Thursday, October 31, 2013

SpeakAsia’s Maha head nabbed

Mateen Hafeez 

Mumbai: The economic offences wing on Tuesday night arrested three persons, including the Maharashtra head of SpeakAsia, in connection with in a Rs 2,276 crore fraud case. 

    The accused—Abhishek Kulshrestha, Tabrez Ansari and Saeed Mazgaonkar—were remanded in police custody till November 4. “Kulshrestha holds a degree in business administration and worked for the firm between April 2010 and February 2013. He hails from Bareili in UP,” said a senior police officer. “A sum of Rs 2.25 crore was found in their account. Although the firm ceased operations after May 2010, Kulshrestha was still receiving his salary,” he added. SpeakAsia duped more than 24 lakh investors by posing as a survey firm. Cases against the firm have been filed in police stations across var
ious states. 
The Times of India, October 31, 2013

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

ATS team gained time as Usmani lost nerve at Indo-Nepal border

Afzal Usmani

He Had Plans For Cross-Nation Business In Stolen Vehicles


Mateen Hafeez TNN

    Had the state antiterrorism squad (ATS) reached the Indo-Nepal border just 30 minutes late, suspected terror operative Afzal Usmani would have crossed over into the neighbouring country. The alleged Indian Mujahideen member was merely 250 metres away from the entrance point when he ran out of luck.
    Afraid that he would be questioned by security personnel at the entrance if he were to approach it alone, Usmani, who was near Rupaidiha rail station in UP’s Bahraich district, started to wait for families and groups of people so that he could mingle with them to avoid being singled out. The ATS team, which had reached the area in the meantime, spotted him with a nervous, impatient look on his face.
    “When he saw men in uniform approach him, he surrendered without offering any resistance. He told the policemen he was scared of being killed in an encounter,” said an officer. “Vehicles are not allowed to cross the border at night. That’s why Usmani was waiting for a few more people to arrive so that he could walk the distance along with them, hiding in the crowd.” 

    It is common for security personnel on both sides of the border to question those who approach the entrance alone. Usmani was scared of Nepalese
security personnel as well; he thought they could detain him as their Indian counterparts might have alerted them about him. 

    During his interrogation, Usmani said he had planned to start a car business in Nepal. The cars were to be stolen from Mumbai and smuggled into Nepal, said an officer. “He told us that stealing cars in Mumbai was safer than stealing them in UP or Bihar as Mumbai police teams were unlikely to go all the way till the Nepal border just to search for stolen cars.”

The ATS on Tuesday summoned a barber from Sion-Dharavi Road who had given Afzal Usmani a haircut and a shave on September 20, the day the alleged IM operative escaped the police at a sessions court in Mumbai. The police recorded his statement
    The ATS recorded the statement of tea stall owner Shaikh Akmal, from whom Usmani had borrowed Rs 600 the same day
    A police team visited Borivli to inquire about Usmani’s bus ticket for Surat
    Usmani was taken to KEM Hospital for a check-up. He was found fit 

The Times of India, October 30, 2013

Porous border makes Nepal a choice hideout

Mateen Hafeez TNN

Mumbai: From terrorists to kidney racketeers, every big criminal’s favourite hideout seems to be Nepal. Suspected Indian Mujahideen operative Afzal Usmani, caught by the state ATS on Sunday, too, was headed for the neighbouring country. 

    “The reason is simple. We have a porous border. No passport or other document is required to travel between India and Nepal through the Bahraich-Nepalgunj route. Dreaded criminals from Bihar and
UP keep taking shelter in Nepal,” said a security expert. 

    “Indian and Nepalese merchants, who have good trade relations, travel by road in large numbers. There is little
questioning. Going through documents and verification is a long procedure. Even if someone is detained, a bribe is enough to set oneself free,” said a source. “Taking advantage of all this, any criminal can cross over in the guise of a merchant.” 

    Among Indian criminals arrested in Nepal or at the border are: kidney racket kingpin
Dr Amit Kumar, alias Santosh Raut, who was nabbed in February 2008; alleged IM co-founder Yasin Bhatkal, alias Ahmed Zarar Siddibapa, who was nabbed on August 28, 2013, and found in the guise of a Unani doctor; suspected LeT bomb maker Abdul Karim, alias Tunda, who was nabbed on August 16.
    Nepal also witnesses battles among Indian gangs. Betting kingpin Mirza Dilshad Baig was killed there in 2004 by a rival gang lord over a monetary dispute that had started on Indian soil. 

Yasin Bhatkal Alias Ahmed Zarar Siddibapa. Alleged Indian Mujahideen operative. Arrested at the Indo-Nepal border near Motihari, Bihar, in August. Suspected to be involved in at least 16 bomb blasts across India

Karim Tunda Suspected expert bomb maker of terro outfit Lashkar-e-Taiba. Accused of masterminding over 40 bombings in India. Arrested in August at the Indo-Nepal border

Dr Amit Kumar Alias Santosh Raut. Kidney racket kingpin. Arrested in Nepal in February 2008 and deported to India. Mahim police, who wanted him in a 2005 case, claimed custody. First arrested by crime branch in 1994 
The Times of India, October 30, 2013

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Nephew was on cop radar for a year

Police suspect that Usmani radicalised his nephew Javed Khan (head covered)


Mateen Hafeez TNN

Mumbai: Afzal Usmani’s 19-year-old nephew Javed Khan allegedly played a key role in the terror suspect’s escape from Mumbai last month. The teenager, who was arrested by the Maharashtra Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) last week, had been on police radar for nearly a year, officers said.
    Javed is the son of Raziya and Noorullah Khan, who reside in Tatera village in Uttar Pradesh. Raziya is Usmani’s eldest sister. Javed came to Mumbai about 10 years ago and took admission in a local school. He stayed here with his maternal aunt and Usmani’s second sister, Safiya Khatoom.
    Apolice officer said: “Javed studied up to class XII. He did odd jobs and helped Usmani by meeting his lawyers and bringing him food on court dates.” The regular visits is what sparked police interest in him. “Javed met Usmani in Sabarmati and Taloja jails and in court,” said the officer. Usmani escaped from the Mumbai sessions court in September and was arrested from the Indo-Nepal border on Sunday.
    “During initial interrogation, Usmani spoke of his strong ties with Javed. According to Usmani, Javed helped him immensely in arranging money to escape,” said the officer. “Since Usmani had radicalised Javed and wanted to take him to Nepal, we are questioning him. We need to deradicalise him since he is young.”

The Times of India, October 29, 2013

IM terrorist who fled from city court held

Usmani was on his way to Nepal


Mateen Hafeez TNN

Mumbai:Suspected terror operative Afzal Usmani, on the run for over a month after escaping from a Mumbai court, was caught by the state Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) in Uttar Pradesh on Sunday as he was trying to slip into Nepal. 

    His recapture from the Indo-Nepal border once again puts the spotlight on the area. In recent times, Indian Mujahideen co-founder Ya
sin Bhatkal and LeT terror mastermind Abdul Karim Tunda have been arrested from there, the latter after he was deported from a Gulf country. 
    Usmani, an alleged IM member who is an accused in the 2008 Gujarat blasts, was captured from Rupaidiha rail station in Bahraich district. ATS chief Rakesh Maria said Usm
ani was “hiding at his sister’s place in Tatera village in Bahraich for the last many days”. He had told his sister that he was out on bail and his sister told fellow villagers that he worked as a salesman in Saudi Arabia.
    The ATS homed in
on his hideout after arresting his nephew Javed Khan, 19, last Friday.  

To evade police, Usmani changed appearance, stayed on the move

    Suspected Indian Mujahideen member Afzal Usmani who gave his escorting officer, assistant sub-inspector Sanjay Deshmukh, the slip at a city court in September has been re-arrested in UP.
    “Usmani took a cab from Kala Ghoda to Sewri, borrowed Rs 600 from an acquaintance, Shaikh Akmal, and hired another taxi to Azad Nagar slum in Dharavi. His nephew Javed resided in Dharavi with Usmani’s sister and Javed’s maternal aunt Safiya Khatoon. Usmani called Javed from a PCO and asked him to arrange Rs 5,000,” ATS chief Rakesh Maria said.
    Around 4pm, the two left for Sion-Dharavi Road together; Usmani got his moustache and beard trimmed by a roadside barber and changed his clothes. The two subsequently travelled to Santa Cruz, then to Borivli, and at 6.30pm left Mumbai for Surat on a luxury bus. Maria said the two kept moving every few days, journeying from Surat to Indore to Bhopal and then to Jabalpur before finally settling down in Tatera (the village of Javed’s mother’s).
    Maria said Javed was always under suspicion. “Javed had stayed in touch with Usmani while the latter was in jail the last several years. He came to meet Usmani in court and at Taloja and Sabarmati jails. Also, he mysteriously disappeared the day Usmani fled. On the night of October 25, we received a tip-off that Javed was coming to Kurla LBS Marg, so we laid a trap and nabbed him,” said the ATS head.
    Javed’s interrogation revealed that Usmani was living in Tatera and was preparing to leave for Nepal. Javed told the police that he had come to Mumbai to collect his school marksheets and some other documents so that he could join Usmani in Nepal in the first week of November. “We arrested Javed on charges of harbouring Usmani and aiding in his escape,” Maria said.
    A police team took a flight to Lucknow early on October 26. But by the time it reached Tatera, Usmani had left. “The team received another tipoff and rushed to Rupaidiha railway station near the Indo-Nepal border. It found Usmani at the station at 3.30am on Sunday. He looked completely different. Our team could identify him only because its members had arrested Usmani in the past and knew him,” said a police officer.
    The police said they recovered Nepalese rupees from Usmani. “We also seized a driving licence application submitted by Usmani to the Bahraich RTO on October 24 in the name of Waseem Sattar Khan. He had assumed this fake identity,” the officer said. Usmani had allegedly indoctrinated Javed and asked him to join Indian Mujahideen’s operations in Nepal.
    Usmani was produced before a court on Monday and remanded in police custody until November 6. Officers said the barber who trimmed Usmani’s beard will be summoned for the terror suspect’s identification parade and will be made a star witness.

The Times of India, October 29, 2013

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Cops put me at risk, says slash victim


Mateen Hafeez TNN

Mumbai: Meher Lamberaj, the woman who suffered a slash attack during her morning walk on Marine Drive on September 13, says cops’ behaviour has put her at risk.
    Personnel from Marine Drive police station recently
landed at her Tardeo home with a detainee, asking her to identify if it was the same person who had attacked her.
    What is more surprising is the fact that the police have asked Lamberaj (32) to go and give her blood samples at the Kalina Forensic Science Laboratory so that they could match it to the blood found on her T-shirt and on the crime scene. “They are saying they want to confirm it’s my blood as evidence. Isn’t the Bombay Hospital report enough for them?” Lamberaj said.
    Lamberaj, who stays with her ailing mother, is the sole bread earner in the family. “Since the incident, I have stopped going for morning walks. Earlier, I would go with my nine-year-old daughter, but now I don’t have the courage to go,” she added.
    “Initially, they would call me at the police station and show photographs and sketches of various suspects. I was surprised when they landed at my building with a suspect. I have two daughters. I have to look after my ailing mother, too. What the policemen did is highly unsafe,” Lamberaj told TOI. 

    Lamberaj, who is still struggling to come to terms with the situation, said she would not be at peace untilthe attackers are caught. “It happened on the Marine Drive stretch which is considered very safe for walkers. I don’t think the same way now,” she added. Narrating another incident, Lamberaj said, “One night at 1.30 am, the cops sent me the photo of a suspect on my whatsapp asking me to confirm if the suspect was the one who attacked me. Is this the time to send a suspect’s photo?” she said.   When contacted, Krishna Prakash, additional commissioner of police, said, “Cops should not take any suspect to a complainant’s house. I will ask them why they did so.”

The Times of India, October 27, 2013

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Police grill FTIL chief Jignesh Shah for 7 hours as ex-CEO sings

Jignesh Shah

Mateen Hafeez TNN

Mumbai: The economic offences wing (EOW) of the Mumbai police on Friday questioned Jignesh Shah, promoter of Financial Technologies India Ltd (FTIL), for seven hours over his role in the Rs 5,600-crore National Spot Exchange (NSEL) scam. FTIL owns the spot exchange.
    Shah was questioned by a team of officers and later confronted with former NSEL CEO Anjani Sinha, currently in police custody. “Sinha had initially taken all responsibility for the crisis but now claims that Shah was quite aware of the irregularities in the NSEL. Therefore, we summoned Shah,” said Himanshu Roy, joint CP, crime branch. Police said whether Shah will be arrested will be decided only after his role in the financial scandal is established. 

    Senior police officials said they wanted to learn from Shah how borrowers were selected, besides day-to-day activities of the exchange. “Sinha claims he was under pressure from Shah. We want to know what kind of pressure,” said an officer. 

 Shah was aware of crisis: Sinha

Mumbai: Former CEO of NSEL Anjani Sinha has told the police that FTL promoter Jignesh Shah was aware of the impending payment crisis in the exchange.
    Shah had earlier blamed the management headed by Sinha for the crisis. Police said no proper system was followed while selecting the borrowers. “Shah has not challenged the investors’ claims of amounts due to them,’’ an officer said. Police are examining email exchanges and minutes of board meetings to ascertain the role played by each one.
    Meanwhile, a delegation of the Investors Forum met senior police officials and discussed the case with them. The police have so far arrested four persons—Amit Mukherjee, Jay Bhaukhundi, Anjani Sinha and managing director of N K Proteins Nilesh Patel.
    The police said they will be listing all the properties of NSEL and its office-bearers before attaching them. A first information report, based on a complaint by investor Pankaj Saraf on September 30, has been registered for forgery, criminal breach of trust, cheating and criminal conspiracy.

The Times of India, October 26, 2013

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Inspector in drag faces ‘unnatural sex’ plaint

Mateen Hafeez TNN

Mumbai: Two young men from Kurla have alleged that a cross-dressing inspector at the Chunabhatti police station has been sexually exploiting them for months.
    The inspector forces them to come to his cabin at the police station, where he dresses up like a woman, dances in front of them, plays with their private parts and has unnatural sex with them, the men have said in a written police complaint.

    “He calls us separately at odd hours. When we go there, he locks his cabin from the inside and forces us to have unnatural sex. When we resisted the first time, he threatened to frame us in false cases. We were terrified by his behaviour and did not know what to do,” the men, aged 25 and 24, told TOI in unison. One is an electrician and the other an employee of an event management company. 

    Salim Qureishi, a social worker, who brought the two to the additional commis
sioner of police (east), Quaiser Khalid, said they narrated their ordeal to the officer and demanded the inspector be arrested for forced sex.  “I lost my phone around five months ago. I went to the police station to write a complaint so that I could get my
SIM reissued. That is when the inspector first met me. He took me to his cabin, inquired about my mobile phone—where and how I lost it, etc. He told me to come later,” said one of the complainants. “When I went back, he took me to his cabin, asked me to remove my pants and began doing weird things after putting on a saree, lipstick and kajal. He had sex with me. He released me with the threat that if I told anyone, he would not spare me.”  The other complainant said the inspector had forced him to have sex at least 10 times. “He even asked me to bring to him my bodybuilder friends.”
    Qureishi said the number of the inspector’s victims was more. “Once we register an FIR, more victims will come forward. Everyone is afraid of the police and nobody wants to invite trouble.”
    “We are verifying the allegations, which are serious. An ACP (Milind Bhise, Chembur division) is conducting an inquiry and will submit his report in a couple of days. Based on the report, we will take action,” said Khalid, who is learnt to have summoned the inspector for questioning. TOI contacted the inspector, who denied there was any inquiry against him.
The Times of India, October 24, 2013

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Cops may call execs from Adani group in NSEL case

Rs 5,600CR FRAUD


Mateen Hafeez TNN

Mumbai: The economic offences wing (EOW) on Tuesday arrested Nilesh Patel, managing director of NK Proteins, for his alleged role in the Rs 5,600-crore cheating case of National Spot Exchange (NSEL). Patel will be produced before the Esplanade court on Wednesday.
    Police said that Patel was summoned from Ahmedabad for questioning and was later arrested. NK Proteins is the biggest defaulter with dues of about Rs 970 crore, said police sources. “Patel’s firm also invested in Adani group in Gujarat to expand its business. Around Rs 350 crore was used by NK Proteins for initiating a joint venture with the group for export of castor oil seeds. They would pay an interest of Rs 85 lakh a day,” said a senior police officer.
    NSEL’s books of accounts show Rs 575 crore was due from NK Proteins, which the latter knew it could not repay but continued its business with investors’ money, said police. Patel’s firm also owned Tirupati oil, a famous brand in Gujarat. Police have hinted that, if required, they would also summon the office bearers of Adani group.
    “We have arrested Patel since NK Proteins was the first to start the business model of financing under the garb of paid contract. Moreover, trade was done for oil which was not in their godown,” said Rajvardhan Sinha, additional commissioner of police, EOW. 

    Patel is the son in-law of NSEL’s former chairman Shankarlal Guru, who had resigned from his post on August 19. Guru, too, was grilled by the EOW last week and was allowed to go home. Till date, besides Patel, the police have arrested Anjani Sinha, Jay Bhaukhundi and Amit Mukherjee in this case. All the accused are being kept at the city police’s headquarters lock-up at Crawford Market.
    The FIR was filed by an investor Pankaj Saraf on September 30. 
The Times of India, October 23, 2013

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

JJ experience shows it’s a battle to keep bikers off banned flyovers


In Two Years, Traffic Cops Were Target In 1 In 3 Assault Cases


Mateen Hafeez TNN

    One out of three cases of assault on traffic police personnel in the city in the last two years have been reported at or around J J flyover between CST and Byculla. It is a clear indication that keeping twowheelers off proscribed elevated roads is proving to be a nightmare, said sources.
    It is particularly intriguing when one considers that two-wheelers have been banned from J J flyover by the HC to protect bikers after a series of fatal accidents on one of the flyover’s sharp curves.
    Data given by the city traffic police show that in 108 cases, 40 police personnel suffered injuries that needed treatment at hospital. Over 30% or 32 of these cases took place at or around J J flyover.
    It’s not difficult to estimate the problems cops must be facing keeping two-wheelers off the Eastern Freeway, not far from J J flyover. On Sunday, a bike with three on the Freeway met with an accident, leading to two deaths, including one from falling off the elevated road. The third rider is still critical.
    After the accident, the traffic police have asked Trombay police to increase nakabandis at the Panjarpole junction of the Freeway to stop twowheelers. “We will increase the number of constables on both ends of the Freeway," said a senior traffic official.   Handling bikers at prohibited flyovers is proving tough because they either try to flee recklessly or speed up to dodge the police — any which may end up in an accident. 

    “It’s for people to understand that if we prohibit a flyover, it’s for the bikers’ safety. We have asked our men not to be aggressive on flyovers as it could be counterproductive in some cases,” said Brijesh Singh, additional commissioner of police (traffic).    Police are deployed at both ends of J J flyover to avoid accidents. “There have been cases of bike racing at night. We have fined several youngsters. In most cases, their parents are unaware of the racing,” said an officer.

    Sources said there are 3,133 traffic police personnel, including 330 women, for the city with a population of 15 million. “Traffic police do not have manpower to deploy personnel at all flyovers,” said a senior officer. Police personnel said they face taunts, abuse, threat of being run over, and ogling by bikers. Concerned, the department has distributed guns to women cops, besides training them in karate. 
    108 traffic police personnel assaulted in the last two years
    40 personnel needed treatment in hospital
    During 2011-12, 30% assault took place between Kalbadevi & Pydhonie

    So, over 32 cases likely to be of bikers facing off against cops stopping them from getting on J J flyover
    More than 110 offenders arrested


The Menace of Underage Bikers

Oct 2 | A 17-year-old biker performing stunts crashes into a senior citizen and four others near Park Udyaan bridge in Matunga. The senior citizen is killed. He is arrested, charged for causing death due to negligence and released on bail. His friend, the bike owner, is fined 

March 17 | Rohit Gupta, 14, dies and his 16-year-old friend suffers serious injuries at Bandra Reclamation while speeding on a bike. The friend is arrested in a negligence case after he leaves hospital and released on bail. Gupta’s family warned for allowing him to ride a bike.
April 9 | Three friends, all minors, on a bike collide with a speeding Swift Dzire in Juhu. One pillion rider dies, other two sustain serious injuries. They are warned for riding without a licence. Police file a case of causing death due to negligence against Dzire driver, but he is untraced

The Times of India, October 22, 2013

No arrest in Marine Drive robbery, lens on history-sheeters

A jeweller was robbed of nearly 4 lakh at Marine Drive on Saturday

Mateen Hafeez TNN

Mumbai: The police probing Saturday evening’s incident in which jeweller Jayesh Zaveri, an Altamount Road resident, was robbed of Rs 3.6 lakh and a mobile phone at Marine Drive are yet to arrest anybody in the case. Four men had smashed the glasses of his car on the busy stretch. 

    This is the third such case in the area in the last two months. Marine Drive police and the special teams formed to detect the theft and robbery cases have, during investigation, found at least 35 history sheeters who had either jumped bail or were on parole. 

    “We have traced 35 accused who were either released from jail or jumped bail over the last two months. We have informed the respective police stations,” said the officer.   Police said they would show Zaveri photographs of some of the 35 accused, who had similar previous cases against them, and ask him identify whether any of them in Saturday’s robbery. 

    A police officer said they were busy collecting CCTV footage from the Zaveri Bazar and Girgaum-Chowpatty ar
ea, from where the four robbers fled in a car. The police said that they were trying to establish the ownership of the silver coloured Swift which was used by the robbers. “We are waiting for some details and cannot say whether it was a stolen car or the robbers owned it. We are expecting to get the details soon,” the officer added.
    The police have prepared the sketch of one of the four robbers who attacked Zaveri. “The complainant remembers only his face and hence we have made one sketch only,” a police officer said.
    “It appears the accused were well aware that Zaveri was carrying cash. Either they had been keeping a watch on him for a few days or there is an insider’s involvement,” he added.

The Times of India, October 22, 2013

After seven years in jail, arms haul accused gets bail

Javed Majeed



Mateen Hafeez TNN

Mumbai: The Bombay high court on Monday granted bail to Javed Majeed, an accused in the Aurangabad arms haul case, after he spent seven years in jail. He was facing charges of parking an explosives-laden car in Malegaon. The car was driven from Aurangabad highway to Malegaon by the 26/11 handler, Abu Jundal. 

    Justice Abhay Thipsay delivered his order through video conferencing from a bench of the Bombay high court in Aurangabad. The matter was earlier argued before Thipsay while he was posted in Mumbai. He was later transferred to Aurangabad following which the order was delivered through video conferencing. Majeed, now 35, was directed furnish a surety of Rs 50,000 and to attend the court during the trial.  Majeed’s younger brother, Zahid, was earlier arrested in the 2006 Malegaon serial
bomb blasts along with eight Muslim youths. Zahid is out on bail since the NIA has arrested a group of Hindu radicals for the blasts. 

    The Maharashtra ATS on May 9, 2006, had allegedly chased an explosive laden vehicle and arrested three persons. Later, 18 more arrests followed. Police had seized 43kg RDX, 16 AK-47 rifles,
3,200 live bullets and 50 hand grenades from various places. However, Zabihuddin Ansari alias Abu Jundal, who was driving another explosives-laden car, fled to Malegaon where he met some people and abandoned the vehicle there. Majeed and four others from Malegaon were facing charges of helping Jundal to park the vehicle at a safer place.
    The court also said that Majeed should not contact any witnesses in the case. The bail application, prepared by advocate Irfana Hamdani, was moved by advocates Shareef Shaikh and Shaid Nadeem Ansari.

The Times of India, October 22, 2013

HC wants to know who has power to regulate NSEL

Swati Deshpande TNN

Mumbai: The Bombay high court on Monday directed the Forward Markets Commission (FMC), the Centre and the ministry of consumer affairs to clarify if they have powers to not only supervise the functioning of National Spot Exchange (NSEL), but also to regulate and take remedial actions, if necessary.
    The high court bench of Justices Shiavax Vazifdar and K R Shriram said, “We had raised this query earlier too. It forms a crucial aspect of the matter.” The judges were hearing a clutch of petitions filed by and on behalf of thousands of investors in public interest. One PIL was filed by BJP leader Kirit Somaiya seeking a “special investigation” into the NSEL crisis. Investors say collectively they are yet to receive Rs 7,000 crore from NSEL which have been siphoned off due to the alleged embezzlement and laundering of funds by the company’s directors and others. 

    The judges repeatedly asked the additional solicitor general Kevic Setalvad, who represented the Centre as well as the FMC, to state who had regulatory powers over the forward market transactions. Setalvad sought time, saying he had no instruction as yet and could only give an update of the steps taken so far, including the issuance of show-cause notices to recover funds. The judges said, ‘’this clearly means nothing.’’
Setalvad said the FMC has no power of enforcement unlike other authorities. “The FMC can effectively only supervise, not regulate,’’ Setalvad said. The judges said, “They are trying to wash their hands off.’’ The bench, addressing Setalvad, added, “It is impossible to say there is no regulatory power. Who has the power to regulate? You are also representing the government of India.’’ Setalvad said he would take instructions from the consumer affairs ministry and the court adjourned the matter to Friday for the “government to make its stand clear,’’ as a last opportunity, else it would pass orders. 

    The HC also directed NSEL to supply it with a sealed copy of a likely supplementary re
port by Grant Thornton which was appointed to verify the quantity of goods lying in its borrowers’ warehouses. 

    The report also has to be given to the centre and the investors have to be informed when it is filed.
    Gaurav Joshi, counsel for the investors, pointed out that new developments keep shaping up in the case and that the investors wish to amend their plea to seek attachment of properties to secure their interest. 

OCT 2008 | NSEL commences live trading, launches delivery-based spot trading in 52 commodities
JUL 31, 2013 | NSEL suspends trading after a ministerial directive on contract structures affected volumes and leads to a payment crisis
AUG 14 | NSEL seeks eight months to settle dues
AUG 20 | NSEL defaults on dues; top brass, including the CEO, is sacked
SEP 27 | CBI starts probing NSEL fi asco
SEP 18 | Several regulators,
secretaries from ministries meet to discuss NSEL crisis
SEP 25 | EOW, Mumbai police start investigating NSEL crisis
OCT 9-18 | EOW of Mumbai Police arrest 3 top NSEL executives: Amit Mukherjee, Jai Bahukhandi & Anjani Sinha
OCT 10 | ED fi les money laundering case against NSEL, promoter Jignesh Shah
OCT 14 | Jignesh Shah and Joseph Massey resign from NSEL sister concerns MCX & MCX-SX
OCT 19 | MCX MD Shreekant Javalgekar quits


EOW identifies properties for attachment

Mumbai: The economic offences wing (EOW), probing he Rs 5,600-crore NSEL cheating case, has started identifying the immovable assets of the accused in a bid to attach them.
    Several police teams are going through the documents of NSEL and the other accused to identify the properties. “We will soon start attaching the properties,” said an EOW officer. The police have so far arrested three people including former NSEL managing director and chief executive Anjani Sinha in this case.
    They are likely to make the fourth arrest on Tuesday. The EOW had invoked the Maharashtra Protection of Interest of Depositors Act in this connection. — Mateen Hafeez 
The Times of India, October 22, 2013

Monday, October 21, 2013

Two young bikers killed on Freeway

SPEEDING TO DEATH: Though bikes are prohibited on the Freeway, the youths took the stretch illegally. While the rider and a friend were hurled on the Freeway (above), the other youth was thrown around 30ft down (top); the bike was found without any damage (inset)

Mateen Hafeez TNN

Mumbai: Two youngsters were killed and one was critically injured when a motorcyclist lost control of his bike on the Eastern Freeway and veered into the security wall of the elevated corridor on Sunday morning. In the impact, one of the pillion riders were flung into the air and thrown onto the road below, while the rider and the other youth fell on the flyover. 

    The incident took place around 3.30am near the Wadi Bunder turn on the Freeway. Incidentally, two-wheelers are not allowed on the Freeway.
    Raheem Agha (25), who was flung about 30ft down to the road, and rider Ramzan Shaikh (23) died on the spot, while their 16-year-old friend, Rajesh Achrekar, is being treated at St George Hospital. The Dongri police are waiting for the final autopsy report to establish if the boys were drunk.  

Pillion rider thrown 30ft down from Freeway

Mumbai: The bikers who were killed in an accident on the Eastern Freeway on Sunday were reportedly speeding and were on the elevated corridor illegally as twowheelers are banned on it.
    “Five boys from Pydhonie went to meet their friends in Chembur. Around 3am, on their way home, they took the Freeway though bikes are not allowed on it. Three boys were on one bike, while their two friends were on the other. They were speeding. As they approached the Wadi Bunder junction, Shaikh lost control at the sharp turn and rode into the 4-5 ft security wall,” said a police officer.
    Assistant sub-inspector Dilip Katkar who registered the complaint, said, “On reaching the spot, I saw a few people carrying the injured boy into an auto. We rushed him to St George Hospital. Later, I spoke to Aakash Sawant (19), one of the boys, who said all of them were returning from Chembur. He said Shaikh was speeding.”
    It was Sawant who narrated to Katkar how Agha’s body was thrown into the air and fell around 30ft below the Freeway. Rakesh Singh, a pavement dweller, told TOI, “I was asleep under the flyover when I heard a loud thud. Seeing people gathered on the road, I ran to the spot to find the bleeding body of a youth. The back of his head was crushed and his chest and stomach were torn apart.”
    Achrekar, who is at St George Hospital, has a severe head injury and a fractured skull. “He is in a semi-conscious state but he does not have a brain injury,” said Dr Jagdish Bhavani, medical superintendent at the hospital. “He has metal pieces lodged beneath the skin that will need surgery. His liver is damaged,” said Bhavani, adding the doctors were monitoring Achrekar’s condition in the ICU. Urging the police to deal with them, especially those riding on prohibited stretches like J J flyover and Freeway, strictly, activist Aftab Siddiqui said, “The police should become more active. If they can catch the bikers-—most of them do not wear helmets and don’t carry papers—at their own localities before they start performing stunts, the cops can put a stop to the deaths.” Inputs by V V Singh

ST bus crushes 2-year-old girl to death

    A two-year-old girl was crushed under the wheels of a state transport bus near her home at Bhaluka village in Murbad taluka in Thane district on Sunday afternoon. Riya Vishe, was playing outside her home around 2pm. She suddenly ran across the road and the bus driver, failing to spot her, mowed her down. The driver, Vinod Sitre, has been arrested. TNN

The Times of India, October 21, 2013

Jeweller waylaid on Marine Drive, robbed of 3.6L

The trader’s car was held up by armed robbers near the flyover

Mateen Hafeez TNN

Mumbai: A south Mumbai jeweller driving down Marine Drive on Saturday evening was waylaid by a group of four men and robbed of Rs 3.6 lakh and a cellphone.
    The robbers, armed with choppers and sticks, swerved their vehicle in front of Jayesh Vallahdas Zaveri’s car a little distance after Meghdoot flyover, bringing it to a halt. They broke its windows and assailed 53-year-old Zaveri. One of them reached in and snatched a bag holding the earnings from Zaveri’s jewellery shop and a mobile. The robbers managed to flee despite a witness on a motorbike giving them chase. 

    This is at least the third crime on Marine Drive in recent months. In August, additional municipal commissioner Mohan Adtani was robbed
of his mobile while he was on an evening walk. In September, Meherjan Lamberaj, a manager with a private firm, was slashed with a razor when she fought back robbers trying to snatch her cellphone.  

Hoping for clues, cops look at car licence no. & CCTVs

Mumbai: In the wake of another serious crime on Marine Drive, assistant commissioner of police Padmakar Juikar said the force has taken many measures—including roundthe-clock deployment of teams near the NCPA, Air India building junction and Islam Gymkhana—to curb crime on the Queen’s Necklace.
    Juikar said that Jayesh Vallahdas Zaveri left his Kalbadevi jewellery shop on Saturday in an i10 to return to his Altamont Road residence. Behind the steering wheel was Zaveri’s driver Aslam Sayyed. And in the car were also Zaveri’s son Jaymijat and friend Dinesh Chale.
    “Soon after they crossed Meghdoot flyover, a silver Swift overtook them and stopped in front. Before Zaveri and the others could figure what was happening, four men holding choppers and sticks got down from the Swift and smashed their i10’s windows. One of them leaned in and took a bag and a mobile lying next to Zaveri,” said Juikar. Zaveri and the others tried to resist the robbers, but they were threatened. The jeweller sustained two cuts on his arm in the attack.
    The robbers ran back into their Swift and zipped away. Investigating officer inspector Rajendra Patil said a biker who witnessed the robbery chased the robbers, but in vain. “They dodged him and fled towards Chowpatty,” he said. Zaveri received first aid at G T Hospital and was discharged.
    The anti-extortion cell, property cell and the city police have formed several teams to nab the robbers. There was however no trace of them till Sunday evening. Sketches of the criminals are being made “We are finding out if the robbers were caught on any CCTV cameras. We have got their vehicle number. We are finding out if it was stolen,” said a police officer.
    Officers said the modus operandi in the Saturday crime was the same as that employed by the Ayyub Chikna gang. It has in the past robbed traders and jewellers on busy streets. Also, its members are known to use choppers.

The Times of India, October 21, 2013

Robbery casts doubt on bid to keep Marine Drive crime-free

Mateen Hafeez TNN

    The latest offence on Marine Drive has put a question mark on the police claim that they have taken many steps to curb crime on the famous boulevard. 

    The busy Queen’s Necklace, which is used daily by hundreds of VIPs, has recently been the scene of at least two serious crimes. In August, additional civic commissioner Mohan Adtani’s cellphone was stolen while he was on a walk. In September, a woman was attacked by robbers when she resisted their attempt to steal her mobile. 

    After each case, the police claimed they had good leads in the form of CCTV footage; they said they were interrogating chain-snatchers and history sheeters. Yet, both cases remain undetected.
    Following the two offences, senior officers formed teams—comprising policemen from stations at Colaba, Cuffe Parade, Marine Drive, D B Marg and others—to prevent further crimes on the Queen’s Necklace. “We increased patrolling on Marine Drive. Also, we deployed armed policemen at several spots along the boulevard and asked them to keep an eye out for suspicious people,” said a senior officer. 

    But, going by the Saturday evening crime, the police measures have clearly not been enough of a deterrent. “If even Marine Drive is not safe, which part of the city is?” asked a stockbroker.  Last year, two men were robbed of Rs 45 lakh on Marine Drive while they were on their way to deposit the cash in a bank.
    Joint commissioner of police (law and order) Sadanand Date said on Sunday: “Will you please talk to DCP zone 1? I have forwarded your message to him. He can give details of our efforts to detect such crimes.”
    Zonal DCP Ravindra Shisve said, “I am shocked. There have been three crimes in the recent past and the modus operandi in each was different. Our surveillance staff was not on Marine Drive on Saturday because it was sent to Taloja jail. We are trying to crack the case.”
PAST CRIMES Sept 13 2013
Meherjan Lamberaj, a manager with a private firm, was slashed
with a razor on Marine Drive
when she fought back robbers trying to snatch her cellphone  
Aug 31 2013
Additional municipal commissioner Mohan Adtani
was robbed of his mobile while
he was on an evening walk on Marine Drive  
Oct 23 2012
Two men travelling in a taxi to a bank in Marine Lines with Rs 45 lakh cash and a few cheques
were stopped by four bike-borne men on Marine Drive and robbed 
 TIMES VIEW: Marine Drive, the city’s landmark tourist attraction with its the sweeping Queen’s Necklace, is no longer a safe place for its citizens. It speaks volumes about how unsafe Mumbai has become. This is the third serious crime incident here in the last two months. Instead of mouthing the usual platitudes after every such incident, the police need to get their act together in order to assure citizens’ safety.

1 Jeweller Jayesh Zaveri’s car was going down Marine Drive around 8pm on Saturday when a silver Swift overtook it and halted in front

2 Four men armed with choppers got down and smashed the windows of his car. One of them snatched a bag with `3.6L and a mobile

3 The robbers ran back into their Swift and zipped away. A biker who witnessed the crime gave them chase, but they dodged him at a signal 
The Times of India, October 21, 2013

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Investigators examine jail stay data to trace terror suspect

Afzal Usmani

Afzal Usmani Had Made 36 Calls To His Family & Friends


Mateen Hafeez TNN

Mumbai: Data available about escaped terror suspect Afzal Usmani’s jail stay has revealed that he was escorted to various courts, hospitals and cities 100 times during the 20 months he spent in Navi Mumbai’s Taloja prison. Usmani had, during these visits, made 36 calls to his home and friends, who are all under police supervision now.
    Investigators are going through this data to trace Usmani.
    A suspected planter in the 2008 Ahmedabad serial explosions, Usmani dodged the police escort on the Mumbai Sessions Court premises on September 20 and escaped. After his escape began a series of inquiries. The state ATS, which has conducted an inquiry into the security lapse and Usmani’s movements during his visits outside jail, found that Usmani was lodged in Taloja prison in January 2012. “From this period till his escape, he was taken to Ahmedabad court, Surat court, Sewree fast-track court, Mumbai’s MCOCA court, JJ Hospital, Nair Hospital, and St. Geroge’s Hospital. There were 100 visits in all. As his family did not stay in Mumbai, he would take permission from court to make phone calls to his relatives,” said an ATS officer.
    Records available with ATS and scrutiny of phone numbers which Usmani called revealed that he made calls to his wife, mother, brothers and a few friends. “The court orders clearly said that he should not be given more than five minutes to speak with his relatives from an STD phone booth. The court had also instructed that some cop should monitor Usmani’s conversations. He made the last call to his wife and mother on September 9, eleven days before his escape,” said the officer.
    The phone numbers Usmani called are under surveillance. “Usmani has left Maharashtra by now,” said an officer from a security agency.
    Senior police officials said that the court should not sanction requests of such suspects for making phone calls. “There are facilities available in Taloja jail for making phone calls to one’s relatives. The phones are taped and an accused is captured on CCTV camera. This method is safer than allowing an accused to use an STD booth,” said the source.

The Times of India, October 16, 2013

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Accused took 150cr in ‘commissions'



Mateen Hafeez TNN

Mumbai: The economic offences wing (EOW), probing the Rs 5,600-crore cheating case involving NSEL and other companies, has found that the accused in the fraud have usurped over Rs 150 crore in the form of commission. EOW officials said that they have started analyzing the properties and other assets of the accused so that they could attach it at the right time. 

    Rajvardhan Sinha, additional commissioner of police, EOW, told TOIthat the police were scrutinizing the seized books of accounts and corroborating the statements and information provided by the two arrested — Amit Mukherjee and Jay Bahukhandi. 
    On the high court’s directions, EOW officials on Tuesday met with FMC officials to discuss the investors’ losses. “We will file a report in the court on October 18,” Sinha said. While the police have questioned 41 suspects so far, more than 30 have not
turned up citing health and other reasons.
    The FIR, filed by an investor Pankaj Saraf on September 30, has been registered under sections involving forgery, criminal breach of trust, cheating and criminal conspiracy against several people, including NSEL chairman, Jignesh Shah. 

    Mukherjee (40) was arrested after his role was established in the alleged scam. His statement led to the arrest of Bahukhandi who was in
charge for KYC verification of companies, customer authorization of members and warehouses in NSEL. Mukherjee told police that it was Bahukhandi who was responsible for verification of warehouses and directors. 

    The EOW, said sources, may invoke the stringent Maharashtra Protection of Interest of Depositors (MPID) Act against all the accused. 
The Times of India, October 15, 2013

Sunday, October 13, 2013

190 cr allotted for minorities’ devpt in state



Mateen Hafeez TNN

Mumbai: As an initiative to implement the Prime Minister’s 15-point development plan, the state and Centre have collectively allotted Rs 190 crore for the development of minorities in Maharshtra. While the Centre has approved Rs 140 crore, the state has sanctioned Rs 50 crore for housing and for building ladies hostels, ITI colleges and polytechnic institutes for minorties in the state. 

    “These schemes are being implemented across Latur, Beed, Jalna, Parbhani, Jalgaon, Washim, Buldana, Hingoli and Yavatmal under the Minorities Development Project. Underprivileged girl students in rural areas will be given free cycles for travel. Separate’ girls hostels are being built; computers, too, will be given to institutes under this scheme,” said Naseem Khan, state minorities affairs minister. He added that 44 existing polytechnic institutes will be used in the evenings to provide skilled education to minority students. 
The Times of India, October 13, 2013

Friday, October 11, 2013

EOW arrests another exec in NSEL fraud case

Mateen Hafeez TNN

Mumbai: The economic offences wing (EOW) probing the Rs 5,600-crore cheating case involving National Spot Exchange (NSEL) and other companies on Thursday arrested Jay Bhaukhundi, former assistant VP of NSEL, for not conducting a proper verification of brokers, warehouses and members. The EOW on Wednesday had arrested Amit Mukherjee, another former assistant VP. 

    Mukherjee (40), was produced before the Esplanade court where he was remanded in police custody till October 18. Bhaukhundi will be produced before the court on Friday. “Mukherjee told police that it was Bhaukhundi who was responsible for verifications,” said Rajvardhan Sinha, ACP, EOW. 

    The agency is now probing how entries were made in
NSEL records on August 8 and August 9, 2013 after police began their probe. For instance, NSEL showed an outstanding Rs 900 crore owed to M K Proteins, indicating that sugar worth Rs 900 crore was sent. Going by that calculation, more than 16,000 trucks would be required for delivery of sugar. “Where are the receipts of delivery, toll naka or payment to truck drivers? Who delivered the sugar?” said Sinha. M K Proteinshas invested money in real estate. 

    Two PSUs including MMTC have lost more than Rs
300 crore in the case. MMTC has approached the CBI. Several agencies, including CBI, ED, I-T department, etc, are closely coordinating with EOW. 

    NSEL has alleged that Bhaukhundi took bribes from defaulting companies. Mukherjee and Bhaukhundi have been kept at the crime branch lock up where slain Pakistani gunman, Ajmal Kasab, was lodged for three months. Meanwhile, the Bombay HC adjourned a PIL filed on the NSEL controversy and clubbed it with other petitions filed by investors.


CBI may end probe to avoid duplication

New Delhi: To avoid duplication of probes, CBI may close its inquiry into alleged irregularities and duping of customers by NSEL, which is facing a Rs 5,600-crore payment crisis. Sources said the Mumbai Police’s EOW had professional expertise and was competent to investigate the case. They, however, said the agency would probe the alleged irregularities if the government or any competent court directed it to do so. TNN 
The Times of India, October 11, 2013

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Ex-VP is first to be held in NSEL scam

Mateen Hafeez TNN

Mumbai: The Economic Offences Wing probing the Rs 5,600-crore cheating case involving the National Spot Exchange Limited and other companies made its first arrest on Wednesday, detaining Amit Mukherjee, former VP, business development, at the commodity exchange.
    An EOW official said, “Mukherjee had received kickbacks from various companies.” Besides, he is said to have introduced new members, investors and clients to the NSEL, including firms that defaulted on payments.

 NSEL promoter had blamed official for fraud

Mumbai: Even as the Economic Offences Wing (EOW) arrested Amit Mukherjee, former VP, business development, National Spot Exchange Limited, on Wednesday, Jignesh Shah and Joseph Massey resigned from the board of MCX-SX, another bourse run by the same group. Shah is one of the main promoters of Financial Technologies group that runs both NSEL and MCX-SX, while Massey is the MD of MCX-SX. Mukherjee will be produced before the Esplande court in Mumbai on Thursday.

    Shah, during his questioning by the EOW, had reportedly put the blame on Mukherjee and Anjani Sinha, former MD & CEO of NSEL, for the multi-crore fraud at the bourse. Mukherjee, like many others, was summoned for questioning at the EOW’s Crawford market headquarters and later placed under arrest.

    “We are questioning Mukherjee,” Rajvardhan Sinha, EOW additional commissioner of police, said. The EOW has so far questioned 20 people in the case, including Shah and directors Massey, Shreekant Javalgekar and Dewang Neralla. “Mukherjee had received kickbacks from various companies including, Mohan India, one of the largest borrowers at the exchange,” an EOW official said. “There will be many more arrests soon,” he added. Meanwhile, the Enforcement Directorate (ED) has also sought details of the NSEL fraud from the EOW. It suspects large-scale money laundering in the scam.

    An FIR filed by investor Pankaj Saraf on September 30 had named Shah, Massey, auditor Mukesh Shah and others. All the accused have been booked for forgery, criminal breach of trust, cheating and criminal conspiracy. Saraf alleged that the NSEL had built its business model around trading in “non-existent’’ goods and giving investors an impression that goods were in warehouses, when none existed. Police have till date frozen 66 bank accounts belonging to various people, companies and the NSEL, having more than Rs 21 crore in these accounts. “During the raid, we found that 30 warehouses did not have any goods and were lying empty. Our raid is over and now we are busy scrutinizing the seized documents,” Sinha said.

    On October 1, the CBI had started a preliminary enquiry (PE) into all aspects of the scam. The NSEL has been facing problems in settling Rs 5,600 crore in dues to 148 members/brokers, representing 13,000 investor-clients, after it suspended trade on July 31 on the government’s direction. 

    In a related development, market regulator Sebi has appointed Thomas Mathew T, a former top official with LIC, as the public interest director with MCX-SX, the stock trading platform of the Financial Technologies group and an associated entity of the NSEL. In a statement, MCXSX said as an interim arrangement, U Venkataraman, a whole-time director with the bourse, has been deputed to assist a special committee of public interest directors who will carry out the functions of the exchange

The Times of India, October 10, 2013

Use video-con for terror trials: Usmani report

Afzal Usmani


Mateen Hafeez TNN

Mumbai: The anti-terrorism squad (ATS) has submitted a 15-page report to the state government on the escape of Indian Mujahideen operative Afzal Usmani from the Fort sessions court premises last month.
    It recommended that terror suspects should not be brought to the court at all and that their hearings be conducted through video-conferencing. “If required, the accused should be brought to the court handcuffed with court permission,” the report said.
    Amitesh Kumar, ATS deputy inspector-general of police, began a probe into how Usmani, a suspect in the 2008 Ahmedabad bomb blast case, dodged the police escort team and fled the sessions court premises in Fort on September 20. Two policemen have been suspended for negligence. The report stated that “inadequate staff” was the main reason for such a fiasco besides the cops’ negligence. It recommended that more than one policeman should be deputed to escort such an accused. It further stated that based on a person’s crime and his own previous record, the escort party should decide the number of police personnel to be allotted to escort him/her.
    Usmani (37) was arrested by the Mumbai crime branch in September 2008 for stealing cars that were used in Gujarat blasts. On September 20, Usmani and 22 others were taken to the sessions court for framing of charges against them in connection with sending terror email cases.
    The inquiry report also recommended the formation of lock-ups in court to keep such terror suspects. The Mumbai crime branch, Colaba police and Navi Mumbai police are still conducting their separate investigations in this case.

The Times of India, October 10, 2013