Thursday, December 31, 2009

55-yr-old held for obscene emails



Mateen Hafeez I TNN

Mumbai: The cyber crime investigation cell (CCIC) of the city police on Wednesday arrested a 55-year-old man for sending obscene and threatening emails to a 56-year-old woman. The accused, Joseph Paul D’Souza, a resident of Colaba, started sending the offensive missives in February this year.

D’Souza, who works as a realty consultant, was arrested for outraging the modesty of a woman and criminal intimidation. A local court has sent him to police custody till January 1.

The victim, a mother of two, works in waste manage
ment and takes care of the gardens of several five-star hotels in the city. She told the police that on February 7, this year, she received the first email at midnight. The email, which was sent from the ID jpdesousa123@rediffmail.com, with the subject line ‘The burden of proof and the legacy of guilt’, was full of abusive language and offensive remarks about her. The complainant insisted that the email had been sent by D’Souza.

In her complaint, the woman said that her son was staying at a building called Connaught Mansion in Colaba, where her mother used to live before her death. D’Souza is their neighbour. The victim’s mother was the chair
person of the building society and after she passed away, D’Souza took over some of the building work and acted as a chairman of the society. However, several other residents opposed him.

The police found that the Internet Protocol (IP) address of the sender belonged to D’- Souza’s computer. The police seized an 80 GB hard disc and sent it for forensic analysis. The police have found three emails, which were suspected to have been sent by D’- Souza to the victim.

According to the police, D’- Souza did not cooperate with them initially. When they were sure about his involvement in the crime, they arrested him.


The Times of India, December 31, 2009

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Reformed addicts to crack down on raves

Mateen Hafeez | TNN

Mumbai: The Anti Narcotics Cell (ANC) has convinced around five dozen “reformed’’ drug addicts to help them crack down on New Year’s eve rave parties and other get-togethers where substance abuse may be rampant. P Sunil Paraskar, the deputy commissioner of police, said: “We will take the help of youngsters who were caught in different rave parties in the past. They know their way around the party circuit where often people tend to peddle or consume drugs. The enlisted were earlier caught for taking drugs but later realised that their habit was ruining their lives, so they quit.’’

The ANC has vowed to leave no pub or hotel unturned in their quest. “We are also monitoring those parties that are charging huge amounts of money for tickets. We will not allow the use of drugs at any cost,’’ said Paraskar.

The ANC has a staff of 120
policemen including 20 officers in its five units at Worli, Azad Maidan, Ghatkopar, Bandra and Kandivli. “Special squads will be equipped with spy cameras,’’ said Paraskar.

A network of informers has been activated to tip the police off. “This time round, we will

rope in an additional force of policewomen to keep tabs on female peddlers and consumers,’’ said an officer.

This year, the ANC arrested 2009 men and 188 women for drug peddling, possession and consumption. In 2008, drugs amounting to Rs 2 crore were seized; in 2009, the figure crossed Rs 5 crore.

The Times of India, December 30, 2009

‘Govt is not keen to help my brother’

MAN CONVICTED IN SPAIN

Mateen Hafeez | TNN

Mumbai: The family of Khan Roshan Jamal, a Jogeshwari resident convicted in Spain for his alleged association with a terror outfit, said the Indian authorities were not taking interest in the release of Jamal. He has been sentenced to eight-and-a-half years in jail.

Jamal’s family has been insisting that he is innocent. Even the CBI and the Maharashtra ATS have cleared him of terror charges in India.


Mehboob Khan, Jamal’s younger brother, said the conviction was unexpected. “I approached the senior leaders in the Union government and the ministry of external affairs (MEA) but in vain. They are least bothered about my brother’s case,’’ Khan said, adding that the MEA should have spoken to the Spanish government. The officials did not attend a single hearing in the Spanish court, Khan said. “The government acted as a mute spectator,’’ he said.

The Times of India, December 30, 2009

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

On Pak terrorists’ trail, cops check 581 hotels




But Are Yet To Make Headway

Mateen Hafeez I TNN

Mumbai: To locate three Pakistani terrorists who are believed to have sneaked into the city, the police have checked at least 581 hotels, 426 addresses of Pak and Afghan nationals staying in Mumbai and verified the details of 25 people spotted near various foreign consulates. But they are yet to make a headway.

An intelligence alert issued to the city police had stated that three Pakistanis had entered the city with the intention of coordinating the logistic support for Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) attackers. “Two or three more attackers are scheduled to reach India,’’ the alert had stated. It also indicated that the Al-Falah group (yet to be identified but could be related to the Falah-e-Insaniyat Foundation, an LeT
front) could have links with the infiltrators.

After the 26/11 attacks, there have been over 300 intelligence alerts, all of which mentioned infiltration from Pakistan. However, not a sin
gle suspect has been caught so far. In an earlier alert, the Intelligence Bureau (IB) had stated that suspects belonging to Bangladesh-based Jama’atul Mujahideen had reached Sri Lanka and were planning to enter India via the sea. The alert had given specific information about the ship with the Pakistanis on board but the security agencies are yet to trace them.

The alerts had stated that Pakistan-based terrorists want to target Mumbai again and were planning attacks on various consulates. But, no specific consulate was named.

A note issued by the special branch, which looks after the city’s intelligence department, stated that so far, 2,068 people were checked but nothing suspicious was found. According to the report, 233 people in and around
mosques,temples, 80 in shopping malls, 327 near big government offices and 22 near the Naval base have been examined, but to no avail.

The addresses provided by 426 Afghanistan and Pakistani nationals, who came to Mumbai for a temporary stay, were also examined. The Afghans and Pakistanis, who visit the city, have to register with the Foreigner’s Regional Registration Office within 24 hours of their arrival. A police team then verifies the places and duration of their stay. The special branch keeps an eye on their activities.

Another alert in connection with the Republic Day parade (January 26, 2010) in New Delhi stated that there was a need to monitor the activities of Islamic and Sikh extremists in Punjab, Delhi, Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra.


The Times of India, December 29, 2009

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Maha records highest deaths in cop custody



Mateen Hafeez & Kartikeya I TNN

Mumbai: Maharashtra has achieved the dubious distinction of having the largest number of detainees dying in police custody over the past three years.

They were all picked up on suspicion of being involved in a crime and died during interrogation at the local police station. With 69 deaths since 2006, the state has recorded two more deaths than Uttar Pradesh, widely considered to have the worst record in terms of custodial deaths.

Incidentally, the police in Maharashtra has escaped blame in most cases by terming the deaths in custody as suicide or an outcome of natural causes. However, legal experts who have worked both with policemen and criminals find it hard to believe that so many otherwise hale and hearty men have chosen to “end their lives’’ or “die suddenly’’ only when they are in custody.
“Mostly, inhuman beating resulted in the deaths,’’ said former IPS officer and advocate Y P Singh.

In fact, allegations of tor
ture follow almost every custodial death. Section 176 of the Criminal Procedure Code was amended in 2005 to provide for a mandatory judicial inquiry whenever a person dies in police custody. In Mumbai, every case of custodial death is followed by an inquiry conducted by the relevant crime branch unit and the local police station has to send a preliminary report to the National Human Rights Commission.

However, despite all these safeguards the number of custodial deaths in the state has refused to come down. Moreover, most of the officers, in whose custody the detainees had died, have also got a clean chit after an inquiry. This is clear from the fact that
in the recent past, policemen were hauled up in only two cases—one was in which Ghatkopar blast accused Khwaja Yunus died in the custody of crime branch in 2002 and the other one in which an accountant, Premnath Rao, died at N M Joshi police station in April 2006.

A report, “Torture in India 2009’’, prepared by an NGO called 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. Even in that report, Maharashtra topped the chart with 192 deaths. The figures also revealed that most of the people died within the first 48 hours of being taken into custody.


The Times of India, December 27, 2009

NGO chief files anticipatory bail petition

CHEATING CASE

Mateen Hafeez I TNN

Mumbai: The chairperson of Dignity Foundation, an NGO that works for the elderly, has filed for anticipatory bail in a cheating and forgery case.

Earlier this month, the D B Marg police arrested three persons, including the NGO’s manager Hemang Desai. The three who have sought anticipatory

bail are NGO chairperson Dr S Srinivasan and two others.“The matter is in court and I have been advised by my lawyer not to comment,’’ said Srinivasan.

The arrested are Desai, advocate Deepak Khilari and Peter Coutinho who allegedly did the notary work for forging papers. Two others—Mehernosh Palia and his wife Shirin—have already got anticipatory bail.

The Times of India, December 27, 2009

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Arthur Rd jail inmate ends life



Mateen Hafeez | TNN

Mumbai: A 37-year-old undertrial, arrested on charges of theft by the Meghwadi police, allegedly committed suicide by hanging himself in the highsecurity Arthur Road jail on Thursday night. The N M Joshi Marg police have registered a case of accidental death.

According to senior inspector Vasant Tajne, the deceased, Manoj Bansode, a resident of Goni Nagar in Jogeshwari (E), was found hanging from a window in the Arthur Road jail around 11.45 pm. “A jail constable, Arun Bhirade, who was posted there for patrol duty, first spotted Bansode’s body hanging by a window rod with a bed sheet inside the lock-up. Four other inmates were sleeping in the barrack and the body was removed from there. The jail doctor, who examined Ban
sode, declared him dead,’’ said Tajne. Bansode’s body was sent to JJ Hospital for a postmortem. No suicide note has been found.

Arthur Road jail is the place where Ajmal Amir Kasab, the only captured terrorist of the 26/11 terror attacks, has also been kept. The jail houses over a dozen hardcore gangsters from the Dawood Ibrahim and the Chhota Rajan gang.

The police said Bansode was arrested by the Meghwadi po
lice on December 15. He was accused of snatching a gold chain belonging to a child at a wedding function. On December 16, he was sent to the judicial custody until December 30. Bansode, a plumber, is survived by his wife and two children.

“He was kept in another barrack in the jail since his arrival there. However, the jail authorities found that he was mentally disturbed and shifted him to barrack number 2 of the 4th circle on Thursday afternoon. The oth
er four inmates, who shared the room with Bansode, were also under treatment. This cell is part of the jail hospital,’’ added Tajne.

Bansode had two cases of theft registered with the police in 2004. “His cell mates said they were sleeping and did not realise that he had committed suicide,’’ said an officer. However, Bansode’s family is not convinced. “The height of the window, from which Bansode was hanging, is just 6 ft while Bansode was 5.5 ft. A person trying to hang himself usually struggles for life at the last moment. How come nobody heard or saw him,’’ a family member said.

Police are now investigating if the undertrial had an argument or fight with any of the inmates. Other four inmates are facing cases like theft and pick pocketing.
mateen.hafeez@timesgroup.com

The Times of India, December 26, 2009

Friday, December 25, 2009

55-yr-old man jumps to death at Altamont Road

TRAGIC END: The building where the deceased, Adil Patel, lived with his sister and brother-in-law. Patel jumped from his 19th floor flat

Mateen Hafeez | TNN

Mumbai: A 55-year-old man, suffering from schizophrenia for long, jumped to his death from the 19th floor of Pushpak Apartments at Altamont Road near Kemps Corner in south Mumbai on Thursday morning. The reason behind him committing suicide not yet clear. The deceased, Adil Patel, left no suicide note, the police said.

According to DCP Sanjay Mohite, Patel was staying with his sister and brother-in-law. He was not married. “The watchmen heard a thud and found a man lying on the ground floor in the building premises. They informed the building authorities,’’ said Mohite. The police have registered a case of accidental death. No sign of struggle was found in
the flat, said the police.

The police said Patel was being treated by a psychiatrist in south Mumbai. Both his sister and brother-in-law were present in the house at the time the incident occurred.
“Nobody saw him jump,’’ said Mohite. According to the police, Patel’s sister was bathing at that time.

The Gamdevi police sent the body to JJ Hospital for a post-mortem.

Dr Y A Matcheswala, who was treating Patel for the last eight years, said, “Patel was suffering from a chronic schizophrenia and would often have hallucinations. Even in the past, he had attempted suicide but it was not very severe,’’ said Matcheswala. He said Patel was once admitted to Byculla’s Masina Hospital and was under observation for some time. “His sister and brother-in-law would bring him to the hospital and take care of him during his treatment. They were very attached to him,’’ Matcheswala said.

mateen.hafeez@timesgroup.com


The Times of India, December 25, 2009

Thursday, December 24, 2009

I leaked CCTV footage at Gafoor’s instance: DCP




S Balakrishnan | TNN

Mumbai: The secret behind the leakage of a CD containing video footage of the police operations at the Taj on 26/11 and recordings of conversations between the police team at the the hotel and the police control room has been unravelled. Vishwas Nagre-Patil, deputy commissioner of police (zone I), who risked his life in entering the Taj on the fateful night, has told the crime branch that he leaked the CD at the instance of the then commissioner Hasan Gafoor.

Highly-placed sources told TOI on Wednesday: “The then home minister Jayant Patil was furious that sensitive contents have been leaked to the media. He called for a high-power meeting, which was attended by Gafoor. The latter suggested that an offence be registered under the official secrets Act.’’

Accordingly, Patil asked the crime branch to register an offence.
On March 2, an offence vide CR no. 50/2009 was registered at Azad Maidan police station and investigation was started. Among others, Nagre-Patil was questioned by the crime branch. It is learnt that the DCP admitted to have given the CD to the media at Gafoor’s instance.

The CCTV footage from the Taj showed Nagre-Patil bravely entering the Taj and pinning down the terrorists. It is because of the timely action of Nagre-Patil and his team, which included inspector Deepak Dhole, sub-inspector Nitin Kakade, police naiks Arun Mane, Ashok Pawar, constables Amit Khetle, Saudagar Shinde, Rahul Shinde and Samadhan More that many of those trapped in the hotel could be rescued. Except Nagre-Patil, all the others were injured.

Asked about his statement to the crime branch, Nagre-Patil said his father had had a heart attack and
he was busy with his treatment. Gafoor said: “I cannot say anything at this stage. I will neither confirm or deny anything because I cannot speak to the media.’’ Gafoor is in trouble for reportedly accusing four senior IPS officers of not doing anything on 26/11 night. He later denied ever having levelled this allegation during a media interview.

Meanwhile, a senior police official is believed to have torn a page from the records of Colaba
police station which contained his notings. The Ram Pradhan Committee had criticised the withdrawal of security at Taj. It is learnt that this official had endorsed the decision to withdraw the security, but when he realised that this could land him in trouble, he allegedly tore off the relevant sheet. An inquiry may be ordered into this incident.

‘Chargesheet only after 26/11 trial is over’


Mateen Hafeez | TNN

Mumbai: The crime branch plans to file a chargesheet in the case pertaining to leakage of details of a police log book and a control-room conversation that took place on the night of 26/11 only after the terror trial is over. The case has been registered under the Official Secrets Act, 1923.

Three private news channels aired the conversation between police officers on the field and those sitting and monitoring main control-room activities following the 26/11 terror strikes. The log book contained details of senior policemen’s movements on 26/11.

Inspector Dattatrey Bhargude of the city crime branch lodged an FIR with the Azad Maidan police on March 2 against unidentified persons for stealing details of the conversation and details from the log book.

A senior crime branch officer told TOI that investigations
were on. “We are planning to file the chargesheet once the trial in the 26/11 is over,’’ a senior crime branch officer said, without explaining the reasons for the delay.

A chargesheet is generally filed within 90 days of the case being registered or, in some circumstances, within 180 days. However, it is now over nine months since the crime branch registered the case. It is also yet to arrest anyone in this regard, though 12 policemen, including two IPS officers, were questioned in this connection. Several media personnel have also been grilled.


The Times of India, December 24, 2009

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Cops hunt for job racket kingpin



Mateen Hafeez I TNN

Mumbai: The economic offences wing (EOW) is hunting for the managing director of a company who promised to recruit young educated youths to work in international hotels and duped them of Rs 3 crore.

According to the EOW officials, the suspect, Viyanney
Cardoz (45), who originally belongs to Goa, had floated a fake firm, Ninoshka, and placed advertisements in leading English newspapers. “He had earlier worked in the hotel industry in Goa and Dubai, so he has thorough knowledge about this industry,’’ the official said, adding that Cardoz took a rented office in Andheri and a rented flat in Malad but both were shut now. The police had earlier arrested three employees of Cardoz’s company who were later released on bail. So far, 108 victims have approached the cops.

“His advertisements, offering jobs in Jamaica, Lon
don, US and several other countries, had drawn the attention of students who had done hotel management courses,’’ the official said.

Cardoz then called the aspiring candidates at Hotel JW Marriot in Juhu for interviews and met them in the hotel’s lobby. “At that time, a woman and a man would be with him and they would
conduct the interviews. The candidates would be given the impression that they would soon be part of international hotels,’’ the source said.

The candidates
would be asked to deposit sums ranging between Rs 50,000 and Rs 1 lakh for visa and later they would be called for a medical checkup and personality test. The candidates were asked to give the attested copies of their ration cards, birth certificates, school leaving certificates and work experience. The candidates came to know about the fraud when they found Cardoz’s office closed and no reply on his contact numbers.


The Times of India, December 23, 2009

Priests sleeping near temple attacked



Mateen Hafeez I TNN


Mumbai: A group of seven masked man beat up four priests, who were sleeping outside the Siddhivinayak temple, in the early hours of Tuesday.

The attackers, who called the victims drug addicts, allegedly threatened them not to sleep there again. The incident took place around 12.30 am.

The Dadar police has registered a case of assault, rioting and criminal intimidation against the unknown persons. There were reports that the priests came from a village in north India and were targeted by the MNS but the police rubbished this theory.

Milind Bharambe, zonal
deputy police commissioner, said the priests were frequent visitors to the temple and were engaged in the job to tie holy threads on the devotees’ wrists and earn their dakshina from it. “Since Tuesday is considered as an auspicious day, they would arrive on Monday night and sleep on the open ground near the temple. Six priests were sleeping when 7-8 men, armed with bamboos, who had covered their faces with handkerchiefs, appeared all of a sudden and beat them up,’’ said Bharambe. The priests were taken to a hospital and administered first-aid.

The incident was captured on camera by two news channels. “It will help us to iden
tify and nab the culprits,’’ said an officer. The incident was being viewed as the reaction of a political party whose chief last week received a death threat.

The complainant, Sunil Shastri, said they were a group of 16 priests who stay in a room in Wadala. “I have been coming here for the last six years to tie the holy thread on the wrists of the devotees and earn a meagre amount of money’’.

According to him, the victims had initially suspected that some robbers had targeted them but later realised they were deliberately attacked. The attackers were shouting that if the priests come to sleep there again, they will have to face dire consequences.

The Times of India, Decembwe 23, 2009

Monday, December 21, 2009

Headley visa papers may aid 26/11 probe



Documents Could Help Investigators Establish LeT Man’s Stay In Mumbai, Other Cities

S Ahmed Ali & Mateen Hafeez I TNN

Mumbai: With the minister of state for external affairs, Shashi Tharoor confirming that the visa application papers of David Coleman Headley have been found, the National Investigation Agency (NIA) is hoping to get some leads in 26/11.

Sources said the visa
documents could help the investigating agency to establish Headley’s stay not only in Mumbai but also other parts of the country prior to the 26/11 terror attack. At this juncture, the agencies are not sure of Headley’s role in the terror attack or whether he interacted with the terrorists and gave instructions. On Thursday, Tharoor said while the Indian consulate in Chicago had found the visa application papers of the other suspect, Pakistan-born Tahawwur Rana, Headley’s papers were being traced. The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) had arrested Headley and Rana in October.

The Indian Consulate in Chicago had issued multi-entry visas to Headley to travel to India between 2006 and 2008. Both these suspects made several trips to various cities in India. Investigators are awa
iting the voice recordings of the phone conversations between Headley and the Pakistani handlers. Sources said Indian agencies want to compare them with the voice recordings of the 26/11 masterminds to find out if these men were Headley’s handlers too. The FBI has in its possession recordings of Headley’s conversations with LeT member ‘A’, not yet identified, and another individual identified as Abdur Rehman Hashim Syed alias Pasha. Pasha is said to be the link between Headley and another LeT operative Ilyas Kashmiri and the person who had informed Rana in advance during a meeting in Dubai that the Mumbai attack was happening.

Indian agencies are particularly interested in the identity of LeT member A who is believed to be none other than retired Pakistan
army major Sajid Mir, one of the men who allegedly directed the 26/11 terrorists in Mumbai over the phone.

Moreover, the investigators now have found that Headley had conducted a proper reconnaissance of not only Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (BARC) but also of some Bollywood studios in the city. Headley is suspected to have travelled to Chembur and Trombay many times and filmed the exits and entries of the BARC, official sources said. Headley had also shot videos of the nuclear installation, whose top is visible from the sea, on a boat near Gateway of India.

The investigators are also trying to ascertain if Headley had met any links with Bollywood other than Rahul Bhat, son of filmmaker Mahesh Bhat.


The Times of India, December 21, 2009

Raj threat: City cops in Bihar to grill suspects

CONCERNED: MNS chief Raj Thackeray

Mateen Hafeez I TNN

Mumbai: A city crime branch team is camping in Bihar to investigate the letter, which was sent to the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) chief Raj Thackeray last week, with the threat of assasinating him.

A senior crime branch officer said they were carrying out parallel investigations in the city and in Bihar. “No arrests have been made yet. Our team is questioning the suspects in Bihar,’’ said the officer. The threat this time was sent in the form of a letter allegedly from Sarvodaya Samaj in Bihar.
It was written and signed by Ashok Kumar Singh, who claims to be the founder president of the Samaj.

The letter was sent to Raj’s Dadar residence. Following the death threat, Raj’s security was reviewed and he was provided with ‘Y’ category security cover. The city crime branch said they were making inquiries if the letter was indeed sent by the Sarvodaya Samaj people or someone was playing
a prank. “We are not ruling out the possibility of a mischief. However, we can not say much until we complete our investigation,’’ said an officer.

The letter stated, “Five revolutionaries of the Sarvodaya Samaj have taken a decision in the name of our motherland that one among us will kill you in the same way you and your men have persecuted the Hindi speaking population in Mumbai. A few days ago, MLA Abu Azmi was roughed up in the Assembly because he wanted to take oath in Hindi. We can tolerate everything but not insult to Hindi. Hence, you will be killed before December 25, 2009.’’

The Times of India, December 21, 2009

Navy foils piracy attempt

Mateen Hafeez | TNN

Mumbai: The Indian navy on Saturday foiled a piracy attempt on cargo vessel MV Sanderling Ace in the Gulf of Aden. The vessel had sent out a distress call after sighting seven persons aboard a white skiff (a small boat) approaching it at 20 knots. MV Sanderling Ace also raised an alarm on Ship Security Alert System.

“A warship deployed by the Indian navy in the Gulf of Aden received a distress call from the vessel around 5.30 pm on Saturday,’’ said Captain Manohar Nambiar, public relation officer, Indian Navy. “Upon re
ceiving the call, the naval warship immediately launched helicopter Chetak to intercept the boat. Officials fired warning shots from the chopper, following which those aboard the skiff stopped proceeding towards the vessel.’’

“There were seven people aboard the boat. It was difficult to communicate with them since they only spoke Arabic. All were released as nothing suspicious was found on the boat,’’ added Captain Nambiar.

A navy officer said pirates for the fear of being apprehended throw their weapons into the sea. Post 26/11, the navy has increased surveillance on the seas.

The Times of India, December 21, 2009

Called back on duty, drunk fireman attacks colleague

Mateen Hafeez | TNN

Mumbai: A fireman allegedly attacked his senior c o l l e a g u e with a chopper in the Marol fire brigade office early on Sunday.

The victim, Mangesh Dicholkar (56), sustained head injuries and has been admitted to KEM Hospital in Parel, the police said.

The incident took place around 12.05 am on Sunday. According to the MIDC police, the accused, Liyakat Mokashi 45, is still at large. The police have seized the chopper used for the assault on Dicholkar.

The police said that the fire department needed more personnel after a fire broke out at Indian Premier League
(IPL) chairman Lalit Modi’s bungalow in Juhu on Saturday evening and therefore they asked all the firemen who had left for the day to return to duty. Modi was not home at the time of the incident.

The MIDC police, which registered a case of attempt to murder against Mokashi, stated that one of the duty wardens at the Marol fire
brigade called up the accused and asked him to return to office for duty. A reluctant Mokashi then returned to the Marol fire brigade office. According to the victim’s statement, Mokashi was drunk when he returned. Mokashi saw Dicholkar, a duty warden, sitting in the room and suspected that the latter had called him up. An angry Mokashi, pulled out his chopper and attacked Dicholkar. Police said another officer, who had left for the day, had called up Mokashi.

Mokashi fled after Dicholkar began crying for help and other firemen ran to his aid. A bleeding Dicholkar was taken to a private hospital and later shifted to KEM. His condition is said to be stable. A police team went to Mokashi’s Mumbra residence but could not find him there.

The Times of India, December 21, 2009

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Arthur Road jail’s HIV centre spots 21 positive inmates

Mateen Hafeez | TNN

Mumbai: The state’s first integrated counselling and testing centre (ICTC) at the Arthur Road jail has already diagnosed 21 prisoner inmates as being HIV-positive. This revelation came after the ICTC authorities examined around 490 inmates over the past three months.

The ICTC at Arthur Road jail is the first of its kind among Maharashtra’s 56 jails. The 21 HIV-positive inmates are undergoing treatment at the J J Hospital. Moreover, a male inmate among 35 at the Byculla prison tested positive on Wednesday. The idea of ICTC was the brainchild of Dr Harish Pathak, additional project director at the Mumbai Districts Aids Control Society (MDACS). Most of the HIV-positive inmates are petty criminals.


“I visited Chennai in January this year and came across a centre to counsel and test prisoners for HIV in Puzhal jail, Tamil Nadu. It was the country’s first such centre in a jail. After returning from there, I discussed with Rajnish Seth, DIG (Prisons) that we could also start such a centre at the Arthur Road jail. Seth was convinced and we started the ICTC in the central prison,” said Pathak.

This decision was taken soon after the Bombay High Court ordered that the HIVpositive inmates should be given proper care by the state. The centre has been set up jointly by the MDACS and National Aids Control Organisation (NACO). “When we started this centre, there were already 10-HIV positive prisoners. During testing we found 21 more such inmates,” said clinical psychologist Alpa
Sonje who is also the assistant director, ICTC. Out of 31 such inmates, 21 are taking antiretroviral therapy (ART). A full-time counsellor and a lab technician have been appointed by the MDACS.

To start this project, the MDACS utilised two ICTC centres in Worli and Mulund which had a poor response. “We relocated the two centres at Arthur Road jail and the Byculla women's prison,” informed Pathak. For new ICTC, the MDACS requires permission from NACO.


Narrating the procedure, he added that when fresh inmates are brought to jail, they are kept in one room. “We show them DVDs and CDs in Hindi and Marathi that explain the benefit of such tests and what can be done if a person is tested postive. We do not force anyone for the tests. Its completely voluntary” Pathak said.

To avoid the problem of trasporting such inmates to J J Hospital every week or once in a fortnight, MDACS plans to start a Link ART Centre in the jail itself. The centre is likely to start from January 15 where the patients will be given their monthly medicine in jail only.


Condom machine on the cards too
The Mumbai Districts Aids Control Society authorities are now thinking of installing a condom-vending machine at the Arthur Road jail to avoid the spread of HIV in the jail. Cases of sodomy in the jail are not reported but the inmates who have been there say sex is done between some male inmates in the jail.

The Times of India, December 19, 2009

We know what we saw on 26/11, say cops

Mateen Hafeez | TNN

Mumbai: Ajmal Amir Kasab was lying to the court when he said he was not in the Skoda on 26/11, said the D B Marg police who captured the Pakistani gunman from the vehicle that he and his partner Abu Ismail had ‘appropriated’ on the night of the attack. Assistant Inspector Hemant Bhawdhankar had told the special court that Kasab was sitting in the car next to Abu Ismail, who was gunned down by the police at Chowpattty.

But Kasab claimed on Friday that he was not a terrorist and had
come to Mumbai as a tourist. He accused the police of framing him.

Baudhankar rubbished Kasab’s claims saying: “Those who were part of the operation have told the court what happened that night. Kasab is now lying and just saying anything.’’ He added: “Kasab was holding an AK-47 in his hand and we had caught him alive from the Skoda car he was travelling in.’’ Another police officer concurring with Bhawdhankar’s statement said that Kasab “can try and lie but he cannot contradict the facts that have come up against him during the investigation’’.


According to Bhawdhankar, 16 policemen from the D B Marg police station were present during the encounter with the terrorists. He recalled the incident: “After hearing the news that two terrorists had escaped in a Skoda towards Mantralaya, we went to Girgaum Chowpatty and put up barricades and took position. Around 12.15 am on November 27, I along with assistant inspector Sanjay Govilkar, sub-inspector Bhaskar Kadam, assistant inspector Tukaram Ombale and the staff saw the Skoda.’’

He continued: “Ismail, 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 Ismail. I fired at Ismail from behind; he was injured. Kasab got out with his AK-47. ASI Tukaram Ombale came forward and grabbed the AK-47, but by then Kasab had pressed the trigger.’’

Constable Vikarm Nikam, who took possession of Kasab’s AK-47 after he was captured, said: “Kasab is the accused and is trying to dodge the investigators. We have nothing to do with what he says. The police has given statements and everything is on record.’’

The Times of India, December 19, 2009

Friday, December 18, 2009

Cops on alert after intel on 3 terrorists



The Afghan Nationals May Have Entered City To Launch Strike

Mateen Hafeez I TNN

Mumbai: Four days after security agencies sounded an alert across the country about a Pashtun militant group, senior police officials on Wednesday instructed all 90 police stations in the city to look for three Afghan nationals who may be in Mumbai to launch a terror strike. One of the three, officials said, had a fake Indian passport.

A senior police official alerted the heads of all city police sta
tions to the new threat from the three militants. “The three persons, in their mid-20s, are cleanshaven. The may head towards South Mumbai, which has the maximum number of vital installations,’’ the inspectors were told.

This is the second major alert since July, when intelligence agencies had released photographs of eight locations in Maharashtra—including some railway stations and a private bank—which were believed to be on the
radar of terrorists.

According to recent reports, the fake passport is said to be in the name of Aasif or Waasif. “It’s not possible to scan all passports with these names, as there’s no confirmed information about the passport holder,’’ said a police official. Security agencies have not indicated the sites that they expect these terrorists to target, saying only that they had planned to strike in south Mumbai.

The youths, the intelligence input said, may be disguised as Hindu priests, complete with tilaks on their foreheads. Security agencies were not specific, however, about the weapons the trio may be carrying.

“We’re coordinating with oth
er agencies and have alerted our policemen to maintain the strictest possible watch in Mumbai,’’ an officer said.

The city police have received as many as 575 terror alerts from various agencies this year, all warning of a possible terror attack in Mum
bai. Most alerts mentioned the western coast as the most vulnerable point and an easy route for terrorists.

The Times of India, December 18, 2009

Jogeshwari man gets over 8 yrs in Spanish jail

Mumbai: Jogeshwari businessman Khan Jamal, arrested in Spain in January last year, has been convicted for being associated with a terror group and sentenced to eight-and-a-half years in jail. His family in Mumbai said they were not satisfied with the court’s decision and they would appeal against the court order.

Jamal, father of four, was arrested from the Al-Ziyad Mosque in Barcelona. A total of 15 persons, including two Indians, were arrested. Three Pakistanis and an Indian were released, but the other 11 faced trial. Jamal’s family has been maintaining that he is innocent and wrongly framed. The Spanish court convicted all 11 men in connection with a plot to carry out suicide bombings and delivered prison sentences ranging from eight to 14 years. TNN
(The family's lawyer received the information through a letter on December 14, 2009 in Barcelona)

The Times of India, December 18, 2009

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Crime branch confident of securing conviction




Mateen Hafeez | TNN

Mumbai: The city crime branch, which is probing the 26/11 terror attack case, is hoping to secure conviction in the case based on the strong evidence it has presented before the court.
The trial against Ajmal Kasab, who faces 86 charges, is in its last stage in the special court.

“The police have a strong case against him,’’ said an officer who was part of the team that nabbed Kasab, adding an AK-47 was seized from Kasab when he was captured by policeman Tukaram Omble who died in the attempt.

Another important evidence against Kasab is his confessional statement given before the special court where he admitted to killing many people and even narrated his journey from Pakistan to Mumbai. “His DNA has been
matched with the DNA found on the fishing trawler, M V Kuber. Ten terrorists had sailed into Indian waters in Kuber which was later seized by the police,’’ another officer said.

Moreover, the police has also submitted the call inter
ception details which further helped to investigate the case and locate the chief conspirators in Pakistan and to some other foreign countries. The calls made by the terrorists’ handlers through voice over internet protocol (VoIP) is also part of the evidence list. For instance, Indian investigators traced the call route till New Jersey, and from there till Pakistan the trail was provided by the FBI, all of which was presented before the court.

While there are around 600 witnesses, the court has examined 50 star witnesses including several injured police personnel and a 10-year-old girl. Moreover, the hand grenade seized by the police bore the label of Arges, an Austrian company which has given its franchise to the Pakistan Ordinance Factory in Karachi.

Special public prosecutor Ujjwal Nikam said that the prosecution is relying on three grounds—the eye witnesses account, circumstantial evidence and scientific evidences. “I am not here just to get someone convicted. My job is to establish the charge which the court has framed against Kasab. I am not a persecutor but a public prosecutor representing the public at large,’’ said Nikam.

The Times of India, December 17, 2009

CST killer turns vegetarian

Mateen Hafeez | TNN

Mumbai: In the first few weeks after his capture, Ajmal Amir Kasab, insisted on having non-veg food only. But the killer of CST has suddenly turned become a shuddha shakahari (pure vegeterian). And the Arthur Road jail authorities are unable to explain the change in his attitude.

“We have stopped serving non-veg food in the jail. At present all the inmates are served vegeterian food only,’’ said a jail official, adding he does not have any clue on Kasab’s changed mood. “The ban on non-veg food was there when Kasab was first brought to this jail. But he was very stubborn at that time and would insist on non-veg food. Strangely, for the last couple of months, he does not ask
for non-veg food,’’ the source said.

Kasab was briefly provided good non-vegetarian food when he was being questioned in police custody. Now, he is given poha, chai and pav for breakfast, dal, rice, onion, roti and veg food for lunch and dinner.

A section of the jail officials opined that the change in Kasab’s attitude could be because he may be sceptical of the way nonvegetarian food is prepared. “He must be thinking that the non-veg he was being offered could not be halal (as per Islamic law an animal or bird meant for eating has to be sacrificed through a certain procedure and with prayers). It is possible that he had not thought on those lines when he was initially had the food when in police custody,’’ the source said.

The Times of India, December 17, 2009

NGO official arrested for cheating, forgery

Mateen Hafeez I TNN

Mumbai: The D B Marg police on Wednesday arrested a manager attached to an NGO working for senior citizens on charges of cheating and forgery.

The police was tightlipped about the case. “We have arrested Hemang Desai, manager (security service) of the NGO on charges of cheating and forgery,’’ said inspector Anil Sardal of the D B Marg police station, without giving any more details.

A senior police officer said the court has asked them to investigate the case. He, too, re
fused to elaborate on the case.

Dr Sheelu Srinivasan, chairperson of Dignity Foundation, rubbished the police allegation and said that Desai was framed in a false case. She suspected that the manager is being harassed by the police for helping a senior citizen. “We have been helping an 87-year-old man, Hoshi Wadia, who had deposited Rs 90,000 with us. We have spent Rs 45,000 in his case and have a record of all the expenses with us,’’ she stated.

According to her, Wadia had given Dignity Foundation a lot of powers to act on his behalf and they were taking up his case for justice. “We have also appointed a nurse to take care of Wadia,’’ she said.

The Times of India, December 17, 2009

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Crime branch drafts letter for Headley grilling



Mateen Hafeez | TNN

Mumbai: The city crime branch, which is probing the 26/11 terror attacks, has drafted the Letter Rogatory (LR) to be sent to a Chicago court to question LeT operative David Coleman Headley.

“We have compiled the LR
and it will be sent through the special court conducting the 26/11 trial to the Chicago court,’’ said a senior crime branch official. However, chances of Headley’s extradition to India are very low, said an official.

It is worth noting that the spe
cial court conducting the terror trial has already sent an LR to an Italian court seeking details about a fatherson duo whose involvement in 26/11 has been described by the Italian police.

The crime branch LR contains information about Headley’s visit to India and the people he met. The National Investigation Agency (NIA), which has registered a case against Headley under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA) on November 12, is carrying out a probe against Headley.

A crime branch source said that they were not investigating Headley’s role in the 26/11 case as the investigation about his involvement terror-related cases in India
was handed over to the NIA. Another officer said that since the crime branch was the chief investigating agency in the 26/11 case, it will collect evidence against Headley and file a supplementary charge sheet in the court.

Headley’s name first cropped up during a probe by the FBI in October. Headley along with his associate, Tahawwur Rana was caught
by the FBI for planning terror attacks in Denmark and India.

The FBI had first alerted India and later in its press release stated that Headley was planning terror attack on Indian cities. The NIA found out that Headley had, during 2006 and 2008, visited India at least nine times. The NIA is expected to share its information with the crime branch this week.

The city police had been maintaining that Faheem Ansari, a Goregaon resident, had prepared the maps of targeted sites in the 26/11 terror attack. However, the FBI has said that it was Headley who did a recee of the targeted places and even made video footages of the sites of attack and sent it to his Pakistani handlers.

mateen.hafeez@timesgroup.com

The Times of India, December 15, 2009

Monday, December 14, 2009

D-gang is now dialling rural areas: IB

Yavatmal Businessman Got An Extortion Call From A Number In Pakistan

Mateen Hafeez I TNN

Mumbai: Intelligence Bureau alerts indicate that the underworld is resurfacing again. This time, the Dawood
Ibrahim network is spreading its tentacles in the interior of Maharashtra, a report suggests.

The Intelligence Bureau (IB) issued an alert on underworld activities sometime ago, stating that the D-gang was trying to recapture the extortion business and that its members were active in interior Maharashtra. The alert noted that Faheem, a D-gang aide, informed one of his Mum
bai-based associates—a woman—that Rs 2.12 lakh was sent to India for distribution among gang members.

For the city police, though, his modus operandi of relying on women associates is nothing new. In the past, the crime branch has arrested a woman, Rubeena Sayyed, for distributing money to gang members on behalf of Dawood associate Chhota Shakeel. A few months ago too, a woman was among several persons the crime branch had arrested for being part of the D-gang, and she too was suspected of being a distributor
of money for the gang.

The IB alert further stated that a Kalina-based gang member was asked to keep an eye on the activities of rival gang members. The city police and the crime branch have been claiming that the D-gang has been hobbled and its members are lying low. But
the IB alert contradicted this claim. It stated that a gang member, Ganpat alias Chhota Don, using a Pakistan mobile phone number, had asked a Yavatmal businessman for Rs 4 lakh. Don allegedly asked the businessman to hand over the money to his aide Chhotu or face dire consequences.

The alert mentioned Dawood’s spiritual guru, Islam Baba, who is based in Pakistan. “Often, before embarking on a new venture, Dawood seeks his blessings,’’ said a police source. Dawood is said to be close to many sufis, and to seek their blessings regularly. The alert said that one gang member is getting clearance for the Dgang’s real estate projects in Mumbai. This gang member has allegedly informed Islam Baba that one of his aides believed that some persons close to an MP were trying to throw a spanner in the works.
mateen.hafeez@timesgroup.com


The Times of India, December 14, 2009

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Malad locals lynch thief



Mateen Hafeez I TNN

Mumbai: Residents of Orlem in Malad (W) took the law into their own hands and lynched a suspected thief early on Saturday. Being punched and slapped by a group of people proved fatal for the person, while two of his associates managed to escape from the residents, against whom the police have registered a case of murder.

The incident occurred around 2 am at S B Nagar near the BMC ground on Orlem Church Tank Road in Malad (W). According to a resident, they spotted three persons skulking around in the locality. Suspecting that they were up to no good, the residents tried to confront them, but the trio started running away. While two of them did manage
to flee, the angry mob nabbed the third one. Immediately a crowd gathered at the spot and some suggested that the suspected thief be tied to an electric pole. “Most of those present there started bashing him. They punched and slapped him repeatedly, causing him serious internal injuries,’’ a resident said. Meanwhile, someone called the police and the thief, bleeding profusely, was taken to a hospital where he was declared dead. “We are trying to identify the body and a postmortem report is awaited,’’ said assistant commissioner of police Ramchandra Aher.

Justifying their act, the residents said they took the matter in their hands as the police had earlier turned a deaf ear to all their complaints of theft in the area. “Once I nabbed a thief and handed
him over to the police for stealing imitation jewellery from a shop,’’ said a Mohalla committee member. Kailash Sawant from the area said, “The gangs would make away with bicycles, water drums and everything kept outside houses. We have been complaining to the police but they hardly pay any heed. Whatever happened on Saturday morning was the result of the residents’ pent-up anger,’’ he said.

However rubbishing the allegation, the police said though theft was common in S B Nagar, they had always taken appropriate action against the culprit. “The police are recording the statements of eye-witnesses and are making a thorough inquiries before arresting anyone,’’ said police inspector Deepak Fatangre.


LEGAL ANGLE
Those convicted of lynching can face charges ranging from culpable homicide to murder under the provisions of the IPC. The family of the deceased can also approach the authorities to seek compensation. TNN


The Times of India, December 13, 2009

Friday, December 11, 2009

Now, cops want fishermen’s kids to police coast

WATCH OUT: Fishermen’s children have a good knowledge of the coastal areas and tides and can boost coastal security


Mateen Hafeez I TNN
Mumbai:
After one of the worst terror attacks from the sea route in Mumbai last year, the coastal police is now planning to recruit fishermen’s children in the force to get a better grip on coastal security.

Around 500 constables—most of them from the fishermen community—are likely to be inducted in the force. “We have been interacting with fishermen and found that they have a good knowledge of the coastal areas. As their children are educated, we have decided to recruit them in a special unit for coastal surveillance,’’ a Maharashtra police official said. “The plan is in its initial stage,’’ he added. The idea is to utilise the fishermen’s knowledge about the sea and their swimming skills. “The personnel we get have just a month’s training unlike the Navy personnel who are trained for more than a year. Members of the fishing community have a good knowledge about tides and sea routes and they could prove to be an additional help to the department,’’ sources said.

Since the November 26 attack last year, when 10 Pakistani gunmen entered Mumbai through the Arabian Sea and attacked several places, all the intelligence alerts contain a line about the “threat from coastal areas’’. Of the 575 alerts sent to the police, 300 had mentioned a threat and possible terror strike from the sea route.

Police officers said the exam to recruit fishermen’s children in the coastal police force will be conducted as per rules but there will be certain relaxations for fishermen. “A candidate will have to go through the entire procedure. However, there will be relaxation for the fishing community. They will be posted on fishing trawlers and for patrolling,’’ said the source, adding that they were also planning to recruit women constables for this job.

The western coast has recently started patrolling in the sea using 38 fishing trawlers. Only three of them belong to the state police while the rest have been hired.

mateen.hafeez@timesgroup.com

The Times of India, December 12, 2009

Hoax terror SMS a bid to frame wife’s lover


Mateen Hafeez | TNN

Mumbai: Mumtaz Shaikh stayed in jail for only four months but his world changed more than Rip Van Winkle’s in 20 years.

The 33-year-old came out of Kalyan prison recently, after being arrested for robbery and attempted murder, and found that his wife—a mother of three—was having an affair with another man. Enraged, Shaikh and his friend composed and sent an SMS to the man he suspected of being his wife’s lover.

According to anti-terrorism squad (ATS) sources, Altaf Ahmed (28), the son of a Grant Road businessman, received an SMS which read, “The RDX has been trans
ported to Mumbai. Be prepared. We have to execute our operation tommorow.’’ Ahmed, fearing he was being framed,informed the police, who forwarded his complaint to the ATS. Nothing
suspicious emerged from Ahmed’s mobile records or his interrogation. The police traced the phone from which the SMS was sent, but the owner said
it had gone missing.
During further questioning, Ahmed said that he met Mumbra resident Rukhsar at a court. She told him her husband Shaikh had been framed and she was struggling to get him released. Ahmed helped her, and their friendship bloomed into an intimate relationship.

The police summoned Shaikh, who said, “I was traumatised when learnt about the affair....My friend found a mobile and we planned to SMS Ahmed, thinking the cops would nab him. All I wanted is that he not ruin my life. I have no terrorist connections.’’
(Some names have been changed)


The Times of India, December 11, 2009

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Terror has new name: Jama’at-ul-Mujahideen



Mateen Hafeez | TNN

Mumbai: Intelligence agencies are working on inputs that members of the Jama’at-ul-Mujahideen (Bangladesh) may be in Mumbai and Hyderabad to work on terror plots in these two cities.

The Indian Mujahideen and the Deccan Mujahideen have been on the local security agencies’ radar for some time, but this is the first time that the Bangladesh-based outfit has emerged as a possible player in Mumbai.

The JMB, officials said, had been facing problems ever since the change of government in Bangladesh. “The Sheikh Hasina-led Awami League has shown much greater sensitivity to India's concerns than the Bangladesh Nationalist Party of Begum Khaleda Zia and reports here indicate that the JMB is trying to expand its operations to western and southern India because it is under intense pressure in its homeland,” a senior home department official said. The organisation was banned in Bangladesh in 2005 (after it was found to be responsible for 500 blasts all over Bangladesh in one day), before the Hasina regime came to power, but an “allout crackdown” came only after a change in government.

Security agencies here have also received
intelligence inputs that some JMB cadres have been pushed to Sri Lanka, from where they plan to enter India by sea. “Increased surveillance and cooperation by Indian and Bangladeshi forces on the Indo-Bangla border is forcing them to look for other routes through which to enter India,” an official said. The Intelligence Bureau (IB), in an alert, has said at least 30 suspected JMB cadres had reached the Negombo area in Sri Lanka and were being assisted by narco-peddler Jaleel alias Ravi. “The head of this unit is a person called Moosa. Uncorroborated reports indicate that 10-15 men from this group are trying to enter India. Everyone in this group is under 28,” the alert stated. It also says Jaleel alias Ravi “reportedly” operates from Tamil Nadu and Kerala. “Uncorroborated reports suggest that another group may be already present in Mumbai and Hyderabad,” the input said.

The IB has alerted the coastal police and sent these inputs across the country. The input also specifies a boat that is likely to be used for ferrying them to Indian shores; the fishing boat is called Jameela and its registration number is KPT 0173.

The JMB was founded in 1998 at Palampur, Dhaka, by Sabir Quazi. Its avowed aim is to replace the current state of Bangladesh with an Islamic state based on Sharia.


The Times of India, December 10, 2009

Kin of bizman held in Spain await verdict

Khan Roshan Jamal


Mateen Hafeez I TNN

Mumbai: The family of Khan Roshan Jamal, the 52-year-old city businessman who has been detained in a Spanish jail since January 2008, has expressed its dissatisfaction over a Spanish court’s announcement that it would hand over the verdict to the Spanish government. His trial was concluded within six working days in November.

Jamal, a St Xavier’s College graduate, went to Spain in January 2008; his family said he wanted to meet some
contacts for his olive business. But he was picked up with 14 others from Al-Ziyad Mosque in Barcelona on January 18 last year. The Spanish police told a local court they were nabbed as their activities were suspicious. Jamal’s family, however, has been insisting that he is innocent. Even the CBI and the Maharashtra ATS have cleared him of terror charges in India.

In a letter to the ministry of external affairs (MEA), Farida Khan, Jamal’s wife, stated, “The trial of my husband by the Spanish court
that was supposed to be held from November 12 to November 30, was aborted in six working days. This raises doubts over the trial being fair.’’ The letter further stated that the prosecution couldn’t provide any concrete evidence against her husband to the court.

“It has generalised the charges and held him on charges of associating with terrorists, based on the
fantasy of a wannabe James Bond,’’ Farida stated in her letter.

Jamal continues to languish at a jail in Leon. Jamal is the second among six siblings and has worked with a tourism firm and a detective agency, besides a fiveyear stint in Kuwait as a tourism officer.

Farida said in the letter, “The court has transferred the responsibility of delivering the verdict to the Spanish government. This proves that the Spanish judiciary is not independent, which is
dangerous for the administration of justice.’’

Jamal’s brother, Mehboob, said, “We have been sending letters to the MEA, but they have not replied so far. If Shah Rukh Khan is detained at a foreign airport for two hours, the union government issues a statement. The government also speaks for Sarabjit who is now in a Pakistani jail. Why are not they speaking about my brother?’’
The family has sent a file to the United Nation’s human rights wing.
mateen.hafeez@timesgroup.com


The Times of India, December 10, 2009

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

FIR registered in Karkare’s missing jacket case

SEEKING ACTION: Social activist Santosh Daundkar had given an application to the JJ Marg police asking it to register a theft complaint for Karkare’s missing bullet-proof jacket

Mateen Hafeez I TNN

Mumbai: The JJ Marg police on Tuesday registered a case of theft in connection with the missing bulletproof jacket of anti-terrorism squad’s (ATS) slain chief Hemant Karkare. The police registered the FIR after the Mazgaon court ordered the police to register a case.

Karkare (54), who had earlier spent nine years in research and analysis wing (R&AW), was killed by the terrorists on the night of November 26, 2008. Karkare, who sustained five bullet injuries in a gunbattle with the terrorists, was declared dead when admitted to a hospital. However, the bullet-proof jacket, he was wearing at the time of the encounter, went missing from the JJ Hospital.

A social worker and Mumbai citizen, Santosh Daundkar, on November 15, 2009, gave an application to the JJ Marg police, asking it to register a theft complaint for the missing bullet-proof jacket.
The JJ Marg police officers sent the application to higher-ups.

On November 16, R R Patil, who was the home minister of Maharashtra at that time, ordered an investigation into the missing bullet-proof jacket case after Karkare’s widow Kavita brought the matter to his notice.

“We have registered the FIR (under section 379 of the Indian Penal Code for theft) as per the court’s direction and are probing the case,’’
said assistant inspector Santosh Bagwe of the JJ Marg police. The police station is required to submit its report to the magistrate by 30 January, 2010.
Daundkar, in his application, had stated, “It became apparent from the reports in the media that despite the bullet-proof jacket, bullets pierced his (Karkare’s) body. It becomes logically apparent that the jacket failed.’’

Former IPS officer Y P Singh, counsel for Daundkar, stated, “The bullet-proof jacket was purchased by senior officers after committing several illegalities. The sub-standard jackets were returned and supplied to police again.”

The jacket, the application further stated, “was removed in the hospital, following which 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 Singh.


The Times of India, December 9, 2009

Blast accused hoping to secure bail



MALEGAON EXPLOSIONS CASE

Mateen Hafeez I TNN

Malegaon: The families of the 2006 Malegaon serial blasts accused are hoping that they will be granted bail by the court on December 10, when the case comes up for hearing. Nine alleged members of the banned outfit, SIMI, all from Malegaon, are behind bars for the last three years.

Four bombs rocked the textile town on September 8, 2006, killing 31 people and injuring 297. The anti-terrorism squad (ATS), which began the investigation, arrested nine persons allegedly belonging to SIMI. However, due to dissatisfaction among the locals over the ATS probe, the state government transferred the case to the CBI in December 2006. The suspects then filed a petition in the apex court, pleading that they were not habitual offenders and that the application of the stringent law, Ma
harashta Control of O r g a n - i s e d Crime Act (MCOCA) w a s wrong in their case. The approvers in the September 8, 2006, blast have turned hostile and stated that they had given statements under duress.

A division bench justice Amjad Sayyed and J N Patel will hear the case on December 10 when the CBI will state what they have found in their probe so far. “The court asked the CBI why the accused should not be granted bail,’’ said advocate Irfana Hamdani, who is on a panel of lawyers for the SIMI suspects.
The same bench will also hear the state government’s application refusing a special court’s order to drop MCOCA charges from the 2008 Malegaon blast case. Interestingly, senior advocate Ashok Mundargi is representing the accused in the 2008 blast case, but is a special prosecutor in the 2006 blast case.


The Times of India, December 9, 2009

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Six held trying to palm off Rs 4-lakh fake currency



Mateen Hafeez I TNN

Mumbai: Six Jharkhand residents have been arrested over the past week for possessing and circulating fake Indian currency. The Pydhonie police have also seized the counterfeit notes with a face value of Rs 4.08 lakh. The kingpin, Tahoor Ali, however, is still wanted.

The accused, Haroon Ali Shaikh (20), Izbul Shaikh (27), Mubeen Shaikh (25), Umruddin Shaikh (26), Mufazul Shaikh (19) and Ismail Shaikh (20), have been remanded in police custody.

According to the police, the six had brought fake currency, with a total face value of Rs 5 lakh, to circulate in the market. “They came to Mumbai two months ago and stayed in the slums on P D’Mello Road.
Posing as coconut vendors and flower sellers to avoid suspicion, they would buy inexpensive items with the fake notes. Once they would get genuine currency in return, they would pass on the amount to their ringleader, after taking their commission from it,’’ said senior inspector Shamsher Pathan.

R K Padmanabhan, additional police commissioner, said 100 notes of Rs 500 denomination and 358 Rs-1,000 notes were seized from the accused who were nabbed after head constable Jameel Sayeed got a tip-off. “The paper and printing quality of the notes are amazing. The accused claimed that
they were only assigned with the job of circulating the fake currency. They would also get a commission of 50%,” Padmanabhan said. The counterfeit notes are made so cleverly that it’s difficult to differentiate them from original ones. Each bears the fake signature of former RBI governor Y V Reddy and Rs 1,000 notes belong to 5AC and 7AF series, while the Rs 500 ones are of the 5SB series.

The accused are from Peerpur village in Sahibganj district in Jharkhand. “The place is just 35 km from the Bangladesh border. The notes might have been smuggled in from Bangladesh but we have to verify it,’’ Padmanabhan said. Tahoor Ali, the supplier of the notes, was detained by the Peerpur police two months ago, but was let off
after a routine inquiry.

The police said one of the accused, Haroon, came to Mumbai two months ago. He was admitted to a hospital for a surgery, and he payed the Rs-21,000 bill with genuine money that he had earned by circulating counterfeit notes.


The Times of India, December 7, 2009

Monday, December 7, 2009

Malegaon road naming runs into a dead end

Slain ATS chief Hemant Karkare

Cops Haven’t Issued NOC To Civic Body

Mateen Hafeez | TNN

Malegaon: The Malegaon Municipal Corporation’s plan to name a road after slain ATS chief Hemant Karkare is pending for a year because the police has not issued a No Objection Certificate (NOC).

The police, in its letter to the civic body, stated that if something (referring to the law and order situation) went wrong, then the corporation would be held responsible.

Residents of the textile town had expressed their wish to name a road after Karkare. The road goes from Bhikku Chowk to Nehru Chowk, the spot where an RDX bomb exploded on September 29, 2008, killing six and injuring 101. Karkare and his team had arrested 11 persons belonging to Abhinav Bharat. The suspects included Indian army’s serving Lt Colonel Prasad Purohit, shankaracharya Swami Dayanand Pandey and sadhvi Pragya Singh Thakur.

The proposal to name the road after Karkare was sanctioned by the 72-member corporation, including BJP and Sena corporators, in December 2008.

The then house leader, Rasheed Seth Yeolewale, sent a letter to the police asking for an NOC. However, the police did not respond. “We sent three letters to the police seeking an NOC, but they replied only to the third letter,’’ said Yeolewale. He added that ad
vertisements were placed in Urdu and Marathi newspapers asking for people’s opinion on the proposal. “Not a single person objected to this plan,’’ he added.

The police letter to the corporation stated that this was not their prerogative. “You take your own decision,’’ the letter stated. Yeolewale, however, is not satisfied. “We want a clear answer. We don’t know why they are
doing this,’’ he said.

Sanjay Patil, additional superintendent of police, said they did not refuse to issue an NOC.

“We never said we would not issue an NOC. It’s the corporation’s prerogative. If they want to implement this proposal, they can go ahead with it,’’ said Patil.
mateen.hafeez@timesgroup.com


The Times of India, December 7, 2009