THANE: The Thane district court on Wednesday sentenced a 44-year-old coaching class teacher from Navi Mumbai to 20 years of rigorous imprisonment for repeatedly raping his teenage student in 2019 and 2020. The additional sessions judge Maheshwari B Patwari while convicting the accused, Sanjay Bhagchandani, said, "The severity of the crime and its affect on the society are such that it is to be severely dealt with. The sentence should be such that it serves as a deterrent." The prosecutor told the court that the victim was 17 years old and studying in 12th standard when the incident occurred in April 2019. She used to attend coaching classes where the accused was teaching. The accused befriended her and used to often praise her. One day in October 2019, he asked her to stay back after classes. He took her to his house and raped her. He also filmed the act. He used the video to blackmail her and raped her on a couple of occasions in 2020, the prosecution said. (The victim's identity has not been revealed to protect her privacy as per Supreme Court's directives on cases related to sexual assault)
THANE: In the drawing room of a modest apartment in Bhiwandi sit a dozen girls, some in burqa. One thing common among them is that they have all passed MBBS. This pretty picture is noticeably different from the popular image of Bhiwandi. With creaking infrastructure and its power looms, once a mainstay of its economy, in a limbo, Bhiwandi is often called a dying textile town. Unemployment and hopelessness often explain the town that was once called 'Manchester of India'. Amid this hopelessness, is sprouting a new breed of doctors who can change this image. "There is a craze among youngsters, especially girls, to become doctors. Soon we will have dozens of trained doctors," said Shamim Ansari, whose daughter Somaiya is credited to have become a role model. Newly minted doctors drive Bhiwandi's silent revolutionBhiwandi's girls are excelling at NEET, and it is being compared to a "silent revolution". "Recently we felicitated hundreds of students who had cleared SSC exams with flying colours, 70% of which were girls. The way girls are excelling at NEET exams, it is liberation through education and they are bringing a silent revolution," said Bhiwandi East MLA Rais Shaikh. The revolution began with Somaiya Ansari. Studying in Urdu medium, Somaiya topped her school at SSC exam in 2008 and cracked NEET in 2011, securing an MBBS seat at a government medical college. Along with her, Ansari Shifa Shamim and Momin Aseera Akhtar too cleared NEET. "These three girls inspired many youngsters who began dreaming of becoming doctors," said Bhiwandi resident and law teacher Salim Yusuf Shaikh. While many individuals worked to create awareness, many credit Dr Abdul Aziz as having encouraged youngsters to aim for MBBS. "From arranging for fees to helping students get caste certificates and their validation, Dr Abdul Aziz has been a great motivator for medical aspirants here," said businessman Akram Ansari, whose elder brother was among a few initial MBBS doctors in Bhiwandi. Akram's daughter is also studying medicine. There are some unlikely "lovers" of a career in medicine here. Sheikh Parvez Ahmed is a photographer-cum-cabbie who drives Bhiwandi students to a coaching centre in Mulund. "While I drove these MBBS aspirants to the coaching centre and back, I thought about my own daughter. I spoke to parents of some of these girls who guided me and I put my own daughter in the same coaching centre and now she too is MBBS," says Ahmed.
THANE: The Thane city police has booked a 37-year-old man from Satara for duping five people, who were seeking jobs, of over Rs 5 lakh on the pretext of employing them in a government power supply company. The accused, Sandeep Raut also has another cheating case registered against him with the Mumbai police. The police said that the complainant who is a resident of Dombivli had come in contact with the accused through a mutual accquaintance earlier this year. The accused boasted of his contacts in the government sector and told the complainant that he can get get him and the other victims a job with MSEDCL but for that they will have to cough up a handsome amount. The victim trusted the accused and paid him Rs 1.68 lakh. However, when he did not hear from the accused on the status of the employment, he questioned Raut. The accused issued a fake appointment letters of MSEDCL when the victim checked the authenticity of the letter s,they turned out to be bogus and realised that they have been cheated. All five victims collectively paid over Rs 5 lakh, said a police officer. Nishikant Karlikar