ibnlive » India

Sep 26, 2006 at 05:52pm IST

Officials helped Memon smuggle RDX

Mumbai: The special TADA court for the 1993 Mumbai Blasts delivered verdicts for the customs and police officers who colluded in the landing and transportation of RDX.

A ragged coastline small boats and tiny huts along the sea shore - Shekadi looks just like any other village along the Raigad coast, except that it has a dark past.

In the 1990s Tiger Memon had exploited the poor fishermen in this area and made Shekadi, a base for his smuggling operations and then used the same resources to land 1500 kilos of RDX on the February 2 and 8, 1993.

Says a resident of a Aravi, village near Shekadi, Dinesh Patil, "Everything - clothes and VCRs - used to come in a large boat. It used to be transferred into three small boats, which would bring it to the shore. These people were used to do the loading and with all the cargo, RDX was also brought in."

However, the exercise had the full support of corrupt government officials who had colluded with Tiger Memon for his smuggling activities.

Chairman Alibaug Fishing Society, Shivnath Bhagat, says, "They had all come in a customs boat, the customs officers and the trouble makers. There were four customs boats guarding the main boat. That's when the RDX came."

The corrupt officers who made the '93 blasts possible were:

  • Accused no 112, Somnath Thapa, the then additional collector of customs, alleged to have facilitated Tiger Memon's entire smuggling operations.
  • Accused no 116, Vijay Krishna Patil, former sub inspector at the Srivardhan police station, who allegedly intercepted the vehicle carrying the explosives at the Gondgha checkpost and allowed it to continue its journey to Mumbai.
  • Accused no 82, Jaywant Gurav, former customs inspector who allegedly used his own car to escort the vehicle carrying the explosives right into the heart of Mumbai.

And it wasn't just Raigad. Dawood's lieutenant, Ijju Sheikh hoodwinked authorities in Gujarat as well.

But 13 years on has anything actually changed in the security of the Gujarat coast.

Says Dinesh Patil, "Everything has changed now. If one gets to see hear anything, then one can immediately call the police. The responsibility is ours as well. 1993 cannot be repeated because citizens are now alert."

(With inputs from V K Shashikumar)