News Flash – 19 March 2018

National News



Man accused of Rs 98 lakh cash van heist nabbed from UP



AHMEDABAD: City crime branch sleuths in a joint operation with UP police arrested Sudhirkumar Baghela— prime accused in the daring Rs 98 lakh theft from a cash van recently — from Mainpuri in UP. Crime branch officials said while Baghela was brought to the city late on Saturday night, they are hunting for other accused involved in the sensational theft. Senior crime branch officials said while they have not been able to recover any cash from Baghela, they seized a motorcycle used in the theft. “We had a tough time in Mainpuri as Baghela is a local and had a lots of support. UP police helped cordon off the area before we nabbed Baghela,” a senior crime branch official said. Baghela had joined the cash management company about six months before the incident, with the sole purpose of pulling off the heist. “He had drugged his three colleagues, Dhaval Panwala, Siddhant Chavda and the gunman Jiteshsingh Tomar, by offering them tea near an ATM kiosk near Rajpath Club.


The trio soon felt sick and fell unconscious in the van. Baghela then made off with Rs 98 lakh cash with associates who were waiting for him at the spot on a motorcycle. “All the addresses he had furnished when joining the cash management company, CMS Info Systems, which is mainly involved in loading cash in ATMs, turned out be false. The involvement of other accused, including an ex-army man, has come light. Teams have been formed to nab them too,” an investigator added. On interrogating Baghela, it emerged that he had planned the heist right from the time he joined the company and had conspired with his associates. “It was a well-planned heist. The accused had immediately left the city and went straight to Mainpuri. We have also deployed a team at Etawah, which is Baghela’s native place,” added a senior crime branch official.



Fire breaks out at Army building in south Mumbai



NEW DELHI: A fire broke out at an Army building in south Mumbai’s Colaba area on Saturday evening. The fire erupted around 7 pm in the Asaaya building near the post office in the defence area of Colaba. According to initial reports, the blaze is said to have started in an office in the four-storey building. BMC officials told TOI that the required agencies had been mobilized. Four fire tenders were rushed to the spot. ” Fire-fighting operations are on,” a BMC spokesperson said. The Defence PRO later told ANI that no injuries were reported and the fire was successfully brought under control. Timely action by the fire brigade ensured that the flames were confined to the second floor. The extent of damage caused by the blaze is presently being assessed. The cause of the fire is being investigated, the chief fire officer told ANI.



Trapped for 30 minutes, 7 women come face-to-face with death in paying guest blaze


NEW DELHI: Twenty-one-year-old Kriti shudders as she relives her 30 minutes of horror when a massive fire broke out at a paying guest accommodation in northwest Delhi‘s Mukherjee Nagar on Saturday. “Even a five-minute delay would have spelt the end for us,” she told TOI on Sunday. A civil services aspirant, Kriti recalls her desperation at being stuck, along with six others women, on the first floor of the four-storey house even as the blaze engulfed the floor below – it was like a never-ending wait for help, she said. Fire officials said they received a distress call at 4.30pm and two tenders were immediately pressed into action. When the blaze couldn’t be brought under control, another fire tender was sent. The fire was finally doused at 5.30pm, an officer said. Police said the reason for the blaze was a short-circuit in an air conditioner on the ground floor. As the electricity meters burst due to excessive heat, there was no room left for the women to escape. “I was in the washroom while my housemates were either busy studying or doing other household chores. It was one of them, Priyanka, who first raised alarm. Even as we tried to figure out our escape, smoke engulfed the entire house. There was nowhere to go,” Kriti said.


Her housemate, Shweta (20), said all of them gathered in the washroom as it was the only place on the floor with ventilation. “All this while, we kept shouting for help. An uncle who lives next door tried to find his way in to help, but couldn’t do much because of the smoke,” Shweta said. After almost 20 minutes – which seemed to them like years – the women heard a policeman shouting out at them. “Holding our breath, we rushed to the back door. It was difficult to see anything because of the thick smoke, but we managed to break a window. From there, were jumped on to a ladder that the policeman had placed there,” she said. The incident has clearly left the women shaken. “I had shifted to this PG barely a month ago and this has been the most unpleasant experience of my life. I am going back to Mathura and don’t plan to return anytime soon. It will take us a long time to get over this incident,” Kriti said. A senior police officer said a case of negligence had been registered against the owner of the house.



SpiceJet flight veers off runway at Bengaluru airport, all flier’s safe



BENGALURU: A Spice Jet flight, that arrived from Hyderabad, veered off the runway at Bengaluru Airport on Friday night causing damage to 4 runway lights. “During landing roll, the aircraft veered off to the left and was aligned to the central line by pilot. The jet taxied normally to the bay. All the passengers and baggage were deplaned in a normal manner,” said a statement from SpiceJet. An airport official said the plane, while taxiing after landing, damaged a few runway lights. As the runway was closed from 2247 hours to 2328 hours, at least ten flights were diverted. Eight flights were diverted to Chennai and one each to Trichy and Coimbatore, according to the airport official. “The flight SG 1238 was operated with a Q400 aircraft. During landing roll, the aircraft veered off to the left and was aligned to the central line by the pilot. It taxied normally to the bay. However, four runway lights got damaged,” read the statement by SpiceJet. The airlines said all the passengers and baggage were deplaned in a normal manner. There was no damage to the aircraft.



Gang held for stealing gold worth 2.14 crore

The burglars broke open a grill gate on the terrace to gain entry into the shop.



CHENNAI: The police on Sunday arrested a four-member gang who stole 6.9kg of gold worth 2.14 crore from a jewellery shop in Thirumangalam on March 6. The police identified the arrested as S Arokia John Bosco, 32, of Virugambakkam; V Devaraj, 26, of Kannigapuram; R Akash, 21, of Vysarapadi and A Mohideen Sheikh, 39, of B V Colony. The police have recovered 4kg of the stolen gold jewellery. On March 6, the four men broke into AKS Jewellery located in Second Avenue, Thirumangalam and stole gold and silver jewellery. The burglars broke the grill gate on the terrace to enter the shop, located in a four-storey building. Ayyapan, one of the owners, closed the shop around 10pm the night before and when he opened it the next day, he found the jewellery missing. A police team headed by deputy commissioner, Anna Nagar, Sudhakar and assistant commissioner Kameel Basha looked into previous offenders who took away the hard disc from CCTV cameras at the crime scene. This helped them zero in on the main suspect, Bosco. On questioning him, the police found that Bosco was also a murder suspect. “He had colluded with Devaraj, whom he befriended in Puzhal prison. They saw the shop decorated for Holi and were impressed with the decoration and decided to target the shop,” said an investigating officer. Two days before the crime, they held a stakeout when they found the grill door, the police said. The police added that Bosco had come out of prison in January.



International News



Spy poisoning: UK on high alert against Russian cyber-attack threat



LONDON: Britain‘s banks, energy and water companies are all said to be on high alert against the threat of a possible Russian cyber-attack amid an escalating diplomatic row between the two countries over the poisoning of a former Russian double agent on British soil. Fears that Moscow could target Britain’s critical national infrastructure came as Russia‘s ambassador to the European Union (EU) suggested a UK research laboratory could be the source of the deadly nerve agent used in the attack on Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia. “When you have a nerve agent or whatever, you check it against certain samples that you retain in your laboratories. And Porton Down, as we now all know, is the largest military facility in the United Kingdom that has been dealing with chemical weapons research. And it’s actually only eight miles from Salisbury,” Vladimir Chizhov told the BBC. He stressed that Russia had “nothing to do” with the poisoning and that it did not stockpile the poison. Chizhov’s comments came as a Russian foreign ministry spokesperson also tried to lay the blame on Britain, saying the UK was one of the most likely sources of the nerve agent, along with the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Sweden or possibly the US. Meanwhile, officers from Britain’s Special Branch of intelligence and security services are investigating death threats against another Russian dissident living in the UK, who has received a series of threatening emails linking his fate to Skripal.


Valery Morozov, 63, who claimed political asylum in the UK after blowing the whistle on Kremlin corruption, received a series of emails last week, warning: “They came for Sergei, they will come for you”. According to ‘The Sunday Times’, Morozov received threats from an anonymous encrypted email address and immediately reported them to Surrey police. When he did not reply, Morozov received a second email, warning: “Do you not care what will happen to you? Waiting for your confirmation”. Scotland Yard has issued a renewed appeal for information from anyone who may have seen a burgundy red BMW owned by 66-year-old Skripal, the former Russian spy who was found unconscious on March 4 in Salisbury along with his daughter, Yulia. The pair remains critical but stable in hospital. British Prime Minister Theresa May informed Parliament earlier this week that the poison has been identified as being part of a group of military-grade nerve agents known as Novichok developed by the former Soviet Union. Soon after she announced the expulsion of 23 Russian diplomats identified as “undeclared intelligence officers”, the Kremlin expelled the same number based in Russia and also announced the closure of the British Consulate-General in St Petersburg as well as the British Council in Moscow.


Today, the UK government said that independent investigators from the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) will arrive in Britain tomorrow to kick off their investigation into the nerve agent used in the attempted assassinations of the Skripals. The team from The Hague will meet with officials from the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory in Porton Down and the police to discuss the process for collecting samples, including environmental ones. “The Foreign Secretary (Boris Johnson) revealed this morning that we have information indicating that within the last decade, Russia has investigated ways of delivering nerve agents likely for assassination. “And part of this programme has involved producing and stockpiling quantities of Novichok. This is a violation of the Chemical Weapons Convention,” a Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) statement said. The results of the OPCW investigation are expected to take a minimum of two weeks. Meanwhile, Johnson is set to meet his EU counterparts and NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg for talks in Brussels tomorrow to deliberate on joint action against Russia.



Israel says it destroys new Hamas tunnel network in Gaza

An Israeli tank fires towards Gaza, near the Israel and Gaza border on July 27, 2014.



JERUSALEM: The Israeli military says it has destroyed a Gaza tunnel built by the Hamas militant group. Military spokesman Lt. Col. Jonathan Conricus says Sunday the new tunnel was intended to connect to an old tunnel that Israel partially destroyed. He says Israel has been following Hamas’ progress for some time and has rendered the whole network unusable. Conricus called the tunnel construction a “futile effort” by the Islamic militants and a waste of resources that could benefit Gaza residents. Israel has placed a high priority on halting the tunnel threat since Hamas infiltrated Israel during the 2014 war. It marks the fourth such tunnel Israel has destroyed over the past four months. The operation followed Israeli airstrikes against Hamas targets in Gaza over the weekend after explosions along the border.

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