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Mumbai salon executive murder: Police search for Kirti Vyas’ body in Wadala drain

Mumbai: The Mumbai Police Crime Branch was on Sunday searching, among other places, a nullah (culvert) near IMAX theatre in Wadala, for the body of Kirti Vyas, a 27-year-old finance manager who worked at a celebrity salon Bblunt in Andheri and was allegedly killed by two salon employees.

The co-workers — Siddhesh Tamhankar (28) and Khushi Sahjwani (42) – are believed to have disposed of the body after killing Vyas on March 16. Siddhesh was on Sunday taken to the spot where the police suspect he dumped the body.

Vyas had left her home at 8:57 am on March 16 and was last seen seated in Sahjwani’s car. The location of the last call from Vyas’ mobile was traced to Worli’s Jijamata Nagar (9:30 am) and after that her cell phone was switched off, said a crime branch officer. Incidentally, the cell phones of both the accused were traced to the same location.

The victim’s mother Surekha had called her at 11:30 am on March 16 to ascertain the Wi Fi password, but her phone was switched off. Presuming that Vyas must be busy, Surekha did not call her on landline. But when Vyas did not return home by late evening, her father called up and was shocked to learn that she did not reach office on March 16. Her parents, along with Vyas colleagues, reached DB Marg police station and registered a missing complaint.

Sources at DB Marg police station said that Tamhankar had also accompanied Vyas’ father Rajendra (68) to the police station to register the complaint. “But he (Tamhankar) never uttered a word that day. Next day he said that Vyas was in their car but she got off at Grant Road station due to the heavy traffic,” said the source.

The case was transferred to Crime Branch Unit 2 after the city police failed to make any breakthrough. The CCTV footage did not show Vyas getting off at Grant Road station. In the CCTV footage, Sahjwani was seen driving the car, Vyas was seen seated next to the driving seat and Tamhankar was seen in the rear.

The window glasses of the SUV were ‘tinted’. The investigators believe that Vyas was killed in the car and her body was pushed in the boot from the rear seat.

After killing Vyas, the duo reached their office in Andheri. “On March 16, Sahjwani left office at 4:30 pm; co-accused Tamhankar joined her after one hour and together they left for Wadala via Chembur in the same SUV and disposed of the body in a drain. They also paid Rs. 30 at toll plaza,” a source said. The motive behind the murder is still unclear.

Jammu & Kashmir: University professor’s military stint lasts 36 hours, gunned down by security forces

Srinagar: In a major success, five Hizbul Mujahideen terrorists, including its top commander Saddam Padder and a fresh recruit — a university professor, were killed in Shopian district of Jammu and Kashmir, even as five civilians died during clashes between protesters and law enforcing agencies near the encounter site. The civilian deaths included a 17-year-old.

With Padder’s killing, all the 10 militants who appeared for the first time in a photograph with Hizbul Mujahideen’s poster boy Burhan Wani in 2015, have been neutralised, officials said.

The picture of the 10 militants in an apple orchard had created a stir in the Valley and they were touted by insurgent groups as ‘Kashmir’s new boys’ who had taken up arms. Of the 10, Padder was the only one alive, the police said. The militant career of Mohammad Rafi Bhat, an assistant professor at Kashmir University, lasted less than 36 hours.

Bhat’s involvement with militancy began sometime late afternoon on Friday and ended after he was trapped in a security forces cordon at Badigam in Shopian late last night, making it the shortest stint in militancy in the state.

Bhat, a resident of Ganderbal district, was a contractual assistant professor in the Sociology department of the university and went missing around 3.30 pm on Friday. He spoke to his mother the last time that day without giving any hint about his future plans. Bhat’s family informed university authorities about his disappearance on Saturday morning, following which protests rocked the varsity campus over his disappearance. The university’s vice

chancellor had met the protesting students and assured them that all efforts would be made to trace the missing professor. He had also written to the Director General of Police, requesting him that all efforts be made to trace Bhat’s whereabouts. However, this morning it was reported that Bhat was among the militants killed in an encounter.

The police said they had brought Bhat’s family from Ganderbal to the encounter site to persuade him to surrender, but to no avail.

Encounter breaks out between militants, security forces in Jammu and Kashmir

Srinagar: An encounter broke out between security forces and militants in Srinagar this morning, police said.

Security forces launched a cordon and search operation in Tabela Chattabal in Safakadal following inputs about the presence of militants in the area, a police official said.

“The search operation turned into an encounter after the hiding militants fired upon the search party of the security forces, who retaliated,” the official said.

“The gunfight is still on,” the official said, adding that further details were awaited.

Muslim Mahasangh chief Farhat Ali Khan announces Rs 1 lakh reward for destroying Jinnah posters

Rampur: Amidst the row over presence of Muhammad Ali Jinnah’s portrait in the student’s union office of Aligarh Muslim University (AMU), the national head of All-India Muslim Mahasangh on Friday announced a reward of Rs 1 Lakh for destroying Jinnah’s posters.

Speaking to ANI, Farhat Ali Khan said that no organisation in Pakistan must be having photos of Indian leaders who fought for independence, and the vice versa should be followed in India.

“I appeal everyone to tear and burn down posters of Jinnah and people like him. I announce a reward of Rs 1 Lakh cash for the one who burns down the poster,” Khan said.

The Muslim Mahasangh chief further stated that Muslims in India hate both Jinnah and Pakistan. Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) Aligarh MP Satish Gautam was the first to question the portrait’s presence in the office, which has been there for decades.

The matter soon escalated as protests took place outside the university campus, followed by clashes between AMU students and the police, on Thursday.

On Friday, Section 144 of the CrPC (Code of Criminal Procedure) was imposed in Aligarh and internet services were suspended to prevent the communal flare-up.

The internet services in Aligarh will remain suspended till 12:00 am

US Navy veteran who murdered Indian techie Srinivas Kuchibhotla gets life imprisonment

Washington: A US Navy veteran who killed Indian engineer Srinivas Kuchibhotla in a racially motivated hate crime at a bar in Kansas City last year has been sentenced to life in prison. In March this year, Adam Purinton, 52, had pleaded guilty to the charges of murdering Kuchibhotla.

He was charged with first-degree murder of Kuchibhotla, 32, and two counts of attempted first-degree murder in the shootings of his friend, Alok Madasani, and a bystander, who chased Purinton after he fled the Austin’s Bar and Grill in Olathe city on February 22 last year.

Purinton, yelled, “Get out of my country,” before shooting Kuchibhotla, who later died from injuries sustained in the attack. A federal judge in Kansas yesterday sentenced Purinton to life in prison for the first-degree murder of Kuchibhotla and 165 months imprisonment for each of the other two murder charges.

Kuchibhotla is survived by his wife Sunayana Dumala, who welcomed the court’s decision.”Today’s sentencing in the murder of my husband will not bring back my Srinu, but it sends a strong message that hate is never acceptable,” Dumala said in a statement.

“I want to thank the District Attorney’s office and the Olathe police for their efforts to bring this man to justice,” she said.

Maharashtra government tells Bombay HC that encroachments on playgrounds can be regularised

Mumbai: The Maharashtra government, which has batted for reserving ‘playgrounds’ in the recently approved Development Plan (DP) 2034, seems to be in no mood to implement it in the true sense. This can be said so since the government on Friday told the Bombay High Court that encroachments on playgrounds can be ‘regularised’ by planning authorities.

This submission was advanced by the government while defending its amendment to the Maharashtra Regional Town Planning (MRTP) Act. By this amendment, the government has proposed to regularise all illegal and unauthorised structures constructed up till December 31, 2015.

Anil Sakhre, the special counsel in the case, while defending the amendment, said, “The encroachments upon playgrounds can be regularised if the encroachers move an application before the planning authority. However, the present amendment does not allow regularisation of the encroachments upon gardens and open spaces.”

“Apart from these, the structures constructed illegally on the green cover, nullahs, river beds, no-development zones and the reserved zones for metro, rail or other projects, cannot be regularised,” Sakhre submitted before a division bench of Justice Abhay Oka and Justice Anil Menon.

The judges are seized of a batch of petitions challenging the amendments on the ground that they violate the right to life of the citizens.

The stand of the government was, however, labelled as its ‘failure’ by senior advocate Aspi Chinoy, who argued on behalf of one of the petitioners. He argued, “The government cannot hide its failure of providing housing to the public in such a manner. It cannot allow trespassing of a public plot by private individuals.”

“If the infrastructure amenities and plots are allowed to be encroached upon by citizens and the same are regularised, then there would be no meaning to the concept of town planning. This is nothing but an ominous intrusion of development and cannot be allowed since it violates the right to life of citizens,” Chinoy submitted.

Having heard the submissions of all the concerned parties, Justice Oka closed the matter for final judgement and is likely to pronounce the verdict post vacations. It may be noted that another bench headed by Justice Oka had last year struck down a provision of the draft policy of the government, wherein regularisation of illegal constructions in prohibited areas after obtaining a No Objection Certificate (NOC) from a competent authority, was allowed.

Stop this Dalit ‘Bhoj Tamasha’, RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat to BJP

New Delhi: RSS boss Mohan Bhagwat has come down heavily on BJP leaders who are making a beeline for Dalit homes, and asked them to desist from such ‘tamasha’. The immediate provocation for the RSS advisory is the conduct of a minister in Yogi Adityanath’s cabinet, Suresh Rana, who carried a 5-star feast and personal cutlery to a Dalit home, so that all of them could bond over dinner and he could bask in media spotlight.

The much hyped photo-op clearly boomeranged, was much ridiculed on the social media and constrained Bhagwat to advise that the leaders must invite the Dalits to their houses as well. More important, they should have regular and more worthwhile interactions with members of the weaker sections to bring them into the mainstream.

A media report has quoted Bhagwat as saying in an internal meeting: “Taking food at Dalits’ homes, inviting the media for publicity stunts, is not a good practice… Leaders should interact with Dalit people regularly. Only taking food at Dalit houses is not sufficient; send family members too to their houses and invite them to your home.”

Bhagwat was trying to put in perspective the initiative started by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who had recently asked BJP leaders to increase interaction with Dalits by visiting their homes. But even as political observers were trying to determine the import of what Bhagwat had said, the RSS came out with a denial.

Bhagwat never made any such statement and such reports are baseless and misleading, said Arun Kumar, Akhil Bhartiya Pra-char chief. He also denied any such discussion took place in an internal meeting.

Facebook data-sharing scandal: Cambridge Analytica shutting down

London: Cambridge Analytica, the political consultancy firm at the centre of the Facebook data-sharing scandal, is shutting down, media reported. The firm was accused of improperly obtaining personal information on behalf of political clients. According to Facebook, data of up to 87 million of its users was harvested by a quiz app and then passed on to the political consultancy.

The social network said its own probe into the matter would continue, the BBC reported. “This doesn’t change our commitment and determination to understand exactly what happened and make sure it doesn’t happen again,” said a spokesman.

“We are continuing with our investigation in cooperation with the relevant authorities.” Clarence Mitchell, a spokesman for Cambridge Analytica, referred the BBC to a statement on the firm’s website.

“Over the past several months, Cambridge Analytica has been the subject of numerous unfounded accusations and, despite the company’s efforts to correct the record, has been vilified for activities that are not only legal, but also widely accepted as a standard component of online advertising in both the political and commercial arenas,” it said.

“Despite Cambridge Analytica’s unwavering confidence that its employees have acted ethically and lawfully… the siege of media coverage has driven away virtually all of the company’s customers and suppliers. “As a result, it has been determined that it is no longer viable to continue operating the business.”

The statement added that its parent company SCL Elections was also commencing bankruptcy proceedings. The UK’s Financial Times newspaper said it has spoken to another ex-employee of Cambridge Analytica, on condition of anonymity, who said they were sure the company would emerge “in some other incarnation or guise”.

The Observer journalist whose investigation first exposed the data privacy scandal has suggested that the public remain sceptical.
The chair of a UK parliament committee investigating the firm’s activities also raised concerns about Cambridge Analytica and SCL Elections’ move.

Not just Facebook, Twitter also sold data to Cambridge Analytica researcher: Report
“They are party to very serious investigations and those investigations cannot be impeded by the closure of these companies,” said parliamentarian Damian Collins. “I think it’s absolutely vital that the closure of these companies is not used as an excuse to try and limit or restrict the ability of the authorities to investigate what they were doing,” the BBC quoted Collins as saying.

In March, Channel 4 aired undercover footage of Cambridge Analytica’s CEO, Alexander Nix, giving examples of how the firm could swing elections around the world with underhand tactics such as smear campaigns and honey traps. The UK-based company, which denies any wrongdoing, has an extensive record of working abroad on many election campaigns, including in Italy, Kenya and Nigeria.

Cambridge Analytica’s chief executive Alexander Nix was suspended in March after the Channel 4 News footage was aired.
In April, Cambridge Analytica said it had only licensed 30 million records belonging to US citizens from the quiz app’s creator Aleksandr Kogan, and that they had not been used in the US presidential election. The firm added that it had since deleted all the information despite claims to the contrary by others.

Hyderabad: Railway contractor fined Rs 1 lakh after viral video over toilet water use in tea, coffee

Hyderabad: A vending contractor has been slapped with a fine of Rs one lakh by the Railways after a video surfaced suggesting that water from a train toilet was being used to prepare tea and coffee, the South Central Railway (SCR) here said today. In the video in circulation in social media in the past few days, a vendor was seen coming out of a train toilet with tea and coffee cans, conveying that water was ‘mixed’ in the cans inside the toilet, it said.

The incident had occurred in December last year onboard Chennai Central-Hyderabad Charminar Express at Secunderabad railway station here, a release said days after the video surfaced and went viral. “An inquiry was conducted, and on the basis of it stringent action has been taken up against the Train Side Vending contractor for the section between Secunderabad and Kazipet, P Sivaprasad, with whom the identified vendor in the video was employed.

“A penalty of Rs 1 lakh has been levied on the licensee, through the IRCTC, the contracting agency,” SCR Chief Public Relations Officer M Umashankar Kumar said in the release. Two other persons seen in the video were unauthorised hawkers, he said. The Commercial Department of the SCR has been carrying out extensive drives against unauthorised hawking at Secunderabad railway station in the last few months, during which all such hawkers, including the two involved in the incident, had been removed, Kumar said.

A strict vigil was continuously being kept at various levels to ensure that no such incidents recur in the SCR Zone, the official added.

J Dey Murder Case Verdict: Rajan wanted to instill fear in public and his rivals, says MCOCA Judge

Mumbai: The special MCOCA court while handing over lifetime imprisonment to Rajendra Sadashiv Nikalje alias Chhota Rajan for killing journalist Jyotirmoy Dey has concluded that the ‘cold-blooded’ murder was executed only to instil fear in the minds of the public and his rivals. The court has also held that the murder was committed out of frustration as the extradited gangster’s ‘ego was hurt.’ The special Judge Sameer Adkar, who convicted Rajan and his aides for murder and criminal conspiracy, in his voluminous judgement has extensively referred to the articles written by Dey. It was because of these articles that Rajan was unhappy with Dey.

In his 599-page judgement, Judge Adkar has said, “From the point of view of a prudent mind the comments made by J.Dey in the two news articles with reference to Chhota Rajan may not have any value. A prudent mind may even ignore such comments. But for analysing the effect of the said comments on a criminal mind, one will have to step out of the shoes of a prudent mind, enter into the shoes of a criminal mind.” “On reading such news, a criminal mind will feel that he was undervalued, demeaned and was shown to be very weak in comparison to his arch rival. Ego would have been hurt. In so far as Chhota Rajan is concerned, it may be reiterated that he was angry with J.Dey.

J Dey murder case verdict: Chhota Rajan, 8 others get life imprisonment
Chhota Rajan suspected that J.Dey was working for Dawood Ibrahim, his arch rival. It cannot be forgotten that in the underworld slightest of suspicion about one’s conduct can lead to his elimination. The articles written by J.Dey had the potential to affect the activities of the syndicate adversely Chhota Rajan was shown to be not only in a very weak position but also desperate to show that he had a very strong hold in the underworld. Criminals and gangs thrive on the fear factor,” the judgement states. The court has concluded that by committing murder of J.Dey, a clear message was sent to the media and the general public and Rajan’s rivals that his Organized Crime Syndicate was very much alive and kicking.

“Nobody should dare to say anything against Rajan and if anybody dared to do so, then he would meet the same fate as J.Dey. Thus, the advantage which was sought to be taken was to establish fear in the minds of the people and to show that Chhota Rajan gang was still strong and active,” the judgement reads.