Taxi was meant to blow up Mumbai airport?
The flyover outside the domestic airport in Mumbai and a taxi driver’s unfamiliarity with the new slip route to the terminal perhaps went a long way in averting a major disaster that could have taken the toll into hundreds on Wednesday night itself.
Shortly before the terrorists moved into their targets in South Mumbai, a black and yellow taxi, with three passengers and enough ammunition to bring down a dome, sped in the direction of the airport. Instead of taking a slip road that would have taken the passengers straight to the airport, the driver took the flyover which bypassed the airport, only to get stuck at a red light.
At rush hour, the lights stayed red for long, at which the passengers berated the driver and asked him to cut the traffic lights. The driver moved on, but the wait turned out to be a minute or two too long. The car exploded. All that was found was a severed head and parts of three human legs. Had the terrorists' plans of coinciding a blast at the airport with the attacks on the Taj and Oberoi hotels succeeded, the death toll of 26/11 would have been much bigger than it already is.
Planned to perfection From New York to London, Madrid and Bali, the world has seen horrific terrorists attacks but few have been as perfect in terms of planning, organisation, operation and execution. It was clinical enough to make it apparent that the two dozen or so terrorists had logistical support from scores of "field officers" who mingled with the crowds outside the Taj and Oberoi hotels, not to speak of the many others who were sitting in hideouts watching TV.
The presence of TV crew, many of whom quoted their sources to tell readers about impending action by security forces, came in handy for the terrorists, at least some of whom are reported to have used satellite phones. With TV reporters dishing out exclusives about the actions that the forces were contemplating, it appeared that the terrorists were always a step ahead. The frustration boiled over and the official agencies had to finally ask the hotel management to disconnect TV cables.