Security arrangements Indian Premier League (IPL) cricket matches in Mumbai will be heavier this time compared to the previous season. Police sources said the heightened security was in light of a recent revelation that an Indian Mujahideen (IM) module intended to attack the Mumbai Indians cricket team while on its way to the Wankhede stadium in Mumbai during the previous season.
On Tuesday, a meeting was held between Mumbai Police Commissioner Rakesh Maria, police officers of the South region of the Mumbai police, traffic police officers and IPL representatives. One of the points discussed was the revelation which came to light during the interrogation of alleged IM operative Asadullah Akhtar alias Tabrez in February this year, according to which Akthar, Yasin Bhatkal and two others were exploring the possibility of attacking the Mumbai Indians on the route between the Oberoi Hotel at Marine Drive to the Wankhede stadium, said sources.
“The fact that top terrorist operatives conducted a recce the vicinity of the hotel, the stadium and the route that the team would be taking is a cause for concern,” said a senior police officer.
Police have agreed on at least a three-layer security cordon around the stadium with multiple checks and searches of all persons and vehicles entering the stadium premises.
The first IPL match in Mumbai will be held on May 3 and a total of seven matches are scheduled to be held in the city, including the tournament final on June 1.
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Police officers said as per IPL tradition, the first match of the season was to be held in Mumbai as the Mumbai Indians team won the previous last season of the IPL. However, as polling for the Lok Sabha elections was less than ten days away from the day of the opening match on April 16, it was decided to change the venue.