On a normal day, hectic trading would have begun and dozens of diamonds would have exchanged hands. On Friday morning, a little before 10am, diamond traders were out in the sun, frantically searching for the stones strewn around in the lane where the Opera House blast occurred.
The lane leading to the blast spot was out of bounds for everybody else as the search began. By the day’s close, traders had found about 25 pieces, said Bharat V Shah, secretary of the Mumbai Diamond Merchants’ Association. “The packet is now with the vice president of our association. We have asked our members to come and claim their stones. But we still haven’t taken a call on how we will distribute the diamonds.”
Sources said that the Mumbai police have now asked the diamond merchants association to hand over diamonds recovered from the blast site. According to a senior officer, anything gathered from the blast site was to be produced as evidence in court and was part of the panchnama. “Besides, some of the diamonds also may be belonging to the blast victims,” he stated.
The police and NIA teams conducted investigations at the spot throughout Friday. The entire area was cleared using a huge crane and the police sought assistance of some of the diamond brokers in searching the debris for any valuables. All the earth and grime that was lying on the road was sieved and even each shiny speck was checked.
While members did not associate a value with the diamonds, some said they were some rather sizeable stones over two carats. An association member said, “The police teams which are probing the blast at Opera House collected lot of samples on Wednesday night and Thursday. We are not aware if they have any diamonds in the samples collected earlier from the spot. The police do not inform us about anything.”
Officers from the anti-terrorism squad, including the chief, Rakesh Maria, were unavailable for comment as they were busy in a meeting on Friday evening.
TOI had written in its Friday edition that diamonds worth crores were lost during the blast as the explosion ripped through Khau Galli, injuring several diamond brokers. TOI