With the blasts in Hyderabad making the situation in Mumbai volatile, residents of Altamount Road, the tony SoBo neighbourhood, were on edge late Sunday afternoon over an unknown vehicle parked outside industrialist Mukesh Ambani’s towering home Antilia.
Word travelled swiftly to the higher-ups in Mumbai police, and a bomb detection and disposal squad (BDDS) was hurriedly dispatched to the spot, a dog squad in tow. The area was cordoned off. After scouring the vehicle — and smashing a window — the squads decided there was nothing in the vehicle to lose sleep over.
Not just a parking row
Around 4 pm on Sunday at Altamount Road, Cumballa Hills, a man parked his Maruti Swift Desire outside the lavish 27-storey building owned by the Reliance Industries chairman. The car’s owner, who was later identified as Mohammed Naseem, ignored the protests of one of Antilia’s watchmen Raddhesham Sharma, and walked away. The guard chased the driver to get him to move his car elsewhere but the man disappeared near the bus stop, Sharma said.
“The vanishing act and the argument by the Swift owner made Sharma suspicious. He informed his seniors about the car parked illegally outside the building,” said a police officer from Gamdevi police station, requesting anonymity.
The security guards called up the Gamdevi police, who in turn informed their superiors, who sanctioned a bomb detection squad. The BDDS team arrived in no time, along with a dog squad.
“The BDDS and dog squad rushed to the spot. The dogs started sniffing the vehicle. The squad and our officers decided to break a windowpane to get in. After we checked the car thoroughly, we were satisfied that there was nothing to worry,” said the police officer.
By this time, the car’s owner Naseem returned to the spot. He saw the panic his car had sparked, and remorsefully told the cops that he had parked near the building only for a short while since it was a Sunday, and that he was not aware of how sensitive the situation was.
“As it was a Sunday, Naseem decided to park on the road. He had come to meet a client at Venus Apartments, which is near Antilia. He parked his car close to Antilia’s gate and disappeared. The alert security men immediately informed us,” said Pradip Lonadkar, senior police inspector of Gamdevi police station.
Confirming the report, a source inside the Ambani residence said, “Cops were called after someone parked his car close to Antilia’s entrance and disappeared. The entire process that followed was a precautionary measure.”
Naseem was allowed to go after the situation was defused.