News Flash – 3 August 2017

National News

 

 

‘Security Guard’ duo robs banker of valuables worth Rs 10 lakh

 

 

MUMBAI: Two notorious burglars, who took up jobs as security guards at a Mulund housing society, and emptied a couple’s apartment of valuables worth nearly Rs 10 lakh, have been arrested. Gaurishankar Chaurasia and Raja Singh worked at the society for 20 days and had left no background information with the placement agency that had appointed them but a vada pav vendor provided Navghar police a vital clue to nab them. Banker Nandkumar Rane and his wife Namrata, an MTNL employee, reside at 90 Feet Road in Mulund. The couple’s flat remains locked while they are out for work during the day. When they returned from work, the door latch was found smashed on June 14. Two iron cupboards had been broken and 57 tolas of gold jewellery, 1,200 gm of silver articles and Rs 90,000 was missing. Investigators found the watchman was not seen in the compound since noon that day. On making inquiries, they learnt that an elderly man, Santoshkumar Gupta, had been hired as watchman since May 24. Sometimes, his son, Ajit, would join him on the job. Their lunch was found in the guards’ cabin untouched. Police contacted the placement agency through which Gupta had been appointed. Ravindra Singh, the agency owner, said Gupta had only mentioned Jaunpur in UP as his home address. Gupta and Ajit did not use cellphones and had not left any identification documents with Singh’s agency. Moreover, the agency also used to send Ajit as a replacement to other societies where guards did not turn up for work.

 

“Police teams were sent to CST, Kurla, Kalyan and Thane railway stations to hunt for the duo. Sleuths started making inquiries with other placement agencies, housing societies, shop-owners, hawkers and watchmen in the suburb,” said ACP Anil Walzade. Eventually, they found a vada pav vendor who had offered his cellphone to Gupta to make some phone calls. Gupta had told the vendor that he was suffering from diabetes and wanted to get in touch with a relative who was to get his medicines from UP. Police zeroed in on at least nine mobile numbers that Gupta may have been in contact with. They found out that Gupta’s name was actually Gaurishankar Chaurasia and Ajit was not his son. Ajit’s name was Raja Singh and he was a burglar with 14 offences registered at Vile Parle, LT Marg, Kandivli, Mulund, D N Nagar and Oshiwara police stations here. A police team went to their home-town in UP and arrested them, and valuables worth Rs 8.20 lakh were recovered from them.

 

Advisory

* Always register your house helps, drivers and security guards with the local police station so their antecedents can be checked

* Always maintain the latest photograph, phone number, complete native place address and photocopy of identity documents

* Never open the vault at home in the presence of house helps or guards

* Never display keys or where you have kept them at home

* Install surveillance cameras in your housing society

* Keep police helpline numbers handy

 

 

Dujana to Army man: Congrats, you caught me… But I can’t surrender

Villagers stand on the debris of a house which was destroyed during a gun battle between security forces and militants in Hakhri Pora in Pulwama district on Tuesday.

 

 

PULWAMA / SRINAGAR: Minutes before security forces eliminated Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) terrorist Abu Dujana+ in Pulwama on Wednesday, he rejected a phone call from an Army officer to surrender while admitting that he had left behind his parents in Gilgit-Baltistan for jihad. TOI has exclusively accessed the conversation between Dujana and the officer who commissioned a Kashmiri civilian to begin the conversation. In the tape, the terrorist is heard speaking nonchalantly while making a sarcastic query to the Army officer. After the civilian spoke the first few words and gave the phone to the officer, Dujana asked, “Kya haal hai? Maine kaha, kya haal hai (how are you. I asked, how are you)?” The officer tells Dujana, “Humara haal chhor Dujana. Why don’t you surrender? You have married this girl. What you are doing isn’t right”. The officer is heard telling Dujana he is being used by Pakistani agencies to torment Kashmiris, but Dujana remains defiant. “Hum nikley thhey shaheed hone. Main kya karu. Jisko game khelna hai, khelo. Kabhi hum aage, kabhi aap, aaj aapne pakad liya, mubarak ho aapko. Jisko jo karna hai karlo (I’d left home for martyrdom. What can I do? Sometimes we are ahead, sometimes you—today you caught me. Congratulations. Now do what you have to),” replies Dujana. ” Surrender nahi kar sakta. Jo meri kismat may likha hoga, Allah wahi karega, theek hai? (I won’t surrender. Allah does what’s fated, okay?)” he adds.

 

The officer tells him he must show concern for his parent’s back home but he turns a deaf ear saying, for the first time on record, that he had left his family back in Gilgit-Baltistan. “Maap baap toh uss din mar gaye jis din main unko chhor kar aaya (my parents died the day I left them behind),” he told the officer. The officer tells Dujana that Indian forces don’t want a bloodbath with Pakistan-based militants who have infiltrated. He also tells Dujana God doesn’t want any harm to come on anyone and that “Allah is one for everyone”. “If he’s one for you and for me, then come and meet me inside the house,” Dujana said. Then he added that he understands ‘the game’, dropping hints that he is being operated by Pakistan-based agencies. Even as the officer is heard making continuous appeals to save Kashmiris and not recruit youth for terror, Dujana abruptly ends the chat. The officer makes one last effort with the civilian to tell Dujana to surrender but there is no response. Dujana was killed in an encounter on Tuesday in Hakripora, Pulwama district where he had gone to meet his wife.

 

 

Bomb scare at Delhi airport

 

 

NEW DELHI: Bomb squads and canine teams were on Wednesday rushed in to check a suspected object that was recovered at the cargo hold area of the Delhi airport, later declared safe. CISF Director General O P Singh said the “suspect item has been declared safe and there is nothing to worry about”. Officials involved in airport security said that an emergency call was received by the control room around 7:05 am that a suspect item has been seen in the cargo area. “The bomb disposal and canine teams found that the suspect item was nothing but some spare parts of Maruti company. The consignment and the area have been sanitized and declared safe,” they said. The cargo, which was declared safe around 9:00 am, was to be loaded in a Delhi-Goa Vistara flight. The cargo terminal of the Indira Gandhi International Airport (IGIA) is guarded by private agencies but in case of a threat or emergency the airport guarding Central Industrial Security Force and the police respond.

 

 

103 H1N1 deaths in Maharashtra in July alone

 

 

MUMBAI: The H1N1 infection claimed over a hundred lives in the month of July as the virus peaked along with the rains. Out of the 366 casualties that have been recorded in the state since January, 103 deaths were recorded in July alone. State authorities have admitted that maximum cases and fatalities were recorded last month. “We saw many deaths in the beginning of the month. But as the intensity of monsoon reduced, we also saw a decline in deaths,” said state’s epidemiologist Dr. Pradeep Awate. July saw a spurt after a slight dip in deaths in June when 37 deaths were recorded. H1N1 struck since the beginning of the year but cases as well as deaths picked up since March when 73 deaths were reported. There were 81 casualties in April and 61 in May. Overall, 3,513 confirmed cases have been detected so far this year. Awate however said that the number of positive cases seems to have come down in the last two weeks of July. Dr. AC Dhariwal, who heads the Delhi-based National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) said that the transmission of the virus continues to be there though it may have slowed down. “We have to wait and watch for another two to three weeks. The good news is deaths are not on a rise. We have observed that the circulation of the virus increases during and soon after rains,” he said. In Mumbai, five deaths were reported in the month of July. The civic authorities said that hospitalizations too had started showing a decline since the last week of July. Doctors however caution that those in high-risk groups shouldn’t let their guard down.

 

 

Delhi: Smoke in Metro train causes panic

 

Delhi: Kaushambi station witnessed scenes of panic after smoke was reportedly seen coming out of a train. The incident occurred on Wednesday evening when a train coming from Dwarka stopped at the Kaushambi station. According to a DMRC official, the smoke was a result of a technical issue with the braking system. After inspection, the train continued its journey towards Vaishali.

 

 

Real-time traffic violation alert on high-speed zones

 

 

KOLKATA: Months after installing speed indicators on city flyovers and other accident-proze zones to keep a check on speeding, cops have started sending real-time text messages to motorists if they overshoot the limit. Soon after installing 35-odd cameras on stretches like Maa flyover, Vidyasagar Setu, EM Bypass, Hospital Road and other high-speed zones, the traffic police control room started receiving live feed about a car’s speed and recorded the date, time, location, image of the registration number plate, direction of travel, speed limit in the area and the lane in which the vehicle is travelling. The cops are now making utmost use of the technology by sending automatic e-challans to offenders over SMS by collaborating with the Road Transport Authority (RTO), which maintains the telephone (mobile) data bank of motorists. “As soon as the camera scans an offending vehicle’s number, it is sent to the traffic control room, where the number is automatically scanned in the RTO data bank and if the phone number is available, an e-challan (denoting the fine) is generated and a text message is sent to the mobile phone of the motorist through an SMS.

 

 

The entire process is completed within seconds of receiving the first feed,” said V Solomon Nessakumar, deputy commissioner (traffic). The officer added that the system is now functioning full-fledged after initial rounds of trial runs and hitches. “Now, any given day, more than 2000 real time e-challans are generated on an average. Maa flyover and EM Bypass top the list,” he said. Kaushik Sen, a resident of Tollygunge, said last week he was heading towards Park Circus 7 point crossing from EM Bypass end of Maa flyover when he received a “no-reply” text message from Kolkata Police claiming he had violated the speed limit barely a minute ago. “I was surprised at the alertness. I had not even crossed the flyover when I received the message,” he said. Police have also reworked the speed limits. and have started repainting the signboards on Maa flyover, a move about which TOI had reported on June 13.

 

 

Squatters, traffic island prevent two-way traffic on Evening Bazaar Road

 

 

Chennai: Encroachments and an unplanned traffic island are standing in the way of turning Evening Bazaar Road into a two-way stretch from EVR Periyar Salai, leaving commuters frustrated. Under the current traffic restrictions, vehicles coming from Chennai Central should take a left turn into South Mint Street, beside the Southern Railway headquarters, and then take a right turn into Nainiappa Naicken Street to reach the junction of Memorial Street and Evening Bazaar Road before proceeding to Flower Bazaar. Commuters told TOI that this is an issue during peak hours as the Nainiappa Naicken Street is a narrow stretch. “MTC buses and heavy vehicles proceeding to the godowns in George Town enter the stretch. Because it is narrow, turning into it is a problem for these vehicles. This slows down all other vehicles too,” said G Samuel, a commuter.

 

Besides, MTC buses turn right at the Memorial Street junction to proceed towards Rajiv Gandhi Government General Hospital. These vehicles move slowly due to encroachments on Evening Bazaar Road, leading to congestion, said Ramesh Aravind, another commuter. Encroachments include squatters, who have occupied the footpath and set up shanties, and the city traffic police. An abandoned police outpost butts into the Evening Bazaar Road and significant space is taken up by seized two-wheelers. Traffic cops manning the junction told TOI that the congestion has increased due to the shutting down of the bridge near Salt Cotaurs. “Allowing two-way traffic would require removing a traffic island at the Memorial Street junction. After the island is removed, a traffic signal has to be put up and MTC buses must be allowed to take a U-turn at the GH signal on EVR Salai. These alterations may not be feasible,” a traffic cop said, on condition of anonymity. Corporation officials did not respond to TOI’s query on the possibility of removing the poorly designed traffic island, which presently serves the dual purpose of a dumping ground and a dining area for stray cows.

 

 

International News

 

 

Suicide bomber hits NATO convoy in Afghanistan: US military

US troops assess the damage to an armoured vehicle of NATO-led military coalition after a suicide attack in Kandahar.

 

 

KANDAHAR: A suicide bomber struck a NATO convoy near the southern Afghan city of Kandahar on Wednesday, causing casualties, the US military said. Lt Damien E. Horvath, a military spokesman, could not say how many casualties there were, or provide their nationalities. The NATO mission, known as Resolute Support, “can confirm that a NATO convoy was attacked in Kandahar. The attack did cause casualties,” he said. Kandahar police spokesman Zia Durrani also confirmed the attack and the area on the edge Kandahar was quickly cordoned off. No one immediately claimed responsibility for the bombing. Eyewitness Ghulam Ali, who runs a mechanics shop near the attack site, said the intensity of the blast knocked him out. When he came to he saw one military vehicle ablaze on the road. He stepped out of his shop but a sudden burst of gunfire drove him back inside. He heard helicopters arriving and saw soldiers being taken away from the scene but could not determine the extent of their injuries. Shah Agha Popal, who runs a vehicle parts shop also nearby, said he also saw soldiers being taken away by two helicopters. “But I couldn’t tell if they were wounded or if they were dead,” he said. The combined US and NATO troop contingent currently in Afghanistan is about 13,500.

 

 

The Trump administration is deciding whether to send about 4,000 or more US soldiers to Afghanistan in an attempt to stem Taliban gains. The attack came as Afghan authorities in western Herat province tightened security ahead of a mass funeral for the victims there of an attack the previous evening that killed 29. A suicide attacker opened fire inside a mosque packed with worshippers at evening prayers, before detonating his explosives. A second explosion came 10 minutes later. No one has claimed responsibility for that attack either, but it came a day after the Islamic State group warned it would strike Shiites. The Sunni militant group considers Shiite Muslims as apostates. Herat provincial spokesman Jilani Farhad said that to reduce the possibility of more attacks, a planned Shiite protest against the attack was to be held just before the burial today afternoon, rather than at a separate time and location. Along with the 29 killed, 64 people were wounded, 10 of them critically.

 

 

Russia takes over US compound in Moscow in retaliation over sanctions

A still image taken from a video footage shows men loading a truck at a dacha compound used by US diplomats for recreation.

 

 

MOSCOW: Russian authorities on Wednesday took over a summer-house compound in Moscow leased by the US embassy, five days after the Kremlin ordered Washington to slash its diplomatic presence in Russia. In retaliation for new US sanctions, President Vladimir Putin has ordered the United States to cut around 60 percent of its diplomatic staff in Russia by Sept. 1, and said Moscow would seize a dacha country villa used by US embassy staff and a warehouse. US employees cleared out the dacha on Tuesday and a Reuters journalist who visited the property on Wednesday saw a large metal padlock securing the front gate. The one-storey building and courtyard, previously used by diplomatic staff at weekends and to host embassy parties, was empty and cleared of barbecue equipment and garden furniture. Two policemen in a car in front of the main entrance said they had been instructed to guard the property and did not expect any visits from US or Russian officials. “I don’t know when this situation will change,” one of the policemen said.

 

Maria Olson, a spokeswoman for the US embassy, had no immediate comment when contacted by Reuters. She was quoted by Russia’s Interfax news agency as saying the embassy had retrieved all its possessions from the villa, and from the warehouse. Putin said on Sunday Russia had ordered the United States to cut 755 of its 1,200 diplomatic staff in its embassy and consular operations, though many of those let go will be Russian citizens, with the United States allowed to choose who leaves. The ultimatum issued by the Russian leader is a display to voters at home that he is prepared to stand up to Washington – but is also carefully calibrated to avoid directly affecting the US investment he needs, or burning his bridges with US President Donald Trump. One local Russian employee at the embassy, who declined to be named when speaking to the media, said staff were still in the dark about their future employment. “They say they will have to cut a lot of jobs – not just diplomats and technical staff, but also in the ancillary services, including drivers, janitors and cooks,” he said. “I hope I won’t be in trouble, but who knows”.

 

 

British Airways says Heathrow check-in problem resolved

 

 

LONDON: British Airways said it had resolved an issue with its systems that affected the check-in process on flights from Heathrow on Wednesday, saying that customers were now being processed as normal. “Customers are being checked in as normal after an earlier problem was resolved. We are sorry for the temporary check in problems which caused some delays for our customers first thing this morning,” British Airways said in a statement. “This issue is now resolved and our staff are working flat out to help customers get away on their holidays”.


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