News Flash – 3 January 2020

National News



Employee of ATM Security Firm Decamps with Rs.4 Crore



Navi Mumbai: The Koparkhairane police are on the lookout for an employee of a security firm, which handles cash for several bank ATMs, for allegedly decamping with Rs 3.96 crore cash meant for 35 ATMs in Thane, Bhiwandi and Palghar. Senior inspector Suryakant Jagdale said accused Sachin Wagh (35) is a resident of Kalwa, Thane and had been working for Securitrans India Pvt Ltd (SIPL) for the past 12 years as senior custodian of the cash to be deposited in ATMs. “He had the keys and passwords of 37 ATMs in Thane, Bhiwandi and Palghar areas and he allegedly misused this information to commit the crime,” the police officer said. Jagdale said the embezzlement came to light after Wagh did not report to work on December 26. When Wagh was not reachable on his cellphone, staff members went to his house. They were told he had left for office at 6 am. “An audit of route number 2 assigned to Wagh revealed he had loaded only partial cash in 35 ATMs and swindled the rest between December 11 and December 13,” Jagdale said. As the agency has alleged some bank staff might also be involved in the crime, an FIR has been registered against Wagh and others.



Heavy Showers, Hail Lash Nagpur, More Rain Expected Today

Photographs and videos of the hailstorm from different areas went viral on Thursday.



Nagpur: On the second day of the year, the city received around 20 millimeters less rain that it did in the entire month of June last year, which is when the monsoon starts. Several parts of the city were also hit by hail. Light to moderate rains are expected in some parts of the region on Friday. On Wednesday-Thursday night, heavy showers began around 12.45am and continued in intervals till Thursday noon. According to data of Regional Meteorological Centre, Nagpur, a total of 50mm rain was recorded between Wednesday midnight to 11.30am on Thursday. In just three hours between 8.30am and 11.30am on Thursday, the city recorded 13.4mm rains, officials said. Despite heavy rains that led to water logging in many areas, no records for the season were broken. Official data shows that the highest rainfall in the city for the month was 83mm recorded on January 1, 1985. Apart from this, the highest monthly total rains were recorded in 2005, when the city received a total of 129.3mm rains in January. Many areas in the city reportedly received hailstorm too in the morning. Though the Met department officially did not record information, photographs and videos of hailstorm went viral. TOI has been reporting that the discontinuity in the flow of winds is bringing in moisture and rains. “The flow of easterly and westerly winds is leading to rainfall in Central India,” Met officials said. On December 27, Nagpur’s minimum temperature went as low as 5.1 degree Celsius. However, with the comeback of rains, the minimum temperature rose to 13.4 degrees Celsius on Wednesday.



Firefighter Dies Battling Blaze in Battery Factory, 17 Rescued


New Delhi: One fireman died while 14 others had a narrow escape when a part of the factory-cum-outlet of a well-known battery manufacturing firm where they were battling a major blaze collapsed following a series of sudden explosions in west Delhi’s Peeragarhi on Thursday. Fireman Amit Balyan, who had joined the department last year and got married recently, was buried under a pile of debris following the explosions triggered by a compressor burst. He died due to excessive bleeding and smoke inhalation. It took firemen five hours to pull his body out of the debris. The fire, which started at the basement around 4am, was brought under control after an intense, 12-hour-long operation. Firemen said the blaze had initially been controlled but suddenly the compressor unit, used to fill acid in the batteries, exploded in the basement. This caused a chain of blasts in batteries at the factories due to which the rear portion of the building capsized on the firemen who were dousing the flames. Balyan’s father, Babu Ram, is an assistant sub-inspector with Delhi Police. His wife, Shivani, is a UP police constable posted in Ghaziabad. They had married in February last year after a brief love affair.


Balyan with his wife Shivani, a UP police constable. The two had got married last February.



Balyan, along with his colleagues Mahavir and Manjeet Rana, was buried under the debris after the blasts while 12 other firemen and three caretakers of the factory were either hit by falling concrete slabs or had lucky escapes as the slab fell around them. One of the caretakers, Brijender Kashyap, had to be admitted to the hospital for treatment. The fire department rushed seven fire tenders to douse the flames. However, as the fire got out of control after the explosions, 69 fire tenders along with 500 firemen were pressed into the service. Three of the firemen including Balyan were completely buried under the concrete while the rest suffered injuries in the 3,000-sq-foot basement. Firemen say that the factory was stuffed with batteries and chemicals that made their rescue operation tedious and risky. The building is located at Udyog Nagar Industrial Area of Peeragarhi. Fire officials said they could reach the scene within minutes as the factory is located just a stone’s throw away from the area fire station. “The whole structure of the building had weakened and it started collapsing. We could not use cranes for the rescue operation as the building would have collapsed further, causing more injuries. We had to remove the debris using our hands. The fire-fighting operation too had to be conducted in tandem,” said Atul Garg, Director, DFS. The fire department informed the NDRF about the incident who had to cut open the concrete to rescue the trapped firemen. Fire officials said the building was more than 40 years old and was stuffed with chemicals and plastic emitting toxic fumes, which made fire-fighting operation difficult.



It was found that the building neither had an NOC from the fire department nor had any fire-fighting equipment installed. Munna Lal, a worker at a factory behind the building, said, “I came for work around 8.30am and the flames could be seen coming through the grills. The firemen were trying to douse the flames and suddenly there were three blasts. Even our building shook when it happened. There was dust and smoke all around and we could hear people scream about firemen and a worker getting stuck under the debris”. Fire officers say that their major challenge was to rescue Balyan who was stuck under the heaviest pile of debris. Initially the fire officials could see his hand and even tried to send oxygen supply to him. However, the heat and the heavy concrete slabs which had to be moved with hands made it difficult. Balyan was pulled out by 2.15pm and was declared “brought dead” at the hospital. Investigations have revealed that the factory was registered in the name of Anil Gupta. “We have registered a case of causing death due to negligence with respect to fire or combustible matter, causing hurt by act endangering life or personal safety of others and death due to negligence,” a police officer said. Police are probing whether the owners had the permission to store such large amount of acid and combustible material. Fire officials say that the blaze was completely doused around 6pm but cooling operations went on till late at night as the fire fighters had to be cautious about the building collapsing again. BJP MP Manoj Tiwari and health minister Satyendar Jain visited the spot to take account of the situation. LG Baijal also visited the hospital to meet the injured.



Miscreants Steal Rs.23.5L from ATM near Central Jail



Bengaluru: Miscreants decamped with Rs 23.5 lakh cash from an unguarded Canara Bank ATM near Central Prison, Parappana Agrahara, Hosa Road. The incident came to light on Monday when cash-loading staff visiting the ATM found the machine had been damaged. Police suspect the money had been stolen a day before. Complainant Venu K, area supervisor of Financial Software and Systems (FSS) and in-charge of security systems of ATM kiosks in the area, had visited the ATM on December 28 and reported about faulty CCTV cameras and alarm siren there. Despite being informed about the faulty security system, the authorities concerned did not replace them, said Parappana Agrahara police. “We have taken CCTV footage from nearby areas and are yet to ascertain the sequence of events and identify the culprits,” they added.



Burglars Steal Rs.7L from ATM



Nalgonda: Burglars prised open an ATM of Tata Indicash and stole Rs.7.12 lakhs cash at Veliminedu village in Nalgonda district in the early hours of Thursday. Though the offenders spent over an hour at the ATM located on the service road of the Hyderabad-Vijayawada highway while cutting open the cash chest, police failed to notice it. At 1am, a group of masked burglars landed at the Tata Indicash ATM centre located on the highway service road of Veliminedu village. There was no security guard at the kiosk and the offenders disabled the CCTV camera inside the ATM centre, Nalgonda superintendent of police (SP) AV Ranganath said. After disabling the CCTV camera, the accused opened the ATM’s cash chest using a gas cutter and stole Rs.7.12 lakhs cash, Chityal police said. “We are working on the leads. The accused will be caught soon,” Ranganath said.



International News



Thousands Flee Fires in Australia

Smoke and wildfires rage behind Lake Conjola in New South Wales.



Australia: All along the southeastern coast of Australia, tens of thousands of people abandoned their homes on Thursday after authorities called for evacuations, warning that the massive fires headed their way this weekend might be the worst yet in an already catastrophic season. Eight people have died in the past week as fires raged across forest and scrubland along Australia’s Pacific coast, choking cities with thick smoke, charring more than 1,000 houses and killing countless wild animals. Fleeing motorists clogged roads and formed long lines at gas stations in the southeastern part of New South Wales, the country’s most populous state, after it declared a state of emergency on Thursday. To the south, the state of Victoria, the second most populous, declared a state of disaster, allowing it to authorize the evacuation of areas along its eastern coast. The premier, Daniel Andrews, said 17 people were still missing as fires swept alpine resorts and the Gippsland area, home to lakes, mountains and farmland.



The fires have fueled anger at Australia’s prime minister, Scott Morrison, who has downplayed the role of global warming, opposed measures to combat climate change and rejected additional funding for firefighters. After widespread ridicule, last month he cut short a vacation during the crisis, a trip that critics said showed he did not take the disaster seriously enough. On Thursday, Morrison was heckled as he visited Cobargo, a New South Wales village where fires have killed two men and destroyed the main street. He left hurriedly. “You won’t be getting any votes down here, buddy,” one man yelled at Morrison as he returned to his vehicle. “You’re over, son.” Morrison said he understood residents’ frustration. “I understand the very strong feelings people have they’ve lost everything,” he said, adding, there were still “some very dangerous days ahead”.



30 Killed in Indonesian Floods


Indonesia: A baby is evacuated by a rescue team in Jakarta. Flash floods killed at least 30 people and left tens of thousands homeless in the Indonesian capital, authorities said on Thursday after the city’s most intense period of rainfall since record keeping began more than 20 years ago. Images showed waterlogged homes and cars covered in muddy floodwaters, while some people took to paddling in small rubber lifeboats or tyre inner-tubes to get around.

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