Monday, April 18, 2011

D-Company very much on its own

Mateen Hafeez | TNN

Mumbai: Officers of the state anti-terrorism squad (ATS) investigating the Vijay Vasant Kedari gang said it was never outsourced a single job by the Dawood Ibrahim-Chhota Shakeel gang. “D-Company relies on its own men and does not trust others. It uses local goons whenever it has to execute an operation,” said an officer.

The other gangs have had to rely on Kedari’s men for shootings and extortions because most of their own members have been killed in encounters or inter-gang fights. “While they have lost their own shooters, finding

new recruits is not easy,”
the officer said. “One reason that D-Company has felt no need for Kedari is that it hardly kills people these days. Its focus has changed to film piracy, the gutka business and drug peddling. For these activities, its own network is sufficient. “The other reason is that many D-Company members have been deported from foreign countries and so are back in Mumbai. In the last six or seven years, around two dozen D-Company men were sent back to

Mumbai. The gang has reorganized itself, though visibly its members are not doing anything.”

The officer said that DCompany members are not on good terms with south Indian gangsters. “The
gang’s Chhota Shakeel faction is handling its Mumbai operations. Perhaps it’s cheap and easy for them to manage matters on their own.”

The Times of India, April 18, 2011


Manpower Crisis Makes Gangland Resort To Outsourcing For Killing And Extortion

Mateen Hafeez | TNN

Anew phenomenon has emerged in Mumbai’s underworld. Gangs have started outsourcing their operations for killings and extortions, because finding new recruits is becoming increasingly difficult. Such gangs include those run by Chhota Rajan, Kumar Pillai, Ravi Pujari and Prasad Pujari.

The phenomenon came to light early this month when the state anti-terrorism squad (ATS) arrested eight gangsters. The men, ATS officers said, on being given contracts by the big gangs, killed people in Mumbai, Thane and Navi Mumbai, and also in other places in Maharashtra.

“They would accept jobs from fugitive gangsters to kill rivals for Rs 3-4 lakh per killing. They worked very systematically. We hope to get more information soon,” said ATS chief Rakesh Maria. “Till their arrest, they had not been given any work by the Dawood Ibrahim-Chhota Shakeel gang. So far, five cases involving them have been detected.”

The men were organized into a gang in Arthur Road and Thane jails by former Chhota Rajan gang member Vijay Vas
ant Kedari (37), who was among those arrested. “Upon being released on bail, they would execute jobs on behalf of Kedari,” said ATS officer Dinesh Kadam, who was part of the team that busted the gang; the team included officers Sukhlal Varpe, Sachin Kada and Rajendra Utekar. “We also arrested Kedari’s elder brother Nitin.”

Kedari was convicted for the April 2, 2001 murder of Vinayak Bakalkar in Ratnagiri. He escaped during a threeweek parole from Thane jail in April 2009 and started running Arthur Road and Thane jail operations from Navi Mumbai.

Kedari recruited his men based on work experience. The prerequisites were: jail time, knowledge of escaping the police, knowledge of the city and a wide range of underworld contacts. An ATS officer said the gang members were not given a salary. “Kedari would give them money as per their requirement. He footed their bills for family functions (like weddings), medical expenses, buying flats and home repairs.”

Those arrested include: Vinode Shette; Sunil Shette, alias Sudhir, wanted in the red sandalwood smuggling case; Rakesh Shette; Rajesh Pardesi, alias Barkya, involved in
four murders, one attempt to murder case and several extortion cases; Navin Pujari, cousin of elusive gangster Prasad Pujari; Kishore Angre, alias Anu, involved in 11 cases, including one of murder, two of attempt to murder, and three of kidnapping minor girls.

“Gangsters based abroad would outsource jobs to Kedari. The latter’s men would do a reconnaissance of their target, contact shooters, and arrange bikes and weapons. The target would be bumped off once payment was made,” said Kadam. “Once the target was shot down, the Kedari gang’s job would be over.”

Kedari is also active in N a s h i k , since the ATS recently arre s t e d eight other members of his gang there in con
nection with the murder of a sevenyear-old boy.

From the Mumbai gang, the ATS seized 315 handguns, three 7.65 mm pistols, a revolver, 45 live cartridges, a magazine, a Santro and a Honda City, and 14 mobile phones.


3-4 lakh | Carrying out a killing. Charge includes requirements for complete execution of task, including reconnaissance, manpower and weapons

50,000 to 1 lakh | Providing a shooter and a motorcycle rider at a gang’s disposal. Charge proportional to manpower requirement

50,000 | Providing a pistol. Bullets come ‘free’

On March 7, the ATS arrested eight members of a gang, including their leader Vijay Kedari—a former aide of Chhota Rajan—who carried out tasks for money for other gangs. Five criminal cases against this gang have come to light:

Oct 6, 2007: Driver of gangster Lalsingh Chavan shot down. Murder carried out on instructions of fugitive gangster Kumar Pillai, whose father was murdered by Chavan two decades ago

Oct 6, 2007: Ulhasnagar builder Anu Manwani fired at. Seriously injured, but survives

Mar 30, 2010:
Wadala slumlord Bandya Sawant shot down. Murder on instructions of another slumlord

Dec 29, 2010:
Kedari’s mother, Ramal, arrested for hiding weapons in Antop Hill home. According to police, the two 7.65 mm pistols had been used by the Kedari gang in crimes

Jan 6, 2011:
Gangster Deepak Patil shot down on Kalva bridge. Aide survives. Patil had been arrested in 2007 for the murder of Shiv Sena corporator Devidas Chougule

Vijay Vasant Kedari is a former aide of gangster Chhota Rajan
Has clout in the underworld
Was arrested for murder on Arpil 2, 2001. Sent to Ratnagri jail, followed by Arthur Road and Nasik
In jail, he formed a gang comprising characters with good underworld experience

Didn’t give salary to his gang members, but bore all their expenditures, including those for marriage, health and buying home
Would accept contracts from gangsters based abroad. His men would most of the time not be aware of the foreign-based gangster outsourcing the killing

The Times of India, April 18, 2011

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Pak yet to claim 4 nationals rescued from hijacked boat

Mateen Hafeez | TNN

Mumbai: Four Pakistani nationals, who were part of the 16 crew members of hijacked Mozambican fishing boat Vega 5, are still languishing in the Mumbai docks area. While the other 54 hostages belonging to various countries have been taken home by their respective governments, the Pakistani embassy is still in the process of verifying if the hijacked crew members are actually its nationals.

Vega 5 was hijacked last year with 24 crew members
on board. The hijackers, all Somali pirates, have been arrested and are kept in Mumbai jails. A total of 106 pirates in various raids by the Indian Navy have been arrested and brought to the city. Security forces rescued 70 hostages, mostly crew members belonging to various countries such as Thailand, Philippines, Bangladesh, Iran, Turkey, Myanmar and Pakistan.

“While most of the countries have claimed their citizens and taken them, the 12 Iranian hostages, currently kept in the Mumbai docks ar
ea, will be flying to their country on Friday. However, the Pakistani embassy has not given any answer about four of its nationals,” said a source. The police had given an opportunity to the Pakistani hostages to speak to their families in Pakistan.

“The four hostages spoke to their families on phone and heaved a sigh of relief after talking to them. They have given their addresses too. However, the Pakistani embassy is still verifying if they are actually Pakistani nationals and have not claimed their responsibility yet,” added the source.
The Pakistani nationals did not have any document with them since the hijacked fishing boat had sunk into the sea.

The four Pakistani nationals are Lal Bakhsh Murid Khan (20), Sajjad Bakhsh (20), Farid Aalam Khan (24) and Aurangzeb Kakhsh (24). Khan and Farid belong to the Mirpur district of Karachi while Sajjad and Aurangzeb hail from Karachi itself.

“The foreigners’ registration office had informed the local police some time ago that the state government would sanction Rs 3 lakh for the hostages’ food expenses. However, the money has not reached to the police yet,” the source said.

The Iranian consulate is sending food for its nationals and the Pakistani nationals too get their food from the Iranians.

Armed policemen have been deployed for security until the hostages are deported to their countries.

The Times of India, April 14, 2011

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

20 ‘terrorists’ nabbed in 36-hour mock drill


Mateen Hafeez TNN

Mumbai: Around 20 dummy terrorists were intercepted by the Port Zone police and the navy during a 36-hour mock drill, ‘Sagar Kavach’. Trained security officials posed as terrorists and were intercepted at 10 places while trying to plant a fake bomb or ‘hijack’ a vessel.

The mock drill, organized jointly by the navy, the Coast Guard, the police and the DG shipping, concluded on Tuesday. “Each of the offi
cers posing as a dummy terrorist is provided a code which he must use to secure his freedom once he is captured,” said an officer who
participated in the drill.

The dummy terrorists tried to plant a fake bomb on the Bandra-Worli sea link. The on-duty officials spotted them and nabbed them. The officials were released only
after they called out their codes. At Gorai, the dummy terrorists ‘hijacked’ a vessel, Sagar Laxmi, and were heading towards Bandra. They were intercepted en route.

Another set of officials posing as terrorists ‘hijacked’ Minaash at outer anchorage and was
caught at Ferry Wharf.

A team of dummy terrorists landed at Badhwar Park in Colaba, where 26/11 terrorists from Pakistan had arrived. This group, too, was apprehended.

The Times of India, April 13, 2011

Short-circuit may have led to Nagpada market fire

Mateen Hafeez | TNN

Mumbai: Tuesday afternoon saw the third fire in five years at the scrap market near Nagpada. The police suspect that the fire may have been caused by a short-circuit, which gutted at least 10 commercial structures in the Two Tank area. A young man felt suffocated while trying to douse the fire and was rushed to a hospital. However, no casualties were reported.

The fire, according to shopkeepers, began at 1.20 pm at a garment unit. Within a couple of minutes, it spread to over half a dozen shops “The entire area was evacuated immediately,” said a policeman.

Eight water tankers and an equal number of fire engines along with an ambulance were rushed to the spot. “Fortunately, the fire was brought under control within some time. Had it spread, it would have caused a lot of damage to property since the wooden market is adjacent to these shops,” said Afzal Shaikh who stays in the vicinity. The shopkeepers brought water in buckets and drums to douse the fire. “The loss of property is yet to be estimated,” said a fireman.

Since it was lunch time, all the labourers were out on the road. Traffic was diverted and the police had to deploy additional personnel. “Since a film shoot had been going on for the past two days near Taj Cinema, many thought the shooting had again begun. The crowds thronged to have a glimpse of the film stars but were startled to see the rising smoke,” said Prakash Khot, who works in a timber merchant’s shop.

The lane leading to Muslim cemetery was the worst affected. “Fire catches this locality very often. The congested lanes have been completely encroached upon. Even the cemetery’s space has not been spared. Last time, in 2007, fire had spread in the wooden market as well,” said Riyaz Ahmed, a shop owner.

The Times of India, April 13, 2011

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

13/7 suspect was on way home from Jeddah

Mateen Hafeez I TNN

Mumbai: Mumbra resident Mohammed Haroon, who is being questioned in connection with the 13/7 triple blasts, had come to Mumbai from Jeddah on August 23 to celebrate Eid when he was detained by immigration officials at the airport.

A lookout notice had been issued against Haroon
(30), a suspected member of the Students’ Islamic Movement of India (SIMI). A bachelor, Haroon was arrested for allegedly possessing Rs 80,000 in fake Indian currency. Sources said Haroon was initially taken to the Andheri house of an officer who works with intelligence agencies which keep tabs on the underworld.

It is learnt that a D-gang member, who was deported from the UAE and has now been acquitted of all charges, had recently attended the funeral of this officer’s mother.

Haroon is now in the custody of the anti-terrorism squad (ATS) and is being grilled about the 13/7 triple blasts. The ATS is yet to make any arrest in the triple blasts case. “It is too early to say whether this suspect had any connection with the serial blasts. We are trying our best to detect the case,” said a security official.

It is learnt that Haroon’s brothers are trying to secure his release. A wellknown developer from south Mumbai is reportedly negotiating with the ATS for his release. The developer was in the news following the mysterious death of a Buddhist monk in Govandi a few years ago. Meanwhile, a suspect, against whom a lookout notice had been issued, was detained at Delhi’s Indira Gandhi International Airport and brought to Mumbai on Wednesday night.

The Times of India, September 4, 2011

Monday, April 11, 2011

‘Duo was paid to get gangster out’

Mateen Hafeez TNN

Mumbai: The two armed gangsters who were arrested on the sessions court premises on Friday had been paid to help an accused, Devendra Jagtap alias JD, escape from custody. The two gangsters,

Karan alias Munna and Shetty, were intercepted by the police around 3 pm, said an officer with the crime branch. “A fully loaded pistol was recovered from them. We will now be sending the weapon to Kalina forensic science laboratory for a ballistic analysis to know if it was
used in any other crime,” said the officer.

Karan and Shetty used to work for slain gangster Bharat Nepali. “They were approached by JD’s associates and were told to get him out of custody when he is brought to the court. They were paid for the job,” said the officer. JD is an accused in at least six cases, including the murder of advocate Shahid Azmi, who was defending Fahim Ansari, who was part of the 26/11 conspiracy.
There were reports that the duo had come to eliminate some prominent person, but the police insist that getting JD out was their only task. “We may question JD too. Two men entering the court with the intention to get an accused released at gunpoint is very serious,” said the officer.

The Times of India, April 11, 2011

Cop held for firing in police station


Mateen Hafeez TNN

Mumbai: The Nagpada police detained a 39-year-old police naik attached to the Mumbai Central Government Railway Police (GRP) for allegedly firing a shot outside the duty officer’s cabin on Saturday night. Nobody was injured.

The police naik, Nilesh Vishwanath Patil, was on patrol duty in Andheri but instead, he went to the police station. “He came to the duty officer’s room and sud
denly the policemen heard a gunshot. His bullet left a hole on the floor,” said Bharatkumar Rane, senior inspector of the Mumbai Central railway police.

“Patil’s service rifle was loaded. It has been seized.” Patil said he had returned to the police station as he had acute stomach ache. “I came to report it to the duty officer. I did not fire the shot deliberately,” Patil said. Two officers were in the cabin at the time of the incident.
Patil, who stays at the Ghatkopar police quarters, has been with the Mumbai Central railway police since April 29. “His record is clean,” added Rane.

However, senior police officers were not convinced that it was an accidental firing. “He said he had loaded the rifle’s chamber for his safety. However, it’s not normally allowed. We have handed him over to the Nagpada police,” said Rane.

The Times of India, April 11, 2011

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Plotters advanced schedule for 2006 Malegaon blasts: CBI


Mateen Hafeez TNN

Mumbai: Saffron groups had plannedtocarry outtheir strike in Malegaon during July 2006, two months prior to the serial blasts in the same town, say Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) officers.

The premier investigating agency, which is conducting a probe into the 2006 Malegaon blasts, gathered this information while questioning a group of suspects. However, no officer was willing to go on record.

Although blasts rocked Malegaon in September 2006, but the perpetrators had planned to carry out the blasts in July 2006. However, their plan did not materialize.

“Four RDX bombs exploded in the powerloom town on September 8, 2006 killing 38 and injuring 297 others. However, our probe has revealed that deceased RSS pracharak Sunil Joshi had visited Malegaon along with one of his associates and did a reconnaissance of the Hameediya mosque,” said sources from the security establishment.

Joshiwas allegedly involved in the Samjhauta bomb blast, Hyderabad Mecca Masjid bomb blast and the Ajmer dargah bomb blast which occurred in 2007. He was gunned down outside his residence in Dewas, Madhya Pradesh on December 29, 2007.

“Joshi’s associate, who went
to Malegaon along with him, is in jail for his alleged role in another blast. We cannot disclose his identity at this juncture. However, he is a member of a rightwing organization and belongs to Nanded,” sources added.

Joshi and his associate had stayed in Malegaon for three days and done a recce of the Hameediya mosque, say sources. But the jailed associate does not remember where they stayed.

The Times of India, April 9, 2011

Ticketing agent arrested for WC bomb hoax


Mateen Hafeez TNN

Mumbai: The Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) on Friday arrested a 40-year-old ticketing agent on charges of posting threat comments on the Mumbai police’s website a day before the 2011 cricket world cup final between India and Sri Lanka. The suspect, Rajesh Dave, had posed as a member of Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT).

“Dave was picked up from his residence in Mani Bhavan area in south Mumbai. He had used someone’s phone with a Nashik sim card to post the comment,” said ATS chief Rakesh Maria. However, The cyber crime investigation cell, which was investigating the case parallelly, reached a dead end after it found
that the server used for posting the comment was located in Norway.

The comment, posted at 7.22 pm on April 1, read: ‘30 plastic bombs have been planted in the Wankhede stadium. The bombs will be exploded through satellite. Save if you can. Pakistan Zindabad. LeT’. The comment did not have any signature or name attached.

“Dave told us that he had posted the comment just for fun. However, questioning is still on,” added Maria. Dave is married and stays with his wife and mother. “He is into booking railway tickets on commission and is well-versed in technonology. We are still probing his credentials,” said Maria.

DCP Pradip Sawant said Dave, along with others, was earlier summoned by the V P Road police in connection with betting before the final match.

The Times of India, April 9, 2011

Friday, April 8, 2011

Cop arrested for woman’s suicide in custody

S Ahmed Ali TNN

Mumbai: Sub-inspector Munir Shaikh of the Malwani police station was arrested on Thursdayby thecrimebranch for compelling a woman to commit suicide. He has been remanded in police custody tillApril11.

This is Shaikh’s second arrest in the case. In December 2010, the Malwani police had arrested him under sections 341 (punishment for wrongful restraint), 343 (wrongful confinement for three or more days) and 348 (wrongful confinement to extort confession or compel restoration of property) of the IPC. He was later released on bail of Rs 25,000. A fewdayslater,the victim,Kunda Shinde, succumbed to her
injuries, following which the police slapped section 306 (abetment of suicide) on Shaikh. Sincethen,thesub-inspector had been absconding. The case was
later handed over tothecrimebranch.

According to the police, Shaikh had approached the sessionscourtfor anticipatory bail. After it was rejected, he filed a plea in the high court, which, too, did not grant him relief, but told him that he could approach the Supreme Court within 10 days. “On Thursday, he informed the crime branch through an advocate that he wanted to surrender. As soon as he did that, the court sent him to police custody,” said a policeofficer.

The case originated on December 14, 2010, when Rupali
Sawant approached the Malwani police station, alleging that Kunda had stolen gold ornaments worth Rs 3 lakh from her house. Shaikh, who was given charge of the matter, called Shinde and her daughter Sonali to the police station and detained them for more than 24hours.

A police officer said Shaikhshouldhave registered an FIR and should have produced the Shindes before a court. But Shaikh released them only on December 16. But on December 21, he detained her again, along with
her husband Chindu. This provoked her into hanging herself with a nylon rope insideher cell.

However, an alert constable freed her from the noose in the nick of time. She was admitted to hospital, where she diedon December 31.

“Shaikh detained Shinde and her daughter without registering the arrests or making an entry in the police diary,” an officer said. “If he was not confident about the two being behind the theft, he should have let them go after questioning.”

Munir Shaikh

The Times of India, April 8, 2011

Thursday, April 7, 2011

NIA may probe 2006 Malegaon blasts case

Mateen Hafeez TNN

Mumbai: After the announcement of the 2008 Malegaon bomb blast probe being handed over to the National Investigation Agency (NIA), sources say that even the 2006 serial blasts case in the city, too, is likely to be transferred to the NIA.

The central government had earlier asked the NIA to investigate the Samjhauta Express blast, in which dozens were killed near Panipat on February 19, 2007, as well as the Modassa bomb blast in Gujarat on September 29, 2008. “Most of these cases are interconnected and saffron groups are alleged
ly involved. The government wants one agency to probe all these cases as it seem to be part of a larger conspiracy,” said a Maharashtra anti-terrorism squad (ATS) officer. More importantly, said police sources, the accused in most of the cases are same. “For example, wanted accused Sandeep Dange and Ramji Kalsangra are suspected to be involved in the 2008 Malegaon bomb blast, Mecca Masjid blast, the Ajmer dargah bomb blast and other cases,” said a police source.

The NIA, which is probing the Samjhauta Express blast, had arrested spiritual leader, Swami Aseemanand alias Naba Kumar Sarkar. The CBI has arrested five persons, belonging to hardline right-wing groups, for their alleged role in the Hyderabad Mecca Masjid blast. Similarly, the Rajasthan ATS has arrested five persons,
suspected to be members of hardline outfit, Vande Matram, for their alleged role in the Ajmer dargah blast whereas the Maharashtra ATS arrested 12 accused affiliated to Vande Matram and Abhinav Bharat for their suspected role in the 2008 Malegaon blast case.

“The investigation agency has changed in the 2008 Malegaon blast case. However, it won’t affect the case or the trial,” said Rameshwar Geete, Malegaon blast accused Sadhvi Pragya’s lawyer.

“Aseemanand, in his confession, had said that the saffron groups had plotted the

2006 Malegaon blast. Even the CBI’s new team is going after the saffron groups,” a police source said.

“It is important that cases where the same group or people are suspected to be involved be handed over to one agency. This would ensure a fair probe,” said a senior officer. “The common link between all the accused and the blast cases, Sunil Joshi, has been murdered. It’s difficult to connect the dots. If the cases are with one agency, it will be easier for it to understand the larger conspiracy,” the officer added.

The Times of India, April 7, 2011

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

NIA to take over 2008 Malegaon blast investigation

Mateen Hafeez TNN

Mumbai: The Union government has told the Maharashtra anti-terrorism squad (ATS) to hand over investigations into the 2008 Malegaon bomb blast to the National Investigation Agency (NIA).

“We received instructions from the Union government to hand over the case to the NIA. We are waiting for NIA officials to take custody of all the papers and the case. They will be handed over to them soon,” ATS chief Rakesh Maria confirmed.

Six people were killed and 101 were injured in the September 29, 2008, Malegaon bomb blast. Twelve members of the rightwing outfits, Jai Vande Mataram and Abhinav Bharat, were arrested. All the accused, including a serving Indian Army lieutenant colonel, Prasad Shrikant Purohit, face action under the stringent Maharashtra Control of Organized Crime Act (MCOCA).

Earlier, the government had indicated its willingness to hand over all cases, where saffron groups were allegedly involved, to the NIA. The Samjhauta Express bomb blast, in which 68 persons were killed, is being investigated by the NIA. Spiritual leader, Swami Aseemanand, is an accused in the Samjhauta case.

The Hyderabad Mecca Masjid bomb blast, in which 11 people were killed, and the Ajmer dargah bomb blast, in which three persons were killed, may also be handed over to the NIA.

The Maharashtra ATS had arrested 11 persons for their alleged roles in the Malegaon
blasts in October and November 2008. Pravin Mutalik, a member of the Abhinav Bharat, was arrested on January 31, 2011. “The accused wanted to cause a lot of casualties but could not succeed in their conspiracy,” an ATS officer said. Aseemanand, arrested in October 2010, had confessed that the conspiracies of the 2008 Malegaon bomb blast, the Ajmer dargah blast, the Mecca Masjid bomb blast and the Samjhauta train blast, were hatched by the saffron groups. “All cases are interconnected and the accused are mostly common,” said an officer who is part of the Malegaon bomb blasts case.

Earlier, the case of the Malegaon serial bomb blasts, in which 38 people were killed and 297 were injured on September 8, 2006, was handed over to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI). The ATS, which initially probed the case, had arrested 13 youths allegedly belonging to the banned Students Islamic Movement of India (SIMI). The case was transferred to the CBI after residents of Malegaon agitated against the arrests.

The Times of India, April 6, 2011

WC threat comment posted from Norway


Mumbai: The cyber crime investigation cell, probing a comment posted on the Mumbai police’s website warning about bomb blasts on the day of the cricket World Cup final at Wankhede stadium, has found that it was posted from Norway.

The comment, posted around 7.22 pm on April 1, a day before the India versus Sri Lanka match, read: ‘30 plastic bombs have been planted in the Wankhede stadium. The bombs will be exploded through satellite. Save if you can. Pakistani Zindabad. LeT’.

The comment did not have any signature or name attached. The police immedi
ately alerted security agencies about the comment and a group of National Security Guard commandos was sent to the stadium. They, with the help of sniffer dogs, searched the stadium but did not find any bomb. The guards, along with the other anti-terror teams, were at the stadium while the match was on too.

Anti-explosive devices and bomb detection machines were also sent to the stadium but nothing was detected. Special commandos were deployed near the players’ dressing rooms as a precaution.

“The internet protocol (IP) address has been traced to Norway. It was a hoax, but we did not want to take chances,” a police officer said.

The Times of India, April 6, 2011

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Finally, policemen in city get a breather

Mateen Hafeez TNN

Mumbai: Citizens may be disappointed that there will be no open-top parade carrying the victorious Indian team around town but for the Mumbai police, it has come as a huge relief.

The police force, which had maintained a hectic bandobast schedule due to a potential threat to the World Cup final match, has now opened the window of holidays for its 45,000 personnel in rotation.

The city police had been working hard to maintain law and order during the final match. “Everyone, from the constables to the commissioner of police, was on duty and they gave their best,” said Rajnish Seth, joint commissioner of police, in-charge of law and order.

Two years ago, after winning the T20 World Cup, the Indian team went around town atop open buses in a victory parade. The police force was re
lieved that no announcement of such a victory rally came from the BCCI this time round.

“For the World Cup final, a lot of planning and effort was involved. Not a single police
man complained about the long working hours. We have now started giving holidays to all the policemen in rotation,” added Seth. Besides the 45,000-strong Mumbai police, police commissioner Arup Patnaik had called in five companies of Rapid Action Force, nine companies of state reserve police force, and personnel from the Central Industrial Security Force, National Security Guard and Force One. “Though there was no specific terror threat, we took all precautions. We had been discussing the bandobast part for over the last one month,” said a senior police officer.

“The entire world was watching the final match. A foreign team was in Mumbai. It had been very hectic for us to maintain law and order since the Presidents of India and Sri Lanka were also in the stadium. We can now proudly say that our force is the best in bandobast since not a single case of stone pelting, rioting or crimes related to women was reported during the match bandobast,” said an officer.

“We reviewed our bandobast plan at least 10 times before the final. Even after the match was over, the bandobast continued as people came out on the roads to celebrate. Our policemen did not sleep the whole night,” said the officer.

The Times of India, April 5, 2011

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Final in a fortress sees no trouble

Mateen Hafeez | TNN

Mumbai: The city witnessed heavy bandobast and security arrangements on Saturday as India took on Sri Lanka in the World Cup final. Around 40,000 security personnel were deployed across the city, with 5,000 police personnel posted in and around Wankhede Stadium itself. Till 10 pm the police had reported no major untoward incidents. Security agencies had been on alert following intelligence briefings of a terror threat.

Around 500 commandos belonging to the Quick Response Team, the Rapid Action Force (RAF) and other agencies were maintaining bandobast near Wankhede Stadium. The security personnel did not allow even the hired help working in buildings near the stadium to pass until they produced identity proof.

Barricades were put up at all entrance gates of the stadium and spectators had to go through multiple security checks before entering. Ticket holders were frisked by personnel of the Central Industrial Security Force (CISF). All lanes leading towards the stadium were
closed and police were deployed outside various buildings. Police vehicles were also stationed at around a dozen places on Marine Drive and nakabandis were held across south Mumbai.

Senior IPS officers were also posted at the hotels where players were staying and the route they took to the stadium. National Security Guard and Force One teams were not part of the bandobast, but were on standby duty. Wankhede was declared a no-fly zone. “Even microlights and paragliding activity was prohibited,” an airport officer said. “Southbound flights from Mumbai had to take a detour,” he said.

“We had reviewed the security before the match. Along with the police, the Coast Guard, Army, Navy and Air Force are monitoring the situation,” said a senior police officer. CCTV cameras were installed in and around the stadium.

Except for the vehicles of the the President of India, President of Sri Lanka and the chief minister, no other vehicles were allowed in a radius of 1 km. Parking for spectators was kept at several gyms, the Nana-Nani park, Cooperage and soon.

The Times of India, April 3, 2011

Saturday, April 2, 2011

City cops take over stadium security

Mateen Hafeez | TNN

Mumbai: The city police on Friday afternoon took charge of security at Wankhede stadium, where the cricket World Cup final will be played between India and Sri Lanka on Saturday. The police are using a three-level security cover to maintain vigil over land, air and water.

City police commissioner Arup Patnaik conducted a meeting to review the law and order situation with his staff. Patnaik and many senior police officers stated that they were witnessing such bandobast for the first time in their careers.
As part of security, the police held meetings with garage owners, to check if vehicles had come in recently for change in number plates or colour, and if the persons looked suspicious.

A senior officer said the police had been examining visitors’ registers at lodges and guesthouses in the city too. The police also said that bulk smses had been banned.

“Ticket buyers in Mumbai are being randomly ex
amined by the police. We have their addresses and photo identities, and our men are checking their credentials through various agencies, including the special branch,” he said.

No one can enter without police permission, another official said.

“If any high-profile person or dignitary is coming to the ground, the police should be informed about it first,” the official said.

In New Delhi, the Centre directed Maharashtra to take extra precautionary measures to foil any attempt by Pakistan-based terrorists to disturb peace during the game.

The Times of India, April 2, 2011

Friday, April 1, 2011

Susairaj stars in jail brawl with peddler


Actor Takes On South African Inmate After Being Pushed, Constable Hurt

Jail brawls are common. In August 2005, members of the Dawood and Chhota Rajan gangs fought a pitched battle inside Arthur Road jail. “They then attacked some policemen who tried to intervene. The cops were injured,” said an official.

Mateen Hafeez TNN

Mumbai: Aspiring model and actor Maria Susairaj, who is facing trial in the sensational Neeraj Grover murder case, recently found herself right in the middle of a brawl in the Byculla women’s
jail where she is currently lodged.

According to sources, the scuffle started after a South African inmate pushed the 30-year-old starlet during a routine ‘search’ session. “Tempers flew after Susairaj confronted the woman charged with peddling
drugs. A physical duel ensued and a constable had to rush to separate the two. She (the constable) was injured in the melee,” a source said.

Giving details, the source said the incident took place two days ago.

“The practice of searching cells and frisking inmates is common in jails across Maharshtra. But on Tuesday while the drill was in progress, the South African inmate allegedly nudged Susairaj who was talking to someone. They had a heated argument before they caught hold of each
other,” the source added.

“Other women prisoners tried to stop the two but failed. A constable who intervened sustained minor
injuries,” said another source. The injured constable was later taken to the nearby Nagori Nursing Home at Nagpada for treatment. “No complaint was lodged as her injuries were minor,” said a jail officer. Maria and the other inmate were then shifted to two separate cells, said sources.

Susairaj is behind bars since May 2008. She was arrested on charges of plotting the murder of a private firm’s creative ad director Neeraj Grover. Her boyfriend, Emile Jerome Mathew, was also arrested and is
lodged at the Taloja jail. “The two allegedly stabbed Grover to death, dismembered his body and then burnt it in a forest. We have submitted all the evidence in the court and the trial is expected to conclude soon,” said an officer, who was part of the investigating team.

The Times of India, April 1, 2011

Shiney likely to be shifted to Thane jail

Mateen Hafeez TNN

Mumbai: Actor Shiney Ahuja may be shifted from Arthur Road jail to the Thane central prison after the World Cup final on Saturday. The 38-year-old star on Wednesday was sentenced to seven years’ rigorous imprisonment for raping his maid in his Oshiwara flat on June 14, 2009.

“Shiney was brought to the Arthur Road jail on Wednesday and has been kept in a special cell,” said a jail official. “He has not been kept in the general barrack. Those convicted in murder and rape cases are generally kept in isolated cells,” he added

Sources said there is a shortage of personnel to escort inmates from one to jail to another
as most of them have been assigned for bandobast duty ahead of the India-Lanka match.

“Due to the World Cup, most of the policemen have been diverted to beef up security in and around Wankhede stadium,” said a senior jail officer. Surender Kumar, IG (prisons) said, “We may send him to Thane prison. Only undertrials are lodged in Arthur Road jail.”

The Times of India, April 1, 2011


Maximum Security: Air Force, Navy, NSG And Force One Team Up With City Police To Ensure Safety At Final Match

Mateen Hafeez, Chinmayi Shalya & Manthan K Mehta | TNN

Indian cricket fans are hoping India do to Sri Lanka on Saturday at Wankhede, what they did to Pakistan at the Punjab Cricket Association Stadium. Outside, anti-aircraft guns from the Air Force, Navy boats and commandos, the National Security Guards, Force One and city police will be on guard to ensure Mumbai’s security dragnet is as foolproof as Mohali’s.

The Indian Navy has increased vigilance along the coast. Captain Manohar Nambiar, chief public relations officer (defence) said, “Security along the west coast has been stepped up since early March in the run up to the World Cup final scheduled to be held on April 2 in the city.” Though there is no specific threat, security agencies are not taking any chances as President Pratibha Patil and her Sri Lankan counterpart Mahinda Rajapaksa will be present at Wankhede, besides a host of Union ministers, Maharashtra chief minister Prithviraj Chavan and other leaders. All air and naval bases near Mumbai are on high alert. “Our ships and aircraft are on continuous patrol off the coasts of Gujarat and Maharashtra,” said the Navy spokesperson.

“Fast attack craft, patrol vessels and fast interceptor craft have been deployed to secure Mumbai’s shores,” the Navy spokesperson said, adding, “Additional checkpoints have been set up along the coast to the man the boat landing area.” Nambiar said, “The coastal villages have also been sensitised to report any untoward incident.”

Moreover, around 3,500 police personnel, assisted by 400 central paramilitary personnel will be
deployed for the final, in addition to teams from National Security Guard, Quick Response Team and Force One, with elite Marine Commandos on the standby.

Wankhede has been declared a no-flying zone and no aircraft movement will be permitted around the stadium. “We have made the stadium a no-flying zone after a meeting with the concerned authorities,’’ said Pavan Kumar Nagpal, regional director (western region), Airports Authority of India (AAI). Officials said no aircrafts will be permit
ted within 10-kilometre of the stadium. “Even microlights and paragliding activity has been prohibited,’’ an airport official said.

Spectators will have to go through a multi-tier security check before entering the stadium. “Police personnel will be checking spectators outside the stadium, then one has to go through a barricade and while entering the stadium a ticket holder will again be frisked by CISF men,” said police.

“We have reviewed the security and it is going to be the biggest bandobast for Mumbai,” said city police commissioner
Arup Patnaik. He added policemen from the Rapid Action Force will also be there along with the State Reserve Police Force.

While mobile phones and medicines will be allowed inside the stadium, water bottles, baggage, video cameras will not be allowed. Those who enter the stadium will not be allowed to go out during the match. “If someone goes outside during the match, he/she will not be allowed to reenter,” the commissioner said.

Crime branch chief Himanshu Roy said, “We are verifying antecedents of all foreign nationals and backgrounds of those who have purchased tickets. We are working in co-ordination with the anti-terrorism squad as well.”

“Five companies of RAF, 290 CISF personnel and NSG teams will handle the situation. Our QRT and combat vehicles will be stationed outside the stadium,” added Patnaik.

His deputy, Rajnish Seth, incharge of the city’s law and order, said several rehearsals have been done for crowd control, evacuation etc. “All agencies are working in close coordination. CCTV cameras have been installed in and around the stadium. Except the President of India, President of Sri Lanka and the chief minister, no vehicle will be allowed in a radius of one km,” Seth said.

The fire brigade and ambulances have been roped in and bunker points made in south Mumbai. Police have urged spectators to prefer public transport system. “All ticket holders will have to swipe their tickets to gain entry. We might close the gates after entry,” added Seth. Vivek Phansalkar, joint commissioner of traffic police said, “The Indian President is expected to reach Mumbai on Friday evening while the Lankan President will be coming on Saturday.”

The Times of India, April 1, 2011