"None of the locals were present at the seafront because of Wednesday's cricket match, else we would have created some disturbance for them here itself, "said an apologetic Bharat Tamore, a resident of Badhwar Park at Colaba.
Tamore was witness to at least 10 suspected terrorist landing at the Badhwar Park sea front at Colaba on Wednesday evening.
At around 9.15 pm on Wednesday, Tamore - a Taj Hotel employee-- was ready to reach the hotel for his night shift that begins at 10 pm. After having his dinner, he went to the seashore for an evening walk before leaving for work. He saw 10 young and fair boys in the age group of 22-25 with haversacks on their shoulder and two carry bags in two hands. The rubber boat came and stopped at port.
Eight boys get down from the boat and two went in the same boat towards Nariman point.
"I was suspicious as they did not look like fisher folk or were not from our area. I asked them, who are they and what they were carrying but they curtly told me that `hum students hai' (we are students). I was alone at that time and they seems to be angry, from their face expression."
"I could not do anything as I was alone at that time and they started walking immediately. Of them 2-3 went towards Gateway of India, 2-3 went towards Colaba and others entered in a short lane. Usually, local boys sit at the waterfront till 12 at night but because of the match between India and England, no one was there. Otherwise, we would have caused some disturbance to them, "Tamore added.
He then went to attend duty at Taj hotel. As soon as he reached, he heard that terrorists started firing in the building. "That time I felt guilty that I could not do anything at the seashore," said Tamore.
The Cuffed Parade police have seized a rubber speedboat and taken Tamore's statement as an eyewitness. Assistant Inspector Vikas Bhole said: "It's a part of inquiry as this information would help further investigation."
Two days ago, Eknath Dhanu, a local fisherman saw two orange colored boats some 300-400 meters away from the seashore. "I saw those boats when I was returning from fishing. Since they were not local, they caught my attention," he said. He has reported the incident to the police.