x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

Scores of diamonds found in rubble of Mumbai bomb blast

Precious stones were recovered from debris and by panning puddles after attack on jewel-trading centre.

Diamond traders and office workers gather near the site of the bomb blast at Opera House in Mumbai yesterday. Scores of diamonds have been found on the devastated streets of Mumbai's precious stone trading hub which was targeted in last week's triple bombing, an industry group said. Teams of workers found the stones after picking through the debris and panning muddy monsoon puddles. Indranil Mukherjee / AFP Photo
Diamond traders and office workers gather near the site of the bomb blast at Opera House in Mumbai yesterday. Scores of diamonds have been found on the devastated streets of Mumbai's precious stone trading hub which was targeted in last week's triple bombing, an industry group said. Teams of workers found the stones after picking through the debris and panning muddy monsoon puddles. Indranil Mukherjee / AFP Photo

MUMBAI // Scores of diamonds have been found on the devastated streets of Mumbai's precious stone trading hub that was targeted in last week's triple bombing, an industry group said yesterday.

Teams of workers found the stones after picking through the debris and panning muddy monsoon puddles in the diamond trading hub in the south of the city, one of three sites attacked on Wednesday in blasts that left 17 dead.

"We have found 65 pieces," said Jayesh Labdhi, a committee member of the Mumbai Diamond Merchants' Association trade group.

"We will have a meeting and they may be auctioned, which would help those who have been injured or lost their lives."

The diamonds, which are being kept with the association, have not yet been valued, Mr Labdhi said.

The association's president, Bharat Shah, however, said that many traders were likely to try to trace merchandise they may have lost in the blasts by cross-checking recovered stones with their description, colour, clarity and purity.

Sanjay Kothari, the vice-chairman of the Gem and Jewellery Export Promotion Council, said a decision had not been taken about auctioning the recovered diamonds but a meeting would be held in the coming days.

Mr Shah said losses to traders due to the rush-hour blasts had been minimised because torrential rain had prompted many people to leave for home early, leaving fewer diamond couriers on the crowded streets.

"Three or four people from our association died and about 40 others were injured. There wasn't any looting, apart from one fellow who took a diamond from the ground. The police caught him and he handed it back," Mr Shah said.

Trading at Opera House and the bustling Zaveri Bazaar gold and jewellery quarter nearby resumed fully yesterday, meanwhile, after an enforced shut-down last week, as fearful customers and traders stayed away.

No group has claimed responsibility for the attacks, which also hit the commercial and residential district of Dadar and were the first in the city since the November 2008 Islamist militant attacks that killed 166.

Suspicion, however, has fallen on the domestic Islamist group the Indian Mujahideen.

Police have said they are making headway and have "good leads" in the case.