News Flash – 20 January 2018

National News



Two youths held for cheating banks through fake ATM transactions

The accused in police custody.



AHMEDABAD: Cyber Crime sleuths of the city crime branch on Friday arrested two 19-year-old youths Afsarali Khan and Noorhasan Khan of Mevat in Haryana for allegedly cheating banks by withdrawing money from different ATMs in such a way that transaction entry did not reflect on record. Cyber Crime sleuths claimed that during interrogation of the accused it came to light that two used to switch of the ATM machine as soon as the money landed in the tray. “The technique disabled the machine and the transaction did not reflect in the bank entry. We have found about 17 debit cards of different banks from the accused along with two cell phones and two bank pass books” said inspector JS Gaddam of Cyber Cell. Inspector Gaddam added that the two were arrested from Narol on a tip off on Friday. ‘They were in the city for more than two months. We suspect that they could be involved in more such crimes” said Gaddam.


Crime branch officials said the two who work as drivers in Mevat used take debit cards on rent of Rs 1,000 on rent from the holders. “We are in the process of identifying the card holders who rented their cards to the accused” added a senior cyber cell official. Crime branch officials said during interrogation the two accused confessed before them that after withdrawing money from the bank, they used to call on the customer care number mentioned on the back of the card and claim that their transaction did not result in withdrawal money. ‘The card holder’s bank in turn would inform the bank in whose ATM center the transaction was made about the error. The ATM bank would then return the money to the card holder’s bank according to the laid down procedure and money got deposited in the card holder’s account,” added inspector Geddam.



Mall, tenant locked in fire safety rules violation tussle


MUMBAI: A fire at Palladium mall in 2014 has culminated in a much-watched legal battle between the mall management and a tenant over alleged infringement of fire safety rules. On June 24 that year, a blaze at the Lower Parel mall caused substantial damage to the premises leased to an entertainment company. After that, Earthwise Hospitality and Entertainment Holdings, which runs a comedy club, said it discovered that 1,800 sq. ft. of the 8,438 sq. ft. space leased to it was a “fire corridor”. It said the fire corridor was illegally handed over to it as well as to other occupants on other floors of the mall, jeopardizing safety of the general public. The company said it spent Rs 1.9 crore to restore the premises and suffered business losses in excess of Rs 20 crore because of the fire. Phoenix Mills, the owner, accused the tenant of using the fire as an excuse to stop paying rent, which it claimed ballooned to Rs 7.5 crore, and terminated the lease agreement. Phoenix filed a licensee eviction suit against the entertainment company in the small causes court. Phoenix justified leasing out the fire corridor, claiming it was present on the plan of the licensed premises. “It is an additional fire exit, apart from four other exits present in the licensed premises,” it said. The mall further said the fire corridor forms part of the premises only notionally for “better circulation” and that is “the reason the corridor is kept open by doors at both ends and no permanent fit-out is placed in it”.


The management accused its tenant of taking “undue and wrongful advantage” of the fire and depriving it of licensed fees and other charges as agreed under the Leave and License Agreement of April 30, 2014. “You have defaulted on payment of our legitimate dues, despite resuming your permitted business shortly after the fire, resulting in heavy losses to us. It is evident you are intentionally avoiding your payment obligation on false and baseless grounds,” said a May 4, 2016, letter written by the mall owner to Earthwise. In its reply, the tenant said the mall sought to recover rent toward the fire corridor, which is “not only impermissible and illegal in law but also puts public health and safety at peril”. “The suit agreement suffers from grave illegality of renting out of a fire corridor, making the entire agreement unsustainable in law and incapable of being enforced,” said Earthwise. The tenant further said the mall “misled” it to believe that the fire corridor issue would be regularized. In November 2015, the mall management “dishonestly” induced it to deliver further cheques with an understanding that they would be encashed only upon regularization of fire corridor. When it raised the issue of regularization, the mall owner “threatened criminal action and extorted monies against the cheques delivered by us. It also issued termination notice dated June 16, 2016, without any legal basis, seeking to illegally terminate the purported leave and license agreement”.



Fog cover: 150 flights delayed, 25 cancelled



NEW DELHI: Dense fog hit both flights and trains in the capital with delays lasting several hours as visibility fell below 200 metres in parts of the capital. Over 150 flights were delayed, 25 were cancelled and another 21 were diverted at Indira Gandhi International airport due to combined reasons of poor visibility and operational issues, officials said. Railway officials, meanwhile, said the dense fog led to 51 trains arriving late on Friday and another 15 had to be cancelled. In addition, 19 trains were rescheduled due to poor visibility. Airport officials said fog was dense between 7.30am and 9am when flights were hit the most, resulting in a backlog of delays ranging from 15 minutes to over 2 hours. During this period, 21 diversions were reported, out of which only two were due to fog, sources said. The remaining delays were a result of operational reasons. “A majority of the flights were diverted to Jaipur or Mumbai, however most were for technical reasons,” said an official.


The Runway visual range fell to around 25 metres at one point, however it significantly improved after 9am, officials said. A combination of the weather and airspace restrictions, however, affected flights arriving at the IGI airport, especially from locations like Mumbai. More than 25 domestic flights were cancelled through the delay and over 140 domestic flights were affected with the backlog continuing through the day. “My Mumbai-Delhi flight was delayed by nearly four hours. We were not given any information on the reason,” said Cchavi, a passenger on the 6E 5097 flight to Delhi. Some passengers also received messages through the airlines informing them their flights might be affected due to airspace closure on “account of Republic Day celebrations in Delhi”.



5,000 Armymen battle to contain Bellandur blaze


BENGALURU: The highly polluted Bellandur Lake in southeast Bengaluru has caught fire, once again. Around 10am Friday, citizens living around the lake reported a fire close to the banks, and huge clouds of smoke hovering over the 950-acre waterbody. Fire tenders were pressed into action, but firemen couldn’t manoeuvre to the spot where the fire and smoke was emanating from. The fire started spreading to the banks, fueled by dry grass, garbage and other waste. Despite efforts by fire personnel and other volunteers, the blaze couldn’t be brought under control completely, and raged for at least 12 hours. A senior fire official claimed they contained the fire “to a great extent” by 10pm. In a first for the city, 5,000 Armymen were called in to handle the operation, and deployed to ensure the fire did not enter the defence area near the lake.


Fire officials said they received the complaint close to noon, and dispatched a truck to the site. However, the vehicle could not reach the spot; so bunches of wet plants were used to beat back the fire. They said dry grass on the lake surface may have led to the fire, but were yet to ascertain the cause. BDA executive engineer Veera Singh Naik said it the blaze was uncontrollable even at 8pm. “The fire has still not been controlled on the Sun City side. The grass appears to have caught fire; or, someone, perhaps, lit it,” he told TOI. The BDA is the custodian of the lake. “The fire started around 10am on the Yamalur side of the lake. We had warned Bangalore Development Authority to take measures to contain pollution in the waterbody to ensure something like this does not happen. Clearly, nothing was done. Fire tenders present at the spot couldn’t enter the lake,” said Seema Sharma, a resident.



International News



6.3 magnitude earthquake shakes Mexico’s Gulf of California



MEXICO CITY: A 6.3-magnitude earthquake has struck offshore in Mexico‘s Gulf of California. There are no immediate reports of damage. The US Geological Survey says the Friday morning quake was centered about 48 miles (78 kilometers) north-northeast of Loreto, in the waters between the states of Baja California Sur and Sinaloa. The USGS reports that it struck at a depth of 6 miles (10 kilometers). The area is a desert coastline dotted with small towns and fishing villages popular with U.S. tourists who park their recreational vehicles at seaside campsites.



10 Syrians die of cold trying to flee into Lebanon: Officials



BEIRUT: Ten Syrians have died trying to flee their war-torn country into neighbouring Lebanon after they were caught in a fierce snowstorm, the Lebanese army and civil defence said on Friday. “They died of the cold. They included two children, six women and two men,” said Georges Abou Moussa, head of operations at the Lebanese civil defence. He told AFP that rescue workers and Lebanese troops had retrieved the bodies together. In a statement, the army said it had received a tip Friday morning that a group of Syrian refugees had got stuck in snow while trying to cross the mountainous frontier between the two countries. “An army patrol found the bodies of nine refugees who died as a result of the snowstorm. It rescued six others, one of whom died in the hospital as a result of frostbite,” it said. According to the statement, troops also arrested two Syrians who were involved in trying to smuggle the refugees across the border near Masnaa. Lebanon, a country of four million, hosts just under a million Syrians who have sought refuge from the war raging in their neighbouring homeland since 2011. Many live in informal tented settlements in the country’s east and struggle to stay warm in the winter. Lebanon and Syria share a 330-kilometre (205 mile) border with no official demarcation at several points. For several years after Syria’s uprising began, refugees flowed into Lebanon. But Lebanese authorities introduced new restrictions in 2015 in order to curb the number of Syrians entering the country.

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