News Flash – 28 March 2018

National News



Driver kidnapped, forced to withdraw cash from ATMs



BENGALURU: Four persons have been arrested for allegedly kidnapping a driver-cum-photographer and extorting money from him in south Bengaluru. The accused are Madhu Kiran, 32, of Kembathahalli, his associates Manjunath V, 29, of Surabhi Nagar, Anand R, 26, of Doddakallasandra and Narendra R, 24, of Chinnayyana Palya. Police have recovered Rs 2.3 lakh, a debit card of the victim, two gold chains, a gold ring, four cellphones and a Mahindra TUV-300 from them. Police said the quartet had kidnapped K Pratap, a resident of Kodichikkanahalli, from Kothanur Dinne on March 10. Madhuhad recently been introduced to Pratap by a relative. After learning about Pratap’s financial condition, Madhu and his associates conspired to kidnap him, police said. Pratap was standing near Axis Bank’s ATM kiosk in Kothanur Dinne when Madhu approached him. The three other accused arrived at the spot, bundled Pratap into their vehicle and sped away. They confined Pratap to a room in Eiffel Green resort and took Rs 80,000, a mobile phone and his debit card from him.


They forced him to reveal his debit card PIN and withdrew money from various ATM kiosks. “They withdrew Rs 95,000 from a Karnataka Bank ATM and later purchased gold worth Rs 1.5 lakh from Megha Jewellery shop by swiping his card, and also took Rs 25,000 from a petrol bunk. The withdrawals and purchases totaled Rs 2.7 lakh. They later abandoned Pratap in Kothanur Dinne,” an officer said. S D Sharanappa, deputy commissioner of police (south division), said Pratap filed a police complaint on March 11 and the accused were arrested the next day. On Monday, they were remanded in judicial custody. Madhu is a real estate agent, while Manjunath helped him in his business. The other two accused work as school bus drivers. Police said Pratap is also an accused in four criminal cases.



Fire at a chemical factory in Mundka



NEW DELHI: A fire broke out in a chemical factory in outer Delhi’s Mundka today, a Delhi Fire Services official said. A call was received at 6.40pm about the blaze and 22 fire tenders were rushed to the spot, he said. The official could not share information about what caused the fire. Fire-fighting operations are still underway and details about casualties and other information are awaited, he said.



Kolkata: Failing to loot ATM, robbers steal chickens from nearby shop



KOLKATA: Armed with a bonti ‘looted’ from a nearby chicken shop, thieves raided an ATM kiosk in Patuli in the early hours of Tuesday. When their efforts came to naught after hours of toil, the accused fled with six chickens kept at the same meat shop. Police have registered a case and are investigating the break-in at the SBI ATM in Patuli’s M Block. “Prima facie evidence suggests the crime took place between 3am and 5am. This surely is a unique case in my career,” said an investigating officer. According to police sources, the accused had entered the chicken shop first. They broke open the cash box and took away the money. They then used the bonti to damage the CCTV camera fitted inside the kiosk but did not succeed in breaking open the ATM vault. They finally scampered away with six chickens. A local resident, however, claimed that the robbery bid has been captured on his private CCTV camera and that he was ready to share it with police. “I have already spoken to cops about it,” he said.


Chicken shop owner Subrata Mandal said he was informed about the incident by one of his friends. “While the loss is not so much, I wonder why they took away my cash book. I even need a new bonti,” he told TOI. Police have contacted the bank. “We have asked the bank officials to count the money and give us in writing that nothing has gone missing. We have registered a suo motu case,” said a senior officer from south suburban police division. “Keeping guards at night will raise the expenses. We are not thinking of that option. We have confident that the thieves will be nabbed soon,” said an official from another bank where a similar attempt was made two months ago.



Bank heist: Police follow guard, son to Kolkata, customers confirm Rs 40 Lakhs loss

Additional commissioner of police M C Sarangan placates worried and angry customers outside the IOB Virugambakkam branch.



Chennai: The city police on Tuesday dispatched a team of investigators to Kolkata in hot pursuit of the prime suspects in a weekend break-in at the Indian Overseas Bank branch in Virugambakkam. The team set off on a day of rapid developments in the probe, with two customers, Maria Anbalagan, of Chennai, and Suchitra, of Abu Dhabi, whose lockers the gang looted, confirming that they had lost gold jewellery and precious stones worth at least Rs 40 lakh — significantly more than early police estimates. The KK Nagar police, who started the probe, on Monday said the burglars had taken just 80g of gold worth around Rs 2.3 lakh and a bag of silver jewellery. Also on Tuesday, investigators confirmed that Shabi Lal, 38, a security guard from Nepal who had worked at the bank for five years, was the key suspect. They said new evidence — forensics experts linked three sets of fingerprints from the crime scene to the suspected burglars — indicated that Shabi Lal’s son Dillu, 18, took part in the crime. “It appears that the pair had an accomplice,” a senior police officer said, adding that investigators had taken a flight to Kolkata on a tip that they may have taken the Coromandel Express to Howrah station that departed from Chennai Central at 8.30am on Monday. “We intend to stop them before they get to Nepal. Another police team will cover border crossing points.”


“We have requested the Nepal police to help us arrest the suspects,” he said. “They have photographs and ID cards we seized from a house in Vellavedu near Tiruvallur, where the guard’s family stayed”. Shabi Lal had sent his wife Sushma, 35, and daughter Pushpa, 14, back to their hometown in Nepal two months ago, another police officer said. “Neighbours said the couple’s son Dillu Lal stayed on his own in the house after that”. Shabi Lal, who used a gas cutter to break open a grille and gain access to the bank vault, stayed in a back room attached to the branch. “We found the guard’s Aadhaar card and state government-issued ration card,” the second officer said. In a police complaint on Tuesday, Suchitra said 1kg (125 sovereigns) of gold jewellery, diamonds and rubies worth Rs 34 lakh were missing from a bank locker that she had taken on rent. She was in Abu Dhabi on Monday night when bank officials informed her about the theft. Maria Anbalagan said she lost Rs 7.46 lakh in of gold and silver ornaments.



International News



Pakistan PM Shahid Khaqan Abbasi put through security check in US



Pakistan’s Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi had to undergo a routine security check at a US airport during a recent visit, an ‘indignity’ that has enraged the Pakistani media amid reports that the Trump administration is considering imposing visa bans and other sanctions on individuals in the Pakistani government. Washington also announced sanctions on Monday on seven Pakistani companies over suspicion they have links to the nuclear trade, signaling a further downturn in ties. Footage aired on Pakistani TV channels over the past two days shows Abbasi picking up his bag and coat and walking out from a security check at what they said was an American airport. Abbasi was in the US last week on a private trip to visit his ailing sister but he also met vice-president Mike Pence in an unscheduled engagement at which he was bluntly told Pakistani has to do more to address concerns about its nurturing of terrorist groups. But it was the sight of the country’s prime minister being subjected to a security check that drove Pakistani TV anchors apoplectic. “He should be ashamed for saying he went on a private visit. He is the prime minister… he has a diplomatic passport …there is no such thing as a private visit. He is representing the country… there are certain protocols when you are representing 22 crore people,” roared one talking head, saying Pakistan had been humiliated and Abbasi had brought shame on the country.


The US smack down came even as Foreign Policy magazine reported that the Trump administration is ‘weighing unprecedented political penalties’ on Islamabad for harbouring Afghan militants waging war on the US-backed government in Afghanistan. “The options under consideration include revoking Pakistan’s status as a major non-NATO ally, permanently cutting off the US military aid that was suspended two months ago, and even imposing visa bans or other sanctions on individuals in the Pakistani government deemed responsible for providing support to the militants,” the journal said. The magazine reported that the Trump White House is now engaged in an internal debate about the tempo and scale of possible punitive steps against Pakistan, echoing arguments under previous US presidents. Some officials and military officers favour a hard line with Pakistan, maintaining that years of aid and accommodation have produced little in return. But other voices in the administration worry about alienating a nuclear-armed country of 200 million people bordering China. The appointment last week of a fervent hawk as national security advisor, John Bolton, and the nomination of another for secretary of state, Mike Pompeo, it said ‘could tilt the discussion in favor of tougher measures against Islamabad.


However, past records and Bolton’s own writing on the subject suggests he believes in the “nuclear Pakistan is too big and too dangerous to be allowed to fail” school, and he would rather keep buying Islamabad’s compliance with a steady dribble of aid. Pushing it too hard could well lead to it becoming “Iran or North Korea on steroids,” Bolton told in August 2017. Pakistan has taken full advantage of such a scenario to talk up its nuclear weapons and its radicals whenever convenient (at other times it assures it has full custodial control over its nukes) to milk Washington for aid. But unlike previous administrations, Foreign Policy said, Trump’s deputies are looking at permanently cutting off the annual flow of military aid this year, which could put a strain on Pakistan’s defense budget and deprive it of coveted US military hardware. “We are prepared to do whatever is necessary to protect US personnel and interests in the region,” it quoted a senior administration official saying. If the lack of protocol for Pakistan’s prime minister during his recent visit to the US, and the sanctions announced on Monday on seven Pakistani companies over suspicion they have links to the nuclear trade are any indication, then the screws are already being tightened.

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