Solving Crime: How discarded clothes and birthday photos led Maharashtra Police to unearth a series of kidnappings and murders

The Indian Express | 5 days ago | 22-09-2022 | 11:45 am

Solving Crime: How discarded clothes and birthday photos led Maharashtra Police to unearth a series of kidnappings and murders

Half-sisters Renuka Shinde and Seema Mohan Gavit, along with their mother Anjanabai and Renuka’s husband Kiran, were arrested in Nashik in 1996 for kidnapping a girl – an arrest that led to startling revelations of spine-chilling crimes that still haunt people in western Maharashtra.Police Inspector Mandaleshwar Madhavrao Kale, who was investigating the kidnapping case of a nine-year old in Nashik in October 1996, had said that he had no idea the probe would reveal that the trio had, in a span of six years, kidnapped at least 13 children and murdered nine of them.The nine-year-old girl, who was kidnapped, was the daughter of Mohan Gavit, one of Anjanabai’s two husbands, from another marriage. During a search of the house of the accused in Nashik, the police found several discarded clothes of small children and photographs of birthday celebrations of Renuka’s children that showed the presence of several other kids who were not locals. Suspecting something amiss, the police began an investigation to trace the children.The police found out that the three women had a pick-pocketing gang. They also learnt that the nine-year-old child was dumped in a sugarcane field near Pune and the trio returned after a few months without knowing that Mohan’s wife had lodged a kidnapping complaint against them.After an initial probe, the case was taken over by the state Criminal Investigation Department (CID). Suhas Nadgauda, who is currently a senior police officer in Pune Police, was part of the investigating team in the case. According to Nadgauda, it was an extensive investigation spread over multiple locations in western Maharashtra and nearly 156 prosecution witnesses were examined during the trial. Most of the children kidnapped and murdered by the trio were from poor families, he said.The police believed that the trio were involved in more than 40 cases of kidnapping and murder. However, due to the absence of electronic clues, the police could only get sufficient evidence in some cases.The probe revealed that Anjanabai had started indulging in petty street thefts by using her daughters as bait or distraction. The trio were habitual thieves and police had caught them on several occasions. However, they used to allegedly bribe the officials and escape.In 1990, Renuka, along with her child went to a temple which had a large gathering and tried to snatch a purse from a man but he caught her. Renuka made a hue and cry and questioned how he could catch her. People around her let her off, seeing the mother and the toddler. Renuka narrated the incident to her sister and told them how she managed to escape as she had her minor son with her. Thereafter, they would have a child with them at the time of committing the crime to easily escape from the crowd, police said.They conspired to kidnap small children below five years of age, use them while committing thefts and then murder them when they no longer remained useful, the investigation revealed. The accused thought this would be the only way to evade arrests.The probe revealed that their first such victim was a one-year-old boy who was picked up by Renuka from a female beggar in July, 1990. They brought him to Pune and named him Santosh. In April 1991, they took him to Kolhapur where Seema was caught while trying to steal a devotee’s purse at Mahalaxmi temple. Anjanabai intervened and threw Santosh on the ground, following which he sustained injuries. That distracted the crowd and Seema could escape. After committing two-three more such thefts, they killed Santosh as he would keep crying due to his injuries and it would lead to them being caught by the police. They disposed of the dead body near the State Transport bus stand at Kolhapur, the probe revealed.The police found that the trio, with the help of Kiran, who later turned approver in the case, had kidnapped at least 13 children and killed 9 of them and attempted to kidnap one more child. These incidents took place between June 1990 and October 1996 in Pune, Thane, Kalyan, Kolhapur and Nashik. They kept roaming around Western Maharashtra, including areas near Mumbai, by attending fairs, festivals and processions at landmark temples, train stations, bus stands and gardens and made a living out of stealing valuables from the crowded areas.Anjanabai, Renuka and Seema were arrested, along with Kiran, in November 1996. Anjanabai, who was nearly 50, died in prison due to illness prior to the commencement of trial. The sessions court in Kolhapur sentenced the two half-sisters to death in 2001 for kidnapping and murdering six children and the Bombay High Court upheld the sentence for five murders in 2004. The Supreme Court in 2006 upheld the death sentence and the President of India rejected their mercy plea in 2014.Over 25 years after their arrests, the Bombay High Court earlier this year commuted their death sentences to life imprisonment and pulled up the state machinery for “laxity and indifference” in deciding their mercy plea.

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Project Asmita to train over 36,000 girls across Maharashtra and Gujarat in its fourth phase
The Indian Express | 2 hours ago | 27-09-2022 | 02:45 pm
The Indian Express
2 hours ago | 27-09-2022 | 02:45 pm

With focus on training to fight domestic sexual abuse, social media abuse, self-defence, gynaecological myths and nutrition, the Rotary Club of Bibwewadi has with its CSR partner GTPL Hathway Limited launched the fourth phase of Project Asmita in Maharashtra’s Pune city.The fourth phase of Project Asmita was launched during a symposium at Hotel Hyatt in Pune on the International Daughters’ Day on September 25.The theme of the symposium was ‘Empowering daughters is empowering the nation’.Partnering with rotary clubs of multiple districts, the project aims to empower over 36,000 daughters through training from various schools, orphanages and institutions across Maharashtra and Gujarat.The project is Rotary India’s biggest project in the field of daughter empowerment, an official statement said.Through Project Asmita, the haemoglobin levels of over 36,000 girls will be checked and they will be provided with iron supplements in case of a deficiency. They will also be given help booklets, which will cover all the video topics in a short and concise manner with interesting pictorial representation.“The daughters face a lot of issues in their day-to-day lives. Project Asmita is an attempt to provide confidence to the daughters, make them independent, fearless and brave,” said Rtn. Dr Anil Parmar, District Governor, RID 3131.Anil Bothra, CFO, GTPL Hathway Limited, said Project Asmita initiative has received tremendous response and this project “reconfirms our commitment towards making a positive impact on the society” and the Rotary Club of Bibwewadi “has been a perfect partner for us”.The contents of the video have been incorporated in a booklet, which has been released in three different languages — Marathi, Gujarati and Hindi.

Project Asmita to train over 36,000 girls across Maharashtra and Gujarat in its fourth phase
Karnataka PFI raids: 25 PFI, SDPI members taken into preventive custody
The Indian Express | 5 hours ago | 27-09-2022 | 11:45 am
The Indian Express
5 hours ago | 27-09-2022 | 11:45 am

In the wake of nationwide raids by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) against the Popular Front of India (PFI) and its office bearers, the authorities have taken into preventive custody as many as 25 local leaders belonging to both the PFI and its political offshoot the Social Democratic Party of India (SDPI) in Karnataka.According to initial reports, while eight to nine PFI/SDPI members were picked up from Mangaluru, seven were taken into custody from Bagalkot, six from Kolar, two from Bidar and one from Vijayapura.Meanwhile, joint raids by a central agency and Delhi Police are underway at places related to PFI in different parts of the national capital, including Nizamuddin, Shaheen Bagh area, news agency ANI quoted its police sources as saying. ANI also reported that more than four persons have already been detained.The Maharashtra Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS), along with the local police, have also initiated raids against people associated with the PFI in many parts of the state, ANI reported further.Raids by ATS and local police are underway on people associated with PFI in many parts of the state: Maharashtra ATS— ANI (@ANI) September 27, 2022The National Investigation Agency had on Thursday raided the offices of several PFI leaders and arrested seven of them. “These searches were conducted at the houses and offices of top PFI leaders and members in connection with five cases registered by the NIA following continued inputs and evidence that the PFI leaders and cadres were involved in funding terrorism and terrorist activities, organising training camps for providing armed training and radicalising people to join banned organisations,” an NIA statement said.Meanwhile, the Karnataka unit of SDPI Monday dared the NIA to carry out raids on Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) and affiliated organisations over their involvement in “anti-national activities” in the past.In a press conference, SDPI leaders contended that the raids on PFI was a ploy to suppress the voices of minorities, Dalits and other oppressed communities.

Karnataka PFI raids: 25 PFI, SDPI members taken into preventive custody
Young Legislators From All Across The Country To Be On One Platform In A Historic Effort At National Young Legislators’ Conference (NYLC)
The Indian Express | 5 hours ago | 27-09-2022 | 11:45 am
The Indian Express
5 hours ago | 27-09-2022 | 11:45 am

The first-ever working committee of eminent parliamentarians from various political parties and Vidhan Sabha/Council Speakers/Chairmen from many States and Union Territories met in Pune to decide on the organization of the National Young Legislators’ Conference (NYLC or Rashtriya Yuva Vidhayak Sammelan). The working committee meeting was co-chaired by the noted former Speakers of Lok Sabha – Shri Shivraj Patil, Smt. Meira Kumar, and Smt. Sumitra Mahajan. The incumbent and former speakers of State Assemblies and chairpersons of Legislative Councils from more than 15 states, former Chief Election Commissioners, and a few former bureaucrats also participated in the deliberations. Shri Pramod Sawant, Hon’ble Chief Minister of Goa, also joined the meeting virtually and offered to extend complete support of the Goa government.We are celebrating the Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav currently and in another 2 years we will be entering into the 75th year of implementation of our Constitution. The NYLC will connect these two memorable achievements in the history of our country by bringing young legislators from all across the country on one platform in a historic effort.The NYLC, once established, will be organized jointly by the legislative bodies, non-governmental institutions and civil society with active support from the MIT School of Government, Pune. The NYLC will seek support from the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (CPA), the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) and UNESCO.NYLC will aid in the creation of a cohesive ecosystem among leaders of all ideologies for the common cause of development beyond party politics, instilling the spirit of nationhood, encouraging clean leadership for enhancing good governance, and creating a model to be reckoned with globally. It will foster peer-to-peer learning aimed at designing innovative development solutions, in addition to developing ethical, spirited, and competent public leadership for formulating pro-people policies.The proposed dates for the organization of NYLC are 16, 17 and 18 June, 2023 in either Goa or Mumbai, Maharashtra.Shri Shivraj Patil, Former Speaker of the Lok Sabha said – “There are three very important aspects which are expected out of the legislature. The first is policy making, the second is to make laws and the third is to check that laws are implemented.  If young legislators are imparted with knowledge of the law, policy making, and administration at an early stage, this would, in turn, change the democratic shape of the country and yield good outcomes for society.”Smt. Meira Kumar, Former Speaker of the Lok Sabha said, “It was a wonderful conference and the interactions we had in the evening were both positive and successful. I congratulate Mr. Rahul Karad and pay respect to his father Dr. Vishwanath Karad. They are the guiding spirit behind NYLC. ”Smt. Sumitra Mahajan, Former Speaker of the Lok Sabha said, “NYLC shouldn’t be an end in itself but a means to obtain a bigger purpose where we sensitise our young legislators of the responsibility that they have ahead as they start their journey to serve the people of this country.”Shri Rahul V. Karad, Chief Initiator, MIT School Of Government said “The time has come for our country’s Young Elected Representatives to rise above partisanship and work toward the creation of a Unified, Strong, and Developed Bharat that will address the aspirations of countless young, old, and women alike. Only a united Bharat, led by a strong democratic leadership, can face the challenges of an increasingly divided world and show the international community the path to world peace. NYLC will act as a catalyst of ideas and as a concept that will ignite and strengthen the sense of national unity and responsibility among the young legislators who will be the future of Bharat.”The outcome of the legislators’ conference will be to assist the National Leadership in understanding the pros and cons of policies, as well as the challenges of governance and development at the grassroots level, and in spreading the progressive imagery of the National Leadership around the world.The National Young Legislators’ Conference is being held under the aegis of MIT School of Government (MIT-SOG). MIT-SOG has been at the vanguard for fostering innovative and flagship events in the past such as Bharatiya Chhatra Sansad, National Women Parliament, National Panchayat Parliament, and National Youth Parliament among many other events.About MIT School of Government (MIT-SOG):The MIT School of Government (MIT-SOG), a constituent unit of MIT World Peace University (MIT-WPU), Pune, is the first institute of its kind to initiate a two-year Master’s degree program in Political Leadership & Government or MPG (UGC-approved program) for a Career in Politics.MIT-SOG was initiated in the year 2005 under the visionary leadership of Shri. Rahul V. Karad – Initiator & Executive President, MIT World Peace University with the vision of creating Ethical, Spirited, and Committed Political Leadership for the country from the grassroots and all walks of life.Under the able guidance of Late. Shri. T.N Seshan, First Chairman, MIT-SOG, former Chief-Election Commissioner of India (also well known as the Father of Electoral Reforms in India), the curriculum for MPG program at MIT-SOG was designed with the complete involvement of highly decorated officials from Government, Politics, Judiciary, Media and Academia. MIT-SOG specifically caters to the need for training students in politics & government to become trained Political Leaders of the country.Participants for 1st National Young Legislators Conference (NYLC)Day & Date: Friday, 16th September 2022Venue: J W Marriott, PuneDignitaries in the meetingFor more information, contact:  Nishita Sharma | nishita.sharma@mitwpu.edu.in | +91-9654192435

Young Legislators From All Across The Country To Be On One Platform In A Historic Effort At National Young Legislators’ Conference (NYLC)
NIA continues crackdown on PFI; over 50 members detained across country
The Indian Express | 5 hours ago | 27-09-2022 | 11:45 am
The Indian Express
5 hours ago | 27-09-2022 | 11:45 am

The National Investigation Agency (NIA), with the assistance of respective state police departments, has resumed the crackdown on the Popular Front of India (PFI) and its office bearers. As part of this, the officials Tuesday took into preventive custody as many as 25 local leaders belonging to both the PFI and its political offshoot the Social Democratic Party of India (SDPI) in Karnataka.Raids are currently underway at places related to PFI leaders in different parts of Madhya Pradesh, Assam, Delhi, Maharashtra, Telangana and Uttar Pradesh as well, news agency ANI reported. It also reported that more than 30 people have been detained from different parts of Delhi.It may be recalled that the NIA had, on September 22, raided the offices of several PFI leaders and arrested seven of them. “These searches were conducted at the houses and offices of top PFI leaders and members in connection with five cases registered by the NIA following continued inputs and evidence that the PFI leaders and cadres were involved in funding terrorism and terrorist activities, organising training camps for providing armed training and radicalising people to join banned organisations,” an NIA statement said.The Madhya Pradesh police Tuesday detained 21 people over links with the PFI, state Home Minister Narottam Mishra was quoted as saying by news agency PTI.In Assam, four persons linked with the PFI were detained from the Nagarbera area. “Our operation against PFI is on in many parts of the district,” ADGP (Special Branch) Hiren Nath was quoted as saying by ANI.Meanwhile, the Nashik police have arrested two persons associated with the PFI. They will be produced before a court later in the day. “Raids are going on in Malegaon town,” the Nashik Police told ANI.Police have also arrested four activists of the PFI from different locations in Maharashtra’s Thane district for alleged anti-national activities. The arrests were made on Monday night in a joint operation carried out in the district by local police and crime branch officials, Deputy Commissioner of Police (Crime) Laxmikant Patil said.The houses of PFI leaders in various parts of Udupi district were also raided by the police on Tuesday. Four people were taken into custody in connection with various cases during these raids, news agency PTI reported.At least 10 people have been detained in Gujarat for questioning over links with the PFI.Meanwhile, five PFI activists were arrested from the Kottayam and Kollam districts of Kerala for allegedly engaging in violent activities during the state-wide hartal called by the organisation on September 23 pursuant to nation-wide raids on their offices and arrests of their leaders.(With inputs from agencies)

NIA continues crackdown on PFI; over 50 members detained across country