Wednesday, March 26, 2014

IM’s India chief had refused to surrender

NOTORIOUS FOUR: All the 4 in the poster is in prison now

Mateen Hafeez TNN

Mumbai: Banned outfit Indian Mujahideen’s (IM) youngest operative and believed to be its current chief in India, Tehsin Akhtar alias Monu had rejected the police’s offer to surrender saying he was not a misguided youth and believed in what he was doing. Tehsin was arrested by the Delhi special cell on Tuesday. 

    Sources said following the arrest of IM’s Yasin Bhatkal in August last year, Tehsin was considered as his replacement in the outfit. But, according to the police, in no case was it found that any of the instructions came from him.
 Son of a businessman in Samastipur, Bihar, Tehsin studied in a local school there till Class IV and then shifted to Mumbai with his father. Here, he lived with his aunt at Mumbra where he remained till Class X. “In Mumbra, when we were inquiring about him, people remembered him as a decent boy,” said an ATS officer who probed the 13/7 triple blasts in which Tehsin is suspected to have planted a bomb. “On July 13, he and Yasin Bhatkal planned to place a bomb under a police van at Dadar to kill cops. The first bomb was already planted atop a bus stop in Dadar. But when the duo returned to the police van, it had moved to another spot and they had to throw the bomb in a dustbin,” the police said. Failing to trace Tehsin, the state ATS issued a poster, carrying his photograph, besides that of three others who were suspected to be behind the attack. The ATS also announced a reward of Rs 10 lakh for information on him.
 Tehsin reportedly came in touch with IM operatives in 2008, said the police. According to the police, Tehsin initially worked as a conduit in the outfit. On instructions from IM chief Riyaz Bhatkal, Tehsin in 2010 smuggled Pakistani outfit member Ajmal-—who was lodged somewhere in India—to Nepal, from where the latter could sneak back to Pakistan. At Kathmandu in Nepal, Tehsin met another Pakistani national, Ziya-ur-Rehman alias Waqas, and Asadullah Akhtar alias Tabrez, and reportedly brought them to Samastipur in September that year. The three were received by Yasin, who had taken up a house there, the police said.
 According to the police, on January 1, 2011, Tehsin’s father Waseem confronted him about living with the “other boys”. Waseem dragged Tehsin away, threatening to call the police if the others met him. But that did little to dissuade Tehsin. “In July 2013, Tehsin came to Mumbai and lived with his Mumbra relatives. They were unaware of his plan and link with the IM,” police said. 
YOUNGEST MEMBER Tahseen Waseem Akhtar
alias Shaikh Sahab alias Monu (23) was born in Samastipur, Bihar. He studied in a local school till Class IV and moved to Mumbai with his father. He lived with his aunt at Mumbra and studied in a private school till Class X. Later, he returned to Samastipur and completed an engineering diploma course. In 2008, he
TERROR LINK 13/7 triple blasts in Mum | He is a suspected conspirator and along with IM chief Yasin Bhatkal, he planted a bomb at Dadar
2012 Pune J M Road blast | Chargesheet shows him as a bomb planter
2013 Hyderabad twin blasts | Allegedly arranged explosives and helped make improvised explosive devices. He hatched the blast plot at the behest of IM top functionary Riyaz Bhatkal
July 2013 Gaya blast | Also played a role in the Gaya serial bomb blasts but no one was injured in it
came in touch with IM members. He is believed to be the youngest IM member
After the triple blasts in Mumbai in July, 2011, Tahseen stayed in the city for a week and then returned to his Samastipur home. In Nov-Dec that year, he took refuge in Patna and then in Ranchi. In August 2012, he arrived in Pune to execute the serial blasts there and then returned to Ranchi where he rented a house, posing as a Hindu boy. The next month, he moved to Karnataka and hired a flat at Hammpankatta near Mangalore. Near the end of the year, he fled to Nepal. In February 2013, Riyaz Bhatkal sent Tahseen to India where he participated in the blasts at Dilsukhnagar in Hyderabad and stayed put there

The Times of India, March 26, 2014

Somali pirates trial: Deposition of 18 foreigners begins

File photo of the Somali pirates

Mateen Hafeez TNN

Mumbai: The 18 foreign witnesses will begin deposition in the videoconferencing trial of the 120 Somali pirates, who are facing charges of murder, hijacking a ship and waging war against the Indian government, in a city court from Wednesday.
    “The court has examined 70 Indian witnesses and 12
are left to be examined. Six witnesses from Thailand, six from Mozambique, two from Pakistan and four from Iran are yet to be examined. We have sent a request for video trial to their countries,” said asenior police officer.
    The pirates were captured by the Indian Navy and Coast Guard in separate raids. Around 60 of the pirates were caught in March 2011, when naval ships intercepted a captured Mozambican fishing vessel, Vega 5, in the Arabian Sea about 600 nautical miles west of India. Others were caught when the Navy launched an assault to free the Iranian fishing trawler, Al Murtaza, that was captured by the pirates.
    At least 70 hostages, mostly crew members from Thailand, Philippines, Bangladesh, Iran, Turkey, Myanmar and Pakistan, were rescued, and 11 AK-47 rifles with magazines, 10 AK-47s without magazines and two rocket launchers were seized. The pirates had killed Iranian national Mohammed Adam when he tried to resist them, while Pakistani national Abdul Aziz jumped into the sea.
    Harvinder Kour Wariach, DCP, Port zone, in a letter to secretary (IS- I division), ministry of home affairs, said it was decided to call the 18 foreign witnesses to the Indian Embassy in their respective countries and collect evidence through videoconferencing.
    The amicus curiae for the parties have given an application to the sessions court stating that the foreign witnesses should be genuine. A hearing in this matter will take place on Wednesday.

The Times of India, March 26, 2014

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

IM operative was in Mumbai before heading for Rajasthan

Delhi Police, Who Arrested Waqas, Won’t Say Why


Mateen Hafeez TNN

    Suspected Indian Mujahideen operative Waqas Saad Shaikh, who was arrested by the Delhi police’s special cell in Jaipur on Saturday, had stayed for three days at a lodge in Bandra (West) before leaving for Rajasthan. The Delhi police has been reluctant to speak about why the terror suspect was in Mumbai.
    Sources in the Delhi police’s special cell said that before coming to Mumbai, Waqas had been hiding in a safe house in Kerala for some time. “He took a train from Kerala to Mumbai, planning to go to Ajmer. We are interrogating him,” said special cell commissioner S M Srivastava.
    In the past, the cell arrested several terror suspects who were initially named as wanted by the Maharashtra police. The suspects include Zabihuddin Ansari, alias Abu Jundal, the handler of the 26/11 terrorists, and 13/7 bomb planters and IM operatives Yasin Bhatkal and Asadullah Akhtar, alias Tabrez.
    Was Waqas planning to help Bhatkal escape from police custody in Mumbai? Srivastava said, “Till now, it has not come up in the interrogation.” The special cell is likely to give Maharashtra’s anti-terrorism squad (ATS) the address of the Bandra lodge where Waqas stayed so that witnesses’ statements can be recorded.
    Meanwhile, ATS chief Himanshu Roy has said that the squad will get a warrant from a Mumbai court to get Waqas’s custody for the July 2011 triple blasts, in which 27 people were killed. Bhatkal and Tabrez are in ATS custody. The three, before and after the 13/7 blasts, stayed at Habib Mansion in Byculla. They rented a room on the third floor of the building for Rs 8,000 and made IEDs.
    Sources in the security establishment said Waqas’s facial and physical similarity with absconding IM operative Aariz Junaid Khan had delayed his arrest. “The police wanted to be sure before picking up Waqas and so they used technology to verify the suspect as Waqas,” said a source.
    Khan, an Azamgarh resident, and several IM operatives were named in an FIR filed by the National Investigation Agency in June 2012. The same year, Khan’s photograph was identified as Waqas’s by a witnesses in Darbhanga, where Waqas had spent some time. “The confusion may have been due to their similar looks. This was one of the reasons the initial poster, issued by the NIA, on 12 wanted IM operatives did not carry Waqas’s photograph,” a source said.


 1 SEP 2010 | Waqas arrived in India via Kathmandu, along with Indian Mujahideen member Asadullah Akhtar, alias Tabrez. A week after their arrival to Samastipur, Bihar, IM co-founder Yasin Bhatkal briefed them about a plan to gun down foreigners in Delhi’s Jama Masjid. Waqas carried out the attack on September 19 
 2 DEC 7, 2010 | Waqas planted a bomb at Sheetalghat in Varansasi, to mark the demolition of Babri Masjid and to protest against the Allahabad high court’s order on the issue. At the time, his base of operations was Bihar  
3 JAN 2011 | Waqas and Tabrez arrived in Mumbai and rented a room in Habib Mansion, Byculla. In April, he was admitted to JJ Hospital for an eye problem  
4 JULY 2011 Waqas went to Mangalore to collect explosives. He assembled four bombs and planted one at Zaveri Bazaar, Mumbai, on July 13  
5 FEB 21, 2013 | Waqas and Tabrez planted bombs in Dilsukhnagar, Hyderabad. Tabrez left for Samastipur, Waqas stayed in a safe house in Karnataka 
 6 NOV 2013 Delhi police busted an alleged Indian Mujahideen module. Waqas escaped to Goa and stayed at Anuja beach in Madgaon  
7 MAR 22, 2014 Delhi police claimed to have arrested Waqas at Jaipur railway station. He was on his way to Mumbai 


July 2011 Mumbai triple blasts, in which 27 people died 
August 2012 Pune blasts, in which one person was injured. Six bombs were planted on J M Road September 2010 Delhi Jama Masjid firing, in which two foreigners were injured and a policeman died 
December 2010 blast at Sheetalghat, Varanasi, in which 15 were injured  
February 2013 Hyderabad twin blasts
The Times of India, March 25, 2014

Monday, March 24, 2014

Waqas planted Zaveri Bazar bomb in 2011

Waqas collected explosives from Mangalore for the 2011 blasts at Zaveri Bazar, Opera House and Dadar, which killed 27 people

Mateen Hafeez TNN

Mumbai: IM’s Pakistani operative Waqas’s arrest will help the Maharashtra ATS put together the pieces in the July 13, 2011, Mumbai triple blasts and Pune blasts cases. Waqas had also surveyed the Wankhede stadium for a similar operation during the IPL matches. An ATS team left for Delhi on Sunday night.
    Investigators found that after being trained by the ISI, arrested IM operative Assadullah Akhtar alias Tabrez, along with Waqas, travelled to India via Nepal around September 2010 to execute terror attacks. In January 2011, Waqas and Tabrez arrived in Mumbai. Tabrez got himself a job with a developer while Waqas alias Javed alias Mota Bhai joined a gym run by a gangster who is a former MLA.
    The ATS found that in April 2011, Waqas had surveyed the Wankhede stadium twice during IPL matches but dropped the plan to bomb the venue due to police deployment. 

    According to the ATS, Tabrez and Waqas collected around 7kgs of explosives from outside Mangalore around a week before the Mumbai triple bombings that killed 27. The consignment was arranged by IM founder Riyaz Bhaktal. Waqas had planted the Zaveri Bazar bomb, which alone killed 16. The rest of the casualties were in the Opera house and Dadar blasts.
    In October 2011, a second consignment of about 4kgs of ammonium nitrate and RDX was procured by Waqas and Tabrez for fresh strikes. Following the Delhi police special cell’s arrival here and the arrest of IM cadres in the national capital, Waqas escaped to Goa and stayed at Anuja beach in Madgaon. In March 2012, Waqas and Tabrez went to Belgaum and planned to bomb Pune’s J M Road.

The Times of India, March 24, 2014

Sunday, March 23, 2014

For a safe city, cops to prepare sexual predators list

Police chief Rakesh Maria (top, fourth from left) at the TOI meet. On his left is ex-top cop Julio Ribeiro, and on his right housing activist P K Das, Vimal Shah of MCHI-CREDAI and Nitai Mehta of Praja. (Right) Activists Gerson Da Cunha, Milind Mhaske, Indrani Malkani, Ashok Datar and Trupti Amritwar

Nitasha Natu & Mateen Hafeez TNN

Mumbai: Mumbai police have decided to prepare a sexual predators list, police commissioner Rakesh Maria told the TOI on Saturday. 

    Every police station in the city has been asked to maintain this list, and those who are

on it will be under scrutiny. “During public festivals such as Ganeshotsav and New Year’s Eve celebrations, these men will be kept off the streets,” he said. 

    Maria made this announcement at a roundtable discu
ssion organized by The Times of India on Saturday as part of its ongoing Mumbai Patrol campaign. 

    Among those who were part of the riveting discussion on infrastructural, social, civic and safety issues in the
city were former police chief Julio Ribeiro, housing activist and architect P K Das and educationist-activist Indrani Malkani. The discussion was moderated by activist Gerson Da Cunha.
    TOI will, in the next few
weeks, do special coverage on issues raised during the discussion.
    Elaborating on the criteria for inclusion of names in the ‘predators’ list, Maria said serial offenders in rape and molestation cases would be
included in it. 

    However, those accused in ‘technical’ cases, such as those booked for rape for going back on a promise of marriage, may not figure in it.

 ‘Gangrape cases to be probed by inspector-rank officer’

    A committee comprising zonal deputy commissioners and the regional additional commissioner will have the final say on inclusion of names in the list. The list’s contents will be kept confidential and will not be displayed either in public or on notice boards inside police stations, he said.
    Also, from now on, every gangrape case and those cases of rape where the accused is not known to the survivor will be investigated by an officer of inspector rank. An inspector-rank officer brings in 20 to 25 years of experience, also of having attended numerous court hearings, and is familiar with trials. 
    “Preferably, this inspector-rank officer will be a woman. But there are police stations where we may not have a female inspector, in which case her male counterpart will head the probe,” Maria said. Cops said this would ensure a speedier probe. 

    “An inspector (who is also agazetted officer) is way more
experienced and seasoned than a sub-inspector or an assistant inspector,” said deputy commissioner Mahesh Patil, who is the Mumbai police spokesperson. Patil added that as per the amended provisions of the IPC, the presence of a woman officer is a must while the statement of a rape survivor is being recorded.

Police commissioner Rakesh Maria with ex-police chief Julio Ribeiro 

The Times of India, March 23, 2014

4 Shakti Mills convicts kept in anda cells

Mateen Hafeez & Rebecca Samervel TNN

Mumbai: The four Shakti Mills gangrape convicts, who were awarded life imprisonment on Friday, have been kept in separate isolated high security anda (egg-shaped) cells at Arthur Road Jail.
  “We don’t want any trouble and therefore security has been increased in and around their cells,” said a senior jail official. The four—Qasim Shaikh, Saleem Ansari, Vijay Jadhav and Ashfaque Shaikh — are currently lodged in the anda cell in the prison’s eastern side. “There have been cases in the past where rapists were beaten up by other inmates. All four are living alone in separate 10x10-foot andacells.” 

    For three of them—Qasim, Ansari and Jadhav—Friday was not their last time in a trial court. On Monday, they face a bigger battle, with the prosecution submitting an application seeking the introduction of a
new charge under Section 376E of the Indian Penal Code.
    If the trio are accepted as repeat rape offenders, the prosecution could then present arguments seeking the death penalty against them. Special public prosecutor Ujjwal Nikam said this is the first time since the section’s introduction that such an application has been made. “If the court accepts the application, we might even submit evidence under the charge. We are exploring all options,” Nikam said.
    The four rapists have some hardened criminals, terror suspects and suspected killers as their neighbours. Those lodged in these multi-tier security cells are freed for an hour in a day when their cells are unlocked. They roam in the common passage, chat with other suspected criminals but cannot come out of the anda barrack (a barrack houses dozens of cells) like other ordinary suspects who are kept in the general barracks. 
The Times of India, March 23, 2014

Friday, March 21, 2014

‘Locality safer, but not enough’

Mateen Hafeez TNN

Mumbai: The neighborhood around Dhobi Ghat near Mahalaxmi railway station, home to most of the culprits, has tracked the gangrape cases closely. Most deemed ther conviction as “good riddance to habitual troublemakers”. At the same time, though, they said the area still teems with addicts and has not been sanitized by cops. Neighbours of prime accused Qasim Shaikh, though, accepted the verdict but also said that he should be pardoned. 

    Chand Bibi, Shaikh’s mother, who has been visiting her son at every hearing, was present in the courtroom when the judge pronounced her son as guilty. “Since its my son’s first crime, punish him, but give him a chance to reform.” A widow for 10 years, she stays with her three children in an Agripada slum. “I don’t have money to fight the case. I work as a house help.” 

    Meanwhile, her neighbours remembered Shaikh as a quiet
boy who did not harass girls in their area. “What he did elsewhere came as a shock to us,” said a woman in her late 40s. 

    A man said his mother never stopped him from mingling with drug addicts. “He is uneducated. Though he would not fight with people in the area, he fell into bad company,” he said.     Meanwhile, the family of Vijay Jadhav (19), another convict, moved out of their rented Virar flat around a month after his arrest. Jadhav stayed in Dhobi Ghat with his grandmother. 

    Convict Ashfaque Shaikh’s wife Nasreen said, “My husband is innocent. I don’t have resources to take this fight to the high court. After his arrest, I moved to my mother’s home in Mumbra as my neighbours ostracized us. My two kids have not gone to school since October. Everyday I travel from Mumbra to Byculla to do house work. How long can my mother keep me? I don’t know where to go.”
    (With inputs from Sandhya Nair and Rebecca Samervel)

The Times of India, March 21, 2014

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Ex-MLA booked for assaulting commando

Mumbai: The MRA Marg police recently registered a case against a former MLA of the Shiv Sena for allegedly beating up a quick response team commando and a taxi driver at Hutatma Chowk in south Mumbai. The MLA is yet to be arrested. 

    Krishna Prakash, Addl CP (south region), said, “The on-duty QRT commando, P Dhare, was posted near Hutatma Chowk. He saw some people beating up a taxi driver with sticks. While no one came to the
cabbie’s rescue, the commando intervened. The accused asaulted the commando despite knowing he was a policeman on duty.”

    Prakash added that the commando was scared of losing his job as he had heard one of the men saying he was an ex-MLA. “After learning of the incident, we called the commando who told us what happened. He said he didn’t want to lodge a complaint as he was scared of any action against him,” said Prakash. 

Mateen Hafeez

Wednesday, March 19, 2014



Pujara to lead West in Deodhar Trophy: 

Saurashtra’s Cheteshwar Pujara will lead holders West Zone in the Prof DB Deodhar Trophy limited overs inter-zonal knockout tournament to be played at Visakhapatnam from March 23. Wicketkeeper Parthiv Patel of Gujarat will be his deputy, a media release from zonal selection panel’s convener Nitin Dalal said on Tuesday. India discard Irfan Pathan of Baroda has not found a berth in the squad while his brother Yusuf has been included. West, who won the title in the last two seasons and 11 times overall since the tournament’s inception in 1973-74, have drawn a first round bye into the semi finals and would play their first game on March 25. The final is scheduled on March 27. Sushant Marathe, Abhishek Nayar and Dhaval Kulkarni are the Mumbai players included in the squad.

Hurt Jayasuriya slams Sanga & Mahela’: 

 Sri Lanka Cricket chief selector Sanath Jayasuriya has expressed disappointment at not being kept in the loop as far as the retirement plans of Kumar Sangakkara and Mahela Jayawardene from T20 Internationals were concerned. “I feel very let down by them. I’ve been very transparent with them. If they’re even resting, I’ve been calling them and telling them what’s going on. I never ever dealt controversially with any senior player,” Jayasuriya was quoted as saying. 

Abdi’s complaint transferred to EOW

Mumbai: The city economic offences wing (EOW) is probing an alleged misappropriation of funds case of Rs 2,282 crore against BCCI president N Srinivasan, and several others allegedly involved in the case, reports Mateen Hafeez. A complaint was filed by Mehmood Abdi, Lalit Modi’s counsel and president of Ganganagar District Cricket Association, which is a member of Rajasthan Cricket Association, at the Marine Drive police station. Later, the complaint was transferred to the EOW. City police commissioner, Rakesh Maria, has confirmed the transfer of compliant. Abdi in his application has accused Srinivasan and four others. The complainant stated that Srinivasan and others entered into a conspiracy with Sony and its key executives in May 2010 by misrepresenting facts before the members of the governing council, which resulted in huge losses for the BCCI.

Oz player banned for penis image on pitch: 

An Australian cricketer was suspended Tuesday for a bizarre incident in which he scratched the image of a penis and testicles into the pitch. South Australian paceman Daniel Worrall was slapped with a penalty of four suspension points, which is equal to two four-day matches or four one-day or T20 games. He was reported for unbecoming conduct and bringing the game into disrepute after the incident last Friday during a Futures League match. Worrall scratched the image into a wicket due to be used for another match.

Vaughan feels ‘conned’ by Trott exit:

 Former England captain Michael Vaughan felt deceived by Jonathan Trott’s revelation last weekend that he left England’s Ashes tour of Australia suffering from “burn out”, he revealed on Monday. When Trott quit what turned out to be a 5-0 Ashes thrashing by Australia after twice falling cheaply to fast bowler Mitchell Johnson in the first Test in Brisbane, England officials said he was suffering from a “stress-related illness”. 

Abbas backs Kohli to ‘break all records’:

Pakistani batting legend Zaheer Abbas has backed Virat Kohli to break all the records in international cricket and said that the premier Indian batter is destined for greatness. Abbas is the latest entrant in the list of illustrious former cricketers hailing Kohli. Abbas said that Kohli will manage to break all the previous records set in the game, adding that the transition phase in Indian batting has already happened as they now have a set line-up.

MAKING THE BAT TALK: Afghan batsman Mohammad Shahzad reacts as he walks off the field after being dismissed in the fifth World T20 qualifying match against Hong Kong at Zohur Ahmed Chowdhury Stadium in Chittagong on Tuesday 
The Times of India, March 19, 2014

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Soon, women cops above 40 can wear saris


Police Chief Discusses Difficulties Women Personnel Face And Ways To Help Them 


Prafulla Marpakwar TNN

Mumbai: Women police personnel, particularly those who are aged above 40, will soon be permitted to wear saris instead of the traditional shirt and trousers uniform. 

    On the occasion of International Women’s Day, police commissioner Rakesh Maria had a meeting with 300-odd women police personnel, led by deputy commissioner Sharda Raut, to discuss their difficulties. “It was an open discussion. I heard the contention of each and every woman police personnel. In principle, I have accepted their suggestions. We will have to ensure better working conditions for them,” Maria said.
    As a follow-up action, a committee headed by Raut was set up to study the suggestions made by the women police personnel. “Raut has submitted her report and we are in the process of drafting an action plan. The results will be visible soon,” Maria said.
    Most women police personnel suggested that they should be permitted to wear saris, at least those aged above 40. “We have accepted their suggestion,” Maria said.
    Another point raised by the women police officials was the plight of pregnant police personnel. “They have suggested that pregnant cops should be put on less strenuous duty. We have considered their plea and will ensure that they are given easier work,” Maria said.
    Difficulties faced by women police personnel during festivals was also discussed. “Their duty hours during the festivals of Ganpati, Navratri and Diwali are extremely difficult and there are no toilet facilities for women police. We have taken note of it and basic facilities will be made available in a time-bound period,” the police commissioner said.
    Maria has proposed to provide movable toilets during festivals. “We will hire portable or movable toilets exclusively for women police personnel and the same will be provided near the spots,” he said.
    In addition, Maria said it has been proposed to construct changing rooms and toilets exclusively for women police personnel in all 98-odd police stations across the city. “We have received an administrative approval of Rs 3.66 crore for construction of toilets and changing rooms,” he said.
    A senior IPS officer on Monday welcomed Maria’s proposal, saying this was for the first time that a Mumbai police commissioner has addressed the plight of the women police personnel. “Very small issues were raised in the meeting and Maria accepted them immediately. In the past too, these issues were raised, but were not taken seriously,” he said.

Panel report to improve women cops’ work culture

Mumbai: A 15-member police women’s committee has submitted its report to police chief Rakesh Maria highlighting the problems of women personnel in the force and the duties they can be assigned.
    The committee, comprising two women deputy police commissioners, three women assistant commissioners, police inspectors and even constables, was set up in the third week of February. “I wanted to review the problems and grievances of the women personnel in the force. The committee spoke to a large number of women personnel and has also made several suggestions and recommendations. I am going to conduct a meeting with all four joint commissioners of police—law and order, crime, traffic, administration—to discuss the report card. We will implement most recommendations,” said Maria.

    The foremost of problems that women cops face is the lack of changing rooms in police stations. There are hardly any special rooms in the police stations for women where they can rest, in case health-related problems. Many women police personnel stay far from their homes and the commissioner is planning to give them posting nearby .Mateen Hafeez 

The Times of India, March 18, 2014

Saturday, March 15, 2014

EOW raises bar, may probe only 3cr-plus cases

Mateen Hafeez TNN

Mumbai: For the Economic Offences Wing (EOW), any amount below Rs 3 crore may soon be small change. A plan is being drawn up to increase the amount limit of cases that are transferred from police stations to the EOW from Rs 50 lakh to Rs 3 crore. 

    “This move aims to reduce the burden on the EOW and improve the quality of investigation. Today, each EOW officer handles 12-15 cases. Once the proposal is sanctioned, we will announce the
new limit,” said Rakesh Maria, police commissioner. The Rs 2,200-crore SpeakAsia fraud has over 24 lakh investors or panelists, but only one EOW officer is filing the supplementary chargesheet.
   Maria added that if the amount is less than the prescribed limit in a case, but the modus operandi and nature of the crime is complex, it will be probed by the EOW. “We will send all cases prescribed below the amount limit to the police stations. But the zonal deputy commissioner, regional additional commissioner and the EOW additional commissioner will closely monitor the investigation,” said Maria.
    With inflation, the amount involved in cases is increasing rapidly, said senior officers. Last year, 181 cases were registered with the EOW involving property worth Rs 8,142 crore, including the Rs 5,500-crore NSEL scam and Rs 425-crore QNet cheating case.
    Manpower shortage in the EOW has also led to slow disposal of hundreds of cases involving nearly Rs 12,790 crore. The EOW has only 76 officers and 174 constables in its 12 units. “In each case, we have to record statements of hundreds of people, make seizures, conduct raids and send evidence for forensic analyses. Staff shortage delays probes,” said an officer.
    Since its inception in 1994, the EOW has registered more than 2,000 cases.
    In 2012, then police commissioner had sent a proposal to the state law and judiciary department recommending the setting up of a special court to try EOW cases. In October 2013, a reminder was also sent, but the proposal is still pending. 
The Times of India, March 15, 2014

Schoolkids get lowdown on traffic rules

Mateen Hafeez TNN

Mumbai: Policemen have begun meeting schoolchildren to crack down on traffic violations. NGOs have also been roped in. 

    “One of the worst traffic problems are the Nagpada-CST stretch and on JJ flyover. The NGOs will help police in spreading the message of safe biking,” said a senior police officer.
    “We are conducting meetings in schools and NGOs near Pydhonie, JJ Marg, Dongri and Nagpada. Our aim to rope in prominent people to help us drive home the message,” said police chief Rakesh Maria. 

    The top brass is worried about the increasing attacks on traffic personnel. Nearly 83 cases of assault were reported in 2011-12, according to statistics provided by the traffic department. Close to 100 people have been were arrested for the attacks, even women personnel have been at the receiving end of public fury. “For a city with a population of over 15 million, there are merely 3,133 traffic cops, 330 of them women,” said a source. “There have been cases of assault, misbehavior, snatching of caps and gaping at female constables,” a traffic inspector said. In 2011-12, 20% assaults on traffic cops took place between Kalbadevi and Pydhonie. 
The Times of India, March 15, 2014

Friday, March 14, 2014

More than 1,600 drug arrests in 20 days

Rakesh Maria


Mateen Hafeez TNN

Mumbai: A new anti-drugs drive led to over 1,600 arrests in its first 20 days, said police commissioner Rakesh Maria at a public meeting near Grant Road on Thursday. 

    Maria was at an antidrugs meeting at a madrasa, his first with residents after taking over as city police chief on February 16. He promised more, saying there
would be review meetings every three months. “In the last 20 days, we arrested 1,649 drug addicts and peddlers,” he said.
    Maria visited Jamia Qadriya Ashrafiya, where a Muslim scholar, Hazrat Moin Miya, has run a campaign against drug peddlers for the past couple of years. 

    “Drug addicts are spoiling the area and sometimes they can be very dangerous,” Moin Miya said. “The new generation is attracted towards drugs and strict ac
tion is required.”
    Maria said from February 22 to March 12, the police seized 65 kg of drugs and registered 1,038 cases. “Those caught include 16 big-time drug peddlers,” he said.   He said the anti-drug drive would continue as long as he was the commissioner. The 56-year-old officer said his men had counselled 15 to 20 college students who had just begun taking drugs.


Rakesh Maria
took charge as city police chief on Feb 16
From Feb 22 till March 12, police filed 1,038 drugs cases
In 2013, 1,466 cases filed

The Times of India, March 14, 2014

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Chaos at Churchgate: Bags, shoes, watches lost; metal detectors fall


No Traffic NOC, Rly Cops Not Told Of Trip, Code Of Conduct ‘Flouted’

Nitasha Natu TNN

Mumbai: AAP chief Arvind Kejriwal’s visit to the city on Wednesday caused pandemonium at both Andheri station where he boarded an 11.26am local and Churchgate where he got off at 12.15pm. The Kejriwal cavalcade, though, did not cause congestion on the road after exiting the airport in 30-40 autos earlier in the day, thanks to a tight traffic police bandobast. 

    The state government said it will check whether the chaos at Churchgate and possibly other parts of the city caused damage to public property. It might even recover damages from AAP, if it is found guilty.
    In the evening, Kiran Dighavkar, M (East) Ward officer of Govandi, alleged that AAP violated the election code of conduct by conducting a road show on Ghatkopar-Mankhurd Link Road without seeking permission from either the BMC or the traffic department. Dighavkar had also refused an NOC. “We will submit our video recordings and a report to the collector who, in turn, will submit it to the election commission to initiate further action,” he said.
    Some of the violations reported by the BMC include use of nine vehicles (four-wheelers instead of three), announcements on loudspeakers and distribution of caps and flags. The BMC will submit the report to Deonar and Mankhurd police station on Thursday.
    Meanwhile, the traffic department said the party had not taken traffic NOC for their road shows, which is a must in addition to route permission, given by local police stations. GRP officials, too, said AAP had not even intimated them about Kejriwal’s train journey. RPF also learnt about the trip from its own intelligence.
    Traffic police took action against three auto drivers for ferrying AAP workers in more numbers than permitted to Andheri; one of whom ferried Kejriwal himself. AAP supporters said they had no choice due to lack of transport options near the airport.
    “Under Section 177 of the Motor Vehicles Act, action is taken against the person driving the vehicle; in this case, the auto driver. The capacity of an auto is one driver plus three passengers, which has been flo
uted,” said Kaiser Khalid, additional police commissioner, traffic. The drivers were booked and summons were sent to them to appear before court. Drivers were identified by traffic personnel on bandobast duty, and footage from CCTVs mounted at junctions was checked. “The deputy commissioner, traffic (suburbs) will look into the matter,” said Khalid.
    Meanwhile, women commuters had a harrowing time in a near stampede at Andheri and Churchgate.   A female media photographer fell at Andheri and would have slipped into the gap had a commuter not pulled her away in time.
At Churchgate, several commuters misplaced their footwear, spectacles, watches and bags. Two door-frame metal detectors also collapsed, but railway security agencies did not press charges against AAP. A senior police official said permission for Kejriwal’s rally was given for August Karanti Maidan and some areas.
(With inputs from Linah Baliga, Chittaranjan Tembhekar, Mateen Hafeez and Anahita Mukherji) 


AAP chief Arvind Kejriwal and his supporter’s entry at Andheri station, where he boarded a 11.26am slow local for Churchate, attracted a crowd of at least 700 Mumbaikars. At Churchgate, around a 1,000 people turned up 

    GRP deployed 300 personnel, 10 inspectors, striking and commando forces, besides asst commissioner and deputy commissioner
    Women commuters had a harrowing time during a near stampede at Andheri and then Churchgate. Commuters misplaced their footwear, spectacles, watches and bags
    Two metal detectors collapsed at Churchgate as many people tried to pass through them
    WR spokesperson said these were immediately erected as they were functional. Railway security agencies did not press charges
    Local services were not hit
    “I have met the station manager at Churchgate and asked him to send us a formal report of the incident. Prima facie, it seems the metal detectors collapsed due to overcrowding, not intentionally,” said DCP Deepak Devraj, GRP, WR  


Kejriwal’s cavalcade of 50-100 party workers landed in the city. They boarded autos
Traffic police booked three auto drivers for ferrying passengers in more numbers than is permitted

    Autos are licenced to carry only three passengers besides one driver
    Auto drivers were charged under Section 177 of Motor Vehicles Act. Summons were sent to them to appear before court
    One of the three drivers had ferried Arvind Kejriwal himself

State government will check whether the chaos at Churchgate station and in other areas in the city led to any damage to public property
    The state might even recover the damages from AAP, if it is found guilty

1.45pm meeting with mediapersons at the Mumbai Press Club stood cancelled
    Rally at August Kranti Maidan was also cancelled

In the mayhem at Churchgate station, two metal detectors collapsed as too many people tried passing through them

The Times of India, March 13, 2014

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

‘IM got hawala money for 13/7 blasts’



Mateen Hafeez TNN

Mumbai: The state anti-terrorism squad (ATS) suspects that the money required to orchestrate the 13/7 Mumbai blasts was sent to Indian Mujahideen (IM) operatives through the hawala route and it came through Pune. A tobacco firm’s owner, whose dispute with a rival was settled in Karachi a few years ago, is also under the scanner, said sources in the security establishment.
    The ATS, which is probing the 2011 triple bomb blasts case, is desperately looking for a suspect, identified as Ibrahim. He worked at a real estate firm’s office in Pune. The investigators are now zeroing in on this construction firm suspecting its close association with a tobacco manufacturing firm, whose top official was in the news a few years ago due to his Karachi visit and his alleged meeting with underworld don Dawood Ibrahim.
    Agencies like NIA, Delhi Police’s special cell and state ATS tried to approach the proprietor of the firm. However, “because of his clout” the man is still out of the radar, sources claimed.
    Ibrahim is suspected to have channeled hawala money to IM operatives on three occasions—during the planning and execution of the 2008 Gujarat bomb blasts, during the Pune German Bakery bomb blast and the 13/7 Mumbai bomb blasts. These explosions collectively killed 104 people.
    “One of the accused, Muzaffar Kola (68), who is suffering from cancer, is from Karnataka. Kola has links with this tobacco manufacturer. The money used in 13/7 was channeled to Delhi and then to Mumbai through Kola’s UAE-based firm, Kola Enterprises. Ibrahim who was then working in the construction firm also received some money. The relation between Kola and the construction firm owner prompted us to probe the matter further,” said an officer.
    “Kola’s old association with the tobacco manufacturer cannot be ignored. We are still working on it.” While the police claimed to have found evidence of Ibrahim’s involvement in the hawala transactions, they also suspect that he might have transported explosives in the past for the IM. “Several things about Ibrahim has emerged during the interrogation of IM top functionary, Ahmed Siddibapa alias Yasin Bhatkal,” the officer added. 

    IM’s suspected co-founder, Yasin Bhatkal, who was in ATS custody, also admitted that he knew Ibrahim.
    “After recording statements of several accused and witnesses in this case, we realized that Ibrahim is the main link and if he had been working for several years, there might have been some support pillars. We are trying to collect evidence against the culprits,” the source added. Bhatkal, along with his associate Asadullah Akhtar is in Thane jail.

The Times of India, March 11, 2014

Monday, March 10, 2014

New coastal police stn for sea link and beaches

Mateen Hafeez TNN

Mumbai: The state government has sanctioned a new coastal police station in the city to ensure the security of Bandra-Worli sea link and beaches up to 12 nautical milesfrom thecoast. 

    The new Sagari-II police station, with over 500 sanctioned personnel, may come up either at Aksa or Gorai beach,butwillhaveitscheckpost and patrol boats across the city. Sources said the cost of the new police station, including the patrol boats, weapons, and construction, willbe aboutRs5crore.
    “Acoastal policestation is very important.Thedecision has been taken keeping in mindthecity’ssecurity,” said Rakesh Maria, Mumbai policecommissioner. 

    At present, the Yellow Gate and Sagari-I police stations look after the security of city’s coastline. While the Sagari police station (I) only patrols the waters up to 12 nautical miles from the coast from Bandra Reclamation up toBorivli,theYellowGate po
lice alsotakeup casesof theft and other crimes that take place on land in its jurisdiction. The new coastal police station will be given areas from the existing Sagari police station to reduce the latter’s load. The Sagari-II police station will also help launch operations of any kind, besides patrolling and security, and the staff will be given AK-47s, self-loading rifles and other sophisticated weapons,heavy searchlights and patrolling trawlers.
   Besides the specialized coastal police, the Sewri and Wadala police also man some portion of thewatersin their respectivejurisdictions.
    Coastal policing has been in the focus after the 26/11 terror attacks, when 10 terrorists, including Ajmal Kasab, had sailed into Mumbai near Badhwar Park in Cuffe Parade in 2008. Mumbai district has a 114-km coast, of which the police monitor 12 nautical miles from the coastline. Beyond this limit, the Indian Navy and coast guardsecurethewaters.
According to a government resolution issued last week, Mumbai will get a new coastal police station—Sagari-II—to monitor the waters up to 12 nautical miles from the coastline. It will be set up either at Aksa or Gorai beach
    When Sagari-II police station becomes operational, it will monitor the sea from Bandra jetty up to Gorai beach, including the Bandra-Worli sea link. Sagari-I police station, which currently only patrols the waters from Bandra Reclamation up to Borivli, will then secure the waters between TIFR in Colaba and Bandra jetty

The Times of India, March 10, 2014

Friday, March 7, 2014

Insurance agent dupes diamond firm of 89L, held

Mateen Hafeez TNN

Mumbai: The economic offences wing (EOW) arrested an agent of Life Insurance Corporation of India for cheating an Andheri-based diamond trading firm. 

    “The accused, Chetan Desai (59), was picked up after Star Gold Diamond Pvt Ltd lodged a complaint,” said assistant police commissioner Vasant Dhoble.
    The firm discovered financial irregularities to the tune of Rs 89 lakh. The firm, which has more than 300 employees, would take out insurance policies for new staffers.
    “Desai offered his services to the firm. He would get 35% of the total premium on every new insurance policy availed. The policies were valid for a year. If the firm renewed the policy, then Desai would receive 5% commission,” Dhoble added.
    Between 2010 and 2011, the firm tasked Desai with finishing the formalities on their behalf.
    In 2013, Desai, who had a record of the names and details of the firm’s employees, forged documents to process new policies instead of renewing them. “The accused pocketed 35% commission although the firm was entitled to pay only 5%,” an official added. The fraud came to light after some employees approached the insurance company for loans. “They informed their employer and blew the whistle on Desai. The firm confronted Desai and later lodged an FIR,” he added. Desai had been associated with the insurance company for over three decades. He has been remanded in police custody. 
The Times of India, March 7, 2014

Dunar Food MD arrested in NSEL case

Mateen Hafeez TNN

Mumbai: The economic offences wing (EOW) arrested Surendra Gupta, MD of Dunar Food, for his alleged role in the Rs 5,500 crore NSEL cheating case. Gupta is the sixth person to be arrested in NSEL case. 

    Rajvardhan Sinha, additional commissioner of police, EOW, said Gupta’s company took Rs 571 crore loan from NSEL for buying commodities but invested in the money in real estate and transferred some money abroad. “Gupta’s wife is a director in another firm, P D Agro Processing, and some money was transferred from Dunar to P D Agro,” said Vasant Dhobale, another EOWofficial. 
The Times of India, March 7, 2014

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

If released, will again trigger blasts across India: Bhatkal tells cops

Yasin Bhatkal

Mateen Hafeez TNN

Mumbai: Suspected Indian Mujahideen (IM) co-founder Yasin Bhatkal (33) seems unrepentant. Bhatkal told cops during interrogation that if released, he would again set off bombs across the country, and that he did not regret what he did.
    Once termed India’s Osama bin Laden, he faces charges of murder, attempt to murder, waging war against the Government of India and being the member of a banned organization.
    He spoke of his threat when told that he could be hanged for his crimes.
    Born and brought up in a well-to-do family in Karnataka’s Bhatkal town, he was said to have been arrested from the Indo-Nepal border on August 28 last year, after being on the run for almost eight years. The Indian police blamed him for the 2007 Uttar Pradesh court blasts, 2008 New Delhi bomb blasts, 2008 Gujarat serial blasts, 2008 Jaipur blast, 2010 German Bakery blast in Pune and Mumbai’s July 13, 2011 blasts.
    A stickler for cleanliness, Bhatkal faced trouble from an expected quarter: Mosquitoes at the Bhoiwada lock-up, where the state antiterrorism squad (ATS) had kept him for interrogation for 22 days in February. The cells were guarded by more than a dozen AK-47-weilding personnel, and the premises monitored by video cameras. There was no fan in his cell and Bhatkal used a common toilet. Though two bedsheets were given to him, he used one as a pillow.
    Even senior police officers could enter the premises only with prior intimation to the bosses.
    Bhatkal always maintained his schedule during interrogation: He woke up at 6am, bathed daily, changed clothes and went to sleep at 11pm. An officer said, “He is one of the most introverted and intelligent terror suspect interrogated so far. He can speak Nepalese, Nawayathi (used in Bhatkal), Urdu, Hindi, English, and Kannada.” 

    While on the run, Bhatkal married Zahira from Okhla, an industrial suburb of New Delhi. When policemen asked him if he had thought of what would happen to his wife after his arrest, he said, “Jo Allah ki marzi hai, woh hoga.”

A stickler for cleanliness, Bhatkal faced trouble from an expected quarter: Mosquitoes at the Bhoiwada lockup, where the ATS had kept him for interrogation for 22 days in February. The cells were guarded by more than a dozen AK-47-weilding personnel, and the premises monitored by video cameras

The Times of India, March 5, 2014

UK mgmt college dropout held for duping 500 people


Mateen Hafeez TNN

Mumbai: The economic offences wing (EOW) has arrested a 32-year-old man for duping over 500 poor people by promising them 77% return on their investment in a year-and-half. The accused, an MBA dropout from a reputable London college, is now in Arthur Road jail.
    EOW insiders said the accused, Naushad Shemle, son of a retired navy officer, duped housewives, commission agents, taxi drivers and hundreds of others from the low-income strata. The police found Shemle duped investors of Rs 1.62 crore.
    Ganesh Sherkhane, an insurance agent, had lodged a complaint with the EOW alleging Shemle had duped him of over Rs 3.55 lakh. A police officer said Shemle floated a firm, Success Job Marine and Multi Services, in Belapur and lured customers with the promise of high returns.
    “In March 2013, Shemle came up with an investment plan that whoever invests Rs 33,500 in his firm will get a return of Rs 1,500 per month for 18 months and one tola of gold,” the officer said. “While Rs 30,000 was calculated as the current value of one tola gold, Rs 3,500 was calculated as service charge and 10% value of one tola gold.”
    While some people invested Rs 33,500 and started getting a monthly instalment of Rs 1,500, most people invested only Rs 3,500. 

    “Shemle promised those who paid Rs 3,500 would get Rs 27,000 as returns in a yearand-half, while others who went for the full Rs 33,500 would get Rs 27,000 and one tola gold. Many people either took loans from their friends and families or mortgaged their ornaments to get high returns. After issuing some instalments as returns, Shemle stopped giving money in November. The investors began chasing three agents hired by Shemle. The agents had to sell their properties to repay the investors.” 
The Times of India, March 5, 2014