. A satellite phone can be used to contact mobile phones and landlines anywhere in the world.

The Times of India, August 13, 2009

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Pak admits four dead terrorists are its nationals

Sanjeev Shivadekar & Mateen Hafeez | TNN

Mumbai: Pakistan has admitted to the Indian government that four of the nine terrorists involved in the 26/11 attack are all Pakistani nationals, state home minister Jayant Patil revealed on Monday. “Though they have admitted to the identity of only four, we will send all nine terrorists’ bodies back to Pakistan,’’ he added.

Patil refused to say which Pakistani dossier had admitted the involvement of four of their nationals.

Mumbai crime branch chief Rakesh Maria said they had written to the ministry of home affairs on Monday. “Four bodies lying at the JJ morgue were identified with names and their Pakistani addresses by sole surviving gunman Ajmal Kasab. They were Fahadullah, Abu Ismail, Abdur Rehman Bada and Abu Akanksha. Fahadullah was killed at Trident, Akanksha and Rehman Bada were gunned down at Nariman House while Ismail was killed in an encounter at Chowpatty,’’ said Maria. “We have written the four slain terrorists’ addresses, attached their photos and information about their involvement,’’ he added.

Patil admitted that in spite of the best efforts by doctors to preserve them, the bodies are in a high state of decomposition. He said, “We will
wait for 10-12 days for the reply. If these bodies are not accepted by Pakistan within this timeframe, then we would take a decision to dispose them off.’’

The samples necessary for DNA and forensic tests have already been removed from these bodies, he added.

Significantly, this is the
third time that the state government has written to the Union home ministry asking them to inform Pakistan to take the bodies back to Pakistan.

Muslim groups and organisations had earlier said that they will not allow the bodies of the terrorists to be buried in their burial grounds as the acts committed by the men were not of Muslims.

Kasab wants a clock to keep time for Ramzan
Pakistani gunman Ajmal Amir Kasab has told the court that he wanted to fast during the holy month of Ramzan. He has also requested that he be allowed to keep a clock in his cell so that he can keep track of time while observing rozas. Judge M L Tahaliyani is expected to consult jail authorities before passing an order. MTNL will set up video-conferencing facilities inside the special court to enable three foreign witnesses to depose. They will give evidence about the communication link the terrorists used. —Kartikeya

Monday, August 10, 2009

8 months on, 26/11 hero awaits credit for courage

BRAVEHEART: Quick Response Team commando Sachin Patil helped rescue 115 people from Hotel Trident

Mateen Hafeez I TNN
Mumbai: He was the hero who rescued 115 people from Hotel Trident during the 26\11 terror attack. But eight months later, the Quick Response Team (QRT) commando Sachin Patil is still waiting for his role to be recognised by the state government.

Over 15 city police personnel, who were posted outside the Trident, Hotel Taj, Nariman House or Cama Hospital, were selected for the President’s Police Medal for Gallantry (PPMG). However, 27-year-old Patil’s name did not appear in any reward list. A letter recommending Patil for the PPMG was also compiled by the ATS but never sent to the higher-ups.

Patil is the only policeman whose service was appreciated by the National Security Guard (NSG). In a letter, NSG’s Lt Col R K Sharma, operation in charge at Trident, termed Patil a brave cop for his outstanding performance during the 26/11.


On the night of November 26, 2008, Patil along with six others reached CST. “We were trying to open a motorman’s cabin in a local train thinking that terrorists could be inside. However, we found two motormen instead. We searched all the trains, looking for terrorists. It took 20 minutes, by which time, Kasab and Ismail Dera Khan had
run off to Cama Hospital. When we entered Cama, it was too late. They had fled in a police jeep towards Mantralaya. Chasing them, we went to Hotel Trident and came to know about another terrorists’ team hiding there,’’ said Patil, an arts graduate.

With the help of Trident’s staff, Patil and six other commandos entered the building through a staircase to rescue people. The next morning, NSG
commandos also took position and the QRT commandos were briefed on handling the operation. Patil accompanied NSG’s senior officers to the terrace. He brought hotel occupants in one room on each floor and then guide them to the ground floor.

“It was dark as all the lights were switched off. Using a torch would have been risky as it could alert the terrorists. I would first talk to the NSG through a walkie-talkie and then climb the staircase holding my AK-47 and a Glock pistol,’’ said Patil adding that it was difficult to convince the scared guests to come out of their rooms.

Patil also carried seven to eight victims on his shoulder and brought them on the ground floor. “Some victims have now become good friends and call me up frequently. I joined the police to serve the nation. By saving several lives, I have achieved my goal,’’ said Patil who hails from Pen taluka in Raigarh. Patil was busy in the rescue operation for over 40 hours. Once the Trident operation was over, he joined other commandos at Hotel Taj the same day.


Residents of Pen taluka organised several functions to felicitate Patil. Minister of state for home, Naseem Khan, said, “I don’t know about Patil. I will ask the police officers about his performance and adequate steps will be taken to reward him.’’

The Times of India, August 10, 2009

‘Shootout at Nagpada was supari killing’

Mateen Hafeez I TNN
Mumbai: The crime branch on Sunday said it was on the verge of cracking last week’s shootout case near Nagpada, in which two persons, including the owner of a gambling club, Zahid Hasan Amir alias Chhote Miya and his nephew Arshad Hussain, were gunned down. The killing was the result of business rivalry and a contract was given to kill Zahid, the investigators said.

“We are verifying the facts and will solve the case within 48 hours,’’ said crime branch chief Rakesh Maria.

Zahid and Hussain were sitting outside the Taj Cinema near Grant Road when three unidentified persons opened fire on them before fleeing. Zahid’s name hogged the limelight in April when informer Irfan Chindi was stabbed to death. Ifran’s kin had alleged that Zahid had plotted his murder. Some members of Zahid’s rival gang had reportedly gone to UP last month. They are believed to have given Zahid’s supari there.

The Times of India, August 10, 2009

Monday, August 3, 2009

ATS was ready for any eventuality

Mateen Hafeez I TNN
Mumbai: As early as three weeks ago, the anti-terrorism squad (ATS) had begun preparing the ground for moving the higher court in case MCOCA charges in the Malegaon blasts case were dropped.

Additional commissioners of police—Param Bir Singh and Sukhvindar Singh—met the state advocate general Ravi Kadam ago and briefed him about the court developments in the Malegaon blast case. The court has been hearing the bail pleas of two key accused, Lieutenant colonel Prasad Purohit and antique weapons collector Rakesh Dawade. Their counsels had been contesting the ATS decision to invoke MCOCA in the case.

Param Bir Singh said, “We were closely monitoring the case and preparing for any adverse order as well. We met the advocate general and briefed him about a possible adverse order.’’. Ravi Kadam, advocate general, told TOI, “They wanted to know what to do if they receive an adverse order. I meet them for other cases too.’’ The ATS had also
consulted former high court judge Ashutosh Kumbhakoni on this issue.

The special MCOCA court judge Y D Shinde on Friday dropped the charges of MCOCA from the Malegaon blast saying the prosecution failed to prove that it was the work of an organised crime syndicate. The state government announced that it would go in appeal against this order.

Eleven suspects including Sadhvi Pragya Singh Thakur and Purohit were arrested for 2008 Malegaon blast that killed

six. They were booked under the MCOCA in November last year. Two suspects had also given their confessional statements under the MCOCA.

Judge Shinde, in the first week of July, had complained of having received threat calls from unidentified callers. Shinde was provided police protection after the threat calls.

The ATS is likely to engage senior lawyer Amit Desai to appear on the prosecution’s behalf in the Bombay High Court when the ATS files an appeal in the HC.

The Times of India, August 3, 2009

ATS to have info analysis wing

Mateen Hafeez I TNN
Mumbai: Eights months after the 26/11 terror attack in the city, the state antiterrorism squad (ATS) is set to have its own information analysis wing and a technical department to analyse photographs, audio and videos. The squad will no longer depend on the forensic science laboratory for this.

The government had last week sanctioned around 200 new posts for police personnel who would be posted in new wings.
“The induction of more manpower and advanced technology will help us in our probes,’’ said ATS chief K P Raghuvanshi.

The technical data wing will be supervised by a deputy commissioner of police and assisted by four officers of the rank of assistant commissioner of police. Analysis of photographs, audiovideo evidence, fake Indian currency, mobile scanning and cyber monitoring will
be assigned to this wing. Another job of this unit will be keeping tabs on narcotic and hawala transactions across the state. An ACP will be in charge of the cyber unit and will decide on cases related to the Information Technology Act.

The government has decided to make Aurangabad the second ATS headquarters. An additional commissioner of police (for the rest of Maharashtra) will have an office in Pune. “Two more units at Akola and Nanded will soon be started,’’ said Raghuvanshi.

The Times of India, August 3, 2009

Saturday, August 1, 2009

11 Malegaon blast accused get a breather, MCOCA Dropped, Cops Shamed

Indian Army's Lieutenant Colonel Prasad Purohit, a Malegaon blast accused

Kartikeya & Mateen Hafeez I TNN
Mumbai: The Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) of the Maharashtra police suffered a major setback in the Malegaon blast case on Friday when a special court in Mumbai dropped all charges under the Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act (MCOCA) against 11 suspects, including former armyman Lt Col Prasad Purohit and Sadhvi Pragya Singh Thakur.

The dropping of charges means that the accused will no longer face trial under the stringent law and their case will be sent back to a regular court in Nashik. As long was MCOCA was applicable to the case, the prosecution enjoyed a considerable advantage as it could use confessions given by the accused to police officers as evidence. The decision to strike down MCOCA may also make it easier for the accused to get bail.

Six people were killed in Malegaon on September 29 last year when a bomb fitted on a motorcycle went off. The police traced the bike to Pragya Singh Thakur, a religious preacher. The police zeroed in on Purohit after his name cropped up in phone intercepts.

The Times of India, August 1, 2009

Absence of crime record helped sadhvi & gang

It is alleged in the chargesheet that all 11 were members of a right-wing Hindu organisation, Abhinav Bharat, which wanted to establish a Hindu rashtra through violent means

MALEGAON DIARY

Sept 29 2008 Bike blast at Dikku Chowk in central Malegaon, six killed
Oct 23 Three persons, including Sadhvi Pragya Singh Thakur, arrested
Oct 15 Army officer Lt Colonel Prasad Purohit held
Nov 20 ATS invokes MCOCA against 11 accused
Jan 28, 2009 Police file 4,528-page chargesheet
July 31 Court drops MCOCA charges against the accused


Kartikeya & Mateen Hafeez I TNN
Mumbai: One of the primary reasons why judge Y D Shinde held that MCOCA was not applicable to the Malegaon case was the prosecution’s failure to show that all the accused were members of a single organised crime syndicate.

It is alleged in the chargesheet that all 11 were members of a right-wing Hindu organisation, Abhinav Bharat, which wanted to establish a Hindu rashtra through violent means. They are charged with planning several blasts across

the country and also organising terror training camps for the youth. Purohit, then a serving army officer, was charged with supplying the RDX.

However, the absence of a criminal record of most of the accused also made it difficult for the police to justify the use of MCOCA which is meant to deal with hardened criminals and gangsters.

The accused were slapped with MCOCA on November 20, 2008—more than a month after their arrests. They marshalled a battery of top-notch criminal lawyers such as Mahesh Jethmalani and Shrikant Shivade,
who started questioning the validity of MCOCA.

Shivade argued that when MCOCA was applied, the requirement of two previous chargesheets against at least one of the accused for a similar offence of resorting to violence for monetary gains had not been fulfilled. Jethmalani, who represented the Sadhvi, had argued that the application of MCOCA was a mala fide move by the state.

Shivade had also said that two chargesheets were hastily filed against an accused, antique arms dealer Rakesh Dhawade, only after his name surfaced in the Malegaon case, so that MCOCA could be applied to the case and the other 10 accused. Dhawade, who is alleged to be a fund raiser for the group, was chargesheeted for his role in the 2003 blast at Parbhani and a 2004 blast in Jalna only after he had been booked in the Malegaon blasts case.

ATS chief K P Raghuvanshi said he would first study the court’s order and then decide on the next move. Shinde has given four weeks’ time to the prosecution to go in appeal to the Bombay HC. “We have a watertight case and will challenge the order. I have not seen the order so can’t comment,’’ he told TOI.
The Times of India, August 1, 2009