News Flash – 14 December 2017

National News



2 south Delhi ATMs hacked, Rs 3 lakh stolen


NEW DELHI: Two ATMs at Kalkaji were hacked into and Rs 3 lakh was stolen in a matter of minutes. The theft came to light when a few customers who had used the machine earlier got messages from their banks that money had been withdrawn from their accounts in Mumbai. Police were informed, who found out that a skimmer machine had been used to copy card information. These devices, police guessed, must have been attached to the ATMs. They also said that the total amount of money fraudulently withdrawn was expected to rise as many more people were approaching the police with complaints. DCP (southeast) Chinmoy Biswal said police have written to the banks for more information. Satish Kangar, who complained of losing Rs 50,000, said he had used an Axis Bank ATM located at J-1 block, DDA flats, Kalkaji, on Tuesday night. “After a while, I checked my account to find that Rs 50,000 had been withdrawn from the account. I returned to the ATM machine to check if someone had withdrawn money but there was nobody. Later, six or seven other people also came there. They had also withdrawn money from that and another ATM and got messages about transactions happening in Mumbai,” Kangar said. The other ATM belonged to IndusInd Bank.


As other ATMs nearby had their shutters down, the victims suspected that someone nearby had done that on purpose so that people would use only those two ATMs. Most of the transactions were carried out in a span of 15 minutes around midnight. “Every three minutes, someone was withdrawing Rs 10,000 from Andheri East, Mumbai. Even as I called the customer care service of the bank to block my card immediately, the hackers had emptied the account and taken away Rs 1 lakh,” said Eric George, adding that he had used the ATMs about two weeks earlier. Later on Wednesday, more people came to Kalkaji police station, claiming that they had also been cheated of their money after using the two machines. Police said the machines must have been tampered with for at least 10 days. Preliminary probe indicated that the hackers had installed a skimming device in the machines, either in the card slot or above the keypad to capture PINs. Police said they were scanning CCTV footage from the ATMs for clues and also speaking to the banks. Earlier on December 4, a petrol pump attendant had been arrested for card fraud.



With mercury likely to dip today, air may get worse in next 3 days


NEW DELHI: The capital witnessed a fog-laden morning on Wednesday as maximum temperature continued to remain low — resulting in air quality deteriorating through the day. Pollution levels remained in the “poor” category as Delhi’s overall Air Quality Index (AQI) rose from 214 on Tuesday to 271 on Wednesday. Experts forecast a drop in minimum temperatures from Thursday with cooler winds blowing from the north. Delhi’s maximum temperature on Wednesday was recorded at 21.3 degrees Celsius — two notches below normal for the season, while the minimum was recorded at 12 degrees Celsius, which is three degrees above normal. The minimum temperature, however, may fall by nearly four degrees on Thursday and will hover around 8 degrees Celsius, experts from the Regional Weather Forecasting Centre (RWFC) in Delhi said. “There was moderate to dense fog due in places due to the rain on Monday as moisture content was high. Now minimum temperatures will start dropping again with icy cold winds blowing from the north, after snow starts melting in the higher parts,” said a RWFC official. There will be shallow fog on Thursday morning. The minimum will be 8 degrees, while the maximum will be around 21 degrees Celsius,” said the official.


Delhi’s average PM2.5 levels according to CPCB’s central control room were recorded at 130 micrograms per cubic metre at 8pm on Wednesday, while the average PM10 levels were recorded at 205 micrograms per cubic metre — both around two times the safe standard. The prescribed limits for both ultrafine particles is 60 and 100 micrograms per cubic metre. Forecasts according to the System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting And Research (SAFAR) show slight improvement in air quality on Thursday, however the pollution levels are likely to spike to three times the safe standard over the next three days. Delhi’s average PM2.5 levels were around 2-3 times the safe standard with DTU the most polluted in the “very poor” category. In NCR, Ghaziabad was the most polluted with an AQI of 359, while Faridabad was the cleanest — recording “moderate” air quality.



Chennai inspector shot dead in bungled Rajasthan swoop

Policewomen pay homage to inspector S Periyapandian at the Maduravoyal police station on Wednesday.



CHENNAI/JODHPUR: An inspector from Chennai died in an operation that went terribly wrong in Rajasthan‘s Pali district early on Wednesday, shot with a colleague’s service revolver in a scuffle as a police team attempted to arrest two key suspects in a Rs 1 crore heist at a jewellery outlet in Kolathur, Chennai, on November 16. A senior police officer said S Periyapandian, 48, an inspector with the Maduravoyal police, sustained a fatal injury when a bullet hit him in the armpit and lodged in the chest as a team of five policemen stormed an abandoned brick kiln in Ramavas village to apprehend Nathuram Chennaram, 28, of Pali, and Dinesh Chowdary, 20, of Jodhpur. “The policemen, acting on a tip, at 2.30am tried to enter a makeshift shelter in a brick kiln where they believed the criminals were hiding out,” Pali district superintendent of police Deepak Bhargav said. “The occupants hurled bricks at the policemen and attacked them with sticks”. Struck with a stick, Kolathur inspector T M Munisekar, who was leading the team with Periyapandian, dropped his service revolver in the dark, he said. Periyapandian attempted to retrieve the weapon even as one of the occupants grabbed it and the other policemen retreated. “Inspector Munisekar said he and the other policemen heard a shot go off and realised that Periyapandian was still inside the shack,” SP Bhargav said. “The policemen found him in a pool of blood and rushed him to Jodhpur Government Hospital, where doctors declared Periyapandian died on arrival”.


The team had, with the Rajasthan police, on November 30 arrested four suspected members of the gang in Pali for the brazen Kolathur burglary, in which the suspects, all from Rajasthan, drilled a hole in the ceiling of the jewellery outlet from a shop above, and made awaywith3.5kg of gold and 8kg of silver in the afternoon of November 16, when the proprietor was away at lunch. The Chennai police did not inform their counterparts in Rajasthan about Wednesday’s operation, SP Bhargav said. “We recovered a single shell casing from the spot,” the SP said. “Inspector Munisekar received a blow to the face. Head constables Ambrose and Gurumoorthy and constable Sudharsan, hit by bricks, sustained minor injuries”. The Rajasthan police have seized Periyapandian and Munisekar’s service revolvers and sent them and the recovered shell casing to a forensic science laboratory for analysis. Chennai police commissioner A K Viswanathan said he had asked joint commissioner of police Santhosh Kumar to pursue the case in Rajasthan. “I have contacted senior officers in Rajasthan and sought their help,” he said. “I’ve spoken to the members of the team from Chennai. This is a setback for the city police”. Periyapandian, a native of Moovirundhali near Tirunelveli and an a sub-inspector of the 2000 batch, received a promotion to inspector in 2013. He is survived by wife Banu Rekha, and two sons, Ruben Priyaraj, 17, a first-year BSc student at Loyola College, Chennai, and Rahul, a Class IX student.



Landslip creates lake, poses risk to Gangotri



DEHRADUN/UTTARKASHI: Suspecting the formation of a new lake in the Gangotri glacier region after a recent heavy landslide, a specialised team comprising personnel of the State Disaster Response Force (SDRF), Nehru Institute of Mountaineering and forest department was asked to proceed to the region on Wednesday. Another team had left for the area on Tuesday but was forced to return due to bad weather. Sources said that the decision to send a specialised team to investigate the matter was done after satellite images showed heavy landslide at the Gangotri glacier near the India-China border. It was also suspected that a fresh water body has been formed due to the landslide which might have an impact on the glacier. A few months ago, environmentalists had discovered that a lake-like structure had formed at Gaumukh —the snout of the Gangotri glacier— from where the main stream of the Ganga (known as Bhagirathi) is flowing.


Scientists on an expedition to the glacier in October had found that because of the formation of the lake, the river is now flowing from the left side of the glacial snout instead of straight as was the case earlier. This change in flow might have disastrous consequences for Gaumukh, leading to its collapse, they had warned. The implications of the creation of another water body in the glacier were not immediately apparent although the information created anxiety among the government agencies. “After satellite images showed heavy landslide in the Gangotri glacier region near the India-China border on Monday and suspected formation of a lake, it was decided to collect detailed information by sending a team to the region. A preliminary team comprising of SDRF and officials of the forest department was sent. However, they were forced to return due to bad weather,” Ashish Chauhan, district magistrate, Uttarkashi, told TOI. Sanjay Gunjyal, inspector general, SDRF, said that he can “only comment on the matter when our team gives its feedback after visiting the spot”.



International News



Strikes kill 12 in rebel-run Yemen prison camp, says rebel TV

A Houthi militant guards the gate of a Houthi-run detention centre, following air strikes on it in Sanaa, Yemen on December 13.



SANAA: Saudi-led air strikes on a prison camp run by rebels in Yemen killed 12 people and wounded 80 on Wednesday, the rebels’ Al-Masirah TV reported. There has been no let-up in the air campaign against the rebels that a Saudi-led coalition has been waging since March 2015 despite an appeal by UN chief Antonio Guterres on Sunday for a renewed push to end the “stupid war”. All of the casualties in the pre-dawn strikes on the camp in the capital Sanaa were prisoners, rebel television said. An AFP photographer saw rebel fighters carrying away bodies from the rubble of heavily damaged buildings. One of the guards, Mohammed al-Aqel, said the strikes had begun at 1:00 am (2200 GMT Tuesday). He said a first strike had damaged one wing of the jail prompting some of the prisoners to try to escape but it was then almost flattened by a second strike. Three further strikes damaged two other prison buildings and the perimeter wall, Aqel added. On Sunday, Saudi-led strikes on a rebel training camp northwest of the capital killed at least 26 rebel fighters, security sources said. On Friday, a strike on a rebel-controlled television station in Sanaa killed four guards. The raids come with Yemen plunged deeper into turmoil by the killing of ex-president Ali Abdullah Saleh by the rebels after their uneasy alliance collapsed. Despite the superior firepower of the Saudi-led coalition, the rebels still control the capital and much of the north. More than 8,750 people have been killed since the coalition intervened, most of them civilians, according to the World Health Organization. On Monday, the UN humanitarian coordinator for Yemen, Jamie McGoldrick, warned: “8.4 million Yemenis are a step away from famine”.

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