A teenager, who does odd jobs near Kabutar Khana, might provide some leads about the identity of the bombers in last week’s explosion at Dadar.
Highly placed sources in the Mumbai police told HT on Wednesday that Chhotu, whose real name has been withheld to protect identity, is a street kid engaged by beggars to look after their bedding. “Hawkers and beggars sleep on the foot path near the BEST bus stop at Kabutarkhana. Chhotu would collect the beddings in the morning and keep them on the roof of the bus stop, only to return them at night. All this, for a monthly fee,” a source said.
Investigations have revealed that the bomb, which went off at the bus stop, had been planted on the roof of the bus stop. “It seems the bomber was in a hurry and could not find the time to place it in a crowded place. Had the bomb been planted in a bus stop at Plaza Cinema, barely 100 yards ahead, it could have caused more damage,” the source said.
Police suspect that Chhotu might have inadvertently spotted the planters, since he loiters around the area and even shifts the beddings from the roof of the bus stop during heavy rains. “He has given the description of the area and the people he saw that day,” the source revealed, adding, “it is also likely that he might have unknowingly moved the package containing the explosive to the roof from the floor of the stop, presuming it to be a bedding that had fallen off.”
The statement given by the boy is being analysed by a special team comprising officers from the Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS), as well as the Mumbai police crime branch in order to obtain a lead.
Meanwhile, the investigators have said that the three men initially suspected of having triggered the blast at Opera House have been cleared. Investigators had initially zeroed in on three suspects who were caught on CCTV camera moving suspiciously in the area for an hour.
According to investigators, the three did not “fit” in the crowd and looked ‘out of place’.
However, when the footage following the blast was analysed, the three were spotted running for cover. “It is unlikely that the bombers would have waited at that place after planting the bomb,” said another source.