CBI registers FIR in Adarsh housing society case

The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) today lodged a first information report (FIR) in the Adarsh Housing Society case in Mumbai in which several politicians, bureaucrats and army officials were allotted flats allegedly in violation of norms.

The CBI had registered a preliminary enquiry in the alleged scam in November last year.

"FIR has been registered in the Adarsh housing society scam," a CBI official said here.

The Adarsh society building, which has been constructed in alleged violation of environment and other rules, was originally meant to be a six-storeyed structure to house Kargil war heroes and their kin but was later extended to 31 floors allegedly without mandatory permission.

Former Maharashtra Chief Minister Ashok Chavan had to resign from his post in the wake of the controversy. Several retired army officials and Maharashtra bureaucrats have been named in the FIR.


Kambli regrets not getting more opportunities to play Test cricket

Former Test Cricketer Vinod Kambli still feels sore that he did not play more Test matches, saying that he does not understand the logic behind keeping him away from Test matches during his playing days.

"I had scored back to back double hundreds and averaged nearly 55 in 17 games in the five-day format and still I was told that I was not good enough for Test cricket and was only a good one-day player.

I couldn't understand the reason behind it. I was a bit taken aback," Kambli told reporters on the sidelines of the release of his biography "The Last Hero" by Kunal Purandare at the Cricket Club of India here.

"Having played 17 Tests and averaging 54.20, I wanted to play more Test matches. I did not get any answer as to why I could not," said Kambli, who scored 1084 Test runs between 1993-1995.

The 39-year-old said he was keen to play first-class cricket for Mumbai but was disappointed at not being picked for the team this year.

"I had announced retirement from international cricket but not from Ranji Trophy or first class cricket. I was really looking forward to play for Mumbai this year but sadly I was not given a chance. I never left Mumbai and had always been a 'khadoos' cricketer. I was looking forward to the Ranji season this year but I was not selected," he said.

"I'll never give up and keep playing the game. I'll definitely get back into the Mumbai side in the next season," he added.

Kambli, who was often accused of being flamboyant and non-serious during his playing days, said that he was misunderstood as a human being.

"A lot of people have misunderstood me. I have never meant to harm anybody. I have never harmed anyone during my cricketing career. I may have hurt people but have not done it intentionally," he said.

"The game has given me everything -- from where I was to where I am today. I played my cricket with a lot of passion. Off the field, there have been some incidents that I don't want to talk about. I have always played cricket with my full heart and soul. Cricket has always been my first love and it will remain so," he added.

Talking about the book, he said, "I don't know what has been written in the book. But it's an attempt. No one has written a book on Vinod Kambli in two decades. But Kunal has shown the courage. It's a big day for him. I haven't read the book as yet but the stories it contains would be interesting."

Kambli, however, said he did not agree with the title - The Last Hero - of the book.

"I don't understand the title. He must have liked it. He must have felt that way. But a hero remains a hero nevertheless," Kambli added.


Prof N S Ramaswamy appointed Chief Mentor of IIBS

Professor N. S. Ramaswamy
Professor N. S. Ramaswamy

Business school International Institute of Business Studies (IIBS) today announced that it had appointed Prof. N S Ramaswamy, the former founder director of Indian Institute of Management (IIM), Bangalore, as its Chief Mentor.

"Prof. N S Ramaswamy, with his vast experience in management education, would guide IIBS in its vision to become one among the top business schools in India with special focus on ethical values as an integral part of management studies," a press release from the institute said.

IIBS offers a two-year full-time MBA programme, with specialisations in marketing, finance, human resources and IT, and a two-year full-time post-graduate programme in business management, with specialisation in retail, banking and insurance, hospitality management and international business, across its three campuses at Bangalore, Kolkata and Noida.

Dr.Jay Prakash, Chairman of IIBS, said, "We are extremely honored to have a legend in the field of management like Prof. N S Ramaswamy as our Chief Mentor. I am extremely confident that IIBS and its students would be vastly benefited by his mentorship."

Prof. Ramaswamy was the first Professor of Management in the university system and taught in Bajaj Institute of Management of Bombay University in 1952. He brought new dimensions to management education by taking it into hitherto neglected sectors of the economy such as transport, power, education, health, agriculture, rural development, public administration and the political system.

Recognising his pioneering contribution, the Government of India appointed him as National Research Professor in Management, one of the twelve professors for all fields in the country.

After retirement from IIM, Bangalore, he established two NGOs - Cartman, where he carries forward his work on rural development, environment, ecology and appropriate technology, and Indian Heritage Academy, where programmes on yoga, meditation, music, dance, lectures on philosophy, culture, faculty development and leadership development are held.


IT officials raid premises of actors Katrina Kaif, Priyanka Chopra

Officials of the Income Tax (IT) department today raided the residential and official premises of Bollywood actors Katrina Kaif and Priyanka Chopra.

The officials began the searches around 0800 hours, sources said.

Both the actors are being suspected of tax evasion and concealing the extent of their actual income in their filed Income Tax Returns (ITR), sources said.

Managers of both the actors will also be interrogated by the IT sleuths. Their financial managers are also expected to be grilled, the sources said.

The IT department had sent several notices to both the superstars, seeking account details but they did not pay any heed.

According to information, they have earned substantial amounts from their international shows and endorsements, the sources added.


Shiv Sena chief Bal Thackeray turns 85

Shiv Sena chief Bal Kesav Thackeray today turned 85 but there was no birthday bash by party workers in the city.

Shiv sainiks from across the state organised various programmes to mark the occasion. In Mumbai, 84 kg of "modak" was offered to idols of Lord Ganesh in Siddhivinayak Temple by party workers here yesterday.

The Sena chief had yesterday warned his supporters of the terrorist attack threat in the city and requested them not to throng to his residence to offer their greetings.

In view of the terrorist threat to his security, Mr Thackeray had decided to cancel the celebrations as a precautionary measure.

He said that his son Uddhav Thackeray would be available to welcome the party activists and accept the birthday greetings on his behalf.

Security has been beefed up around the residence of Mr Thackeray as well as across the city to avoid any eventuality.

Born in the family of the social reformer Prabodhankar Thackeray on January 23, 1926, Bal Thackeray started his career as a cartoonist in Free Press Journal and later started his own periodical Marmik. He floated his own political outfit, the Shiv Sena to take up the issues of the people of Maharashtra.


Suspected gas leak in parts of north-central Mumbai

People in parts of north-central Mumbai complained of a burning sensation in their eyes and sore throats, giving rise to fears of a suspected gas leak.

Fire brigade sources said people living in Matunga, Dadar, Wadala, Shivaji Park and surrounding areas in the city complained of the symptoms after experiencing a strong smell of some gas at around 0830 hours.

After two-hours, the smell gradually reduced in the areas, but it was yet to be ascertained where the gas leak had occurred, the sources said adding that there was no report of any casualty.

All the areas from where the suspected gas leak has been reported are residential zones and have no industries.

Meanwhile, the emergency cell of Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) said the smell of gas was reported from these areas and BMC, fire brigade and pollution control board officials rushed to the areas to find out whether it was a case of gas leakage or something else.


Teenager held for e-mail threat to industrialist Anil Ambani

Police yesterday arrested a 16-year-old from Jharkhand for allegedly sending a threatening e-mail to industrialist Anil Ambani last week.

The teenager, Rajesh Kumar Agarwal, a student from Dhanbad district of Jharkhand, was arrested by city crime branch sleuths from his home, and is being brought to Mumbai, police said.

Identifying himself as a Pakistani national, Rajesh Kumar had allegedly sent the e-mail from his personal e-mail address to Mr Ambani's personal e-mail address on January 15, threatening to kill him, the sources said, while refusing to divulge more details about the content of the mail.


Rupture in ONGC pipeline leads to oil spill off Mumbai coast

An oil spill was reported today off the Mumbai coast following a rupture in a pipeline carrying crude oil from state-owned Oil and Natural Gas Corporation's (ONGC) offshore oilfields.

The leakage in a pipeline carrying Mumbai High crude oil to Uran was reported around 0845 hrs and production was immediately stopped, a senior company official said.

"Production from the Mumbai High and Bassein oilfields was restarted at around 0950 hrs and crude oil is being transported to shore using a separate line," he said.

ONGC boats and Coast Guards vessels have been pressed into service to assess the damage. "Right now it is difficult to say what the damage has been," he said.

Production from the field was stopped for a short while following the incident but was resumed shortly after the oil flow from subsea wells was diverted through another line.

Mumbai High and Bassein fields together produce 247,000 barrels of oil per day and the brief stoppage would mean that they would produce about 25,000 barrels less oil today.

The official said divers are being pressed into service to go down to sea-bed to assess the damage to the pipeline.

"Remedial measures will follow once we know the extent of the oil spill," he added. There are reports that oil has been spilled for nearly one km in the Uran area.


Ailing actor A K Hangal gets help from BJP leader Naqvi

Stirred by the plight of nonagenarian Hindi film actor A K Hangal, former Information and Broadcasting Minister and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) vice-president Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi will donate Rs 1,00,000 to help him tide over his financial difficulties.

Mr Naqvi, a Minister in the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) Government, said he was shaken at the news reports about how the 95-year-old actor, who has played a pivotal role in shaping the public opinion of the youth of his generation, was finding it difficult to pay for his food and medical expenses.

"I have spoken to Mr Vijay, the septuagenarian son of Mr Hangal about the sending of the cheque," Mr Naqvi told UNI, adding that his was only a humble contribution as a mark of respect to the veteran actor.

Mr Naqvi also urged Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to create a separate fund to take care of the needs of eminent artistes, writers, singers and other such personalities who had enriched the cultural scene.

It is also the responsibility of the Maharashtra Government to extend timely help to Mr Hangal and his family members so that they can bear the expenses of medical treatment and his geriatrical requirements, he said.

Mr Hangal who has acted in more than 125 films, has been bed-ridden for some time due to geriatric problems and was unable to foot his medical bills, which add up to more than Rs 15,000 a month and his photographer son is also unable to help his father, reports from Mumbai said.


Fire at Indian Oil depot in Navi Mumbai

A fire broke out at a lubricant plant of Indian Oil Corporation(IOC) Refinery at Taloja, Navi Mumbai, near here, in the early hours today.

The blaze that erupted at 0200 hrs was brought under control after nearly five hours by 100 firemen who used 25 fire tenders and tankers.

No casualty was reported in the incident and an electrical short circuit is believed to be the cause of the inferno.

However, the fire has caused a huge financial loss . The plant had nearly 40,000 litres of oil and raw oil godown was at a 50 metre distance from the site.


Mah Govt to decide on Environment Ministry's decision on Adarsh society

The Maharashtra government will shortly take a decision on the Union Environment and Forests Ministry's recommendation to demolish the 31-storey scam-tainted Adarsh Housing Society building in upscale Colaba area of the city, said State Environment Minister Sanjay Devtale today.

Talking to mediapersons here, Mr Devtale said the State government had not yet received the recommendation, but a decision on it would be taken soon.

The Ministry had earlier in the day recommended the demolition of the entire 31-storeyed building because it had not obtained clearances under the Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) Notification, 1991.


Environment Ministry orders demolition of Adarsh Society building in Mumbai

The Ministry of Environment and Forests has ordered the demolition of the Adarsh Housing Society building in Mumbai because it was unauthorised and had not obtained clearance under the Coastal Regulation Notification, 1991.

The Union Ministry of Environment and Forests has decided that the entire structure of the controversial 31-storyed Adarsh Cooperative Housing Society (ACHS) building in Mumbai should be removed because it was unauthorised and had not obtained clearance whatsoever under the Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) Notification, 1991.

Minister of State for Environment & Forests Jairam Ramesh said in an order that there were two other options before the Ministry.

One was the removal of that part of the structure in excess of the FSI (floor space index) that might have been allowed had the requisite permission been sought from the appropriate authority.

The third option was recommending government takeover of the building for a public use to be determined later.

"Option II was rejected since this would have been tantamount to regularising or condoning an egregious violation of the CRZ Notification, 1991," Mr Ramesh said.

"Option III was considered but rejected because (i) even though the final use may be in the public interest, it would still be tantamount to regularising a violation of the CRZ Notification, 1991; and (ii) there would be substantial discretionary powers that would vest with the State or Central Government in case of takeover," the order said.

"Therefore, in light of all facts, circumstances, discussion, consideration, reasoning and analysis presented in the ACHS dossier, I have decided on Option I. The fact that there may well be other cases of similar violations provides no grounds for mitigation of the penalty attracted by such an egregious violation as that by ACHS. Any other decision would have diluted the strong precedents that have been set in judgements of the Supreme Court and different High Courts," Mr Ramesh said.

He said the Adarsh Cooperative Housing Society had violated the very spirit of the CRZ Notification by not even acknowledging the need for clearance under the Notification.

"Whether they were aware of such requirement or not is immaterial as ignorance of law can never be an excuse for non-compliance," the order said.

"Finally, I wish to reiterate that the CRZ Notification, 2011 published on January 7th, 2011 makes no difference to ACHS-like cases. In addition to the safeguards provided for such cases in the CRZ Notification, 2011 itself, this practice is substantiated by the principle enshrined in Article 20(1) of the Constitution which states 'No person shall be convicted of any offence except for violation of a law in force at the time of the commission of the act charged as an offence...'. Thus, ACHS was in violation when the CRZ Notification, 1991 was extant, action was initiated by the MoE&F when the CRZ Notification, 1991 was extant and therefore the action against ACHS will continue to be pursued," Mr Ramesh added.

The controversy surrounding the building had led to the resignation of Maharashtra Chief Minister Ashok Chavan and caused much embarassment to both the State Government as well as the Centre.

The allegation is that the project was meant for families of martyrs of the Kargil war but the apartments in the building were cornered by politicians, bureaucrats and senior officers of the armed forces, including three former service chiefs. The building was originally meant to be a six-storeyed project but was later extended to 31 floors without the necessary clearances.

The Ministry had, on November 12 last year, issued a show cause notice to the ACHS asking it why action should not be taken under the relevant laws for removal of the unauthorised structure in the CRZ area in Colaba of Mumbai. The society's office-bearers were also given an opportunity to present their case on January 4, 2011.

The Ministry said it had acccepted in its entirety the report submitted on the issue by Dr Nalini Bhat, Adviser in the Ministry.

It said in its final order that "the unauthorised structure built at Block-6 Backbay Reclamation Area, near Backbay Bus Depot, Capt Prakash Pathe Marg, Colaba, Mumbai 400005, A-Ward should be removed in its entirety and the area restored to original condition.''

The Ministry also said that in case the directions were not complied with within three months, it would be constrained to enforce them and undertake action under Section 15 of the Environment (Protection) Act, 1986.

The Maharashtra Government has taken action against officers involved in the scam, while the Central Bureau of Investigation and the Army are investigating various aspects of the case.


Mumbai blasts case: SC adjourns hearing till March 29

The Supreme Court today started hearing the appeal filed by more than 40 convicts in 1993 Mumbai serial bomb blasts case, including Bollywood actor Sanjay Dutt.

The counsel for the appellants demanded the copies of the confessional statements from the Central Bureau of Investigation(CBI).

The CBI sought six weeks to prepare and supply the copies of the statements.

A bench headed by Justice P Sathasivam granted six weeks to the CBI for providing copies of the confessional statements and adjourned the hearing till March 29.

On March 12, 1993, Mumbai was rocked by serial bomb blasts in which around 200 lives were lost. The trial took over 13 years to conclude.

Underworld don Dawood Ibrahim has been declared an absconder in the case along with the Memon brothers.


Maharashtra govt. urges Governor to recommend action against Tiwari

The Maharashtra government today urged State Governor K Sankaranarayanan to recommend to the Supreme Court to initiate an inquiry against State Information Commissioner Ramanand Tiwari for his alleged role in the controversial Adarsh Housing Society scam.

Speaking to mediapersons after a meeting of his Cabinet, the Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan said the Cabinet had decided to urge the Governor to recommend to the apex court to initiate inquiry against Tiwari.

Mr Chavan further said Mr Tiwari should not attend office till the inquiry into the scam concludes.

The Government has submitted substantial grounds to take action against Tiwari, he said and pointed that the Governor will send the recommendation to the Supreme Court which will hold an inquiry and decide whether to suspend him or terminate his services.

Indian Administrative Service (IAS)officers are protected by law, but Mr Tiwari and Mr Subhash Lalla, a member of the State Human Rights Commission, were appointed for political reasons. So, there is a specific procedure to take action against them, Mr Chavan said.

Earlier, the Governor had rejected Mr Tiwari's leave application.

Mr Lalla, another IAS officer, retired as member of the State Human Rights Commission on January 3 this year, after names of his kin figured as beneficiaries in the Adarsh Society meant for war heroes and defence personnel. Mr Lalla was posted in the Chief Minister’s office, when the scam-hit Society’s files were being processed.

Mr Tiwari's son owns a flat in the 31-storey building in upmarket Colaba.

The government has initiated action under Section 17 of the RTI Act, which states that the Governor may by order remove from office the State Information Commissioner, if s/he has acquired such financial or other interests that are likely to affect prejudicially his/her function as the State Information Commissioner.


ACB conducts raid at premises of 14 public servants in Mumbai

Officials of the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB-CBI) conducted raids at the residences and office premises of 14 public servants and also the residence and office premises of a Customs House Agent (CHA) for their alleged involvement in graft.

According to an official press release here today, CBI officials had received information that Customs officials of different ranks from Additional Commissioner to Preventive Officer were collecting illegal graft from a particular CHA.

The graft was in the form of cash, electronic gadgets like laptops, mobile phones, air-conditioners, air tickets of domestic and international travel as well as travel expenses and other things.

This indicated a conspiracy on the part of the said public servants and the CHA, who was a habitual bribe giver, the release said.

As a part of this conspiracy, the public servants had extended pecuniary advantage to the said CHA in various matters after receiving bribe and other considerations.

Many of these officers have more than one residence. A total of 32 teams were pressed for these searches. Many incriminating documents

and other tangible evidence had been seized during searches, which were still going on. Scrutiny of the seized documents was being done, the release said.

A case had been registerd against the officers and the CHA under Section 120-B of the Indian Penal Code and Sections 11, 12, 13(2) read with 13(1)(d) and Section 14 of PC Act, 1988 on the basis of source information, it added.


Company director arrested after lift crash kills 5 in Mumbai

Police have arrested a director of a company, Success Developers, in connection with the crash of a makeshift lift in an under-construction building at Matunga here yesterday in which five contract workers from Jharkhand were killed.

The police arrested director of the company, Ketan Shah, and booked him under section 304 (culpable homicide not amounting to murder) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC).

The mishap occurred yesterday when the temporay lift hurtled down 19 floors, leading to death of the workers. Another worker was seriously injured.

The deceased have been identified as Sunil Nigar, Abdul Khan, Rajaram Satta, Suresh Wadekar and Modi Gupta.


PM dedicates to nation power reactor fuel reprocessing plant at Tarapur

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Friday dedicated to the nation a 100-tonnes per annum Power Reactor Reprocessing Plant at Tarapur, describing it as a significant milestone in the country's three-stage indigenous nuclear programme.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh today dedicated to the nation the 100-tonne per year fuel reprocessing plant at the Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (BARC) at Tarapur near Mumbai, describing it as a significant milestone in the country's three-stage indigenous nuclear programme.

The new facility will use spent fuel from indigenous nuclear power plants for fast breeder reactors.

"This is yet another instance that once we make up our mind, India can do anything," Dr Singh said.

He said India had come a long way since the first reprocessing of spent fuel in the country in 1964 at Trombay. He said the recycling and optimal utilization of uranium was essential to meet the country's current and future energy security needs.

"The vision of the founding fathers of our nuclear programme, Jawaharlal Nehru and Homi Bhabha, was to achieve the mastery of the complete fuel cycle, thus enabling India to use our vast and abundant thorium resources in advanced nuclear power reactors.

"The reprocessing of spent fuel is therefore the key to our three-stage indigenous nuclear power programme. Reprocessing is essential in the transition to the second stage of fast breeder reactors which we have begun, and in the subsequent third stage using thorium in advanced reactors," he said.

Dr Singh said reprocessing spent fuel would also ensure that the country was better able to manage the wastes which are by-products of the nuclear fuel cycle.

"Tarapur, itself is an outstanding example of nuclear energy’s capacity to provide the clean, safe and economical energy that our nation requires for its development and growth. This site is home to the oldest boiling water reactors in the world. Here we have built our own reactors as well. And we have subsequently added the entire range of facilities covering the entire fuel cycle from fuel fabrication to reprocessing and waste immobilization," he said.

The Prime Minister said that, taken together, the atomic energy programme of India represented a very important and significant step towards technological and energy self-reliance and security.

"That we have done so by the efforts of our own scientists and engineers is tribute to the vision of the founders of our atomic energy programme. Given the advanced status of our indigenous programme and the capabilities of our scientists and engineers we can now confidently utilize the new opportunities that have been created with the opening up of international cooperation in the field of nuclear energy," he said.

Dr Singh said that, as India moved forward in the years to come to realize the potential of atomic energy to contribute to the nation’s development, there was need to pay greater attention to capacity building, training and nurturing young and fresh talent which is in abundant supply in the country.


Adarsh housing scam: Information Commissioner Tiwari applies for leave

Information Commissioner Ramanand Tiwari, whose name has figured in the alleged Adarsh Housing Society scam, today sent his leave application to Maharashtra Governor K Sankaranaranayan.

Mr Tiwari, whose son got a flat in the controversial residential building project, has refused to tender his resignation from the post so far but has applied for leave.

Comfirming Tiwari's leave application, a communiqué from the Governor's office said Mr Sankaranaranayan is yet to take any decision on the same.

Two days ago, another bureaucrat, Mr Subhash Lalla, whose mother and daughter got flats in the society, submitted his resignation to the Governor. Mr Lalla was a member of the State Human Rights Commission.


Ratnakar Gaikwad new Chief Secretary of Maharashtra

Mr Ratnakar Gaikwad, a 1975 batch Indian Administrative Service (IAS) officer, has been appointed as the new Chief Secretary of Maharashtra, replacing Mr J P Dange.

Till now, Mr Gaikwad was the Mumbai Metropolitan Regional Development Authority (MMRDA) commisioner.

Mr Dange is expected to be appointed as Mumbai's Information Commisioner after Ramanand Tiwari, whose name had surfaced in the Adarsh housing society scam, relinquishes his post, official sources said.

In a sudden move last night, Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan shunted out Mr Dange, who was to retire in May.


Adarsh Housing Society scam: Maharashtra official Lalla resigns

Senior bureaucrat Subhash Lalla resigned in Maharashtra today in the wake of the alleged Adarsh Housing society scam.

Meanwhile, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) claimed that evidence of alleged forgery and manipulation of documents by some Army officers and bureaucrats in the case had been found and a first information report (FIR) might be registered soon.

Mr Lalla, a member of the Maharashtra Human Rights Commission and a former Secretary to the Chief Minister, submitted his resignation to state Governor K Sankarnarayanan after his name figured in the case.

The resignation has been accepted, official sources said.

Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan had asked him to resign but he had written to the government that there was no evidence against him in connection with the scam.

Another former bureaucrat, Ramanand Tiwari, state information commissioner, had also been asked to resign after his name figured in the scam, the sources said.

"An FIR might be registered in the case soon. Some of the confiscated documents indicate forgery and manipulation of the documents by some Army officials and bureaucrats in the Adarsh society scam," a CBI official said.

The scam, in which several politicians, Defence officers and bureaucrats were allotted flats in the Adarsh Housing society by allegedly violating norms, has rocked the state and national politics.

The Adarsh society building was originally meant to be a six-storey building for Kargil heroes and their kin but it was converted into a 31-storeyed structure and flats were allotted to several influential people.

Former Maharashtra Chief Minister Ashok Chavan had resigned from his post in the wake of the controversy.

The CBI official added that an FIR in the case would be filed under provisions of Indian Penal Code and Prevention of Corruption Act after a clearance came from the legal department of the agency.

Due to the alleged involvement of some senior Army officers in the case, Defence Minister A K Antony had sought a CBI probe into the scam. The CBI had registered a preliminary enquiry (PE) on November 15.


Thieves rob cab driver in Mumbai, speed away in his car

Two unidentified people allegedly robbed a private cab driver of cash and a mobile phone and drove away with his vehicle at Chunnabati in Sion in north-central Mumbai early today.

Police said the incident occurred at around 0230 hours, when the driver Raju Arjun Shirshat (28), after dropping a client from Pune at the airport, was resting in his car.

The duo threatened Raju with a pistol and a knife and sped away in his car after pushing him out of the vehicle, according to the police.

A mobile phone worth Rs 20,000, cash of Rs 2,500, an ATM card and driving license were stolen, police said.

A case has been registered against the two absconding persons, police said adding that further investigations were on.


Egypt Air flight from Cairo lands in emergency conditions in Mumbai

A Cairo-Mumbai Egypt Air flight, with 124 passengers and seven crew members on board, landed under emergency conditions at the Mumbai airport early today due to a suspected fire in the cargo hold of the aircraft.

"Full emergency was declared at around 0725 hours for the Egypt Air Cairo-Mumbai flight MS 968 due to suspected fire in the cargo hold of the Boeing 737-800 aircraft," according to the airport spokesperson.

The aircraft landed safely this morning and all the passengers were deplaned.

Passengers were disembarked safely and all cargo was removed, the official said.

Later, an inspection of the cargo was carried out and no fire was detected, the official added.


Mumbai police issues look out notice for LeT member

The Mumbai Police today issued a look-out notice for one of the four terrorists suspected to be holed up in the city to carry out strikes during the New Year festivities. 

According to police sources, they suspect that Mahfooz Alam might be planning to leave the city today, following which the Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport has been put on high alert.

Earlier, Joint Police Commissioner (Crime) Himanshu Roy had said on December at a news conference that four members of Pakistan-based terror outfit Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT) had sneaked into Mumbai recently to carry out "violent" attacks with the aim of causing destruction.

The police had also released the photograph of one of them and issued an advisory to the citizens of the metropolis to remain alert and report any suspicious activity on the helpline number: 022-22633333.

The four LeT operatives were identified as Abdul Kareem Moosa, Noor Abu Ilahi, Walid Jinnah and Mahfooz Alam.


Police arrest 2 minor girls allegedly involved in thefts in Mumbai

Police have arrested two minor girls of a gang who are allegedly involved in stealing jewellery and valuables from wedding halls in the city and suburbs.

The incident came to light last evening when the police arrested the duo at the Sea Princess hotel in Juhu, where they had planned the robbery, according to Madhukar Chaudhary, Senior inspector, Santacruz police station.

"We are not willing to reveal the names of the girls. They are aged between nine and ten and have been brought to Mumbai by a man from Rajasthan, whose identity is not yet ascertained," Mr Chaudhary said.

He said they suspected the duo were involved in nine such robberies in recent months, which took place at various hotels in Juhu and Santacruz, mainly on the occasion of weddings.

Earlier, police had arrested a 11-year-old girl as part of the same gang at Ramada Plaza Palm Grove hotel.


Mumbai Police says 4 LeT terrorists have entered city

Mumbai Joint Commissioner of Police Himanshu Roy displaying the photo of Walid Jinnah, one of the LeT men who have entered the city on December 23, 2010.UNI PHOTO
Mumbai Joint Commissioner of Police Himanshu Roy displaying the photo of Walid Jinnah, one of the LeT men who have entered the city on December 23, 2010.UNI PHOTO

The Mumbai Police today issued an alert about a possible terrorist attack in the metropolis during the Christmas-New Year festivities, saying that it had information that four Lashkar-e-Toiba operatives had crept into the city.

Joint Commissioner of Police Himanshu Roy told a press conference here this evening that the four had been identified as Abdul Karim Musa, Noor Abu Ilahi, Walid Jinnah and Mehfooz Alam.

He said all of them were in their 20s but their nationalities had not been established. He released to the media a sketch of one of them, Walid Jinnah.

He said the information received by the police suggested the men planned to carry out a major violent attack in the city and urged the people of the city to remain vigilant. He also urged anyone who had any information about their whereabouts or noticed anything suspicious to call the police at 100 or 22633333.

"They have come over to the city recently. Our information is fairly specific," he said.

Mr Roy said the police were taking elaborate precautions in the city by, among other things, stepping up deployment at places of worship and other places where people gather in large numbers.

Mr Roy recalled that he had issued a similar alert ahead of the Ganesh Chaturthi celebrations and felt that it had helped to prevent any major incident during that festival.


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