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45 minutes before the blasts, a warning

Shyam Bhatia in London | August 30, 2003 18:23 IST

A television channel in Mumbai received a 45 minute warning of the deadly bomb blasts that rocked the city last Monday.

A man telephoned the InMumbai news room and said, "Hum bomb rakhenge aur rakhen hain (We will place bombs and we have placed bombs)."

Before disconnecting, the caller claimed he represented a group called 'Muslims Against Atrocities in Gujarat.'

InMumbai's team contacted the police between the two explosions and a police officer has been around to the television channel's Andheri offices to take a statement.

Channel President Raminder Singh told "We got a call about 45 minutes before the blasts took place from a person whose voice appeared to be a young person's voice. He was speaking in Hindi with a UP accent. He said he was calling on behalf of a group called 'Muslims Against Atrocities in Gujarat.'"

"He said, 'Hum bomb rakhenge (we will place bombs).' The line was our general newsroom line and it wasn't very clear, so the person who took the call was our chief correspondent, Mani D'Mello," Singh added.

"He (D'Mello) said, 'Speak louder, your voice isn't coming through.' The caller then said, 'Hum bomb rakhenge aur rakhen hain (we will place bombs and we have placed bombs),' " Singh continued."Then he put the phone down after these two sentences."

"We have our morning editorial meeting at 1 pm and at the meeting Mani said he had got the call. While we were at the meeting word came through that the first of the two blasts had gone off."

"So we called the police and the Crime Branch sent an officer to our offices and we gave a statement repeating what had happened."

Singh said subsequent police investigations suggest there may well be a connection between the Mumbai bomb blasts and last year's events in Gujarat.

"From the route the investigations have taken, it appears to have a connection with Gujarat," Singh said. " One of the people the police are seeking is from Gujarat."

"Since this was before the blasts took place, we have no reason to doubt their (the calls') genuineness. If anyone who had planted the bombs had wanted to throw a red herring in front of the police, he could have said this. The call itself was genuine but whether the organisation he claimed to represent is genuine, we don't know."


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