Monday, November 30, 2009

He makes arms and supplies them too

Mateen Hafeez | TNN

Mumbai: Investigations into the seizure of 10 revolvers and a carbine last fortnight have revealed that the arrested accused, Kailash Singh (28), himself had manufactured all the revolvers. Singh told the police that he would manufacture one revolver in three days, at a cost of Rs 500. This is the first time that the police have caught someone who is both a weapon maker and supplier.

Singh, a native of Madhya Pradesh, was arrested by the anti-terrorism squad (ATS) on November 12 from Amar Mahal in Chembur. The ATS had, on the first day of the arrest, concluded that Singh was not associated with any terror outfit. “He comes from a poor family in MP. Most of the people manufacture firearms and then sell it to those who want illegal weapons. We got information that Singh had come to deliver this consignment
to some people in Mumbai,’’ said an ATS officer, admitting that they failed to find out who was to receive the weapons in Mumbai.

“Singh told us that he used tyres of heavy vehicles like trucks or buses while assembling a firearm. He would burn the tyre and later used the tyre’s spring in a revolver’s trigger. He would cut and mould iron plates to give them the shape of a revolver,’’ said an officer.

Singh, a father of four, would hardly spend Rs 500 to assemble a revolver and then write ‘made in England’ on it. He would sell it for Rs 2,000. “Even the Madhya Pradesh police suspect that he is a weapon maker and supplier but not a single FIR is registered against him,’’ said an officer.

Police had been monitoring Singh’s movements for a while, said an officer, adding that Singh was a professional weapons carrier and this was his fourth visit to the city.

The Times of India, November 30, 2009

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Kavita Karkare's interview

Mateen Hafeez interviewing Kavita Karkare at her Dadar residence on Nov. 25, 2009 (pic by Hemant Shirodkar)

November 26, 2009

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

‘We were trapped between smoke, fire and bullets’



ALERT TEAM: Sub-inspector Nitin Kakade led the team that found the bomb by the Taj

Mateen Hafeez I TNN

Mumbai: Sub-inspector Nitin Kakade who was part of a police team that first spotted an eight-kg RDX bomb outside the Taj Mahal Palace and Tower, recalls that his team was caught between flames and bullets while rescuing people from the hotel during the 26/11 attack last year.

“I was on the day shift and had evacuated around 200 illegal hawkers from the Leopold lane. As it turned out, that actually prevented more casualties. I was writing up a daily report when I heard about firing near the Taj. I took my revolver and three colleagues and went there,’’ said the 35-year-old officer. But finding no one there, the team went to Leopold, entering the cafe covering each other. As 10-15 injured people were sent to hospital, the police team learned that two gunmen had gone to the Taj. “Near the hotel, someone informed us that two men entered it after firing at the north entrance, shattering its glass, and two others had entered via the main entrance,’’ added Kakade.

The police went to the main gate. “This was when someone told us the two terrorists were sitting near the hotel. When we reached there, we found a box with suspicious-looking contents. We informed the bomb squad, which later found that it was an RDX bomb,’’ said Kakade.

The police team found an unexploded grenade on the ground floor of the hotel. “Two foreigners were lying injured, so we first evacuated them. We then smothered the grenade with a sofa to reduce its intensity in case it exploded,’’ said Kakade, whose father retired from the force
as an assistant sub-inspector.

In the next two to three hours, people were rescued from the pool, kitchen and other areas. By this time, deputy commissioners of police Vishwas Nangre Patil and Rajvardhan Sinha arrived at the scene. Hotel manager Karambir Kang informed them that his family was trapped and the terrorists were kicking at their door. The police stopped the lift to curb the terrorists’ movements.

The police then started firing on the terrorists, who then started setting the hotel on fire. “I can’t forget the scene. On one side, there was fire and smoke, while terrorists sprayed bullets on the other. We couldn’t see a thing,’’ said Kakade.

He added that the team’s toughest task was to carry the body of their colleague Rahul Shinde, who was shot by the terrorists. “Several police officers sustained bullet injures and some had burn injuries. However, our attempt to prevent terrorists from moving freely around the hotel helped expedite rescue operations,’’ said Kakade.


The Times of India, November 26, 2009

24 docs in 12 months for public enemy No 1


Prafulla Marpakwar, Malathy Iyer,Kartikeya & Mateen Hafeez | TNN



Doctor: Name?
Patient: Ajmal Amir Kasab.
Doctor: Nationality?
Patient: Pakistan.


Police sources present when this conversation (a routine protocol for every medico-legal case) took place concede it established for the first time the lethal link that the 26/11 probe hinges on.

In the 12 months since he was captured alive, nearly 24 doctors have called on Ajmal Kasab at his Arthur Road cell. “Whenever he complained about one or the other ailment, we took a doctor to examine him,’’ a senior cop said.

But a year down the line, doctors in Nair Hospital, where Kasab was taken along with his dead mate, are in no mood to talk about the bloody night. “No comments,’’ say doctors when asked about Kasab. Some, however, commented on the paradox of how doctors had to treat Kasab while attending to others hit by terrorists’ bullets.

And his first night on Indian soil wasn’t the only time India’s Enemy No 1 had a brush with Indian doctors. Although a senior crime branch official on Wednesday told TOI there was nothing wrong with Kasab’s health right now except for his congenital ulcer, he has been to several hospitals. “Kasab was a prized catch. As a result, taking care of his health was our top priority and it was decided to shift him to St George hospital,’’ a police official said.

Since the media was on high alert, shifting Kasab was a big problem, but the sleuths came up with a novel idea. “We kept a dummy of Kasab in the crime branch and the real Kasab was shifted to St George hospital. He was there for well over a week, while at the crime branch office, it appeared as if Kasab was very much in the lockup,’’ he said.

During his week-long stay at St George hospital, most medical tests were conducted by leading doctors from J J Hospital. “There were surgeons, eye specialists, physicians, but it was a secret operation. We ensured doctors were shifted from the J J Hospital to St George in a private vehicle and none of them were aware of the fact that they had been called to examine the dreaded terrorist,’’ he said. Even after his return to the Arthur Road jail, Kasab was treated for an eye problem.

Kasab has, at various points of time, told the special court of Justice M L Tahaliyani about his ailments (see box), from the benign-sounding acidity or painful stomach ulcers. Joint commissioner of police Rakesh Maria has been famously quoted as saying it has been a challenge to keep him alive. Initial reports gleaned through police sources mentioned Kasab had said he wanted to live when brought to
Nair Hospital, but what struck most Indians was his casual and smiling demeanour. State government sources say a doctor specialising in criminal psychiatry also met Kasab several times last year to evaluate his psychological make-up.

``A lot has been said about Kasab’s sudden confession to the special court a few months ago but people forget his confession began right in Nair Hospital’s trauma unit on November 26, 2008,’’ says a senior civic official.


What Medicos Told The Court

Dr Venkat Ramamurthy identified Ajmal Amir Kasab in court as the person with five injuries on his body who he treated at Nair Hospital. He said Kasab had a one-cm dispel to the elbow joint with contaminated stain, and at 2.5 cm from that a 3x2.5 cm lacerated wound on the posterior medieval right elbow. There was a 3x1 cm lacerated wound on the dorsal ulna of his left wrist joint, a 5x6 cm bruise, abrasion on the left thigh and a minor abrasion on anterior of the right thigh. “Kasab also had a
one-cm puncture wound over his right posterior elbow, which could have been a bullet injury,’’ he said. He added a person could fire a gun with such injuries.

Two other doctors from Nair Hospital, Dr Yogita Delkar and Dr Vikas K Kesari, also identified Kasab. Delkar said two police sub-inspectors and a constable had brought two patients with firearm injuries. She also identified the entries made at casualty register (no 18555) for deceased Abu Ismail and (no 18556) for Kasab. | TNN


Kasab’s Complaints
Acidity
The stomach secretes acid which helps in breaking down the food during digestion. But excess production of acid in the stomach results in acidity

Stomach Ulcer

The inner lining of the stomach has a mucus cover to protect cells against acid produced to digest the food. But at times the balance between the acid production and mucus covering is destroyed, leading to development of ulcer


Causes
Infection with Helicobacter pylori (H pylori) Overuse of anti-inflammatory drugs, including aspirin

Doctors’ Diagnosis For Kasab
Doctors say Ajmal’s Kasab’s ulcer is a congenital complaint

Hiatal Hernia
Occurs when part of the stomach pushes upward through the diaphragm. The diaphragm has a small opening (hiatus) that allows your food tube (oesophagus) to pass through on its way to connect to the stomach. The stomach can push up through this opening and cause hiatal hernia


Most small hiatal hernias show no signs
Larger hiatal hernias can cause signs and
symptoms such as: Heartburn Belching Chest pain Nausea Hiatal hernia could be caused by: Injury to the area An inherited weakness in surrounding muscles Intense pressure on surrounding muscles




Depression
One of the most common health conditions in the world, it affects the way a person thinks and behaves and can cause a variety of emotional and physical problems. It’s believed that a variety of biochemical (hormonal imbalance),
genetic and environmental factors (loss of a loved one, financial problem or high stress) may cause depression




The Times of India, November 26, 2009

Karkares move on, but scars stay

Mateen Hafeez | TNN

Mumbai: For the first time in a month and a half, Hemant and Kavita Karkare were having dinner together on November 26 last year. The ATS chief had been so busy in following up on the Malegaon blast that he could never sit down to a meal with her, said Kavita. On 26/11, he left midway through his meal to combat terrorists at CST. That was the last time Kavita saw him.

“During dinner, Hemant got a call saying there was trouble. He grabbed his shoes and got into the car,’’ said Kavita, a lecturer at the NSS B Ed college, Tardeo. “He was a workaholic, and we were
used to it,’’ she added. Kavita said the responsibility of running the family rested on her shoulders since Karkare, a former RAW officer, was gunned down by the terrorists.

“When my husband was with us, our children relied on him for everything. Now it’s difficult to handle the family without him,’’ she said. The Karkares’ elder daughter Sayli, a software engineer, lives with her husband in the US. Their younger daughter Juhi has joined the UN. Their youngest child, son Aakash, studies law in Pune.

To commemorate Karkare’s passing, Aakash is currently in Mumbai. “We’ll perform a pooja and attend a
shraddhanjali programme,’’ said Shirish, Karkare’s younger brother. The Karkares said it has been painful to read every day about 26/11 in the newspapers, and to watch the news on TV as well.

Recalling Karkare’s days during the Malegaon blast probe, Kavita said he was not tense at all. “He never discussed the probe with me. He knew what he was doing was right. He was a man of principles,’’ she said.

Kavita recalled her last conversation with her husband. “I called him up on his cell phone to ask what was happening. Hemant said he was on the spot and would call
back soon. Those were his last words.’’ Kavita and Hemant Karkare fell in love after they met during a personality development programme organised by the National Productivity Council. Karkare was one of the speakers.

On the allegedly sub-standard bulletproof jacket Karkare was wearing on the night of 26/11, Kavita was clear. She said, “It was a substandard jacket. The officers who have been saying that it was not sub-standard should wear it and demonstrate their claims.’’ The Karkare family is currently busy compiling the late ATS chief’s biography. The as-yet-untitled book is likely to be released next month.

The Times of India, November 26, 2009

Karkares move on, but scars stay

Kavita Karkare during the interview on Nov. 25, 2009 (pic by Hemant Shirodkar)


Mateen Hafeez | TNN
Mumbai: For the first time in a month and a half, Hemant and Kavita Karkare were having dinner together on November 26 last year. The ATS chief had been so busy in following up on the Malegaon blast that he could never sit down to a meal with her, said Kavita. On 26/11, he left midway through his meal to combat terrorists at CST. That was the last time Kavita saw him.

“During dinner, Hemant got a call saying there was trouble. He grabbed his shoes and got into the car,’’ said Kavita, a lecturer at the NSS B Ed college, Tardeo. “He was a workaholic, and we were
used to it,’’ she added. Kavita said the responsibility of running the family rested on her shoulders since Karkare, a former RAW officer, was gunned down by the terrorists.

“When my husband was with us, our children relied on him for everything. Now it’s difficult to handle the family without him,’’ she said. The Karkares’ elder daughter Sayli, a software engineer, lives with her husband in the US. Their younger daughter Juhi has joined the UN. Their youngest child, son Aakash, studies law in Pune.

To commemorate Karkare’s passing, Aakash is currently in Mumbai. “We’ll perform a pooja and attend a
shraddhanjali programme,’’ said Shirish, Karkare’s younger brother. The Karkares said it has been painful to read every day about 26/11 in the newspapers, and to watch the news on TV as well.

Recalling Karkare’s days during the Malegaon blast probe, Kavita said he was not tense at all. “He never discussed the probe with me. He knew what he was doing was right. He was a man of principles,’’ she said.

Kavita recalled her last conversation with her husband. “I called him up on his cell phone to ask what was happening. Hemant said he was on the spot and would call
back soon. Those were his last words.’’ Kavita and Hemant Karkare fell in love after they met during a personality development programme organised by the National Productivity Council. Karkare was one of the speakers.

On the allegedly sub-standard bulletproof jacket Karkare was wearing on the night of 26/11, Kavita was clear. She said, “It was a substandard jacket. The officers who have been saying that it was not sub-standard should wear it and demonstrate their claims.’’ The Karkare family is currently busy compiling the late ATS chief’s biography. The as-yet-untitled book is likely to be released next month.

The Times of India, November 26, 2009

26/11: Cops want to question duo held in Italy

Mateen Hafeez & S Ahmed Ali I TNN

Mumbai: The city police have compiled a Letter Rogatory that will be submitted in the special trial court for 26/11. This letter of request will be sent to Italy as part of the probe into the arrest of the father-son duo who are suspected to have played a role in the Mumbai carnage.

Joint commissioner of police (crime) Rakesh Maria said they planned to send a police team to Italy once they get the go ahead. “The special court will send the letter to an Italian court where Yaqub Janjua (60) and his son Aamir Janjua (31) are being tried. We would like to question them,’’ the officer said.

The Janjuas were caught by the Brescia police in north Italy on November 21, on charges of aiding and abetting international terrorism, illegal financial transaction and human trafficking.

According to the crime branch, of the 10 LeT operatives who unleashed terror on the city last year, four were in touch with their Pakistani handlers through a VoIP network. The names of Janjuas and a few other Pakistani nationals have cropped up for allegedly paying the Callphonex firm to take the VoIP connection on November 25, last year, a day before the attack, a source said.

The payments to Callphonex (New Jersy) was made in the name of a Pakistani national, Javed Iqbal, who stayed illegally in Barcelona, Spain. The Janjuas, who own a money transferring firm, Madeena Trading, in Brescia, used Javed Iqbal’s name in the transactions. In fact, between 2006 and 2008, the Janjuas used Iqbal’s identity for more than 300 times to transfer money to various countries. The financial transaction made under Iqbal’s name total to around 4,00,000 Euros.

The Times of India, November 25, 2009

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Locals used hand carts to transport injured victims



UNSUNG HEROES: The youth took charge of rescue operations at CST


Mateen Hafeez | TNN

Mumbai: It’s unlikely that this group of youngsters all daily wage labourers will ever forget the night of 26/11. Bloodied bodies, cries for help, and people running for their lives are images they will carry with them for the rest of their lives. In the absence of the police and emergency medical services, the youth transported dozens of injured victims and shifted an equal number
of dead bodies on make-shift carts to St George Hospital in south Mumbai.

“We were playing cricket nearby that night, when suddenly we saw people screaming and running in different directions. On enquiring we were told that there was some firing at CST,’’ said Rehan Shaikh, one of the youth.

The first thing they did was provide shelter to the people on the road. “We live near St George Hospital. No one knew what was happening, and whether it was safe, so we tried to accommodate
them in our shanties.’’

When they tried calling the police, they said they got no answer. “At CST, we saw people lying in pools of blood. So we put them on handcarts and took them to the nearby St George Hospital,’’ recalled Feroz Shaikh. In this manner, the ‘12 friends were able to cart 50 injured victims to the hospital. “Many were dying,’’ said Feroz. They also transported 30 bodies from CST to St George.


Given the sights they witnessed, it’s little wonder that they are angry with the fact that Kasab is still alive. “If a criminal commits four to five murders, he is usually shot down in a police encounter. Pakistani gunman Ajmal Kasab has killed so many people, and he’s
alive. Why?’’ they asked.

“I saw many cops running for their lives because they had no weapons,’’ added a CST porter Rajesh Yadav, who survived the attack. He took cover behind a rake, and ventured out to assist in rescue operations after the two terrorists had left CST.

The youth have befriended many of the 26/11 victims whose lives they helped save. “They visit us when they pass by,’’ said Yadav. “We are happy and proud that we were able to help people.’’


The Times of India, November 24, 2009

Arrest of Pak duo: Police sending 26/11 papers to Italy

Mateen Hafeez I TNN

Mumbai: The police have begun the legal process for sending the 26/11 terror attack case papers to an Italian court. The move, say experts, would help the Indian police to get the custody of the Pakistan-born father-son duo Yaqub and Aamir Janjua, who were arrested in Italy on November 21 on charges of aiding and abetting international terrorism.

The city crime branch strongly believes that there is a connection between the Janjuas and another Pakistani national Javed Iqbal. The Janjuas own a money transferring firm, Al-Madeena Agency, in Brescia, Italy.

“We have mentioned in our charge sheet that the money ($229) was sent through Al-Madeena to Callphonex over a Voice Over Internet Protocol (VoIP) connection. The payment was made on November 25 last year. This money was actually sent to Al-Madeena by Iqbal who is a wanted accused in our case,’’ said crime branch head, Rakesh Maria.

“We have begun the legal process and are examining the case. A team of legal experts is also helping us. We will send a Letter Rogatory to the Italian court through our special court which is conducting the 26/11 trial,’’ added Maria. A request will also be sent to the Interpol in this connection.

According to the crime branch, four LeT operatives were in touch with their Pakistani handlers after they reached India. The handlers were using the VoIP network during the attack. The police said $220 was paid in Spain and $229 was paid in Italy to get the VoIP facility. The payment was sent from Pakistan to Italy and then to Callphonex in New Jersey.

The Times of India, November 24, 2009

Sunday, November 22, 2009

‘Father, son transferred money to activate VoIP’

26/11 TRAIL

Mateen Hafeez | TNN

Mumbai: The city crime branch has reason to believe that there is a strong connection between the father-son duo, caught in Italy for their alleged role in the 26/11 terror attacks and non-resident Pakistani Javed Iqbal, who had made payments for a Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) connection used by the terrorists.

The Pakistani father-son duo was arrested by the Italian police in Brescia on Saturday on charges of aiding and abetting international terrorism as well as illegal financial activity. They are accused of
transferring money to activate a VoIP connection that was used by the 26/11 attackers.

According to the crime branch, four LeT operatives were in touch with their handlers after they reached India. The handlers were using the VoIP network during the attack. The police said US $220 was paid in Spain and $250 was paid in Italy to get the VoIP facility. Iqbal, who had made the payment in Barcelona was caught by the Pakistani police in February.

Crime branch head Rakesh Maria said, “Iqbal used some person in Italy to make the payment for the VoIP connection. The payment was channelised from Pakistan to Italy and then to Callphonex in New Jersey. We are waiting for the full report from the Interpol.”

The Times of India, November 22, 2009

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Kidnappers strangle victim to avoid being arrested

Mateen Hafeez & S Ahmed Ali I TNN

Mumbai: Seven days after the 17-yearold son of a steel broker went missing on November 13, the city crime branch and the V P Road police finally found him murdered near Tungareshwar Phata near Vasai on Friday.

The city crime branch and the V P Road police, who have been investigating the case, said the abductors had kidnapped the boy, Suresh Talkaram Prajapati, hoping to extort Rs 4 lakh from his father. The accused were known to Suresh, and in fact, they strangled him on the same day, fearing that if rescued, he might reveal their identity, the police said. The case was solved after the suspects, Pravin Purohit and Arjun Purohit, confessed to the crime. The two have been charged with kidnapping and murder.

“On November 13, Suresh had his lunch and headed for our shop, which is in the lane next to our house on the fourth Kumbharwada lane near Grant Road. Half an hour later, his father, Talkaram, received a call from Suresh, saying he was being kidnapped by four unidentified persons, who were taking him towards Mahalaxmi station. The boy also said the kidnappers were demanding a ransom of Rs 4 lakh,’’ a relative said. “Suresh was an only child. His parents had two more children but they had died soon after their birth.’’

The same night, the family received a call from another number when the kidnappers repeated their demand. By then, Suresh’s mobile had been switched off. “We lodged a kidnapping case with the V
P Road police that day,’’ said another relative, alleging that had the police acted on time, their son could be saved. “Initially, the police did not cooperate. Later, they said business rivalry could be a reason for the kidnap and that they would solve the case soon,’’ a family friend said. For the next couple of days, the Prajapatis received several ransom calls.

“The police questioned a suspect, Ghevarchand, whose mobile was used to make the ransom calls. Ghevarchand told the police that the mobile was sold to him by his friend, Pravin,’’ the police said. The police then picked up Pravin, who confessed to the crime. “The accused wanted to extort Rs 5 lakh but got scared and killed the boy. They dumped the body in Vasai,’’ said JCP (crime) Rakesh Maria.

“Suresh’s mother has stopped eating since he was kidnapped. She still does not know about his death,’’ said a relative.







1.
Suresh, on his way to his father’s shop, is kidnapped by four persons
2. The accused calls up Suresh’s father, demands Rs 4 lakh as ransom
3. The abductors strangle him and dump body in Vasai

The Times of India, November 21, 2009

Friday, November 20, 2009

Saviours too, but slighted in reward



WAITING FOR RECOGNITION: Constables Amit Khetle (left) and Arun Mane

Mateen Hafeez | TNN

Mumbai: Constable Amit Khetle reached office at around 9.40 pm on the night of 26/11 when there was a wireless message informing them about a “gang war’’ at Cafe Leopold. But in a couple of minutes, he along with the driver and deputy police commissioner Vishwas Nangre Patil were at Hotel Taj after getting another message that some armed men went on a shooting spree there. Khetle sustained three bullets fired by the terrorists.

Khetle (28), armed with a revolver, entered Taj at around 9.50 pm. “We saw a horrible scene. Several people were lying in a pool of blood. I was a bit scared initially but I knew I had to do my duty,’’ said Khetle, whose father retired as an assistant sub-inspector. “The hotel’s security officer Sunil Kuryadi informed us that some men had barged inside and were firing with sophisticated weapons. Along with Patil saheb
we went up to the first floor and heard gunshots. We found two bodies lying on the stairs of the second floor. Patil saheb fired three rounds at the terrorists and injured one of them. I too fired two rounds before they showered bullets on our team,’’ recalled Khetle.

The team went up to the sixth floor but could not find the terrorists. “It was
difficult to trace their location but we could hear gunshots,’’ he added. They came through the fire exit gate and went to the hotel’s CCTV room from where they saw the terrorists’ movements.

Similarly, constable Arun Mane, who was reaching his Ghatkopar residence, received a call on his mobile about the attack. “I reached office, took bullet
proof jackets and joined my senior officers them at the Taj. But I did not have any weapon with me,’’ said Mane.

The senior officials were monitoring the CCTV screen and informing the police control room which helped the state reserve police force take positions. “The terrorists started setting rooms on fire. There was so much smoke we couldn’t see anything on the CCTV screen, so we had to leave,’’ Mane said.

But before they left, the team helped other cops rescue around 1,350 persons by providing covering fire. They also prevented the terrorists from entering the new building. However, as the policemen left the CCTV room, the terrorists sprayed them with bullets. Constable Rahul Shinde died on the spot, Khetle sustained three bullet injuries and in a grenade attack Mane sustained burns on his face, ears and hands.

Ironically, no policeman from this team was shortlisted for any medal, award or promotion.

The Times of India, November 20, 2009

Thursday, November 19, 2009

26/11 pics


HEROES TO THE FORE: The 26/11 heroes were undoubtedly the NSG commandos who handled the security operations deftly, rightfully earning themselves a special place in the hearts of a grateful city as they freed it from the three-day siege last year




The Times of India, November 19, 2009

Shoddy care adds to woman’s shrapnel wounds

An immobile Sabira Khan with her son Hameed at their home

Mateen Hafeez | TNN

Mumbai: Sabira Khan, a Dockyard resident, was returning home on 26/11 after giving Arabic tutions to over two dozen children when she met with a life-altering accident. She was passing near a taxi which exploded all of a sudden, killing three women and the driver on the spot. Sabira (40) fell unconsious as shrapnel from the RDX bomb shrapnel penetrated her head, chest, abdomen, legs and hands.

Her eldest son, Abdul Hameed, who was also there, sustained injuries on his hands legs and below the right eye. The bomb had been planted in the taxi by some of the 10 Pakistani terrorists.

“I have not been able to walk properly since then,’’ said the 40-year-old woman, whose husband Abdul Majid works at Mumbai Port Trust and earns Rs 5,000 a month. “I don’t remember what had happend. My son and others who rushed me to the hospital say I was flung 20 feet away from the taxi,’’ she said. Sabira’s name was not included in the injured persons’ list though she was admitted to JJ Hospital. “My mother stayed at JJ for almost one-anda-half month but the doctors didn’t dress her wounds properly and just meted out initial treatment to her,’’ said Sabira’s younger
daughter, Shaheen. She passed Class X with 74% this year. “I want to study further but there is no money to bear my educational expenses. My mother would earn Rs 5,000 by giving Arabic tuition but for one year, she is at home. We don’t know what to do,’’ said Shaheen.

Sabira revealed that she along with over two dozen female patients was shifted to another ward

the day President Pratibha Patil was to visit the victims. “The doctors and the hosptial staff did not bring the President in our ward,’’ said Sabira.

She was operated upon only after 22 days and later shifted to Saifee hospital. Several social groups helped her pay a bill of Rs 1.5 lakh for her operation. But the doctors detected during a blood transfusion at JJ hospital, harmful bacteria-causing jaundice was transferred into her body.

Hameed has to take his mother to hospitals every week but she is yet to walk properly. “The Taj Public Service Welfare Trust sends me Rs 5,000 every month which helps me buy medicines,’’ said Sabira. “It’s difficult to run the family of six children. But first I just want to get rid of this pain,’’ she said. Doctors said three nerves in Sabira’s left leg aredamaged. If not operated upon, her leg will have to be amputated.

The Times of India, November 19, 2009

Headley hunting for ‘unusual targets’


David Headley was caught by the FBI in America on October 3, 2009

Terror Suspect’s Visit To Osho Ashram Alarms Investigators

V V Singh & Mateen Hafeez | TNN

LeT operative and US national David Headley’s visit to the Osho Ashram in Pune has made the security establishment sit up and take note of the potential danger to “unusual targets’’. Some sources also point out that a terrorist attack on popular Bollywood party venues could have major impact, adding that the 49-year-old terror suspect may have checked out security arrangements for many celebrities.

The National Investigating Agency (NIA) is piecing to
gether information on the places that Headley visited and the people with whom he i n t e r a c t e d . Headley is known to have visited Mumbai several times since 2006.

“Terrorists aren’t just looking at sensitive government institutions but also places frequented by foreigners. This would have a wider international impact. For this reason, the ashram visit can’t be taken lightly,’’ a police officer said.

Police officers whom TOI spoke to said that they have been keeping a discreet watch on places that could be targeted by terrorists. “In the current scenario, it is very difficult to identify just a few targets. Terrorists can take security agencies by surprise. With more educated people being brainwashed to fight for a cause, our task has become more difficult,’’ an official added.

During 26/11, CST was the only government institution
attacked. “The hotels and cafe were targeted because of the large number of foreign visitors there. Non-descript Nariman House, occupied by Jews, was attacked to send a message to Israel,’’ another official said. “Logistics must also be considered. An attack on a sensitive government office during working hours is unlikely, though it’s possible of course. And it makes no sense to strike such places at night,’’ he added.

In Mumbai, Headley was networking with people from all walks of life.”The information he gathered from them could be used later. Hob
nobbing with the high and mighty would give him access to places that are not open to common people,’’ said another senior official.

Sources
said Headley befriended Bgrade Bollywood celebrities to gain access to prominent people and places. In return, he is believed to have promised help organising overseas shows for them.

Headley met Rahul, son of film maker Mahesh Bhatt, at Moksh gym at Breach Candy. Investigators working on the case are learnt to have identified at least five film personalities allegedly “associated’’ with Headley, although the reasons for “friendship’’ are yet to be ascertained.

The NIA has registered a case under various sections of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA). Headley, whom the FBI arrested in the US on October 3, is accused of conspiring to carry out terror attacks in Denmark and India.


The Times of India, November 19, 2009

Headley hunting for ‘unusual targets’

David Headley was caught by the FBI in America on October 3, 2009

Terror Suspect’s Visit To Osho Ashram Alarms Investigators

V V Singh & Mateen Hafeez | TNN

LeT operative and US national David Headley’s visit to the Osho Ashram in Pune has made the security establishment sit up and take note of the potential danger to “unusual targets’’. Some sources also point out that a terrorist attack on popular Bollywood party venues could have major impact, adding that the 49-year-old terror suspect may have checked out security arrangements for many celebrities.

The National Investigating Agency (NIA) is piecing to
gether information on the places that Headley visited and the people with whom he i n t e r a c t e d . Headley is known to have visited Mumbai several times since 2006.

“Terrorists aren’t just looking at sensitive government institutions but also places frequented by foreigners. This would have a wider international impact. For this reason, the ashram visit can’t be taken lightly,’’ a police officer said.

Police officers whom TOI spoke to said that they have been keeping a discreet watch on places that could be targeted by terrorists. “In the current scenario, it is very difficult to identify just a few targets. Terrorists can take security agencies by surprise. With more educated people being brainwashed to fight for a cause, our task has become more difficult,’’ an official added.

During 26/11, CST was the only government institution
attacked. “The hotels and cafe were targeted because of the large number of foreign visitors there. Non-descript Nariman House, occupied by Jews, was attacked to send a message to Israel,’’ another official said. “Logistics must also be considered. An attack on a sensitive government office during working hours is unlikely, though it’s possible of course. And it makes no sense to strike such places at night,’’ he added.

In Mumbai, Headley was networking with people from all walks of life.”The information he gathered from them could be used later. Hob
nobbing with the high and mighty would give him access to places that are not open to common people,’’ said another senior official.

Sources
said Headley befriended Bgrade Bollywood celebrities to gain access to prominent people and places. In return, he is believed to have promised help organising overseas shows for them.

Headley met Rahul, son of film maker Mahesh Bhatt, at Moksh gym at Breach Candy. Investigators working on the case are learnt to have identified at least five film personalities allegedly “associated’’ with Headley, although the reasons for “friendship’’ are yet to be ascertained.

The NIA has registered a case under various sections of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA). Headley, whom the FBI arrested in the US on October 3, is accused of conspiring to carry out terror attacks in Denmark and India.

The Times of India, November 19, 2009

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

26/11 pics










HORROR & HOPE: Commandos (left) greeted on November 29 after operations ended at the Taj (in flames earlier in pix above); (Below) Religious leaders and prominent citizens pay their respects to victims at Nariman House on Tuesday; After the carnage at CST on 26/11

The Times of India, November 18, 2009

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Theft complaint on Karkare jacket


LAST TIME: Karkare in the jacket


Mateen Hafeez | TNN

Mumbai: Santosh Daundkar, a social worker, filed an application with the JJ Marg police station on Sunday asking it to register a theft complaint for Anti-Terrorism Squad’s (ATS) slain chief Hemant Karkare’s missing bulletproof jacket. Karkare died on 26/11 near Cama Hospital. Home minister R R Patil also ordered a probe into the missing bulletproof jacket.

The application, a copy of which is with the TOI, stated, “From the media reports it became apparent that despite the bulletproof jacket, bullets pierced
his (Karkare’s) body. It thus became logically apparent that the jacket failed.’’ The complaint further stated, “It is a matter of fact that the bulletproof jacket had been purchased by senior officers after committing several illegalities. The sub-standard jackets were returned and supplied to police again.’’

The complainant said Karkare arrived dead in JJ Hospital. “The jacket was removed in the hospital. And then it went missing. First, the jacket was stolen and then the file containing information about the purchase of sub-standard jackets went missing from the police commissioner’s office,’’ said former IPS officer-turned-lawyer, Y P Singh counsel for Daundkar.

Khanderao Patil, senior inspector, JJ Marg police station, said, “The application has been sent to senior police officers. Once we get instructions, we will take action.”


The Times of India, November 17, 2009

Fahim Ansari’s kin deny links with terrorist

Mateen Hafeez I TNN

Mumbai: Amid reports that an NIA team is now in Mumbai to probe US terror suspect David Headley’s links with 26/11, the family of alleged Lashkar-e-Taiba operative Faheem Ansari—who is also the only Mumbaikar charged in the 26/11 conspiracy—has said Ansari had no connection with Headley.

Headley was arrested by the FBI on October 3 for being part of a terror conspiracy. He visited Mumbai seven times between 2006 and 2009. Goregaon resident Ansari was first arrested by the Uttar Pradesh special task force (STF) for allegedly attacking the CRPF camp in Rampur on January 1 last year. He was later booked by the Mumbai crime branch for his alleged role in the 26/11 terror attack a year later. Ansari is currently in Arthur Road jail and facing trial along with another Indian, Sabahuddin Ahmed
alias Sabah, and Pakistani terrorist Ajmal Kasab.

TOI visited Ansari’s Goregaon residence on Monday and Zarina, who identified herself as Ansari’s sister-inlaw, said her family had no clue about Headley. “We don’t know who this man is,’’ she said. She also refuted media reports that her house had been raided by security agencies recently.

The Times of India, November 17, 2009

Monday, November 16, 2009

26/11 pics


BATTLE READY? Commando operation at the Taj during the 26/11 attack

The Times of India, November 16, 2009

NIA looking into records of gym: Police


26/11 suspect? David Coleman Headley, a US national

Mateen Hafeez | TNN

Mumbai: The National Investigation Agency (NIA) is examining records of high-profile Breach Candy gym Moksh, which was frequented by Lashkar-e-Taiba operative David Coleman Headley. NIA is also probing Headley’s links with some US nationals, who too used to visit the fitness centre, said sources.

A team of NIA officials led by additional directorgeneral S Balaji and two superintendents of police is camping in Mumbai. The team is being assisted by
the Mumbai crime branch and the special branch. “NIA officials are probing the Headley case and the city police is assisting them in the investigation,’’ city police commissioner D Sivanandhan had said on the sidelines of a seminar on terror security at the Trident.

The NIA had on November 11 registered a case against Headley and his
associate, Tahawwur Hussain Rana, under various sections of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act for conspiring to wage war against India. Headley and Rana are currently in the custody of FBI for allegedly plotting a terror attack in Denmark and conspiring a similar attack in India.

“NIA is busy collecting the details of some US nationals who used to come
to the fitness centre. Records of the fitness centre have been scanned and several of its employees questioned in this regard,’’ said a source. Sources said only Headley’s picture was missing from the joining form at Moksh.

The NIA team is trying to get information from the US consulate on the foreigners who stayed with Headley in Mumbai. Headley, who visited the city at least seven times between 2006 and 2009, never registered himself with any Foreigners Regional Registration Office in the country.

Meanwhile, two real estate agents
and a small-time businessmen provided their statements before the NIA team in connection with their “association” with Headley.

It is learnt that the accommoda
tion records of three five-star hotels in Mumbai, where Headley is supposed to have stayed, have been obtained by NIA. The agency’s officials have also reportedly requested the authorities of Trident and Taj, as well as those of a five-star hotel in the suburbs, to provide the sleuths with their CCTV footage. These will be sent to the forensic science laboratory to get a clearer picture of Headley’s visits to the hotels and provide leads on who met him there.

Meanwhile, Union home secretary G K Pillai, while making it clear that no one — including film-maker Mahesh Bhatt’s son Rahul — has been given the clean chit in the case so far, said in Delhi that Headley’s associate Rana had visited Kochi last year 10 days before the terror attacks in Mumbai.

Kerala police chief Jacob Punnoose said a man named Tahawwur Hussain Rana had stayed in a five-star hotel in Kochi on November 16, 2008.


The Times of India, November 16, 2009

‘No civilian was killed by Indian security agencies’

26/11 ATTACK

Mateen Hafeez I TNN

Mumbai: As many as 166 people, including 18 foreigners, were killed in one of the worst terror attacks in India during 26/11. However, not a single person was injured or killed by the bullets fired by the Indian security agencies, claim the police.

The attack continued for three days and nine of the 10 Pakistanbased terrorists were killed in the siege. The entire city police, Quick Response Team (QRT) commandos and even the National Security Guard (NSG) commandos were put on the job of tackling the terrorists. “While 166 people were killed and 300 injured, not a single person was killed or injured due to police firing or by the NSG,’’ said crime branch head, Rakesh Maria, who is part of the 26/11 terror attack probe.

Each terrorist, say cops, was carrying 2,000 AK-47 bullets and 50 hand grenades. “The terrorists were firing indiscriminately but the police were following certain rules. The terrorists killed whoever they saw. However, our target were just terrorists. We took precautions so that no civilian was injured or killed,’’ said another officer.

At one place, QRT commando Shankar Vhande was going to shoot two persons who he thought were terrorists. However, he stopped and asked who they were. The two replied in Marathi that they were city policemen in plain clothes.

In another instance, a crime branch team that went to the roof of a six-storeyed building near Cama Hospital, saw three persons on the
hospital’s terrace. The team, which was under the impression that they were terrorists, soon received a wireless message that the persons on the terrace were doctors.

Another team that had entered the Taj within 20 minutes of the attack, had been busy identifying civilians and the terrorists. DCP Vishwas Patil had fired at and injured a person. However, he was not sure if it was a terrorist. When the person Patil had shot at started firing from his AK-47, it was clear that he was not a civilian. In six hours, 1,350 people were evacuated from the Taj.

According to police records, 57 people, including three police personnel, were killed at CST. Four persons and nine policemen were gunned down

by the terrorists between Cama Hospital and Metro Cinema. At Hotel Trident and Leopold Cafe, too, no civilian was injured or killed by the security agencies.

At Girgaum, assistant sub-inspector, Tukaram Omble, was shot down by Pakistani gunman, Ajmal Kasab. At Nariman House, seven people were killed by the terrorists.

“It was a close encounter. We had never faced such a situation. Even at Taj Hotel and the Trident, it took a long time to kill the terrorists as we had to also think about the hostages. The number of police personnel at Cama Hospital was less and saving civilians was one of our priorities,’’ said a police officer who was part of the operation.

The Times of India, November 16, 2009

Probe ordered into Karkare’s missing jacket case


Slain ATS chief Hemant Karkare

Mateen Hafeez I TNN

Mumbai: The state government seems to have finally woken up to the curious case of slain anti-terrorism squad (ATS) chief Hemant Karkare’s missing bulletproof jacket. While a city crime branch team a few months ago scoured the Deonar dumping ground in vain, the state government has only now ordered a probe into the case. The probe, incidentally, comes after an RTI plea revealed that the vest was missing.

“I would be able to comment only after I get the probe report,’’ state home minister R R Patil said on Sunday. There have been reports about the circumstances in which
Karkare’s jacket went missing.

Karkare was shot down along with IPS officer Ashoke Kamte and five other policemen during the 26/11 terror attack. He was the only officer to have
worn a bulletproof jacket when Ismail Dera Khan and Ajmal Kasab opened fire on them.

Karkare’s wife, Kavita, a teacher, had last week said her husband’s bulletproof jacket was missing. “When his body was found, the bulletproof jacket was missing. I filed an RTI application a few months ago, asking where the jacket was. But the reply I got was that it is missing,’’ Kavita had said.

Soon after the news of Karkare’s missing jacket came in, a police team from the crime branch and BMC officials went to the Deonar dumping ground to search for it in case someone had, by mistake, thrown the jacket in J J Hospital’s garbage. “A crime branch team hunted for the jacket for two days. However, we could not find it,’’ said a crime branch officer.

The Times of India, November 16, 2009

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Four generations joined the cops, now none will

.

Mateen Hafeez | TNN

Mumbai: “Nobody from our family will ever think of joining the police force after the way the government treated my slain father. We heard his name was there in the list for the Ashoka Chakra, but the government ignored him and instead conferred a Kirti Chakra,’’ said Aditi, 19, daughter of railway police inspector Shashank Shinde.

Shinde, 46, was killed in a close encounter with Ajmal Kasab and Ismail Dera Khan on the night of November 26, 2008 at CST. “Four generations of our family have been in the police force,’’ said his father, Chandrasingh, 79, who retired as assistant sub-inspector.

Shinde was actually off duty that night. He had been returning to his Wadala home when he

received a call on his cell informing him about a terrorist attack at the railway station. He returned to the station to join the fight against the two terrorists. Shinde was one of the few policemen who actually fired at the terrorists.

Shinde’s wife, Mansi, agrees with her daughter and does not want her children to join the police force. “I don’t want my children to die and later be ignored by the department,’’ said Mansi, who works with Life Insurance Corporation. “We are raising our voice so that people should know the state’s attitude. Many politicians came to our house and made tall claims but nothing has been done,’’ said an angry Aditi, who is a third-year computer engineering student at a Nerul college.

Aditi said it was her father’s effort that saved the police department from further embarrassment. “Those who were on duty ran away but my father died like a hero,’’ she said. “Had my father been given a better weapon, he would have killed the two terrorists,’’ said Aditi, adding that the family is still going through the trauma of losing him.

At the Shinde residence in Jupiter (Dosti Acres), Wadala, a framed photograph of Shinde is kept in the hall along with his certificates. “The terrorists had AK-47s. Had the government given policemen effective weapons, the terrorists would have been shot down at CST. With such outdated weapons, you either get killed or suspended,’’ said Aditi.

A CST railway police officer who was at the station on the night of the attack said, “On hearing gunshots, Shinde rushed to the suburban section to evacuate the area. While taking up a position to fight the terrorists, four bullets hit him in the back. Shinde had fired two rounds from his service revolver but missed. Ismail Khan then fired at Shinde.’’ The officer added that Shinde was hit while trying to reach a more secure position. Shinde was killed along with an RPF cop and a constable attached to the special protection unit, Ambadas Pawar.

Shinde, who joined as a subinspector in 1987, had completed two years with the CST railway police.

The family has received monetary and other help from the government, including a Rs 25 lakh FD from the state, a Mhada flat in Versova, Rs 4 lakh insurance from the railways and Rs 5 lakh from the BMC. The railways compensation package of Rs 10 lakh is still in the pipeline.

The Times of India, November 14, 2009

Citizens are key in battle against global terrorism

Mateen Hafeez | TNN

Mumbai: Security experts from the US, UK and Mumbai on Friday concurred that it was high time all the 192 member countries of the United Nation enter into an agreement on how to counter global terrorism. The experts also stated that the war against terrorism cannot be won without the help of citizens.

A dozen security experts had gathered for the ‘Security and resilience summit: securing the city of dreams’. Sir David Veness, former undersecretary general for safety and security (UN) said, “We have to reach an agreement against terrorism and I can say that the UK anti-terror model is the best in the world.’’ Richard Barnes, statutory deputy mayor of London, who also attended the programme, added, “The situation in London after the bombing has not improved 100%. However, it is much better as compared to the past. We have continuous planning for national cooperation. Our men are being trained in identifying people from various groups.’’

Barnes added that isolating one community with terror-related cases is a big mistake. “We assessed whether Sunni, Shia, Wahabi, Khoja or Muslims from other sects or countries were involved in such cases. We found it was a wrong perception. No intelligence
system can work in isolation. We have to take people’s help and take communities in confidence.’’

Among several suggestions on tackling terrorism, there was one that captured everyone’s attention — that terrorists are using the latest firearms, gadgets and technology.

Mumbai police commis
sioner D Sivanandhan presented details on 26/11. “There has been mass destruction in 1992, the 2006 train blasts and during 26/11. Each time, we were at the receiving end. Explosives are available in the market and culprits are misuing them,’’ he said. “People should spend at least 2% of their income on security,” said Sivanandhan, and added that in a 26/11-like situation, his force will reply within half an hour.

Handy workshop on managing disaster

Around 50 youngsters from the group Be The Change launched in the aftermath of 26/11 terror attacks, visited the BMC on Friday to learn the basics of disaster management. Not only did they learn first-aid technique, but also got the hang of basic fire-fighting. The programme’s main purpose was to educate citizens on how to best deal with different calamities in an individual capacity.

The Times of India, November 15, 2009

Friday, November 13, 2009

THE HAUL - ‘Man arrested with arms has no terror link’


ATS personnel display the seized consignment

Mateen Hafeez | TNN

Mumbai: A fortnight before the first anniversary of the 26/11 terror attacks in Mumbai, the ATS on Thursday arrested a weapons supplier, Kailash Singh (28), from Chembur and recovered around a dozen firearms, including a carbine, from him. However, the ATS — on the first day of the arrest — concluded that Singh was not associated with any terror outfit.

Singh, a resident of Madhya Pradesh, had come to the city for the fourth time when he was caught. A police team comprising ATS officers Rajan Ghule, Prakash Patil, Jitendra Agarkar, Anil Honrava, Anil Bhavare and Uttam Bhosale laid a trap and nabbed Singh after he got down from a luxury bus.

“Singh was carrying the weapons in a traveller’s bag, which contained 10 pistols, one carbine and 68 live rounds,’’ said ATS chief Krish Pal Raghuvanshi.

“In the preliminary investigation, we have concluded that Singh does not have any links with any terror outfit. He was to deliver this consignment to some local people here. Our investigation is on and we are trying to establish whom was
Singh to deliver this consignment,’’ Raghuvanshi said. Singh is married and has four children. He had earlier come to deliver weapons in the city earlier as well.

“He was not carrying any mobile to avoid mobile surveillance by the police. We have been monitoring his
movements for quite a while,’’ said an officer, adding that Singh was a professional weapons carrier and this was his fourth visit to the city.

“Singh works for a weapons supplier on a commission basis. He was asked to reach the Amar Mahal area in Chembur where someone would contact him through some coded message,” an officer said. Police said they had zeroed in on a man who was to take the delivery.

The Times of India, November 13, 2009

Arms haul in city, but cops rule out terror

Mateen Hafeez I TNN

Mumbai: With less than a fortnight to go for the first anniversary of the 26/11 attacks, the anti-terrorism squad on Thursday arrested a weapon supplier, Kailash Singh (28), from Chembur and recovered around a dozen firearms, including a carbine, from him.

The ATS, based on the preliminary probe, concluded that Singh was not associated with any terror outfit. Singh, a resident of MP, had come to the city for the fourth time when he was caught.
A police team laid a trap and nabbed him just after he got down from a bus. “Singh was carrying a traveller’s bag, which contained 10 pistols, one carbine and 68 live rounds,’’ said ATS chief Krish Pal Raghuvanshi. “He was to deliver this consignment to some local people here,’’ he added. Singh has been remanded in police custody till November 18.

The Times of India, November 13, 2009

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Police mum on Headley’s connection to 26/11 strikes



Mateen Hafeez I TNN

Mumbai: Senior police officials have said it will be a big embarrassment for the city police if US citizen David Headley is found to have had a pie in the 26/11 conspiracy as well.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has, during his interrogation, unearthed his links to a terror conspiracy in India but his name has not appeared anywhere in the charge sheet filed by the crime branch in 26/11 case.

A section of Intelligence Bureau (IB) officials said they were probing Headley’s seven visits to Mumbai between 2006 and 2008, but the crime branch remained tigh
tlipped about it. Crime branch chief Rakesh Maria refused to comment when asked if his units were making inquiries about Headley.

A senior crime branch official said that the wing “knew about Headley since the last one month’’ but refused to comment if Headley had any connection with the 26/11 case.

Reports have suggested that Headley ran a visa agency in Mumbai and visited the city frequently.

Headley was arrested by the FBI on October 3 on two charges for plotting terrorattacks on a foreign country.

Officials are equally tightlipped about the visit of Pakistan-born Candian national Tahawwar Hussain Rana’s visit to the city just two weeks before the 26/11 attacks. Rana is currently in FBI’s custody for providing support to Headley.

The Times of India, November 11, 2009

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

‘Colleague died in my arms’

Unsung Heroes- part 5


Mateen Hafeez | TNN

Mumbai: Inspector Deepak Dhole of the Colaba police station had just started his dinner with his wife and 15-year-old son on the night of 26/11 when he received a call from a friend saying there was a “gang war’’ at Leopold cafe and several people had died.

Soon after, Dhole left the house in plainclothes. On reaching the police station, he found the entire street deserted. “There was hardly anyone there. My colleagues said there had been firing at Leopold cafe. I took a revolver with 30 rounds and a carbine gun machine and reached the cafe. We found six people lying there. The bar was a mess and there were signs of gunshots on the wall,’’ recalls Dhole.

At 10.30 pm, Dhole entered the Taj hotel, along with five police personnel and four SRPF personnel. “Chairs and sofas were lying overturned on the ground floor,’’ said the 48-year-old officer. “The hotel’s glass interiors were dotted with bullet marks and there was blood all over. I remember seeing their sniffer dog lying in a corner. He had also taken a bullet.’’


Meanwhile, Dhole’s team met deputy commissioners of police Vishwas Patil and Rajvardhan Sinha. “Unable to trace the terrorists’ location, we decided to go to the second floor and monitor the CCTV footage from the control room,’’ said Dhole.


Camera grabs showed the terrorists were on the sixth floor. “They were carrying sophisticated arms but we did not have any long range weapons. Senior officials called the control room and asked for more manpower and additional weapons but help did not come in on time,’’ the cop recalled.

Dhole remembers how the police team began firing on the sixth floor with whatever weapons they had. The idea was to limit the attackers to one floor of the hotel and thereby minimise loss of life and property. “Suddenly, the terrorists set a portion of the hotel on fire. There was thick smoke and we could not see anything. The fire came up to the second floor and carpets and wooden furniture started burning,’’

The cops vacated the control room in a hurry. As they exited, several rounds were fired at them through the heavy smoke. “We couldn’t see at all. Constable Rahul Shinde was dying in my arms and I couldn’t do a thing,’’ said an emotional Dhole, who lost conscious soon after. He was taken to Bombay Hospital where he was treated for burns for almost a month. The real scars, though, will take much longer to heal.


* Dhole has worked with the UN mission’s international police in 2001 and 2004 in Kosvo and Cyprus respectively. He was conferred two medals when abroad
*
He has worked with the Special Operation Squad and the Cyber Crime Investigation Cell


The Times of India, November, 11, 2009

‘Teen sent threat e-mail to test security agencies’

Mateen Hafeez | TNN

Mumbai: The cyber crime investigation cell (CCIC) said 17-year-old Haryana boy Yadav (name withheld as he is a minor) had sent a threat e-mail to Air India to see how the security agencies responded. Yadav is the son of a doctor employed with a government hospital in Haryana.

Yadav, a first-year Commerce student of a college in Naseebpur, Haryana, is the second minor to be arrested this year for sending terror e-mails. On May 29, the CCIC had arrested a 15-yearold from Bangalore. Sharma claimed to have planted five bombs in Mumbai, challenging the police to find them before it was too late.

In an e-mail sent on October 23 at around 4.48 pm, Yadav wrote, “There will be a
bomb on (an) Indian Airlines plane on November 1.’’ The police said Yadav had created a fake ID, zatkh@yahoo.in, and sent it to Air India’s official email ID, ialcshq@airindia.in. “We traced the Internet Protocol (IP) address to his house. Sub-inspector S Y Mane and constable Krishna Dhamapurkar reached Yadav’s Haryana house. However, he kept saying he had not sent it. Then we realised that the boy’s computer had a BSNL connection. It has a ‘dynamic IP address’ every time someone logs on,’’ the officer said.

Yadav told interrogators that he had no intention of committing a crime but simply wanted to find out what would happen if he sent a hoax threat by e-mail. Yadav has been sent to a juvenile remand home till November 23.


The Times of India, November 11, 2009

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

The man who injured Kasab’s partner

Unsung Heroes- Part-4


ENCOUNTER AT CHOWPATTY: Hemant Bhawdhankar had no bullet-proof jacket on when he fired at terrorist Ismail Khan

Mateen Hafeez I TNN

Mumbai: Assistant inspector Hemant Bhawdhankar says he cannot forget the midnight of November 26 last year, when the country’s most high-profile prisoner, Ajmal Kasab, was captured alive.

The 44-year-old officer recalled that he was on night duty on November 26. “After hearing the news that two terrorists had escaped in a Sko
da towards Mantralaya, security was beefed up everywhere. We went to Girgaum Chowpatty and put up barricades and took position. At around 12.15 am on November 27, I along with assistant inspector Sanjay Govilkar, subinspector Bhaskar Kadam, assistant inspector Tukaram Omble and staff reviewed the bandobast and waited. We saw a Skoda headed towards us,’’ recalled Bhawdhankar.

He said 16 policemen from D B Marg police station were present at the spot when the close encounter with the terrorists took place. “The Sko
da slowed down. None of us was wearing a bullet-proof jacket, and some constables had just lathis. The officers had 9mm pistols. As soon as the vehicle came close, its headlights switched to high beam, and its wipers started up. We couldn’t see the people inside,’’ said Bhawdhankar.
He said the driver was trying to take a U-turn when the
vehicle hit the divider. The police urged the vehicle’s two occupants to surrender but in vain. “Ismail Dera Khan, who was in the driver’s seat, fired a pistol, while Kasab sat next to him. I took position behind the car. While Govilkar, hidden behind a pillar, fired his pistol at Khan, I fired at Khan from behind the car. He was injured,’’ he said. Kasab then got out with his AK-47. “Within seconds, Omble came forward and grabbed the AK-47, but by then Kasab had pressed the trigger and several bullets penetrated in Omble saheb’s body,’’ said Bhawdhankar.

Govilkar and Omble were taken to Harkisondas Hospital. Kasab was beaten up by the angry staff, and the terrorists were rushed to Nair Hospital where Khan was pronounced dead on arrival, and Kasab was operated on to remove bullets from his hands.

Bhawdhankar has been nominated for the President’s Police Medal for Gallantry. He is an officer of the 1992 batch, and has worked with Gamdevi police station, airport security, special protection unit and Nagpada police station.


Foam pieces match
Kartikeya | TNN
Mumbai:
A forensic expert told the court on Monday that pieces of foam recovered from various places during the 26/11 terror attack were similar. Investigators have said the RDX bombs the gunmen were carrying were wrapped in foam and it was these pieces that were later found. The terrorists had planted bombs in two taxis and behind the Taj. The foam was thus found at six spots. The forensic expert confirmed in court that analysis had proven all the samples were similar. Special prosecutor Ujjwal Nikam is aiming to show the 26/11 attacks were the result of a single conspiracy. The expert’s evidence was a step in this direction. Foam was also found on the boat in which the gunmen reached Mumbai.

The Times of India, November 10, 2009

Headley never checked with immigration

Mateen Hafeez I TNN

Mumbai: David Coleman Headley (49), a US national caught by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) for plotting a terror attack in Denmark, had visited India at least seven times but, thanks to visa rules, never had to register himself with the immigriation authorities. The 26/11 case may take a new twist
with Headley’s name cropping up as a suspected support.

Officials said Headley came to India between November 2006 and July 2008. “Headley travelled on a multiple-entry visa and entered the country at least seven times. But he never registered himself with the security agencies as it was not a must for him (according to the category of the visa he held),’’
an official said.

The Mumbai crime branch charge sheet in the 26/11 terror case does not mention Headley or associate Tahawwar Hussain Rana’s name. The charge sheet has, however, mentioned 35 other foreign conspirators.

After Headley’s arrest on October 3, Pakistan-born Canadian citizen Rana (48) was also picked up. Rana also visited Mumbai last November, a week before 26/11, and stayed in the city for at least a week.

“Interestingly, Rana who stayed in Mumbai had registered himself with the authorities,’’ an official said. Rana runs several businesses, including First World Immigration Services, which has offices on Devon Avenue in Chicago and New York and Toronto.


Headley, a US citizen who changed his name from Dawood Gilani in 2006 and initially stayed in Chicago, was arrested on October 3 by the Chicago FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force at O’Hare International Airport just as he was about to take a flight to Philadelphia, intending to travel to Pakistan. He was charged with conspiracy to commit terrorist acts, involving murder and maiming outside the US, and also conspiracy to provide material support to an overseas terror act.

The FBI has also come across e-mails exchanged between Headly and his LeT aide.


STAFF GRILLED
Officials have recorded the statements of several people, including a woman, who worked with David Headley at his immigration clearance agency at Tardeo, confirmed JCP (crime) Rakesh Maria. An official said the woman was asked about her links with Headley. She worked as the administrative head at the office and also looked after his appointments.
— Vijay V Singh I TNN

The Times of India, November 10, 2009

Monday, November 9, 2009

‘I had to do something to save lives’

Unsung Heroes- Part 3


Vakurdekar risked his life to get Trident terrorists reveal their positions

Mateen Hafeez | TNN

Mumbai: Assistant inspector Vijay Vakurdekar of the anti-terrorism squad (ATS) has no medals to show for his heroic act during the 26/11 attacks, but he played a major role in helping the siege of the Trident come to an end.

With the NSG commandos finding it difficult to pinpoint the location of the two terrorists holed up at the Trident, Vakurdekar risked his life by going up to the top floor of the NCPA and exposed himself to a hail of bullets. The tactic worked, for it enabled the NSG commandos to ascertain which floor the terrorists had taken shelter; they soon engaged the terrorists in a gunbattle and killed them.

“On the evening of November 27, additional commissioner of police Param Bir Singh, asked me and a constable to go to the NCPA building and find out where the terrorists were holed up since they would frequently change their position and move between the sev
enth to 18th floors,’’ recalled Vakurdekar. He added that along with a constable he went up to the top floor of the NCPA building armed with an AK-47 and a pair of binoculars. “For the entire night I tried spotting the terrorists using the binoculars but it was difficult. The NSG commandos also found it difficult to zero in on the terrorists’ exact location,’’ said Vakurdekar.

Next morning,
Vakurdekar took the biggest decision of his life. “I thought, ‘till what time will I just sit here’? I got up and exposed my position towards the Trident. The terrorists immediately began spraying bullets so I sat down. I continued like this for sometime and by then the NSG had zeroed in on their location. They were on the 13th floor,’’ stated Vakurdekar.

Within minutes, police personnel and NSG commandos had taken positions on the other floors of the hotel and blocked all the entrances to the 13th floor. The staircase leading to this floor was also captured by the NSG commandos who cornered the terrorists making it difficult for them to flee from the floor. It was followed by maximum deployment of policemen on the 13th floor and within three hours, bodies of the two terrorists, Fahadullah and Abdur Rehman, were spotted.

“It was an instant decision to get up and expose myself to the terrorists. But it was the time when I had to do something to save hundreds of lives. I am proud of that decision since the Trident operation was successfully completed shortly,’’ a relieved Vakurdekar said.


The Times of India, November 9, 2009

Sunday, November 8, 2009

BIKE UNTRACEABLE - No headway in Parel murder, 450 grilled

Mateen Hafeez | TNN

Mumbai: The city police have questioned more than 450 robbers, chain-snatchers and bike thieves in connection with the October 27 incident in which a woman, out on morning walk, was stabbed to death by chainsnatchers. However, the city police and the crime branch are yet to make a breakthrough.

Two motorcycle-borne, chain-snatchers
killed Beena Dedhia (39) and injured her husband Jatin when the deceased refused to hand over her gold earrings to them. The incident occurred around 5.40 am near Wadia Baug in the Lalbaug area.

“We have questioned more than 450 suspects. Many were picked up on the basis of the accused person’s sketches, but we are yet to come to a conclusion,’’ said a senior police officer. The bike used by the accused is also untraceable. “We are also exploring if the accused used the motorcycle for the first time.’’ the officer said.

The Times of India, November 8, 2009

Swearing-in brings traffic to a crawl

Mateen Hafeez | TNN

Mumbai: While a battalion of politicians was busy getting sworn in at Raj Bhavan on Saturday, thousands of Mumbaikars were stuck in traffic jams due to route diversions.

Many bikers had to take the long way to their destinations, said motorcyclist Rakesh Sharma, who was on his way to Malabar Hill. With several roads made no-entry zones for all vehicles, motorists found it difficult to reach home early during the weekend. The no-entry roads included those heading towards B G Kher Marg. The traffic police had requested Malabar Hill residents to take alternate routes for Jagmohandas Road and to avoid
Walkeshwar Road.

The entire Malabar Hill area turned into a police chowky with hundreds of armed policemen deployed. Deputy commissioner of police Sanjay Mohite said there was no traffic jam and the bandobast was better than expected. “The police bandobast was excellent and not a single person complained,’’ he said.

The police termed the swearing-in ceremony as one of the smoothest. “There was no lathicharge or overcrowding. Moreover, no stampede or chaos was reported. The traffic was a bit slow but smooth,’’ said senior inspector Iqbal Shaikh of the Malabar Hill police. “No politician missed the swearing-in and everybody appreciated the bandobast,’’ added Shaikh.

The Times of India, November 8, 2009

Saturday, November 7, 2009

‘We searched all trains for terrorists’

Unsung Heroes- Part 2


Quick Response Team commando Shankar Vhande


Mateen Hafeez I TNN

Mumbai:
Shankar Vhande’s biggest regret in life is that he was not in time to save his boss, ATS chief Hemant Karkare, from terrorists’ bullets on the night of 26/11. Quick Response Team (QRT) commando Vhande, who was shot by terrorist Ajmal Kasab on that fateful night and had been recuperating for the last 11 months, joined duty on Thursday.

Recalling the horror, he says, “We reached CST at around 10.10 pm on November 26, 2008 as Karkare sahab instructed us to check all the trains and railway tracks to see if any terrorists were hidden there. We were trying to open a motorman’s cabin in a local train thinking terrorists could be inside. However, we found two motormen hiding instead. We searched all the trains, looking for terrorists. It took 20 minutes, by which time, Kasab and Ismail Khan had run off to Cama Hospital,’’ Vhande (34) recalled. Vhande and another commando, Tukaram Rajivgare, then entered the Cama from the main gate.

“Two injured policemen were lying near the gate. They told us the terrorists were on the top floor of another building and were throwing bombs. We came out and went near St Xavier’s college so that we could enter from the Rangbhavan lane route. There we found a sub-inspector lying in a pool of blood. Meanwhile,
we spotted two men with pistols on the opposite side of the road. Thinking they were the two terrorists, Rajivgare went from the Azad Maidan side so he could cover them. By then, I crossed the road and came near the divider, to try and establish their identity. They turned out to be policemen
from Azad Maidan. The whole verification took another 20-25 minutes and meanwhile we heard gunshots from the Cama Hospital area,’’ added Vhande.

Later, the two commandos
came near the lane leading to Rangbhavan and that was the time when a police jeep, being driven by the two Pakistanis, appeared. “I thought they were cops but they showered bullets randomly and I sustained two bullets in my legs. I initially thought the firing was a case of mistaken identity but later realised who they were only after they fired on us again while going towards Metro cinema. Before I could return the fire they had left. The two policemen, hidden behind the trees, could not fire since their pistols got locked.”

Vhande, a 1996 batch police constable, has been working with the anti-terrorism squad’s QRT since its inception in 2003. He also bagged the Best Firer award during an NSG training in Haryana. Vhande’s father, Bhausaheb, retired from the city police as assistant sub-inspector. Her husband has been out of action for almost a year, but Vhande’s wife Pratibha says she would love her children to join the police force.

But Vhande has other thoughts: “Had we not spent 20 minutes in identifying the cops from Azad Maidan, we would have saved Karkare sahab and others. I will have this feeling for the rest of my life.’’


26/11 court summons MEA official
Kartikeya | TNN
Mumbai: Judge M L Tahaliyani who is dealing with the 26/11 trial has issued summons to Manpreet Vohra, a joint secretary in the ministry of external affairs. Vohra had received a dossier from Pakistan which said one of the accused in the attack, Faheem Ansari, got a Pakistani passport using fake documents.

It is alleged that Ansari had drawn maps of Mumbai which were sent to his Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT) bosses through Nepal to help them plan the terror strike. Ansari was arrested in December 2007 by Uttar Pradesh police in connection with an attack on a CRPF camp in Rampur. The UP Anti Terrorism Squad had allegedly seized a Pakistani passport in the name of Hamad Hassan, when they arrested Ansari.

Later, Pakistan in a dossier sent to India in July this year confirmed the genuineness of the passport but said that it was procured using fake documents. Vohra has been asked to be present in court on November 17.


HEALING TOUCH: Shankar Vhande’s wife looks at his injuries (above); Vhande with his awards during training with the NSG

The Times of India, November 7, 2009