Even as Ahmedabad police’s traffic department initiated a week-long drive on Monday to nab those with dark films on their vehicles, it forgot to put its own house in order first.While the traffic cops were busy chasing violators with tinted windows on their vehicles, several cars were found parked at Ahmedabad police chief’s office in Shahibaug sporting dark glasses in blatant violation of the rule.Interestingly, two of the parked vehicles with dark glasses also had police written on them.This begs the question: does the city police not practice what it preaches? Did the cops forget to check its own backyard or are they shying away from penalising their own personnel for violating the rules?In 2012, the Supreme Court in a ruling had prohibited the use of sun films on windshields and windows of vehicles that restricted visibility beyond the permissible limits under the Motor Vehicles Act.Those found violating the rules are liable to face action under the Motor Vehicles Act with a fine of Rs 500 for the first violation and Rs 1,000 for subsequent violations.JCP Traffic Mayanksinh Chavda told Mirror that during any drive, the department first penalises police personnel if they are found to be violating the rules. As for the presence of cars with tinted windows in the city police commissioner’s office premises, Chavda said they will take action as the violation was brought to their notice.
In 2019, the cyber cell of Ahmedabad Police and the Forensics University came up with an ambitious project to install kiosks that would help people detect malware in their mobile phones, pen drives and tablets. Two years later the kiosks have disappeared altogether or have become redundant even as new and smarter malware enter the market.Police sources said 22 such mobile kiosks were made and installed with the latest software to detect malware and wipe them off mobile phones, pen drives, tablets and hard drives among others.One such kiosk was installed in all the nine Range IGP offices in the state, two each was put up at the cyber cell office in Ahmedabad, at Karanj police station and Gujarat University police stations in 2019.Two were also installed in the Vidhansabha during the assembly session.But now the police department is not sure where these kiosks are.A top police official said the mobile kiosks that were installed across the state detected about 1000 malware of which about 400 were detected from mobile phones in the Vidhansabha alone.As to why they went redundant, a senior cop said many people began to be suspicious of the kiosk and its actual function and so they were removed from many places. “As a result, the ambitious project that was to cover the entire state got stalled,” said the cops.When Mirror contacted the cyber cell office of Ahmedabad police at Dafnala where such a kiosk was installed, a police official said it was no more there and was shifted to other locations. However, Deputy Commissioner of Police (Cyber Cell) Amit Vasava said two mobile kiosks which were installed at the cyber cell office are still there and are in working condition. Mirror tried to locate the kiosks but could not.The status of two kiosks at Karanj police station is also not known. Inspector MM Laliwala of Karanj police said he is not aware of any such kiosk in his police station. Senior police officials said several such kiosks installed at various places in the city are not traceable anymore.“These kiosks need periodical maintenance and updating to keep track of the new malware. Since no one bothered to update them they disappeared. Several of these kiosks are untraceable and it needs to be investigated what happened to them,” said a senior official.How the kiosk workedAnyone wishing to detect malware in their mobile phone, tablet or the hard disk could use the kiosks. The kiosk would seek the person’s permission to clean the device. “The device is cleaned of malware only after an affirmation by the owner of the device. The malware detected are sent for forensic examination and if new malware is detected steps to counter it is designed,” said a cop.
The ambitious panic alarm button project is getting revived again after being put on the back burner for five years. The project, under which panic alarm buttons were to be installed at about 250 public places in Ahmedabad, including AMTS bus stands, was approved in 2018. It was to enhance the safety and security of women in the city.Ahmedabad was among the eight cities in the country selected for the project. Central grants for the project were released under the Nirbhaya funds, and it was to be jointly carried out by Ahmedabad Police and Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation. Unfortunately, the project did not take off then for reasons unknown.The project was envisaged under the Nirbhaya fund, which was set up by the Centre following the horrific Nirbhaya rape incident. The fund was to be used for projects to enhance women’s safety and one of them involved installing CCTV panic alarm buttons at various places for women.The motive was to ensure women could seek immediate help when in distress. The panic alarm was to be connected to the police control room, and when pressed, it would give the location of the caller to those manning the control room.A senior AMC official told Mirror that 250 places were selected, and tenders were also issued. “Then suddenly, in 2020 and 2021, the project was stuck. This has been the fate of many projects under the Nirbhaya fund,” said the official.Transport Manager RL Pandey said the Ahmedabad police had asked the AMC for a list of bus stands in the city, which was provided. “We don’t have any update about it now,” said Pandey.JCP Ajay Chaudhari said that the project planning was in the final stages and will soon be implemented.AMTS sites for panic alarm buttons• Lal Darwaja bus stand• Gujarat University bus stand• Ashram Road, Natraj cinema• Income Tax bus stand• Sarangpur bus stand• Vadaj bus stand• RTO bus stand• Paldi bus stand• Dilli Darwaza bus stand• Kalupur bus stand• Asarwa Civil Hospital• Chandkheda bus stand• Soni ni Chali, Odhav• Rakhial Char Rasta• Raipur Darwaja bus stand
The ‘Anti Human Trafficking Unit’ (AHTU) of Ahmedabad police on Thursday raided a spa near Vastrapur lake and busted a prostitution racket. It had received a tip-off that the ‘Happy International Spa and Hamam’ was a front for the ring. The unit sent a dummy customer who stuck a deal with a man at the counter for Rs500 to solicit the service of a woman. AHTU then raided the spa and arrested one Dilip Thakor (28) of Chandkheda. Cops rescued four women in their 20s, who had been pushed into prostitution at the spa. AM
For a youth in his early 20s, it was tough losing his father, who was working as an assistant sub-inspector, to Covid not just emotionally but financially too. He was preparing for a competitive exam and now the family had just lost the only earning member. But Ahmedabad police ensured his admission in a private coaching class to help him prepare for the exam well.Ahmedabad police commissioner Sanjay Srivastava started a programme in December to help families of city cops who passed away due to Covid. Later, it was decided to extend help to all families of cops who died on duty.As part of the initiative, police will enquire with the family of the deceased personnel about the problems they face and provide help in the form of rations, healthcare kits, school/college fees among others. The assistance offered has been divided into four categories — primary needs, healthcare, educational needs and employment related help.This has now been converted into a standard operating procedure (SOP) by the Ahmedabad police to be followed for providing help to families of police personnel who died while on duty. DCP Zone 4 Rajesh Gadhiya has been made the nodal officer to oversee the process. Till now, help has been provided to more than 20 police families in the form of monetary support, ration kits, medicine to children, among others. Talking to Mirror, DCP Gadhiya said, “We are registering a charitable trust so that funding can be acquired in the form of CSR. Trustees will include members of GCCI as well so that industrial training can also be provided to family members of police personnel. A helpline will also be launched.”Aid for at least 1 yearRation kits provided contain food material which would ensure help at least for a couple of months. The assistance will be given for at least one year. Help is provided to the immediate family members of cops, which includes parents, wife and children. The base year for assistance is January 2020, but this will be extended to include those who had passed away earlier also.We are registering a charitable trust so that funding can be acquired as CSR. Trustees will also include GCCI members who can provide industrial training to cops’ family members–Rajesh Gadhiya, DCP Zone 4
Pronouncing the verdict in the 2008 serial bomb blasts case, a special court in Ahmedabad convicted 49 accused while acquitting 28. The serial blasts had claimed 56 lives and injured over 200 in Ahmedabad. The quantum of punishment is likely to be spelt out on Wednesday by judge A R Patel.As many as 78 persons were put to trial, out of which one turned approver. Out of 77, 28 got the benefit of doubt and were acquitted. Those who were held guilty included Safdar Nagori, Javed Ahmed and Atikur Rehman. Among those acquitted were Mohammad Irfan, Nasir Ahmad and Shakeel Ahmed.On July 26, 2008, 20 bombs detonated in Ahmedabad within a span of 70 minutes killing 56 persons and injuring more than 200. The police had claimed people associated with the terror outfit Indian Mujahideen (IM), a faction of radicals of the banned Students Islamic Movement of India (SIMI), were involved in the blasts. It was alleged IM terrorists had planned and executed the attack as revenge for the 2002 post-Godhra riots.The trial in the case began in December 2009 against 78 persons connected to IM after the court merged all 35 FIRs.Special public prosecutor Amit Patel said, “We will seek maximum punishment under the law against the accused. The 49 have been convicted under murder (IPC 302), criminal conspiracy (IPC 120B) and provisions of UAPA, including section 16 of UAPA which is for terrorism. The provisions provide for life imprisonment and death.”“The convicts and the Special Public Prosecutor will be heard on Wednesday and then the quantum of sentence will be decided. The judgment was given through a video conference. The convicts were present during it from various jails. The hearing of the convicts will also be held through a video conference,” Patel said.The approver was given bail from the time he approved. He has been relieved of the charges against him.Calling it a big achievement, Crime branch PI P D Vaghela said, “If Ahmedabad police had not cracked the case and established the links, the module would have continued setting up big explosions in the country.”On how the accused were nabbed, he said, “After the arrest of some accused initially, the probe spread wider and led the cops to the entire network. There are 15 more accused in the case. Two of them were killed in the Delhi Batla House encounter, one died in Kashmir, three are presently in jail, while two have run away to Pakistan. We arrested the other involved.“As many as 1,100 witnesses were probed and hearings continued even during the Covid pandemic. Initially, for two-and-a-half years, the accused had appealed in the Supreme Court. Their appeal was rejected and the hearings in the special court started in 2012.”Giving details of how the conspiracy was put into play, Vaghela said, “The accused had held two training camps, one in Pavagadh and another in Vagamon in Kerala. This is the reason why the UAPA was established in the case.”The investigation involved undercover witnesses that helped in reaching the accused in various states. Oral and documentary evidence was collected against the accused, who were interrogated by officials like Ashish Bhatia and Abhay Chudasama.Within a few days of the blasts in Ahmedabad, cops had found 15 bombs from various parts of Surat. Total 20 FIRs were registered in Ahmedabad and 15 in Surat. The trial was conducted after merging all the 35 FIRs.If Ahmedabad police had not cracked the case and established the links, the module would have continued setting up big explosions in the country–P D Vaghela, PI, Crime Branch
Ahmedabad: Even though the state government announced a change in guidelines permitting restaurants to deliver food round the clock, only a few continued delivering till late after restrictions eased from Sunday. A major hindrance was delivery personnel and restaurant workers being stopped by police at check points during curfew hours from 10pm onwards. Representatives of Hotels and Restaurants’ Association, Gujarat, urged the Ahmedabad police commissioner for aid. A representation was made on Tuesday.“We asked the Ahmedabad police commissioner to allow people with identity proof to pass during curfew hours. Our businesses have been hit over the past two years and permitting deliveries round-the-clock is one way for restaurants to sustain. A lot of students, IT professionals, resident doctors and youngsters tend to order in food late at night and this brings us business,” said Narendra Somani, president, HRA, Gujarat.A copy of the representation was also sent to director general of police, Gujarat.HRA estimates suggest that roughly 85% of hoteliers’ and restaurateurs’ revenues come from dine-in business during the evening. However, this has taken a major hit with the curfew being in place from 10pm onwards and with Covid-19 cases witnessing a massive rise.“Permitting deliveries will help restaurants sustain when dine-in footfalls have remained less. We will be grateful if restaurant staffers and food delivery workers are allowed to move during curfew hours with proper ID cards or the department must make provision for curfew passes,” said Somani.