Abandoned van, scooter helped crack 1993 Mumbai blasts case

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

Thanks to an abandoned Bajaj Chetak scooter and a Maruti Omni van, the 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 officer said.

More important was the fact that within 24 hours, the police had an idea of what exactly had happened, why and who all are responsible.

The serial blasts of March 12, 1993, came as a retaliation to the demolition of the Babri Masjid on December 6, 1992. When the blasts took place, Sharad Pawar was the chief minister of Maharashtra, the late Amarjit Singh Samra was the police commissioner, M N Singh was Crime Branch-CID chief and Rakesh Maria was a DCP with the traffic department. Maria became a member of the core investigating team.

How the case was cracked and how the police reached the doorsteps of Tiger Memon was a classic case of investigation and chance.

During the night of March 12, when the police were on their rounds, they found a white van abandoned near the Doordarshan Kendra at Worli. In fact, some of Tiger Memon’s men were in this vehicle and were heading towards the BMC headquarters, but abandoned it when a bus blew up near the Century Mills.

“The car was full of AK-56 and grenades,” a police officer said. Meanwhile, the RTO 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 was acquitted by the Tada court. A day later, an abandoned scooter was found at the Naigaum Cross near Dadar. The scooter, laden with RDX, had failed to explode and was defused by cops.

Maria then got all the keys from the Memons and used it to unlock the scooter. One key did the job.

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