Till March 14, two days after the 1993 blasts, the investigation team consisting of 162 men and led by Rakesh Maria, who is now Maharashtra ATS chief, was clueless.
"Then we got an information that an abandoned Maruti van, carrying seven AK 56s and four hand grenades, were seized by police from Worli in Central Mumbai on the day of the blasts," Maria said.
"When we verified in whose name the van was registered, we found it was in Rubina's name with her address at Al-Hussaini building in Mahim, central Mumbai," he said.
When he reached the place along with his team on March 14, it was already locked. Upon enquiry, it surfaced that Rubina was the sister-in-law of Tiger Memon, who was a notorious smuggler and aide of underworld don Dawood Ibrahim.
Rubina is the wife of Memon's brother Suleiman, who was acquitted by the trial court. However, she was convicted on conspiracy charges as the vehicle seized by the police was in her name.
Maria said seven people in the van had plans to drive to Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation and barge into the Assembly Hall for indiscriminately firing at corporators.
However, a small blast occurred when they reached Worli and apprehending trouble, they abandoned the vehicle to avert arrest and did not pursue the plan.
A total of 20 cases were registered in the city following the blasts that claimed 257 lives and left 713 injured. Property worth Rs 28 crore was destroyed.
Ten cases were of bomb explosions, two pertained to lobbing of hand grenades, two others were registered after abandoned scooters were found at different places and six cases were under Arms Act, filed at various police stations.
The probe spanned across the country with investigators visiting 70 cities and towns in 17 states.
As there were no computers or mobile phones, it was the hardwork of his men which "resulted in uncovering the faces of the accused involved in the blasts," Maria said.
Mumbai: The breakthrough in the 1993 serial blasts investigation was achieved with the recovery of an RDX-laden Maruti van registered in the name of Tiger Memon's sister-in-law, police said on Thursday.
First Published: Thursday, March 21, 2013, 22:19