News Flash – 18 September 2017

National News



3 cops to protect each VIP but just 1 for every 663 common man

India remains among the least policed countries in the world, with one cop for 663 citizens.



NEW DELHI: Despite promises by politicians year after year, VIP culture continues to thrive in India. The latest data reveals that some 20,000 VIPs have on average three cops to protect each of them while there is a huge shortage of policemen for ordinary citizens. Data compiled by the Bureau of Police Research and Development(BPR&D) under the home ministry shows that out of a total 19.26 lakh police officers in the country, 56,944 are deployed just for the safety of 20,828 VIPs across 29 states and six Union territories. That makes an average of 2.73 cops for every VIP in the country. Lakshadweep is the only state/UT where no one has been given dedicated police protection. For ordinary citizens, however, India remains among the least policed countries in the world, with one cop looking after every 663 Indians. More than threat perception, having a police officer around for security has become a status symbol for many. Although the Centre has taken steps such as banning red beacons, states make their own rules and use police to provide personal security to many, often citing ‘threat to life’ as the reason. The BPR&D data shows that VIP culture is more prevalent in north and east India. Bihar, which has one of the poorest police-to-population ratios, has the maximum number of 3,200 ‘VIPs’ being given protection by 6,248 cops. West Bengal is another state that makes full use of police for such privileges.


The state has 2,207 ‘VIPs’ protected by 4,233 cops, while only 501 cops were originally sanctioned for such duties. Bengal is followed by J&K, which has 2,075 ‘VIPs’ getting security from 4,499 policemen. Uttar Pradesh, whose CM Yogi Aditya Nath has vowed to prune VIP culture, is not far behind. There are 1,901 protectees in the state with 4,681 cops at their service. Punjab has 1,852 VIPs protected by as many as 5,315 cops. Delhi, home to dignitaries such as the PM and President has only 489 protected persons but has the maximum number of cops, 7,420, deputed to secure them. Official say the number of cops on VIP duties in Delhi is justified because all important movements and high profile institutions such as Parliament, Supreme Court, ministries etc. run from here. The BPR&D data shows that southern states fare better when it comes to saying no to VIP culture. Maharashtra has only 74 protected persons secured by 961 cops, while Kerala has only 57 VIPs and 214 policemen deployed for them. Officials TOI spoke to said problems arise when MLAs, local politicians and bureaucrats/judges in states are provided police protection. “In states such as Bihar, UP, West Bengal and Punjab, it is seen as a status symbol and is encouraged by the administrations,” said an officer.



Mumbai: Fire brigade to quiz RK Studios workers



MUMBAI: A day after a major fire broke out at RK Studios in Chembur, gutting a major portion of a television show set on its premises, the fire brigade has collected details of studio workers who were near the spot where the blaze started to ascertain its cause. Fire officials said they are also checking the firefighting system at the 67-year-old iconic studio. “We have collected details of the studio workers to record their statements and find out the cause of the fire. It will take a few days,” said chief fire officer P S Rahangdale. On Sunday, firemen, with the help of workers, removed the charred debris and checked the premises for clues on the cause of the fire. On Saturday afternoon, huge flames engulfed stage 1 at RK Studios, where a television show set was put up. There are a total four stages. ” As several inflammable items were stored within the set, the fire spread very fast,” said Rahangdale. After fire officials had reached the site, the entire roof of the set collapsed and the flames spread rapidly. Fire-fighting operations went on for four hours. Actor Rishi Kapoor had tweeted on Saturday: “A Studio can be built again but the loss of the irreplaceable memorabilia and costumes of all RK Films, is tragic for all. Fire took it away”.



Man stole Rs. 4 lakhs by reading ATM pins, held



NEW DELHI: A 28-year-old man who used to dupe people by reading their ATM pin was arrested on Friday from east Delhi’s Shahdara. The man had stolen more than Rs 4 lakh from different people by carrying forward their transactions from ATM machines and withdrawing money from their account by using fake cards. DCP (Shahdara) Nupur Prasad said that a team led by SHO Farsh Bazar Sunil Kumar Sharma apprehended Sandeep from an SBI ATM in Shahdara’s Sabzi Mandi on Friday . The security guard, Pradeep, informed police about him. Police officials said that they had been receiving many complaints of people losing money from their account after they visited an ATM. One such complainant, Sanjay Jain, told police that on September 4, he went to the ATM at Anaj Mandi, Shahdara. “A man who was standing behind me told me that the money would be coming from the second machine. He then continued a transaction on the first machine and showed that he had used his card and took Rs 15,000 out of it and went. I went to the second machine and took Rs 10,000 out of it. Later on, I got a message from the bank that Rs 25,000 have been debited from my account,” he said.


Police found that similar cases have been reported in multiple areas in Trans Yamuna, where the victims were stopped during their transaction and were told to use a different machine. The police went through CCTV footage of the ATMs where the victims had withdrawn money and noticed that the accused was standing right behind them. The police shared the footage with security guards deployed at the ATMs. Many of them are enrolled in the `Prahari’ scheme where they act as a force multiplier for police. One such guard noticed that the accused had arrived at the ATM and was standing inside. He alerted the cops who went there and apprehended him. During interrogation, Sandeep told police that he is a native of Moga in Punjab. He studied hotel management and is married and has two kids. He left his family and got into a relationship with a widow in Delhi, with whom he was living in Jwala Nagar. Police have recovered 12 ATM cards and a silver chain from the accused. They have also worked out three cases involving theft of Rs 4 lakh. Police suspect that the accused had duped almost 50 people.



One-time password unsafe too, conmen loot with fake SIMs



HYDERABAD: Cyber Crime police blame Telecom Enforcement Resources and Monitoring (TERM) for its failure to crack the whip on telecom majors for steep increase in one-time password (OTP) fraud cases. Offenders have become so brazen that they even managed to trap a city-based PSU bank official and siphoned off 24,000 from her account. Hyderabad Cyber Crime police claim they have written several letters to the TERM asking them to take action against the increasing fake SIM cards being procured by miscreants to cheat people. “We have written five letters to TERM, asking them to take action against some popular telecommunication companies. As per the rules, if a company provides a SIM card with fake address proof, it can be fined up to Rs 50,000. Culprits indulging in OTP frauds are using fake SIM cards to call people and pretend to be bank officials. We have asked them to block services of numbers which were issued based on fake address or fake ID proofs to procure SIM cards,” Hyderabad assistant commissioner of police, Cybercrime, K C Raghu Vir told STOI. “Initially, the verification procedure for obtaining a SIM used to be strict, but now, it is available easily even at paan shops. Also, companies do not put in much effort in verifying address proofs of their customers. As a result, it becomes difficult for police to trace the culprit as they throw the SIM card away after committing an offence,” an official from the department said. Till August this year, the Cyber Crime Cell has registered 100 cases of OTP fraud, while the accused were identified from other states, especially Delhi and Jharkhand.


“We do not get any help from local police in Jharkhand and Delhi most of the time. We have deployed a team in Delhi, but the moment we reach the districts of Jharkhand and inform local police, the news spread and most of them manage to escape,” Raghu Vir added. In Hyderabad, as most people can converse in Hindi, the culprits from Jharkhand were targeting them, he said. According to the ACP, both private and public sector banks dispatch debit cards through outsourced agents and the culprits manage to lay their hands on card details. “As the culprits already have all details of the bank, they just need the OTP to complete a transaction like a money transfer. They call the customers saying that they need to link their Aadhaar number with their bank account and offer help. They convince the victim saying that their bank would send an OTP in the next few minutes and convince them to divulge this crucial input to complete the procedure. The moment they receive the OTP they transfer certain amount from the person’s bank account,” the Cyber Crime Cell officer said. Police said as the accused provide all details of the bank account, the victims tend to believe them and provide the OTP. “We have started awareness programmes asking people not to share their OTP with anyone, including their bank staff. Now, people are aware of the OTP fraud. Instead of falling into the trap of con artists, they are lodging complaints,” he added.



11.8mm on Sunday; more rain today, tomorrow



BENGALURU: Intermittent rain lashed Bengaluru through Sunday, leaving citizens’ weekend plans in disarray, even as the weatherman forecast that the downpour will continue over the city for the next two days. Till 5.30pm, the city received 11.8mm of rain, while the reading was 0.5mm at KIA and 17mm at HAL Airport. “There will be light to moderate rainfall in the eastern districts, including Bengaluru, for another two days. This is the seasonal southwestern monsoon, and is totally normal. Usually, many parts of southern Karnataka get the highest level of rainfall in September,” said M B Rajegowda, agro meteorologist. As of 7pm, the BBMP control room had received only one complaint, that of a fallen tree in Girinagar. According to data available on the KSNDMC website, the rainfall in Bengaluru Urban district in September has already exceeded the normal level. Cumulatively, Bengaluru East, North and South were to receive 245mm of rainfall till September 17, but the actual number stands at 752mm.



Dengue stings 15 in single day, 30 & counting in Telangana



HYDERABAD: The count of dengue cases in the city continued to rise through the week, with as many as 15 patients testing positive for dengue on September 15 alone. The total count from across Telangana stood at 30, the same day. While admitting to a phenomenal increase in the spread of dengue this year, health experts fear that the actual count of cases could be much higher, considering a bulk of them go unreported. “The numbers seem to be a gross underestimate of the actual number of dengue fever cases coming in. Since dengue tests can be performed in most diagnostic centres, many cases might not be reported to the health department authorities,” said Dr Hari Kishan, consultant general physician, Apollo Hospitals Hyderguda who gets five to six dengue patients each day. As it turns out, between September 11 and September 15, Telangana reported a high 150 cases of dengue -a majority of them being diagnosed from Hyderabad.


Yet, the numbers are deceptive, health experts stress highlighting the lack of awareness among the medical fraternity, about the method of diagnosis, as another reason for it. “Diagnosis during the different stages of dengue needs to be done by using different methods. Any fever with platelet count can be a dengue case and needs to be tested. However, majority of the patients can recover without hospitalisation. A few who have dengue haemorrhagic fever need hospitalised care,” said a senior official from the state health department. Dengue is meanwhile, characterised by high fever, headaches, abdominal pain, vomiting, rashes, rapid breathing, fatigue, muscles and joint pains and can be life threatening in serious cases.



Kolkata: Beadon St building’s roof collapses, no one hurt

Roof of De family’s old mansion collapses, none injured



KOLKATA: The roof of a room of an old mansion on Beadon Street collapsed on Saturday night, but no one was thankfully injured. The incident -the fourth such in the last three months – comes less than 24 hours after a teenaged girl was killed in Tala Park after the roof of her house fell on her as she was sleeping. The building was constructed by the De family, who worked for the East India Company, during the days of the Raj, around 250 years ago. Immediately after the collapse, KMC’s buildings department officials, the MMiC and local councillor Taraknath Chatterjee visited the spot, accompanied by police. They conducted a survey to gauge whether any other portion was in danger of crumbling. The collapse has shaken the owner, Mohan Lal De, who refused to speak to the press. But he confirmed that the roof had collapsed around 11pm on Saturday. Naba Kumar Ghosh, owner of Sriram Sweets on the ground-floor plot just beside the collapsed portion, said: “The family did not carry out any repairs. I am very afraid. I hope the roof doesn’t collapse on my head”. The De family used to work with the British East India Company, and had built the house 250 years ago. The building bears signs of old grandeur: stained-glass windows, a wooden staircase, an enormous pillared thakurdalan, big wooden doors. And, in spite of Ghosh’s allegation, there are signs that the owner had carried out some repairs. The thakurdalan, for instance, has been restored.



A system that will sense danger before it spreads



Chennai: The northern part of the country may be prone to earthquakes because of the continuous movements of the plates, but there are fault lines in the south that can spell disaster too. A team from IIT Roorkee is tracking these along Tirumala hills, Palar and Tarangambadi (Tranquebar) that could be the source of future earthquakes affecting settlements within 200km radius including Chennai. The seismic source locations have been mapped as part of a seismic hazard assessment in south India by IIT, Roorkee for the Central Water Commission. Earthquake engineers also have to give earthquake-resistant designs to build critical sites like dams and power plants as part of the project. A website, which will be launched in early 2018, will have updated seismic hazard assessment for south India. Professor M L Sharma said after the 6.2 magnitude Latur earthquake, one of the deadliest in Maharashtra, in 1993, and the quake at Jabalpur in Madhya Pradesh in 1997 measuring 5.8 on the seismic scale, there has been a perception that an earthquake with a magnitude of 6.5 can hit anywhere in south India. “If that happens, it will be similar to the Chamoli quake in UP (1999, 6.8 magnitude) or Uttarkashi (1991, 6.8 magnitude),” he said. “If an earthquake of such magnitude occurs, it may affect cities and towns up to a 100km radius,” Sharma said. Sharma said a fault is a fracture in the earth’s crust where rocks on either side of it are displaced past each other. These cracks can be of any size. Identifying these faults is key to assess seismic hazard and characterise the zones. Seismic hazard is a probability that an earthquake will occur in a specific geographic area.


Sharma said several parameters like the type of the source, its potential to generate strong ground motions, the amount of energy it can produce and amplify, and the type of soil determine the effect of an earthquake. “Since the perception is that a 6.5 magnitude can occur anywhere in south India, we assign that value to a fault and calculate if that kind of motion can be expected in a city,” he said. “Softer the soil, more amplification in the ground motion,” he said. Geological Survey of India has published seismic hazard in a seismotectonic atlas and Bureau of Indian Standards has grouped the country into four seismic zones. Tamil Nadu falls under seismic zone two and three. Seismic zone is the average intensity at a point. The institute has developed and piloted an early earthquake warning system where sensors were installed in the Garhwal region of Himalayas. Work is underway to install these sensors across major cities in north India. Sharma said installation of earthquake warning sensors at the fault may give neighboring towns and cities a good lead to take action and save lives before the tremor hits. “For example, if an earthquake strikes from Palar fault, then Chennai has a lead time of 10 to 20 seconds,” he said.



International News



Second man arrested over London train attack


LONDON: A second man has been arrested by police investigating Friday’s bomb attack on a London underground train, police said. The 21-year-old man was arrested in the west London suburb of Hounslow just before midnight on Saturday, the Metropolitan Police force said in a statement. He was detained under Britain‘s Terrorism Act and taken to a south London police station, the force added on Sunday.



Hundreds of flights grounded as typhoon slams Japan



TOKYO: A powerful typhoon ripped into southern Japan today, dumping torrential rain, grounding hundreds of domestic flights and halting train services. Typhoon Talim made a landfall in Kyushu, the southernmost of Japan’s four main islands, packing winds of up to 162 kilometres per hour, the Japan Meteorological Agency said. At least 644 domestic flights have been cancelled because of strong winds, according to public broadcaster NHK, while all major regional train services have been suspended, operator JR Kyushu Railway said. Authorities have issued warnings of rainstorms, high seas, possible landslides and flooding across the southern half of the Japanese archipelago. The meteorological agency said the typhoon was expected to head northwards, dumping heavy rain across a large area, including on Tokyo. The typhoon had earlier battered the southern Okinawan island chain, dumping the most rain seen over a 24-hour period in 50 years on the city of Miyako, before it hit Kyushu. Big storms regularly strike Japan, with 22 people killed when Typhoon Lionrock pounded the country last September. Last month, Typhoon Noru killed two and injured 51.

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