Details emerging from investigations suggest that Pancharatna Housing Society and Prasad Chambers, both located near Opera House, were the initial targets for the terrorists. However, tight security measures at these buildings in Mumbai's diamond hub may have averted a bigger tragedy.
"Preliminary findings show that the (terrorists') intention was to place bombs in one of these two buildings to cause massive loss of life and tarnish the image of the city in business circles," an investigator from Mumbai police said on condition of anonymity. As the carrier of the bomb could not find an easy entry inside either of these buildings, he kept the bomb in the adjoining lane Tata Road Number 2, which is crowded in the evening.
Mumbai's diamond market has an annual turnover of Rs70,000 crore. The city is the biggest importer of rough diamonds, which are processed and polished here before being exported.
If the explosive had placed inside either of these buildings, it would have caused far more damage. "The explosion could have also damaged the building that would have further increased the number of casualties," said a trader working in the building. He added that it have also caused a huge financial loss as the two buildings house safety vaults where diamonds worth crores are kept.
"Following the July 2006 serial train blasts, we ramped up security arrangements in a big way," said Naresh Mehta, secretary Pancharatna society.
Pancharatna has around 60 close circuit television (CCTV) cameras installed on the premises, which monitor every entry and exit point. Also, only those vehicles which have parking permits are allowed inside these two buildings. Even these vehicles are checked before being allowed to enter. Prasad Chambers, on the other hand, has 56 CCTV cameras.
The CCTV cameras at Pancharatna have proved to be a big help for the investigators, as one of these cameras placed at the rear side has a clear view of the lane where the bomb exploded.
The police have taken the hard discs with footage from all CCTV cameras installed in the two buildings to look for probable leads. Police sources are hoping to get strong clues from the footage.
Pancharatna, meanwhile, is taking no chances. "We will immediately install new hard discs," Mehta said.