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1993 Serial Blasts: Is Mumbai less vulnerable to terror strike?



On March 12, 1993, a series of 12 bomb blasts ripped across Mumbai in which officially 257 persons died and 1,400 were injured. It was the worst urban terrorist attack then. Is Mumbai less vulnerable now to a similar terror strike than what it was 30 years ago? The answer is an emphatic ‘No’. 

NN Vora Committee report yet to be made public

The biggest injustice has been done to the metropolis by the government by not making public the report of NN Vora Committee, which was appointed to unearth the links between the underworld, politicians, police and bureaucrats. The 100-page report by the former Union home secretary had gone into the depth of the problem and submitted a remarkably candid report to the government, a source privy to the document told the Free Press Journal.

Despite several efforts by citizens to get the report made public through PILs and other means, it continues to gather dust in the archives of the North Block. Only 11 pages were placed on the floor of Parliament. But, these 11 pages hardly gave any worthwhile information.

The report exposes, among other things, the close nexus between a top politician and the Dawood Ibrahim gang. Reportedly that is one of the primary reasons why the political establishment wants to keep it under wraps.

People have every right to read report: Suradkar

Even though the people of Mumbai have a right to know the contents of the report, they have been kept in the dark. Former IPS officer SS Suradkar, who had fought a brave battle to break the deep nexus between politicians and the underworld of Vasai-Virar, said the people have every right to read the Vora report.

Interestingly, Sharad Pawar, who was the chief minister during the blasts, confessed that he had lied to the people about the number of blasts. While the fact was that the 12 blasts had taken place in Hindu-dominated areas, Pawar had claimed that there was a 13th blast in a Muslim-majority area. He had also hinted at the role of the LTTE in the blasts, while it was very clear from day one that the attacks were the handiwork of the Dawood Ibrahim gang working at the behest of Pakistan’s ISI. Pawar claimed that he lied because he did not want more communal riots in Mumbai, but there are few takers for his claim even today.

The RDX explosives, grenades and AK 47s were smuggled through the Raigad coast by Dawood’s men with the connivance of certain corrupt Customs officials.

Raigad coast continues to be vulnerable

The Raigad coast continues to be vulnerable. It was because the authorities had not learnt any lesson that on November 26, 2008 Ajmal Kasab and his men came through the coast in front of Badhwar Park in Colaba, hired cabs and launched terror strikes.

They were provided logistics support by the Ali gang which was dominating the Mumbai docks. The truth is that this gang, which is primarily into diesel smuggling from the high seas, is still active in the docks. In fact, it spread its tentacles to the JNPT port.

Corruption in customs a big menace

Corruption in the Customs department has increased as exposed by the FPJ in a series of reports recently. There is open talk of links between certain IPS officers and the underworld with the ex-Director General of Police Sanjay Pande and ex-Mumbai police commissioner Sanjay Barve submitting detailed reports on the issue to the state home department.

But these reports have been junked for no apparent reason. Retired assistant commissioner of police Rajendra Kumar Trivedi said he filed RTI applications to get copies of the reports sent by Pande and Barve, but the home department rejected his applications.

Today, even though the violent activities of Mumbai’s underworld have reduced substantially, their money and muscle power has increased exponentially.

Pramod Goenka, a prominent builder, was summoned by Choota Shakeel to Maputo in Mozambique and today nothing is heard from him. Big builders are still required to give protection money to D-Company. One of the builders said, “We have to do it to ensure our physical safety.”


Delhi HC stays FIR registration against Max Group owner’s son




The Delhi High Court on Wednesday stayed a sessions court order that had directed the police to register an FIR against Veer Singh, the son of Max Group founder-chairman Analjit Singh, for inducing a woman to cohabit with him and to establish sexual relations with him after performing a sham marriage ceremony.

Justice Anup Jairam Bhambhani stayed the order after Singh moved to the High Court.

The court has also issued notices on the plea and the case has been scheduled to come up for next hearing on May 29.

On March 27, Additional Sessions Judge of Saket Courts, Arul Verma, had directed the police to register an FIR under Sections 376, 493, 496, 417, 341, 342 and 354C of the IPC for inducing the woman to cohabit and have sexual relations with him (Veer Singh) without her consent.

The woman has alleged that Singh has “committed rape upon her” as she entered into a sexual relationship with him on the belief that she is “lawfully married” to him and that he is her husband.

The present case pivots around the allegation that Singh induced the revisionist to reel under a misconception of fact that she is lawfully married to him and it is on the basis of this “misconception” of fact that Singh established sexual relations with her.

At the outset, the court noted that the judgments relied upon by Singh’s counsel pertain to instances where there was sexual intercourse on the pretext of false promise of marriage. The court said that it is a case where prima facie there are allegations of commission of sexual intercourse without the consent of the woman.

It has been alleged that Singh and his family members had organised a wedding ceremony on December 4, 2018, in Taiwan and post-wedding rituals like ‘griha pravesh’ (when a newly-wed bride enters her new home with her husband) and ‘dhol’ ceremony.

It is to be noted that a child was begotten from this relationship and it is the revisionist’s case that in May 2020, Singh first got her and the child moved to a rented accommodation and later expressed that he did not want to cohabit with her any more.

The woman represented by advocates Shivani Luthra Lohiya and Nitin Saluja has claimed that Singh has also asked for the child’s custody and is disowning the factum of marriage.

It is alleged that after a sham ceremony was orchestrated by Singh and his family members, the woman has been deceived, followed and observed without her consent. It is alleged that Singh placed CCTV cameras and baby monitors in the bedrooms and the lobby, and recorded her movements without her consent and knowledge.

The court said that by perusing the records, it is revealed that a ceremony was conducted between the parties (the revisionist and respondent Singh) in Taiwan followed by post-wedding functions.

“A perusal of the photographs and videos produced on record reveals prima facie certain essential ceremonies of a de rigueur (proper) marriage were performed viz applying vermilion on the forehead, garlanding each other, applying mehndi and griha pravesh,” the court said.

Verma said that such a ceremony is “bound to induce” the revisionist to believe that a lawful marriage was entered into, and on this basis she agreed to cohabit and have sexual intercourse with Singh.

Singh’s sister had also congratulated the parties via Facebook on their marriage while his father had sent her a voice note welcoming her into the family.

However, Singh’s counsel adverted to certain emails exchanged between the parties to contend that Singh had no intention to marry the revisionist and that both of them had agreed to be in this relationship without a marriage.

To this, the court said that these contentions cannot be countenanced in as much as the abstruse personal messages exchanged between the parties do not unequivocally establish the claim of the respondent and that the messages were exchanged prior in time from the date of the marriage.

In the present case, allegations have been levelled by the revisionist that Singh has committed the offence of voyeurism against her and she placed reliance on her letter dated February 20, 2021, to the SHO of Defence Colony police station.

“Veer and staff members had also video recorded me while I was changing my clothes or when I was breastfeeding my son,” the woman alleged.

“This allegation, which prima facie crosses all bounds of decency and makes a woman feel unsafe in her own abode, definitely needs to be probed by the police,” the court noted.

“CCTV footage to establish incidents of stalking or voyeurism have to be obtained. Even the victim’s statement under Section 164 CrPC has to be recorded and medical examination conducted in order to unearth the truth of the matter,” the court said.

“The allegations as brought forth at this juncture paint a portrait of a hapless woman left in a lurch. Such an affront to the dignity of a woman cannot be brushed under the carpet for it will compound her ignominy,” the court said.

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Mumbai: As IPL begins on March 31, bookies look to make a killing; online websites, apps under police surveillance




Some of the major bookies identified by police include Manoj Metro, Vishal Chembur, Shrayansh, Yogi Thana, Shehnaz Ghatkopar, Mehul CP Tank, Dhaval Lalbaugh, Sonu Jalan, Pravin Bhera, Laxmichand Thana, Mahadev, Ketan A to Z, Justin Goregaon and Nikunj, and they all have 30 agents accepting bets online to evade surveillance.

Some of the popular online betting sites and mobile apps monitored by the police and intelligence agencies are Bet Bhai Book, Bet Exchange, Matrix, Diamond and Bet999. All of them offer 24×7 services on WhatsApp.

Most betting websites and apps are illegal in Europe and the US. They entered India by circumventing rules in violation of local banking laws.

“No specific law bans online betting and offshore companies take advantage of this loophole. The IT Act 2000 regulates cyber activities in India but does not mention the word ‘gambling’ or ‘betting’. Therefore the Act was left for interpretation by the courts,” advocate Bharat Mirchandani said.

According to a report by the International Centre for Sports Security, the betting market in India is worth more than $130 billion.

“Match fixing is a threat to sport and the advent of online gambling has increased the risk of match-fixing by cartels with links to Dubai and Pakistan. The scale of the gambling industry is attractive to organised crime with the range on types of bets possible online,” a cricket administrator said.

Lawyer Rajesh Vanzara said the laws governing betting sites are still ambiguous, and online gambling or betting is still permissible.

“The legislation is yet to draft laws against online betting as there is no explicit legislation with respect to that. Although online betting on IPL is a game of chance, there is no explicit prohibition stated,” Vanzara said.

The Federal Exchange Administration Act makes it illegal to swap the Indian rupee for a different currency outside a currency exchange or bank. So local bookies arrange dummy accounts to allow Indian currency as a wagering payment option or popular cricket betting sites holding licences abroad to avoid legal action. It ensures that punters do not violate the Foreign Exchange Management Act by insisting on payments in Indian currencies.

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Palghar: Illegal sand mining in Vaitarna river threatens rail bridge safety; 2 booked




The illegal dredging of sand from the Vaitarna river is endangering the safety of the rail bridge connecting the Vaitarna and Safale stations in Maharashtra’s Palghar district, police said on Wednesday.

For illegal sand mining, a criminal offence was recently registered against two people at Mandvi police station under Section 151 of the Railways Act (Damage to or destruction of certain railway properties), various sections of the Indian Penal Code, and the Environment Protection Act.

Illegal dredging of sand has made the railway bridge over the Vaitarna river unsafe

“During the inspection of the bridge on Monday, police found a suction pump was pulling out sand from the Vaitarna river. The pump was found mounted on a boat in the vicinity. The sand was being collected and heaped at the site,” he said. Police destroyed the suction pump and the boat.

“The act of illegal dredging of sand has made the railway bridge over the Vaitarna river unsafe and also disturbed the environment,” the FIR stated.

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