When serial blasts rocked Mumbai on March 12, 1993, it was a shocker for the people of the city as well as police.
In fact, Mumbai was still recovering from the December 1992-January 1993 communal riots post the demolition of Babri Masjid at Ayodhya.
For the then prime minister late P V Narsimha Rao, then Maharashtra chief minister Sharad Pawar, then Mumbai Police chief late Amarjit Singh Samra and crime branch chief M N Singh it was a major challenge.
M N Singh put Rakesh Maria, the then deputy commissioner of police (traffic), to investigate the case.
They were able to zero in on the links within 24 to 36 hours.
The name of Dawood Ibrahim and his aide Tiger Memon – both of whom are still absconding and holed up in Karachi – surfaced.
An abandoned Bajaj Chetak scooter and a Maruti Omni van established the link between the blasts and the Memon family of Mahim.
During the night of March 12, when the police was doing rounds, they found a white Maruti Omni van abandoned near the Doordarshan Kendra at Worli.
In fact, some of Tiger’s men were in this vehicle and were heading towards the BMC headquarters, but abandoned it when a bomb in a bus exploded near the Century Mills. The van was full of AK-56s and grenades.
Meanwhile, the RTO, too, was contacted to get details of the van and it was found to be registered in the name of Rubina Memon, wife of Suleiman Memon, who had been acquitted by the TADA court.
Rubina (Tiger Memon’s sister-in-law) is serving a life sentence and her ground that she was a housewife and not aware of who was using the car had been rejected.
The police then reached their house – Al Husseini building – in Mahim, raided it and found that the Memons were behind it.
A day later, a skin specialist reported about an abandoned scooter at the Naigaum Cross lane near Dadar.
The scooter, laden with RDX, had failed to explode and was defused by the police.
Maria got a hold of all the keys from the Memon house and used one to unlock the abandoned scooter.
It fitted the slot, thereby nailing the Memon’s involvement in the case