On this day in 1993, a series of bomb blasts within a span of two hours and ten minutes brought the financial capital of India, Mumbai, then known as Bombay, to a grinding halt.
The first bomb went off on Friday, March 12, afternoon around 1:30 pm and the first target was the city’s most iconic building – the Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE). Thereafter, a series of blasts ripped through the most commercial and crowded spots of India’s liveliest city. The explosion stopped around 3:40 pm and by then Mumbai had detonated into a nightmare.
Fisherman’s Colony in Mahim causeway, Plaza Cinema, Hotel Sea Rock, the Air India Building, Zaveri Bazaar, Hotel Juhu Centaur, Century Bazaar, Katha Bazaar, Worli and the Passport Office were targeted during the attack, which killed over 250 people while 700 others were injured.
The different public spaces of the city were targeted by using scooters, suitcases and cars – all of which were strapped by bombs and abandoned in public places. All these bombs were activated one after another in a span of 15 to 30 minutes by using a timer.
The explosions, masterminded by underworld goon Dawood Ibrahim along with Tiger Menon, were the biggest terror attack to be conducted in India to date. It was also the first time RDX was used to make bombs.
Anees Ibrahim, Dawood’s younger brother, was assigned the task to get RDX on Indian soil, and the original plan was to bombard Bombay in April 1993, on the occasion of Shiv Jayanti.
However, the date of the bombing was later revised following the arrest of Gul Mohammad Sheikh alias Gullu on March 9 by Mumbai police for rioting.
According to various reports, the Mumbai police laughed off Gully’s confession when he told them about the conspiracy to blasts major spots across the city. However, later, Rakesh Maria, the then Deputy Commissioner of Police, created an over 150-member task force to look into the matter and reportedly the case was cracked within the next 48 hours.
The task force discovered an abandoned scooter and a Maruti van stuffed with grenades, which did not explode.
The prime suspects of Mumbai blasts:
Five years ago, in June 2017, a special court had found six prime suspects guilty for planning these attacks and they are:
Abu Salem: He was found guilty of arms and ammunitions distribution
Mustafa Dossa: He was accused of bringing arms and explosives into the country. He was also charged with conspiracy and for directing people to Pakistan for training
Tahir Merchant: He was charged for making the travel arrangements for other offenders to Pakistan
Riyaz Siddiqui: He was found guilty of shipping explosives used in the blast
Firoz Abdul Rashid Khan: He was charged for receiving the ammunition when they reached Mumbai
Karimullah Sheikh: He was charged for smuggling arms into the country.
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