News Flash – 20 December 2017

National News

 

 

Thieves drill hole in bank wall, steal Rs.1 crore

 

NEW DELHI: Pulling off one of the most meticulous heists of the year, a group of men drilled a hole through the wall of a bank in outer Delhi’s Mundka over the weekend and made away with cash and jewellery worth more than a crore by cutting open a safe and at least 15 lockers, police sources said. The criminals drilled their way into the bank through the boundary wall of a vacant plot next to it. They pulled out the CCTVs and the digital video recorder. Using electronic cutters powered by at least eight gas cylinders, the men made precision holes to open the safe, which had Rs 27 lakh in cash, and the lockers in the state cooperative bank, barely 100 yards from the Mundka Metro station. Cops said the heist was carried out either on Saturday or Sunday night when the bank was shut and lasted at least 10 hours. The gang left only when they ran out of gas in the cylinders. The plot used to gain entry into the bank is a gated compound full of tall shrubs, giving the gang the perfect cover for the crime.

 

Bank heist: Operation lasted almost 10 hours: According to sources, the crooks first made a hole into the 6-inch thick boundary wall of the plot using hammers and a ‘chheni’. The hole was made two feet above the ground. Thereafter, they drilled their way into the bank by making a hole in the bank’s wall. Their equipment, which was all left behind, was brand new, indicating these were bought just before the operation. It is estimated that it would have taken at least two-three hours to make holes in the two walls. As the bank is on the main road, it is assumed that the hammering sounds were drowned out by traffic noise. The goons seemed to be aware of the position of CCTV cameras in the bank, indicating that they had recced the place well. Cops are also not ruling out the role of an insider. The list and whereabouts of the bank’s nine employees, including the manager and security guard, are being scanned. An officer said that the goons made their way to the basement by breaking two locks on the door. The basement has two safes placed side by side. One of the safes had the cash while the other had lockers where cash and jewellery worth an undisclosed amount was kept. The accused used up the eight cylinders to cut open the safes. In what indicates the involvement of professionals, cops said that the accused made two holes — one above and the other below the handle — to break open the safe. This exercise, it is estimated, took around eight hours. The theft was discovered on Monday morning by the bank’s employees. The holes were patched up after crime and forensic teams lifted evidence from the site. The bank’s customers have been asked to list out the valuables stored in the lockers.

 

 

‘Driverless’ metro train goes through a wall

 

The empty train reversed into the boundary walls around 3.40pm on Tuesday.

 

 

New Delhi: A Delhi Metro train that is enabled to be operated without a driver crashed through the wall of the depot at Kalindi Kunj and stopped just short of falling from the height into the drain outside the compound. In six days’ time, Prime Minister Narendra Modi is scheduled to throw open the Kalkaji Mandir-Botanical Garden stretch of the Magenta Line on which this train operates. By evening, an analysis of the events leading to the accident, however, revealed that it was a yard accident caused by human error, and not a running train mishap. The empty train reversed into the boundary walls around 3.40pm on Tuesday. Eyewitnesses first heard a loud noise and then saw the rear of the train protrude from the outermost wall of the depot. The train was at the workshop and, as per procedure, had had its brakes decommissioned. When it was moved up a ramp for washing, it should have had the brakes back in working configuration, but due to human neglect the recommissioning of the brakes had not taken place. It, therefore, rolled back and crashed into the walls. There was consternation initially that the so-called driverless train had suffered operating problems. The Magenta Line employs for the first time a new signaling technology — called Communication Based Train Control (CBTC) — that enables trains to run without the need of a human driver. For the first two years of operation, however, DMRC has announced that there will be drivers present in the train to intervene in any emergency. “Shocking lapse! There can be no compromise on passenger safety,” Delhi’s transport minister Kailash Gahlot tweeted even as the state government asked DMRC for a report on the incident.

 

Anuj Dayal, executive director (corporate communications), DMRC, later allayed fears that a running train had been involved in the accident. “It was a train that had come for maintenance work and its brakes had been decommissioned as is normally done to allow easy shunting within the maintenance yard and to allow the brakes to be tested,” Dayal pointed out. “After the maintenance procedures were over, the brakes should have been retested before the train left the maintenance depot, but this was not done.” The person who took charge of the train from the maintenance staff also neglected to check the brake. Consequently, Dayal said, when the train was being taken up a ramp towards the cleaning area, because its brakes were still decommissioned, it rolled back. “Prima facie, it appears to be a case of human error, and DMRC has taken a serious view of the incident,” he added. DMRC managing director Mangu Singh has ordered an enquiry into the incident by a committee of three company officers of the rank of executive directors. A supervisor working with the electrical department, present at the yard at the time of the incident, claimed there were two drivers inside the train. “The brackets that prevent a train from overshooting the stoppage mark did not function properly,” the supervisor disclosed. The train company called in a private crane operator and chalked out plans for the removal of the extensively damaged train compartment from the crash site. A team of officials from the Delhi Disaster Management Authority, sent to Kalindi Kunj to analyse the situation, wasn’t allowed to enter the premises.

 

 

Man caught on CCTV thrashing teacher for failing to repay loan

A CCTV grab of the incident.

 

 

BENGALURU: A political worker from Rajanukunte in Doddaballapur taluk of Bengaluru Rural district on Monday assaulted a headmistress in her school office for failing to repay loan. In a statement to police, M Asha, 35, said Ramakrishnappa arrived at the school in Rajanukunte around 12.30pm and started shouting at her. Based on her statement, police have registered an FIR against Ramakrishnappa, 45, under several sections of the Indian Penal Code. For a while, he worked for the JD(S). Police couldn’t confirm his present political affiliation. Police have launched a hunt for the worker. Earlier in the year, Asha had borrowed Rs 70,000 with interest from Ramakrishnappa and had repaid up to Rs 50,000 in installments. Ramakrishnappa would repeatedly ask the schoolteacher to return the rest of the loan, a police officer said. The woman told police “On Monday, Ramakrishnappa entered my office room and asked me to return the entire amount. Four students were in the room at that time. Feeling embarrassed, I sent them out. Then, he raised his voice and started using abusive language. I was seeking more time to repay the loan when he repeatedly slapped me. My earrings came off”. The CCTV footage was shared widely online. Police summoned Ramakrishnappa’s son Janardhan to know more about the incident. Janardhan works for the BJP Yuva Morcha. Mistaking his appearance in the police station to be arrest, hundreds of BJP youth workers came to the station and demanded his release.

 

 

2 grads caught on CCTV stealing jewellery, held

 

 

HYDERABAD: City police arrested two persons for committing theft at Lalitha Jewellers at Somajiguda and recovered gold ornaments worth Rs 1.8 lakh from their possession. The two accused who entered the store posing as couple committed the theft on October 11. The management which stumbled on two burqaclad women stealing ornaments on December 3 during checking CCTV footage found to its shock a man and a woman entering the store posing as couple and walking away with jewellery on October 11. The two women clad in burqa stole a gold necklace weighing 20 tolas and worth Rs 6 lakh and managed to replace the original one with an imitation piece at the popular jewellery store. The store management was checking the CCTV camera footage when it discovered the two thefts. The store management approached police with a complaint about the thefts, after analysing the CCTV footages. Police identified the arrested accused as Shaik Karimulla (27), a resident of Maruthi Boys Hostel in Sindhi Colony and a native of Nandigama in AP, and Vani Kranthi(26), a resident of Sujatha Girls Hostel in Sindhi Colony and a native of Kurnool.

 

Police recovered the ornaments weighing 66 grams and worth Rs 1.8 lakh and arrested the accused on Monday evening. They were produced before the court along with the booty. They were remanded in judicial custody. According to police, Shaik had recently completed his engineering, while Vani did PG Diploma in echocardiography and sonography at Yashoda Hospital in Secunderabad. However, both the accused were unemployed and facing financial problem, and hatched a plan to commit theft. The accused chose Lalitha Jewellers as they knew it was crowded most of the time, said police. On October 11 afternoon, the couple visited the store and while the staff was busy attending other customers, they stole four gold bangles and one bracelet. According to police, later the duo mortgaged the ornaments for Rs 1.3 lakh at Muthoot Finance in Nandigama. The police are yet to crack the second theft case that happened on December 3.

 

 

Jharkhand brains behind ATM frauds in the Hyderabad

 

HYDERABAD: Move over local brains, most of the hi-tech crime committed in Hyderabad is planned in Jharkhand, city police said on Tuesday. After the arrest of 36 persons from the eastern state in connection with ATM frauds committed in Hyderabad, the city’s cybercrime cell saidthat Jharkhand has emerged as the new hub for planning crime. According to the cybercrime police in Hyderabad, over 90 % of ATM fraud accused were traced to Jharkhand. “One of the most notorious districts of Jharkhand is Jamtara. City cyber cell officials visit Jharkhand six times a year for investigating different cybercrime cases related to the city,” said Hyderabad additional deputy commissioner of police (cybercrime), KCS Raghu Vir. According to data provided by city cybercrime police, till this November, 76 cases of ATM frauds were registered, of which police have arrested 36 till December first week.

 

“Less than 10 days ago, a new cybercrime cell has been launched in Jamtara district. Initially, our police official who had to visit nearly six times a year to the district with bulk of cases to solve, used to get limited help from the local police. Now after the launch of the cybercrime cell, the police have introduced a new link of a website, where other state police can provide case details and the accused can be traced,” added Ragghu Vir. According to police, most ATM fraud cases have been traced to Jamtara and Giridih district. “We are able to carry out 50% of detection and when they travel they are supposed to investigate 15 to 20 cases from the same district and catch the accused. This month, we were successful with 80% detection,” the additional DCP added. Police have identified most of the accused as young unemployed people between the age group of 18 to 25 years, who are suave and educated and have had some technical knowledge.

 

 

You’re breathing poison: Kolkata air quality worst

 

 

Kolkata: The city has started this week having the most polluted air among all the big metros in the country. Its PM2.5 level — the most important index in measuring air pollution — was twice as bad as Delhi’s, thrice as bad as Mumbai’s and four times as bad as Chennai’s on Monday. The early-morning chill and the pleasant weather is luring people outdoors for picnics under the sun but doctors have sounded a health alert, advising especially children, the elderly and bronchial patients to stay indoors. The count of PM2.5, the fine particulate matter in the air that flows easily into the lungs unchecked and passes into the blood stream, shot up to 360 — or six times the permissible limit of 60 micrograms per cubic meter (g/m³) — on Monday (Tuesday’s reading was not available till late in the evening). The air quality in Delhi, the one Indian city that has topped pollution charts consistently, has now improved from severe (251-350 g/m³) to very poor (121-250 g/m³) but Kolkata’s air quality is headed in the opposite direction, deteriorating from very poor to severe. The US consulate reading, which has thrown up Kolkata as the most polluted city in India, has also triggered an alert from the World Health Organisation (WHO): Kolkata’s severe air pollution poses serious health risks, with suspended particulate matter emerging as the main health threat. The WHO health advisory has suggested against long-term exposure to pollutants to avoid health hazards. Environmentalists have demanded immediate emergency action on the lines of the drastic measures taken in Delhi, when the air quality there started dipping a month ago. But, till Tuesday evening, neither the state government nor the Kolkata Municipal Corporation had reacted to the crisis.

 

“Pollution is not on anyone’s agenda. There will be no action till the court intervenes, which is sad because poor air quality affects everyone. It doesn’t spare politicians and bureaucrats,” activist Subhas Datta, who has filed PILs on the issue, said. Delhi’s poor air quality, which has been blamed partly on burning of crop stubble, has improved following measures taken by the government. Kolkata, without any Haryana or Punjab next door burning crop stubble, has suffered because of the sharp rise in the number of diesel vehicles that have hit the road in recent years, believes emission expert Somendra Mohan Ghosh. “Kolkata is now country’s diesel vehicle capital. The state has taken no step to introduce bio-diesel that is less polluting or is there any effort to bring in clean fuel like CNG,” he said. What is worse in the absence of data. The West Bengal Pollution Control Board has stopped measuring pollution levels. “There is hardly any move on the part of the government or civil society to tackle the declining air quality,” environmentalist Banani Kakkar of Public said. Pollution levels rise rapidly in winter because of low wind speed and low temperature, which keeps the pollutants closer to the ground. “A technology leapfrog is needed in terms of scaling up of public transport, having integrated multimodal transport options, introducing car restraints and supporting walking and cycling,” Sudip to Bhattacharyya, of Saviours and Friends of Environment, an NGO, said.

 

 

International News

 

 

Saudi Arabia says it intercepts Houthi missile fired towards Riyadh, no reported damage

A general view of buildings seen in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia on December 18, 2017.

 

 

RIYADH: Saudi air defences intercepted a ballistic missile fired towards the capital Riyadh on Tuesday but there were no reports of casualties, the Saudi-led coalition said, the latest in a series of attacks by an Iran-aligned group in Yemen. A spokesperson for the Houthi movement said a ballistic missile targeted the royal court at al-Yamama palace, where a meeting of Saudi leaders was under way. There was no official word on this assertion, but a royal family member appeared to confirm the missile was aimed at a royal palace meeting. “Coalition forces confirm intercepting an Iranian-Houthi missile targeting (the) south of Riyadh. There are no reported casualties at this time,” the government-run Center for International Communication wrote on its Twitter account. The attack happened hours before Saudi Arabia was due to announce the country’s annual budget in a news conference expected to be attended by senior ministers. Reuters witnesses described hearing a blast and said they saw smoke in the north-east of Riyadh. Saudi Arabia said on November 4 it had intercepted a ballistic missile over Riyadh’s King Khaled Airport, in an attack that provoked a strong reaction from the kingdom.

 

Riyadh accused Iran of smuggling the missile to the Houthis and imposed a blockade on Yemen demanding that united Nations inspection procedures be tightened. Last week, the United States presented for the first time pieces of what it said were Iranian weapons supplied to the Houthis, describing it as conclusive evidence that Tehran was violating UN resolutions. Iran, Saudi Arabia’s regional foe, has denied supplying such weaponry to the Houthis who have taken over the Yemeni capital Sanaa and other parts of the country during its civil war. In Geneva, a UN human rights spokesperson said air strikes by a Saudi-led military coalition had killed at least 136 civilians and non-combatants in Yemen since December 6.

 

 

East London road blocked due to ‘significant’ police incident

 

 

LONDON: A major road in east London was partially closed due to a significant police incident on Tuesday, the British capital’s transport operator said. Transport for London said on Twitter that East India Dock Road was partially blocked both ways due to “a significant police incident”.


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