Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Firm booked for cheating investors of over 21cr

Mateen Hafeez TNN

Mumbai: The Marine Drive police have registered a case of cheating against Birla Power Solutions Pvt Ltd for allegedly duping a Worli-based businessman of Rs 1 crore by not repaying his fixed deposit investment on maturity. The police said that more than 12 people have approached them to complain about the “dubious” scheme and the amount involved in the case has gone up to Rs 21.66 crore. 

    The company neither took calls nor replied to several messages and an email from TOI.
    Niket Kaushik, additional commissioner of police, said the case had been transferred to the economic offences wing, which may summon the firm’s employees for questioning.     The FIR says that in February 2012, the victims invested in a fixed deposit scheme in which they were promised a return of 10.75% after a year. The police said over Rs 300 crore was collected under this scheme. 

    But when the investors did not get either their returns or investment amount till March this year, they panicked. “After the end of the maturity period, we were waiting for our returns, but the firm did not respond. All attempts to meet the company officials did not succeed. Some senior officials, who were part of the board of directors at the time of floating the scheme, have resigned. The new directors are not talking to us. We had seen this scheme’s advertisements in newspapers and invested in it,” said a complainant, who did not want to be identified. 

    The police have booked the firm under various sections of the Maharashtra Protection of Interest of Depositors Act. 
The Times of India, December 31, 2013

Monday, December 30, 2013

Molesters beware, policewomen to pose as New Year revellers at Gateway & beaches

With parties becoming synonymous with alcohol, doctors caution against binge drinking

Mateen Hafeez TNN

Mumbai:  Gearing up for the year’s biggest bandobast in the city, the police have decided to deploy anti-eve-teasing squads and policewomen in civilian clothes at the Gateway of India, Girgaum Chowpatty, Juhu beach and other popular spots people throng to usher in the New Year.
    “The policewomen will mingle with the crowd and keep an eye out for those creating a nuisance. We aim to provide a safe environment for girls,” said an officer.
    In 2006, on New Year’s Eve, a young woman was groped by revellers at the Gateway of India. The next year on December 31 night, two women, who were accompanied by their two male friends, were molested outside a five-star hotel in Juhu.
    “Many collegians go to public places to bring in the new year with their friends, but anti-social elements try to take advantage of the crowd and molest girls. This year, too, our CCTV cameras and anti-eve-teasing squads will look out for such hooligans,” the officer added.
    Meanwhile, the police, who have allowed boat parties off the Gateway of India this New Year’s Eve, have not received a single application from any cruise or boat party organizers, an indication that Mumbai is yet to get over the 26/11 terror attacks.
    “We only issue performance licences and that, too, only to boats/cruises registered with us. If a boat party organizer wants to serve alcohol, he will have to take permission from the excise department and Mumbai maritime board,” the officer said. Of the over 250 boats at the Gateway, only one is registered with the police. While the police commissioner is the licensing authority, the deputy commissioner of police headquarters (I) has been empowered to scrutinize such requests and take a call.

The Times of India, December 30, 3013

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Mishap complainant can’t withdraw FIR

The smashed Aston Martin

Courts Will Have Final Say In Pedder Road Accident Case

Swati Deshpande & Mateen Hafeez TNN

Mumbai: Phorum Ruparel, a 25-yearold student who complained to the police after a speeding Aston Martin hit her Audi on Pedder Road early this month,hassaidshedoes notwishto pursue the case. But it is not in her hands anymoretowithdrawtheFIR.
    “It can be done only by the government,or thecomplainantwillhaveto go to court stating she has come to a compromisewiththe accused,”said a senior policeofficial, adding thatthefinaldecision restedwiththecourt. 

    TheGamdevi policehad registered a case of rash driving and negligence under sections279 and337of theIndian Penal Code (see box) and a few sections of the Motor Vehicles Act after Ruparel complained.   The offence of rash driving under section 279 is not compoundable under thelaw.It means a compromisebetween the complainant and the accused is not permitted,lawyerssaid.
    The offence under section 337 for ‘causing hurtto a person by a rash act’ is compoundable and can be settled at the behest of the person hurt, but only with court permission. However a January 2013 judgment of the Delhi HC held that even if an offenceunder section 337iscompounded,itdoes not preclude prosecution of the accusedunder section 279 for rash and negligent driving, an independent offence “against public safety”, punishableindependently of section 337.
    Once the police register an FIR — as was done in this case as both sections are cognizable — it has to investigate and file a chargesheet if there is evidenceof offenceor file a closure reportif thereis noevidenceor if the allegations arefalse,saidlegalexperts.
    Certain criminaloffencescan besettledor compromisedbetween the victim and the accused with the permission of the court. In such cases too, the application mustbe madebeforethecourt and a complainant has no power to withdraw an FIR.Itisfor thecourtto grant permission tosettlethecase and allow acquittal of the accused. Though the offence of rash driving cannot be “settled”, the courts have the power to quash the offence. Here, the accused would need to file an application beforethecourt.
    Around 1.30am on December 8, an Aston Martin owned by Reliance Ports hit Ruparel’s Audi on Pedder Road. The day after, 55-year-old Bansilal Joshi “confessed”tothe policehewasdriving the car. Recently, Ruparel identified Joshi asthe accused. She also gave a statement before a magistrate, saying she did not wantto pursuethecase.
GOING BY THE LAW Sections Applied in Accident Case
SECTION 279 IPC Rash driving on a public way Punishment Up to 6 months in jail or fine
Offences are… Cognizable | Needs an FIR to
be registered Bailable | Police can grant bail after arrest Non-compoundable | Complainant cannot settle or arrive at a compromise with the accused. Case has to be tried before a magistrate
SECTION 337, IPC | Hurting somebody by committing a rash act Punishment | 6 months’ jail or fine Offences are… Cognizable | Bailable | Compoundable Person who is hurt can settle the case with court permission

The Times of India, December 28, 2013

Friday, December 27, 2013

Don’t wish to pursue case, says Aston Martin mishap complainant

RTO Frowns As Fancy Audi No. Reserved But Registration Not Done

Somit Sen TNN

    TOI enquiries in the RTO revealed that the number MH03 BJ 6666—as captured in photographs of the Audi 6 published on Thursday—had not yet been allotted to Phorum Ruparel by the Wadala RTO. The car owner had paid the “reserve price” for the special number 6666 and this amount (Rs 70,000) was deposited with the RTO on Monday. “The taxes may be paid through the dealer, but the car is not yet registered on that number,” a senior official said. 

    “We have paid all taxes and asked the RTO to register the vehicle in the new year (January 4). We are not taking the car out till then, so there should be no problem,” said Phorum. When told that fixing a number plate before registration was deemed illegal, she said she would abide by the rules once the RTO notice arrives. “As of now, we have not received any notice. If required, we will remove the number plate,” she said. 

    Ruparel has identified Reliance Ports driver Bansilal Joshi, or a person resembling Joshi, as the one at the wheel of the Aston Martin that rammed into her Audi and an Elantra on December 9. Joshi, 55, had approached the police later that day and “confessed” to driving the car. There were reports earlier of witnesses initially telling the police that they had seen a portly young man get out of the car after the accident. 

    “I don’t wish to pursue the case further because, according to police investigation, Bansilal Joshi was the accused,” she said. 

    When TOI visited Ruparel’s flat on Thursday afternoon, the new car with the number plate was found parked near the stilt area. Wadala regional transport officer B I Ajri confirmed a notice had been sent to the car owner for “unauthorized use” and the flying squad of the Wadala
RTO was being alerted. “If the car owner does not comply, we can refer the matter to the local police station, which can prosecute the person under section 420 of IPC,” another senior officer said.
    The number 6666 was the same one in Ruparel’s old car (MH14 DN 6666). “We sought the same VIP number for the new car as it is our preferred number and have paid a premium amount for it,” Ruparel said. An RTO official said the money was received to “reserve” the number and it had not been allotted to the person till Thursday.
    Joining her daughter in dismissing talk of compensation, Ruparel’s mother said they belonged to an affluent family and were able to afford an expensive car. “So it should not surprise the media and one cannot jump to wrong conclusions that we are being compensated by Reliance. The new car has been purchased from our own money. Nobody from Reliance approached us,” she said.
REPLACEMENT AUDI BILL ALMOST 45L Cost of replacement car & fancy registration number New Audi 6 40lakh Tax amount 4 lakh Special number 70,000
REGISTRATION PROCESS The registration process involves submission of documents such as invoice, proof of residence, PAN card, tax papers, insurance documents, etc. In the present case, the car is not yet registered on the number MH-03-BJ-6666
INSURANCE PROCESS In case of collision, typically car owners claim from their own insurer. One can claim from the second car owner’s third-party cover, but such claims usually do not take place in India because it is cumbersome, requires spot survey and a chargesheet to establish blame and is settled by motor accident claims tribunal
When does insurance company settle for total loss?
Insurance regulator has said a claim can be settled for a total loss if damages are over 75% of the insured’s declared value which is the limit of the company’s liability
    An insurance company can settle for total loss even if the damage is trivial when the vehicle is underinsured compared to market value
Can one get compensation and keep the damaged car? No. In case of a total loss compensation, the vehicle is always retained by the insurance company
Likely action for non-registration
Illegal to display or affix number plate before the car is registered
    Amounts to cheating, car owner can get a showcause notice
    RTO can refer the matter to police and the person can be booked under section 420 of the Indian Penal Code

What the Ruparels say
We have not received the RTO
    notice so far. If required, we will remove the number plate of the car. But we are not taking out the car from the building compound till we get the RC book from the RTO. We are law-abiding citizens and have paid all taxes for the car. We have bought this new car from our own money, and have also paid for the VIP number 6666, which has been our preferred number.
(With inputs by Mateen Hafeez)

The new A6 at the Ruparels’ house; (left) the damaged A4 
The Times of India, December 27, 2013

Thursday, December 26, 2013

‘Reliance driver or a person resembling him was driving Aston’


Mumbai: The Pedder Road accident earlier this month involving an Aston Martin witnessed a twist on Wednesday after the complainant, Phorum Ruparel, told a magistrate that Reliance Ports driver Bansilal Joshi, or a person resembling Joshi, was driving the Aston Martin that collided with two other cars—the Audi that she was driving and an Elantra. 

    Joshi had approached the police on December 9
and “confessed” to driving the car following speculation about the identity of the driver. There were reports of witnesses initially telling cops that they had seen a portly young man getting out of the Aston Martin. 

A new Audi at Ruparel’s home 
The Times of India, December 26, 2013

Bahrain envoy in city booked for molestation

Mateen Hafeez TNN

Mumbai: The Malabar Hill police have registered a case of molestation against Mohammed Abdulaziz Al Khaja, consul general of Bahrain in the city, on the complaint of a woman working as a manager at his Nepean Sea Road housing society. 

    “We did not arrest him since he is a diplomat and enjoys diplomatic immunity. We have informed the ministry of external affairs (MEA) about the incident,” said a senior police official. The copy of the FIR and the victim’s statement have been sent to the MEA. 

    The 49-year-old woman, whose identity has not been disclosed, told the police that on December 9 the building elevator was shut for repairs. When Khaja found it shut he lost his temper and allegedly slammed its doors. The complainant alleged that Khaja, in a fit of rage, ransacked her office, touched her and used abusive language. This is the reason molestation charges were invoked against Khaja, said a police officer.
The Times of India, December 26, 2013

Police to record entry, exit points for parties at sea

UNDER VIGIL: Cops will be posted near the Gateway to screen vessels

Mateen Hafeez TNN

Mumbai: The police have ordered their officers to video record the points from where people going to party at the sea board and alight boats, jetties and other vessels on the New Year’s Eve.
    “We have issued circulars to all police personnel who are responsible for the sea security to video those going into the sea to ring in the New Year,” said a senior officer.
    The police will also write to the Mumbai port trust asking them to instal permanent rooms to frisk people taking the sea route. Also, all jetties have been instructed to instal bag scanners. The police may ask party organizers to submit copies of the event recordings. It would be the first time after the 26/11 terror attacks in 2008 that cruise parties, if any, would be organized. After the attacks which claimed 166 lives, the police had been refusing permission to commercial cruise parties. As a routine practice, police personnel will be posted at five jetties near Gateway of India to screen vessels coming from Mandwa and Alibaug. All 17 boats of the coastal police will patrol the sea as the force is responsible for security till five nautical miles off the city’s coast. “Though the Indian Navy and Coast Guard have their own style of functioning, we too have jurisdiction in the waters. Our priority is that New Year parties in the sea should be safe,” said the officer.
    “Following the 26/11 attacks and denial of permission for parties in the sea for several years, organizers are increasingly moving to Goa where getting a licence is easier than here and threat perception is less. We are tightening security,” said an official.
    While the entry and exit for men and women will be different, small ships and ferry wharfs will not be allowed to take people into the sea at night. “Police permission will be necessary. Their business during daytime will go on as usual, but for night celebrations, there will be some restrictions,” said the officer said.

The Times of India, December 26, 2013

3 cops held in custodial death case



Mateen Hafeez TNN

Mumbai: The crime branch arrested three policemen attached to the Vanrai police station on Tuesday in the case of custodial death of a 20-year-old suspected thief.
    The arrested men were head constable Chandrakant Kambale, police naik Kiran Pingale and constable Umesh Gosavi.
The deceased, Manoj Salve, a Kurla resident, and his accomplice Prakash Chavan (30) were caught by the public at a fire safety exhibition on the Nesco ground in Goregaon (E) on October 26, said the police.   Crime branch insiders said the two suspected thieves were beaten by the people present and the three policemen also joined the public in the thrashing. 

    After the suspects were taken to the Vanrai police station, their questioning was commenced, during which Salve fell unconscious. Salve was taken to Cooper Hospital in Juhu, where doctors declared him dead at
the time of arrival.  When Salve’s family heard about his detention and subsequent death, they demonstrated at the police station. Calling it a murder, they demanded the arrest of the policemen responsible. 

    At the time, the police registered an accidental death case, but the post-mortem report stated that Salve died of external injuries.   The crime branch, which had begun an investigation,
submitted its report and stated that the preliminary inquiry had found three policemen guilty. 

    The inquiry team also examined the CCTV footage of the exhibition centre and saw people beating the suspects. The three policemen did not rush the two suspects to hospital, instead taking them to their police station.   Based on the report, the three policemen were arrested on Tuesday night. The accused were produced before a court and remanded in police custody till Monday. 
The Times of India, December 26, 2013

SpeakAsia promoter held in one more cash-return scam

Mateen Hafeez TNN

Mumbai: The economic offences wing (EOW) of the city police has arrested Speak-Asia promoter Ram Sumiran Pal (36) in another ponzi scam, Admatrix. The EOW had already arrested him earlier this month for his role in the SpeakAsia scheme that defrauded lakhs of people of their investments.
   “The first arrested accused who engineered the SpeakAsia fraud, Pal is the master planner of the ponzi scheme that left more than 24 lakh investors poorer by over Rs 2,276 crore,” said the police. Pal was arrested from Dehra Dun by the New Delhi police last month and handed over to the Mumbai police. 

    On March 28, 2012, two cases of fraud and cheating were registered against Pal and several others for their involvement in the Admatrix Pvt Ltd and SevenRings International ponzi schemes that were allegedly used to defraud investors. Those named in the two FIRs include SpeakAsia’s Indian head Manojkumar Sharma, Ram Nivas Pal, Priti Pal, Ram Sumiran Pal and Suhas Shirke. 

    After TOI reported about the involvement of SevenRings International and Index Admatrix Pvt Ltd in the SpeakAsia case, several investors approached the police. “The SevenRings scheme, floated in February 2008, targeted the high-income group. It asked for an investment of Rs 35 lakh for a year and promised to return a profit of Rs 10,000 per day. This way, the profit would go to Rs 36.5 lakh a year. We received a complaint from a textile merchant who made the initial payments but the company office-bearers vanished,” said the police. A doctor also approached the EOW saying he had lost Rs 35 lakh in the same scheme. “After SevenRings, the office-bearers introduced Admatrix, a middle-income group investment company. Floated in March 2011, Admatrix asked investors for Rs 7,500 and get huge returns. A complainant has lost Rs 6.9 lakh. Admatrix had its office on the same premises as Speak-Asia before it was shut,” the officer added. 
The Times of India, December 26, 2013

Cops may summon Joshi again, arrest him

Mateen Hafeez TNN

Mumbai: Rumours of those affected in the Pedder Road Aston Martin mishap being “compensated” are doing the rounds, but the police denied any knowledge. The complainant could not be contacted for her version of events. 

    Asenior officer told TOI, “Complainant Phoram Ruparel’s statement has been recorded before magistrate Uday Ahire under section 164 of CrPC which is admissible evidence in court. Ruparel has identified 55-year-old Joshi as the Aston Martin’s driver. So far, the complainant was changing her statement. The CCTV footage was not clear and the mobile tower location did not establish who was driving the Aston Martin. Ruparel has told the magistrate about the driver’s identity.” 
    The accident took place on December 8; the Aston Martin collided with an Audi and an Elantra on Pedder Road injuring three. After Ruparel’s statement, cops are likely to summon Joshi again and arrest him. The police, who found the fingerprints of two persons in the Aston Martin, will now match them with Joshi’s. 

    Ruparel, a 25-year-old student, had complained to the police that the Aston Martin hit her car with such force that she lost control of her vehicle. The Audi jumped over a divider and hit a bus. “The Aston Martin then hit an Elantra and halted 30-35m away. A wheel of the car came off,” said the police. Ruparel is believed to have been compensated but the cops said they had no clue. 

Ruparel’s Audi that was damaged in the Dec 8 accident (top); the new Audi parked in her compund bears licence number MH03BJ 6666. RTO officials said this is the latest registration series 
The Times of India, December 26, 2013

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Girl escapes from kidnapper on busy SoBo road


Mateen Hafeez TNN

Mumbai: The presence of mind of a 10-year-old school girl saved her from getting kidnapped after she jumped out of a running van at a busy Mohammed Ali Road in south Mumbai on Friday morning.
  The police arrested the 38-year-old van driver within six hours of the crime on charges of kidnapping and outraging the modesty of a woman.  The police traced the vehicle within an hour, abandoned in Chembur.
    Krishna Prakash, additional commissioner of police (south region) said, “The girl, who studies at a school in Mazgaon, left home at 7am. She goes to school by a van, which stops next to her building. While waiting for it, a red Omni stopped by. The driver told her that he would drop her as the school van was in the garage. The girl sat in the front seat, but when she asked about her friends, the driver said they would be picked up too and tried to abuse her. She spotted her school van coming from behind.”
 He said the driver, instead of taking a right turn to the school, took a left. “She opened the door and jumped onto the road. She fell with her school bag and fractured her left hand and hip joint,” he added.  Soon after she jumped off, the driver fled towards Wadi Bunder, and took the Eastern Freeway.
   Hearing the girl’s cries, many onlookers tried to help. A man in his early 40s, who was returning to his car after dropping off his daughter to school, saw the girl jump off and chased the van, but it sped off. He, however, informed the police.
    The Dongri police, where a first information report (FIR) was registered, flashed wireless messages across the city. By 8.10am, the RCF police found it abandoned near Chembur.   The Dongri police sent the vehicle’s photo through a mobile phone application to the girl’s relatives. Once the girl identified the van, it was taken to the police station. The police found a visiting card inside, and when they called the number on it, it turned out to be the owner, Subera
Gafoor Shaikh, a resident of Noor Baug in Dongri.
    Shaikh said the van was with her driver, Raju Khan. “We then took Shaikh’s help to arrest Khan. She called him over,” said inspector Hemant Bhaudhankar.   Khan, who will be produced in court on Saturday, is from Kanpur in Uttar Pradesh, is married, and has two children. Khan, partially paralyzed in his right hand, stays in Govandi, and has been working for Shaikh for four months.
    “The girl is very brave and she is a real hero who applied her mind at the right time. We will recommend her name for a bravery award,” a police officer said on Friday. 

    Imam Qazi, the girls’ uncle, said, “Her bravery saved her. We want maximum punishment for the kidnapper so that nobody dares repeat this with any child.”   The police said that the accused has also been booked under Section 10 of the Prevention of Children from Sexual Offences Act. 
Auto driver held for molestation
An autorickshaw driver, Mukhtiyar Shaikh (47) was arrested for molesting a 10-year-old school girl here on Friday while dropping her home.
    The police picked him up after the victim’s parents had filed a complaint with the Bazarpeth police station here.
— Pradeep Gupta


    The girl leaves her Dongri residence to take a school van at 7am
    She waits alone, two buildings away from her house
    An Omni stops by and the driver tells her to enter, claiming the regular vehicle had gone to the garage for repairs
    The driver allegedly tries to abuse her when
she enters
    But the girl opens the door and jumps out of the moving vehicle
    People chase the kidnapper but he flees, taking the Eastern Freeway
    The car is found abandoned near RCF
    The police nab the accused in Dongri, when he goes to his employer’s house



The Omni belongs to Subera Gafoor Shaikh from Noor Baug in Dongri. The police said the accused is her driver, Raju Khan


The 10-year-old is a class V student with an English-medium school in Mazgaon. An ‘A’ grader, she has been described as one of the brightest students at school. She speaks English, Urdu and Arabic. Her father is a developer


A man returning to his car after dropping off his daughter at school saw the girl jumping from the van. He chased the van till Wadi Bunder before it took a turn to the Eastern Freeway. He called up the control room and gave the police the kidnapper’s vehicle registration number

The Times of India, December 21, 2013

Friday, December 20, 2013

SpeakAsia fraud: Bulky chargesheet names 13 office-bearers, 8 companies

Mateen Hafeez TNN

Mumbai:  More than two years after a case was registered in the SpeakAsia scam, the economic offences wing (EOW), on Thursday, filed a 5,000-plus page chargesheet against the 13 office-bearers and franchisees of SpeakAsia and eight other companies that had aided in the Rs 2,276-crore fraud.
    The case was registered on July 28, 2011.
    “The chargesheet contains all the evidence that we have collected during the investigation. It was a lengthy probe. The money was collected in India, laundered in Dubai and other countries, and hence, it took time to file the charge sheet. We will be filing supplementary charge sheets too,” said Rajvardhan Sinha, city EOW chief.
    The chargesheet names SpeakAsia COO Tarak Bajpai; director of Tulsiyat Tek Rajiv Mehrotra; SpeakAsia prime franchisee Deepankar Sarkar; panelists Ashish Dandekar, Raeesh Shaikh, Rahul Shah, Sanjiv Dandona among others; and eight firms—SpeakAsia Online, Haren Ventures Pvt Ltd, Tulsiyat Tek, Tulsient Info System, Kritanj Management and Allied Services, Seamless Outsourcing, Seven Rings Education and Seven Rings International.
    “The accused have been booked for forgery, criminal conspiracy and cheating among other charges under the Indian Penal Code and Prize Chit and Money Circulation Banning Act. The maximum punishment for these offences is up to seven years’ jail,” said B PShelke, investigating officer.
    Till date, the police have arrested 17 people and frozen 215 bank accounts of SpeakAsia and its members—more than Rs 141 crore is reportedly lying in these accounts.
    The police have also issued look-out notices against the wanted accused—Manoj Kumar Sharma, India CEO of SpeakAsia; Ramnivas Pal, promoter; and Harendar Kaur, global head of SpeakAsia online—across all airports in the country. EOW officers said that they will file chargesheet against mastermind Ram Sumiran Pal and his brother Ram Niwas later.
    On March 28, 2012, the EOW had registered two fresh cases against SpeakAsia’s sister concerns, UAE-based Seven Rings International and Index Admatrix Pvt Ltd, for allegedly cheating investors of over Rs 1 crore. Several victims approached the police after TOI had reported about the involvement of these two firms in the Speak-Asia case. The police said that SpeakAsia had laundered more than Rs 700 crore from India to Singapore and then transferred it to Seven Rings’ account. Seven Rings’ directors Elia De Prisco and Antonio Grasso, both Italians, were also booked in the cheating case.
    In February 2011, Speak-Asia had entered into the agreement with Seven Rings to evade tax. “While De Prisco had signed the papers on behalf of Seven Rings, Sharma had signed them for 
SpeakAsia,” said a source.
    Police suspect that Sharma is also involved in Brazilian firm Mister Colibri, which operates on the same model as SpeakAsia, as his name is listed as its largest investor.

The Times of India, December 20, 2013

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Resident doc held for filming female colleagues in bath


But He Gets Bail As Exams Are Due


Mateen Hafeez TNN

Mumbai: The Azad Maidan police on Tuesday arrested a 26-year-old resident doctor at a south Mumbai hospital for allegedly filming two female colleagues when they were taking a bath. However, when the accused doctor, who is pursuing his Master of Orthopaedic Surgery, was produced before the Esplanade court on Wednesday, he was granted bail as his final-year exams are due . 
    On December 13, a female surgeon, who is 28-30 years old, was taking a bath in the common bath facility at the hospital, where other resident doctors also stay, when she noticed some movement on top of the bathroom. She saw a man’s hand holding a mobile phone. The bath facility has a 7-ft high partition wall, which does not touch the ceiling, said a police officer. But the accused left the washroom before she could confront him. 

    Another female doctor had a similar experience on De
cember 15.  Later, the two women discussed what had happened in the bathroom and suspected the accused doctor of being a peeping Tom. 

    “When they asked the accused to hand over his phone, he removed the memory card and gave it to them. As they did not find anything, they were forced to return it. But their suspicions were not allayed. Next day, they snatched the mobile phone from his hand, ran to their room, connected it to a USB cord and retrieved the deleted videos on a computer. They were shocked to see videos of them taking a bath. They then approached the police,” said an officer. 

    The Azad Maidan police have seized the mobile phone. “We will send it to the Kalina forensic science laboratory for analysis and retrieve the data, if deleted,” said investigating officer Anil Surve.
    The accused, who hails from Pune, was booked under section 509 (outraging the modesty of a woman) of the IPC and section 66A (hacking) of the Information Technology Act. 
The Times of India, December 19, 2013

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

ATS blocks ‘Free Kashmir’ webpage


Mateen Hafeez TNN

Mumbai: The Maharashtra anti-terrorism squad (ATS) on Tuesday blocked the Tehreek-e-Taliban Hindustan page on a social networking site as it was “dangerous and sensitive and against national interests”. 

    The page, created in September, spoke about the killing of Muslims in India, a fight for free Kashmir and formation of a separate state, Khalistan.  The Union home ministry is being briefed about the developments. The Facebook page could be a hoax, officials said. Its title was designed on the pattern of the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), a banned outfit.
    ATS chief Rakesh Maria said, “We are making all efforts to find out the truth.” The page spoke about atrocities against Muslims. “We have blocked the page and are conducting investigations,” said Amitesh Kumar, additional commissioner of police, ATS.     An ATS officer said that the page was probably created in Marathwada.

The Times of India, December 18, 2013

Monday, December 16, 2013

Terror case goes through 18 judges, accused in limbo

Mateen Hafeez TNN

Mumbai: A case of conspiracy—to set the ONGC headquarters, in Bandra, on fire—registered in March 2010 has dragged on, while the fate of two men hangs in balance. Transferred repeatedly, it is at present with the 18th judge at the Bombay City Civil and Sessions court, which has 65 judges.
 On March 13, 2010, the ATS arrested Abdul Latif Rashid, now 33, and his brother in-law Riyaz Ali Imtiyaz, now 25, in the case and also said they were planning terrorist activities at Mangaldas Market in Crawford Market, Thakkar Mall in Borivli, a chawl near Thakkar Mall and G7 cinema in Bandra. Charges were framed against the duo on June 23, 2011. Till date, only seven of over 30 witnesses have been examined. Meanwhile, Rashid and Imtiyaz have continued to be in Arthur Road jail.  Rashid used to sell old clothes in Dahisar and Imtiyaz, whose mother sells old clothes, worked as a salesman in Thakkar Mall.

    “The judges are delaying the trial. It’s too much. Why are they not giving us justice?” sa
id Rashid’s father. He has filed an application in the registrar’s office to seek a list of the judges who have heard his son’s case.   “But they are not giving me that list. Everywhere they delay things that affect poor people like us,” he told TOI.
    Abdul Latif Rashid and Riyaz Ali Imtiyaz were arrested on March 13, 2010 for
conspiring to set the ONGC headquarters in Bandra on fire
    ATS said duo had bought 10 litres of petrol to set the 10-storey ONGC bldg
on fire; they were also planning terrorist activities at Mangaldas Market in Crawford Market and in Borivli and Bandra
    Charges framed against the accused on June 23, 2011
    Among 18 judges, many adhoc, A N Choure heard case for 13 days, S M Modak for 39 days, and S M Bhagat for 20 days. K Itolikar transferred the case the same day it reached his court

Defence demands speedy justice

Mumbai: The conspiracy case against Abdul Latif Rashid and Riyaz Ali Imtiyaz is registered under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA). “Many of the courts the case went to had ad-hoc judges, who do not have powers to conduct trials under the UAPA,” said a source.
    One of the judges, A N Choure, heard it for only 13 days (in June 2011) before transferring it. Another judge, A G Bilolikar, heard the case for less than two months (the charges were made in his court). The next judge, S M Modak, heard the case for 39 days. Later, the case went to judge S M Bhagat, who heard it for 20 days before transferring it. On the 13th transfer, the case went to judge K Itolikar’s court (October 20, 2012) and was transferred the same day. The next court heard it for two weeks. The 18th and last judge is U B Hejib, to whom the case reached on November 29.
    Defence lawyer Tarique Sayyed said, “We just want a speedy trial so that justice is done.”
    IPS officer-tuned-lawyer Y P Singh said that as per precedent, a case must be disposed of at a sessions court in one session, generally comprising three to 10 days. “It is shocking to note that though the accused is in custody, the case has moved around for such a long period of time. It seems that in this case, the criminal justice system has failed to meet its designated objectives,” said Singh.


The Times of India, December 16, 2013

‘Instead of fighting blaze, workers should have called fire brigade’

Friday night’s fire in Mont Blanc, Kemps Corner, killed seven and injured nine

Linah Baliga TNN

    Ashort-circuit on the western side of a 12th floor flat caused the fire at Mont Blanc, Kemps Corner, on Friday night, the fire brigade has said. The blaze killed seven and injured nine.
    The flat, under renovation, was occupied by five labourers. When the fire started, at 7.30 pm, the labourers tried to douse it. But paint, thinner, polishing material and plywood, present in the flat, caught fire and spread it rapidly. “The situation worsened because of wind and inflammable materials,” said deputy chief fire officer P S Rahangdale. “Instead of trying to put out the fire, the labourers should have immediately called the fire brigade. The time delay cost us dearly.”
    Rahangdale said that by the time firefighters prepared the two hose lines and reached the staircase landing, two cylinders near the eastern ventilation shaft of the lobby exploded, sending a massive fireball in the 12th floor’s passage. “The firemen were injured in this. It was a setback. We had to overcome it and send another team of firemen.”
    Dinesh Gandhi, the resident of the neighbouring flat who perished in the fire, tried to escape, but could not get out because of rising heat and smoke. “When he went back, he left the door of his flat open, probably in panic. This was a mistake as the fireball entered his flat and claimed his life,” Rahangdale said.
    Gandhi’s wife, who took the lift to the 12th floor, probably to alert her husband, met her end when the door opened and the heat made it inoperable. Trapped, she died. “Had we not entered the flat (where the fire started) and contained the blaze, the upper floors of the building would have been gutted as the fire would have spread through the shafts,” Rahangdale said. The Malabar Hill police said the statements of 150 people, including the building’s residents and watchmen, fire brigade personnel and BMC officials, will be recorded.
Inputs by Mateen Hafeez 

The Times of India, December 16, 2013

One more held in 25cr land fraud

Mumbai: The city EOW on Saturday arrested a 42-year-old man, Niam-ul-Haque, in connection with a Rs 25-crore cheating and counterfeiting government stamp case. This is the second arrest in the case. 

    The EOW, on December 13, arrested a businessman, Ashish Shah, and showed his wife Aparna, Darayus Panthakey, partner of Phiroze M Dastoor & Co as wanted accused for allegedly conspiring to sell a 1,000-acre plot near Panvel, which was not in their possession, to a developer. The complainant, Rajendra Bajaria, deputy general manager of Sheth developers, told police, “The Shahs had created a false MoU to create an impression of having sold their land to Haque, who is shown to have paid Rs 1.25 crore. But receipts don’t indicate the mode of payment. Moreover, the MoU that appears to have been notorised before notary public N N Konkar does not bear any registration number.”

    The police may summon Mira Road property dealers in this case. — Mateen Hafeez

The Times of India, December 16,2013

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Bizman held in 25cr land fraud, 3 more booked

Mateen Hafeez TNN

Mumbai: The economic offences wing (EOW) has arrested a businessman in a Rs 25-crore cheating case. Ashish Shah, along with Darayus Panthakey, a partner in optical firm Phiroze M Dastoor & Co, allegedly conspired to sell a 1,000-acre plot to a developer without possessing it.
    Panthakey, Shah’s wife Aparna and their associate Niam-ul-Haque will be summoned for interrogation, said investigators. They have been booked under the Indian Penal Code for cheating, forgery and counterfeiting government stamps. Shah was produced at the Esplanade court on Friday and remanded in police custody till December 18. 

    The complainant, Rajendra Bajaria, deputy general manager of Sheth Developers, told the police that in 2008 the company (Sheth) was looking for land to develop a township near Panvel. “We came in touch with the Shahs through a real estate broker. Shah called us at Panthakey’s Santacruz office. During the meeting, Shah claimed that he had 200 acres
spread across villages near Panvel. He said he had acquired the land by deed of conveyance, MoU, consent letters, power of attorney, etc,” said Bajaria in his FIR.
    “Shah claimed his party was in the process of acquiring 600 to 800 acres more and offered to jointly develop the land with us,” Bajaria said.
    As per the FIR, Panthakey promised to take responsibility if any defect or problem arose in the title of the land. Bajaria’s firm paid Rs 25 crore as token money. But while inspecting documents, his company found that the Shahs did not have full rights over the land. “At that time the Shahs and Panthakey promised to refund the token amount,” said Bajaria in the FIR. The Shahs issued a cheque, which bounced.
    “They knew that if they did not deposit the money as per court direction, their properties would be attached. So, they created third-party rights in favor of Haque. We suspect that Panthakey got counterfeit stamp papers and gave them to the Shahs for fabricating the deed of conveyance,” said a police officer. 
The  Times of India, December 14, 2013

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Vikhroli resident loses 1.5L in cell tower con

Cops Have Tough Job On Hand As Swindle Season Catches On

Mateen Hafeez TNN

    Two people took Rs 1.48 lakh from a resident of Vikhroli, promising to install two cellphone towers on the terrace of his property. The incident is being investigated by the economic offences wing (EOW) of the police as the man has not heard from the duo since then and is yet to see the towers.

    The man, Vinay Pariskar, told the EOW that he came across a newspaper advertisement by two companies, Evergreen Mobile Tower and Hindustan Mobile Tower. “Pariskar dialed the numbers given in the ad and spoke to the companies’ representatives. They told Pariskar that to have a cell tower installed, he would have to deposit a security amount, government taxes and installation charges, which collectively amounted to Rs 1.48 lakh,” said an EOW officer. “In turn, he was to get Rs 75,000 and Rs 85,000 as rent for the two towers from network service providers.”

    Pariskar, whose property has an area of 4,000 sq ft, was given a bank account number and asked to first deposit Rs 25,000 to initiate the tower installation process. Soon, the two representatives asked for the remaining amount, saying they needed it to get the project sanctioned by the government. Pariskar did as told, never once meeting the representatives and speaking to them only on phone.

    During the investigation, EOW officers learnt that the accused had used fake documents to open the bank account in which Pariskar deposited money. The accused withdrew the money before disappearing.

    Last year, the EOW registered a case in which an old woman was cheated of Rs 1.8 crore in similar circumstances; the EOW is yet to make a breakthrough in the case. The woman was visited by the accused, who convinced her to install a cell tower on her property, saying it would fetch high rent. She fell for the con.

The Times of India, December 12, 2013

Michael Ferreira gets EOW notice in 425cr QNet case

  Michael Ferreira

Mateen Hafeez 

Mumbai: The city economic offences wing (EOW), probing the multi-level marketing firm QNet case, on Wednesday issued notice to Michael Ferreira, winner of the World Amateur Billiards Championship and a Padma Bhushan recipient, in connection with the Rs 425 crore multi-level marketing case. The police asked him to appear before the investigating officer.
    Police suspect Ferreira to be a stakeholder in QNet, which has allegedly duped over 90,000 people in India. The EOW has registered a case against the directors and officials of M/s Vihaan Direct Selling (India) Pvt Ltd, QNet, Transview Enterprises and Vanmala Hotels and Tourism Services. The police notice says, “It appears that you (Ferreira) are acquainted with facts and circumstances of the case.”
    Police said probe has revealed that Ferreira was a stakeholder of M/s Vihaan. The EOW has so far arrested nine persons, including two women, in the case. The bank accounts of QNet, its independent representatives and associates have been frozen with Rs 110 crore inside. QNet allegedly lured investors with schemes involving investment between Rs 30,000 and Rs 7 lakh. “They posed as a marketing firm which would sell bio-discs, watches, herbal products, holiday packages, etc. They even claimed that by using the bio-disc, one can cure cancer and brain diseases,” cops said. Some money has been transferred to Malayasia, Singapore and Hong Kong, too, cops added.

The Times of India, December 12, 2013

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Charges framed against 23 IM members accused in ’08 blasts

Kenneth Heywood

Shibu Thomas and Mateen Hafeez TNN

    Five years after 23 alleged members of the Indian Mujahideen were arrested for sending emails before and after bomb blasts in Delhi and Ahmedabad in 2008, a special court on Tuesday framed charges in the cases. The 23 accused, along with five absconding accused, including IM leaders Riyaz Bhatkal and Iqbal Bhatkal, were charged with waging war against the country, involvement in conspiracy to cause blasts in Delhi, Ahmedabad, Hyderabad, and Surat, being members of a banned organization, carrying out unlawful activities of an organized crime syndicate, hacking into Wi-Fi networks to send terror emails and illegally possessing and hiding arms and explosives.
    Special MCOCA judge A L Pansare framed the charges and explained the 29 counts on which the accused were charged. All the accused pleaded not guilty and sought to be tried. The court has scheduled the next date of hearing for pre-trial proceedings on December 23. On that date, the prosecution is likely to furnish the list of witnesses it is planning to call to testify against the 23 accused.
    “With the framing of the chargesheet, the investigation in the case is complete and the trial will now commence,” said special public prosecutor Raja Thakre.
    The blasts—in Ahmedabad on July 26, 2008, and in Delhi on September 13, 2008—had left 82 dead and over 300 injured. In Surat, unexploded bombs were found. The emails, purportedly by the Indian Mujahideen owning responsibility for the blasts, were sent from Mumbai. According to the ATS, the accused had hacked into Wi-Fi networks of Khalsa College, Kamran Power Control in Chembur and US citizen Kenneth Heywood in Sanpada to send the terror emails
    In a related development, the Bombay high court has asked the state as to whether or not it had initiated any action against police officers in connection with the escape of suspected IM member Afzal Usmani when he was produced in acourt. The high court has given the state two weeks to inform if any case was registered against the cops escorting Usmani from Taloja jail to the special court. Usmani, who had given the cops the slip in September, was caught by the state ATS on October 27, 2013, while he was trying to flee to Nepal. It was Usmani’s arrest in September 2008—he was arrested for stealing cars—which led the police to the 22 others in the case. Usmani had been charged with stealing cars for the terror strikes and sending the terror emails.  
Sep 13, 2008 At 6.15 pm (five blasts)
    Email sent at 6.27 pm on the same day. Sent from Eric
House, Chembur, after hacking into the unsecured Wi-Fi network of a private firm, M/s Kamran Power Control
    Mail talks about the country-wide crackdown on IM/Simi members over previous blasts and the alleged oppression of Muslims

TOLL 26 dead
100 injured
    Email sent at 6.41 pm on the same day. Sent from Gunina apartments, Sanpada, Navi Mumbai, after
hacking the unsecured Wi-Fi network of US national Kenneth Heywood
    The 14-page email warned that revenge for post-Godhra Gujarat riots will take place in 5 minutes. Demanded release of prisoners and asked Muslims to stop acting in Bollywood, among other things

TOLL 56 dead scores injured
EMAIL AFTER AHMEDABAD BLASTS Sent on August 23, 2008, at 7 pm. Sent from Khalsa College, King’s Circle, after the suspects hacked into the Wi-Fi network of the college’s computer lab
The mail contained photos of the Ahmedabad car-bombs captioned ‘Our favourite toys’ and ‘The cars that devastated’. Contained death threats to officers of Gujarat and Maharashtra ATS (including the then ATS chief Hemant Karkare)

THE ACCUSED 21 people were charge-sheeted in the cases in Maharashtra
Of these, five are still wanted:
Riyaz Bhatkal — the suspected co-founder of IM
Iqbal Bhaktal — elder brother of Riyaz
Amri Raza Khan, Abu Rasheed, Akbar Faizi Khalidi alias Yeda

THE CHARGES Waging war against the country, creating instability, causing communal disharmony; collecting arms & explosives; hacking into unsecured Wi-Fi Internet networks of Khalsa College, Kamran Power
citizen Kenneth Heywood to send terror emails; transporting vehicles for planting bombs; forging vehicle number plates

MOHAMMED SADIQ SHAIKH A Trombay resident, he was arrested on charges of helping to send the terror emails on the Ahmedabad blasts. He was the most feared person among the accused, after the Bhatkal brothers. Shaikh, who now has a five-year-old son, worked as an electrician in a reputed company. He had said that his group was behind the 11/7 train blasts, not the people currently facing trial. But the ATS gave his group a clean chit in the case

AFZAL USMANI The Govandi resident was a car thief, and was tasked with stealing eight cars from Navi Mumbai. He stole four cars, which were then taken to Surat and Ahmedabad and planted with explosives. He stayed with his wife and the families of his brothers in Govandi. He came to
    Mumbai from
Azamgarh (UP) and used to work odd jobs before becoming a fulltime car thief 
The Times of India, December 11, 2013

Friday, December 6, 2013

Cops lose briefcase in mock drill

Mateen Hafeez TNN

Mumbai:  The intention might have been good but the execution was pathetic, turning a police mock drill into a mockery. 

    A briefcase worth around Rs 1,000, which our cops planted in front of a scrap dealer’s shop in Cheeta Camp to test the public’s response, was stolen right under their noses.

    In a standard drill, the police fill a bag or briefcase with clothes and dump it by the roadside, near a shop, a bus-stand or a railway station to gauge the alertness of citizens. In this case, the police purchased a briefcase, stuffed it with old clothes and kept it outside a shop in Trombay. The briefcase had ‘Explosive’ written on it.

    The scrap dealer’s assistant initially confessed to having given it to his employer. However, he soon changed his tune and said that one of the thousands of people who passed by the shop could have picked it up.  The police team eventually had to return empty-handed and with egg on its face.

SECURITY FIASCO Cops buy a briefcase worth Rs 1,000, stuff it with rags and place it outside a shop in Cheeta Camp to test citizens’ alertness in public places
Even as the police team monitors the public, a thief makes away with the suitcase

Educating citizens tough, say police

Mumbai:   A police team conducting a mock security drill in Trombay was left scratching its head when a briefcase went missing right under their noses. 

    “Our teams were monitoring the activities of locals. Surprisingly, nobody came forward to inform the police. Instead, the shop assistant noticed the bag and took it inside. When our team quizzed him later, he denied having seen it. We searched the premises but could not find it. We suspect the shop-owner surreptitiously transferred it to another place using the back door,” said apolice officer.

  He told TOI that educating people about unclaimed objects, which could even be explosives or bombs, was difficult. “We want people to be more forthcoming and they must alert the police if they spot unclaimed items,” he said. Another officer added, “The situation has changed post-26/11. We are now more sophisticated and sensitive about alerts and conducting anti-terror operations. We have been carrying out mock drills regularly with the help of National Security Guard (NSG) and Force Once commandos at malls, cinema halls, crowded places, schools and even in residential colonies. We want to sensitize people about the gravity of such situations.”

    In the past one year, the city police have conducted more than 200 mock drills. “We are getting a good response from the public but the Cheeta Camp case shows that we must renew our efforts to educate people,” the officer said.

The Times of India, December 6, 2013