News Flash – 13 February 2020

National News



Masked Man Holds Bank Security Guard Captive & Loots Rs.1.5 Lakhs


New Delhi: A masked man entered a branch of Oriental Bank of Commerce in west Delhi’s Tilak Nagar on Wednesday, held the guard captive and fled with Rs 1.5 lakh cash. The entire sequence was captured on CCTV. The bank is located barely 100 metres from a police station. Late in the evening, police arrested a man named Pankaj Narang from his house nearby. The scooter used in the crime and the looted money were seized, police said. This is the fourth time in just over a year that criminals have targeted a bank in Delhi. In October 2018, armed gunmen had stormed the Chhawla branch of Corporation Bank in southwest Delhi, shot the guard and fled with cash. Another robbery took place at Central Bank of India’s branch in east Delhi’s Farsh Bazar in September last year; the assailants made off with around Rs 9 lakh. Earlier, a gang had struck at Kotak Mahindra Bank in east Delhi’s Krishna Nagar in July 2019. Even though police have managed to crack these cases, the daring attempts have put a question mark on the law and order situation. This genre of crime was rare in the capital in the last two decades.



Thursday’s incident took place minutes after the bank opened for customers. CCTV grabs showed a well-built man, seemingly in his late 20s, arrive at the gate at 10.20 am. His face was covered with a cloth and was wearing a cap. The man pulled out a pistol, pounced upon the guard and held him by the neck from behind. He then snatched his rifle and pointed it towards the staff and threatened to open fire. He asked them to hand over the money. One of the cashiers gave him a bundle of notes, but the man asked for more. The cashier then got another bundle of cash and gave it to him. The man walked away with the cash and the guard’s gun. After police were informed, several teams were rushed to the spot. An FIR was registered and footage from CCTV cameras analysed. Cops found the guard’s gun thrown at the roadside near the bank. Using the registration details of the scooter from the CCTV cameras, a police team zeroed in on the accused. During interrogation, the accused, Narang, revealed that he was in financial distress and planned the heist to clear his debts. “His father runs a hardware business and had helped him out earlier. This is why he did not want to ask him for money,” a police officer said. He said Narang had an account with the bank branch for 10 years.



Man Who Put Skimmer, Camera at ATM Held



Mumbai: A 23-year-old man was arrested recently allegedly for having installed a card skimmer and camera at an ATM in September to defraud customers. He had been earlier arrested in Delhi for a similar offence and is wanted by the Gujarat police. On September 27, 2019, an official of Kotak Mahindra Bank complained at Malad police station about a skimmer and camera attached to the bank’s ATM at Orlem. The police checked CCTV footage at the ATM and found an image of the suspect captured on September 24. The clip was circulated among informants and the man tracked down earlier this week and taken into custody, said investigating officer Vivek Tambe. The police said the man is part of a larger gang.



Jammu Building Catches Fire & Collapses, 3 Firemen Killed



Jammu: Three firemen were killed and six, including two firemen, were injured when a three-storey building caught fire and collapsed in Jammu early on Wednesday. Police said a fire broke out in a wooden kiosk around 5am at Gole Puli in Talab Tillo area and spread to a building housing a saw-mill on the ground floor. “Over a dozen fire tenders were pressed into service. A gas cylinder also exploded that added fuel to fire. Then, the building collapsed,” police said. The bodies of three firefighters Vimal Raina (32), Rattan Chand (50) and Mohd Aslam were buried under the debris of the building and retrieved by an NDRF team. The six injured head constable Puran Singh, head constable Sat Pal, Lokesh, Amit, Gurpreet Singh and Rahil are currently under treatment at Government Medical College & Hospital (GMC&H). Police has taken cognizance of the matter and started investigations into the matter.



Toll-Free Numbers Come in Handy for Cybercrooks


Hyderabad: How easy is it to buy a toll-free number? A quick Google search reveals that several websites provide toll-free numbers for as less than as Rs. 2,000. Some even provide a 15-day to 30-day free trial. Cyberabad cybercrime cops have received complaints, mostly petitions, involving people cheated by fraudsters using these toll-free numbers. Ironically, police confirm that most of the duped people are IT professionals. “The fraudsters are buying the toll-free numbers and then contacting gullible people. Pretending to call from companies like Zomato, Snapdeal, Axis Bank, etc., they are convincing people to make payments. As the calls are made from toll-free numbers, people give away details on the assumption that the call has been made from a genuine company,” said ACP, cybercrime, Y Srinivas Kumar. A majority of the fraudsters are traced to three districts of Bihar Nawada, Nalanda and Sheikhpura. Even though cops have received a large number of cases in the last six months, only one case has been detected in the recent past. “If the fraudsters use a mobile phone number, we can get in touch with the service provider and trace the accused. But, with these toll-free numbers, it becomes hard to trace the scammers. Websites providing these toll-free numbers have little or no verification process of those purchasing these toll-free numbers,” the ACP explained.



He said most of cases were traced to three districts of Bihar. “But, identifying the accused is difficult”. In a recent case, four persons of Nawada were arrested after they cheated a woman of Rs.2.3 lakhs using a toll free number. The accused sent a message to the victim pretending to be from Snapdeal. The message read like this: “Congratulations! You are a winner of Snapdeal Company Online shopping. You have won the first prize TATA Nexon Car or an amount Rs. 6,90,000/-. You have to pay company registration charges, Rs. 6,500/- in SBI bank. For deposit Details contact me Helpline Toll-free Number 1800313xxxx (sic)”. After calling toll-free number to claim her prize, the woman paid Rs.2.3 lakhs towards various charges and later realised she was conned. The case was registered in November last year and detected this January. “Some people lost money ranging between Rs. 1,000 and Rs.3 lakhs,” the ACP added. Times View: Police should persuade all portals providing toll-free numbers to put in place a system to check fraudsters from getting access to the numbers, in addition to launching a massive social media campaign to apprise people of the newest cyber fraud. Separately, police should also take help from their counterparts in other states to flush out the gangs



International News



China’s New Coronavirus Cases Drop, World Still Scared

Officers in protective gear enter the cruise ship Diamond Princess in Japan.



Beijing/Singapore: China reported on Wednesday its lowest number of new coronavirus cases in two weeks, bolstering a forecast by Beijing’s senior medical adviser for the outbreak in the country to end by April but fears of further international spread remained. The 2,015 new confirmed cases took China’s total to 44,653. That was the lowest daily rise since January 30 and came a day after epidemiologist Zhong Nanshan said the epidemic should peak in China this month before subsiding. His comments gave some balm to public fears and to markets, where global stocks surged to record highs on hopes of an end to disruption in the world’s second largest economy. But the World Health Organization (WHO) has likened the epidemic’s threat to terrorism and one expert said that while it may be peaking in China, this was not the case beyond. “It has spread to other places where it’s the beginning of the outbreak,” Dale Fisher, head of the Global Outbreak Alert and Response Network coordinated by the WHO, said in an interview in Singapore. “In Singapore, we are at the beginning.” Singapore has 50 cases, including one found at its biggest bank, DBS, on Wednesday that caused an evacuation at head office. Hundreds of infections have been reported in dozens of other countries and territories, but only two people have died outside mainland China: one in Hong Kong and another in the Philippines. China’s latest figures also showed that the number of deaths on the mainland rose by 97 to 1,113 by the end of Tuesday. But doubts have been aired on social media about how reliable the data is, after the government last week amended guidelines on classification.

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