NEW DELHI: The Navi Mumbai Police have released the sketch of one of the suspicious men who were spotted by two schoolchildren at Uran, 47km from Mumbai, around 6.30am on Thursday. The sketch has been made with the help of the description provided by the two schoolchildren. In a significant development, Maharashtra home department has confirmed that it is probing seizure of an abandoned boat on September 7 near Uran. Massive search and combing operations are underway to locate the suspected men. Mumbai and its adjoining areas are on high alert after the students separately reported seeing up to half a dozen masked, armed men with backpacks. The sighting, coming four days after the Uri Army camp attack, witnessed the Navy, which has an armament depot and commando base at Uran, on the mainland coast off Mumbai, issuing its highest alert and searching its camp inch by inch. National Security Guard (NSG) commandos flew in and joined the Navy’s Marcos commandos, Navi Mumbai policemen, Force One commandos and other security personnel in a combing operation. Nobody has been apprehended till now. The entire region is highly sensitive in view of the close proximity of the Western Naval Command HQ just across the harbour in Mumbai, the naval harbour, the Mumbai Port Trust, the Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust, several critical installations like BARC and oil terminals, offices of important central and state government in a small radius. Around 6.30am on Thursday, a boy on his way to GS School at Kumbharwada locality in Uran spotted a masked man with a firearm.
Twenty minutes later, a 16-year-old girl, also on her way to the school, spotted five-six masked men in black pathan suits with weapons and backpacks. She overheard them talking about “school” and “ONGC” (which has a large base at Uran) and splitting into groups. She reported it to her teacher, and the information was shared with ONGC officials. The police were alerted by ONGC. With information about the armed men coming from two different students who spotted the suspicious men at different times and described them similarly, security agencies took the tip seriously and informed the Navy. The Marcos commandos spoke to them as well as the police. “As per the reports, five to six persons were sighted in pathan suits and appeared to be carrying weapons and backpacks,” naval spokesman Cdr Rahul Sinha said in a statement. Soon after the Uran police learnt about the suspicious men, Navi Mumbai police commissioner Hemant Nagrale arrived with over 500 cops. Security was stepped up at the ONGC refinery and the naval base at Mora, and the combing operation began.