Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Man held for employing missing minor

Mateen Hafeez TNN


Mumbai: The Nagpada police arrested a 52-year-old video parlour owner for employing a minor who was missing from his hometown in Uttar Pradesh since the last five months.

The accused, Naseeruddin Shaikh, was arrested for wrongful restraint, unlawfully employing a minor and criminal intimidation. He was produced before the Mazgaon court and released on bail. Cops said the minor went missing in August last year from Uttar Pradesh. “I looked for him everywhere, but in vain,” the boy’s mother told the Nagpada police. A missing complaint was registered with the UP police.


“On February 22, I received a call from one of my neighbours that my son was in Mumbai. I came to the city with my elder son. We are unfamiliar with areas in Mumbai and sought the help of local social workers and politicians,” the boy’s mother told cops. She added, “When we went to the video parlour, Shaikh did not allow us to take him back. He demanded that Rs 70,000 be paid to him before we take our son back. We then approached the police here.”

The police raided the video parlour and arrested Shaikh. “We have to find out whether the boy was kidnapped or came to Mumbai on his own. Our probe is on. We have sent the child to the Dongri juvenile remand home,” said an officer from the Nagpada police. Cops are questioning Shaikh regarding his demand for money.


The Times of India, February 29, 2012

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Malegaon blast ’08: Samjhauta suspect held


Lokesh Sharma


Mateen Hafeez TNN


Mumbai: The National Investigation Agency (NIA) has arrested suspected RSS worker Lokesh Sharma, an accused in the Samjhauta Express blast, in connection with the 2008 Malegaon explosion that killed seven.

Sharma, who was arrested on Sunday, was first held in 2011 and booked for his alleged role in the Ajmer dargah blast and later in the Samjhauta train blast case.

His name cropped up while the police began interrogating other accused arrested in the Samjhauta train blast case that had resulted in the deaths of around 70 people, mostly Pakistanis.

“He was produced before the court and remanded in police custody till March 9. We cannot disclose about his role in the blast at this juncture,” said special public prosecutor Rohini Salian.


The Times of India, February 28, 2012

Monday, February 27, 2012

2 octroi agents held for 5 crore fraud

Mateen Hafeez I TNN

Mumbai: The economic offences wing (EOW) arrested two octroi clearing agents for printing fake receipts and duping the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation of Rs 4.98 crore. The police are likely to arrest two more persons in the case.

Assistant inspector Suresh Kadam said the arrests were made after superintendent (octroi) Suresh Gawde lodged a complaint. The accused, Rajankumar Shashi Shankar Mishra (24) and Nitu Nityanand Pujari (29), are Std VIII dropouts. “We seized a printer, scanner, and rubber stamps from the accused,” said Kadam.

Five bank accounts of the accused have been frozen. The accused are in this business for the last five years, said the police. The accused’s alleged mentor, Umesh Nair, was arrested by the Navghar police last week in a similar case. “We will take Nair into cus
tody soon,” said an officer.

According to the complaint, HCL Infosys Ltd. had sent electronic goods and computer hardware from Bhiwandi to Mumbai. “The contract for transporting goods was given to two companies, which appointed Mishra, Pujari and their associates as clearing agents,” said Kadam.

“The octroi receipts were submitted to HCL. The company officials were shocked when they received a notice from the BMC for non-payment of octroi. The octroi receipts submitted to the firm were fake,” Kadam added.

Last week, the Thane police arrested another member of this group and seized bogus octroi receipts of Mulund and Dahisar check nakas, fake octroi forms, rubber stamps, demand drafts and copies of visiting cards of several civic officials. The racket mastermind has been identified as Gorakhnath Pawar (32), who was arrested on February 2.


The Times of India, February 27, 2012

SpeakAsia laundered 700 crore with help from UAE firm: Cops




Mateen Hafeez TNN

Mumbai:
Police are probing the role of an international firm in the SpeakAsia scam. They said a link had been established between Seven Rings International, a UAEbasedfirm, and the multi-level marketing company being investigated for fraud.

Sources said that the economic offences wing (EOW) found evidence to prove the nexus. “SpeakAsia officebearers have been denying links with Seven Rings International, but we have got documentary evidence,” said a police officer.

Asourcesaid Seven Rings entered into an agreement with SpeakAsia Pte (Singapore) and Haren Ventures Pvt Ltd. “Seven Rings offered to act as a publisher for SpeakAsia surveys but on the condition that they get 60% profit while SpeakAsia got 40%. Seven Rings said it had a wider reach and the agreement would be benefi
cial to SpeakAsia. They promised to publish an electronic magazine (e-zine) too,” said the source.

EOW arrested 10 persons allegedly associated with SpeakAsia last year following complaints from investors that they had been cheated. The investors had said that they had been sold web subscriptions for Rs11,000
each, and in return for filling survey forms for multinational firms, had been promised annual payments of Rs52,000. But the money, they said, had not been paid.
The police arehunting for SpeakAsia’s Indian head, Manojkumar Sharma and its global chief Haren Kaur.

“SpeakAsia entered into the agreement in February
2011 to avoid tax agencies. “While Elia De Prisco signed papers on behalf of Seven Rings, Sharma signed them for SpeakAsia,” said the source. Prisco is said to be an Italian who organizes business lectures and seminars across the world. The police suspect that Sharma is behind the Brazilian firmMister Colibri (mistercolibri.com and colibrimakemoney.com), which operates on the same model as SpeakAsia and lists Sharma as its largest investor.

The police suspect that over Rs700 crore was laundered from India with help from Seven Rings.
Investigators said AdMatrix, another company, was involved in SpeakAsia’s operations.
Colibri promises investors large annual returns for watching advertisements on a video-sharing web site and EOW found that it was using the same backend codes as AdMatrix.


The Times of India, February 27, 2012

Friday, February 24, 2012

Police chief to act after getting court order

Mateen Hafeez | TNN


Mumbai: City police commissioner Arup Patnaik on Thursday said he would wait till he gets a copy of the Bombay high court order before deciding the further course of action on probing the disproportionate assets case against former city Congress chief Kripashankar Singh. The court on Wednesday directed Patnaik to register an FIR against Singh for “criminal misconduct” under the Prevention of Corruption Act, attach the Singhs’ movable and immovable properties, personally investigate the case and submit a status report on April 19.

“The high court has directed us to probe the case,” said Patnaik. “I have read about it in the newspapers and watched on TV channels. However, I am yet to get a copy of the court order. I will decide a plan of action after going through the order.” The police chief added that since it was a court matter, commenting without reading the order wouldn’t be proper. The FIR could be registered at the Colaba police station as the HC comes under its jurisdiction. However, the appointment of investigating officers would have to be decided by the police chief.

The court passed the order while hearing a 2010 Public Interest Litigation (PIL) that alleges that Singh and his family have amassed disproportionate assets worth hundreds of crores of rupees. Patnaik refused to comment on the pattern the investigation could take. “It’s too early to say anything,” he added.

It is learnt that Patnaik may form a team of handpicked officers to probe the case. Officers who have worked with the Economic Offences Wing and the Anti-Corruption Bureau may get a place in the police chief ’s probe team. Sources said that seasoned officers could be part of the investigation and keep Patnaik informed about each and every action since he would be the highest investigating authority.

The HC directed that the PIL’s memo be treated as an FIR. The court asked the police chief to investigate the criminal case against Singh, his wife Malti Devi, son Narendra Kumar Singh, daughter-in-law Ankita Singh, daughter Sunita Singh and son-in-law Vijay Pratap Singh and submit a report by April 19. The high court ordered the attachment of about 15 immovable properties, estimated in the PIL to be worth Rs 320 crore, owned by the Singh family.


The Times of India, February 24, 2012

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

DRAMA QUEEN SCALES NEW HEIGHTS




Six Months After Trying A Similar Stunt In Thane, Woman Climbs Hoarding In Byculla And Threatens To Jump Off. Fire Officials Bring Her Down After 2 1/2 Hrs

Mateen Hafeez | TNN


On Wednesday m o r n i n g , there was high drama near Byculla bridge after a woman climbed up a hoarding by the side of the road and threatened to jump to her death.

Fire brigade officials managed to bring Sapna Pareira (46), a Vile Parle resident, to safety after two and a half hours. This is
not the first time Pareira has threatened to publicly commit suicide. On September 26, 2011, she climbed a mobile tower near Thane central jail to highlight her poor financial condition and to meet a relative lodged in Thane jail. She had made similar threats three times before as well.

HIGH DRAMA: On Wednesday, Pareira chose a hoarding next to the railway tracks as her protest site. Two school-going boys were the first to spot her climbing the iron supports of the hoarding and raised the alarm. Within minutes, the fire brigade rescue team reached the spot, followed by police personnel and a few mediapersons. Initially, she was around 30ft above the ground, but seeing the fire brigade personnel trying to get closer, she climbed higher and perched near the top of the hoarding.

‘NEED 20 LAKH FOR SURGERY’: Pareira started yelling that she has a 11-year-old daughter who is
blind. “I need Rs 20 lakh from the Prime Minister’s relief fund for my daughter’s eye operation. I have spoken to a US-based doctor and need the money for surgery,” she told the police.

MORNING MAYHEM:
When the police personnel tried to negotiate with her, Pareira started abusing them. “I don’t want to listen to you,” she said, leaning on
the iron pole. “Go back from here. I want to die,” she threatened. Traffic began to crawl as a crowd gathered to watch the drama. Some spectators began shooting the incident with their mobile cameras. A BEST bus driver, who was trying to figure out what was happening, hit a biker. The biker fell on the road, but escaped unhurt. Additional police personnel were deployed near the spot. Fire brigade officers brought a net to catch Pareira in case she jumped.

TRICKY RESCUE:
Finally, a private TV channel’s reporter and cameraman were sent in a crane to ne
gotiate. Pareira tried to hit them with an iron rod. While the journalists engaged her in conversation, a group of fire officials climbed the hoarding and overpowered Pareira. They put her into the crane and brought her down.

She was later taken to JJ Hospital. Pareira could be arrested for attempting to commit suicide and threatening a member of the public. No case has been registered as yet.


The Times of India, February 22, 2012

Father arrested for son’s kidnap

The three-year-old boy, Kalpak, was rescued from Malwani


Mateen Hafeez TNN


Mumbai: The city crime branch on Tuesday arrested a 30-year-old man and his first wife for kidnapping the former’s three-year-old son for ransom. The boy was rescued from Malwani nearly two months after hewent missing.

The accused, Naresh Janardhan Ingale,toldthe police thathewantedtoteachhissecondwife, Swati, a lesson.He accused her of “troubling him over domesticissues”.

Ingale, a DTP operator in a software firm, is a resident of of Indira Nagar near Juhu Tara Road, Santa Cruz. His son, Kalpak, went missing on December 25 last year. Ingale went to the Santa Cruz police tolodge a complaint a daylater.
The missing person complaint was converted into a kidnapping case after Ingale claimed tohave got a ransom call.

Ingale said the caller, who identified herself as Yashika Singh,toldhim thatshewould give him information about his son, but would have to be paid Rs 5 lakh for that. Since then, Ingale visited the police station every day.

Then, the caller contacted Swati and asked her to cough up Rs 2 lakh. She also warned that Kalpak would be killed if
the money was not paid.

The crime branch then began a parallel probe. “We learnt that a young boy had been seen with a Malwani woman. The police raidedthewoman’s house andfoundKalpakthere. Thewoman,identified asNaziya Shaikh aliasNaziya Shahid Khan (25), was arrested,” said Himanshu Roy, crime branch chief.Itwas,however, notclear if she was the same woman

whohadcalledup asYashika.

Naziya said Ingale had broughttheboy toher on December 25.Basedon her statement, Ingalewas arrested;he reportedly confessed to having plotted the kidnapping. “Naziya is Ingale’s first wife. He married her in 2005 as ShahidKhan.Ingale told us that his current wife Swati, whom he married in 2008, would often fight with him. So,hewantedtoteachher alesson,” saidinvestigating officer Sagar Shivalkar.


The Times of India, February 22, 2012

Monday, February 20, 2012

Bizman conned of 3cr in overseas scrap deal




Accused Didn’t Own Goods Shown To Victim

Mateen Hafeez TNN


Mumbai: The city police arrested a scrap dealer, Roshan Sunny Rappai, at the Chennai airportlastweekwhen he was about to flee the country. Rappai has allegedly duped a businessman from Chembur whom he promised to sell metal scrap worth Rs 3.35 crorein Papua NewGuinea.

Thescrap shown tothe victim, Sachin Petkar, did not belong toRappai, police said.

Following Petkar’s complaintin January,officersPravin Bhagat, Mahesh Athawale and Suman Chavan took up the case. “I have been importing steel and other material from west Africa andexporting them to Southeast Asian countries,” Petkar,whois a partner in M/sAlfiyaEnterprises,said. “In July 2010,Rappai,through a middle man, offered to sell over
5 lakh tonne scrap, which he said, was kept in his yard at Papua New Guinea. He claimed to own Universal Steel Corporation in Singapore.”

Petkar said initially, they were shown some photographsof the product. “In the first consignment, we decided to buy 40,000 tonne steel and an agreement was made. I paid Rs 2 lakh in advance and spent another Rs 80,000 as shipping charges. But wh
en the scrap was not delivered till April 2011, I called up Rappai, but he did not entertain the calls. Fed up, I set off for Papua New Guinea. On reaching there,Iwastoldthat the scrap did not belong to Rappai,” saidPetkar.Hethen went to Singapore and confronted Rappai and his associate, Asha Natrajan. The duo reportedly agreed to make good the losses in 90 days. Petkar claimed the two also promised to send him 60 containers of scrap and as a security, Rappai gave him a cheque of Rs 3.5 crore, which subsequently bounced.

During the probe, the police found that Rappai was born and brought up in Chennai. After school, he became a commission agentin scrap business and stayed at Natrajan’s house in Singapore. Petkar said Natrajan took careof theentirebusiness.



The Times of India, February 20, 2012

Student drowns in Kerala backwaters


Mateen Hafeez TNN


Mumbai: A 17-year-old first-year architecture student of Anjuman-i-Islam, Shabbir Bagsarwala, on Sunday drowned in the backwaters of Kumarakom in Kerala where hewenton a study tour.

Thebody wastaken toKottayam Medical College where a post mortem was done on Sunday. The boy’s family and college authorities have reached Kumarokam to bring the body back.

Zaheer Qazi, president of Anjuman, said, “It was a study tour for the students of architect.” A group of 39 stu
dents, teachers, other staff and two tour operators went to Kerala on Monday. “The incidenttook place around7 pm on Saturday. The boy lost control andfellintothewater.Life guards jumped in and made every effortto rescuehim,but he could not be found for half an hour. By the time, he was fishedout,itwastoolate,” Qazi said. “The boy was very good in studies. He stayed at Bohri Mohalla near Bhendi Bazar.”

Shabbir’s mother and uncle, along with the institute members, will leave for Mumbai with the body on Monday morning.

The Times of India, February 20, 2012

Thursday, February 16, 2012

NIA probing Samjhauta suspect role



MALEGAON BLAST


Mateen Hafeez TNN


Mumbai: The National Investigation Agency (NIA), probing the Samjhauta train blast case, is now questioning prime suspect Kamal Chauhan to see if he was involved in the 2006 Malegaon mosque blasts that killed 31 people.

Chauhan, an RSS worker who was arrested by the NIA three days ago, has confessed that he had planted bombs on the Samjhauta Express in 2007 after undergoing training in arms and explosives in
Haryana and Madhya Pradesh, the agency claimed. Chauhan has been remanded in NIA custody till February 24 for questioning.

Chauhan, along with Ramchandra Kalasangra alias Ramji and Lokesh Sharma, other accused in the case,
planted the explosives on the train at Old Delhi. NIA’s special prosecutor R K Handa said. “Ramji is still wanted in the 2006 Malegaon bombing case. The NIA is now quizzing Chauhan to find out if he was aware about the others who had participated in the bombing conspiracy in July 2006,” said a source.

Sources in the security establishment said right-wing groups had planned to carry out their strike in Malegaon during July 2006, two months prior to the serial blasts in the same town. However the perpetrators’ plan did not materialize and the bombs were planted in September, 2006. “Four RDX bombs exploded on September 8, 2006 killing 38 and injuring 297 others. Our probe has revealed that deceased RSS pracharak Sunil Joshi had visited Malegaon to do a a recce of the Hameediya mosque,” said a source.


The Times of India, February 16, 2012

SpeakAsia COO appears before cops after four-month hiatus

Mateen Hafeez TNN


Mumbai: Chief operating officer (COO) of the controversial online survey firm SpeakAsia, Tarak Bajpai, who jumped bail in October 2011, has started visiting the Mumbai crime branch office. Bajpai (36) told police he was not well and had been hospitalized. However, policehad not found him in hospital in November 2011 and begun the process for cancellation of his bail.
“Bajpai started coming to the Mumbai economic offences wing (EOW) office after a gap of four months. All 10 accused in the case are out on bail and attending the EOW office as directed by the court. They have to come to our office twice a week,”
said an EOW official.

The Hyderabad police have also regsistered a case against him. Bajpai was first arrested along with other co-accused in the multi-crore scam by the Thane police in July 2011. He complained of health problems and was admitted to Jupiter Hospital in Thane. While he was in hospital, the Andhra Pradesh police took the remaining accused into custody and took them to Hyderabad. Upon his discharge from hospital, Bajpai, through his lawyer, approached the Hyderabad court seeking anticipatory bail. “He was not present during the hearing and his anticipatory bail application was rejected,” said the officer.

SpeakAsia, floated in 2010, allegedly duped people by posing as a survey company. Investors, also called panelists, were given usernames and passwords to be used on
the company’s now defunct website upon payment of Rs 11,000. Each panelist was given two surveys to complete in a week. Investors were promised Rs 52,000 if they completed 100 surveys in a year. So far, over 200 bank accounts, reportedly belonging to the prime suspect and office bearers of SpeakAsia, have been frozen with Rs 142 crore lying in these accounts.

The police have identified some accounts where Rs 11,000, Rs 22,000, Rs 33,000 and so on were deposited by investors. The money was transferred to the company’s master franchise M/s Tulsiyat Tech Pvt Ltd., owned by Manojkumar Sharma. The money was then transferred to an account in the name of Haren Ventures in the United Singapore Overseas Bank. The online survey firm allegedly duped over 24 lakh investors across the country.


The Times of India, February 16, 2012

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Extra cover for city’s Israeli-owned bldgs


Multi-Tier Security At Consulate In Nariman Pt

Mateen Hafeez TNN


Mumbai: Security arrangements were tightened, especially around the Israeli consulate in Nariman Point, and the city was put on high alert following an explosion in an Israeli embassy car close to its mission in Delhi on Monday.

Three persons, including an Israeli woman, were injured in the suspected terror attack. “We have stepped up security at the Israeli consulate, the consul-general’s residence and Jewish places of worship,” Mumbai police spokesman and deputy commissioner of police Nisar Tamboli said.

Armed Quick Response Teams (QRTs) of Mumbai police were deployed at the consulate building and several institutions belonging to Israelis in the city were put under strict surveillance, said the police. “A total of 40 police personnel have been deployed at the consulate for se
curity,” said a senior official.

While the Mumbai police’s armed forces have been on round-the-clock duty at the consulate, a multi-tiered security
ring was put in place around the Nariman Point building and vehicles passing through all entry and exit points were checked thoroughly.

The Mumbai police’s armed forces provide security to 48 consulates in the city. “A majority of the manpower is deployed at the US and the Israeli consulates in Mumbai,” said an officer.
A co-accused in the 26/11 attack, David Coleman Headley, had conducted a recce of the Chabad House or Nariman House, a Jewish outreach centre, that was targeted during the 2008 terror strike and identified Chabad houses in Delhi, Pushkar and Pune as potential targets.
The Mumbai police did not call a meeting on security arrangements following the Delhi blast. “We have alerted all police stations. The QRT and armoured vehicles are on patrol duty,” said an officer.


The Times of India, February 14, 2012

Saturday, February 11, 2012

‘NO SIGN OF REMORSE’

High court says 2003 blasts accused showed no repentance for the ghastly acts committed by them, deserve to be given the extreme penalty as a rarest of rare case

Shibu Thomas | TNN



The Bombay High Court on Friday confirmed the death sentence to three persons, including a husband-wife duo, in the 2003 twin blasts case. It is probably the second case since the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case that a husband-wife duo has been sentenced to death.

The high court on Friday also set aside the trial court order discharging two other accused in the case. Though it upheld the discharge of Hassan Batterywala and Rizwan Ladduwala under anti-terrorism charges, they will now have to face trial for murder conspiracy charges under the Indian Penal Code.

“It is a rarest of rare case, deserving extreme penalty. (They) are ordered to be hanged by neck till dead,” said a division bench of Justices Ajay M Khanwilkar and Pramod D Kode, adding that there was evidence that the accused were “members of the terrorist organization Lashkar-e-Taiba”. The court ordered the trio to also shell out Rs 70,000 each as fine.

Ansari and Sayed, lodged in the Arthur Road prison, and Fehmida, incarcerated in the women’s prison in Byculla, appeared before the court through a video conference link. None of the accused betrayed any emotion as Justice Kode read out the verdict. The court also declined to show any leniency to Fehmida. Defence lawyers had urged the court to show sympathy to her as she was a woman.

“The accused must be dealt with sternly considering that they had not committed the offence under influence of extreme mental or emotional disturbance but in a wellplanned manner in furtherance of criminal conspiracy to destabilize the country by causing serial bomb blasts in a city like Mumbai, which act was in retaliation to the Godhra incident,” said the judges.

The court took into consideration the fact that at no point had the accused shown any remorse.

“They had no repentance for the ghastly acts committed by them, nor any remorse for the same,” said the judges. “In that, not satisfied with the outcome of the incident at SEEPZ and the second attempt at Ghatkopar, they worked on a plan to cause serial blasts at Zaveri Bazaar and Gateway of India.” Additional public prosecutors Poornima Kantharia and Jayesh Yagnik said that the prosecution case of conspiracy had been accepted by the court.

Main accused Hanif worked as an electrician in Dubai and as an auto driver in Mumbai. Police said he was indoctrinated in Dubai and planted the bomb at the Gateway with his wife.
The third accused Ashrat Ansari was a zari worker living at Andheri. He helped make the bombs at Hanif ’s house and planted the one at Zaveri Bazaar.


TRIAL ORDERED
Mohammed Ansar Shaikh alias Hasan Batterywala
He was discharged after a POTA review committee gave him a clean chit. The cops claimed they recovered 750 gm of RDX from his auto repair shop in Kurla, but the panel couldn’t believe he would keep explosives when the cops were looking for suspects July 27, 2009: Discarged Feb 10, 2012: HC orders trial under sections of the IPC

Mohammed Ansari alias Usman Ladoowala
Discharged along with Batterywala on the recommendation of the same POTA committee. The cops claimed they had recovered two detonators from Ladoowala’s house
July 27, 2009: Discharged
Feb 10, 2012: HC orders trial under IPC sections


TIMELINE

Twin Blasts | August 25, 2003 1.05 pm at Zaveri Bazar | 36 dead 1.08 pm Gateway of India | 16 dead
Total injured:
184 |
Explosives: Gelatin, RDX
Accused:
6 | 3 convicted, 1 turned approver, 2 discharged |
Motive: Revenge for Gujarat riots

The Plot Hatched in Dubai in 2002. Nine absconding Pakistanis, allegedly LeT men, attended the meeting along with Nasir
The Final Minutes
8.30 am
Ashrat Ansari reaches the chawl at Chimatpada, Andheri, where the Syeds live. They insert timers into the bombs, which have been made earlier and kept on the Syeds’ mezzanine floor. The two bombs are put in separate rexine bags
10 am
The Syeds and Ansari have tea and a short discussion before leaving the house. They hire an auto to Juhu Gully
10.45 am
At Juhu Gully, they hire two taxis. Hanif Syed, wife Fehmida and daughter Farheen sit in one. The couple place a rexine bag in the boot. Ansari takes another cab

12.30 pm
Ansari leaves cab at Zaveri Bazar, the bomb remains in its boot
12.45 pm
The Syeds reach the Gateway, where they halt at the pay-and-park and tell the cabbie they are going shopping. The cabbie prepares to eat his tiffin, but first heads to answer nature’s call
1.05 pm
The Zaveri Bazar bomb goes off, killing the cabbie inside
1.08 pm
The Gateway bomb goes off. Cabbie Shivnarain Pandey is saved

Breakthrough
Shivnarain Pandey, the driver of the taxi with the bomb parked at the Gateway, decided to answer nature’s call. That decision saved his life and helped him assist the police in tracking down the culprits

Sept 2010 – The trio appeal in the HC, State files petition to confirm death sentences and challenges acquittal of two accused
Late 2011 – HC commences day-to-day hearings
Oct 2011 –
HC orders the hearings be held through video conferencing with the jail where the accused are lodged
Feb 10, 2012 – HC confirms death penalty

CAPITAL PUNISHMENT CONFIRMED THE HIGH COURT REFUSING TO BE LENIENT TO FEHMIDA AS SHE WAS A WOMAN AND UPHELD THE TRIAL COURT RULING ON THE MAIN ACCUSED


Hanif Syed (52)
He worked as an electrician in Dubai and later as an auto driver in Mumbai. Police say that he was indoctrinated in Dubai by Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT) agents who recruited him saying he had to avenge the killing of Muslims during the Gujarat riots
Role:
Hanif helped make the bombs and planted the one at the Gateway. He was reportedly the leader of the ‘Gujarat Muslim
Revenge Force’
July 27, 2009:
Death penalty
February 10, 2012: HC confirms the death penalty


Fehmida Syed (49)
Hanif’s wife was also named as a fellow conspirator. Fehmida was supposed to be one of the first women who willingly took part in the making and planting of bombs. Earlier, in the 1993 serial blasts, women were accused of knowing about the conspiracy, but were not charged with directly executing it
Role: Fehmida helped make the bombs at home in Andheri (West) and helped plant the bomb at the
Gateway
July 27, 2009: Death penalty
February 10, 2012: HC confirms death penalty


Ashrat Ansari (38)
He was a zari worker who lived in Andheri and visited Hanif often. He helped make the bombs at Hanif’s house. He lived near the Syeds’ Juhu Gully home, where he also worked in an embroidery firm. He also drove an auto.
Role:
Ansari helped make the bombs and planted the one in a taxi at Zaveri Bazar
July 27, 2009:
Death penalty
February 10, 2012:

HC confirms the capital punishment awarded by the trial court


Victims WHILE THOSE WHO SURVIVED ARE STILL COMING TO TERMS WITH THE EVENTS OF THE ILL-FATED DAY, THE KIN OF THE DEAD WAIT FOR THE ACCUSED TO BE HANGED



Tariq Punjabi (34), Zari Shop Owner
Punjabi has been working at the same spot at Zaveri Bazaar for the past 20 years. He was at his ‘gala’ on the day in 2003 when a blast rocked the area in front of his shop. He had glass shards
in his knee and required a surgery. News of the HC’s verdict on Wednesday re-ignites his anger. “What is the point of this verdict till the authorities actually hang those found guilty,” he says, adding that court case has gone into repeated appeals. He has stopped tracking developments and is resigned to fate. He points out that there have been two blasts in the same area ever since. “What is the point of CCTVs if you cannot prevent another blast?” he wonders.



Radhakrishna Patwa (50), Jeweller
Patwa was seated at his stall in Zaveri Bazaar through all the three blasts which rocked the area. “I had my customers’ belongings and could not just leave them and run. Fortunately, I survived many times.” Ask about the verdict and he said such terrorists should be banned from entering the country. “After 2003, we have been attacked many times. In all incidents, poor
working masses like us suffer,” he says. “There is a fear lurking after every incident which translates into bad business for us,” he says. Clutching a newspaper, Patwa says he has been following the news of the blast, and believes the accused should be brought to book at the earliest. His children keep cautioning him to take care, but Patwa is fearless. “I am brave and belong here.”



Harsh Bahadur Singh, Taxi Driver
Wife of taxi driver Harsh Bahadur Singh, who died in the taxi blast at Zaveri Bazar said, “The convicys should be hanged to death soon so that their family understands our suffering after losing the sole breadwinner in the family.” Sail Kumari is struggling to make ends meet for her three
children. She had got Rs 2 lakh as compensation, which she she has saved. Her elder son works in a mall to help his family. “I approached many people for the education of my kids. Some people promised me to give me ‘vidhva-pension' under the government scheme but failed to keep their promise”. The family never followed the development as their daily struggle barely leaves them with the time or resources to do so. “Who will arrange my daughter’s marriage?”Kumari adds. “The matter has been delayed time and again. We fear the accused will get acquitted. I will be happy the day the accused are hanged to death.” -Vijay V Singh | TNN



Ramu Patil (42), Waiter
Patil greets Friday’s HC verdict with a sense of déjà vu. “They keep telling us that the perpetrators will be punished. But it’s been so many years,” he says. A resident of Kandivli, Patil who had been working at the same hotel when the blast rocked the area, lost his right eye in the incident. His children who were in primary school have now grown up. “The government should do
something for our children’s education. The injury restricts me from taking on other jobs and deprives them of benefits we could have otherwise had.” He points to the police barricades and security and says many shops have been moved out, but what has to happen eventually does. “I tell my children that I have earned a second life. And we should be grateful for that.”


Judge ruled on ’93 blast case too
The three death penalties Justice Pramod Dattaram Kode pronounced on Friday took the tally of capital punishments he has handed out to 15.

Justice Kode, as special TADA judge, sentenced 12 persons to death in the 1993 Mumbai serial blasts case, including prime accused Tiger Memon’s brother Yakub Memon. He also sentenced actor Sanjay Dutt to six years’ imprisonment for illegal possession of arms in the case.
Interestingly, the investigation team for the Gateway-Zaveri Bazaar twin blasts was headed by ATS chief Rakesh Maria, then additional commissioner of police (crime branch) who also headed the 1993 blast probe. “We made all efforts in the investigation and our boys came up with a watertight case,” Maria said. -Shibu Thomas & Mateen Hafeez | TNN


The Times of India, February 11, 2012

IM man was thrown out of house by dad


Mateen Hafeez I TNN


Mumbai: Suspected Indian Mujahideen (IM) operative Haroon Naik (33) was kicked out of his house by his father in early 1999 because he fell in love with a girl. Since then, Haroon has hardly been in touch with his family.

At the time of his arrest at the airport upon his return from Jeddah, Haroon was to take a flight to Lucknow. On Friday, Haroon’s elder brother Imtiyaz, a scrap contractor, was present in the Mazgaon court when the IM op
erative was remanded in police custody till February 18.

“Haroon fell in love with a girl from Chembur during his college days. But our father disapproved of the relationship and threw Haroon out of the house. He returned in 2003, but did not stay at home,” said Imtiyaz. “He had taken a room on rent in Chembur and would come over
often to meet our parents.” Admitting that Haroon was a SIMI member, Imtiyaz said, “My brother is innocent. He cannot be involved in a blast case.”

The suspected IM operative, according to the ATS, had attended four training sessions, including one conducted by the al-Qaeda, in Bahwalpur, Pakistan. Haroon is the youngest of four brothers. His elder sister passed away some time ago.
Haroon was arrested in August 2011 on charges of carrying fake currency.


The Times of India, February 11, 2012

Haroon was in touch with Pak army’s ‘Gen Murad’

PROBE INTO 13/7


Mateen Hafeez | TNN


Mumbai: Haroon Rasheed Naik, who allegedly played a key role in 13/7, was in touch with the Pakistani army’s “General Murad” when he underwent a training course that involved operating firearms, assembling explosives, indoctrination and recruitment, said sources in the security establishment.

Naik, who was said to have received fighter training from the al-Qaida, reportedly told the police that in the training camp at Bahawalpur (Pakistan), a serving general called Murad would often visit to take stock.

However, the police said “Gen Murad” could be a code name. “Several serving and retired army men visit training camps. They handpick youth for destructive activities in India,” said an officer.

“Gen Murad”, said sources, was the main link between the new recruits and ISI. “However, we cannot say much about it as there is no confirmation. The blasts probe is being examined by very senior officials in the security forces,” said a police officer.

It is learnt that Indian Mujahideen co-founder Riyaz Bhatkal and Naik began their careers together. Naik picked things up very fast and was very intelligent. He knew how to flatter senior IM functionaries and made his place in the outfit. Bhatkal was insecure and asked the other members not to involve Naik in sensitive matters. “It is learnt that Naik would visit India every two years and the IM functionaries wanted him to take precautions but he would ignore them. This gave Bhatkal a chance to replace Naik in the outfit,” said the officer.


The Times of India, February 11, 2012

Opera House accused booked for Zaveri blast

Mateen Hafeez I TNN


Mumbai: Two accused booked for the Opera House blast have been named as accused in the July 13 explosion at Zaveri Bazaar too. On Friday, the two—Naqi Ahmed and Nadeem Akhtar—were sent to police custody till February 17 for their involvement in this case.

Naqi and Nadeem are accused of stealing bikes and scooters and smuggling the explosives used in the blasts. The duo, along with co-accused Kunwar Nain Pathrija and Haroon Rasheed Naik, was produced before the Mazgaon court on Friday.

While public prosecutor Uddhav V Taralgatte did not seek further police custody of Naqi and Nadeem in the Opera House blast case, he told the court that they have been booked in the Zaveri Bazaar case too. “A stolen Activa was used in the blast. We need to find out how they stole it, who all were involved in the conspiracy and how the plot was hatched. The custodial interrogation of the accused will help the police to properly find out about other things in the case,” Taralgatte told the court.

The anti-terrorism squad (ATS) said that Naqi had helped Indian Mujahideen (IM) co-founder Yasin Bhatkal and two others rent a room in Byculla from where the accused headed to plant the bomb. The police said Bhatkal had handed over the explosives to Nadeem in Delhi who then brought them to Mumbai and gave them to Naqi. Naqi later gave these explosives to suspected Pakistani bombers, Waqqas and Tabrez.

Pathrija is accused of channelizing the hawala money used for the blasts while Naik is the alleged planner and fund raiser in the case. “Our case is at a crucial stage and we are busy collecting evidence,” said ATS chief Rakesh Maria.

Pathrija and Naik are still in police custody for their alleged role in the Opera House blast case. “We need to in
terrogate Naik and Pathrija about the other wanted accused. Moreover, the police have recovered two cellphones, diaries and a SIM card from Pathrija. His custodial interrogation is also required,” added Taralgatte.

Naqi’s defence counsel, Mujahid Mulla, objected to this, saying, “There is no recovery from my client. The remand application is iden
tical to what was produced last week. My client should be sent to judicial custody.” Meanwhile, Naik told the court that he was unaware of the charges against him. The court then narrated the case number and a brief. On learning that he is an accused in a bomb blast case, Naik told the court, “I have nothing to do with it (Opera House blast case).”


The Times of India, February 11, 2012

Friday, February 10, 2012

SpeakAsia plea to pay only 115 opposed


Mateen Hafeez TNN


Mumbai: SpeakAsia, the investment firm that duped thousands of people of crores of rupees, has appealed to the Supreme Court that it will return Rs 50 crore to 115 petitioners who had invested in it. However opposing the move, the city police said there were many more who had invested in the firm and the amount ran into more than Rs 2,276 crore. To prove its claim, the economic offences wing (EOW) will submit a list of all the investors who lost their money to the multi-crore fraud.

According to the police, SpeakAsia started an online scheme under which every
investor,known as a panelist, was asked to pay Rs 11,000 so that they could conduct two surveys a week for a year. If the investor successfully completed all the surveys, he or she would be entitled to Rs 52,000 a year. However, after the initial rounds, the firm reportedly stopped paying the investors who subsequently lodged complaints. So far, the EOW has arrested 10 accused.

In Supreme Court, the firmhasofferedto returnthe money of 115 investors, most of whom filed a petition, demanding their money back. While the court stated that the amount could be returned through a mediator, it also asked the investigators and
other agencies involved in the probetofiletheir reply by February 11. However, the police are not ready to agree: “The company is ready to return money to 115 investors, butwhat aboutthe morethan two million people who invested in SpeakAsia? Going by our record, the company cheated lakhs of investors of a total Rs 2,276 crore. Why does the company want to return Rs 50 core only?”

The Enforcement Directorate, which has registered a case against the company under Prevention of Money Laundering Act, is probing how the money invested in the firm was channelized abroad; the income tax de
partment said the firm had transferred over Rs 700 crore to Singapore.

An officer added, “All the investigating agencies will submit their replies in the Supreme Court.” The firm, which was founded in 2010, reportedly enrolled 24 lakh members in a year. While most of its Indian office bearers have been caught,the globalheadof the company is still at large. The police are also monitoring some panelistswho are allegedly claiming that “there is no police case against the company”. “We are keeping an eye on those who have been supporting the company through internet,” an official said.


The Times of India, February 10, 2012

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

13/7 suspect met Osama in Pak, Lakhvi in Afghan camp




Mateen Hafeez | TNN



AInvestigations into the 13/7 serial blasts have revealed that the prime accused, Haroon Rasheed Naik, met slain Al-Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden at a training camp for terrorists in Pakistan in August 2001. Later that year he also met Zakiur-Rehman Lakhvi, the main accused in the 26/11 attacks, at another camp in Kandahar.

Maharashtra ATS sources said Naik, alias Umar Akbar alias Mushtaque Shaikh alias Salahuddin (33), was arrested for facilitating hawala transactions in the July 13, 2011 serial blasts. Indian Mujahideen’s (IM) founder Riyaz Bhatkal had sent him to a camp in Pakistan’s Bahawalpur for 15-day training in late 2000. “Naik was at the camp in August 2001 when Osama visited it. Osama gave an in
spirational speech on jihad in Arabic and it was translated into English by one of the trainees. Osama’s visit to the camp took everyone by surprise and motivated the trainees,” said a police source. “Naik is the link between the IM and Lashkar-e-Taiba, IM and Pakistan’s Jaish-e-Mohammed, besides being the main link between IM and Al-Qaeda,” said police.

Osama’s speech inspired Naik to join a 40-day commando training camp on the outskirts of Kandahar, Afghanistan. Here, he also met Zakiur-Rehman Lakhvi of the Pakistanbased Jamat-ud-Dawa (JuD). Lakhvi is one of the main accused in the 26/11 terror attacks in which 10 Pakistani gunmen killed 166 people in Mumbai. The Kandahar training was just a month before 9/11 and Naik left after the twin tower attacks.


Police claimed that at the training, Naik met two other terror suspects, Aftab Ansari and Ahmed Umer Saeed Shaikh. ATS chief Rakesh Maria refused to comment on the issue.

While Ansari is the main accused in the kidnapping of Kolkata-based businessman Roy Burman (owner of Khadim Shoes), and the firing on the US cultural centre building in that city, Shaikh is an accused in the 9/11 attack. “Shaikh had arranged Naik’s 40-day commando training near Kandahar. Naik told interrogators that there were many foreigners in the Al-Qaeda training camp and he was the only Indian,” said police sources, refusing to disclose
the nationalities of other trainees at the camp. Shaikh, along with terrorists Masood Azhar and Mushtaque Ahmed Zargar were released in exchange for the passengers of the hijacked IC-814 in January 2000.

THE LADEN LINK
NAME | Haroon Rasheed Naik (33) alias Umar Akbar alias Mushtaque Shaikh alias Salahuddin RESIDENT OF | Thane
EDUCATION | Digital electronics diploma from Institute of Technology, Ulhasnagar
13/7 ROLE | He allegedly facilitated funds for the blasts through hawala
TERROR TRAINING |
Learnt to operate firearms & assembling explosives at Pakistan’s Bahawalpur camp in late 2000
MEETING OSAMA |
During his training, Osama Bin Laden visited the camp and spoke on jihad. Inspired, Naik enrolled for commando training at a Kandahar camp



THE ELUSIVE MASTERMIND

NOV 2010 | Yasin Bhatkal, arrested in a fake currency racket by West Bengal police, was in custody for more than a month. But despite a nationwide alert, no security agency learnt of his arrest
NOV 24, 2011 | Yasin fled Delhi’s Nangloi area immediately after he got wind of the arrests of his colleagues
NOV 27 | He stayed at a relative’s
place with father-in-law Mohammed Irshad Khan in Chennai. But Yasin never returned from the market as he was alerted by the sight of local cops in uniform surrounding the home
DEC 2011 |
Yasin and his Pakistani associates, Waqqas and Tabrez, fled an apartment in Byculla, Mumbai, just as the cops were closing in on them



Cops on his trail, Yasin always proved lucky

S Ahmed Ali | TNN


Mumbai: Either Yasin Bhatkal has more lives than the proverbial feline or the cops have simply failed to plan their moves well when tracking him. The key Indian Mujaheedin (IM) operative gave Delhi Police’s special cell the slip thrice in three months — Delhi and Chennai in November, Mumbai in December. Last November, Delhi Police arrested four IM men, including a Pakistani national Mohammed Adil, Mohammed Qateel Siddiqui, Gauhar Aziz Khomani and Gayoor Jamali from the capital’s Nangloi area. During interrogations they told police that Yasin and his father-in-law Mohammed Irshad Khan fled the place immediately (November 24) as they got wind of the arrests.

Police then learnt that Yasin was staying with Irshad Khan at a relative’s house in Chennai. Sources said on November 27, the Delhi cops asked the Chennai police for help as they were unfamiliar with the local language.
“The Chennai police erred in using uniformed cops to corner the entire area where Bhatkal was believed to be hiding. Delhi Police then raided the place and arrested Irshad Khan and his associate Abdul Rahman, but Yasin was missing. Khan told police that Yasin, who was staying there for three days, had just gone to the market and was to return, but we believe he fled on seeing the uniformed policemen in the area,” said a Delhi police official. Then in December last year, the infighting between Maharashtra’s Anti-Terrorism Squad and Delhi Polices’ special cell helped Yasin escape again, this time with two Pakistani associates Waqqas and Tabrez, from Habib Apartment in Byculla, Mumbai. In fact Yasin, who also operates under the aliases Siddi Bappa and Shahrukh, had also proved lucky when he was arrested in November 2010 by the West Bengal police in a fake currency racket. “Though several agencies kept looking for him all over India, he was very much in police custody and nobody knew. It was ridiculous,’’ the policeman said. Yasin, who is second in the IM hierarchy to Riyaz Bhatkal, is wanted for three terror attacks in 2010 alone —the German Bakery blast in Pune, the Jama Masjid shootout and blast in the capital and the Chinnaswamy stadium blast in Bangalore.

Yasin Bhatkal: IM operative, still at large


The Times of India, February 8, 2012

Monday, February 6, 2012

ATS wants to ‘paralyze’ IM’s money wing


Mateen Hafeez TNN


Mumbai: The anti-terrorism squad (ATS), probing the 13/7 serial blasts, is chasing the financial wing of the outlawed terror outfit, Indian Mujahideen (IM), and wants to paralyze it. “Without funding, it will become difficult for the IM to run its modules. The outfit requires money to continue its activities,” said ATS chief Rakesh Maria.

The IM’s hawala operations had come to light following the arrest of Kanwar Nain Pathrija from Delhi. A
hawala operator, Pathrija had allegedly received Rs 10 lakh from Dubai and he later handed over this money to IM cofounder and 13/7 mastermind Yasin Bhatkal.

“Our priority is to get all the information about the IM’s financial wing and completely paralyze it so that the outfit can not run other operations,”
said a police source.

In the past, four brigades formed by the IM to carry out terror attacks in Indian cities were crippled after the arrest of two dozen IM suspects.

Sources in the security establishment said two diaries seized from Pathrija contained records of hawala transactions to the tune of Rs 2 crore that took place in the last one year.

“However, the money sent by IM operative Haroon Rasheed Naik from UAE is just Rs 10 lakh. We are scanning other people who had sent and received money through hawala channels,” said the source.

According to the police, the IM has four known wings, the Shahabuddin brigade to strike in south India, the Mahemood Ghaznavi brigade to strike in the north, the Shaheed Al-Zarkavi brigade to attack VVIPs and the media cell which sends emails. “The IM’s media cell has been completely paralyzed. The outfit stopped using the terror-email technique after we traced the origin of such emails and arrested its operatives,” another officer said.

It is learnt that IM members in the Gulf have been using various tactics to raise funds, including collecting money in the name of schools and orphanages.

Policemen, who interrogated the arrested IM members, said the recruits are lured with promises of big cash rewards upon completion of a job. “The money collected through various means is sent to senior IM operatives. They use the money to pay sleeper cells and on new recruits. It seems money has become their main motivation now,” said a source.

“Once we break the financial system of the outfit, it will be completely crippled. We are taking time in verification and chasing other suspects. We feel that the investigation of financial trail will lead us to a bigger racket,” said an officer.



Behind Bars

Naqi Ahmed (22)
A Bihar resident. Allegedly harboured and sheltered other accused in Mumbai. He received hawala money in Mumbai and handed over explosives to co-accused

Nadeem Ahmed (23)
Also a resident of Bihar. Is accused of transporting explosives on a train from Delhi to Mumbai and aiding and abetting in the blasts

Kanwar Nain Pathrija (43) A Delhi-based hawala operator. He allegedly received Rs 10 lakh from IM operative Haroon Rasheed Naik in 2011 and gave the cash to IM co-founder Yasin Bhatkal
Haroon Rasheed Naik (34)
A Thane resident. Accused of planning the blasts, looking after the financial angle and sending cash through hawala from the UAE


‘Jama attack plan hatched in Bihar’

New Delhi: The interrogation of Mohammad Tariq Anjum Hasan, the 34-year-old founder member of Indian Mujahideen, has revealed that the Jama Masjid attack of September 19, 2010, in which two Taiwanese tourists were injured and a car explosion had taken place, was planned at his residence in Bihar.

Sources claimed that Yasin Bhatkal alias Shahrukh, believed to be the India chief of IM, was part of the planning. Tariq has provided fresh details of the Jama Masjid operation, although eight IM members who were part of the attack, are already in custody. Tariq, sources said, has provided names of at least 15 IM members settled in Bihar’s Darbhanga district, Bhatkal in Karnataka and Unnao in Uttar Pradesh. Police have procured nonbailable warrants against these 15 suspects.

The Jama Masjid attack, which had taken place just a few days before the Commonwealth Games, was planned at Tariq’s house in Nalanda, sources said. Apart from Tariq and Shahrukh, Qateel Sid
diqui (one of the attackers) and few other members were part of the meeting. The plan had taken shape at least two months prior to the attack, after which Shahrukh had contacted Riyaz Bhatkal and Iqbal Bhatkal in Pakistan and then they had sent a Lashkare-Taiba (LeT) operative Mohammad Adil to Delhi.

“After that, they came to Delhi and IM boss Shahrukh made bombs at the Meer Vihar factory. They recceed the Jama Masjid area for at least two days. We suspect that Tariq had also come to Delhi at that time but he did not go to Jama Masjid,” said a source. The cops have taken Tariq to Pune and a few places in south India as they believe that he knows about Shahrukh’s hideouts. They are also probing whether he was involved in the 13/7 Mumbai blasts.





The Times of India, February 6, 2012

Sunday, February 5, 2012

A NEW BARS CODE IN INDIA

COLOUR MY WORLD: Some of Tihar Jail’s inmates lose themselves in the world of painting, while others (right) await campus recruitment even as prisoners in Kerala Central Jail (left) proudly carry the fruits of their labour

Painting workshops, performances by rock bands, job placements with six-figure salaries and a cricket team selected by a former coach of Kapil Dev’s. A lot is happening and changing inside India’s jails. Now, let’s wait for crime rates to fall

Parakram Rautela | TNN



Last week was quite busy for Delhi’s Tihar jail. Even as A Raja completed a year in the prison and news of the death of a 25-year-old undertrial surfaced, there were a series of happenings that reflected the change that is happening inside South Asia’s largest prison. Then there were the much-talked-about placements. Some 142 inmates were offered jobs by five companies. A few of the pay packages were so robust that it prompted a Tweet that said getting into Tihar seemed like the only way in new India to get a good job.

As if that was not enough, sarangi player Kamal Sabri launched an album inside the jail compound (for which jail inmates had contributed vocals and music). And some time before that, Delhi-based
rock band Menwhopause held a 20-day musical workshop for inmates which resulted in putting finishing touches to the jail’s inhouse rock band.

It’s not just Tihar where such attempts at inclusiveness — which create opportunities for inmates — are being pursued. Mumbai’s Arthur Road jail recently hosted a painting competition in which selected art works by prisoners from Maharashtra’s various jails were sent to an art gallery where they were auctioned and the proceeds handed over to the inmates. In Tamil
Nadu’s prisons, too, many inmates have taken to art. The state’s additional director general (prisons), S K Dogra, says some of them are now good enough to draw a portrait in a few minutes. “We wish they could sit on Marina Beach in the evenings and draw people’s portraits for a small fee. But we’d need to change the rules for that. Maybe they can draw portraits from photographs that people mail in,” he says.

Sabarmati jail in Ahmedabad recently had a dance of democracy of its own. In elections held early this year, the winners
— or “mantris” in prison jargon — were given a department to look after, like kitchen, welfare, education, medical. “This,” says a prison official, “helps them prepare for leadership roles in the future.” To top it off, and our leaders outside jails have a lesson or two here, the polls were conducted freely, fairly and without violence or bribery, the top guys being chosen on the strength of their debating skills and overall record inside the prison.

But not withstanding the change within our prison walls, which may inspire an
occasional bout of jealousy — Tihar, for instance, has a film club that was inaugurated by filmmaker Bharat Bala, and a Cricket XI selected by Kapil Dev’s former coach Rajendra Pal — there are serious issues that continue to persist.

The biggest is overcrowding. Most of the country’s jails pack in almost double or triple the number of prisoners that they can hold. At Tihar, about 12,000 inmates are accommodated in dormitories, barracks and cells meant for half that number. This often means access to the jail’s reform and rehabilitation programme gets impeded. Kiran Bedi, who during her tenure in 1993-95, opened Tihar’s gates to NGOs and the media, says that “they provided literacy education, vocational training, health care, libraries, garbage management, festivals, spiritual discourses…” But what can’t be denied is that the presence of an increasing number of inmates — many of them undertrials — often leads to situations of violence, depression and drug abuse.

Suicides, gang violence and drug abuse, too, are quite common. In fact, the postmortem of Nayeem, the 25-year-old undertrial found dead last week, found that he had swallowed three packets of drugs, one of which burst in his stomach causing his death. “Swallowing something,” says Neeraj Kumar, D-G (prisons) and the man who runs Tihar, “is the usual modus operandi of smuggling it — maybe a contraband substance, maybe a razor blade — into jail.” Which, of course, is only another dark reminder of what a jail can be like.

With reporting by Mateen Hafeez in Mumbai, and A Selvaraj in Chennai



ACTOR, ANGST

Nigel Akkara is a poster boy for prison reforms in West Bengal. A criminal at 15, he was arrested by the time he was 22, and is believed to have
committed 17 heinous offences.
Today, after nine years in prison, Nigel’s life has changed. From being the star in Odissi performer Alokananda Ray’s Balmiki Pratibha, a play by Rabindranath Tagore on the transformation of a dacoit to sage Balmiki, to acting in Bengali film Mukto Dhara along with Tollywood superstar Rituparna Sengupta, Nigel has come a long way.

While Nigel and his mentor Ray, whom he calls Ma, have brought about the most visible prison reform initiative, a debate has ensued whether this is all there is to prison reforms? Or is it also about speedier delivery of justice? Correctional homes across the state are bursting at the seams with nearly 3,000 undertrials vying for space with prisoners. In fact, 171 of them have been in jail for more than five years, while 25 have already served more than a decade behind bars.
—Saibal Sen in Kolkata










The Times of India, February 5, 2012

Saturday, February 4, 2012

13/7 accused joined Qaida, fought in Af

Mateen Hafeez TNN


Mumbai: The police team probing the 13/7 Mumbai serial blasts may have landed a bigger catch in Haroon Rasheed Naik than they would have imagined.

Naik, alias Umar Akbar alias Mushtaque Shaikh alias Salahuddin alias Maulana (33), appears to have been a very important person in the terrorist Indian Mujahideen (IM) hierarchy. He was trained in Pakistan twice and took part in the war against America. “He fought alongside al-Qaida fighters in Kandahar in 2001,” said Anti-Terrorism Squad chief Rakesh Maria.

The ATS chief said that Naik was part of the IM’s core committee which is responsible for taking key decisions. “He was among the top three members of the IM and was
senior to Yasin Bhatkal alias Imran (suspected 13/7 kingpin),” added Maria. Naik was first arrested on August 22 last year in a fake currency case at the airport but the police did not announce his alleged involvement in the July 13 blasts.

Delhi cops arrest civil engineer D elhi police’s Special Team has arrested a civil engineer, a key member of the Indian Mujahideen, from Bihar. Mohd Tariq Anjum Hasan, 34, was reportedly a SIMI member in 1998 and was indoctrinated into terrorism when he went to Bhatkal to study engineering. He, along with Riyaz and Iqbal Bhatkal, formed IM in 2001. P 14

13/7 suspect may have applied for 9/11 role
Mumbai: Key IM operative Haroon Rashid Naik was first arrestedin August2010,butthe police declared his role in 13/7 only this week. Naik was the fourth person to be booked in theblastscaseon February 1.

“In 2001, IM member Riyaz Bhatkal sent him for training in handling arms to Pakistan’s Bahawalpur camp where he met LeT lieutenant Azam Cheema. After completing two sessions of Daura-e-Aam and Daura-e-Khaastraining,heenrolled for Bait-e-Rizwan, a training camp in waging war. He was recruited by the Al-Qaida and participated in a battle at Kandahar in 2001,” said ATS chief, Rakesh Maria. Naik faceschargesof facilitating hawala transactions in the blasts cases. “He was in charge of
sending money to IM operatives from Saudi Arabia to India ,” said police. Naik had allegedly sentRs10lakhfor the13/7 blasts. In 2005, Naik crossed over the Attari-Wagha border on a Nepalese passport. Cops say he had split from the LeT and joined hands with IM’s Amir Raza.Reportsclaimedhe had enrolled for the 9/11 attacks but was declared unfit. However, there is no confirmation of theepisode.

An ATS team raided hawala operator Kanwar Nain Pathrija’s Ghaziabad house and recovered two diaries (containing records of hawala transactions), broken mobiles and a SIM card. He allegedly used the SIM to contact Naik before the blasts. The ATS will approachtheED andDRItodiscussif they can probe the case under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act. The ATS has written tothestate andCentre.

Number 4 in IM arrested
New Delhi:
After a three month-long bid to catch Indian Mujahideen (IM) Indian operations boss – Ahmad Siddi Bappa alias Yasin Bhatkal alias Shahrukh, Delhi police’s special team arrested Mohammad Tariq Anjum Hasan (34) from Bihar, the number four of the organization. He has close connections with Riyaz Bhatkal and Iqbal Bhatkal (in Pakistan)— the number one and two of the organization. Tariq was reportedly a SIMI member in 1998, but after it was banned in 2001, joined hands with Riyaz Bhatkal and Iqbal Bhatkal to form IM in 2003. —Dwaipayan Ghosh and Neeraj Chauhan | TNN


The Times of India, February 4, 2012

Thursday, February 2, 2012

‘Terror suspect visited Pak on Nepal passport’


13/7 PROBE


2005 Visit Under Scanner

Mateen Hafeez TNN


Mumbai: Investigations into the July 13 serial blasts revealed that Haroon Rasheed Naik, who was formally arrested on Wednesday, had gone to Pakistan in 2005 using a Nepalese passport.

Naik (33) had met Indian Mujahideen (IM) leader Yasin Bhatkal alias Shahrukh before leaving for Pakistan for procuring training in handling arms and ammunition.

Naik is the fourth person to be arrested in connection with the serial blasts case.

He was booked for the Opera House bomb blast and produced before the Mazgaon court where he was remanded in police custody till February 10. Naik, a Mumbra resident, has been in custody since August 2011 in a fake currency case. He was arrested soon after he landed in Mumbai from Jeddah.
He was allegedly carrying fake Indian currency totalling Rs 80,000. Naik had helped the IM operatives to transfer money from UAE to India, said police sources.
“Naik sent Rs 10 lakh through hawala from Jeddah. The money was received by a Delhi-based operator, Kanwar Nain Pathrija, who handed over the money to Bhatkal,” a police source said. It is learnt that Pathrija had met Bhatkal at a secluded place to hand over Rs 10 lakh, which was later used for the
three blasts in Mumbai.

Sources in the security establishment said Naik had been missing from his house for a few years before he was nabbed at the airport. “We
have secured Naik’s custody for 10 days. He was responsible for channelizing the money from UAE to India. We sought his custody on the grounds that there could be more persons who helped him execute this deal,” public prosecutor Uddhav V Taralgatte said.

“The police need to check and interrogate these persons. The authorities have to verify whether he had circulated fake currency in India. His detention will definitely help the police to solve some puzzles,” he added. Sources said Naik received instructions from IM members.


The Times of India, February 2, 2012

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

IM’s hawala man nabbed in 13/7 case


Mateen Hafeez & Dwaipayan Ghosh TNN


Mumbai/New Delhi: After appearing to be working at cross purposes and sniping at each other, the Maharashtra ATS and Delhi police’s Special Cell collaborated to arrest a Delhibased hawala operator, Kanwar Nain Pathrija, for arranging funds for the 13/7 attacks in Mumbai. This is the first time that Indian Mujahideen’s hawala operations have come to light in Maharashtra. Pathrija (42) is the third person to be arrested in the Mumbai serial blasts. Police said that Rs 10 lakh had come to Pathrija from Dubai which he later handed over to IM leader Yasin Bhatkal.

Pathrija was picked up by the Special Cell after the Anti-Terrorism Squad tipped it off from Chandni Chowk in central Delhi. He was on the Special Cell’s radar since September after the Intelligence Bureau alerted it to a spike in his transactions.


13/7 PROBE
Chidambaram backs ATS on Naqi arrest
Mumbai/New Delhi: Hawala operator Kanwar Nain Pathrija, thethird person tobe arrested in the 13/7 case, has been on the radar of the Delhi police’s Special Cell for a while. But the cops did not arrest him because they did not have evidence to link him conclusively to the blast conspiracy. However,they extended “full cooperation” when approached by Maharashtra cops who obviously felt that they had enough evidence. ATS chief Rakesh Maria said, “We arethankfulfor the SpecialCell’s assistance.”

The partnership contrasts with the bitterness between the two counter-terror outfits over the arrest of Naqi in the 13/7 blasts case. The Special Cell was using Naqi as an informant,hoping he would lead them to Yasin Bhatkal alias Shahrukhwhohas nowemerged asthecommander of Indian Mujahideen (IM).

Speaking to reporters on Tuesday,Union home minister P Chidambaram admittedthatthe exchange of information between the two forces could have been better. He, however, supported the action of the ATS in arresting Naqi, saying that somebody who was working as
an informantfor one policeforce couldstillbe arrestedby another policeforce in someother case.

This arrest of a hawala operator in a terror case is significant. TheMumbai crimebranch had arrestedMoolchandChoksi, ahawala operator,for the1993serial blasts cases that killed 227. Choksi wasconvicted in theblast casesthatshookMumbai. IBhas been on thetrailof those routing money toIndian Mujahideen operatives through the Oman-Dubai route. Thekey figure issaidto

be an alleged Lashkar operative, Wali Azeez. Sources said Pathrija’s arrest follows that of Samir Fagnest, a member of Hizbul Tehrir,from SouthDelhi.

ATS chief RakeshMaria said that Pathrija ran Jyoti Jewellers in Delhi’s Chandni Chowk area. “Pathrija had receivedRs10lakh early in 2011. He had sent this money toBhatkalwhichwaslater used for the Mumbai blasts,” said Maria. Pathrija has been booked for aiding, abetting and facilitating the hawala transactions for the blasts. Police say it has cogent evidence against Pathrija. He may also be probed under the Prevention of Money
Laundering Act(PMLA).

The ATS, say cops, had been working on the financial transactions in the 13/7 blasts case from August last year. “A special team was formed after Haroon Rasheed Naik was arrested on August 22, 2011 in a fake currency case. We suspected Naik’s involvement in the blasts but did not declare it since it could have alerted the other accused. He was responsible in assisting the hawala transactions from the UAE,” said an officer. The ATS produced a transfer warrant beforetheArthur Road jail authorities seeking Naik’s custody. He will be taken into custody in the blastscaseon Wednesday.

“Pathrija is a known hawala operator in Delhi. Our investigation has pinpointed this person. He had channelized the hawala money to the IM operatives. The ATS has worked on the hawala anglethoroughly. We are interrogating him about various things related to this case,” Maria said. Hesaidhewould notliketocomment if Pathrija was aware of the use of the money sent to him through hawala. Talking about more arrests, Maria said four to five more persons were involved in the money transaction andthe ATS waslooking for them.

The Times of India, February 1, 2012