Saturday, May 26, 2012

ATS was under tremendous pressure to crack case: Maria

Mateen Hafeez | TNN

Mumbai: The state Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) chief Rakesh Maria admitted on Friday that his department was under “tremendous pressure” to crack the 13/7 bombings. The media pressure, combined with speculation that the probe may be handed over to the National Investigation Agency, had left the ATS embattled.
   “We were under tremendous pressure to solve the 13/7 blast case. The media criticized us for not solving the case at an early stage. Still, we continued our investigation and by a month after the blasts had found out about the involvement of the Indian Mujahideen. This happened after the arrest of Haroon Rashid Naik in a fake currency case,” said Maria. “When everybody thought we were clueless, our teams were scanning CCTV images,” said Maria. “We formed four teams, each having eight personnel. It was a tough job to go through CCTV images from 170 cameras. It took 29 days to scan and identify people.”
    In January this year, when the ATS announced a breakthrough in the case, there were reports of rivalry between it and the Delhi police’s Special Cell. Sources in the Delhi police were quoted in the media as saying that the ATS action had jeopardised their chances of trapping IM leader Yasin Bhatkal and his associates. The Centre ended the feud by congratulating the Maharashtra ATS on its success.
    “We were on the right track from the beginning. We wanted to get results and therefore waited for a long time before announcing the arrests. Our aim was to solve the case and we nabbed the accused when we had collected evidence against them,” said Maria. 
According to police sources, no more than seven months were spent on planning and executing the attacks
Dec 2010 | Indian Mujahideen leader Riyaz Bhatkal, in a conversation with Yasin Bhatkal, hatched a plan to carry out a terror strike in Mumbai  
Feb 2011 | To execute the conspiracy, two suspected Pakistani nationals—Waqqas Shaikh and Tabrez—were sent to Mumbai, where they stayed in a rented apartment at Habib Mansion in Byculla  
 March & April | The two, along with an accused named Naquee Ahmed, conducted recces across the city and chose targets as per the instructions of Yasin 
May & June | Waqqas and Tabrez enrolled themselves in different gyms and explored the city 
June | Yet another accused Nadeem Akhtar allegedly
ferried explosives sent by Yasin from Delhi to Mumbai 
June | The explosives were handed over to Waqqas and Tabrez 
July | The bombs were assembled at Habib Mansion
and the bombings carried out on July 13 
Nov | The two suspected Pakistanis fled Mumbai 
The Times of India, May 26, 2012

Bhatkal brothers spread terror in India from Pak

Two Pakistanis Who Stayed In A Byculla Flat Had Planted Bombs, Says Chargesheet In 13/7 Case


Mateen Hafeez & Rebecca Samervel | TNN

    The chargesheet filed by the ATS in the 13/7 case says that “the entire criminal conspiracy was hatched by Riyaz Bhatkal and Yasin Bhatkal”, who are “the chief cogs of the notorious” Indian Mujahideen. The banned terrorist group, it adds, was created by Pakistani spy agency ISI “to spread terror in this country”. Riyaz and his brother Iqbal Bhatkal “operate from Pakistan” and impart instructions via electronic means to their associates based in India through Yasin.
    Riyaz and Yasin are two of the wanted accused named in the chargesheet. Among the remaining wanted accused are two suspected Pakistani nationals identified as Waqqas Ibrahim Shaikh and Danish alias Tabrez; a 22-year-old, Shaikh Mohd Tahsin Akhtar, currently believed to be on the run in Andhra Pradesh; and an Indian-born hawala operator based in Dubai named Muzzafar Kola. Kola’s name had also figured in the kidnapping of Roy Burman, the owner of Kolkata-based Khadim Shoes. “Kola had instructed Pathreja to hand over Rs 10 lakh to someone identified as Shivanand. Later, we found that Shivanand was none other than Yasin,” said Maria. More than Rs 12 lakh was used to execute the three blasts.
    T hose arrested and chargesheeted include Haroon Rashid Abdul Hameed Naik, Naquee Ahmed, Nadeem Akhtar and a Delhi-based hawala operator, Kawalnayan Pathreja.
    The chargesheet says that Tabrez planted the bomb at Zaveri Bazar alone and with Waqqas at Opera House. It does not identify the planter of the bomb at Dadar, though it is suspected to be Tahsin. At Zaveri Bazar, the explosive was left in a scooter; at Opera House, near a hawker stand; and at Dadar, atop a bus stop. The explosives were a concoction of many elements, main among which were ammonium nitrate and TNT.
    The bombs, the document states, were assembled at an apartment in Habib Mansion, Byculla—the same place where Tabrez and Waqqas stayed between February and November last year. During the course of the investigations, the police seized a desktop from the apartment and found there a pair of denims with semen. The semen, when compared with Naquee’s blood samples, confirmed his presence in the flat at some point.
    Waqqas and Tabrez, incidentally, were identified as ‘A’ and ‘B’ in remand applications. “We did not want to hamper our own investigation earlier. Now, we have got evidence against them so we revealed their identity,” said Maria. He asserted that the police have clinching evidence against the perpetrators. “We made the arrests only after we were 100 per cent sure of their involvement. Later, their interrogation led us to the root of the conspiracy.”
    The chargesheet states that the case was cracked after information was received that certain “suspicious youths from Darbhanga, Bihar, were frequenting Madanpura, Nagpada and Byculla and were using SIM cards obtained with fraudulent documents”.
    Simultaneously, an accused in another case, Abdul Wahab, revealed “that Imran (Yasin Bhatkal) was interacting with 10-12 young Muslim boys from Darbhanga and adjoining areas and had been trying to indoctrinate them with inflammatory and provocative speeches, under the pretext of ‘Darz’ at a madrassa”.
    “Wahab further disclosed that Naquee was a regular attendee of such a Darz and was staying at Madanpura since 2010 along with his associates. The ATS then traced Naquee and arrested him,” the chargesheet says. “A detailed analysis of the suspicious mobile numbers revealed that the wanted accused and Yasin had been in touch with a hawala operator from Mumbai.”
 Trinitrotoluene (TNT), ammonium nitrate, and nitrate and petroleum hydrocarbon oil were used at all three sites, according to FSL reports
 Nearly 4,800 pages in length, it says 19 eyewitnesses of the total 641 witnesses have identified the accused in identification parades 
 Indian Penal Code sections 302, 307, 326, 325, 324, 379, 120-B read with sections of the Explosives Act, Explosives Substance Act, Prevention of Damage of Public Properties Act, various sections of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act and several sections of the Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act  
Date of arrest | Jan 15, 2012 
Role | Police allege that Indian Mujahideen leader Yasin Bhatkal sent explosives for the 13/7 blasts from Delhi to Mumbai, where Naquee received them. Naquee is also accused of stealing two scooters used in the bombings. ATS alleged that Naquee helped the suspected Pakistani bombers conduct recces of the targets prior to the blasts and helped them get a rented room in Habib Apartments in Byculla
DATE OF ARREST | Jan 15, 2012  
ROLE | He was arrested in a SIM card forgery case in which Naquee was also booked. Akhtar is alleged to have ferried explosives from Delhi to Mumbai and stolen two scooters. He allegedly helped Naquee transfer two stolen motorbikes in train from Mumbai to Bihar
Jan 31, 2012 
ROLE | An alleged hawala operator, Pathreja handed over Rs 10 lakh that he received from Naik to Yasin Bhatkal
DATE OF ARREST | Feb 01, 2012 
ROLE | Naik was first arrested in a fake currency case in July 2011. A chargesheet filed by the ATS in that case says that Naik travelled for arms training to Pakistan and to Afghanistan, where he met Osama bin Laden. The training was arranged and funded by IM leader Riyaz Bhatkal. Naik allegedly arranged for funds for the 13/7 attacks be sent from UAE to India 
AGE | 29 
ROLE | A founder member of Indian Mujahideen, he masterminded the 13/7 blasts with Riyaz Bhatkal. Yasin arranged for the explosives and organized for them to be sent from Delhi to Mumbai. Also the key person behind the hawala transfer of funds from Dubai, he provided stolen mobile phones to Waqqas and Tabrez
ROLE | Suspected to be a Pakistani national, he was one of the bombmakers and one of the bomb planters
ROLE | Suspected to be a Pakistani national, he was one of the bombmakers and one of the bomb planters
ROLE | A native of Bhatkal in Karnataka, he runs a hawala operation out of Dubai. Using Kola’s relatives, his firm delivered Rs 10 lakh to Shivanand (Yasin Bhatkal) in Delhi through Pathreja
ROLE | He is suspected of planting the explosive at Dadar and is said to be on the run in Andhra Pradesh. Tahseen, according to the police, arrived in Mumbai from Bihar on July 7, 2011, and stayed at Mumbra. He attended conspiracy meetings in the city
ROLE | He masterminded and financed the blasts

ZAVERI BAZAR Location | Opposite Super Tools Shop Time | 6.52pm Bomb Planted On | Activa Scooter Killed | 11 Injured | 43

DADAR Location | BEST bus stop route no 169-172 Time | 7.05 pm Killed | 1 Injured | 14

OPERA HOUSE Location | TATA Road No 1 Time | 6.55pm Bomb Planted On | Activa Scooter Killed | 15
Injured | 70

The Times of India, May 26, 2012

IM leaders from Pakistan plotted 13/7 strike: ATS

Motive Was To Destabilize State, Says Chargesheet


Mateen Hafeez & Rebecca Samervel TNN

Mumbai: The serial bombings that hit Mumbai on July 13 last year were planned and coordinated by Indian Mujahideen leaders from Pakistan, according to the chargesheet filed by the Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) before a special Maharashtra Control of Organized Crime Act court on Friday.
    The nearly 4,800-pages-long document names at least 10 accused and says that the objectives behind the bombings at Opera House, Zaveri Bazar and Dadar were to “create instability in the state” and to “weaken the country’s economy”. Twenty-seven people died in the blasts and another 127 were injured. The police have so far arrested five people in the case and are on the lookout for six others. The fifth arrest—of 52-year-old Kafeel Ansari—was made last Saturday; he will be chargesheeted later.
    “Ansari, who originally hails from Bihar, had provided logistical support and actively participated in the criminal conspiracy,” said Rakesh Maria, additional DGP, ATS.

The Times of India, May 26, 2012

Monday, May 21, 2012

No more non-veg food for Kasab

Ajmal Kasab

Mateen Hafeez TNN

Mumbai: Pakistani gunman, Ajmal Kasab, has turned vegetarian in Arthur Road jail. Earlier, six police personnel who worked as cooks, provided him non-vegetarian fare occasionally. However, following objections by the Mumbai Police, the cooks were removed from jail last month. So Kasab now eats food prepared by the inmates. 

    “Kasab gets vegetarian food now since non-veg is not allowed in the jail. Earlier, when food was being cooked for around a dozen police personnel and Kasab, the cooks would prepare non-veg at times. But, today, Kasab gets what other petty criminals eat,” said a jail official.
    Kasab, son of a Pakistani mutton seller, was convicted in 2010 for killing hundreds of people during the November 26, 2008, terror attack. Kasab, who would get his dinner after sunset earlier, is now served his dinner around 3.30pm since that is the “barrack closing time for the jail” (though Kasab is already in a closed barrack).
    The food is cooked by two dozen undertrials and some convicts. Earlier, Mumbai police personnel who were posted outside Kasab’s cell would prepare food for themselves. “They would sometimes make spicy non-veg food and biryani, too. But since the police cooks were removed last month, Kasab is being given food meant for the undertrials,” said a jail source. Even in police custody during his interrogation, Kasab was provided non-veg food.
    Last month, the Mumbai Police raised objection to six police cooks being moved to Arthur Road Jail “illegally’’ for Kasab and seven jailors. The irregular transfer of cooks came to light during an internal review of the police’s staff deployment and orders were issued by the police top brass for them to be immediately returned to their original postings.
    It is learnt that the review team found that three years ago, a head cook and two cooks of Mumbai Police, Jyotiram Satar, Krishna Turaskar and Jagdish Shetty, were inexplicably moved to Arthur Road Jail from Naigaon, Worli and Tardeo. They were made to prepare food for Kasab as well as seven jailors who were on deputation. The cooks returned to their original postings in April.
    It is to be noted that earlier, the state’s prison inmates used to get non-veg food. The practice was stopped a few years ago. Some undertrials have filed a petition before the Aurangabad court in this regard. The court is yet to decide on it.
• 7am (Breakfast):
Poha, upma, 100 ml of milk and a cup of tea

• 10am (Lunch):
Dal, roti, rice and vegetables

• 3.30pm (Dinner):
Dal, roti, rice and vegetables

The Times of India, May 21, 2012

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Red-corner notices for 13/7 Pak suspects

Mateen Hafeez TNN

Mumbai: The police are likely to issue red-corner notices against the two Pakistani 13/7 suspected bombers, Waqqas andTabrez,this month. 

    The police have got a photograph of Tabrez, one of the two Pakistanis, from a gym run by ex MLA Arun Gawli’s trust. Tabrezhadenrolledhimself in the gym and worked out there for over three months. “With the help of intelligence agencies, 
we are trying to find out their addresses in Pakistan. The redcorner notice will contain their address, name, photograph, cases againstthem andtheir description. We have got their description from the other accused who were in touch with thesePakistanis,” saidofficials.
    Waqqas and Tabrez are facing three cases of murder. They have not been identified in the court documents and mentioned only as A and B. Police sourcessaidthey cametoMumbai in February 2011 and stayed in Habib apartment in Byculla on renttillNovember lastweek.
    The Pakistanis are suspected to have conspired for the terror strikes on July 13 last year when bombs exploded at Opera House, Zaveri Bazar and Dadar, killing 27. The duo are also accusedof making thebombs.
    Alookout noticehas already been issued against the duo, alerting all airportsin thecountry. Investigators, say sources, have got some telephone numberswhichwere referredto and used by the Pakistanis during their stay in the city. “They had used morethan 16 SIMcards, all provided by their co-accused, Naqi Ahmed. We have arrested Ahmed for aiding and abetting theblastcase,” said an officer.
    Cops said Ahmed had even arranged accommodation for the two Pakistanis. “We found that the duo had been using stolen cellphones andthehandsets belong to people in Bihar, Pune and Mumbai. “We are looking for fivetosix personswhocould be involved in the blasts. So far, we have arrested four persons. Details of the red-corner notice will be forwarded to the CBI, which will send it to its Interpol wing,” said a policesource. 
The Times of India, May 17, 2012

Undertrials rot in jail as Thane, Mum cops spar over jurisdiction

Nitin Yeshwantrao & Mateen Hafeez TNN

Thane: Hundreds of undertrials remanded in the Thane Central Jail may have an extended stay in the stuffy prison cells as they have been missing their scheduled hearing dates in the Mumbai courts for the want of police escorts.

    More than 1,000 undertrials have not attended their hearing in Mumbai courts since last Friday as the Mumbai and Thane police have failed to provide police escorts.

    A prominent lawyer, who complained to TOI about the repeated police bungling, said the situation could turn explosive in the jail as the undertrials are getting frustrated.

    “In quite a few cases, the hearing is in final stages and the accused’s presence could
lead to a final decision, possibly favouring the accused. However, the absence has resulted in a delay and the next hearing has been advanced to after two or three months,” he said, requesting anonymity.


    The Mumbai police escorts have abruptly stopped taking accused to the courts suggesting that the onus of transferring undertrials was entirely on the Thane police.

    An official in the Thane police commissionerate said, “It has been a practice that around 75% of the escort team will come from the Mumbai commissionerate. The remaining 25% will comprise a posse from the Thane police. However, the Mumbai police top brass is now shirking from its responsibility causing immense damage to the justice delivery system.’’

    S P Yadav, joint commissioner of police (administration) confirmed that the Mumbai police had discontinued sending its personnel to Thane jail for escort duty.

    “The Thane police has adequate staff. Moreover, a recent Nagpur court judgment said that escorts should be provided by police personnel under whose jurisdiction the prison comes. So it becomes their responsibility,” Yadav said. 

    However, a Thane police official said the state director general of police had issued orders to the Mumbai police commissionerate to restore the previous system. The orders continue to gather dust at with some official, he claimed.

The Times of India, May 17, 2012

Sunday, May 13, 2012

ATS to help out kin of terror suspects

Mateen Hafeez TNN

Mumbai: The state anti-ter rorism squad (ATS) is on a re habilitation mission. The squad is scrutinizing the fi nancial and educational sta tus of families of those who have been caught or jailed various terror cases.
    ATS chief Rakesh Maria told TOI that he had instruct ed his officers to compile a re port and submit it to him “We will review the financial and educational status of the wives and children of these terror suspects. If the imme diate family members are financial crisis and do not have a job, we will make sure that they get jobs and lead their lives,” said Maria, add ing that it would help bridge the gap between the police and the public. “The wives and children of these sus pects are suffering for no rea son. They are not the sus pects. They have not committed any crime, so it time we rehabilitate them, added Maria.
    Speaking about the trau ma a mother of a terror sus pect faced, he said, “We arrested the operative of a banned outfit who was in volved in a terror case. When the news came out, the sus pect’s mother, who was em ployed with an English-medi um school, was sacked. The woman came to us, stating that she was the only earning member of the family.” Ma ria added that after running a background check, the squad issued a letter to the school management requesting them to reinstate her as it was no fault of hers. “Today, the woman is teaching in the same school,” he said.
    ATS officers said families of terror suspects are thrown into turmoil by the arrest. “No one thinks about the education of the children. We are trying to find out the educational status of such families and will help them continue their studies,” said an officer.
    The ATS will be organizing an interaction in the first week of June at Police Club, Azad Maidan. “We have invited intellectuals, journalists, maulvis, doctors, professors and social activists for the interaction session. It is an attempt to meet the community and erase the misconception in their minds about the police. We are also trying to find out what can be done to eradicate terrorism from our state,” said Maria.
Change of Heart I n the last two months, the ATS arranged jobs for two youths who came to them. “They had gone abroad for (terror) training. After returning to India, they had a change of heart and realized the path they chose was wrong. They came to the ATS and said they did not want to be part of a terror outfit. We arranged jobs for them and today, they are working at big firms,” said ATS chief Rakesh Maria. TNN 
The Times of India, May 13, 2012

Force One holds mock drill at CST

Mateen Hafeez TNN

Mumbai: The Maharashtra Force One, which was formed after the 26/11 attacks to combat terror strikes, conducted a mock drill at CST around 2am on Sunday. The purpose was to check the accuracy of the combat team and the time in which they could overcome terrorists, if any. 

    The Force One commandos arrived at CST around 1.45am. The drill comes days after the intelligence bureau (IB) issued an alert that five Lashkar-e-Taiba terrorists had sneaked into the city and was planning terror attacks. However, the alert later proved to be vague. Last week, there were inputs of a human bomb near an airport in the country. “The drill will be to check how the Force One commandoes take it. We don’t want to reveal anything about the drill at this moment,” said an officer. It is learnt that some dummy terrorists were also roaming at the spot and the commandos were asked to catch them. 
The Times of India, May 13, 2012

‘3 passengers shared cab accused took to reach city’


Mateen Hafeez TNN

Mumbai: Investigations into the arrest of terror accused, Qateel Siddiqui, revealed that he had shared a cab with three other persons while travelling from Pune to Mumbai with an explosive. The bomb planter came to Mumbai and disposed of the bomb into the sea off Worliin February 2010.
    According to the police, Siddiqui (27) was an active member of the Indian Mujahideen. “Hewasto plant a bomboutside
Dagduseth Halwai temple on February 13, 2010. However, a flower vendor did not allowhim to keep his bag containing the bomb,” said anti-terrorism squadchief RakeshMaria. 

    “This forced Siddiqui to leave the area. He later went to an isolated spot and removed the bomb’s detonators and took a share cab to reach Mumbai,” he added. There were three other unsuspecting passengers in the cab in which Siddiqui was travelling,the policesaid. “During the journey, Siddiqui kept thebagcontaining thebombon hislap,” a policeofficer said. 
The Times of India, May 13, 2012

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Muslims will not be treated unjustly: Maria



Mateen Hafeez TNN

Mumbai: State anti-terrorism squad (ATS) chief Rakesh Maria on Friday assured a delegation of Muslim leaders that the police would not treat members of the community unjustly. 

    The group met Maria to appreciate his efforts in rehabilitat
ing youngsters who crossed the border for terror training but returned with a change of heart. “I am trying to create a better tomorrow. If my department or my men are committing a mistake, let me know so that I can take action,” Maria said. “I also want to dispel the misconception that the Muslim community has about law enforcing agencies.”
    Last month, TOI reported on how a youth went to Pakistan for terror training but later surrendered to the ATS after he realized that he did not want to be part of such activities. Following in his footsteps, five others also approached the agency, seeking its help.
    “Whenever, there is any festival of non-Muslims, terror alerts are sounded in which Muslims are portrayed as suspects. Photographs are released, sending wrong message about the community. We want these things to stop,” said M A Khalid, an activist. Another activist, Farid Batatawala, said they were happy with the ATS’ work but hoped that the police would not frame innocent Muslims. “Till I am in this office, you will not find injustice,” Maria told the team. 
The Times of India, May 12, 2012

Friday, May 11, 2012

3 terrorists in alert are bizmen, guard?

Pakistani newspaper The Express Tribune published this combo picture and captioned it (from left to right) as Baber (security guard), Mehtab Butt (shop owner) and Atif Butt (shop owner)

Mateen Hafeez TNN

Mumbai: Was it another goofup by Indian security agencies? A Pakistani newspaper on Thursday reported that three of the five Pakistanis alleged to be terrorists by the Intelligence Bureau and who were said to have entered Mumbai for a terror attack, are actually Pakistani mobile retailers. The report even said the three persons had approached a Lahore police station seeking protection.
    Sources in the Indian security establishment on Thursday scrambled to say the alert was “not for Mumbai”.
    Mumbai police commissioner Arup Patnaik on Monday conducted a meeting of senior police officials and briefed them about security after the IB issued the alert.
    The alert, along with colour pictures of suspected Pakistani terrorists, was issued on May 6. Intelligence agencies warned that five Lashkar-e-Taiba terrorists, aged 25-30, had managed to sneak into Mumbai via the sea route, in what seemed like a rerun of 26/ 11. It was believed the men wanted to attack vital installations. On May 7, after police and other security officials met, security was heightened for key Mumbai installations.
    Now, sources in the security establishment said the alert came from the Research and Analysis Wing, and it was issued to the agencies concerned by the Multi Agency Centre, which is part of IB. After the Pakistani newspaper report emerged on Thursday rubbishing the alert, RAW is believed to have been asked to explain the intelligence alert. 

    Union home secretary R K Singh said, “The advisory circulated was based on credible information. We stand by that. As far as contents of the advisory, we do not comment on ongoing matter.”
    Pakistani newspaper The Express Tribune said three of the five “terrorists” were very much present in Lahore. The report said, “In Lahore, after seeing their pictures reported by Indian media, three of those identified, businessmen Atif Butt, Mehtab Butt and security guard Baber Shabbir, approached their local police station to request for protection.” Two of the three, the report said, owned mobile retail stores in Lahore’s electronic market Hafeez Centre.
    “I don’t know much about it. I will check it out,” Patnaik told TOI, “The crime branch and the ATS must be aware about the details.”
    After being approached, state security officials came up with a new theory. “The alert was not for Mumbai. The five terrorists did not enter the city. They have done a recce of their targets and are well trained. Their targets are an oil refinery in Punjab, some place in Jamnagar, two communally sensitive areas in Gujarat and the National Defence Academy near Pune,” an official said. 
The Times of India, May 11, 2012

Spl intel unit to keep eye on Naxals in city

Mateen Hafeez TNN

Mumbai: The city police have formed a special intelligence unit to tackle the Naxal menace in Mumbai.
    Till now, the anti-terrorism squad (ATS) and the anti-Naxalite operation wing of the state police were dealing with Naxalites. However, this new unit will report to the police commissioner and provide information to other agencies. The unit will be part of the special branch which is supposed to collect intelligence for the city police. Sources in the security establishment said while the ATS and other agencies looked at Naxal cases, there was no dedicated wing in the Mumbai police to tackle Naxals. A senior police officer said since three Naxals were arrested from Dombivili this year and another was nabbed from the Mumbai Railway Hospital quarters, the city is turning into a hub for Naxals. 

    “Many Naxals come to Mumbai for treatment and try to expand their network here. In the past, several members of the Naxal think tank were caught from the city, so it’s necessary to keep a check on them,” the police officer said. 
The Times of India, May 11, 2012

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Vague alerts of little help, say city cops

An alert in September 2010 warned two terrorists (circled) had sneaked into the city

6 LeT Men Missing Since 2010 In City

Mateen Hafeez | TNN

Central intelligence agencies recently war ned police about the presence of five Lashkar-e-Taiba operatives in the city, however such alerts are not newfor Mumbai. Several alerts havebeen issuedin the pastbut they have notledto any arrests.
    Around the time of the Ganeshotsav in 2010, the crime branch issued sketches of three terror suspects and said three more had sneaked in, but police are clueless if the six suspected terrorists are still in Mumbai or have left the city. The search to locate the six hasn’t yielded any result so far. Police had said the terrorists belonged to the banned Bangladesh-based Harkat-ul-Jihadal-Islami and Pakistan’s LeT. The crime branch on September 11, 2010, issued sketches of two terror suspects—Kalimuddin Khan alias Rameshwar Pandit and Hafeez Sharif—both allegedly bomb makers. On December 23, 2010, the crime branch released four names, allegedly LeT operatives who sneaked into the city. “There is specific information that LeT members, Abdul Karim Moosa,Noor Elahi, Waleed Jinnah and Mahfooz Alam have entered the city to cause major destruction,” police had then said. Their photos were displayed at shopping malls, cinema halls, railway stations, bus stations and the airport. But intelligence agencies lost track of them after trailing them for a week. An official said, “We think they fled after their sketches were released.”
    Most cops say they do not take these alerts seriously, as they are “non-actionable”. But vague intelligence alerts are not new. “In 2009, around 350 terror alerts were issued, and in 2010, 447 were sent. In 2011, such alerts were more than 100,” said an officer. Cops complain general alerts don’t help.
    Earlier too, few alerts gave specifics like the suspected date or place of attack, or details about the attackers. Significantly, no alert was issued before the 2011 blasts in Mumbai in July that killed 27.
 A senior police official said, “We are working on alerts and trying to locate the terrorists.” 
 Sensitive But‘Non-Actionable’ Terror Alerts
JANUARY 2011 Intelligence agencies warned against trained Indian Mujahideen swimmers who could plant bombs under the hulls of anchored ships and boats
JANUARY 2011 Intelligence agencies said Pakistani terrorists were procuring fake continuous discharge certificates, which have to be carried by sailors, from the Republic of Liberia and may try to sneak in through the sea
MARCH 2011 Police were warned about 17 tickets being bought by terror suspects for the cricket World Cup final
SEPTEMBER 2011 An alert said a private plane taking off from Hubli in Karnataka could be used for a terror strike at Mumbai airport
MARCH 2011 Police asked residents of Tardeo highrises to lock terraces till the World Cup final on April 2, at Wankhede
NOVEMBER 2010 An alert said Pakistan’s LeT, Harkat-ul-Mujahideen and Indian Mujahideen had sent a seven-member team for a 26/11-like terror strike at a Sobo five-star
DECEMBER 2009 An alert said three Pakistani terrorists had sneaked into the city. Police checked 581 hotels, 426 addresses of Pak and Afghan nationals staying in Mumbai and verified details of 25 people spotted near foreign consulates
DECEMBER 2009 Senior police officials instructed all police stations in the city to look for three Afghan nationals who may be in Mumbai on a terror strike
DECEMBER 2009 Jama’at-ul-Mujahideen (Bangladesh) members were said to be in Mumbai and Hyderabad to carry out terrorist acts
SEPTEMBER 2009 Mumbai Port Trust, JNPT, Mormugao Port Trust (Goa), New Mangalore Port Trust and Cochin Port Trust were warned of 26/11-type terror strikes by the LeT

The Times of India, May 10, 2012

5 Pakistanis go ‘missing’ in city

Mateen Hafeez | TNN

Mumbai: State police are still looking for five Pakistani nationals who entered the city but never returned. In two years, police have traced 70 missing Pakistanis and sent them back to their homeland, said police sources, adding that tracing Pakistanis is a major security issue. 

    In August 2009, city police directed 90-plus police stations to trace and detain 72 “missing” Pakistani nationals who entered Mumbai on valid visas but never went back. These Pakistanis were
missing since 2005. When a Pakistani national comes to the city, he/she has to register with the foreigners’ regional registration office. “We take down their address, purpose of visit, where they will be staying and their contact persons. Yet, many Pakistanis went missing,” said an officer. Most of these missing-andlater-traced Pakistanis had entered India through Wagah and Attari checkposts.
    A senior police officer said, “Not all Pakistanis who entered the city went missing. Sometimes they do not report to us and just leave for Pakistan. Practically, they should inform us while leaving Mumbai. We can’t keep tabs everywhere,” he added. Most Pakistanis come to India to meet relatives. “There are cases of overstaying as well. Some Pakistanis, who are supposed to leave on a specific date, stay on illegally. We send them back to their country,” the officer added. At the time of their arrival and registration, Pakistani nationals have to give details of places they plan to visit. “We can’t say anything about their intentions unless we catch those who try to abscond after reaching here,” said an officer.
    “Last year, many Pakistanis came to watch the cricket World Cup semi-final between India and Pakistan. Many arrived in Mumbai before or after the match to meet relatives. However, we made sure they didn’t overstay,” the officer added. 
The Times of India, May 10, 2012

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Five more terror recruits surrender to ATS in city

On April 3, TOI had front-paged a story of a Mumbai youth who had a change of heart after undergoing terror training in Pakistan. The ATS helped rehabilitate him. 

Were Paid 1L Each To Train In Pakistan

Mateen Hafeez TNN

Mumbai: Five men who received terror training in Pakistan gave themselves up to the Maharashtra Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) last month after reading about another terror recruit’s change of heart in The Times of India. 

    TOI had front-paged on
April 3 the story of a twentysomething terror operative who approached the ATS and confessed to getting terror training in Pakistani militant camps. He told the agency that he had no wish to kill anyone or hurt the country. The MCom graduate was later given a Rs 25,000-a-month job on the police’s recommendation. 

    Following the appearance of the report, five others, all between the ages of 19 and 22, separately turned themselves in to the ATS. Hailing from different parts of Maharashtra, they had travelled to Pakistan in late 2010 and got coaching there for
three months in “using firearms, bomb-making, recruiting others, expanding the terror network, and in how to evade the police”. Four of the five, officers said, had travelled as a cell and the last independently. The last youth, thanks to his confessions, is today employed with a computer firm.
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Recruits trained at Kasab’s camp
    He came to me through a journalist. He narrated his story and told me about the people who brainwashed and arranged his trip abroad,” said ATS chief Rakesh Maria. “He broke down and said he had committed a mistake and had no intention to kill anyone. After checking his story, we found that he was feeling guilty and wanted to lead a peaceful life. We arranged a Rs 18,000-a-month job for him in a private company.”
    The four others—one a BA student and three BSc undergrads—had a similar rethink. “They told me that they did not want to be a part of any terror outfit since it could ruin their lives and their families,” said Maria.
    The ATS chief said he first met the youths outside and asked them to inform their parents. “They later came with their parents. We recorded their statements, took down the details of the things they did at the training camps and assured them of help in reformation.”
    Police officers said the youths were paid Rs 1 lakh each to undergo terror training. One of the camps they were sent to is in Muridke, the same place where 26/11 gunman Ajmal Kasab and his associates were allegedly trained. The 26/11 terrorists were reportedly paid Rs 1.50 lakh each to attack Mumbai.
    “The five youths were indoctrinated by showing propaganda videos. They said they got taken in and could not differentiate between right and wrong,” said Maria. He added that the ATS is identifying suspected terror trainees with the help of NGOs. “There are boys who are part of sleeper cells. We should neutralize them,” he said. “An important part of this effort is to rid them of the feeling of persecution.”

The Times of India, May 9, 2012

Handwriting in Viveka’s diary to be analyzed

Mateen Hafeez TNN

Mumbai: The city crime branch has sent Mauritian-born Indian model
Viveka Babajee’s personal diary for handwriting analysis. Babajee,
stock-broker Gautam Vora’s girlfriend, had allegedly committed suicide in June 2010, but the police had not analyzed the handwriting in her diary.
    The crime branch, which is probing the double murder case of Arun Tikku and Karan Kakkar, have arrested Vora, criminal Vijay Palande and his wife Simran Sood last month. “We want to verify if the handwriting of any of the arrested accused matches with that in the diary. Till now it was believed that the diary was written by Babajee,” a police officer said.
    The suicide note had said: ‘Gautam Vora, you killed me’ and almost led to the implication of Vora. The case of Babajee's death was shut by the Khar police owing to lack of evidence against Vora.
    Handwriting samples of Palande, Sood and Vora have also been taken.

ATS may set up counselling cell

Mateen Hafeez | TNN

    The state ATS is likely to form a counselling cell to help the youths who went for terror training abroad and returned with a change of heart. 

    Six youngsters, including two professionals, have approached the ATS in the past two months saying they did not want to be part of a terror outfit. “We need to counsel such boys who have been indoctrinated and shown wrong path. I have appointed a liaison officer who is in touch with the boys. We are helping them continue their studies. That they realized what they chose was wrong is our success. We are identifying more and more people attached to terror outfits and neutralizing them,” said ATS chief Rakesh Maria. He assured only the ATS chief and the liaison officer would know such boys’ identities. An officer added the misguided youngsters needed to be counselled properly.
    The ATS is now conducting a deindoctrination programme. “We are trying to deradicalize those on the periphery of a terror network,” said Maria. “We have started working towards a good counselling system, including a de-indoctrination programme, and hope to get results in the next few years.” He added those institaging youngsters to choose the terror path, would not be spared. 
The Times of India, May 9, 2012

Red-corner notice issued against Nepali


Mateen Hafeez TNN

Mumbai: The Kathmandu police have issued a Red-corner notice against a Nepalese national for cheating thousands after promising them job and good salary in Singapore. The accused, who left Nepal a
few months ago, is suspected to be working and staying in Mumbai. 

    A circular, issued to all the 93 police stations and the specialized units in the city, has asked cops to check if Rajesh Gaurang alias Keshaw Lama (32) was staying in their jurisdiction or obtained a job in the city. “The suspect has cheated
thousands of Nepalese by promising them jobs in various Singapore firms,” the circular said. Lama, a resident of Natragang VDC, Ward number 6, Sarlahi district, Nayawasti Jorpati in Kathmandu, was working as a recruiting agent there. He duped several unemployed youth, including educated ones, after promising them jobs. The accused is suspected to have taken huge amounts from the victims, Days after promising the jobs, he shut down his office and fled the country.
    A copy of the red corner notice, however, did not contain any details about Lama like his photograph, height, any specific identity mark, his educational qualification, etc. 
The Times of India, May 9, 2012

Gorai killing: Woman, pals held for killing stockbroker

Mateen Hafeez TNN

Mumbai: The crime branch has arrested three persons, including a 20-yearold woman, for killing a man and dumping his body near Gorai beach on Sunday. The woman told cops that the deceased had sexually assaulted her for over one-and-a-half-years for which she killed him. 

    The police found the body of Ramesh Dedhia, owner of playing card club, at Gorai beach on Sunday. The woman’s identity has not been revealed. The other two arrested were her boyfriend, Mohsin Shaikh (25), and his friend, Deepak Bhosale.

    The woman said she had been staying with Dedhia for the last two years. Dedhia’s wife is her aunt. Crime branch’s unit in-charge, S Dalvi, said the woman, Shaikh and Bhosale had gone to Manori when Dedhia wanted to meet her. The trio, who had planned to kill Dedhia, then committed the crime.

The Times of India, May 9, 2012

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

‘Suspended’ rape accused still in office

Mateen Hafeez TNN

Mumbai: ACP Anil Mahabole, charged with rape, has not received any suspension order despite the home minister’s announcement that he stood suspended.
    “I have not received any such order,” said Mahabole, sitting in his chamber at the local arms unit’s Naigaon office. The victim, a 38-year-old woman residing in Kurla, has alleged that Mahabole raped her after offering her sweets laced with sedatives. She further alleged that Mahabole shot a video of her and used it to blackmail her.
    “I have submitted my mobile to the crime branch and given my statement,” said Mahabole.Home minister R R Patil had announced that the ACP was suspended.
    Mahabole said, “In July 2010, I was posted as ACP in the control room at police headquarters when the woman came to meet the then police commissioner and the joint commissioner of police (law and order). On their instructions, she met me and alleged that a senior inspector of a police station was sexually harassing her. The officer was subjected to an inquiry. Later, she came to thank me several times,” said Mahabole.
    “Later, she began sending me text messages. I spoke to her husband and she started sending more messages,” said Mahabole. He said she was being instigated by a senior inspector and a retired ACP.
• Was part of the team probing Telgi fake stamp paper scam

• His team nabbed Chhota Shakeel’s girlfriend Rubina Sayyed

• Supervised a probe into allegations that Dawood Ibrahim’s brother Iqbal Kaskar had invested in Sara-Sahara complex

• Supervised probe into deportation of 10 Dawood gang members from the UAE

• Was transferred while probing an extortion case against Dawood Ibrahim’s sister Haseena Parkar

• In 2005, probed the case where constable Sunil More raped a college student inside a police chowkie 
The Times of India, May 8, 2012

Monday, May 7, 2012

13/7 bombers used stolen mobiles, say blast suspects

Mateen Hafeez TNN

Mumbai: Interrogation of the arrested 13/7 bomb blasts suspects has revealed that the two Pakistanis suspected of having bombed the city on July 13 along with Indian Mujahideen (IM)leader Yasin Bhatkal had been using stolen cellphones. The purpose of using stolen mobiles was to mislead the police. 

    Sources in the ATS said that one of the arrested suspects, Naqi Ahmed (24), said as much during interrogation. “Naqitoldinvestigatorsthat as many as 13 mobile handsets were stolen from Pune, Mumbai and Bihar, and were being used by top members of the Indian Mujahideen,” said an officer. Naqi, along with his ac
complice Nadeem Akhtar (22), were first arrested in January for using SIM cards that were procured on faked documents. Later, the duo was booked for the 13/7 blasts. “Naqi further
told policethatthetwoPakistanis, Waqqas and Tabrez, who are suspected to have used six handsets during their stay in Mumbai last year, were given
stolen phonesby Bhatkal.
    While probing thefake SIM card case, the police recovered 19 cellphones and 114 SIM cards, all procuredon fakedocuments. The ATS had arrested 17 accused and all have been grantedbailin thiscase.
    “Since the cellphones were stolen from differentlocations, Ahmed can’t recall the exact make of these phones. We are trying our best to find out the IMEI numbersof these phones totrackthem,but arefinding it difficult,” said an ATS officer.
    Police suspect that the stolen phones changed hands several times. “The purpose of this practice was just to keep investigators busy in finding thelocationsof these phonesif they trace the IMEI numbers,” said an officer. 
The Times of India, May 7, 2012

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Missed 1st time, SIMI member held in Maha

Mateen Hafeez TNN

Mumbai: The state anti-terrorism squad on Friday arrested a 27-year-old suspected SIMI member who had fled from Aurangabad in March when another SIMI member was gunned down.
    ATS chief Rakesh Maria said the arrested person, Anwar Hussain, had brought four SIMI suspects in his car to Aurangabad. 

    However he fled from the spot during the encounter in which one accused Khaleel Qureishi was killed. “We are questioning Hussain hoping to get information about their module,” said Maria.


    Earlier, the police had arrested Aqueel Khilji (45), Mohammed Qureshi (32), Mohammad Abrar (36) and Mohammad Hussain (20) and claimed that the suspects were part of a sleeper cell and were looking to expand their network.

    “Khilji is the head of the Madhya Pradesh unit of SIMI and was hiding in Maharashtra to expand their network,” the ATS chief said.

    The police recovered a 7.65 pistol, five live cartridges, a pen drive and ‘jihadi literature’ from Khilji.

The Times of India, May 6, 2012

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Why dispose of bomb in Mum, ‘IM man’ asked

Mateen Hafeez TNN

Mumbai: The police are questioning suspected Indian Mujahideen (IM) operative Qateel Siddiqui about his visit to Mumbai to dispose of a bomb near Worli sea face in February 2010. The bomb was to be planted at Shrimant Dagdusheth Halwai Ganapati temple on the same day as the German Bakery blast. 

    “We are questioning Siddiqui as to why he brought the bomb 200km away to Mumbai to throw it when he could not execute his plan,” said an ATS officer. Siddiqui was taken into ATS custody a few days ago and produced before a Pune court. Police said Siddiqui’s bid to plant the bomb was foiled when a vendor refused to allow him to keep his bag outside the temple. “We are trying to find out why he came to Mumbai to dispose off the bomb. We suspect he was in touch with senior operatives who might have instructed
him,” said the officer.
    When asked what justification Siddiqui gave for his Mumbai visit, ATS chief Rakesh Maria said, “It is part of our investigation.” 
The Times of India, May 5, 2012

Friday, May 4, 2012

Training for cops to crack terror cases

Mateen Hafeez TNN

Mumbai: The ministry of home affairs has asked the state police to hols joint training sessions for personnel on how to investigate terror attacks. 

    According to senior police officials, the ministry is organizing the session as the state does not have enough good officers at the police station level who can probe terror cases. “The state anti-terrorism squad is doing a good job, but when newcomers join, they don’t know head or tail of a terror case. The ATS has to train them for a couple of months. There are personnel who do not even know what to do immediately after an attack, whether to cordon the spot off or not,” said a source.

    During the 12-day session, which will be open to officers of the ranks of inspector to DCP/SP, participants will be taught how to collect circumstantial evidence, an important part in detecting a case. The Pune police did not bother to keep the circumstantial evidence in mind when the fire brigade doused the blaze at German Bakery, where an explosion claimed 17 lives on February 13, 2010. “Most of the evidence like the explosives used was washed away,” said an officer. He added the main purpose was to prepare the personnel for detecting or preventing attacks. The lecturers will also enlighten the candidates on intelligence gathering and how to cultivate sources for information.
    Trainers will comprise senior officials from ATS, IB, research and analysis wing and the state intelligence department. “Those who have solved or been part of terror cases will be given preference in the first batch,” said the source. 
The Times of India, May4, 2012

Bid to break senior police officers’ ‘nexus’ with aides

Mateen Hafeez TNN

Mumbai: In a bid to break the alleged nexus between senior police officers and their readers, city police commissioner Arup Patnaik has ordered the transfer of all readers who have spent more time in the offices of additional commissioners and higher-ranking cops than what was stipulated.

    There have been allegations that readers, working for a specific officer, have not been transferred for over 6-7 years. For instance, a reader in the Mumbai police has worked for five commissioners for more than nine years.

    Confirming that there was an order to transfer readers who overstayed their tenure, an additional commissioner of police said: “The commissioner has not asked us to remove the readers but to transfer them and put them on rotation. Sometimes, a reader works at one place for more than 6-7 years and does not get field experience. This decision has been taken so that the readers can get field experience and learn how to handle the law and order situations, besides detecting and preventing crimes.”
    In most cases, a reader is aware of all the important decisions taken by the senior officer he works with.


The Reader
Areader is an officer whose rank ranges from inspector to assistant commissioner of police. He is the link between the senior officer and others.

The Times of India, May 4, 2012

Thursday, May 3, 2012

ATS takes custody of IM man for Pune temple blast attempt

Mateen Hafeez TNN

Mumbai: The Maharashtra anti-terrorism squad (ATS) has obtained custody of a suspected Indian Mujahideen (IM) operative for links with the Pune temple blast bid case. The attempt was made outside the Dagduseth Halwai Ganapati temple on February 13, 2010, the day a powerful bomb ripped through German Bakery, in which 17 people were killed.
    The suspect, Qateel Siddiqui, was till now in Bangalore jail in connection with other blast cases. “This is the first arrest in the temple case,” said ATS chief Rakesh Maria.
    An ATS officer said the squad was clear about Siddiqui’s role in the temple case. “He is not involved in the German Bakery blast, but we want to question him in connection with the Dagduseth case.”
    Last November, the Delhi police arrested Siddiqui, along with Mohammed Adil, alias Shoeb, Irshad Khan, Gauhar Khomani, Gayur Jamali and Abdur Rehman, for their involvement in the bakery blast and the blasts at Bangalore’s Chinnaswamy Stadium and Delhi’s Jama Masjid. But the ATS arrested only one person, Mirza Himayat Baig, in connection with the bakery blast. Later, the Delhi police came to believe that Siddiqui was involved only in the temple blast bid. 

    According to the police, Siddiqui and Baig were involved in ferrying bomb consignments to various locations in Pune; the temple blast plan failed as a flower vendor did not allow Siddiqui to keep a bag containing the bomb outside the temple; from Pune, Siddiqui came to Mumbai and threw the bag in the sea off Worli.

    In a written reply to the legislative council on March 31, home minister R R Patil said that IM operatives carried out a “dress rehearsal” outside the temple for other blasts. But he did not clarify if this was akin to a recce or a simulation. “One of the accused in the (temple) case is in a Bangalore prison and we are seeking his custody,” Patil had said then.
The Times of India, May 3, 2012