News Flash – 9 February 2018

National News



ATM skimming: 2nd Romanian held in Dubai on way to Paris, brought to Mumbai



MUMBAI: A Romanian national was deported from Dubai airport and brought to Mumbai on Thursday in connection with an ATM skimmer racket busted at Dahisar East. This is the second Romanian national arrested in this case. The duo had been living at a suburban hotel with two others, police said. “The first accused was caught red-handed while removing a skimmer he had attached to an unguarded ATM on Tuesday. He told us that he had arrived in Mumbai on January 24 on a three-month tourist visa. We scrutinised his cellphone and found a video clip that showed him staying at a hotel. On contacting the hotel, we learnt that three others were with him. We immediately issued lookout notices. One of these men had left for Paris. But due to the lookout notice, he was intercepted at Dubai airport and sent back to Mumbai. We have taken him into custody. He is in his mid-thirties,” said an official from Dahisar police. Police have intimated the Romanian consulate. Police are, however, facing trouble communicating with the accused as they speak broken English. “We can’t be sure if they genuinely don’t speak English well or are faking it so as to no cooperate with investigators,” an official said.



‘Pole thief’ victim falls off Mumbai train, loses fingers and part of foot

A 23-year-old woman fell off a local train and lost several fingers of her left hand and a part of her right foot on Wednesday.



MUMBAI: Struck by a juvenile perched on a signal pole between Sandhurst Road and Masjid stations near CSMT around 9.30am, a 23-year-old woman fell off a local train and lost several fingers of her left hand and a part of her right foot on Wednesday. The brave Dravita Singh managed to roll away from the tracks as a down train bore down on her, but her digits got crushed. She is stable in a hospital but has lost her left little finger and parts of her middle and ring fingers besides a part of the right foot, including the big toe. The juvenile, without any past criminal record, was picked up within 24 hours based on tip-offs. He had stolen Dravita’s phone and sold it to a housewife living in the slums at Masjid. She too has been arrested. Figures for the past two years are not available, but in 2015, over 60 cases of pole robberies (fatka) were registered on Central Railway and 42 on Western Railway. Dravita, a final year B.Com student from Kalyan who works part-time, was travelling towards CSMT from Kalyan on the Central Railway main line on Wednesday when she got a call. As she came to the exit to get a clearer signal, she was attacked. “A 17-year-old had perched on the stepladder of a signal pole, armed with a bamboo stick, waiting to strike commuters standing on the footboard. After Dravita fell, the youth picked up her cellphone, worth Rs 18,000, and ran away,” said DCP (GRP) Samadhan Pawar.


When an injured and disoriented Dravita tried to get up and walk for help, she spotted a train coming towards her and waved at the motorman. He spotted her and applied the brakes, yet her limbs got crushed. “Dravita later told us that she realised she was going to be run over. With great strength, she pushed herself away from the tracks,” said her father Hemant Singh. The motorman of the down train picked up Dravita and took her to Byculla station, from where cops rushed her to J J Hospital. “We were at home when we got a call from the cops. Dravita had given my cell number to the GRP and told them to call me. We took two-and-a-half hours to reach JJ Hospital by cab. We decided to shift her to Bhatia Hospital, where she underwent a surgery,” he said. Dravita was able to narrate the incident, but could only say the robber was tall. The CSMT GRP has registered a case of attempt to murder and voluntarily causing hurt in committing robbery. “Our team worked overnight to look for the robber,” said senior inspector Sanjay Shinde. Tip-offs by informants and scrutiny of CCTV footage from the road adjacent to the tracks helped the cops trace the juvenile to Sandhurst Road early on Thursday.


He led them to Rukhsar Barguya, a 25-year-old housewife living in the slums of Masjid, who had purchased Dravita’s cellphone. The teen, a resident of Reay Road, was sent to the Dongri observation home. The attack area does not figure on the GRP list of robbery hotspots. “This case is a wake-up call for law and order agencies. Urgent steps have to be taken to prevent a recurrence and ensure the safety of women commuters,” said Hemant. Doctors at Bhatia Hospital said Dravita suffered major crush injuries. “She has lost a part of the right foot, including the big toe. She also partially lost the middle and ring fingers of the left hand. We had to completely amputate the little finger as the damage was irreparable,” said Dr Shailesh Ranade, plastic and reconstructive surgeon. Dravita had a huge swelling on her forehead, but a CT scan ruled out any damage to the brain. A team led by Ranade performed a three-hour surgery late on Wednesday. “We tried to salvage her foot but the injury was too grave. Parts of the foot and the toe were badly crushed. She had lost a lot of skin, fat and muscle. We debrided the dead tissues, which will help arrest infection and hasten recovery. We are trying our best to salvage the remaining foot,” he said. Dravita is likely to undergo another procedure on Saturday.



Delhi Government sets ball rolling on 1.4 lakh CCTVs



NEW DELHI: The AAP-led Delhi government has finally taken the step to deliver on its poll promise of installing CCTV cameras in public spaces. The public works department (PWD) has given a contract of installing 1.4 lakh CCTV cameras to Bharat Electronics Limited (BEL) for Rs 272 crore. The work is expected to start from March. The deadline for the project has been set at one year. In all, Rs 350 crore has been allocated for the project. PWD had received two bids for the project. “BEL’s bid was the lowest. The agency will install 2,000 cameras in each assembly constituency,” said a PWD official. Officials said they have received the list of proposed sites from all MLAs. The cameras will be installed mainly in residential and market areas. The department will do a field survey along with BEL, MLAs and other stakeholders to finalise the sites. The feed will be monitored by RWAs and market associations. BEL will be responsible for maintenance of the cameras and related infrastructure for a period of five years. A control room will be set up at the PWD headquarters at ITO. In case a camera develops a defect, an SMS will be sent to the RWA/market association members, PWD official in-charge of the area, maintenance agency and PWD headquarters.


“The company has to ensure that 98% of the cameras are in working condition at all times otherwise a penalty will be levied,” said an official. The CCTV project, promised by AAP during the 2015 assembly elections to ensure women’s safety, has so far been executed either through MLA funds or under the projects for schools and buses. The project, which had been hanging fire for quite some time, picked up pace in September last year when chief minister Arvind Kejriwal held a meeting with PWD minister Satyender Jain, the then PWD principal secretary Ashwani Kumar and senior officials. Upset with the delay, the CM had directed the department to finalise the tender within two months. Jain had given the tentative date for starting the project as March or April 2018. The tender was first floated in November 2017, but it didn’t receive a good response due to strict eligibility conditions. The tender was reissued in January after relaxing the criteria. The tender floated in November 2017 laid the criteria that the bidder should have carried out a similar project and the cost incurred should have been 40% of the current project cost. Or, it should have done two projects with the cost of each being 30% of the current project cost. “We had received two bids the last time, but only one company qualified for the financial bid. We reworked the eligibility condition and slashed the cost of the previous project done by the company,” said an official.



Tyre burst, leak force crisis landing of jet in city, 21 flights delayed

The SpiceJet flight tyre suspected to have burst since the wheels stopped spinning.



CHENNAI: Six flights were diverted and 10 arrivals and 11 departures delayed at the city airport on Thursday after a SpiceJet flight, with close to 200 passengers, made an emergency landing following a hydraulic leak, suffered a tyre burst and got stuck on the main runway since landing at 2.25pm. The runways were closed till 6.45pm. An Ethiopian Airways freighter plane, which was scheduled to land at 1.40pm and was put on hold because of the incident, also made an emergency landing on the second runway, at 2.52pm. SpiceJet’s Chennai-Delhi flight (SG106) with 199 people onboard had taken off around 1.40pm and was at an altitude of 20,000 feet when the Captain detected a hydraulic leak and found pressure dipping, forcing him to declare an emergency and turn back. Air traffic control asked the pilot to check for snags after the pilot of a Bombardier aircraft that took off after SpiceJet’s B737-8 spotted oil spill and tyre parts on the main runway. A senior Airports Authority of India official said the cockpit crew had by then detected the hydraulic problem. The official said, “The plane made a safe landing from the Guindy end of the main runway at 2.25pm. It was halted there after a tyre on the right landing gear burst during touchdown”.


The main runway had to be closed because the markings caused by the landing gear had to be inspected and repaired and also because the stricken flight was on a taxiway near the main runway. “After the incident, we used the second runway for landings and takeoffs, leading to delays because taxiing time is more for departing flights. There is also congestion because it takes longer for planes to move from the second runway into taxiway after landing,” the AAI official said. A SpiceJet flight from Tuticorin turned to Tirupati, a Jet Airways plane from Delhi and IndiGo flight from Bhubaneswar sent to Bengaluru, and an IndiGo flight from Kochi diverted to Hyderabad were among the diversions. SpiceJet in a statement said: “SpiceJet Chennai-Delhi flight suffered a suspected tyre burst at the time of takeoff. The crew decided to turn back and landed safely in Chennai. Passengers were deplaned safely and were taken to the terminal building”. An airport official said theB737suffered a hydraulic fault. “It is suspected the wheels stopped spinning, triggering a burst. One wheel of the same landing gear under the right wing seems to have developed trouble when the plane took off causing shreds of tyre to scatter on the runway. The tyres which did not spin burst because of the friction with the runway when it touched down. There was minor damage to the tarmac as the metal wheel dug in,” he said, adding that a detailed probe would be held.



International News



1 dead, 3 wounded after stabbing at Texas church service



CORPUS CHRISTI (US): One man has died after he and three others were stabbed during a church service at a private home in Texas, police said today. As many as 20 people were in the home last night when an apparent member of the congregation pulled a knife and stabbed four men, according to Corpus Christi police Lt Chris Hooper. He said a 61-year-old man later died of his injuries, while the church’s 54-year-old pastor was hospitalised in serious condition. Hooper declined to identify the victims. But police said late yesterday that a band member was stabbed in the neck and the pastor was stabbed in the chest, and both were taken hospitalised with life-threatening injuries. Police said two other men suffered puncture wounds, one to a hand and the other to his arm, while trying to get the suspect away from the pastor. The suspect, 28-year-old Marco Antonio Moreno, surrendered immediately after the stabbing to congregants, Hooper said.


Moreno was being held at the Nueces County jail on charges of murder and aggravated assault. Jail records didn’t immediately indicate whether he has an attorney who could speak on his behalf. Hooper says Moreno has an “alcohol and drug-related history” with police. The Corpus Christi Caller-Times reported late yesterday that the incident occurred about 7 pm at a nondenominational service. Corpus Christi police were called to the home and found the pastor stabbed in the chest. Lt Jay Clement told the newspaper it wasn’t clear what led to the attack. Those attending services at the home have been gathering there each day as part of a “40-day pledge,” Clement said, adding that witnesses said the suspect was a parishioner. In November, a gunman fatally shot more than two dozen worshippers at a church in Sutherland Springs, Texas, before dying of an apparent self-inflected gunshot wound. Investigators have said that attack appeared to stem from a domestic dispute.



Saudi Arabia executes 4 Pakistanis for murder, rape



RIYADH: Saudi Arabia on Thursday executed four Pakistani men convicted of raping and murdering a woman and raping her teenage son, the interior ministry said. The men were also convicted of stealing jewellery and cash after entering the woman’s home in Riyadh and raping and strangling her, according to a ministry statement cited by the official SPA news agency. Saudi Arabia has executed 20 people since the start of 2018, according to an AFP count. Last year, 141 people were put to death in the kingdom, where executions are carried out by the sword.

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