MCOCA ACT, 1999
A Dissertation submitted for
Fulfilling the requirements of paper 502 of the Syllabus of B.A.LLB(H) for X Semester
Guru Gobind Singh Indraprastha University
By: Under the Supervision of:
Ramansha Paul Ms. Shikha GangwarEnrolment No. 21021503813 (Assistant Professor)
Chanderprabhu Jain College of Higher Studies and School of Law
I Ramansha Paul hereby affirm that the work presented in the research paper entitled Anti-Terrorism Laws is original and is an authentic record of my work. I have taken care of all respect to honour the intellectual property rights and due acknowledgement has been made in the text to all other material used. I further state that no part of my research paper has already been or is being concurrently submitted for any such degree, diploma or other qualification.
I express my deepest and sincere gratitude towards my supervisor Ms Malvika Bhardwaj for providing constant help, support and encouragement throughout the preparation of the research work. I have been fortunate to have a superior who not only guided me but at the same time helped me plan the research work with timely reviews, constructive comments and suggestions wherever required.
I would like to thank all them staff members of department of Law, Chander Prabhu Jain College of Higher Studies and School Of Law who were always there at the need of the hour and provides all the help and support which I required for the completion of the research paper.
I am heavily thankful to my parents for their constant support and encouragement throughout the conduction of this research work. I am also thankful to my other family members and friends for constantly providing me the motivation and courage to complete the research work.
I dedicate all my efforts to each of them.
5th year (9th sem) BA LLB (Hons)
Maharashtra Control Of Organized Crimes Act , 1999 (MCOCA) is a law enacted by Maharashtra state in India, in 1999 to combat organized crime and terrorism. “Terrorism”, internationally has proved impossible to define in a manner that is widely acceptable. The legitimate and modern states have been under constant threat due to the activities of the terrorist group. From 1980s India is facing the menace of terrorism in different pockets of the country specially in the states of Jammu and Kashmir and Punjab, insurgent activities in the north-eastern States and continuous naxalite attacks in Bihar and Orissa. The uniqueness of terrorism lies in the continuous changes that terrorist make in there mode operations and multitude of methods they use in carrying out their activities. Terrorist activities have become brutal, with terrorist organizations also having access to the technological advancements.
A list of terrorist activities which shocked the country:
December, 2000- Terrorist Attack on Red Fort
2001- Jammu and Kashmir car bombing attack
3. 2001- Attack on the Parliament
4. 2002- Mumbai Bus Bombing
5. March 2003- Bomb goes off in train in Mulund
6. October 2005- Delhi Bombing
2005- Ram Janmbhoomi in Ayodhya
26th-29th November 2008- Terrorist Attacks on Bombay
The very recent attack on Pathankot Airbase on January 1, 2016.
Traditionally, terrorism was thought of as a threatening and coercive activity adopted to force a nation into fulfilling the political demands of the terrorist group. But the rise of modern terrorism is very complex issue which deals not only with the fulfilment of the political demands but is also tied to diverse ideological goals. The amount of violence and ambition of the practitioners in modern activities is alarming.
A number of state and central laws have been enacted or subsequently have been amended to deal with terrorist related activities.
Terrorism has emerged as a major threat to unity and integrity of India. The mastermind of terrorism seeks to achieve their objectives by creating an atmosphere of fear with a view to destabilize India. The most affected states regions by terrorism in India include Jammu and Kashmir, east central and south central India.
The major cause behind the terrorism activities can be considered as unemployment due to which the terrorist groups lure the young generation by providing them hoards of easy money. In return, the youngsters have to spread hatred, and indulge in bloodbath and killings on the street. Poverty stricken young people belonging to poor socio-economic background are the ultimate target of the ISI, as they get easily influenced to do their bidding in return of easy money.
Economic causes too contribute to terrorism in India. These include rural unemployment, exploitation of landless labourers by those who own land and lack of land reforms. The major states affected by such causes include Madhya Pradesh, Bihar, Orissa and Andhra Pradesh. The absence of land reforms, rural unemployment, exploitation of landless labourers by land owners, economic grievances and perceptions of gross social injustice in these states have given rise to ideological terrorist groups such as the various Marxist/Maoist groups waging a war against the respective state government.
Thirdly, religious causes too lead to terrorism in India. Punjab witnessed the growth of terrorism when certain organisations of Sikhs led by Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale raised the demand for Khalistan, an independent state for Sikhs. Some elements belonging to different organisations shifted to terrorism for the creation of a separate state known as Khalistan for the Sikhs. Similarly, Jammu & Kashmir has been reeling under religious extremism which seeks to appropriate all rights for Muslim majority.
At the immediate level, terrorism results in loss of lives and livelihood, and destruction of properties. But overall, terrorism creates a negative environment for the growth of trade and commerce, leading to huge losses, recession and unemployment. India needs a strong political will to fight the scourge of terrorism unitedly
WHY BOMBAY NEEDED A SPECIAL LAW TO FIGHT ORGAINZED CRIME?
The MCOCA was legislated in 1999. It was felt at that time that “organised crime has been for quite some years a very serious threat to our society” and that “it has no national boundaries and is fuelled by illegal wealth generated by contract killing, extortion, smuggling in contrabands, illegal trade in narcotics, kidnapping for ransom, collection of protection money and money laundering, etc.”
The state government, finding the existing legal framework rather inadequate, decided to enact a special law with stringent and deterrent provisions to deal with the menace of organised crime. It was introduced especially to deal with the underworld gangs and organized crime syndicates in all of Maharashtra.
The legitimate and modern states have been under constant threat due to the activities of terrorist groups. The uniqueness of terrorism lies in the continuous changes that terrorists make in their mode operations and the multitude of methods they use in carrying out their activities.
Terrorist activities have become brutal at the turn of the century, with terrorist organizations also having access to the technological advancements. India has been particularly vulnerable to such terrorist activities. It needs to be understood that the pattern and scale of crime is undergoing a radical transformation. There was a time when dacoity and murder were considered the most heinous crimes. It is no longer so. Today, organised crime overshadows them all.
The preamble to MCOCA says that “the existing legal framework, i.e. the penal and procedural laws and the adjudicatory system, are found to be rather inadequate to curb or control the menace of organised crime. Government has, therefore, decided to enact a special law with stringent and deterrent provisions including in certain circumstances power to intercept wire, electronic or oral communication to control the menace of organised crime.
WHAT IS ORGANIZED CRIME?
MCOCA defined organised crime as “any continuing unlawful activity by an individual, singly or jointly, either as a member of an organised crime syndicate or on behalf of such syndicate, by use of violence or threat of violence or intimidation or coercion, or other unlawful means, with the objective of gaining pecuniary benefits, or gaining undue economic or other advantage for himself or any person or promoting insurgency. It includes offences such as money laundering, trafficking in weapons, smuggling of drugs, trafficking in women, activities of mafia, etc. Globalisation of the economy has enabled the crime syndicates to spread their wings across the borders.
The impact of organised crime is, in fact, being felt all over the world. The United Nations views organised crime to be a large-scale and complex criminal activity carried on by group of persons for the enrichment of those participating and at the expense of the community and its members. Such crimes, it was said, is frequently accomplished through ruthless disregard of any law and frequently in pursuance of political corruption. In the US, the Organized Crime Control Act was enacted in 1970.
COMBATING ORGANIZED CRIME
Organised crime is not confined to the boundaries of any one country and has become a transnational problem. Organised criminal activity has existed in different forms since ancient times, but contemporary patterns of organised crime are infinitely more complex than they have been at any point of time in history. This paper places the specific case of organised crime in the city of Mumbai within the context of transnational trends in criminal activity. It first examines the larger international discourse on organised crime, clarifying concepts and outlining the nature and magnitude of various component phenomena across the globe. The paper then passes on to an assessment of trends in the operation of gangs and organised crime in Mumbai, the socio-demographic profile, ethnic background, religion and international dynamics of gangsters in the city and the international dynamics of gangsterism, contract killing, etc. Some combative strategies adopted to deal with organised crime in the city are also dealt with.
Organized Crime: Conceptual Framework
Contemporary technologies and the emerging world order have undermined the conventional parameters of state sovereignty and the inviolability of national boundaries. The communications and information revolution, and expanding processes of interaction, transportation and transaction have dramatically enhanced accessibility across borders, creating increasing levels of information and unprecedented opportunities for both good and evil. Patterns of ‘development’ have also contributed to a plethora of problems in terms of population explosion, competition for survival and scarce resources, and the struggle for existence. There are pathological outcomes of such processes of development, including poverty, unemployment, deviance (as an expression against normative means of livelihood) or crime (as a severe form of such deviance). It is in this context that organised crime has established itself as one of the most serious and violent manifestations of the modem criminal world.
Organised crime as a concept is, to some extent, synonymous with certain historical organisations, such as the mafia, camorra, etc. It has, however, a broader and encompassing definitional connotation in terms of its nature, pattern and functional criteria. According to the Kefauver Committee (195l), organised crime could be a network of criminal syndicates fundamentally based on ‘muscle’ and ‘murder’ indiscriminately used in running criminal enterprises.
The US Task Force Report of 1967 described organised crime as “a society that seeks to operate outside the control of the American people and their government. It involves thousands of criminals working within structures as complex as those of any large corporation, subject to laws more tightly enforced than those of legitimate governments. Its actions are not impulsive but the result of intricate conspiracies, carried on over whole fields of activity in order to amass huge profits.”
The legal statute that is used to define organised crime has enormous significance. The Penal Statues of several countries have criminalised organised crime, while others have used alternatives concepts and legislative devices to tackle the problem. For example, the Italian Penal Code does not specify what organised crime is, but it does define ‘criminal association.’ According to Article 416 of the Italian Penal Code, “when three or more persons associate for the purpose of committing more than one crime, whoever promotes or constitutes or organises the associations shall be punished, for that alone with imprisonment from 3 to 7 years.”
In 1968, the US Congress enacted the Omnibus Crime Control and Safe Street Act, that stated “organised crime includes the unlawful activities of the members of a highly organised, disciplined association, engaged in supplying illegal goods and services, including but not limited to gambling, prostitution, loan sharking, narcotics, labour racketeering and other unlawful activities of such association.” Here, the choice of certain words to conceptualise organised crime within legal, the definition accommodates a wide range of diversities so that the exemption from the legal statute would not be applicable through the limitation of legal definition.
Organised crime has also been defined in a number of narrower legal statutes. For example, the US RICO (Racketeer Influence and Corrupt Organisation) Act, 1970, states that racketeering is an act of threat involving murder, kidnapping, gambling, arson, robbery, burglary, extortion or dealing in narcotics or dangerous drugs and other denominated crime. A pattern of racketeering activity requires at least two acts of designated offences.
Japan has a special law on the prevention of irregularities by gangsters. It is meant to exercise necessary control on acts of intimidation and violence carried out by gangsters, to protect the activities of civic public organisations and to prevent danger to the life of citizens from gangland war. Article 2 of the aforesaid law defines a gang as “any organisation likely to help its members including members of affiliated organisations of the said organisation to collectively and habitually commit illegal acts of violence.”
Interpol defines organised crime as “any enterprise or group of persons engaged in continuing illegal activity which has its primary activities that bring together a client-public relationship which demands a range of goods and services which are illegal.”
However, while defining several attributes of such organised syndicates, few more conceptual clarifications need to be made. For example, John Dellow, Assistant Commissioner, Metropolitan Police, London, ascribes the following three basic features to organised crime:
Organised crime can involve any group of individuals that is structured, sophisticated and widely spread across nations.
It is a section of society that seeks to operate outside control of the people and their government.
It is a self-perpetuating, continuing criminal conspiracy for profit and power, using fear and corruption and seeking protection from law.
Elaborating on the nature and extent of organised crime, M.N. Singh, Commissioner of Mumbai Police, stated, “organised crime is a planned commission of criminal offences inspired by the pursuit of profit and power. It is also a resisting form of criminal activity that brings together a client-public relationship which demands a range of goods and services which are illegal.”
The MCOC Act of 1999 defines organised crime as any continuing unlawful activity by an individual, singly or jointly, either as member of an organised crime syndicate or on behalf of such syndicate by use of violence or threat of violence or intimidation or coercion, or other unlawful means with the objective of gaining primary benefits or gaining undue economic or other advantage for himself or any other person promoting insurgency.
Within such a wide range of definitions of organised crime under various penal statutes of several nations, some of the attributes/indicators that are common and integral to the structure of organised crime can be derived to clarify the essential contours of the phenomenon:
Continuity: The criminal group operates beyond the lifetime of individual members and is structured to survive changes in leadership.
Structure: The criminal group is structured as a collection of hierarchically arranged interdependent offices devoted to the accomplishment of a particular function. It may be highly structured or may be rather fluid. It is, however, distinguishable as the ranks are based on power and authority.
Membership: The membership of the core criminal group is restricted and based on common traits such as ethnicity, criminal background or common interests. Potential members are subjected to immense scrutiny and are required to prove their worth and loyalty to the criminal group. Rules of membership include secrecy, a willingness to commit any act for the group and intent to protect the group. In return for loyalty, the member receives economic benefits, certain prestige and protection from law enforcement agencies.
Criminality: The criminal group relies on continuing criminal activity to generate income. Thus, continuing criminal conspiracy is inherent in organised crime. Some activities such as supplying illegal goods and services directly produce revenue while others including murder, intimidation and burglary contribute to the group’s ability to earn money and enhance its power. The criminal group may be involved both in legitimate as well as illegitimate business activity at the same time.
Violence: Violence in society is often manifest without any perceptible reason. This violence may be manifested in social gatherings such as marriage parties, etc., and may include damage to property or assault on persons or reckless acts such as firing in the air or driving at high speed in crowded places, etc. The intent, here, is to over-awe and establish an atmosphere of fear in the larger community.
Intimidation: Intimidation may be direct and overt, or covert, and may be intended to secure co-operation in the commission of certain unlawful acts, or omission on the performance of some lawful functions. People are threatened to stay away from lawful deals relating to sale or purchase of property, and government officials are threatened in order to secure certain ends through their intervention or coerced oversight. Intimidation is often also exercised to secure compromises or settlements in inter- and intra-gang disputes.
Public Disorder: This includes display of power by gangs. At times, disorder is purposely created on otherwise orderly social occasions. Functions organised by rivals are disturbed. The public at large is harassed with impunity and without any consideration or regard to legal sanctions.
Monopolising certain trade: When criminal gangs are involved in legitimate activities, they try to establish monopolies through muscle power. For example: rail contracts in important railway centres, labour contracts in industrial towns and transport contracts in areas of high trading activity.
Corruption: Corruption is a significant indicator of the existence of organised crime. It is one of the important instruments used by criminal gangs. Subversion of enforcement officials is an important indicator of the effectiveness of organised criminal activity. Corruption at higher levels immensely encourages and strengthens criminal syndicates.
Protectors: They are corrupt public officials, attorneys and businessmen who individually or collectively protect the criminal group through abuses of status and/or privilege, collusion and violation of the law. As a result of the protectors’ efforts, the criminal group is insulated from both civil and criminal government actions. Corruption is the central tool of the criminal protectors. A criminal group relies on a network of corrupt officials to protect the group from the criminal justice system.
Organized Crime Support
Specialist Support: Organised criminal groups and their protectors rely on skilled individuals or support to assist the criminal groups on an ad hoc basis. Such specialists include pilots, chemists, lawyers, arsonists, hijackers, shooters, etc.
Social Support: Social support includes public officials who solicit the support of organised crime figures and business leaders who do business with organised crime syndicates, and interact with them at social gatherings, thus portraying the criminal group in a favourable or glamorous light.
A majority of countries are now confronted by the challenge of transnational organised crime, and the major patterns of organised crime variously documented in recent years include:
Illicit Drug Trafficking;
Illegal Arms Trafficking;
International Car Theft Rings; and
Criminal gangs have been operating in India since ancient times. The operation of ‘thugs’ during the British period is well documented. Another popular criminal grouping includes the dacoits of the Chambal region till recent times. Several such gangs used to operate in the States of Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh, and were neutralised as a result of police action and the social reform movement.
Organised crime in contemporary India is a more complex issue. In the modem urban world, the gap between aspiration and fulfilment is widening. In India, the typical socio-political circumstances prevailing since Independence and the advent of democracy provide the logical context of the strengthening of these trends. The fact that the Constitution of India aimed at achieving socio-economic equality in a popular, nebulous and pluralistic democracy has generated processes favouring the creation of greater political legitimacy for various patterns of deviance and crime. An upsurge in economic crimes includes a variety of financial scams, tax evasion and money laundering.
The year 1991 was a watershed in India’s economic resurgence. Liberalisation and globalisation of the economy allowed a free flow of foreign goods and capital into the country, and the dramatic growth in computerisation and e-business that followed have led to the emergence of cyber-crime.
All schemes introduced to boost the country’s foreign exchange reserves are open to manipulation. This is best illustrated by the Value Based Advance License (VABAL) scheme, where up to 60 per cent of the value of exports was allowed at zero import duty and with no income tax on the foreign exchange earning. This led to the hawala (illegal money transfer system) racket, where unscrupulous exporters started obtaining export license on the strength of bogus export orders, and made huge profit by arranging foreign remittances through hawala channels. M.N. Singh estimates that total hawala transactions in the country stood at Rs. 305 billion a year in 1994. This currency flight continues to be a lucrative underworld operation. The Mumbai bomb blast-case accused, such as Tiger Memon and Moolchand Shah alias Choksi, channelised their illegal earnings through this hawala route, which they also used to fund their bombing operations.
Various legislative initiatives have also given rise to other patterns of organised crime. In keeping with the spirit of the Directive Principles of the State Policy enshrined in the Constitution, many laws were enacted to remove social inequalities and evils, and to reduce economic disparities. Restrictions imposed on the consumption of alcohol gave rise to bootlegging activities in the States of Maharashtra and Gujarat. The Prohibition Law of 1949 in Mumbai gave rise to a lucrative clandestine trade in illicit liquor. In a city like Mumbai, where the price of alcohol is understandably high, bootlegging become a thriving business in the black-market and this was followed by the evolution of the popular illegal gambling system called Matka.
As the financial capital of India, Mumbai has long been the playground of several criminal gangs and their continuing warfare for dominance. The first systematic study of organised crime was conducted by V.K. Saraf, Commissioner of Police (Retd), Mumbai City, 1995, in which he traced the origin of organised criminal gangs in the city, their criminal activities and the inter-gang warfare. He also highlighted the main characteristics of the Mumbai gangs. After Independence, due to the prohibition policy adopted by the Government of Maharashtra, bootlegging or trade in illicit liquor became a lucrative business for criminal gangs. They made considerable sums of money by supplying illicit liquor to the local citizenry. Their activities also extended to the neighbouring State of Gujarat, which was declared ‘dry’ at the time of Independence and continues to be so till date. Varadarajan Mudaliar, who started as a porter at the Victoria Terminus (VT) Railway station, took to committing theft at the Mumbai Docks and later graduated to bootlegging in the nineteen sixties. He acquired considerable wealth through such activities and also subverted the law enforcement system considerably. In the mid nineteen eighties, he became so influential that he used to hold durbars (conclaves) in his area of influence to settle disputes.
Similarly, Haji Mastan and Yusuf Patel began as small-scale criminals and later took to smuggling gold and silver. They made a lot of money and invested it in ‘legitimate’ business ventures, primarily construction and real estate. Haji Mastan made an attempt on Yusuf Patel’s life in the nineteen seventies due to business rivalry but the latter survived. This was the beginning of the gang warfare in Mumbai, which continues unabated to date and has claimed hundreds of lives.
Another major gang to emerge in Mumbai was that of Varadarajan Mudaliar in the nineteen seventies on the basis of bootlegging and Matka operations. In later years, he diversified his illegal activities into smuggling, dock thefts and contract killing, ruling the city’s underground for over a decade till the mid-nineteen eighties.
Another example was Abdul Latif, the Mafia don of Ahmedabad in the State of Gujarat. He also started his career as a small time bootlegger and went on to monopolise the entire illicit liquor business in the State. In 1985, he aligned with notorious Pathan gangster Alamzeb of Mumbai to put down his rival Pappu Khan. His influence and power in the city of Ahmedabad increased so much that he was even elected as a corporator from five different municipal wards while still in jail (he was arrested in the year 1985 for the murder of a police officer) during the 1987 elections. Later, he linked up with the Dawood Ibrahim gang and killed Alamzeb. In January 1993, he received a consignment of 57 AK-56 rifles and 15,000 rounds of ammunition from Dawood Ibrahim for use during the post-Ayodhya riots. Abdul Latif, a mere bootlegger thus turned out to be a dangerous gangster-cum-terrorist-cum-politician in due course of time and became a major headache for the Gujarat Police, until he was nabbed at Dariyagunj in New Delhi on October 10, 1995, and was killed in a police encounter subsequently. His area of operation extended across the States of Gujarat, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra.23
THE DAWOOD IBRAHIM GANG
Dawood Ibrahim is the most powerful Mumbai Mafia ‘don’, with a countrywide network and extensive linkages abroad. He is one of the most powerful gangsters involved in transnational crimes, including narcotics smuggling, extortion and contract killing. He has lived in Dubai and is currently based in Pakistan. He had a phenomenal rise within a short time. The son of Ibrahim Kaskar, a former Criminal Investigation Department (CID) constable, he started off as a petty criminal and had the sympathies of Bombay (now Mumbai) Police due to his father’s connections. He used to assist smugglers to recover money from those who did not keep up their ‘word’. In the nineteen seventies, other gangs had become relatively weak and he took advantage of the vacuum, taking up smuggling of gold and silver. He built up his criminal empire with the help of his brothers and close associates, and was responsible for the elimination of hundreds of criminals belonging to rival gangs. The liberal bail policy pronounced by the Supreme Court helped him consolidate his gang. In the nineteen eighties, he became the most feared gangster of Mumbai. However, fearing for his life at the hands of rival gangs, he fled to Dubai, though his criminal network remained virtually intact. He currently controls his gang’s operations with complete impunity, as there is no extradition treaty between India and Dubai or Pakistan, and authorities in these countries have refused to extradite him – and, indeed, deny his presence on their soil despite overwhelming evidence. He also attempted to win social respectability by playing host to many influential politicians and film stars in Dubai.
Dawood’s brother Anees Ibrahim looks after the smuggling, narcotics trafficking and contract killing operations. Another key associate, Noora, looks after film financing and extortion from film personalities. Iqbal, a low profile operative, looks after his ‘legitimate’ business activities, including trading in the share markets of Hong Kong and jewellery and gold businesses. His gang consists of about 4,000 to 5,000 men. Fifty per cent of the Dawood gang members hail from Mumbai and the neighbouring districts and 25 per cent, including Abu Salem, his close lieutenant, hail from the State of Uttar Pradesh.
Due to changes in fiscal policies, the smuggling of gold and silver has become less lucrative. Currently, the primary activities of this gang are extortion, contract killing, film financing, drug trafficking, smuggling computer parts and illicit trade in arms and ammunition. The Dawood gang has been supplying arms both to criminals and terrorists.
Dawood Ibrahim has also invested heavily in ‘legitimate’ business ventures. His brother Anees owns a trading company in Dubai and Dawood has invested approximately Rs. 20 crores in the Diwan Shopping Centre in Mumbai and is also reported to have financial stakes in the Diamond Rock Hotel in Mumbai. Noora runs the Suhail Travel agency in Mumbai, which has since come under severe enforcement pressure. Dawood also reportedly has huge financial stakes in East West Airlines. His ‘legitimate’ business empire is estimated to have a turn over of approximately Rs.2,000 crores a year.
Dawood’s gang was secular in character before the year 1993 and used to attract ‘volunteers’ from both the Hindu and Muslim communities. However, after his involvement in the serial blasts in 1993, most of the Hindu gangsters have parted company from him. Sunil Samant, a dreaded gangster who continued to be loyal to him, was killed in Dubai in year 1995 by the Chota Rajan gang. Apart from his brothers, who are his chief counsellors, he continued to run his empire through Abu Salem26 and Chota Shakeel.
The Chhota Shakeel gang initially used to be a wing of Dawood Ibrahim’s ‘D Company’. Currently operating as an independent gang, though not in dispute with the Dawood gang, it is active in the south, central and north-west areas of Mumbai
Arun Gawli Gang
After the death of Ramya Naik, the mantel of leadership of his gang fell on the shoulders of Arun Gawli. There have been several inter-gang killings against the Dawood gang, and they have also targeted each other’s political and economic interests. This gang consists of about 2000 to 3000 persons. Interestingly, Arun Gawli was sent to prison in 1990 and even though he was granted bail by the Courts, he chose to remain in jail primarily to escape the wrath of the Dawood gang. He continued to run his criminal empire from within the jail premises by passing instructions through his visitors. His gang is involved in the collection of protection money from rich businessmen and also contract killings. He came out of prison and started a political party, the Akhil Bhartiya Sena. He has been sent back to jail for his alleged involvement in a contract killing case. Arun Gawli is politically very active and has considerable influence in the slum areas of Mumbai. He even posed a significant political challenge to the dominant Shiv Sena party in the State of Maharashtra.
Amar Naik Gang
This gang originated in the year 1980 and commenced with the collection of protection money from various vegetable vendors in the Dadar area of Mumbai city. When Ram Bhat, the leader of this gang was sentenced to imprisonment in a robbery case, Amar Naik took over the reigns. The main thrust of his criminal activities was to collect hafta (extortion money) from vegetable vendors, hawkers, bootleggers and smugglers. Due to a clash of interests, his gang had several violent skirmishes with the Arun Gawli gang, not only outside jail but even within the jail premises, where members of both the gangs were lodged, resulting in several killings. This gang has a strength of about 200 criminals. Amar Naik was killed on August 9, 1996, and the mantle of leadership has now fallen on the shoulders of Ashwin Naik, his younger brother, an engineer by profession.
Chota Rajan Gang
Chota Rajan commenced his criminal career with the Dawood Ibrahim gang. Hailing from Mumbai’s eastern suburb of Chembur, he started out with extortion rackets centred on the Sahyadri Krida Mandal, which organises the annual Ganesh festival at Tilak Nagar. Subsequent to the 1993 serial blasts in Mumbai, Dawood’s gang was divided on communal lines and Chota Rajan fell out with Dawood and fled from India. He raised a new gang in 1994-95. According to an estimate, the membership of this gang numbers about 800. His areas of operation are in the States of Maharashtra, Karnataka, Uttar actions. Chota Rajan is presently operating from South East Asia. Pradesh and Delhi. He is essentially a drug-trafficker and contract killer. He joined hands with Arun Gawli and was responsible for the killing of Sunil Samant, a trusted lieutenant of Dawood Ibrahim, in Dubai in 1995. It was a retaliatory killing. He has targeted many Dawood loyalists and his gang has also suffered in retaliatory
Characteristics of Mumbai Gangs
Based on the study of the Mumbai underworld, V.K. Saraf developed the following profile of membership and activities:
66.5 per cent of gangsters in his sample were in the age group of 19-28 years; 26 per cent in the 29 to 38 years category; and 6.5 per cent were above 40 years.
29 per cent studied up to primary school, 42.5 per cent up to secondary school and 5 per cent had college education.
A majority were drawn from a poor economic background and were propelled into the world of crime due to economic difficulties.
A majority of the gangsters hailed from outside Mumbai and approximately 30 per cent came from outside the State of Maharashtra.
The gangs were not based on region or religion, but after the 1993 serial blasts, Hindu gangsters have largely disassociated themselves from the Dawood Ibrahim gang.
A typical Mumbai gangster is a cool-headed schemer and ruthless and un-hesitatingly employs terrorist tactics when he perceives his interest is being jeopardised. He is prone to violence at the slightest provocation.
There is no initiation ceremony or ritual for the members. However, a ‘hopeful’ is involved in a criminal situation to test his mental capacity.
The gang leaders have a caring attitude towards the members. The families are well looked after by the leadership when the members are killed or are in jail.
A gang leader is not a total autocrat. He consults experienced people in the gang. After the death of Sunil Samant, Dawood Ibrahim relied on his brothers and his decisions were/are executed through Abu Salem and Chota Shakeel.
There is evidence of a loose confederation of gangsters. A smaller gang may merge into a bigger gang but does not lose its identity completely. The smaller gang carries out the decisions of the main gang but is left free to involve itself in any activities of its choice so long as it does not clash with the interests of the main gang.
The gangsters are required to display unflinching loyalty to the boss. Lack of loyalty means death.
The gangsters are divided into three categories, namely, sharp shooters, money collectors and liaison agents. The liaison agents deal with lawyers and law enforcement officials and assist in legal problems relating to incarcerated gangsters. Each gang has a certain number of auxiliary members. They have a history of being involved in criminal activity and generally provide shelter to the gangsters and act as a repository for weapons. Their premises are used for holding meetings and making telephone calls by the gangsters.
According to the Crime in India report for the year 1998, the total number of incidents of crime reported in the country was 6,180,996, wherein 1.779 million cases were reported under the Indian Penal Code (IPC), followed by 4,401,855 under the State laws, which showed an overall increase in the incidences of crime over the preceding five years. Table 1 reveals that, over the decades, there is a significant trend especially with regard to violent crime, property crimes and economic offence, with percentage/change in 1991 over 1961 being 341.9 in the case of violent crime. In property crimes, it is 39.33 per cent and in economic offences 83.8 per cent whereas percentage change in 1991 over 1981 in violent crimes and economic crimes are 27.4 and 25.6 per cent respectively. Overall, total cognisable crimes (consisting of three major categories viz. violent, property and economic offence) percentage have changed in 1991 over 1961 (i.e. over three decades to about 168.3 per cent)
The increasing incidence in property crime and economic offences is linked to the widening range of organised networks of crime in India, which are gradually getting more and more complex due to the changing nature and mode of operations in terms of sophisticated weaponry, financial transaction and communication systems. Thus, cheating, a non-violent type of offence (38,173 incidences registered in the year 1998) showed a steep rise of 68.1 per cent over the decade 1988-98. At the other end, a serious kind of organised crime like drug trafficking, under the Narcotic Drug and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) Act of 1986, also witnessed a rise of 36.8 per cent in the decade of 1988-98. Similarly, under the Explosive and Explosive Substances Act, there is an increase of 31.7 per cent cases during the decade 1988-98. It is important to mention that in the cases involving arms, drugs, and explosives and explosive substances, Uttar Pradesh has reported the highest number of incidences. It would be interesting to note that the data available from Crime Branch, Mumbai, (up to June 2001) shows that, in Mumbai’s gang land activities, a large number of recruitments are from the State of Uttar Pradesh.
In the Indian context, the focus areas of organised crime are smuggling, drug trafficking, arms trade, hawala, circulation of fake currency notes, extortion and contract killing.
Smuggling, consisting of clandestine operations leading to unrecorded trade, is a major economic offence. The volume of smuggling depends on the nature of fiscal policies pursued by the government. The nature of smuggled items and the quantum thereof is also determined by the prevailing fiscal policies.
India has a vast coastline of approximately 7,500 kms and also open borders with Nepal and Bhutan. The sub-continent is prone to large scale smuggling of contraband and other consumable items. Though it is not possible to quantify the value of contraband goods smuggled into India, it is possible to have some idea of the extent of smuggling from the value of contraband seized, even though this may constitute a very small proportion of the actual volume of smuggling.
The high point of smuggling was in the year 1990, when contraband worth Rs. 7.6 billion was seized. Introduction of various liberalisation measures, such as the revised gold and silver import policies in 1992-93, have had their impact on seizures that declined by 30 per cent (Rs. 5.36 billion in 1992) and subsequently to Rs. 3.89 billion in 1993-94.
In 1987, gold occupied the top position amongst smuggled items, followed by narcotics, electronic watches and silver. In 1995, however, narcotics occupied the number one position followed by gold, electronics, foreign currency and synthetic fabrics.
It is perhaps the most serious organised crime affecting the country and is truly transnational in character. India is geographically situated between the countries of the Golden Triangle and the Golden Crescent, and is a transit point to the West for narcotic drugs produced in these regions. India also produces a considerable amount of illicit opium, part of which also finds place in the illicit market in different forms. Illicit drug trade in India centres around five major substances, namely, heroin, hashish, opium, cannabis and amphetamines. Seizures of cocaine, amphetamines and Lysergic Acid Diethylamide (LSD) are not unknown but are insignificant and rare.
Our borders have traditionally been most vulnerable to drug trafficking. In 1996, out of the total quantity of heroin seized in the country, 64 per cent was traced to the Golden Crescent. The Indo-Myanmar border is also quite sensitive but the percentage of seizures is much smaller. The India-Sri Lanka border has also started contributing considerably to the drug trade. The seizure of narcotics from 1991 to 1995, and persons involved.
In 1995, 13,554 persons, including 130 foreign nationals, were arrested under the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act.
Illegal Arms Trade
Light arms proliferation is a global phenomenon. It has extracted a heavy toll in terms of human lives and socio economic development of entire regions, costs of which can never be adequately computed. In Afghanistan, the death toll due to arms rivalry has crossed the 1,00,000 mark and is still rising, while Cambodia, Sri Lanka and some African states continue to witness conflict-related deaths in their thousands. India has also suffered due to trafficking in illicit arms. The twin phenomena of rising crime combining with armed conflicts and terrorism are directly linked to the global proliferation and movement of weapons.
The Purulia Arms Drop Case is the most glaring example of illicit arms trafficking. On December 17, 1996, an Antonov 26 aircraft dropped over 300 AK 47/56 series rifles and 20,545 rounds of ammunition, Drangnov sniper weapons, rocket launchers and night vision devices in the Purulia village of West Bengal State. The aircraft was bought from Latvia for US $ 2 million and chartered by a Hong Kong registered company, Carol Airlines, and payments were made primarily through foreign bank accounts. The aircraft was ferried to Thailand where it was registered. After a dry run over the airdrop area, the aircraft moved to Bulgaria from where the consignment of arms was picked up using an end-user certificate issued by a foreign country.
According to data reported in Crime in India (1997), the violation of Arms Act showed a steady increase of 38.3 per cent over the decade 1987-97. The highest incidence (51,326), constituting 69.3 per cent of the total cases under the Arms Act, were reported from Uttar Pradesh. The crime rate varied from a minimum of 0.1 per cent in Karnataka and Goa to a maximum of 31.9 per cent in Uttar Pradesh against a national average of 7.8 per cent. n Mumbai, illicit arms trade is increasing at an alarming rate. In the nineteen seventies and early eighties, Mumbai gangsters primarily used knives and daggers. However, the scene completely changed with the entry of sophisticated weaponry, and currently the underworld is reported to be using the AK series of assault rifles, carbines, 9mm pistols, hand grenades and machine guns, among other weapons.
Mumbai has also been used as a transit point for drug trafficking. The break-up of Soviet Russia has opened new routes for Mumbai. At present, Mandrax tablets, manufactured in mofussil Maharashtra, find their way through Mumbai to South Africa, Mauritius and other countries. The ISI of Pakistan and other terrorist groups channel drug money into the illicit arms trade. In India, Dawood Ibrahim largely controls drug trafficking.
Hawala / Money Laundering Business
Hawala or money laundering refers to the conversion of illegal and ill-gotten money into legal money so that it can be integrated into the legitimate economy. Proceeds of drug-related crimes are an important source of money laundering the world over. Money laundering indicates a serious threat not only to the criminal justice system but also to the country’s sovereignty. The tainted illegal money is being accumulated and integrated into the economy by organised racketeers, smugglers, economic offenders and anti-social elements and it adversely affects the internal security of the country.
Investigations into hawala-related crimes are conducted under the Foreign Exchange Regulation Act (FERA). Even though the word hawala has not been defined in FERA, the essence of the Act is that any person who retains foreign exchange abroad or sends foreign exchange abroad without the Reserve Bank of India’s permission is guilty of violating FERA provisions. Hawala operations received a boost with the economic liberalisation policy introduced during 1991-92. According to the crime branch of the Mumbai Police, hawala transactions went up to $ 112 million during 1993-94. The Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI) investigated a couple of commercial fraud cases involving repatriation of millions of rupees. Money was received in India through banks on account of exports which had, in fact, not taken place and the custom documents submitted to the banks and Directorate General of Foreign Trade (DGFT) were found to be forged. However, cash, according to Crime Branch reports, has become India’s top export after economic reforms.
In the context of Mumbai, hawala operations played a significant role in the 1993 Mumbai serial bomb blast case and were primarily routed through Tiger Memon, Moolchand Shah alias Choksi, Mohammed Dosa and others.
Circulation of Fake Currency Notes
In recent years, the arrival of fake currency notes by land as well as air routes appears to have increased. The man who handles these operations in Dubai is Aftab Bakti, who works in tandem with Habib Khan and Iqbal Mujahid, an ISI agent from Pakistan.39 They use Indian expatriates in Dubai as carriers who are paid Rs. 7000 in cash and air ticket as compensation for carrying the contraband. They are given parcels containing fake currency notes wrapped in aluminium foil and concealed in toy boxes or flower vases. On arrival at the airport, they are allowed to pass through the Green Channel by obliging customs officials. A contact man meets the carrier outside the terminal building by a pre-arranged signal and the parcel is handed over to him. In a July 2000 detection, Mumbai Police recovered approximately Rs. 150 million in fake currency notes, mostly in Rs. 500 denomination and partly in Rs. 100 denomination, and arrested 20 persons. The contact person in Mumbai was Ismail Murani Sayyed alias Kassam. Akhtar Moharram Hussain Farooqui was looking after the distribution network. Similar recoveries were made in the States of Rajasthan, Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat, Karnataka, and Delhi by the DRI and Customs. There is sufficient ground to believe that fake currency notes are being printed in the Pakistani Security Press. Furthermore, Dawood Ibrahim has been reportedly working in tandem with the ISI to undermine the Indian economy.
One of the most threatening activities by Mafia gangs in India is extortion (hafta). Extortion was almost non-existent in Mumbai city till the end of the nineteen eighties. Today, it is a major concern for the city’s Police. Mafia gangs have started terrorising people from all walks of life for extortion. Almost all the prominent gangs of Dawood Ibrahim, Chhota Rajan, Shakeel, Abu Salem, etc, are involved in the extortion racket in Mumbai. All big business personalities are their targets. In the case of well-known and rich personalities, if money is not paid, an example is made of a couple of ‘targets’ who are killed in order to terrorise and secure the compliance of others. Chhota Shakeel, Fahim, Salim, Chiplun and Rashid Malbari operate the biggest extortion racket on behalf of Dawood Ibrahim through the Dubai-Karachi-Mumbai network. This practice predominantly exists in all big cities like Delhi, Kolkata and Mumbai. It is generally operated by local gangsters or goondas, popularly referred to as bhai, under the umbrella of big names like Dawood Ibrahim, Chhota Rajan, Chhota Shakeel, Babloo Srivastava etc. Hafta is usually collected as ‘protection’ money from middle-range and small businessmen.
The offence of murder is punishable under section 302 of the Indian Penal Code by life imprisonment or a sentence of death, but this has little deterrent value, as the chance of detection in contract killings is quite low. The method adopted in contract killings is to engage a professional gang for a monetary consideration. Part of the prefixed amount, paid in advance, is called supari. The rest of the payment is made after the commission of the crime. The Mumbai gangs specialise in contract killings. The amount they charge is quite large and varies with the socio-economic status of the targets. The Dawood Ibrahim gang has been responsible for the killing of several rich businessmen, industrialists and politicians. Gulshan Kumar, the Mumbai music magnate, was one of the high profile victims of this scourge.41
With special focus on Mumbai city, there are a few other areas of business that organised criminals/mafia have entered, including the construction, film, hotel and cable industries.
ave entered, including the construction, film, hotel and cable industries.
Land is the most precious commodity in Mumbai and has naturally attracted the attention of the underworld. Builders have used them as musclemen and in many instances they have themselves been rendered victims of their greed. Many gangsters transformed themselves into builders as the construction industry allowed enough scope for ploughing black money. The following prominent builders have been killed in the past:
The Dawood gang killed Om Praksh Kukreja on September 18, 1995, as he was perceived to be close to the Chhota Rajan gang.
Vallabhbhai Thakkar was shot dead by the Arun Gawli gang on April 17, 1997, because he was close to the Dawood Ibrahim gang.
Abu Salem gang killed Praveen Jain on March 7, 1995.
Shantilal Patel was shot dead by the Arun Gawli gang on 1991.
The Arun Gawli gang killed Natwarlal Desai on August 18, 1997, over certain financial transactions.
Majid Khan, another important figure in the construction industry, was killed by the Chhota Rajan gang on March 1, 1999
The Film industry in Mumbai provides direct employment to approximately 500,000 people and indirect employment to nearly another one million. It has an annual turnover of approximately Rs. 12.50 billion. A significant proportion of its transactions takes place in black money. The underworld has developed a strong business interest in all the departments of the film industry. Many film artists and other film personalities are known to keep direct contacts with the underworld. This has led to coercion, threats and even physical assault in which many have died.
Having made their entry into business activities mentioned above, underworld gangs and organised crime syndicates have also made a foray into the hotel industry, the annual turn over of which is Rs. 7.2 billion. Table 9 lists some prominent victims of organised criminal violence from the hotel industry in Mumbai.
Criminal gangs are vying with each other to establish control over the cable industry. In addition to extorting money from cable operators, they also force cable companies to appoint their cronies as sub-area operators. Gangs have obstructed the use of latest scientific technology like fiber optics in the cable industry. In Mumbai, the Arun Gawli gang killed executive Ram Jethanand Panjabi on September 11, 1998. On April 14, 1999 cable operator Vijay Dattaram Lad was killed, again by the Arun Gawli gang as he reportedly refused to meet their extortion demand. Chhota Rajan’s brother Deepak reportedly runs a company called Cable Cop in Mumbai, which offers film producers protection from cable TV operators who telecast their new movies without authorisation. Deepak, according to police sources charges producers between Rs 25 and 50 lakh. According to senior police sources, initially, the producers associate themselves with the mafia to gain a foothold in the industry. However, after they make their mark, the mafia gangs demand their share.
Characteristics of Mumbai Gangs
Based on field data, a few observations regarding the characteristics of gangs in Mumbai are delineated.
Approximately 25 per cent of the gangsters belong to the age group between 19-25 years and another 30 per cent belong to the age group between 25-35 years. Approximately 5 per cent constitute the age group between 41-60 years.
It is found that most of the young gangsters do not attain education up to 10th standard level (approximately 80 per cent) while approximately 16 per cent reach the Higher Secondary Stage (HSC). Only about 4 per cent had reached graduation level or post graduation degrees.
Traditionally, a large proportion of migrants to Mumbai have originated from the two northern States of Uttar Pradesh and Bihar, as also from within a few regions of Maharashtra itself. Interviews with police officials and youth reveal that migrants primarily emerge from the four eastern districts of Uttar Pradesh and parts of Bihar. Some of them also originate from the Nagpur and Aurangabad regions of Maharashtra.
Predominantly, as perceived by the police officials – who are mostly of Hindu origin – the main recruits to the Mumbai underworld belong to the Muslim community. A few hard-core organised gangs, patronised by the gang leaders with Muslim origin, facilitate this. This attribution of a Muslim identity is not devoid of the usual bias carried by the Hindu majority who consider the Muslims as non-conformists and violent in behaviour.
Living Conditions and Environment
A majority of the youth drawn into the gangs is from the dense slum locations where the residents are always looking out for better opportunities. These youth come in contact with the slumlords or gang leaders and are attracted to the money, power and the glamour enjoyed by their local gang leaders. They are aware of the narratives of making ‘easy money’ through unlawful activities and fall prey to the world of crime. The media also plays an important role in raising their aspirations and trying their luck in the ‘city of gold and silver.’
These youth are exposed to the stark reality of slums, which is full of misery and deprivation. To escape such darkness they rush to an illusory light, which is momentary and also life threatening. The family background also influences the entry into crime world according to some respondents. Domestic quarrels, alcohol consumption by father/brother, gambling dens, pleasure seeking peer groups and sexual abuses are experiences that impel the youth to anomie. Crammed living conditions and over population are also factors conducive to pathological development.
The gangs are not based in terms of region or religion of their recruits but subsequent to the 1993 serial bomb blasts, the Hindu gangsters have substantially disassociated themselves from the Dawood Ibrahim gang.
Strategies To Combat Crime
Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act (MCOCA), 1999
With the object of combating organised crime in the city, the Maharashtra government enacted the Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act (MCOCA) in the year 1999. Under MCOCA:
1. Whoever commits an offence of organised crime shall,
if such offence has resulted in the death of any person, be punishable with death or imprisonment for life and shall also be liable to a fine; subject to a minimum fine of rupees one hundred thousand;
in any other case, be punishable with imprisonment for a term which shall not be less than five years but which may extend to imprisonment for life and shall also be liable to a fine, subject to a minimum of rupees five hundred thousand.
2. Whoever conspires or attempts to commit or advocates, abets or knowingly facilitates the commission of an organised crime or any act preparatory to organised crime, shall be punishable with imprisonment for a term which shall be not less than five years but which may extend to imprisonment for life, and shall also be liable to a fine, subject to a minimum of rupees five hundred thousand.
3. Whoever harbours or conceals or attempts to harbour or conceal any member of an organised crime syndicate shall be punishable with imprisonment for a term which shall not be less than five years but which may extend to imprisonment for life and shall also be liable to a fine, subject to a minimum of rupees five hundred thousand.
4. Any person who is a member of an organised crime syndicate shall be punishable with imprisonment for a term which shall not be less than five years but which may extend to imprisonment for life and shall also be liable to a fine, subject to a minimum of rupees five hundred thousand.
5. Whoever holds any property derived or obtained from commission of an organised crime or which has been acquired through organised crime syndicate funds shall be punishable with a term which shall not be less than three years but which may extend to imprisonment for life and shall also be liable to fine, subject to a minimum of rupees two hundred thousand.
If any person on behalf of a member of an organised crime syndicate is, or, at any time has been, in possession of movable or immovable property which he cannot satisfactorily account for, he shall be punishable with imprisonment for a term which shall not be less than three years but which may extend to 10 years and shall also be liable to fine, subject to a minimum of rupees one hundred thousand and such property shall also be liable for attachment and forfeiture, as provided by Section 20.
The opinion of about 120 police officials and 20 public prosecutors was sought to determine whether MCOCA was proving a significant deterrent to organised crime in Mumbai. Responses suggested that it was difficult to secure bail in MCOCA cases and that this gave the Act some ‘punch’. In other criminal cases, a policy had been laid down by Justice Krishna lyer in 1977 that ‘made bail and not jail’ the credo of the judiciary, which had helped offenders to secure easy release. Many organised criminals, thus, escaped from the clutches of law and entered into a pattern of hardcore recidivism.
For example, Dawood Ibrahim, along with seven others, had robbed a businessman on February 4, 1974. All the accused were arrested in this case but later released on bail. They were convicted on July 3, 1977, and sentenced by the Sessions Court for a period of 7 years rigorous imprisonment. However, by that time, they had left India and Dawood had established his underworld network. Thus, organised criminals take full advantage of such ‘judicial liberalism’ and a soft bail policy, much to the disadvantage of the people and law enforcers. Under MCOCA, ‘not bail but jail’ becomes the controlling principle.
Furthermore, to deal with MCOCA cases, the following important judicial provisions have also been made:
Jurisdiction of Special Courts
Every offence under MCOCA is to be tried only by a Special Court within whose local jurisdiction it was committed or as the case may be by the Special Court constituted for trying offences under Subsection (1) of Section 5.
In MCOCA cases, access is given to Police that instead of 90 days of cases concerned, officer can file charge sheet within 180 days.
After producing the accused in the court within 24 hours, in MCOCA cases, an arrested person can be kept under police custody for 30 days instead of the 15 days in ordinary criminal cases.
Protection of Witness
Notwithstanding anything contained in the Code, the proceedings under this Act may be held in camera if the Special Court so desires.
A Special Court may, on an application made by a witness in any proceeding before it or by the Public Prosecutor in relation to such witness or on its own motion, take such measures as it deems fit for keeping the identity and address of any witness secret.
In particular, and without prejudice to the generality of the provisions of sub-section (2), the measures which a Special Court may take under that sub-section may include:
the holding of the proceedings at a place to be decided by the Special Court;
the avoiding of the mention of the names and addresses of the witnesses in its orders or judgements or in any records of the case accessible to public;
the issuing of any directions for securing that the identity and addresses the witnesses are not disclosed;
that, it is in the public interest to order that all or any of the proceeding pending before such a Court shall not be published in any manner.
Any person who contravenes any direction issued under subsection (3) shall be punishable with imprisonment for a term, which may extend to one year and with fine that may extend to one thousand rupees.
For the protection of witness, it is laid down that, if not willing, the witness need not be produced in Court. Thus, under such a judicial dispensation, there is no fear of victimisation.
Especially in MCOCA cases, it is said that a Police Officer not below the rank of Superintendent of Police should be supervising the case (i.e. Deputy Commissioner or higher rank officials).
Only in MCOCA cases, if the arrested gang member wants to confess, his/her voice can be recorded by some Deputy Commissioner of Police or an Officer of higher rank, and such confession is admissible by Court. But, the Deputy Commissioner of Police or higher rank officer who would record the confession should not be investigating or supervising the case.
On the basis of opinion given by 120 Police Officials including Commissioner of Police, Joint Commissioner (Crime), Deputy Commissioner (Crime) Zonal Deputy Commissioner of Police, CBI Officers, etc., and 10 Public Prosecutors, 10 Defence lawyers and two Judges dealing with MCOCA cases, this paper puts forth the following propositions for combating organised crime.
Any effective strategy to deal with organised crime has to deal with each one of these features adequately. For this purpose, police and other law enforcement agencies need to be strengthened.
There should be utilisation of specially selected teams with specially trained young officers known for their integrity and such officers should be given a relatively long tenure.
There should be a multi-disciplinary approach with the team comprising of officials from Police, Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), DRI, Enforcement Directorate (ED), Income Tax, Intelligence Bureau (IB), Customs, etc.
There should be specialists in banking, accountancy and financial analysis, computer operations etc for building up a data bank on organised crime and updating the same.
There should be adequate levels of intelligence sharing with various agencies at State and Central levels.
In all these areas, while a few police forces, like the Mumbai Police, have acquired some expertise, there is still a great deal to be done to control the growing menace of organised crime in other parts of India.
It is clear that the Indian Police and in fact the Indian criminal justice system are not adequately geared to deal with the growing menace of the organised crime. Primarily, the police lack (a) adequate legal instruments, (b) specialised training, (c) responsive organisational structures, (d) technical resources, (e) effective co-ordination mechanisms with other agencies, and (f) adequate intelligence to deal with organised crime. There is also no sense of urgency on the part of the government in remedying these deficiencies.
A new law to control organised crime has been talked about at the national level for the last four years, but Maharashtra is perhaps the only State which has passed such a separate legislation, and the outcome of implementation is still to be assessed.
The first point to be noticed about organised crime is that the actual perpetrator of crime is a mercenary or a foot soldier, and the brain behind the organised crime is somewhere else, even far away from the country and out of the clutches of law. The ‘soldiers’ or actual perpetrators are, moreover, increasing in number. Under the existing legal framework and the work ethos of the Indian Police, the maximum that can be done is to arrest the foot soldiers. For instance, if arms are smuggled, efforts are directed towards arresting the person who is actually smuggling the arms. Once he is arrested, the focus of investigations and the prosecution is to chargesheet him and get him convicted as quickly as possible, rather than to unearth the entire conspiracy. Once the conviction takes place, the investigating officer is happy that he has successfully prosecuted the case. The top or even the second and third line leadership of the gangs remains untouched. The system and the laws do not encourage the investigating officers at the top to go deep into the matter, to unravel the entire conspiracy and to destroy the criminal organisation. Firstly, it requires a great deal of time to unravel all these aspects. Secondly, the exiting provisions relating to conspiracy under the Indian Penal Code (IPC) make it difficult to obtain the conviction of all concerned. Thirdly, even if the case is successfully prosecuted, it only accounts for disposal of one case while evaluating the work of the officer. Thus, even though the police claim to have solved a majority of the crimes committed by organised gangs, in effect they have not been able to administer a crippling blow to any gang.
Organised crime can only be destroyed when the financial power of the organisation is broken. This requires expertise in financial and accounting matters, understanding methods of money transfer, including hawala deals, acumen for financial analysis, etc. The police organisations in India are yet to build such expertise. Such expertise will never be fully available within the department, and there must also be a system of collaboration by which the requisite expert advice can be obtained from outside the enforcement set-up, and even internationally.
The required type of expertise can only be built when separate task forces to handle organised crime are created and officers are given sufficient tenures on the job. Every policeman cannot investigate organised crime. It is only special task forces working in close co-operation with the police stations, which can achieve results. The special task forces also require technical resources for surveillance, for monitoring telecommunications, information technology (IT) specialists, etc.
Given the modern techniques employed in the commission of organised crimes, task forces thus constituted must be duly assisted by IT specialists, financial analysts, banking, legal and other experts. While the police department may employ a few of such experts, it will be necessary to constitute panels of such experts whose services can be availed of by the police from time to time, depending on the requirement. Most importantly, there is a need to evolve an effective co-operative mechanism for timely sharing of information and for co-ordinating the work of different agencies investigating different aspects of various cases or organisations, so as to a achieve the common objective of building a strong case against a gang. Unfortunately, the efforts at co-operation made between various agencies, including the State Police and various Central organisations, have not been very successful.
The objective of an investigation into organised crime should be the prosecution of gang members at all levels of its hierarchy, and particularly, the top leadership.
In addition, the law has to deal with organised crime on a footing different from that of conventional crime, as regards (a) admissibility of evidence, (b) appreciation of the evidence, and (c) sentencing. The argument whether there should be a special law for controlling organised crime or whether additional provisions can be made in the existing laws is not really relevant. It is, however, evident that the existing legal framework for trial and sentencing is hardly appropriate and commensurate with the challenges posed by the problem. The reasons why this inappropriate legal framework persists may be partly rooted in a lack of critical awareness of social realities, but it is certainly also the case that quite a few among the dominant sections of society and the political leadership seem to have developed vested interests in the imperfections of the existing legal framework. Organised crime, more often than not, has political overtones. Any concerted effort to address and resolve the problem will consequently require the support of all major political parties.
At present, the responses to organised crime at all important stages of the criminal justice system – investigation, trial and sentencing, and the post-conviction detention stage – are inadequate and imperfect, both in terms of intensity and the nature of response. The substantive law, the procedural law and the limited resources provided to investigating and prosecuting agencies to tackle organised crime, and the ability of the elite to frustrate investigations, all hamper any practical possibility of seriously curbing organised crime.
There are various reasons as to why organised crime should be treated differently from traditional individual criminality. Firstly, the enormous power and influence wielded by such organisations; secondly, the much greater potential physical and economic harm caused to society by organised crime; and thirdly, the enormity and seriousness of the implications of organised crime for the political, social and legal systems that stand discredited by their presence.
Conspiracy is an integral aspect of organised crime. Therefore, the issue of whether the evidence of conspiracy is relevant under Section 10 of the Evidence Act assumes importance. However, the interpretation accorded to Section 10 of Evidence Act by which only that evidence which justifies furtherance of common intention is made relevant is not conducive to secure convictions in organised crime trials. The role and the value of approver evidence in organised crime trials has to be viewed in the light of this new form of criminality and its potential for harm. Two aspects are particularly significant: (i) the degree and quality of corroboration required needs to be varied in cases of organised crime; and (ii) the approver deserves to be protected from the fellow criminals. Measures also need to be taken to protect the next of kin and others who are exposed to risk because of their relationship with the approver. Though the joint liability or group liability principle is accepted under Indian law, our laws still fail to criminalise various categories of undesirable organisations or enterprises as such. All these lacunae are covered in the US by the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organisations (RICO) Act. The burden of proving certain actions should be shifted upon the accused, by providing rebuttable presumptions, like if it were proved that the accused has kidnapped, the presumption would be that it is for ransom.
A defective legal system creates ample room for the accused (in a given case) to evade the intent of the law. As the case goes under judicial scrutiny, the role of the public prosecutor and defence lawyer comes into focus. It has been observed more often than not that there is a lack of proper liaison between the police and public prosecutors. Public prosecutors are usually paid by the government and are often not sufficiently competent to sustain an independent practice. To increase earnings, there is a need to take up additional number of cases, which at times goes beyond their capacity to handle. A Chief Public Prosecutor (PP) disclosed that usually three to four cases are dealt with by a PP on any given day. Since the government pays them, no personal liaison is established between the victim/client and PP, whereas, a defence lawyer has a personal equation with the client, as he/she is also concerned with his/her commercial profit and reputation. The PPs and judges dealing with MCOCA cases have no specialised background to deal with such trials. They are merely transferred from ordinary civil and criminal courts, and have no specialised exposure or training that equips them to deal with organised crime. This results in a failure to appreciate the unique character of these crimes, and the dangers they constitute to the structure of society and the security of the state.
The need that these types of cases have to be dealt expeditiously was accepted when Special Courts were set up for their trial. Unfortunately, even the Special Courts take a long time to dispose of such cases. The Mumbai Serial Blasts case illustrates the point. The blasts occurred on March 12, 1993 and police filed chargesheets on November 4, 1993 (i.e., in less than eight months) whereas the Special Court framed charges in May 1995. Among the 145 accused persons arrested, 98 were enlarged on bail. (A total number of 387 bail applications have been filed indicating that multiple applications have been filed by the same accused). A total of 4,399 miscellaneous applications were filed (till December 1999), the intention of defence at times being quite simply to obstruct and derail the trial process. The Court is required to decide on all these applications. More often than not, due to the large number of pending cases, courts are blamed for the chronic delay in trial. As on July 23, 2001, since 1999, 40 cases had been registered under MCOCA. Out of these, six cases resulted in conviction, while some cases were discharged. Eight cases were still pending investigation and 23 cases were pending trial. There is a case of a Special Court dealing with only one case and the trial is yet to be completed. This proves that the ‘villain’ is not the number of pendancies, but our legal procedures, which need radical simplification. (1) The process of framing charges should be made simple, like committal proceedings; Sections 227 and 228 of the Criminal Procedure Code (Cr.PC) may be suitably amended; (2) There should be only one appeal on facts and procedures; (3) Witnesses need not be called to appear in the witness box as a matter of routine. In many cases, their evidence could be taken as an affidavit and this would cut down delays. (4) Immunity is granted to the accused for securing his evidence against the co-accused under Sections 306 and 307 of the Cr. PC. Not many of the accused presently wish to become approvers, as they do not benefit significantly from such a choice. For example, in the existing law, if the approver is in jail, he would continue to be in jail till the termination of the trial. If the trials are fast, the approver would not mind. But, trials are protracted and take decades to be terminated. The result is that the accused (approver) is not willing to co-operate while he remains in jail for such a long period. To illustrate, in the Rajghat case, the approver remained in jail for 10 years and the co-accused got punished only 12 years after conviction. The law needs to be amended to the effect that the approver will be released on bail after his testimony in the court is completed, subject to the condition that the investigating agency has no objection. This may perhaps encourage some accused to become approvers.
The Way Forward
If the need to deal with cases of organised crime differently and as a distinct category is accepted, an effective response would be to enact a separate Organised Crime Code rather than making patchwork amendments to the IPC. The existing laws of extradition have also been of little help. Certain fugitives like Anis Kaskar, Dawood Ibrahim, Tiger Memon, Chhota Rajan, etc, wanted for serious offences in India, have been living in various countries abroad and our law enforcers are totally helpless.
Merely enacting special laws is, however, not adequate. Police and other investigating agencies should not be lulled into inaction till a special law is enacted, or after such a law is in place, but should vigorously pursue investigation. We need to develop specialised infrastructure for investigation and prosecution of such crimes. Stricter control on possession of illegal firearms and explosives, and also provisions for enhanced punishment for those found in possession of ordnance type of bombs/hand grenades, explosives like RDX, etc, are needed. The criminal-intelligence system also needs to be immensely strengthened.
As one of the essential features of organised crime is its determined effort at subverting the police, administrative, political and judicial systems, those who collaborate with organised crime need to be severely dealt with under law. Such compromised elements need to be taken out of the system.
Role of Media and Community Awareness
Mass Media, both print and electronic, can play a significant role in leading an awareness programme against organised crime. As has been the trend in the present era, commercialisation has engulfed all spheres of life including the media. The glorification of crime through the media is the dominant trend, and this creates an illusion of a certain glamorous life style that does not exist in reality. The media can play an important role in portraying a real picture of the phenomenon and also attempt to build trust between the police and citizenry. Indeed, the media could play an effective role in creating awareness about the severity of organised criminal activity. A large number of people living in different areas of Mumbai city, such as Nagpada, Agripada, Kurla, Chembur, Bhendi Bazar, etc., have expressed their dissatisfaction with the present situation, stating that liaison between the police and public is a myth. Specifically, in the slum areas, people directly blame the police for indulging in extortion, reportedly not even sparing petty shopkeepers. At the other end, a large number of lower-rank police personnel state that people living in such areas support and encourage criminality and even provide shelter to many gangsters, creating a mystique around them as ‘bhai’, and harbouring hopes that they would themselves be leaders of the locality in future. If organised crime is to be curbed in the city, it is imperative that the citizenry be involved in its prevention, and that public opinion is built up against such crimes. In this complex process, the media can act as a catalyst, because it has the strength and influence to reach out to people and to create mass awareness.
TERRORISM V CRIME
Crime is easy to define as any behavior that is socially unacceptable and causes harm to an individual or a group of individuals. Theft, robbery, burglary, corruption, embezzlement, physical and mental violence, rape and killing are easier to categorize as crimes. But when it comes to terrorism, it becomes hard to have a universally acceptable definition. This difficulty to pinpoint an act as a terrorist act has been one of the major reasons why the world is grappling with a hundred headed monster called terrorism today. Though everyone accepts that terrorism is a kind of crime, a heinous one at that, the very fact that a terrorist for one is a martyr for others has made the situation very confusing. This article intends to differentiate between terrorism and crime and also to understand the relationship between the two concepts.
There are laws to deal with crimes in all societies and punishments are meted out to criminals in accordance with the severity of these crimes. But how does one decide on the punishment for a crime as big as killing hundreds of people with a single act of terrorism as has been the case in recent times. Terrorism is designed to create panic and to spread fear in the minds of a society. Terrorism is violence personified and a naked truth that has spread its tentacles in all parts of the world and is not confined to a country anymore.
If we look back into history and even before than in ancient civilizations, punishments for some serious crimes were brutal in nature and meted out to criminals in the open for all to see and take a lesson from them. This was done to strike fear in the minds of the people not to indulge in such crimes. It could be described as state terrorism but as it was meant for the overall good and betterment of the society it was accepted.
The modern system of crime and punishment is based upon a judicial system where a criminal pleads guilty and is sentenced to prison in accordance with his crime. But a terrorist, even when he is caught, never accepts guilty as in his views, what he has done is not wrong at all and done for the good of a section of the population. This takes us to the origin or roots of terrorism and also the difficulty of finding a universally acceptable definition of terrorism. Terrorism as an international menace is not new as many countries of the world are facing the wrath of terrorism for decades now.
It is easy to distinguish between a crime and an act of terrorism on grounds of guilt/innocence proceedings and sentencing procedures. An ordinary criminal, when he pleads guilty, is awarded a sentence in keeping with his crime and serves the sentence in prison. But terrorism works on the basis of an ideology, it is a belief that motivates a person or a group of individuals to engage in acts of terrorism as they believe that this is the only way to make their grievances heard or felt. If Sardar Bhagat Singh threw bombs in a legislative assembly, he was considered a terrorist by the British administration and tried accordingly, but for the entire Indian population, he was a hero, a martyr, a symbol of resistance to British oppression.
Similarly, though Sri Lankan government and the rest of the world saw LTTE as a terrorist outfit, the leaders and cadres of LTTE believed themselves as being freedom fighters against a tyrannical and oppressive regime that did not listen to the grievances of the Tamils living in Sri Lanka. The same can be said about insurgents engaged in terrorist acts in many other parts of the world including Kashmir, Israel, Middle East, Chechnya, Bosnia, Somalia, Yemen and African countries. Oppression and suppression of minorities for a long time through discrimination and by denying them their basic human rights, or denying them a right of governance breeds hatred. It ultimately finds voice in terrorism as oppressed people feel it is the only way to get justice.
This was how the world perceived terrorism until 9/11 happened. The images of the twin towers collapsing and the subsequent loss of 3000 lives shook the entire world and made the world say aloud that enough is enough. Those who were against terrorism got united under the leadership of the US and the then US President even went to the extent of saying that countries that pledged support to war on terror were allies while those against it were enemies of the alliance. The world clearly got divided into those who were against terrorism and those who supported it.
The untiring efforts of the allies in the war on terror has resulted in many victories amidst sporadic acts of violence indulged in by terrorists but with the recent killing of Osama Bin laden by American forces in Pakistan clearly signal that the civilized society is winning its war on terror and there is no place for a heinous crime like terrorism in the civilized world. No ideology, no belief can justify killings of innocence people, and no religion allows anyone to indulge in such gruesome acts
.• While terrorism as an international phenomenon is a more recent phenomenon, crime has always been there in societies.
• One can deal with criminals through a process of trials in courts and sentencing criminals into prison, it is hard to deal with terrorists as they have a strong motivation to indulge in heinous crimes and never plead guilty even when caught.
• Terrorists are also criminals but they commit crimes against humanity more than against individuals whereas ordinary criminals do it more for their own benefit.
HOW MCOCA IS DIFFERENT ?
MCOCA was the first enactment in India with a stated objective of intercepting communications to obtain evidence of crime. Its statement of objects and reasons noted that:
The interception of such communications to obtain evidence of the commission of crimes or to prevent their commission would be an indispensable aid to law enforcement and the administration of justice. Government, therefore, decided to enact a special law with stringent and deterrent provisions including in certain circumstances power to intercept wire, electronic or oral communication to control the menace of the organised crime.
Sections 14 to 16 of MCOCA authorise interception of wire, electronic or oral communication, render such intercepted communication admissible as evidence against the accused in a trial, require a review committee to review every order passed by the authority competent to authorise such interception, and impose certain restrictions on the interception. Section 14 empowers a police officer not below the rank of the Superintendent of Police supervising the investigation of an organised crime under MCOCA to submit an application in writing to the competent authority for an order authorising or approving interception of wire, electronic or oral communication by the investigating officer, when such interception may provide or has provided evidence of any offence involving an organised crime. Section 14(2) – (13) lay down the detailed procedure for conducting such interception as also the requirements to be fulfilled before approval is granted. Section 16 prohibits interception and disclosure of wire, electronic, or oral communication by any police officer except as otherwise specifically provided, and makes any violation of the provision punishable.
In a decision that upheld the constitutional validity of MCOCA, the Supreme Court held that the fundamental right to privacy can be curtailed in accordance with procedure established by law, as long as the procedure is fair, just, and reasonable, and not arbitrary, fanciful, or oppressive. By the Court’s reading of the provisions of MCOCA as well as its stated objectives, sections 14 to 16 contained sufficient procedural and other safeguards to ensure that there was a reasonable restriction on the right to privacy and did not violate Article 21 of the Constitution.
Identical to section 16 of TADA,407 section 19(1) of the MCOCA permits the Court to order in camera proceedings if it so wishes, while section 19(2)-(3) empowers the Court to take any measures it deems fit for protecting the identity and location of any witness. Contravention of the Court’s orders may attract imprisonment of up to a year and fine of only up to Rs. 1,000.408 These wide powers and ‘stringent’ provisions have been justified because the Act deals with such incorrigible organised criminals whose activities cannot be controlled and it is not ordinarily possible to bring them to books by the ordinary law of the land.
Thus, we again see a continuation of the trend of upholding more stringent provisions in anti-terrorism legislation, with the justification that they were dealing with a special kind of crime.
Cases relating to terrorism have often been decided under MCOCA and it appears that section 21(2) of MCOCA, which is largely similar to section 43D (2) of UAPA, has been interpreted in the same vein. In a case before the Bombay High Court, the Court ruled on a situation that had only been considered hypothetically but not addressed by the Supreme Court in an earlier case under UAPA. In this case, the application for statutory bail and application for extension of detention were before the court at the same time. Relying on the Supreme Court’s judgment of Hitendra Vishnu Thakur, discussed above, the High Court ruled that the prayer for bail and the prayer for extension of period of detention are to be considered together, and if one is granted the other is to be rejected. If the judge finds sufficient cause for extending detention, then the bail application automatically fails. The Court rejected the notion that an indefeasible right to be released immediately arose once the prescribed period of detention had passed – if an application for extension of detention is presented before the Court at the same time as the bail application, the former would be decided upon first, and the latter would give way to it.
In conclusion, even though coupled with several procedural safeguards at the time of arrest, courts have consistently upheld the wide departures from established criminal law and undermined civil liberties, permitting pre-charge detention for up to 180 days on the ground that the law has provided for adequate safeguards. This is notwithstanding
the fact that the 180 day period seems much more than the 28 day period for judicially-authorised pre-trial detention in the UK, seven days for aliens suspected of committing a terrorist act under the US Patriot Act, and 24 hours in Australia, excluding ‘dead time’ when the suspect is not being questioned. Another common theme is the scourge of terrorism and the justification of national security, often with lip service on the attempt to balance it with fundamental rights of the detainee. This is best reflected in cases such as the Kerala High Court’s decision in Ashruff v State of Kerala, where even though procedural safeguards had not been adhered to, instead of ordering release of the accused, courts have instead ordered compliance with the requirements of the statute. However, the requirements of the statute are inadequate. Merely inquiring into the progress of the investigation, without examining the material evidence against the accused will allow investigating agencies to routinely extend the pre-charge detention period and possibly, even engage in torture/custodial violence. More importantly, with the latest amendments introducing vague standards such as the ‘likelihood’ and economic security test, investigating agencies are likely to favour detaining persons under such provisions instead of the CrPC. However, the higher courts have usually upheld the right to statutory bail on the expiry of the pre-charge detention period, although this excludes cases where the accused in unable to furnish bail.
Essentially, based on the premise the accused is guilty until proven innocent .
Punishment ranges from 5 years imprisonment to death.
Confessions before the police officer is admissible in the court.
. Extremely difficult to secure bail.
Under MCOCA police officials get 180 days to file chargesheet, under Indian Penal Code (IPC) it must be done in 60-90 days.
30 days police custody instead of maximum 14 days under
CERTAIN CASES OF MCOCA
26/11 MUMBAI TERROR ATTACK CASE
BRIEF FACTS :
TAJ MAHAL HOTEL
Two among the four terrorists, Abdul Rehman Bada and Abu Ali reached the main entrance of the Tower section, having planted a crude RDX bomb in front of the police post nearby. Armed with AK 47s, ammunition and grenades, they made their way to the lobby area, firing on anyone and everyone who caught their sight.The other two terrorists, Shoib and Umer, entered through the La-Pat door of the Palace and started shooting down guests in the poolside area. The fact that the terrorists were aware of that the La-Pat door, which is generally closed to public, was open on that particular day for a few corporate meetings and a wedding, was evidence of the intricacy in planning that went behind the attacks.
By the poolside, four foreigners were the first to have been shot down dead by the terrorists along with security guard Ravindra Kumar and his Labrador Retriever. By midnight Mumbai Police surrounded the Taj. Many of the guests inside the hotel were huddled up by the staff into small rooms by this time.
The central dome of the hotel was bombed and there was a massive fire in the building. The army and firemen arrived at the location. The first round of evacuation took place. Two groups were formed by marine commandos. The first group was out safely. The second group was spotted by the terrorists while they were making an exit. Gautam Singh, a tandoor chef at Taj, was one of them. He was shot dead.
A team of 200 commandos reached Mumbai from New Delhi and took charge of the rescue operations in Taj and Oberoi. The government gave orders to storm the building. In the succeeding hours, evacuations took place in batches. Fresh round of gun battle reported from within the building. The terrorists set fire to a room on the fourth floor of the building. Ten grenade explosions reported to have taken place within the premises. Another round of explosions and firing took place. The Indian commandos announced that the Taj had been cleared of all the terrorists.
While the NSG and medical teams sanitised the building after complete evacuation, the fire department was still dousing the last fires in the building. At St, George hospital and JJ hospital body bags kept coming in. The wards were full to their capacity as patients were lying in sheets soaked in blood and tears.
THE OBEROI – TRIDENT
The Oberoi-Trident is the other icon of luxury and opulence in Mumbai that came under the deadly saws of the 26/11 attacks. Being much larger than Taj Mahal hotel in terms of spatial capacity, the rescue operation at the Oberoi-Trident was extremely slow. The two hotels being interconnected, consist of 800 rooms between them. An approximate larger number of hostages were under siege here than at the Taj. Further, bureaucratic failures had led to the security forces being able to enter the building only in the evening.
The Oberoi-Trident plays host to a large number of foreign tourists visiting India and it was the case on the night of 26/11. Foreign nationals were reported to be the prime point of target for the terrorists. By the time the siege ended in Oberoi-Trident, 143 hostages were rescued alive and 24 bodies were recovered.
Gunfire began at the entrance of Trident with the gatekeeper being the first to fall prey. Two gunmen walked into the reception area and opened fire. Hotel staff including bellboys and hotel management trainees lay injured as the two gunmen made their way to the Opium Den bar, the Tiffin and later the Kandahar restaurants.
The two gunmen walked up the mezzanine level to the spa and killed two Thai masseuses, following which they set off a grenade explosion at the lobby level.
The Rapid Action Force positioned themselves outside the building. Friends and kin of those trapped inside stood in the bylanes waiting to hear about their loved ones, hoping they would be rescued. The police stepped back as the NSG takes over operation at the Oberoi.
Explosions and gun battles continue throughout the day. A number of NSG and army personnel are reported to be injured. Evacuation of hostages take place in batches. By now a total of 31 people are rescued. A fire is reported to have broken out in the 4th floor. The rescue operation at Oberoi comes to an end and both terrorists are killed. As reported by Ritu Sarin, at the end of the 40 hours of trigger alert at Oberoi, the site resembled a camp ravaged.
This attack was distinctive in nature as it was on the Chabad House (a Jewish community centre) run by Rabbi Gavriel Noach Holtzberg and his wife, Rivka Holtzberg. The House, located in Colaba, was frequented by large number of Jews, particularly Israeli but also from those visiting the country from across the world.
The couple had moved to Mumbai from Brooklyn in 2003 and taken upon themselves the management of the centre that housed an educational centre, a synagogue and a social hall. The place was a meeting point for foreign Jewish backpackers on their way to holiday destinations in the country, and also for the Jews living in the city.
The news of the attack on the Chabad House was quick to have international reverberations across similar Jewish centres across the world in more than 70 countries. Never before had Jews in India been the target of attack for any terrorist group.
Dinner had just ended and the Rabbi along with his wife, his two year old son, Moshe and six guests were getting ready to go to bed when a gunshot was heard. When one of the gunmen came upstairs, a bomb blew off at the petrol pump near the building. Seconds later, an RDX laden device went off near the base of the Nariman House staircase. The terrorists then charged upstairs with gunshots ringing in the air.
The Rabbi and his wife along with their guests were held hostage in the Chabad House for the next nearly 40 hours. The couple’s son, Moshe and the cook managed to escape twelve hours into the siege. According to witnesses, the boy’s pants were drenched in blood when he emerged.
A batch of 20 commandos were sent who tried to enter the building from the ground floor. The terrorists had destroyed the lift and the entry point to the Nariman House.
Nine hostages were rescued from the first floor. Unable to enter the building from the ground floor, NSG commandos were air dropped onto the terrace of the building from a chopper.
Firing at intervals and grenade explosions continued through the day.
A fifteen-minute shooting spree was followed by an NSG commando hanging a red flag from the window of the fifth floor as a signal to the NSG authorities outside about the final assault.
An explosion blew up the fourth floor of the building. The eruption was strong enough to expose the top floor staircase.
One of the NSG guards went to the rooftop and showed a thumbs up sign declaring the operation to be successful.
NSG chief J K Dutta arrived at the spot and declared the rescue operation at Nariman House to be successfully over. However, the Rabbi, his wife and five of the hostages were found dead. One commando, Joginder Singh was killed while two others were injured.
CHHATRAPATI SHIVAJI TERMINUS
Two militants carried out the shooting inside the city while two others moved towards the Metro cinema. Ajmal Kasab, the only terrorist caught alive by the police was one of the four militants carrying out the gunfire inside the railway station. The attack had left 52 dead and injured over a 100 others. The firing ended at about 10:40
Charges framed against the accused:A Mumbai Special Court on Monday found the lone surviving terrorist of the 26/11 attacks, Ajaml Amir Kasab, guilty of waging war against India, but acquitted the two other Indian co-accused. Pronouncing the verdict in a courtroom at the Arthur Road Jail here, Judge M L Tahiliyani described the 26/11 attacks as clear act of war. He declared Kasab guilty of all 86 charges filed against him. The charges against Kasab include waging war against India, murder, abetting to murder, attempt to murder, violation of the Arms Act, Explosives Act, the Unlawful Activity Prevention Act (UAPA) and others. However, in an unexpected move, the court found two Indian co-accused-Faheem Ansari and Sabauddin Ahmed – not guilty and said they must be acquitted of all charges due to lack of evidence. The court said the evidence against the two was weak both in “quality as well as quantity.” For the first time in Indian judicial history, it was established in a court of law that Pakistan was involved in an act of terrorism and of waging war against India. Judge Tahiliyani said the way the ten terrorists countered the elite National Security Guards (NSG) clearly established that they were trained to fight a war. Though no direct evidences were mentioned against Lashkar-e Taiba leader Hafiz Saeed and Zakir -ur -Rehman, the court found them guilty based on Kasab’s confessional statement. The court also accepted Kasab’s confessional statement. When the judge was framing him with charges, there was no reaction on Kasab’s face. Kasab was dressed in a white Kurta-Pyjama. The court also said the DNA test conducted on the seven dead terrorists matched prints collected from the boat ‘Kuber’. The court added that the photographs taken were genuine and the witnesses credible, as they had no other intention than to catch a person. It said the evidence proved that Additional Commissioner of Police Ashok Kamte had died of a bullet fired by terrorist Abu Ismail, while it was not established who killed Maharashtra ATS chief Hemant Karkare and encounter specialist Inspector Vijay Saluskar. The court did not mention the quantum of punishment, but said the argument and counter argument in that matter would continue on Tuesday. The quantum of punishment is expected to be announced on Wednesday. Monday’s judgment comes seventeen months after the incident. The trial, perhaps the fastest in a terror case in India, commenced on May 8, 2009. Judge Tahaliyani recorded 3,192 pages of evidence after examining 658 witnesses on 271 working days. Thirty witnesses in the court identified Kasab as the man who had opened fire on them. The prosecution led by Special Public Prosecutor Ujjwal Nikam, submitted 1,015 articles seized during investigations. Nikam had also filed 1,691 documents to support the case. He had also argued that Pakistan’s security apparatus was used by the terrorist outfit Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) in the 26/11 Mumbai attacks. For the first time in the Indian history, the US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) officials deposed before the court and gave technical evidence. The FBI informed the court about the technical data it gathered – -that how Kasab and others came from Pakistan using Global Positioning System (GPS) and that they made calls from their mobile phones through Voice Over Internet Protocol (VOIP) to stay in touch with their handlers across the border. The prosecution also tabled CCTV footage of the terrorists moving about with guns and firing at people. The images were captured on CCTV cameras fitted at CST Railway Station, the Times of India building, and the Taj Mahal and Oberoi Hotels. Photographs of Kasab shot by photojournalists Sebastian D’souza and Sriram Vernekar were also placed before the court. Kasab is a native of Faridkot, in Pakistan’s Punjab Province. He along with nine other terrorists, who were killed during the gun battle with security forces in Mumbai have been charged with killing 166 people, including 25 foreigners. The special MCOCA court presided by judge Govind Sanap on Wednesday framed as many as 23 charges against the alleged Lashkar-e-Toiba terrorist Sayed Zabiuddin Ansari alias Abu Jundal for his alleged role in the 26/11 terror attack that shook the city on November 26, 2008.
The prosecution in December 2013, had filed 22 draft charges against the accused. However, the court framed an additional charge of abetment against the accused.
As per the prosecution, the accused along with the convicted and deceased accused — Ajmal Kasab and his other associates — had allegedly entered into criminal conspiracy to wage war against the country, thereby allegedly committed terrorist activities in the country.
Jundal was allegedly operating the entire terror attack by sitting in a control room outside the country. The prosecution further claimed that the accused was the one who had also assisted Kasab in killing number of people in Mumbai with the help of lethal weapons. Hence, the prosecution had slapped the charges of criminal conspiracy, waging war against the nation, murder, kidnapping for murder, cheating and forgery under the Indian Penal Code (IPC).
The prosecution has also slapped Jundal with charges under Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, Explosive Act, Explosive Substance Act, Prevention of Damage to Public Property Act, Railways Act and Customs Act.
When dna contacted special public prosecutor advocate Ujjwal Nikam, he said: “The court framed a total of 23 charges against the accused. Meanwhile, orders on the prosecution’s application on making the US terror convict, David Headley, an accused in 26/11 terror case, passed for Friday.”
Jundal, a resident of Beed, Aurangabad was allegedly the one who was operating from the Control room in Pakistan, assisting several terrorists like Kasab, thereby providing them with vital information of the city for the attack.
Charges against Jundal120 (B) IPC: Hatching conspiracy121 r/w 120IPC: Waging war against country in conspiracy122 IPC: Collecting arms with intension of waging war against nation302 IPC: Murder307 IPC: Attempt to murder333 IPC: Voluntarily causing grievous hurt to deter public servant from his duty342 IPC: Wrongful confinement343 IPC: Wrongful confinement for more than three days364 IPC: Abduction419 IPC: Cheating by personation for committing forgery471: Using forged document as a genuine one436 IPC: Mischief by fire or explosive substance with intent to destroy house109 IPC: Punishment for abetment of crime.
UAPA explosivesSeveral sections under the prevention of damage to public property actSeveral sections under customs act
Malegaon Blast Case
The blasts took place on 29 September 2008 near Bhikku Chowk in Malegaon, Maharashtra. Almost simultaneously, another blast occurred in Modasa, Gujarat. The blast took place on the eve of Navaratri.
7 people were killed in Malegaon, and a 15-year old boy lost his life in Modasa. A total of 80 people were injured. The blasts were similar to a blast that occurred in the New Delhi just 3 days before this.
Two low intensity bombs were fitted on a Hero Honda motorcycle and rigged to detonate in Malegaon. The motorcycle used later led the police to the accused.
Initially, the blasts were suspected to be a work of Muslim extremists. The Mumbai Anti-terror Squad was deployed to help the Malegaon police in investigation. The ATS team was led by ATS chief Hemant Karkare, who was later killed in the 26/11 attack by Pakistan-based Lashkar-e-Tayyaba terrorists in Mumbai.
Through the motor cycle used, the ATS collected evidence which pointed to the involvement of Hindu extremist groups behind the attack. On October 24, 2008, the police arrested 3 people in connection with the blast- Sadhvi Pragya Singh Thakur, Shiv Narayan Gopal Singh Kalsanghra and Shyam Bhawarlal Sahu.
Further investigation suggested the involvement of other Hindu groups in the blast. The names of organisations such as the Rastriya Jagran Manch, Sharda Sarvagya Peeth, Hindu Rashtra Sena and Abhinav Bharat came up in the investigation and further arrests were made of people linked to these organisations.
On November 4, 2008,, the ATS arrested Lt. Col. Prasad Shrikant Purohit, a serving Army officer, for his involvement in the blast. By now the matter had taken a political turn, with the BJP and the Shiv Sena accusing the ATS of having political motives behind the arrests and accusing the Congress for using the ATS for political gains.
The ATS investigation revealed that several of the accused may have been involved in other acts of terrorism including the Modasa blast in Gujarat, the Malegaon blast of 2006, the Mecca Masjid Blast in Hyderabad in 2007 and the 2007 Samjhauta Express blast. The prosecutors filed charges under the Maharashtra Control of Organized Crime Act, which requires the court to have taken cognizance of two previous chargesheets against one or more of the accused.
In July 2009, the special court trying the case dropped the MCOCA charges on that ground that when the chargesheet was filed for Malegaon 2008, the cognizance of the accused was not taken in the other cases. In 2010, the Bombay High Court restored the MCOCA charges stating that cognizance is taken of a crime, not of an accused, and hence in this case since cognizance of the other crimes had already been taken, MCOCA could apply.
On April 15, 2015, the Supreme Court set aside the Bombay HC order, and dropped the MCOCA charges, stating there was hardly any evidence against the accused in the previous cases. It also asked the HC to constitute a special court to try the accused and begin the trial at the earliest.
A special court on Monday discharged nine Muslim men accused of triggering the 2006 Malegaon blasts that killed 37 people, saying there was no evidence to prove their guilt and they were used as “scapegoats”. One of the suspects, Shabbir Masiullah, was killed in an accident in 2015.
The accused, including two doctors, spent five years in jail after the Maharashtra anti-terrorist squad (ATS) arrested and pressed charges against them under the stringent Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act (MCOCA). The CBI too toed the same line.
They were granted bail by a trial court in November 2011 after the National Investigation Agency (NIA), which took over the case, didn’t object to their plea.
Bombs planted on bicycles parked near a mosque went off around 1pm on September 8, 2006, after Friday prayers on the occasion of Shab-e-Baraat. Mostly Muslim devotees were killed in the explosions, which wounded more than 300 people.
The ATS had contended that the accused, having links with the banned Students Islamic Movement of India (SIMI), triggered the blasts to provoke Muslims in the sensitive town to riot against Hindus.
Judge VV Patil of the special court in Mumbai refused to believe the ATS line. “It seems to me highly impossible that the accused who are Muslim would have decided to kill their own people to create disharmony in two communities that, too, on a day that is Shab-e-Baraat,” he said.He let off the suspects, saying the ATS arrested these men merely on suspicion. “They became scapegoats at the hands of the ATS.”
Judge Patil didn’t fault the ATS officers who conducted the investigation. “In my view, they discharged their public duty in a wrong way, so they may not be blamed for it.”
Of the nine accused, Asif Khan and Shaikh Mohammad Ali were convicted in the Mumbai 7/11 serial train blasts of 2006.
Accused doctor Farogh Magdumi hailed the verdict. “I was never scared of conviction because I am innocent. There was lot of evidence to prove that I was not involved in the case.”
The others discharged on Monday are Noorul Huda Samsodhoha, Raees Ahmad Mansuri, Mohd Zahid Abdul Majid, Abrar Ahmad, and Salman Aimi, the other doctor.
The case turned on its head after former RSS activist Swami Aseemanand, an accused in the 2007 Mecca Masjid bombing, told a court that the blasts were carried out by a Hindu group.
His confession prompted the UPA government of the time to transfer the investigation to the NIA on April 6, 2011. The agency subsequently arrested four people linked to a Hindu extremist outfit. Thereafter, the NIA told the court that it had no evidence against the nine accused.
NIA chief Sharad Kumar said the court’s order on Monday vindicated the anti-terror agency’s probe.
“It was up to the court to take a call which of the three probes, conducted by the ATS, CBI and NIA, prima facie makes a case for the trial of the accused. This is the correct legal position. The court found some merit in the NIA probe and discharged the earlier accused,” he said.
The agency has been accused of going slow on cases involving Hindu outfits since the BJP-led NDA government came to power in 2014. “No one in the NDA government at any level has ever spoken to me or my officials,” Kumar said Malegaon, a Muslim-dominated powerloom town around 300 km northeast of Mumbai, was rocked by serial blasts again on September 29, 2008, allegedly masterminded by a Hindu group.
Two years after failing to produce any evidence against nine Muslim men accused in the September 2006 Malegaon blasts, the National Investigation Agency (NIA) Tuesday opposed their discharge application before a sessions court, contradicting its own stand on their involvement in the case.
The agency’s sudden change of stand came as surprise to everyone in Sessions Judge V V Patil’s court. The NIA counsel Prakash Shetty demanded that the evidence against both sets of accused be evaluated independently.
In possibly a trial of its own kind- this case has two sets of accused- nine Muslims arrested by the Maharashtra Anti Terrorism Squad just months after the September 8, 2006 blasts; and four Hindus arrested by the NIA after they took over the case in 2011.
It wasn’t the right stage to evaluate the evidence against the two sets of accused independently and “therefore it is my humble submission that they the Muslims accused in the case should not be discharged,” Shetty told the court.
The nine men — Noorul Huda, Shabbir Ahmed, Raees Ahmed, Salman Farsi, Farogh Magdumi, Shaikh Mohammed Ali, Asif Khan, Mohammed Zahid and Abrar Ahmed — were arrested in 2006 for the Malegaon blasts that killed 37 and injured over 100. In November 2011, they were granted bail.The court is likely to pass its order on the discharge application on April 25.
Two of the men were convicted later in the 7/11 Mumbai train blasts case of 2006 — they remain in judicial custody. Shabbir died in an accident in March 2015. One was exempted from appearance in court Tuesday while the remaining five were present.
Thirty-one people were killed and over 300 injured in a series of blasts in a cemetery adjacent to a mosque on shab-e-baraat on 8 September 2006 in Malegaon, a town in the Maharshtra’s Nashik district.
STEPS TO CONTROL TERRORISM
Today, government of India is taking numerable steps to prevent terrorism. Like framing certain laws which deals only with the terrorism which taking place for eg : MCOCA, POTA and TADA and many other Acts like that so that terrorism can come into control.
Special punishments are being given in these Acts for the people who disturb the peace and harmony of Country. Like section 3 of the MCOCA gives the punishment for the people who commits the organized crime.
Also Indian government is training a number of Anti-terrorism officers (ATOs) who primarily hold policy advisory and planning positions at places that are frequently threatened by terrorist invasions. These ATOs are trained vigorously to protect national security and have to take up operational terrorism roles. Their training level and experience must be above military field training. Additionally those on senior level need to implement apt measures and must understand how to effectively manage and deal with such sensitive issues. Personnel’s in this field are required to have the knowledge needed for strategic security industry.
Anti- terrorism studies requires in depth understanding of explosives, weapons of mass destruction, extremism terrorist techniques to prevent their operations. This anti-terrorism education can help our country meet the challenging security problems. India has made important and historically unprecedent improvements in its internal security architecture , including the creation of a coastal command to secure 4,650 miles of shoreline, establishment of 20 counter terrorism schools and standing regional commando units, the creation of national agency to investigate suspected terrorist and stronger anti-terrorism laws.
Certain points which we can reflect upon and think that if we solve these issues in our country then may be terrorism can be controlled in India.
Will solving the Kashmir problem erase terrorism or reduce terrorism ? the options are either Kashmir should be declared an independent state or let Pakistan surrender the annexed portion of Kashmir back to India or let India take full control of Kashmir and make a vision and develop the state within next 10 -15 years taking every single individual into confidence. For the past many decades, this issue has been lingering mid-air. A tangible solution should be found without indulging in any war or any more bloodshed enough bloodshed has already taken place in Kashmir valley. At least by finding a solution to this issue, the country can hope of getting rid of terrorism
Will making our neighbours, especially Bangladesh and Pakistan terrorist free states to enable our country remain at peace for the times to come. But the bigger question is how to achieve this? South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) countries must sit together and meet regularly on one agenda that is on ‘how to root out terrorism completely’? They should discuss the various laws existing relating to hatred speeches given by anyone through a public forum either openly or clandestinely as sowing the seeds of hatred is the beginning for a person to shift his mind towards any terrorist activity. More and more stringent laws should be put in place dealing with people offering hatred talk or speeches. Every religion and every community is fully justified in conducting the affairs in a manner, which gives solace to the followers’ minds as long as they do not disrupt someone else’s peace — this point should be driven home to every people living in the SAARC countries. Perhaps, terrorists will then better understand that religions are made to safeguard people’s interest and not to create bloodshed and unhappiness for others.
Will issuing identification cards for every individual living in India solve the problem of terrorism? The answer is yes , let each and every person living in India and other SAARC countries can given a national identification card.
Will full employment solve the problem of terrorism? Employed people versus unemployed people — it could be possible that people belonging to the unemployed category and lured by money are indulging in such shameful and barbaric acts. Therefore, every attempt should be made to ensure that every person – above 18 years of age — is employed in some skill / non-skill category earning at least a minimum income to make a living. Rooting out unemployment should be the primary task of the labour ministry and should strive for job creation. But how to achieve this? Let experts brainstorm on this as today the scenario is more favourable to achieve this milestone than what it was some decades back. The catch phrase should be ‘let no one remain unemployed’.
Will more stringent laws tackle the menace of terrorism? Introducing stringent laws to punish those guilty of acts of terrorism is the need of the hour as this will act as a big deterrent for terrorists not to venture into any such acts anymore.
Will poverty alleviation erase the problem? Rooting out poverty completely within a time frame should be the vision of the policy makers. Let the experts come out with clear cut policy and vision.
Will the reduction in gap between haves and have nots solve the problem? At every point of time, the aim of the people governing the state / country should be to (a) keep the inflation at normal and acceptable levels (b) to see that every eligible person is rightfully employed (c) ensuring that minimum wages + perks are the best solution under prevailing circumstances so that the recipient is reasonably motivated to perform better and (d) by making all essential items available at affordable rates.
Will putting a ban on the sale of everything that goes into the making of bombs could be a feasible solution? We keep reading reports that something like ammonium nitrate or some fertilities stuff or some other chemicals are frequently used in preparation of bombs, which are regularly used by the terrorists. Why not frame a law debarring all such materials from being supplied in open market; why not make the situation more and more difficult for people to get such stuff, which today is very freely available? Let there be a complete ban on things, which goes into the making of bombs! By doing this, the pinch can be felt by regular genuine users of such stuff but they have to sacrifice to give way for such a law.
Will bringing everything that goes into unorganised sector into organised sector solve the problem? Today, India is helping the world through Information technology (IT) to fix solutions, which are almost pretty complex. But attempts should be made to find permanent solutions through new software for bringing every activity that goes with unorganised trade and make them transparent and bring them into the organised fold. In this manner, nothing will be hidden from the government or the people – today the country has enough manpower and other vital resources to conduct a proper survey on the issue for finding a permanent solution.
Will roti, kapda, makaan and naukri (food, clothing, house and job) for every eligible person solve the problem of terrorism? Let the policy makers frame out suitable laws for effectively making these available for every eligible person to live in peace and harmony, within a time frame.
Will media innovate something to reduce or eliminate terrorism? For example, media can play a vital role in reducing terrorism – some dailies are coming out with good quotes under editorial columns – perhaps it will be more appropriate if good enlightened quotes are given in the first page itself so that a reader forms the habit of reading such quotes first before moving on to news items.