Abandoned Maruti van, scooter cracked Mumbai blast case

Abandoned Maruti van, scooter cracked Mumbai blast case

When the serial blasts rocked Mumbai in 1993, police and security agencies were baffled. But the Mumbai cops lived up to its reputation of being compared to Scotland Yard and cracked the case within no time.

Thanks to an abandoned Bajaj Chetak scooter and a Maruti Omni van that cops managed to link the blasts to the Memon family of Mahim and then to Karachi-based mafia don Dawood Ibrahim.

“There was total confusion, we were worried, and whether more such blasts would take place…who could have done it? All questions and no answers…but we managed to crack the case,” a senior official said.

What was more important that within 24 hours, Mumbai police had an idea of what exactly had happened, why and who wall are responsible.

The 12 March 1993 serial blasts came as a retaliation to the 6 December 1992 demolition of the Babri structure in Ayodhya, which was followed by riots across the country including two phases of communal riots in Mumbai. In fact, the 1992-93 riots have been probed by the Justice BN Srikrishna Commission.

When the blasts took place, Sharad Pawar was the Maharashtra chief minister, late Amarjit Singh Samra was the Mumbai police commissioner, MN Singh was Crime Branch-CID chief and Rakesh Maria was a deputy commissioner of police with the Traffic department and he became a member of the core investigating team.

How the case was cracked and cops reached the doorsteps of Tiger Memon was a classic case of investigations and chance.

During the night of 12 March, when police were doing rounds, they found a white Maruti Omni van abandoned near the Doordarshan Kendra at Worli. In fact, some of the Tiger men were in this vehicle and heading towards the BMC headquarters, but abandoned it when bus ripped off near the Century Mills. “The car was full of  AK-56s and grenades,” a police official said. In the meanwhile, the RTO too was contacted to get details of the van and it was found to be registered in the name of Rubina Memon, wife of Suleiman Memon, who had been acquitted by the TADA court. Rubina is serving a life sentence and her ground that she was a housewife and not aware of who was using the car had been rejected.

A  day later, a skin specialist reported about the abandoned scooter at the Naigaum Cross Lane near Dadar. The scooter, laden with RDX, had failed to explode and was defused by cops. Maria, when got all the keys from the Memon house, Al Husseini building at Mahim, and used in the scooter to unlock it and one of the keys fitted the slot.

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