ATMs in cities not to be replenished with cash after 9pm: Government
NEW DELHI: Concerned over incidents of attack on cash carrying vans, the government has proposed that ATMs should not be replenished with cash after 9pm in cities and private cash transportation agencies must collect money from the banks in the first half of the day, officials said. The deadline for putting money in the ATMs in rural areas would be 6pm, and 4pm in Naxal-affected districts. Also, specially designed cash vans, fitted with CCTVs and GPS, must not carry more than Rs 5 crore per trip. Two armed guards and a driver in each van must be trained to “disengage with the situation and drive vehicle to safety” in case of an attack, a home ministry official said. These are part of the new SoPs proposed by the home ministry for private security agencies carrying out the task of replenishing ATMs. Nearly 8,000 private vans ferry around Rs 15,000 crore daily between banks, currency chests and ATMs across the country. An additional Rs 5,000 crore is held up overnight by private security agencies in their private cash vaults on behalf of the banks. The SoPs have been prepared after a spurt in attacks, hijacking and looting of cash vans which are seen as soft targets. The SOPs have been sent to the law ministry for a detailed vetting and once approved, the guidelines will be issued to all state governments for implementation, the official said. The government has proposed that for replenishment in ATMs, cash transportation agencies must collect money from the bank in the first half of the day and no cash loading of the ATMs or cash movement should be done after 9pm in urban centers across India.
Per trip, a cash van cannot carry more than Rs 5 crore, the new SOPs have proposed. Specially designed and secure cash vans must be compulsorily deployed for carrying cash of over Rs 5 lakh per trip. All cash transportation and ATM cash replenishment activities must only be carried out by operational staff who have undergone thorough antecedent check. All state controlling authorities for Private Security Agencies Regulation Act, 2005 have been advised to enforce the above guidelines on all cash van agencies and review compliance from time to time. Such vans must have two independent compartments, with the one for storing cash to be separated and locked from passenger compartment and the cash compartment being specially reinforced with steel and with one door which can be opened internally through a manual or electronic lock, another official said. Every cash van must have the following minimum staff on board for every single cash transportation service — one driver, two armed security guards and two ATM Officer or custodians, according to the guidelines Cash van must always be escorted by two trained armed security guard on board. More than two armed security guard may be deputed on a cash van depending on the amount of cash carried and as per individual company’s insurance guidelines/ client contract/terrain of operation. Antecedent check of all personnel involved in cash transportation operations is a must. Licensed private security would be responsible to comply with the checks before an individual is allowed to participate in cash transportation and ATM cash replenishment operations. All personnel involved in cash transportation and ATM cash replenishment activities must be adequately trained and certified, the guidelines said.
Metro safety app out; peak ridership at 4 lakh
MUMBAI: The daily ridership on the Versova-Andheri-Ghatkopar (VAG) Metro crossed the 4 lakh mark on certain weekdays recently, said CEO Abhay Kumar Mishra after inaugurating the SecuCare mobile app for passenger security in trains on Thursday afternoon. Speaking to TOI, Mishra said the daily ridership had increased by nearly 60% in the past three years. The app launched by Mumbai Metro One has an emergency button to transmit live video feeds of any incident of crime or a distress situation on the Metro train. The video is relayed to the control room, which alerts the station response team of armed guards within three to five minutes. The control room takes the help of 700 surveillance cameras installed across a dozen Metro stations on the 11.4 km stretch. “It is an empowering tool which will ensure safety of every passenger in distress, especially women,” Mishra said.
CCTV in all police stations soon, HC told
NEW DELHI: Delhi Police will soon install CCTV cameras covering all 192 police stations. By way of a status report, the police gave an undertaking to this effect in the Delhi high court on Thursday saying ten CCTV cameras with recording facility would be installed at sensitive parts of all 192 police stations to ensure transparency in the system. It also assured the court that several locations, including areas where police-public interface takes place, have been identified for installation of CCTVs in each police station and additional 42 police chowkis. These include the duty officer room, the lock-up, SHO room, malkhana, visitor room, women help desk, perimeter and the corridors of the building. Police said it is likely to complete the work in six to eight weeks in its report filed by a deputy commissioner of police. It was filed after HC on December 11 demanded a time frame for setting up CCTVs at its 192 police stations and 42 chowkis, along with the locations where the cameras would be installed. The bench also asked authorities to ensure that footage of CCTVs was stored for at least one month or even for three months, as per the storage capacity of the devices.
Banks sound alarm over fraud Aadhaar-link calls
KOLKATA: Citizens getting calls for linking bank accounts to Aadhaar — and adhere to the December 31 deadline — should be careful, especially the senior citizens. Although the deadline was extended, the fraud calls have not stopped. A couple of days back an 83-year-old woman Dipti Mukherjee, residing at Middleton Street, located close to Park Street was surprised when she got a call from a person alleging to be an State Bank of India (SBI) executive and asked her to link her Aadhaar number. Mukherjee had no account with SBI. The elderly had recently undergone a surgery and is currently bed ridden. So, the phone was answered by her nurse. When they kept calling time and over, the nurse handed the phone to her granddaughter who is a journalist. The caller demanded Mukherjee’s ATM card number and Aadhaar number be relayed to him. “My granddaughter told the man that I have no ATM card. The caller then insisted her to check and even threatened to block the account. My granddaughter asked him to go ahead and so. This sobered him and he repeated his request. It was then that I suggested they come to my house and show their identification. Then they put my granddaughter on hold and after a few seconds, they informed her that SBI had no such policy,” said Mukherjee. It is now widely known that elderly people receive phishing calls on their phone with the callers seeking their bank account details. Adopting a new modus operando, the callers tell people that if they fail to meet the December 31deadline to link their accounts with Aadhaar, their accounts will be inoperative. The fraudsters say that since the private enrolment agencies are not working, the bank has taken the onus to reach out to customers. Cops are presently probing several such complaints.
When Mukherjee’s family members put out their experience on Twitter, SBI responded from their official handle, asking customers to be careful. “SBI or its employees never seek sensitive information like card details, internet banking passwords etc. through phone/ email. We advise all our customers not to fall prey to such fraudulent calls/emails. Any such attempt may be reported to firstname.lastname@example.org,” it tweeted. While this attempt was to steal the bank details, there is another side to it. The modus operandi of this racket involves a complicated procedure in which a caller, pretending to be a representative of the Unique Identification Authority of India, which manages the Aadhaar database, calls the victim with the pretext of linking their Aadhaar with their Permanent Account Numbers. The caller first asks the victim for their Aadhaar number and then tells them this is a verification call. The caller then asks them to reveal the code sent to their registered phone number from Unique Identification Authority of India to complete the verification process. The conman then uses the OTP to change the phone number linked to the victim’s Aadhaar number on the website. “The perpetrators are suspected to have replaced the victims’ phone numbers with numbers in their possession. The conman’s next step is to download a popular United Payment Interface-supported application, which automatically detects Aadhaar numbers linked to the SIM card of the phone in which the banking application is installed. At the end of this operation, the conman has access to the victim’s bank account and can initiate banking transactions.
Gunning down of Chennai police inspector: Rajasthan police detain 9 suspects
CHENNAI: The Rajasthan police have detained nine suspects in the attack on a team of police personnel from Chennai that claimed the life of Maduravoyal inspector S Periyapandian. Jaitaran police inspector Veerandera Singh, in whose jurisdiction the attack had happened, refused to divulge details about the detained people. Periyapandian was shot dead in Ramavas village near Jaitaran around 2.30am on Wednesday when he and a team of police personnel went there to nab the prime suspect in a burglary that happened in Chennai recently. The bullet pierced through Periyapandian’s heart killing him on the spot. The Rajasthan police have recovered an empty cartridge from the spot but did not find any pellets. The samples have been sent to the forensic science laboratory. Inspector general of police of Jodhpur range Hawa Singh Ghumaria told TOI that it was not clear who had fired on the inspector. Periyapandian was in possession of a service revolver. However, he didn’t get time to react or open fire on the attackers. A postmortem was performed on Periyapandian’s body in Jodhpur Government Hospital on Thursday morning. The body will reach Chennai airport on Thursday afternoon, police said. Police personnel beefed up security at the airport as Tamil Nadu chief minister Edappadi K Palaniswami, senior ministers director general of police T K Rajendran, commissioner of police A K Viswanathan and other police officers will be there to pay homage to Periyapandian. Later, the body will be taken to his native Moovirundhali village in Tirunelveli district.
At least 4 killed after train collides with bus in southwest France
PARIS: Four children were killed after a train and a school bus collided outside the town of Perpignan in southwestern France on Thursday, the interior ministry said. Transport Minister Elisabeth Borne described the crash as a “terrible accident” and said on Twitter that she was heading immediately to the scene, more than 850 km (530 miles) from Paris. “All emergency services have been mobilised and a crisis coordination unit set up,” an official at the local Millas town hall told Reuters. The interior ministry said seven people were seriously injured among the 19. Video images showed a long line of ambulance and emergency service vehicles near the crossing where the collision occurred.
Suicide bomber kills 18 at Somalia police academy
Somali men cover the body of a victim of the suicide bomb attack, before burial, following a suicide bomb attack on a police academy.
MOGADISHU (SOMALIA): An Islamic extremist suicide bomber disguised as a police officer killed at least 18 people at a police academy in Somalia‘s capital on Thursday, authorities said. The Somalia-based al-Shabab extremist group claimed responsibility. Another 20 officers were wounded, some of them seriously, Col. Mohamud Aden said. The bomber, with explosives strapped around his waist and torso, infiltrated Gen. Kahiye Police Academy and targeted officers rehearsing for Somalia’s Police Day celebrations scheduled for December 20, Capt. Mohamed Hussein said. The bomber walked into the academy undetected and joined a line of officers before he detonated the explosives under his sportswear, Hussein said. “He detonated his bomb vest having realized that his presence had drawn suspicion among officers in the queue,” he said. Officer Farah Omar, who was at the scene at the time of the blast, said the bomber targeted a spot where dozens of soldiers had gathered. “He wanted to inflict maximum damage,” Omar said. A relative of one victim said he had recently joined the academy. “He wanted to do something for his country, but today we are burying him,” Abdifatah Ahmed said. Al-Shabab, which is allied to al-Qaida, carries out frequent bombings and attacks against hotels, checkpoints and other high-profile areas of Mogadishu. The group has been blamed for the massive truck bombing in the capital in October that left 512 dead. Only a few attacks since 9/11 have killed more people. Al-Shabab has become the deadliest Islamic extremist group in Africa and is increasingly targeted by the US military after the Trump administration early this year approved expanded airstrikes and other efforts against the fighters. The US has carried out at least 32 drone strikes this year. A strike earlier this week against an al-Shabab vehicle carrying explosives prevented an “imminent threat to the people of Mogadishu,” the US Africa Command said.