Kidnapped Delhi schoolboy rescued after shootout; 1 killed, 2 injured
NEW DELHI: Twelve days after a five-year-old boy was kidnapped from his school bus, Delhi Police’s crime branch rescued the child after a fierce gun battle with kidnappers at around 1am on Tuesday. One of the criminals was shot dead while two others were injured in the shootout, sources have confirmed. A cop was shot at as well but had a narrow escape due to his bulletproof jacket. The kidnappers had shot at the school van driver while fleeing with the child amidst heavy security on January 25. They had demanded a ransom of Rs 60 lakh from the family. Special commissioner R P Upadhayay confirmed that the child was safe and had been united with his parents. The operation was conducted by joint commissioner (crime) Alok Kumar. The criminal who was killed has been identified as Ravi, said a source. He was taken to GTB hospital where he was declared dead on arrival. The others sustained injuries on his thigh and leg. On Republic Day eve, with the capital under unprecedented security cover for the event as well as the Asean summit and the release of controversial movie Padmaavat, two armed criminals on a bike had intercepted a school van, shot at the driver and rode away with a five-year-old boy after dragging him out of the vehicle. TOI had reported that after the daring crime on Thursday morning, the kidnappers had fled towards the Delhi-UP border.
There were around 14-15 children in the van when the kidnappers struck around 8am on Thursday. The vehicle was slowing down to pick up a child near a hospital in east Delhi. After intercepting the van, one of the armed bikers shot the driver in the leg while trying to snatch the vehicle’s keys. The other stood guard at the rear of the van. The targeted child, a nursery student, was not wearing a school dress. He also did not have an ID card on him because he was to participate in a fancy dress competition at school. The criminals entered the van and called out the child’s name. “The boy usually sat at the front but was seated at the rear on Thursday. The child’s sister and a woman school staffer were also present in the bus,” said a police officer. As other children panicked and screamed in frenzy, the criminals dragged the child out of the van, made him sit between them on the bike and fled. According to the driver, the van stopped at the spot every day for a pick-up, indicating that the criminals had done a recede. The crime was the first of its kind in the capital and the second sensational kidnapping in January. On January 1, a south Delhi businessman’s son was abducted from near Vasant Vihar and a Rs 5-crore ransom demanded. The family had paid Rs 4 crore to get their son released in that case.
Court orders bank to refund Rs 10,000 to first-time ATM user
BENGALURU: Little did Bengalurean B S Basavaraju realize that his attempt to use an ATM card for the first time would result in harassment from the bank and a court battle. A resident of Kumaraswamy Layout, Basavaraju, 59, tried to use his ATM card issued by the Karnataka State Co-operative Apex Bank for his savings account on February 26, 2016. He visited the ICICI Bank and Axis Bank branches but his attempts to withdraw Rs 10,000 from their ATMs went in vain; the machines beamed a message that his card wasn’t ready yet. A few days later, Basavaraju visited Apex Bank’s Chamarajpet branch where he had his account and got his passbook updated. He was shocked to notice that Rs 10,000 had been withdrawn from his account on February 26. He lodged a complaint with the local branch manager who promised to fix the matter and get the money back into his account in three months. He also approached the ICICI and Axis Bank branches where he had tried to withdraw money. After waiting in vain for five months for his bank to sort out the problem, Basavaraju moved the District Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum, Bengaluru (Urban), with a complaint against Apex Bank, ICICI Bank and Axis Bank. Bank authorities asserted in the court that Basavaraju had filed a false complaint against them by stating that he wasn’t able to use the ATM effectively and pointed out a typing error of Rs 10 lakh instead of Rs 10,000 entered in the ATM during the failed withdrawals.
After examining the claims, the forum pulled up Apex Bank authorities for failing to refund him the amount he’d lost. The bank’s counsel said Basavaraju’s claims were false but did not produce any evidence, mainly CCTV footage from the ATMs to prove it, the judges noted. The forum ordered Apex Bank to refund Rs 10,000 to Basavaraju with 9% interest from the day it was lost, and pay Rs 4,000 towards court expenses. The complaint against ICICI and Axis banks were dismissed. Three unidentified miscreants made a futile attempt to break open an ATM at an Axis Bank kiosk in Avalahalli, near Talaghattapura, South Bengaluru, late Sunday night. Police said the kiosk was unguarded and the miscreants used stones to break open the machine. They only damaged the screen and the rear portion of the kiosk. “The cash inside the machine was intact,” they added. “Bank officials have erred by not deploying security personnel. According to officials, the machine had around Rs 14 lakh cash,” police said.
Local police to help curb traffic rule violations
KOLKATA: The spate of accidents in the city in the past three days has forced Lalbazar to rethink its strategies on Kolkata roads. The traffic cops have decided to deploy civic volunteers and ask the local police to pitch in as well to ensure pedestrians cross important roads like EM Bypass and Diamond Harbour Road in a systematic manner and buses do not pick up or drop off passengers in the middle of the road. Sources said the main thrust of this drive will be to bring down accidents on major roads like EM Bypass, AJC Bose Road, APC Road and DH Road. “These are big stretches and have several intersections. We will be launching a special drive against jaywalking and illegal cycling if required,” said an officer. For the time being, cops are carrying out road furniture surveys to ensure maximum protection for pedestrians. Kolkata witnesses a huge number of pedestrian deaths each year, one of the highest in the country.
According to DC (traffic) Sumit Kumar, the police will deploy around 1,200 civic volunteers at all important crossings — around 60 sites have been chosen in the first phase. “Their main job will be to ensure that pedestrians do not cross the roads from different points. They will also ensure that all passengers get on and off buses from one spot,” said Kumar. Lalbazar sources said the local police station sergeant and constables will also ensure no bus stops in the middle of the road. “The chase and booking system will be optimized,” said an officer from the planning section. Kumar added that they have found merit in claims from certain bus drivers and bus owners that not all accidents involving their vehicles can be attributed to the fault of drivers. “Honoring the merit of their claim, we will now send SMSs to drivers immediately informing them about any violation they commit. We are encouraging them to do better. A reward system will also be started. But those who are found guilty of gross violations will have to face the music,” said Kumar.
TN college bus carrying 40 students falls into pit as driver suffers epileptic seizures
TIRUPUR: Around 30 students of a private arts and science college suffered minor injuries when a bus they were travelling in fell into a pit near Uthukuli in Tirupur district of Tamil Nadu on Monday morning after the driver suffered epileptic seizures, police said. The student were going to Karuppannan Mariappan Arts and Science College at Chettiyarpalayam near Muthur when the accident happened. The bus belonged to the college. The driver, who was yet to be identified, tried to stop the vehicle when he suffered epileptic seizures, but in vain. “The driver tried to stop the bus, but he lost control of the vehicle. The bus fell into a seven-foot deep pit, upside down,” said an officer at the Uthukuli police station. The accident happened at Koolipalayam. As many as 40 students were travelling in the bus. “Around 30 students and the driver suffered minor injuries and all of them were rescued. Two of them were sent to Tirupur government hospital. The situation would have been worse if the driver had not tried to stop the bus,” said the officer.
4 killed in 53-vehicle pile-up on icy Chinese highway
BEIJING: A pile-up involving 53 vehicles on an icy highway on Monday killed at least four persons in southwest China’s Yunnan Province, officials said. The pile-up occurred in Kunming City, on the freeway that connects Kunming, the provincial capital, with Chuxiong. Four persons died after falling off a highway bridge when trying to move to another lane, according to the provincial traffic police. Three people suffered minor injuries in the pile-up. A preliminary investigation showed that the brutal mash- up was caused due to icy roads. The freeway was temporarily closed to traffic, with more than 80 people stranded. Deadly road accidents are common in China, where traffic regulations are often flouted or go unenforced. China suffered more than 180,000 traffic accidents in 2015, killing 58,000 people, authorities said last year. Violations of traffic laws were blamed for nearly 90 per cent of accidents that caused deaths or injuries that year. In August last year, at least 36 people were killed and 13 injured when a bus slammed into a wall at the mouth of an expressway tunnel in northern China, authorities said.
83 killed in ‘war on children’ across Mideast: UN
AMMAN: At least 83 children were killed in Middle East war zones in January, most of them in Syria, the UN children’s agency UNICEF said Monday, vowing their voices “will never be silenced”. “They were killed in ongoing conflicts, suicide attacks or frozen to death as they fled active war zones,” said UNICEF’s regional director for the Middle East and North Africa, Geert Cappelaere. “In the month of January alone, escalating violence in Iraq, Libya, the State of Palestine, Syria and Yemen has claimed the lives of at least 83 children,” Cappelaere added in a statement. Calling January a “dark (and) bloody month”, Cappelaere said it was “unacceptable that children continue being killed and injured every single day”. “Children may have been silenced but their voices will continue to be heard… their voices will never be silenced,” he said. “We collectively continue failing to stop the war on children! We have no justification. We have no reason to accept a new normal”. The highest death toll was in Syria where 59 children were killed in violence as the war there enters its eighth year, said UNICEF. In Yemen, wracked by conflict since March 2015 between Iran-backed Huthi rebels and a government supported by a Saudi-led military coalition, 16 children were killed, it said.
“UNICEF is receiving reports of killed and injured children on a daily basis as fighting escalates across the country (Yemen),” it added. In Libya’s second city Benghazi, a suicide attack killed three children while three others died while “playing near unexploded ordnance” and a fourth child was critically wounded. A child was killed in a “booby-trapped” house in Iraq’s second city Mosul, ruled for three years by Islamic State group jihadists before being driven out by government forces in July after fierce battles. And north of the city of Ramallah in the occupied West Bank, Israeli soldiers shot dead a 16-year-old Palestinian boy. Four children were among 16 Syrian refugees who “froze to death” in a snowstorm as they were fleeing their country to neighbouring Lebanon, said UNICEF, adding that more children suffered frost bite. A Lebanese security official put the death toll at 17. “Not hundreds, not thousands but millions more children in the Middle East and North Africa region have their childhood stolen, maimed for life, traumatised, arrested and detained, exploited, prevented from going to school and from getting the most essential health services; denied even the basic right to play,” said Cappelaere.