Wednesday, 13 July 2011

3 bomb blasts in Mumbai; 13 killed, 81 injured

At least 13 people have been killed and 81 others injured in three bomb blasts that rocked Mumbai on Wednesday evening in the crowded Dadar, Opera House and Zaveri Bazar areas. Maharashtra Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan confirmed that the 13 deaths reported include casualties from all the three locations hit by the blasts.
Union Home Ministry confirmed that the blasts are terror strikes and added that Improvised Explosive Devices were used at all the three locations.
"We have information of three blasts. We have rushed teams of NSG (National Security Guards) and NIA (National Investigating Agency) to Mumbai. One blast has taken place in a Maruti Esteem car and one in a motorcycle," said Union Home Secretary RK Singh said.
The blast at Dadar took place in Kabutar Khana, in the two-storey JK Building at Tata Road No. 1 in Opera House and at Khaul Gali in Zaveri Bazar.
Wednesday blasts took place just two days after the fifth anniversary of the Mumbai serial train blasts on July 11, 2006 in which at least 186 persons were killed.
The blasts took place within minutes of each other with the first being reported at 6:50 PM in south Mumbai's Zaveri Bazaar, near the famous Mumbadevi temple, in which some people were injured, said Mumbai Police spokesperson Nisar Tamboli.
The second explosion was reported in a taxi in Dadar area, he said. "We are verifying the nature of explosions. At this moment I cannot say anything more than this," Tamboli said.
According to an eyewitness a fire that broke out in Zaveri Bazar following the blasts has been brought under control.
Police, ambulance, home guards and fire brigade have been rushed to the spot.
A Border Security Force plane has left for Mumbai from New Delhi with NSG personnel, forensic experts and senior NIA officials.
The injured have been rushed to JJ Hospital, GT Hospital, KEM Hospital and St George's Hospital.
Home Minister P Chidambaram has called a high-level meeting in the wake of the blasts.
Security alerts have been issued in all major cities including New Delhi and Kolkata after the blasts in Mumbai.
Wed, Jul 13, 2011 at 19:15

Monday, 11 July 2011

Man stabs girlfriend, tries to kill self

MUMBAI: A man stabbed his girlfriend, before trying to end his own life, following a tiff over money at a Dahisar guest house on Tuesday. Vaman Sawant and Sapna Pillai are both recuperating atBhagwati Hospital in Borivli with critical injuries. 

Sawant (31) works as an office boy with the Borivli branch of a coaching class chain, while Pillai (26) is a bar waitress in the same area. They are residents of Virar (E) and Mira Road, respectively. The couple got acquainted at the bar a month ago. As Pillai, who stays in Mira Road, had odd working hours, Sawant would escort her home everyday after she finished work. 

"Sawant wanted Pillai to quit her job. He promised to give her Rs 2-3 lakh if she did so," said ACP Sunil Deshmukh. Around 1 pm on Tuesday, the duo checked into Sanmaan guest house. Pillai reminded Sawant that he was yet to pay her the sum, without which she wouldn't quit her job. Sawant wasn't well-off and couldn't raise that kind of money. 

The duo had an argument, after which Sawant stabbed Pillai with a knife in her abdomen and neck in an attempt to "get rid of her". He then locked himself in the bathroom and slashed his wrists. to avoid getting caught by the police 

The police later rushed the injured duo to hospital. A staffer later discovered Pillai lying in the room, covered with blood. The police were called, and they also found Sawant in the bathroom. The injured duo was rushed to hospital.Around 2.45 pm, a guest house employee from the guest house went to their room to check around 2.45 pm. He managed to open the door and was shocked to find Sapna lying sprawled in the room, covered with blood. The staffer informed his superiors who summoned the Dahisar police. The cops broke down the door of the couple's room. They also found Sawant wounded in the bathroom. The couple was rushed to the Bhagwati Hospital, where Sawant has been admitted to the ICCU. Officials said Sawant had brought the knife along, which indicates that the crime was pre-planned. 

Based on Pillai's statement, the cops lodged a case of attempt to murder and attempt to commit suicide against Sawant. Presently, he is unconscious and will be arrested once he is treated and discharged from the hospital.

Shame for cops that Chota Rajan man was here 57 days

GOA: That the state police were clueless about the presence of gangster Umaid-ur-Rahman, who was picked up by Mumbai police from a house in Arambol, and that he was a sharp shooter of the Chota Rajan gang, speaks for itself. The gangster lived peacefully for 57 days in this haven. 

It's a further shame for the police force of Goa that they did not know anything about the arrest until the news hit the headlines. But is the police force alone to be blamed for this? 

The inefficiency of the police is probably more because of the way they have been treated by the political class here. Any society that does not give a free hand to the police cannot expect the force to perform well. More often than not, Goa policemen are dictated what they should do. So they have no self morale left in themselves. 

Many files pertaining to important clearances have been kept pending by the administration for months together. The home department should also take a share of the blame for this mess, because they are one of the biggest culprits in not clearing the decisions that will give some teeth to the police force. 

Goa has repeatedly been in the news nationally for all the wrong reasons. Either it is some gangster who is holidaying here without anyone's knowledge, or some foreigner is raped and killed like the Scarlett Keeling case, or Atala and David Driham alias Dudu, who become the dudes of Goa, smuggling drugs into the nerves of tourists and locals. 

Policemen are more known for the mafia-police nexus here. All the good work and investigations done by their colleagues are overlooked, thanks to some powerful policemen who flaunt their closeness to the political class. Often, a constable has more influence than the top police brass, because of his access to chief minister Digambar Kamat, or home minister Ravi Naik. In several instances, policemen claim closeness to other ministers like Churchill Alemao, Atanasio 'Babush' Monserrate and Viswajit Rane. The end result is that these policemen continue to get plum postings, or even stay in the sensitive crime branch for years. 

The top brass of the police force are posted from outside the state, and either have little interest, or are not allowed to have their say in postings. A strong police force will come into effect only if the political class does not interfere with the decisions of the police department. DGP Aditya Arya will have to push the government to give the policemen their pride back. Unless policemen have their pride in place, one cannot expect the force to function to its potential. 

There are many instances where important investigations have been dragging for months together and the culprits get away. 

Many a time, there are black sheep within the police department who go unpunished. Many policemen act as moles for the criminals. Policemen have been involved in twisting cases, or even committing crimes. Many months since the alleged death in police custody of Cipriano, the perpetrators of the crime have gone scot free. And the family of Cipriano is fighting the battle all alone and have refused to take possession of the body until the policemen who are allegedly involved in the negligence leading to his death, are brought to book. 

The government is yet to form the anti-terror squad, despite heightened threats in Mumbai and elsewhere in the country. Goa being a coastal state has to be more vigilant, given that it's a top tourist destination of the country. There are several foreigners always in Goa, and both during season and non-season, the influx of tourists is a constant. 

A better monitoring mechanism will have to be put in place. The government will also have to increase the strength of the police force, provide them professional training, form special units to be able to meet situations like the 26/11 Mumbai attacks, and make the police force more robust. 

The wake up call is already there. The police force should not ignore it. The political establishment should stop interfering and terrorizing the police force. The gaps between the teeth need to be filled to make it an alert unit. 

Main accused in Malad rape case arrested

MUMBAI: The key accused in the gang-rape of a 20-year-old girl in Malad (E) was arrested by the crime branch late on Monday. A court remanded the accused, Suraj Nepali (20), in police custody till July 13. 

Meanwhile, members of the National Commission of Women (NCW) met the city police commissioner on Tuesday and inquired about the action taken in the case. 

On Saturday, four persons had been arrested, three of them minors. The incident occurred on May 10 but came to light only recently after an MMS clip of the girl was found in circulation. "One of the accused, Rajesh Jaiswal (21), was a close friend of the victim. It was Jaiswal who shot the MMS," an official said. 

Nepali has a past case of assault registered with the Dindoshi police. "He had left town and our team had to question his relatives to find him," ACP Jaywant Hargude said. The minors studied in class X of a convent school at Sanjay Nagar, Malad East. They got acquainted with Nepali and Jaiswal, who stayed in the vicinity. 

The gangrape took place in a forest at Nimboni Pada, where the boys took the victim following a visit to the Siddhivinayak temple. 

"The minors admitted that they held back the girl's hands and legs while she was being raped. They also said Nepali forced them, as well as the victim, to consume drugs," an official said. The victim left for her hometown in UP after the incident for fear of embarrassment. 

Acting chairperson of NCW Yasmeen Abrar said: "We asked the police chief to record the victim's statement in the presence of a magistrate. He ensured us that the police had strong evidence against the culprits." A detailed report will be sent to NCW by Wednesday. The NCW had also come down to check whether directions for law and order issued to all states were being followed. 

Gangster stayed at Arambol for 57 days

ARAMBOL: They came, stayed for 57 days, two were arrested on Thursday by the Mumbai police, and yet, the Goa police knew nothing till the news hit the headlines on Saturday. In fact, key shooter in the Chhota Rajan gang, Umaid-ur-Rahman, stayed with his wife, parents and an aide in two rooms of an under-construction building a mere two-minute walk from the Pernem police outpost at Arambol in North Goa. 

Pernem police have submitted a report to the district magistrate that the owner of the two rooms, Maria Mascarenhas, has violated the collector's orders by not filing the mandatory form 'C' (tenant verification form) with the police. They further stated that Mascarenhas did not enter into a contract with Rahman to rent the rooms and didn't know for how long the five would stay. Police have requested the magistrate to initiate action against Mascarenhas. 

On Saturday, STOI visited the two rooms rented to Rahman at Rs20,000 a month and found four cellphone batteries, six cellphone chargers, petty cash in denominations of Rs50 and Rs10, a watch, two Sim cards, four bags full of clothes, a copy of the Konkan Railway timetable, religious books, two TV sets with cable connections, cooking oil, spices, honey, nuts, rice, flour, eggs, etc. 

'They told me they were tourists from Mumbai' 

Locals told TOI that Rahman, his wife, parents and the aide turned up at Arambol around May 20, three days after the shooter allegedly orchestrated the murder of gangster Iqbal Kaskar's driver-cum-bodyguard Arif Bael outside Kaskar's residence on Pakmodia Street in Mumbai. Initially staying at 'Arambol Plaza', they asked the cook at the guesthouse to arrange for a cheaper place about 10 days later. Around May 30, Rahman and his family approached Mascarenhas who lives at Madhalawado just behind 'Arambol Plaza'. 

The 60-year-old agreed to rent two small rooms (approximately 15 sq m each) with attached bathrooms on the first floor of her under-construction, twostorey building. Mascarenhas lives on the ground floor. While Rahman and his wife Yasmeen stayed in one room, his parents and the aide, stayed in the other, said Mascarenhas. "They told me they were tourists from Mumbai and had come to Goa for a change of climate. They said their previous guesthouse was costly at Rs 2,000 a day and that they wanted a cheaper residence and wanted to cook their own food," said Mascarenhas. 

Rahman also wanted TVs in their rooms to watch the news. "They told me 'aunty, humein TVchahiye, newsdekhna hain, zara arrange kardo," said Mascarenhas. She accordingly got TVs from her house installed in the rooms together with cable connections. The five stayed without any problems for 57 days. In the last week of June, Rahman's parents even travelled to Mumbai for medical reasons and returned after four days, said Mascarenhas. They also shopped in Panaji (evident from the shopping bags from stores based in the capital city that TOI saw in the rooms). 

"Their behaviour was normal. They owned two cars and would step out every evening for movies, shopping and to go to other places. They normally woke up around noon," said Mascarenhas. Recalling what happened on Thursday, the owner of the rooms said, "Around 12:45pm, 5-6 well-built men, not speaking Konkani, arrived at the rooms and handcuffed Rahman and his aide. Though Rahman's parents tried to intervene, the men, who I found out later were Mumbai crime branch police officers, took the two away. They also searched the rooms and seized some items." 

Admitting that she did not file form 'C', Mascarenhas said, "Whenever foreigners stay we file form 'C'. I am sorry I took it so casually this time. I didn't know these people were criminals, I would never have rented my rooms to them."

Vendors tailed extortionist cop’s car

MUMBAI: Inspector Bhaskar Dhere took along with him three of his associates when he targeted the shop in Goregaon.
"On July 4, Dhere, along with three of his aides, went to Maharashtra Supari Store at Jawahar Nagar in Goregaon (W). Clad in his uniform, Dhere walked up to the owner, Shafiq Shaikh, and told him that he had been receiving complaints about fake gutka being supplied from the shop. He threatened to register a case against Shaikh that attracted a prison term of five years," said senior inspector S Paithankar. Shaikh protested innocence but Dhere apparently refused to listen. After an argument, Dhere allegedly "offered to settle the matter" only if Shaikh paid him Rs 1.4 lakh.
Shaikh arranged for the money and paid it to the inspector, but after a check in his godown, he realized that he did not have any fake stock and that Dhere had extorted the money from him, the police said. On July 5, Shaikh lodged a complaint against Dhere and his aides, Rafiq Shaikh Ali, Bablu and Salim, with the Goregaon police. At the same time, he spread the word among betel-nut vendors to ensure that his peers did not fall prey to Dhere's demands.
On Saturday, Dhere visited another shop in Malad and threatened the vendor similarly. The seller paid up Rs 30,000 and called up Shaikh who told him to tail Dhere's car. Shaikh, too, joined in the chase. On reaching Gokuldham Complex in Dindoshi, the two traders spotted a patrolling police team and shouted out for help; the cops halted Dhere's car. After Shaikh produced a copy of his FIR, Dhere was taken to the nearby Dindoshi police station and then to the Goregaon police station. After questioning, Dhere was booked on charges of extortion and cheating on Sunday. His three aides are, however, on the run. Dhere has been remanded in police custody till July 13.
The crime branch control unit was a part of the crime branch till police commissioner Arup Patnaik revamped the unit and brought it under him. The unit investigates adulteration of commodities and copyright infringement cases, but Patnaik has been assigning more important cases to the unit, which cracked the kidnapping case of a Kandivli boy, Karnit Shah.

Commuter assaults bus conductor in Sion

MUMBAI: A bus conductor was assaulted by a passenger near Pratiksha Nagar depot, in Sion on Sunday afternoon, resulting in services being disrupted for more than an hour.
Bus services resumed only around 3.15 pm. "One of the passengers had an altercation with the conductor at Pratiksha Nagar depot. The passenger assaulted the conductor and also summoned his relatives and friends," said BEST public relations officer NA Walawalkar.
On seeing four to five men entering the depot, the BEST security guards anticipating trouble and shut the main gate. The guards tried to prevent the men from causing any problem and informed the Wadala Truck Terminal police. One of the men pelted a bus with stones and damaged its windows.
"The gate was opened only when the police arrived. The police hauled the miscreants to the police station," Walawalkar said. A case was registered against the miscreants in the evening.
Local residents were inconvenienced by the delay in services. "There is a good frequency of buses in the area. Those residing in the MHADA flats mainly depend on BEST buses to commute. Even if there is a 15 minute delay, it upsets local residents," said local resident.