The presence of mind by some Oberoi hotel staffers saved more than 50 lives on November 26 last year, when the hotel was targeted by two alleged Lashkar-e-Tayyeba gunmen.
Pradeep Banglorkar (52), hotel’s assistant steward, deposed before the special court on Wed-nesday. He said he first heard “the sound of crackers” around 10 pm and saw two people fire indiscriminately at Tiffin restaurant on the hotel’s ground floor. He and nine staffers helped 50-60 guests escape from the rear door.
After the gunmen entered Kandahar restaurant, the duo asked one of the staff members Jordon Periera to empty all liquor bottles on the table and set it on fire. When he could not, one of them shot him.
“Jordon died instantly,” said Banglorkar. They asked Banglorkar to set the restaurant on fire. He did that.
They wanted to go to the top floors but Banglorkar pressed the ground floor button. When the duo was busy hurling grenades downstairs, he escaped. Edwin Saldhana, who conducted panchnama on the bodies of the two gunmen, said one of them had 33 bullet marks.