News Flash – 24 September 2018

National News



How carjackers led cops to abduction plot


New Delhi: While pursuing suspects in a carjacking incident on GT Road, cops uncovered a bigger plot of the abduction of a Dehradun-based businessman. The gang of seven was led by a zonal-level javelin thrower and another person who claimed to have played kabaddi at the state level. The gang had planned the carjacking after two failed kidnapping bids. They decided to snatch a vehicle from Delhi and use it in Dehradun. They targeted a 33-year-old businessman on the night of August 29 near Shastri Park in northeast Delhi. DCP (northeast) Atul Kumar Thakur said the accused were identified as Sohanveer alias Sandy, Kapil Kaushik, Gaurav alias Cheenu, Gaurav Kapasia, Mintu alias Fauji, Pawan and Rahul. The complainant, Sunil Kalra, told cops that he was coming from Rohini and made a brief stop on GT Road. Suddenly, a person — later identified as Gaurav alias Cheenu — smashed the car window and snatched the keys. Two more men — Pawan and Rahul — pushed Kalra on to the rear seat and drove him around. They threw him out on Meerut Road and proceeded to Jawli village near Loni. From there, they drove overnight to Dehradun. There, they handed over the i20 to the mastermind, Sohanveer alias Sandy.


Cops said the men then drove to Mussourie. They soon returned to Dehradun and started using the vehicle to track the businessman they planned to abduct. The plan was to pick him up on a desolated stretch and then demand a ransom of Rs 50 lakh from his family. However, things went awry when, back in Delhi, police arrested Rahul and Pawan in another snatching case. During interrogation, they spilled the beans on the carjacking case. Police teams then conducted raids in Jawli and Noida from where Cheenu and Kapasia were arrested. They told cops that the car had been taken to Dehradun. Based on their information, police managed to track down Sandy. Police found that Sandy was also involved in the kidnapping of two students of Amity University in 2013. They had stopped the students’ Mercedes posing as a cop. Sandy claimed that he was a zonal-level javelin thrower, but had quit and started a real estate business, which, too, failed. Sandy’s aide, Mintu alias Fauji, was an Ex-Army man and had played kabaddi for Jharkhand state team, police said.



Given just a T-shirt for foiling robbery, man steals Rs.70 lakhs from employer



New Delhi: He had fought off a gang of robbers trying to snatch his employer’s cash bag, but all he got in return was a T-shirt for his heroic efforts. Unhappy with his prize, Dhan Singh Bisht hatched a plan along with his friend Yakub and fled to Nainital with Rs 70 lakh that he had been asked to deposit in a bank at Model Town. The case was cracked by crime branch of Delhi police with the arrest of Yakub who had returned to Delhi and tried to remove evidence of the crime. It was found that Bisht had run into debts and planned the theft after his employer denied his request for a loan. Additional commissioner Rajiv Ranjan said during investigations, they zeroed in on Yakub. “Initially, he tried to mislead us, but later admitted to having received Rs 4 lakh from Bisht for carrying out the plan. Cops found Rs 3 lakh deposited in his bank account,” he added. Yakub told police that Bisht often told him about the large amounts of money he ferried for his employer. Once, while he was carrying Rs 80 lakh, some men tried to rob him. However, he fought them off and sustained injuries in the process. He had expected his employer to give him a cash reward, but all he got was a T-shirt which made him very unhappy. Bisht had been planning to get his three daughters married, but his injuries left him bedridden. While drinking with Yakub, he revealed his plan to flee with the money. On August 28, Bisht’s employer sent him to collect money from a customer. After collecting the cash, he contacted Yakub. Bisht parked his motorcycle at Yakub’s shop and travelled to Nainital in the latter’s car. After dropping Bisht at Nainital, Yakub returned to Delhi with Rs 4 lakh as initial payment. He was caught while planning to go back to Nainital.



Dengue virus is changing to attack brain


Hyderabad: Dengue is turning more virulent and causing severe complications in the form of dengue haemorrhagic fever (DHF) and dengue severe shock (DSS). It is also developing affinity towards neurological system affecting brain. Most mortality cases related to dengue fevers are DHF and DSS episodes. A research study conducted in the city revealed that death rate was 100% in DSS cases and 44% in DHF. However, mortality rate is almost nil in case of simple dengue infections. The recent spurt in the number of dengue deaths is attributed to an increase in DSS and DHF cases, causing concern to researchers and health planners. A team of city researchers studied the dengue pattern in about 100 patients admitted in a tertiary care hospital in the last two years. Of them, 75 had platelet count of above 1,50,000 cells per cubic millimeter. Most were suffering from dengue. Two patients had DHF and three had DSS. Abnormal coagulation was noted in 18% of the patients and 6% patients were in acute renal failure. Mortality was nil in dengue fever, 44% in DHF and 100% in DSS. The results of the study conducted by Dr. K Jahnavi of Malla Reddy Institute of Medical Sciences, and Dr. T Sreenivasulu of Dr. Patnam Mahender Reddy Institute of Medical Sciences, were published in the recent issue of the International Journal of Advances in Medicine. The study revealed that of late, dengue virus was showing changes in its characteristics. “This was leading to more number of patients developing neurological complications. This may be due to complications of systemic nature resulting in stroke, encephalopathy and paralysis due to hypokalaemia (low potassium levels). This can also be attributed to affinity of the new dengue virus towards the neurons, which results in meningitis, encephalitis, myelitis and myositis,” the study warned.



Heavy Rain Lashes Himachal Pradesh


HP: A truck on a Himachal Pradesh highway being swept away by strong currents on Sunday. The state saw heavy rainfall with around 10-12 nullahs, tributaries of the Beas, in full spate and water level rising constantly. An IAF chopper rescued 19 people who were stuck in a flashflood on Saturday. The Met Office has forecast heavy rains and snowfall in the upper hills till Monday and all government and private schools in Kinnaur, Kullu and Kangra have been closed, officials said. Several roads in various parts of the state, especially in Kinnaur and Chamba districts, were blocked due to landslides, heavy rains and snowfall, officials said.



2 more suffering from dengue die in city


Kolkata: Two more dengue deaths reported in the wee hours of Sunday took the death toll in the city and its surrounding areas to 9 this year. While a final year student of botany honours of Asutosh College — Mou Mukherjee — died of dengue early on Sunday at MR Bangur hospital, 34-year-old Maniktala resident Jhuma Adhikari died of the disease at AMRI Salt Lake. Mou had celebrated her 21st birthday on September 18 — last Tuesday. “My daughter had wanted to celebrate the birthday during Durga Puja at a restaurant. On Tuesday, we had vegetarian meal and celebrated her birthday with only sweets and chocolates. Our Puja has ended now as she was our only child. She was promoted to final year in college only last week,” said her father Tarak Mukherjee. He said that Mou had fever and headache for the past few days and had taken some antipyretic medicines. “On Thursday, she had gone to attend a cultural programme of the college at Nazrul Manch. But she fell ill in the evening and after reaching Golpark she called me to take her to home”. Mukherjee rushed to Golpark to bring her to their rented flat at Lotus Park in Baghajatin. On Friday, they consulted a local doctor who reportedly prescribed some blood tests. “She was found to be NS1positive on Friday evening. The doctor had given some medicines and asked to see that she did not get dehydrated”.


“If the doctor had advised us hospitalisation, we could have done it. We knew from the test reports that she had dengue, but we did not know that her condition was so critical. From 3am on Saturday, she started vomiting and blood was also oozing out from her mouth. We didn’t take chance and admitted her to Baghajatin State General Hospital immediately,” said Mukherjee, who is an employee of the Government College of Art and Craft. When her condition deteriorated, she was shifted to MR Bangur hospital, where she died around 12.30am on Sunday. Debashis Mukherjee, councilor of Ward 99 where Mou lived, said she died of dengue and it was mentioned in the death certificate. “We can take lessons from such reports. Since they had recently shifted home from Bijoygarh to Lotus Park, the data was not properly reflected in KMC records. I have verified that there is no breeding ground of mosquitoes near their home”. Adhikari, a resident of Maniktala’s Gouribari, was admitted to hospital on Saturday. She died around 4.30am on Sunday. Her husband Amit said she suffered thrombocytopenia — low blood platelet count — with intracranial haemorrhage and multi-organ failure.



MRTS: Chennai’s transit corridor where criminals have a free run



Chennai: It was billed as an engineering marvel that would bring down travel time from the north to the south of the city to 45 minutes and give space to malls at stations. However, two decades after Southern Railway and the Tamil Nadu government developed the Chennai Beach-Velachery MRTS network, most of the 18 stations have emerged as the city’s shadiest structures where not only commuters, but even government employees at work cannot escape being assaulted or robbed. Instead of sprucing up the stations, liquor shops have proliferated in their vicinity. With multiple entry and exit points, poor lighting and zero police patrolling, the stations have attracted anti-social elements who find it easy to target passengers and flee. Passengers and railway employees have been mugged at Velachery, Chintadripet, Chepauk and Kasturibai Nagar stations. Over the last one decade, as the IT tech parks on Old Mahabalipuram Road have expanded, road traffic in the area has become worse. This has translated into a surge in footfalls on the MRTS, as it is a cheaper and faster mode of transport. A journey from Thiruvanmiyur to Mandaveli would take 45 minutes by road, but an MRTS local will take less than 20 minutes.


Despite the huge patronage — 1.1 lakh commuters take trains every day — amenities have been lacking. Basic safety requirements like CCTV camera network and proper patrolling by Railway Protection Force (RPF) and Government Railway Police (GRP) are absent. There are two RPF outposts on the MRTS, one at Chennai Beach and another in Mylapore. Both are headed by inspectors and have sanctioned strength of around 90. However, no RPF staff is available at any of the stations, said railway officials. “One RPF staff is allotted for three stations, but he doesn’t stay at the station. Most of the RPF staff goes as train escorts,” said a railway source. Till two years ago, there was no GRP outpost at MRTS stations. Commuters who got robbed or attacked had to go to Chennai Egmore station to file a police complaint. Now there is an outpost at Thiruvanmiyur station, but little has been done to make commuters feel safe. “Every time I get late at work I think twice before taking an MRTS train though I have to travel just four stations away,” said 26-year-old S Latha, who works in Thirvanmiyur and lives in Mandaveli. She recalled the case of a young woman being attacked with a knife in Kasturibai Nagar station by an alleged stalker two years ago. Commuters said amenities like food stalls would attract more footfalls which would force railways to add more security personnel.



International News



Now, needle found in strawberries sold in New Zealand


Wellington: The Australian strawberry scare has spread to New Zealand with a supermarket chain announcing on Sunday that needles were found in a box of the fruit sourced from the neighbouring country. The Countdown supermarket chain said it had taken a brand of Australian strawberries off the shelves after a sabotaged punnet — a plastic box — was sold in an Auckland store. The strawberries, from Western Australia state, were sold in Countdown stores nationwide last week and only one incident of tampering was reported. “We take food safety very seriously,” the company said in a statement, adding it was in touch with authorities investigating incidents of needles found in strawberries in Australia in recent weeks. “Customers can return any Choice brand of strawberries they may have at home to Countdown for peace of mind and a full refund”.


Countdown advised customers to cut up any Australian strawberries before eating them. The statement said there have been no reports of any illness or injury in New Zealand. It added that the brand of strawberries affected by this withdrawal “have not previously had any issues of this nature reported and had not been withdrawn from sale in Australia”. In Australia, more than 100 alleged incidents of pins and needles found in fruit have been reported since the scare began in Queensland state earlier this month. Most are thought to be pranks or jokes on social media, but at least two minors have been questioned by police for carrying out hoaxes. Woolworths Australia, Countdown’s parent company, has withdrawn needles from sale as a “precautionary step” as police hunt for the original culprit amid a spate of copycat episodes. The Australian government last week raised the maximum prison sentence for fruit tampering from 10 to 15 years.

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