Friday, May 30, 2014

Byculla's hoarding drama queen has steadily climbed police charts too

Mumbai: Sapna Pareira alias Mandal, the 48-year-old who climbed a 70-foot commercial hoarding at Byculla on Wednesday and brought traffic to a crawl for four hours, has been variously described as mentally unstable and a victim of circumstances. Police records, though, say otherwise. Mandal figures in the list of top 10 criminals in Juhu police station.
A widow for 10 years now, the resident of Vile Parle's Hanuman Chawl has at least 38 criminal cases registered against her, ranging from theft and house break-ins to assault and even murder.
Mandal was married to Hillary Pareira who died a few years ago. She has a 16-year-old daughter. “Mandal's name first cropped up in a theft case in 1994. She was arrested and granted bail. This was just the beginning and she has never looked back,“ said a police officer from Juhu police station, which has 29 of the 38 cases registered against her.

On Wednesday morning, Mandal climbed the iron supports of a hoarding next to the Byculla railway tracks, and threatened to jump off it. The high voltage drama, which caused a heavy traffic jam and drew in hundreds of gaping onlookers, continued from 11am to 3pm, when the fire brigade brought her down.

“Mandal said this was her way of agitating against some of her neighbours who wanted to evict her from her shanty. She did not register a complaint but simply went on to attempt suicide,“ said a police officer from J J Marg police station and added they did not register a suicide attempt case.
“In most criminal cases in the past, she was arrested and charge sheeted. A month ago, Juhu police held her in a house break-in at Cooper Hospital from where she stole iron rods,“ said an officer. “She is among the top 10 criminals in the Juhu police station's list,“ added Rajendra Chavan, senior police inspector of Juhu police station.

“She lives with a friend, one Gawda, who arranges for her bail every time,“ said a cop.
Her daughter studies in a boarding school in Panchgani where she was admitted with the help of a charitable trust.

So what does Mandal do for a living? “My mother is a ragpicker,“ replied her daughter.

The Times of India, May 30, 2014

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Drama queen climbs hoarding in Byculla, stops traffic for hours


A woman who habitual ly threatens suicide after climbing poles or perching atop hoardings to draw attention to her unfair share of misfortune was at it again on Wednesday . Vile Parle resident Sapna Pareira (48) climbed the iron supports of a commercial hoarding next to the railway tracks in Byculla in the morning, threatening to jump from a height of 70 feet.

The high-voltage drama--that had hundreds of onlookers gathering, causing a traffic jam--went on for four hours till Pareira was forcibly brought down by the fire brigade at 3pm. A turntable ladder had to be used for the purpose.

Pareira had gone to the police commissioner's office on Monday with a complaint, but was not allowed into the main building. She abused the cops there and left.

Her daughter Sonu (18), who studies in a boarding school in Panchgani, and is in Mumbai for vacation, said, “Our neighbours are harassing us. They want to kill us and usurp our room. My moth er also went to the Juhu police station, but the officers there abused and threatened her. She was left with no option. Nobody is there to listen to us.“

The Times of India, May 29, 2014

Monday, May 26, 2014

Bldr dubbed Pak spy relives trauma, asks cops to trace culprit


The Khar developer, who was wrongfully dubbed a Pakistani spy by the security agencies in a recent terror alert, said the police should now focus on tracing the culprit behind the goof-up.
“The alert said I would carry out bomb blasts on the counting day (May 16). Subsequently , two policemen accompanied me for two days wherever I went and did not leave me alone for a minute,“ the developer told TOI. The victim said his trauma had begun since May 10. One of his sons, who helps him in the construction business, said, “Initially a policeman from the Bandra-Kurla police station arrived at our office and said he wanted to buy a flat in our project. He had apparently observed each and every object in the office, the staff as well as the place where my father sits.
He could not inquire much since neither my father nor I was present there. Later, when I went to meet him at the police station, his body language was quite different. He then revealed that the cops had received an alert about my father,“ said the 24-year-old son of the developer.

The cops reportedly did not divulge anything to the rest of the family members.
The developer, born and brought up in Mumbai, has three sons. The eldest one is a civil engineer, second an MBA, and the youngest is an architect. “Policemen from eight agencies came to me inquiring about my credentials. They also questioned people in our locality about us. I was not scared. Why should I?“ he said.

The first agency to reach his office was the anti-terrorism squad followed by the crime branch and the special branch. “They took note of the vehicles I use, my children use and whether our business involves cash transactions or cheques. We maintain records of all our transactions,“ the developer said. He reportedly prepared a file containing documents like his birth certificate, school and college certificates, voter ID, business transaction details to convince the cops about his innocence.
He is completing a Rs 125crore project at Chembur and another Rs 400-crore project is in the pipeline. “It's the police's duty to find who sent them the letter labeling me a terrorist,“ said the builder, who was given a clean chit.

The Times of India, May 26, 2014

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Drunk women in car caught after chase

Mumbai: Two drunk women, one of them at the wheel, first tried driving down a wrong direction and when accosted by the police, tried to speed away recently. The policemen, however, kept chasing the car from Fashion Street to Khadi Bunder before they could stop it. The motorist did not possess a licence.
 Pritika Wadhwani and Sujata Nevar (both 23), residents of Hill Road in Bandra, were in the car and, when chased down, locked themselves in till the arrival of their relatives. Wadhwani was driving, said the police.
“The medical report said both were drunk,” the police said.

They were fined Rs 8,500 for rash driving, not possessing a licence, and driving under the influence of alcohol.
A police team at a nakabandi had seen the women’s car approaching from the wrong side of a one-way road around 4.30 am. The Colaba traffic division officials brought the car to Fashion Street, but the women dodged the cops and sped away.

The police chased them in a police jeep and a taxi and stopped them. Policewomen were called to get the two out of the car.

The Times of India, May 24, 2014

Did cops forget to monitor PCOs after train blasts?

Mumbai: The state anti-terrorism squad (ATS) may now be claiming that a public call office (PCO) in Nagpada was the “command outpost“ for the 11/7 train blasts, but it seems to have forgotten to implement its own rules for their greater monitoring. The city cops said in December 2012, they issued directives to more than 60,000 PCO owners to maintain a register of those who make calls. But the directive has not reached the lane from where, according to the prosecution, the command post was handled.
The prosecution in the special MCOCA court conducting the blasts trial claimed a PCO on Shuklaji Street near Fauzia nursing home was used as the post.
But till a year ago, when the accused sought call data records (CDR) of mobiles to prove their innocence, the police said the records were not with them and the court ordered four mobile companies to provide them. Defence advocate Wahab Khan on Friday said, “We have used CDRs to show the accused, including alleged main conspirator Azam Cheema, were never in touch with anybody in Pakistan. This is contrary to what the investigating agency has said while seeking the remand of the accused.“
When TOI visited Shuklaji Street on Friday , there were three PCOs, one opposite the nursing home, where one of the accused, Dr Tanvir, worked till 2000. “There were 15 to 18 PCOs. But with the emergence of mobile, we hardly have business now. People don't come to our shops,“ said a PCO owner. He said he was unaware of the police's directives.
In the last two years, the police chief 's main control room received at least two threat calls, both made from public call offices.

The Times of India, May 24, 2014

Thursday, May 22, 2014

`Pak bomber' in terror alert with pic turns out to be Khar developer

Intel Forwarded Input, Didn't Bother To Verify

Mumbai: The quality of our `terror alerts' and the callousness of our security agencies in dealing with them were exposed in a recent case when a person was cleared of trying to set off blasts in the city by the police and the AntiTerrorism Squad.
The Intelligence Bureau (IB), the country's premier internal intelligence agency , received a letter in New Delhi about a “Pakistani spy“ in Mumbai who, along with his associate, was planning to carry out blasts on Lok Sabha election results day (May 16) at targets like the Siddhivinayak temple, Mantralaya, the NSE building, Haji Ali dargah, etc.

The letter said Pakistani national M Ansari (TOI is withholding the real name), who has an office on Khar Link Road, has close connections with the Pakistani Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) and meets Pakistani agents in Iraq and Saudi Arabia. A photograph, purporting to be Ansari's, was enclosed (TOIhas a copy).

The IB promptly forwarded the letter to the city police (see box), which in turn dispatched the `terror alert'. The Delhi IB headquarters also shared the information with the state IB.
Strangely , despite the details included in the letter, no IB official or even state IB official try to verify the allegations.

In the meantime, some of the “targets“ received similar letters and approached the local police. An official from a “target“ in BKC said in a letter to the senior inspector of the local police station that they had received a letter on May 9 addressed to chief officer, IB. The letter was signed by one Ahmed Sh aikh, a resident of Nayanagar in Mira Road, and gave the same details about Ansari.
“After receiving the letter, we appointed a special officer from the anti-terror cell to inquire. He found Ansari was a developer and had nothing to do with terrorism. Some business rival might have tried to defame him,” a senior BKC police officer told TOI. The police could not trace the Nayanagar address of the sender.

On May 13, the joint commissioner of police (law and order) forwarded the ‘intelligence input’ from IB; the police and ATS swung into action. “We verified the allegations in the letter. They turned out to be false,” said a senior ATS official, adding that forwarding such unverified ‘intelligence inputs’ is a general practice of IB which mostly embarrass the local police.

“Senior intelligence officials do not want to take responsibility of failure. Whatever input they get, they forward. In most cases, the alerts are either vague or non-actionable,” said a security official who did want to be named. In 2013, Maharashtra police got/shared around 200 alerts; around 170 were nonactionable, he added.

The Times of India, May 22, 2014

Monday, May 19, 2014

HAWK EYE Civic drive against illegal hawkers set to intensify

Eviction Squads S To Be Escorted By Police

Mumbai: The BMC's drive against illegal hawkers is set to intensify with the police saying that maximum security will be provided to the civic squads involved in such actions. 

The assurance from police commissioner Rakesh Maria comes in the wake of an attack on a TV journalist. A group of hawkers had misbehaved with the journalist's wife in Malad a fortnight ago. When Prasad confronted them, they attacked him.

Maria said he had received several complaints about hawkers misbehaving with people, especially women. In a letter to BMC commissioner Sitaram Kunte, Maria said maximum police escort would be provided to the civic teams.

BMC sources said that first it would start a drive against those involved in illegal hawking near railway stations. Then the drive will be extended to different parts of the city.
There are only 1.2 lakh registered hawkers in the city . But officials say that there could be equal number of unauthorized hawkers operat ing with the BMC's license.

There have instances of hawkers manhandling and assaulting civic officials while on eviction drive due to lack of inadequate police protection.

“We have been trying to get the BMC to evict hawkers in Vile Parle for a long time now, but they always tell us that they aren't getting enough police protection. Now, with the police commissioner taking this proactive step, the eviction drives should begin immediately ,“ said Rajni Vats, a member of the K-west residents associ ation that represents areas like Vile Parle, Juhu and Andheri.

“Even if the police commissioner has committed to providing protection during eviction drives, the local police will still act evasive. The civic body , local police and the hawkers are a part of a welloiled nexus that can not be broken easily . Eviction drive is not effective as the hawkers are back to their business the very next day ,“ said Sanjay Samat, a member of the Naigaon residents' association in Dadar (E).

The Times of India, May 19, 2014

Friday, May 16, 2014

Woman may be booked for staging robbery

Mateen Hafeez

Seema Singh had told the police that a man and a woman, both wearing masks, had barged into her home on April 28 and singed her. However, a l medical report stated that the injuries were self-inflicted

Mumbai: A 23-year-old woman, Seema Singh, who claimed to have been assaulted and singed by burglars is likely to be booked for staging the robbery . Seema stole her sister-inlaw's gold ornaments worth Rs 1.5 lakh from her own house to help her husband clear his debts, the MIDC police alleged. On April 28, Seema's husband, Akhilesh (28), returned to his house on JogeshwariVikhroli Link Road and found that she had sustained several cuts and burns. He took Seema to the hospital and informed the police.

The burns on Seema's body had been caused by matchsticks. During the investigation, the police were surprised when it did not find fully burnt matchsticks. “Several matchsticks were lit and extinguished,“ said a police officer.

Seema had told the police that a man and a woman, both wearing masks, had barged into her residence and assaulted her. “Seema said the intruders had forced her to part with jewellery. We discovered that the ornaments belonged to Akhi lesh's sister and Seema's valua bles had been left untouched,“ said a police officer Suspicion grew after Seema started giving evasive answers. The case was referred to doctors at KEM hospital. “The doctors' report stated that more than 80% injuries were self-inflicted,“ an officer said.

During sustained interrogation, Seema broke down and allegedly confessed to committing the crime. She claimed that she had staged the incident as she wanted to help her husband repay his creditors. The police have recovered the jewellery .

The Times of India, May 16, 2014

Thursday, May 15, 2014

ACB appeals to students to file graft complaints

Move After Khalsa College Bribery Case

Mumbai: Following the arrest of Ajit Singh Teti, principal of Guru Nanak Khalsa College in Matunga, and his personal assistant Nikita Vaid for accepting bribe for a Class XII admission last week, the anti-corruption bureau (ACB) has appealed to students to approach them with a complaint if anybody demands bribe.
Vishwas Nangre Patil, additional CP, ACB, said since the admission season is on, agents and middlemen could be active.
“Agents look for ways to cheat students and their parents during new admissions. We appeal to students to approach us if someone demands money other than the admission fee. We have started collecting intelligence inputs about such agents and will take stern ac tion against them,“ said Patil.
Last week, the ACB had arrested Teti and had arrested Teti and Vaid for accepting Rs 25,000 bribe for a Class XII admission. The alleged racket was brought to light by sales tax inspector Vasant Utikar, who was trying to get his daughter admitted to the college. He said when he approached Vaid for admission under the management quota, she demanded Rs 50,000 and said no receipt would be given. After bargaining, the sum was brought down to Rs 30,000.
ACB officials said most of the time in big institutions, the management is not even aware of such malpractices by middlemen/agents. The ACB is taking help from an NGO, Center for Ethics and Education, in tackling corruption in colleges. “In some cases, we have heard that the management itself appoints agents to deal with the candidate and collect money . Our intelligence wing is working on some leads,“ said an ACB official.
Students from across the country come to Mumbai for admission to reputed colleges. “Sometimes, they are contacted by agents who mislead them,“ the official said. What if a student complains and is harassed by college staff ? “The parents may become complainants in such cases. The ACB acts promptly .
It's a matter of a day to arrest a corrupt official,“ he added.

May 15, 2014, The Times of India

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Attacker shows clear sign of mental ailment: JJ dean

Mumbai: The 42-year-old patient, who attacked three others in Bombay Hospital on Monday, was kept sedated in the psychiatry ward of JJ Hospital. Hospital insiders also said he was restrained to the bed, but authorities denied this. Dean Dr TP Lahane said doctors have found clear symptoms of mental ailment. Whether or not that could have led him to attack cancer patient Lilabihari Thakur (65) is difficult to say, said JJ doctors. Thakur died in the attack.
“In two days, we will carry out a CT Scan and MRI to see if he has brain lesions,” said Lahane. He added that the patient has a history of mental illness. JJ staffers also said he had refused to eat and was being fed through a tube.
Lahane said knowing his condition, it was perhaps erroneous to keep him in a general ward. The patient’s family has told JJ doctors that he was admitted to Masina Hospital’s psychiatry facility 5-6 years ago.
Bombay Hospital doctors, however, said they were completely unaware of any mental ailment history the patient may have had. They had treated the patient twice for brain TB in a span of one year.
Psychiatrist Dr Harish Shetty lashed out at the consultants.
“Non-psychiatric doctors are condescending to mental health issues. Patients should always be evaluated for mental health problems,” he said.
Meanwhile, the Azad Maidan police said two ward boys had
overpowered the accused but let go of him as he tried to bite them. “Fearing an infection, they left him on the bed,” said the officer.
Krishna Prakash, additional CP, said on Sunday, the accused was seen banging his head against the wall. “A nurse had informed his wife about this,” he said.
“On Monday, he had an argument with his brother-in-law and kicked him 3-4 times. Later, he also kicked a woman sweeper before attacking the patients,” said a police officer.

May 14, 2014, The Times of India

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

HIV+ patient kills cancer victim at Bombay Hospital

Mateen Hafeez & Sumitra Deb Roy TNN

Mumbai: A 65-year-old cancer patient, Lilabihari Thakur, died and two others were injured in Bombay Hospital on Monday morning when an HIV-positive TB patient attacked them with a metal saline bottle stand, apparently without provocation. 

    The attacker, a 42-year-old Agripada resident (name withheld by TOI), was subdued by ward boys and relatives of other patients in the third-floor general ward and handed over to the police.
    J J Hospital dean T P Lahane said he seemed to display
symptoms of schizophrenia. He has been admitted to a ward in JJ hospital, and his arms bound, said sources. He has been charged with murder, but is yet to be arrested. 

    Police said around 6.30am, he came out of the toilet and attacked Thakur, whose lung
cancer was in an advanced stage, but who was to be discharged in three days after a month’s stay in the hospital.
    The assailant reportedly smashed Thakur’s head before he could be stopped.

Attack on cancer invalid by fellow patient unprovoked, unplanned

Didn’t Show Any Signs Of Violence Till Monday, Says Hosp

An HIV-positive person with TB killed a cancer patient, Lilabihari Thakur, in Bombay Hospital on Monday. "By the time, ward boys and patients’ relatives could stop the attacker, he had smashed Thakur’s head,” said a source. Thakur was rushed to the hospital ICU, where he was pronounced dead after three hours.
    The assailant, an Agripada resident, also attacked two other patients—Praful Parmar (70) and Janardhan Arte (66)—who are in a stable condition at the same hospital.
    Thakur’s son Pankaj said his mother Miradevi had been at his father’s bedside since he was admitted on April 12. “On Monday morning, my mother had gone downstairs to bring medicines. The attack took place around that time. He hit father thrice with the rod. My father was bleeding profusely,” said Pankaj, who works in a private firm as an administrator. “He also hit the other two patients on their heads,” he added.
    The police said people at the ward struggled to overpower the man. “He was so violent three to four men could not control him. Sister Alina Anthony, the nurse who is the complainant, said he was finally pinned down to a chair by several people, given a sedative injection and tied up,” said a policeman.
    The accused was undergoing treatment for tuberculosis meningitis at Bombay Hospital since May 8. “He is a known case of TB and HIV, and had been admitted here last year with similar health complaints,” said Dr Sagar Sankhle, the hospital spokesperson. The accused had been cooperating with all diagnostic tests and never showed any violent behaviour until Monday, he added.
    The accused used to work in a private firm until he was diagnosed with HIV. He went into depression and was under treatment at several places before coming to the Marine Lines hospital, said the police.
    There was no enmity between the accused and Thakur, who came from Agra and worked as a taxi driver in Mumbai for over 30 years, or planning in the attack, said senior inspector Narendra Singh.
    Thakur, a resident of Pratiksha Nagar in Sion, is survived by his wife, three sons and two sisters. He needed regular clearing of lungs for fluid retention and was first admitted to the general ward. His health deteriorated and he was shifted to the ICU. “On April 30, he was brought back to the general ward. We were happy he was recovering and hoping to go home soon,” added Pankaj.
THE ATTACKER 42-year-old Agripada resident undergoing treatment for tuberculosis meningitis (brain) at Bombay Hospital since May 8
A known case of tuberculosis and HIV, he had been admitted about a year ago with similar complaints
He worked with a private firm until he was diagnosed with HIV. He went into depression and was under treatment at several places before reaching Bombay Hospital
    He was cooperating with diagnosis and never showed any violent behavior till Monday, said hospital sources 
 THE VICTIMS | Lilabihari Thakur, 65, was undergoing palliative treatment for end-stage lung cancer and was in hospital since April 11 
| The Sion resident needed regular clearing of lungs for fluid retention 
| Thakur, first admitted to the general ward, was shifted to ICU as his health deteriorated. After a week, he was shifted to the general ward on April 30 
 He was to be discharged in three days
Praful Parmar (70) and Janardhan Arte (66) also sustained lacerative wounds 
| The two are undergoing treatment at Bombay Hospital and are said to be stable
 6.30am: The TB patient comes out of toilet and attacks Thakur with the saline bottles stand
6.40am: Patients and nurses run helter-skelter as the accused also hits two more patients in the ward
6.45am: Ward boys and relatives of patients overpower him, tie him to chair. The police are informed immediately
7am: A bleeding Thakur is rushed to the ICU with serious head injuries
9.30am: Thakur is declared dead. Body is sent to JJ Hospital for post-mortem
 The accused was initially booked for attempt to murder | After Thakur died, the police added the sections of murder | He is under treatment and has not been arrested yet

The Times of India, May 13, 2014

Monday, May 12, 2014

Half a dozen mobiles being used in Arthur Rd jail: Cops

Sleuths Monitoring Criminals’ Calls Found They Were Made From Prison


Mateen Hafeez TNN

Mumbai: At least half a dozen mobile phones are being illegally used by inmates of Arthur Road jail, arguably the state’s most high-security prison. Sources in security agencies familiar with the investigations said the phones are being used by hardened criminals and gangsters to run extortion rackets and plan other criminal acts.
    According to a senior security officer, a politician had, during the run-up to the elections, allegedly made phone calls to a gangster in the prison and asked him convince his men to support his party.
    Despite the recent cleanup efforts after the arrest of two officials on bribery charges and the discovery of a cellphone in a gangster’s possession, the jail is yet to be completely rid of gangsters’ mobile phones. This information came to the security personnel’s knowledge while they were monitoring some gangsters’ phone calls outside the prison. “We found that the other phone’s location was Arthur Road jail. A gangster lodged in the prison makes use of a mobile phone, but does not keep it in his cell. He could be afraid of some vigilance raid and might not want to lose the device,” said a police source.
    If the use of phones within the jail is very much in the security’s knowledge, why don’t they seize the devices or alert jail officials? “These are matters of operational secrecy which cannot be discussed with other agencies. If we seize the phones, how will we get the information we are getting now?” replied a senior police official.
    The information that phones are being used by the prison inmates has come at a time when jail authorities are busy in installing phone jammers. Despite earlier attempts by cellphone companies, the jammer installation process had got stuck due to technical reasons. “Frequencies of mobile phones were so powerful that jammers could not stop them. This time, cellphone companies have come up with advanced versions of jammers and stronger technology,” said a jail official.
    Jail officials conduct surprise checks in various cells but are unable to find the mobile phones. “Hardened criminals in the jail probably get an inkling of the raid and hence, hide the instrument,” said a police source. On several occasions in the past, the police have recovered cellphones from this prison despite jail officials’ claim of non-existence of mobile phones.
    The official capacity of Arthur Road jail is for 804 inmates. But, it houses over 2,500 prisoners. Cellphones are not allowed in the prison
    During a surprise check in April, authorities recovered a cellphone, battery and a SIM card from a murder accused, Uday Pathak. He was later arrested in another case

    Phones are smuggled by “carriers”, who are petty criminals. For hardened criminals, phones are vital to stay in touch with their aides
    A few years ago, the crime branch had arrested ex-Chhota Rajan aide, D K Rao, from within the jail. Police had recovered a cellphone, a SIM card and some batteries

The Times of India, May 12, 2014

‘Cops to escort BMC men on drive against hawkers’


Mumbai: Taking cognizance of complaints about hawkers misbehaving with citizens, especially women, police chief Rakesh Maria has decided to take matters into his own hands. 

    In a letter to municipal commissioner Sitaram Kunte, Maria assured that maximum police security will be provided to the BMC to take action against
illegal hawkers. “Our men are busy in post-poll bandobast. Once results are declared, we will provide teams to civic officials when they go to take action against illegal hawkers anywhere in the city,” said Maria. 
    BMC sources said they will start a drive against illegal hawkers near stations first and spread out across the city. 

    There have been several instances of hawkers assaulting civic officials on eviction drives. On May 9, hawkers assaulted a civic lorry licence inspector, Pradeep Deole, and a tempo driver during an eviction drive in Ghatkopar. The Pant Nagar police arrested two hawkers, Raju Kathewadi and Ketan Kathewadi. “We have been trying to get the BMC to evict hawkers in Vile Parle for a long time now, but they keep saying they don’t get police protection. With Maria taking this proactive step, eviction drives should begin,” said Rajni Vats of the K-West Residents’ Association.
Mateen Hafeez & Bhavika Jain
The Times of India, May 12, 2014

ACB to probe realty deals of Khalsa college graft accused

Principal Sent To Arthur Road Jail From Hosp

Mateen Hafeez TNN

Mumbai: Officials investigating the bribery case involving Guru Nanak Khalsa College principal Ajit Teti and his assistant Nikita Vaid have begun an inquiry to ascertain if the two amassed assets disproportionate to known income sources. 

    Teti, who had been admitted to Sion Hospital after he complained of chest pain, was sent back to Arthur Road jail on Sunday. Vaid will be housed in Byculla’s women’s prison till May 23. 

    Under the new inquiry, the anti-corruption bureau (ACB) will examine the accused’s bank accounts, pore over their cash purchases and real estate transactions during the last couple of years. “Our investigation is on track. It is difficult to determine the exact number of cases that Teti and Vaid may be involved in,” said an ACB official. “However, we have started the disproportionate assets inquiry simultaneously with our investigation. If we find evidence, then another FIR will be registered later,” he added. ACB officials said they had not received any communication from the three-member panel constituted by the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee to probe allegations of bribery. 

    The alleged racket was brought to light by sales tax inspector Vasant Utikar, who was trying to get his daughter, Mansi, enrolled at the Matunga college. He said when he approached Vaid for admission under the management quota, she demanded Rs 50,000 and said no receipt would be given. After bargaining, the amount was brought down to Rs 30,000.



    Ajit Teti, principal of Guru Nanak Khalsa College and his aide, Nikita Vaid, are arrested under the Prevention of Corrpution Act on May 8 after they allegedly accept 25,000 bribe for Class XII admission
    A sum of 4 lakh and 5 blank signed admission forms are found in Vaid’s purse
    Fixed deposit slips and proof of savings totalling 11 lakh are recovered from Vaid’s home


SGPC Panel In City

A three-member panel appointed by the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) to probe allegations of bribery has requested people to come forward with complaints regarding the Khalsa college administration. On Monday, a camp will be organized by the SGPC panel on campus to look into grievances 
The Times of India, May 12, 2014

Spy cameras game changers in rounding up scamsters



Mateen Hafeez TNN

Mumbai: The anti-corruption bureau (ACB) intelligence wing has ferreted out instances of graft due to the use of sophisticated gadgets and by cutting red tape.

    The agency registered 350 cases across Maharashtra between January and April and arrested 477 government officials for demanding or pocketing bribes. Sources said the agency would earlier rely on taped telephonic conversations as evidence in bribery trials. “We are required to do some legwork to establish that there was a bribe demand. We have supplied our personnel with spy cameras concealed in pens, wristwatches and keychains to obtain clear footage and arrest the persons concerned following a p a n c h n a m a,” said the official.
    Earlier the agency focused on the cases that it received, but now proactive investigators are increasingly using the ACB’s intelligence unit to ensnare scamsters. “The officials, who have been entrusted with the task of getting intelligence on corrupt government servants, also encourage harassed citizens to approach the ACB. The motivation 
part is very important,” said an ACB officer. “Our sleuths guide citizens and then it is up to the victim to come forward and lodge a complaint,” he added. The arrest of Arthur Road jail superintendent, Vasudev Barkule, and his deputy, Pradip Path
rikar, was the result of ACB’s intelligence wing’s legwork. “Our officials got information that the accused had demanded a bribe from a jailor to clear him in an internal exam. The ACB official encouraged the person concerned to report the matter and expose the wrongdoing,” an ACB source said. “The complainant approached us around 11am and we recorded his statement, corroborated the details and laid a trap by 7pm on the same day at Arthur Road prison,” he added. Hidden cameras were used in the top-secret operation.

The Times of India, May 12, 2014

Friday, May 9, 2014

Police custody for 2 in NSEL fraud case

Jignesh Shah (extreme left), chairman of Financial Technologies India Ltd (FTIL), being taken to court in a cheating case on Thursday

FTIL And MCX Chiefs ‘Misled’ Investigators


Mateen Hafeez TNN

Mumbai: A special court on Thursday remanded Jignesh Shah, chairman of Financial Technologies India Ltd (FTIL) and MCX CEO Sreekanth Javalgekar, to policecustody tillMay15for their alleged roles in the Rs 5,600 crore cheating case.
    The city economic offences wing (EOW), probing the case involving the National SpotExchangeLimited (NSEL), had on Wednesday arrested Shah and Javalgekar. Both were produced before a Maharashtra Protection of Interest of Depositors Act (MPID) court, where hundreds of investors had gathered, and were seen talking about the money they lost,on Wednesday afternoon.
    Arwind Wadhankar, senior inspector of police (EOW), said investigations were at a crucial stage. “We have got the custody of both accused. We will interrogate them thoroughly about their roles now,” said Wadhankar. The defence counsel in court objected to the application of an Indian Penal Code section for forgery of valuable security and statedthatother sectionsinvokedin thecasewerebailable, and the arrest was illegal. Since the case was at a remand stage and not trial one, the judge remanded the two in police custody.
    Special public prosecutor Avinash Avhad said, “The accused attended police summons and joined in investigations, but they misled investigators. Since the police were now looking into the Indian Bullion Market Association angle, which surfaced recently, their custodial interrogation is required.”
    Shah and Javalgekar were kept at the city crime branch’slock-up near Crawford Market. They shared a small room which had a light and no fan, and did not get home-made food. They had to use the common toilet, and water was provided through a civic tap. So far, 11 persons have been arrested and the police have secured assets/properties worth Rs 5,100 crore.

The Times of India, May 9, 2014

Thursday, May 8, 2014

NSEL chief held in 5,600cr mkt fraud

Jignesh Shah

Mateen Hafeez TNN

Mumbai: The economic offences wing (EOW) of the Mumbai police, which is probing the Rs 5,600 crore cheating case involving the National Stock Exchange (NSEL), on Wednesday arrested Jignesh Shah, chairman of the Financial Technologies (FTIL) group, and MCX CEO Sreekanth Javalgekar for their alleged role in the biggest payment default in the Indian commodity market.
    With the two fresh arrests, the number of people behind bars has gone up to 11. Shah was initially summoned by the EOW at 3pm for questioning and allowed to go. However, he was again called at 6pm and placed under arrest. He and Javalgekar have been kept at the Mumbai crime branch’s lock-up in the police commissionerate compound near Crawford Market, and will be produced before a special court on Thursday.
EXCHANGE CRISIS July 31, 2013 | Jignesh Shah-led NSEL suspends trading after govt nudge on faulty contracts
Who was to pay 5,600cr | 21 commodity suppliers/planters
Who was to get it | 13,000 investors, mostly HNIs 

Shah, Javalgekar knew about fraud, says EOW

Mumbai: Rajvardhan Sinha, additional commissioner of police (EOW) who has been supervising the NSEL fraud probe, said, “The EOW has arrested Shah and Javalgekar and they are being interrogated. Earlier, we arrested certain borrowers and middlemen like Sanjeev Bhasin, Rajesh Mehta of Lotus group and Indrajit Namdhari of Namdhari Food International. During Javalgekar’s interrogation, it transpired that as group financial manager of FTIL, he was in full control of the Indian Bullion Merchants Association (IBMA, in which FTIL has a major stake) and NSEL for a long time. We found that he was in criminal conspiracy with other accused in the NSEL crisis.”
    Sinha added that it was found that IBMA had a large chunk of bogus clients whose addresses and other details could not be traced, leading to suspicion that black money and other unaccounted funds were flowing into the exchange circuit. He said that Shah, head of FTIL, director of NSEL and a member of the NSEL audit committee, had approved the entry of all borrowers as members of the exchange.
    “He also approved several contracts. Shah personally represented to the government the scheme of NSEL, which was nothing but a platform for running a non-banking financial company. It was found that their (Javalgekar and Shah) defence claiming ignorance of this fraud is incorrect,” said Sinha.
    Shah was earlier questioned and summoned at least 16 times by the EOW. “However, he could not give satisfactory replies. The accused also evaded crucial replies and hence their custodial interrogation was felt necessary,” added Sinha. “Till today we have secured properties and assets of the accused worth Rs 5,100 crore.”
    Shah and Javalgekar are also accused of using their clients’ bank accounts without their knowledge. Sinha said that the probe was still open about the role of brokers and auditors. In December 2013, the EOW had attached properties, frozen shares and sealed a bungalow and a row house belonging to Shah. They were collectively valued at Rs 192 crore. 

    Police had seized 1.2 lakh shares of Shah that were in FTIL. The estimated value of these shares was around Rs 179 crore. Besides this, police also sealed Shah’s Juhu

bungalow, a row house at Aarey Colony (worth Rs 78 lakh), a plot in Pune worth Rs 1.6 crore, shares worth Rs 51 lakh in India Energy Exchange, and FDs worth Rs 11.8 crore in a private bank. Five demat accounts were also frozen. Shah earned Rs 160 crore by way of dividend from FTIL, police said.
    The police in January chargesheeted five persons including Anjani Sinha, NSEL’s former managing director; Amit Mukherjee, exassistant vice-president of business development at NSEL; Jai Bahukhandi, exassistant vice-president of warehousing at NSEL; Nilesh Patel, MD of N K Proteins Ltd; and Arun Kumar Sharma, MD of Lotus Refineries Pvt Ltd. Later, the police arrested Surendra Gupta, MD of Dunar Food, Indrajit Namdhari of Namdhari Food International Limited, Rajesh Mehta of Lotus and Sanjeev Bhasin.
    Till date, the EOW has frozen 322 bank accounts holding Rs 171 crore, attached over 210 properties worth Rs 2,600 crore and seized 15 high-end cars worth Rs 5.8 crore.

The Times of India, May 8, 2014

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Three directors of ad firm held for duping 85 of 4cr

Mumbai: The city EOW is probing a cheating case against six directors of Peacock Media Ltd for allegedly duping 85 investors of Rs 3.86 crore by promising them huge returns on their investment in an advertising business. 

    Cops have arrested three of the firm’s directors—Deepak Chawla (69), his son Pradip and one Kuljit Singh Suri. The trio is lodged in Arthur Road jail. Three other directors—Sandeep Chawla, Arvind Patel and Pankaj Patel-—have not been arrested yet. A case was registered at Khar police station and then transferred to the EOW. The police said the accused had claimed that their firm takes contract for printing posters. The accused have told cops they needed funds to expand their business and contacted one Shyam Ahuja of Karma Broking Pvt Ltd. “Investors were promised 12% per annum returns,” said an investigator. Ahuja said the accused had promised the investors shares at par. “Their balance sheet showed an over Rs 20 crore profit during 2008 and 2010. Many of those who invested through our firm are cancer patients and
handicapped,” said Ahuja.
    The accused have told cops they had resigned from the firm in 2011. But the police said that there are bills of exchange and cheques signed by the accused after 2011. The police have attached Suri’s flat at Powai and Chawla’s Khar houses. 

Mateen Hafeez

EOW makes 9th arrest in NSEL case

Mateen Hafeez TNN

Mumbai: The economic offences wing (EOW) on Tuesday arrested Indrajit Namdhari, director of Namdhari Food International Pvt Ltd, for his alleged role in the Rs 5,600-crore cheating case involving the National Spot Exchange (NSEL). 

    Namdhari is the ninth person to be arrested in this case. “He has an office in Delhi and operated from Sirsah in Haryana. He had borrowed Rs 53.07 crore from NSEL to supply rice at a time when he had no rice with him and the rice stock and supply was shown on papers. They all were fictitious,” said a police officer. He will be produced before an MPID court on Wednesday.
    The FIR, filed by an investor Pankaj Saraf, named FTIL group chairman Jignesh Shah, MCX Stock Exchange MD Joseph Massey and auditor Mukesh Shah, among others. 
The Times of India, May 7, 2014

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

In ’11, Bhatkal gave Chennai police the slip by 30 minutes

Could Spot Cops As They Were In Uniform


Mateen Hafeez TNN

Mumbai: As a possible Indian Mujahideen (IM) angle is discussed in last week’s Chennai train blasts, security agencies rue the day in 2011 that the now-arrested Yasin Bhatkal slipped through a dragnet in the Tamil Nadu capital and reportedly went on to wreak more havoc. 

    On November 27, 2011, IM chief Bhatkal gave the Chennai police the slip after seeing uniformed officers around a house on Pilayar Koil Street in Selaiyur. He fled just a halfhour before the police raided the house, which was rented by Bhatkal’s father-in-law, Irashad Khan, who was arrested from the hideout.
    Teams from the Delhi special cell, Chennai police and Intelligence Bureau arrived at the house after getting information that Bhatkal had landed in Chennai.  The Delhi police had sought help from their Chennai counterparts to nab Bhatkal, who had arrived in that city three days before. 

    “The deployment of Chennai police’s men in uniform spoiled the operation,” a source said.
    Bhatkal, returning from the local market, spotted some uniformed policemen and barricades in the lane and suspected the police had come for him. Not wasting a
minute, Bhatkal escaped.
    Since then, IM presence in Tamil Nadu was said to be thin. “After the arrest of Irashad Khan and several others in 2011, IM was not found in any incident in TN,” a source said.
    The Chennai police found that material recovered from Thursday’s train blasts site was similar to that found in Patna after bomb blasts there, and it seems that security agencies are focusing on an IM angle in the explosions that killed a person.
    “The pattern of the train blasts, the material seized, the timer device and the make of the bombs are under scrutiny and there are possibilities of some more hideouts of the IM not known to police.”
    It is learnt that the IM presence in Chennai is limited to sleeper cells in Coimbatore, Melapalayam in Tirunelveli district and a few other places, because of the active presence of another banned outfit, Al-Ummah, in Tamil Nadu.
    “There is a possibility that operatives of the two outfits might be trying to come under one umbrella, but it’s too early to say whose handiwork the blasts were,” a security establishment source said.  Bhatkal was finally arrested along with an aide, Asadullah Akhtar alias Haddi, in a joint operation of the Bihar police and the Intelligence Bureau on August 29 last year.

The Times of India, May 6, 2014

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Cops lay honey trap on app to nab soldier who made abusive calls to Maha minister

Mateen Hafeez TNN

Mumbai: The police posed as a woman on a messaging service to trap and arrest an army jawan who had made abusive calls to a minister of state from Maharashtra.
    The minister had complained to the police about receiving two abusive calls from a number. The police traced the SIM card, issued in the name of the soldier, to a place near Dhule district, and the location of the calls to Assam. A police team created a fake profile on WhatsApp using the picture of a woman and contacted the soldier. After ‘befriending’ him thus, they convinced him to come to Mumbai to meet her. Upon arriving at Dadar station, instead of finding himself in a warm, amorous embrace, the soldier waded straight into the long arms of the law.
    A senior police officer said the minister received the calls in April. “The caller abused and humiliated the minster.”
    The minster approached the crime branch and registered a complaint with the anti-extortion cell. While examining the location of the phone from which the calls had been made, police detectives found it to be Shillong and that it was changing. “The soldier was travelling. During a call data record (CDR) analysis, we found that he had made several calls to a travel agency in Mumbai. A police team went to the agency, in Colaba, and found that the soldier had booked tickets through them in the past,” said a police officer. 

    It was then that the police laid their trap. The soldier was quick to respond to the WhatsApp
woman, and the two conversed for three days. After that, he agreed to meet ‘her’ and ended up in the police’s net. Upon questioning, he told the police that his action of abusing the minister on phone was prompted by the latter developing an unhealthy passion in the soldier’s real-life love interest.

The Times of India, May 4, 2014

Friday, May 2, 2014

State jail officials want judges to hear cases on Skype

Mateen Hafeez TNN

Mumbai: The state prison authorities have proposed that courts should procure laptops equipped with Skype so that the judges can conduct hearings in cases involving high-security risk prisoners. Besides, they have also asked the staterun JJ Hospital to start a video-conferencing facility to enable 
the doctors to monitor if a prisoner is really required to be hospitalized.
    The move comes after several meetings of the prison officials over issues pertaining to jail security and shortage of escort personnel. “We have video-conferencing rooms in the jails. However,most of the courts do not have this facility and the judges have to walk to a common ‘video conferencing room’ to conduct the hearing. We have proposed laptops equipped with Skype be given to the judges and it will save time and money. The suggestion has been sent to the directorate of prosecution,” said asenior prison official.
    Another problem jail officials have been facing is the installation of jammers. In the past five years, at least five trials were conducted to place jammers within the Arthur Road jail. However, during each trial it was found that the electronic waves of the mobile phone tower were stronger than the jammers. “Finally, technical experts have found a solution to it and jammers will soon be installed at Arthur Road, Taloja and Thane jails,” said the official.
    Last month, Arthur Road Jail authorities had recovered a mobile phone, battery and a SIM card from a quadruple murder accused, Uday Pathak. He revealed he had been in touch with his other gang members through the mobile phone. “While we take all the precaution to stop such illegal activities, jammers would help us to disconnect mobile phone network within the jail premises,” said a jail official. 

    Nearly a dozen CCTV cameras are being installed at the Arthur Road jail. “This will send a message to the staff that they are also being monitored besides the prisoners,” a police source.



Installation of 20 CCTV cameras each in Arthur Road, Taloja and Thane jails
Video-conferencing between JJ Hospital doctors and inmates for treatment
Laptop with Skype facility in courts to communicate with the prisoners considered highsecurity risks 
The Times of India, May 2, 2014