MUMBAI: In the wake of finding the hideout of Indian Mujahideen terrorists who carried out the July 13, 2011 bomb blasts here, the state police find itself in a tight spot as it could have detected the hideout much earlier had it followed basic investigation techniques.
Bombs exploded at Zaveri Bazaar, Opera House and Dadar leaving 27 dead and 131 people injured.The device used was identified as Ammonium Nitrate Fuel Oil (ANFO) improvised explosive device.
As it was risky to travel long distance with a completely rigged IED bomb, a hideout close to the three locations was highly likely. Police only had to check all recently leased or rented properties between Dadar on the north-end and Zaveri Bazaar on the south-end. In fact, in Mumbai and neighbouring cities, property owners are required to register their tenants with the local police stations.
Had the police engaged in a rigorous scrutiny of all properties that had been recently occupied by tenants, then the hideout of the terrorists would have been detected soon after the explosions.
As it turned out, the hideout was located at Byculla, which is almost equidistant from the three locations. The terrorists identified as Bakas and Tavrez had occupied the third floor room of the Habib Mansion till late December and were visited by a person suspected to be Yasin Bhatkal.
The landlord had not done any paperwork and thus the question of registering the tenant with the police did not arise.
However, a rigorous combing of the area from Dadar to Zaveri Bazaar would have definitely led the police to the Byculla hideout of the IM terrorists.
In September 2010, prior to Ganesh festivals in Mumbai, the police had released sketches of two suspected terrorists, who managed to give a slip to the police tail and disappeared into the city.
Though it is now known whether the two terrorists of September 2010 and who rented out the Byculla hideout are the same, the police on the whole acted lethargically in stringently implementing the rule of registering tenants with the police.