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Mumbai Tardeo RTO office gutted in fire

Written By kom nampultig on Sabtu, 31 Januari 2015 | 22.23

MUMBAI: A 1000sqft scrap godown has been gutted in fire at Mumbai Tardeo RTO office. The incident happened around 2.15pm. No injury reported.

Nana Chowk and Byculla fire brigade immediately rushed to the spot and doused fire in half an hour, said sub inspector Nitin Ware of Tardeo Police Station.


The incident happened around 2.15pm. (TOI photo: Sujit Mahamulkar)

An eye witness Dhananjay Khade said, "We saw blaze and the fire spread over 1000sqft around 2.45pm but doused in half an hour."

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Juhu locals put up fight to save open plot from squatters

MUMBAI: For a city starved off open spaces, activists from Juhu fear the loss of another open plot in the prime area of the western suburbs. An open plot besides Nakshatra garden they claim has been encroached upon and several show case notices send from the office of K/West ward have failed to yield any results. Members of the NGO Save Open Spaces (SOS) said that what surprises them further is that the encroachers have even started renting out the plot for functions including marriages.

NGO SOS said that in a meeting with the local MLA Ameet Satam, they had brought the issue to his notice as well. "There are very few open spaces left in Mumbai and watching this plot which already has a Play Ground reservation on it, be taken away is very disheartening. As citizens we are fighting to get this plot freed from encroachers, but the authorities too should understand that this is not the citizen's job and hence they should take action against the encroachers," said Ashoke Pandit of SOS.

When TOI visited the spot on Friday, it was learned that the encroachers were giving away a 26,000 sq feet plot for ceremonies like marriages for Rs. 1.12 lakhs. "Who are these encroachers to give away the land, and charge the public for it? If action is not taken immediately the encroachment may increase is what we fear," said Pandit.

The local MLA Ameet Satam from the area said that he had visited the spot in the last week of December and found that it was a government owned plot. "The citizens have brought the issue to my notice and we have been pursuing the matter so that the encroachments be pulled down and removed immediately," said Satam.

The BMC -Assistant Municipal Commissioner of K (west) ward Parag Masurkar, said they were aware of the encroachments and had served a notice as well. "There are certain temporary structures which have been erected and after our notice they have submitted certain documents which we would be verifying and taking the necessary steps," said Masurkar.

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‘Less than fifth of sown area in state under irrigation’

MUMBAI: Shockingly Maharashtra's only less than a fifth of the sown area is under irrigation, reveals a paper of National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD) that was released by Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis on Friday.

Experts said this pathetic situation, which has led to poor irrigation, less cultivation and ultimately high inflation, is despite the fact that erstwhile governments spent Rs 65000 crore over and above the estimates leaving strong doubts of corruption. The Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) in its report released last year has questioned the huge amount of money spent on irrigation projects which brought a very miniscule land under irrigation.

The paper further insists that it is high time for the government to complete the irrigation projects which are underway as the banks may support minor and micro irrigation projects. "To develop large rain-fed areas watershed development is another priority area for the state," the report said. Meanwhile talking to TOI Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis admitted the fact that there was very less sown area that was under irrigation and pointed out that it was because of this situation his government had taken up watershed development top on the agenda. The paper also wants state to increase and strengthen godown and transport facilities in the villages to motivate larger agriculture production.

Shockingly the CAG report also revealed that even after years of delay in completing important dam projects and allegations of corruption, there is a situation where a good rainfall for even a few weeks can flood huge tracts of land because of dam bursts. A CAG report has found the structural strength of 348 dams suspect as they have not been inspected for over a decade. This is despite the fact that government has spent Rs 70,000 crore more than the estimate, the report had added.

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Rail block between Santacruz and Goregaon on Sunday

MUMBAI: There will be a jumbo rail block on slow lines between Santacruz and Goregaon stations on Sunday.

Said a WR official :"To carry out maintenance work of tracks, signalling and overhead equipment, a jumbo block will be carried out between Santacruz and Goregaon stations from 10.35 am to 3.35 pm on Sunday. This will be done on the Up and Down local (slow) lines."

During the block period, all Up and Down slow trains will run on through (fast) lines between Santacruz and Goregaon stations. All Up and Down 12-car slow trains will take double halt at Vile Parle platform number 3/4 on the fast lines.

"Due to the block, some suburban services will remain cancelled," an official said, adding, "Detailed information to this effect is available with the station masters."

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MMRDA chief lauds efforts of employees at 40th anniversary

MUMBAI: "The employees in MMRDA have played a key role in maintaining a cordial bond despite the huge responsibilities. Without their active support, Mumbai would not have seen completion of key projects such as Versova-Andheri-Ghatkopar Metro corridor, Chembur-Wadala Monorail corridor, Eastern Freeway, Santacruz-Chembur Link Road, Amar Mahal Junction flyover, Sahar Elevated Road," said Metropolitan commissioner UPS Madan.

He was addressing staffers at the MMRDA's 40th anniversary celebrations at Shanmukhananda hall in Matunga on Friday.

On the occasion, he also stated that the authority will consider "reimbursing the medical bills of the parents of all women employees."

"We are very happy that the metropolitan commissioner has considered our various demands in a positive manner. We are sure MMRDA's women employees will be pleased at his encouraging promise," said Siddharth Satvadhir of the Backward Class Employees' Association.

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Charred body found in Govandi

MUMBAI: Exactly a week after a body was found floating in nullah in eastern suburbs, a another charred body of a male was found in a pit near Nirankari nagar in Shivaji Nagar in Govandi on early Saturday morning. Shockingly the body was still burning when the Shivaji Nagar police reached the scene of crime. According to police, some unknown persons called up the police early Saturday morning and tipped off.

Shivaji Nagar police have prima facie registered a murder case and have send the body to Sion hospital for post mortem report. Deputy commissioner of police (zone 6) Sangramsingh Nishandar said it appears to be a case of murder. Police reached the two and half feet deep pit behind a small shoe factory in Nirankari nagar. Police found a piece of cloth tied on his face and around the neck.

The police suspect that the murder has taken place somewhere else and the body has been dumped and somebody has purposely lit it on fire so that the police don't identify the deceased. The body has been totally charred beyond recognization. Its seems the murder could be fall out of property or financial dispute The killer is from the same vicinity and that is why he has found this pit where he secretly burnt the body and fled away. '' said an officer.

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464 private cabbies barred from plying in Mumbai

Written By kom nampultig on Jumat, 30 Januari 2015 | 22.23

MUMBAI: Four hundred and sixty-four private taxi drivers' applications were rejected during police verification this month, with 33 getting "adverse remarks". The rejected drivers had provided false addresses and one was found to be dead. The police could process only 6,634 applications of the database of almost 27,000 taxi aggregators/operators it had received in December as the addresses given were either not proper or incomplete.

The transport department has issued an ultimatum to taxi aggregators to fall in line within six weeks and suspend operations of taxis not complying with its new directives. Officials also want operators to introduce 'live tracking' of cabs till passengers complete th8e8ir journey.

These measures come after the Delhi rape case. State transport commissioner Ma8h8esh Zagade said, "Cab aggregators and radio taxi operators were summoned for a second review meeting on Thursday. We have sought 26 clarifications pertaining to passenger security."

Sources said the operators have been told to file an affidavit that the company management will be responsible for any crime, such as rape or molestation, in cabs.

The police had received a database of 26,901 drivers of taxi aggregators/operators from the transport department last December. The police could process only 6,634 of those applications, as 20,237 addresses were not proper, deputy police commissioner Dhananjay Kulkarni said. "Of these applications, only 836 drivers have been given police clearance. The 464 drivers rejected had either provided false addresses, were not residents of Mumbai or their names were not proper. They will have to fill up a fresh form and give documentary proof and addresses again," he stated. In one application, the driver was found to be dead.

Police sources said senior officers have roped in the National Crime Record Bureau and State Crime Record Bureau to check if any driver has a criminal record.

The transport department, which wants to pursue implementation of 'live tracking' of cabs, will arrange for a meeting of operators with the police so that a distress message, in an emergency, can be sent to the control room. "Live trip-tracking will keep a check on drivers switching off GPS-enabled smartphones or cabs deviating from the scheduled route. It will ensure minute-by-minute monitoring of cabs," an official said.

The transport department's new parameters include ensuring drivers wear badges, police verification, a 'panic switch', foolproof GPS system and live tracking in cabs. Some taxis, such as those owned by Meru Plus and TaxiForSure, have installed 'panic switches'. The switches will now be available in nearly 150 cabs, sources said.

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SC says state can consider regularisation plea in accordance with law in Campa case

MUMBAI: The Supreme Court on Friday gave Campa Cola residents a real reason to smile in the new year. It clarified that its two earlier orders passed in 2013 would not come in the way of any representation made by residents for regularization of 100-odd illegal flats which were under a civic notice for demolition.

Affected residents of Campa Cola Compound in Worli, a society with six buildings, caught in a legal mess after the SC had two years ago upheld the action of the Civic administration in issuing them demolition notice, had sought clarification of the orders.

On Friday when the matter came up, a team of counsel for the residents that included Prashant Bhushan, Kamini Jaiswal and Prasenjit Keswani said that all they wanted was a clarification from the apex court that if they apply to the state, the government ought to consider their regularization plea since in any case, there was excess unutilized FSI on the plot.

The bench comprising Justices M Y Eqbal and Kurian Jospeh asked if any one had any objections if it allowed the residents' plea. Neither the state represented by counsel Aniruddha Mayee nor BMC represented by counsel Pallav Sisodia raised any objections and hence the court passed the order.

The bench clarified that its February and October 2013 judgments would not come in the way of the state considering any representation "for regularization in accordance with law.'' It disposed of the residents' application seeking clarification.

The six buildings were constructed in the 80s. The BMC however found that the developer had exceeded permission to build beyond six storeys, with one building going up even to 20 storeyes, illegal and sought to demolish the illegal floors.

The residents shad ought clarity on the possible actions that the BMC could take and said regularization is a possibility especially since there was permissible developable space available on the land and the civic body itself had earlier agreed to it and had even accepted part payment of penalty from the builder.

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After opposition, pay & park policy stayed in SoBo

MUMBAI: The state government has stayed the implementation of the new pay and park policy which was to be implemented on a pilot basis in 'A' ward. The chief minister's office on Thursday requested a 'stay and hearing' on the policy. Government officials said the project would be considered for implementation after incorporating suggestions and objections of residents of 'A' ward.

Citizens' groups in 'A' ward, comprising Colaba, Churchgate, Nariman Point and Marine Drive, who were strongly opposed to its implementation, have welcomed the stay. Local MLA Raj Purohit had written to CM Devendra Fadnavis stating that if the policy was implemented in its present form, it would lead to chaos and unrest rather than decongest the area. BMC labourers had even demarcated the slots in yellow outside several buildings last week on a few roads in Churchgate.

Welcoming the stay, resid8ents said it would give them an opportunity to place the parking situation in the ward before the administration.

Churchgate resident Gerson DaCunha of AGNI (Action for Good Governance and Networking in India) said the policy was being implemented without any consultation with residents, so they were happy that now they would have a chance to present their case. "A ward is not a typical ward, so starting the policy from a place which has so many heritage structures and a unique kind of land occupation was not the best idea. This was mainly because whatever lessons were learnt from here could not necessarily be implemented elsewhere," said DaCunha.

Colaba's Subhash Motwani said the residents felt the policy was lopsided. "Now that the administration will invite us for a hearing, we are hoping we will be able to present our case. Going the legal way was our last resort as it would mean a lot of people pooling in money. We felt the policy was pro-commercial and anti-residents," said Motwani.

However, additional municipal commissioner S V R Srinivas said there have also been groups in favour of the parking policy. "There were citizens who were in support of the policy. The policy was being debated for the last one year and if required, we will also place our stand before the government," said Srinivas.

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No mobile phones, midway exit permitted at MNS meet on January 30

MUMBAI: In the wake of several senior leaders leaving the party in recent weeks, Maharashtra Navnirman Sena chief Raj Thackeray has barred the party workers and leaders from carrying cell phones at Friday's meeting. According to a senior party functionary, Thackeray has even prohibited party leaders from leaving the auditorium midway during the full-day session, where he is expected to spell out a future roadmap for the party.

In the wake of several senior leaders leaving the party in recent weeks, Maharashtra Navnirman Sena chief Raj Thackeray has barred the party workers and leaders from carrying cell phones at Friday's meeting. According to a senior party functionary, Thackeray has even prohibited party leaders from leaving the auditorium midway during the full-day session, where he is expected to spell out a future roadmap for the party.

The last three months after the results of the state Assembly elections have been difficult for the MNS, with senior leaders like Pravin Darekar and Vasant Gite joining the ruling BJP.

"Though the leaders who quit were very close to Raj saheb, it does not mean there is no road ahead for the party. MNS will soon bounce back," claimed a senior MNS leader on condition of anonymity.

Asked about the reason for prohibition of cell phones, the leader said, "He (Raj Thackeray) wants to keep the interactions limited to the party workers and himself. Not only mobile phones, we will not even be allowed to leave the hall till the evening once we enter it in the morning." "At times some leaders pass on internal meeting messages to journalists and other people who are not associated with the MNS. It is possible that (Raj) saheb does not want this to happen now."

The invitees for the meet will be given entry card with a bar code before entering the auditorium. Thackeray is also expected to carry out a reshuffle in the party.

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BJP gets maximum seats in Palghar district local body polls

MUMBAI: The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) single handedly won the maximum number of seats in the Palghar district local body polls held on Wednesday.

The results declared on Friday had the BJP taking away 21 of the 57 zilla parishad seats in the eight talukas of the newly formed Palghar district. The Shiv Sena which fought the election alone, except in Vasai where the BJP-Sena had an alliance, got 15 seats. Vasai MLA Hitendra Thakur's Bahujan Vikas Agadi (BVA) party won 10 seats.

The Congress won one seat while the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) got four seats. The Communist Party of India (Marxist) got five seats while one seat went to an independent candidate

The election held on January 28 saw a voter turnout of 62 per cent. Political observers say that while the BJP and Sena contested the election independently, they may have an alliance after the victory.

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Mumbai residents demand removal of illegal Jari machines

MUMBAI: Local residents of Navsari bazar area of the city have made a written representation to municipal commissioner and asked him to get high speed Jari Machines running in residential areas. They have also said that despite their repeated written and oral complaints no steps have been taken against the noise pollution caused by these machines running illegally.

A resident from Bambakhana area of Navsari bazar said, "These machines are running completely in illegal construction and are not permitted to be run in residential areas. Still number of such machines are causing large amount of noise pollution and damaging the nearby properties through their vibrations. We will start an agitation if our plaint is not heeded now."

People of this area have been up in arms and have peacefully demonstrated and made complaints to the authorities. However till now no steps are taken by the local body and as result now the residents have decided to try one last time. "This is the last time that we are giving a memorandum to the municipal commissioner. After this we will be left with no option but to start an agitation because it is causing a lot of mental agony to us." Said another resident and added, "It is also affecting the children in their studies."


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Editor in Mumbai arrested for reprinted Charlie Hebdo cartoon

Written By kom nampultig on Kamis, 29 Januari 2015 | 22.23

MUMBAI: The editor of an Urdu newspaper was arrested and later released on bail on Wednesday for reportedly reprinting a controversial caricature originally carried by French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo.

Shirin Dalvi, editor of the daily, was arrested by the police on Wednesday from Mumbra.

The caricature was carried on the front page of the January 17 issue of the Urdu Daily Avadhnama published from Mumbai.

A resident of Mumbra complained to the Mumbra police after he reportedly saw the paper on the stands in Govandi. A complaint was also filed at Lower Parel police station, informed a police official.

Dalvi was booked for outraging religious feelings of any class by insulting its religion with malicious intent under Section 295 A of the Indian Penal Code. Dalvi was presented before the court that granted her bail.

"The section in the FIR registered against her is bailable, hence the court granted her bail," informed a police official from Mumbra.

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Many transfers unwarranted and against rules, says Maharashtra administrative tribunal

MUMBAI: Maharashtra administrative tribunal chairman, Justice A H Joshi has asked Chief Secretary Swadheen Kshatriya that he should issue suitable general directions, after seeking due orders from the Chief Minister, as regards the manner in which office notes on midterm transfer should be initiated and forwarded to the competent authority.

During the course of hearing of separate applications filed by public works engineers V A Patil and S P Bagdi against their midterm transfers, the MAT found that all the transfer orders were totally unwarranted and were in violation of the statutory provisions of the regulation of the transfer act, 2005.

The contention of applicants was that a midterm transfer without placing on records the reasons and satisfaction of there being special reasons or exceptional circumstances for ordering midterm transfer is bad and a transfer, which is ordered in order to sheerly accommodate a particular government servant will be a malafide order, while the government submitted that transfer is an absolute administrative prerogative of the state and that a government servant has no right of being retained at a particular place.

In his 26-page well articulated order, Justice Joshi observed that the law on transfer has been in operation for last decade, the bureaucrats are conversant with the restraints, which are imposed by virtue of the legislation and that the government machinery has already come across hundreds of verdicts, where the transfer orders exhibiting arbitrariness of power have been interfered by the tribunal benches and even by the High Court. ``Inspite of this illuminated path, recourse to a conscious and rather a deliberate dereliction is being indulged by the officers, who put up or initiated and enclose the office notes proposing transfers...the burdern of duty, rests on those officers, who initiate the process. If those who initiate and endorse notes fail in duty, the executive who have to take the decision and order the transfer would get misdirected due to the forbearance of the machinery, who has to attract advertence of decision making executives to all these illuminating binding precedents,'' Justice Joshi remarked.

The results is that, Justice Joshi said, though over in hundreds of cases, transfer orders are set aside with more or less similar language and observations, the state continues to replicate its act of failing to incorporate and place on record the reasons for midterm transfer. ``The reasons should be prima facie relevant and reasonable. There have to be valid satisfaction, merely stating that there are complaints does not amount to the same. In the result, the state goes on passing the transfer orders in total disregards to the binding precedents as well as law enacted by the state legislature,'' Justice Joshi pointed out.

In conclusion, Justice Joshi has prescribed a comprehensive norms, which ought to be followed while proposing a transfer.

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Verify if 5-year-old boy was taken to police station: Bombay HC

MUMBAI: The Bombay high court on Wednesday directed the state government to submit a report stating whether a five-year-old boy was taken for questioning to the Antop Hill police station from his school following allegations of "sexual assault" on his classmate.

A division bench of Justice V M Kanade and Justice Revati Mohite-Dere took suo motu cognizance of a report in TOI in December and directed to treat it as a PIL.

K P Asha Mukundan , assistant professor, Centre for Criminology and Justice, Tata Institute of Social Sciences, brought the incident to the notice of the high court, requesting it "to raise a case of violation of child rights".
In her December 24 letter to the chief justice, she wrote: "What was more shocking than a five-year-old being alleged to have sexually assaulted his classmate, was the manner in which few policemen ... went to the school in a police van to pick up the boy for questioning in the police station, which is totally unacceptable."

Mukundan said that under Section 82 of the Indian Penal Code, nothing done by a child below seven years is an offence.

Discussions with the boy's father and parents of children from the school indicated a case of sexual assault on a five-year-old girl, who had to undergo treatment for the injuries.

"So the probability is very high that there is an adult involved," Mukundan said in the letter. "However the implication of a five-year-old boy in this matter looks like an attempt of the police to shield an adult who may actually be the culprit."

She said that an "attempt to get the complaint failed as the police station was very alert and did not provide any information".

The judges "directed the state government to submit a report to this court in one week as to what has actually transpired" and "whether the allegation that a five year old child was taken to the police station for questioning him" was true. Directing the state to be made a party, they posted the hearing after a week.

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Bombay HC commutes man’s death sentence to life

MUMBAI: A 28-year old Solapur resident who stabbed to death his son and sister-in-law - both minors, and attempted to murder his wife escaped the gallows on Wednesday. The Bombay high court held Sunil Ombase guilty of the double murder, but commuted his punishment to a life imprisonment and 10 additional years in jail on the attempt to murder charge.

Ombase had claimed that his wife taunting him of impotency had led him to assault her and the children in a fit of rage. While his wife denied the allegation, she admitted in cross examination that she had provoked her husband and he had no intention to kill them. This admission by the wife, as well as the Ombase's young age and the fact that he had no criminal antecedents weighed with the court, which commuted his punishment.

'' We are of the considered view that it is not a case which falls in the category of "rarest or rare" case where imposition of death sentence is imperative,'' said a division bench of Justice Vijaya Kapse- Tahilramani and Justice Ajay Gadkari.

The contention of Ombase's lawyers that this was not a case of murder, but culpable homicide not amounting to murder, was however not accepted by the HC. ``Even if the accused was not having intention to commit murder of the children, he inflicted knife blows on two innocent helpless children thereby causing a bodily injury, sufficient to cause death in the ordinary course of nature and therefore, the offence committed by the accused with respect to the said two children falls undoubtedly within the purview of Section 302 of the Indian Penal Code (murder),'' the HC ruled.

The incident took place on New Year's Eve - December 31, 2012, when following an argument Ombase stabbed his wife and then stabbed the two sleeping children. Ombase fled after the incident and neighbours rushed the injured to the hospital. The children were declared dead on arrival and his wife survived. Ombase was arrested over one and a half months after the incident. A sessions court in 2013 convicted Ombase and sentenced him to death.

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Newly elected MLA re-starts abandoned police chowky at Agripada

MUMBAI: Newly elected MLA advocate Waris Pathan re-started an abandoned police chowky at Agripada where maximum cases of drug addicts, chain snatching and eve-teasing were reported in the last couple of years.

The chowky came up near Baby Maidan area near Maratha Mandir cinema in Agripda and is surrounded by two schools, Salvation Army ladies hostel, several mosques, women's garden and a play ground. ""The residents approached me complaining about the eve-teasers and those who harass girls. A lot of women come for morning and evening walk. There were several places that had become hub for drug addicts and cases of chain snatching were reported frequently. We met the senior police and civic body officials and got a new chowky within 14 days. The residents heavied a sigh of relief now,"" added Pathan, the lone city MLA from Asaduddin Owaisi's party, Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslemeen (MIM).

The area in Agripada is dominated by up-market Muslim societies. ""Foreign national girls also stay in Salvation army hostel and no untoward incident should take place,"" he added. The chowky, full equipped with fans, tables, visitors' chairs will soon be getting CCTV cameras. R Brute, a police head constable posted there, said, ""Now we have got a place to sit and monitor the area. We meet the watchmen of several buildings frequently and find out their problems. They also help us and inform if something the notice. It was much need in the area.""

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Minor's abductors in Mumbai got Rs 7.4 lakh and not Rs 10 lakh: Cops

MUMBAI: A day after the city police arrested five persons including four teenagers for kidnapping the minor son of a prominent developer and collecting ransom of Rs 10 lakh, the Agripada police on Thursday said that Rs 7.4 lakh was paid as ransom and not Rs 10 lakh.

The crime branch, which had made the initial three arrests, had said on Wednesday that Rs 10 lakh was paid for the 17-year-old abducted boy's release. Those arrested Faiz Shaikh (19), Raibar Qureshi (19), Shahbaz Sheikh (19), Haris Khan (19) and Riyaz Khan (20). Hari, the brain behind the kidnapping drama, was the brain behind the crime.

City crime branch said the victim, a Class XII student of an international school in Powai, went on January 24 from his Goregaon residence to Agripada to meet his mother, who stays separately. On his way back he met his friends Haris and Riyaz. The victim was abducted after Riyaz and Haris left him.

"All the accused would frequently visit pubs and discotheques. We have recovered Rs six lakh from the dicky of a motor bike, used in the crime," said an officer from Agripada police station. All the five accused have been remanded in police custody till January 31.

"The victim had called up three of his friends for money for his release. While one paid Rs six lakh, the rest was arranged by his another friend. They are our witnesses and will be summoned for statements soon," the officer added. The boy was abducted at around 8.30 pm on January 24, and ransom was paid by 11.30 pm. He was released at 11.45 pm near Lilavati Hospital in Bandra.

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Central Railway offers 50% tatkal tickets on dynamic pricing

Written By kom nampultig on Kamis, 22 Januari 2015 | 22.23

MUMBAI: The railways ministry has decided that 50% of the existing tatkal quota tickets shall be sold under dynamic fare scheme, said CR chief spokesperson Narendra Patil.

"After booking of the first 50% of tatkal tickets under tatkal quota, the subsequent 50% tatkal tickets will be sold on dynamic pricing," he said. The fare shall increase by 20% after each slab of 10% berths are sold subject to the existing cap (maximum fare chargeable) on dynamic fare.

This scheme is further implemented in following trains of Central Railway with immediate effect. 11005 Dadar - Puducherry Tri-weekly Express; 11021 Dadar - Tirunelveli Tri-weekly Express; 11050 Shri Chhatrapati Shahu Maharaj Terminus (Kolahpur) - Ahmedabad Express; 11088 Pune - Veraval Express; 11090 Pune - Bhagat ki Kothi (Jodhpur) Express; 11092 Pune - Bhuj Express; 11096 Pune - Ahmedabad Ahimsa Express; 12051 Dadar - Karmali Jan Shatabdi Express; 12101 Lokmanya Tilak Terminus - Howrah Jnaneshwari Express; 12129 Pune - Howrah Azad Hind Express; 12809 Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus Mumbai - Howrah Mail Via - Nagpur; 16351 Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus Mumbai - Nagarcoil Express; 16381 Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus Mumbai - Kanyakumari Express; 18029 Lokmanya Tilak Terminus - Shalimar Express; 11061 Lokmanya Tilak Terminus - Muzaffarpur Express and 11065 Lokmanya Tilak Terminus - Darbhanga Express.

"This scheme is already in force on 15 Mail and Express running on CR," he added.
New Express train between Ahmedabad and Katra

MUMBAI: The railways ministry will introduce a new weekly Express train between Ahmedabad and Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Katra via Palanpur- Jaipur -Rewari from Sunday, officials at WR headquarters here said.

The Ahmedabad -Katra weekly train will depart from Ahmedabad at 7 pm every Sunday and reach Katra at 6.50 am on third day, which is Tuesday.

Similarly, from January 27, the train No 19416 Katra - Ahmedabad weekly Express train will depart from Katra at 10.35 am every Tuesday and reach Ahmedabad at 11.55 pm the next day.

The train will halt at Sabarmati, Mahesana, Palanpur, Abu Road, Falna, Rani, Marwar, Beawar, Ajmer, Kishangarh, Phulera, Jaipur, Gandhinagar Jaipur, Dausa, Bandikui, Alwar, Khairthal, Rewari, Bhiwani, Hissar, Sirsa, Bhatinda, Firozpur, Jalandhar city, Beas, Amritsar, Pathankot, Jammutavi and Udhampur stations in both directions.

The train will have AC II Tier, AC III Tier, second class sleeper and second class general coaches. The bookings open today, officials stated.
Extension of bi-weekly train between Yeshwantpur and Miraj

MUMBAI: The Railways have decided to extend the run of Bi-weekly special train between Yesvantpur and Miraj to clear the extra rush of passengers, officials at CR headquarters in Mumbai said.

The officials stated that train No.06517 Yesvantpur- Miraj bi-weekly special will leave Yesvantpur at 8.40 pm every Monday and Thursday till February 19 and will reach Miraj at 10.15 am next day.

Similarly, train No.06518 Miraj-Yesvantpur bi-weekly special will leave Miraj at 4.45 pm every Tuesday and Friday till February 20 and will reach Yesvantpur at 6.20 am next day.

The halts will be provided at Tumkur, Arsikere, Davangere, Hubli, Dharwar, Belgaum, Ghataprabha and Kudachi. The train will have one 1st AC cum AC-2 tier, an AC-2 Tier, four AC-3 Tier, 10 sleeper class, 2 general second class and 2 general second class cum guard's break van, the officials added.
Western Railway adds extra coaches in seven pairs of trains

MUMBAI: The Western Railway will add extra coaches in seven pairs of trains to clear the rush of passengers this month.
It has decided to temporarily augment one AC 3-tier coach in 2 pairs of trains 12903/04 Mumbai Central - Amritsar Golden Temple Mail and 12955/56 Mumbai Central - Jaipur Superfast Express; add two AC 3-tier coaches in 12267/68 Mumbai Central - Ahmedabad Duranto Express and one second class sleeper coach each in 12961/62 Mumbai Central - Indore Avantika Express, 12927/28 Mumbai Central - Vadodara Express and 12971/72 Bandra(T) - Bhavnagar Express.
"An AC 3-tier coach has also been added permanently in 13426/25 Surat - Malda Town Express -- ex Surat from January 26 and ex Malda Town from January 24," an official added.

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NGO handbook to help design city’s devpt plan

MUMBAI: In an attempt to throw light on sector-wise details of Mumbai's Development Plan (DP) 2014-34, NGO Praja along with Urban Design Research Institute (UDRI) have jointly launched a booklet which they claim would be of great benefit to citizens as well as corporators. Inaugurated by mayor SnehalAmbekar on Wednesday, the book gives the current status of facilities, needs and suggestions.

The handbook looks at different aspects which are all significantly a part of the DP arena—housing, health, education, transportation, water and sanitation, livelihood, public space, environment, urban norm, governance and existing land use survey.

The book could act as a framework for corporators as well as citizens to raise issues, the NGOs said. Besides, workshops will also be held explaining different aspects of the booklet to corporators. It has information, which could be a tool to ensure that the DP is successfully applied all through the city.

At the programme, Ambekar said, "While planning anything for Mumbai, we always think of how the city will benefit. It's important that workshops are held with corporators. Also, there should be a follow-up on the suggestions made."

Milind Mhaske, project director at Praja Foundation, said the basic agenda is to see to it that the DP for 2014-34 is made better. "This document will be a great source of information, especially for municipal councillors, as it has ward-wise statistical information regarding the issues faced by citizens. There is also a list of questions that can be asked by councillors"

Pankaj Joshi, executive director of UDRI, said they have tried providing a lot of data. "Planning must be based on a detailed understanding of livelihood, housing, environment, transportation, health, education, energy, water, sanitation, and security. Therefore, there is a need to replace the planning tool of FSI with other planning tools, such as form-based, height-based, density-based building controls, etc. Plans should be better designed," said Joshi.

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BEST decides to scrap, curtail few AC bus routes

MUMBAI: The BEST is incurring huge losses running its fleet of air-conditioned buses. It has now decided to curtail at least three to four routes and cancel a few in coming weeks.

From February 1, the BEST plans to cancel the AC bus route -- number AS-503-- from Wadala bus depot to Kalamboli bus station. Officials said that the route was loss-making and there was no good response from commuters throughout the day.
"We are conducting an audit of all the AC buses. Several buses are lying idle at depots for repairs,'' said another official. The BEST has incurred losses to the tune of nearly Rs 100 crore annually maintaining these buses, a BEST committee member pointed out.

"The buses are a huge burden for the undertaking. We plan to scrap them as early as possible and buy good quality AC buses for Mumbai very soon,'' said Kedar Hombalkar, MNS member in the committee.

"The previous purchase of AC buses was faulty and these vehicles face breakdowns on arterial roads and flyovers,'' he added.
Citizens group demand good quality bus service in city

MUMBAI : Citizen groups and those in the opposition in the BEST committee say there is no justification for asking people to pay for two fare hikes when the BEST cannot run itself efficiently.

"We are strongly against the two hikes (February and April) as it will not solve the problems faced by the cash-strapped transport body," pointed out Congress member Shivji Singh. "To add to the citizens' woes, we are asking the civic corporation to impose a transport cess in property tax. Are we providing better bus services in return ? The answer is an emphatic No. Our buses are in pathetic condition, more than 100 buses need urgent repairs, the seats/handles are broken and the air-conditioned buses face breakdowns frequently," he said at the recently held committee meeting.

He pointed out that the fleet strength had dipped in the past three years (and it has been brought down to 4,200). Surprisingly, the losses have mounted from Rs 14 lakh per bus to Rs 22 lakh. "Had we kept the same fleet or increased it, the losses could have been more. We are now facing an annual loss to the tune of nearly Rs 900 crore and this is uncalled for," he said.

Samajwadi Party member Yakub Memon said that citizens did not mind paying more if the services were of good quality. "We were known to be one of the best bus services in the country, but our quality has deteriorated. We first need to set our own house in order -- repair the buses, introduce new services and revamp the timings of some of the buses so that it caters to the realistic demand of passengers," he said at the panel meeting.

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Nearly 80,000 homeless elders go hungry

MUMBAI: Maharashtra seems to be no country for old people. Not if they are destitute, over 65 and hungry. Not a speck of the 225 metric tonnes of grain the aged in the state are due to get every month under a food scheme for the poor can be found in Maharashtra. With the Centre not releasing the quota since April 2014, the scheme has come to a complete standstill in the state for the last 10 months.

The Annapurna Yojana, which has been operating nationwide since 2001, has roughly 78,400 beneficiaries in Maharashtra. Under the scheme, the destitute population—aged 65 and above—is eligible for 10 kg of free wheat and rice each month. The grains are provided by the Centre.

The state was receiving roughly 225 metric tonnes of wheat and rice from the Centre each month. However, since April 2014, the Centre's allocation abruptly halted and has still not resumed, figures with the state food and civil supplies department show.

State government officials say the initial delay was caused by attempts to streamline the scheme. "The Centre used to release grains based on our demand over a six-month period. But since March 2014, states were asked to submit a utilization certificate on the basis of which the quota would be released," said an official who did not want to be named.

The state government sent across its "utilization certificate" with its demand for grains in March 2014. However, no supply arrived and no explanation seems to be forthcoming. Since then, the state has sent three reminders: in November and December 2014 as well as January this year. But it is still waiting for the grains to arrive.

Groups agitating for food rights feel the state government should fill in for the delay. "This is a very vulnerable population. If the Centre's quota has not come, what is the state government doing?" asks Kiran Moghe of the Janwadi Mahila Sanghatna.

State food and civil supplies secretary Deepak Kapoor did not comment on the delay. Food and civil supplies minister Girish Bapat, who has recently assumed charge, said he would make enquiries about the scheme's status.

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Need a licence? Sign a 'helmet' bond first: Mumbai RTO

MUMBAI: If you are going to the RTO for a two-wheeler licence on Thursday, then it will be mandatory for you to sign an indemnity bond.

You will need to make a declaration to the transport department and traffic police that you will compulsarily purchase and wear a helmet and also ensure that the pillion rider wears a helmet after you get the two-wheeler licence from the RTO. The move comes close on the heels of the Bombay high court directing the transport department to ensure that riders wear helmets, which can protect them in case of an accident.

According to additional transport commissioner Satish Sahasrabudhe, helmets are a must for every bike and scooter rider.

"When we catch these riders plying without helmets, we send them for counselling sessions at the RTO. Now, the onus of wearing the helmet will be on them. They will have to sign the indemnity bond and give us an assurance that they will never forget wearing a helmet during the journey," he said.

He issued the new circular on Wednesday evening to all RTOs across Maharashtra and the rule comes into effect from this morning.

In case of any accident, the blame will now be on the rider and not on the transport and traffic authorities.

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More trouble for sales tax official

The Anti Corruption Bureau (ACB) on Thursday seized huge asset of cash of 93,500, bank accounts, fixed deposit receipts, bank locker receipts, life insurance policies, shares, and other investment documents from sales tax officer Kamlesh Chaukar's residence.

Kamlesh Chaukar a senior officer of suburban sales tax office at BKC was arrested by the ACB accepting a bribe of Rs 20,000 from a liquor bar owner. Complainant who runs a country liquor bar in suburb had received a notice from the sales tax office after he allegedly defaulted. When he approached the Sales tax office, he was directed to meet Chaukar who told him that if he want to reduce the fine amount he should cough up Rs 40,000.

The complainant who did not wished to pay the bribe approached ACB and lodged a complaint. Based on his complaint the ACB laid a trap and arrested Chaukar when he came to accept the first installment of Rs 20,000. ACB officials are carrying a search of Chaukar's residence.

After arresting Chaukar, the ACB sleuths simultaneously carried a search of his residence at Koldongri in Andheri and recovered documents pertaining to his investment. ACB said that Chaukar had invested money in his wife's name in shares, properties, fixed deposits, cash of Rs 93,500 and various policies. "We have seized these documents are now calculating the assets which we believe amassed with illegal means," said an officer.

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Senior citizen threatened for card details

Written By kom nampultig on Selasa, 20 Januari 2015 | 22.23

MUMBAI: A senior citizen from Andheri was conned into parting with his debit card details by a man pretending to be an employee of his card-issuing bank. Satyen Mehta (name changed), 70, realised he was duped when he received five SMSes about his card being used to shop online up to Rs 25,000. Versova police told him they had only one officer who handled cyber crime cases and he had been sent for training.

"The caller's number was active for a few days and we got through to him once. But on learning of our identity, he cut the line," Mehta's son said.

On December 12, Mehta, a resident of Andheri's Lokhandwala complex, got a call from one Pawan Bansal, claiming to be the bank's employee. He asked Mehta for his card details saying his card was being upgraded. Mehta hesitated, at which Bansal threatened to fine him Rs 5,000 and block his account. "My father relented. He received an OTP, which Bansal made him read out. After Bansal hung up, my father started receiving alerts about his card being used for online shopping. He called up the bank but couldn't get through. He then went to a branch and blocked the card," his son said. "I was away at the time of the incident and am concerned about his health as he has high BP. Banks should have a different approach for senior citizens, as many are not adept at handling cards," he said.

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Bandra school students rally for road safety awareness

MUMBAI: Several schools in the city are doing their bit to mark the traffic department's road safety fortnight.

On Monday, around 800 students from 13 schools in Bandra held a programme to spread awareness about road safety. "After a brief rally down Hill Road, the students reassembled at St Stanislaus's School hall and watched videos that explained the need to follow safety rules," said Peter De Souza, convenor of the BIRD (Bandra Interschool Republic Day) group.

Also attending the programme was joint commissioner of police (traffic) B K Upadhaya. "I visited the schools and had an extensive one-to-one interaction with the children and made them aware about road safety," said Upadhyay.

Schools are also conducting various competitions to promote the cause of road safety. "Basics about road safety should not be taught only during such weeks but must be an integral part of the school curriculum," said Veena Donwalkar, principal, Chhatrapati Shivaji Vidyalaya, Dharavi. The school recently held a drawing and elocution competition and also celebrated Makar Sankranti, with road safety as a theme.

The road safety fortnight will conclude on January 25.

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Fraudster jams ATM keys, steals cash from account

MUMBAI: A software engineer, who recently withdrew Rs 8,000 from a Kandivli East ATM, received an SMS regarding withdrawal of another Rs 20,000 from the ATM soon after he reached home. CCTV footage from the ATM captured a man fiddling with the machine and using a chip to copy card details.

Ramashankar Sahu, 37, has been running between Samta Nagar police station and his bank, hoping to get a refund. The Kandivli East resident tried to withdraw cash from the ATM in Saraf Chaudhary Nagar on January 10, around 8pm. "I waited in the queue. When my turn came, I inserted my debit card into one of the two machines. But after the language option, the machine seemed to be stuck. I tried to cancel the transaction but it wouldn't happen either. I then moved to another machine and used my card to withdraw Rs 8,000 around 8.01pm. Again, I tried to cancel my transaction on the previous machine, but in vain. The customer standing behind me asked me not to worry," Sahu told TOI.

On reaching home, Sahu received an SMS for Rs 8,000 and a second alert for a withdrawal of Rs 20,000. "I rushed back to the ATM, but there was nobody. I called up the bank and got the card blocked. The Samta Nagar police asked me to first confirm with the bank if it was an error on their part," Sahu said. Since the next day was a Sunday, the software engineer spent an anxious 24 hours at home. On Monday, he visited his branch and submitted a complaint. The bank accessed CCTV footage of the kiosk which showed the same customer, who told Sahu not to worry, fiddling with the machine for nearly 10 minutes. The man was using a chip in the card slot and managed to siphon some cash from the machine. The bank later sent an investigator to examine the ATM and discovered that the 'cancel' and 'reject' keys had been jammed using gum.

"Sahu needs to fill a dispute form and submit it to his bank if he wants a refund. The bank will conduct a probe and may refund his money. On our part, we will send them a letter about the details of the case," said an official with the Samta Nagar police station.

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Success rate in CA final exams increases steadily

MUMBAI: The pass rate in the chartered accountancy final exams has steadily risen in the last two editions. In the November 2014 exams, 8.23% candidates passed nationally, up from 7.29% in the March 2014 exams. In November 2013, the pass rate was just 3.11%. The Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI) announced the November 2014 results on Monday.

Over 36,000 students appeared in the last exam. The highest scorer from Maharashtra is Santosh Nankani (22) of Nandurbar with 69.13%; his national rank is three. The rank is shared by Nikita Goel from Howrah. Vijender Aggarwal from Gurgaon topped with 69.75% and Pooja Pareek from Ahmedabad stood second with 69.50%.

JK Shah, from a CA coaching institute, said the results cannot get better. "This should be the ideal success rate of students who are clearing professional exams like CA. The quality of evaluation seems to have been be restored."

Nankani, from a business family, said, "I was very focused in my pursuit of chartered accountancy. So I did not seek admission in undergraduate programmes post HSC (he was a topper from his district in Class XII)."

He said, "Graduation is not compulsory for CA and therefore I never thought of enrolling for BCom or any other traditional course." His father and brother are distributors of food items. He enrolled in a coaching institute in Pune to prepare for his common proficiency test (CPT) and completed his articleship from a CA firm in Nandurbar. He relied on the institute's study material for his preparation for the final exams and cleared it in the first attempt.

Prafulla Chhajed, vice chairman, board of studies, ICAI, said, "Though we do not have a record on the numbers of students who do not have a formal degree, the possibility cannot be ruled out. Some students who are focused may choose to pursue CA after their class XII." Students usually complete the entrance test (CPT) and the intermediate exam (IPCC) and then the articleship before the finals.

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Bombay HC stays termination of MSRTC chief

MUMBAI: The Bombay high court on Tuesday stayed a government order terminating Jeevanrao Gore from the post as chairperson of Maharashtra State Road Transport Corporation (MSRTC), without assigning any valid reason.

The state advocate general Sunil Manohar and Abhinandan Vagyani said the tenure and the appointment is at the "pleasure of the government" and hence the termination by the new BJP government was valid. Gore was appointed by the earlier Congress led government in September 2012. But Gore's case is that his appointment is for three years and he cannot be dismissed prior to that. The HC said it would hear the matter now in February to decide what the term "pleasure" would entitle the government to do and whether it meant that the government can terminate the appointment within three years.

Gore, an engineering graduate has held various significant posts in Maharashtra since 1991.

He said that the government has no powers under the Road Transport Corporation Act, 1950 to terminate the MSRTC chairman's job

The government had issued a notification on December 23, 2014, saying that the appointment of Gore and other directors of MSRTC was terminated. They were given one month's notice. The notification, however, did not mention any reason for terminating the appointments before completion of their three-year tenure.

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Schoolkids to spread R-Day cheer

MUMBAI: Students from more than 40 schools in the city will greet people this Republic Day at public places in the suburbs.

Children associated with the Bandra Interschool Republic Day group will go to stations, markets, malls and petrol pumps to wish citizens. "We want students to understand the importance of this day. The students will be given 25 paper flags each with a message printed on it, which people can stick on their clothes ," said Father Jude Fernandes, principal of St Stanislaus High School, Bandra. Students of Std I to VI will be given 10 flags each to distribute among members of their own housing society. The students hope to reach out to at least 2.5 lakh citizens. Among the institutes taking part are St Joseph School, Manik Vidyamandir, Purshottam High School.

A flag-hoisting ceremony will also be held in the schools. St Elias School, Khar, will hold a rally on the occasion.

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400% jump in card fraud cases in Mumbai last year

Written By kom nampultig on Minggu, 18 Januari 2015 | 22.23

MUMBAI: In the year just gone by, Mumbai witnessed a case of credit/debit card fraud every alternate day (till November). The fast growing number is the result of changing methods adopted by fraudsters, a recent Mumbai police report said.

There were 159 cases of card fraud registered in 2014, almost a five-fold rise over the 2013 figure of 32. The report pointed out that of the total cases registered from 2011 to 2014, 66.5% of cases were registered in 2014 alone.

Cyber experts and investigating agencies have found continuously changing trends in card frauds, growing alarmingly at almost 400% from 2013 to 2014. The latest complaints received by the police are of calls from fraudsters posing as bank executives and asking for confidential information to 'upgrade' a card. Initially, there was the "salami attack" (use of an online database to get information and deduct small amounts from every account over time) and phishing mails (to cardholders asking them to share confidential data).

A common modus operandi used in card fraud was 'card not present', as several websites still allow transactions without proper two-factor authentication.

Cyber lawyer Vicky Shah said with the advent of social networking and technology, fraudsters too have adopted innovative methods, like skimming, phishing and malware, cloning and even account takeover. Besides, there is the danger of friendly fraud, which as the term suggests is fraud committed by persons known to the victim.

Following the growing instances and changing trends of fraud, several banks send SMS alerts to their customers asking them not to respond or reply to fictitious mails or text messages. HDFC Bank alert SMS showed: "Do not share customer ID, Banking passwords, Card details, PIN with anyone oer the phone/SMS/email. The bank alerts that someone may use it to withdraw money from your account". While Federal bank SMS alert showed: It never asks for ATM Pin, CVV, expiry date or any password through SMS, email or phone. The bank made request to its customer do not disclose the details to anyone or bank officials.

Former IPS officer-turned-lawyer Y P Singh too said since banks have stepped up security procedures, with the introduction of dual-stage verification and/or one-time passwords, fradusters have changed their modus operandi. "The crimes have become more sophisticated and are increasingly based on hacking/phishing, where confidential data is stolen from computers by getting into private systems and then using card information to commit frauds," said Singh.

After TOI reported on October 30, 2014, the need for more tech-savvy officials in Mumbai Police to improve detection of cyber offences, the chief minister asked the police top brass to submit a report on the force's tech requirements. "Witnessing the changing trend in card fraud, joint commissioner of police, Sadanand Date, has given instructions to work on increasing awareness," said Mumbai Police spokesperson DCP Dhananjay Kulkarni.

Mukund Pawar, a senior inspector with the cyber cell, said the reason for changing modus operandi of fraudsters is flexibility and convenience. "Most victims of cyber fraud are those in senior positions in the corporate sector or from generally well-to-do backgrounds, who fall victim because of lack of awareness," said Pawar.

Cyber lawyer Prashant Mali said according to information available the RBI, total monetary loss suffered by Indians (as reported to RBI) is Rs 54 crore in 2013 (up to September 30, 2013). The amount of monetary loss in cases registered by the CBI is Rs 48.49 crore (up to November 30, 2013).

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Two ticket checkers suspended for assaulting youth

MUMBAI: The two ticket checkers who reportedly assaulted a youth in a suburban train have been suspended from duty.

The Central Railway authorities took cognizance of the video after it went viral on Saturday.

The video clip was taken by a co-passenger who was witness to the two TCs attacking the youth for not carrying a proper ticket.

"The incident was uncalled for. If a citizen doesn't have ticket, the TC should explain him the rules politely and demand a fine. He should take assistance of the GRP in case of an emergency. He cannot take law into his own hands," said a senior CR official.

The official further confirmed that the two TCs have been identified and now placed under suspension. "They are suspended pending a detailed inquiry to find out the cause of the incident and what had provoked them to hit the youngster," the official stated.

The incident had taken place on Friday in a Panvel-Thane transharbour local. The youth had boarded the train from Turbhe station.

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CM gives babus Davos deadline to push reforms

MUMBAI: Just days after constituting two independent committees, chief minister Devendra Fadnavis has now set a deadline for bureaucrats associated with the departments of revenue, power, urban development, industries, law and judiciary, sales tax, environment and the BMC to bring in administrative reforms to attract both domestic and foreign investment.

A cabinet member said on Saturday that after his marathon interaction with more than a dozen bureaucrats, Fadnavis made it clear that no time should be lost in introducing reforms in all sectors and cutting red tape.

"When Fadnavis addresses the World Economic Forum in Davos, he will tell investors that red-tapism and corruption are history in Maharashtra and now there will be a red-carpet welcome for them," the minister said. "So, bureaucrats have no option but to work on reforms on a war footing."

The Davos meeting is to get going on Wednesday.

Top bureaucrats like municipal commissioner S J Kunte, urban development secretary Nitin Kareer, industries secretary Apoorva Chandra, BEST GM Jagdish Patil, law and judiciary secretary M A Saheed and energy secretary O P Gupta held a meeting on the proposed reforms in their departments on Thursday. In his presentation, Patil assured Fadnavis that the waiting period of 67 days for a power connection in the city would be reduced to seven days. The MSEDCL proposed a cut from 110 days to 21 days.

"The World Bank report on ease of doing business had pointed out that BEST takes a minimum of 67 days for providing a power connection," an official said. "Reforms proposed by BEST will drastically cut the period to seven days and that too at a lower cost."

The sales tax department, revenue department, MPCB and MIDC also made a slew of important proposals.

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Fire at Malad underconstruction 42-storey tower, ladder can't reach beyond 23rd floor

MUMBAI: A fire broke out on the top six floors of a 42-storey underconstruction highrise near Kurar Village in Malad (E) around 10.30pm on Friday. Though no one was injured as the building is under construction and empty , the incident highlights how the fire brigade is not equipped to tackle blazes in towers. It took around sevenand-a-half hours to douse the flames, which could have proved disastrous had the building been occupied.

"The fire, which started around 10.30pm, spread from the 37th floor to the 42nd floor and terrace, where construction material was stocked. No casualty was reported," an official said. Residents of the area said the fire might have started from sky lanterns that floated too close to the building. Assistant municipal commissioner D P Jain said, "We evacuated about 500 people from a nearby slum as tarpaulin, which had caught fire, had started falling to the ground. The blaze was finally doused around 6am."

But the most worrying fact was that though eight fire engines, three ambulances and eight policemen reached the spot, they could not start operation immediately as the fire brigade did not have a ladder that reached 37 floors. The fire brigade has ladders that can reach only up to 23 floors. Deputy chief fire officer P S Rahangdale admitted, "The fire brigade has ladders that can reach up to 70metres or 23 floors. We have proposed to buy a ladder that can go up to 90 metres or 30 floors."

A fire official said a highrise is supposed to have a system on the compound to tackle a blaze from inside. " As this highrise is under construction, such a system was not yet installed," he said. "But precautionary measures should have been there in this unfinished building."

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40,000 people participate in Mumbai marathon

MUMBAI: Great cheer prevailed across the roads of south Mumbai as over 40,000 people took to the roads to run the Standard Chartered Mumbai Marathon (SCMM). Crowds gathered in large numbers beginning from the first race which began at 5.40am on Sunday morning to cheer the participants. By noon, all races finished leaving the participants and the crowds with mixed feelings. While 3429 participated in the full marathon 12523 ran the half marathon.

This was the 12th year off the SCMM, which saw people across age groups run. A senior couple from Kandivali along with their son participated in the marathon. While Shashi Nijhawan and Vinod Nijhawan, both senior citizens participated in the senior citizens race which was 4.3kms, their son Lakshaya participated in the dream run. "The excitement in the crowds was amazing. It was a good experience and we have been participating in it for the last four years," said Vinod aged 70. Numerous disabled persons also participated in order to promote various causes in the Champions with Disability run of 2.4km.


This was the 12th year off the SCMM, which saw people across age groups run. (TOI photo: Shriram Vernekar)

Chetan Lodaya, a paraplegic from Paraplegic Foundation, said that they were trying to send out a message of how careful one should be while driving vehicles. "I meet with an accident while driving and hence have been bound to the wheelchair and hence want to spread the cause that people should be more vigilant while driving."


While 3429 participated in the full marathon 12523 ran the half marathon. (TOI photo: Shriram Vernekar)

Meanwhile bollywood celebrities from John Abraham to Kalki Koechin were seen at the event. The chief minister of Maharashtra Devendra Fadanvis attracted huge crowds who were all promoting various causes at the 6km Dream run.

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Kush Sinha’s wedding reception today is where Bollywood is headed to

One of Shatrughan Sinha's twins — Kush (of Luv-Kush fame) got married to London-based Taruna Agarwal yesterday at a five-star hotel in Mumbai. The nuptials were a private affair. PM Narendra Modi was expected to arrive, at the time of going to press.

The media was made to stand a considerable distance away, in keeping with the security restrictions. Since this is the first wedding in the Sinha household, all of Shotgun's industry and political friends are getting ready to attend the reception being held today at another five-star location in Mumbai. Sonakshi Sinha has also taken a personal interest in the arrangements for her older brother's wedding.

Their home, Ramayan, was decked up over the weekend.

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IT quizzes six who loaned money to former Maha minister facing graft charges

Written By kom nampultig on Sabtu, 17 Januari 2015 | 22.23

MUMBAI: Income Tax Department has told Bombay High Court that has quizzed six persons from Nandurbar who allegedly loaned money to former cabinet minister Vijaykumar Gavit who is facing graft charges.

A progress report was submitted to a division bench of Justice Abhay Oka and Justice Anil Menon by IT's advocate N N Singh on January 12, 2015. The report stated that during the course of assessment proceedings for 2007-8, the six were summoned and their statements recorded.. ``It is admitted by all the abov persons that they have given loan to Dr. Vijaykumar K Gavit, Nandurbar and same is shown in their books of account,'' it stated, adding that they have been requested to produce books of account for verification. The Department has stated that it will complete its proceedings against the minister, his wife Kumudini and brothers Sharad and Rajendra before they get time-barred.

The court is hearing a public interest litigation by Nashik activists for prosecution of Gavit, his wife Kumudini and brother Sharad for disproportionate assets.under Prevention of Corruption Act, Income Tax Act and Indian Penal Code and probe by a special investigation team. The PIL alleged that ``illegal assets '' were acquired by Gavit when he was minister of the Tribal Development Department, a portfolio he held for a long time.

The ACB is already conducting its open inquiry. The bench after perusing its status report on January 12, 2015 noted that ``substantial steps have been taken to conduct the (open ) inquiry.'' It has been directed to submit its report on March 24.

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Indian deck cadet injured on Panama car carrier ship off Mumbai coast

MUMBAI: An Indian deck cadet onboard Panama flag merchant vessel suffered serious injuries after hit on his temple and eyes while lowering life boat on Friday. The incident occurred 18 nautical miles (33 km) north-west off Mumbai shore around 4.55pm when the carrier vessel was on anchorage and the deck cadet was Neeraj Saini (28) was close to the life boat which was on the process of lowering, said the Indian Coast Guard (ICG) official.

The vessel was on a commercial voyage from Hambantota (Sri Lanka) to Mumbai. At 4.55pm VTMS (Vessel Traffic System) Mumbai reported about the medical emergency onboard the merchant vessel. "According to the vessel incharge, Saini was accidentally injured while lowering the life boat. He was bleeding porously, vomiting and required immediate evacuation," said the ICG spokesperson.

On receiving distress call from the merchant ship, the ICG immediately flung into action. "On receipt of the information, the ICG ship (C-154), commanded by Commandant (JG) Arvind Tyagi (TM) on patrol was diverted at 5.15pm.

Necessary medical assistance was provided and evacuated the injured deck cadet and sailed to the Mumbai harbor and handed him over to the local shipping agent. They then got the injured cadet admitted at JJ Hospital," said the ICG official.

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Fire breaks out in high-rise building under construction in Malad (East)

MUMBAI: A major fire broke out at a 42-storeyed building which is under construction at Malad (East), in Mumbai on Friday night. No casualty has been reported so far.

"The fire started at around 10.30pm on 37th floor which later spread to 42nd floor. The construction material stock was kept on the building's terrace. Eight fire engines and three ambulances and eight policemen are at the spot," said assistant municipal commissioner of the P-north ward DP Jain.

However, the fire officials don't have the system to reach the 37th floor, sources said.

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Record Rs 1.9cr payout for lift mishap victim

MUMBAI: The national consumer panel has ordered a record compensation of Rs 1.89 crore to the father of a Khar-based 25-year-old man who died in an elevator mishap in his Andheri office in 2005.

On May 10, 2005, Rohan Pai, who worked with an airline, was entering a lift of his office building when it suddenly moved up despite the doors being open. Rohan's head got caught in the lift while his body was outside. He was rescued and taken to a hospital but died of the injuries.

The amount includes Rs five lakh for the suffering endured, Rs 50,000 towards loss of consortium (deprivation of benefits of a family relationship) and Rs 50,000 as costs of litigation apart from Rs 1.17 crore calculated as the loss of income from the man's future earning capacity.

The total amount carries an interest at the rate of six per cent from 2006, the year in which the complaint was filed. "There can be no loss for the parents bigger than losing a young son, in the advanced age of their life. Their life can never be the same again. A just and reasonable compensation can only give them a financial succour, which the son would have provided, had he remained alive," the commission observed while awarding the compensation.

The National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission directed the owners of the multi-storey building Bhagwati House at Andheri to pay 25 per cent of the compensation amount, while the elevator maintenance company Care Elevators and Engg Co, to pay the remaining amount to the man's father, PG Pai.

Pai told the commission that the lift was out of order that day and a complaint was lodged with the elevator maintenance company at about 10.00 am. However, neither the company nor the building management displayed any conspicuous notice or warning on any floor of the building alerting users about this. Alleging negligence, Pai filed the complaint.

Denying the building's contention that Rohan and the building owners did not share a consumer-service provider relationship under the Consumer Protection Act, the commission said that since he was an employee of a company that paid an amount for using the lifts, he too was a consumer. Further the commission observed that from the evidence, it was obvious that the maintenance personnel had arrived in the building only at 11.50 am and as such there were no warning boards put up anywhere on the premises.

"It is imperative that the service provider puts directly or through the maintenance agency such warning boards on each and every floor of the building and removes those boards only after the fault is attended to and the lift becomes functional," the commission said. It also observed that the maintenance company was silent as to why the lift moved suddenly despite the door being open at that time.

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Cashier spikes mates' tea, drives off with Rs 2cr

MUMBAI: In a crime straight out of a film thriller, an employee of a security agency spiked the tea of his three colleagues on a cash van and scooted with Rs 2 crore after his accomplices waylaid the vehicle in Vile Parle on Friday.

Sadre Alam, employed only a month and half ago, was a cashier deployed along with an armed security guard, an ATM loader and a driver in a cash van used to top up ATM machines. The police have registered a robbery case, collected his details from the company and are looking for him.

On Friday, around noon, the crew loaded cash into the van from their office at Lower Parel and set off to stock up ATMs in the suburbs. Soon after driving out of the office, Alam suggested they have tea. The van stopped at a stall and he ordered tea. He then claimed an acquaintance was waiting nearby and he wanted to fetch some money from him. But before leaving he ensured the three got their tea. It is suspected he mixed something in the tea around that time.

When Alam returned, the driver started the van. Soon, the guard and loader fell unconscious, but the driver was unaffected. Near the Milan Subway flyover, three men in a Maruti Zen intercepted the van and assaulted the driver. Alam put the money from the cash box into a bag and sped off with the others.

The driver claims he followed the Zen till Jogeshwari, but lost track. He informed his office and approached the Vile Parle police. The driver said the accused had covered the Zen's number so he could not take it down. He added that he had tea with his two colleagues, but may not have felt the effects of the drugs as he had eaten chocolate immediately afterwards.

The driver complained of uneasiness in the evening and was admitted with the two others to a hospital. "They are conscious but unable to talk because of the impact of the drugs," said a source. The police have taken down a few details of the incident from the three and are inquiring about the driver's claims.

They have learned that Alam, married to a woman from Nepal, used to live with a relative in Kurla. After joining the security agency, he shifted residence. The cops are trying to trace his new address.

Read this in Hindi: नशीली चाय पिलाकर 2 करोड़ की लूट, चार गिरफ्तार

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Man, hooked to Mephedrone, leads cops to peddler

MUMBAI: A 33-year-old Lalbaug resident, who along with his friend had got hooked to Mephedrone (MD) powder, led the Bhoiwada police to the drug peddler and got him arrested on Friday.

Fifty grams of MD powder was recovered from the peddler, Sarfaraz Memon, 34. The complainant told the police that Memon had initially provided him the drug free of cost. But when he got addicted to it, Memon started quoting a high price for the drug.

Memon is a resident of Dharti Gully in Parel. The complainant had gone to Parel in June 2014 for an Urs procession. He got introduced to Memon who provided him with MD powder free of cost on two to three occasions. The complainant started mixing the powder with paan masala and consuming it. As time passed, he started feeling uneasy if he did not get his fix. Memon then started charging him Rs 1500 for 1gm of the MD powder.

"The complainant's health started to deteriorate. When he complained to Memon about the MD powder, the latter rebuked him and said that the drug gave strength to its consumers," a police official said. Besides the complainant and a friend of his, Memon had started supplying MD powder to residents of Dharti Gully in Parel where he operated from. Several residents had got hooked to the drug.

On receiving complaints, the Bhoiwada police laid a trap at Dharti Gully. After the complainant pointed out where Memon was standing close to a restaurant, the police team pounced on him. Memon has been booked under section 328 of IPC and the cops are inquiring whom he procured the drugs from.

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Another ISIS terror message found scribbled in washroom of Mumbai airport

Written By kom nampultig on Jumat, 16 Januari 2015 | 22.23

MUMBAI: Another terror message has been found scribbled on the wall in the washroom of Mumbai Airport.

The message says that the "ISIS has planned a terror attack in Mumbai on January 26", TV channels reported on Friday.

The message was found scribbled on the wall of men's toilet of Terminal 1 of domestic airport.

This is the second terror message found scribbled in the toilet of Mumbai airport in recent days.

Earlier on January 7, a 'terror strike' alert was found scribbled on a wall in the men's toilet at Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport (CSIA).

READ ALSO: Mumbai cops probe threat message written at international airport

Security had been increased at the airport after the terror message was found..

The message on the toilet wall read: 'CSI ATTECK BY ISIS DATE 10/01/15'.

After this alert warning, passengers entering and leaving the airport were being scanned thoroughly.

READ ALSO: Security up after 'ISIS terror alert' in airport men's toilet

Even as security measures at the airport have been heightened, the police said the threat is a "non-specific''. In security parlance, non-specific alerts are random threats which are devoid of any specific details, said official of Air India.

"Generally, non-specific threat alerts are not seen as serious as against specific threats. Non-specific alerts generally turn out to be hoax calls," said the official.


An image of the terror message found scribbled in the washroom of Mumbai airport on Friday.

A probe is on by different agencies, and housekeeping employees are being questioned. So far no case registered in the matter. A police officer with the immigration department said that it is unclear if the threat is real or a prank." Deputy commissioner of police Virendra Mishra said, "We suspected this to be some mischief, we are not taking any chances. Security has been beefed up."

Assistant commissioner of police (airport), Madhukar Sankhe, said that closed- circuit television cameras at the airport were being examined. "We're going through the footage for those who used the toilet late evening," said Sankhe.

Read this in Hindi: मुंबई एयरपोर्ट के वॉशरूम में IS का एक और धमकी भरा नोट

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Tanki ‘death’ cuts Kalyan-Iraq line

KALYAN-DOMBIVLI: Reports of the death of Kalyan youth Shaheen Tanki while serving the ISIS in Iraq have added to the anxiety of the familes of the two other young men from the city fighting for the Islamic militia.

Tanki was the only one who used to make calls home and give information about the others.

Before he finally returned home, Areeb Majeed, a fourth youth from the city who had left with Tanki, Aman Tandel and Fahad Shaikh, would also call once in a while.

Now, Tandel's and Shaikh's families have had no news about them for more than a month-and-half.

Early this week, a person in Tanki's friend circle received a message from an unknown number in Iraq saying he was dead.

Intelligence agencies are verifying whether Tanki has actually died. Such verification is not easy as the youths are in an area where India or even the legitimate government in Iraq has no access. Sources said agencies would consider him dead only if there was clarity.

The Tanki family, though, denied that any of his friends had received the message about his death.

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Another monorail rake begins service

MUMBAI: Monorail commuters can expect a smoother ride even if a rake has to be withdrawn due to an emergency as the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) has pressed into services another car from January 12.

Many services on the Chembur-Wadala line had to be suspended due to technical problems with the rakes. The shortage of standby rakes used to lead to suspension of services on the route for many hours.

A senor MMRDA official said, "We have introduced a rake a few days back and another will be pressed into service next month, which will total up to seven.'' Only two of the five trains were fit for services in October.

An MMRDA official said, "With seven rakes, there will not be any problem in running smooth services even if one is on standby and another gets damaged due to technical failure."

The official also said failures related to rakes, power supply and other rolling stock material, will subside as MMRDA has ordered Scomi to improve maintenance.

The monorail operates on the 8.8km Chembur-Wadala corridor; in the second phase, expected by December, trains will travel up to Jacob Circle.

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Police launch drive to rid campuses of drugs

MUMBAI: The police have launched a campaign to end the problem of drugs being available and consumed freely near several city colleges. The anti-narcotics cell is involving students in creating awareness, and in some cases seeking information from them on drug peddling. The police have adopted five colleges in various zones and will pick another five in the next phase.

The inaugural event was held at some colleges on Thursday. Officials plan to reach out to students through social networking sites.

The cell hope to bring about awareness on drug abuse and to make college campuses and the neighbourhoods drug-free. In the pilot project, Narayan Guru College (Chembur), St Andrews (Bandra), Lala Lajpatrai (Haji Ali), Bhavan's College (Gamdevi) and Atharva college of hotel management (Kandivli) have been picked up for the campaign. Deputy commissioner of police N M Chavan said, "Our policemen, along with NGOs, will bring about awareness on drug menace. Once this is successful, we will select another five colleges and so on."

Around 2,000 students from Narayan Guru College (Chembur) and neighbouring colleges visited around 4,000 families to create awareness on drugs on Thursday. Principal Anna Fernandes said, "It is important to seek the root cause of the problem. Our students visited families and got information on their socio-economic profile, their living conditions. The data can be provided to the police and they can analyse it. They need to involve social activists," she said.

"Though we can prevent such activities on the campus, it is important for the police to form a social support group, where parents can be invited. There is also pressure from peer groups," said principal V I Katchi, Bhavan's College (Andheri). In some colleges, senior police officials have shared their personal numbers, where students can call and inform them about drug peddling. St Andrew's College (Bandra) principal Marie Fernandes said most advertisements on parties and night life were promoted online.

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3 boats with 35 tonnes of sand seized

MUMBAI: Acting on intelligence sent by the Customs, officers of the Yellow gate police station on Wednesday seized three small boats smuggling sand from Belapur to the city.

The boats, Sultan, Mona and Merry, held over 35 tonnes of sand. The police arrested two persons, Haroon Bharech and Shailendra Prasad.

Both were booked under IPC Section 379 (stealing). The Customs and the police found that the boats were registered in the city but carried no documents or permits from agencies like the maritime board and the Coast Guard.

"The three boats comprise two barges and one tug," investigating officer S Kadam said. "The two men were transferring the sand, believed to have been stolen from Belapur. We have summoned the boat owners."

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'ISIS terror alert': Another terror message found scribbled in washroom of Mumbai airport

MUMBAI: Another terror message has been found scribbled on the wall in the washroom of Mumbai Airport.

The message says that the "ISIS has planned a terror attack in Mumbai on January 26", TV channels reported on Friday.

The message was found scribbled on the wall of men's toilet of Terminal 1 of domestic airport.

This is the second terror message found scribbled in the toilet of Mumbai airport in recent days.

Earlier on January 7, a 'terror strike' alert was found scribbled on a wall in the men's toilet at Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport (CSIA).

READ ALSO: Mumbai cops probe threat message written at international airport

Security had been increased at the airport after the terror message was found..

The message on the toilet wall read: 'CSI ATTECK BY ISIS DATE 10/01/15'.

After this alert warning, passengers entering and leaving the airport were being scanned thoroughly.

READ ALSO: Security up after 'ISIS terror alert' in airport men's toilet

Even as security measures at the airport have been heightened, the police said the threat is a "non-specific''. In security parlance, non-specific alerts are random threats which are devoid of any specific details, said official of Air India.

"Generally, non-specific threat alerts are not seen as serious as against specific threats. Non-specific alerts generally turn out to be hoax calls," said the official.


An image of the terror message found scribbled in the washroom of Mumbai airport on Friday.

A probe is on by different agencies, and housekeeping employees are being questioned. So far no case registered in the matter. A police officer with the immigration department said that it is unclear if the threat is real or a prank." Deputy commissioner of police Virendra Mishra said, "We suspected this to be some mischief, we are not taking any chances. Security has been beefed up."

Assistant commissioner of police (airport), Madhukar Sankhe, said that closed- circuit television cameras at the airport were being examined. "We're going through the footage for those who used the toilet late evening," said Sankhe.

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Greater flexibility in state-appointed panel’s choice-based credit system

Written By kom nampultig on Rabu, 14 Januari 2015 | 22.23

MUMBAI: A state-appointed committee had recommended the choice-based credit system (CBCS) for all public universities in the state a few months before the University Grants Commission (UGC) came up with its latest guideline. The proposed model for universities in the state was more flexible than the one suggested by the UGC as it allowed students to opt for interdisciplinary subjects too.

The committee report suggested allotting 50% of the total credits to core subjects, 25% to applied core subjects, 20% to interdisciplinary subjects and 5% for foundation courses.

The committee had recommended that 120 credits should be allotted for undergraduate non-technical programmes and in post-graduate courses, 80 credits for non-sciences, non-technical programmes.

Colleges will focus on continuous evaluation of students by giving 25% weightage to the internal exams and 75% to the external. Performance should be evaluated on a seven-point grade scale, said the report. It also recommended workshops be conducted for stakeholders before launching it in the state.

The report also laid down a framework for credit-transfer between institutes to allow mobility of students from one institution or university to another. It stated that two types of transfers were possible: lateral or vertical, that is, same level of programme or higher level, respectively.

The proposed UGC guideline for CBCS is not as flexible. H Devaraj, UGC vice-chairman, said that the framework allows students to choose electives from the same discipline related to the core subject. In future, it will move on to a more flexible model, he said.

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Cop and his tout trapped in graft case.

A police constable and a private person who demanded and accepted a bribe of Rs 15,000 from a civil contractor were arrested by the anti corruption bureau (ACB) on Wednesday. Constable Hemant Satam and his friend Ashok Sauder were booked under the prevention of corruption act.

According to the complaint, the civil contractor was carrying out some repair work at Malad slums. Satam who is attached to the Malad police station went to the site and threatened the contractor to book him for illegal construction. Satam demanded Rs 25,000 to keep his mouth shut. He send his friend Suader to collect the first installment of Rs 15,000 when ACB caught them.

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GRP recovers more valuables, cash in ’14 than ’13 via helplines

MUMBAI: The Government Railway Police (GRP) managed to locate more cash, gold and cellphones, left behind accidentally by commuters, in the first 10 months of 2014 as compared to 2013 through its emergency helpline.

There is a surge in calls related to assault cases, say officials. The 24-hour helpline (9833331111) is manned at the additional direction general (railways) office.

"We helped retrieve an excess of Rs 5.56 lakh in 2014 as compared to the year before. An excess of 255gm gold and 16 cellphones were also recovered," said a GRP official. "On being alerted about forgotten valuables, we instantly forward the information to the nearest GRP chowky. But there are instances where a train pulls out of the station even before our personnel can reach," said an official.

"In some cases, passengers get confused and are unable to recount the exact coach or train in which they have left behind their valuables," he added. The GRP is required to follow a standard procedure before a retrieved piece of luggage can be handed back to its owner. This includes crosschecking the owner's identity and recording his details and statement for future reference. Officials cite several cases where personnel have returned valuables that cost as much as their half-yearly salary.

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Villages near Kalyan stay out of zilla parishad poll

KALYAN-DOMBIVLI: Politicians and voters from 27 villages in the Kalyan rural area have boycotted the January 28 zilla parishad election. The last day for filing nomination was Tuesday, and only one nomination was received from the villages by end of deadline. Residents of the 27 villages first want the state government to fulfil its promise of including them in the municipal corporation or create a new council.

"The election will not be possible in these villages," Kalyan tehsildar Kiran Suravase said. "We also received an appeal from candidates that they do not want to contest elections and are boycotting it."

Villagers from Titwala's vicinity also plan to boycott the polls for the same reason.

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Mumbai makes a dash for trainers in the run-up to marathon

MUMBAI: Long-distance coaches are working overtime to train sports enthusiasts who are going to participate in the Standard Chartered Mumbai Marathon (SCMM) to be held on January 18.

As most of these trainers have participated in the event, they have special tips for the youngsters who they are coaching.

Athlete Leelamma Alphonso said she is currently training more than 40 people for the marathon.

"I am training more than 20 people who are going to run the half-marathon. Initially, people would come for weight loss, later for improving their health and now people take training to run the marathon," said Alphonso, who has participated and even won the Mumbai Marathon in the open category two times in the past.

Brinston Miranda is training over 200 people for this year's edition of the marathon. He has coached actor Lisa Haydon in the past. "From 18 years to 65 years, there are people across age groups who have started coming to get trained especially for the Mumbai Marathon," said Miranda

"However, I always insist that in order to run the half-marathon, which is 21-km-long, people should enrol for training at least six months before the event. If they sign up for crash courses, then there might be stress felt on their bones and body overall. I took part in previous marathons but now I only concentrate on training the participants. Today, running has greatly changed the city," he added.

Another trainer Savio Dsouza (61), who coaches at Nariman Point and Priyadarshani Park in south Mumbai, said the oldest member enrolled with him is 72 years old.

"I would also be running the half-marathon. All those who are training with me are gearing up for the big event. I have been training participants since the first edition of the marathon," said Dsouza.

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