News Flash – 25 February 2020

National News



Dacoits Poison Watch Dogs, Loot Rs.7L from Parsi Couple’s Palghar Bungalow


Mumbai: Five unidentified armed dacoits assaulted an elderly Parsi couple, poisoned their two watchdogs and hens, and fled with cash and jewellery worth nearly Rs 7 lakh from their bungalow in the Dahanu taluka of Palghar district in the early hours of Saturday. One of the dogs and two hens died. The dacoits damaged the closed circuit television (CCTV) at the bungalow before committing the crime. Rohinton Taraporewala (73) and his wife Homai (70) were asleep in their ground-plus-one-storey bungalow, Tarapore Villa, in the Bawda village of Vangaon. Around 1.30am, the couple was woken up by some sounds from the rear side of the bungalow. Before they could react, they were surrounded by the dacoits who had gained entry by breaking open the rear door of the bungalow. One held a revolver at Homai while the others, armed with sickles, knives and iron rods, assaulted Rohinton on his right eyebrow and back. The dacoits demanded the keys of the cupboard in the bedroom. Rohinton, a retired chikoo farmer, and Homai pleaded with the dacoits to spare them and handed over the keys. The dacoits ransacked the cupboards in the bedroom and near the dining table and fled with cash and jewellery worth Rs 6.6 lakh. They also stole the digital video recorder (DVR) of the CCTV and the cable box.



It was only after the dacoits fled that the couple came out of their bungalow to find the canines had been poisoned. While one of them was already dead, the other survived as it vomited. Two hens were found dead too. Rohinton said, “While we are lucky to have been spared by the dacoits, my licensed revolver, which I had surrendered to the police ahead of the zilla parishad elections, would have helped scare away the dacoits.” It was returned to him after the dacoity. The couple that lives alone had installed the CCTV a few years ago. The two strays that the couple had adopted would be let loose in the bungalow premises at night. The couple’s son, a doctor, lives in the UK and their married daughter in the US. Police suspect the dacoits may have kept a watch on the bungalow. They knew about the watchdogs and hence silenced them before breaking in. Residents of other bungalows, located at a distance, did not hear any sounds. Police are questioning painters who were carrying out work in the bungalow. Vangaon police registered a case under Indian Penal Code sections 394, 395 and 397 for dacoity and 429 and 427 for maiming cattle. Police said they will examine CCTVs in the locality for leads.



Alarmed Delhi Cops on Alert after Intel Report


New Delhi: Delhi Police will be on very high alert in the next 24 hours as intelligence agencies have received inputs that the riots could intensify in order to put the international spotlight on Citizenship Amendment Act with President Trump in the capital. The intelligence branch and special cell are keeping a close tab on the developments and coordinating with the intelligence bureau with regular updates which are being shared with secret service officials in-charge of Trump’s security. The agencies are also learnt to be probing the role of at least three organisations, including Popular Front of India (PFI), in fanning Monday’s violence. After the death of one of its cops and injuries sustained by four dozen others, the police brass is reworking its strategy to tackle the riots. The plan to whip up frenzy seems to have been set in motion days in advance and only intensified on Sunday night. Stones and Molotov cocktails were piled up at strategic locations like houses, rooftops, balconies. It is disturbing that the police did not anticipate this. Perhaps because of the impending visit of the US President or lack clear orders, the force was evidently ill-prepared. TOI spoke to several policemen and many agreed that the police did not seem to be on the front foot this time. In fact, TOI was witness to instances where rioters beat up people after asking for their names. Delhi Police, however, denied being lax and said they took appropriate measures.



Security Guard Killed trying to Foil Robbery Bid



Kolkata: A night guard died after being hit on the head by robbers, who failed to break open the shutter of a jewellery shop in Bhangor, post-midnight on Sunday. Cops chased and apprehend one, but the rest fled. Around 1.30am on Monday, night guard Sayed Ali Mollah (60) was patrolling at Sona Patti in Bhangor Bazar when he was alerted by the sound of someone trying to cut open the shutter of a shop. Mollah then tried to stop the gang, which had about 10 people. But one of them hit on his head with an iron rod. He slumped to the ground. Later, he was declared dead at a hospital.



Burglars Strike Gold at Bank in Second Attempt



Chennai: Burglars decamped with jewellery and cash from the State Bank of India branch on the Palladam-Tirupur Road, three months after a failed attempt. The heist came to light on Monday morning by staff of the branch at Kallipalayam. Bank authorities have not ascertained the quantum of money and jewellery stolen, a police officer said. The branch lacks security guards at night and burglar alarms, despite the earlier bid to loot it in October.



Nigerian Youth held for Fixing PIN-Capturing Device at ATM



Puducherry: The Puducherry police arrested a Nigerian on Friday on charges of fixing a skimmer and a camera to record PIN at an ATM of a nationalized bank. Jasher Celestine, 28, from Nigeria, has been staying at Mambakkam in Chennai for the past three years, police said. Police have launched a search for Miller Aleksandrov Hristov of Bulgaria and Milton Vladimir Cornel Zambrano of Venezuela, Jasher’s accomplices in the crime. Senior superintendent of police (law and order) Rahul Alwal said Jasher had fixed a PIN-capturing device to the ATM and added he might have planned to install a skimmer later. “The fraudsters fixed PIN-capturing devices above the ATM keypads and skimmers near the card slots. The device has a camera and records PINs keyed in by unsuspecting customers while the skimmer collected the card details. The video and card details got stored in a memory card. They removed the devices later and made duplicate debit, credit cards with the stolen details using a magnetic strip writer. They then siphoned money from the victims’ bank accounts,” said Alwal.



He said two gangs worked together in such crimes. “One gang collects PINs and details of the cards and sells the information to other gang over the Darknet. The other gang makes bogus cards with stolen card details and steals the money,” he said. Alwal said Jasher mainly collected card details and passed the info to Miller and Milton, who operate internationally. “The absconding suspects belong to an international gang that makes bogus cards. The two used to visit Jasher often to collect card details. We have sent their photos to the respective countries to nab them,” he said. The issue came to the light when the ATM coordinator lodged a complaint with the cybercrime cell stating that he found a PIN-capturing device fixed above the keypad during his routine supervision. Jasher confessed to the crime. Police have booked the three under Sections 379 and 511of IPC and Section 66 C and D of IT Act, 2000.



International News



Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, Bahrain, Virus Cases Soar in West Asia

Beijing on Monday warned its citizens against travelling to the US, saying that Chinese tourists have been treated unfairly in the country due to excessive prevention measures over the outbreak.



Seoul: The new virus took aim at a broadening swath of the globe on Monday, with officials in West Asia and Europe scrambling to limit the spread of an outbreak that showed signs of stabilising at its Chinese epicentre but posed new threats far beyond. Clusters of the virus continued to emerge, including a possible one in Qom, an Iranian city where the country’s semiofficial ILNA news agency cited a lawmaker in reporting a staggering 50 people had died of Covid-19. Iran’s health ministry rejected that, insisting toll remained at 12. Five neighbouring countries Iraq, Kuwait, Bahrain, Oman and Afghanistan reported their first cases, with those infected all having links to Iran. Italy has locked down 50,000 people in 10 towns to contain the first major virus outbreak in Europe, as fears grow of a spread across the continent. On Monday, the number of cases in Italy rose to 219 from at least 152 on Sunday. Across the world, stock markets and futures dipped on fears of a global slowdown due to the virus spread, with the Dow down more than 800 points. The number of people sickened by the coronavirus topped 79,000 globally. WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said using the word “pandemic” did not fit the facts. “We must focus on containment while preparing for a potential pandemic,” he said in Geneva.

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