Terming it as one of biggest scams in the country, the Mumbai Police registered an FIR on September 30 against NSEL promoters Jignesh Shah, Joseph Massey and other promoters, directors and defaulters for allegedly cheating investors to the tune of Rs 5,600 crore. The accused were charged with forgery, breach of trust as well as criminal conspiracy, among other charges.

The spot commodity bourse, promoted by the Jignesh Shah-led Financial Technologies (FT), has been facing problems in settling Rs 5,600 crore dues of 148 member brokers, representing 13,000 investor clients, after it suspended trading on July 31 after government directions.

Setting recovery of assets and cash from the accused as one of its top priorities, the investigating authority has so far attached over 200 properties of defaulters, directors and senior officials and attached immovable assets of NSEL directors, including Shah and Joseph Massey besides freezing 325 bank accounts, which hold Rs 172.15 crore.

The investigating agency has pegged value of all assets seized in connection with the NSEL scam at more than Rs 4,000 crore. The assets would be liquidated to pay back the victims.

So far, the Economic Offences Wing (EOW) has arrested five accused in the case namely Anjani Sinha, Amit Mukherjee and Jay Bahukhundi of the NSEL, besides borrowers like NK Proteins Managing Director Nilesh Patel, Lotus Refineries Chairman Arun Sharma, who is also a movie financier. All of them are in judicial custody and currently lodged in the Arthur Road Jail.

Earlier, the city police cracked down on cash-rich IPL betting saga in May that sent shockwaves in the cricketing world.

While probing the case, police pounced upon an evidence linking Gurunath Meiyappan, Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) President N Srinivasan's son-in-law and former Chennai Super Kings (CSK) Team Principal, and Bollywood actor Vindu Dara Singh with a cartel that subsequently led to their arrest along with 20 others.

Asad Rauf, who was a member of the ICC elite panel of umpires and 15 alleged bookies from Pakistan were found to have been conspired and played significant role in the entire syndicate.

At the same time, Delhi Police busted an IPL betting racket and arrested Rajasthan Royals players S Sreesanth, Ajit Chandila and Ankeet Chavan, and others and filed chargesheet against them.

In September, Meiyappan along with Vindoo and 20 others were named in a chargesheet by Mumbai Police in a court. Asad Rauf and 15 alleged bookies from Pakistan have been named as ‘wanted accused’ in the 11,500-page charge sheet.

In an incident that shook the country, a young photojournalist was allegedly raped by five accused when she had gone to the deserted Shakti Mills compound on August 22 with a male colleague on an assignment, sending the city police into tizzy.

Within a few days, city police that faced a severe flak after the incident, has hunted down the accused, Salim Ansari, Vijay Jadhav, Mohammed Kasim Hafiz Shaikh alias Kasim Bengali, Siraj Rehman Khan and the minor, who had tied up the victim's male companion with belts and allegedly raped her.

While police were preparing a ‘water-tight’ case against the five accused, an 18-year-old telephone operator walked up to the police and complained that she too was sexually assaulted by five persons in a similar fashion in the Shakti Mill compound on July 31.

Three of the accused, Kasim Bengali, Salim Ansari and Vijay Jadhav, in the August 22 gang-rape were also found to be allegedly involved in the July 31 case.

While the chargesheet in journalist rape case was filed in September, the chargesheet in the second case was filed in October by police.

In a serious security lapse in September, 37-year-old Indian Mujahideen operative Afzal Usmani, who was brought to the Maharashtra Control of Organized Crime Act court along with 18 others from Taloja Central Jail in Navi Mumbai in connection with Ahmedabad blasts, gave police the slip.

Usmani was allegedly involved in stealing four cars which were used to transport explosives to Ahmedabad and Surat. He was also charged with planting bombs. A series of 21 bomb blasts had rocked Ahmedabad on July 26, 2008, within a span of 70 minutes, killing 56 people and wounding over 200.

On the run for over a month, Usmani had been arrested by Maharashtra ATS from outside a railway station in Uttar Pradesh while preparing to cross over to Nepal.

Usmani's arrest materialized after his nephew Javed Noorul Hasan Khan, who had assisted in his escape from Mumbai, was picked up from suburban Kurla by the ATS on October 25.

Javed spilled the beans about Usmani, who was hiding in Tatera village in Uttar Pradesh and all set to sneak into Nepal.

In a major breach of prison security in June, gangster Abu Salem, an accused in the 1993 Mumbai serial blasts case, was allegedly shot at inside the Taloja central jail by Devendra Jagtap, the main accused in the murder of lawyer Shahid Azmi. A day after the attack, four security personnel were suspended pending a high-level probe.

Jagtap had allegedly fired two rounds with a country-made revolver at Salem, an accused in the 1993 Mumbai serial blasts who was extradited from Portugal on November 11, 2005 after a prolonged legal battle.

The year also witnessed Bollywood receiving extortion calls allegedly from the underworld.

Actor Akshay Kumar received an extortion call following which his office sent a written application to the Juhu police station on October 22. Singer-composer Sonu Nigam too was allegedly threatened by Chhota Shakeel, a member of India's most wanted man Dawood Ibrahim's gang.

Even producer Boney Kapoor and producer-director Karan Johar had filed complaints with the police following extortion calls from gangsters in the last few months. Producer-director Ram Gopal Varma was also allegedly threatened.

City police has also seen its 36 cops being suspended pending inquiry after bribery 'expose', perhaps for the first time in the history of Mumbai Police that cops were suspended in such large numbers.

An activist caught the cops, mostly constables, on camera allegedly accepting bribes to turn a blind eye to an illegal structure in Kurla, prompting the State Home Department to issue suspension orders.

(Agencies)

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