The Maharashtra Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) has taken over the investigation of Wednesday’s Mumbai blasts, and will work in coordination with Central agencies and Mumbai Police’s Crime Branch.
About a dozen teams of police officers, drawn from the ATS and the Mumbai Crime Branch, have been formed to probe the blasts at Zaveri Bazaar, Opera House and Dadar, which killed 17 people and injured 133.
The teams will share information and work closely with the National Investigation Agency (NIA), Central Forensic Laboratory officials and central intelligence agencies, said Rakesh Maria, additional director general of ATS. “Three first information reports (FIRs) were registered at concerned police stations, and the ATS has taken over the case for further investigation,” Maria said.
“Prima facie investigations have revealed the use of ammonium nitrate as the primary explosive, but because of the rains, others aspects of the explosive device would take a little more time to be ascertained.”
Investigations are on to determine if other explosive substances were also used in the improvised explosive devices triggered by timer devices.
“Ammonium nitrate does not explode on its own. It needs a booster. Experts are assessing if RDX was used as the booster,” said an ATS officer, on condition of anonymity.
ATS has also obtained extensive footage from closed circuit television (CCTV) cameras placed outside Opera House, Zaveri Bazaar and Dadar, and are examining it.
The blast outside Opera House was the worst with 10 people losing their lives followed by Zaveri Bazaar where seven persons were killed.
An officer from the Shivaji Park police station confirmed that the explosive had been kept on the roof of the Hanuman Mandir bus stop.
“Hawkers keep their belongings on top of that bus stop. The accused could have spotted the boxes and bags, and realised that no one would suspect if anything was kept on the bus stop,” he said.
A local from the area said illegal hawkers hide their products on the roof of the bus stop to avoid being caught during raids by the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation. According to police sources, it won’t take long to find a good lead in the case if the ATS team keeps focus.