News Flash – 31 July 2018

National News



Cash custodians held for stealing Rs. 43 Lakhs from ATM’s



Bengaluru: Two cash custodians with a private cash security company have been arrested for allegedly stealing money to the tune of Rs 43 lakh from ATMs over one and a half years. Police said the duo stole the cash from different ATMs using the code given them to fill the currency chest. They took away amounts ranging from Rs 5,000 to Rs 15,000. Madhu, 29, is from Mandya and Sunil Kumar, 25, is a resident of K R Pete. Police recovered Rs 2.5 lakh from them. Based on a complaint lodged by a staffer working with Secure Value, a cash management firm on Hosur Road, Madiwala police registered a case on July 22. “The accused stole small sums to avoid detection,” said a police officer. The theft came to light when the firm carried out an internal audit and discovered that Rs 43 lakh was missing. After checking, auditing staff found that the two accused were in charge of the codes, which were used to withdraw the cash, cops said. “The accused said they spent almost Rs 40 lakh on their lavish lifestyle, including visits to Goa,” police said.



Quota fire rages near Pune, 90 vehicles torched


Pune/Aurangabad: The industrial town of Chakan, 40km from Pune, which houses manufacturing plants of top automobile firms was held to ransom for five hours by rampaging Maratha protesters on Monday. Ninety vehicles, many of them public transport buses, were torched, a police station attacked and 10 cops injured in the rioting that disrupted traffic on Pune-Nashik highway. The violence came a day after a 35-year-old unemployed Aurangabad man and a Nanded villager ended their lives purportedly in support of the Maratha’s quota demand. Pramod Hore Patil, a resident of Aurangabad, had jumped in front of a train on Sunday. A graduate who’d given the MPSC exams many times, Patil put up a Facebook post at 2.30pm supporting the Maratha stir and at 4.50pm posted a selfie at Mukundwadi railway station. In his FB post he wrote, “Chala aaj ek Maratha jaatoy, pan kahi tari Maratha arakshanasathi kara, jai jijauaapla Pramod Patil (today one Maratha is leaving… but do something for Maratha reservation…).” He is survived by parents, wife, and two children.


In Dabhad (Nanded), Kachru Kalyane (42) hanged himself. He is survived by his mother, wife and 3 daughters. Nanded SP C Mina said, “We have found a note saying he ended his life in support of quota but we are trying to confirm its authenticity.” Tehsildar Arvind Narsikar told TOI the family had said Kalyane had been upset for days that he worked as waiter-cum-cook at a dhaba despite being qualified. Narsikar did not know Kalyane’s qualifications. Pune rural Dy. SP and 9 other cops were hurt in Chakan. Police said rioting began after a meeting of Maratha Mukti Morcha at 11am. SP Sandeep Patil said a probe indicated anti-social elements from neighbouring districts participated in the violence. “They had sharp weapons and fuel cans. It appears a conspiracy.” Dy. SP for Khed R Pathare said, “Some trouble-makers had swords.” Cops had to do lathicharge and burst teargas shells at many spots to disperse mobs.



The River Wild: Over 10,000 Evacuated


New Delhi: The water level in the Yamuna rose for the third straight day on Monday and touched 205.8 metres at the Old Yamuna Bridge, the highest mark reached so far this monsoon. With more being released from the Hathni Kund Barrage in Haryana, the Central Water Commission forecast a level of 206.5 metres by Tuesday evening, posing a serious threat to low-lying habitations in Delhi and Noida. Officials from Delhi’s flood and irrigation department said over 29,690 cusecs of water was released from Hathni Kund on Monday. In addition, there were showers on Sunday night contributing to the increased flow in the river. The Old Yamuna Bridge, called Loha Pul in local parlance, remained shut on Monday after being closed to traffic on Sunday. However, railway operations on the bridge were restored in the afternoon. “We will monitor the situation and stop operations again if required,” a railway official said. Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal announced that transport minister Kailash Gehlot would visit the people evacuated from low-lying areas amid criticism that the state government was not doing enough for the displaced population. His tweet said that Gehlot would “ensure proper arrangements”. A tragedy was averted near Shamshan Ghat in Burari in the evening when 15 people, who had not vacated their riverbank huts, got trapped in the rising waters. A call to the disaster management helpline saved their lives, and seven children, six women and two men were rescued.


“Coincidentally, the place where they were trapped was one of the 23 locations where mechanised boats had been deployed and a boat was immediately put out with four divers to assist the affected people,” said K Mahesh, district magistrate (East). By Monday evening, the government had shifted over 10,000 people and accommodated them in 1,150 tents. “We are arranging meals for them three times a day, and NGOs are reaching these locations with assistance. We have deployed 67 mechanised boats and more will be used if required,” a flood and irrigation official said. The National Disaster Relief Force and the Army are on standby. Further downstream, the Gautam Budh Nagar administration too issued an advisory asking residents in Kam Nagar, Badoli, Kampuxpur, Yaqubpur, Momnathan, Safipur and other villages to shift to safer places. Some low-lying areas have been already evacuated. District magistrate B N Singh said steps had been taken to prevent breaches, including placing sandbags at different points along the banks. Relief camps have been set up in Latifpur, Dharyara, Kasna, Badouli, Yakutpur and Kuleshra. Barriers have been erected to channel water away from residential areas. “Workers have also repaired the dams that had been affected after the recent rains,” said NK Lamba, executive engineer in the irrigation department. Despite the threat of flooding, many villagers are reluctant to vacate their homes. “People have belongings, cows and buffaloes and crops to protect. Officials have warned us of the rising waters, but we will leave our homes only if the situation demands,” insisted Ranjit Sharma, a resident of Gulawli village, which lies 500 metres from the Yamuna.



Bhikaji Cama metro station inundated days before opening


New Delhi: The concourse area of the underground Bhikaji Cama Place metro station, which is yet to be opened, was flooded after rain on Monday. Not only this, a large section of the pavement near an entry gate witnessed a massive cave-in. This is the second such incident within 10 days. Recently, Greater Kailash metro station also witnessed a major cave-in of a pavement and a section of the road near an entry gate after rain. Part of the 8.1km Durgabai Deshmukh South Campus to Lajpat Nagar section of Delhi Metro’s Pink Line, Bhikaji Cama Place station is scheduled to open in a week. The station is slated to be one of the busiest in the metro network due to its proximity to prominent commercial complex, government offices and hotels. The cave-in occurred near entry gate 3 on Netaji Nagar side of Ring Road. The cave-in has left a deep and wide crater between the service road and the entry gate leaving it impossible for anyone to bridge the gap. Even the platform was flooded knee-deep in rainwater. Sources said the water has also damaged some escalators, which got partially submerged.


A Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) spokesperson said, “Due to heavy rain on July 29 around midnight, the storm water drain running along Ring Road was completely inundated and there was reverse flow of excess water from it towards gate number 3 of Bhikaji Cama Place metro station. Due to this, the whole area around the entry, footpath and road got submerged in water. This resulted in settlement of the footpath around the entry gate. Repair work is in progress and is likely to be finished in the next two days”. Sources in DMRC said the storm water drain along Ring Road has been a major headache for the corporation’s engineers since the time of the construction of the station. “It’s a long drain with a width of seven metres. We had to divert the drain while construction was being carried out. We are not responsible for maintenance of the drain. Lack of its upkeep has resulted in inundation of the station and could pose a problem for us,” a DMRC official said on condition of anonymity.



Hit, shoot, run: Collection agents robbed of Rs. 40 lakhs



New Delhi: A group of miscreants shot at two cash collection agents in Wazirpur on Monday afternoon and took away their bag containing over Rs 40 lakh. The two men, Tejpal Singh and Rajkumar Bhaseen, worked for a private company in Nangloi and were going to a bank in their i20 to deposit the cash. Police said they were on the Wazirpur flyover when a Maruti Swift Dzire having four occupants hit their car from behind. The four accused men forced Singh, who tightly held onto the cash bag, and Bhaseen to get out of their car. After dragging them out, one of the accused tried to snatch the bag from Singh, but he resisted. The accused then shot at him. As Singh fell unconscious, the accused snatched the bag from him and ran towards his car. Another accused fired at Bhaseen and also ran towards the car.


Two of the accused got into their car, while the other two got into the i20 and drove away. They left the victims bleeding at the spot and abandoned the vehicle a few kilometres away. Police said they received a PCR call from a passerby at 12.37pm, informing them about the incident. Soon, a police team reached the spot and took them to a hospital. DCP (northwest) Aslam Khan said a team has been formed to track the accused men. The CCTV footage from the area is also being scanned to ascertain the sequence of events, police said. The abandoned i20 was also found. Both Singh and Bhaseen are undergoing treatment at Max hospital. One of them was shot in the neck, while the other one was shot in the abdomen. The accused men have not been identified yet, police said.



Swine flu alert in state, hospitals tighten vigil


Kolkata: Following the year’s first swine flu case, reported by The Times of India on Monday, the health department has sounded an alert. All health officials and hospitals across the city have been asked to look out for swine flu symptoms in patients and take precautionary measures. Director of health services Ajay Chakrabarty said screening of patients will be stepped up. “We have discussed the situation and steps are being taken. Now that the first case has been detected, we need to strengthen the vigil. The situation is under control,” said Chakrabarty. Experts said that since this is the swine flu season, the first case should be taken seriously. “In 2016, we had several deaths. Swine flu, or H1N1, is an air-borne infection which spreads fast and easily. In a crowded city like Kolkata, the cases could multiply in a matter of days,” warned AMRI Hospital consultant Debashish Saha. He added that crowded places like schools, colleges, auditoria, public transport and shopping malls were likely places where the virus could spread. “Children should be made to wear masks to schools. You can’t avoid every public place, so it’s necessary to be cautious,” said Saha.


The state had 130 swine flu cases in 2009 in what was a major outbreak around the country. More than 10 cases were reported in 2015. And last year, more than a hundred cases were reported from Bengal alone. Masks were not a fool-proof protection unless they were M95 masks, pointed out consultant Arindam Biswas. “Since swine flu is a droplet infection, it’s difficult to contain. So, diagnosis should happen and treatment must begin as early as possible,” he said. While Saha felt that preventive treatment may begin even before diagnosis, Biswas differed with him. “The principal drug for swine flu is Tamiflu and it should be used only after conformation of the virus’ presence,” he explained. However, Saha pointed out that it was necessary for those who had been exposed to swine flu patients to be careful.



Idukki dam: Orange alert issued as water level reaches 2,395 feet



Idukki, Kerala: The chief engineer of Kerala State Electricity Board (dam safety), Bibin Joseph, informed that water level in the Idukki dam reached 2,395ft at 9pm on Monday. This means that alert code has changed to orange. He said that red alert will be issued only when water level increases to 2,399ft on account of heavy rain. Residents living on the banks of the water flow path will be shifted only after the red alert is issued. Joseph added that a proper warning will be issued before shifting people. A few days ago, the Kerala government had taken a decision that water from the dam can be released before it reaches 2,400ft. Areas around Idukki, Cheruthony and Kulamavu dams received heavy rain since Monday morning. Due to this, water level in the reservoir rose steadily during the course of the day. The water level had reached 2,394.9ft by Monday evening. At the same time, district administration has intensified its preparation to open the shutters of Cheruthony dam. “Since water level reached 2,395ft, we issued the orange alert. However, residents in the area need not panic. The shutter opening time and trial run time will be decided with the cooperation of Idukki district administration,” said the chief engineer. Idukki collector Jeevan Babu K, Idukki MLA Roshy Augustine, ADM PG Radhakrishnan and other panchayats officials visited the water flow route from Cheruthony to Panamkutty on Monday. “Before we open the shutters of the dam, district administration will issue a message,” said the collector.



International News



Mystery unsolved: MH370 probe shows controls likely manipulated



Kuala Lumpur: Investigators released a report on missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 on Monday, saying the Boeing 777’s controls were likely deliberately manipulated to take it off course but they were not able to determine who was responsible. They had no conclusion about what happened aboard the plane that vanished with 239 people on board en route to Beijing from Kuala Lumpur on March 8, 2014. “The answer can only be conclusive if the wreckage is found,” Kok Soo Chon, head of the MH370 safety investigation team, said. On May 29, Malaysia called off a three-month search by US firm Ocean Infinity, which spanned 112,000 sq. km in the southern Indian Ocean and ended with no significant findings. It was the second major search after Australia, China and Malaysia ended a fruitless A$200 million ($147.06 million) search across an area of 120,000 sq. km last year. Experts believe someone may have deliberately switched off MH370’s transponder before diverting it over the Indian Ocean. The last communication from the plane was from the Captain Zaharie Ahmad Shah who signed off with “Good night, Malaysian three seven zero”, as the plane left Malaysia’s airspace. Kok said the investigators examined the history of the pilot and the first officer, and they were satisfied with their background and training and mental health. “We cannot exclude that there was an unlawful interference by a third party,” he said.

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