Saturday, August 31, 2013




The Times of India, August 31, 2013 TIMES NATION

‘He identified & motivated new recruits’

Mateen Hafeez TNN

Mumbai: Yasin Bhatkal, besides his planning and strategising for specific operations, has also been important for the Indian Mujahideen (IM) because of his skills in indoctrination and recruitment of youths. “His most important quality is to identify the potential recruits, motivate them and prepare them for big operations,” said an investigator who had questioned several IM arrested recruits. 

    For instance, Mansoor Peerbhoy, a software engineer, arrested for sending terror emails before and after the July 26, 2008 Ahmedabad and Surat bomb blasts, was not an easy man to be convinced. “However, Yasin who met Peerbhoy as Waseem, motivated him to give up his Rs 19-lakh-per-annum job and follow Yasin’s footsteps,” said the officer.
    For 13/7 blasts accused, Naqi Ahmed and Nadeem Akhtar, Yasin was a religious teacher, Maulana Imran. “He used to teach students at a religious structure where the two first met him in 2010. During their meetings, they tried to argue about various things in Islam but were always defeated and convinced by Maulana,” said a Mahrashtra ATS officer.
    Yasin’s bigger skill was to identify potential targets. “He would travel a lot. He went to Gujarat, Kolkata, various parts of Karnatka, Chennai, half of Mahrashtra, Delhi, Bihar, Rajasthan, Andhara Pradesh etc,” said investigators.
    In 1998, Yasin dropped out from a local school in Bhatkal and joined a religious institution to become an Aalim (an Arabic graduate). There he met the Bhatkal brothers somewhere in 2002. “The trio discussed the Gujarat riots and decided to do something big. Knowing his inclination towards the radical thoughts, his father took him to Dubai. But he soon fled to Pakistan for training,” said a police officer. 
The Times of India, August 31, 2013

13/7 aides may face mentor ‘Imran’

Mateen Hafeez TNN

Mumbai: City police arrested two persons from Darbhanga, Naqi Ahmed and Nadeem Akhtar, for their alleged role in the 13/7 triple Mumbai blasts. They had actually spent time and interacted with the arrested IM co-founder on a day-to-day basis prior to the blasts. Police would, at some stage, bring all three together for interrogation.
    State ATS officials said Naqi and Nadeem used to visit a local madrassa in Samastipur where Yasin was a teacher. Nadeem earlier told interrogators that Yasin had introduced himself as Imran.
    “He was a learned man who knew many things in and out. We were impressed with him. It was in late 2010 when he asked us to arrange a rented room in Mumbai so that he could come here and complete a course in software certification. Since I stay at Antop Hill in Mumbai and Naqi at Byculla, we spoke to some agents and arranged a room for him,” Nadeem had told police.
    Police said that after reaching Mumbai Yasin asked Naqi to get a SIM card for him and two other cards for his two friends on forged documents. Nadeem told police that Yasin was a soft-spoken, polite and intellectual man who had a broad thinking on all the issues especially religion. “He never spoke against any individual and would always give rational answers whenever asked to,” Nadeem is learnt to have to told the police. 

Naqi Ahmed
has two leather units, one in Delhi and the other in Byculla. Naqi allegedly stole one of the scooters in which a bomb was planted later

Nadeem Akhtar
an Antop Hill resident, was arrested on January 12, 2012, in the same SIM card forgery case Naqi was booked in. Nadeem is alleged to have ferried explosives from Delhi to Mumbai and stolen one of the scooters 
The Times of India, August 31, 2013

Friday, August 30, 2013

State suffered brunt of Bhatkal’s terror activities

Bhatkal was instrumental in renting a flat in Habib Apartment, Byculla, and visited it often while bombs were being assembled there for the 13/7 terror attack

Mateen Hafeez TNN

    Indian Mujahideen leader Yasin Bhatkal has spread death in his wake in many parts of the country and among the states that have borne the most brunt of his terrorist activities is Maharashtra.
    Mohammed Ahmed Siddibappa alias Yasin Bhatkal allegedly participated in, or reportedly had some distant links in, about 15 terror strikes around India over the years. Three of these were in Maharashtra and killed scores. State Anti-Terrorism Squad chief Rakesh Maria said on Thursday: “He was the commander-in-chief in India of Indian Mujahideen’s (IM) operations. His name first cropped up on our radar while we were tracking the origin of three terror emails sent before and after the July 2008 Gujarat bomb blasts.” 

    Officers added that IM’s operational commander Riyaz Shahbandri (Riyaz Bhatkal) often summoned Yasin to Mumbai. “Just before the Gujarat blasts, Riyaz and some others sat in an eatery in Andheri and discussed ways to claim credit for the attack. They decided on
sending terror emails. So, Bhatkal was called to Mumbai and instructions issued to him,” said a police officer. 

    In 2008, Bhatkal reportedly built explosives with “another IM bomb maker, Asif Badar, while staying at Pune’s Ashoka Muse and Kamal Mills society”. The explosives were transported to Ahmedabad and Surat in state buses. An irascible man, Bhatkal “pulled a revolver on a watchman who confronted him as he was about to plant a bomb near a garden in Surat. Riyaz pacified him by reminding that
their main job should not get thwarted,” said Maria. 

    In September-October 2008, Bhatkal took over the reigns of Indian Mujahideen after Riyaz and his brother Iqbal fled the country. Bhatkal became the group’s chief recruiter, motivator, selector of targets, financier, bomb maker and plot executor. “During interrogation, 13/7 blasts accused Haroon Rasheed Naik admitted getting terror training in a Pakistani camp with Yasin,” said Maria. 
Twenty-seven people died in the 13/7 attack in which explosives were planted at Opera House, Zaveri Bazar and Dadar. The police alleged that Bhatkal not only arranged the funding for the attack but also a flat where the bombs were made.     He would frequently visit the Byculla apartment and, with his accomplices living there, stole bikes and scooters to plant the explosives. 

    In 2009, Bhatkal had travelled to Colombo for a meeting where the conspiracy to bomb German Bakery in Pune was decided. On his return, Bhatkal allegedly took the responsibility of planting the bomb at the bakery. 
Patil praises central agencies Mumbai: Home minister R R Patil praised central intelligence agencies on Thursday for catching IM principal Yasin Bhatkal who, he said, is wanted in eight cases in Maharashtra. A team of ATS officers has left to interrogate the terrorist. “He is wanted in cases of terror strikes in Pune and Mumbai. While we will seek his custody, the unit at present is looking to interrogate him about his activities in Maharashtra,” said Patil. CM Prithiviraj Chavan said Bhatkal’s arrest was an outcome of coordination between many agencies and will help in the investigations into blast cases around the country. TNN

The Times of India, August 30, 3013

2011 Zaveri Bazar bomber in net

Mateen Hafeez TNN

Mumbai: The arrest of Asadullah Akhtar alias Tabrez brings into the net the 2011 Zaveri Bazar bomber and will throw light on why the six bombs planted by him in Pune on August 1 last year did not explode. 

    The 26-year-old resident of Azamgarh in UP, considered the most trusted man of Indian Mujahideen principal Yasin Bhatkal, had been evading the police for almost two years. He was held with Yasin on the Indo-Nepal border. 

    “He had planted bombs at Mumbai’s Zaveri Bazar in July 2011 and Pune’s JM Road in 2012. Initially, the police believed he was a Pakistani national. This January, they announced he was an Indian and offered Rs 10 lakh for information on him,” said a police source. Tabrez, with co-accused Waqqas, stayed at Habib Apartments in Byculla even after the 13/7 blasts in the city and did not flee. It was there that he helped Yasin assemble the RDX bombs a day before the triple blasts killed 27, said the source. 

    Police suspect the six bombs planted on Pune’s J M Road did not explode because the explosive got wet while the bombs were being assembled. “However, we want to know from Tabrez what went wrong and who had made the bombs,” said a police officer.   Eight persons were ar
rested for the Pune bombing conspiracy while five are still elusive. One Dayanand Bhaurao Patil was injured in a small blast. 

    Tabrez, who was believed to have been indoctrinating youths in Bihar before his role in the Mumbai blasts, fled the country, like Yasin and Waqqas, as a turf war erupted between Delhi police and the Maharashtra anti-terrorism squad in 2011.

ASADULLAH AKHTAR Alias Tabrez /Javed Akhtar/ Haddi/Danial/Shakir
AGE | 26 years 
HOME | Azamgarh in Uttar Pradesh  
CASES | Zaveri Bazar, Opera House, Dadar bomb blasts.
Stole scooter and bike in Mumbai, planted Zaveri Bazar bomb
Planted six bombs at Pune’s JM Road on August 1, 2012
Procured and used SIM cards on fake documents 
REWARD | Rs 10 lakh (Source: Maharashtra ATS) 
The Times of India, August 30, 2013

Family relieved IM principal was caught & not ‘eliminated’

(Left) Bhatkal’s father Zarar Siddibappa

Mateen Hafeez & Dwaipayan Ghosh TNN

Mumbai/New Delhi: Yasin Bhatkal’s family says they’re relieved that he’s been arrested and not eliminated in a fake encounter. “He should be punished if proved guilty,” a statement from the family on Thursday says. 

    The typed statement in English bears the signature of Yasin’s father Zarar and uncle Yaqub. “Truth will come out. We have complete faith in the judicial process. The cardinal principal that every person is innocent until proved guilty should be followed,” it says.
    Yaqub spoke to TOI in December 2010 when Yasin’s younger brother Abdul Samad was given a clean chit in the Pune German Bakery blast case. “We don’t have any family member called Yasin Bhatkal. My nephew is Ahmed Siddibappa. Since 2006, he has not been in touch with any family member,” Yaqub had said back then.
    Thursday’s statement says: “He (Yasin) studied at Bhatkal from Class I to Class X. He never set foot in Pune to the best of our knowledge until he disappeared from Dubai. Ahmed couldn’t pass his 10th grade. He left for Dubai in November 2005 and disappeared from there in January 2007. Despite the best efforts of the family and Dubai intelligence agencies, Ahmed Siddibappa could not be traced.”
    It doesn’t mention Yasin’s wife Zahira, who lives in Okhla, a Delhi neighbourhood. Now a third-year student of Jamia Millia University, neighbours describe 22-year-old Zahira as a “nice girl”. They cannot figure out how she got involved with a “terrorist”.
    Some two years ago, Zahira was confident and talked to reporters freely with the conviction of a wronged woman. On Thursday, she refused to open the door to journalists. In 2011, her mother had married her off to Bhatkal. A man from Darbhanga, Bihar, had played matchmaker.
    The matchmaker convinced Zahira’s mother that her would-be son-in-law was a “well connected businessman”. Barely a year after the wedding, the Delhi police arrested her father Irshad Khan for alleged involvement in the 2010 blasts in Delhi. Zahira had then said that her father’s arrest had scarred her. Now, with her husband in police custody, she’s gone silent. In an earlier interaction with TOI, she had said: “I need to study. That’s my road to salvation.”
    Speaking from their home that occupies two floors of a building Zahira’s mother says: “I 
remember the day Yasin married my daughter. She was happy. We had no inkling of what was going on till the police arrived one day. We have faith in Allah.”

The Times of India, August 30, 2013


Senior Indian Mujahideen Operative’s Capture Sparks Hopes Of Breakthroughs In Investigations And Further Arrests

Who is Yasin Bhatkal
Ahmed Zarar Siddibappa (alias Shahrukh/Imran/Asif/ Ahmed) was born in Bhatkal town near Mangalore in Karnataka on January 15, 1983
    Studied till Class 10 but could not pass matriculation. Later took admission in an Islamic institution to become an Aalim (Arabic graduate)
    Not related to Riyaz and Iqbal Bhatkal (two other top IM leaders) who are said to be in Pak. Yasin and the Bhatkal brother were neighbours
    Can speak Hindi, Kannada, Urdu and local language Nawayati
    Was the only IM top shot still operating from India. Was on NIA’s ‘most wanted’ list 
 Slippery Customer
Went to Dubai in 2005 for a job and stayed a year. Left his father’s place after a personal dispute with him
Hasn’t been in touch with his family since 2006
In 2007, participated in a training session of IM cadre at Karnataka
Came to Mumbai the next year
In 2009, went to Kolkata
and was arrested. Let off after sloppy probe
Seen with an IM member in Chennai in 2010
In 2011, he travelled to Delhi, Bihar, Nepal and Mumbai before the Mumbai triple blasts
Went underground after this till his arrest
Intelligent, monitored changes in police tactics, stayed one step ahead
His Family
    Mother Rehana and father Zarar Siddibapa stay in Makhdoom colony in Bhatkal village

    Younger sister and brother, Abdus Samad, 26, stay with them

    While on the run in Nov 2011, he married 21-yearold Zaheda Mohammed Irshad in Okhla on the outskirts of Delhi 
 Route to Terrorism
Moved to Pune in late teens Stayed with close friend and Unani practitioner-turned-Islamist Riyaz Shahbandri (Riyaz Bhatkal) Shahbandri teamed up with Abdul Subhan Qureshi and Sadiq Israr Sheikh Yasin became overall in-charge of group By 2004, the group wanted its own identity, separate from Pakistan’s terror groups. Port town Bhatkal became centre of IM ops
Riyaz’s brother Iqbal Shahbandri (Iqbal Bhatkal) and Bhatkal-based cleric Shabbir Gangoli held ideological classes
Emails claiming responsibility for attacks sent from IM ID
Yasin stayed below security radar: limited mobile phone use, no email, known to move location every few weeks, spoke to chosen few
Single-minded about recruiting newbies to terror network


Terror Resume Yasin Bhatkal is an accused or linked to the following blast cases: 

OCT 29, 2005 | Paharganj, Sarojini Nagar, Gopal Nagar in Delhi | KILLED: 62

MARCH 7, 2006 | Sankat Mochan temple, Kashi Viswanath temple in Varanasi (unexploded) |
JULY 11, 2006 | Serial blasts on Mumbai’s local trains | KILLED: 187
NOV 24, 2006 | Faizabad, Lucknow and Varanasi courts
MAY 25, 2007 | Gorakhpur market
AUG 25, 2007 | Lumbini Park and Gokul Chat in Hyderabad | KILLED: 42
MAY 23, 2008 | Jaipur | KILLED: 80
JULY 24, 2008 | Bangalore | KILLED: 2
JULY 25, 2008 | Ahmedabad serial explosions |
JULY 26, 2008 | Surat (bombs defused)
SEPT 13, 2008 | Delhi serial blasts | KILLED: 30
FEB 13, 2010 | Pune German Bakery bomb blast | KILLED: 17
APRIL 17, 2010 | 3 blasts at Bangalore’s Chinnaswamy stadium
JULY 13, 2011 | Opera House, Zaveri Bazar and Dadar in Mumbai |
FEB 21, 2013: Twin blasts in Dilsukhnagar in Hyderabad | KILLED: 17
Yasin’s hand is suspected behind 548 deaths

Role in Blasts In most blasts, he is believed to be the bomb planter In Mumbai’s triple blasts, he arranged finance, explosives, made the bomb and executed the operation. He did not plant the bomb, say police
Boost for Prosecution Yasin is supposed to be the brain of IM in India. His arrest can help unearth the larger conspiracy, gather first-hand information on the IM-LeT connection, the channel for receiving money, the recruitment procedure, and the safe houses of IM
Price On His Head In Jan 2013, Maharashtra ATS announced a reward of 10 lakh for info on him
The Indian Mujahideen IM started as a loose collaboration of jihadi elements drawn from the Students Islamic Movement of India Initially financed by Bihar ganglord Amir Raza Khan through organized crime IM is the Indian proxy of Pakistan-based Lashkar-e-Taiba, its core group of young men trained in Lashkar camps Unleashed terror in urban centres with well over 40 bomb attacks Over 70 of operatives arrested, not top leaders. Yasin Bhatkal is the first leader in the net IM backed by Pak’s ISI to project to the world that Islamic terrorism in India is indigenous

IM’s Top Terrorists Yet to be Arrested The Bhatkal Brothers | Operational commander Riyaz Shahbandri & top ideologue Iqbal Shahbandri fled to safe haven Karachi  
The Liaison Man | Abdul Subhan Qureshi
Ganglord financer | Bihar’s Amir Raza Khan  
From Azamgarh | Mirza Shadab Beg, Shahnawaz Alam & Md ‘Bada’ Sajid;  
From UP | Ariz Khan, co-conspirator in Hyd bombings with Asadullah (arrested with Yasin)  
From Maharashtra | Zulfikar Fayyaz ‘Kagazi’ and Rahil Sheikh

Kolkata cops arrested Yasin Bhatkal in a theft case in 2009 and clicked this photograph. He managed to convince them that he was the son of a North Kolkata businessman and walked free

Scene after the 2011 Zaveri Bazar blast

Yasin suspected in 2006 train blasts in Mumbai

The Times of India, August 30, 2013

Indian Mujahideen’s serial bomber Yasin Bhatkal held

Was Based In Nepal As Fake Unani Doctor


Bharti Jain, Deeptiman Tiwary & Neeraj Chauhan TNN

New Delhi: Yasin Bhatkal, one of India’s most wanted terrorists responsible for several bombings that have claimed over 200 lives, has been arrested.
    The 30-year-old, whose real name is Ahmed Siddibappa, was picked up from Pokhara in Nepal where he was living in the guise of a Unani doctor. The successful operation of the Intelligence Bureau, which was facilitated by Nepal, also yielded a bonus in the form of Asadullah Akhtar alias Haddi, an absconding front-ranking member of the Azamgarh module of the Indian Mujahideen (IM) who had played a crucial role in the 2011 serial blasts in Mumbai.
    With the police of different states on his trail, Yasin had made Nepal his base. He would come to India only for plotting and perpetrating terror attacks. The vast network of associates he had created in the nearby Darbhanga district helped him stay away from India and yet operate efficiently. In the event, it was the success of IB in tracking one of his assets which led to the high-ranking fugitive.
    The arrest of Yasin, who carried a reward of Rs 10 lakh, is a major breakthrough for the Indian security establishment’s efforts to neutralize IM which overcame setbacks inflicted by security agencies to resume its terror campaign against India.
While there’s no guarantee that this will put an end to IM attacks, it is certainly one of the biggest terrorist catches. Bhatkal is arguably bigger than Kasab — Kasab was a foot soldier, Bhatkal a recruiter and mastermind of attacks. Arrest is a blow to IM as Bhatkal could provide key information regarding both domestic & Pakistan terror operations, sleeper cells and modules, commanders as well as Pakistani handlers  
Tip-off from Darbhanga led to Bhatkal
    Yasin, who came from the same town Bhatkal in coastal Karnataka as two fugitive commanders of IM Riyaz and Iqbal, was at the forefront of the effort to revive the terror outfit, and would often go to the extent of personally participating in attacks such as in Pune’s German Bakery and Bangalore’s Chinnaswamy Stadium in 2010, Mumbai serial blasts in 2011, Pune’s Jangali Maharaj Road blast in 2012 and twin blasts in Hyderabad’s Dilsukhnagar in 2013.
    Besides being good at making improvised explosive devices (IEDs), Yasin also radicalized and recruited youth, particularly from Bihar’s Darbhanga region. A proxy of LeT, which was launched at the instance of Pakistan’s spy agency ISI, the IM has been blamed by Indian security agencies for blasts in Mumbai, Delhi, Hyderabad, Bangalore, Ahmedabad, Pune and Jaipur. The attacks attributed to the IM have claimed 222 lives, and maimed several hundreds more. This is more than the lives lost in the 26/11 attack.
    The toll does not include the 187 who perished in the Mumbai train attack of 2006: a carnage which is now suspected to have been executed by the IM. “This is the biggest success (against IM) after the Mumbai crackdown and Batla House operation (of September 2008), after which IM was forced to slow down its activities,” an officer summed up the significance of the catch on Thursday from Nepal. He said that besides planting bombs himself, Yasin would also carry explosives to members of IM modules. Saif, an IM operative who is in jail, has told interrogators that Dr Shahrukh — an alias used by the Yasin — had provided explosives for the 2008 serial blasts in Ahmedabad.
    “Yasin Bhatkal has been traced and detained last night at the Indo-Nepal border in Bihar. He is presently in custody of Bihar police. His interrogation is going on,” home minister Sushilkumar Shinde said, even as preparations were on to fly Yasin to Delhi on Friday.
    The agencies caught up with Yasin on the basis of a tipoff from Darbhanga district in Bihar: a region the IM terrorist has been linked to since he radicalized a Muslim youth while reportedly pursuing an engineering course. He frequented the district, and played a major role in raising what intelligence agencies call the IM’s Darbhanga module. Though a late addition to the IM’s units, the Darbhanga module soon gained in importance, with its members like Qateel Siddiqui, Mohammad Adil and Gayur Jamali participating in terror attacks across the country.
    Yasin, who escaped identification when caught by Kolkata police for carrying counterfeit currency in 2009, did not try to fake his identity this time. “He betrayed little emotion when our officials identified him from the three scars on his face and told him his game was up,” said a police officer. Yasin guided the cops to Asadullah ‘Haddi’. Son of an influential doctor from UP who played a key role in rallying clerics against the Batla House encounter and arrests of terror suspects, Haddi was living in the guise of Daniyal.
    Coming on the heels of the arrest of Abdul Karim Tunda, who orchestrated a series of blasts across Delhi and elsewhere in the 90s, the arrest was also reflective of the Indian security establishment’s growing cooperation with Nepal whose approach facilitated the hijack of Indian Airlines aircraft, IC- 814, in 1999.
Why didn’t Bihar cops question Bhatkal? B ihar raising Police the ’s Darbhanga decision not module to question of IM came Bhatkal as about a surprise his role . Sources in said that although IM terrorists are suspects in the serial blasts in Bodh Gaya, Bihar Police did not question Yasin about his network in the state. According to sources, Yasin has an array of contacts in Bihar, particularly in the Darbhanga region, and would often take shelter in the state to dodge cops looking for him. “Any police force would have liked to keep him with them for information on terror attacks and members of terror modules,” said an officer. TNN

‘Slipmaster’ eluded police forces by using mobiles sparingly & staying a step ahead

Mateen Hafeez & Deeptiman Tiwary TNN

Mumbai/New Delhi: Yasin Bhatkal must be the only terrorist to have played such a long hide-and-seek game with Indian agencies despite being in the country all along.
    Unlike most top terrorists, who invariably melted into Pakistan or West Asia after terror strikes or after their names cropped up on agency radars, Bhatkal chose to stay back and conducted blast after blast for five years despite every agency trailing him.
    For someone who claimed to be an engineer, he shook off agencies by staying off phones and used modern means of communication sparingly. Sources in the security establishment doggedly tracking Bhatkal for years, say he seldom made calls. When he did, he used public booths. On rare occasions when he used cellphones, the numbers were obtained on fake identities. Worse, the phones weren’t used for too long.
    Most of his important communications were through chat services like Nimbuzz and Yahoo. “These he used sparingly—only when an operation had to be put in motion and instructions given. He believed in meeting people personally and discussing plans. He moved with a core group that acted together and personally planted bombs,” an officer tracking him said.

    Security agencies tracked several of his calls, mostly after he stopped using the number. Many of his chats were flagged, but by the time agencies cut through the red tape to seek information from foreign servers, Bhatkal had not only moved to a new thread online but also to a new location physically. 

    “This explains why we came close to nabbing him several times but failed. When
ever he used mobiles, conversations were brief and snappy. By the time we tracked the chatter, he had moved on,” the officer said.     It explains how Yasin remained holed up in a Darbhanga village for more than a year before conducting the 2011 Mumbai blasts. He planned the conspiracy at the village, testing bombs in a mango orchard and test-firing guns, but no one ever got to know. 

    Once he was nabbed in Kolkata but walked free pretending to be the son of a businessman. In November 2011, IB learnt he was at the house of suspected IM operative, Abdur Rehmand at Selaiyur, Chennai. The IB team reached half an hour too late. Check points at railway and bus stations were in vain. In October 2008, he escaped when Karnataka Police delayed a raid on ahideout near Kopa in Chikamagalur after raids on IM operatives in Mangalore.

    In December 2011, he gave the slip to Delhi police Special Cell and Maharashtra ATS when they laid a trap outside Mumbai’s Habib Apartment thinking he would return. He saw more than 100 plain clothes cops outside the building and never returned.

Bhatkal planted the bomb at German Bakery 
The Times of India, August 30, 2013

Thursday, August 29, 2013

2 rapists look to exploit juvenile justice clause

Cops revisit Shakti Mills, scene of the crime, with the accused

Conflict Over Age Records & Police Claims

Sumitra Deb Roy, Bhavika Jain & Mateen Hafeez TNN

Mumbai: Two of the five accused in the Shakti Mills gangrape of a photojournalist could actually be minors and there is a possibility that they could be tried under the relatively lenient Juvenile Justice Act.
    BMC records show that one of the accused is a minor born in 1997, but senior medical officers privy to his age examination said the test reports have “certified him as a major”. Meanwhile, the family of another juvenile said they might move an application under the Right to Information Act for J J Hospital to confirm that their ward is a minor. They claimed that he had turned 17 a fortnight ago, as reported in TOI on August 26.
    Police have maintained that both are 18. They said they were going by earlier cases against the two, but are conducting age tests. If proven juveniles, they would be charged under the Juvenile Justice Act, and if convicted, face a maximum three-year probation in a remand home as against life imprisonment under the regular law.
Gritty survivor leaves hospital The 22-year-old survivor of the gangrape walked out of Jaslok Hospital on Tuesday night with her head held high. Her family had decided that she would not wear a veil. Meanwhile, police took the five arrested accused to Shakti Mills on Wednesday to reconstruct the crime. P 5 

The Times of India, August 29, 2013

Police cite earlier cases against accused to seal escape clause

Five accused in the Shakti Mills gangrape case

As Rape Survivor Goes Home, Family Of Another Accused Ratchets Up Juvenile Claim & Says He Was Also Born In 1997

Conduct Age Tests As Further Backup


Sumitra Deb Roy, Bhavika Jain & Mateen Hafeez TNN

Aseries of tests, including a detailed physical examination, analysis of sexual characteristics, dental and bone X-rays, were performed on the Shakti Mills gangrape case accused at the state-run J J Hospital on Monday.
    Aphysician, dental and forensic medicine experts were involved and the age determination report was handed over to the police the same day, confirmed the source (see box).   A senior forensic medicine expert said the tests can collectively help give an estimate or an age range, not the exact age. “We can suggest age in the range of six months to one year. At times, the range can go up to two years. By and large, it is a fairly accurate method,” he said. 

    Activist-lawyer Anand Grover said “a birth certificate is adequate proof of age to show that one is a minor”. However, if there is a conflict, ajuvenile justice board would need to examine the veracity of the claim. Medical tests could be called for to prove his age, said another lawyer.

    In the case of the first arrested accused, the BMC’s office of birth registrations at Lower Parel shows the youth’s date of birth as February 26, 1997. That makes him 16 years and 6 months old.
    In the computerized yearwise data stored at the G/ South ward office of the BMC, the information is the same as on the document the youth’s family had produced earlier. But it had tell-tale signs of overwriting. The delivery record showed the youth was born on 26.2.1997 at 2.58am at KPMH hospital. The receipt issued by the hospital was taken to the BMC office on March 18 and his birth was registered.
    “The date of birth on any birth certificate is taken from the hospital statement that his family produces and, hence, the dates on both documents are the same,” said a civic official.     It’s clear why the family of the other accused touted as a juvenile wants to get the delivery report from hospital. The mother of the accused said she had delivered a girl a year after the 1992 riots in the city. The accused was born four years later at J J Hospital. “I don’t have any proof to show his age, but we will get the papers to give the details of his age,” she said. 

    The police on Wednesday again clarified that they were relying on papers of the earli
er arrests of some of the accused to determine their age. “We do not want to give any chance to defence and, hence, by our own we have opted to conduct bone and dental tests of the accused which will determine his actual age in three-four days. If he is a minor, we will we will try him under the juvenile law,” said Himanshu Roy, joint commissioner of police. 

    The law on dealing with minors in crime is very clear. “If he is a minor, he cannot, as the law goes, be tried as an adult in regular courts and has to be tried by a juvenile justice board. That’s the stark reality,” said Aabad Ponda, a crime law counsel in Mumbai.
    Lawyers say unless the legislature changes the law or the Supreme Court—where a PIL on the issue is pending—alters it, minors, even if they are below 18 by a day when committing a crime, cannot be sent to jail or tried in regular courts. The law, if changed, would also not apply retrospectively.
    (With inputs by Swati Deshpande & S Ahmed Ali)
Juvenile Joust Aug 23 | Family of first accused to be arrested claims he is 16 and a half. Police say youth arrested in 2011, had said to he was 17 
Aug 24 | Relative produces a BMC certificate showing accused born on Feb 26, 1997. But there are clear signs of overwriting  
Aug 25 | Family of another accused says he’s a minor, turned 17 recently. Don’t have any paper. Claims cops manipulated his age to 18 when he was arrested in 2012 in a scrap theft case  
Aug 26 | Mumbai police commissioner Satyapal Singh clarifies all five accused are adults. Reiterates 2011 arrest record for first accused. Says potency and bone tests will be done to make a “watertight” case Aug 27 | Accused go through potency and bone tests  
Aug 28 | BMC records show first arrested accused born on February 26, 1997
Tests to Confirm Age General | Height, weight, measurement of waist; nutritional status
Sexual characteristics | Development of secondary sexual characteristics or signs of sexual maturation
    Dental examination | Holds the key as x-ray of
    dental roots helps gauge the extent of tooth
    wear. For juveniles, the calculation is based
    on growth and factors like fusing of bones,
    development of teeth, etc
Bone study | Bone ossification shows the maturity of a skeletal system. Usually done by taking an X-ray of wrist and hand and comparing them with X-rays of standard bone development in kids of same gender and age
Body development index | Measuring midarm circumference, mid-thigh circumference, mid-forearm, mid-leg, chest circumference, abdominal circumference at the level of umbilicus, etc.
Age determination | Cumulative assessment of all reports helps a doctor, preferably a forensic medicine expert, suggest age in the range of 6 months to 1 year
Crime & Punishment Five accused booked under section 376(D) (gangrape) of the amended IPC, which entails a maximum punishment of life in jail. IPC sections 34 (common intention), 341 (wrongful restraint), 343 (wrongful confinement), and 506 (II) (criminal intimidation) have also been slapped on them
If proved a juvenile and convicted, accused face a maximum of 3 years in a reform
home under the Juvenile Justice Act
    A juvenile can be tried only by a Juvenile Justice Board under simpler procedures

Nirbhaya Case An accused is being tried as a juvenile. Verdict is expected on August 31
How to Prove Age
Matriculation (Class X) certificate will do in court. In its absence, a birth certificate from a regular school or from a local body will do
    Only when no certificates are available, courts will seek medical opinion
Benefit of Doubt to a Minor SC in 2012 held that when exact age cannot be concluded even after tests, court may, if necessary, give benefit to the juvenile by holding him a minor
We do not want to give any
    chance to defence and, hence, we, on our own, have opted to conduct bone and dental tests which will determine accused’s actual age in three-four days. If he is a minor, we will we will try him under the juvenile law only

Documentary Proof
The BMC record (above) shows the DOB of the first arrested accused; (right) the delivery report his family flaunted

The date of birth is taken from the hospital statement a family produces and, hence, the dates on both documents (BMC record and delivery report given by family) are same
Civic official

The Times of India, August 29, 2013

Cops freeze 6 bank a/cs of marketing firm

Mateen Hafeez TNN

Mumbai: The economic offences wing (EOW) that is probing a cheating case registered against QNet, froze the marketing firm’s six bank accounts that had a balance of Rs 46 crore, said Rajvardhan Sinha, additional commissioner of police. 

    On August 16, the EOW registered a cheating case against the company and its office-bearers. “We have asked the firm to submit all documents. Some office-bearers have approached the sessions court 
for anticipatory bail,” Sinha said.
    Meanwhile, Bandrabased advertiser Manjunath Hegde, who was arrested for cheating in the case, has been sent to judicial custody. “More than 50 complainants have approached us in this case. Our teams will go to Bangalore and Chennai again to arrest suspects,” Sinha said. The EOW is probing the marketing firm for allegedly duping thousands of investors by selling them plastic and glass products, terming them miraculous objects that can treat diseases like cancer, said the police.
    Investigators said that the company posed as a marketing firm that would sell biodiscs, watches, chiPendants, gold coins, herbal products, eeducation packages, holiday packages, etc. “They even claimed that one can cure cancer and brain-related diseases by using the bio-disc,” said an officer.
    Ajay Chanam, spokesperson for QNET in India, said, “In the absence of a clear legislation and regulatory framework, the Prize Chits and Money Circulation Schemes (Banning) Act 1978 has been invariably invoked to seize accounts of the company even while the matter is only in the initial phases of police investigation. We have not been convicted in any court in India or around the world and are operational in over 80 countries with offices in around 23 countries.” 
The Times of India, August 29, 2013

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Friend helped track Salim to Delhi

    The police tracked Salim Ansari, a suspect in the Shakti Mills rape case, to Delhi by making an acquaintance of his stay in touch with him over phone. In all, cops took the help of 60 people to catch the five suspects; this included their kin and neighbours. Among the most helpful proved Ansari’s acquaintance. While he was in a car with cops looking for Ansari, the latter called on his mobile from Delhi. He assuaged Ansari’s fears on the police manhunt and got an idea of where Ansari was headed (a relative’s house). The police identified the address and dispatched a team. Ansari was caught from the relative’s home in Ashok Vihar. Another accused, Qasim Shaikh, was nabbed from outside Nair Hospital after a petty criminal identified the sleeping areas for patients’ relatives in hospitals as a common hiding spot used by felons.


The Times of India, August 28, 2013

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Accused meets mom in lockup, confesses

Qasim Shaikh

Mateen Hafeez TNN

Mumbai: One of the suspects in the Shakti Mills gangrape case has confessed to the crime in front of his mother. Qasim Shaikh (21), who was arrested outside Nair Hospital on Sunday, was visited in the police lockup by his mother, Chand Bibi, on Monday.
    “He was clad in a burqa and started crying upon seeing me,” Chand Bibi said, weeping. “Bade saheb(a policeman) told him to narrate what he had done. Qasim admitted to having done a wrong thing to a girl. I asked him why he did so. He kept quiet. I was shattered.”
    Chand Bibi, a widow for 10 years, stays with her three children in a shanty in Agripada. “On Sunday, some journalists came home and told me the police had caught my
son. I went to the crime branch office at night and waited for hours, but bade saheb did not let me meet my son,” she said. “So I visited again on Monday morning.”
‘I begged him to let me see my son, but the cop slapped me’
    Saheb told me to come after two days. I begged him to let me meet my son, but he slapped me twice on the face. I tolerated this since I wanted to see my son. A few minutes later, they brought Qasim before me,” said Chand Bibi. 

    Qasim is the first among the five suspects to meet a family member after arrest.   The atmosphere near Chand Bibi’s Agripada shanty has not changed since Friday. Slum dwellers gather around whenever a media crew comes calling. While some neighbours said they did not believe Qasim had committed rape, others said it was possible he did so because “the police will not lie to such an extent”. 

    The scene outside the home of Chand Shaikh (19), another suspect in the case, is no different. His grandmother does not understand
the legal implications of his crime. But she said that if he is indeed guilty, he should be punished for insulting a helpless woman.
    The police are questioning a friend of suspect Vijay Jadhav (19). The two lived together in a shanty at Jacob Circle. The police have summoned Vijay’s parents, who stay in Virar (East).   Qasim, Vijay and Chand Shaikh have been described by neighbours as drug addicts and thieves. Qasim was jailed twice last year for stealing railway property.

The Times of India, August 27, 2013

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Two more held for gangrape, cop folly let another slip away


If Resisted, They Planned To Kill Photojournalists 


S Ahmed Ali and Mateen Hafeez TNN

Mumbai: The city police on Saturday made two more arrests — Vijay Jadhav (19) and Siraj Khan (26) — in connection with the gangrape of a 22-year-old photojournalist that has sparked nationwide protests. The total number of arrests now is three, but it could easily have been four. One of the accused, Qasim Shaikh (20), escaped because he was unwittingly alerted by a police constable.
    Investigations have also revealed that the five accused had planned to kill the photojournalist as well as her male colleague if they had resisted.
    Late on Thursday evening, Qasim, after having committed the crime with four of his friends, was watching TV at his hutment in Agripada when a constable named Mujawar called him on his mobile phone. “The policeman asked him where he was and said he wanted to make some enquiries,” Qasim’s mother, Chand Bibi, told TOI.   Qasim immediately changed his shirt, borrowed Rs 50 from his mother and left. He has been untraceable since.
    “I kept asking him where he was going in the night, but he said he’d return soon. Hours later, some policemen came to my hutment and, after having inquired about him, warned me not to inform him of their visit,” Bibi said. Qasim has three previous cases of assault and theft against him.
    While Chand Shaikh, the first arrested accused, and Vijay Jadhav were produced before the holiday court in Bhoiwada on Saturday and remanded in police custody till August 30, Siraj Khan, initially identified as Ashfaque, will be produced before the court on Sunday. The case has been transferred to the crime branch. 
 RR’s midnight visit Home minister R R Patil made a midnight visit to the NM Joshi Marg police station and supervised the interrogation of a key accused in the case. P 3 
 Call her survivor, not victim Several women’s groups and activists have told us that they strongly believe that those who have survived rape should be described as ‘survivors’, and not ‘victims’. There is merit in this suggestion. Unlike those who become victims of other violent crimes, those who are raped are stigmatized in our society, possibly because of the assumption that they must in some way have ‘invited’ the offence or taken undue risks. That is certainly not how anybody should see this crime, but sadly that is how it is seen by many. This often prevents her from picking up the pieces of her life and rebuilding it. We feel the TOI can contribute in a small way to changing this mindset by using the word ‘survivor’ instead of ‘victim’, suggesting that rape was no more invited than, say, cancer. We have decided, therefore, to refer to those who have been forced to undergo the ordeal as ‘survivors’.  
Rapists used aliases at time of crime 
 Jadhav was arrested at 3am on Saturday from a video club at Dagad chawl in Madanpura, where he fell asleep after watching a 9pm movie. Khan was picked up around 4pm from a slum in Govandi where he had fled. 

    Jadhav lives with a friend at the latter’s tenement at Ramji Barucha Marg, behind Dhobi Ghat at Agripada. Khan lives in Madanpura. Khan is homeless and lives on a footpath at Agripada.
    Police said investigations had revealed that the accused had decided to kill the boy and the girl just in case things got out of hand.  During interrogation, Chand Shaikh told police that Jadhav and Salim (the fifth accused, who is on the run) had hatched the rape conspiracy.
    Chand said that on Thursday evening, Jadhav and Salim were on one side of the deserted Shakti Mills compound at Mahalaxmi, while he, Khan and Qasim (the second accused) were on the other side.  Around 5.30 pm, Jadhav and Salim saw the survivor and her male colleague enter the mill compound.
    The rape survivor has told the police that she had almost finished taking pictures when two of the accused accosted them. They told the girl and the boy that their boss had seen them taking pictures on private property without permission, and that they would have to meet the boss. The girl asked the accused to give her the boss’s mobile number so that she could talk to him, but the accused told her she had to come along with them.
    “At this point, Jadhav and Salim called up Chand on his mobile and asked him and the other two friends to come over to the other side. As soon as they reached the spot, the five planned the sexual assault,” said a police officer.
    The five decided to use fictitious names in front of the girl and the boy to conceal identity. While Salim used the name Sajid, Khan became Ashfaque, and Chand was called Rupesh (this was the reason Chand, during interrogation, gave Siraj Khan’s name as Ashfaque to the police).
    The rape survivor said in her statement, “One accused told my colleague that a few days ago, a man had been murdered at that spot and that my colleague was the murderer. I pleaded with them to let us go, but they threatened me. They then took us deep inside the mill compound. We offered them our camera and I-phone (worth Rs 30,000 each) and pleaded with them to leave us. They just told us to take off our belts. They then tied my friend’s hands with the belts. Three of the accused stayed with my friend, while the other two took me behind a wall.”
    The survivor, at that point, got a phone call from her mother. “The accused threatened me with a broken bottle and said I should tell my mom everything was fine. I did what they asked me to. My mother again called, and the accused again made me tell her everything was ok. Since it happened twice, the accused snatched my phone and switched it off,” she said.
    When the police questioned Chand what their plan was in case the survivor had raised an alarm, Chand said they may have killed her male colleague to scare her. If that did not help, they would have killed the girl herself, he said. 

    Chand said as they succeeded in subduing the girl, they felt they could get away by clicking her pictures and threatening her that they would make the photos public if she complained. They never thought she would approach the police.


VIJAY JADHAV (19) Second arrest. Stayed in Dhobi Ghat while his family lives in Virar. Had been hiding with friends in Madanpura. He left and went to a video club at Dagad chawl in the same area on Friday. Tipped off, police picked him up from there around 3am on Saturday. Arrested in 2011 in a housebreaking case

SIRAJ KHAN (26) Third arrest. Lived on the footpath at Agripada near Dhobi Ghat and did odd jobs. Fled after the crime. Nabbed on Saturday evening after Chand and Vijay spilled beans about possible hideout in a Govandi slum. Booked in a case of assault in 2011

CHAND SHAIKH First accused to be arrested. Picked up from Dhobi Ghat slum home around 3am on Friday. Grandmother claims he is a juvenile

QASIM SHAIKH (20) Used to live in a hutment in Agripada with his mother. Three previous cases of assault and theft registered against him. Fled soon after
the crime on Thursday after a constable called him on the phone and asked him to report as he wanted to make a few enquiries


Qasim’s mother outside her home 
The Times of India, August 25, 2013

Forgery signs on birth certificate of ‘juvenile’

Chand’s birth certificate with the date clearly overwritten


Mateen Hafeez TNN

Mumbai: Though the grandmother of the first arrested accused in the gangrape case, Chand Shaikh, has claimed he is only 16, there are telltale signs of forgery on his birth certificate.
    Shaikh, who the police say is 19 years old, was arrested on Friday morning and has been remanded in police custody till August 30. 
    On Saturday, his grandmother, Sharna Bai, showed mediapersons his birth certificate which mentions February 26, 1997 as his date of birth. However, there seems to be some overwriting in the place where the birth year is mentioned.
Chand would regularly drink, say neighbours
Mumbai: Besides the date and time of delivery column, there are no apparent signs of tampering on the birth certificate of Chand Shaikh, arrested for the gangrape of a photojournalist. Birth certificates are issued by the Brihanmumbai Mahanagarpalika. 

    Asked about the overwriting, Chand’s grandmother Sharna Bai said, “I can’t read or write, so I don’t know what difference it makes. I know only one thing: my grandson is not 18.” There is no other document available that could establish Chand’s exact age. 

    Three years is the maximum punishment for minors under the Juvenile Justice Act. 
  Chand, who was detained last year by the NM Joshi Marg police after a fight between two groups, lives with his grandmother in the slums at Dhobi Ghat at Saat Rasta, barely half a km from the scene of crime.
    “He has been staying with me ever since his parents passed away. He works at a shop selling chicken and would not indulge in such [criminal] activity,” Sharna Bai claimed.   Neighbours in the area said Chand would drink beer regularly. “He would hardly mingle with locals and would come late at night after finishing work at the chicken shop. We don’t know his exact age as nobody remembers when he was born,” one of the hutment-dwellers said.

Chand’s grandmother Sharna Bai claims she cannot read or write 
The Times of India, August 25, 2013

‘Terrorist group’ threatens 3 shrines in Thane district

EXTRA COVER: Intelligence agencies have also warned of an attack


Pradeep Gupta & Mateen Hafeez TNN

Mumbai: A letter believed to be sent by members of terror outfit Indian Mujahideen (IM) threatens to target three temples in Thane district.
    Security has been stepped up at Ambernath’s Shiv temple, a Sindhi temple in Ulhasnagar and Shahad’s Birla Mandir. The letter does not bear IM’s insignia and investigators are trying to ascertain its authenticity.
    “We have also received an input from intelligence agencies,” said a senior police officer from the Thane crime branch. Authorities at Birla Mandir received the letter on Thursday night. The Shiva and Birla temples have received similar threats earlier. Bipin Kumar Singh, Thane’s joint police commissioner, said, “Security has been tightened following the threat. Similar threats were received earlier,” he said.
    In February, the crime branch started a probe into a threat letter sent to Reliance Industries Ltd chairman Mukesh Ambani allegedly from the IM threatening to carry out a terror attack on his Antilia residence in south Mumbai.

The Times of India, August 25, 2013

Photojournalist hangs self at Shivaji Park flat

Mumbai: Senior photojournalist, Gajanan Ghurye (58), on Saturday allegedly committed suicide by hanging himself from a ceiling fan at his Shivaji Park residence. He was known for his political photography. 

    The Shivaji Park police, which registered an accidental death case, said Ghurye was not keeping too well and this could be the reason for his taking such an extreme step. His family came to know about the incident in the morning. His body was found in his third floor flat in Sai Charan apartment.
    Ghurye had connections in several political parties and would get an opportunity to click exclusive pictures. He had been providing political photographs to several media houses in the city.
    Photographer Arun Kulkarni said, “Ghurye was suffering from some illness for the last three months and was fed up with it. I met him on August 5 and he had said he would come to Mantralaya soon.” Ghurye was cremated at Shivaji Park in the evening. 
The Times of India, August 25,2013