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October exams: Maharashtra HSC success rate 19%, SSC 14.61%

Written By Unknown on Jumat, 30 November 2012 | 22.23

MUMBAI: Results for the October exam session (SSC and HSC) were announced on Thursday. The overall HSC result stood at 19.03%, only 14.61% of the students who appeared for the SSC exam passed this year.

"It is disheartening to see such poor scores during the October examination. Students just don't work hard enough to pass the examinations," said a senior official from the state board.

22.23 | 0 komentar | Read More

Facebook arrests: Maharashtra to close case against Palghar girls

MUMBAI: The state home department has asked the police to file a closure report in the Palghar Facebook case involving the two girls who were arrested after they posted comments that Shiv Sainiks found objectionable.

"The local police will follow legal procedures and will be filing the C Summary report before the court. It will be then up to the court to decide the next course of action," state director-general of police Sanjeev Dayal said on Thursday.

State police officials said Palghar police had been asked to initiate the legal process that would end in closing the case and local cops said they would soon file the closure report in court. A closure report is usually filed by police in a court when investigators conclude that no case is made out against the accused.

The police action follows a series of TOI reports and a build-up of public opinion against the arrest of Shaheen Dhada and Rinu Srinivasan and the vandalization of Dhada's uncle's clinic, allegedly by Shiv Sena supporters. The director-general's office took the decision after seeking legal opinion from the law and judiciary department on the issue, officials said.

The latest action follows the suspension of two police officers, and the transfer of the judicial magistrate who first heard the case.

The case was then transferred to the Boisar police.

Boisar police await written order

Officials said police would file a summary report in court, stating whether the case filed was true or false, and added the entire process could take between 10 and 15 days. Officials said Dayal had directed the Boisar police against filing a chargesheet against the girls. Boisar cops are awaiting a written order from their higher-ups before approaching the Palghar sessions court for closure of the case.

Deputy superintendent of police, Boisar, Vijay Sagar, the new investigating officer of the case, said the local unit was yet to get a written order.

Shaheen and her friend Rinu were initially arrested after the former posted a comment on the shutdown of Mumbai on the day Shiv Sena supremo Bal Thackeray was cremated at Shivaji Park. Srinivasan paid the price for liked and sharing Dhada's comment. The girls were detained at the police station on the night of November 18 and arrested the next day after cops bowed to pressure from the local Shiv Sena unit.

Both Dhada and Srinivasan have already petitioned the Palghar court to exempt them from weekly appearance at Palghar police station, the condition on which they were given bail.

22.23 | 0 komentar | Read More

Another Palghar Facebook account hacked

MUMBAI: Yet another Facebook account of a Palghar resident(a local reporter) is suspected to have been hacked to post abusive comments against former Shiv Sena chief Bal Thackeray.

Mohammed Hussain (39) learnt on Thursday night that his account under the name of 'Palghar Mirror' had been hacked and the hacker had posted objectionable images of the late leader. Around three comments were posted in response to the images the location of which was 'Pakistan'.

"I rushed to the Palghar police with a complaint. The police have taken the complaint but no case has been registered yet." said Hussain.

A CD containing the images was also given to the police. Hussain who had launched the newspaper Palghar Mirror about a month ago said that he was a regular on Facebook but the comment had shocked him, the Facebook account was also a month old.

The local Shiv Sena has called for action against the hacker.

22.23 | 0 komentar | Read More

'Kasab laughed as he fired aimlessly at us'

MUMBAI: Eleven-year-old Devika, was felicitated by Life Ok for her courage and valour at the launch of their new show, 2612. She had testified against Ajmal Kasab in court after the ill-fated rampage of 26/11.

The girl's happiness knew no bounds as she learned about that Kasab was hanged early morning on November 21.

Recollecting the memories of that ill-fated day, Devika said "I was going to Pune with my father and brother on 26/11. Suddenly, a few armed men opened fire and while trying to escape it, one bullet hit my stomach. I fell unconscious and my brother went missing. Kasab laughed as he fired aimlessly at us. I was rushed to a hospital, where the staff was tending to many others who were also injured. I was shifted to another hospital at 4 am, but was operated upon only the next evening at 4. And then I got discharged and we went to temple to pray."

Despite the ordeal, Devika decided to give her statement and identify Kasab in the court. "We were at our native place, Nagpur, and my uncle called to ask me if I had seen Kasab and could identify him in the court. I gave a statement against Kasab in court that he shot people and threw bomb also," says the girl.

Undeterred by the taunts of her neighbours, fearless Devika only wanted justice. She recalls, "My family never stopped me from giving a statement against him. But there were a few who used to say, "She is Devika, one of the victims. Don't speak to her otherwise we will also get shot." She also told that many schools refused to give her admission because they feared that if she joined their school, Kasab's friends would avenge his arrest by opening fire at the school.

"Finally, Akhil Bhartiya came forward and said that they will fight for me. I got the admission in a school in fifth standard, but because of my age, I was shifted to the seventh standard." Now, studying in the ninth standard, Devika is happy that she could contribute to Kasab's hanging," said Devika.

22.23 | 0 komentar | Read More

Boy kills self after mom denies permission to play cricket

NAVI MUMBAI: A 15-year-old schoolboy reportedly committed suicide at his house in Goregaon village, Raigad district, only because his mother did not allow him to go out to play night cricket.

According to Goregaon police, the victim Krutarth Ghanshyam Giri, who is studying in tenth standard at Nikam High School (Mangaon taluka), was extremely upset on not being allowed to play night cricket in his locality at Ayodhya Nagar, on Wednesday.

The boy's mother, Utkarsha Giri (35), had told him not to venture out of the house as his father (Ghanshyam Giri) was also away. A little after midnight, the boy consumed 'phorate' pesticide which is often used in farms,'' informed police constable, Pramod Kakatkar of Goregaon police station.

Krutarth was rushed to a hospital in Mangaon, but could not be saved. No suicide note was left behind.

The boy's suicide has shocked his friends and school teachers. Krutarth was a sincere student, and was regular in his studies as he was preparing for the SSC board exams. We are all shocked,'' said a senior staff member of Nikam High School in Mangaon.

The boy's father, Ghanshyam Giri, works as a professor in a junior college in Mangaon.

At present, the police has registered a case of accidental death under Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPc) section 174, as the officials are further inquiring into this serious matter.

22.23 | 0 komentar | Read More

22-yr-old run over by train

Written By Unknown on Kamis, 29 November 2012 | 22.23

MUMBAI: A youth, Shubhankar Mandal (22), died after being hit by a train between Parel and Currey Road stations on Tuesday around 7.45pm. The deceased was crossing the railway tracks. Doctors at KEM Hospital declared him dead.

Mandal was a West Bengal native and stayed with his uncle in Dahisar. The Dadar railway police went through Mandal's cellphone and located his uncle's phone number. Following an autopsy, the deceased's body was handed over to his uncle. Dadar railway police have registered a case of accidental death.

22.23 | 0 komentar | Read More

Mumbai's Pali Hill building on sale for Rs 800 crore

MUMBAI: The controversial Sandhu Palace on Pali Hill, Bandra, touted as the most expensive residential building in the suburbs, is up for sale.

Last month, its developer, Sandhu Builders, put the entire building on the block for $147 million, or around Rs 800 crore. But when vigilant residents of the adjoining Chetak Cooperative Housing Society (Manju Mahal) saw the advertisement on an international real estate website, they quickly moved a contempt of court petition against the builder.

The society had dragged the builder to court for various violations some months ago. The Bombay high court subsequently ordered a status quo. Sandhu Palace, comprising two 19-storey towers, is the tallest structure on Pali Hill and was among the first buildings to benefit from height regulation relaxations during the tenure of Praful Patel as civil aviation minister.

The developer has been quoting more than Rs 60,000 a sq ft, making it the most expensive property in the suburbs. Several large flats were sold to NRIs at more than Rs 35 crore each.

The builder said he had spent in excess of Rs 148 crore on the project and sold 19 apartments out of a total of 48. Last week, the Chetak society filed an additional affidavit in the high court after Sandhu's advertisement came to light. It said the builder published the ad on the internet around October 27 and made efforts to dispose of the property, which had been "constructed by violating rules, regulations and applicable laws by making misrepresentations before the concerned authorities".

The society said the builder was trying to create third-party rights by selling off the property despite the ongoing court case. The builder, Kanvarjeet Singh Sandhu, hit back, stating that he paid the society Rs 8.10 crore as part of the agreement, but it was sill trying to "coerce and compel" the developer to arrive at a further financial settlement.

"The petition has been filed with ulterior dishonest and malafide intent to extort Rs 100 crore from the respondents. Thus, the petition is a gross abuse of process in this court," said Sandhu.

Chetak's petition said Sandhu and the BMC colluded to illegally increase the building's floor space index (FSI). The society had allowed the developer to acquire development rights for three of its four plots. However,the builder allegedly usurped the rights of the fourth plot, which was not part of the agreement. This plot measured 1,775 sq m and also included another 725 sq m reserved for a road setback (future expansion).

The municipality's commissioner, deputy commissioner, executive engineer and deputy engineer (building proposal department, Bandra) have been made respondents, along with the developer, in the petition. In 2007, Sandhu paid each of the more than 100 members of Chetak Rs 5-15 lakh for giving powerof-attorney to the builder to utilize about three acres of its land. The agreement mentioned three plots, but the society alleged that the builder "illegally" included the fourth plot as well and got them sanctioned by the BMC.

22.23 | 0 komentar | Read More

Police let off boy detained over 'abusive' Facebook comment on Raj Thackeray

MUMBAI: A 19-year-old boy from neighbouring Thane district, detained on suspicion of posting an "objectionable" Facebook comment against MNS chief Raj Thackeray, was let off after police found that a "fake account" was used by some persons in the teenager's name.

"Sunil Vishwakarma is cooperating with us in the case and was allowed to go last night after initial questioning. He is nowhere involved in the case," a senior police officer said.

Police in neighbouring Thane district had picked up the boy after receiving a complaint alleging that he had posted some "objectionable" comment on Raj Thackeray on the social networking site.

According to police, a "fake account" was used by unidentified person or persons in the teenager's name and a case was being registered in this regard.

Police are treading cautiously in the matter against the backdrop of suspension of two senior officers from Palghar for arresting two girls in connection with a Facebook post lamenting the shutdown of Mumbai in the wake of Shiv Sena patriarch Bal Thackeray's funeral on November 18.

The boy has not been charged and police have sought legal opinion, an officer from Palghar police station had said last night on condition of anonymity.

Thane (Rural) unit MNS president Kundan Sankhe had claimed that the boy had made "abusive" comments about Raj Thackeray and the people of Maharashtra, including women.

Late in the night, Additional Superintendent of Police, Thane, S Nishandar told that as per the probe, some unidentified person created a fake account in the name of Vishwakarma, and posted objectionable comment about Thackeray and Maharashtrians in his name.

Vishwakarma had accessed his own Facebook account last on Monday, while the comment on fake account was posted the next day.

22.23 | 0 komentar | Read More

No dream role on TV: Ridheema Tiwari

Ridheema Tiwari plays negative in Love Marriage Yah Arranged Marriage and is happy with the way her character has shaped up on the show. And Ridheema attributes this to her sheer hard work to make character convincing.

Says Ridheema, "The track in going good on the show and there a lot of things going on, which is a good sign in a daily. I have successfully shown my presence. People like me on the show and I portrayed Sandhya's character very cutely".

Adding, "Earlier my shade was different. I have really worked hard towards making my self visible on the show".

"But playing negative characters typecasts you, be it Television or Bollywood".

And for Ridheema, there is no one such role on TV that she would love to play. "There are no dream roles in TV. Soaps are short lived. If it's on today, it can go off air tomorrow. Whatever you play, you are done with. I don't have any dream role that I'd like to play on TV. In films, definitely".

Adding on a hopeful note, "Acting is a vast medium. You move on".

22.23 | 0 komentar | Read More

Bombay HC chief justice to release book on Contempt of Courts Act

MUMBAI: The Bombay high court Chief Justice Mohit Shah will release a book Swaroop and Krishna-- The Contempt of Courts Act, co-authored by advocate Vibhav Krishna of Mumbai. The event will be held at the historic Central court room of the Bombay high court where the Tilak trials were held in the last century.

The proceeds of the book, said the author, has been pledged to the high court for promoting legal education.

The Bar Council of Maharashtra & Goa, Advocates Association of Western India and the Bombay Bar Association have invited all the judges and many eminent lawyers for the launch. The Chief Justice Mohit Shah had written the preface of the book.

The Contempt of Courts Act had been amended in recent years and the book which has endorsed by a few senior lawyers is one of the few books that is being released at the Central Court room premises of the High court. The event will take place at 5 pm on Wednesday.

22.23 | 0 komentar | Read More

Non-compete fees can be treated as deductible expense: Tribunal

MUMBAI: In a landmark judgment the Mumbai bench of the Income Tax Appellate Tribunal has said that non-compete fees paid by an acquiring company to exiting promoters can be treated as an expense if the fees are not central to the deal. In the past the income tax department considered such payments as part of the deal and treated them as capital expenditure.

Given that non-compete payments are a standard feature in most M&A deals the order will have wide implications. The order pertains to an appeal filed by the deputy commissioner of income tax against a Hyderbad-based company Intervet India - an arm of a Dutch based animal health company Intervet BV in `97. Intervet India, which was earlier called BE Animal Health, was bought by the Dutch multinational . Following the memorandum of understanding for the purchase, the buyers entered into two separate non-compete agreements with Dr Vijay Kumar Datla and Dr Renuka Datla - erstwhile directors who were at the helm of operations at the company.

Until now most non-compete fees were regarded as capital expenditure based on an order issued by a special bench of the tribunal in New Delhi in the matter of Tecumesh India v/s the Assistant Commissioner of Income Tax. In this matter the tribunal had decided on the issue of non-compete fee and held it to be capital in nature. Arguing for the assessee Kanchun Kaushal and Dhanesh Bafna of PricewaterhouseCoopers pointed out that in the Intervet case the non-compete agreement was not central to the acquisition and was paid for protecting business interest. In the case of Tecumesh non-compete fees were part of the deal and it therefore took the part of capital expenditure.

In their order issued last month PM Jagtap, accountant member and Amit Shukla, Judicial member said that in the present case the execution of non-compete agreement was not a precondition for the survival of the share purchase. The order also noted that the fact that the agreement value was approved by RBI as fair value of the shares. Finally, the tribunal observed that in the case of Tecumesh the payment was toward the initial capital outlay and hence treated as capital expenditure. In the case of Intervet India, the non-compete fees paid to two persons was to enable its management to run its business effectively and profitably. "We thus, hold that, in the present case the entire payment of Rs 4 crore paid by the assessee to Dr Vijay Datla and Dr Renuka Datla towards non-compete fee is revenue expenditure".

22.23 | 0 komentar | Read More

Facebook row: Shiv Sena bandh in Palghar over suspension of cops

Written By Unknown on Rabu, 28 November 2012 | 22.23

THANE: A bandh was observed in Palghar town in adjoining Thane district on Wednesday following a call by Shiv Sena against suspension of two senior police officers in connection with the arrest of two girls over a Facebook post, criticising shutdown during Bal Thackeray's funeral.

Commercial establishments, schools and colleges at Palghar remained shut and there was no vehicular traffic in the town, party sources said.

No untoward incident was reported so far, police said. The Palghar Bar Association had also called for a bandh in the courts today to protest the transfer of the local Judicial Magistrate First Class (JFMC) who had "promptly" granted bail to the two girls.

The girls Shaheen Dhada and Rinu Shrinivasan, both 21, were arrested after Dhada had lamented in a Facebook post the November 18 shutdown due to Thackeray's funeral. Shrinivasan had 'liked' the post.

Though Dhada didn't name Thackeray, the local Sena leader complained against the girls and police arrested the duo on November 19, sparking an outrage.

On November 20, police arrested the vandals who had damaged Shaheen's uncle's hospital on November 18, despite her removing the post and apologising that day itself.

Maharashtra government had yesterday suspended the two police officers, SP (Thane rural) Ravindra Sengaonkar and senior police inspector Shrikant Pingle.

22.23 | 0 komentar | Read More

FB case: Palghar bandh keeps people indoors

MUMBAI: Palghar, including the Srinivasans were forced to be part of a shutdown on Wednesday as the Shiv Sena protested against the action against cops in the Facebook controversy.

The bandh which began at 6 am was total as shop, establishments and industrial units in Palghar taluka remained closed.

The entire taluka and Palghar city in particular turned into a fortress with over 1000 police personnels manning the deserted streets. Contigents of the Rapid Action Group, Riot Control Police, Quick Response Team were guarding the homes of Shaheen Dhada and Rinu Srinivasan, the girls who were arrested for their facebook comment. While Shaheen had commented on the Mumbai shutdown after the death of Sena supremo Bal Thackeray Rinu had liked and shared the comment.

Sena's Thane district president Prabhakar Raul demanded that the state government revoke the suspensions of the cops. He called for a strict law to check contents on social networking sites.

Heavy police bandobast was there outside the Dhada hospital which was vandalised by sainiks. The hospital wore a deserted look as patients stayed away.

Autos were off the road and people were seen walking to the destinations. The railway canteens at Palghar station were shut and manned by cops. The state transport buses plied with police security.

As Wednesday was a state government holiday for Guru Nanak Jayanti, most people remained indoors. Additional Supperintendent of Police, Thane Rural, Sangramsinh Nishandar said that there were no untoward incidents reported. Industrial units were open till 10.30 am but forced to shut down by angry sainiks.

22.23 | 0 komentar | Read More

Facebook arrests: Relief for Palghar girls on the cards?

MUMBAI: With Maharashtra home minister R R Patil on Tuesday announcing that two senior police officers have been suspended and a third one has received a stern warning for the erroneous arrests of two Palghar girls, the focus now shifts to whether the police will drop charges against the girls and pursue the case against the 10 men who were allegedly part of a mob that caused lakhs of rupees worth of damage to a hospital belonging to one of the girl's uncles.

Shaheen Dhada and Rinu Srinivasan, both 21 had been arrested on November 19 for a Facebook post that lamented the shutdown during Shiv Sena chief Bal Thackeray's funeral. Dr Abdul Dhada's hospital had been vandalized.

TOI reported on Tuesday that superintendent of police (Thane rural) Ravindra Sengaonkar was being suspended and similar action would be taken against Palghar senior inspector Shrikant Pingle, while additional SP Sangram Nishandar would be warned. TOI also reported that, in separate action, the Bombay high court had transferred first-class judicial magistrate Ramchandra Bagade from Palghar to Jalgaon.

While the Palghar Shiv Sena has called for a bandh on Wednesday, a government holiday, to protest the action against the cops, the Palghar Bar Association has called for a strike to protest the transfer of the magistrate who sent the girls to 15 days' judicial custody before granting them bail of Rs 15,000 each.

In an inquiry report, special inspector general (Konkan) Sukhwinder Singh had said the three police officers had not acted at the right times to stop the arrests and the criminal charges against the girls should be withdrawn. Legal experts said the onus was now on the police to pursue the case against the 10 vandals by filing a chargesheet in court.

"The police officers made untimely arrests, against the advice given by their senior officers, who were of the opinion that a hasty arrest was not required in the case," Patil said. "While the SP went against departmental discipline, the inspector had prepared an erroneous report in the case and applied the wrong sections. Their actions were not appropriate." The suspended duo will also face a departmental enquiry.

Denying that the government action would affect police morale or trigger similar incidents, Patil clarified that the case had to be looked at in isolation and the police and government machinery could learn a lesson or two. He said the government would hold workshops to train cops in the use of the IT Act and appeal to the Centre to modify parts of the Act. In the future, when applying the IT Act in social media cases, cops will have to consult senior officers and maybe also get a legal opinion.

Patil said the whole case will be revisited by senior cops and, if need be, the sections against the girls may be dropped. "We will see what needs to be done after that," said Patil.

In Palghar, meanwhile, residents were seen stocking up on milk, food and other products on Tuesday as they expect Wednesday's bandh to be total.

22.23 | 0 komentar | Read More

3 more held for assault on RTI activist

MUMBAI: The city crime branch on Tuesday arrested three persons who were involved in the assault on a Right to Information activist (name withheld) in Bhandup last year.

Acting on a specific tip-off, the crime branch unit 7 led by inspector Venkatesh Patil and Vinayak Vast arrested Sanjay Lad, (32), Gurudip Virdhi (36) and Anil Morvekar (27). Bhandup police had earlier arrested history sheeters Dilip Vaishnav alias Kawwa and Vilas Kadam in the case.

According to the police, the case dates back to August 2011. The complainant was coming out of his building when 5-6 men assaulted him with an iron rod. The victim was rushed to hospital and narrowly escaped death.

Initially, the police believed some gang was behind the assault as the victim was an RTI activist. However during investigation, it transpired that Kadam and his associates had developed enmity with members of the society they lived in. The accused and victim are all residents of a cooperative society near Janta market in Bhandup west.

The three accused arrested on Tuesday had been absconding for a year now. The home department recently transferred the investigation to the crime branch.

22.23 | 0 komentar | Read More

Fire at building in Mumbai's Nariman Point area

MUMBAI: A fire broke out in a building in Nariman Point area in south Mumbai on Wednesday morning, fire brigade officials said.

The fire incident took place in a office on the fifth floor of the Mittal Tower building, they said.

Four fire engines and two tankers were rushed to the spot and fire was brought under control.

No one was injured in the incident, they said, adding that the cause of the fire was yet to be ascertained.

22.23 | 0 komentar | Read More

Palghar youth Facebook account hacked, say cops

MUMBAI: The Facebook account of the Palghar youth who was detained for posting obscene comments of Maharashtra Navnirman Sena Raj Thackeray was hacked by an unidentified usern said the police.

Police confirmed that the account of Sunil Vishwakarma (20) was hacked by an unknown person. Anil Kumbhare, the new DSP,Thane Rural said that the boy had last used his original Facebook account on Monday and on Tuesday an unidentified person created a fake FB account of Vishwakarma and the hacker just copied and pasted his abusive stance on Raj Thackeray on Vishwakarma's fake account.

The same night (Tuesday),the hacker deactivated the fake account,he added. Nevertheless,the case has been handed over to the Cyber Crime Cell,Thane and the boy is cooperating with the police and we are tracing the hacker and arrests will be made in this case,said Kumbhare.

The comment came at a time when the Palghar taluka unit of the Shiv Sena called for a bandh on Wednesday to protest against the suspension of cops in the Facebook case.

Sunil Vishwakarma, a class 12 drop out pursing a computer course in Vasai was handed over to the Palghar police by MNSactivists on Wednesday noon. Vishwakarma, a resident of a chawl in Manor Naka told the police that his account was hacked. The comment which abuses Raj and the 'Marathi manoos' was posted under the name of 'Sunil Vishvakrma' . The account was created in early November this month.

The complaint was registered by Bhavesh Churne, MNSThane Rural student wing President. Said Churne, " we got information about the comment on Tuesday night. He was called to our office and he said he had not posted the comment. We informed the police."

The comment was posted from a mobile phone at around 3.47 pm on Monday. The comment was followed by a comment by one Prem Patil who abused Sunil for his comment. It was followed by another comment by Sunil who further abused Raj.

22.23 | 0 komentar | Read More

Flyer arrested with Rs 75L party drug hidden in doormats, false bag bottom

Written By Unknown on Selasa, 27 November 2012 | 22.23

MUMBAI: A Chennai-based man was arrested at Mumbai airport on Sunday night for attempting to smuggle out five kg of a party drug, methaqualone, to Malaysia. The drugs, which were concealed in doormats and a false bottom in the suitcase, are worth Rs 75 lakh in the Indian market.

This is the third such case in a week and the air intelligence unit (AIU) is now looking more closely at the India-Malaysia route.

The flyer, identified as Sundaran Nityanandan, was checking-in at the Malaysian airways counter when he was intercepted by an AIU batch led by assistant commissioner Sameer Wankhede. Officials opened Nityanandan's suitcase and found three kg of the drug in three doormats and another two kg in the false bottom in his suitcase.

AIU officials said Nityanandan is a labourer and this was his first assignment as a drug carrier.

22.23 | 0 komentar | Read More

Flyer arrested with Rs 75L party drug hidden in doormats, false bag bottom

MUMBAI: A Chennai-based man was arrested at Mumbai airport on Sunday night for attempting to smuggle out five kg of a party drug, methaqualone, to Malaysia. The drugs, which were concealed in doormats and a false bottom in the suitcase, are worth Rs 75 lakh in the Indian market.

This is the third such case in a week and the air intelligence unit (AIU) is now looking more closely at the India-Malaysia route.

The flyer, identified as Sundaran Nityanandan, was checking-in at the Malaysian airways counter when he was intercepted by an AIU batch led by assistant commissioner Sameer Wankhede. Officials opened Nityanandan's suitcase and found three kg of the drug in three doormats and another two kg in the false bottom in his suitcase.

AIU officials said Nityanandan is a labourer and this was his first assignment as a drug carrier.

22.23 | 0 komentar | Read More

Shift 20 inmates from Mankhurd shelter: Bombay HC

MUMBAI: Distressed by a report on "unhygienic, humiliating and abusive" conditions at Navjeevan Sudhar Kendra in Mankhurd, a state-run rehabilitation home for rescued women, the Bombay high court on Monday ordered that 20 inmates be immediately shifted to Shradhanand Mahila Ashram (Matunga Road), which is run by an NGO.

The court directed that magistrate Swati Chavan monitor the affairs of the Mankhurd home; besides, a team of magistrates has to record the statements of the 20 women and submit a report in two weeks.

A court-appointed committee said in its report that 66% of the inmates (36 out of 54) were found to be "severely depressed" and a similar number displayed suicidal intent. One person even committed suicide in March this year.

According to the report, a woman tested positive for pregnancy in October 2011, within 50 days of being admitted to the centre on September 8. On Septemer 12, she was tested for pregnancy at JJ Hospital as required and tested negative. However, on October 23, she tested positive for pregnancy, the report said, adding: "Hence, sexual assault/intercourse cannot be ruled out."

The HC had suo motu turned an email received from activist Purnima Upadhyaya into a PIL. The mail was based on a news report that carried allegations levelled against the Mankhurd home by an inmate. On November 6, the HC bench of Chief Justice Mohit Shah and Justice Nitin Jamdar expressed dissatisfaction over a police report and appointed a two-member panel comprising psychiatrist Dr Harish Shetty and superintendent of police Rashmi Karandikar to visit the home and submit a report.

The 28-page report, which was compiled after interviewing 87 inmates, said the authorities—including the police—seemed "grossly negligent towards the repatriation process". The home receives many women who are rescued from traffickers. An order to repatriate 33 such girls last November resulted only in nine transport permissions. These, too, lapsed with no implementation within three months, the panel said. Even an order to send an inmate to her parents living in nearby Mira Road was not complied with.

The report said a few girls "saw unidentified men near the barracks" and it called for serious investigation. Registers were not maintained and "negligence and callousness continued through successive superintendents".

The staff has said wholesome meals are given to the inmates, but the committee report tells a different tale. "Food is often insufficient, unpalatable and half-cooked," said one girl. "The inmates did not perceive respect and compassion at the centre and felt their dignity and human rights were violated continuously," the committee said. "Deep suspicion, anger and resentment continues against the staff even now ...human rights violations were continuous, but the centre blames overcrowding for most ills." The report said the inmates were threatened with extended stay and named new superintendent Shobha Shelar as among the staffers who "terrorized the girls".

Government pleader D Nalavade said the girl on whose allegations the news report was based was not traceable and her statement was necessary. But the HC said other events had overtaken this aspect.

The report by Dr Shetty and Karandikar said, "The centre needs a compassionate superintendent."

22.23 | 0 komentar | Read More

BJP legislator among 16 held for rioting

MUMBAI: The Pant Nagar police on Monday arrested BJP MLA Prakash Mehta from Ghatkopar and 15 party workers for allegedly setting a towing van on fire and rioting on November 3, 2011, after it crushed a 50-year-old tax consultant while he was returning from a temple. The 16 arrested were produced before a local court and released on bail.

The arrests were made based on what CCTV footage showed and witnesses said when Mehta and his party workers allegedly went on the rampage after Ghatkopar (E) resident Kirit Mehta was crushed between a parked tempo and a speeding towing van on 60-Feet road. "Mehta came forward and confessed that he staged the protest after the victim was killed by the rash motorist, who was driving the van in an inebriated condition. The arrest was made after collecting proper evidence," said additional commissioner of police (East) Quaiser Khalid.

Ramchandra Durgawale told the police that he was standing near his tempo after delivering goods at some general stores in the neighbourhood when the eeding towing van rammed into his vehicle and crushed Kirit.

The mob set the van on fire and also allegedly manhandled the traffic constable accompanying the driver. "Mehta and 15 others were produced in the Vikhroli court and released on bail. They were booked for unlawful assembly, rioting, assaulting a public servant, not allowing him to perform his duty and damaging property," said senior inspector Suresh Nirmal.

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Mumbai to get 32 four-storeyed parking lots

MUMBAI: The state government has approved 32 public parking lots under the revised parking floor space index (FSI) policy, creating space for over 30,000 vehicles in the city.

Of the 32 approved parking spaces, 20 are located in the island city, nine in the western suburbs and three in the eastern suburbs. In all, the BMC received 70 proposals, of which 32 have so far been approved by the state government. Another 11 proposals cleared by the BMC are awaiting the government's nod.

To encourage private developers to build public parking lots, the state government in 2008 had announced a policy under the Development Control Regulation (DCR) 33(24) which would grant the developer up to four FSI in exchange for construction of parking lots. But the original policy had to be revised after experts termed it as builder-driven.

Under the revised policy, the parking lot floors are restricted up to four, the minimum area of the plot required to avail of the policy has been increased from 700 sqm to 1,000sqm in the island city and 2,000sqm in the suburbs. Under the original policy, builders had proposed to build 12-15 storeys of parking spaces in exchange for the huge bonanza in the form of additional floor space index (FSI), the ratio of which determines how much can be built on a plot.

Under the old policy, the government had approved proposals for 26 parking lots of which 11 were given commencement certificates (CC). However, after the revised plan was announced they were asked to amend their plans and resubmit them to the BMC.

The 32 approved proposals include 26 proposals which were amended and re-approved.

"All the 32 parking lots have been approved as per the revised policy. Those that were given the CC earlier have made the changes or are in the process of making the changes to adhere to the revised norms," said additional municipal commissioner Aseem Gupta. He added that the BMC has so far received Rs 250 crore as premium for the extra FSI.

Once the construction of the parking lots is completed, the developer has to hand them over to the BMC which will operate them. Currently the BMC has 92 functioning parking lots in the city under the 'pay and park' scheme, with space to accommodate 10,314 vehicles.

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Adarsh scam accused Kanhaiyalal Gidwani dies of heart attack

MUMBAI: Former Congress legislator Kanhaiyalal Gidwani, who was chargesheeted in the Adarsh Society scam, died here on Tuesday following a brief illness.

Gidwani, 64, was undergoing treatment at the Breach Candy Hospital here and died due to a heart ailment, family sources said

He was the chief promoter of the controversial Adarsh Society in Colaba and had also worked as spokesperson of the Maharashtra Pradesh Congress committee.

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A party for the Aam Admi?

Written By Unknown on Senin, 26 November 2012 | 22.23

MUMBAI: In the beginning, it looked like Arvind Kejriwal was just a feisty activist who was basking in the shadow of Anna Hazare. But he parted ways with Anna, formed a political party, and shook the country by embarking on a series of exposes against the so-called holy cows of India: Robert Vadra, Rahul Gandhi, Reliance, among others.

Just when it looked like his hit-and-run tactics were losing steam, he has come up with a master-stroke, naming his party the Aam Aadmi Party. It reeks of cheekiness, no doubt, but it also shows how street-smart he is: in the last two Parliamentary elections, the Congress has come to power by talking about the aam aadmi. He has stolen its thunder by the simple act of giving his party a name.

Now, each time the Congress walks down that path, it is only going to help Kejriwal; ironically, if it doesn't talk about the aam aadmi, it wouldn't have its most powerful plank and might even end up being a damp squib.

Of course, the AAP has to do much more than scoring these brownie points to emerge into a viable party, if not option. It will be interesting to see his next move.

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Kasab's hanging has brought some closure, says 26/11 hero

MUMBAI: Four years after the 26/11 terror attacks in Mumbai, the heroes who helped capture terrorist Ajmal Kasab believe justice has finally been done with his hanging. "The martyrs can now rest in peace. It's a tribute to their sacrifice," said constable Mangesh Naik, who won a President's Police medal for gallantry in 2009.

"Kasab was very cunning. I can never put images out of my mind of how he instantly pumped bullets into assistant sub-inspector Tukaram Omble, as the latter grabbed the nozzle of his AK-47. We have been waiting all this while, wondering when Kasab would be hanged. It's better late than never," said Naik, who is presently attached with the Malad police station.

"My family was frantic with worry when they saw news of the terror attack on television that fateful night. I was on night duty and posted with the DB Marg police station. My wife kept calling me. But we were conducting nakabandis at Girgaum Chowpatty and I couldn't take her calls. I only returned home the next afternoon, by which time my family had panicked completely," Naik recollected.

Naik said the government had waited way too long to hang Kasab. "He had a rifle and we had nothing but lathis to combat him. I was glad to hear of his death on Wednesday. The past four years have been agonizing for everyone who had fought Kasab or had lost a dear one because of him and his aides. There's finally some closure," he added.

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Focus shifts to Supreme Court in drug policy issue

MUMBAI: The focus shifts to the Supreme Court tomorrow which is scheduled to hear the public interest litigation filed by a health group, AIDAN (All India Drug Action Network) to bring down prices of medicines. The Cabinet approval for the revised drug pricing policy on November 22 will ensure that the government will now be able to meet the deadline set by the Supreme Court.

The PIL was filed in 2003 to bring down prices of essential drugs.

At the hearing held in October, the apex court had however expressed its preference for a cost-based pricing structure to cap prices of essential medicines. This has also been demanded by NGOs, which argue against a market price-based policy.

With the Cabinet clearing the market-based pricing policy, the Supreme Court hearing will be the next hurdle. It remains to be seen whether the Court will intervene in a policy decision made by the government.

Last week, the GoM proposed a fresh formula to fix the ceiling price for 348 drugs under the NLEM (national list of essential medicines). It is understood that the new formula for calculating the ceiling price will be a simple average of all brands with a 1% market share cut-off. In September 2012, the GoM announced the ceiling-price formula as the weighted average of all brands with 1% market share. This formula was opposed by the finance minister (who favoured a cost-based approach) during an earlier Cabinet meeting.

The ceiling-price formula was thereafter revised to address issues raised by the finance minister.

The changes (simple average) to the ceiling-price formula are likely to be incrementally negative for most companies but the impact is likely to be limited. Analysts view the market price-based policy structure as being a long-term structural positive, despite a one-time near-term earnings hit across companies.

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Focus shifts to Supreme Court in drug policy issue

MUMBAI: The focus shifts to the Supreme Court tomorrow which is scheduled to hear the public interest litigation filed by a health group, AIDAN (All India Drug Action Network) to bring down prices of medicines. The Cabinet approval for the revised drug pricing policy on November 22 will ensure that the government will now be able to meet the deadline set by the Supreme Court.

The PIL was filed in 2003 to bring down prices of essential drugs.

At the hearing held in October, the apex court had however expressed its preference for a cost-based pricing structure to cap prices of essential medicines. This has also been demanded by NGOs, which argue against a market price-based policy.

With the Cabinet clearing the market-based pricing policy, the Supreme Court hearing will be the next hurdle. It remains to be seen whether the Court will intervene in a policy decision made by the government.

Last week, the GoM proposed a fresh formula to fix the ceiling price for 348 drugs under the NLEM (national list of essential medicines). It is understood that the new formula for calculating the ceiling price will be a simple average of all brands with a 1% market share cut-off. In September 2012, the GoM announced the ceiling-price formula as the weighted average of all brands with 1% market share. This formula was opposed by the finance minister (who favoured a cost-based approach) during an earlier Cabinet meeting.

The ceiling-price formula was thereafter revised to address issues raised by the finance minister.

The changes (simple average) to the ceiling-price formula are likely to be incrementally negative for most companies but the impact is likely to be limited. Analysts view the market price-based policy structure as being a long-term structural positive, despite a one-time near-term earnings hit across companies.

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Two injured in accidents

MUMBAI: Two persons were injured in separate accidents in Goregaon and Jogeshwari.

In the first case, a speeding biker rammed into an autorickshaw, injuring the driver, on the Western Express Highway at Goregaon East. The accident took place at 9.15 pm on Tuesday opposite the Mahananda dairy. Auto driver Gufran Shaikh, 41, sustained injuries and was hospitalized. Shaikh is a resident of Andheri East. "We have arrested the biker, Yogesh Lattham, 21, on charges of rash driving. A Jogeshwari resident, Lattham is appearing for his HSC privately this year," said S Ranshevre, senior inspector, Vanrai police station.

In a separate case, a 19-year-old student was injured after a two-wheeler crashed into him at Jogeshwari East on Monday evening. The accused fled from the spot instead of taking the student, Siddhesh Khedekar, to a doctor. The Jogeshwari police have registered a case of rash driving against an unknown person and are looking for the culprit. Khedekar is currently recuperating in a hospital.

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Fake students use technology to enter IIT

MUMBAI: It's shocking to learn that at least two fake students have managed to get admission into IITs without actually passing the examination. Their modus operandi itself was so simple that the elite institutes must be quivering in embarrassment.

Both somehow managed to acquire admit cards of successful candidates and digitally doctored them to gain entry into the colleges. One of the duo, a boy, got into IIT Bhubaneswar while the other, a girl, made her way into the Indian School of Mines (ISM), Dhanbad.

The fact that two fake students have been caught suggests that they might not be stray cases. There is every possibility that it's a well-organized operation, helping many others to sneak into the colleges through such devious methods. For a price, of course.

It's surprising that the premier institutes rely mainly on the admit cards to verify the identity of students at the time of enrolling them. At a time when almost anything can be morphed or digitally altered, there is need for a more foolproof method to check the students.

The IITs have no other option now but to flush out every fake student by employing any mean necessary. They need to strengthen the system too so that the screening process is more effective right from the initial stage.

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Parliament should pay heed to people's assembly

Written By Unknown on Minggu, 25 November 2012 | 22.23

MUMBAI: Days after the winter session of the Parliament has kicked off, a number of grassroots workers and social organisations plan to come together at Jantar Mantar in Delhi from Monday, November 26 to highlight the voice of the common man.

The assembly co-planned by over 50 organisations over five days plans to draw up a people's charter in the wake of the 2014 General Elections in India. "We want to make it clear to parties that we will hold them accountable for not acting in this session and term of Parliament as well as ensure that people's issues find prominent space in their manifestos in 2014." stated the group. The manifesto which aims to outlines the concerns of the poor and marginalised will examine the scope of decentralized governance, fight sedition law and state repression which have emerged as major concerns in recent times and collectively put economic policies through the scanner.

The group will also advocate the speedy passage of bills and amendments which have been pending over the years, including the much-publicised Lokpal bill and lesser known but equally pertinent legislations pertaining to land acquisition, whisteblower protection, judicial accountability and grievance redresal.

It intends to study the role of the state towards providing Indian citizens social security benefits such as pension, health and education besides protecting rights of unorganized workers.

Such citizens' platforms are a significant contribution to the participatory democratic process and their voices must echo in the highest quarters. Their demands should encourage the Parliament to deliberate and speed up the passage of pending legislations.

The platform includes organizations such as Centre For Advocacy Research, Mazdoor Kisan Shakti Sangathan, Pension Parishad and National Alliance of Peoples Movments among others.

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UN asks countries to spell commitments on gender-based violence

MUMBAI: As we observe the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women on Sunday, the United Nations agency promoting gender equality urged governments across countries to spell out specific commitments to end violence against women and girls. The initiative aims at mobilizing country heads to step up their action against such violence.

The advise comes at a significant time for India which is witnessing various forms of gender-based violence across social classes and borders. Police records show that a woman is raped in India every 20 minutes and the brutal crime has only been rising over the years. The UN estimates that seven in ten women are targeted for physical or sexual violence.

"We all must do better to protect women and prevent this pervasive human rights violation. Governments and leaders must lead by example. Now is the time for governments to translate international promises into concrete national action," stated executive director of the UN Entity for Gender Equity and the Empowerment of Women (UN Women), Michelle Bachelet in a press note.

The advice to lead by example is much wanted in India where political leaders cutting across party lines have been indiscriminately passing sexist comments and often indulging in victim blaming after recent instances of violence.

The focus of the UN mandate is on protecting victims and encourages countries to set up free hotline services, provide health and legal aid services to survivors of violence as well as safe houses for their protection.

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Forest officials on high alert due to sudden spate of leopard attacks

MUMBAI: The sudden spate in leopard attacks around Sanjay Gandhi National Park (SGNP) has set forest officials on the defensive. Since the recent most leopard attack that happened last Sunday, forest officials have trapped three leopards by putting cages in the area.

Activists, however, feel that the solution lies in reducing man-animal conflict by ensuring that forest area is not occupied by humans. Trapping leopards is no way to ensuring that the animal won't venture out towards the human habitats. Krishna Tiwari of City Forest Initiative said that trapping cannot tell if the leopard trapped is the same as the one who attacked.

A thorough study has to be done to ascertain that. "Trapping is more speculative. There is no way to find out if the same animal is trapped or not. We need someone to study the pattern, take camera trappings, analyse pug marks to know if one leopard is behind all attacks," said Tiwari. "Also, the boundary of the forest has to be built and well kept to separate humans from animals," he added.

Another environmentalist said that its due to government's apathy and lack of a proper rehabilitation system, people are still living on encroached land around the forest. "Those areas lack proper toilets, electricity etc, making people vulnerable to attacks by animals. If only the government had made a rehabilitation plan which had suited the needs of the poor living on encroached lands, a proper and more effective rehabilitation could have been carried out," said the environmentalist.

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HC questions delay of Panvel court building construction

MUMBAI: Questioning the delay in construction, the Bombay High Court has sought a report from its administration on why work on a subordinate court building at Panvel has not begun. The court has also directed the State government to ensure that Rs 2.5 crores , part of the total costs, sanctioned for the current financial year does not lapse.

A division bench of Justice D D Sinha and Justice K K Tated on November 21, 2012 were hearing a public interest litigation by Pramod Thakur stating that although the government has sanctioned the amount yet construction has not commenced.

Petitioner's advocate R S Thakur told the court that a government resolution dated June 4, 2012 approved Rs 7.22 crores for construction of the court building. He added that Rs 2.50 crores was allocated for the relevant financial year for this purpose. He said that though the work order was issued to the contractor on August 22, 2012 no tangible progress has been made so. The amount allocated for the relevant financial year for construction may lapse, if not utilised,'' said Thakur.

The judges asked M S Karnik, advocate for High Court, to take instructions and inform the court at the next hearing on why construction has not commenced till date. The amount which is sanctioned for the relevant financial year must be utilised for the purpose for which it is sanctioned,'' the judges said. They directed that the respondents (including the State government) ensure that the amount of Rs.250.00 lakhs sanctioned by the State government for relevant financial year be spent for construction work during the said financial year and should not allow the amount to be lapsed.''

The court was also informed that despite plans and estimates being re-submitted on October 1, 2009 for construction of residential quarters of the judicial officers, till date no sanction has been received. The judges directed assistant government pleader to take instruction from the government and file an affidavit within four weeks stating within what time the State government would grant administrative approval for the construction of residential quarters of the judicial officers. The matter will be next heard on December 19, 2012.

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Consider giving surplus land for school for mentally-challenged : HC to State govt

MUMBAI: Bombay High Court has directed the State government to consider giving surplus land to trust to set up a school for the mentally challenged at Malwani, Malad (west).

A division bench of Chief Justice Mohit Shah and Justice Anoop Mohta on November 19, 2012 hearding a petition filed petition filed by Vallabhdas Dagara Indian Society for Mentally Retarded over the delay in releasing a plot allotted to it for setting up a school. On September 22, 2011 the court had restrained the State government from selling or de-reserving the land. The trust moved court apprehending that the land may be given to developers.

According to the petition, the Trust began a school for the mentally challenged in 1976 with 8 students and by 1980 had increased to 80 students . In 1985 it also began a girls hostel. In 1981 the Trust purchased a plot of land and constructed a 6 storeyed building opposite Malad Railway Station .

The petitions states that February 19, 1991 the State notified reservation of a 13700 square metres plot at Malwani village for the mentally challenged and also published in the government gazette. Subsequently the Social Service and Cultural Department on January 6, 2006 wrote to the Revenue Department saying the government is convinced about the allotment to the Trust. The court was informed that the Trust was made to run from pillar to post to various government departments for various compliances and even after compliances were fulfilled, the allotment is yet to be done.

The additional government pleader placed on record a letter dated October 25, 2012 of the State government informing the collector that the proposal of the Mumbai Metro Railway for allotment of 19.59 hectares land forfor its railway car depot is under consideration. Petitioner's advocate submitted that no final decision has been taken by the State government to allot the land to Mumbai Metro Railway. Also that even after such a decision is taken, there will still be surplus land which can be allotted to the petitioner-trust.
Modifying its September 22, 2011, the judges said it will be open to the State government to consider allotment of land to Mumbai Metrol Railway and if further land is available, it shall also consider the application of the petitioner-trust for allotment of land. The judges directed that the government shall also give the representative of the petitioner-trust a personal hearing before taking a final decision on its application. The matter will be next heard on December 17, 2012.

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Four years on memories of terror strike remain fresh

THANE: Its been four years since the terror attack on Mumbai, but the memories are still fresh as ever for then assitant police inspector Vijay Shinde who had battled Ajmal Kasam and Abu Ismail at the Cama and Albless hospital on the chilly night of 26/11.

Shinde, then attached to the Azad Maidan police station, was preparing for his routine night patrolling around the CST area, unaware that the events would unfold into a mission to counter terrorist, dodging grenades and the bullets sprayed from AK-47 fired by Kasab and Ismail.

Though the nine mm pistol and handful ammunition in his possession was no match to the firepower of the terrorists, the survivor of the police attack at Cama hospital said a strong conviction and fierce belief in duty helps triumph over fear.

It was a suicide mission and there is no turning back at this crucial moment. I made one last call to my wife to bid goodbye. The terrorist had taken control of the hospital and so far had not met with any resistance. Our senior officer Sadanand Date and myself were positioned at the Metro cinema junction and we could hear cries of help from the terrace of the Cama hospital. Date saheb looked and me and there and then itself we decided to storm the hospital with five others,'' Shinde who is currently posted at the Wagle estae crime branch office here said.

As the seven-member police team led by Date, walked towards the Cama hospital, they were greeted to three dead bodies and a pool of blood. Looking back it now seems like a nightmare. An eerie silence prevailed in the hospital premises and it was pitch dark. We saw and bodies and unlocked our guns and all of us took the elevator,'' he said

After deploying one policeman at the gates, the six-member police team took the elevator and reached the fifth floor. We knew that the terrorist where hiding in the building and as grenades had been lobbed on the hospital floor. There were huge holes on the floor and walls were riddled with bullets,'' Shinde said.

The team then decided to take the elevator to the sixth floor expecting a violent reception. As the door swung open there was no movement from our side as well as from them. Date sahib then picked up a piece of metal and flung it towards the terrace door. As expected they reacted and suddenly two grenades were lobbed at us. The AKs fired relentlessly and the noise of gunfire and blast reverberated all over. We took positions and fired. I fired one shot at the terrorist and suddenly my 9mm gun just refused to fire again. I was left virtually unarmed staring close to death,'' Shinde said.

The terrorist gunfire and the splinters from the grenades claimed the life of two of his team mates and Shinde himself suffered grevious injuries in his abdomen and left leg. I passed out then because of the injury and the next thing I remember is I am in a hospital getting treated for the wounds inflicted by the splinters and the bullets,'' Shinde said.

A 10-day stay in the ICU and a knee operation rendered him fit to join police duty. I did my best and offered resistance to them forcing them to leave the hospital or else innocent lives would have been lost,'' Shinde said.

As news of the of Kasab flashed of TV on Wednesday morning, Shinde was on his routine morning walk. When I returned home, my daughters just hugged me and announced that Kasab has been hanged. It was a moment of triumph for me. It gave me a sense of a certain achievement. It is the best morning ever for me and the pain from the wounds inflicted by the terrorist attack suddenly seemed to ebb.,'' he said.

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Stop Judging the Greedy

Written By Unknown on Sabtu, 24 November 2012 | 22.23

A twice-a-week series explores 'Greed, The City, And The Pursuit Of Happiness' , the central theme of this year's The Times of India Literary Carnival, December 7-9 , Mehboob Studios

It is curious to note that when we speak of greedy people , we immediately have images of pot-bellied politicians and industrialists with bikiniclad babes by their side. Never a filmstar who keeps working and working and working and working, making crores for every day of work. Or a sportsperson who keeps playing and endorsing and playing and endorsing and endorsing and endorsing and still demanding tax exemptions for his gifts. No, the filmstar and sportsmen are just honest hardworking people who are exploiting no one: surely they cannot be classified as greedy.

This is where the confusion starts. We confuse greed with exploitation and corruption . Greed is seeking more than you need. Exploitation and corruption are simply means to get what you seek. It is possible to be honest and upright and hardworking and diligent and pay your taxes on time and never exploit or abuse or be corrupt, and still be greedy. Very very greedy.

Notice how every advertisement and every brand is hogged by just dozen or so superstars from Bollywood and cricket. Their combined income of these 12 people will be quite enough to feed several villages for several years. But we do not see this as greed, perhaps because some of them make programs about the poor and the dispossessed and the exploited, and often appear in charitable events, for a fee of course, to tell the world they should be socially responsible.

As we become increasingly Westernized, we believe that rules and rationality will solve the problems. Hence we hold conferences on corporate responsibility and ethics and governance, hoping that the law will make the greedy (once we identify them) make sense. I am sure every Bollywood star and cricketer has not broken a single of these laws. They may run people down on the streets, they may kill endangered wild life, they may keep illegal weapons at home, they have alleged strange bedroom habits, but they remain ethical and lawabiding citizens in our eyes, and we are eager to forgive them. Why? Because they entertain us. Not the politicians , who seem to be making our lives miserable.

The sages of India did not believe that any law or punishment can stop the greedy from being greedy. They saw it as a deeper emotional problem , as the following story reveals. It's a story we have all heard, but we rarely decode.

Kubera, the king of Yakshas , pot-bellied treasurer of the gods once paid a visit to Kailas, the abode of Shiva, the hermit-god , where he met Shiva's elephant-headed son, the corpulent Ganesha. Kubera thought to himself, "Ganesha clearly loves food and Shiva can clearly not afford to feed him to his heart's content." So as a favor to Shiva, Kubera offered to feed Ganesha one meal. When Ganesha accepted the invitation and entered Kubera's kitchen, the Yaksha-king said, "Eat to your heart's content ." Kubera regretted these words. Ganesha's appetite was insatiable. He ate everything that was in the kitchen and still asked for more. Food had to be bought from the larder and then from the market . But Ganesha was still hungry. "More please," he said raising his trunk. Kubera had to spend all the money in his treasury and buy all the food in the world to feed Ganesha but still Ganesha was not happy. Finally , Kubera fell at Ganesha's feet and begged him to stop, "I don't have enough food to satisfy your hunger. Forgive me."

To this Ganesha said, "You really think food will satisfy hunger! The difference between you and my father is that you seek to provide more food while he seeks to reduce hunger. That is why I sit in his house and not in your kitchen."

The point here is not the humbling of Kubera by Ganesha , but the idea of Shiva, the idea of outgrowing hunger that liberates us from the desire to hoard. We cannot stop hoarding until we appreciate why we hoard? We hoard in fear. And fear is the most primal of human emotions. In fact, fear came to this world before death. It is the emotion that propels all animals to fight for their survival.

Fear has been around for three billion years; humans have been around for less than a million. And with humans comes imagination: which means our fear is amplified by imagination. And that fear amplifies our hunger . We hoard and we hoard to protect us from future poverty . Remember how one Bollywood star keeps reminding us that he works like a maniac and continues to make zillions because once he experienced bankruptcy. He cannot get rid of that baggage ; thus he rationalizes greed and we all sob at his well-rehearsed story.

We live in a world where we are admired for what we have: more marks, more salary , more income, more houses , more cars, more mobiles, more muscles, more hits, less fat, less wrinkles. We celebrate the ghastly film because it makes over 100 crores. We celebrate the star with the maximum endorsements under his belt. In other words, we reward greed constantly . Every time we draw up the list of the 'richest people in the world' we are actually celebrating greed. We are telling the next generation what matters in life: have more and more and more. Thus we ourselves are creating the benchmarks of the new social pecking order. And when someone does build a tall Babel of a house on the hill, we cry foul.

Pattanaik, an author, illustrator , speaker, mythologist , leadership coach and Chief Belief Officer of Future group, will be speaking at The Times of India Literary Carnival on December 8 in a session titled 'Mythology as Powerpoint' and on December 9 in a session titled 'Our Ram, Their Achilles' where he will moderate two classics experts Arshia Sattar and Madeline Miller, winner of this year's Orange Prize for Fiction.

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Kids' war with weighing scales weighs on schools

MUMBAI : The increasing incidence of obesity among children has been a cause for concern for a while now, which educationists and health experts blame on the lack of physical activity and unhealthy eating habits.

"At present, 10% of the population in every class is obese and what worries us is that this will perhaps increase. We have given our student a menu that needs to be strictly followed by them to end unhealthy eating habits," said Kavita Agarwal, principal of DG Khetan International School in Malad (W). With a strict 'nojunk food' rule in the school, Agarwal added the initial opposition came from parents. "Students didn't complain much but parents raised an issue. We had a tough time explaining the importance of this healthy menu to parents, most of whom were working professionals," she said.

Many schools said they are concerned about obesity among students. "Parents are under the impression that the child's fitness is the school's responsibility but they fail to comprehend that children spend very little time in school. Ordering food from restaurants, weekend dinners and parties are all regular features of the new-age household, with very little focus on physical fitness ," said Natasha Mehta, principal of Euro-School in Navi Mumbai. She added most parents pay little attention to fitness, which is in turn emulated by their children. Health experts add that too much attention to physical attributes results in other health issues, including obesity. "Children usually become aware of their looks in their teens and surprisingly, instead of focusing on health and physical activity, parents immediately push their children towards dieting," said Seema Hingorrany, a clinical psychologist. She said the increase in teens' stress levels results many more health issues. "Children are hooked on to various social networking sites and there is increased importance given to physical appearance . But stress too leads to obesity," added Hingorrany. Keta Patel, a dietician, highlighted the need to eat healthy and right for all ages. "With increasing use of technology, physical activity is very limited in the current generation. It is therefore important to eat right and maintain a regular fitness regime too," she said, and added teenagers are increasingly turning to dieticians to treat either obesity or anorexia. "Children as well as parents need to take health more seriously," added Patel.

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One in every two kids unfit for sports, more prone to obesity in metros: Study

Sportspersons Sachin Tendulkar, Saina Nehwal, Unmukt Chand and more recently Cheteshwar Pujara are considered role models by many children. But despite the adulation for young sports achievers, a recent nationwide survey found one in every two children is unfit for sports.

The study, which covered close to 50,000 students in 18 states between the age group of 7 to 17 years, also found that one in every four children surveyed was obese. Besides, the survey concluded that children in the eight metros it covered were more prone to obesity compared to those living in 46 non-metros . In Maharashtra, the survey covered the cities of Mumbai, Pune, Nagpur, Gondia, Amravati, Akola and Malkapur (Buldhana district).

The survey used indicators like endurance, anaerobic capacity/explosive power, flexibility, body strength and BMI (Body Mass Index). Moreover, obesity was seen to be on the rise as children grew older.

Children in the age group of 10-13 years had higher overweight BMI compared to another age group in the chosen sample; 22.84% children aged 10-13 were obese compared to 18.6% among the other children. Surprisingly, children from the 46 non-metro cities performed better than those from eight metros. Children in nonmetro cities also demonstrated better anaerobic capacities and flexibility.

"Even though most children were able to walk and run non-stop for five minutes, which displays acceptable levels of endurance , almost 40% of them didn't have anaerobic capacity, i.e. the fitness level to perform well in events like sprinting. Nearly one in every two children had poor flexibility levels and body strength making them unsuitable for sports," said the survey.

Though lack of infrastructure in many cities can be blamed for the falling fitness levels among children, the survey highlighted the fact that infrastructure had very little role to play. It found that children who studied in schools with the best infrastructure seemed to be as prone to obesity as others with less or no facilities.

"It is time that the focus of sports in schools moved from mere competition among the best to the inclusion of all children and on making sports enjoyable . Fitness will then follow," said Saumil Majumdar, CEO and co-founder of EduSports, a Bangalore-based physical education and sports enterprise which undertook the study.

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Problem of faulty power bills continue

MUMBAI: The problem of inflated and faulty power bills continues in the island city, said BEST committee member Ravi Raja.

He pointed out that consumers were still receiving hefty power bills, which were incorrect and they had to run pillar to post to get the grievances redressed.

"This is plain harassment of consumers. The BEST administration should ensure that the billing is correct and consumers don't have to go to ward offices with complaints,'' he stated.

He further said that consumers were upset over the Transport Department Loss Recovery (TDLR) charges mentioned in the power bills.

"Why should our consumers pay for the transport department losses. Besides, now they are being made to pay tax on this TDLR,'' he pointed out. This issue was also raised by him at the recent committee meeting.

A senior BEST official said that the TDLR was being levied as per directives of the MERC.

"Since we have a cross-subsidy, we are recovering the transport wing losses from the electricity wing,'' he stated. Raja said that electricity dues to the tune of over Rs 75 crore, which includes Rs 57 crore from consumers in island city, were pending and the electricity wing should expedite the recovery. Shiv Sena member Sunil Ganacharya said that a special team should be set up and given a deadline to recover all dues.

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Elderly woman helps nab chain snatcher at Virar

MUMBAI: A 52-year-old woman helped nab a chain snatcher who was fleeing on the motorbike after pulling her chain in Virar (west) of Thane district.

One of the accused managed to escape.

The incident took place on Friday afternoon when the victim Gayatri Upadhaya a resident of Virat Nagar in Virar (west) was walking towards the station.

Two youngsters on a motorbike approached Upadhaya. Even before she could react, the pillion rider pulled her 21 grams gold chain. The motorbike rider sped away on the two-wheeler.

Upadhaya screamed for help and began chasing the two-wheeler, which slowed down due to a speed breaker.

Passersby who saw Upadhaya running intercepted the two wheeler.

The motorbike fell on the ground and the rider and his pillion seater also fell. The rider identified as Tahir Khan (23) managed to escape.

Upadhaya and the public caught hold of Samad Khan (25). A resident of Achole Road in Nalasopara (east), Samad told the police that he and Tahir were involved in a number of chain snatching cases in the Vasai region.

The youngsters targeted elderly women and operated in the afternoon and evening hours. The Virar police said that a manhunt had been launched for Tahir, also a resident of Nalasopara (east). The motorbike belonged to Tahir. Samad has been remanded to police custody by the Vasai Sessions court. Upadhaya managed to get her gold chain from Samad.

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Facebook comment arrests: Maharashtra promises strict action against guilty cops

MUMBAI: Promising that Maharashtra government will act on the recommendation of the inquiry report on the arrest of two girls for posting Facebook comments against the shutdown for Bal Thackeray's funeral, home minister RR Patil on Saturday said "strict" action will be taken against cops, if found guilty.

"The report will be forwarded by the DGP to the government on Saturday. I will discuss the report with chief minister Prithviraj Chavan and strict action will be taken against the officers if found guilty," Patil told reporters.

He said the government has taken the incident very seriously.

Shaheen Dadha and Renu Srinivasan, both aged 21, from Palghar were arrested on Monday after Dadha posted a Facebook status lamenting the Mumbai shutdown for Thackeray's funeral on Sunday and Renu 'liked' it. The girls were later released on bail.

They were arrested under IPC's sections 295 (A) (deliberate and malicious acts, intended to outrage religious feelings or any class by insulting its religion or religious beliefs) and 505(2) IPC (statements creating or promoting enmity, hatred or ill-will between classes) and the IT Act.

Following an outrage over the girls' arrest, the state government instituted an inquiry headed by inspector general (Konkan range) Sukhvindar Singh, who submitted the report.

The enquiry report on the arrests has indicted the policemen involved in initiating action against the girls and observed that the arrests could have been avoided,a police official said on condition of anonymity.

The confidential report submitted to the DGP office has also recommended departmental action against the erring cops, the official said.

"The report filed by inspector general (Konkan range) Sukhvindar Singh also mentions that sections applied in the case were not justified," the official said, adding police would seek advice from the government on dropping of the charges against the girls.

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Question mark on 'An Acquired Taste's' ability

Written By Unknown on Jumat, 23 November 2012 | 22.23

MUMBAI: Another failure at the Mumbai Races on Thursday has put a question mark on Classics potentials of An Acquired Taste. It was expected that this 3-year-old gelding will make amends for his setback in the Pune Derby last month where he had clipped the hind heels of the front running horse and had stumbled soon after the start and was injured badly.

But more than a month later, when he was contesting in the Rahimtoola Chinoy Trophy on Thursday, race-goers thought he would put up a good show and, as a result, was backed very well in the betting ring and was installed as a clear favourite. However, his poor third finish has again raised doubts over his ability to compete at the highest level. His thumping win in the Bangalore Summer Million seems a fluke.

However, there are many who think that An Acquired Taste should be given another chance as he may have still not recovered fully since the Pune setback. Many also are of the opinion that the other good contender from ace trainer Pesi Shroff's yard Ambrosia in the same race also failed to perform up to the expectation as 10/1 shot Sumo had already gone ahead for a clear win and the failure of both An Acquired Taste and Ambrosia should simply be treated a common bad day that every horse goes though.

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Civic body to explore multi-level parking options

MUMBAI: In an endeavour to ensure that there is no burden on the existing infrastructure, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation(BMC) is planning to conduct a feasibility study of all multi-level parking proposals.

The civic administration has so far approved 38 multi-level parking proposals since it restricted their height to a maximum of ground plus four storeys last year. Of the 32 parking lots approved, 20 are for more than 700 vehicles.

The BMC will conduct a simulation study with the help of a group including examining, analysing and assessing the multi-level parking proposals for more than 500 vehicles each. "will ensure that the waiting time for a vehicle to get parking space should not be more than 10-15 minutes, to prevent traffic snarls. This will especially help in case of huge multi-level parking lots, especially in malls," said Gupta.

Gupta said that when parking lots are built in congested areas, they could pose a hazard for the nearby areas in terms of vehicular congestion, pollution and environment.

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Govt asks schools to apply for reimbursement for backward class students

MUMBAI: The state government has asked private schools to submit application of scholarships by students from backward classes.

The state government reimburses tuition and exam fee of below the poverty line students in these categories.

As per a decision that is in force since 2011-12, the social justice and special assistance department of the state government provides up to Rs 200 per month towards reimbursements of fees for such school students.

The scheme is applicable for those belonging to scheduled caste, nomadic tribes, and special backward classes. The reimbursement is released as one installment. It is applicable for ten months.

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Municipal Corporations to prepare development plans: Maharashtra Region and Town Planning Act

MUMBAI: The Maharashtra Region and Town Planning Act specify that every municipal corporation must prepare a development plan to be implemented over 20 years. The last time the development plan was prepared for Mumbai was in 1981 and it was adopted only thirteen years later, in 1994. Thus a new plan, which is valid for 20 years, will need to be prepared and ratified by 2014 and will be in force till 2034.

The current development plan defines land reservations- (that is land that is set aside for a specific public purpose) amenities, transportation networks and services through a coloured land-use map of the entire city. In order to prepare this plan, Mumbai and the municipal corporation has selected an international consultant through a tendering process and it will be expected to collate and compile all of the data available on the city before making such a plan.

The Urban Design Research Institute is currently engaged in looking at how a public participation planning process can be created to inform the making of this development plan. The Institute has initiated a public participatory process to support the BMC of Greater Mumbai in its preparation of the new development plan. We feel it is necessary to reach out to the entire cross section of the city and build stronger networks that can be part of a public participation process for informing the Development Plan of the BMC.

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'Walking Project' kicks off in some wards

MUMBAI: Continuing with the first volunteers meet, the Walking Project organised 'Walkshop: Pedestrians Audit of a Road'. The two-hour event was an effort to visually inspect a stretch of the Bandra Linking Road for challenges faced by pedestrians and highlight them with the authorities.

The Walking Project is about creating the best possible walking environment for Mumbai in the next 10 years. If you enjoy walking and are interested in improving the walking environment in Mumbai (or atleast your neighbourhood) then be a part, says Rishi Aggarwal, an environmentalist.

The idea is that by 2012 when it will be Rio + 30 one sustainability goal will be achieved.

The Project will:Encourage citizens to undetake audits of their streets and roads and compile results on how walkable Mumbai is; develop templates for audits and share the same; do awareness programs to make Mumbai citizens understand the importance of a safe and comfortable walking environment.

With determined efforts by Jaypal Shetty, the group convened a meeting of numerous active citizen groups and individuals to undertake activities to improve walking conditions in (North) Ward.

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Arrest of two women over their Facebook post exposes the high-handed behaviour of law enforcers

MUMBAI: The arrest of two Palghar women for their Facebook post has yet again exposed the callous, high-handed and irresponsible behaviour of the law enforcers.

The incident not only raises serious questions about the police's appalling lack of legal knowledge in dealing with such cases, but also a growing perception that they are getting away with these transgressions too frequently.

In none of the past cases, have the perpetrators in the department been booked, suspended or warned for violating the fundamental human rights of ordinary citizens. Barely two months, the Mumbai police jumped the gun and booked a young cartoonist, Aseem Trivedi, for sedition. His crime: his cartoons denigrated India's parliament and commented on political and bureaucratic corruption.

When the Bombay high court sought to fix responsibility for the "arbitrary" arrest for sedition, the state government ordered an inquiry against those involved in the registering of an FIR against him. However, it has been two months since the inquiry was ordered, but the report has still not seen the light of day.

In the Palghar case, the local police succumbed to pressure from a Sena mob, which threatened to turn violent. In a knee-jerk reaction, they arbitrarily slapped charges against them under the IT Act. Former chief RTI commissioner Sailesh Gandhi lambasted the magistrate and said it was his due to see the gross absurdity of the charge and ordered the release of the women.

The state government must warn the police not to abuse the law and threaten citizens.

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Parrikar wants Goa to be No 1 animal friendly state; activists elated

Written By Unknown on Kamis, 22 November 2012 | 22.23

PANJIM/GOA: As the chief minister of Goa, Manohar Parrikar, became a rare politician to stand up for the 'voteless' animals and declare that he wants to see Goa as the Number One animal friendly state in India, elated animal rights activists at the 'India For Animals 2012' conference want Maharashtra and the rest to also follow suit and enforce animal protection laws.

Speaking at the three-day conference organised by the Federation of Indian Animal Protection Organisations (FIAPO) at Panjim from November 16-18, Parrikar stressed that he strongly supported animals rights and that within one year Goa will be the foremost animal friendly state''.

I believe in action,'' added Parrikar amid applause from the collective activist audience at the famous Don Bosco auditorium.

Over 200 delegates of various animal rights NGOs from India and abroad have come to beach haven to discuss the serious and disturbing rise in cases of animal cruelties.

Mumbai based delegates from Bombay Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (BSPCA), Thane based Plants and Animal Welfare Society (PAWS), Welfare of Stray Dogs (WSD), In Defense of Animals (IDA) and Thane SPCA opined that Maharashtra too must take a cue from Parrikar's statement.

I think Goa has taken an important step to battle various animal rights violations. While most politicians are more concerned with other particularly deal with voters and citizens alike, our leaders must realise that as humans, people are concerned with the way our animals are treated. And it is the government who can help in enforcing these laws,'' said Arpan
Sharma, chief executive officer of FIAPO.
Activist N Jayasimha of Humane Society International (HSI) also gave a talk on sorry state in which animals like cattle are cruelly and illegally transported by road to various slaughterhouses, with officials at Toll plazas turning a blind eye to such atrocities.
Some of the bullocks and buffalos just can't bear the pain of being packed like sardines with others in trucks and tempos, and collapse and die en route even before reaching the abattoirs,'' said Jayasimha.
Lynn D'Souza, founder of Goa SPCA, spoke about the influence of media towards this cause, and how even everyday bloggers and Twitter/Facebook users are also part of the media in the important Internet space to highlight various animal rights issues.
This conference has thrown light on several loopholes in enforcement of animal rights; we are now encouraged to write to our Maharashtra CM, Prithviraj Chavan, to do something similar as promised by the neighbouring Goa state towards animals,'' said Mumbai based Lt Colonel J C Khanna of BSPCA.

Popular actress from South, Amala Akkineni, who is the founder of Blue Cross Hyderabad, commented: I had rescued my first stray animal at the age of six; and I am happy that our Blue Cross continues helping all animals.''
Two journalists of Times Group - Vijay Singh (TOI, Mumbai) and Sunil Dogra (Navbharat Times, Delhi) - received a joint award in media category for covering animal rights issues.

Other award winners were N G Jayasimha of HSI for 'advocacy and leadership'; Dawn Williams for 'cruelty response'; E Damodar and Raman Kumar for 'humane law enforcer'; Avis Lyons for 'outstanding services to animals'; Nilesh Bhanage of PAWS for 'volunteer relations award' and finally Vasanthi Kumar and WSPA for 'outreach for animals'.

The UK based activist of World Society for Protection of Animals (WSPA) Ian Cawsey told TOI that it is appalling to note that while various Mumbai housing societies kill dogs through poisoning and other means, developed countries like China and Korea still eat dog meat.

Dogs are actually useful as human companions, not as dead meat or simply dead. For those who kill them in Mumbai and other cities thinking that it will preven Rabies, they are wrong. It is scientifically proven that sterlisation and vaccination are the best way to avoid it,'' said Cawsey.

Media can play a cruciual role in sensitising our society to various animal atrocities that often go unnoticed. Korea actually started eating dogs only after World War-2, when there was a food shortage. They should not stop this practice as there are now various other healthy vegetarian food options,'' he added.

When asked why there is a strong anti-animals sentiment among various sections and even leading countries like China, Cawsey commented: Ultimately, through raised awareness, people will realise what is good and healthy for them and our environment. WSPA is also for this cause.''

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Ajmal Kasab's case moved swiftly through various stages

MUMBAI: The special court where Ajmal Kasab was sentenced to death was also the venue of another high-profile terror trial. More than 120 individuals stood accused of perpetrating the 1993 Mumbai bomb blasts that claimed 257 lives; 100 of them were convicted ; and 12 were awarded death penalty in 2007 at the court adjacent to Arthur Road Jail. Yet, their appeals are still g rinding forward through the judicial process.

In contrast, Kasab's trial began at the same court in April 2009 and ended a year later in May, with special trial judge M L Tahaliyani awarding the 26/11 gunman capital punishment. "You will be hanged by your neck till you are dead. Yeh hamara tareeka hai," said judge Tahaliyani.

Kasab's case traversed the next two stages of the Indian criminal justice system swiftly. By February 2011, the Bombay high court confirmed the gunman's trip to the gallows for "a conspiracy hatched in Pakistan to attack the Indian government and weaken India's economic might". On August 29 this year, the Supreme Court upheld the death penalty. Even Kasab's mercy petition was disposed off within months. Finally, he was hanged within weeks of the President rejecting the clemency plea.

The speed at which the 26/11 gunman's case progressed had never been witnessed before in any criminal trial of such magnitude. "It was the fastest execution in a terror attack," said Ujjwal Nikam, the special public prosecutor in Kasab's case. Nikam argued that there was "nothing secretive" about the Pakistani gunman's execution. The swiftness and discreetness were maintained, said a senior lawyer, to avert possible attempts to delay or oppose the hanging. "The execution was carried out in a disciplined manner. Ours is not a banana republic; it is a democracy. We do not have to execute in a public square," said Nikam.

Many lawyers were disappointed with the "discreet" manner in which the government hanged Kasab. Pune lawyer Shrikan Shivade said, "Gen A S Vaidya's killers Jinda and Sukha were hanged without secrecy in Yerawada Jail in 1992. They were hanged when terrorism was at its peak. Why the secrecy? Nowhere in the world is a criminal executed secretly. It defeats the purpose of it being a deterrent in law."

Kasab's victims

Ajmal Kasab was held guilty of murdering seven people directly and 65 others in common intent with Ismail Khan. This included the killing of the skipper of Kuber, the fishing boat hijacked by the 10 Pakistani terrorists

Days of carnage

Mumbai was under attack for 60 hours, from 9.30pm on Nov 26 to around 9am on Nov 29.

Of the 166 victims, 140 were Indian (including 18 security personnel) and 26 foreigners. Of the 238 injured, 217 were Indian (including 37 security personnel) and 21 foreigners.

Overall monetary damage was pegged at about 150cr.

35 accused, including Pakistani masterminds, still at large.

Apart from Kasab and Ismail, the other eight terrorists were Bada Abdul Rehman (Hafiz Arshad), Javed, Soheb and Nazir Ahmed (Taj); Chhota Abdul Rehman and Fahad Ullah (Trident); Nasir and Imran Babar (Nariman House)

Death penalty in Maharashtra

People executed since 1950 - 57 (including Kasab)

People currently on death row - Over 50

First person to be executed - Panchakodi Nandalal on Aug 25, 1950.

Last person to be executed - Sudhakar Joshi on Aug 26, 1995

Women on death row - Renuka Shinde and Seema Gavit. They allegedly kidnapped 14 children and used them to commit robberies before killing them.

Last high-profile execution

Harjinder Singh Jinda and Sukhdev Singh Sukha were executed in Yerawada Jail on Oct 9, 1992, for the murder of Army chief Gen A S Vaidya, who supervised Operation Blue Star. Before the sentence was carried out, security was heightened around the Pune prison and the city. Forces were deployed to fend off any possible militant attack even in north India.

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Home department says Kasab’s stay cost Rs 24 crore, insiders cite Rs 60 crore

MUMBAI: The government has spent over Rs 60 crore on Pakistani terrorist Ajmal Amir Kasab since his arrest four years ago, if high-ranking bureaucrats and the police brass associated with the probe are to be believed. The home department led by R R Patil, on the other hand, on Wednesday claimed that the state spent around Rs 24 crore.

Special public prosecutor Ujwal Nikam had earlier expressed displeasure over the debate on expenditure, saying it was unwarranted and uncalled for. "The quantum of expenditure is not important; what's important is the fact that our law-enforcing agencies were able to catch Kasab alive. We were able to establish the role of Pakistan in crossborder terrorism because he was alive" he said.

Endorsing the views expressed by Nikam, a senior home department bureaucrat said high expenditure was inevitable in such cases. "He was in our custody for several days. It's a fact that we spent a huge amount on him. We feel now that he has been hanged, the government should make the entire information on Kasab public," he added.

The bureaucrat said then Union home minister P Chidambaram visited Mumbai after Kasab was caught alive. Chidambaram had instructed the state home department that all possible measures should be taken to protect Kasab as the possibility of an attempt on his life could not be ruled out. "A view was taken that if Kasab was killed, there would be no proof with India to prove that he was a Pakistani national," he said.

On the actual expenditure incurred on Kasab, the bureaucrat said the figure could go well beyond Rs 60 crore. While the daily expenditure incurred on security in and around the jail where Kasab was lodged and on officials and lawyers was Rs 9 lakh, Rs 8 crore was spent to build a special cell in prison and another Rs 1.5 crore to construct a special jail ward at J J Hospital . "Initially, he was lodged in the anda cell. Later, he was shifted to the specially built cell, which is so strong that even if a truck laden with explosives rams into it, it will not break," he said.

Further, the bureaucrat said Rs 1 crore was spent on special infrastructure in and around the Arthur Road jail; the state also spent a huge amount on litigation in the sessions court, high court and finally the apex court. "We will have to pay nearly Rs 30 crore to the ITBP for guarding Kasab . Besides, two companies of the SRPF and sleuths from the crime branch, too, were deployed ," he added.

The bureaucrat said a huge sum was spent on Kasab's medical treatment and special diet. "Kasab was entitled to Rs 25 per day towards food, but the government spent more in view of his ill health," he said.

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Local trains on Harbour line delayed due to technical problem in Mumbai

MUMBAI: Suburban train services between Wadala and Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus (CST) section of the Harbour line were delayed this morning due to a technical problem on the track, a Central Railway official said.

The problem has been rectified but trains are running late as a precautionary measure, the official said.

"A fracture was found on the track at Wadala station because of which there was some delay in the services. The problem has been fixed but a caution has been issued due to which there is a delay of 15-20 minutes on the Up line towards CST," he said.

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State govt to spend additional Rs 22 crore for scheme in Jalna

MUMBAI: The state cabinet on Wednesday decided to sanction additional funds for water supply schemes in Jalna and Osmanabad, which are facing an acute water shortage. According the government will provide an additional Rs 22 crore for the scheme in Jalna, whereas Rs 51 crore will be given for the scheme in Osmanabad.

The cost of the water supply scheme in Jalna has escalated over the years. While the state, the centre and the local body have already provided Rs 182 crore for the scheme, it requires another Rs 22 cr for completion. NCP minister Rajesh Tope, who hails from the region, raised the demand at the cabinet meet.

During discussion, questions were raised on high arrears in payment of water charges. Tope said that the per capita water charge was high and demanded financial support from the centre for all schemes where water is transported for long distances. Similarly, Madhukar Chavan, Congress, demanded additional funds for the scheme in Osmanabad, which has already been provided Rs 126 cr.

The additional funds, said sources, would be provided from funds set aside for drought relief. It was initially proposed that the urban development (UD) should provide these funds from their kitty. However, the department objected to it. Sent from BlackBerry® on Airtel

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Airport customs seize methaqualone valued at Rs 85.50 lakh

MUMBAI: An Indian passenger has been arrested from Mumbai international airport for allegedly trying to smuggle out 5.7 kg of methaqualone valued at Rs 85.50 lakh to Malaysia, a customs official said today.

Acting on a tip off, the passenger identified as Monikandan Thangathurai was intercepted at the Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport on Tuesday.

Upon checking his black coloured zipper strolley bag, the contraband of white crystalline drug weighing 5.7kg was found concealed meticulously, the official said.

Thangathurai, who was to take a Malaysian Airlines flight to Kuantan Airport in Malaysia, was booked under relevant sections of the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act, the official said.

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Maharashtra CM promises strict action to Markandey Katju

Written By Unknown on Rabu, 21 November 2012 | 22.23

NEW DELHI: Maharashtra chief minister Prithviraj Chavan has assured former Supreme Court Judge and Press Council chairman Justice Markandey Katju that strict action will be taken against those responsible for the arrest of two girls from Palghar, Maharashtra for a Facebook update criticizing the state bandh following Shiv Sena supremo Bal Thackeray's death.

Chavan wrote, "Inspector General of Police, Konkan Range has been advised to enquire in to the matter. He has been asked to submit his report within two days as regards the nature of offence, and the circumstances leading to the arrest of the above persons. The State Government has taken the matter in all seriousness and strict action will be taken against the defaulting personnel, in case a default is established in the enquiry."

He further wrote, "Appropriate action against the people responsible for the arrest of the girls will be taken upon getting the enquiry reports of the IG Police, Konkan Range." The chief minister was responding to the two e-mails that Justice Katju had sent to him on Monday. In his mails, Justice Katju admonished the chief minister for the arrest of the girls and demanded immediate action.

Reports came in on Monday of the arrest of the two girls from Palghar, a town 87 kilometers to the north of Mumbai. One of the girls, Shaheen Dhadha, had posted a Facebook status update criticizing the fact that the state shut down to "honour" Thackeray. A friend of hers had "liked" the status. Both were arrested under section 505 (2) of the IPC and 66A of the IT Act, and were released on bail hours after the arrest. The arrests sparked off a debate on freedom of speech on both social and mainstream media.

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Cops arrest 10 Shiv sainiks for vandalism over FB comments, party denies links

MUMBAI: More than 24 hours after a mob went on a rampage at a hospital to protest against internet comments over the complete shutdown of Mumbai after Shiv Sena supremo Bal Thackeray's death, the local police arrested 10 people for vandalism. While the Sena denied involvement in the attack on the hospital owned by the uncle of Shaheen Dhada, who posted the remark, local police confirmed those arrested from Palghar, a town 80km north of Mumbai, late Monday were Sainiks.

On Sunday, Palghar's Sena chief Bhushan Sankhe lodged a complaint against Shaheen, 21, for posting the comment and Rinu Srinivasan, 20, for sharing the comment. The same night, a mob vandalized Dhada Hospital, run by Shaheen's uncle and destroyed the operation theatre and machines. The damages have run up to Rs 18-20 lakh.

As demands for action against police officers responsible for the arrest of the girls poured in, the 10 were produced at a Palghar court on Tuesday and released on a surety of Rs 7,500 each, on condition they mark their presence at the local police station every Friday. The men do odd jobs and are all Palghar residents. They were booked for rioting and trespass, besides the Criminal Law Amendment Act and Maharashtra Medical Act.

"All the accused are Sena members," said senior inspector Shrikant Pingle in Palghar.

However, the local Sena unit denied it. "The men arrested are merely incensed locals who couldn't control their emotions after they noticed the post online. Sainiks weren't involved in the vandalism, most of us were at Bal Thackeray's funeral at Shivaji Park or watching it on television. Why would we shy away from taking responsibility for an attack had we actually carried it out?" said Uttam Pimpale, Sena's deputy president in Palghar municipal council.

Pimpale added that the arrests actually benefited the girls as the riotous mob "could even have entered their homes to harm them".

Despite Sena claims, party members from Palghar crowded the courtroom the entire afternoon on Tuesday, concerned about the fate of the accused. They also arranged for two vehicles to whisk away the accused after they got bail.

"We just want peace in Palghar. The girls have already apologized for their comments and we don't want to stretch the matter further. The Dhadas are a well-known family in the city and we wish them well. In fact, Shaheen's uncle, Dr Abdul Dhada, has treated many of us whenever we have been unwell," Pimpale said.

"The prosecution had demanded the custody of the accused for procuring names of their associates, to gather more evidence and to ascertain the reason why considerable damage was caused to the hospital. But the court observed that police custody wasn't necessary and remanded the accused to magisterial custody," said defence counsel Gopal Barve.

Crime and punishment

Charges leveled by Palghar police against those arrested for vandalizing the hospital.

Sections of Indian Penal Code

143: Unlawful assembly

Punishable with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to six months, or with fine, or with both.

147: Rioting

Punishable with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to two years, or with fine, or with both.

336: Act endangering life or personal safety of others
Punishable with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to three months, or with fine which may extend to Rs 250, or with both.

427: Mischief causing damage to the amount of Rs 50

Punishable with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to two years, or with fine, or with both.

451: House-trespass to commit any offence punishable with imprisonment. Punishable with imprisonment for 2 years and fine. Cognizable and bailable

Criminal Law Amendment Act: Clause 3, 7

Maharashtra Medical Act: Clause 4

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