Delhi: Cash van guard, staffer killed in Rs 12 lakh heist
NEW DELHI: Criminals intercepted a cash van in outer Delhi’s Narela area on Thursday afternoon, shot dead the guard and the custodian and escaped with Rs 12 lakh. The entire heist took less than five minutes, witnesses said. The guard was shot close to 15 times and the custodian took about four bullets to the body. Thursday’s robbery and murders came just over 48 hours after armed men had shot at cash van personnel in the same area. The incident, which took place at around 2.30pm in a crowded market near Vardhaman Plaza shopping complex, triggered panic amongst residents and traders. The criminals are learnt to have fired around two dozen bullets during the holdup. While police are clueless about the identity and whereabouts of the perpetrators, police brass are learnt to have ordered the crime branch and special cell to track them down. The deceased guard has been identified as Prem Kumar and the custodian as Rajani Kant Singh. The van, belonging to SIS Securities, had arrived there to collect cash from a businessman after making collections from six-seven points. The guard and the cashier had been stowing the cash in the van when three men on a motorcycle, all wearing crash helmets, arrived and started firing indiscriminately. Prem and Rajani Kant, hit multiple times, were killed where they stood. The bikers then took the cash box and fled after firing a few rounds in the air to scare the public. Cash vans and cash collections agents have been targeted in the city by armed criminals on at least three other occasions — apart from Thursday’s robbery-murders and an abortive attempt on April 24.
On March 26, criminals had attacked and looted a cash van of Rs 16 lakh in Sultanpuri area; on March 14, two cash collection agents were robbed at gunpoint of Rs 16 lakh in Dwarka; and on February 4, three people had fled with Rs 10 lakh after shooting at a cash van in Rohini’s Sector 5. Devender, an employee of the liquor shop from where the two had collected cash on Thursday, said, “They had left the shop barely two minutes ago, after collecting the cash, when we heard gunshots. I rushed to see what had happened and saw them firing nonstop”. Later, people at the attack site put the bodies in the cash van itself. The police were informed and a person then drove them to the nearby Harishchandra Hospital where they were declared dead on arrival. Police teams then rushed to the spot to inspect the crime scene. All border check posts and beat officers have been alerted to keep a watch on suspicious movements in the area. DCP (Rohini) Rajneesh Gupta said a case has been registered under IPC sections dealing with murder and under sections of the Arms Act. Since the robbery and murders occurred barely a few kilometers from the Delhi-Haryana border, cops suspect the involvement of criminals based in Haryana. “The criminals were aware about the route and timings of the van so there is a high possibility of an insider being involved,” a senior police officer said. The antecedents of the driver who escaped despite the fusillade are being ascertained and he is being probed for more details.
13,000 CCTV cams to watch you when you enter Delhi Metro network
NEW DELHI: At the upcoming new corridors of Delhi Metro, commuters will be under watch from the moment they enter the metro premises. The Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) is installing state-of-the-art CCTV cameras at its new corridors that will become operational this year, taking the total number of cameras in metro network from the present 9,029 to more than 13,000. At present, there are 183 operational stations in the Delhi Metro network, which will go up to 227 this year with the opening of the remaining sections of the Magenta and Pink Lines. DMRC and Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) plan to provide a tight security blanket across all the new corridors and stations and as a result, the total number of CCTV cameras installed at stations and depots will go up by almost 45%. Moreover, the new cameras being brought by the corporation are technologically more advanced than the present ones installed at operational stations.
“Cameras are procured and maintained by DMRC and the new ones have the best and latest features,” said a senior CISF official. “The live feed from the CCTV cameras are monitored by both DMRC officials such as station controllers and our personnel as part of parallel monitoring,” he said. CISF has two security control centres – one at Shastri Park from where Yellow, Red and Green Lines are monitored and the other at Metro Bhawan near Barakhamba Road, from where Blue, Violet, Pink and Magenta Lines are monitored. The 9,029 CCTV cameras in the metro network are installed at metro stations, including station’s mid shafts and ramps, apart from those at depots. “Usually, 65 cameras are installed in an underground station, 55 in an elevated station and 28 cameras in each depot. The numbers may change depending on the size of the station, interchange facility and number of exist and entry points,” a DMRC spokesperson said.
Alert driver saves 32 lives before bus catches fire
The driver couldn’t douse the fire with extinguishers (insert) Vijay Kumar RN.
BENGALURU: A quick-thinking driver succeeded in saving the lives of 32 passengers when the Airavat club-class bus operated by the Karnataka State Road Transport Corporation caught fire on Wednesday night. The bus (bearing registration KA-57-F-212) was on the way to Hyderabad when fire broke out around 10.30pm near the engine in the rear compartment of the bus. Driver Vijay Kumar RN told TOI: “Everything in the bus looked normal when we left Shantinagar terminus. After the bus crossed the Kempegowda International Airport trumpet interchange and neared Devanahalli, there was a loud noise from the rear of the vehicle. Not wanting to take chances, I pulled over”. Kumar got off the vehicle and inspected the engine. He was shocked to see fire in the compartment. “I knew I had very little time. Several passengers, including a few senior citizens and women, had dozed off and I had to get them out of the bus safe before something went horribly wrong,” he said. The passengers got off and gathered at a distance from the bus. Just as the fire started spreading, the crew and a few passengers pulled out passengers’ luggage from the bus. By then, some passengers had called the police control room and the fire service personnel. Preliminary investigations said the diesel pipe connecting to the engine had got snapped, resulting in the fire. KSRTC officials lauded Kumar, with 12 years of experience at the wheel, for his presence of mind and swift action. “If he had continued to drive without stopping to check what was causing the noise, there could have been a tragedy,” an official said.
Despite efforts, few ATMs have no cash
HYDERABAD: Denizens continue to face a severe cash crunch in ATMs despite several efforts by the government to improve the situation. “I visited several ATMs, only to be disappointed. I usually do my grocery shopping from a local market, but I am now dependent on online payments to shop. I wish the government had plan things better this year,” Jaya, an SBI ATM user in Panjagutta said. IndusInd, Andhra Bank, and State Bank ATMs stand right next to each other at Mehdipatnam, but all three were out of cash for the week. M K Mouinnudin, a Jet Airways employee also said he failed to find cash in several ATMs. Mohammad Riyad, a travel agent, who was standing in a queue to withdraw money at the Axis Bank ATM at Bandlaguda said cash is available occasionally. “I am coming from Hitech city and have visited every ATM on my way. Despite having three bank accounts, I can’t even pay for a tire puncture or my rent. Banks aren’t any help either,” said Nagraj, a worker at DLF. The scene seems to be different at the Axis Bank ATM at Bandlaguda where Sanjeev Reddy, a cop, and Rama Rao, an Army official said they haven’t faced any problems and that money is available 24/7. “Because RBI is supplying enough money and people are depositing more money, we are able to fill ATMs with ₹10-15 lakh once a day and that seems to be enough.” said a branch manager, SBI, S Acharya.
Two bungalows burgled in Satellite
Ahmedabad: Thieves targeted two bungalows in the Satellite area of the city on Wednesday. According to a complaint by Kalpesh Mehta, a resident of Ambawadi, his maternal uncle Janak Mehta left for the US in early April and told Mehta to watch his residence at Jay Shefali Society near Shivranjani Crossroads. On Thursday, Mehta got a call from his uncle to check if a courier had arrived at his house. When Mehta went to check, he was shocked to find that the house had been burgled. “He told his uncle about this and was given an inventory of valuables. According to the FIR, the thieves entered after breaking the lock on the main door and stole Rs 3 lakh cash and $2,000. More details will emerge once his uncle returns,” said an investigator. In another incident, Sanjay Shah, 68, a resident of Woodhouse Bungalows on IIM Road, reported the theft of valuables including gold and diamond ornaments, cash and silverware. Shah is a chartered accountant. His wife has gone to the US and he had gone to Delhi on April 24 on business. “When he returned at 11pm on April 25, he found gold and diamond ornaments worth Rs 3.5 lakh, Rs 15,000 cash, silverware worth Rs 17,000 and $200 were stolen from the house,” said a Satellite police official.
US-led anti-IS coalition admits 28 more civilian deaths
WASHINGTON: The US-led coalition fighting the Islamic State group in Syria and Iraq acknowledged on Thursday the deaths of another 28 civilians, increasing the overall toll of non-fighters killed to at least 883. The coalition said in a statement that it had completed a review in March of 49 reports of potential civilian casualties from air and artillery strikes, of which all but three were deemed not credible. These three incidents occurred in Iraq and Syria last year. On May 25, near Al-Mayadin in Syria’s eastern province of Deir Ezzor, 15 people were killed during an air strike on an IS “media center and headquarters”. “The investigation assessed that although all feasible precautions were taken and the decision to strike complied with the law of armed conflict, unintended civilian casualties unfortunately occurred,” officials said in a statement. An April 27, 2017 strike on an IS headquarters in the Syrian city of Raqa saw 11 civilians killed, and a May 16 strike saw two people killed. Investigators were still looking at another 476 reports from the campaign. The coalition conducted a total of 29,254 strikes between August 2014 and the end of March 2018 in Iraq and Syria. Monitoring group Airwars says the number of civilian deaths acknowledged by the US-led coalition is well below the true toll of the bombing campaign, estimating that at least 6,259 civilians have been killed. The US-led operations to fight IS in Iraq and Syria have largely wound down, with the jihadists ousted from more than 98 percent of the territory they once held. The coalition’s toll of non-fighters killed dates from 2014.
China sends bombers around Taiwan in new show of force
A placard with an image of Taiwan’s President Tsai Ing-wen is pictured on a barricade at the entrance to the parliament during a demonstration in Taipei.
BEIJING: China flew bombers and fighter jets around Taiwan today, officials said, in a new show of force that the defence ministry said was directed at “independence forces” on the self-ruled island. H-6K bombers, early warning aircraft, reconnaissance planes and several types of fighter jets took off from multiple airports for “combat drills”, the air force said in a statement on its official microblog. The planes flew over Bashi Strait, south of Taiwan and the Miyako Strait, near Japan’s Okinawa Island, it said. The air force said its H-6K bombers have completed several drills that involved circling Taiwan since April 18 “to strengthen its capacity to safeguard national sovereignty and territorial integrity”. “The series of operations we are carrying out is directed against Taiwan independence forces and activities in the island,” defence ministry spokesman Wu Qian told a monthly press conference. “Their purpose is to prevent that the Taiwan independence forces’ plot damages the welfare of the Taiwanese people. If the independence forces continue to wantonly take rash actions, we will take further actions,” Wu said.
China sees the democratically-governed island — which has never formally declared independence from the mainland — as a renegade part of its territory to be brought back into the fold, and has not ruled out reunification by force. Taipei has accused Beijing of “sabre rattling” and trying to stoke regional tensions with its recent drills. Taiwan announced on Tuesday that it will practice thwarting a Chinese “invasion” in annual live fire drills in June by simulating surprise coastal assaults. Chinese H-6K bombers and spy planes had previously flown around Taiwan last week. Chinese combat helicopters conducted live-fire drills with missiles off southeast China on April 18, state media said last week without confirming whether the exercises took place in the sensitive Taiwan Strait. Beijing has stepped up military patrols around Taiwan and used diplomatic pressure to isolate it internationally since President Tsai Ing-wen, of the traditionally pro-independence Democratic Progressive Party, took office in 2016. Beijing’s sole aircraft carrier and two destroyers crossed waters south of Taiwan Saturday and carried out “offensive and defensive” drills in the Pacific, China’s navy said.