Friday, August 31, 2012

Kasab hanging will cost state only 50


Ajmal Kasab

That’s Funeral Budget, No Charge For Hangman 


Swati Deshpande TNN

Mumbai: To keep him safe, the state has already spent over Rs 50 crore. In his execution, the budget permitted by law is only Rs 50. 

    Not just this, the confirmation of death sentence for Pakistani terrorist Ajmal Kasab, for his role in the 26/11 attacks in the city that left 166 dead, has turned the spotlight on other quirks of a set of rules framed well over a century ago.
    The course to be taken and interpretation of the rules is further mired in a fog as their use is rare. The last 
execution in Maharashtra was in Pune’s Yerawada jail when Sudhakar Joshi was sent to the gallows in August 1995 in a murder case.
    Now 17 years later, the hanging ropes are likely to be measured and tested again when the execution date is set for the terrorist after a few more legal procedures are completed. The jail superintendent has to tell Kasab he has seven days to make a written mercy plea. Then the ball will be in the Maharashtra governor’s and, further on, the President’s court.
    If the pleas are turned down, the execution goes ahead. Meeran Borwankar, inspector general (prisons), told TOI that there is no execution fee or payment to be made to the hangman. (More in box)
    Executions in India, one of the 96 countries that still allow death penalty, are governed by laws that date back to 1894. The Prisons Act in India is the principle Act which lays down the rules and empowers states to make rules for execution. Four decades ago, the state adopted the Maharashtra Prisons (prisoners sentenced to death) Rules, 1971, that heavily borrows from its parent.
    A defining book on the rights of prisoners written by a Bombay high court lawyer, A B Puranik, in 1992 notes how prison laws in Maharashtra lay down that, except as provided in sub-rules, “the body of an executed convict shall be taken out of the prison with all solemnity”. Where possible, the body must be taken in a municipal hearse or ambulance hired to transport the body to the jail cremation or burial ground. The jail “superintendent may incur a reasonable expenditure up to Rs 50 for the transport and disposal of the body”.
    Once a convict is sentenced to death, the prison staff has to first measure his neck and weight. It boils down to height, weight and neck measurement with the height measured accurately to the angle of the jaw below the left ear. The height and weight are scientifically used to drop the rope to a certain height during the execution which is open to a dozen male relatives of the convict and other ‘spectators’ allowed by the jail superintendent. Kasab has no relatives in India.
    And while a bullet wound, like the many Kasab delivered on 26/11, would perhaps kill instantly, the prison rules say after hanging the condemned convict must be left suspended for half an hour till a medical officer certifies him dead.

A convict sentenced to death immediately gets special status in prison
The convict is confined to a special cell away from other prisoners and moved daily
The convict is under continuous 24-hour watch. The guards, posted right at the cell door, can be on duty only for two hours
Relatives or lawyers may visit. A priest or a cleric may be summoned once a week at government’s cost
A convict can get religious books, religious pictures, newspapers and books
Jailor can allow tobacco and other indulgences to the convict

FINAL COUNTDOWN After SC confirms death, jailor must tell convict of his right to submit mercy petition in writing within 7 days
If mercy plea is rejected, the state government will fix execution date. The convict can prepare his will
No execution on a public holiday
No execution if convict is unwell. But to justify a postponement, the illness must be serious and acute
COMPANY TILL END Only adult male relatives of the convict and other respectable males can witness the execution. Total spectators allowed is 12
The jail superintendent, dy superintendent, senior jailor and medical officer have to be present. A magistrate deputed by the DM will attend

D-DAY The gallows must be erected and the hanging rope tested on the execution-eve
The length of the rope is the depth of the drop in the gallows plus the distance between the prisoner’s jaw and the beam from which the noose hangs
The superintendent to check the noose is in proper position
The manual specifically lays down the height of the drop according to the weight of a convict. But a medical officer may suggest a change over any physical peculiarity
After the hanging, the body has to remain suspended for half an hour. Then a medical officer has to certify that life is extinct
A municipal hearse or ambulance may be hired to transport body for disposal according to convict’s religion. For this, jail super is allowed reasonable expenses up to 50
Kasab to hear about hanging by Saturday
Aday after the SC confirmed the death sentence handed out to Ajmal Kasab, the convict is still unaware that the clock is ticking on him. Kasab, now 24, had a peaceful day in the well-guarded Arthur Road jail, said sources. He could be officially informed by Saturday, when the prison authorities are expecting the copy of the SC order. Jail superintendent A C Rane said: “We came to know about the judgment through media reports. We are still waiting for a legal document informing us about the verdict. Until I get the order copy, how can I tell him that his death sentence has been upheld by the apex court?” - Mateen Hafeez 

The Times of India, August 31, 2012

DCPs must meet citizens every Sat: Police chief


Mateen Hafeez TNN

Mumbai: New police commissioner Satya Pal Singh has issued an order, saying officers of the rank of a deputy commissioner have to be present at police stations every Saturday, when they will interact with the common man. Policemen believe that the move will help strengthen the police-public relationship.
    Though the scheme has been in place for the past several years—it was initiated by former police commissioner M N Singh—deputy commissioners would not always attend the meetings. Now, it’s been made mandatory that a DCP will have to be present for the interactive sessions. “It will help people get justice,” said a DCP, adding that from September 1, all DCPs will have to attend the meetings with residents to hear their grievances and try to redress them. Commissioner Singh himself has decided to be at the Bandra police station this Saturday.
    Usually, at police darbars, people from an area visit the local police station and speak to officers about the problems they face. “If not satisfied with the police action, they try to meet senior officers. Now, it will be easier for citizens to highlight their concerns in front of DCPs,” said the police.
    But going by past cases, some feel such an initiative would not last long. “Most times, DCPs are busy with their other meetings or bandobasts. It’s a welcome move by the new police chief but it should be followed properly. If it’s meant for a good public-police relationship, the officers should take the initiative in solving the citizens’ problems. It should not become ‘just another scheme’ by a new police chief,” said an observer.
Cop cover order for demolition Mumbai: Police chief Satya Pal Singh has said the civic body, before conducting demolition drives, will not have to take permission for cop cover from the police headquarters; instead, zonal deputy commissioners have been empowered to give the nod.
    Mumbai police spokesperson Nisar Tamboli said earlier, the decisions of sending policemen to the spots were taken at the commissionerate. “Now, a DCP can take a decision on demolition and provide police cover to those conducting it,” he said. According to a source, the new system will help the civic body conduct more such drives as the permission for police protection will be granted faster.
Mateen Hafeez 

TOP COPS’ INITIATIVES R S Sharma | Foot patrolling by policemen
A N Roy | FIRs to be registered in 15 minutes
D Sivanandhan | Websites lanched to connect the youth with the force
Arup Patnaik | A postbox and messaging service started for sending in complaints 
The Times of India, August 31, 2012

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Protesters help Aug 11 probe with MMS clips

YET TO BE ARRESTED | A youth caught on camera, besides Ansari, vandalizing the martyrs’ memorial


Mateen Hafeez TNN

Mumbai: Those present at the August 11 Azad Maidan rally have unknowingly helped the police in its investigation of the riot that occurred on the occasion. Police sources said that besides footage from CCTV cameras installed in the area by the BMC and the railways, investigators have access to hundreds of MMS clips that were made by rally participants. These include scenes of police personnel being beaten up and the snatching of a self-loaded rifle (SLR) from a policeman. TOI recently carried on Page 1 a picture of a rioter with the SLR. 

    “Most cellphones nowadays come equipped with a camera. As the riot broke out, many present there began shooting with their phones. Some filmed the violence for two to six minutes while most took minute-long clippings,” said a crime branch officer. “They forwarded the clippings as MMS to friends and relatives, who made yet more forwards.”

    The police activated their network of informants, or khabris, who began collecting the video clips. “The clips were circulated with an enthusiasm similar to the circulation of pictures and videos of alleged atrocities against Muslims in Assam and Myanmar. Most of the arrests we made were based on these clips,” the officer said. “In some videos, one can hear excited rioters egging others on
to make yet more attacks. But we did not consider everyone seen in the clips as a rioter; the arrests were based on as much evidence as we could collect.”
    He said help also came from the general public in the form of pictures and videos of the violence. “We used these to identify many more rioters.”
    A source said the clips, along with CCTV footage, will be used as electronic evidence against the accused (see box for the legal status of such evidence).
    Meanwhile, the police’s cyber crime investigation cell has blocked over 55 provocative videos online and seven websites containing doctored photographs and video clippings of atrocities against Muslims.  
    The Supreme Court has held in the past that tape recordings can be used as corroborative evidence
    The same applies to other forms of electronic evidence
    Such evidence cannot by itself be used to secure conviction
    But it can be useful as proof along with primary evidence like eyewitness accounts and results of identification parades 
 RIOT | A rally called at Azad Maidan on August 11 to condemn alleged atrocities against Muslims in Assam and Myanmar turned violent, leading to attacks on police personnel and vandalism  
INJURED 55, including over 35 policemen

WANTED More than 15
NOTABLE ARRESTS | Salim Choukiya, for snatching a self-loaded rifle (SLR) from a policeman; Sayyed Tabrez and Waseem Khan, for stone pelting; Imran Sheikh, for lighting a match to set a police vehicle afire; Abul Qadir Ansari, for desecrating the Amar Jawan Jyoti


The Times of India, August 30, 2012

Rioter who assaulted cop detained


Mateen Hafeez TNN

Mumbai: The crime branch has detained an alleged rioter, Nadeem Shaikh, for assaulting a policeman on August 11 during the Azad Maidan rally. A source said the man, picked up on the basis of a photo showing him in action, would be formally arrested after his interrogation was over. His would be the 55th arrest in the case. 

    Meanwhile, the crime branch is trying to establish if Abdul Qadir Ansari, arrested for desecrating the
Amar Jawan Jyoti, intended to go to Pakistan after fleeing the city. Ansari, who is being interrogated, was caught while he was preparing to leave for Nepal.
    “We arrested Ansari based on a photograph that appeared in the media. He was seen trying to smash the memorial,” said a police officer. “During our search, we received information from three or four areas in Mumbai where informers said he was living. It is not physically possible for a man to live at four places.
    “We started questioning people in each area and finally found that he was from Jogeshwari.”
    The officer said Ansari left Mumbai two days after the August 11 incident and went to Bihar’s Sitamadi district. “From there, he was preparing to leave for Nepal. We are questioning him on whether he has any friends or relatives in that country or if he wanted to go to Pakistan. It is a sensitive investigation and we are taking our steps slowly to avoid any mistakes that could ruin our case.” 
The Times of India, August 30, 2012

‘Mercy plea to be processed fast’


New Delhi: With a presidential pardon the only option before Ajmal Kasab after the Supreme Court upheld his death sentence, home minister Sushil Kumar Shinde on Wednesday said the government would ensure that the Pakistani’s mercy plea, if it came, was processed in the minimum possible time.
    “If Ajmal Kasab files a mercy plea, we will ensure it is disposed of in minimum time,” Shinde said when asked if Kasab’s execution would take time since he has the option of moving a mercy petition.
    The delay in disposing of mercy petitions of death row convicts has created unease within and outside the government. At present, 11 mercy petitions, including that of Parliament attack convict Afzal Guru, are pending with the President. Guru filed his mercy plea in 2006 but it took the government over five years to process his file before sending it to the President.
    Though the government gave its opinion rejecting Guru’s mercy plea to the President over a year ago, it is still pending with the President’s secretariat. The President can exercise his discretion on when to take a final call on the matter, as the Constitution does not provide any time limit on the issue.
    Home secretary R K Singh said Kasab has not yet filed any mercy petition. “We will see once he does,” he said.
    Information and broadcasting minister Ambika Soni was more straightforward on the issue. She said while it was Kasab’s constitutional right to seek a presidential review, such clemency should not be shown. “This judgment was awaited from the Supreme Court. I think the judgment should be abided by. Personally, I think there should be no clemency for such cases,” she said. 
Terrorist not told of verdict Mumbai: The country’s most high-profile prisoner spent the day in Arthur Road jail oblivious of the death sentence meted out to him by the Supreme Court. Ajmal Kasab woke up in his cell at his normal time, ate almost everything served to him through Wednesday and, again at his normal time, went off to sleep. Policemen were forbidden from informing Kasab of the apex court verdict since the jail superintendent A C Rane had “not received an order copy of the judgment”. “How can I tell him about the judgment without having the document in my hand?” said Rane. Mateen Hafeez | TNN

Ajmal Kasab

The Times of India, August 30, 2012

Hang Kasab now: Smita Salaskar

SITTING, WAITING, WATCHING: The family of late home guard Mukesh Bhikaji Jadhav watches the news at their Sion home; kin of late Ambadas Pawar, who died at CST, glued to their TV set; a cop pays his respects to the late Tukaram Omble


Mateen Hafeez & Bella Jaisinghani TNN

Mumbai: Now that the highest court of the land has decided the fate of Ajmal Kasab, the unanimous verdict among 26/11 martyrs’ families is that the Pakistani extremist should be hanged without further delay. They want the recourse of presidential pardon to be “bypassed” in Kasab’s instance lest the case “go into cold storage like that of Afzal Guru”.
    Smita Salaskar, the widow of officer Vijay Salaskar, says, “I want Kasab to be hanged at once. It frustrates me to see that the Indian Constitution, which was drafted to protect our own people, is being used to serve the interests of a foreign terrorist. We have given Kasab several opportunities to defend himself despite visible evidence of his crimes. Now that we have given the Pakistani extremist a fair trial, it is time the Congress government shows a heart for its own citizens.”
    Slain ATS chief Hemant Karkare’s wife Kavita shares the sentiment. “Let us hang this man soon and finish the matter. We must not allow Kasab to seek presidential pardon because that is an endless saga. My children and I have waited four years for the curtains to draw on the injustice done to us,” she says.
    Two prominent corporate leaders, Ashok Kapur of Yes Bank and developer Pankaj Shah, lost their lives at Oberoi Hotel in 26/11 terror attack. “If the matter must go for the president’s approval, I want Kasab’s case to jump the queue. Like Afzal Guru, it cannot be put into cold storage. We must not be seen as a soft 
state which allows enemies to get away with mass murder,” says Ashok’s wife Madhu Kapur.
    Shah’s wife Kalpana says, “Four years is a long wait. Our judicial system takes too long. This drama over Kasab’s hanging must end at once. I will be satisfied the day the Congress government shows the will to pursue the masterminds across the border but that, by all evidence, is unlikely to happen in our lifetime.”
    A bitter Madhavi More, wife of martyred sub-inspector Prakash More, says, “We keep hearing the word ‘phansi’ but are yet to see any signs of execution drawing near. He didn’t think for a second before killing Indians but we are mulling his fate for four years,” she says.
    Among the police officers who captured Kasab alive was inspector Hemant Bhawdhankar, later awarded the President’s Police Medal for Gallantry. “Like any Indian, I want Kasab to be hanged at the earliest. The Supreme Court’s conviction has proved that we have a fair judicial system. Kasab was tried and found guilty at every stage,” Bhawdhankar says.

The Times of India, August 30, 2012

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Amar Jawan vandal arrested in Bihar

Mateen Hafeez TNN

Mumbai: The Mumbai police’s crime branch on Monday arrested a 19-year-old, while he was on the run in Bihar, for allegedly vandalizing the Amar Jawan memorial during the Azad Maidan riots on August 11. It is now considering charging three community leaders present at the rally with criminal conspiracy charges. 

    Abdul Qadir Ansari, a resident of Jogeshwari, was picked up from Sitamarhi distri
ct as he was preparing to flee to Nepal, said joint police commissioner (crime) Himanshu Roy. On the day of the violence, Ansari was photographed desecrating the installation along with another youth. They reportedly kicked the memorial’s fibreglass, smashed it, and damaged the rifle and helmet encased within. The police are yet to identify the second youth.
    The defacement caused widespread outrage, with one independent MP offering a reward of Rs 5 lakh to anyone providing credible information to police on the vandals.

Meeting in Jogeshwari moved vandal to protest


Three New Arrests Take Tally To 54 


Mateen Hafeez TNN

    According to the police, Abdul Qadir Ansari returned home after the riots and remained there until August 13, when acquaintances alerted him to a picture in a newspaper that showed him defacing the Amar Jawan memorial. The same day, he took a Muzaffarpur train. On reaching Bihar, he stayed in relatives’ home in Sitamarhi for almost two weeks.
    Meanwhile in Mumbai, the police took Ansari’s mobile number from his family and, using that, traced his location. “We got information that he was staying at his relatives’ place in Bihar, so a team flew to catch him. He was brought to
the city and produced before a court,” said Roy. He has been remanded in police custody till September 4.
    Like others accused of involvement in the riot, Ansari has been booked for murder, attempt to murder, hurt, rioting, dacoity, molestation of women, damaging public property, and for other crimes. If found guilty of these charges, his sentence can range anywhere from seven years’ imprisonment to death penalty.
    Aside from Ansari, the police have arrested two others: Mehtab Shaikh, a Tardeo resident, and Nazir Ahmed, a resident of central Mumbai. Investigators said Shaikh was captured on camera participating in the riots, while Ahmed was injured during the violence and admitted to J J Hospital. He was arrested after discharge. Shaikh and Ahmed too have been remanded in police custody till September 4. The three latest arrests bring the total tally of those apprehended for the Azad Maidan riots to 54.
    Officers said Ansari passed out of Class X a while ago and, since then, was neither working nor studying. His father is a maulvi and so are three of his seven siblings.
    Roy said Ansari had participated in a meeting—along with hundreds of others—called in Jogeshwari before August 11. During that meeting, Ansari got “motivated to attend the Azad Maidan protest”. After the riot, the protest organizers had distanced themselves from the vandals and termed them as “anti-social elements”.
THE ACCUSED Abdul Qadir Ansari is a resident of Jogeshwari. The 19-year-old passed out of Class X a while ago and, since then, was neither working nor studying. His father, a maulvi who originally hails from Sitamarhi district in Bihar, came to
Mumbai about three decades ago. One of eight siblings, Ansari has six brothers and two sisters. Two of his elder brothers are maulvis in Uttar Pradesh; one elder brother is a maulvi in Mumbai; the fourth elder brother works in a mobile repair shop; and a younger brother—13 years old—studies in school
As scores of men ran riot in south Mumbai on August 11, two were photographed vandalizing the Amar Jawan memorial near the BMC headquarters. They kicked the fibreglass memorial, smashed it, and then damaged the encased rifle and helmet. According to police, Ansari was
one of those two. The act caused widespread outrage. The installation, unveiled in 2009, was erected in memory of two sepoys—Sayyed Hussein and Mangal Cadiya—who were martyred during the Sepoy Mutiny of 1857. Days after the riot, an independent MP, Rajeev Chandrasekhar, announced a reward of Rs 5 lakh for credible information about the vandals  
THE CHARGES Like others involved in the riot, Ansari has been booked for murder, attempt to murder, hurt, rioting, dacoity, molestation, damaging public property, and for other crimes
POSSIBLE PUNISHMENT | If found guilty, his sentence can range anywhere from seven years’ imprisonment to death 
 THE ACCOMPLICE | The police are yet to identify the second man photographed vandalizing the
Amar Jawan Jyoti and are on the lookout for him

1. After the riot, Abdul Qadir Ansari returned to his Jogeshwari home and stayed there until August 13, when acquaintances told him about a picture in a newspaper of him defacing the Amar Jawan memorial 2. Panic-stricken, he took a Muzaffarpur train on the same day and left for Bihar. He took shelter in relatives’ home in Sitamarhi district and was there for almost two weeks 3. In Mumbai, Ansari’s family became aware of the vandalism act only when a police team visited them. Police noted down Ansari’s mobile number, then dug out his call records and traced his location 4. He was caught on Monday afternoon from Bihar as he was preparing to flee to Nepal 
The Times of India, August 29, 2012

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Top cop gets a surprise visitor

MAKING FRIENDS: MNS chief Raj Thackeray on his way to meet the city’s new police commissioner on Monday. The previous officer, Arup Patnaik, had taken a relatively tough stance against the party

Mateen Hafeez TNN

Mumbai: MNS chief Raj Thackeray, the person to whom many ascribed former city police chief Arup Patnaik’s hurried transfer after the August 11 mob violence, on Monday met Patnaik’s successor, Satya Pal Singh, to “boost the city police’s morale”.
   Thackeray’s party was at the receiving end of stern police action during Patnaik’s tenure, the most recent being the arrest of MNS corporator Prakash Darekar, the brother of key MNS MLA Pravin Darekar. The sequence of events, right from the August 11 violence to Thackeray’s public call for Patnaik’s scalp 10 days later to ultimately the latter’s transfer, set tongues wagging about the significance of Monday’s Singh-Thackeray meet. The MNS chief, however, denied any motive other than “boosting cops’ morale”.
   Thackeray, who drove in his Mercedes to reach the police commissionerate around 4.30 pm, spoke to Singh for 25 minutes. Talking to the media after the meeting, Thackeray said, “Whenever new commissioners are appointed at the BMC and the city police HQ, I congratulate them. I came here to express my best wishes to Singh and asked him to boost the morale of the force and also police personnel’s families. The police chief had admitted at his press conference that the morale of the force had gone down after the August 11 violence.”
   The MNS took out a rally on August 23 without police permission, with a case being registered against the party’s general secretary Shirish Sawant and others for marching from Girgaum Chowpatty to Azad Maidan. Police permission was only for a gathering at the maidan.
    Thackeray, whose party workers were in the news late last month for vandalism during a film shoot in Borivli, said, “I expect from the new police chief that mistakes committed in the past will not be repeated.”
The Times of India, August 28, 2012

3 accused in riot case released


Mateen Hafeez TNN

Mumbai: Three of the 51 people arrested for rioting on August 11 have been released. Abbas Ujjainwala, Aslam Ahmed Shaikh and Anees Saleem Daware were booked for murder and attempt to murder. During investigation, the police did not find evidence against them. So, they filed a discharge application under section 169 of the CrPC before the Esplanade court, which passed its order on Saturday. 

    Sources said that on August 11, Daware, a first year junior college student and a worker at a garage, had merely gone to collect his friend’s motorcycle at Azad Maidan and had left before rioting began. His family produced CCTV footage showing he was present at the garage in the duration of the riot. As for Shaikh, he was home in Dadar when the riots took place. The police said more of those arrested would be released if found innocent.
    Meanwhile, Tardeo resident Mehtab Shaikh, who is seen rioting in a YouTube video, has been detained. The police is verifying if he was involved in the Martyr’s Memorial desecration. 
The Times of India, August 28, 2012

Monday, August 27, 2012

City is counterfeit capital of country

Battle Against Fake Notes Gets Harder As Their Quality Improves 


Hemali Chhapia, Mateen Hafeez & Sanjeev Shivadekar | TNN

    For several reasons, Mumbai is the financial capital of the country. But not everything is positive about it: hidden in that moniker is the fact that it is India’s capital for phoney money. Delhi, on the other hand, comes a close second in the number of fake notes seized from its various dark alleys, but ranks number one when one puts a value to those notes, which really have no worth. In the last few years, the states of Maharashtra and Delhi have contributed to 30% of all counterfeit bills detected in circulation.

    Information sought by RTI activist Subhash Chandra Agrawal on fake currency bills reveals that Uttar Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and West Bengal come next on the chart. Each year, the count of fake scrip netted by the police and the Reserve Bank of India rises. In the first six months of this year, about two million fake notes, making up over Rs 100 million, were seized. In all of 2011, about six million counterfeit notes, accounting for Rs 260 million, were seized.

    RBI spokesperson Alpana Kilawala said counterfeit notes land up at the RBI from sources such as banks and individuals who come to exchange money. “But central banks all over the world try to stay ahead of forgers; introducing plastic notes is an effort in that direction.”

    But the battle against the business of duplicating bills seems to be a losing one. Security agencies say that the quality of fake notes is getting better by the day, which makes it even more difficult to detect them. Counterfeiters use the very imported paper the government uses to print notes, the agencies say. “Around 95% of the features of new fake notes are similar to those of genuine notes. The quality of paper is the same, the colour and the ink are the same; counterfeiters are now trying to meticulously copy the micro-lettering,” said a police officer. 

    Maharashtra’s security agencies believe that fake notes seized by them
in April 2009 were printed in a government printing press in Quetta, Pakistan. Notes of the same series were detected in Uttar Pradesh, with the UP Special Task Force suspecting that most of those were printed in the security press at Malir Cantonment, Karachi, and three other presses in Pakistan. 

    That summation captures the mainstream opinion among economists and within the expert community that most of the fake currency is flowing in from across the border to destabilize India’s economy. Former Mumbai police commissioner M N Singh said that while most of the currency lands up in metros, where the number of economic transactions is high, the notes initially land in tiny hamlets, where vigilance is low.


    “The Bihar, UP and Kolkata routes are no longer used frequently. These have been replaced by Jharkhand. Peerpur village in Sahibganj district has emerged as a prime landing spot. It is 35km from the Bangladesh border,” said a police officer. 

    In November 2009, the Pydhonie police in Mumbai arrested six youths from Jharkhand and seized fake currency worth Rs 5 lakh. The notes were in denominations of Rs 500 and Rs 1,000. The accused would get a commission of 50% for circulating the fake currency. Each note bore a fake signature of former RBI governor Y V Reddy. In April 2010, the anti-terrorism squad (ATS) arrested six people and seized fake currency worth Rs 4 lakh. Again, the youths belonged to Jharkhand. In September last year, two youths were caught and they, too, were Jharkhand residents. 

The Times of India, August 27, 2012

Innovation marks criminal enterprise

Mateen Hafeez & Sanjeev Shivadekar | TNN

Mumbai: Circulating fake currency notes (FCNs) in India, as a form of financial terrorism, is kept alive by periodic changes in routes, hubs and modus operandi.

    Once, the most notorious routes for smuggling fake currency into India were the Bangladesh-Kolkata (via the North 24 Parganas), Nepal-Gorakhpur and Nepal-Bihar routes. But now, Jharkhand’s Sahibganj district has emerged as the main landing spot for fake notes
sent from across the border. 

    Police sources said Birganj, the biggest town in Nepal’s Terai region, was earlier the main transit point for almost all fake currency entering India, with the Pakistani embassy in Kathmandu suspected to be the nerve centre of the operation. It was suspected that a senior ISI officer working in the embassy’s education department, K Mehmood, ran the network with the help of another ISI officer, Jamil Alam. Two other major routes were through Beherwa village and from Birganj to Biratnagar, all lying on the
Indo-Nepalese border.
    “Due to India and Nepal agreeing to fight the menace together, printers are now using Jharkhand as the transit point. There are allegations that the police in that state are lenient towards the accused,” said a police officer from Mumbai.
    The newest hub for the FCN racket that seems to be emerging is Maharashtra. “Last year, the state police arrested 105 people in connection with fake currency cases. A colour printer was seized during one of the raids in Beed district,” home minister R R Patil told the legislative council earlier this year.
    Joint commissioner of police (crime) Himanshu Roy admitted that fake currency cases were on the rise. But he attributed this to greater vigilance by the police and other law enforcing agencies. “Much of the fake currency is smuggled from across the border. Pakistan is a major player when it comes to pumping counterfeit notes into India. They are circulated especially in Mumbai and the other metro cities with the aim to destabilize the country’s economy,” he said. 
The Times of India, August 27, 2012

Fair probe sought into ‘cop assault on accused’


Mateen Hafeez TNN

Mumbai: A socio-religious group, Jamiat-ul-Ulema, has sought a “fair inquiry” into the allegation that 23 Azad Maidan riots accused were assaulted on Friday evening inside Arthur Road jail. The group pointed out that similar claims of police brutality in the Mumbai prison have
been made in the past.
    Gulzar Azmi, general secretary of Jamiat’s legal cell, said, “We want a fair probe. Such things are unacceptable.” A magistrate court has demanded medical reports of the accused on Monday.
    The allegation was made
after families of some of the accused went to meet them on Saturday morning. According to a source, the kin were informed that “the jail staff beat up the accused”.
    Azmi noted that this is not the first time such claims have been made. On June 28, 2008, more than 37 accused—allegedly involved in the 11/7 train blasts, 2006 Malegaon blasts, the 2006 Aurangabad arms haul case—were reportedly assailed by constables in Arthur Road jail. The case reached the Supreme Court, which has scheduled a final hearing on August 28. 
Constable back, but gets no work
C onstable Pramod Tawde, who is facing a departmental inquiry for presenting a rose to Raj Thackeray during the latter’s rally, resumed office on Saturday. He was, however, not assigned any work. Sources said aconstable from the wireless department had spotted Tawde near the stage 15 minutes before he approached Thackeray. “It is surprising that he dodged the protection party. He was not on bandobast duty that day,” the source said.  
Green passport still not traced T he police are yet to trace the purportedly Bangladeshi passport waved by Raj Thackeray at Azad Maidan during his speech last week. The MNS chief had claimed the document was found at the maidan after the August 11 riots. A senior police officer said on Sunday, “I was busy in bandobast outside the ground and hence don’t know about the passport. It must be with MNS party workers. I will have to make inquiries.”
Mateen Hafeez 

The Times of India, August 27, 2012

2 brothers beaten up in road rage

Mateen Hafeez TNN

Mumbai: The Tardeo police are looking for a group of eight youths who allegedly assaulted two businessmen brothers on the Mumbai Central bridge in a case of road rage that was triggered by overtaking. The group beat up the brothers with iron rods and knuckle dusters, before fleeing when they heard a police van approaching. 
    According to investigating officer Rajesh Chandukade, the victims are Mumbai Central residents Shaikh Irfan (35) and Shaikh Sufiyan (32), who were returning from a gymnasium in Haji Ali when the incident occurred. The Shaikhs are sup
plier of electronic surveillance system and have more than 500 system integrators working for them.
    “My brothers have been visiting the gym for the past six months. Around 9 that night, the two were riding back home when a WagonR sped up from behind and overtook my brothers’ bike, forcing them onto the footpath. The one riding the motorcycle also lost his balance,” said Zubair, the victims’ brother. The brothers chased the car, forcing the motorist to stop near the Mumbai Central signal, said the police.
    Even as they had an altercation, the motorist called up his friends and asked them to come to the spot. “Within minutes, seven young men arrived, armed with iron rods, lathis and knuckle dusters. They hit, kicked and punched my brothers. Meanwhile, some passersby called up the police and a patrol van reached the spot. Seeing the cops, the attackers fled, leaving behind a bike and a car,” said Zubair.
    The bleeding brothers were taken to Nair hospital and the police registered a case of assault. 
The Times of India, August 27, 2012

LeT operative planted bomb on train, goofed up on timing

Mateen Hafeez TNN

Mumbai: Arrested LeT operative Zabihuddin Ansari alias Abu Jundal has disclosed that he had assembled the bomb that was planted on Karnavati Express in February 2006. The bomb was supposed to go off at Mumbai Central station, but Jundal made a mistake while setting the timer and the bomb went off at Ahmedabad railway station. Twenty-five people were injured in the explosion on February 19. 

    The bomb was supposed to go off at 12 noon but Jundal goofed up and set the timer for 12pm. “We had planned for the bomb to go off at Mumbai Central but that did not happen. Instead, the bomb exploded when the train was going to a railway yard in Ahmedabad,” Jundal has reportedly told the interrogators.
    Jundal was trained to assemble bombs by LeT commander Abu Hamza at a camp in Nepal in December 2005. Jundal claims he made the mistake while setting the timer as he was told to carry out the strike within two months of his training and did not get a chance to conduct a trial. He has also told the police he was in touch with his Pakistani handlers much before the 2006 Aurangabad arms haul. “He used to chat with his handlers on the internet. He learnt to operate a computer in a cyber cafe. Mirza Himayat Baig, an arrested accused in the Pune German Bakery blast case, also used the internet to keep in touch with his Pakistani handlers,” said a police source.

The Times of India, August 27, 2012

Malegaon made first arrest over doctored clips

Mateen Hafeez TNN

Mumbai:The first arrest in connection with the doctoring of audio-visual clips of alleged atrocities in Myanmar actually came from Malegaon. An 18-year-old youth, Khalid Shaikh, was picked up in the matter long before arrests took place in Pune and Nashik.
    Additional superintendent of police Sunil Kadasne said his team began monitoring cellphone users as soon as the video clips began circulating. “We asked the teams to look for people with provocative clips on their cellphones. During our surveillance, we received information that Shaikh, a scrap dealer, had got a video of the killings in Assam and Myanmar. We traced his location and seized his cellphone,” said Kadasne.
    He added that Shaikh had got the clipping from an auto driver. Shaikh, a Class XII passout, was sent to police custody for two days. 

    In Nashik, the Panchvati police on Friday said they would be seeking extension of police custody of Kiran Pankar (22), who had allegedly uploaded provocative posts on a social networking website on August 13. Pankar was arrested last week for sharing a photo with provocative text on it on the website. Pankar, an HSC dropout, is a master in editing photos using a popular software and used to work as a graphic designer with an advertising firm in Panch
vati. Cops said Pankar manipulated the picture, which was uploaded by someone else, by adding provocative words to it and then uploaded it from his account. Pankar was in touch with 517 people on the website, cops said, and the picture got circulated and noticed by the Mumbai police.
    Last week, the cyber crime cell of the Pune police questioned three suspects in connection with the provocative SMSs and doctored MMS clips that have been doing the rounds in the backdrop of the violence in Assam and Myanmar. The three have been identified as Imran Irfan Khan (39), Arif Munavar Khan (47) and Sarfaraj Mohammed Iqbal Shaikh (32). Cops have also identified others in connection with the matter, and have made some arrests in the past three days. 
The Times of India, August 27, 2012

Friday, August 24, 2012

Under pressure, CM moves Patnaik out as city top cop

Ally NCP Has Its Way, Victory For Raj Too 


Prafulla Marpakwar & Mateen Hafeez TNN

Mumbai: Chief minister Prithviraj Chavan, after getting orders from the Congress high command on Thursday, bowed to his coalition partner NCP’s pressure to abruptly shunt out Mumbai police commissioner Arup Patnaik by promoting him to the director general rank and replacing him with Satya Pal Singh, the additional director general (law and order). 

    Patnaik’s transfer as the head of the Maharash
tra State Security Corporation comes barely 48 hours after MNS chief Raj Thackeray took out a protest rally calling for his resignation for “mishandling” the August 11 violence in south Mumbai. But Patnaik’s replacement, Singh, who was moved out from Pune as the police chief five months after the German Bakery blasts, may hold the post for a mere six months as he will be due for promotion as director general after DG (home guards) Sridevi Goel retires in March 2013.
  Patil, who announced the promotion and transfer, tried to underplay it saying it was a routine transfer. “It was not a political move. It has got nothing to do with August 11 and Raj Thackeray’s subsequent rally to demand his resignation. He has been transferred on promotion,” he said.
    Expressing satisfaction over Patnaik’s transfer, the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena chief said, “The police commissioner let Mumbaikars down on August 11. He failed in his duty as Mumbai’s guardian. He had to go. I am happy the DF government accepted my party’s demand.” My uniform is my religion: Satya Pal
    Raj Thackeray has now trained his guns on R R Patil. “If Patil is unable to handle the home department, he too should quit,” he told TOI from Pune.
    After taking over the reins of the Mumbai police, Satya Pal Singh said he was grateful to the state government for entrusting him with a great responsibility. “My uniform is my religion, nothing else. The confidence of the police force was shaken after the August 11 riots. I will revive that confidence in the force. I will give the Mumbai police an impartial and fair leadership,” he said. But he refused to comment on the po
lice action post-violence.
    Singh, a doctorate in terror studies and an active blogger and author of a few books, said the city police were going through difficult times. “Giving moral support to my
officers will be my priority. I will focus on targeting antinational elements, terrorists and anti-socials. I also know that people are not happy and I will try and revive their faith in the police,” he said.

    On action against the August 11 rioters, Singh said, “We should not become prisoners of our past. Our investigation is on.”     Meanwhile, a legal objection has been raised over the new assignment for Patnaik. According to the provisions of the Maharashtra State Security Corporation Act, 2010, the managing director should be of the rank of additional director general or inspector general, but Patnaik is of the rank of director general. 

    “Without upgrading the post, the government has appointed Patnaik to that post. It appears to be illegal,” a senior official said.
    (Inputs from Ambarish Mishra) 
Times View: Police chief must inspire confidence
M umbai has seen nine police commissioners in the last 10 years or so. That augurs ill for a city of over 12 million that wages a grim battle against crime and terror almost every day. The blatant politics behind the appointment (and removal) of the police chief and the pressures that are put on the incumbent to toe his masters’ line make a mockery of this top job. If police chiefs are to be changed at the whims and fancies of the political class, whom does the Mumbaikar turn to? One suggestion seems worth following: Let the government upgrade the CP to the rank of director-general: this will pre-empt arbitrary transfers and give the police chief a much-needed breather. At the same time, the CP must inspire confidence not only in his superiors, but also win the hearts of his force, and the trust of the citizens.


Arup Patnaik: IPS 1979 batch. Took charge on February 28, 2011. Came under political pressure for mishandling August 11 violence in south Mumbai
Current Posting: Promoted and transferred in the rank of DG to head Maharashtra State Security Corporation

Satya Pal Singh: The 56-year-old 1980 batch IPS officer was born on November 29, 1955, at Basauli in Meerut district of Uttar Pradesh Earlier Posting: Prior to becoming Mumbai police chief, was additional DGP (law and order) 
The Times of India, August 24, 2012

‘CP’s transfer unfair, will send wrong message’

Mateen Hafeez TNN

Mumbai: Retired police officers and security experts on Thursday questioned the rationale and timing of the decision to transfer Arup Patnaik.
    The move came just two days after Raj Thackeray slammed Patnaik and home minister R R Patil over the way the August 11 violence was handled and demanded their resignation. On Thursday, though, the government sought to clarify that the transfer was part of a“systematic procedure”.
    Former IPS officer Y P Singh said it appears that the government wants to promote Raj in order to tackle the Shiv Sena. “Patnaik’s transfer has sent the wrong message and is unfair. If the government wanted to transfer Patnaik, it could have done so after a thorough inquiry. It clearly looks like a punishment transfer and promotion. Patnaik has been made the scapegoat,” added Singh.
    Former Mumbai police commissioner M N Singh said the August 11 episode might not be the only reason for Patnaik’s transfer. “I would not like to give credit to Raj Thackeray, he is just trying to gain political mileage. He had demanded the home minister and police commisioner’s resignation, but I don’t think the decision was taken due to any political pressure,” he said.
    Singh further said: “I understand the proposal for Patnaik’s transfer and promotion was already in the pipeline. It looks like he has been eased out. The police handled the situation very effectively and tactfully on August 11 and we should give them credit for the same. However, Patnaik also fired a DCP in front of everybody that day. Then, a member of his force offered a rose to Raj Thackeray a few days later, which was the height of indiscipline. I suspect these incidents did not go down well with the government.”
    Last week, former director general of police S S Puri sent an SMS to Patnaik, appreciating the handling of the violence. The SMS was printed on the first page of the police bulletin meant for internal circulation.
    A senior police officer said the decision seemed hurried. “The promotion and transfer file was pending with the government; it could have waited for a few more weeks. Now, some parties will take advantage of the move. Patnaik was handling the city effectively and knew how to manage big crowds.”
‘Tough man who did some good work’ Arup Patnaik’s transfer evoked mixed reactions from members of the police force. While a section of senior officers said he was a hard taskmaster, lower ranked cops remained tightlipped.
    Sources said Patnaik did a lot of good work. “He was tough on his men as he wanted to enforce discipline. He wanted the police station to be like a corporate office and give policemen a clean and healthy environment. Patnaik took several initiatives and started at least two good canteens at the police headquarters and the Esplanade court, with subsidized and healthy food. He wanted his men to stay in shape,” said an officer.
    Patnaik went to cop quarters to check the living conditions there and even paid surprise visits to police stations to check if they were clean. “The only problem with Patnaik was that he could be really rough,” said a senior officer.—S Ahmed Ali 
The Times of India, August 24, 2012

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Day after gifting rose at rally, cop skips duty

Pramod Tawde, whose presence at Tuesday’s MNS rally prompted a departmental inquiry, left his Vikhroli home (right) as usual for work on Wednesday, but didn’t go to office 

Mateen Hafeez TNN

Mumbai: Police naik Pramod Shantaram Tawde, who is facing a departmental enquiry for presenting a rose to Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) chief Raj Thackeray during the latter’s rally, left office three hours before Tuesday’s rally and did not resume work even on Wednesday. Police are probing if his action was pre-planned. 

    Tawde, attached to the wireless department at Nagpada, was not posted at Azad Maidan for wireless or bandobast duty, say his seniors. “There is no question of him attending bandobast until instructed to do so. He came to office at 11am on Tuesday and worked normally before he suddenly went missing. Later, some of our colleagues came to know through TV reports that he had gone to
Azad Maidan,” said the officer. Tawde’s job includes receiving wireless messages and sending them to senior officers. He admitted Tawde was part of a group of policemen beaten up by CISF men on August 12, 2010, and said the legal process is on. “He will get justice. What is the need to go on a political stage and appreciate a man speaking against the home minister and police chief?” he said. 
    Despite not reporting for duty, Tawde recorded his statement with the Azad Maidan police on Wednesday.
    Priyanka, Tawde’s wife, said she was surprised to see her husband on TV. “We were watching TV and all of a sudden I saw my husband on stage. I didn’t know how to react. He returned at 11pm on Tuesday and left for office at 10am on Wednesday,” she said. The couple has a daughter and a 14-year-old son. Their third-floor flat in building number 194, at police lines in Kannamwar Nagar, Vikhroli (E), has several amenities including a 40-inch flat TV and a split airconditioner. Below the TV was a bouquet with the visiting card of an MNS leader. “Some people came to appreciate my husband in the morning. But he had already left for office, so they kept the bouquet on the table,” she said.

The Times of India, August 23, 2012

NC offence filed against MNS chief for foul language

Mateen Hafeez TNN

Mumbai: Several complaints were filed with the Azad Maidan police on Wednesday over Tuesday’s MNS rally, prominent being a non-cognizable offence against party chief Raj Thackeray for using foul language against Samajwadi Party leader Abu Aasim Azmi during a rally on Tuesday. 

    The NC was registered under section 504 (intentional insult to provoke breach of peace), at the behest of Sayyed Zakir Chand, an SP member. Cops sent audio and video tapes of Thackeray’s speech to legal experts. 

    On Wednesday, Farid Batatawala, chairman of Muslim Front, an NGO, filed a written complaint with a copy of a newspaper photo showing Thackeray holding a passport in his hand. “Thackeray should be asked
how he got the passport. Had it been lying at the Azad Maidan ground on August 11, the person who picked it up could be a rioter as well. It was Thackeray’s responsibility to hand the passport to police,” the application stated. Batatawala said Thackeray didn’t mention the identity of the person whose passport he displayed, and its date of issue. 

    Advocate Kanishk Jayant submitted another application to the police, demanding an FIR against Thackeray under the Prevention of Atrocities Act. “Thackeray used foul language while mentioning Indu Mill. Followers of Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar know his memorial is likely to come up at the mill. Hence talking about it and using foul language was irresponsible on his part,” Jayant told TOI. 
The Times of India, August 23, 2012

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Three websites with provocative content blocked

Mateen Hafeez TNN

Mumbai: The cyber crime investigation cell (CCIC) of the city police has blocked three websites that were showing provocative videos of violence against Muslims in Myanmar. The police have also identified at least 25 videos on variouswebsitesthatshow killing of Muslims in Assam andMyanmar. 

    Theduration of the videos is between six minutes and 10 minutes.Investigatorsbelieve the provocative content of the videos had fanned anger, resulting in violence in south Mumbaion August11. 

    Additional commissioner of police (detection, crime branch) Niket Kaushik said, “We have gone through all the videos and clippings and foundthatsomeof thesewere doctored. The images used were notof the violencein Assam or Myanmar. We have also blocked several blogs that werediscussing theseissues.” 

    Kaushik said the police have written to service providers and sought information on internet protocol (IP) addresses of websites from where these videos were uploaded. “Untilwe gettheinformation, it will be difficult to say where the videos were up
loadedfrom,” saidKaushik. 

    “These provocative clippings were sold in the form of an MMS for Rs 10 each a few days before the riots. We are alsokeeping tabson some mobile memory carddealerswho had upload videos in the

cards. If found guilty, action will be taken against them,” said a crimebranchofficer.
    Sources said a clipping titled “Muslim being burnt in Burma” is actually that of a Tibetan protestor whohadset himself ablazetwo years ago.  
Muslim leaders bat for Patnaik A section of Muslim leaders has opposed MNS chief Raj Thackeray’s demand for suspension of police commissioner Arup Patnaik. “He stopped the riots from spiraling into a communal carnage. Such officers should be feted, not criticized ,” said Farid Shaikh of Mumbai Aman Committee. Maulana Mahmood Daryabadi of All India Ulema Council and Haroon Mozawala of All-India Muslim Personal Law Board echoed similar views. TNN 
The Times of India, August 19, 2012

NGOs’ funds source comes under cop lens

KHAKI COVER: Police personnel were deployed in large numbers in south Mumbai in view of the BJP’s morcha against the desecration of the Martyrs’ Memorial on August 11





Mateen Hafeez TNN

Mumbai: The crime branch, probing the August 11 violence following a rally at Azad Maidan, will now check the source of funding of some of the NGOs that had participated in the protest. Sources said the police will verify the credentials of people who had donated money to these NGOs. 

    Two youths were killed and more than 50 people were injured in the violence.
    Raza Academychairman SaeedNoori,whohad participated in the protest rally, said his partial statement has been recorded. “The police have summoned me again to record my complete statement,” said Noori, adding that the investigators have asked him about funds his organization receives. “I told them about the source of our funds and they are satisfied,” said Noori. 
    The Raza Academy, whichis mainly intothe publishing of Islamic books and literature, is one of the organizers of last Saturday’s rally. It actively participates in dharnas and morchas. The organization was founded in 1978 but is yet to be registered, said Noori.
   The police have also received information about the residenceof thetwoboys who had desecrated the Amar Jawan memorial.     “The problem is that we have received information from a couple of sources and they have given us three to four addresses for the youths. We have passed on this information to the special investigation team (SIT) and asked them to verify the boys’ names and addresses,” said a crime branch officer. 

    Videos and photographs show two youths vandalizing the memorial during the riots. The identity of the two boys is yet to be ascertained, said the police. 
    Meanwhile, Saleem Chaukiya, who has been booked for stealing a cop’s self-loading rifle (SLR) during the violence, has told the investigators that he did not snatch the gun. “I was carrying the gun to hand it over to the policemen,” Chaukiya has reportedly told the sleuths. So far, the police have arrested 24 youths on charges of rioting, murder, attempt to murder, molestation and dacoity.
    The police are also examining the role of at least six youths who claim to be innocent. “They will be discharged if we find that they were not involved in the rioting,” the officer added. So far, cops have identified 60 people from news footage and photographs. It is learnt that these people will be picked by for questioning after Eid.
Probe Report
• The police have received information about the residence of the two boys who had desecrated the
Amar Jawan memorial

• The special investigation team will verify these boys’ names and addresses

• The police have so far identified nearly 60 people who were involved in the violence from news footage and photographs
BJP hits out at CM over riots T he BJP on Saturday organized a march from Vasudev Balwant Phadke Chowk (Metro circle) to Azad Maidan to condemn the desecration of the Amar Jawan memorial during the August 11 riots. Over 1,500 people participated in the march amid heavy police bandobast. The BJP also turned the heat on chief minister Prithviraj Chavan over the riots. While reiterating the party’s demand for the resignation of home minister RR Patil and police commissioner Arup Patnaik, BJP’s city unit chief Raj Purohit slammed the CM for not announcing an independent judicial inquiry into the violence. The BJP has demanded a probe by an acting high court judge into the incident. “What is holding Chavan back? Why is he hesitating to order a judicial inquiry,” Purohit questioned. BJP leader Ram Naik criticized PM Manmohan Singh of not visiting the memorial during his visit to the city. TNN

The Times of India, August 19, 2011