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3 Engineers and architect trapped

Written By kom nampultig on Senin, 20 Oktober 2014 | 22.23

MUMBAI : In a bizarre trap, three engineers including a executive engineer from Building proposal department of BMC's E ward in Byculla were caught along with a private architect by the Anti Corruption Bureau demanding and accepting a bribe of Rs 15 lakhs from a builder on Monday.

The four arrested under the prevention of corruption act have been identified as executive engineer Sunil Rathod, sub engineer Balaji Birasdar and assistant engineer Vilas Khilare and their private architect Satish Palav.

According to the ACB, the complainant in the case is a builder from Byculla who was seeking certain permission to carry out development of his upcoming project at Dadar. Builder told ACB, that though his project has already been sanctioned he was waiting for the release of letter from the building proposal department to initiate the construction work. The accused engineers demanded Rs 15 lakhs to hand over the releasing the IOD. Builder approached the ACB and arrange a trap. The engineers asked the builder to hand over the bribe money to architect Palav. No sooner did Palav accepted the money inside the cabin of executive engineer Rathod at BMC office at Byculla, the ACB sleuths nabbed them.

During the course of investigations it transpired that executive engineer Rathod had already accepted Rs 25 lakhs earlier from builder and this amount was to be shared between Birasdar and Khilare. ``There are complaints that trio used to run this organized syndicate and at every level from small permissions of NOC to IOD and cc they used to demand certain bribe depending on the construction firm.'' Said Vishwas Nangre patil, additional police commissioner (ACB).

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Chartered flight security manager nabbed for Rs 3.5 crore gold smuggling

MUMBAI: The Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI) has unearthed a gold smuggling racket thriving with the connivance of staff of service providers at Mumbai airport. Officials seized 13kg gold worth Rs3.5 crore from two passengers in two instances on Sunday.

Raids at the residence of Vikas Ambokar, security manager of a Mumbai-based real estate major having its chartered flight services, led to the recovery of Rs1 crore cash besides 20 pieces of gold jewellery. Officials said Ambokar, who has smuggled 200 kg of gold into the country on 15 occasions, is the kingpin of the racket operating since December.

Besides Ambokar, DRI has arrested security agent with a private airline Mahesh Mahadik, driver of a ground-handling agency Manish Jagtap and passengers Abdul Rahman and Ahmed Kunhi .

In the first instance, Kunhi who arrived from Dubai was caught with 9kg gold in the coach that ferries passengers to the terminal. He was supposed to hand over the money to Mahadik.

In the second case, Rahman, who arrived from Qatar, was caught with 4.1 kg gold on the aerobridge. Ambokar was to receive this gold outside the airport

Meanwhile, in yet another incident, Customs officials said they had seized 10 gold bars weighing 1.1kg valued at Rs28 lakh from Rashida Porbanderwala, who had arrived by a flight from Dubai, on Sunday. Porbanderwala had allegedly concealed the gold in her innerwear, according to officials.

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Techie held for US school ‘terror’ plot

MUMBAI: A 24-year-old software engineer was arrested on Saturday for allegedly planning to target American organizations, including the American School at Bandra-Kurla Complex. The accused, Anis Ansari, who had allegedly opened fictitious accounts on a social networking site, had allegedly mentioned about 'carrying out a blast on American organizations in Mumbai' in chats with some Shakeel Ahmed, said officials of the Anti-Terrorism Squad of the Mumbai police.

The officials said they had got wind of Ansari's activities through their wing which keeps tabs on unlawful activities. An official said that Ansari had specificied 'American school' in his chats. "We believe there is only one at Bandra-Kurla." .

A Kurla resident, Ansari lives in the building where Indian Mujhaheedin founder members, Riyaz Bhatkal and his brother Iqbal, once lived, said the officials, adding that the banned organisation, Students Islamic Movement of India, also has its roots in the same locality. The police have confiscated Ansari's computers - personal and official - which allegedly had 'objectionable' pictures and videos. The computers have been sent to forensic experts to retrieve data.

However, another police officer rubbished the possibility of any terror angle to the case. This officer said Ansari appears to be a mere bragger who only flaunted 'imaginary terror' links.

The police have, however, booked Ansari for murder besides other sections under the Information technology act. A legal expert said Ansari has been booked on suspicion, and the murder charge could not be invoked.

A police officer has, however, rubbished the possibility of any terror angle, saying the 24-year-old appears to be a bragger who was trying to flaunt 'imaginary terror' links.

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22 hurt as SIA flight does hard landing

MUMBAI: In the first incident involving an Airbus 380 in India, 22 people, including eight passengers, onboard Singapore Airlines' double deck aircraft sustained injuries after the jet flew into severe turbulence during its descent into Mumbai airport on Saturday night.

The incident highlights the importance of keeping seat belts fastened and secure during descent and climb phase of a flight.

Flight SQ 424 from Singapore to Mumbai with 408 passengers and 25 crew members on board touched down at 10pm, five minutes past its scheduled arrival time.

"About 30 minutes before touchdown, the aircraft seemed to have encountered inclement weather. The sudden turbulence threw some of the passengers off their seats, though the most hit were the flight attendants. There was some damage to some inside panels of the passenger cabin," said an aviation official.

Singapore Airlines confirmed the incident.

An airport source said that the injured passengers and crew were administered emergency medical aid at the airport and then moved to two private hospitals. Spokespersons of LH Hiranandani hospital in Powai and SevenHills hospital in Marol said that the injured were brought in around 11.30 pm.

"Most flyers sustained superficial injuries to shoulders and knees. Nobody had sustained any serious injuries," said a doctor at SevenHills Hospital.

Hiranandani Hospital CEO Dr Sujit Chatterjee said 12 patients came to the hospital with minor injuries.

"All were treated on outpatient basis and discharged," he said.

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Mumbai to witness an additional demand of housing units by 2018-end

MUMBAI: The city is expected to witness an additional demand of around 231,000 housing units across all segments by 2018-end while the supply is likely to be around 203,000 units. Of the total demand, majority (46%) is likely to arise in the Middle income group (MIG), followed by 33% in the Lower income group (LIG) and 21% in the Higher income group (HIG), said a Cushman & Wakefield report on Monday.

``However, the supply seems extremely skewed towards the HIG (63%), and likely to exceed demand significantly. As a result, due to excess supply in one segment, the overall demand-supply gap seems reduced but a large portion of the MIG and LIG demand will remain unaddressed,'' it said.

Scarcity of land in the island city has led to residential housing developments in the suburbs and peripheral locations of Mumbai. With increasing demand, land costs have risen sharply and the developers are finding it difficult to launch the LIG and MIG projects at many locations. Although the developers have launched projects targeting the MIG in far-off and peripheral locations, the overall physical and social infrastructure at these places has not supported these residential developments and the demand has remained subdued.

Cushman & Wakefield report said total new demand for urban housing in India is expected to be nearly 13 million units by the end of 2018 on account of the burgeoning population in urban centres. This is addition to the already existing unmet demand. Of the total additional demand, the top eight cities are likely to constitute 23% or 2.95 million units.

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Terror suspect was indoctorinated

MUMBAI : The 24-year old suspect Anis Ansari, arrested for `chatting' with his friends on Facebook about jihad and attacking the American school in BKC, was indoctrinated by hearing lectures of Al-Qaida preachers, said sources. The anti-terrorist squad (ATS) is also trying to join the dots to find if he too was planning to fly out of the country to join the Islamic state in Iraq and Syria. Sources said that one month ago Ansari had applied for a passport.

On Saturday, the ATS arrested Ansari, a software engineer working for a multinational company in Speez in Andheri. Ansari is accused of creating fictitious account on the facebook and chatting jihad and uploading pictures and videos of the Syria crisis and planning to carry attack on American school of Bombay at BKC.

Ansari who has been booked under the charges of criminal conspiracy read with IPC section of 302 of murder and information technology act told police that he was indoctorinated hearing the jihadi lectures of Nouman Ali, Ahmed Farooque and Abu Bakar Bagdadi on the internet.

``There are innumerous chat by him on the ISIS particularly in one of the chat he specifically mentions that he would carry attack on the American school.'' Said an officer. Now the ATS has formed a core team of cyber experts who are trying to identify who are his friends on the chat group discussing the Jihad. ``We are in the process of identifying those others with whom he was chatting, we want to investigating whether any of them are members of any terror group particularly the Indian Mujhaheedin (IM)'' said ATS chief Himanshu Roy.

Ansari, co incidently is a resident of Kadir building at Pipe road kurla where the Indian Mujhaheedin founder members-Riyaz Bhatkal and his brother Iqbal Bhatkal grew up and graduated to terrorism. Ansari has three more younger siblings. While his father is retired, mother is a housewife. Shockingly when the police broke this news to them, his father told police that he knew he would bring him trouble and told police that he will not even engage a lawyer to defend his son in the court.

ATS officials have intimated his company and have seized his office as well home computer to extract the incriminating material from it. ``We have got his custody till October 26, now we are interrogating him to find whether his jihadi thoughts were just a fantasy or he was planning something.'' Added Roy.

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Doting father built pyau in child’s memory

Written By kom nampultig on Minggu, 19 Oktober 2014 | 22.23

Every time TV actor Bakul Thakkar drives from his place in Kandivli to South Mumbai, his subconscious feels thirsty. It urges him to take that treacherous road next to Reay Road station where, on a pedestal of weeds, stands a dehydrated drinking water fountain. Built by his grandfather in memory of Bakul's aunt, this fountain is permanent proof that his sweet old grandmother wasn't kidding. Her favourite annual story about her husband, that stern, conical-pagri-clad man on Bakul's living room walls and his doting love for that little girl whom Thakkar only recalls as a vague painting, is literally written in stone here.
'The Public Gift Of Mr. Lowji Megji In Loving Memory Of His Late Daughter Kusumbala AD 1924,' says the memorial plaque on this 90-year-old fountain. When travel blogger Sudha Ganapathi read it for the first time in 2011, she was inspired to construct an entire fictional tale around it which spoke about a cotton merchant who was extremely fond of his daughter, Kusumbala. A kind-hearted and cheerful soul, she loved going with her father to his cotton godown and giving drinking water to the workers who loaded and unloaded cotton bales. When sickness claimed Kusumbala young, Megji decided to build a fountain in her memory as charity. As it turns out, many of Ganapathi's conjectures are spot-on.
This is confirmed by the cotton merchant's 81-year-old son, Anil Thakkar. Clad in a peach Khadi shirt, he is sitting in his old-worldy Kandivli home where two deer horns, purchased by his father, protrude from the wall behind. "My mother only told me about the fountain in 1950," confesses the son, who first saw his father's public gift over half a century after it was built and did not know of a half-sister named Kusumbala, till then. He was barely four when his father died of pneumonia. So to him, the patriarch is chiefly a confluence of sepia photographs, grainy 6mm films, laminated certificates from the time he served as an honorary magistrate with the Raj and stories of his mother, Godavari, who referred to her Kutchi husband as'Seth'.
Godavari was Megji's third wife. Kusumbala was Megji's daughter from his second wife and the first one to have survived for more than nine years. "He had two offspring before Kusumbala who died soon after birth," says Bakul, adding that Kusumbala would accompany Megji to the cotton godown during festivals and distribute sweets and water to workers. So when Kusumbala died because of a terminal illness, a terribly shaken Megji approached the Mazgaon Cotton Depot with a proposal of the perfect farewell gesture — a drinking water fountain.
A while ago, Bakul tried tracing the architect in vain. But the vision of his grandfather, a Kutchi from the Narayan Sarovar area, is evident in the memorial located in the godown compound. Instead of gargoyles and other western elements that so often marked other fountains of the time, Megji's fountain contains eight Indian-style pillars that support a chhatri or umbrella-shaped dome and four gomukhs (cow heads) that were considered a source of pious water. In fact, Megji had not only borne the expenses of the fountain but also of the pavement next to it, as mentioned by Dr Varsha Shirgaonkar, professor and head, department of History at SNDT University, in her book, Exploring The Water Heritage of Mumbai. A pair of tracks run next to the structure, possibly for the carriages that would ferry and offload cotton here from the dock area, says Shigaonkar. In fact, after the cotton business began to decline, the godown area was taken over by the Food Corporation of India in 1955. Retail suppliers would come there with their bullock carts and release their cattle there for a rest. "The fountain is made of Malad stone which is off-white in colour," says Shirgaonkar.
Today, however, pollution and soot deposits have turned it gray. Cordoned off by a thick mesh of weeds and surrounded by discarded playi ng cards and used condoms, the %fountain is not how Megji would have wanted to see it. The cows have long stopped spouting water. Grafitti dots the walls of empty warehouses around, urchins play cricket with %a piece of thermocol for a stump on the pavement Megji paid for and a %cop on a bike warns us of thieves lurking around.
"We want to restore it and perhaps build a garden around it," says Bakul, whose grandfather turned religious after Kusumbala passed away. Desperate for a child with his third wife, Megji had decided to heed the advice of a Koli worker who suggested celebrating Ganesh Chaturthi at home. "After that, call it a coincidence, but he had two sons and two daughters."
((This series looks at little-known places in the city)

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Cops yet to learn purpose of Afghan man’s visit

MUMBAI: The state ATS, probing the disappearance of four Kalyan youths who were believed to have joined ISIS, is also trying to piece together information on an Afghan national, Rateb Hussein Zade (35), the details of whose stay in India are not clear. Two Afghan nationonals, Rateb and Rehman Daulati (25), visited Kalyan last year and met some residents who are under the police scanner for their alleged suspicious activities.

Daulati and Zade, were booked under the Foreigner's Act, Registration of Foreigner's Act and Registration of Foreigner's Rule as they had violated rules and lived elsewhere from what they mentioned they would at Foreigners' Registration Regional Office. A fruit-seller, Dolare, and Govind Thapa, manager of Raja Hotel at Tilak Chowk in Kalyan, were also booked as they lived at the hotel.

"Daulati, who studied engineering in Kalsekar college near Kalyan knew many people here. He came to Kalyan for a few days and married a 17-year-old girl, who has been taken to Afghanistan. She is in touch with her parents over phone," said an ATS officer. The police have ruled out human trafficking. "Daulati comes from a well-educated and financially sound family. But the girl's family is very poor. Moreover, he never met the girl before wedding and he has a wife in Afghanistan," the officer said. Daulati visited Mumbai and Delhi and reportedly met some businessmen from both the metros.

The police are not sure of Rateb's purpose of visit. "Name of some people, including that of a business partner of Dolare has emerged. Rateb met him several times. We have recorded his statement too," the officer said. "But we don't know why Rateb came to India. There was no tourism or medical purpose mentioned in his visa."

Dolare's name cropped up during the probe into the four missing youths, Arif Majeed, Shaheen Tanki, Fahad Shaikh and Aman Tandel, who left India in May and allegedly went to Mosul and then Raqqa city in Syria.

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Why allow surrogacy if commercial organ transplant is banned, doctors ​ask

MUMBAI: An ongoing seminar organized by the Catholic Church is drawing attention to several loopholes that exist within controversial medical practices like euthanasia and surrogacy.

Leading medical doctors, most of them belonging to the Christian faith, have joined a symposium on the 'Gift of Human Life' being organized by the Archdiocese of Bombay at St Pius Seminary in Goregaon. The event from October 17-19 engages doctors, nurses and theologians in a debate on mercy killing, surrogacy, artificial reproduction and contraception among other topics.

On Saturday, experts debated Indian laws that guarantee the protection of life as well as the ethical principles followed by Catholic healthcare institutes. Dr Pascoal Carvalho addressed the moral issues surrounding surrogacy and artificial reproduction while Dr Susan Sodder brought before them the "legal traps" that exist in this field. She said, "In a country that has banned commerce in organ transplantation and blood, why the double standards of allowing surrogacy? Underprivileged women are exploited and the so-called win-win situation is a smokescreen to the harsh and complex problems of surrogacy. Worldwide, surrogacy has been banned by most countries. It is not an honour (for India) to be called the surrogacy capital of the world. In fact it is more a matter of shame. We need to give dignity to motherhood in India."

Dr Sr Beena spoke about contraceptive chemicals and devices that could endanger a woman as well as her unborn child while Dr G D Ravindran highlighted the moral dilemmas of life promoting vaccines. Dr Astrid Lobo Gajiwala who heads the tissue bank at Tata Memorial presented the ethical challenges of stored tissue. Another interesting facet came from Dr Egbert Saldanha who discussed whether prenatal screening and diagnosis can influence the way a mother cares for the foetus. Dr Harish Shetty pointed to the need to build an emotional defence to stave off the threat of suicide, while other doctors debated the need to put terminally ill patients on life support systems.

Sunday's programme will offer pastoral solutions to the menace of pornography.

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Railway cops plan awareness campaign

MUMBAI: The railway police on Saturday laid a trap and picked up a 62-year-old man, Suresh Vyas, who along with other commuters, threatened a collegian for "occupying their space" on a train.

He was made to apologize to the youth and give an assurance that such behaviour would not be repeated. Vyas was, however, not arrested as the offence is non-cognizable, said the police.

Parv Sigtia on Friday was standing on the footboard of the 8.06am Malad train when the 'bullies' allegedly accosted him. Vyas claimed he had occupied the same spot over two decades of his daily commute. One of the men almost pushed Sigtia overboard. A fellow commuter yanked Sigtia in in time.

On Saturday, railway police officials laid a trap on the same train at Malad. Sigtia and his father were told to board the same coach and look for the accused. Sigtia's mother, Alka, said that her son and husband spotted Vyas bullying another commuter like he had done with her son."They informed the police who picked up Vyas."

Alka said the railways need to take steps for safety of student commuters.

Vyas has been warned by the police not to bully co-travellers. A railway police official said that Vyas has been booked for intimidation and causing hurt. "He eventually admitted that he was at fault and apologized to Sigthia. We intend to start an awareness campaign against bullying on trains," said the official.

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