The terrorists could have been targeting Pancharatna Cooperative Housing Society and Prasad Chambers, both diamond hubs, in the case of the Opera House blast, investigators have said.
However, they could not succeed because of the heavy security within those two buildings. Instead, they planted the bomb in a lane.
“Preliminary findings have shown that their (the terror group’s) intention was to place bombs in one of these two buildings to tarnish the image of the city in business circles and also cause big casualties,” an investigator from the Mumbai police said, requesting anonymity.
The diamond market in Mumbai witnesses yearly sales of Rs70,000 crore. The city is the biggest importer of rough diamonds, which are manufactured, processed and polished here before being exported to various parts of the world.
Sources in Pancharatna Cooperative Housing Society also agreed if the bomb had exploded inside any of these buildings, it would have caused more casualties because cars were parked there. “The explosion could have also damaged the building,” a trader working there said, adding it would have also caused a huge financial loss as the offices of diamond merchants in the two buildings had safe vaults where the diamonds were kept.
The closed-circuit television (CCTV) cameras proved helpful for the police as one of them installed on the backside of Pancharatna has got a clear view of the lane where the bomb exploded.
Pancharatna has around 60 CCTVs, which monitor every entry and exit point. Also, only vehicles that have the parking permit are allowed in these two buildings and those too are checked.
Prasad Chambers has 56 CCTVs. Police sources said they were hopeful of getting strong clues from this.
From the two buildings, the police have taken the hard discs, which have recordings from all the CCTV cameras.
“Following the July 2006 train blasts, we have heavily tightened our security,” said Naresh Mehta, secretary, Pancharatna Society, the biggest diamond hub. “We will immediately install new hard discs to cover more area and hence, be safe than sorry.”