Friday, September 7, 2012

Oil depots in city put on terror alert

Mateen Hafeez TNN

Mumbai: An anonymous letter, which talks about a possible attack on the oil depots at the HPCL and BPCL refineries, has forced intelligence agencies to issue a terror alert. The Central Industrial Security Force has since beefed up security at the installations. 
    Qauiser Khalid, additional CP (east), told TOI that the Chembur police had received an anonymous two-page letter in Hindi, which spoke of an attack on the oil refineries and gave details of some of the people involved. 
 ‘Bombs will be planted in sweet shop near depots’
Mumbai: Police have tightened security at the depots of the HPCL and BPCL oil refineries. Qauiser Khalid, additional CP (east), told TOI, “Since we don’t want to take any chances, we have informed the state ATS, the intelligence bureau and the special branch about it. We have reviewed our security.”
    The security alert, based on the letter, states that three youngsters from Vasmat village of Aurangabad are planning to plant an explosives-laden car in the parking area of a sweet shop near HPCL and BPCL. The alert mentions the name of the sweet shop as also the fact that the three youngsters can speak Marathi and could target the oil refineries in the next one month. Following the threat, CISF has reviewed its security and heightened it, besides deploying additional forces. 

    The eastern belt of Mumbai is one of India’s most sensitive zones. The HPCL and BPCL refineries are adjacent to the Bhabha Atomic Research Centre, which has been on high alert after an
inter-state terror module was busted in Karnataka. Now it’s the storage depots of these refineries that face a specific terror threat. Mumbai's HPCL and BPCL refineries produce over 20 million tons of fuel every year, and according to sources at any given time have a storage of over 20 lakh kilolitres of petrol, diesel, kerosene and several other fuel products. Sources said that such alerts and information about possible terror attacks have been consistently coming in. 
The state ATS, two and a half years ago, arrested two persons for allegedly planning to set the ONGC headquarters on fire. Sources said that in January last year, the Intelligence Bureau, after inspecting the HPCL refinery, put out an alert about various security measures. Arrested terror suspect David Headley, who made nine visits to India during 2006 to 2009, had identified a large number of sensitive establishments,which included BARC and the oil installations. Another IB alert in May had spoken about the threat from the terror outfit Lashkar-e-Taiba to the oil refineries at Jamnagar and Bhatinda. 
The Times of India, September 7, 2012

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