How abandoned Maruti van led Mumbai cops to the Memons

Former ACP Suresh Walishetty, who headed one of the teams investigating the blasts, recalls how they were informed about some people abandoning a Maruti Omni on the day of the explosions; the car, which was laden with AK-47s and hand grenades led them to Tiger, Yakub and the other Memons

A white Maruti Omni abandoned outside the Doordarshan Kendra in Worli led the Mumbai police to Tiger Memon and his family, recalls retired assistant commissioner of police Suresh Walishetty, who played a key role in establishing the role of the Memons in the 1993 bomb blasts.

Suresh Walishetty said the car had been abandoned near the Doordarshan Kendra in Worli
Suresh Walishetty said the car had been abandoned near the Doordarshan Kendra in Worli

Walishetty, who headed one of the teams formed to investigate the 1993 blasts said, “On the day of the blasts, some of the accused were driving towards town with destructive weapons to carry out an attack on the BMC Headquarters. While they were nearing a petrol pump in Worli, they heard a bomb blast followed by commotion.

By the time they could gauge what had happened, smoke began to emanate from the engine of the Omni in which they were travelling. Fearing that the vehicle would explode, the occupants dumped the car in the Doordarshan lane in Worli.”

The car caught the attention of Sabhajit Singh, one of the guards posted outside the Siemens company’s gate, which is opposite the Doordarshan Kendra. Singh saw the accused hurrying out of the car and, along with another guard Dirakar Ramakant Mishra, approached their colleague, RD Tambe, a police officer turned security guard, who called up the police control room to inform them about the suspicious vehicle.

“The police inspector, Bharambe, who was posted at Worli police station rushed to the spot and took the car into custody. The car was full of weapons like AK-47 rifles and hand grenades,” Walishetty added.

Memon link
The Worli police then involved the Crime Branch Nagpada unit, headed by Walishetty, which carried out further investigations. Walishetty, who is currently employed as the Director (General Administration) at the Indiabulls building in Lower Parel added, “We contacted the RTO officials and were told that the vehicle was registered in the name of Tiger Memon’s wife, Rubina.

Wasting no time, we rushed to the Memons’ house only to find that the entire family was on the run.” The cops then interrogated the servants and driver employed by the Memons. They informed the police that the entire family had left for Dubai two days before the blasts.

Dinesh Kadam, who is currently an inspector at Khar police station and was part of one of the investigating teams in the 1993 blasts, said that while searching the Memons’ apartment, Rakesh Maria, who was the Deputy Commissioner of Police (Detection), at the time noticed scooter keys on the refrigerator.

The police checked if the keys matched two abandoned scooters they had found in Zaveri Bazaar and Dadar. They realised that the keys matched and also that the scooters belonged to the Memons. That is how the police zeroed-in on the family of Abdul Razak Memon and his five sons, Tiger, Yakub, Suleiman, Essa, Yusuf and Ayub.

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