News Flash – 16 January 2020

National News



Theft Rules City’s Crime Chart, but Drops 6% Over a Year, Rape Cases Increase 14%


Mumbai: Theft is the most prevalent crime in Mumbai, according to data for 2019 released by the city police on Wednesday, though it has dropped by about 6% from the year before. Causing hurt too figures high on the list, occupying the second spot (4,372 cases in 2019), followed by vehicle theft (2,693) and molestation (2,678). In all, 41,932 cases of crime were registered with Mumbai Police in 2019, a 0.1% increase from 41,901in 2018. Though rape forms a fraction of the cases, its absolute reported number is disturbingly high: 1,015 in 2019, up from 889 in 2018. The police have also shown a high rate of cracking cases, having solved 28,802 of the total 41,931 cases in 2019 and 28,812 of the total 41,901in 2018. In both instances, the police’s rate of solving crime cases is around 69%. Disturbingly, like for rape, there has been an increase in other serious offences. Molestation rose from 2,586 in 2018 to 2678 the next year, robbery from 931 to 987, extortion from 228 to 253, attempt to murder from 280 to 343. Murder cases remained more or less the same: 165 in 2019, up by just one case.



Offences that registered a dip included theft (from 6,260 cases in 2018 to 5,888 in 2019), hurt (5,198 to 4,372), vehicle theft (3,203 to 2,693), and house break in (2,244 to 2,058). Chain snatching (171 to 157) and dacoity (32 to 21) dropped too, but the figures are not high enough for a city as populous as Mumbai to establish a trend in any statistically significant way. Joint commissioner of police (law and order) Vinay Choubey said the force has come out with several initiatives to tackle street crime and to solve cases. “The dip in some crimes is the result of prompt action, added with the use of technology to solving crime. The installation of CCTV cameras at various points in the city has also been a deterrent to criminals”. However, RTI activist Jeetendra Ghadge said that the crime data doesn’t reflect financial wrongdoing and real estate fraud. “We need to reform our criminal justice system to make sure such crimes are also taken seriously,” he said.



Cybercrime Almost Doubles in a Year, Cops Crack Only 14% of Cases



Mumbai: The cyber police have been able to solve just about 14% of the total 2,518 cybercrime cases registered in 2019. This is a 6% drop from the year before, though cyber offences increased by over 83%, from 1,375 cases in 2018 to 2,518 in 2018. Police say their major concern is that a rising number of people are falling victim to credit and debit card, and e- wallet frauds (see graphic). Experts feel the city and the state’s cyber policing system needs an overhaul. Former police commissioner D Sivanandan said tech-savvy persons with professional degrees in IT or computer science should be recruited for the cyber police station as opposed to non-specialists, who are on transfer from other departments. “At present, cops who are put there are transferred every two years. This practice will not solve the purpose of cracking cybercrime cases, which are of a technical nature”. Superintendent of police (state cyber) Balsing Rajput said that for now, the department has implemented four processes technology, processes, human resources and coordination. “These measures will help in an improvement in dealing with cases,” he said.



Kolkata Woman’s Biometrics Used for Forgery in Raj


Kolkata: If you are asked to provide your thumb impression to buy a mobile SIM card, be careful lest you fall victim to identity theft. In, perhaps, the first such case in Kolkata, a 58-year-old homemaker from Bhowanipore was shocked when she discovered that her biometric data had been misused to obtain a SIM card and commit crimes in Rajasthan. The victim, mother of a college student from Chakraberia Road, lodged complaints with both Bhowanipore police and the cyber cell. She has now moved court, asking why the mobile service provider should not be held guilty for failing to protect her identity. A local court has now directed the Kolkata Police’s cyber cell to conduct a thorough probe, said her advocate Bivas Chatterjee. “Frauds using data and forms provided by customers are common. But biometric data theft is a sign that the data can be used for many other illegal activities,” said Chatterjee. Police refused to share details of the case saying it was an extremely sensitive case. The woman said that on January 2, officers from Civil Lines police station in Ajmer, Rajasthan, knocked on her door. An officer from Bhowanipore police station, who was with the team, informed her that a mobile phone had been used to carry out cheating and forgery and that the number was registered in her name.



“On my repeated requests for further information, the Rajasthan cops showed me a copy of the forged prepaid customer application form. When they left, I lodged two complaints with the police the same day,” the woman stated in her application to the court. The woman recalled that on February 22, 2019, she had gone to a store on Sarat Bose Road to apply for a new SIM card. “The agent there asked me to provide KYC documents. He also asked me to give my register my fingerprint on a biometric scanner for verification prior to activating the new SIM card. “The agent — after taking a photocopy of my Aadhaar card — asked me to provide my fingerprints again, claiming that the first attempt was unsuccessful as the thumb impression was unclear. The gap between taking the first and last thumb expression was at least 10 minutes. Not suspecting anything, I agreed. I believe that is when the manipulation took place,” the woman stated in her petition. Investigators are likely to question the agent soon. An officer said that her identity had been recorded twice on purpose. Her identity was compromised at the source, he said. A total of 164 cases of fraud have been reported since 2011 across India on identity thefts.



Karnataka Gang Travels 1,700km to Rob Kolkata Jewellery Stores


Kolkata: Police have busted a gang of conmen, who had travelled around 1,700 km to the city all the way from Bidar in Karnataka and targeted jewellery stores in Bowbazar, Entally and Beliaghata. According to the cops, while one of them, Amzad Hussain, was arrested, three others were identified. “The Entally police anti-crime teams were on their rounds around 8.30pm on Tuesday, when they noticed three men roaming around suspiciously in the Sealdah station VIP parking area. As the cops tried to approach them, they began running. Three of them managed to give them a slip but Hussain was intercepted. We found gold chains in his possession and he did not have any satisfactory explanation for it. Suspecting they had been stolen, we cross-checked and found a link,” said Ajoy Prasad, DC (eastern suburban division). The chains were seized and the accused was arrested from the spot, booked under IPC sections 413 (habitually dealing in stolen property) and 414 (assisting in concealment of stolen property). Police said the gang would visit Kolkata for a few weeks, when they would first carry out a recce of jewellery shops and then, strike. The gang would reportedly keep moving from one Kolkata destination to another to evade suspicion.



“Snatchers and pickpockets from Andhra Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand and Karnataka have made Kolkata their hunting ground. During their stay, this gang, like the others, had also rented accommodations away from the city to dodge police attention,” said a detective department officer. While Entally police station cops have alerted the OC watch section, detective department officers are likely to question him. The police pointed out that tracking kepmars was difficult as they kept shifting their places of operation. After a couple of operations here, they move to Mumbai or Delhi and may resurface here after about six months, police said, adding that two months ago, a conman from Maharashtra, Gulam Hussain Mallick Irani, who had accosted a man carrying Rs 1 lakh from a Gariahat-based bank branch and tricked him into giving him away Rs 36,000. He was subsequently arrested. “Kepmars are smooth operators. They strike up conversations with their targets and win their confidence by offering help. Vendors or customers, whom they target, are not always able to keep an eye out, especially when three to four men operate in tandem. Within seconds, the new-found ‘friends’ melt in the crowd with the stolen items,” an officer said.

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