Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Cops want CCTVs in pubs to ‘prevent raids’

Mateen Hafeez & Swati Deshpande TNN

Mumbai: Police in south Mumbai are pushing bars, pubs and restaurants to install CCTV cameras on their premises, eliciting cries of invasion of privacy from lawyers, who call the exhortation unjustifiable.
    Officers in-charge of the city’s ‘south region’ recently held a meeting with managements of pubs, eateries and bars in the area. During the meet, the managements were told to set up closed-circuits cameras inside their establishments so that cops can keep track of violations.
    “We will collect the footage weekly or fortnightly. If we do not find any violations of law, we will not conduct raids,” said a senior officer, arguing that there should be “no problem in installing cameras if there is no illegal activity and if the curfew hour is being followed”. The officer continued: “We will continue raids if these places don’t abide by the law.” 

    But lawyers saw the police demand very differently.  “This is like Big Brother watching. It would be a complete invasion of an individual’s privacy. What is the justification?” said advocate Amit Desai. Legal principles require a reasonable apprehension of commission of crime for a rule or law to be introduced. “Police cannot decide to wire up places with CCTV cameras without a justifiable reason,” argued Desai.
    Amain thoroughfare, lawyers noted, can be covered with CCTV cameras to prevent and investigate serious crimes such as terror attacks. But to take similar measures at a private club, without a scientific study to first prove fear of a crime, is untenable.
    Veteran crime law counsel Shrikant Bhat said that CCTVs “at the entrance can be a permissible exception”. Still, “police cannot put into operation a rule without first conducting a study on the violation of privacy such a move would entail,” he added.
    Lawyers say privacy in India is not governed by any comprehensive law, though the apex court has, through rulings since the ’60s, held it to be a fundamental right-—under right to life—and a common law right. Such a right cannot be trampled on by rules made by police without satisfying the test of Constitutional validity.
    Additional police commissioner (south region) Krishna Prakash admitted the demand for CCTV cameras has been resisted by establishments in the area. So far, only three places on VP Road have complied. “Our intention is not to create trouble,” maintained a cop. “We have to go by the law.”
    Last weekend, the MRA Marg police—which fall under the south region—raided LIV lounge bar at Kala Ghoda for staying open beyond the 1.30am deadline. Nearly 200 of its guests were dragged to the police station and kept there, according to the patrons, without explanation.
TOI Interactive ‘Guilty cops should be punished’  
We asked our readers if guests should be hauled to police stations for law violations by pubs. Here are some replies
    No way. It is shameful that cops are acting like thugs and asserting their power on innocent citizens. Guilty cops should be punished. Action should be taken against them
— Ajay Gohil
    This was nothing but harassment by men in khaki of helpless guests who were at no fault if the establishment overshot the curfew hour. It is the owner of the bar who violated norms and should be held accountable. I strongly feel that in a city like Mumbai the deadline for pubs is ridiculous. It should be extended, like in other global cities, given today’s lifestyles
— Bhagwan B Thadani
    When law doesn’t say that guests can be punished, anyone advocating locking them up is advocating breach of law. The act is of owners. What cops are doing is illegal and to show fake good work
— Amit K
    No, cops should have better things to do then harass innocent young people
— Rakesh Jamwal
    If the place is open beyond permissible hour it is the owner’s responsibility
— Vikram
    Patrons cannot be mistreated for the mistake or violation made by pubs or bars. Establishments are supposed to adhere to rules and make sure patrons leave their premises immediately after closing hours
— KRC Murty
    No, since they have the alibi of ignorance of the extant law. It, however, is followed by a big proviso that citizens should behave themselves
— Mukund Kumar

PRIVACY LAW India has no comprehensive privacy law
But the SC ruled that privacy is a fundamental right under the Constitution and a common law right
The right to privacy has been a neglected area in India for decades. Many legislation deal with privacy issues—such as the Information Technology Act—but no horizontal legislation deal with it comprehensively across all contexts
The Parliament proposed a Right to Privacy Bill which is yet to be converted into an Act

The Times of India, October 31, 2012

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Cops to book raided SoBo bar’s guests for ‘indecent behaviour’

Officers Study CCTV Footage To Identify Patrons, Maintain They Threw ‘Tantrums’ Lawyers Demand Changes In Law To ‘Stop Harassment’

Swati Deshpande & Mateen Hafeez | TNN

    As police began studying the CCTV footage of the SoBo lounge bar raided early on Saturday to take action against its guests, the two men booked for allegedly assaulting cops in the raid’s wake filed for anticipatory bail.
    The nearly 200 patrons present at LIV lounge bar during the crackdown will be booked under Bombay Police Act’s section 110 for “indecent behaviour”, deputy commissioner of police Ravindra Shisve said on Monday. “The CCTV footage shows the guests misbehaved with the police,” he added.
    According to MRA Marg police, they descended on the bar at Kala Ghoda around 2am on Saturday because it was operating beyond the 1.30am deadline. “When we asked the patrons to accompany us to the police station, they threw tantrums. The women guests were accompanied by female cops,” said Shisve. 
“We fined 21 for indecent behaviour while more than 150 fled from the station.”
    The DCP’s version of events was at odds with the accounts of many of the patrons and others.
    According to the anticipatory bail plea filed by advocate Archit Jaykar on Monday, there were no women constables for the first 45 minutes of the raid. Jaykar and LIV’s owner Ritik Bhasin have been accused by cops of assaulting police personnel. Their anticipatory bail applications deny the charges, including that they prevented police from doing their duty.
    Jaykar, who has been practising law since 2004, says he was “merely representing a few detainees against their illegal detention by police”. His anticipatory bail plea too details Saturday’s events.
    It says he was with friends in Worli when, around 2.15am, one of them received a call from his sister. The sister said some male policemen stormed into LIV around 1.45am and forced her as well as her friends into a police van. The vehicle was driven to MRA Marg police station. The friend asked Jaykar for his legal assistance.
    The two reached the cop station around 2.45am and found about 200 people in the compound. Jaykar’s plea says 10-15 police officers were standing at the station’s gate to prevent anyone from leaving. The lawyer was allowed to enter since he asked to speak to the senior inspector, but there was “none on duty”. He got no clear answer from the present cops when he questioned the cause for bringing scores of people to the police station; in fact, he was shunted around.

    The evasion, the plea says, prompted Jaykar to question the cause for keeping girls at the station at night. In return, he was told to wait for the DCP. When the DCP did not show up by 3.15am, he asked that women be allowed to leave. Yet again, he was told to wait for the DCP.
    By 3.45am, a few of those detained began arguing with the cops and demanded they be freed. When refused, they pushed at the gate and about 15 minutes later walked out. Jaykar’s plea says he left the station around 4.15am. By that time too, the DCP had not arrived but a senior inspector had. Jaykar explained to the inspector the “illegal action”.
    Police teams visited the homes of Bhasin and Jaykar but did not find them. “They are evading arrest,” stated Shisve. 
Throngs of police personnel descended at SoBo lounge bar LIV at 2am because it was open beyond the curfew hour of 1.30am. About 200 people were present at the establishment at the time
    Police did not allow anyone to leave the premises and, according to patrons, gave no reasons for the action. Instead, they herded the guests into waiting police vans  
 The vans were driven to MRA Marg police station 
    Officers later said the guests were taken away because a few of them “misbehaved” with police personnel
    At the police station, the patrons said they were kept waiting for an hour. Soon, chaos ensued. Amid screaming and crying, the guests stormed out of the police station
    Police filed an FIR against lounge bar owner Ritik Bhasin and lawyer Archit Jaykar for allegedly assaulting cops and deterring them from doing duty
MON, OCT 29 Bhasin and Jaykar file for anticipatory bail 
    ANTICIPATORY  BAIL PLEAS In their separate applications, Ritik Bhasin and Archit Jaykar say they are law-abiding citizens and deny that they assaulted policemen. Jaykar says he was with a group of friends in Worli early on Saturday when one of them received a call from his sister. The sister explained that she was in a police van. On hearing that, they left to help the girls since police had illegally detained people against their will and despite there being no offence. By not giving reasons to people for carting them off to a police station, cops flouted Supreme Court guidelines

TOI interactive Throngs of policemen swooped down on a lounge bar in south Mumbai early on Saturday because it was open beyond the curfew hour. Soon after, about 200 guests were dragged to a nearby police station. Is it right to make patrons pay for the faults of bars and other such establishments?
Today’s debate: Should guests be hauled to police stations for law violations by pubs?  
The vagueness of some sections of the Bombay Police Act, 1951, is frequently blamed for the harassment of citizens at the hands of men in khaki. The two sections that the police are wont to use, or misuse, are 110 and 102:
    No person shall wilfully and indecently expose his person in any street or public place; the person should also not be seen from a street or public place even if it is inside a house or a building. No person can use indecent language or behave indecently or riotously or in a disorderly manner in a street or place of ‘public resort’ or in any police station
INTERPRETATION | Any policeman has the power to decide what constitutes ‘indecent exposure’, indecent language and ‘disorderly behaviour’. Police can even book an individual for being ‘indecently dressed’ at home if he or she is visible from a street
Action | Police can make an arrest on the spot. The section is also used at times in cases when cops are argued with. The fine for the offence is 1,200 though an ‘offender’ can be let off with a warning
    No person shall cause obstruction in any street or public place by one of the following ways: leave for any time “longer than necessary” any animal or vehicle that has to be loaded or unloaded; leaving any box, bale or any other thing on the street for an unreasonable length of time; placing anything for sale contrary to rules in or upon any stall, booth or in any other way whatsoever
INTERPRETATION | It allows a policeman to judge what is ‘unreasonable’ length of time; the section creates an opportunity for the force to harass hawkers, deliverymen and owners of small shops
Action | An offender can be fined 1,200 or let off with a warning 
    Akeeper of a place of public amusement or entertainment would be booked if he ‘knowingly’ permits drunkenness or other disorderly behaviour or gaming. A place of public amusement includes racecourse, theatre, music hall, billiard room, gymnasium, fencing school, swimming pool or dancing hall. A place of public entertainment includes a hotel, lodge, eating house, tavern, wine shop, beer shop or a place where bhang and opium is sold for public consumption
INTERPRETATION | An owner of such a place can be accused of ‘knowingly’ permitting drunkenness even if he or she has no role to play. Also, disorderly behaviour is not defined and permits police to define it at their discretion
Action | A fine 
    No person shall wilfully push, press, hustle or obstruct any passenger in a street or public place or by violent
movements, menacing gestures, personal annoyance, screaming, shouting, wilfully frightening horses or cattle or otherwise disturb public peace or order
INTERPRETATION | Police can decide what a ‘menacing gesture’ is and randomly book people
Action | A fine of 1,200  

    No person shall use in any street or Public place any threatening, abusive or insulting words or behaviour with the intent to provoke breach of peace or whereby a breach of peace may be occasioned
INTERPRETATION | Again, it allows cops to decide what constitutes an insult
Action | A fine of 1,200 
    No person shall fly a kite so as to cause danger, injury or alarm to persons, horses or property
INTERPRETATION | Cops can harass people during Makar Sankranti if they so wish  
Action | A fine of 1,200

The Times of India, October 30, 2012

ATS to take Pune blast accused in custody on Nov 1

Mateen Hafeez TNN

Mumbai: State anti-terrorism squad (ATS) chief Rakesh Maria said that they will be taking into custody four suspected Indian Mujahideen (IM) members on November 1. Three accused are currently in judicial custody while the fourth is in police custody. The accused are suspected to have engineered and executed the August 1 Pune bomb blasts. 

    Last week, the ATS submitted a transfer warrant to a Delhi court to take custody of the four suspects—Asad Khan, Imran Khan, Feroz and Irfan Landge. The four were recently arrested by Delhi police’s special cell for
allegedly carrying out the August 1 Pune serial blasts and planning major strikes in Delhi . 

    “The Delhi court gave the date of October 30 for three of the accused while the fourth accused is still in police custody. Hence, we will be taking combined custody of all four accused on November 1. To facilitate escorting and transport, it will be better if all are brought together,” said Maria.
    Asad, Imran and Feroz are members of a module of LeT commander Fayyaz Kagzi. Landge was picked up and detained on October 5 by the special cell. Police said he was arrested from Jaipur. 
The Times of India, October 30, 2012

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Rare breed of goat fetches . 4 lakh

EASY RIDER: Many made their purchases a day ahead of Eid-ul Azha

Mateen Hafeez TNN

Mumbai: A rare breed of goat from Madhya Pradesh, meant for sacrifice on the occasion of Eid-ul-Azha (Bakri Eid), was sold for Rs 4 lakh.

    The initial price sought by the seller was Rs six lakh, after negotiation he sold it for Rs four lakh, said sources at Deonar abattoir.  Eid-ul Azha will be celebrated across the country on Saturday. Mohammed Aslam Qureshi, president of the All India Sheep and Goat Breeders and Dealers Association, said the goat was brought in an air-conditioned SUV.
    “The goat weighs more than 200 kg and is a rare breed. It is given a diet of rotis, coconut, fruits, milk and dry fruits. A businessman from Mumbai purchased the goat,” said Qureshi. “A Kashmiri goat breed was sold for Rs 3 lakh while two from Afghanistan and Turkey were sold for Rs two lakh each,” he added. Prices shot up on Friday since many usually buy sacrificial goats on the last day. According to sources, many celebrities purchased expensive goats through their representatives during the last two days.
‘Build shelters in Deonar abattoir’ M any traders in Deonar said the government has not provided shelter homes for goats. “In the next two to three years, Eid-ul-Azha will be observed during monsoon. There are all temporary shelter houses,” said a seller.
    “We had a meeting with the CM, BMC chief, police commissioner and other officials and raised the issue. The CM said the BMC has already forwarded the proposal for modernization of Deonar abattoir to the Centre,” a source said. TNN
The Times of India, October 27, 2012

Friday, October 26, 2012

1.5 lakh goats sold, prices to cross 1L mark Shriram Vernekar

Goats on sale for Eid at Deonar

Mateen Hafeez TNN

Mumbai: Two days before Bakri Eid, prices of some goats for sacrifice crossed the Rs 80,000 mark, and traders say prices may cross Rs 1 lakh in the next 24 hours. More than 1.51 lakh goats have already been sold at the Deonar abattoir and sales are expected to peak on Friday.
    Eid-ul-Azha, commonly known as Bakri Eid, is a threeday sacrifice festival celebrated in the memory of Prophet Ibrahim for the last 4,000 years. The 41-year-old Deonar abattoir has already sold 1.51 lakh of the 1.72 lakh goats it acquired on October 11. In the same period, 2,796 bullocks have also been sold there. While the average rate for goats is between Rs 15,000 and Rs 25,000, some goats sold for more than Rs 80,000. “Due to security reasons and crowd control issues, celebrities prefer sending their representatives to buy goats. Till a few years ago, even filmstars would come here to buy goats for sacrifice,” said Dr Arun Kshirsagar, senior veterinary officer.
    Goats from Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh have been brought to Deonar for sale. “When a seller comes with a goat, he has to pay Rs 19 as entry fee to the abattoir. Buyers have to pay a Rs-44 fee (known as removal fee) for taking the goat outside the abattoir.
    “There is no sale or purchase receipt. The deal is done orally. We don’t fix prices here,” added Kshirsagar. The abattoir authorities provide water and medical services to the goats. There are 40 veterinary doctors in the abattoir.
    “The doctors inspect the animals and issue fitness certificates. Apart from this, the abattoir is under CCTV surveillance all the time,” said Kshirsagar.
    Meanwhile, there have been complaints of policemen in the city trying to collect money from goat buyers. “Some cops even asked us to show sale and purchase copies, while the only records we had was the removal charges receipt. The policemen collected hundreds of rupees as bribes,” alleged a goat buyer. In some cases, several groups who claimed to be animal lovers and worshipers allegedly raided various localities and seized animals meant for sacrifice with the help of the police.
Decide namaz plea’
 T he Bombay high court on Thursday asked the state to decide a fresh application filed by a citizen seeking permission for people to offer namaz during Bakri Eid at the historic August Kranti Maidan. TNN
The Times of India, October 26, 2012

Thursday, October 25, 2012

‘Terrorist’ call alert turns out to be family drama

Mateen Hafeez TNN

Mumbai: A call informing the police control room about the entry of three “terrorists” in the city turned out to be the fallout of a family fight. Soon after receiving the call, the state ATS, government railway police and special police force swung into action and detained the three “terrorists” at Bandra railway station.
    ATS sources said an unidentified caller informed the police that three “terrorists” —Afsar, Mohsin and Waseem-—had boarded a train from New Delhi for Mumbai. The caller said the trio would reach Mumbai on October 13 and provided their description.
    “With GRP’s help, we zeroed in on the suspects and brought them to ATS’ Kalachowkie unit. According to an ATS source, on interrogation, it was revealed that Afsar was Mohsin and Waseem’s stepfather. Afsar owns a bakery while the two brothers, Mohsin and Waseem, are carpenters. The trio reside in Mankhurd.
    Waseem and Mohsin have three sisters. Two years ago, their second sister, Chaman (24), got married to an Uttarakhand native, Javed Ahmed. However, Ahmed fell in love with Chaman’s younger sister, Shama (17). “On October 1, Ahmed eloped with Shama and the two have been untraceable. Waseem, Afsar and Mohsin went to Uttar Pradesh and Delhi to hunt for Shama and Ahmed, but did not succeed. They were returning to Mumbai on October 12, when the call was made to the police,” said a source. “After the interrogation, we found that the three were innocent. Their statements were recorded and we released them,” said a police source.
    When asked whether Ahmed could be behind this call, ATS chief Rakesh Maria said, “We are exploring all the angles and the probe is still on.”
    Cops have traced the mobile number and have found that it has been registered in the name of a vegetable vendor, Godavari Waghmare. “The caller had somehow got hold of Waghmare’s documents and procured the SIM card. It’s a serious offence and we are trying to track down the culprit,” said a police source. The number is now non-operational.

The Times of India, October 25, 2012

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

ATS seeks custody of 4 IM members


Mateen Hafeez TNN

Mumbai: The state anti-terrorism squad (ATS) has submitted a transfer warrant to a Delhi court to take the custody of four suspected Indian Mujahideen (IM) members arrested by the Delhi special cell in connection with the August 1 Pune blasts. The four are likely to be taken into custody by the Pune ATS on October 30.
    ATS chief Rakesh Maria said they have submitted a transfer warrant to a Delhi court. “We are likely to get their custody by October 30. Once we get their custody, we will question them thoroughly,” Maria said.
    Asad Khan, Imran Khan, Feroz and Irfan Landge were arrested recently for allegedly carrying out the August 1 Pune serial blasts and planning major strikes in Delhi this festive season. They are at present being interrogated at the Lodhi Colony office. Asad, Imran and Feroz are members of a module of LeT commander Fayyaz Kagzi. Landge was picked up and detained on October 5 by the special cell. “The ATS is on the lookout for two other suspects, one of them is from Aurangabad. Once they are caught, the police will have concrete evidence to prove its case,” said an officer.
    Two teams of the special cell are still camping in Delhi to pick up their suspects. Four bombs, planted on cycles, at various locations on Jungli Maharaj Lane in Pune went off. No one died in the blasts because of a technical hitch.
    The police said the bombing was to avenge the killing of IM member Qateel Siddiqui in Yervada jail. 
The Times of India, October 24, 2012

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Kagzi next on deportation list?


Mateen Hafeez TNN

Mumbai: With the deportation of suspected Indian Mujahideen operative Fasih Mehmood to India, security agencies are now closely monitoring the movements of another key IM member, Fayyaz Kagzi. Sources in the security establishment say the Saudi government does not want any nuisance on its soil and hence is deporting all the suspects involved in criminal cases.

    Mehmood (28), an engineer by profession, was detained by the Al-Mabahith Al-Aammah,

Saudi Arabia’s internal intelligence agency, five months ago and was deported to India on October 22. “Many IM operatives seek shelter in Gulf countries on the pretext of going on a pilgrimage. Once they get there, though, they go into hiding and it becomes difficult to trace them. However, the Saudi government is cracking down on such persons now. The country does not want any trouble on its soil and hence is ousting all suspects,” said a senior police officer. 

    In June, the Saudi government deported LeT confidant
and 26/11 plotter Zabihuddin Ansari alias Abu Jundal.  Anti-social elements prefer hiding in Saudi since it is within Mecca limits and there is no chance of being caught by any one other than the Saudi police there. “So the accused pretend to be pilgrims and try to take advantage of this rule. However, a wanted person cannot dodge the Saudi police within these limits,” said a source.
Sources say after Mehmood’s deportation, Indian security agencies, with the help of the Saudi police, are monitoring the movements of another suspect, who the police believe could be Beed resident Fayyaz Kagzi, an accused in the 2006 Aurangabad arms haul case. Kagzi’s name cropped up during the interrogation of two accused arrested this month for their alleged role in the August 1 serial bomb blasts in Pune. The two accused had told Delhi police’s special cell that they went to meet Kagzi in Saudi Arabia in 2010 and he asked them to help him.
    Police records mention that Kagzi was Jundal’s mentor. “It was Kagzi who introduced Jundal to banned outfit SIMI’s main members. In 2010, Jundal was in touch with Kagzi, but the latter has disappeared,” said sources. 
The Times of India, October 23, 2012

SpeakAsia man in judicial custody

Mateen Hafeez TNN

Mumbai: Self-proclaimed multilevel marketing (MLM) firm Speak-Asia’s former country coordinator, Pankaj Shah, was produced before the Esplanade court on Monday and sent to judicial custody till October 30. Police said Shah’s arrest is significant as he helped set up SpeakAsia in early 2010. 

    Cops said Shah was attached to a reputed south Mumbai hospital as medical researcher before joining hands with MLM companies. “He worked with the firm between January and October 2010 until he was asked to resign. The company
appointed Tarak Bajpai as COO of SpekaAsia in his place,” said a police officer. Shah was earlier questioned in connection with the Rs 500-crore Aryarup MLM case. Shah admitted that he had helped several MLM companies to set up their base. 

    Cops said some SpeakAsia panelists have floated blogs and websites claiming that they will start returning investors’ money soon. “Some investors have received SMSes and a group of SpeakAsia sympathizers is trying to convince investors that their money will come back to them,” said the officer. 

    An officer who is part of the
probe said the company and people associated with it have been filing petitions and applications before the court “just to delay the probe”. 

    “The company earlier told the court that the issue was a civil dispute and not a criminal case. A hearing was on in the Supreme Court and the petitioners withdrew their case. Similarly, after some investors asked the SC to quash an FIR against the firm, the SC lambasted the petitioners and the petition was withdrawn,” the cop said, adding that some investors approached the Bombay HC with a petition saying SpeakAsia was being targeted by the media but later withdrew it.
The Times of India, October 23, 2012

Saturday, October 20, 2012

‘Mob fear may have stopped 2nd robber from using gun’

Mateen Hafeez TNN

Mumbai: The city police on Friday said the robbers who fired at a 44-year-old businessman at Kumbharwada, Grant Road on Thursday were carrying two firearms but used only one. “Perhaps, the other gunman got scared after looking at the mob chasing them and preferred to flee,” said a senior police officer.
    Three unidentified robbers had snatched a bag containing Rs 40,000 from a Sindhudurgbased cushion trader Pundalik Sawant. Sanjay Mayekar, a navratri mandal volunteer, was injured after a bullet fired by one of the robbers hit him. “We have formed six teams to probe the case,” said additional commissioner of police Krishna Prakash. The police said they have CCTV footage of the culprits and sketches of the three robbers have been prepared. “The sketches will be given to informants and other police stations,” said Prakash. Mayekar is likely to be discharged from hospital on Saturday. 
The Times of India, October 20, 2012

Friday, October 19, 2012

Robbers snatch bizman’s bag, fire at crowd and flee

One Injured In Daring Heist At Grant Road

Mateen Hafeez TNN

Mumbai: Sanjay Duttaram Mayekar’s love for coins came in handy in rather unexpected fashion on Thursday, shielding him from a robber’s bullet.

    The 44-year-old Vikhroli resident, who tried to stop three men from fleeing with a businessman’s

bag near Kumbharwada, Grant Road, was injured when one of the robbers fired a country-made revolver at the crowd chasing them. The bullet, which hit the ground, ricocheted off the road and got lodged in Mayekar’s hip pocket. But a sizeable coin collect
ion in the pocket saved him from much grievous injury.
    The robber and his two accomplices managed to escape in the commotion after the shooting.  Police said businessman Kundalik Sawant (48), arrived in Mumbai by the Konkan Kanya Express and proceeded to buy gifts for his family.
    “Sawant went to Gol Deol area at Kumbharwada, to buy something for his family. He bought a few cushions and had a black satchel on him, containing Rs 40,000. All of a sudden, around 10.30- am, three persons sneaked up behind him, snatched his bag and began running.
    Sawant cried for help and began chasing them,” said a policeman. Passersby in the busy marketplace joined Sawant in chasing the robbers.  
Love for small change saves man shot at by robbers
    Mayekar was busy making food arrangements at a n a v r a t r i mandal on Bhandari street near Gol Deol, in the Kumbharwada area.  He saw the three men running with a black bag and being chased by a crowd which was shouting ‘chor chor’.
    Mayekar immediately intervened and tried to catch one of the robbers. But the robber pushed Mayekar back and pulled out a country-made revolver, which he fired pointing towards the floor, ostensibly to scare the crowd. The bullet rebounded and pierced Mayekar’s back pocket, said the policeman.
    The sound of a gunshot managed to create commotion in a city always on the edge. Shopkeepers immediately began downing their shutters and in the melee, the robbers managed to run away. While Sawant found his bag lying on the ground, there was only Rs 4,000 left in it and the remaining Rs 36,000 had been stolen.
    Meanwhile, Mayekar felt some uneasiness in his hip and was taken to JJ Hospital. “The bullet hit his pocket, which had several coins, and pierced his hip. Though the injury is not severe, Mayekar is being treated at the hospital,” police said.
    While no arrests have been made, the JJ Marg police have registered an FIR under various sections of the IPC and Arms Act. They have registered a case of robbery, grievous hurt and using firearm against the three unidentified persons.

    Police have obtained the CCTV images of the incident from a scrap dealer in the area, Lalit. They have also drawn up three sketches and alerted all their informers.

    An injured Mayekar said, “I thought the robber was taking out a knife, but he pulled out a revolver instead. He fired on the floor and I still got hit, but thank God I am alright.”
    Mayekar earlier lived in the Kumbharwada area and had recently shifted to Vikhroli. He had come to attend the navratri function on Thursday with his old friends.

Kundalik Sawant (38), (above, right), a businessman from the Konkan, was shopping for his family in Gol Deol area, Kumbharwada, (left) near Grant Road, on Thursday morning when three robbers snatched a bag he was carrying, containing Rs 40,000. Passersby, including Sanjay Mayekar, chased the three men, but they fired a country-made revolver, injuring Mayekar, and fled. Security was later beefed up in the area (top left)

The Times of India,October 19, 2012

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Police made errors in Aug 11 case: Top cop

Mateen Hafeez TNN

Mumbai: Police commissioner Satya Pal Singh said on Tuesday the charge of murder should not have been invoked against the August 11 rioters and cops made mistakes in handling the case.
    At a felicitation ceremony for him at the Islam Gymkhana, Marine Drive, Singh said, “I took charge 12 days after the Azad Maidan riot... (the mistakes) were made before I took charge.”
    Most speakers at the gathering criticized the police for keeping “innocent boys” in custody on murder and attempt to murder charges when in reality two youths were killed in police firing during the riot. 

    “No innocent people will be kept in custody and the guilty will not be spared,” Singh said. It was good to hear from Muslims what they thought of current issues, he said.
    The ceremony had been organized by the NGO SEWA. Congress MLA Ameen Patel narrated an incident where the police caught a Muslim youth for driving without license and seeing him with a satchel taunted him by saying that Pakistani terrorist Ajmal Kasab had a similar item on him.
    Advocate and former MLA Yusuf Abrahani (also the president of SEWA) said a group of 70-80 boys were responsible for the mess-up on August 11. “But Muslim leaders are being summoned and made to sit at police stations for hours on end. These people are respected by the entire community. You (police) will need the ulemas in future and seek their help. So, do not subject them to such treatment.”

The Times of India, October 18, 2012

Delhi cops in Aurangabad for blast accused

Mateen Hafeez TNN

Mumbai: Two teams of the Delhi police’s special cell are camping in Aurangabad, looking for two youths involved in the August 1 Pune bomb blasts case. 

    TOI had on October 16 reported about the detention of an Ahmednagar resident, Irfan Landge (30), by the Delhi police. Landge was formally shown arrested in the Pune blasts case on Wednesday. His father, Mustafa, was busy meeting the members of an NGO and a lawyer. Mustafa said his son was picked up from Thane on October 5. 

    “The teams are making inquiries about the suspects, whose names cropped up during interrogation of other accused,” said a police source from Mumbai. A specialized department of the state police is reportedly helping the special cell. “Once the interrogation and probe of these accused is completed in Delhi, the accused will be handed over to the Maharashtra police. Major arrests are likely to happen soon,” said a source. 
The Times of India, October 18, 2012

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

11th time proves unlucky for 60-yr-old serial groom

Vipin Chandrakant Karkhanis alias Ketan alias Milind Vaidya


Mateen Hafeez TNN

Mumbai: A 60-year-old man, who married 10 women only to later flee with their ornaments and money, landed behind bars when he tried to get hitched for the 11th time.

    The accused, Baroda resident Vipin Chandrakant Karkhanis alias Ketan alias Milind Vaidya, has been on the police’s wanted list since 2009. He was arrested by the JJ Marg police when he uploaded his photograph and profile on a marriage portal to marry for the 11th time.
    Karkhanis has been sent to police custody till October 19.

    The complainant against Karkhanis was lodged by Sushma (43) in 2009. Sushma had met him after she registered herself with a marriage bureau in Dadar in 2005. On May 8, 2007, the two got married and Karkhanis took a flat on rent in Kharghar where the couple stayed for six months. “Later, Karkhanis said he was going to Lucknow to set up a business there and asked me to stay at my mother’s house. He returned after sometime and asked me to give him Rs 50,000 and more than six tolas of gold. Once I gave him the gold and the cash, he left and never returned,” Sushma said in her complaint.

    The marriage bureau had received complaints about Karkhanis and had informed its representatives to lookout for him. “As soon as Karkhanis uploaded his profile, the marriage bureau alerted the police,” said an officer. “Karkhanis was pretending to be a gutka businessman. We posed as gutka distributors and contacted him. He was caught in Gujarat when he came to take delivery of gutka,” said the officer.

    Karkhanis has reportedly told the police, “I got married when I was 23. I caught my wife cheating and parted ways with her. After that, I married many women and did not stay with them for more than six months.”  

    Baroda resident Vipin Chandrakant Karkhanis alias Ketan alias Milind Vaidya has been on the police’s wanted list since 2009
    He claims he got married for the first time when he was 23. He left his wife after he reportedly
caught her cheating
After that, he married 10 women and did not stay with each for more than six months. He would ask them to give him cash and gold and would leave them as soon as he received the valuables

The Times of India, October 17, 2012

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

30-yr-old goes missing, kin allege foul play by police


Mateen Hafeez TNN

Mumbai: Ten days ago, the Delhi Police’s special cell had picked up an Ahmednagar resident for the August 1 Pune serial blasts. Irfan Landge (30) was picked up from Thane district, sources close to the family said. However, mystery shrouds Landge’s disappearance as the police have not produced him in any court to obtain his custody, sources said. 

    The Delhi Police had last week arrested three persons from Maharashtra for their alleged role in the Jangli Maharaj Road blasts in Pune. Landge,
said sources, had gone to Thane to bring his wife from her mother’s house when the special cell picked him up on October 5. Landge had got married four months ago. His father, Mustafa, is a retired telecom officer.
    Sources said the Delhi Police team stayed at a Juhu hotel in the first week of October. “On October 8, the cops summoned Mustafa and Landge’s in-laws to the hotel and told them that Landge was involved in anti-national activities. They toldthe family not to inform anyone, or else they would kill Landge in an encounter,” a source said. On Oct 9, said the source, Mustafa got a call from Delhi Police asking him to come to the capital. “He spoke to a lawyer, who told him not to go to Delhi. He again received a call, saying he was being watched and that if he told anyone about Landge’s detention, he will have to face dire consequences.”
    A Delhi Police officer told TOI, “The family can’t make such claims. If they are saying it, they are lying. Our investigation is on and I will talk to you after some time.” 
The Times of India, October 13, 2012

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Arrested IM men plotted to attack ATS HQ

Asad visited madrassas to recruit members for IM


Neeraj Chauhan & Mateen Hafeez TNN

New Delhi/Mumbai: In a startling relevation, investigators have learned that the three Indian Mujahideen (IM) terrorists, arrested for the August 1 Pune serial blasts, had conducted a recce at five crowded places in Mumbai on July 24.
    The targets included Borivli railway station, Juhu beach, Vashi, Bandra and Andheri. They had even planned
to attack the Maharashtra anti-terrorism squad (ATS) headquarters at Nagpada.
    The Nagpada ATS headquarters is located near the J J flyover. It houses the office of the ATS chief, an additional commissioner and a DCP. This ground-plus-one building is a heritage structure. Security was reviewed at the ATS headquarters after the revelation.
    In their confession to the special cell, exclusively accessed by TOI, the trio—Asad Khan, Imran Khan and Sayed Feroz—disclosed their Mumbai plan in detail. “On July 24, 2012, we hired a private Sumo from Pimpri to Vashi,” they said.
    Investigators suspect their plan was to target the crowded places by keeping bombs in dustbins or bags.

5 crowded spots in their sights
• Juhu beach
• Borivli railway station
• Vashi
• Bandra
• Andheri 
 Module initiator has German Bakery ties
    The three arrested IM terrorists said during their interrogation, “We went to Vashi from Pimpri and stayed there for a while looking around. From Vashi, we went to Bandra and stayed there for a while and then we went to Andheri and stayed there for 10-15 minutes. From Andheri, we went to Borivli station and hung around for 10-15 minutes. Then we went to Juhu Chowpatty for 10 minutes and checked the surroundings there.”
    The Mumbai plan was dropped, though, on the instructions of Riyaz Bhatkal from Pakistan. The trio subsequently headed for Pune. They ultimately planted bombs in Pune on August 1 but sources said that “the Indian Mujahideen’s original plan to kill Sharad Mohol and Ashok Bhalerao, who killed Qateel Siddiqui in Yerwada jail, is still on”.
    In another revelation during interrogation of the trio, the
Delhi police found that the main initiator of the module, Asad Khan, was linked to IM terrorists arrested in the February 2010 German Bakery blast of Pune and the 2006 Aurangabad arms haul case.
    Sources said the three had met Yusuf Himayat Baig, who was arrested by Maharashtra ATS for the German bakery blast, in December 2009, through Kashif Biyabani, brother of Akhef Biyabani who was arrested for the 2006 Aurangabad case. Lashkar-e-Toiba leader Fayyaz Ahmad Kagzi had escaped in the case. Sources say that the two terrorists in this IM module—Shaqir and Ahmed who are absconding—were involved in previous blasts too.
    The trio was questioned by the Maharashtra and Pune ATS on Friday at the special cell’s Lodhi Colony office. Sources say they have got some vital inputs about Maharashtra-based IM members. 

    The three Indian Mujahideen terrorists arrested for the August 1 Pune serial blasts had conducted a recce at five crowded places in Mumbai on July 24
    These included Borivli railway station, Juhu Chowpatty, Vashi, Bandra and Andheri
    They had even planned to attack the Maharashtra antiterrorism squad (ATS) headquarters at Nagpada
    The ATS headquarters is located near J J flyover; it
houses the office of ATS chief, an additional commissioner and a DCP
    Security was reviewed at the ATS headquarters after the revelation
    Investigators suspect they planned to keep bombs in either dustbins or bags
Pune bombers approached Kagzi to join jihadi activities
Police To Keep Eye On Madrassas 
 Neeraj Chauhan TNN
New Delhi: Lashkar-e-Taiba leader Fayyaz Kagzi, said to be the mentor of Indian Mujahideen (IM) module busted by the Delhi police, did not engage the Asad Khan, Imran Khan and Sayed Feroze, the three members from Maharashtra, in IM. The three themselves approached Kagzi as “they were motivated to join jihad”. The interrogation report of three terrorists — exclusively accessed by The Times of India — states that Asad wanted to work with IM, and since he knew that Fayyaz Kagzi of Beed (Maharashtra) was an active member, he himself started looking for him. To reach Kagzi, they approached Kashif Biyabani, brother of Akhef Biyabani who was co-accused with Fayyaz Kagzi in the 2006 Aurangabad arms haul case and had been arrested by the Maharashtra ATS.
    Asad’s interrogation report reads, “In August 2009, we (Asad, Imran and Feroz) met Kashif Biyabani in connection with the business. We asked him whether he knew any person who was involved in Jehadi activities. Kashif gave me the number of Fayyaz Kagzi, who was in Saudi Arabia. After taking the number, we discussed among ourselves and went to Saudi Arabia to meet Kagzi”.
    The report further talks about how he met Yusuf Himayat Baig, who was involved in Pune German bakery blast of February 2010. Sources say Biyabani is under the scanner for allegedly arranging these meets of new members with Kagzi. Sources said the three arrested IM members had gone to Saudi Arabia several times to meet Kagzi where “they used to discuss about 2002 Gujarat riots and atrocities on Muslims in India for hours”. Sources said Kagzi had told them that they would be “used whenever required”.
    Sources said that in past few months, Asad and others also met two persons identified as ‘Ghulam Rasool’ and ‘Hafiz’, but the purpose of the meeting is not yet known.
    Since then, Asad turned into a motivator and started visiting madrassas and mazars to look for people inclined towards jihad. 

    In a latest decision taken by intelligence agencies to stop IM’s recruitment process, all the state police departments have been asked to keep a watch on such motivators. It has been decided that “a watch should be kept by local police on young boys attending madarssas in their respective localities and students from other states residing in the madarssas in metro cities should be accounted for”, said a source.

ATS headquarters at Nagpada

The Times of India, October 13, 2012

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Probe into how Varsha got the pistol

Mateen Hafeez TNN

Mumbai: The probe into the suicide of Varsha Bhosle, the 56-year-old daughter of singer Asha Bhosle, is now hinged on the gun with which she shot herself. “We are investigating who had the gun before it reached Varsha,” said a senior police officer.
    On Tuesday, “Ashaji said the gun belonged to her. But it had been stolen around 30-35 years ago and she had informed the police. She said she didn’t know where it had been all these years”, said Krishna Prakash, additional commissioner of police, south region.
    An officer attached to the probe said if Varsha, who was suffering from acute depression, had the gun all this while, she could have used it in the past. Varsha had attempted suicide twice before. “Why did she use it now?” wondered the officer. The gun and the bullets have been sent for forensic test to find out if it had been used in the past. The fingerprint section is also on the job. 
    Varsha’s acquaintances are still struggling to come to terms with her death. “Varsha was almost like Ashaji. She was a happygo-lucky girl,” said Rajesh Roshan made her sing in Lootmaar.
    Fellow columnist Dilip D’Souza added: “We had strong disagreements but those were in our columns. Never in our personal meetings and email exchange, in which she was invariably affectionate. I wasn’t Varsha’s close friend but had a mutual respect and I think we understood each other. Only now after she is so tragically gone, I am coming to understand the depth of that understanding.” 
The Times of India, October 11, 2012

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Haj agent nabbed for duping over 2,000 people

Mateen Hafeez TNN

Mumbai: The Shivaji Nagar police arrested an agent who promised to send people to Saudi Arabia as kh a d i m (helper) during Haj this year. The accused, Saleem Usman Shaikh, collected Rs 5,000 each from more than 2,000 people and lured them with a free trip to Mecca and a monthly salary of Rs 16,000. 

    Additional commissioner of police Qauiser Khalid said, “We received complaints from a group of social activists in the second week of September. The victims told the police that Shaikh had promised them a free trip to Mecca and charged Rs 5,000 each for medical examination. He had told many people that their flights were scheduled to leave for Jeddah on September 23. However, he shut
his office and escaped on September 11. We traced him at Shivaji Nagar and charged him with cheating.” 

    Two days ago the police said two youths who had come in an auto with three bags left it saying it was for one ‘Saleembhai’.  The bags were later given to the police who found 1,468 passports in them. The passports belonged to people from Maharashtra, Karnataka and AP. Khalid said one more case has been registered against Shaikh in a Gulbarga police station. “We found 350 passports belonging to people from Gulbarga and 280 from various parts of AP,” said Khalid. 

    “The accused person had given the contract for bringing clients to other agents and sub-agents. Many subagents charged between Rs 7,000 and Rs 25,000 per person,” sources said. 
The Times of India, October 10, 2012

Daughter may have shot herself with gun Asha lost 30 yrs ago

Varsha Bhosle

Mateen Hafeez TNN

The mystery surrounding the pistol with which 56-year-old Varsha Bhosle shot herself in the head seemed to be lifting on Tuesday, with singer Asha Bhosle saying she had lost a gun 30 years ago and she thinks it might be the weapon her daughter used.
    In her statement recorded on Tuesday, a sobbing Asha said: “I had lost my gun 30 years ago. I think it is the same gun.”  Earlier, investigators found that two licenced firearms were issued to Varsha’s maternal uncle and his younger brother, Anand, but the one she used did not belong to them. No firearm was ever issued to Varsha.
    “Her brother Anand has a licenced .45 pistol while Varsha’s maternal uncle, Hridayanath Mangeshkar, has a.32 pistol. However, Varsha had used a Belgium-made Browning pistol, which is different from the two issued to her family members,” said a senior police officer. The police on Tuesday recorded the statements of Asha Bhosle, Varsha’s cousin Rachna Shah and her aunt Usha Mangeshkar. “Asha kept crying all through the recording of the statement,” said a source. A bullet had pierced Varsha’s skull and excessive loss of blood was the main cause of her death, the post-mortem report said. A policeman on the case said it seemed Varsha had been watching television on Sunday night and had pushed the pause button on the remote. 
According to that, the suicide might have taken place somewhere between 12m and 1am. The family driver Vijay Nakashe had stumbled on Varsha’s body on a blood-soaked sofa in the drawing room of Asha’s first-floor Prabhu Kunj apartment on Monday morning. He had entered through the adjoining flat of singer Lata Mangeshkar when knocks on Asha’s flat went unanswered.

The Times of India, October 10, 2012

Haj agent nabbed for duping over 2,000 people

Mateen Hafeez TNN

Mumbai: The Shivaji Nagar police arrested an agent who promised to send people to Saudi Arabia as kh a d i m (helper) during Haj this year. The accused, Saleem Usman Shaikh, collected Rs 5,000 each from more than 2,000 people and lured them with a free trip to Mecca and a monthly salary of Rs 16,000. 

    Additional commissioner of police Qauiser Khalid said, “We received complaints from a group of social activists in the second week of September. The victims told the police that Shaikh had promised them a free trip to Mecca and charged Rs 5,000 each for medical examination. He had told many people that their flights were scheduled to leave for Jeddah on September 23. However, he shut
his office and escaped on September 11. We traced him at Shivaji Nagar and charged him with cheating.” 

    Two days ago the police said two youths who had come in an auto with three bags left it saying it was for one ‘Saleembhai’.  The bags were later given to the police who found 1,468 passports in them. The passports belonged to people from Maharashtra, Karnataka and AP. Khalid said one more case has been registered against Shaikh in a Gulbarga police station. “We found 350 passports belonging to people from Gulbarga and 280 from various parts of AP,” said Khalid. 

    “The accused person had given the contract for bringing clients to other agents and sub-agents. Many subagents charged between Rs 7,000 and Rs 25,000 per person,” sources said. 
The Times of India, October 10, 2012

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Asha Bhosle’s daughter shoots herself in head

A file photo of Varsha (56) with her mother, singer Asha Bhosle 

Mateen Hafeez & Bharati Dubey TNN

Mumbai: Singer Asha Bhosle’s 56-year-old daughter, Varsha, was found dead on a blood-soaked sofa in the Pedder Road flat she shared with her mother on Monday. She had shot herself in her right temple with the licenced pistol of her younger brother.
    No suicide note has been traced, but police are treating it as one. Varsha had in the past tried to kill herself twice, they pointed out.
    Asha Bhosle and other family members were in Singapore for an awards programme at the time of the incide
nt. The singer rushed back in the evening after receiving the news.
    “Varsha, who was undergoing several treatments, was perhaps suffering from depression,” said additional commissioner of police Krishna Prakash.
    Varsha’s body was found by Asha’s driver and house help in the drawing room of the singer’s first-floor flat at Prabhu Kunj on Monday morning. “She used a Belgian 0.6mm pistol to shoot herself in her right temple while sitting on the sofa,” said Prakash.
• Varsha Bhosle, 56, a divorcee, was Asha Bhosle’s middle child and only daughter

• She shot herself with a Belgian 0.6mm pistol

• She had tried to kill herself twice before in 1998 and 2008, police said

• She briefly worked as a playback singer. She was a political columnist for many years
Lata broke down on seeing niece’s body
Mumbai: Police on Monday responded to a call that apparently went out from the landline in Asha Bhosale’s flat. “We found Varsha on the sofa with a gunshot in her temple. There were five more bullets in the pistol. She was wearing a night suit,” said additional police commissioner Krishna Prakash. “Our special branch constables first received information about the incident at 12.12pm and a police team arrived at Prabhu Kunj,” he said. Neighbours said they hadn’t heard a gunshot, said police. The time of death will be known only after the post-mortem.
    Police sources said the Belgian pistol was issued in the name of Anand Bhosle, Asha’s youngest son, who stays in Bandra. He was not in the country when the incident took place.
    On Monday, Deepali Dilip Mane, the house help, arrived at the flat at 9.15am. Despite several door knocks, she did not get any response. Asha’s driver asked Mane to come after some time, saying Varsha might be sleeping. Mane returned at 10.30am, but still got no response. The driver then entered Asha’s drawing room through the adjoining flat belonging to singer Lata Mangeshkar, Asha’s sister. He found Varsha on the bloodsoaked sofa and quickly opened the door to let in the others. Lata apparently broke down on seeing her niece’s body.
    After the inquest and recording of statements, Varsha’s body was sent to J J hospital for a post-mortem around 4pm.
    As soon as the news spread, mediapersons besieged the Prabhu Kunj building. Curious neighbours were seen peeping from their windows while some came, inquired about the incident and returned to their flats.
    Born in 1956, Varsha briefly worked as a playback singer in Hindi and Marathi movies, and appeared in concerts with her mother. She made a career as a political columnist with a right-wing tilt. She had divorced her husband, former sports writer and PR professional Hemant Kenkare, in 1998 and had moved in with her mother in the Prabhu Kunj flat.
    In 1998, Varsha attempted suicide by taking an overdose of medicines. In 2008, she again tried to kill herself, a day after Asha’s 75th birthday, by taking sleeping pills. She was rushed to Jaslok hospital and saved. “She was undergoing treatment by two Pune-based doctors at the moment. We will record their statements about the treatment,” said another cop.
    Police said Varsha wanted to start an orphanage with glamour photographer Gautam Rajadhyaksha and became upset after his death. She had been on medication since.
    Music director Anu Malik, who has known Varsha for nearly three decades and met her last in July, said he couldn’t believe his friend had met with such a painful death. “There were so many times I asked her to sing for me, but she would refuse, saying that she didn’t have a good voice. She didn’t like discussing her personal life with anyone,” he added.  
Gun questions await Anand T he licence of the weapon used in the suicide was issued in the name of Anand Bhosle. We are surprised how Varsha got it since a licence holder is supposed to keep the weapon with him only,” said a police officer, adding that they are waiting for Asha Bhosle’s youngest son to return so that they can record his statement.
    If the weapon was not with him, Anand should have filed a missing complaint. However, no such complaint was registered with the police.
    It is not clear how and when Varsha got the weapon or whether Anand was aware about the pistol’s presence in his mother’s house. “Anand’s statement will make the picture clear. If it is found that he was aware and did not inform the police, action may be taken against him,” added the officer. TNN

A crowd outside Prabhu Kunj building on Pedder Road after news of the death spread 
The Times of India, October 9, 2012