Mumbai Police get call from Ireland on fresh terror plot

July 29th, 2008 - 10:33 pm ICT by IANS  

Mumbai, July 29 (IANS) The Anti-Terrorist Squad (ATS) of Mumbai Police has received a call from Ireland, warning of a terror plot to “blow up” the Mahim suburb of the metropolis in two-three days, an official said Tuesday. ATS chief Hemant Karkare told mediapersons the squad was verifying the antecedents of the caller and will follow up the matter to get more details.

Asked to identify the caller, he merely said: “He is a well-wisher.”

The ATS chief said, for the past two days, the agency was flooded with calls claiming bombs were planted in various parts of Mumbai.

Among the two dozen-odd calls received were those claiming to blow up “even the ATS office” in south-central Mumbai. A caller said a terror team had left Pune for Mumbai to carry out explosions. The ATS was investigating these claim.

Some of the calls have been traced to Mahim, a south-central suburb where the famous Mahim Dargah and Mahim Church are located in close proximity. The callers speak in Hindi or Marathi languages, Karkare said.

The alleged “tip-offs” warned of bombs having been planted to blow off “entire Mahim suburb”, Versova, an upmarket celebrity hub in the northwest, and other places in Mumbai, but all have proved to be hoaxes.

A city doctor approached the police claiming to have overheard three people speaking of plans to “blow up Mumbai” and the police said matter was being probed.

However, the Thane police Tuesday afternoon took seriously a caller who claimed a bomb had been planted at the Kalyan and Ambernath suburban railway stations on the Central Railway.

Police forces rushed there with a bomb squad and checked all platforms but found nothing after three hours of search, a railway official said.

Panic-stricken commuters who fled the two stations returned after the police gave an all-clear.

Karkare also said that Keith Haywood, a US national detained in Navi Mumbai last Sunday, was “not a prime suspect”. He was detained to verify claims that his email ID was hacked by the operatives of ‘Indian Mujahideen’ to send an email claiming responsibility minutes before the Ahmedabad serial blasts Saturday evening.

He said Haywood was also free to go to work at his company in Navi Mumbai but would be required to report to the police station for investigations whenever required.

The police were now attempting to contact the US-based Yahoo!, the email service provider, to verify whether the email account was remotely hacked, as claimed by Haywood. The US consulate in Mumbai was sounded out to check Haywood’s antecedents, Karkare added.

Following a tip-off, the Mumbai crime branch swooped on a downmarket guesthouse in south-central Mumbai and detained three Kashmiri youth Tuesday afternoon.

The police got a tip-off that the three were carrying a laptop and some maps, but after a grilling by crime branch sleuths, they were let off. The police said they had merely come to hunt for jobs and they were found asking for details of some recruiters.

Karkare also said all the four cars used in the Ahmedabad blasts were stolen from Mumbai this month.

While two were found abandoned, two others were used in the blasts in the city, he said.

The police were ascertaining whether the cars were stolen by the terrorists themselves or procured through some middlemen.

An ATS official said that on an average nearly 15 vehicles are reported stolen every day from across the city, of which 40 percent are four-wheelers.

Meanwhile, three policemen posted on security duty outside Maharashtra Deputy Chief Minister R.R. Patil’s residence in Tasgaon were suspended for dereliction of duty, an official said.

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