News Flash – 4 October 2019

National News



Spate of VK Burglaries Cracked with arrest of 3 after Shootout


New Delhi: The back-to-back burglaries in Vasant Kunj that had led to much protests by residents was solved with the arrest of three men who had opened fire at the police team in the locality on Wednesday night. The men were nabbed after police identified and tracked the Hyundai i10 car used as a getaway vehicle. They were found to be involved in at least a dozen burglaries in the past few months in Vasant Kunj and South Campus. The mastermind, Sunil Kumar Meena, runs a carwash service. He and his two friends recced the colonies during the day and returned later to break into the houses. Recently, the trio had been captured on CCTV footage firing at a guard at one of the colonies in Vasant Kunj. Meena, Satish Chander (48) and Satendra Kumar (30) were caught after police found the getaway car, identified from the dent on its bumper, parked near RK Puram. DCP (south-west) Devender Arya said that the registration number of the car, owned by Meena, was placed on a tracker and its movements monitored. On Wednesday night, cops got a specific input and planned to intercept Meena near Teri School of Advanced Studies. Seeing the cops, he first tried to ram through the barricades, but when the policemen formed a cordon, the car’s occupants opened fire in a bid to escape.



In retaliation, the cops shot at the Tyres of the car and deflated them. Meena lost control of the car and rammed into a wall. The men left the car and ran, but were chased and overpowered by the police team. DCP Arya said, “The car, two country-made pistols, a knife, fake number plates and house-breaking equipment have been recovered from their possession”. During interrogation, Meena told the cops that he had completed a diploma in mechanical engineering (automobile) and ran a car wash company. Police discovered that he was previously involved in 31 cases of robbery and burglary in various parts of Delhi. He had first been arrested by Delhi Police in 2016 and released on bail around a year ago. The modus operandi also became clear. Kumar and Chandra would go to pick up the car of a client for a wash. While at it, they would scrutinize the area round to identify houses as possible targets for burglaries. The three men mostly focused on houses that were empty or whose occupants were out for work from morning to evening. In 2011, Meena and three other men, including Kumar, began carrying out robberies in various parts of Delhi. While two of these men are still in judicial custody, Meena and Kumar were released on bail in December last year. The latter has nine cases of robbery registered against him.



Five-Member ATM Burglary Gang Busted, Rs.8.5L Seized



Hyderabad: Five members of inter-state ATM theft gangs were nabbed and Rs.8.5 lakh was recovered. Acting on specific information, LB Nagar cops intercepted an auto without a registration number at LB Nagar on Thursday and arrested four persons. The arrested have been identified as Saber Khan, 39, auto driver, Arshad Khan, 20, labourer, Azharuddin, 25, painter, and Talim, 20, a labourer from Haryana. Cops seized Rs 8 lakh from them. During interrogation, the accused confessed to have committed theft at SBI’s ATM kiosk at Mansoorabad on Tuesday night. On Wednesday, cops received a complaint from the cash replenishing agency that some persons had opened the cash chest of the ATM at Mansoorabad and stole Rs.12.07 lakh.



City Jewel Thief Caught in Mumbai by Bengaluru Police

A CCTV grab of one of the accused.



Hyderabad: The Central Crime Station (CCS) police in Hyderabad on Thursday said that the burglar who stole jewellery worth over Rs.1 crore from Rajya Sabha MP T Subbarami Reddy’s relative’s house in Banjara Hills in August has been caught by Bengaluru police in Mumbai. The CCS police, who were investigating the case, also informed that they have arrested two local associates of the accused, who had committed three offences in Hyderabad this year. The interstate burglar arrested by Bengaluru police was identified as Arif, a native of Bihar and the main accused. During interrogation, Arif confessed that the burglar gang was also involved in the burglary that took place in the house of Subbarami Reddy’s kin, businessman T Uttam Reddy, on Road No. 3, Banjara Hills. The case, which was initially being investigated by the Banjara Hills police, was later transferred to CCS police. Upon coming to know of Arif ’s arrest and his confession to Bengaluru police, CCS sleuths went to Bengaluru and questioned Arif, who confessed to having committed three offences in Banjara Hills and surrounding areas.



Arif also confessed to having stolen 13 tolas gold from a house and had attempted to commit theft at another house near KBR Park, a police officer said. Bengaluru police arrested Arif, who is currently in police remand, from Mumbai a few days ago. Arif has committed property offences in Delhi, Gurgaon, Mumbai and Bengaluru besides Hyderabad. “Based on Arif’s confession, we have recovered stolen property worth over Rs.3 crores,” said a police officer in Bengaluru. In Hyderabad, Arif was provided with logistics support by his two associates Sajid and Mujaffar of Chandrayangutta. The duo helped Arif by providing him shelter and conducting a reccee of the houses. However, the city police who obtained CCTV footages from the crime scenes, could not identify Arif as he has no prior criminal history in Hyderabad. Meanwhile, the Hyderabad police is set to bring Arif to the city on a prisoner’s transit warrant.



Basement Blaze Sparks Panic at Salt Lake Mall


Kolkata: A fire broke out at the basement of a shopping mall-cum-office complex in Salt Lake’s AG Block on Thursday afternoon, damaging at least 10 cars and 50 motorcycles parked there. No one was, however, injured as more than the 1,500 shoppers, Revellers, businessmen and office employees present on the premises were quickly evacuated before the flames could reach the upper floors. But the fire, which started around 3pm and continued till late at night, spread considerable panic in the quiet neighbourhood as thick, black clouds of smoke billowed out of the basement entrance into the different floors of AMP Vaisaakkhi Mall. While 15 fire engines worked in tandem to douse the flames, the firemen could enter the lower basement only around 8.15pm, when the blaze could be brought under control to some extent around five hours after the fire was spotted. The flames were, however, restricted to the basement. Officials said the fire possibly started from welding work going on at the basement to construct an iron casing that would have held fire ducts. “Work was on at the basement for infrastructural and safety upgrade. The fire accidentally broke out, but luckily, no one was injured,” said Sunny Singh, mall manager. At the time of the fire, all offices and most of the shops were operational. It being a popular hangout joint, several youngsters were gathered on the portico, chatting before heading out for pandal hopping. Those working at offices on the premises, those owing their own establishments there and even residents of nearby houses watched on in anxiety as the rescue operation continued. Owners, who had parked their vehicles in the basement, spent tense hours as they had no clue about the condition of their cars and motorcycles because the firemen could not even reach that level till late at night. “It was scary.



A colleague ran upstairs to alert us and we all rushed down the stairs. I tried to go to the basement to get my bike but the basement was enveloped in thick smoke and I could see nothing. The driver of a car asked me not to venture any further,” said Sanjib Das, a medical representative who has his office on the fourth floor of the nine-storey building. Spread over 2,02,150 sq. feet, the building was a joint venture between Bidhannagar Municipality and AMP Universal. It houses a retail giant’s outlet, a major salon chain, a music school, a popular gym, a fine dining restaurant, a furniture store and garment shops apart from multiple offices and an artificial football turf on the terrace. Stuck for years owing to litigation over its height and it replacing a local grocery market in a residential zone in Salt Lake, the mall was finally opened in 2013. State fire minister Sujit Bose and director-general of fire services Jag Mohan rushed to the spot to take a stock of the situation. “Our men had difficulty reaching the seat of the fire for quite some time. To make things worse, there were constant blasts inside; petroleum products or vehicle Tyres were possibly exploding. Finally, we drilled a hole through the ground floor to the first basement and sprayed foam and water before we could bring the fire under control around 8.15pm,” said a senior fire officer. Bose said they have requested the forensic department to conduct a detailed inquiry and take all legal action against mall authorities in case they find any loophole. Bidhannagar mayor Krishna Chakraborty said: “Four years ago, we had found multiple loopholes in the building’s safety measures and asked them to work on them. We will look into the paperwork and take all necessary action”.



Cops ask Jewellers to Step up Security Measures



Chennai: Police have instructed city jewellery store owners to ensure that burglar alarm, safety gadgets, and CCTV cameras are installed at their showrooms, apart from deploying security guards. The move comes in the aftermath of the heist at a branch of the popular Lalithaa Jewellery in Trichy. Police are yet to solve some of the burglaries at jewellery stores and banks in the city. In the latest robbery attempt, a gang tried to snatch a bag full of money from a staff of private gold jewellery pledging firm Attica in T Nagar. Inquiries revealed that this was the fourth such incident targeting the same firm in the past. Police is yet to solve the latest case. Sathguru, a security guard at the firm, saw the masked suspects who tried to snatch the bag were spoken in Hindi. Police said in most of the incidents, the burglars had been assisted by ex-staffs or current employees.



Such incidents can be prevented by proactive steps initiated by both police and public, says former superintendent of police M Karunanidhi. He said, “Police cannot alone do proactive policing to prevent such incidents as they have limited manpower.” He said jewellery store owners and residents should inform police if they spot a person suspiciously roaming in their neighbourhood. And also, security guards should inform the police inspector concerned if the beat patrol team didn’t visit their stores in the night. Detective international director V Kulothunga Cholan said, “We are working closely with police to solve crimes reported in the state”. Though Lalithaa Jewellery has lost about Rs.13 crores worth jewellery in the heist, S Santhakumar, the general secretary of the Madras Jewellers and Diamond Merchants Association, didn’t issue any specific circular to association members to step up security at stores. Santhakumar who owns SR jewellery in Vadapalani, said, “We have asked our members to verify if their security gadgets are working properly and also asked them to check the credentials of their security guards”.

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