Sunday, December 23, 2012

Malegaon to get electricity on cheaper rate

Mumbai: After a four-month long protest by the residents and power loom owners in Malegaon, the state government agreed to reduce the electricity charges in Malegaon. A decision on supplying electricity for Rs 1.80 per unit will be taken and announced in January next year, said Rajesh Tope, state Energy minister.

The residents of Malegaon have been paying the electricity bills untill last month but protested against the increased rates of the electricity. The rate of electricity was increased 12 times in the last three years.

In the Nagpur session of the state government, chief minister Prithivraj Chavan and Tope on December 21 announced that a decision on supplying electricity for Rs 1.80 per unit will be taken in January next year and subsequently announced by the state. The residents of Malegaon have welcomed this move.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Malegaon 1st to net man behind doctored clips

Mateen Hafeez I TNN
The first arrest in connection with the doctoring of audio-visual clips of alleged atrocities in Myanmar actually came from Malegaon. An 18-year-old youth, Khalid Shaikh, was picked up in the matter long before arrests took place in Pune and Nashik.

Additional superintendent of police Sunil Kadasne said his team began monitoring cellphone users as soon as the video clips began circulating. "We asked the teams to look for people with provocative clips on their cellphones. During our surveillance, we received information that Shaikh, a scrap dealer, had got a video of the killings in Assam and Myanmar. We traced his location and seized his cellphone," said Kadasne.

He added that Shaikh had got the clipping from an auto driver. Shaikh, a Class XII passout, was sent to police custody for two days.

In Nashik, the Panchvati police on Friday said they would be seeking extension of police custody of Kiran Pankar (22), who had allegedly uploaded provocative posts on a social networking website on August 13. Pankar was arrested last week for sharing a photo with provocative text on it on the website. Pankar, an HSC dropout, is a master in editing photos using a popular software and used to work as a graphic designer with an advertising firm in Panchvati. Cops said Pankar manipulated the picture, which was uploaded by someone else, by adding provocative words to it and then uploaded it from his account. Pankar was in touch with 517 people on the website, cops said, and the picture got circulated and noticed by the Mumbai police.

Last week, the cyber crime cell of the Pune police questioned three suspects in connection with the provocative SMSs and doctored MMS clips that have been doing the rounds in the backdrop of the violence in Assam and Myanmar. The three have been identified as Imran Irfan Khan (39), Arif Munavar Khan (47) and Sarfaraj Mohammed Iqbal Shaikh (32). Cops have also identified others in connection with the matter, and have made some arrests in the past three days.

The Times of India, August 27, 2012

Friday, June 29, 2012

Malegaon scamster cheat investors of Rs seven crore

Maten Hafeez I TNN
The Malegaon police are probing a case of cheating wherein the accused lured unsuspecting inventors to fund his business and in return promised a 30 per cent return on the investments. The role of police in this case was criticized for allegedly harassing the victims and delaying the FIR. The initial reports say the fraud amount is Rs seven crore but could go upto Rs 40 crore.

The Azad Nagar police in the textile town Malegaon registered a cheating case against three persons; Shahzad Shaikh, Shahbaz Shaikh and Abrar Ahmed Abdul Aziz. Shahzad has been said to be the kingpin of this fraud. Police sources said that a businessman, Abdul Majid, lodged the complaint. Sources said that Shahzad, who pretended to be a Saree businessman, would buy Sarees from Malegaon weavers and sell it in other cities. "Initially, he gave huge profit and in some cases, the investors were given double profit. Shahzad asked businessmen in the city to invest in his business to expand the network. Many people who had no weaving or Saree selling background also joined hands thinking huge profit," said one of the victims.

"While Shahzad gave money or returns initially, he stopped making payments saying he had not got the money from the buyers. It continued for several months and then people began approaching the police. However, the police role was suspicious. There were allegations of money changing hands. "Most of the victims were treated as accused and thoroughly interrogated. Instead, had the police shown interest in nabbing the accused and interrogating him, victims must have got their money back by now," said a victim.

Shahzad was also summoned to the police station but never arrested. Now, the police have registered the case, the accused is on the run," said another investor, who lost several lakhs. The office bearer of a socio-religious organization is suspected to have lost over Rs two crore in this fraud. A well known spice trader family in Malegaon is learnt to have lost over Rs five crore.

Pravin Padwal, superintendent of police, Nasik (rural), said that the police had just registered the case and was trying to locate Shahzad. "Once we arrest him, we will be able to find out what he did with the money," said Padwal. When asked whether the accused would be booked under the Prize Chits and Money Circulation Schemes (Banning) Act, Padwal said the police will first verify if it was a fit case for the accused. "No victim contacted me. We registered the case soon after some people came to me," he said. However, it is learnt that a group of victims had to approach the state government to get one case registered. When asked whether police will attach Shahzad's properties, if any, or freez bank accounts, Padwal said," I have not been told about his properties or bank account details yet."

The Times of India, June 29, 2012

Friday, April 20, 2012

Malegaon blasts suspects lost corporation election

Mateen Hafeez MUMBAI: Three suspects in the 2006 Malegaon serial bomb blasts, who are currently out on bail, contested the Malegaon corporation elections but all of them lost. The municipal corporation comprises of 80 members. All three accused contested the April 16, 2012 election on Samajwadi Party ticket. The party had fielded 33 candidates in the election. The suspects include Shabbir Masiullah, Dr Salman Farsi and Zahid Abdul Majeed. Moreover, Farsi's wife Nafeesa, a Unani doctor, has also submitted her nomination papers on the SP ticket. While Masiullah and Farsi were shown as conspirators in the serial bomb blasts cases, Majeed was termed a bomb planter. April 20, 2012

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Malegaon blasts suspects to contest polls on SP ticket

Mateen Hafeez, TNN

: Three suspects in the 2006 Malegaon serial bomb blasts, who are currently out on bail, filed their nomination papers for election to the 80-member Malegaon Municipal Corporation. All three accused will be contesting election on Samajwadi Party ticket. The party has fielded 33 candidates in the election scheduled for April 16.

The suspects include Shabbir Masiullah, Dr Salman Farsi and Zahid Abdul Majeed. Moreover, Farsi's wife Nafeesa, a Unani doctor, has also submitted her nomination papers on the SP ticket. While Masiullah and Farsi were shown as conspirators in the serial bomb blasts cases, Majeed was termed a bomb planter.

The ATS had arrested the three accused in 2006 and chargesheeted them saying they did with the help of a Pakistani national, Muzammil.

However, the serial bomb blasts case took a twist with right wing leader Swami Aseemanand confessing that his men were, in fact, behind the Malegaon blasts and not those caught for it. After being in jail for more than five years, seven accused were granted bail, while two are still behind bars since they were said to be involved in Mumbai's 7/11 train bombing case as well.

At the time of the Malegaon blasts on September 8, 2006, which killed 31, Masiullah was already in Mumbai crime branch's custody in another case. The ATS took him in custody from the crime branch and claimed he had hatched the conspiracy for the blasts.

The Times of India, March 28, 2012

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Malegaon blast ’08: Samjhauta suspect held

Lokesh Sharma, above, is accused in various blast cases across the country

Mateen Hafeez TNN

The National Investigation Agency (NIA) has arrested suspected RSS worker Lokesh Sharma, an accused in the Samjhauta Express blast, in connection with the 2008 Malegaon explosion that killed seven.

Sharma, who was arrested on Sunday, was first held in 2011 and booked for his alleged role in the Ajmer dargah blast and later in the Samjhauta train blast case.

His name cropped up while the police began interrogating other accused arrested in the Samjhauta train blast case that had resulted in the deaths of around 70 people, mostly Pakistanis.

“He was produced before the court and remanded in police custody till March 9. We cannot disclose about his role in the blast at this juncture,” said special public prosecutor Rohini Salian.

The Times of India, February 28, 2012

Thursday, February 16, 2012

NIA probing Samjhauta suspect role

Samjhauta train bomb planter, Kamal Chauhan


Mateen Hafeez TNN

: The National Investigation Agency (NIA), probing the Samjhauta train blast case, is now questioning prime suspect Kamal Chauhan to see if he was involved in the 2006 Malegaon mosque blasts that killed 31 people.

Chauhan, an RSS worker who was arrested by the NIA three days ago, has confessed that he had planted bombs on the Samjhauta Express in 2007 after undergoing training in arms and explosives in Haryana and Madhya Pradesh, the agency claimed. Chauhan has been remanded in NIA custody till February 24 for questioning.

Chauhan, along with Ramchandra Kalasangra alias Ramji and Lokesh Sharma, other accused in the case, planted the explosives on the train at Old Delhi. NIA’s special prosecutor R K Handa said. “Ramji is still wanted in the 2006 Malegaon bombing case. The NIA is now quizzing Chauhan to find out if he was aware about the others who had participated in the bombing conspiracy in July 2006,” said a source.

Sources in the security establishment said right-wing groups had planned to carry out their strike in Malegaon during July 2006, two months prior to the serial blasts in the same town. However the perpetrators’ plan did not materialize and the bombs were planted in September, 2006.

“Four RDX bombs exploded on September 8, 2006 killing 38 and injuring 297 others. Our probe has revealed that deceased RSS pracharak Sunil Joshi had visited Malegaon to do a a recce of the Hameediya mosque,” said a source.

The Times of India,February 16, 2012

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

'Not to question ATS men again in Malegaon probe'

Mateen Hafeez I TNN

: Amid reports that the anti-terrorism squad (ATS) officers who investigated the 2006 Malegaon mosque blasts will be questioned by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) for not conducting the probe properly, the NIA has denied all such claims. NIA sources on Monday said the agency has already questioned the ATS officers who were part of the '06 serial blasts probe.

News reports in some regional language newspapers said the NIA will question the ATS officers who investigated the four blasts that took place on September 8, 2006. At least 31 persons were killed and 297 others injured when four bombs, planted in a residential area and within the premises of a cemetery, went off. The bombs contained RDX, ammonium nitrate, nitrite, oil fuel, shrapnel, nuts and bolts.

"We have already questioned the ATS officers who probed the case then. There is no requirement for us to question them now. How can they help us in the probe, if they didn't know who the real culprits are?" said a senior officer from the NIA.

He added that the NIA had recorded the statements of some of the officers on various points like the filing of charge sheet and the fact that chemical analysis reports were not attached with the chargesheets.

"Our investigation is currently going in the right direction. Why would we want to rely on some other organization? Our team is working hard on this case," he added. Nine suspected SIMI members were arrested by the ATS in 2006 and were released on bail in November 2011 after the NIA did not oppose their bail in court.

The NIA, while probing another terror case, allegedly found that some members of a radical right wing group were involved in the Malegaon blasts and not the nine youth caught by the ATS.

This case was probed by various agencies: first by the Malegaon local police, who handed it over to the ATS, later case transferred to the CBI, and then to another CBI team. The NIA took over the case in April last year.

The Times of India, January 31, 2012