Festive season terror alert
ATS asks police to beef up security around Bandra bus depot, McDonald's in Andheri (W), Jogeshwari flyover and Juhu beach after learning arrested Pune blast accused had planned to target these areas between Navratri and Diwali
The state Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) has written a letter to the city police asking them to step up security around the Bandra bus depot, McDonald’s restaurant in Andheri (West), the Jogeshwari flyover and Juhu beach. It is learnt that the men arrested for the August 1 Pune blasts planned to place bombs at these places between Navratri and Diwali.
The interrogation of the suspected Indian Mujahideen (IM) terrorists by the Delhi Police Special Squad revealed the festival-season terror plan. According to the ATS, three suspects — Asad Khan, Imran Khan and Sayed Feroz — arrested by the Delhi Police Special Squad confessed during interrogation that bombs were planted on Jangli Maharaj Road in Pune to avenge the killing of an IM operative in jail and that more blasts were planned in the state capital.
Bandra BUS Depot
“The trio had carried out the Pune blasts to avenge the killing of Qateel Siddiqui in Pune’s Yerwada jail and they revealed that they wanted to carry out blasts at the Bandra bus depot, the McDonald’s in Andheri (West), the Jogeshwari flyover and Juhu beach,” an ATS source said. “Accordingly, we have written to the Mumbai police asking them to increase the security in these areas.”
Though higher-ups in the city police remained tight-lipped about the information, the Delhi police confirmed that the arrested men had confessed that the city had been next on their list.
“They (accused) have accepted in our interrogation that they wanted to bomb these places (in Mumbai) and we have informed the Maharashtra ATS and the Mumbai police about it,” said Sanjeev Yadav, Deputy Commissioner of Police, Delhi Special Cell.
It is learnt that the Mumbai Police (Western Region) have already increased security at all the four places and also informed the authorities concerned to take special care regarding the arrangements in these areas.
City police higher-ups were reluctant to speak about the ATS letter, but they also did not refute the receipt of such an input. Deputy Commissioner of Police (Zone IX) Pratap Dighavkar neither confirmed nor denied the information. “We have been doing regular checks and the security arrangements are already in place,” he said.
Despite repeated attempts, ATS chief Rakesh Maria remained unavailable for comment. A police officer, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said that the festive season was a time when the police anyway ensured there was more security at public places.
“As during festivals most people are outside their homes, we usually have more security at various places and we also instruct policemen to be on the alert,” the officer said. “If we get any specific information about an area, we take care that more security is deployed there.”