Monday, November 19, 2012


MOVEMENT ON THE GROUND: Students break for lunch at a Byculla school

Recently, mediapersons covering proceedings at the Bombay high court rushed to catch details of a certain case —Vijay Mallya versus Ranjana Todkar—that was to come up for hearing. They entered the courtroom much before time and waited, all the while conjecturing what could be involved. As soon as the hearing began, from the word go, the journalists began jotting all that was being said across the bar by advocates of both sides, although it seemed a bit incomprehensible to them. The case was adjourned after five minutes of arguments. The journalists quickly moved out of the courtroom and waited for the advocates to brief them about the details. It was then that the amused advocate for respondent Todkar said, “This is not the Vijay Mallya you are looking for. It is someone else, not the liquor baron.” It turned out, he was one Pune-based businessman and the case was over a property dispute. 

Bedtime Facts
At the sidelights of a medical conference, this correspondent met a doctor who was on a different mission. Pediatric surgeon Dr Vivek Rege, as part of his personal crusade, operates the city’s only bedwetting clinic. He took pains to explain why a habit that is often frowned upon as a child’s lazi
ness to run to the loo in the middle of the night, should be considered a medical problem. Children don’t wet the bed on a whim but because they are not eating right, he said. In fact, he pinned down wrong nutritional habits among the burger-chomping and cola-guzzling Gen X as one of the prime reasons. A simple change in diet is all that is required, he advised. Parents usually come to him for some other problem with their child and they mention bedwetting only as a tag-along problem. And when nutrition is mentioned as cure, parents are even more shocked. You are what you eat. Point.

Drama at Bhoiwada
Last Tuesday, the Bhoiwada police station was chaotic, to say the least. Around 8pm, the officers were trying to juggle three cases — a serious accident, a violent family dispute and a Malayalee family that had come to collect an NOC to carry a body outside Maharashtra. This was when a smartly turned-out woman in her late forties—“wearing four diamond rings on each hand”—entered the police station with a slight young woman in her twenties who was dressed in tattered clothes. The officers were in for a shock when the young woman accused the well-heeled Five Gardens resident of following her all the way from Four Bungalows at Andheri to Dadar railway station only to pocket her Rs 20,000 cellphone. “I tried to dump my phone in my bag,” the young woman told the dumbstruck cops, pointing at her shabby jhola, “but, instead, she ensured that it fell inside her bag.” By now, the older woman had taken to screaming, insulting and threatening not just the complainant but even the cops by underlining her “contacts” with a famous industrialist and Maharashtra’s chief minister himself. This drama went on for an hour and a half, by which time, the fatigued cops had had enough. One of them cajoled and escorted “the accused” to a cab, handed over Rs 30 to the cabbie and asked him to drop her to her residence. The
young woman was simply shouted at and asked to pack herself off.

Decent Proposal
When they tell their grandchildren about it, some parts of this story might be left out. Like the fact that it happened in the middle of happy hours or that it involved a paneer dish. On the day of Diwali, at a popular Thane restaurant, a young man dressed in a kurta decided to abandon his lunch plate and stand up. He then raised both his hands, like a football referee, and pleaded for attention. “Excuse me. I have an announcement to make,” he said. He then pointed to the salwar-kameez-clad girl sitting across the table and declared that he was going to propose to her and that he could do with some support. 

    The applause from the tables around was immediate. He went down on one knee and screamed her name. “Will you marry me?” The girl, who looked a tad embarrassed by the attention, asked him politely to “sit down first”. But the pressure from the patrons around was building. “Answer. Answer,” they pestered, clapping. Even the waiters smiled as they served. It was a surreal moment, partly because it was happening in Thane.

    When she finally looked at the floor and nodded, the boy was ecstatic. “There is no cake on my table. But I am going to celebrate with this paneer starter,” he said, and fed her a spoonful. Perhaps they are called happy hours as some happy endings are scheduled during that time.

 (Contributed by Rosy Sequeira,  Malathy Iyer, Mateen Hafeez  and Sharmila Ganesan-Ram.
    Compiled by Rucha Biju Chitrodia)

The Times of India, November 19, 2012

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Jerrit got chemical used in attack home-delivered

Mateen Hafeez TNN

Mumbai: The Dadar police, probing the chemical attack on 26-year-old physiotherapist, Aryanka Hozbektar, on Friday found that the accused, Jerrit John (46), did not buy the chemical from Masjid Bunder as he had claimed earlier. Instead, he placed an order for the chemical, which was delivered to his house. He was arrested last week from N alasopara.

    Police inspector Bharat Bhoite said, “We produced John before the Bhoiwada court, which extended his police custody till November 19. We have also recorded
Aryanka’s statement. She said that she learned John had an affair with two other women and that’s why she broke up with him. We will call other witnesses soon.” 

    On November 7, John allegedly hurled the chemical on Aryanka and she suffered burns on her face. “John had first called up atelephone info line, took the number of a chemical supplying shop and placed the order for the chemical. He took the delivery of the chemicals from a dealer, identified as Kalpesh, at home on November 3. We have information that he bought 6 different chemicals that day. It shows the attack was pre-planned,” an officer said.  John and Aryanka met through a cyclists’ group and fell in love. When Aryanka broke up with him, he attacked her.

The Times of India, November 17, 2012

Temple guard rapes hawker, arrested

Mateen Hafeez TNN

Mumbai: The Gamdevi police arrested a security guard working with a temple trust on Thursday, for allegedlt raping a hawker. Dattatray Kothavale allegedly shot objectionable pictures of the 35-yearold woman, blackmailed and raped her several times.
    Police said Kothavale was employed with T G Pavilion Trust that manages two temples near Mahalaxmi. The victim has a stall on the temple premises. Five months ago, Kothavale had taken the victim to a lodge on the pretext of introducing her to his family. 

    “However, instead of doing as he promised, Kothavale spiked her drink and clicked objectionable pictures of her. Later, he raped her several times by threatening her, saying he will circulate the pictures in public,” said a police officer. “The police station re
ceived a formal complaint on November 8. The victim, a mother of two, had come along with her husband. After verifying the facts, Kothavale was arrested on Thursday night,” confirmed Ravindra Gamre, assistant police inspector. 

    Kothavale would take the victim to various lodges every week. Fed up, the victim finally confided in her husband. Cops have found the mobile phone with which Kothavale had clicked the pic
tures. The phone will be sent for cyber analysis.  “The accused would extort money from the hawkers who had stalls in the premises and the victim was one of them. He would collect Rs 15,000 to Rs 18,000 a month as hafta for illegally allowing them inside the temple premises,” said a police officer. 

    A source from the trust said they had not come across any such complaint against Kothavale. 
The Times of India, November 17, 2012

Friday, November 16, 2012

Chemical attack victim’s phone found

John (L) had sent threatening messages to Hozbektar (R) on her mobile

Mateen Hafeez TNN

Mumbai: The Dadar police, probing the attack on 26-yearold physiotherapist Aryanka Hozbektar, on Thursday recovered her mobile that the accused, Jerrit John (46), had allegedly stolen last week before hurling chemical on her face. 

    “We have recovered the phone from John’s Bandra office, No Nonsense Productions, and will send it for a cyber analysis,” said a police officer. John had reportedly sent threatening messages to Hozbektar on her mobile and later stolen it. The police said
that they will call Hozbektar regarding her statement.

    John was arrested from Nalasopara last week. “During the preliminary probe, John has told us several things about himself and his relation with Hozbektar. We need to verify it with her. A police team
will record Aryanka’s statement,” said a police officer.  On November 7, Hozbektar suffered minor burns on her face after John allegedly hurled chemical on her.   “We have spoken to owner of the chemical shop from where John purchased the chemical. We will visit the shop on Friday,” said deputy police commissioner Dhananjay Kulkarni. 

    The police recovered John’s Scropio from Mira Road. He had been roaming in this car while on the run before he was caught. John’s computer hard disc, a laptop and cellphone have been seized.  On Thursday, cops said they were busy in bandobast due to Shiv Sena leader Bal Thackeray’s deteriorating health and further inquiries in the Hozbetkar attack case will be done soon. John’s police custody ends on November 16.
The Times of India, November 16, 2012

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Stock Guru victims in Mum may number 1,000

Mateen Hafeez TNN

As news of the arrest of Stock Guru India promoters Ulhas Prabhakar Khaire and his wife Raksha J Urs spread, hundreds of people who invested in the firm approached the economic offences wing (EOW) of Mumbai Police, with complaints of being cheated of lakhs of rupees. 

    Though the couple was arrested by the Delhi police, the Mumbai EOW has been discreetly investigating the case. “Some complainants had approached us earlier, but they went to Delhi since the case was registered there. We ex
pect, and are also appealing to, more people to come forward with complaints, if any, against Stock Guru,” said a senior police officer. “Ravindra Deshmukh, the mastermind of another fraudulent firm, Aryarup Travel And Club Resort, who is currently in jail, has some connection with Stock Guru as well. He has either invested heavily in the company or helped it run its fraudulent network.” 

    A Mumbai EOW team is likely to leave for New Delhi to collect more information about the case. “As per our
knowledge, there are over a thousand investors in Mumbai. We want to get firsthand information from the Delhi police, which will help us take the probe further,” the officer said. 

    The Delhi police have estimated the scale of the fraud at over Rs 1,100 crore. They have seized 12 cars and Rs 63 crore in cash, and frozen 94 bank accounts belonging to Stock Guru’s office bearers.  “The accused have been operating from Bangalore, Delhi and Ratnagiri. Probably, they also have an office in Mumbai, but with some other name. We are investigating if this firm is indeed a front for Stock Guru,” said a senior police officer. “Since victims are approaching the Mumbai police, an official complaint is likely to be registered here this week.” 

    Another officer said that despite warnings and numerous instances, people still fall for ‘double the money’ schemes offered by fly-bynight operators. “These are multi-level marketing frauds. But in most such cases, investors refuse to even lodge complaints, thinking that a police investigation would reduce their chances of getting their money back.” 

    Daniel R Pranjal, chief strategist at the consultancy firm Strategy India, said a lot of people were engaged fulltime in multilevel marketing scams. “They include promoters, software vendors, legal consultants, facilitators, etc. Promoters encourage and misguide people to start such companies while staying in the background. They join in the frontline of the company so that they can take the biggest share of the loot, but play victim when the company closes down. Later, they repeat this process with some other company or start a new one. 

    “As for Stock Guru, it was on our website’s alert list merely two months after its launch.”
The Times of India, November 14, 2012

50 MLM firms are under EOW probe

Mateen Hafeez TNN

Mumbai: The economic offences wing (EOW) is at present investigating at least 50 multilevel marketing (MLM) companies, suspected to have duped investors of over Rs 2,500 crore. A specialized unit to handle these cases was formed in the EOW after the police began its probe in the Rs 2,276-crore SpeakAsia case. 

    Besides SpeakAsia, the firms under probe include Aryarup Travel, City Limouzine, Red Carpet, Admatrix, Seven Rings International, Symbiosis Investment, Aim Limousine, Yes Cube Infrastructure Ltd, Aurum Realty, Raj Investment and VeriSign Infrastructure. 
    Police officers say the unit should have been formed much earlier, but was delayed due to a shortage of manpower. “We have inducted experienced officers to deal with MLM fraud. These officers were made to attend a training seminar before the unit was formally started,” said a senior police officer. “Lakhs of people invest in fraudulent schemes run by MLM agents. We have cases where victims sold autorickshaws, gold jewellery meant for, say, a daughter’s wedding, and land to invest in MLM schemes that promised them the heavens. In all cases, without fail, the companies downed their shutters and fled with investors’ money.” 
The Times of India, November 14, 2012

‘If you go to cops, IT dept will stalk you’

Mateen Hafeez TNN

Mumbai: On April 1 last year, Stock Guru’s promoter Ulhas Prabhakar Khaire, alias Lokeshwar Dev, issued a public notice through newspapers, threatening their investors and also advising them to recover their investments from the income tax department. 

    The notice read (verbatim): “If you file criminal case against us, then also you need to come in front of income tax department as party, as you will have to make statement in police station… that statement will be used to file a case against you in income tax department for evading taxes in case you have not shown the amount
in your income tax files last year.”
    It went on to warn investors that they should not think they can get away with the IT department, which it said was “very clever” and would open investors’ tax return files for six years and proceed against them. “They have all the records of all the business associates… they have also raided our software vendor, and under government obligation, he has given (investors’) details and records to the IT department.
    “Please make the IT department a party in any of your case, as they have your money and not us. So make them party to recover your money as… I have nothing left with me.” 
The Times of India, November 14, 2012

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Man critical after aspiring civil servant rams car into him


Mateen Hafeez TNN

Mumbai: A 22-year-old aspiring civil servant, Nirali Saloni, was arrested for knocking down a pedestrian near Hindmata, Parel, on Monday afternoon.
    Sub-inspector (Bhoiwada police) Avinash Jagtap said, “A huge mob had gathered at the spot and Saloni, who was in her Swift with her mother and sister, panicked.
She fled but stopped when she spotted a traffic policeman. She narrated the incident to the traffic constable, who brought her to the police station.”
    Another police officer told TOI, “The man is critically injured and unconscious. The police rushed him to KEM Hospital, where he is undergoing treatment. We want to inform his relatives but don’t know who he is or where he lives. We are trying to establish his identity.”
    The police have booked Saloni for causing grievous hurt as well as rash and negligent driving, both of which are bailable offences under the Indian Penal Code. “Saloni was not drunk at the time of the accident. She was on her way to south Mumbai for shopping. We are recording her statement and the probe is still on,” said the officer. Saloni’s family members visited the police station and discussed the case with the police.
Trailer mows down woman The Byculla police arrested a trailer driver, Dhondiram Jadhav (32) for crushing a woman to death near Mazgaon. According to cops, Aayesha Ali (26) was walking by the roadside when she allegedly fainted and came under the trailer’s rear tyre on Monday. The accident occurred around 10.30am.
    Police officials said the deceasedused to reside in a slum near the Nariyalwadi graveyard. 
The Times of India, November 13, 2012

‘I didn’t want to kill Aryanka, only deface and scare her’

Mateen Hafeez TNN

Mumbai: Jerrit John, the short-film producer arrested on Saturday for a chemical attack on physiotherapist Aryanka Hozbektar, has told the police he did not buy the liquid with the intention of throwing it on the victim. 

    “My intention was not to kill her, but to deface and scare her,” John is learnt to have told the police.
    “During our preliminary questioning, John told us he uses chemicals for his work at his production house. He said he bought
the chemical, as usual, for his work, but threw it at Aryanka in a furious state of mind,” said a police source. “We are yet to subject John to sustained interrogation. Due to Diwali bandobast, we did not get the time to properly interrogate him. The Dadar police will question him on Tuesday.”
    After his remand on Sunday in police custody till November 16, John was taken to Mahim's central lockup. The source said a police team will set about verifying John’s claims after recording the statements of his office staff.
Hozbetkar returns to her Worli home
 A ryanka Hozbetkar was back at her Adash Nagar, Worli, flat on Monday after learning of her attacker Jerrit John’s arrest. After her discharge from hospital last Thursday, she and her mother had gone to a relative’s place in Andheri to stay. A friend of Hozbetkar had told TOI she was too scared to come back to her Worli home while John was on the loose. TNN 
The Times of India, November 13, 2012

Four staffers siphon off 1.3 crore from designer, held

Ritu Kumar

Mateen Hafeez TNN

Mumbai: Four employees working for designer Ritu Kumar have been arrested for allegedly siphoning off Rs 1.35 crore from her stores in the city. The money was to be deposited in the bank. The fraud, which took place between July 2011 and October this year, came to light during an internal audit of the designer’s showroom in Lower Parel.

   The arrested accused—regional manager Natasha Jawali (39), accountant Sachin Ghodkindi (36) and sales girls Shraddha Suyankar (30) and Pragati Kanojia (26)—have been remanded in police custody till November 16. 

    According to the NM Joshi Marg police, Jawali, who heads six outlets in Mumbai, is the prime accused. “Besides using debit and credit cards, many customers would pay in cash. The accused gave such customers a manual bill saying there was some problem with the store’s computer. As a result, there was no accurate record of cash transactions and the accused pocketed the money,” said an officer.


   While one of the accused purchased gold with the money, another used it to foot her medical bills, said the police. “Cops recovered gold worth Rs 80,000 and Rs 1.5 lakh from Suyankar and Kanojia respectively. Another accused deposited Rs 3 lakh in the bank,” said a source.

The Times of India, Novmber 13, 2012

Monday, November 12, 2012

‘John and his wife filed for divorce amicably’

Mateen Hafeez TNN

Mumbai: Short-film producer Jerrit John, arrested on Saturday for a chemical attack on physiotherapist Aryanka Hozbektar, had on the Friday (November 2) before last gone to court, along with his wife, to file divorce papers. “Next day, they and their five-year-old son had breakfast together. Jerrit hugged his wife and child, before dropping them to the airport for a flight to Nagpur,” said John’s younger brother Jerrish, who came to Mumbai the week before last from Dubai, where he is an an executive with a private firm. “I had come only for a week on work, but due to this case, I have extended my leave.”
   Jerrish said that after reaching John’s residence in Vashi, “I came to know that my brother and sister in-law were preparing for divorce—amicably. I tried to reconcile them, but Jerrit said there were personal issues, which he did not elaborate.”
   Jerrish said he did not see any anger between the couple. “After they returned home from the court, Jerrit spent most of the day with his son. Next morning, all of us had breakfast together. John played with his son; I, too, played with the kid. I told my sister-in-law (a teacher) that perhaps I would not be able to meet her upon my next visit to India.
   “After dropping his wife and kid at the airport, Jerrit went to his office. He did not return home that night. He works in his office for hours on end and it’s common for him to be away from home for long periods of time.
   “I, too, was busy and so could not meet him. It was Wednesday when a police team arrived inquiring about John. I was taken aback and learnt that my brother was wanted in a case. It was shocking for me since my brother cannot commit a crime.”
   Jerrish said he spoke to John at the police station after his arrest. “Jerrit told me it was Aryanka who counselled him for divorce. She knew he had a five-year-old son and told him she would take care of the child after they got married. She would even play with Jerrit’s son at his Bandra office; there is photographic evidence to prove this.” 
No Nonsense head and chemical attacker Jerrit John’s younger brother Jerrish arrived in Mumbai the week before last. He spoke to TOI on what he has witnessed about Jerrit’s personal life since then
On Friday, November 2, Jerrit John and his wife went to the Thane family court to file for divorce
After returning home from the court, Jerrit spent most of the day with his son, playing with him
Next day, they, their five-year-old son and Jerrish had breakfast together Jerrit hugged his wife and child, before dropping them to the airport for a flight to Nagpur
After that, Jerrit went to his office and did not return home at night 

On Wednesday (November 7), a police team arrived at his Vashi residence, inquiring about him
It was around 5am that day that Jerrit allegedly attacked physiotherapist Aryanka Hozbektar with a chemical

Jerrit John, arrested accused

The Times of India, November 12, 2012

Police have five days to question chemical attacker

IN CUSTODY: Jerrit John

Mateen Hafeez TNN

Mumbai: Jerrit John, who heads production house No Nonsense, was produced on Sunday before the Bhoiwada court, which remanded him in police custody till November16. He was arrested the previous day for attacking his physiotherapist exgirlfriend Aryanka Hozbetkar with a chemical. 

    “It was Aryanka who counselled and motivated me for filing a divorce application. I did so and sent my wife to Nagpur,” John told the police. “But Aryanka began avoiding me, refusing to take my calls and even backed out from the proposal to marry me. I was very angry over this.”  Confirming this, investigating officer Bharat Bhoite said, “We have to verify everything and are doing our investigation.” 

    The police said John told them that he wanted to deface and scare Hozbetkar.
“The chemical hurled at her is used to wash metals,” an officer said.   Seeking John’s custody, the police told the court that they required his custodial interrogation for verifying several pieces of information and recovering Hozbetkar’s stolen cellphone. They urged the court for John’s custody for the greatest extent of time. 

    At the Dadar police station, John, told TOI, “Do you know what the reality is? I will tell you.”
   But before he could elaborate, the policeman holding John took him to a police vehicle for taking him away to Mahim’s central lockup.  A police team also visited John’s No Nonsense office in Bandra and conducted a search. “On Monday, the team will go to Masjid Bunder, from where John bought the chemical he used in his attack,” an officer said. “We have to take the shopkeeper’s statement.”
The Times of India, November 12, 2012

Borivli woman is not related to Jerrit, says his brother

Mateen Hafeez TNN

Mumbai: Jerrit John’s brother Jerrish has said the Borivli-based woman whose home John reportedly went to after attacking Aryanka Hozbetkar was not related to the Johns in any way. 

    “If the Borivli woman or her relatives are claiming to be related to us, it’s false. We don’t have any relatives in Borivli and that woman is not even our distant relative,” Jerrish told TOI. 

    A relative of the woman had said on Saturday that she was distantly related to John.   Asked what could have gone wrong between Hozbetkar and John, Jerrish said, “My brother told me he had come to know about Aryanka’s relationship with another man. He called up that man to inquire about this and was upset after that. He felt cheated by Aryanka. He has also rubbished reports that he banged her head against the wall… Our father is in Dubai and may come to India soon. 
    “Another thing, a director tweeted Jerrit’s pic, telling people to inform the police if they saw him. He is a respected filmmaker, but should not be judgmental. Did he hear my brother’s side of the story? How can he conclude who is right and who is not?” 
The Times of India, November 12, 2012

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Man behind chemical attack held on Nalasopara hotel tip-off

John at the Dadar police station

Mateen Hafeez & Sandhya Nair TNN

Mumbai: Film professional Jerrit John, 46, who was absconding after allegedly throwing a hazardous chemical on the face of Aryanka Hozbetkar at her Worli home, was nabbed by the Nalasopara police three days later on Saturday. He was hiding in a Nalasopara hotel and cops, tipped off by the staff, were able to identify him 
because he checked in with his real name and PAN and credit card details.
    The Vashi resident who runs a production house was brought to the Dadar police station in the evening and arrested for Wednesday’s attack.
Owns production house No Nonsense. Creative consultant for MTV, UTV, Excel Entertainment
On the run after throwing chemical on Aryanka Hozbetkar, 26, early on Nov 7
They had a relationship, but Hozbetkar had broken up
John came to her Worli home around 5am, threw chemical

Chemical used in Worli attack was bought for 100 at Masjid Bunder

Absconding Film Professional Hid In A Valsad Hotel Before Coming To Nalasopara, Say Dadar Police
    Film production house owner Jerrit John, 46, who is accused of hurling a chemical at physiotherapist Aryanka Hozbetkar, 26, purchased the chemical for Rs 100 from a Masjid Bunder shop, according to deputy commissioner of police Dhananjay Kulkarni. 

    John reportedly told the police that chemicals are used in his work at the film production house and he bought additional chemicals during his last purchase.   He used one of them on Hozbetkar, who he had met on a cycling trip 10 months ago. Vashi resident John, who is married with a son, and Worli rresident Hozbetkar had got into a relationship which soured a month-and-a-half ago. 

    John was nabbed in Nalasopara and brought to the Dadar police station on Saturday evening. He was dressed casually in a T-shirt, threefourth pants and a cap. When media persons tried talking to him, he gave them the finger.
    “We still don’t know the identity of the chemical he used on Wednesday and are waiting for the analysis,” said Kulkarni. “Some sections invoked against John may be changed, or new sections added, if it is found he had planned something very harmful.” A police team will visit the shop.
    John was carrying the chemical in his car even during his first altercation with Hozbetkar after midnight on Tuesday, police said. Police said that after hurling the chemical on Wednesday morning, John first went to his Bandra office. He later hid in a hotel at Valsad in Gujarat before finally coming to Nalasopara. “John hid Hozbetkar’s stolen mobile at his Bandra office, which we will recover soon,” said an officer.
    After Wednesday’s attack, the Dadar police, who had been tracking his cell, traced him on Friday to the Mira Road area, but couldn’t locate him. Early Friday morning, John reportedly switched off his phone and travelled to Nalasopara in an auto. He asked the driver about hotels and was taken to Manthan Hotel, a 20-room, hotel-cum-restaurant in Laxmi Chedda Marg, Nalasopara (W). Hotel manager Shivram Shetty said, “John checked in at around 2.30am on Friday. We took his PAN and credit card details and allotted him a room on the first floor.”
    John was wearing a T-shirt and jeans and didn’t look suspicious, hotel sources said. He was carrying a suitcase and checked into Room 108, where he was provided water, soap and a towel. On Friday morning, he had tea and ordered a dosa from a nearly restaurant, but remained inside his room. He had tea in the evening and for meals had palak paneer, mixed vegetables and roti. He did not order liquor and didn’t have any visitors, said Shetty.
    On Saturday morning, the hotel’s waiters, most of them from Karnataka, recognized his photo in the newspaper Karnakata Malla.   “The PAN card photo matched the one in the newspaper,” said receptionist Vishwanath Shetty. He informed the manager, who then alerted the hotel’s owner Harish Shetty. Harish said, “I first crosschecked his details with the PAN card copy. The photograph matched. After being convinced, we called the Nalasopara police.” 

    Even as the hotel staff were checking his credentials, John ordered tea and dosa from a nearby hotel. The hotel also collected Rs 450 as rent for the second day. Room boys said John remained in his room watching TV and did not appear tense or worried.

    The Nalasopara police arrived at the hotel at around 11.30 am. John opened the door after a room boy called out. The police questioned him in the hotel before taking him to the Nalasopara police station. Additional superintendent of police, Thane Rural, Sangramsinh Nishandar, said, “John gave his real identity at the hotel. That is how it became easier to identity him.” John’s suitcase had his clothes, toothbrush and a shaving kit.
    Police sources said John may have been planning to file for anticipatory bail. He had been reading newspapers and was keeping tabs on his case, said an officer. He has parked his vehicle in Nalasopara and police teams have left to seize it. The police will be questioning the Borivili woman who John tried to also attack on Wednesday. She is learnt to have filed an NC with the Borivili police.
    John is the owner of the No Nonsense production house. Hozbetkar had returned from a cycling expedition late on Tuesday and was with friends when John argued with her. He left after snatching one of her mobile phones. The phone had threatening SMSes he had sent her. He returned early on Wednesday morning and allegedly flung the chemical at her even as her shocked friends watched.
    The two were in a relationship since December 19, 2011. John had himself been married for six years and has a five-year-old son. On October 31, Hozbetkar reportedly sent an email to John ending their relationship. John tried to convince her that he had applied for divorce.
    John is currently charged with causing grievous hurt using dangerous means, theft and wrongful confinement. More charges could be added, say police.  When contacted for comments, Hozbetkar’s mother Aarti refused saying, “Sorry, we are not in a proper frame of mind.”
    Does production house owner and chemical attack accused Jerrit John belong to the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena? Sources said that among the identities he showed to check in to Manthan Hotel was an MNS card (pictured far left) from Vashi. However, MNS spokesperson Vageesh Saraswat said the party isn’t aware of John’s membership. “No political party has a system to scrutinise every member. Also, the party doesn’t ask its cadre to indulge in any kind of criminal activity. Hence, one cannot link the act of the accused with the party. We have nothing to do with the offence,” said Saraswat. TNN


1 Jerrit John checks into a Nalasopara hotel on Friday at 2.30am. He gives his real name and PAN details

2 He is allotted Room 108 and moves in with a suitcase containing clothes, a toothbrush and shaving kit

3 He stays in the room on Friday, has tea and dosa, and for meals palak paneer, mixed vegetables and roti

4 On Saturday morning, the waiters recognize a photo of him in the Karnataka Malla newspaper

5 An oblivious John orders has breakfast and watches TV. At 11.30am, the police come to his door

HOTEL HIDEOUT: Jerrit John hid at Manthan Hotel, Nalasopara (W), where receptionist Vishwanath Shetty (pink shirt) and manager Shivram Shetty helped identify him. 

The Times of India, November 11, 2012

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Dadar police had past run-ins with chemical attacker

Jerrit John’s housing society, Shera Coop, in Sector 16, Vashi

Cops Rush To Mira Rd, Vashi After Absconding Filmmaker’s Phone Is Traced, But Don’t Find Him There


Mateen Hafeez, Bharati Dubey, Vijay Singh & Vijay V Singh TNN

Mumbai/Navi Mumbai:
The Dadar police said they contacted film professional Jerrit John, 46, over his cell soon after he threw a chemical at Aryanka Hozbetkar, 26, at her Worli home on Wednesday, but he only complained that he had seen her with another man and therefore perpetrated the attack. The police called Jerrit in to “verify” his role and give a statement, but he never showed up. “He then switched off his phone,” said an investigator.
 When TOI contacted Aryanka’s mother Arti, who works as a clerk in the City Civil and Sessions court, she said, “We don’t want to talk about this issue to the media.”
 The Dadar cops said Vashi resident Jerrit had been reprimanded by them at least half-adozen times in the past “for roaming in the Worli area late at night”. “Each time he was asked to go home, but he excused himself saying he had come to drop Aryanka home,” said a senior police officer.
 Celebrities and Aryanka’s friends continued to express shock at the chemical attack on Friday even as the police sent out three teams to trace Jerrit, who runs the Bandrabased No Nonsense production firm and has worked on documentary and feature films like Slumdog Millionaire and My Name Is Khan.
 Actor Dia Mirza, who worked with Jerrit on her first home production said, “I am appalled by this news. We thought he was a decent person and that perhaps due to unavoidable circumstances he was avoiding repaying us, but reading the papers has sickened me. It’s really scary to think you've worked so closely with an individual who has gone on to display such unacceptable behaviour.”
 On Friday afternoon, Jerrit’s younger brother Jerrish arrived at the police station with Jerrit’s pet dog in a car. Jerrish couldn’t say where his brother was hiding. Two policemen went with Jerrish to Mira Road, but Jerrit wasn’t there. On Friday morning, Jerrit’s cell was on for sometime in Mira Road, but it was later switched off. In the evening, the phone was switched on in Vashi, but police could not trace him there too.
 Jerrish, who works in the UAE, happens to be in Mumbai on a 15-day holiday. “We feel it will be easier to trace Jerrit through his brother,” said an officer. Cops are also tracking Jerrit’s email address. “If he has switched off his mobile and didn’t go home or to a relative’s place, he might access his email,” said the officer.
 Jerrit, who is married with a son, was having a relationship with Hozbetkar as well as a married woman. After the chemical attack, he began threatening the second woman too. The second woman, who lives in Borivli, managed to contact Hozbetkar, who revealed what had happened that night and said that Jerrit may be on his way to attack her. The woman, whose husband is usually away on work, locked her door and didn’t let in Jerrit, who arrived to threaten her and her fiveyear-old son.
 Jerrit’s Vashi neighbours in the upmarket Sector 16 said they hardly mingled with him or his family even though the Johns had been staying there for six years. Jerrit has a twobedroom flat on the second floor of the Shera Coop housing society. He lives there with his wife, son and pet dog.
 “Two days ago, the police came to the flat in the early hours to search for Jerrit,” said a resident. “They took his younger brother for questioning.” Another society member said, “Jerrit was in a love marriage. Nine days ago his wife left for her Nagpur home. We do not know if there was marital discord.” Jerrit reportedly had two vehicles , which were not parked there on Friday.
 Jerrit opened his office off Carter Road in Bandra about two years ago. Those in the neighbourhood initially knew him as a family man. His wife would come to the office, where he played with their child. “Suddenly a girl began coming on a scooter, after which the wife wasn’t seen,” said a long-time resident.
 After Wednesday’s attack, Jerrit has not been seen at the office. The staff, comprising a couple of men and a woman, attended till Thursday. A neighbour said, “People would come for meetings all the time. Two days back he was screaming at someone over the phone, after which I didn’t see him.”
 Near the office door was a fancy ‘Private Parking’ sign above a cutout of the film Dev D. A businessman in the area said, “Jerrit was very stylish. He always moved with his cycle tied to the back of his Scorpio.” Jerrit’s wife may have been a teacher in Chembur, he added.
 Jerrit is a known face in the film world and has worked with production houses like UTV, Dharma Productions and Excel Entertainment. A creative consultant said, “I just cannot believe that Jerrit did something like this. He is a good professional. But there were certain habits he indulged in which probably were responsible for this behaviour.” Producer Ritesh Sidhwani, with whom Jerrit worked with on Don and Luck By Chance, said, “He needs to turn himself in and face the consequences. I really don’t know in which frame of mind he did such a thing. I feel he needs help.” The head of a production house said, “This incident is shocking and I don’t think anyone would want to work with him again.”
 Actor-producer Shashi Ranjan, who also runs an NGO, said, “This is a most cowardly and deplorable act on the part of any man who claims to love or care for a woman. I have been helping acid attack victims and I know most of the time it is the jilted lover who disfigures the girl’s face.”
Netizens want ‘coward’ caught
 The online world has been abuzz with news of the chemical attack on Aryanka Hozbetkar, 26, with netizens asking for help in finding the suspect Jerrit John, 46.
    Director-actor Farhan Akhtar tweeted: “Shame on you Jerrit John. Now come out of hiding, you coward.” Akhtar posted a picture of John and wrote: “If you spot this man please dial 100 and refer case to Dadar police station.”
    Simran Channey, a marketing manager at a film firm, tweeted, “Man, you can never know when someone will lose it! Jerrit was someone I had worked with, was a loser, but never thought he’d be a woman beater and would throw (a chemical) on a woman. It’s sickening me since morning.”
    Human Rights activist Kamayani Bali Mahabal blogged: “Jerrit has been asking friends to say that they did not hear anything or see anything. Jerrit, seriously, you think we will be quiet? You may have deleted your Facebook profile, but you can’t be on the run for long.”
    Dipti Shah wrote on the networking page of Mumbai Cycling Enthusiasts: “So, so angry. Cycling is all about fun and not anger nor frustration nor revenge. So all you jerks and frustrated leeks, be it lust, be it power, be it personal vendetta – stay away. There’s no room here for you cowards.” TNN

The Times of India, November 10, 2012

Friday, November 9, 2012

Victim of chemical attack out of hospital

Filmmaker Who Attacked Woman Still On The Run

Mateen Hafeez & Sumitra Deb Roy TNN

Mumbai:The26-year-old physiotherapist who had hazardous chemical hurled at her face, at her Worli residence, took a discharge from hospital on Thursday morning,thoughthethreat to her eyesight may not be over. Her alleged attacker, documentary and ad filmmaker Jerrit John,isstill absconding.
    The attackon Aryanka Hozbetkar, by John, whom she met in a cycling group but later calledoff thefriendship,evoked strong reactions even from his friends. Shewas attacked ather Adarsh Colony home in Worli at around5am on Wednesday.
    Hozbetkar took a discharge from PD Hinduja Hospital on Thursday, where she was undergoing treatment, and went tolivewithher relatives. She apparently insisted on being allowed to go home. A family friend said, “Both mother are daughter are extremely scared and didn’t want to go back to their Worli house”. Hozbetkar has to visit the hospital almost everyday till the danger of losing vision in her right eye is completely ruled out. Though police claimed it was probably not an acid attack,thechemical usedcouldscar her face. 

    Policehaveformedseparate teams to nab John, associated with movies like Slumdog Millionaire, My Name Is Khan, etc. A senior inspector from Dadar police station said, “We have formedtwoteamstotraceJohn. A police team visited John’s brother’s house at Khar-Danda. Another team went to John’s Carter Road office in Bandra but it was shut,” said senior police inspector Prakash Patil.
Till Thursday evening, police maintained the filmmaker was absconding. “John’s wife is away in Nagpur with their child, to meet her parents, and is probably unawareof theincident,” said a cop. “We have seized the bottle in which John brought the chemical. It’s not acid. Wehavesentitfor examination to Kalina Forensic Laboratory,” addedPatil.
    John owns a production house named ‘No Nonsense’. Police learnt the filmmaker, whoseshortfilmsshowcased at Berlin and Cannes film festivals, has deleted his account from a social networking site. 
The Times of India, November 9, 2012

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Worli girl’s eye may be severely affected after chemical attack

Dadar Police Hunt For Absconding Vashi Suspect


Mateen Hafeez and Sumitra Deb Roy TNN

Mumbai: While Jerrit John, 45, has been booked for theft and wrongful confinement, the Dadar police are investigating a case in which the Vashi resident is suspected to have hurled a chemical at the face of 26-year-old physiotherapist Aryanka Hozbetkar at the woman’s Worli residence. Senior inspector of the Dadar police, Prakash Patil, confirmed that John, who was absconding at the time of going to press, has been booked by the cops for theft and wrongful confinement. 

    TOI has learned that the chemical attack has severely affected one of Hozbetkar’s eyes, although officials at P D Hinduja Hospital, Mahim, where she is being treated, refused to comment on the extent of the damage. A family friend said, “There have been injuries to the face and an eye may be badly affected. But she is out of danger now.” Neither the hospital nor the family would confirm if the attack had disfigured Hozbetkar’s
face. Police said that one of her friends, Shammi Sharma, who was present when the attack took place, has also sustained injuries.
    Hozbetkar met John, who is employed with a private firm at Bandra-Kurla Complex, soon after she joined a cycling group. Sources close to the investigation said that Hozbetkar and John had been going on cycling trips together. “They were very good friends. But after a point Hozbetkar did not want to continue with the friendship and she made that clear to him,” a source said. On Wednesday at around 4am, Hozbetkar had just returned from one of her trips with her friends when John called her. “He came over to her place and before anyone could realize anything was amiss, he hurled some liquid at her face. She started screaming and saying that her skin was burning,” said the source. The source said that John had stopped going for cycling trips lately.
    Before either Hozbetkar’s parents, who were in the next room, or her friends could react, John fled the scene and bolted the Hozbetkars’ door from outside. He also took her cell phone, said a source. John was a frequent visitor to the Hozbetkar house and was known to her parents. The victim’s relatives, who stay next door, had to unlock the door, following which she was rushed to the hospital.
    The Dadar police stopped short of saying acid had been flung at the girl. “It did look like some corrosive material but it is difficult to say whether it was acid,” said the source. The police have collected samples from the house, which will be sent to the Forensic Science Laboratory at Kalina.
    Patil said that a team was sent to John’s Vashi residence, but it was locked. He confirmed that John had run away with the victim’s cell phone. “We are investigating the case,” he said.

The Times of India, November 8, 2012

‘Old friend’ hurls chemical on young physio’s face


Mateen Hafeez & Sumitra Deb Roy TNN

Mumbai: Aryanka Hozbetkar, a 26-year-old physiotherapist, had a hazardouschemicalflung ather face in her Worli residence on Wednesday morning. The assailant,whois absconding, is said to have been her good friend in the past. The incident comes in the wake of several other attacks in Mumbai on women at home and mirrorsthe growing trendof attempts to disfigure women’s faces either with acid or by slashing.
    The attack took place at Hozbetkar’s home at Adarsh Colony at around 5am just after the physiotherapist had returned from one of her cycling expeditions. She was in the presence of her friends when Jerrit John, 45, carried out the cowardly attack. P 3 

Ex-staffer held for Malad killing T he murder of Malad senior citizen Nirmala Vora has been cracked with the arrest of a former staffer of her daughter Chetna’s juice centre. Though robbery appears to be the motive, police are not ruling out revenge as the man claims to have not been paid his salary. P 2 
 Rape case: DNA samples taken T he police on Wednesday collected DNA samples of the Reay Road man arrested for allegedly raping a Spaniard in her Bandra flat. Anwar Ansari has been remanded in judicial custody till Friday to facilitate an ID parade before the victim leaves for home. P 5 

The Times of India, November 8, 2012

Ex-staffer of slain sr citizen’s daughter held for her murder

The accused at the crime branch office

Mateen Hafeez TNN

Mumbai: In a major breakthrough, the crime branch has arrested a 20-year-old youth from Rajasthan in connection with the Nirmala Vora murder case. The accused was a former employee at the juice centre run by the victim’s daughter, Chetna (52).
    The 73-year-old Nirmala was found in a pool of blood by her daughter in their Malad (W) residence late on Sunday. Crime branch officials said the alleged killer, Girvar Singh Devda, also stole Rs 35,000 in cash and 35 tola of gold ornaments worth over Rs 12 lakh, from the house as he “needed money to get his sister married off”. While robbery appeared to be the motive behind the murder, the police said it could also be a case of revenge as Devda was angry with the Voras over alleged non-payment of salary.
    Devda was picked up from Udaipur on Tuesday night. Joint commissioner of police (crime) Himanshu Roy said Devda planned the murder before visiting the family’s house on Sunday afternoon: “He knew that Nirmala would be alone at home and bought a knife near Malad station. As he had worked at the sugarcane juice centre run by Nirmala’s daughter, he knew the family well. On Sunday afternoon, he visited their house and Nirmala opened the door as she knew him. There was no forced entry. Soon after entering the flat, Devda took the cash and jewellery and attacked Nirmala. Her throat was slit,” he explained.
    Roy said Devda, a Class X dropout, is originally from Rajasthan. His elder brother, Manojsingh, used to run an icecream shop in Malad. In 2011, he brought Devda to Mumbai to work in the shop. Later, Manojsingh moved to another shop in Mumbai Central and Devda started working for the Voras. However, he was employed in the Voras’ juice centre for only 22 days in September and quit after a fight with Chetna. While he was working there, Devda visited the Vora residence several times and observed that Chetna’s mother had a lot of gold jewellery.
    “Devda said he left the job as the work hours were too long,” said a police source. The accused also claimed that he did not get his salary for the 22 days he worked at the juice centre. “On Sunday morning, Devda had drinks with some acquaintances before leaving for Malad railway station. He bought a knife there and then went to the Voras’ residence,” the police said.
    After killing Vora, Devda headed for Rajasthan on a train. “As he knew that the police would try to locate him, Devda did not go to his hometown and instead went to Udaipur. We got information that he was hiding in Udaipur and picked him up from there. He was brought to Mumbai and arrested formally here. We will hand him over to the Malad police,” an official said.
    Devda has reportedly sold the jewellery in Rajasthan and the police are now trying to zero in on the buyers. “Devda disposed of the jewellery soon after reaching Jaipur. He then went to Udaipur. The police will call the buyers for interrogation,” the police said.
    The investigators also confirmed that the knife used in Nirmala’s murder was not taken from her kitchen. “In her statement, Chetna said both knives in her mother’s kitchen were intact. This indicated that the murder was planned well in advance and the accused brought a knife along,” an official said.
    Reacting to the news of Devda’s arrest, Chetna—who is unmarried and had lost her father some years ago—said: “I shared a very special bond with my mother. We were like friends and our relationship was a lot more than a regular mother-daughter one. I cannot forget the sight of my mother lying on the floor, caked in blood, when I returned home from work on Sunday night. I cried like crazy and couldn’t sleep or eat.”
    Referring to the probe, she said: “Officers from the local police station, the crime branch and the anti-robbery squad visited us. I’ve spent the last three nights and the entire Wednesday doing rounds of the police station. Now, I’m exhausted. I think they have done an excellent job in bringing the killer to book so quickly.”
    (Inputs from Nitasha Natu)
WHO IS GIRVAR SINGH DEVDA? 20 years old | A Class X dropout, originally from Rajasthan
Devda’s elder brother, Manojsingh, brought him to Mumbai in 2011 to work in his ice-cream shop in Malad
Later, he started working at the Voras’ juice centre, but quit the job after only 22 days following a spat over long work hours
On November 4, Devda bought a knife near Malad station and went to the Voras’ house. Nirmala Vora (73) opened the door as he had visited the house earlier. He stole Rs 35,000 and 35 tola of gold ornaments worth over Rs 12 lakh before slitting Nirmala’s throat
Devda then fled to Rajasthan. On Tuesday night, he was arrested from Udaipur
THE PROBABLE MOTIVES While robbery appeared to be the motive behind the murder, the police said it could also be an act of revenge as Devda claimed that he was angry over non-payment of salary by the Voras

The Times of India, November 8, 2012

Monday, November 5, 2012

Electronics store voucher theft under EOW lens

Mateen Hafeez TNN

Mumbai: A case involving stolen vouchers of an electronics and home appliances store, Croma, is being probed by the economic offences wing (EOW). 

    The vouchers initially “went missing” from most of the store’s outlets, but were redeemed at other branches, claimed investigators. “We found that the vouchers were used to purchase goods worth Rs 24 lakh from the Bandra outlet alone,” said a police officer. 

    Two of the store’s cashiers, Sandeep Khade and Sandeep Tiwrekar, were arrested but secured bail later. The fraud came to light
while the company was carrying out its internal audit.   “The coupons can be bought at all Croma stores. The employees print the amount and the coupon is stamped before it is handed over to a buyer,” said a police officer. “The accused had forged vouchers and sold them, which is a crime. Although, the coupons were original but after manipulation they were considered duplicate,” he added. 

    In 2011, the company altered the design on their vouchers. “Even after effecting this change, the store accepted the ‘old vouchers’. Hence, most of the forged ones got redeemed,” said a police source. 
“There is no record of the vouchers, which were stolen from almost all the store’s outlets,” he added.
    The staffers are on the lookout for buyers who may turn up at outlets to redeem the ‘forged vouchers’. “We want to find out from whom they purchased the vouchers,” said the source. 
The Times of India, November 5, 2012

Buoyed by Saudi response, India seeks 4 more IM men

Mateen Hafeez TNN

Mumbai: With the deportation of three alleged Indian Mujahideen (IM) operatives from SaudiArabia,theIndian authorities have now approached the Saudi government with a fresh request for four more persons, suspected to be hiding there.
    Sources in the security establishment did not disclose theidentity of thefour IMsuspects, citing security reason. However, they confirmed that one of the names is Fayyaz Kagzi, mentor of 26/11 terrorist Abu Jundal. Kagzi hails from Beed district in Maharashtra and has been on the radar of security agencies for the last couple of months.
    Indian intelligence agencies are coordinating with Al-Mabahith Al-Aammah, Saudi Arabia’s internal intelligence agency. Kagzi is an accused in the 2006 Aurangabad arms haul case. His name cropped up during theinterrogation of two accused who were arrested last 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 had asked them to help him.
    In a list submitted to the UAE, the government has urged to deport Ubed Kola, an accused in Mumbai’s 13/7 triple bomb blast case. Kola is suspected to have played a vital rolein transferring hawala money from Dubai to India. “After Zabihuddin Ansari alias Abu Jundal was deported in June this year, we were happy with the positive response received from the Saudi authorities. We managed to get two more IM suspects. Now, we have requested for four more persons. Wehopeto get them soon,” said a source in the security establishment. Jundal is facing at least seven terror-related cases in India.
    While many terror suspects are increasingly hiding in Saudi Arabia, a major section of the Muslims is angry with their strategy of using the holy soil as a hideout. “These suspects are visiting Gulf countries on the pretext of getting jobs or pretending to be pilgrims. The Saudi authorities should throw them out,” said an official.  Anti-social elements prefer hiding in Saudi as it is within Mecca limits andthere is no chance of being caught by anyone other than the Saudi police. “So the accused pretend to be pilgrims and try to take advantage of this rule,” said a source. Sources said that since the month of Haj is over, lakhs of pilgrims will now visit Saudi for Umrah. 

    Even the UAE has been deporting gangsters to India. Over the last nine years, the UAE has deported more than 23 gangsters to India.

The Times of India, November 5, 2012