THE MUMBAI Police arrested two youths who hurled “sutli bombs” (firecrackers) at three different locations in South Mumbai, including the compound of the Maharashtra Anti Terrorism Squad (ATS) headquarters on October 20, a day after Diwali. The other two locations are the Metro Inox Cinema in Marine Lines and the E ward office of the BMC.
While the police has ruled out “terror angle” in the case, it claimed it was an act of “mischief” on the part of the youths. A “sutli bomb” is a popular firecracker during the festivals and is touted to be the noisiest, exceeding the permissible sound limit of 145 decibels. According to the police, the two youths, in their mid-20s and residents of Agripada, were returning home after bursting crackers on the Marine Drive promenade when they decided to fling the “sutli bombs” into the compounds of the three buildings.
The guard posted at the ATS office, which also houses the offices of the additional commissioner (South region) and DCP (Zone 2) of the Mumbai Police, spotted the youths flinging the “suspicious objects” inside the building compound.
The two were immediately apprehended and taken to the Nagpada police station. The two were also questioned by ATS officers. After thorough questioning, the ATS concluded it was a mischief and handed over the youths to the Mumbai Police.
A case has been registered with the Nagpada police and the two have been remanded in judicial custody.
“The two have been booked under Section 336 (act endangering the life or personal safety of others), 435 (mischief by fire or explosive substance with intent to cause damage…) and 34 (common intent) of the Indian Penal Code. They were produced before a local court and remanded in 14 days’ judicial custody,” said Sanjay Baswat, senior police inspector, Nagpada police station.
“The guard manning the ATS office saw the boys hurling the ‘bombs’. When the firecrackers landed on the building premises, they exploded. The guard then raised an alarm and the youths were taken into custody. A team of ATS officers interrogated them and even conducted a detailed check to ascertain if they have any anti-social antecedents but found nothing. After the ATS officers were satisfied that it was indeed an act of mischief, the two were handed over to the Nagpada police,” said a senior police officer on the condition of anonymity.
According to another officer, the digital activities of the duo were also examined before they were handed over to the city police. “Their call records, social media profiles and chats on various app-based messenger services were combed and after it was satisfactorily established that they don’t have any dubious backgrounds, they were handed over to the local police for further investigation,” said the officer. Meanwhile, it was during interrogation that the two youths revealed they had not only hurled a “sutli bomb” on the ATS office but also at two different locations — a theatre in South Mumbai and a municipal ward office, the police said.
“They told us that after bursting crackers at the Marine Drive promenade, while returning home, they hurled “sutli bombs” on the theatre building and also a ward office of the BMC. Upon reaching the ATS office, they decided to hurl one more “sutli bomb” inside the police building but were spotted by the guard and taken into custody,” added the officer.
The police claimed the duo said this was not the first time they had committed such an act and that even during past festivities, they had hurled firecrackers inside the compounds of various buildings, including those of the Mumbai Police “just for fun”. “There is no way to verify these claims. However, our probe has revealed they did it for fun,” the officer said.