Saturday, October 31, 2009

Scepticism rife among police

Mateen Hafeez | TNN

Mumbai: The city police was in no mood to entertain or react to the Shiv Sena’s move to “protect’’ walkers with the help of its volunteer group, Saffron Guard. The Sena had announced its decision to field this protective body on Wednesday following the murder of Lalbaug resident Beena Dedhia by a pair of chain snatchers on Tuesday morning.

A number of police officials that TOI spoke to cited the Bombay Police Act, which bans
the assembly — in a single location — of five or more people who intend to cause a law-and-order problem. “Under Section 37 of the Bombay Police Act, the police commissioner can issue an order prohibiting the assembly of persons or people carrying arms in a particular area. Violation of this order is punishable by imprisonment up to one year. Such orders are issued regularly by the Deputy Commissioner of Police, Operations,’’ said an IPS officer.

Another IPS officer, however, said he does not foresee a problem if the guards are unarmed. “If they carry lathis or any other weapon, it will be an offence,’’ he said.

A section of the
police has adopted the wait-and-watch approach. “The Mumbai police is capable of dealing with anti-social elements. Let us see how long the Sena’s enthusiasm will last,’’ said a senior official.

The popular view among city
cops is that Sena is not serious about its announcement, which they believe is a mere political gimmick. “They want some issue to adopt after the elections,’’ they said.

“If they are serious and want to protect a walker, they should go to deserted areas where there is no press or cameras. But before they do anything, they should examine the law,’’ said one policeman.

The Times of India, October 31, 2009

Virk's retirement



Director-general of police, S S Virk, retired as the Maharashtra state police chief on Ocotber 31, 2009. He served the police force for 39 years.


(A photograph by Imtiyaz Shaikh)

Friday, October 30, 2009

Terror messages coded in blog rants, say cops



Mateen Hafeez I TNN

Mumbai:
Provocative rants by bloggers are a familiar sight to regular surfers of the internet. But some of these diatribes are more than simply a matter of disgruntled people venting their spleen—police say blogs have emerged as the favoured mode of communication of terrrorists seeking to convey hidden messages to accomplices.

Police officials are now busy scouring provocative blogs for such messages. “Earlier, terrorists used email and social networking websites to chat. However, in some cases, the modules were busted precisely with the help of web chat. To avoid this pitfall, terrorists have begun relying on blogs now,” said an anti-terrorism squad officer.

It may be recalled several Indian Mujahideen operatives were caught after the police engaged them in chat while posing as their associates. Similarly, police zeroed in on the location of a 7/11 train bombing suspect by resorting to web chat.

Police officials explained that blogs made it harder for police to tune in to chatter. An officer said, “In e-mails, many other e-mail IDs can be traced. But a blog could be read by anyone, and all the police will get is the internet protocol (IP) address of the blog’s readers. It will not give us the exact e-mail ID to
identify the person. Moreover, blogs are being written in such a manner that the content looks religious or fanatical, but it actually contains coded messages for terrorists,” added an officer.

Officers of the Cyber Crime Investigation Cell (CCIC) scan blogs and websites that contain remarks aimed at offending someone’s religious sentiment.


They search them and send a request to the Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT) to block it. Meanwhile, the National Technology Research Organisation (NTRO), the country’s secret agency that monitors cyber crime, also tracks cyber terrorists. But many cyber experts are not reassured by the investigations of NTRO and other agencies, saying there’s need for more investment and training.

Cyber guru Vijay Mukhi said the minute someone starts
using the internet, the chances of him or her being identified or caught are low. “They can be anywhere in the world but do their activities regularly. Even professionals and techsavvy people are far behind cyber terrorists. We need to grasp the importance of cyber terrorism and chalk out a plan to control it,” said Mukhi.

Former IPS officer Sanjay Pande, who now runs an e-security agency, said the US spends billions of dollars to control cyber crime and to train law enforcement personnel, but there’s no such awareness in India. “Intelligencegathering is now more dependent on technology than on human intelligence. We’re not training our students enough. There’s inadequate investment in controlling or probing cyber crime in our country,” he added. He noted that terror outfits use sophisticated technology. “Terrorists today send messages through blogs, cryptography, stegnography and so on, but most police personnel in cyber units in our country are not even aware of these terminologies,” added Pandey. According to Pandey, there’s no adequate programme to train officers in cyber crime. “It’s time we realised the importance of cyber terrorism. Several countries have already raised cyber armies to control and probe cyber attacks,” he said.

The Times of India, October 30, 2009

Terror messages coded in blog rants, say cops


Mateen Hafeez I TNN
Mumbai: Provocative rants by bloggers are a familiar sight to regular surfers of the internet. But some of these diatribes are more than simply a matter of disgruntled people venting their spleen—police say blogs have emerged as the favoured mode of communication of terrrorists seeking to convey hidden messages to accomplices.

Police officials are now busy scouring provocative blogs for such messages. “Earlier, terrorists used email and social networking websites to chat. However, in some cases, the modules were busted precisely with the help of web chat. To avoid this pitfall, terrorists have begun relying on blogs now,” said an anti-terrorism squad officer.

It may be recalled several Indian Mujahideen operatives were caught after the police engaged them in chat while posing as their associates. Similarly, police zeroed in on the location of a 7/11 train bombing suspect by resorting to web chat.

Police officials explained that blogs made it harder for police to tune in to chatter. An officer said, “In e-mails, many other e-mail IDs can be traced. But a blog could be read by anyone, and all the police will get is the internet protocol (IP) address of the blog’s readers. It will not give us the exact e-mail ID to
identify the person. Moreover, blogs are being written in such a manner that the content looks religious or fanatical, but it actually contains coded messages for terrorists,” added an officer.

Officers of the Cyber Crime Investigation Cell (CCIC) scan blogs and websites that contain remarks aimed at offending someone’s religious sentiment.


They search them and send a request to the Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT) to block it. Meanwhile, the National Technology Research Organisation (NTRO), the country’s secret agency that monitors cyber crime, also tracks cyber terrorists. But many cyber experts are not reassured by the investigations of NTRO and other agencies, saying there’s need for more investment and training.

Cyber guru Vijay Mukhi said the minute someone starts
using the internet, the chances of him or her being identified or caught are low. “They can be anywhere in the world but do their activities regularly. Even professionals and techsavvy people are far behind cyber terrorists. We need to grasp the importance of cyber terrorism and chalk out a plan to control it,” said Mukhi.

Former IPS officer Sanjay Pande, who now runs an e-security agency, said the US spends billions of dollars to control cyber crime and to train law enforcement personnel, but there’s no such awareness in India. “Intelligencegathering is now more dependent on technology than on human intelligence. We’re not training our students enough. There’s inadequate investment in controlling or probing cyber crime in our country,” he added. He noted that terror outfits use sophisticated technology. “Terrorists today send messages through blogs, cryptography, stegnography and so on, but most police personnel in cyber units in our country are not even aware of these terminologies,” added Pandey. According to Pandey, there’s no adequate programme to train officers in cyber crime. “It’s time we realised the importance of cyber terrorism. Several countries have already raised cyber armies to control and probe cyber attacks,” he said.

The Times of India, October 30, 2009



Wednesday, October 28, 2009

MORNING WALK ENDS IN TRAGEDY - Woman killed over earrings

Mateen Hafeez & Shreya Bhandary | TNN

Mumbai: Two motorcycle-borne, knife-bearing assailants killed a 39-year-old woman and injured her husband on Tuesday morning after the deceased resisted handing over a pair of gold earrings on Tuesday morning. The incident occurred around 5.40 am when the couple was taking their morning walk near Wadia Baug on G D Ambedkar Road in the Lalbaug area. While Beena Dedhia is believed to have died on the spot —she was declared dead on arrival at KEM Hospital — her husband Jatin, who sustained injuries, had to wait for 15 minutes on a deserted road before help arrived. They have a 10-year-old child who was at home at the time of the incident.

On Tuesday morning, the Dedhias left their home in Meghchhaya Apartments in Lalbaug for their early morning walk — a daily ritual for them. R B Poman, senior inspector of Kalachowkie police station, said the attackers had appeared from the rear. “As per preliminary investigations, they were returning home when the incident took place. The assailants were on a Yamaha motorcycle; the driver had masked his face with a cloth, while the pillion rider cornered the couple near Wadia Baug residential complex.” Poman said that the duo had threatened to kill the Dedhias, and asked them to hand over their valuables.

While Jatin gave his gold chain worth Rs 10,000, and cash amounting to Rs 3,000, his wife refused to part with her gold earrings. During the ensuing scuffle, the pillion rider attacked Beena, and slashed her throat with a knife. When Jatin tried to retaliate, he sustained injuries on his left forearm and right hand fingers. “The duo left the crime scene without taking the woman’s gold earrings,” said Poman.

Beena was lying on the footpath in a pool of blood, and an injured Jatin was crying out for help for almost 15 minutes before a passing biker spotted them. After the biker alerted the police control room, a team rushed the victims to KEM Hospital in Parel, but Beena was pronounced dead on admission. Jatin was administered first-aid at KEM, but later shifted to a private hospital in Parel. Their 10-year-old son, Jash has been not informed of his mother’s death. “Jash will celebrate his birthday on Thursday, and his parents were planning a birthday party for him. We have sent Jash to his uncle’s house and have told him that his parents are fine,” said Jatin’s brother, who came down from Pune after receiving the news. Jatin has been a resident of Meghchhaya Apartments for more than 20 years and lived with his parents, wife and son. Originally from Kutch, he owns and runs a grocery store at in the area. “We are still waiting for our relatives to come from our hometown. We will then cremate Beena,” said a family member.

The brutality of the incident has shocked residents of this quiet locality. The police have formed four separate teams to solve the case. A case of robbery and murder has been registered. Beena’s body has been sent to J J Hospital for a post-mortem.


UNSAFE STREETS

DOs
It is always better to walk in a group as there’s safety in numbers Avoid walking on deserted lanes and bylanes Ask your nearest police station to conduct frequent patrols in your locality Change the time you go for your daily walk frequently If you are alone in a lane and run into some seemingly suspicious people, leave quickly. Do not go there again Always walk on pavements to make it more difficult for vehicle-borne attackers

DON’Ts
Don’t wear gold jewellery or ornaments while going for a walk. If you have to wear jewellery, do not flaunt it
Do not carry huge amounts of cash on you
Don’t entertain strangers, especially those who are behaving suspiciously
FAMILY DESTROYED: Assailants On Bike Kill Wife, Leave Husband Injured And Make Off With Gold Chain Worth Rs 10,000 & Cash


On Tuesday, at 5 am, Beena and Jatin Dedhia left their Lalbaug home for a walk


Around 5.45 am, two assailants on a bike stopped them at knifepoint on an empty street


They demanded the couple’s jewellery and money. Jatin gave them his chain and cash




When his wife was unwilling to part with her gold earrings, they slit her throat


Jatin also sustained injuries. The bikers made off without the earrings




FATAL ENCOUNTER: Police mark the spot where the murder took place. The couple was attacked early in the morning at 5.54 am on an empty road


QUIET LOCALITY: The Dedhias have been residents of Meghchhaya Apartments in Lalbaug (above) for 20 years

The Times of India, October 28, 2009

MORNING WALK ENDS IN TRAGEDY - Woman killed over earrings

Mateen Hafeez & Shreya Bhandary | TNN

Mumbai: Two motorcycle-borne, knife-bearing assailants killed a 39-year-old woman and injured her husband on Tuesday morning after the deceased resisted handing over a pair of gold earrings on Tuesday morning. The incident occurred around 5.40 am when the couple was taking their morning walk near Wadia Baug on G D Ambedkar Road in the Lalbaug area. While Beena Dedhia is believed to have died on the spot —she was declared dead on arrival at KEM Hospital — her husband Jatin, who sustained injuries, had to wait for 15 minutes on a deserted road before help arrived. They have a 10-year-old child who was at home at the time of the incident.

On Tuesday morning, the Dedhias left their home in Meghchhaya Apartments in Lalbaug for their early morning walk — a daily ritual for them. R B Poman, senior inspector of Kalachowkie police station, said the attackers had appeared from the rear. “As per preliminary investigations, they were returning home when the incident took place. The assailants were on a Yamaha motorcycle; the driver had masked his face with a cloth, while the pillion rider cornered the couple near Wadia Baug residential complex.” Poman said that the duo had threatened to kill the Dedhias, and asked them to hand over their valuables.

While Jatin gave his gold chain worth Rs 10,000, and cash amounting to Rs 3,000, his wife refused to part with her gold earrings. During the ensuing scuffle, the pillion rider attacked Beena, and slashed her throat with a knife. When Jatin tried to retaliate, he sustained injuries on his left forearm and right hand fingers. “The duo left the crime scene without taking the woman’s gold earrings,” said Poman.

Beena was lying on the footpath in a pool of blood, and an injured Jatin was crying out for help for almost 15 minutes before a passing biker spotted them. After the biker alerted the police control room, a team rushed the victims to KEM Hospital in Parel, but Beena was pronounced dead on admission. Jatin was administered first-aid at KEM, but later shifted to a private hospital in Parel. Their 10-year-old son, Jash has been not informed of his mother’s death. “Jash will celebrate his birthday on Thursday, and his parents were planning a birthday party for him. We have sent Jash to his uncle’s house and have told him that his parents are fine,” said Jatin’s brother, who came down from Pune after receiving the news. Jatin has been a resident of Meghchhaya Apartments for more than 20 years and lived with his parents, wife and son. Originally from Kutch, he owns and runs a grocery store at in the area. “We are still waiting for our relatives to come from our hometown. We will then cremate Beena,” said a family member.

The brutality of the incident has shocked residents of this quiet locality. The police have formed four separate teams to solve the case. A case of robbery and murder has been registered. Beena’s body has been sent to J J Hospital for a post-mortem.


UNSAFE STREETS

DOs
It is always better to walk in a group as there’s safety in numbers Avoid walking on deserted lanes and bylanes Ask your nearest police station to conduct frequent patrols in your locality Change the time you go for your daily walk frequently If you are alone in a lane and run into some seemingly suspicious people, leave quickly. Do not go there again Always walk on pavements to make it more difficult for vehicle-borne attackers

DON’Ts
Don’t wear gold jewellery or ornaments while going for a walk. If you have to wear jewellery, do not flaunt it
Do not carry huge amounts of cash on you
Don’t entertain strangers, especially those who are behaving suspiciously
FAMILY DESTROYED: Assailants On Bike Kill Wife, Leave Husband Injured And Make Off With Gold Chain Worth Rs 10,000 & Cash


On Tuesday, at 5 am, Beena and Jatin Dedhia left their Lalbaug home for a walk


Around 5.45 am, two assailants on a bike stopped them at knifepoint on an empty street


They demanded the couple’s jewellery and money. Jatin gave them his chain and cash




When his wife was unwilling to part with her gold earrings, they slit her throat


Jatin also sustained injuries. The bikers made off without the earrings




FATAL ENCOUNTER: Police mark the spot where the murder took place. The couple was attacked early in the morning at 5.54 am on an empty road


QUIET LOCALITY: The Dedhias have been residents of Meghchhaya Apartments in Lalbaug (above) for 20 years

The Times of India, October 28, 2009

MORNING WALK ENDS IN TRAGEDY Woman killed over earrings

Mateen Hafeez & Shreya Bhandary | TNN

Mumbai: Two motorcycle-borne, knife-bearing assailants killed a 39-year-old woman and injured her husband on Tuesday morning after the deceased resisted handing over a pair of gold earrings on Tuesday morning. The incident occurred around 5.40 am when the couple was taking their morning walk near Wadia Baug on G D Ambedkar Road in the Lalbaug area. While Beena Dedhia is believed to have died on the spot —she was declared dead on arrival at KEM Hospital — her husband Jatin, who sustained injuries, had to wait for 15 minutes on a deserted road before help arrived. They have a 10-year-old child who was at home at the time of the incident.

On Tuesday morning, the Dedhias left their home in Meghchhaya Apartments in Lalbaug for their early morning walk — a daily ritual for them. R B Poman, senior inspector of Kalachowkie police station, said the attackers had appeared from the rear. “As per preliminary investigations, they were returning home when the incident took place. The assailants were on a Yamaha motorcycle; the driver had masked his face with a cloth, while the pillion rider cornered the couple near Wadia Baug residential complex.” Poman said that the duo had threatened to kill the Dedhias, and asked them to hand over their valuables.

While Jatin gave his gold chain worth Rs 10,000, and cash amounting to Rs 3,000, his wife refused to part with her gold earrings. During the ensuing scuffle, the pillion rider attacked Beena, and slashed her throat with a knife. When Jatin tried to retaliate, he sustained injuries on his left forearm and right hand fingers. “The duo left the crime scene without taking the woman’s gold earrings,” said Poman.

Beena was lying on the footpath in a pool of blood, and an injured Jatin was crying out for help for almost 15 minutes before a passing biker spotted them. After the biker alerted the police control room, a team rushed the victims to KEM Hospital in Parel, but Beena was pronounced dead on admission. Jatin was administered first-aid at KEM, but later shifted to a private hospital in Parel. Their 10-year-old son, Jash has been not informed of his mother’s death. “Jash will celebrate his birthday on Thursday, and his parents were planning a birthday party for him. We have sent Jash to his uncle’s house and have told him that his parents are fine,” said Jatin’s brother, who came down from Pune after receiving the news. Jatin has been a resident of Meghchhaya Apartments for more than 20 years and lived with his parents, wife and son. Originally from Kutch, he owns and runs a grocery store at in the area. “We are still waiting for our relatives to come from our hometown. We will then cremate Beena,” said a family member.

The brutality of the incident has shocked residents of this quiet locality. The police have formed four separate teams to solve the case. A case of robbery and murder has been registered. Beena’s body has been sent to J J Hospital for a post-mortem.


UNSAFE STREETS

DOs
It is always better to walk in a group as there’s safety in numbers Avoid walking on deserted lanes and bylanes Ask your nearest police station to conduct frequent patrols in your locality Change the time you go for your daily walk frequently If you are alone in a lane and run into some seemingly suspicious people, leave quickly. Do not go there again Always walk on pavements to make it more difficult for vehicle-borne attackers

DON’Ts
Don’t wear gold jewellery or ornaments while going for a walk. If you have to wear jewellery, do not flaunt it
Do not carry huge amounts of cash on you
Don’t entertain strangers, especially those who are behaving suspiciously
FAMILY DESTROYED: Assailants On Bike Kill Wife, Leave Husband Injured And Make Off With Gold Chain Worth Rs 10,000 & Cash


On Tuesday, at 5 am, Beena and Jatin Dedhia left their Lalbaug home for a walk


Around 5.45 am, two assailants on a bike stopped them at knifepoint on an empty street


They demanded the couple’s jewellery and money. Jatin gave them his chain and cash




When his wife was unwilling to part with her gold earrings, they slit her throat


Jatin also sustained injuries. The bikers made off without the earrings




FATAL ENCOUNTER: Police mark the spot where the murder took place. The couple was attacked early in the morning at 5.54 am on an empty road


QUIET LOCALITY: The Dedhias have been residents of Meghchhaya Apartments in Lalbaug (above) for 20 years

The Times of India, October 28, 2009

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

TERROR TRAIL - State rejects police plan to ban Sanatan Sanstha



Mateen Hafeez I TNN


Mumbai: The state government has sent back to the state police, a proposal seeking a ban on the right wing organisation, Sanatan Sanstha. The Home department has made some queries and told the state police to give a comprehensive explanation.

This was the second proposal sent by the state police to the Home department, seeking a ban on the Sanstha, a Hindu revivalist group and sister organisation of the Hindu Janjagruti Samiti. On September 6, 2008, TOI was the first to report about a proposal being sent by the state anti-terrorism squad (ATS) to the government. The second proposal was sent in September this year.

Last week, the state police received a list of queries from the state, which require clarification, before the state gives a green signal to the proposal and sends it to the Union government. S S Virk, director-general of police, said that they were examining the case. “The proposal was sent by the intelligence agencies to the state but the Home department has returned the proposal to us with some queries. We are trying to answer all of them and check the latest activities of Sanatan Sanstha, its members, to find out if they are still active (terror-related action),’’ said Virk.

On October 16, a motorcycle blast in Goa killed two Sanstha members, Malgunda Patila and Yogesh Naik, both residents of Maharashtra. “After the Maharashtra link cropped up in the Goa blast, we sent our team there to see if Sanstha members were involved in the blast. However, the evidence and our information does not corroborate their involvement,’’ added Virk.

The state police chief said the Sanstha
members were working on the lines of Bajrang Dal but refused to comment on why Bajrang Dal has not been banned so far. According to him, there was not sufficient evidence against Bajrang Dal too. “Members are performing their activities ‘silently’ and their involvement was also found in Miraj and Sangli,’’ he added. A police team also conducted a thorough search of Patil and Naik’s residences in Maharashtra but was tightlipped about the results.

The ATS had last year arrested six persons including two Sanatan Sanstha sevaks—Ramesh Gadkari and Santosh Angre (20). They were accused of making and planting bombs at three places in Thane, Vashi and Panvel. A play, ‘Amhi Pachpute’, was to be staged at a Thane theatre where the bomb exploded. The Sanstha had protested against the play, saying that it showed Hindu gods and goddesses in a “poor light’’.

The Times of India, October 27, 2009

Monday, October 26, 2009

Robber who escaped cop custody held

Mateen Hafeez I TNN

Mumbai: The Shivaji Nagar police re-arrested a 32-year-old robber who had e s c ap e d from police custody after being taken inside the Kurla court premises on Saturday.

The accused, Haneef Kaliya and his elder brother Majeed Kaliya (35) were caught by the Shivaji Nagar police on Friday night on charges of robbery. After keeping them in the lock-up at night, the two were taken to the Kurla court on Saturday morning at around 11 am.

“Haneef and Majeed were told to sit in a corner and the policemen were standing there. But by dodging the policemen, Haneef managed to escape from the court within 10 minutes of his arrival,’’ said an officer.

A case of escape from police custody (under Section 224 of the IPC) was registered against him. Haneef is facing around half-a-dozen cases of robbery, extortion, rioting and attempt to murder. Haneef was earlier arrested in a case of attempt to murder and was out on bail. “We formed four teams to search for Haneef and sent wireless messages across Mumbai. In the evening, we got a tip-off that Haneef was hiding somewhere in the Chandivli area near Saki Naka. We laid a trap and caught him again from a Mhada building where he was hiding,’’ said assistant commissioner of police Amjad Baig.

The Times of India, October 26, 2009

DOCS WILL ISSUE H1N1-FREE CERTS - Haj flights to start from November 7

Mateen Hafeez I TNN
Mumbai: Haj flights from the city will be taking off from November 7 for Jeddah. Around 1.68 lakh Haj pilgrims will be leaving for Saudi Arabia this year from across India.

Mohammed Owais, chief executive officer of the Central Haj committee, said that they had taken all precautionary measures.

“All the Haj pilgrims will be examined by a specialised team of doctors and issued a swine flu-free certificate. Initially, the Saudi Arabian government had appealed to senior citizens and children to avoid the Haj journey, following the H1N1 scare. But they did not ban anyone,’’ added Owais.


The Saudi Arabian airlines will be taking off from Mumbai for Jeddah between November 7 and 21. Haj flights from Delhi, Srinagar, Lucknow, Patna, Kolkata, Indore, Aurangabad, Chennai, Hyderabad and Calicut have already started.


“The flight from Mumbai was scheduled last. We have conducted several meetings with Saudi Arabian ministers on various issues. The Indian Ministry of External Affairs also did not ban children and elderly people who wanted to go for Haj this year,’’ said Owais.
mateen.hafiz@timesgroup.com

The Times of India, October 26, 2009

Saturday, October 24, 2009

ATS should have kept eye on Goa plotter: Police



Mateen Hafeez I TNN
Mumbai: Malgunda Patil, a member of right-wing outfit Sanatan Sanstha who was killed in the Goa blast, had been under the scanner of the Maharashtra ATS since last year. Had he been kept under regular surveillance, the explosion in Goa could have been averted, said a police officer.

Pat i l — s u s - pected to be a key conspirator behind the Goa explosion—was reportedly in touch with Vikram Vinay Bhave (26), who planted bom
bs at a Thane auditorium in May. The Goa explosion on October 16 claimed another person, Yogesh Naik.

According to a source, the ATS was aware of Patil’s link with Bhave, who was also part of Sanatan Sanstha. In fact, a source said, Patil came under the ATS watch last year after the explosions at Thane and Vashi following which six
persons, including two members of Sanatan Sanstha, were arrested. However, a few months down the line, the official became lenient towards him, with neither the ATS nor any other agency keeping tabs on him. Now, intelligence officials are busy reviewing the “communication lapse’’ in monitoring Patil, who was based in Sangli and would often visit Goa.

“Patil was in riot-affected Miraj in September last year. He was in touch with Thane blast plotter Bhave, who knew how to make bombs.
With such facts at their disposal, ATS should have kept a watch on Patil,’’ said police.

An ATS officer, however, said, “We do not have any information on Patil’s involvement in any crime. He was in touch with Bhave as both belonged to the same group.’’ The intelligence agencies had reportedly told the Goa police about Patil after the Thane blasts.

The Times of India, October 24, 2009

Friday, October 23, 2009

History made in Malegaon as first imam bags seat

Malegaon's Imam Mufti Ismail won the assembly elections and defeated Congress candidate Shaikh Rasheed


TEAM TOI
Mumbai: The Congress winning Muslim votes notwhithstanding, t e r ro rstruck Malegaon has rebuffed the party’s overtures. In the mill town, Ismail, Deoband-trained chief imam of Jama mosque, has won the seat by 17,000 votes, getting the better of the Congress’s Shaikh Rasheed and five-time MLA and Janata Dal (secular) leader Nihal Ahmed. He contested on a Jan Shakti Sawaraj Party ticket.

This is the first time that a serving imam has won in Maharashtra and that too from Malegaon, which has witnessed a spate of violent incidents. Ismail (46) secured 71,157 votes, while Rasheed won 53,238. Former minister Nihal Ahmed could manage 23,237 votes.

Ismail’s win, say ob
servers, was the consequence of a “change in command’’ in the Muslim-dominated textile town. Malegaon, which has been hit by bomb blasts twice and labelled “communally sensitive’’ after sectarian violence, witnessed an election beyond politics of hatred. “Ismail is a role model and a youth icon. He has made history by not spending any money to win the elections. In fact, he asked for Re 1 as party fund for every vote,’’ said Ishtiyaque Ahmed, a law graduate from Malegaon. He is so popular that even children would donate him Re 1 during his rallies.

Ismail, who has been leading the namaz at Malegaon’s grand mosque, studied at Darool Uloom Deoband in Uttar Pradesh. He was just 28 when he led Eid namaz and since then, he has been conducting the prayers with over 2 lakh namazis. “Ismail formed a third front in Malegaon in 2006 and his party won 28 seats in the 72-member Maleagon civic body,’’ said a resident.

Ismail’s strengths are his
command over people and communication skills. During the 2001 communal riots, it was him who reined in the mob. After the 2006 serial blasts, he went around the town in a police van, appealing for peace. “Ismail dared to tell Congress president Sonia Gandhi that her party did promise several sops to Muslims but they did not expect anything beyond that,” said Masood Ahmed, another resident.

The residents, say observers, were fed up with the poor Congress leadership in Malegaon. “The place was divided over communal and secterian rows. The leaders in Malegaon could not even build a single school, college, hospital or a playground in the past 40 years. However now, people expect development. Ismail’s victory proved that he was the choice of both Hindus and Muslims,” said an observer. Even the senior police officials who earlier worked in Malegaon deemed Ismail’s victory as a “great change’’ in leadership.

The Times of India, October 23, 2009

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Little progress made in custody deaths’ probe

Murdered in Custody? Khwaja Yunus


Investigation In 15 Cases On, Cops Say Inquiries Fair

Mateen Hafeez I TNN

Mumbai:
The Bombay high court asked the CBI to investigate the on September 11 custodial death of Mumbai youth Altaf Shaikh (22), but there has been little progress so far on 17 other recent custodial deaths. What’s more, official records acknowledge only two of those died due to police torture.

Most prominent was the Khwaja Yunus case, Initially, Mumbai police claimed Yunus had fled from police custody while being transported to Aurangabad for investigation.

Later, facts emerged about police involvement in his death and the state CID arrested nine policemen in 2004, including three officers, Praful Bhonsale, Hemant Desai and Sachin Vaze. The case is currently being tried in court.

In the only other custodial death acknowledged so far, sub-inspector Pramod Pawar of the N M Joshi Marg police station was arrested by the crime branch on April 19, 2007. He was charged with the death in custody of an accountant Premnath Rao.

Rao, employed with a private organisation was arrested on April 5, 2006, for allegedly stealing Rs 5 lakh. Pawar was the investigating officer and Rao’s body was found hanging in a bathroom outside the Agripada lock-up on April 6. Police then claimed it was suicide but the HC ordered a second post-mortem, which reportedly revealed injury marks and bruises on his body and neck.

Then there are 15 cases that were classified as suicides or natural deaths. The Mumbai police has been given a clean chit in the other deaths by the crime branch—which probed all the cases.

But legal experts, who have dealt with both suspected criminals and officials, point out that it is difficult to believe “why should so many people, most of them otherwise hale and hearty, suddenly die of natural factors or opt to kill themselves when in police custody?’’

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

Custodial deaths can be of three types: suicidal, homicidal or natural. Whenever someone commits suicide in a police station, an inquiry is initiated by the relevant crime branch unit.

The local police station has to then send a preliminary report to the National Human Rights Commission.


Telling Tales Of Human Rights

A report, “Torture in India 2009’’, by the Asian Centre for Human Rights (ACHR), stated that 1,184 people were killed in police custody in India between April 1, 2001 and March 31, 2009, Maharashtra topping the chart with 192 deaths. The report stated that most died as a result of torture within the first 48 hours of being taken into custody.


The Times of India, October 21, 2009

State is turning into right-wing terror hub: Cops

Mateen Hafeez I TNN
Mumbai: Take either the 2008 Kanpur blast or the previous week’s Goa blast — their links have been traced to Maharashtra. Senior police officials and retired cops say the state is fast becoming a hub of right-wing organisations’ terror activities considering that most of them are headquartered in the state.

“Most Hindu hardline outfits are Maharashtra based. Even before Independence, extremist activities were on in full swung in the state. The hardliners are now getting into more extreme activities, but they should not take law into their hands,” said V N Deshmukh, former joint director Intelligence Bureau who retired as state intelligence chief. Deshmukh further said that it is time the state banned Sanatan Sanstha, whose members are allegedly involved in Goa blasts. The outfit had made headlines last year during blasts in Thane and Panvel theatres.

TOI, on September 6, 2008, had reported about the ATS and state intelligence department’s recommendation to ban Sanatan Sanstha. The recommendation had come after the ATS arrested six members with alleged links to the outfit.

In the 2008 Malegaon blast, the suspected members of Abinav Bharat and Jai Vande Matram Samiti, had gathered from Jabalpur, Bhopal and Kanpur to allegedly conduct conspiracy meetings at Deolali and Nasik. Moreover, a blast accused, Rakesh Dhawade, allegedly organised terror training for Bajrang Dal members near Sinhgarh in Pune in 2003.

There have been blasts at mosques in Jalna, Porna, Parbhani and Beed in the past. Those arrested belonged to fundamental organisations. Two Bajrang Dal members died while making a bomb in Nanded
in 2006. “The youth are being indoctrinated by fundamental organisations. The state should act quickly to control rightwing terror,” said an officer.

“Maharashtra has been the most affected state in terms of foreign terror attacks. This is also a reason why hardliners are grouping under one umbrella in the state,” said a senior officer.


CHRONOLOGY OF BLASTS


October 2009:
A bomb goes off in Goa, killing one instantly. The police detain members of Sanatan Sanstha.

April 2009:
A bomb planted in a Beed mosque goes off early in the morning. Nobody is injured since the mosque is locked. Beed police arrest three — Ashok Lande (21), Mayur Lande (20) and Tulsidas Lande (17).

September 2008:
A powerful RDX bomb goes off in Malegaon, killing six and injured 101. Eleven members of Abhinav Bharat, Vande Matram Jan Kalyan Samiti are arrested.

August 2008:
Kanpur police recover a huge quantity of explosives from a hostel that was owned by the father of Rajiv Mishra, who was killed in a hostel blast at Rajivnagar in August.

March 2008:
A bomb goes off in a Panvel cinema hall. Six persons, two of them Sanatan Sanstha members, are arrested. The police recover two revolvers, a huge quantity of ammonium nitrate powder, detonators, gelatin sticks and related material.

June 2008: Six persons, allegedly associated with the Sanatan Sanstha, plant a bomb at Thane’s Gadkari Rangayatan. Seven persons are injured in the blast.

May 2008: The Bomb Detection and Disposal Squad defuse a bomb found at Vashi’s auditorium. The bomb is allegedly planted by Sanatan Sanstha members.


April 6, 2006:*
A bomb went off while being manufactured in Nanded and killed two Bajrang Dal mebes, Himanshu Panse and Naresh Rajkondwar on the spot. A total of 12 Bajrang Dal members were arrested. The accused were training in bomb making and operating fire arms. The bomb contained high-intensity gunpowder and police seized 1.5 kg gun powder, pipe bomb, bomb making material etc.

August 2004:*
Two Bajrang Dal members threw a bomb in Qadriya mosque in Jalna during Friday paryers. Four Bajrang Dal members were arrested for the blast.

August 27, 2004: *
A bomb went off at Porna's madrassa Meraj-ul-Uloom. No one was killed. Four Bajrang Dal members were arrested for this.

November 21, 2003:*
A bomb went off at the Mohammedia mosque in Parbhani during Friday praryers. No one was killed but several others were injured. Six people including Sanjay Chaudhry, Yogesh Deshpande and Rakesh Dhawde were caught for the blast.

(*: Not printed in the newspaper)

The Times of India, October 21, 2009

Multi-crore investment fraud busted

Mateen Hafeez I TNN
Mumbai: The police on Monday arrested two persons for duping about 2,000 investors of Rs 6 crore by promising to double their investments in a span of just a month. The police have written to banks to freeze the duo’s 10 accounts.

The accused — Mohan Yeshwant Kadam (42) and Divesh Tulaskar (48) — have been remanded to police custody till October 25, by a local court. Both are Class-XII dropouts.

The police say they acted on a complaint received from an old paper dealer and Byculla resident Jayram Shelke, who said he had deposited Rs 1 lakh in one Jupiter International Trading Company office located at God’s Gift building, Lower Parel. “There were many people who had come to invest in the scheme. After a week, I learnt that the office had suddenly shut and the office bear
ers had vanished,” Shelke told the police.

After conducting investigations, the police arrested Kadam and Tulaskar. While Kadam was the proprietor of the firm, Tulaskar acted as its CEO. “We have
seized Rs 48.50 lakh from a Worli flat in Adarsh Cooperative Housing Society that the accused had recently purchased,” said crime branch chief Rakesh Maria. He added that an Opel Astra, a Wagon R, four mobile phones, three laptops and several SIM cards were also seized from the accused.

“In 2004, Kadam had floated a company, Dun Hill Security Pvt Ltd, in Satara, Nashik and Pune and duped about 567 investors with the same modus operandi. There are similar cheating cases registered in Nashik, Satara and with the Mumbai economic offences wing against Kadam. A case of cheque bouncing was registered against Tulaskar with the Borivili police in 2006,” said Maria.

The accused also created a website of their company — www.jitc.in — and asked depositors to transfer money online. The minimum deposit for the ‘double-your-money scheme’ was Rs 5,000. Surprisingly, this scheme was started on September 10 and within a month, the accused managed to collect around Rs 6 crore. “We have written to ICICI, HDFC, Apna Sahakar Cooperative Bank and State Bank of India to freeze their accounts.”

According to the police, most of the victims belong to the middle class and hail from Jharkhand, West Bengal, Orissa, Rajasthan and Maharashtra.

After shutting Jupiter International Trading Company, the accused had planned to start another company, Smart Plan Marketing Pvt Ltd, which they had got registered as well. The police have been advising public not fall prey to such schemes. “Unfortunately, people invest in such fly-by-night companies,” said a police officer.

The Times of India, October, 21, 2009

Multi-crore investment fraud busted

Mateen Hafeez I TNN
Mumbai: The police on Monday arrested two persons for duping about 2,000 investors of Rs 6 crore by promising to double their investments in a span of just a month. The police have written to banks to freeze the duo’s 10 accounts.

The accused — Mohan Yeshwant Kadam (42) and Divesh Tulaskar (48) — have been remanded to police custody till October 25, by a local court. Both are Class-XII dropouts.

The police say they acted on a complaint received from an old paper dealer and Byculla resident Jayram Shelke, who said he had deposited Rs 1 lakh in one Jupiter International Trading Company office located at God’s Gift building, Lower Parel. “There were many people who had come to invest in the scheme. After a week, I learnt that the office had suddenly shut and the office bear
ers had vanished,” Shelke told the police.

After conducting investigations, the police arrested Kadam and Tulaskar. While Kadam was the proprietor of the firm, Tulaskar acted as its CEO. “We have
seized Rs 48.50 lakh from a Worli flat in Adarsh Cooperative Housing Society that the accused had recently purchased,” said crime branch chief Rakesh Maria. He added that an Opel Astra, a Wagon R, four mobile phones, three laptops and several SIM cards were also seized from the accused.

“In 2004, Kadam had floated a company, Dun Hill Security Pvt Ltd, in Satara, Nashik and Pune and duped about 567 investors with the same modus operandi. There are similar cheating cases registered in Nashik, Satara and with the Mumbai economic offences wing against Kadam. A case of cheque bouncing was registered against Tulaskar with the Borivili police in 2006,” said Maria.

The accused also created a website of their company — www.jitc.in — and asked depositors to transfer money online. The minimum deposit for the ‘double-your-money scheme’ was Rs 5,000. Surprisingly, this scheme was started on September 10 and within a month, the accused managed to collect around Rs 6 crore. “We have written to ICICI, HDFC, Apna Sahakar Cooperative Bank and State Bank of India to freeze their accounts.”

According to the police, most of the victims belong to the middle class and hail from Jharkhand, West Bengal, Orissa, Rajasthan and Maharashtra.

After shutting Jupiter International Trading Company, the accused had planned to start another company, Smart Plan Marketing Pvt Ltd, which they had got registered as well. The police have been advising public not fall prey to such schemes. “Unfortunately, people invest in such fly-by-night companies,” said a police officer.

Thw Times of India, October, 21, 2009

Multi-crore investment fraud busted

Mateen Hafeez I TNN
Mumbai: The police on Monday arrested two persons for duping about 2,000 investors of Rs 6 crore by promising to double their investments in a span of just a month. The police have written to banks to freeze the duo’s 10 accounts.

The accused — Mohan Yeshwant Kadam (42) and Divesh Tulaskar (48) — have been remanded to police custody till October 25, by a local court. Both are Class-XII dropouts.

The police say they acted on a complaint received from an old paper dealer and Byculla resident Jayram Shelke, who said he had deposited Rs 1 lakh in one Jupiter International Trading Company office located at God’s Gift building, Lower Parel. “There were many people who had come to invest in the scheme. After a week, I learnt that the office had suddenly shut and the office bear
ers had vanished,” Shelke told the police.

After conducting investigations, the police arrested Kadam and Tulaskar. While Kadam was the proprietor of the firm, Tulaskar acted as its CEO. “We have
seized Rs 48.50 lakh from a Worli flat in Adarsh Cooperative Housing Society that the accused had recently purchased,” said crime branch chief Rakesh Maria. He added that an Opel Astra, a Wagon R, four mobile phones, three laptops and several SIM cards were also seized from the accused.

“In 2004, Kadam had floated a company, Dun Hill Security Pvt Ltd, in Satara, Nashik and Pune and duped about 567 investors with the same modus operandi. There are similar cheating cases registered in Nashik, Satara and with the Mumbai economic offences wing against Kadam. A case of cheque bouncing was registered against Tulaskar with the Borivili police in 2006,” said Maria.

The accused also created a website of their company — www.jitc.in — and asked depositors to transfer money online. The minimum deposit for the ‘double-your-money scheme’ was Rs 5,000. Surprisingly, this scheme was started on September 10 and within a month, the accused managed to collect around Rs 6 crore. “We have written to ICICI, HDFC, Apna Sahakar Cooperative Bank and State Bank of India to freeze their accounts.”

According to the police, most of the victims belong to the middle class and hail from Jharkhand, West Bengal, Orissa, Rajasthan and Maharashtra.

After shutting Jupiter International Trading Company, the accused had planned to start another company, Smart Plan Marketing Pvt Ltd, which they had got registered as well. The police have been advising public not fall prey to such schemes. “Unfortunately, people invest in such fly-by-night companies,” said a police officer.

The Times of India, October, 21, 2009

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

ATS grills 40 suspects



‘WE ARE NOT GUILTY’: Sanathan Sanstha members address a press conference in Panvel on Monday

Mateen Hafeez I TNN
Mumbai: The Maharashtra anti-terrorism squad (ATS) has over the past two days questioned nearly 40 people, most of whom are suspected to have been associated with Sanathan Sanstha, a rightwing Hindu organisation, in connection with last week’s Goa blast.

On Saturday, the Goa police detained five men for their alleged role in the blast that killed one Sanathan Sanstha activist, Malgonda Patil. Another activist, Yogesh Naik, who was seriously injured in the blast and hails from Sangli district in

Maharashtra, is yet to give his statement. The police have registered a case against the two for collecting arms to wage war against the nation and under various sections of the explosives act.

ATS personnel are now scanning the records of all the suspects who were questioned in 2007 after two mysterious blasts in Panvel and Thane. “One bomb planted in a cinema hall in Navi Mumbai did not explode. All the three bombs were allegedly planted by members of Sanathan Sanstha. The ATS had arrested six members of the Sanstha then,’’ an ATS officer said.

“Investigations are on. The blast probe is being carried out by the Goa police and
the ATS is assisting them here,’’ said ATS chief Krish Pal Raghuvanshi. “A police team conducted a thorough search of Naik’s Sangli residence and is trying to find out from where he had procured the gelatine sticks and explosives,’’ said an ATS officer.

The ATS is still in the
process of establishing if the bomb was made in Maharashtra and later transported to Goa. “We have supplied all the information that the Goa police had sought,’’ said a senior ATS official.

“We suspect that the accused were trained in bombmaking too. Many people are
under our radar and we are monitoring their activities. In the 2007 blast cases, we found out that two members of the Sanstha had mastered bombmaking techniques and had even done a recce of the places. In the Goa case, we suspect a similar modus operandi,’’ said an ATS officer.

Goa government, police framing us in Margao explosion: Sanathan Sanstha


Vijay Singh | TNN

Sanathan Sanstha, the rightwing Hindu organisation, is claiming that their members are being deliberately framed in the Goa blast case.

Addressing journalists in Panvel on Monday, Sanstha spokesperson Abhay Vartak said, “It is a conspiracy by the Goa politicians and police against our organisation. There is no objectionable material recovered by the police from our Goa ashram and also from Miraj. Yet, the Goa government is trying to defame us.”

According to Vartak, while Malgonda Patil—the man who died in the scooter blast— was a sadhak from the Sanstha’s Goa Ashram, Yogesh Naik was not a member of the Sanstha. “He had come to the ashram to deliver milk,’’ he said.

“The media has also been wrongly portraying that the owner of the scooter, Nishaad Bakhale, is associated with the
Sanstha. The fact is that Bakhale is not our sadhak,’’ said Vartak.

Vartak also complained that the Goa police did not carry out any spot panchanama and came without a search warrant to the ashram for checking Patil’s belongings. “The police seized some computer hard disks, but refused to make a hash value report. The hash value report is very important as then no one
can tamper with the disks. Now, anyone can put objectionable material in the disks and blame the Sanstha for it,’’ explained Vartak. He also added that the Goa police have still not handed over Patil’s body to his family. When mediapersons asked questions on the Thane and Vashi blasts, Vartak said that the matter is pending in court, and that they do not support any sort of violence.

The Times of India, October 20, 2009

Sunday, October 18, 2009

MARGAO EXPLOSION - ATS team in Goa to question blast accused



Mateen Hafeez I TNN
Mumbai: A team of state anti-terrorism squad (ATS) team on Saturday reached Goa to question two of the suspects detained in connection with the explosion in Margao in Goa. The suspects belong to a right-wing outfit, Sanatan Sanstha. One member of the outfit was killed in the blast on Friday, while another is battling for his life.

The deceased, Malgonda Patil, was riding a scooter with Yogesh Naik when the blast occurred. The two-wheeler belongs to another Sanstha member, Nishad Bakhale. He has also been detained.

“The ATS team will try to get more information about the case,’’ said ATS chief Krishna Pal Raghuvanshi, adding that Naik hails from San
gli district. A police team also went to Naik’s house in Sangli for investigation. Senior ATS officials said they were probing if those detained or the deceased had any association with another organisation, Abhinav Bharat, members of which were arrested for the 2008 Malegaon blast.

The ATS in 2007 had arrested six members of the Sanstha for their role in bomb blasts at Thane, Panvel and Vashi. The six accused, two of whom were full-time sevaks of the outfit, had allegedly planned the blasts to protest against a Marathi play, Aamhi Pachpute. The had contended that the play was depicting Hindu gods and goddesses in poor light. The ATS had then said that the arrested Sanstha members were taught how to make bombs and had conducted a recce of the blast sites.


Margao town was abuzz with activity on Friday night as it hosted ‘Narakasur’ effigy competition, which is a tradition on the eve of Diwali. The blast took place close to the competition venue.

The police have recovered a cellphone and other gadgets from the place where the two deceased were staying. Goa police said in Sancoale near Vasco, another blast was averted.

The Times of India, October 18, 2009

Friday, October 16, 2009

Crime branch solves Rs 17L Tardeo robbery, arrests five


Mateen Hafeez I TNN
Mumbai: With the arrest of five persons, the crime branch on Thursday claimed to have solved a Rs 17-lakh robbery case that took place at Tardeo early this year.

Acting on a tip-off, the police arrested the five—Pacharam Choudhry alias Paras (25), Bharat Prajapati (20), Wagharam Purohit alias Babloo (23), Vinod Mehrul (37) and Bhabhut Bharti alias Maharaj (50) and recovered 500-gm gold and 1-kg silver from them. Of the five, two had carried out the robbery, while the rest were
involved in the conspiracy.

The incident took place at a flat in the Ferozsha Mansion in Ratan Tata Colony, Tardeo, on March 4. The complainant, Ratanben Shah (50), a widow, and her 17-year-old son, Rushabh, had gone shopping when the robbers struck. Her domestic help, Osaram Bali, who was alone at home, was busy cleaning the house and opened the door to keep the dustbin out. “It was at that moment that two unidentified persons barged into the flat, tied Bali up and gagged him. After that, they
locked Bali inside the bathroom,’’ said joint commissioner (crime) Rakesh Maria.

The two accused then opened a cupboard and made away with Rs 5.3 lakh in cash, 900-gm gold and 1.5-kg silver. After some time, when the robbers left, Bali managed to free himself and came out. “The neighbours took the tape off Bali’s mouth and he recounted the incident to them. Later, his employer lodged a complaint with the police,’’ said Maria.

According to the police, Paras
used to work for the Shahs five to six years ago. “The accused met each other at Arthur Road jail in 2007. It was Paras who told the others about the flat and hatched the plot,’’ said Maria. Babloo and Prajapati were involved in a Rs 5.5-lakh robbery in Thane two years ago, while Mehrul and his brother Manoj, wanted in this robbery case, were, accused in two robbery cases also in Thane.

Incidentally, the Tardeo case was classified as ‘A summary’ (true but undetected) two months ago.


What happened that day
On March 4, Ratanben Shah (50), a widow, and her 17-year-old son, Rushabh, went out shopping, leaving their domestic help, Osaram Bali, alone at their flat in Ferozsha Mansion at Ratan Tata Colony, Tardeo. As Bali opened the door to put the dustbin out, two unidentified men barged in and tied Bali up and also gagged him. Locking him inside the bathroom, they rummaged through cupboards and made away with Rs 5.3 lakh in cash, 900-gm gold and 1.5-kg silver. After the robbers left, Bali managed to free himself and came out. Finding him in that state, the neighbours opened the tape on his mouth and Bali recounted the entire incident. Later, Shah lodged a police complaint.

The Times of India, October 16, 2009

Thursday, October 15, 2009

He jumped as his mother watched: Cops Did Frustration Drive Lilavati Hosp CEO’s Son To Suicide?

SHOCKING END: Miten Mehta, a diamond trader who stayed in Belgium, jumped from the 9th floor of Maker Tower building

Mateen Hafeez I TNN

Mumbai: Miten Mehta, the 54-year-old son of Lilavati Hospital CEO Vijay Mehta, committed suicide by jumping from his ninth floor residence in the 13-storeyed Maker Tower building (L Wing) at Cuffe Parade on Tuesday evening. Miten was speaking with his mother when he suddenly jumped down, the police said, adding that the motive behind the extreme step is yet to be ascertained.

According to the Cuffe Parade police, the incident took place between 8.30 pm and 9 pm. “Miten, who stayed in Belgium along with his family, had come to Mumbai in the first week of September. He was to return (to Bel
gium) on Tuesday evening but cancelled his ticket,’’ said police inspector G M Kavade. Vijay Mehta was not in Mumbai when the incident occurred.

Miten held the post of Lilavati trustee for a brief period in the past but hasn’t been connected with the hospital or its administration for many years. The family is grief-stricken and did not comment.

“Miten jumped from the building in front of his mother, Sushilaben. She was shocked to see her son dying in front of her eyes,’’ said DCP Vishwas Nangre Patil.

“We have registered a case of accidental death. Miten, a diamond merchant by profession, has not left behind any suicide note,” said in
vestigators. “At 9 pm, we received a call from the building residents about Miten having jumped off the building and lying on the terrace of the first floor. Our team reached there and found Miten in a pool of blood. He was taken to GT Hospital but the doctors pronounced him dead,’’ added Kavade.

The police said that Miten’s mother informed the residents who then called them up. “Miten’s mother, Sushilaben (75), was alone at home when the incident took place. She is in a state of shock. Miten’s daughter, who is studying in the US, along with her mother and grandfather will be coming
to India soon. Once the final rites are performed, we will record their statement,’’ said an official.

The police spoke to the domestic help at Miten’s flat but even they were clueless as to why Miten was depressed. “It is too early to say if Miten was under depression or was frustrated. We don’t know what prompted him to commit suicide. Once we record statements of the family, we will be in a position to say something concrete,’’ the officer said. Policemen also refused to reveal if Miten was mentally disturbed.

Miten’s post-mortem was carried out at GT Hospital and the autopsy report stated severe head injuries as the reason for the death. Miten’s body was later shifted to Lilavati Hospital.

Miten’s father was involved in a legal battle with his brother’s family over the control of the hospital.


THE LAST CALL MYSTERY
Sources said Miten had packed his bags to leave for the airport and had come down to the ground floor where he received a phone call. After sometime, he again went upstairs before jumping off the building. However, the police said they did not have any such information.

The Times of India, October 15, 2009

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

TRIO ALLEGES FRAME-UP

2006 Malegaon blasts accused move HC

Mateen Hafeez | TNN

Mumbai: Three suspects arrested in connection with the 2006 cemetery bomb blasts in Malegaon have filed a writ petition in the Bombay high court, saying they have been falsely booked in the case. The trio has also urged the court to set up a special investigation team (SIT) to probe the case fairly.

The petitioners, Noor-ul-Huda, Shabbir Masiullah and Mohammed Zahid were arrested for the blasts that rocked the textile town on September 8, 2006. As many as 31 people were killed and 297 were injured in the blasts. The Malegaon police and the state antiterrorism squad (ATS) had arrested nine youths, allegedly belonging to Students Islamic Movement of India (Simi). The case was later transferred to
the CBI.

Advocate Ameen Solkar, who filed the petition on behalf of the trio, said the police deployment was removed on the day of the blast. He also pointed out that the approver in the
case, Abrar Ahmed, had on April 18, 2009, filed an affidavit in the MCOCA court, mentioning how he was framed in the case. Ahmed, in his affidavit, has provided several mobile numbers and names of officers who allegedly framed him.

“We are trying to say that there is some connection between the 2006 and 2008 Malegaon blasts. Ahmed was taken

to Deolali, Nashik and Madhya Pradesh. These are the places where Abhinav Bharat members, some of whom have been arrested, used to conduct their meetings and conspired for the 2008 blast,’’ added Solkar.

In his affidavit, Ahmed has also accused ATS chief Krish Pal Raghuvanshi of framing him in the case. When contacted, Raghuvanshi said, “I have not seen a copy of the petition and therefore cannot comment.’’ The court has asked the CBI to file its reply.
mateen.hafeez@timesgroup.com

The Times of India, October 14, 2009

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Cops leave no stone unturned to ensure free and fair polls

HIGH SECURITY: Nearly 80 % of the state police force will be on bandobast duty on election day

Mateen Hafeez & Nitasha Natu I TNN
Mumbai: Maharashtra’s borders have been sealed to avoid any liquor smuggling during the election period, directorgeneral A N Roy, who is the state police in-charge for the assembly elections process, said on Monday. There’s no specific input from intelligence agencies about a terror attack, he added. The Mumbai police has identified 93 vulnerable pockets and 133 critical booths for the assembly elections, where extra police force will be deployed.

City collector I A Kundan said that cases have been registered against unknown people for distributing pamphlets against BJP candidate Mangal Prabhat Lodha and NCP candidate Sachin Ahir.

The Mumbai police plan to rope in the Coast Guard, Navy and Air Force for added security. The Navy will be looking after coastal patrolling. “At over 84,000 polling centres across the state, central paramilitary forces, border security force and police personnel from other states have been deployed. Around 80 % of the 1.76 lakh-strong state police force will be on bandobast duty on poll day,’’ said Roy. The DG ad
mitted that Naxalites have entered the state in large numbers from Chhatisgarh and Andhra Pradesh and could disrupt election proceedings.

“We have also
seized some printed pamphlets where locals are being threatened by Naxals to not vote. Additional forces have been deployed there for peaceful polling. At least one policeman will be posted at each polling centre in the state and our priority is to reach the spot in five minutes in urban areas and 15 minutes in rural areas,’’he said. The state police, from the day the Code of Conduct was enforced to date, has registered 58,474 cases against various persons. A little more than 27,400 licensed arms have been collected while over 400 illegal arms have been seized. “Around 71,165 nonbailable warrants have been executed and there will be no sale or consumption of liquor allowed on poll day anywhere in the state,’’ Roy said.

In Mumbai, preventive action has been taken against 7588 criminals and a list of 324 political ‘goondas’ has been identified. The Mumbai police has registered 28 cognisable cases, 56 non-cognisable cases and 95 cases under local acts. “We have seized 45 unlicensed firearms, 135 other weapons like swords, choppers and daggers from people,’’ joint commissioner Himanshu Roy said. “There are 19,490 licensed firearm holders in the city. According to the rules, even if you have a licensed firearm, you can’t carry it on you till the election is over. Over 170 firearms have been deposited with the scrutiny committee by private individuals.’’

After the massacre of 17 policemen in Gadhchiroli by the Naxalities on October 8, the state election bandobast was reviewed again. Explosives were also seized from some Naxalites last week. CCTVs have been installed inside polling booths where EVM machines will be kept. Some polling stations in Gadchiroli have been relocated. Across the state, cases have also been registered in instances where money, saris etc, were offered as inducement to bribe voters.

The Times of India, October 13, 2009

Sunday, October 11, 2009

‘PUROHIT INNOCENT’

Malegaon blast: Hindu outfit denies involvement

Shreya Bhandary & Mateen Hafeez I TNN

Mumbai: Distancing themselves from the 2008 Malegaon blasts, members of Abhinav Bharat on Saturday claimed that all their people arrested for their alleged involvement were innocent.

The organisation’s name cropped up during the investigation of the explosion that claimed six lives and injured 101. Following the arrest of 11 people and a thorough interrogation, the anti-terrorism squad (ATS) had said Lt Col Prasad Purohit had floated Abhinav Bharat to avenge the atrocities on Hindus.

“No Hindu would be involved in a terrorist activity,’’ said Milind Joshi Rao, spokesperson for Abhinav Bharat, at a perss conference. “The al
legations against Purohit are all baseless.’’ Rao blamed the ATS and politicians for falsely implicating Abhinav Bharat. “How can an officer like Purohit be called a terrorist?’’ said Rao. “We have medical reports to prove that Purohit was badly beaten up by the ATS. However, the tests conducted by the ATS at J J Hospital show no trace of torture.’’

“Several witnesses were also tortured,’’ Rao alleged, adding that some of them now planned to approach the human rights commission. Rao demanded that the medical and narco-analysis reports be made public and that the witnesses be provided with security cover. “With the polls round the corner, several parties are trying to use the blast to woo minority community voters.’’

The Times of India, October 11, 2009

MAHA YUDH ’09 - Men in khaki gear up for election day

HAWK EYE: Commandos keep vigil as Samajwadi Party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav addresses a rally in Thane on Saturday

Mateen Hafeez I TNN
Mumbai: The city police are gearing up for the election bandobast on October 13, the day of the assembly elections. Police personnel form Karnataka, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, the CRPF and the CISF have been camping in the city for the last eight days. The aim, say cops, is to reach trouble spots in five minutes flat.

“Our main focus is area domination by the police, its presence on the streets, massive deployment of the force, pressure on criminals, etc,’’ said Himanshu Roy, the city’s joint police commissioner (Law and Order).

The weekly offs of all 44,000 cops in the city has been cancelled and they have been asked to work towards ensuring a peaceful poll day. Quick response to a complaint tops the police’s priority list, said Roy.

Teams on the streets
Around 3,000 police personnel from Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Central Reserve Police Force, CISF, Rapid Action Force, Riot Control Police, Quick Response Team, Delta police, Striking Force, Home Guards and Civil Defence personnel will be on the streets on the poll day. Apart from this, men from the Special Branch will be moving to gather intelligence about the anti-social and antinational elements.

Police action so far
Between August 31 and October 9, the police have taken action against 5,644 people in the city. As preventive action, five have been booked under the Maharashtra Prevention of Dangerous Activities Act (MPDA. Besides this, under various sections of the code of criminal procedure, 107 cases have been made against 857 persons in Mumbai alone.

Seizure, deposition of firearms
So far, 97 illegal weapons have been seized and around a hundred people arrested. The police have taken back the firearms of 173 people who have licence. This, said the police, was done to pre
vent the misuse of firearms during the election period. In fact, the scrutiny committee decided to revoke these licences and asked the weapon holder to deposit the firearm with the cops. Moreover, around 19,000 licence holders have been asked to keep their firearms either at home or at office. “No one is allowed to carry weapons in public,’’ said police officials.

Critical polling booths
There will be a total of 8,590 polling booths in the city. Of these, 93 booths have been declared “critical’’ and 134 as “vulnerable sites’’. For three polling sites, at least one mobile police team will be patrolling continuously during the poll period. One constable will be posted at each of the polling booths, while specially trained commandos will stand guard at the sensitive poll stations to avoid any booth capturing or untoward incidents.

The Times of India, October 11, 2009

Saturday, October 10, 2009

State cop toll more than J&K - Out Of 250 Killed In India This Year, 52 Died In Maha Alone


Mateen Hafeez I TNN

Mumbai: With Thursday’s four-hour encounter between the police and Naxalites, the number of cops killed in the state this year has gone up to 52. This figure is much higher than Jammu and Kashmir where around two dozen policemen have died in anti-terror operations this year. It is also around 21% of the total policemen killed across the country this year.

According to statistics, the maximum number of policemen have been killed in Ma
harashtra this year in any anti-terror operation. So far, 250 police personnel have died in various police operations in the country.

“We killed several Naxal ites in Thursday’s operation but their bodies were taken away by their associates. Two days ago, we killed a woman Naxalite and her body is with us. It is a war-like situation,’’ said Sunil Ramanand, deputy inspector-general (anti-Naxalite operations).

Seventeen policemen, including 10 commandos of the C-60 (Crack 60) force drawn
from the Maharashtra Police for anti-Naxal operations, and sub-inspector Chandrashekhar Deshmukh, who was serving his first posting after completing his training, died.

Senior police officials are unhappy with the government’s handling of the Naxal issue. “There is only one superintendent of police in Gadchiroli. In south Gadchiroli, which is a Naxal hub, 50 sub-inspectors’ posts are lying vacant. There is no SP or additional SP in south Gadchiroli. How can a force function without a leader?’’ asked a senior police official.

The Times of India, October 10, 2009

Friday, October 9, 2009

City crime branch yet to crack 3 sensational cases

Mateen Hafeez I TNN
Mumbai: The crime branch is yet to make a breakthrough in at least three sensational cases of this year, including the daring daylight heist at the domestic airport on May 24 where armed men got away with 145 kg gold and silver collectively worth Rs 20 crore.

Under joint commissioner Rakesh Maria, the crime branch has cracked several cases including the murders of advertising executive Neeraj Grover and matka king Suresh Bhagat as well as the origin of the Indian Mujahideen terror email. However, Maria refused to speak to this correspondent on the unsolved cases.


The robbery of Rs 28 lakh from Apna Sahakari Co-operative Bank in Bhoiwada, Dadar, on May 22 is also unsolved. Incidentally, the bank is just a stone’s throw from Bhoiwada police station.

The third unsolved case is the gunning down of a Shakeel aide, Zahid Hassan Mir alias Chhote Miya, and his nephew, Arshad Sayyed, near Grant Road on July 29. Sayyed had no police record and was merely sitting with his uncle.

In the first and biggest case, three armed robbers barged into Air India’s cargo complex near the domestic airport on May 24, killed a security guard and escaped with gold and silver coins being sent to Hyderabad. The anti-robbery squad and other units of the crime branch
fanned out across the country but returned empty-handed. Subsequently, the crime branch got several false leads after which it even claimed to have “identified’’ the group involved but eventually reached a dead end.

Just two days before this, two unidentified youth had entered the Apna Sahakari bank and made away with Rs 28 lakh at gunpoint in a Maruti 800 which was found abandoned near Wadala railway station. Apart from the fact that the robbers spoke in Marathi, the cops have no other clues.

In the shootout case involving Chhote Miya, who was also a police informer, the crime branch is still groping in the dark. The crime branch has been changing its statements although three of
its units, including those who investigated the 26/11 case, are working on this case.

At one point of time, the crime branch said it was a betting dispute. It later blamed rival gangster Chhota Rajan. However, even after questioning over 100 suspects, the police are yet to identify the killers.

Last month, a crime branch officer had said, “We know the man who had given the supari for the killings but we are waiting to arrest the shooters first.’’ However, the lower rung officials say they are still ‘clueless’.


Rs 20-cr domestic airport robbery
May 24, 2009: Three armed robbers barge into Air India’s cargo complex near the domestic airport. They kill a security guard and escape with gold and silver coins being sent to Hyderabad. The anti-robbery squad and other units of the crime branch fan out across the country but return empty-handed. Subsequently, the crime branch gets several false leads. At one point of time, it even claims to have “identified’’ the group involved but eventually hits a dead end.


Bhoiwada heist
May 22, 2009: Two youths enter Apna Sahakari bank at Bhoiwada and escape with Rs 28 lakh at gunpoint. The car used for the heist is found abandoned near Wadala railway station. Apart from the fact that the robbers spoke in Marathi, the cops have no other clues.


Nagpada killings
July 29, 2009: Chhota Shakeel aide Zahid Hassan Mir alias Chhote Miya, and his nephew, Arshad Sayyed, are sitting on the corner of a road near Alfred cinema. Armed assailants arrive at the spot and pump bullets into the duo. The two succumb to their injuries while being rushed to the hospital.

Icons: Mahesh Benkar

The Times of India, October 9, 2009