Police Commissioner Hasan Gafoor said on Tuesday that there was no proof of “immediate local support” for the November 26 terrorist attacks. He was, however, quick to add: “We are interrogating many suspects, but none of them have been detained.”
Discounting reports that the terrorists had knowledge of the Taj’s layout, he said: “It does not seem that they knew about the hotel from before. They were just running from one place to the other.”
Gafoor said the police had not received any “specific intelligence” of the attack, though scrambled intelligence in the form of an alert to beef up security at hotels, including the Taj, had been sounded soon after the Marriot blasts in Pakistan in September.
Almost a year ago, the police had received intelligence about a possible attack from the sea in Gujarat and some South Indian states, but not Mumbai, Gafoor said.
He also dismissed reports that the terrorists had an escape plan, adding: “It appears to be a suicide attack.” He also sought to quash rumours that five terrorists were at large, saying there had been 10, of which nine were killed and one was captured. There was no woman in the group, as reported in a section of the media, he asserted.
He said the terrorists had reached the coast in rubber boats and split into five groups of two each. They had assault rifles, pistols, grenades, ammunition and a time bomb for every group. Of the five bombs, they planted one each below the front seats of the two taxis that blew up in Mazgaon and Vile Parle respectively.
The rest were planted in a passageway between Leopold Cafe and the Taj, at a turning near the Taj and one inside the Oberoi hotel. Luckily, none of these went off.
The terrorists, said Gafoor, could not do more damage at Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus because of wrong information supplied by their bosses. They had been asked to climb to the first floor of the station and fire from vantage points. However, there is no first floor, which confused them.
When asked what proof the police had of Pakistani involvement, Gafoor pointed out that the ship under investigation, Al Hussaini, was boarded by the terrorists at Karachi. He also referred to the the arrested Pakistani terrorist Ajmal Amir Kasav.