News Flash – 28 June 2018

National News



Soon, QR codes to complain about taxi, auto drivers



MUMBAI: Commuters of taxis and auto rickshaws will soon have a QR code system, a QR sticker pasted in a vehicle, which one can scan with a smartphone and get details of the driver, his licence/permit details, contact number and vehicle info and can also lodge a complaint real-time with Mumbai police using this code. Joint commissioner of police Amitesh Kumar announced this on Wednesday. He said that the proposed QR code will have the option to call for police help in a distress situation, especially for solo women travellers. Speaking to media persons after the launch of Uber’s Movement in Mumbai tool, Kumar said that the QR code will be made compulsory for all autos and taxis, failing which drivers will be denied fuel at MGL pumps across Mumbai region. He said vehicles without a QR code would be the illegal ones. “The QR code system will help us eliminate them,” he said. The work of creating a code for every registered auto and taxi in the region, the mobile app to support it and the funding will be done by the state government, sources said. Kumar said that the traffic police department was pushing for this new system, which will keep illegal vehicles at bay while women’s safety will get a boost.


He also warned CNG pumps about long queues of vehicles for refueling which causes congestion in the vicinity. “If the congestion goes on for over an hour, we will take action against the pump owner,” he said. Sources in the auto union said that there are 30,000 illegal autos and taxis plying in the region, and these could go off the roads once the QR code is introduced. Auto union leader Thamby Kurien welcomed the move, “A QR code can efficiently store a lot of data which can be revealed on being scanned. But the authorities must ensure that maximum CNG outlets and their attendants have scanners for QR codes. If there is no scanner, illegally run autos will enter the pump and the drivers will get the vehicle refueled,” he said. An official said the QR code will help them ascertain whether an auto is on the road legally or if it is not authorised to ply. Sources said that the government will spend around Rs 2 crore for the project. The funding could come from the Road Safety fund being set up by the states.



How traffic rule violation led cops to a card-cloning scam


NEW DELHI: After numerous incidents of “skimming”, or cloning of plastic money, police raided a house in Dwarka in the early hours of Wednesday and broke up a major gang involved in the crime. The group, led by final-year BTech student Vikas Pusp, had created a network of fuel stations in Gurugram and south Delhi from where they would copy the card data of customers. Shibesh Singh, DCP (Dwarka), identified the five men involved as Pusp (23), the gang leader, Ranjit (34), Amit (19), Shubham (20) and Himanshu (29). A team led by ACP Rajender Singh had stopped Amit, Shubham and Himanshu near the Dwarka Sector 14 metro station on Tuesday night for riding a motorcycle without a helmet, but a search yielded several debit cards, a skimming machine and a laptop from them. During interrogation, the trio confessed to their illegal activities and told the cops that Vikas and Ranjit provided them with data stolen from cards swiped at petrol pumps. Police raided the Dwarka house and arrested the two men on Wednesday.


Pusp, who also worked in a call centre, had learnt about card cloning through the internet and was fascinated by it. After digging for information, he roped in Shubham, Amit and Himanshu, all undergraduate students at IGNOU. They then contacted Ranjit, an employee of a petrol pump. The gang procured a skimming machine on the online grey market as well as some blank cards for cloning. Ranjit was given the job of acquiring the data on the cards at a petrol pump in Farrukhnagar near Gurugram. After swiping it on the POS machine, he surreptitiously swiped it a second time on the skimmer. He also took care to keep an eye on the PIN being entered by the customer. When he had the data of at least 20 cards, Ranjit handed it over to Pusp, who, in turn, passed it to the other three. The trio used the laptop to copy the data on the blank cards. Vikas used these cloned cards at different ATMs, mostly after midnight to avoid being stymied by the maximum permissible limit of transactions for the day. In this manner, the men collected lakhs of rupees that they shared among themselves.



Burglars from two families held with booty worth Rs 2 crore

Commissioner of city police Anjani Kumar inspects the material recovered from a gang of notorious burglars.



HYDERABAD: Police have busted a notorious gang of burglars and arrested 12 persons, including members of two families. They also recovered Rs 2 crore worth stolen property from their possession. North Zone police arrested Md Saddam Ali alias Imran Ali, 23, a welder from Moula Ali, his associate M Potharaju alias Raju, 22, a labourer, and their friend Mohammed Rusthum. Apart from the trio, they also arrested Saddam’s brother Md Anwar Ali, mother Saleema, father Qasim Ali, brother-in-law Syed Mohammed alias Salman, elder sister Ashiya Begum, younger sister Naziya Begum, Raju’s elder sister A Mamatha, stolen property receivers Chandrakanth Mohite of Malkajgiri and Bapu Anand Arjun of Kavadiguda. On Monday, police noticed Saddam and Raju travelling on a stolen Honda Activa (TS 10 EL 4346) near Rathifile bus station in Secunderabad and arrested them. The Activa was stolen from Bowenpally area recently. On interrogation, police came to know that the duo had criminal history. “Saddam and Raju started committing burglaries and thefts since 2010, when they were minors. Subsequently, they were arrested by Malkajgiri, Keesara, Nacharam and Azam Jahi Mills Colony, Parvathgiri, Subedari, Parkal Town, Hanmakonda, Kakatiya University, in Warangal, and Jangaon police,” Hyderabad commissioner Anjani Kumar said. During interrogation, the duo did not confess to any burglaries in the city. “However, when we ran their fingerprints in our database, there was a match from a burglary case registered at the Osmania University police station,” deputy commissioner of police (DCP), North Zone, B Sumathi said.


Police then confronted the duo with new evidence, leaving them with no option but to confess about 34 burglaries committed at Chilkalguda, Bowenpally, Trimulgherry, Bowenpally, Chanda Nagar, Kushaiguda, Alwal, Monda Market, Pet Basheerabad, Osmania University, Tukaramgate, Nacharam, Malakpet and Gopalpuram since 2015. Based on their confession, police arrested the other accused, including the two stolen property receivers and recovered Rs 2 crore worth property, including five kilo gold, 12.5 kilo silver, Rs 7.1 lakh cash, four two-wheelers, documents of a 400 square feet single bedroom flat at Krupa Deepa Apartments, Surya Nagar Enclave, Neredmet and electronic items. Police said the duo along with their family members conduct recce of affluent houses and then commit burglaries when the occupants go out of the house. Saddam’s brother sits near the target house pretending to be a mentally-disturbed man and watches movement of the victim’s family. “Once the victim’s family leaves the house, he alerts Saddam and Raju,” the DCP added. The women handle the job of concealing and disposing of the stolen property. The culprits used to cut wires of CCTV cameras or damage digital video recorders before committing a burglary. The arrested persons along with the seized property were produced before court and sent to judicial remanded.



Kolkata: 36 hours on, stagnant water stops life in tracks

This is how parts of Kolkata looked on Wednesday,36 hours after the downpour ceased.



KOLKATA: Lawyer Aslam Parvez, a resident of Ibraham Road in Kidderpore, has been under ‘house arrest’ since Monday. He couldn’t step outside as the road in front of his house has turned into a pool of stinking water. Worse still, his house has remained dark over the last 36 hours as power utility men have not been able to rectify the cable fault. The situation has remained identical for many households across Kolkata, from Behala in the west to Topsia in the east. Kolkata Municipal Corporation (KMC) workers have been working round the clock the situation is far from under control. “I have grown up seeing waterlogged streets during monsoon since my childhood. But this time it is really bad. I have heard that the KMC has undertaken a massive drainage upgrade project for our locality. But I still find that efforts lack sincerity,” Parvez alleged. A visit to Ibrahim Road on Wednesday revealed that even treatment at the only maternity home of the area (Kidderpore Maternity Home) has come to a halt as patients as well as the staffers are finding it difficult to wade through knee-deep water. Similarly, the entire Ekbalpore Road on Wednesday resembled a river. Locals are upset as they have to wade through dirty water to offer a prayer at the Soloana Mosque. Sania Khatoon, a resident of Ekbalpore Road, expressed apprehension that diseases will spread fast if storm water does not recede immediately. “Waterlogging in our area is responsible for enteric diseases. When will the civic authorities learn from their mistakes?” asked Khatoon.


Like Kidderpore and Ekbalpore, large stretches of Behala are also suffering the same trauma even though Wednesday remained largely sunny. Among the worst-hit areas, Silpara tops the list, followed by Bhattacharjeepara. Debarpan Hazra, a Class VII student and a resident of Bhattacharjeepara, is wading through waterlogged street with his mother Barnali over the last two days to attend school. “People get relief from heat, but we keep our fingers crossed at the onset of monsoon. Stepping out of the house become a challenge. My son finds it an uphill task to attend school after a heavy downpour,” Barnali said. Rokeya Begum of Silpara also finds it difficult to visit a doctor’s chamber after flooding of streets. “We can’t consult a doctor in the locality or take a patient to hospital as ambulances refuse to ply in our area,” Begum said. Similar grievances were aired by a section of residents in Tiljala-Topsia and Picnic Garden areas. Some stretches of Kushtia and Picnic Garden are still flooded with no signs of storm water receding. Amin Salauddin, a resident of Picnic Garden, complained of civic inaction in desilting the clogged sewer lines.



Diamond jewellery worth Rs 1 crore stolen from Chennai doctor’s home



CHENNAI: Unidentified people broke into the house of a doctor in Nungambakkam here and escaped with diamond jewellery worth Rs 1 crore and Rs 2 lakh in cash. The burglary came to light on Wednesday morning when Dr V Kaushik, 46, and his family returned home after vacation in London. Dr Kaushik, a resident of Kamdar Nagar Second Street in Nungambakkam, runs a clinic near his house. The doctor and his family left for London on June 18. The house was maintained by a housemaid and three other staff members. Police said the CCTV in the house had remained turned off since June 20.



International News



Homes evacuated as British moorland fire rages


LONDON: More than 30 homes have been evacuated near Greater Manchester in northern England as firefighters battle a blaze which has been spreading for days in hot weather across the hills of Saddleworth Moor. Greater Manchester Police said on Wednesday that an area 6 kilometres long had been affected and it had evacuated 34 homes in the village of Carrbrook to the west of the blaze. The fire has been declared a major incident. Local schools will be closed on Wednesday with residents advised to stay indoors and keep windows and doors closed. The army is on standby to step in to help if required, the police said. Hot weather and a wind over the last three days have caused the fire to spread and police said that its size and the fact they have limited road access to the rural area made it difficult to tackle. “The plan today is to try and really, really put some resource on the scene and put a really heavy attack on this fire and if that needs military assistance then that’s what we’ll consider,” a spokesman for Greater Manchester Police told Sky News. Police said they had not yet established the cause of the fire.



Over 200 killed in weekend violence in central Nigeria: governor



JOS: More than 200 people were killed in violence against farming communities last weekend in Plateau state, central Nigeria, according to a speech by the governor published on Wednesday. Simon Lalong said after a closed door meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari in the state capital Jos on Tuesday night that the clashes had left “the painful loss of over 200 people”. The police, who blame suspected cattle herders, have said 86 people were killed. However, multiple local sources from the communities affected maintained more than 100 people died. The main association representing the largely nomadic herders has denied its community had any involvement in the killings. The violence is the latest bout in months of bloodletting in Nigeria’s so called “Middle Belt”. The clashes are rooted in tensions over access to land between pastoral herders and sedentary farmers, but have generated sectarian friction between Muslims and Christians. Lalong suggested “criminal elements” were exacerbating tensions, including “conflict merchants” involved in “cattle rustling, theft, banditry, gun running” and other crimes. Buhari came to power in 2015 on a promise to curb insecurity across the country, in particular Boko Haram, whose Islamist insurgency has killed at least 20,000 since 2009.


But a resurgence of violence in the long running conflict between herders and farmers has put that under scrutiny as elections approach in February next year. Analysts predict the extent of the unrest could eclipse that of the jihadists in the northeast. Lalong said the latest attacks in Plateau were carried out with “sophisticated weapons” that were “reflective of a terrorist invasion”. “It (the bloodshed) therefore demands a justified response like that which was undertaken to address the Boko Haram insurgency,” he added. Lawmakers earlier this month threatened Buhari with impeachment because his security chiefs had repeatedly failed to protect lives and property. The 75-year-old leader on Tuesday said he would “continue to pressurise members of the law enforcement agencies directly under me by the constitution as the commander in chief”. He also said it was an “injustice” to imply he was doing nothing because he was from the same ethnic Fulani group as the herders and Muslim.

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