Saturday, July 31, 2010

3-year-old bank deposit spills beans on burglar

Mateen Hafeez | TNN

MALABAR HILL BURGLARY CRACKED

Mateen Hafeez I TNN
Mumbai:
A 3-year-old bank transaction helped the Malabar Hill police track down a domestic help who had fled with jewellery worth Rs 34 lakh from a former employer’s flat.

The police traced the suspect, John Joseph Albert, to Bangalore and recovered diamond and gold jewellery worth Rs 17 lakh. They hope to recover more of the jewellery soon. Albert, 32, had quit working for Kamlesh Bhimani, a resident of Puram Apartments in Malabar Hill, before he decamped with the booty on July 4.


In his complaint, Bhimani stated that Albert was one of his most trusted servants. “He quit the job in May and started working at a Nepean Sea Road flat, where he was a domestic help till the time of his arrest,’’ said a police officer. Albert has been remanded in police custody till August 5.

“The policemen who visited the flat found that the door locks were not broken, but duplicate keys had been used to open the main and the bedroom doors. The thief also knew where the cupboard keys were,’’ the officer said.

On the day of the theft, Bhimani and his family had gone out and the new domestic help was also away. Albert allegedly opened the door using the du
plicate keys.
During investigation, the police traced all those who had earlier worked for Bhimani and the previous occupants of the flat. “Bhimani had in fact vouched for Albert and said he could never commit such a crime,’’ said the official.

The cops smelled a rat when they could not trace Albert’s residential proof or even his photograph. “We found out that Albert had an account in a nationalised bank. The photo and the name provided to the bank were genuine, but the
address was fake,’’ said DCP Anil Kumbhare.

The police began scanning financial transactions made through the account and found an entry in 2007. “The man who had deposited the money into Albert’s account was traced and he spilled the beans on Albert’s address in Bangalore,” Kumbhare added. The police arrested Albert in Bangalore. “He said that he wanted money for his mother’s medical expenses,’’ said an officer. Albert had also tried to steal money from his current workplace.

The Times of India, July 31, 2010

Friday, July 30, 2010

Jailers face goon music in prison too

Mateen Hafeez | TNN

Mumbai: The fight between mafia don Abu Salem and Dawood Ibrahim gang member, Mustafa Dossa in Arthur Road jail has brought to light the fact that the gangsters are not the only ones who have to face such a problem. On several occasions, even the jail policemen are beaten up, threatened and abused by the inmates but most of the cases go unreported. The reason— short staffed personnel, and job security within the department.

Policemen attached to several jails in the state opined that a fear of “departmental inquiry’’ and being suspended dominates their actions all the time. “Manish Thakur,
a sailor who had killed his girlfriend, Kaushambi Layek, would stare at policemen unnecessarily. He then abused a constable who slapped him. Later, Thakur complained to the court. The constable was warned not to do it and the court said that if it happened again, the policeman would be fined Rs 10,000,’’ said a jail official, adding that they are abused and humiliated in front of the other prisoners but the jail administration is not taking it seriously.

For instance, on August 25, 2005, stones were pelted at assistant sub-inspector Shahabuddin Mulani of Arthur Road jail when he intervened in an inter-gang
fight between Ehtesham Shaikh of the Dawood gang and Farid Tanasha of the Chhota Rajan gang. Mulani sustained severe head injuries. While a case was registered against the culprits, Mulani is still waiting for justice.

In many cases, say jail officials, the inmates use razors as weapons. “They are provided razors for shaving but sometime, they use them to attack cops,’’ said a source. In 2005, jail authorities had decided to ban razors and allow the use of only twin blades to prevent attacks on jail staffers. This plan was drafted after an undertrial assaulted an on-duty jailer, Kausthub Kurlekar (37), who had to get 17 stitches on his face.

Jail officials added that some of the policemen have been promised rewards for handling these worst case scenarios. “But the reward does not come to us. It’s only on paper,’’ said another cop. A jailer, Shiv Patil, and a guard, Babasaheb Patil, of Arthur Road jail were assaulted by members of the D-gang in June 2004. The duo were promised a reward but they are still waiting for it.

As per the existing practice, undertrials who are skilled barbers are assigned the task of shaving other inmates. All the used blades are then handed over to the jail staffers for destroying. On an average, around 500 blades are used everyday at Arthur Road jail,which has approximately 2,200 prisoners.

Talking about the shortage of staff, a policeman said, “The capacity of the jail is 804 but there are around 2,200 inmates and some of them are convicts. There are barely 225 jail officials. Instructions have been given to staffers to take appropriate security measures after fights and attacks on policemen, but as long as prisons are overcrowded, the threats will continue.’’

The Times of India, July 30, 2010

1 yr on, cops can’t find killer of Shakeel aide

Mateen Hafeez | TNN

Mumbai: A year has passed since gangster Chhota Shakeel’s aide, Zahid Hasan alias Chhote Miyan, and his nephew were killed, but the crime branch is yet to crack the case.

The case goes back to July 29, 2009 when the two were gunned down in a crowded area just outside Taj Cinema in Grant Road near Nagpada. Zahid, who was the owner of a gambling club, reportedly ran Chhota Shakeel’s betting business.

The crime branch, which took over the case, had earlier claimed that it was on the verge of making a breakthrough in the case and had also stated that the motive was business rivalry and a contract was given out for Zahid’s killing. The investigators had then claimed to have identified the “shooters’’ but said they wanted to nab the mastermind first. However,
the case still lies undetected.

“It was one of the most sensational cases in which two people were shot dead.The police have got some clues and we are working on it. We expect to make a breakthrough soon,’’ said a crime branch officer.

The police were now hunting for a suspect, Osama Khan, who could have been one of the killers, said the officer. According to the police, Os
ama, who is currently working for fugitive gangster Bharat Nepali, could have been given the contract to eliminate Zahid, after the latter failed to pay his punters and sub-bookies.

Zahid, who had taken more than Rs 65 crore on IPL betting, suffered huge losses. While he returned the dues to those belonging to the Shakeel gang, he apparently refused to pay the members of the Chhota Rajan gang. This reportedly enraged Rajan who gave supari to kill Zahid.

On the day of the incident, Zahid and his nephew, Arshad Hussain, were sitting outside Taj Cinema when three unidentified persons opened fire on them and fled. A few months before that, Zahid had made headlines when an informer, Irfan Chindi, was stabbed to death in April. Ifran’s family had alleged that Zahid had plotted the murder.

LOSSES ON BETTING
Chhota Shakeel’s aide, Zahid Hasan, who had taken more than Rs 65 crore on IPL betting, suffered huge losses. While he returned the dues to those belonging to the Shakeel gang, he apparently refused to pay the members of the Chhota Rajan gang. This reportedly enraged Rajan who gave supari to kill Zahid

The Times of India, July 30, 2010

Youth tries to end life in Cong office

Mateen Hafeez | TNN

Mumbai: A 24-year-old Pune resident attempted suicide by consuming pesticide while interacting with state labour minister Padmakar Valvi at the MPCC office on Thursday.
Kailash Khatkale was rushed to G T Hospital and later shifted to the ICU.

A group of 78 youths, who were employees of a Punebased company, including Khatkale, had come to meet Valvi to air their grievances. “We are working for a meagre monthly salary of Rs 4,000 and are just temporary employees,’’ said Naunath Naiknaure, a union member, who accompanied Khatkale. He alleged that the company was paying other staff Rs 10,000. Khatkale is the sole earning member of a family of five.

The Congress has started conducting a weekly Jan Sampark to interact with people. Textile minister Arif Naseem Khan was also present when the incident occurred.

The Times of India, July 30, 2010

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Is Mumbai on the brink of another gang war?


Mateen Hafeez | TNN

Mumbai: Karachi-based don Chhota Shakeel has planned to bump off arch rival and Chhota Rajan associate Vicky Malhotra and has assigned the job of locating him in the city to his boys, a recent intelligence input has revealed. The input has prompted cops to wake up to the possibility of a gang war in the city.

This input was passed on to all police stations in the city, as well as the crime branch and the Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) recently. Malhotra, who was arrested
near Panchsheel in New Delhi in 2005, was then brought to Mumbai. Out on bail, he did not come to court on Wednesday to attend a case hearing, forcing the cops to launch a manhunt for him.

“Shakeel has two targets—gangster Ravi Pujari and Malhotra—and wants to eliminate them. Shakeel is also after an underworld operative who was arrested in 2007 but fled after being granted bail. This ‘target’ is be
lieved to be in Australia or Indonesia,’’ the two-page alert stated.

Last Saturday, Dawood gang member Mustafa Dossa allegedly assaulted don Abu Salem in the Arthur Road jail and attempted to kill him.

While the Bharat Nepali gang claimed responsibility for killing advocate Shahid Azmi and gangster Farid Tanasha, Pujari too is trying to establish his gang in the western Mumbai.

“This changing scenario in the underworld has put the security agencies on alert,’’ an officer said.


Last month, TOI reported about a plan by Rajan gang members to gun down Dawood Ibrahim’s younger brother, Iqbal Kaskar. However, the conspirators managed to give the crime branch the slip.

While Pujari is threatening hoteliers and businessmen in the city, a section of police personnel said that he was also trying to knock off money from people who were earlier victims of the Shakeel gang.

“Shakeel seems to be upset by this, which is why he is planning to eliminate Pujari,’’ said an official.
It is learnt that the Shakeel gang has also spread its roots into the real estate business and allegedly has a nexus with developers. The intelligence input stated, “One Rafique Mohammed alias Rafique BMC, a Shakeel aide, takes care of projects undertaken by the Dawood gang. Rafique is responsible for getting BMC clearance of various projects for the gang. Rafique is also engaged in other illegal activities.’’

mateen.hafeez@timesgroup.com


The Times of India, July 29, 2010

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Cell wars lay bare security lapses

Mateen Hafeez I TNN

Mumbai: The gangster rivalry playing out in the cells of Arthur Road jail has exposed the shoddy security measures undertaken in the state’s most sensitive prison.

Members of organised crime syndicates have always been warring with one another—stabbing and shooting in jails. However, of late, there have been more incidents of gangs of robbers being pitted against one another.

On Saturday, don Abu Salem was beaten up by another gangster Mustafa Dossa in the high-security prison. Dossa, who was deported from the UAE on March 20, 2003, has several cases registered against him, including the 1993 serial Mumbai blasts case. He is considered one of the most trusted aides of underworld don Dawood Ibrahim.


In January 2008, an undertrial—Asgar Ali Mehandi (25)—was stabbed to death by four of his prison mates in the presence of a huge crowd. Mehandi was the prime accused in the murder of John D’Souza who was similarly stabbed and killed on jail premises in December 2007. Even though the authorities knew Mehandi would be targeted, they could not protect him from D’Souza’s accomplices.

Arthur Road jail, which has a capacity of 804, holds more than 2,200 undertrials and convicts. “If we had more policemen, we would have been able to control such incidents properly. Our entire staff comprises around 225 men for around 2,000 inmates. Watching over hardened criminals with such few staffers is not an easy job,’’ a jail official said.


Jail authorities are clearly worried about the ‘weaponmaking industry’. Dossa had used a steel spoon to attack Salem. The spoon was sharpened and made into a knife. According to sources, the last such clash within the prison took place in August 2005 when Chhota Rajan’s accomplices, Vicky Malhotra, Farid Tanasha and two others got into an argument with D-gang
cronies—Saleem Shaikh and Ehtesham—resulting in the pelting of stones by both sides. No gangster was injured. But the bricks thrown by gangsters hit assistant sub-inspector Shahabuddin Mulani whosustained serious injuries.

In 2003, Dawood’s brother, Iqbal Kaskar, was beaten up by another gang ‘mate’,Abdul Sattar Teli, who was an accused in
the Sara-Sahara case.Dawood’s absconding aide Feroz Konkani,who fled from J J Hospital after killing two cops in 1999, had assaulted 3 Rajan gangsters inside the prison.

The D-gang has been dominant at the jail since the the don’s aides were deported from the UAE. While it also houses Rajan’s men, D-gangsters are more in number.



A TALE OF TWO CRIMINALS

Mustafa Dossa
An associate of don Dawood Ibrahim and an accused in the 1993 serial bomb blasts case for conspiracy, Mohammed Mustafa Dossa alias Mustafa Majnu, was deported from the UAE on March 20, 2003. He was discharged by a Tada court at Ahmedabad for lack of evidence of his involvement in an arms landing case in 2008. He also has seven more cases registered against him.

Of these, three cases fall under the Terrorist and Disruptive Activities (Tada) Act at Porbandar, Jamnagar and Valsad in Gujarat for his alleged involvement in landing of the arms prior to the 1993 serial bomb blasts in Mumbai. A case of extortion is also pending against him at Bharuch.

In 2007, Dossa decided to float a party called the Dalit Muslim United Front. The decision was taken in Arthur Road jail and he was declared party president. Workers had said the party would primarily comprise those accused in the bomb blasts case. The party’s main objective was to fight for victims of state terrorism.



Abu Salem
Underworld don Abu Salem alias Abu Salem Ansari was one of India’s most wanted fugitives. Salem and his girlfriend Monica Bedi were arrested in Lisbon, Portugal on September 18, 2002 for travelling with fake passports. The two were deported to India on November 11, 2005. He is a prime accused in the 1993 Mumbai serial bomb blasts, the murder of music baron and TSeries owner Gulshan Kumar, killing of Anil Diwani—secretary of film actor Manisha Koirala and 50 other cases. His gangsters have also tried to attack film personalities—Rajeev Rai, Rakesh Roshan and Manmohan Shetty.

Originally from Uttar Pradesh, Salem came to Mumbai in the early 80s and worked as a hawker and driver in Delhi. Later, he came to Mumbai. In a short time, Salem demonstrated his expertise in extortion and became a key member of the D-gang. He would hire shooters on a contract basis. Salem was also involved in the conspiracy of the 1993 serial blasts.

The Times of India, July 25, 2010

Dossa had cronies, Salem was alone

Mateen Hafeez | TNN

Mumbai: Deputy police commmissioner Suhas Warke said a slanging match broke out with Mustafa Dossa reportedly threatening to kill Abu Salem soon after they were brought out of their cells for breakfast before 7 on Saturday morning.

“It started with long stares and abuses followed. During the heated argument, Dossa, accompanied by around halfa-dozen cronies, suddenly pulled out the deadly spoon and lashed out at Salem, who was all by himself. The two were quickly pulled apart and Salem was provided medical aid immediately,’’ said senior inspector Vasant Tajne of the N M Joshi Marg police station.


Dossa, 55, was deported from the UAE on March 20, 2003, and has been lodged at the Arthur Road jail since. He is accused of conspiracy and helping in landing RDX used for the 1993 blasts at Raigad.

Police sources said Dossa has dominated all the other gangs in the jail as he is an old buddy of Dawood and has been in the prison for a long time.

Salem, 41, entered the Arthur Road jail two years later in 2005, when he was extradited with then girlfriend Monica Bedi from Portugal. Salem is charged with conspiracy in the 1993 serial blasts and delivering arms to Sanjay Dutt’s house, besides involvement in the murder of actress Manisha Koirala’s secretary Ajit Diwani, the attack on producer-director Rakesh Roshan and the killing of builder Om Prakash Kukreja.

Dossa suspected that Salem was passing on information about him and his aides to jail authorities. He had warned Salem when a special search of his cell threw up more than 15,000 coupons that could be used in the jail canteen, said a source. “Salem is reserved. He hardly talks to gang members, but has been seen interacting with policemen. It created an impression in Dossa’s mind that he was passing on information,’’ said an officer.

In 2007, a robber, John D’- Souza, was killed in jail with knives forged out of steel spoons and plates.

The Times of India, July 25, 2010

D-gang’s Dossa slashes Salem at Arthur Rd jail

Dossa attacked Salem with a spoon-knife as he suspects him of snitching on D-gang members in the prison to the cops


Mateen Hafeez | TNN

Mumbai: Extradited gangster Abu Salem was attacked by Dawood Ibrahim gang member Mustafa ‘Majnou’ Dossa with a four-inch spoon that had been sharpened to act as a knife before breakfast was served around 7 am on Saturday at the Arthur Road jail, where both are lodged in separate cells in barrack no. 10. They are facing trial in separate 1993 Mumbai serial blasts cases.

Salem, who’s nicknamed Chikna for his looks, received gashes on his nose, cheeks and hand in the attack that was apparently prompted by Dossa’s suspicion that he was
singing to the jail authorities about the activites of the Dgang members in the prison.

26/11 terrorist Ajmal Kasab is on death row in the jail.

Guards took the gangster, bleeding profusely from his injuries, to the hospital on the
premises of the high-security jail. The spoon-knife has been seized and a case under sections 307 (attempt to murder), 506(II) (criminal intimidation) and 34 (common participation in a crime) of IPC been registered against Dossa and associate Abdul Qayyum Shaikh. Interestingly, Shaikh was acquitted three days ago of the murder of music baron Gulshan Kumar. But there are other cases pending against him.

In the evening, reports said Dossa was shifted to Thane jail and Salem to Taloja in Navi Mumbai.



The Times of India, July 25, 2010

D-gang’s Dossa slashes Salem at Arthur Rd jail

Dossa attacked Salem with a spoon-knife as he suspects him of snitching on D-gang members in the prison to the cops


Mateen Hafeez | TNN

Mumbai: Extradited gangster Abu Salem was attacked by Dawood Ibrahim gang member Mustafa ‘Majnou’ Dossa with a four-inch spoon that had been sharpened to act as a knife before breakfast was served around 7 am on Saturday at the Arthur Road jail, where both are lodged in separate cells in barrack no. 10. They are facing trial in separate 1993 Mumbai serial blasts cases.

Salem, who’s nicknamed Chikna for his looks, received gashes on his nose, cheeks and hand in the attack that was apparently prompted by Dossa’s suspicion that he was
singing to the jail authorities about the activites of the Dgang members in the prison.

26/11 terrorist Ajmal Kasab is on death row in the jail.

Guards took the gangster, bleeding profusely from his injuries, to the hospital on the
premises of the high-security jail. The spoon-knife has been seized and a case under sections 307 (attempt to murder), 506(II) (criminal intimidation) and 34 (common participation in a crime) of IPC been registered against Dossa and associate Abdul Qayyum Shaikh. Interestingly, Shaikh was acquitted three days ago of the murder of music baron Gulshan Kumar. But there are other cases pending against him.

In the evening, reports said Dossa was shifted to Thane jail and Salem to Taloja in Navi Mumbai.



The Times of India, July 25, 2010

Saturday, July 24, 2010

‘Rape accused diamond trader still unconscious’

—Mateen Hafeez | TNN


Mumbai: The D B Marg police are trying to find out why the diamond trader Dhirubhai Patel, who is accused of raping his business partner’s wife, to attempt suicide when his bail plea was rejected by a city court.
Patel, a resident of Ahmedabad, had consumed pesticide on Wednesday and was admitted to the ICU at Nair Hospital. “He is still unconscious. His blood test reports are awaited. We will interrogate him once he regains consciousness,’’ said a police
officer.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Man rapes biz partner’s wife, tries to kill self

Mateen Hafeez | TNN

Mumbai: A diamond trader allegedly raped his business partner’s 26-year-old wife in a Grant Road Hotel while the victim’s husband had gone out to meet his business contacts. The matter came to light after the victim attempted suicide and a complaint was registered. However, the accused also attempted suicide when his anticipatory bail was rejected by a city sessions court.

According to police sources, the victim, Rashmi Shah (name changed), wife of a diamond trader from Naroda in Ahmedabad, had come to Mumbai on June 1 along with her husband and his business partner. “The two men wanted to start a new business in trading pearls. Rashmi had come along with them as she wanted to see Mumbai. Rashmi and her husband stayed in a hotel room while her husband’s business partner, Dhirubhai Patel, also stayed in a different room at the same hotel,’’ said a police officer.

One day, Patel told Rash
mi’s husband that he should meet some business contacts and sign some deals as early as possible. “Rashmi’s husband agreed and left to meet the business contacts,’’ said deputy commissioner of police Anil Kumbhare.

“When Rashmi alone in the hotel room, Patel visited her and on the pretext of talking to her, raped her in the hotel room,’’ police officials said.

A traumatised Rashmi could not even confide in her husband and refused to speak to anyone for a few days. “On June 12, they returned to Ahmedabad. The same day, Rashmi consumed poison,’’ said Kumbhare. The Naroda police registered a case of attempted suicide and began its investigation. They found a suicide note in which she had described her trauma. “A case of rape was lodged in Ahmedabad, but Patel managed to flee. As the crime had taken place in Mumbai, the case papers were sent to D B Marg police, which launched a manhunt for Patel,’’ said an officer.

Meanwhile, Patel applied for anticipatory bail in a city sessions court but on Wednesday, his plea was rejected. “Patel then turned up at the police station after consuming pesticide. He was taken to BYL Nair Hospital,’’ said an officer. The police will take Patel’s custody once he was discharged from the hospital.

CASE HISTORY
Rashmi (name changed) arrives in Mumbai along with her husband and his business partner, Dhirubhai Patel, in June. The three stay at a hotel in Grant Road

Patel tells Rashmi’s husband to meet contacts and finalise deals for a new venture

When Rashmi is alone at her hotel room, Patel allegedly rapes her

When they return to Ahmedabad, Rashmi tries to kill herself. The police find a suicide note describing her trauma

Patel files for anticipatory bail in Mumbai, which is rejected by a sessions court

Fearing arrest, Patel consumes pesticide

The Times of India, July 23, 2010

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Mastan’s son to move HC seeking stay on film

Mateen Hafeez I TNN

Mumbai: A day after the city civil court refused to stay the release of the Ajay Devgn-starrer, Once Upon A Time In Mumbai, Haji Mastan’s adopted son, Sundar Shaekhar, said he will approach the Bombay high court for a stay. Shaekhar had filed a suit in the court, seeking a ‘permanent order of injunction’ against the film produced by Ekta Kapoor. Shaekhar had said that his father was not a don and that making a film on his life with other anti-social elements will damage his image posthumously. The court, however, directed that a disclaimer clarifying that the film had no resemblance to the life of Mastan should be given at it’s beginning.

“I am consulting advocates and we will approach the high court for a stay on the release,’’ Shaekhar told TOI on Wednesday. “I am not satisfied with the judgment. In 2007, Bollywood personalities associated with the movie had said they were thinking about making a movie on the life of Mastan Mirza and were hunting for a suitable character for the role,’’ added Shaekhar.

Mastan, popularly known as Bawa, was allegedly a smuggler in the 1960s and 70s. He was born in the coastal town of Cuddalore in Tamil Nadu. Mastan became the first celebrity smuggler of the city, expanding his clout in the Indian film industry. As Mastan’s influence in Bollywood grew, he started to produce films. He was also known for his links with several bigwigs in the Bollywood. Mastan became a Muslim leader in 1984 after he floated a political party, Dalit-Muslim Surakhsha Maha Sangh in 1985.

After he came to Mumbai from Tamil Nadu, he started working on the Mumbai docks as a coolie (porter). From such humble beginnings, he became indispensable to the political leadership of Maharashtra.

The Times of India, July 22, 2010

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Babus make ex-army man run in circles


Aejaz Ansari, a soldier, who was killed in Jammu and Kashmir


Mateen Hafeez | TNN

Mumbai: Bureaucrats are making a 60-year-old retired army man run from pillar to post for a gas agency connection. His son, also an army man, was killed in an explosion in Jammu & Kashmir in 2005.

Shah Alam Ansari, a retired military man, who joined the Indian Army in 1968, hails from Uttar Pradesh and is in Mumbai to meet Petroleum and Natural Gas minister, Murli Deora.

Ansari’s son, Aejaz, also joined the army as a survey field jawan in 1997 and was part of Operation Rakhshak during and post-Kargil war. Aejaz was later posted in Pune and again in Kashmir in 2004. “On August 12, 2005, I received information about my son’s death in an explosion at Sachho Post Chorbatla sub-sector on the Line of Control in J&K. It was the most difficult time when I saw the body of my young son, who was scheduled to get married a month earlier,’’ said Ansari.

Aejaz’s body reached his home town in Uttar Pradesh on August 15, 2005. Ansari, along with other Indian army men had served in Bhutan for training the latter’s military in mid-70s.

After Aejaz’s death, the then defence minister, Pranab Mukherjee, and a batallion of defence personnel wrote condolence letters to Ansari. “Aejaz was my eldest son and wanted to serve the nation for the rest of his life. I had spoken to him a few days before his death. He was very excited to return for his wedding,’’ added Ansari, who himself was posted thrice in Jammu & Kashmir. Ansari was also part of bunker task formation near the China border in 1984 and was conferred several certificates for having a good service record.

He stated that even the President’s secretariat, in a letter, suggested him to submit his documents to procure a gas agency. “I completed all the documents and submitted them. However, now the babus are delaying allotting me a gas agency. They keep showing me the rule book. They say that I am over 60 and the agency can only be allotted to someone who is under 45. I also requested them to allot it under my second son’s name. He is doing his graduation in science. But they are just not ready to listen to me. They are making me run from one office to another. Is this the way to treat a shaheed’s family?’’ Ansari said. He has two sons and three daughters, all studying.

Ansari met Deora last year in Mumbai to get his work done. “Deora said it was unfortunate that it was taking a long time but assured help,’’ said Ansari. When contacted, Deora said he was in Cambodia.

The Times of India, July 21, 2010

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Sailors relieved to be back on safe ground

Mateen Hafeez | TNN

Mumbai: It was a situation most sailors are prepared for, but hope not to be in. The crew of the M V Khalijia 3, which suddenly developed a leak on Sunday while still anchored off Mumbai, were glad to find land beneath their feet on Monday after more than 12 harrowing hours.

Rescued by a Coast Guard vessel, the 22 crew members—from Sri Lanka, Ukraine, Myanmar, India (including six from Mumbai) and Bangladesh—were exhausted, but excited. “We survived thanks to the Coast Guard and our captain,’’ Sarfaraz Bhombal, a sailor, said. While most of the sailors were reluctant to speak citing “discipline’’ on the ship,
some spoke on condition of anonymity. “Though the ship was not about to sink immediately, we were worried with the increasing volume of water,’’ said another sailor. A third added that the crew knew to swim but was worried at initially not receiving any help.

And the first thing most sailors after the rescue was speak to their families. “Help
arrived late at night, when along with life jackets and other items we were shifted to a Coast Guard ship. After reaching a safe destination, we spoke to our families to give them the news,’’ said another sailor.

An official from the Quadrant Maritime Pvt Ltd, a Navi Mumbai-based company which maintains the ship, said, “Those who are from
Mumbai will be allowed to go home and come back soon to resume duty. Their families must be worried but we reiterate that it was not a dangerous situation.’’

Six Mumbai Port Trust technicians had been called to examine and control the water leak.

All the crew members had an experience of more than three years.

The Times of India, July 20, 2010

Monday, July 19, 2010

Don calls up SP leader’s son, demands Rs 10 cr

Mateen Hafeez I TNN

Mumbai: After threatening jewellers, developers and Bollywood celebrities, fugitive gangster Ravi Pujari’s latest victim is city Samajwadi Party chief Abu Asim Azmi’s son, Farhan. The caller demanded Rs 10 crore as extortion money for not harming Farhan and allowing him to continue with his business.

Farhan, who lost the assembly polls from Bhiwandi recently, is the husband of actor Aayesha Takiya and owns a restaurant, Koyla.

Farhan’s father, Abu Azmi, told TOI, “My son has lodged a complaint with the Colaba police and also informed the Mumbai crime branch chief, Himanshu Roy, about it.’’ According to Azmi, an unidentified caller dialled
Koyla restaurant in Andheri and introduced himself as Ravi Pujari. “The caller told the receptionist that he wanted only Rs 10 crore, and if he was not paid, Farhan would have to face dire consequences,’’ Azmi said. The call was made two weeks ago.

“On Sunday, someone again dialled the hotel number and was trying to impress the receptionist with his ‘terror’ links. The caller again said he was Ravi Pujari and that he was responsible for attacks on several jewellers,
businessmen in the city,’’ Azmi said. Both the times, Farhan was not present at the hotel. Azmi said that the crime branch was working on the case. “We don’t want any security for Farhan. He already has private guards. We want the culprit to be arrested. I have also spoken to the home minister and he has assured a speedy investigation,’’ said Azmi, who himself is an MLA. Azmi is one of the richest politicians in Mumbai.

Around 8.30 pm on Sunday, Farhan received a call on his mobile from a London number. “The caller said he was Ravi Pujari and reiterated his demand for Rs 10 crore. He was even ready to negotiate for a lesser amount but stated that if I have to run my business in the suburbs, I will have to pay money,’’ Farhan said.

This is not the first time Farhan has complained to the police. In March this year, Farhan had told the police that he received threat calls from someone who claimed to be the associate of captured Pakistani terrorist Ajmal Kasab. The caller, who identified himself as Afzan Khan, and also claimed to be close to Lashkar-e-Taiba commanders, demanded Rs 55 lakh and an AK-47 assault rifle from Farhan. The caller had once called from an ISD number beginning with +55 (Brazil’s ISD code).

The Times of India, July 19, 2010

ATS undecided on action against ex-MP

INFLAMMATORY SPEECH CASE


Mateen Hafeez I TNN

Mumbai: The ATS is yet to decide on the action to be initiated against former BJP MP, B L Sharma, who two years ago exhorted people in a closed-door meeting to work for defending Hindus at Nashik. The speech became public after the ATS arrested self-proclaimed seer Swami Dayanand Pandey for his ‘alleged’ role in the 2008 Malegaon blast. TOI was the first to report on Sharma’s speech.

On Friday, a news channel’s office in New Delhi was ransacked allegedly by members of the RSS for broadcasting the video clip
ping of a sting operation that unearthed the “blast conspiracy’’ by right-wing hardliners. Elected twice to parliament on a BJP ticket, B L Sharma (Prem) and Lt Col Prasad Purohit were shown in the clipping conspiring to engineer blasts across the country. The ATS found the video clipping of Sharma’s speech on Pandey’s laptop. The 14-minute film, which was videographed at Nashik using his laptop on September 21, 2007, is now part of evidence in court. According to the ATS, initially they were probing if the clipping was provocative in nature. Later, according to the ATS, they had sent the clipping for a legal opinion on whether Sharma can be booked in the blast or not.


The Times of India, July 19, 2010

Saturday, July 17, 2010

59 convicts await the noose in state

Mateen Hafeez | TNN

Mumbai: Even after the controversial decision by the Nagpur bench of the Bombay high court to commute the death sentences of six Khairlanji mass murder convicts, there remain 59 convicts on death row in Maharshtra. The mercy petition of only one of them is pending with the president’s secretariat; the others are still battling their case in the higher courts.

The last hanging in the state took place in 1995. Pakistani gunman, Ajmal Kasab, is the most recent convict to be sentenced to death by a Mumbai court in the 26/11 case. In September 2008, six persons were sentenced to death by a court for the massacre of four members of a Dalit family in Khairlanji. However, the convicts challenged the order and recently, their death sentence was commuted to life.

While 32 death convicts have been housed at Pune’s Yerawada Jail, the remaining 27 are at the Nagpur Central Prison. Since independence, 17
convicts have been hanged in Maharashtra. The last hanging was 15 years ago on August 26, 1995, when Sudhakar Joshi was executed in Yerawada jail. Joshi had robbed his employer and later murdered him and his two children in 1988. The sessions court awarded a death sentence, which was upheld by both the HC and the SC. It is not known if Joshi had moved a mercy petition before the President.

The jail authorities said
while other convicts have to work in the jail premises, those on death row are exempted from working. “They are not given any work. Such convicts are kept separately, one in each cell, and additional security is deployed around their cells,’’ said a senior jail official. Twelve people, the most so far, were awarded the death sentence for their role in the 1993 Mumbai serial bomb blasts case that killed 227 people across the city. All the 12 convicts have now approached the Supreme Court.

The convicts on death row, who wake up to an uncertain future every day, are provided newspapers free of cost. “We provide them newspapers free and if they ask for any book, their family members have to pay for it,’’ said a jail official. Their cells are opened twice a day for an hour each. “If a convict has been awarded death and wants to approach a higher court, we send their request to the law and judiciary department for further action,’’ the official added.


PENDING CASES
Since 1990, total 29 mercy petitions (involving 54 death convicts) are pending under article 72 of the Constitution. In the last 20 years, three mercy petitions of total four death convicts have been considered and their deaths sentences have been commuted into life imprisonment. Five cases of petitions from condemned prisoners are pending with the ministry of Home affairs while 24 cases are pending before the President’s secretariat. TNN

The Times of India, July 17, 2010

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Builder held in Tanasha case reveals key links


Slain gangster, Farid Tanasha


Mateen Hafeez I TNN

Mumbai: The crime branch will summon several developers from Mumbai, Navi Mumbai and Thane to question them about the payment of extortion money to the Chhota Rajan gang. The arrest of developer Rajendra Chavan in connection with the June 2 murder case of Farid Tanasha, a Rajan gang member, has brought shocking stories to light. The crime branch has so far arrested 11 persons in connection with the Tanasha’s murder.

“Chavan would collect information about the upcoming projects of builders and their
contact numbers. He would then send the information to Rajan. He knew many builders who were into SRA and private projects and the information of these builders would be passed on to Rajan,’’ said crime branch chief Himanshu Roy, adding that they were preparing to summon some developers who have been victims of Rajan’s extortion threat. “We are exploring the case from all angles,’’ he said.

Roy added that Chavan, by providing information about developers, would get commission from the Rajan gang. It is learnt that Chavan has revealed the names of some of Rajan’s “victims’’.


Chavan, said a source, began his career in real estate as a small-time builder and has completed seven projects so far. In 2004, he received an extortion
call from the Rajan gang. Later, he spoke to the gangster and promised that he could help fetch more money by providing information about various builders’ projects. He started from Vashi, Kalamboli, Sanpada and later extended his network up to Kalyan, Dombivli and Mumbai. “He would act as a middleman after a builder received threat calls, and after negotiation, he would collect the money. The money would be later sent to Rajan,’’ said an officer.

However, Rajan gang member, Bharat Nepali, came to know about these deals and started targeting Chavan, who promised making part payment to Nepali as well. During 2007, Nepali started establishing his own faction.

In 2008, Farid Tanasha, who was in the Arthur Road jail, was
released and got in touch with Chavan. Tanasha insisted that the money be given to him and that he would directly send it to Rajan. However, he would not do so.

Meanwhile, Nepali contacted Rajan and informed him about Tanasha’s “wrong doings’’. He wanted to get even with Tanasha as he had taken the entire extortion business in his hands and had refused to pay Nepali. Nepali then hired shooters from Uttar Pradesh and planned Tanasha’s killing. Nepali had given a supari Rs 9 lakh to eliminate Tanasha. Sources said during this period, Rajan did not interfere between Tanasha and Nepali.


The Times of India, July 10,2010

Friday, July 9, 2010

‘Kolkata, Delhi on terror hit-list’

INTEL ALERT


Mateen Hafeez I TNN

Mumbai: In a fresh terror input, intelligence agencies have alerted the state antiterrorism squad and various security agencies about the possible penetration of 31 operatives of Bangladesh-based outfits, Harkat-ul-Jihad-e-Islami (HuJI) and Jamaat-e-Islami (JEI), into India for carrying out terror strikes.

The one-page alert, marked “secret’’, contains specific information about 31 members of HuJI who are ready to infiltrate into India. “The members of HuJI are planning to come to India through the Bangladesh border. They will reach Kolkata in small groups. A person called Yusuf Saloni, a resident of Munshidanga (there is an area in Kolkata that is called Munshibazar), will receive them and make arrangements for their accommodation in different lodges,’’ the alert reads. The security agencies are tracking Saloni who is suspected to be associated with several banned outfits.

The alert from the intelligence agency has come after a month. Mumbai Police has been asked to keep its personnel on high alert but the prime targets of the group are said to be New Delhi and Kolkata. “However, the group may move to other cities,’’ the alert states. Various alerts
have been issued by intel agencies in the last few months but none has contained such specific information.

“The American Consulate is their prime target. The group will stay in Kolkata for 10 days and later move out for their operation. It has to execute their operation prior to August 15 (India’s Indepen
dence Day) and will return to Bangladesh,’’ the alert states. It further said that some railway stations could also be on their target list.

Last year, the Mumbai Police received around 140 threat alerts but all were non-actionable. A senior police official said they had put their men on alert and nakabandis were on. “Cops are visiting lodges, hotels and rented flats to make enquiries,’’ the official said. Security at several foreign consulates in Mumbai and railway stations has been stepped up.


The Times of India, July 9, 2010

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Samad meets media to present his story

RELIEVED: Samad (L) and Solkar at Tuesday’s press meet


Mateen Hafeez I TNN

Mumbai: Mubin Solkar, defence lawyer of Abdul Samad Zarar, who was earlier termed as a suspect in the Pune German Bakery blast, said Samad was innocent and was never questioned in the blast case. Solkar further said that Samad had nothing to do with the Arms Act case in which he was arrested and released on bail.

Samad was arrested from Bajpe airport in Karnataka by the Maharashtra anti-terrorism squad (ATS) on May 24 for his suspected involvement in the February 13 blast in Pune which killed 17 people. However, he was booked in a ninemonth-old Arms Act case.

Samad (23) appeared before the media for the first time since his arrest on Tuesday. Wearing a jeans and shirt, he was smiling during the press briefing by his defence lawyer, Mubin Solkar. “Unfortunately, an alias has been added to his name, Bhatkal. His name is not Bhatkal neither does he have that surname,’’
said Solkar.

Contradicting the Union home ministry’s statement about Samad’s role in the Pune blast, Solkar said, “Samad was never arrested for the Pune blast. He was booked in the arms seizure case. Samad does not have anything to do with

that case too. We will explore all legal options about filing a discharge application in future.’’

The ATS had arrested Samad on the basis of a CCTV footage where a young man was shown coming to German Bakery with two bags and leaving with one bag only. The ATS
teams went to Karnataka where Samad studied. After getting confirmation that the man in the CCTV grab was similar to Samad, the ATS picked him up from the airport on May 24, soon after he landed from Dubai. “He was never questioned in connection with the Pune blast, nor did the Intelligence Bureau officials ask him anything related to the blast,’’ claimed Solkar, who had earlier told the media that Samad had been questioned about the Pune blast case.

Solkar said Samad had never visited Pune. “On the day of the blast, Samad was in Bangalore,’’ he said. The lawyer said that Samad had stayed in a lodge in Bangalore, of which they have documentary proof. Solkar said Samad does not have any brother with the name, Yaseen Bhatkal. “His brother’s name is Ahmed Mohammed, who went to Dubai in 2005 for a job, stayed there for a year and left his father’s place after a personal dispute with him. Since 2006, he is not in touch with any family members,’’ said Solkar.


The Times of India, July 7, 2010

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Samad walks out of prison

Mateen Hafeez | TNN

Mumbai: Eighteen days after a sessions court granted bail to Abdul Samad Zarar in a 2009 arms haul case, the 23-year-old “Pune blast suspect’’ was released on Sunday from Arthur Road jail.

Samad was granted bail on a surety of Rs 25,000 by a sessions court on June 15. “Samad was released around 10.30 am on Sunday,’’ said his lawyer, Mubin Solkar. “A police verification is mandatory in cases where an accused is granted bail on a surety of more than Rs 15,000.’’ Samad had been languishing in the jail due to the lengthy process of police verification for his bail surety.

The Times of India, July 6, 2010

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Rs 1.75-cr Malabar Hill burglary solved



Recently Hired Domestic Helps Held Within 24 Hrs Of Committing The Crime

Mateen Hafeez I TNN

Mumbai: It took the Mumbai police less than 24 hours to nab two domestic helps who had robbed their employer’s Malabar Hill residence of diamond jewellery, mobile and cash adding up to Rs 1.75 crore.

According to the police, the domestic helps—Maharaj and Raju—cleaned out diamond trader Aatish Nahar’s flat in Tania Heights on Nepean Sea Road on Friday between 1 pm and 4.30 pm. “Maharaj started working at the complainant’s house on June 21 while Raju was employed by the family on June 27,” sub-inspector Balasaheb Shinde of the Malabar Hill police station said. “The two were close to each other. Perhaps,
they hailed from the same town in Uttar Pradesh,” Shinde said.

The Nahars were sleeping when the two burgled the house. The family woke up to find their cupboards open and diamond jew
ellery, cash and mobile missing. “As the complainant is a diamond trader, he would keep some of the precious stones at home as well,” said Shinde. The police made some inquiries and managed to get information on Maharaj’s whereabouts. Maharaj was detained on Saturday. During interrogation, he gave out Raju’s location, following which he was apprehended. The police are believed to have recovered the entire booty. “We are questioning the two to find out if they had committed similar offences in the past,” Shinde added.

According to sources, the family had not listed either of the domestic helps with the local police. Following a spate of robberies and crimes involving domestic helps, the police had launched a campaign urging citizens to register their helps at the local police station to avoid any untoward incident. However, most avoid doing so.


The Times of India, July 4, 2010

Saturday, July 3, 2010

‘One can count honest cops on fingers today’


Former director-general of police, A N Roy


Mateen Hafeez | TNN

Mumbai: IPS officer A N Roy, who retired as the head of the state police two months ago, has said that today, non-corrupt officers can be counted on fingers, which was not the scene when he joined the force.

In an interview to Mumbai police’s bi-monthly magazine, The Protector, Roy said rampant corruption at both higher and lower levels in the force saddened him. He said that when he joined the department, there were only a few corrupt officers, but now, honest cops can be counted on fingers.


Roy, who retired on May 31 after spending 38 years in the force, spoke at length about terrorism, metropolitan policing, the force strength, his own innings in the service and his role models. Roy, who hails from Uttar Pradesh, had served as the Mumbai police commissioner for over three years before heading the state police.

“When I joined the service, there were only a few of
ficers who were spoken about as corrupt. There was a stigma attached to corruption at that time and we, the juniors, vowed that we will never be like them,’’ Roy told the magazine, adding, “Today, it is no longer a stigma, a flaw or a fault. Corruption is now allpervasive. You can now count on your fingers the uncorrupt officers.’’

Talking about corruption in the force, Roy said all this has led to dilution of discipline, lowering of morale and poor performance. “I am concerned about this growing
menace, which is also a threat to our security. I would like to see the passing of some law or effective measures that will throttle this menace,’’ Roy said.

Roy did not agree that poor salaries was the reason for corruption. “In recent times, the salaries have gone up and several facilities have been provided. They are poor only when they compare themselves with the Joneses. Why do you want what your neighbour has? We also would like to send our kids to public schools, but if our income does not permit that, will we take bribes and set a bad example to the very child we are trying to give a better education?’’ Roy said.


According to Roy, today a government employee is in a better position to lead a decent and respectable life. “But there can be no end to ones greed,’’ he concluded.

Retired top cops like S S Jog, Satish Sawhney and Julio Rebeiro were his role models, Roy said.

mateen.hafeez@timesgroup.com


The Times of India, July 3, 2010

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Dayal will look into beard row

Mateen Hafeez | TNN

Mumbai: A delegation of social activists on Wednesday met city police commissioner Sanjeev Dayal and complained about the ill-treatment given to a 42-year-old Muslim civil engineer who was detained near the Israeli consulate on June 28.

The victim, Mohammed
Saleem, who works for a developer, had gone to the Income Tax office near Earnest House at Nariman Point when the Israeli security guards caught him. They checked his mobile phone and handed him over to the Marine Drive police. “Dayal said it was a serious issue and that he will look into the matter,’’ said Azimuddin, an activist.

The Times of India, July 1, 2010