In a shocking development, an SUV filled with at least 20 gelatin sticks was found abandoned outside Antilia, the lavish multi-storied home of billionaire industrialist Mukesh Ambani, here on Thursday evening, officials said.
"A Scorpio with 20 gelatin sticks was found near Mukesh Ambani's Mumbai residence. The Crime Branch of Mumbai Police is investigating the entire matter and the truth will emerge soon," Maharashtra Home Minister Anil Deshmukh said late on Thursday evening.
The SUV was noticed at around 3 p.m. after which some people from the vicinity alerted the local police, who rushed to the spot and cordoned off the entire area, sending the state government and the police into a tizzy.
Top police officers, including Joint Commissioner of Police Vishwas Nangre-Patil, a team of explosives experts, sniffer dog squad, bomb detection and disposal squad and others rushed to the spot and inspected the SUV in which the gelatin sticks were kept.
Minister of State for Home, Shambhuraj Desai, told mediapersons that he has instructed the top police officers to probe the matter thoroughly and ensure that the culprits are brought to book.
Desai added that if required, the government would consider other measures, including enhancing the security at the Antilia building and also around the Ambani family, even as the entire locality was brought under a high alert.
CCTV footages of the area revealed that the SUV with a couple of unidentified persons in it was driven and parked beside a tree on the Carmichael Road at around 1 a.m.
The suspicious persons seemed to have fled after deserting the SUV there, but strangely, it was noticed only after another 12 hours.
Mumbai Police spokesperson, DCP S. Chaitanya, said that the gelatin sticks recovered in the SUV were "not an assembled explosive device" but details of the risks they posed would be known only after a thorough probe.
Efforts are on to trace the persons who parked the vehicle there, from where they came, what were their diabolic motives, who or what were the exact targets etc., officials said.
Antilia and the south Mumbai neighbourhood house the who's who of the Indian corporate world, top politicians, official or private residences of various bigwigs, government officials, diplomats, people from the glamour industry and others.
(With inputs from IANS)