Mumbai airport on high alert after Air India receives 2 threats in 24 hours

A woman called the carrier’s Thane call centre on Friday, claiming that AI ‘flight will be hijacked using AK 47’; next evening, a ‘mafia don’ from Karachi called twice, telling the call centre to land flights in Pakistan because they had explosives

The Mumbai international airport will be on high alert till midnight today after the Thane call centre of national carrier Air India received two threats over the weekend.

The second caller, who identified himself as a ‘don’ by the name of  Dharmendra Dadar, said there were bombs in Air India’s flights and asked the call centre to make the planes land in Pakistan. File pic
The second caller, who identified himself as a ‘don’ by the name of  Dharmendra Dadar, said there were bombs in Air India’s flights and asked the call centre to make the planes land in Pakistan. File pic

The first caller did not disclose much, but claimed Air India’s flight would be hijacked using an AK-47. The second caller, claiming to be a ‘mafia don’ by the name of Dharmendra Dadar, stated that the carrier’s airplanes have explosives and demanded they land in Pakistan.

About 6.40 pm on Friday, Mumbai airport officials received a phone call from Air India security call centre based in Thane, informing them that at 5.50 pm a woman had called Air India’s customer care number 18001801407.

The woman, who refused to identify herself, simply said, “Air India flight will be hijacked using AK-47”, and disconnected the phone. After this, an aerodrome committee was formed as per procedure to judge the seriousness of the threat.

The committee comprising representatives of Air India, Mumbai International Airport Limited (MIAL) security officials, Central Industrial Security Force (CISF), local police and Bureau of Civil Aviation Security (BCAS), contending that the caller had not made a mention of the threat to any sector or particular flight, nor had she spoken of any destination, adjudged the call “non-specific”.

Less than 24 hours later, the same call centre received two more phone calls. The first call came at around 7.30 pm on Saturday, from a man identifying himself as Dharmendra Dadar. The display flashed a Karachi phone number, and the caller warned of a bomb threat on Air India’s flights.

A senior official from the bomb threat committee said, “The caller claimed he was a well-known mafia don. He spoke in Hindi and said, ‘Aircrafts Pakistan mein utaar do, apne vimaan utaar do. In mein visphotak hain (Land your aircraft in Pakistan, they have explosives)’.”

The man called a minute later and repeated the message. These threats, too, were deemed to be non-specific. Nonetheless, the airport was put on high alert for 48 hours starting Saturday night, until midnight today. An airport official said, “Though both the calls were declared to be non-specific, the Mumbai airport is put on high alert, after receiving two consecutive calls.”

Incidentally, the first call was received on the same day Areeb Majeed, the Kalyan youth who joined terrorist group ISIS in Iraq, was brought back to Mumbai by intelligence officials. This is the fourth threat the airport has received in the past two months.

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