Friday, April 30, 2010

Maha state of terror despite spate of attacks




Mateen Hafeez | TNN

Mumbai: Come Monday and the special court judge will pronounce the verdict on 26/11 gunman Ajmal Amir Kasab, in what is probably the fastest terror trial in not just the state, but the country. Before that, Maharshtra celebrates its 50th anniversary. But interestingly, there have been more terror strikes in Maharashtra and Mumbai, (except Jammu and Kashmir) between 2001 and 2010, though only 15 terrorists were killed and three convicted.

Since 2001, 485 persons were killed while 2,077 were injured in 52 incidents of terrorism in the state. Data gathered by TOI from across the country shows Delhi had 100 deaths, Gujarat 87, Rajasthan 73, Andhra Pradesh 50, Karnataka 2, and there were no terror attacks in Chennai and Kolkata.

Time and again, Maharashtra has been targeted by terrorists. But even a year-and-a-half after the 26/11 attacks and a few months after Pune blasts, there have been no preventive detentions of suspects part of sleeper cells. Asked why the police do not have an effective strategy to pre-empt collaborators of various outfits, an officer replied, “On what charges should we book them?”

Clearly, the lack of political and executive will has translated into lax surveillance and poor information-gathering. The Malegaon blasts of September 2006 are a case in point. “Prime conspirator, Shabbir Masiullah, was caught much before the blasts but Mumbai crime branch police failed to extract in
formation from him regarding the bombings,’’ said a source. The 2008 Malegaon blast also caught the IB and state intelligence sleeping.

In the last nine years, the state topped terror casualties, four times as many as the next worst-affected, Delhi. In 2001, two armed terrorists killed around a dozen people in the Parliament attack. Gujarat saw casualties in different terror attacks including the strike at Akshardham
temple, Ahmedabad serial blasts etc. In Rajasthan, nine bombs killed 70 in 2008 and three were killed in a 2007 explosion at Ajmer shrine. Bangalore had 1 firing at the Indian Institute of Science, in which a researcher was killed, in 2008 eight bombs exploded killing a woman, on April 17 this year,2 blasts at Chinnaswamy stadium injured 17.

Experts say Mumbai has been repeatedly targeted due to its prominent position the city enjoys and the
absence of pro-active measures to provide adequate security. Former RAW official B Raman said Mumbai has been a soft target because of its “financial status’’. “A lot of publicity is given to such attacks and the city is economically advanced than others.To prevent such attacks, a public-police relationship and a good police set up is a must,’’he said.

But only 15 terrorists were gunned down. Moreover, encounters after all blasts between 2003-07 followed a specific script—Mumbai police guns down an ‘LeT operative’ and recovers automatic rifles and ammunition from a Maruti 800. For instance,Mohammed Ali alias Osama, a Faisalabad resident, was gunned down by the ATS in a deserted building at Antop Hill. After three blasts in 2002-03, Andheri crime intelligence unit officers led by now-disgraced Pradip Sharma gunned down three alleged terrorists near Goregaon flyover on March 29, 2003. Those killed were identified as Abu Sultan (suspected to be LeT’s southern India commander), Iqbal Vani, a Srinagar resident and Abu Javed. Sultan and Javed were residents of Lahore. Police seized an AK-56, Rs 5 lakh, timers, switches, detonators and the Maruti-800 car they were travelling in, and said they were behind the Ghatkopar blast. After the Zaveri Bazaar and Gateway blasts, the crime branch gunned down two suspects, Hasan Ahmed, a Hyderabad resident and Nisar. Police claimed they were travelling in a Maruti 800 with firearms. And only three—involved in the Zaveri Bazaar blasts—were convicted.


Maharashtra’s Menace:

Terror strikes in state since January 1, 2000 to February 13, 2010
Total Killed 485 (Mumbai toll 427)
Total Injured 2,077 (Mumbai victims 1,532)
Total Terror Strikes: 52
Total Accused Arrested: 90
Total Accused Wanted: 67
Total Convicted: 3 (The Zaveri Bazaar and Gateway of India blast perpetrators, of which two got death sentence, a woman got life imprisonment)



How Others Fared :

Delhi 2000-08
Killed 100 , Injured 374

Gujarat 2002-08
Killed 87 , Injured 291

Andhra Pradesh 2007
Killed 50 , Injured 100

K’taka (Bangalore) 2005-10
Killed 2 , Injured 25

Rajasthan 2007-08
Killed 73 , Injured 223
--------------------------------------------------


----MAHARASHTRA

MUMBAI

* December 2, 2002
Ghatkopar, BEST bus Killed: 2 Injured: 60

* December 6, 2002
Mumbai Central, McDonald's Killed: None Injured: 25

* Jan 27, 2003
Outside Vile Parle railway station Killed: 1 Injured: 32

* March 13, 2003
Mulund train Killed: 11 Injured: 82

* July 28, 2003
Second blast at on a BEST bus at Ghatkopar Killed: none Injured: 32

* August 25, 2003
Twin blasts at Gateway of India and Zaveri Bazar Killed: 52 Injured: 200

* July 11, 2006
Seven bomb blasts in local trains Killed: 188 Injured: 829

November 26-29, 2008: Ten trained Pakistani terrorists killed 164 people including 18 foreign nationals at 12 different locations in the city. A total of 304 persons were injured. The important locations were Hotel Taj Mahal, Hotel Trident, Nariman House, CST railway station etc. During the operations, nine terrorists were killed while one was captured alive.


TERROR STIRKE IN THE OTHER PARTS OF MAHARSHTRA

* November 21, 2003: A bomb thrown outside Parbhani's Mohammedia mosque during the Friday prayers injured five persons.

* August 27, 2004: A bomb thrown at the Jama masjid in Malipura, Jalna district injured 12.

* August 27, 2004: A bomb exploded in a mosque at Siddharth Nagar in Purna, Parbhani district injured 18.

* April 6, 2006: A bomb went off while being manufacutred by the RSS members in Nanded. Two killed on the spot, two died in the hosptial. One was injured.

* September 8, 2006: Four bombs fitted on cycles in a mosque and at a famous chowk in the textile town Malegaon killed 31, injured 312 others. SIMI was held responsible for the blast.

* June 6, 2006: Three explosions at cineraj theatre in Panvel, Thane's Gadkari Rangayatan theatre and Vashi's auditorioum injured eight. The bombs were planted by the members of Sanatan Sanstha in protest of a marathi play, Aamhi Paachpute.

* September 29, 2008: A bomb fitted on a motor cycle by the members of Abhinav Bharat outfit killed six and injured 101 others at Bhikku chowk in Malegaon.

* April 4, 2009: A bomb fitted in a mosque Beed district went off. No one was injured since the explosion occured at 3 am and no devotee was in the mosque.

* Februray 13, 2010: An RDX bomb kept at German Bakery in Koregaon Park near Osho's Ashram in Pune killed 17 and injured 56 others. Indian Mujahideen is the prime suspect in this case.

-------------------------------

-----DELHI'S DECADE OF TERROR (100 killed, 374 injured)
* September 27, 2008: A blast killed one persons and injured seven others at Mehrauli in Delhi.

* September 13, 2008: Five bombs went off in New Delhi between 6.10 pm and 6.38 pm killing 25 people and injuring 100 others. Bombs fitted in an auto, cycle and kept in dustbin went off at Ghaffar Market, Karol Bagh, Central Park, Barakhamba Road near Gopaldas building, GK I, M Block Market, GK I, M Block Market etc.

* April 14, 2006 | Jama Masjid, 14 injured in 2 blasts
* Oct 29, 2005 | Sarojini Nagar, Paharganj, Govindpuri, 59 killed, 155 injured
* May 22, 2005 | 2 cinemas, 1 killed, 60 hurt

* Dec 13, 2001: Attack on the parliament by five terrorists. Six police personnel and a civilian were killed. The terrorists were also shot down.

* Aug 11, 2001 | South Ex, 2 hurt
* May 9, 2001 | Army HQ, 1 hurt

* June 18, 2000 | Red Fort, 2 died
* Mar 16, 2000 | Sadar Bazaar, 7 injured

* Feb 27, 2000 | Paharganj, 8 hurt hurt

* Jan 6, 2000 | Old Delhi Station, 20 injured


--------GUJARAT (Killed 87, injured 291)

* September 29, 2008: A bomb blast at Modasa, a 15-year-old boy died and 12 injured.

* July 26, 2008: Twenty one blasts, spread over 70 minutes, killed 56 and injured 200 others.

* July 27-28, 2008: Twenty nine bombs were recovered.

* September 25, 2002: Two heavily armed terrorists killed 30 people and injured 79 others inside the historical Akshardham temple in Gujarat.


-----------ANDHRA PRADESH (killed 50, injured 100)

* May 18, 2007: A bomb planted inside the Hyderabad's Mecca Masjid killed nine persons and injured 50 other.

* August 25, 2007: Twin blasts at Lumbini Park and Gokul Chat in Hyderabad killed 41 people and injured 50 others.



------------Karnataka (BANGALORE) {Two killed, 25 injured}

* December 29, 2005: Unidentified man opened fire near Indian Institute of Science and killed one person
* July 25, 2008: Eight bombs exploded, one woman was killed, eight persons were injured
* April 17, 2010: Two bombs exploded at the Chinnaswaym stadium injuring 17 persons. Three other bombs were defused.


-------------RAJASTHAN: {Killed 73, injured 223}

* May 13, 2008: Nine bombs exploded within a span of 15 minutes in Jaipur. The bombs killed 70 and left 216 injured.

* October 11, 2007: Three persons were killed and seven others injured in a blast at Ajmer Sharif shrine.


------ Kolkata No terror attack

------ Chennai No terror attack



The Times of India, April 30, 2010

Maha state of terror despite spate of attacks



Mateen Hafeez | TNN


Mumbai: Come Monday and the special court judge will pronounce the verdict on 26/11 gunman Ajmal Amir Kasab, in what is probably the fastest terror trial in not just the state, but the country. Before that, Maharshtra celebrates its 50th anniversary. But interestingly, there have been more terror strikes in Maharashtra and Mumbai, (except Jammu and Kashmir) between 2001 and 2010, though only 15 terrorists were killed and three convicted.
Since 2001, 485 persons were killed while 2,077 were injured in 52 incidents of terrorism in the state. Data gathered by TOI from across the country shows Delhi had 100 deaths, Gujarat 87, Rajasthan 73, Andhra Pradesh 50, Karnataka 2, and there were no terror attacks in Chennai and Kolkata.
Time and again, Maharashtra has been targeted by terrorists. But even a year-and-a-half after the 26/11 attacks and a few months after Pune blasts, there have been no preventive detentions of suspects part of sleeper cells. Asked why the police do not have an effective strategy to pre-empt collaborators of various outfits, an officer replied, “On what charges should we book them?”
Clearly, the lack of political and executive will has translated into lax surveillance and poor information-gathering. The Malegaon blasts of September 2006 are a case in point. “Prime conspirator, Shabbir Masiullah, was caught much before the blasts but Mumbai crime branch police failed to extract in
formation from him regarding the bombings,’’ said a source. The 2008 Malegaon blast also caught the IB and state intelligence sleeping.
In the last nine years, the state topped terror casualties, four times as many as the next worst-affected, Delhi. In 2001, two armed terrorists killed around a dozen people in the Parliament attack. Gujarat saw casualties in different terror attacks including the strike at Akshardham

temple, Ahmedabad serial blasts etc. In Rajasthan, nine bombs killed 70 in 2008 and three were killed in a 2007 explosion at Ajmer shrine. Bangalore had 1 firing at the Indian Institute of Science, in which a researcher was killed, in 2008 eight bombs exploded killing a woman, on April 17 this year,2 blasts at Chinnaswamy stadium injured 17.
Experts say Mumbai has been repeatedly targeted due to its prominent position the city enjoys and the
absence of pro-active measures to provide adequate security. Former RAW official B Raman said Mumbai has been a soft target because of its “financial status’’. “A lot of publicity is given to such attacks and the city is economically advanced than others.To prevent such attacks, a public-police relationship and a good police set up is a must,’’he said.
But only 15 terrorists were gunned down. Moreover, encounters after all blasts between 2003-07 followed a specific script—Mumbai police guns down an ‘LeT operative’ and recovers automatic rifles and ammunition from a Maruti 800. For instance,Mohammed Ali alias Osama, a Faisalabad resident, was gunned down by the ATS in a deserted building at Antop Hill. After three blasts in 2002-03, Andheri crime intelligence unit officers led by now-disgraced Pradip Sharma gunned down three alleged terrorists near Goregaon flyover on March 29, 2003. Those killed were identified as Abu Sultan (suspected to be LeT’s southern India commander), Iqbal Vani, a Srinagar resident and Abu Javed. Sultan and Javed were residents of Lahore. Police seized an AK-56, Rs 5 lakh, timers, switches, detonators and the Maruti-800 car they were travelling in, and said they were behind the Ghatkopar blast. After the Zaveri Bazaar and Gateway blasts, the crime branch gunned down two suspects, Hasan Ahmed, a Hyderabad resident and Nisar. Police claimed they were travelling in a Maruti 800 with firearms. And only three—involved in the Zaveri Bazaar blasts—were convicted.


Maharashtra’s Menace
Terror strikes in state since January 1, 2000 to February 13, 2010
Total Killed 485 (Mumbai toll 427) Total Injured 2,077 (Mumbai victims 1,532) Total Terror Strikes: 52 Total Accused Arrested: 90 Total Accused Wanted: 67 Total Convicted: 3 (The Zaveri Bazaar and Gateway of India blast perpetrators, of which two got death sentence, a woman got life imprisonment)


How Others Fared

Delhi 2000-08
Killed 100 , Injured 374

Gujarat 2002-08
Killed 87 , Injured 291

Andhra Pradesh 2007
Killed 50 , Injured 100

K’taka (Bangalore) 2005-10
Killed 2 , Injured 25

Rajasthan 2007-08
Killed 73 , Injured 223

The Times of India, April 30, 2010

Thursday, April 29, 2010

19-year-old arrested for abducting girl

Mateen Hafeez | TNN

Mumbai: The Kurla GRP on Tuesday arrested a 19-yearold woman on charges of abducting a 13-year-old girl by luring her with a job promise in Mumbai. The accused had brought the teenager from UP but as soon as she alighted from the train in Mumbai, she was arrested.

The victim’s relatives claimed that the accused, Momina Mansuri, wanted to sell the girl. Mansuri told the police that two years ago, she was also lured to Mumbai with a job promise and then sold off to a bar in Vapi. Similarly, a man in Vapi had now promised her Rs 5,000 if she could get them a girl, Mansuri said. Mansuri and the girl stayed in the same locality at Siddharth Nagar in UP. On April 25, the girl left home with Mansuri. “She was arrested on reaching Mumbai.

The Times of India, April 29, 2010

19-year-old arrested for abducting girl

Mateen Hafeez | TNN

Mumbai: The Kurla GRP on Tuesday arrested a 19-yearold woman on charges of abducting a 13-year-old girl by luring her with a job promise in Mumbai. The accused had brought the teenager from UP but as soon as she alighted from the train in Mumbai, she was arrested.

The victim’s relatives claimed that the accused, Momina Mansuri, wanted to sell the girl. Mansuri told the police that two years ago, she was also lured to Mumbai with a job promise and then sold off to a bar in Vapi. Similarly, a man in Vapi had now promised her Rs 5,000 if she could get them a girl, Mansuri said. Mansuri and the girl stayed in the same locality at Siddharth Nagar in UP. On April 25, the girl left home with Mansuri. “She was arrested on reaching Mumbai.

The Times of India, April 29, 2010

Saturday, April 24, 2010

SC upholds MCOCA charges in three terror-related cases

Mateen Hafeez | TNN

Mumbai: The Supreme Court on Friday upheld the decision to invoke Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act (MCOCA) in the 7/11 train blasts and two other terror-related cases.

A bench of Justice R V Ravindran and Justice Kukundam Sharma dimissed the appeal challenging the constitutional validity of the Act and upheld the Bombay high court’s judgment.

In 2007, Saeed Ahmed, son of 7/11 train blast accused Sohail Shaikh, Shabbir Masiullah arrested for the 2006 Malegaon blast and Zameer Rehman, an accused in the Aurangabad arms haul case, had filed petition in HC, challenging the constitutional validity of MCOCA. When the HC upheld the decision to slap MCOCA, the accused moved the SC in 2008; the apex court stayed the trial of the three.


Gulzar Azmi, secretary of the Jamiat-ul-Ulema (Hind), said their orgamisation had been offering legal help to the petitioners. “We are not satisfied with this judgment and we will not give up,’’ said Azmi. Advocate Nitya Ra
makrishnan, who represented the petitioners, said, “The SC had upheld the Bombay HC’s order but I have not yet read the judgment yet.’’

Earlier all the three cases were investigated by the Maharashtra ATS. But now, the CBI has taken over the 2006 Malegaon bomb blast, which killed 31; 7/11 train blast and the Aurangabad arms haul case are still with the ATS.

The petitioners had
claimed that the government did not have the power to draft its own law (MCOCA). Pointing to Section 2(1) (e) of MCOCA, 1999, which refers to “promoting of insurgency’’, the petition questioned the constitutional validity of the law. Earlier, the HC ruled that the Act was valid and did not make inroads into the legislative powers of the Centre. The petitioners’ argument was that the provision under MCOCA regarding “promoting insurgency’’ under Section 2 (e) and allied sections was in conflict with that of the Unalwful Activities Prevention Act, 1967 (amended in 2004). Rehman, in his petition, which was rejected by the HC, challenged Section 2 (1)(e), on the grounds that the state government did not have the legislative competence to enact the section dealing with “promoting insurgency’’.

Terror Footprint In Maharashtra

Aurngabad arms haul: In May and June 2006, the ATS arrested 19 suspected SIMI members on charges of carrying, hiding and possessing firearms. The police had first arrested three persons on May 6, 2006, near Chandavd-Aurangabad highway and seized RDX and AK-47 assault rifles from them. Later, the police seized 50 bombs, 43 kg RDX, 3,200 bullets and 16 AK-47 rifles. The police invoked MCOCA in the case

2006 Malegaon blasts:
On September 8, four bombs exploded in Malegaon, killing 31 people and injuring 297. The explosives, which were fitted to cycles, went off when the final round of Friday prayers were on. The bombs contained RDX, oil fuel, shrapnel and ammonium nitrate. Nine alleged SIMI members were arrested on charges of conspiring and executing the blasts. The case, after being started by the ATS, was shifted to the CBI. The police had invoked MCOCA

7/11 train blasts:
Seven RDX bombs kept in the first class coaches of suburban trains exploded on July 11, killing 188 people and injuring 817. The ATS said the conspiracy was hatched in Pakistan and at least five of the 13 arrested persons had gone to Pakistan for terror training. The police said the Pakistan’s LeT had used SIMI to engineer the explosions. MCOCA was applied in this case







The Times of India, April 24, 2010

Friday, April 23, 2010

Two held for assault over property dispute

Mateen Hafeez | TNN

Mumbai: The JJ Marg police arrested two persons in c o n n e c t i o n with an attempt to kill five people, including two women over a property dispute, last week. The dispute was over the ownership of a room located at Handia Street in Nagpada where the victims reside.

Those arrested were Nadeem Haddi (20) and Moin Asif Shaikh (23). The police have recovered a dagger and a sword from them. The two accused have been sent to police custody till April 23. Now, the police are on the lookout for Aslam Sheru (52), a Tada convict, who along with six aides, attacked and injured five of his siblings with knives. Sheru, said the police, is a contract killer and was in jail for 16 years before he was released in November 2009.

Sheru, said the police, took to crime in his late 20s. Starting as a small-time extortionist, he graduated to bigger crimes like supari killing.

According to the police, Sheru was arrested in an extortion case and was taken to the Mazgaon court on February 14, 1990 when he managed to flee though he was handcuffed. Sheru was finally traced and ar
rested by the crime branch in 1994 from Bangalore. “During this time, he took supari and killed 11 persons. Sheru was also involved in the murder of one Amar Suvarna. Sheru along with his accomplices had shot down Suvarna near the sessions court and fled from the spot. The case was registered under Tada.’’

An officer said he made Bangalore his base and hired two youths to execute operations according to his instructions. “In the Suvarna murder case, the supari was given by drug peddler Iqbal Mirchi. Suvarna owed some money to Mirchi but he delayed the payment. This made Mirchi angry and he gave Suvarna’s supari,’’ said an officer.

Sheru used his long association with the D-gang and would take supari openly. He was involved in as many as 32 cases including 11 murders, two attempts to murder, extortion and robbery cases. “After his arrest in 1994, the police recovered a sten-gun and 180 live rounds, which were hidden in the base of his building. He was charged under the Arms Act as well,’’ said police sources.

He was convicted under Tada for 10 years and was also sentenced to two life terms in jail. Later, the high court merged the two life terms into one and he was released from jail in November last year for his ‘good behaviour’.

The Times of India, April 23, 2010

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Woman kidnaps hubby’s ex-girlfriend

She Blamed The Victim For Their Marital Discord, Wanted To Teach Her A Lesson



24-HOUR DRAMA: Deepika feels her husband is ignoring her because of his former girlfriend, Shraddha. She, along with a relative, drives all the way from Pune to Mumbai and contacts Shraddha. Deepika kidnaps her and takes her to Pune. Cops arrest her a day later


Mateen Hafeez | TNN

Mumbai: Upset that her husband was ignoring her because of his former love interest, a 23-year-old woman from Pune drove all the way to Mumbai along with a relative and kidnapped the ex-girlfriend. However, the drama took an unexpected turn after cops landed at her Pune residence nearly 24 hours after the incident and arrested her after rescuing the victim.

The accused, Deepika Kale, was arrested along with another woman, Kaustum Daundkar (20), and the driv
er of the car in which the victim was kidnapped and taken to Pune. They were produced in court and later released on bail. “Deepika was angry with her husband’s girlfriend, Shraddha, and thought she was the reason for his lack of interest in her,’’ a police officer said.

According to the police, the incident came to light after Shraddha’s mother, Archana—who happens to be
a member of the Pydhonie police Mohalla Committee—lodged a complaint stating that her daughter was kidnapped.

In her police statement, Archana said, “Shraddha and Deepika’s husband, Avdhut Kale, met in Siddharth College at Fountain a few years ago and later fell in love. However, Avdhut’s family disapproved of the relationship and they got him married to
Deepika. “Even after the marriage, my daughter and Avdhut were in touch with each other and would speak over phone.”

Narrating the incident, Shraddha said, “It was 10 pm and I was at home. Someone came to my house and said that a woman was looking for me downstairs. I went down along with my aunt, Nirmala, and saw a woman waiting outside a car. She asked me if I
could give her an estimated cost to organise a birthday party as I take orders for such parties. The woman later asked me to sit in the car and explain everything to another woman. As soon as Nirmala and I sat in the car, the driver locked the doors and hit the accelerator.’’

Shraddha stated that it was in the car that she came to know that one of the two women was Avdhut’s wife.
“They started pulling me by my hair and also slapped me. Following Nirmala’s constant protest, the trio asked her to get down on the way near Navi Mumbai and continued the journey,’’ she added.

According to Nirmala, Avdhut’s uncle, who was in another car and was following them, asked an LCV driver to drop her back to Mumbai. “I reached home and we went to the police to lodge a complaint,’’ said Nirmala.

Shraddha said that in Pune she was “mentally tortured’’ by Avdhut’s relatives who alleged that she was the reason for the family’s trauma. “We along with a Pydhonie police team went to Avdhut’s hometown, Ghodegaon, near Pune, where Shraddha was taken by the Kales. We found her there and she was rescued by the police,’’ said a relative. The Pydhonie police said that they had registered the case and were probing further.


The Times of India, April 22, 2010

Woman kidnaps hubby’s ex-girlfriend



She Blamed The Victim For Their Marital Discord, Wanted To Teach Her A Lesson

Mateen Hafeez | TNN

Mumbai: Upset that her husband was ignoring her because of his former love interest, a 23-year-old woman from Pune drove all the way to Mumbai along with a relative and kidnapped the ex-girlfriend. However, the drama took an unexpected turn after cops landed at her Pune residence nearly 24 hours after the incident and arrested her after rescuing the victim.

The accused, Deepika Kale, was arrested along with another woman, Kaustum Daundkar (20), and the driv
er of the car in which the victim was kidnapped and taken to Pune. They were produced in court and later released on bail. “Deepika was angry with her husband’s girlfriend, Shraddha, and thought she was the reason for his lack of interest in her,’’ a police officer said.

According to the police, the incident came to light after Shraddha’s mother, Archana—who happens to be
a member of the Pydhonie police Mohalla Committee—lodged a complaint stating that her daughter was kidnapped.

In her police statement, Archana said, “Shraddha and Deepika’s husband, Avdhut Kale, met in Siddharth College at Fountain a few years ago and later fell in love. However, Avdhut’s family disapproved of the relationship and they got him married to
Deepika. “Even after the marriage, my daughter and Avdhut were in touch with each other and would speak over phone.”

Narrating the incident, Shraddha said, “It was 10 pm and I was at home. Someone came to my house and said that a woman was looking for me downstairs. I went down along with my aunt, Nirmala, and saw a woman waiting outside a car. She asked me if I
could give her an estimated cost to organise a birthday party as I take orders for such parties. The woman later asked me to sit in the car and explain everything to another woman. As soon as Nirmala and I sat in the car, the driver locked the doors and hit the accelerator.’’

Shraddha stated that it was in the car that she came to know that one of the two women was Avdhut’s wife.
“They started pulling me by my hair and also slapped me. Following Nirmala’s constant protest, the trio asked her to get down on the way near Navi Mumbai and continued the journey,’’ she added.

According to Nirmala, Avdhut’s uncle, who was in another car and was following them, asked an LCV driver to drop her back to Mumbai. “I reached home and we went to the police to lodge a complaint,’’ said Nirmala.

Shraddha said that in Pune she was “mentally tortured’’ by Avdhut’s relatives who alleged that she was the reason for the family’s trauma. “We along with a Pydhonie police team went to Avdhut’s hometown, Ghodegaon, near Pune, where Shraddha was taken by the Kales. We found her there and she was rescued by the police,’’ said a relative. The Pydhonie police said that they had registered the case and were probing further.


The Times of India, April 22, 2010

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Mom had warned of smoke from fridge

BLAZE TRAGEDY: Three of a family were killed when a fire broke out in their house at Grant Road

Mateen Hafeez I TNN

Mumbai: The fire that claimed the lives of three persons from a family on Monday morning could have been avoided had the deceased, 38-year-old LIC agent Santosh Joshi, and his wife, Bharti, paid heed to her mother’s warning about smoke coming out of the refrigerator at their Grant Road home.

Joshi, his advocate wife Bharti and their son, Hrishikesh (9), were
charred to death when a short-circuit from the fridge sparked a fire in their third-floor home at Sharda building. The incident occurred around 1.30 am on Monday when the family was asleep. Bharti’s mother was sleeping in the same room, with Joshi, Bharti and Hrishikesh sleeping in the loft, where an air-conditioner had been installed recently. “Prabha told the police that first she saw smoke coming out of the refrigerator. When she told Joshi, he asked her to switch of the fridge that could have become too hot,” said a senior police official.

According to neighbours, Prabha, who stays in Borivli, would often stay with the Joshis. “Prabha is a frequent visitor. Usually Hrishikesh sleeps with his grandmother in the room and his parents sleep in he loft. Last night, Hrishikesh insisted that he too would sleep in the AC loft as it was too hot,’’ said a neighbour.

Prabha also told police that Hrishikesh had come down to drink water and then gone back to the loft.
When she told Joshi about the smoke, Hrishikesh again came down to check but his mother called him back to the loft, which seemed safe from the smoke and the fire that soon broke out. “Hrishikesh went to the loft and shortly, the airconditioner’s compressor exploded,’’ the police added.

The police and the fire brigade said it was one of the most horrible burn deaths they had seen. “Hrishikesh was in his mother’s lap. Perhaps, she was trying to save him from the fire when they breathed their last. Joshi’s body was lying in the middle of the loft,’’ said an officer.


The Times of India, April 21, 2010

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Fire claims 3 of family in Grant Road

LIVES SNUFFED OUT: A neighbour looks at the charred remains of house


Mateen Hafeez | TNN

Mumbai: A 38-year-old insurance agent, his advocate wife and their nine-year-old son were charred to death when a fire broke out in their residence near Grant Road station. The incident occurred around 1.30 am on Monday when the family was asleep.

Santosh Joshi, his wife
Bharti and son Hrishikesh were sleeping at their third-floor residence in Sharada building when the room caught fire because of a short circuit in the refrigerator, said officials.

Bharti’s mother Prabha had come over from Borivli, the neighbours said. “Usually Hrishkesh slept with his grandmother in the room and his parents would sleep on the loft
where an air conditioner was recently installed. Last night, Hrishikesh insisted that he would sleep on the loft with his parents as it was too hot in the room,’’ said Sandeep Amare, a neighbour.

The fire started from the refrigerator and spread to the electric wiring. It then moved to the loft through a small connecting staircase. “Bharti’s
mother first woke up and started screaming for help. She also used a bamboo pole to tap the loft repeatedly so that the rest of the family would wake up. But it was too late. Within minutes, the air conditioner’s compressor exploded and the entire room was filled with smoke,’’ said Amare.

The building was evacuated as the smoke spread through the
chawl. “One Shailesh Rane dared to enter the Joshis’ room and brought the gas cylinder outside to avoid any further explosion. We did not know what else to do,’’ said another resident.

Four fire engines and three water tankers were rushed to the spot. The bodies of Santosh, Bharti and Hrishikesh were removed by the fire brigade officials at 4.30 am.



The Times of India, April 20, 2010

Rs 5 lakh fake notes seized

Mateen Hafeez | TNN

Mumbai: The Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) on Sunday arrested seven persons for carrying and supplying fake Indian currency notes. The police have seized fake currency amounting to Rs 5.1 lakh from the accused.

The arrests were made near Samadhan Society, Shastri Nagar in Santacruz (W), where the suspects had gone to deliver the notes. “We arrested them on a tip-off and are probing the case further,’’ said a senior ATS official. The accused have been remanded in police custody till April 30.


Those accused are Mubarak Hussain (28), Himayun Khan (26), Mukhtar Ali (22), Mehdoor Shaikh (23), Badroo Shaikh (19), Akbar Shaikh (23) and Badal Afsar Shaikh (20), all residents of West Bengal. “The accused worked on a 20% commission. They came to Mumbai last week to deliver the notes,’’ said an official.

The currency was in the denomination of Rs 500 and Rs 1,000. “The paper used to manufacture the notes is of high quality. It seems like a bigger and organised racket. We have got some more information and are looking for the mastermind,’’ said the official.

The Times of India, April 20, 2010

Monday, April 19, 2010

Cops take guard at DY Patil for IPL

SECURITY TIGHTENED: Sniffer dogs and personnel from the Bomb Detection and Disposal Squad will be deployed at D Y Patil stadium

Mateen Hafeez I TNN

Mumbai: Soon after the Indian Premier League (IPL) authorities announced its decision to shift both the semi-finals from Bangalore to Navi Mumbai, the Mahrashtra police swung into action for the grand bandobast at D Y Patil stadium. IPL officials took this decision following Saturday’s twin blasts at the Bangalore stadium.

Declining to comment why D Y Patil was chosen over Brabourne Stadium, DCP (Navi Mumbai crime branch) D T Shinde said, “We are taking all precautionary measures and making arrangements for water-tight security at the stadium.’’ Shinde is also in charge of stadium security for IPL matches. The police and personnel in the security establishment have been keeping a watch on suspects and criminals. On Sunday, sleuths from intelligence agencies visited the stadium and reviewed the security arrangement in place. A source said all the gates would be equipped with metal detectors and explosive-detecting devices.

IPL commissioner Lalit Modi said in a statement that even though the IPL security agency did detect the two low-intensity blasts at Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bangalore in which 15 people were injured, the authorities had no other option but to shift the matches to the Navi Mumbai stadium, which would also host the final on April 25. Senior police officials in Mumbai said
they had not been asked to provide extra manpower to their counterparts in Navi Mumbai till late on Sunday.

Senior police officials promised a safe match. “Sniffer dogs and personnel from the Bomb Detection and Disposal Squad will be deployed at the D Y Patil stadium,’’ said an official, adding that additional forces from the State Reserve Police could also be called in. In Bangalore, apart from the twins blasts, for which the match could not begin for another 45 minutes, another bomb was found outside the stadium and was defused. An unexploded device and some explosives were also found near the stadium on Sunday.

The Navi Mumbai stadium will host the semifinals on April 21 and 22, the third-place play-off match on April 24 and the final on April 25.


The Times of India, April 17, 2010

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Police search for convict who attacked kin

Mateen Hafeez I TNN


Mumbai: The JJ Marg police has formed a team of 10 policemen to hunt for Aslam Sheru (52), a Tada convict, who along with his six aides, attacked five of his family members with knives. Sheru is a contract killer and was imprisoned for 16 years before he was released in November last year, the police said.

Sheru and his aides had stabbed his cousin brother Owais Ansari (37), two sisters and their husbands. The dispute was over the ownership of a room located at Handia Street in Nagpada where the victims reside, the police said.

Sheru is the landlord of a chawl in Kurla and also owns a room in Nagpada. He was convicted for 10 years and also given double life imprisonment. Later, the HC merged the two life terms into one.

The Times of India, April 17, 2010

Friday, April 16, 2010

Govt must bring back billions kept in Swiss banks: Jethmalani

TAKING A STAND: Ram Jethmalani addresses the media at the press club on Thursday

Mateen Hafeez I TNN

Mumbai: Former member of parliament and lawyer, Ram Jethmalani, on Thursday demanded the formation of a special investigation team (SIT) to probe the $1,500 billion belonging to Indians that is kept in Swiss banks.

Addressing a press conference in Mumbai, Jethmalani said that a Pune-based businessman has an account in a Swiss bank where he has kept $8.2 billion. “The income tax department has now demanded a tax of Rs 37,000 crore for this money. If a person is asked to pay a tax of Rs 37,000 crore, what do you think his income would be?’’ Jethmalani asked.

Without naming anyone, Jethmalani demanded that several politicians and businessmen have kept their money in Swiss banks which needs to be probed and find out how they earned this money. “We passed the Money Laundering Act in 2002. Soon after the 9/11 attack in the US, all governments decided to control money laundering. We did not bring the
Act into effect till 2003. In 2007, an international company started assessing as to how various countries were handling money laundering and immediately, the Act was implemented. The firm found that the law in India was not in order,’’ pointed out Jethmalani.

The senior lawyer stated that when Swiss banks have told the government that they will provide all details about account holders in their banks if the government is probing a money laundering case, but still the government is not ready to make these names
public. “From 2007 till date, there has been no communication between India and Swiss banks. If the $1,500 billion kept in Swiss banks is brought to India, every Indian family could be given Rs 2.5 lakh from it and India will have a tax-free budget for the next 30 years,’’ said Jethmalani, alleging that the government was not attempting to recover this money.

Jethmalani alleged that Hasan Ali, who was into horseracing and against whom a case of forgery has been registered by Mumbai police, was present in a meeting along with Congess leader Ahmed Patel where the appointment of Mumbai police chief Hasan Gafoor was being discussed. “What is Patel’s connection with Hasan Ali? Why were they supporting Hasan Gafoor as a police chief for Mumbai prior to the 26/11 terror attacks?’’ asked Jethmalani.

The Enforcement Directorate is probing a case of money laundering against Hasan Ali while the income tax department is probing another case of tax evasion.


The Times of India, April 16, 2010

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Running website & solving crime is their job

Mateen Hafeez | TNN

Mumbai: When Constable Sandesh More joined the force seven years ago, the last thing he expected was to be designing web pages. But when he, along with six colleagues, was selected to be part of the city police’s web department, life took on an interesting and more specialised turn.

Today, More manages the website with the ease of a professional. “I design web pages, handle online complaints, up
load information about wanted gangsters, missing persons, etc and much more,” he said.

Instead of relying solely on professionals with little or no training in police work, the Mumbai police, chose to hire from its own pool of constables and officials to handle the webpage: www.mumbaipolice.org.

“There was a time when I’d never even worked on a keyboard, but now I know more than an IT expert,” said another constable. “All of us were given intensive training, and
we did a certificate course in computers before being inducted into the web department. Initially, we lacked confidence, but that has changed, and now we are entrusted with important work,” he added.

The seven-member team is supervised by inspector Arundhati Rane. All constables are graduates and work in 12-hour shifts. “Besides dealing with online complaints and running the site, we upload information about dead bodies, missing persons, etc,”
said another constable.

Though the Mumbai police launched its website more than five ago, its popularity is a recent phenomenon. Over the last two years, the site has become very popular, and gets over 5,000 hits every day, said an official.

Another key area that the team is currently working on is easy facilitation of interagency communication. “For instance, the CBI recently forwarded us an email from a Nagpur-based woman who al
leged that she was being tortured by her in-laws. We contacted the Nagpur police immediately, and they were able to reach the house within two hours. This would not have been possible without our help,” said Rane.

For More and his colleagues, the training they have received and the expertise they have gained will hold them in good stead. It’s reassuring to know that we have skills we can use even we retire from the force, said one constable.

The Times of India, April 15, 2010

Help is just a click away




Citizens Take To Police’s E-Complaint System That Deals With 900 Cases Every Month

Mateen Hafeez | TNN

The city police’s initiative encouraging citizens to register their complaints online was met with a fair amount of scepticism when it was introduced two years ago. Today, however, it’s a different story: the team of constables overseeing the esystem is inundated with Mumbaikars’ complaints that add up to nearly a 1,000 every month. “Every day we get a little more than 30 complaints. When we first launched, however, only a few people would send their complaints online,’’ said an official who believes that the project is growing in popularity.

With a click of a button, citizens can register minor (non-cognizable) crimes that range from unauthorised cutting of trees to drug peddling. “After reading the complaints and checking for authenticity, we immediately forward them to the concerned police station or department,’’ said inspector Arundhati Rane, in-charge of the Mumbai police’s web department. For example, a citizen’s complaint about drug peddling is immediately forwarded to the concerned police station, which in turn sends out a team of policemen to the spot. The local police then verify the information given by the complainant and deal with the problem accordingly. The entire operation from the moment the complaint is registered takes around two hours, said an official.

“Senior inspectors of local police stations have to submit a monthly Action Taken Report detailing the complaints they received from this system, their response time, and so on,” he added.

With a staff of just seven police personnel, the department receives com
p l a i n t s about missing persons, stolen property, stolen motor vehicles, neighbours’ fights, love affairs, family disputes, etc. Traffic problems, illegal chopping of trees, selling of drugs, water problems, and mobile phone thefts in railways top the list.

Even harried commuters, armed with mobile internet connectivity are quick to register complaints about taxi and au
torickshaw drivers. “We receive numerous complaints about erring taxi drivers. But the complainants often do not key in the licence plate, which is important if action has to be taken. When complete information is sent to us, we forward it to the traffic police,’’ said the official.

Anonymous complainants are not entertained. Similarly, those without a valid address or contact details are not forwarded. City crime branch chief Himanshu Roy said: “We try to help all the complainants so that they get justice. In some cases, their names and addresses are not mentioned, which becomes difficult for us. When we get a specific complaint, quick action is taken.’’


Growing Popularity
Every day between 25-30 complaints are received by the online complaint centre

The complaints are examined by a group of seven police personnel and then forwarded to the concerned police station or department

Most of the complaints are about tree cutting, noise pollution, traffic problems, illegal hawkers, suspicious people in the neighbourhood, drug addicts in parks and so on

A citizen can only register minor ‘non-cognizable crimes’. As per the prevailing laws, the FIR of a major crime — like theft, burglary, motor vehicle theft, accident, chain-snatching, assault, rape, murder, attempt to commit murder, robbery, extortion, etc—can only be registered at a police station

How It Works
To file an online complaint, log on to www.mumbaipolice.org and go into the COMPLAINT column on the left hand side of the page. It will open into three sub-sections: ‘Give information about a minor crime’, ‘Complaint’ and ‘Feedback’

Key in your complaint and hit the submit button

You can contact your local police station and ask about the status of your complaint

The Times of India, April 15, 2010

Help is just a click away



Citizens Take To Police’s E-Complaint System That Deals With 900 Cases Every Month

Mateen Hafeez | TNN

The city police’s initiative encouraging citizens to register their complaints online was met with a fair amount of scepticism when it was introduced two years ago. Today, however, it’s a different story: the team of constables overseeing the esystem is inundated with Mumbaikars’ complaints that add up to nearly a 1,000 every month. “Every day we get a little more than 30 complaints. When we first launched, however, only a few people would send their complaints online,’’ said an official who believes that the project is growing in popularity.

With a click of a button, citizens can register minor (non-cognizable) crimes that range from unauthorised cutting of trees to drug peddling. “After reading the complaints and checking for authenticity, we immediately forward them to the concerned police station or department,’’ said inspector Arundhati Rane, in-charge of the Mumbai police’s web department. For example, a citizen’s complaint about drug peddling is immediately forwarded to the concerned police station, which in turn sends out a team of policemen to the spot. The local police then verify the information given by the complainant and deal with the problem accordingly. The entire operation from the moment the complaint is registered takes around two hours, said an official.

“Senior inspectors of local police stations have to submit a monthly Action Taken Report detailing the complaints they received from this system, their response time, and so on,” he added.

With a staff of just seven police personnel, the department receives com
p l a i n t s about missing persons, stolen property, stolen motor vehicles, neighbours’ fights, love affairs, family disputes, etc. Traffic problems, illegal chopping of trees, selling of drugs, water problems, and mobile phone thefts in railways top the list.

Even harried commuters, armed with mobile internet connectivity are quick to register complaints about taxi and au
torickshaw drivers. “We receive numerous complaints about erring taxi drivers. But the complainants often do not key in the licence plate, which is important if action has to be taken. When complete information is sent to us, we forward it to the traffic police,’’ said the official.

Anonymous complainants are not entertained. Similarly, those without a valid address or contact details are not forwarded. City crime branch chief Himanshu Roy said: “We try to help all the complainants so that they get justice. In some cases, their names and addresses are not mentioned, which becomes difficult for us. When we get a specific complaint, quick action is taken.’’


Growing Popularity
Every day between 25-30 complaints are received by the online complaint centre

The complaints are examined by a group of seven police personnel and then forwarded to the concerned police station or department

Most of the complaints are about tree cutting, noise pollution, traffic problems, illegal hawkers, suspicious people in the neighbourhood, drug addicts in parks and so on

A citizen can only register minor ‘non-cognizable crimes’. As per the prevailing laws, the FIR of a major crime — like theft, burglary, motor vehicle theft, accident, chain-snatching, assault, rape, murder, attempt to commit murder, robbery, extortion, etc—can only be registered at a police station

How It Works
To file an online complaint, log on to www.mumbaipolice.org and go into the COMPLAINT column on the left hand side of the page. It will open into three sub-sections: ‘Give information about a minor crime’, ‘Complaint’ and ‘Feedback’

Key in your complaint and hit the submit button

You can contact your local police station and ask about the status of your complaint

The Times of India, April 15, 2010

Running website & solving crime is their job

Mateen Hafeez | TNN

Mumbai: When Constable Sandesh More joined the force seven years ago, the last thing he expected was to be designing web pages. But when he, along with six colleagues, was selected to be part of the city police’s web department, life took on an interesting and more specialised turn.

Today, More manages the website with the ease of a professional. “I design web pages, handle online complaints, up
load information about wanted gangsters, missing persons, etc and much more,” he said.

Instead of relying solely on professionals with little or no training in police work, the Mumbai police, chose to hire from its own pool of constables and officials to handle the webpage: www.mumbaipolice.org.

“There was a time when I’d never even worked on a keyboard, but now I know more than an IT expert,” said another constable. “All of us were given intensive training, and
we did a certificate course in computers before being inducted into the web department. Initially, we lacked confidence, but that has changed, and now we are entrusted with important work,” he added.

The seven-member team is supervised by inspector Arundhati Rane. All constables are graduates and work in 12-hour shifts. “Besides dealing with online complaints and running the site, we upload information about dead bodies, missing persons, etc,”
said another constable.

Though the Mumbai police launched its website more than five ago, its popularity is a recent phenomenon. Over the last two years, the site has become very popular, and gets over 5,000 hits every day, said an official.

Another key area that the team is currently working on is easy facilitation of interagency communication. “For instance, the CBI recently forwarded us an email from a Nagpur-based woman who al
leged that she was being tortured by her in-laws. We contacted the Nagpur police immediately, and they were able to reach the house within two hours. This would not have been possible without our help,” said Rane.

For More and his colleagues, the training they have received and the expertise they have gained will hold them in good stead. It’s reassuring to know that we have skills we can use even we retire from the force, said one constable.

The Times of India, April 15, 2010

They log in for comp classes at cop stations



TO TEACH HIS OWN: Cops at Nagpada police station even go to students’ homes if they skip the classes


Mateen Hafeez | TNN

Mumbai: Fifteen-year-old Asma Sayyed never stepped into a police station until last month. Now she is a regular visitor to the Nagpada police station where she spends an hour every day, where she is learning computers.

The Nagpada police station is among several others where free computer training is being imparted. This initiative was started a month ago by an NGO, Vedanta Foundation, in collaboration with the city police. Seventy students attend the training in six batches at the Nagpada police station. The classes are of one hour each. “Around 80% of the students are girls. They are very enthusiastic about the training,’’ said senior inspector Sanjay Kadam.

Nagpada has been in the news for the wrong reasons. It is popularly referred to as the birth place of Mumbai’s underworld, where Dawood Ibrahim and Chhota Shakeel spent their childhoods. However, the image of this area is changing now.


The computer centre at the police station has also strengthened the police-public relationship. “There are many girls from Muslim families who never visited a police station, but now they feel free here,’’ said an officer.

“When we came here for the first time, we were nervous. Now we feel safe. It feels like you are with your own family,’’ said a student.

Vedanta has given six computers to the police station and a female trainer. What is
interesting is the police’s attempt to ensure these students attend classes regularly. “If students are absent, we send cops to their house to find out the reason behind their skipping the session. We want to ensure that they learn everything on the basics of computers,’’ said an officer.

Santosh Jadhav, the NGO’s project officer, said, “The response has been overwhelming. We have a placement cell and try to get jobs for these students.’’


The Times of India, April 15, 2010

They log in for comp classes at cop stations

TO TEACH HIS OWN: Cops at Nagpada police station even go to students’ homes if they skip the classes


Mateen Hafeez | TNN

Mumbai: Fifteen-year-old Asma Sayyed never stepped into a police station until last month. Now she is a regular visitor to the Nagpada police station where she spends an hour every day, where she is learning computers.

The Nagpada police station is among several others where free computer training is being imparted. This initiative was started a month ago by an NGO, Vedanta Foundation, in collaboration with the city police. Seventy students attend the training in six batches at the Nagpada police station. The classes are of one hour each. “Around 80% of the students are girls. They are very enthusiastic about the training,’’ said senior inspector Sanjay Kadam.

Nagpada has been in the news for the wrong reasons. It is popularly referred to as the birth place of Mumbai’s underworld, where Dawood Ibrahim and Chhota Shakeel spent their childhoods. However, the image of this area is changing now.


The computer centre at the police station has also strengthened the police-public relationship. “There are many girls from Muslim families who never visited a police station, but now they feel free here,’’ said an officer.

“When we came here for the first time, we were nervous. Now we feel safe. It feels like you are with your own family,’’ said a student.

Vedanta has given six computers to the police station and a female trainer. What is
interesting is the police’s attempt to ensure these students attend classes regularly. “If students are absent, we send cops to their house to find out the reason behind their skipping the session. We want to ensure that they learn everything on the basics of computers,’’ said an officer.

Santosh Jadhav, the NGO’s project officer, said, “The response has been overwhelming. We have a placement cell and try to get jobs for these students.’’


The Times of India, April 15, 2010

They log in for comp classes at cop stations



Mateen Hafeez | TNN

Mumbai: Fifteen-year-old Asma Sayyed never stepped into a police station until last month. Now she is a regular visitor to the Nagpada police station where she spends an hour every day, where she is learning computers.

The Nagpada police station is among several others where free computer training is being imparted. This initiative was started a month ago by an NGO, Vedanta Foundation, in collaboration with the city police. Seventy students attend the training in six batches at the Nagpada police station. The classes are of one hour each. “Around 80% of the students are girls. They are very enthusiastic about the training,’’ said senior inspector Sanjay Kadam.

Nagpada has been in the news for the wrong reasons. It is popularly referred to as the birth place of Mumbai’s underworld, where Dawood Ibrahim and Chhota Shakeel spent their childhoods. However, the image of this area is changing now.


The computer centre at the police station has also strengthened the police-public relationship. “There are many girls from Muslim families who never visited a police station, but now they feel free here,’’ said an officer.

“When we came here for the first time, we were nervous. Now we feel safe. It feels like you are with your own family,’’ said a student.

Vedanta has given six computers to the police station and a female trainer. What is
interesting is the police’s attempt to ensure these students attend classes regularly. “If students are absent, we send cops to their house to find out the reason behind their skipping the session. We want to ensure that they learn everything on the basics of computers,’’ said an officer.

Santosh Jadhav, the NGO’s project officer, said, “The response has been overwhelming. We have a placement cell and try to get jobs for these students.’’


The Times of India, April 15, 2010

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Rs 60L heist under cops’ nose

Armed Gang Overpowers Jewellery Shop Staffers, Flees With 4Kg Gold

Mateen Hafeez I TNN

Mumbai: It was a daylight robbery right under the cops’ nose, literally. A gang of four men, wielding firearms and choppers, barged into a Kamathipura jewellery shop—located less than a 100 metre from the Nagpada police station’s beat chowkie—threatened to kill the employees and fled on motorcycles with 4 kg gold valued at Rs 60 lakh.

The policemen were completely unaware of the heist just across the street and now, they do not have any ready clue to work on as there was no CCTV camera in the shop. “There was no CCTV camera installed in the shop. Most of our policemen from the nearby police chowkie are usually on patrol duty.
We are working on some clues and will trace the culprits soon,’’ Nagpada senior inspector Sanjay Kadam said. The shop, which has been there for 25 years, does not even have security guards.

The incident occurred around noon on Saturday near the Shuklaji Street police beat chowkie in Kamathipura. Babulal Purohit, a relative of the owner of Ramdev
Jewellers, said, “Three employees were at the counter when a young man, posing as a customer, entered the shop and asked to see a gold chain. While examining the ornament, he also started checking out the inside of the store. Meanwhile, two more persons entered the shop and pulled out revolvers and choppers. The fourth one stood guard outside.’’ The robbers silenced the three employees by threatening them with dire consequences; then they pushed the staffers inside the toilet and bathroom and locked them up from outside, Purohit added.

“At that moment, the employ
ee of another of our shops, which is next door, came to return a catalogue. The gang pushed him into a corner near the bathroom. Then, the accused dumped the gold ornaments around in a polythene bag and within a couple of minutes, they left,’’ added Purohit. “Someone from the neighbourhood informed the personnel at the police chowkie about the incident and the cops tried to chase the robbers but they sped away on their motorcycles,’’ said one of the employees.

The employees have been questioned by the Nagpada police, who have registered a case of robbery.


STRIKING GOLD: The jewellery shop is hardly 100 m from a police chowkie






1 One of the robbers enters the shop posing as a customer. Two others follow him and whip out guns and choppers
2 The three threaten the employees and lock them up in bathrooms
3 As the fourth one stands guard outside, the 3 dump gold in a bag. All flee on motorcycles

The Times of India, April 11, 2010

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Runaway brides, grooms traced via their email ids




Personal Internet Activity Fast Becoming A Handy Tool For Locating Missing People, Say Mumbai Police

Mateen Hafeez | TNN

Mumbai: The city police recently solved a case that has all the elements of a romantic blockbuster: missing girl, distraught family, links from New Delhi to Mumbai, cyber crime cell, cops and lovers, and the internet. There’s also a happy ending.

It all began when a missing person’s case from New Delhi landed on the desk of the Mumbai crime branch a couple of months back. Investigators braced themselves for another long, possibly fruitless, search as the chances of locating Reena Kumar (24), a commerce graduate believed to be somewhere in Mumbai was a hundred-to-one shot. That is, until the girl’s brother-in-law — who was coordinating with the city police from Delhi — informed investigators that Reena was computer-savvy and would spend hours on end surfing the Net. With the help of her email id
provided by the worried family, the cyber crime investigation cell traced the girl to Kalyan: she was happily married to her boyfriend of many years.

“Reena hailed from an upper middleclass New Delhi family. Her parents had expressed their disapproval of her boyfriend. So, the duo fled to Maharashtra, got married and was living happily in a rented flat in Kalyan when we found them,’’ said a police official who was part of the investigating team. The prodigal daughter, with husband in tow, returned to the warm embrace of her family who has chosen to accept her choice of life partner.

And investigators are elated to discover the value of an email id in tracing missing persons. “When we discovered that Reena’s email id was active, we contacted the service provider. We were able to zone in on her location by monitoring where that particular id was being logged in and out. We then con
tacted the Internet Service Provider and asked for details like who had been allotted that particular IP address,’’ said a senior official. The police traced the email activity to a cyber cafe in Kalyan.

The cyber crime investigation cell was also able to locate 32-yearold Deepak Kadam in a similar manner. In this instance, too, love was the motive behind the Virar resident’s vanishing act — much to the chagrin of his wife — who had reported his disappearance to the case to the police.

Kadam was traced to a hotel in
Pune, where he was living with his bride, who happened to be his neighbour in Virar. Not satisfied with seeing his lover behind his wife’s back, he hatched a plan to leave the city and start life afresh with a new wife. The affair, say officials, started a few months ago.

Now, the police are asking fam
ilies to provide internet details of their loved ones, be it their Facebook/ Orkut accounts, websites or email ids. “If the account is active, it is not too difficult for us to solve the case,’’ said a cyber cell investigator.

“As it was not possible for them to get married in Virar, they left leaving no information of there whereabouts with either family members or friends. Relatives of both Kadam and the girl filed missing complaints with the police separately,’’ said an officer. The cyber crime investigation cell was able to locate the errant husband by monitoring his email account.

These are just two of the main cases solved by the police with the help of technology. Crime branch chief Himanshu Roy admits that it’s a unique way to trace missing people, one that he hopes will be used more often. “When we receive
such complaints, our men follow all leads. But with people using the internet or having email accounts, the CCIC is roped in to find out the location from where the missing person’s email account is being accessed,’’ said Roy.

HOW IT WORKS
In 2009, the cyber crime investigation cell received nine cases related to missing people. After monitoring their internet activity, all individuals were reunited with their families

Investigators contact the webmail service to see if the missing person’s email account is active.

They also gather other information such as when and where that account was last used

Data provided by the webmail company helps the cyber cell locate the Internet Protocol (IP) address of the user’s computer. Every device connected to the Net is assigned a unique number known as an IP address. As these numbers are usually assigned to Internet Service Providers (ISP)
within region-based blocks, an IP address can be used to identify the region from which a computer is connecting to the internet

It is then possible to contact the ISP owner and gather relevant information. “We would want to know who has been allotted a particular IP address,” said a police official. In this manner, the police are able to identify the location of the computer. It could be in a person’s home or office, a cyber cafe or even a mobile phone that has internet connectivity.

------------------------------------------------

THE ANATOMY OF CYBER CRIMES

Manthan K Mehta | TNN

From 2008 to March 2010, the cyber crime investigation cell of the Mumbai Crime Branch police received nearly 1,800 complaints. While this may be a small figure, internet-related crime is on the rise, say senior police officers. “People need to be wary about revealing personal details online,” said a police official.

Fake profiles, defamation, obscene content on websites
Defamatory content and fake profiles on social networking sites top the list of cyber crimes in the city. According to an official from the cyber cell, so
cial networking sites including Orkut, Twitter, among others, accounted for 522 cases where users’ profiles were compromised with the posting of defamatory, obscene or fake content on victims’ pages




Obscene text messages and photos on mobile phones
Over the last two years, the cyber crime cell received nearly 150 cases where people were victims of obscene SMSes and MMS clips. A senior of
ficial said: “In most of the cases registered with us, the victims were women, who unlike men are more vulnerable to such attacks.” He added that often the culprit was a jealous or spurned lover who wanted to get even with a girl.




Credit card frauds, forgery and phishing
In 2009, the police received 223 complaints of credit card frauds. Due to constant advice and warnings from banks and other financial
institutions, the number of phishing cases dropped from 122 in 2008 to 103 in 2009. In 2010 to date, only 13 cases have been recorded. Credit cards frauds, however, are on the rise. According to a police official there has been a nearly 50% rise in such frauds in the space of one year




Hacking
Offences related to hacking and tampering of codes also account for a sizeable chunk of cyber crime. In
2009, 159 incidents of hacking were reported as against 144 in 2008. Around 46 cases have been registered in 2010




Cheating, stalking and threatening
Many have fallen prey to offers of non-existent jobs and fake lottery scams, most of which were traced to Nigeria. In 2009, 86 complaints were reg
istered with the police




The Times of India, April 10, 2010

‘Nationwide hunt for Pune blast suspects’


ATS Chief Rakesh Maria


Team Working Round-The-Clock To Bring Accused To Book: ATS Chief

Mateen Hafeez I TNN

Mumbai: Anti-terrorism squad (ATS) teams have been sent to various states across the country to nab those guilty of the blast at Pune’s German Bakery in February. ATS chief Rakesh Maria on Friday said the agency would soon make a breakthrough in the case.

Maria, speaking to TOI for the first time since he took charge as the ATS chief last month, said: “Our teams have been sent to various locations in the country to trace the
suspects. There is no detention or arrest in this case so far but we are hoping to make a breakthrough soon.’’

The ATS chief also admitted to have been keeping tabs on some suspects across Maharashtra and some other places. “We are keeping watch on some people and will take action once their role is established. It is difficult to say how many days it will take to detect the case but all officers and men are focusing on this one case,’’ Maria said. It is learnt that the ATS has been
taking help from those who were questioned two years ago in connection with their alleged association with the Indian Mujahideen.

On April 7, Maria had briefed state home minister R R Patil about the developments in the ongoing probe. Follow
ing this, Patil told the assembly this week that arrests would be made very soon.

The investigation has focused mainly on the banned Indian Mujahideen. Officials said the ATS was also hunting for an IM operative, Yaseen Bhatkal of Karnata
ka, but was yet to make any formal arrest. “I don’t want to say anything about Yaseen Bhatkal or anyone else at this stage. My teams are working round-the-clock and we are trying our best to make a breakthrough in the case at the earliest,’’ he said.

The ATS was coordinating with several other intelligence agencies of some neighbouring states, officials said.

An RDX bomb went off at German Bakery in the Koreagon Park area near the Osho Ashram on February 13, killing 17 people and injuring over 50 others. The bomb, kept in a bag inside the bakery, was suspected to have been triggered using a mobile phone.

The Times of India, April 10, 2010

Friday, April 9, 2010

Terror intel inputs rose by three-fold last year




Mateen Hafeez I TNN

Mumbai: Statistics provided by Maharashtra home minister R R Patil show a drastic increase in the number of intelligence alerts sent to the state by the Centre in 2009. During 2008, the Centre had sent 52 alerts to the state, while the figure rose to 169—more than three times—in 2009.

The central government has been sending alerts to the state whenever it got information about some terror related case or suspect. “This year, till March, we have received 35 alerts from the Centre,’’ Patil said outside the Vidhan Bhavan on Thursday.

If the security agencies are to be believed, of the 169 inputs sent by various security agencies, none of them was “actionable’’. However, sources in the security establishment opined that such alerts are never specific as the preliminary information is passed on to the agencies concerned. In addition to this, the bomb detection and disposal squad (BDDS) received an overwhelming 1,426 calls. Of these, 1,067 were about movement of VIPs in the city while the remaining 359 were threat calls, according to data available with the TOI.


If that’s not all, officials also had to look into 25 threat emails, which are currently being probed by the cyber crime investigation cell. Two other threats e-mails were forwarded to the anti-terrorism squad (ATS). Recently, the central agencies sent an input about a probable terror attack in Mumbai on the lines of Pakistan’s JW Marriot strike. The alert had stated that an explosives-laden vehicle could hit a high-rise and then explode, causing mass casualties. However, no one knows what happened later since there was no untoward incident on the given date. Moreover, the security agencies are never pulled
up or examined for sending such alerts, most of which are not fully authentic.

For instance, last year, the intelligence agencies issued an alert about a possible fidayeen attack. The input stated that trained women pilots had entered the country. “However, this information too proved not actionable,’’ said a senior police officer.

Senior police officials said such alerts can’t be ignored, but some cops termed the alerts as a “waste of time and manpower’’. “In the absence of specific information, where are we supposed to deploy our men?’’ the officer asked.


STATE OF ALERT

No of intelligence calls sent to state

2008: 52
2009: 169
2010 (till March): 35


No of calls received by bomb detection and disposal squad in 2009: 1,426 calls. Of these, 1,067 were about movement of VIPs in the city while the remaining 359 were threat calls

Officials also had to look into 25 three e-mails in 2009


The Times of India, April 9, 2010

Two IM members named in ATS preliminary report




Mateen Hafeez | TNN

PUNE BLAST CASE

Mumbai: The Maharashtra ATS has submitted its preliminary report in the Pune blast case to the state government. The report names at least two members of the Indian Mujahideen (IM) who are suspected to have taken shelter in Pakistan but is yet to arrest a single suspect. The blast on February 13 killed 17 people at Pune’s German Bakery.

ATS chief Rakesh Maria submitted his preliminary report about the progress in the case to update the home department,which had to answer some questions on this issue in the assembly.The report contains the names of at least seven suspects, two of whom are believed to be in Pakistan, and four in India, said sources. The seventh name is reportedly that of Yaseen Bhatkal. Howe
ver, there was no confirmation of Bhatkal’s role in the blast.

“The report mentioned something about speedy progress in the blast case but it did not state who exactly was behind the blast. The report only spoke about some development in the investigation and indicated the prime suspects,’’ an official said. “We are working on several leads and tak
ing help from security agencies in different states,’’ state home minister R R Patil said.

Bhatkal, the ATS suspects, is an active member of the IM. Two more Bhatkals—Riyaz and his brother Iqbal—are still at large. The Bhatkal brothers were suspected to be behind the Ahmedabad, Delhi and several other bomb blasts between 2005 and 2008.

According to sources, Yaseen is Bhatkal’s relative but there was no confirmation on his role in the Pune blast. Yaseen was missing since the Pune blast and the police were searching for him, officials said. TOI had on April 8 written about the two suspects, one of them from Delhi and another from a South-Indian state. Yaseen’s name has cropped up in the Pune blast probe for the first time, said ATS sources.


The Times of India, April 9, 2010

4 held for murder of moneylender

Mateen Hafeez | TNN

Mumbai: With the arrest of four persons, the crime branch claimed to have solved the March 23 robbery and murder case of a moneylender near Metro cinema. The accused had robbed the victim, killed him and fled with ornaments and cash collectively, worth Rs 11 lakh, near Metro cinema.

The arrested have been remanded in police custody till April 15. The police have recovered Rs 2.5 lakh in cash and Rs 5-lakh gold jewellery from them. According to the Azad Maidan police, the deceased, Alpesh Jain, was alone at his first-floor office. “The accused posed as poilcemen and went to Jain’s office. They then tied Jain’s hands and legs with a rope and gagged him with a handkerchief. After killing Jain, the accused fled with jewellery and cash,’’ said Himanshu Roy, crime branch chief.

The Times of India, April 9, 2010