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April 20, 2001 - April 20, 2001

Currency racket traced to Bangalore, 9 held Friday, April 20, 2001

BHARUCH: A well-networked gang that printed and circulated fake currency has been detained by Bharuch police from Bangalore. The search operation initiated on March 5 ended on April 15 when police inspector Kaushik Pandya raided a residential complex in Bangalore and arrested nine people, including a woman. Sophisticated equipment like computers, scanners, chemicals and stationery, used for making fake notes were confiscated.

The team included men well versed with computers to design fake notes of Rs 500, strikingly similar to the genuine notes. Those arrested are Vinay Thomas, P T Venu Thomas, Sunil Ayappa, K K Sibu, Martin Joseph Jose, Prasad Babu, C I Babu, Binoy Joseph, Salamullah Abdul Rehman - all belonging to Kerala.

They confessed that they had printed notes worth Rs.75 lakh, and had circulated notes worth Rs.45 lakhs in Kerala, Maharashtra and Gujarat. Notes worth Rs.30 lakh were circulated in other states. Agents appointed at different locations in three states were given handsome commission.

They printed these notes at Uparpet where they had rented one bungalow for the past one year. When the police rushed there, neighbours were shocked to hear the gang's activities. The gang leader also confessed that they were quality conscious and took special care about the design and printing standards.

The Bharuch police arrested 23 in the currency racket so far. The first case was detected at Palej (Bharuch) and Sinor (Vadodara) on March 5. DSP Manoj Antani handed over investigation to Kaushik Pandya, who first seized 64 notes from Sinor resident Yasinkhan Sardarkhan Pathan, Abdulkhan Majidkhan and Iqbalkhan Nannekhan Pathan.

These people said they had obtained the notes from Surat where the police arrested Abdul Khalik Abdul Samar Mansori, Asraf Abdul Rajjak Gulamnabi Sheikh, Mohammed Irfan Adamiya Rangunwala, Mahomad Salim Ismail Noor Mohamda Memon and Mohamad Arif Gulamnabi Sheikh and seized notes worth Rs.20,000. They confessed that the notes had been given by people from Rajasthan.

Pandya and his team rushed to Sirohi and Jhalore districts in Rajasthan and arrested Lalit Gomarao Jain, Natvar Dharamchandji Jain, Sankarlal Babuji Rathod, Tejaram Velaramji Pali and Vikram Laccharam Mali. They said 'notes' worth Rs.9 lakh had been given by Abdul Rehman Mayudin Adbul Karim Sheikh. He was arrested but he managed to get bail. After his release, the police mounted vigil and tracked his movement and traced the root the racket to Bangalore.

Pandya said Abdul Rehman from Mumbai was the kingpin who introduced fake notes in Gujarat, Maharashtra and Rajasthan.

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Toll in Mekhda clash rises to four Friday, April 20, 2001

RAJKOT: The toll in the clash between the Mumbai police and villagers of Mekhda rose to four on Wednesday night.

While the sarpanch of Mekhda village was killed in the police firing, a police sub-inspector of Mumbai was killed in retaliatory attack by the villagers. Diamond trader Rajnikant Shah was also killed while the fourth to die was Shivraj Punja Gathi, the brother of the main accused Jaideep Khuman, who gave the police a slip.

The Mumbai police had brought Jaideep to Mekhda village to retrieve diamonds looted in a heist at Mumbai. As the sarpanch opposed the police party's presence in the village and was killed in police firing, villagers clashed with the police, leading to the bloody feud.

Tension prevailed in the entire village and heavy police bandobast was deployed at the village. Mekhda villagers were overcome when funeral pyres of sarpanch Dilubhai Dandhal and Shivraj were lit on Thursday morning. According to Amreli DSP Manoj Shashidhar, an additional force of nearly 500 policemen has been deployed in the village to maintain peace. Shashidhar said Shivraj had consumed poison after he had heard that the sarpanch had laid down his life to save his brother.

Meanwhile, the Mumbai police party left on Thursday by the morning flight carrying bodies of the PSI and diamond trader Shah. But the Amreli police detained the driver of the Mumbai police van identified as Shinde. Police are also on the lookout for a woman Neesha, who had accompanied the police party from Mumbai, and is believed to have ties with Jaideep.

Complaints and counter complaints have been registered at Mekhda village. While the Mumbai police lodged a complaint against Mekhda villagers and held them responsible for the murder of an PSI, villagers said in their complaint that a police officer had opened fire without much provocation, resulting in the death of their sarpanch.

Eye witnesses said that as the Mumbai police personnel were in a civilian dress, the villagers may have mistaken them for a gang. It is learnt that the Mumbai police had left for Mekhda on March 15 and reached the village on the 18th. Where were they in the interim period is being questioned. The local police found handcuffs and ropes in the vehicle they had travelled. Even more surprising was the fact that the Mumbai police had not informed the local police of the raid to be conducted. Besides the police party was travelling in a private Sumo (MH-04AA 8729) and not an official vehicle.

Related News - Sarpanch killed in clash with police at Mekhda

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Toll in Mekhda clash rises to four Friday, April 20, 2001

RAJKOT: The toll in the clash between the Mumbai police and villagers of Mekhda rose to four on Wednesday night.

While the sarpanch of Mekhda village was killed in the police firing, a police sub-inspector of Mumbai was killed in retaliatory attack by the villagers. Diamond trader Rajnikant Shah was also killed while the fourth to die was Shivraj Punja Gathi, the brother of the main accused Jaideep Khuman, who gave the police a slip.

The Mumbai police had brought Jaideep to Mekhda village to retrieve diamonds looted in a heist at Mumbai. As the sarpanch opposed the police party's presence in the village and was killed in police firing, villagers clashed with the police, leading to the bloody feud.

Tension prevailed in the entire village and heavy police bandobast was deployed at the village. Mekhda villagers were overcome when funeral pyres of sarpanch Dilubhai Dandhal and Shivraj were lit on Thursday morning. According to Amreli DSP Manoj Shashidhar, an additional force of nearly 500 policemen has been deployed in the village to maintain peace. Shashidhar said Shivraj had consumed poison after he had heard that the sarpanch had laid down his life to save his brother.

Meanwhile, the Mumbai police party left on Thursday by the morning flight carrying bodies of the PSI and diamond trader Shah. But the Amreli police detained the driver of the Mumbai police van identified as Shinde. Police are also on the lookout for a woman Neesha, who had accompanied the police party from Mumbai, and is believed to have ties with Jaideep.

Complaints and counter complaints have been registered at Mekhda village. While the Mumbai police lodged a complaint against Mekhda villagers and held them responsible for the murder of an PSI, villagers said in their complaint that a police officer had opened fire without much provocation, resulting in the death of their sarpanch.

Eye witnesses said that as the Mumbai police personnel were in a civilian dress, the villagers may have mistaken them for a gang. It is learnt that the Mumbai police had left for Mekhda on March 15 and reached the village on the 18th. Where were they in the interim period is being questioned. The local police found handcuffs and ropes in the vehicle they had travelled. Even more surprising was the fact that the Mumbai police had not informed the local police of the raid to be conducted. Besides the police party was travelling in a private Sumo (MH-04AA 8729) and not an official vehicle.

Related News - Sarpanch killed in clash with police at Mekhda

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Missing girls had gone to have a look at Amitabh Friday, April 20, 2001

RAJKOT: Investigations into the case of three girls missing from their hostel on Monday revealed that they had gone to Mumbai to have a close look at matinee idol Amitabh Bachhan. The girls were brought back to Rajkot on Thursday.

Priyanka Chudasama, Ankita Gadhiya and Nutan Madhubhai, students of class 10 and studying at the Kadvibai Girls High School, were staying at the kanya chhatralay from where they were found missing on Monday.

Police learnt that the three girls had boarded a Shreenath Travels luxury bus for Mumbai. Once in Mumbai the girls went to "Pratiksha", Amitabh's bungalow at Juhu, where securitymen learnt that the three had arrived from Rajkot. Acting swiftly, they passed this information to the Rajkot police, who rushed down to Mumbai and brought back the girls.

They were later handed over to their parents.

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Steps taken to recover property tax dues Friday, April 20, 2001

RAJKOT: Rajkot municipal commissioner J P Gupta has said that steps were being taken to recover most of the property tax dues, pending to the tune of Rs 64 crore.

Talking to reporters after a review meeting of the functioning of the tax and octroi departments, the commissioner said that pending dues were increasing each year, but the civic body was taking steps to recover them. There were 1.60 lakh property tax payers in the civic records.

Gupta said the number of people owing less than Rs 10,000 as dues was around 60 per cent. If the tax department could tap these people, adequate revenue collection could be made, he said. He said revenue collection to the tune of Rs 32 crore had been made. Fifty per cent was obtained from outstanding dues. Better steps had been contemplated to increase tax collection at the civic office windows.

Reviewing the working of the octroi department, the commissioner said that Jamnagar and Gondal road octroi posts were to be included within the city limits. Plans were also afoot to shift the Gondal road octroi post to the outer ring road while the Jamnagar road octroi post would be set up near Madhapar.

The Kuvadva octroi post would be strengthened further for better collection.

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