A Dummy bomb with an incomplete circuit and colourful switches,that was found in a garbage bin in a lane opposite the crowded Infinity Mall in Andheri (West),led to high drama for two hours on Wednesday afternoon. A large crowd stood with bated breath outside the mall as they watched the polices Bomb Detection and Disposal Squad (BDDS) defuse the bomb.
At 2.15 pm,two hours after the device was spotted by a garbage cleaner,the BDDS finally confirmed that no explosives were found. They declared the area safe and are now probing various angles,including suspicion that it was a dummy prop from a movie set.
Meanwhile,another bomb hoax soon took shape around the same time in Charni Road area in South Mumbai with a separate BDDS squad sanitising Saifee Hospital and nearby areas.
Umesh Yadav,a garbage cleaner,first picked up a neat bunch of red sticks and wires wrapped in black cello tape from a garbage bin. It was his daily routine around noon to collect garbage from bins around Adarsh Nagar. I thought it was a toy, said Yadav. However,the weight of the object scared him,he added. When I picked it up and examined it,I thought it resembled a bomb,like the ones I have seen in films. I got scared and left it, said Yadav,who left it on the divider opposite a car showroom on Oshiwara Link Road.
The police control room was alerted about the suspicious object at 12.05 pm. Two separate teams from Amboli and Oshiwara police stations reached the spot in a few minutes,followed by a team of BDDS detectives. With the area cordoned off,the teams got to work at 1.30 pm,even as an anxious crowd from the adjacent Infinity Mall started to spill on to the street and gathered around the divider. The area was declared unsafe,with traffic diverted outside Oshiwara Link Road.
Soon the BDDS teams from Santacruz East and Lokmanya Tilak BDDS station began their operation as they cushioned the device with special pillows. Live X-rays were taken at the spot as the detectives conducted explosive tests on the device. With no breakthrough,canine help was sought with a dog squad from Goregaon pressed into action. For over an hour the assembled framework confused the officials.
In the midst of the examination,BDDS officer Vijay Thomobre said,I examined the bomb and carefully cut the wires and disconnected the circuit system. There were aluminium hollow sticks with wooden sticks in them wrapped with black cello tape. A closer look showed red and green buttons,leading to further concern.
Once defused,the BDDS officers gave a thumbs up in the air. The bystanders,who were otherwise silent,cheered loudly. The truck carrying the garbage from the dustbin was also checked at the Oshiwara dumping ground. With no explosives found,the police are now looking at all possible angles.
Such props are used in film shootings, said Pratap Dighavkar,Deputy Commissioner of Police (Zone 9). The assumption is based on that the dustbin is near a lane that has many audition halls and dance rehearsal rooms.
The garbage in the dustbin is collected from across Lokhandwala and Oshiwara and so it is difficult to say from where the bomb landed there, said Police Inspector Vivek Shende from Amboli police station.
In the Charni Road area,sniffer dogs and BDDS teams conducted searches around Saifee Hospital and Hinduja College. We did not get any control room calls. Text messages had started doing the rounds. We did not want to take a chance and for over an hour we kept looking for any suspicious object but did not find any, said Rajendra Chavan,senior police inspector of V P Road police station.