EOW now in charge of PanCard clubs fraud probe of Rs 7,035 crores; case against 6 directors filed

The Economic Offences Wing (EOW) has taken over the reins in the PanCard Clubs (PCL) investigation which is being touted as one of the greatest investment frauds. Over 50 lakh investors have been allegedly cheated of a staggering total of Rs 7,035 crore. An officer at EOW has said that a case against PCL and six of its directors has been registered under IPC and other sections of the Maharashtra Protection of Interest of Depositors (MPID), as reported by Times of India.

PCL is a Mumbai based timeshare company that came up with several schemes for hotel stays. The company promised the investors holiday packages at the hotel and investors who did not avail of this offer were promised higher returns on their investments. When one of the investors complained, the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) intervened and discovered that there were multiple investment schemes being run by the company.

The SEBI barred PCL from selling its properties which the company challenged in the Securities Appellate Tribunal (SAT) but the SEBI order was maintained. After this, PCL’s head office in Mumbai shut down.

Reports have found that most of the investors at PCL belonged to middle-class families from all around the country.

Sources: The Times of India, The Quint

Chaos Ensues at Mumbai Airport as an Air India flight gets delayed by 7 hours

An Air India flight, from Mumbai to Ahmedabad, got delayed for seven arduous hours due to unavailability of a pilot. This caused the passengers to get flustered and agitated as they waited for a speedy solution in vain at the Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport today. Flight AI 031 was slated to depart at 0135 hours from Mumbai to its destination, Ahmedabad. However, it finally departed at 0820 hours, after an outrageous, near seven hours of delay. The Boeing 777 aircraft housed over 200 passengers.

According to The Times of India, a source at the airport stated that the flight was delayed by a mere hour at first, which then turned into seven, long hours due to non-availability of a pilot. This caused a surge of anxiousness and impatience in the passengers who then created a state of utter chaos at the airport. The helpless passengers tried to obstruct staff members from handling other flights. Nevertheless, due to the spread out notifications of the flight delay they needed to spend the entire night in the boarding area of the flight despite all their futile attempts at coercing a quicker solution.

As per NDTV, an Air India spokesperson stated, “The flight was delayed due to the flight duty time limitation (FDTL) issue and crew constraints.” He also clarified that the flight finally took off at 0820 hours today. The Directorate General of Civil Aviation manages the duty hours for the pilots and cabin crew and they are banned from running a flight beyond a specified set of regulated flying hours.

Sources: NDTV, Times of India

Police bust Kidney racket at Mumbai airport

On Thursday, September 7, the Mumbai police busted a huge international kidney racket at the Mumbai airport.

When suspicions were raised, it alarmed the airport personals and the immigration department swiftly detained the suspect identified as Vruchantala Nizamuddin. He was identified in Mumbai on September 2.  This led to a search, which in turn led to the recovery of f three Indian passports on his identity.

The immigration officials further questioned the Nizamuddin. After much ado after he finally confessed the crime and agreed he was there to transport kidney donors to Cairo for illegal transplants.

The kidney kingpin who hails from Hyderabad, Suresh Prajapati, seems to be back in business. He was earlier arrested last year for a huge kidney transplant racket which involved 60 kidneys sent to Colombo Srilanka. He was also involved in trafficking Indians abroad to donate their kidneys. Cops busted a similar international racket at Mumbai airport on Saturday, where an arrested suspect confessed he was smuggling kidney donors to Egypt.

According to sources, the two arrested came in touch with each other when  Nizamuddin contacted Prajapati through social media in 2014 and offered to sell his kidney.  The former was in urgent need of money due to losses in business and cricket betting. Instead, Prajapati offered him a job promising to pay a huge sum of money if could lure others to sell their kidney for money.

Sources: Mid-Day

21 killed, 29 rescued after building collapses in Mumbai

At least 21 people have been killed, with dozens other injured when a ground plus six-storey building in Mumbai’s Bhendi Bazar area collapsed at around 8:30 a.m. on Thursday morning.

CM Devendra Fadnavis reached the spot, at 5 in the evening and took stock of the situation. He announced exgratia of Rs five lakh, to the kin of the deceased in the building collapse.

According to DNA, the building was 117 years old and around 12 families residing in it, with the ground floor occupied by six go-downs. 29 people have been rescued by teams of the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) and the Fire Brigade, which categorized the collapse as a level III emergency.

Rescue operation became difficult, as the debris caught fire when the gas cylinders exploded in the sweetmeat factory. The fire added to the suffocation of the victims, those were still trapped.

Residents of adjacent sky-scrappers have been evacuated as a safety measure. Subhash Desai, guardian minister of Mumbai assured angry local residents that an elaborative inquiry will be held behind the reason for building collapse.

In July, 17 people were killed when a four-storey building collapsed at the Siddhi-Sai Cooperative Housing Society.

Sources – DNA, Indian Express 

Mumbai on the verge of floods again

The heaviest and longest bout of rain recorded in Mumbai since July 26, 2005 when the city was devastated by floods. It has been relentlessly raining since past 24 hours and Indian Meteorological Department have predicted a rainfall for 48 more hours.

South Bombay recorded 125mm rainfall in a span of 12 hours. Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) and the disaster management team are on alert. Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis analysed the situation from the State Disaster Management Control room.

The continuous rainfall has slowed down the road traffic. Also for the first time, the Bandra- Worli Sea Link moving towards south mumbai was closed to clear traffic and due to zero visibility. Education Minister Vinod Tawde announced schools and colleges to be shut down tomorrow and BMC alerted people to head back home. Water logging on tracks has obstructed the train services in Mumbai. Earlier in the morning, nine coaches of Duronto express were derailed. Then the three local train lines-Western, central and harbour have been halted adding to the apathy of the travellers. Airway has been distrusted and flights are being delayed.

The Indian Express quoted Deputy director general (western region) of IMD, KS Hosalikar saying, “It’s not a 26 July 2005 like situation as clouds over Mumbai are not that thick as these were then in 2005, but yes heavy rains are in forecast. So warnings are issued to State and BMC disaster management units.”

Mumbai is facing the wrath of the rain Gods and the situation is being compared to July 2005. Mumbai police is alerting through tweets and #MumbaiRains. Also people are posting videos and pictures of the menace.

 

Sources: Times of India, Indian Express, NDTV

Mumbai-bound Duronto Express derailed

Mumbai-bound Duronto Express coming from Nagpur, on Tuesday early morning derailed in Maharashtra’s Tiwala district. Nine bogies and the engine came off the tracks as heavy rains had washed away a part of the tracks. According to officials there were no casualties recorded. This has also resulted in delays of other trains arriving from Nagpur and Nashik. Travel by suburban trains for those staying beyond Kalyan station has also been badly hit.

 

While the exact cause of the mishap is not clear yet, but according to sources it is understood that the landslides were the main reason which were caused due to heavy rains in the Kasara Ghats section since the past three days. Officials, however, said the actual cause will be ascertained after an inquiry.
A senior CR official as quoted by TOI said, “The cause of the derailment is a sudden landslide which occurred due to heavy rains. The engine driver did excellent job of applying emergency breaks. As far as preliminary inquiry is concerned, we have not come across any major injuries. The stranded passengers are being shifted to destination by buses and taxis.”
This is the third major train incident in the past two weeks. On 23rd August Delhi-bound Kaifiyat express derailed in Auraiya district, Uttar Pradesh injuring close to 81 people. On August 19, Kalinga Utkal express ran off the tracks in Muzaffarnagar killing 22 people.
India’s railway network is the fourth largest in the world by distance and is also the main form of travel for most of the people of the country, with 22 million passengers commuting daily.

 

Sources: Hindustan Times, NDTV

MSRDC to repair potholes on Pune – Mumbai expressway

The potholes on the Valvan bridge near Lonavla on the Pune – Mumbai expressway are being repaired by the Maharashtra State Road Development Corporation(MSRDC). Between Friday night and Saturday afternoon, tyres of over 28 vehicles, which include two vehicles of the highway police, had flattened or some of them have developed suspension problems after running over the potholes.

The potholes have developed after heavy rainfall for seven days.

“MSRDC and IRB authorities had undertaken the road repair work at the spot. As the stretch is about 500-metre-long, it will take a day or two to repair or resurface all the potholes. The work started on Sunday morning. Thankfully, the rain has reduced and the work is in progress”, said, a senior Maharashtra State Road Development Corporation (MSRDC) officer told TOI.

Adding to his statement MSRDC officer also said that after the rains MSRDC inspects and study the roads. After that, roads would be resurfaced with tar to prevent potholes in the future.

Officials from MSRDC have also claimed that they had instructed the IRB infrastructure to appoint two men at the spot to avoid accidents and further damage to the vehicles.

Sources – TOI DNA

Image Source – Representational photo from DNA