At 11:30 am on Saturday, exactly three hours before the World Cup final between India and Sri Lanka at the Wankhede stadium began, the Mumbai police’s official website received an email saying 30 bombs had been planted inside the stadium and would go off any time.
Within an hour, 40 National Security Guards (NSG) snipers took position inside the stadium and at vantage spots around it, and the venue was combed and sanitised by teams of the Bomb Detection and Disposal Squad (BDDS).
All of this dramatic action was conducted quietly, with a minimum of fuss, as the security agencies feared any sudden movements would trigger panic among spectators, who had started streaming in early, sources said.
Fortunately, the email was later revealed to be a hoax. It has been traced to a server in Norway, while the sender’s IP address has been traced to a country in western Europe. Mumbai police refused the reveal the name of the country as efforts are on to arrest the culprit. Norway had acted as facilitator of the last peace process between Sri Lanka and the LTTE.
Sources in the crime branch said that even though the bomb squads found no explosives, the snipers stood by all evening. When MS Dhoni was on a roll, ten snipers had taken position behind the jumbo official scoreboard.
“Instructions were given to the cyber crime investigation cell (CCIC) to trace the origin of the mail,” joint commissioner of police, crime, Himanshu Roy, said.