Threat call made to Mumbai airport turns out to be a hoax

The person identified himself as Vishesh Kumar and gave his e-mail address and phone number; the call was later declared a hoax

The Mumbai airport was on high alert yesterday, after an operator received a call on Monday night stating that the domestic and international terminals, and the Taj Mahal Hotel could be attacked. The Bomb Threat Assessment Committee (BTC) of Mumbai airport had termed the call as a ‘specific threat’ following which an FIR was registered at the Sahar police station.

An operator working from the Joint Control Centre (JCC), manned by the Mumbai International Airport Pvt Ltd (MIAL), received the call from a person who identified himself as Vishesh Kumar. The call was made at around 11.45pm via internet following which the airport authorities then swung into action.

Read Story: Mumbai on high alert after bomb threat message

As per the Standard Operating Procedure (SOP), a BTC was formed and the call was declared to be a ‘specific’ one. Senior police officials confirmed that the caller had disclosed his e-mail address and phone number to operator. The security officials as well as the local police were on their toes the entire day.

Mumbai airport. File pic

Kumar claimed that he overheard a group of people at Andheri station, discussing that five vehicles at each of these places i.e: domestic and international airports and Taj hotel will be blown up between 9 and 10 am on Tuesday morning. He also told the operator that the group allegedly said that the impact of these serial blasts might be bigger than 26/11 terrorist attacks.

Regular flier R Kinariwala, who was flying to Ranchi, said, “I hadn’t experienced such a rigorous check before. My luggage was scrutinised twice before I checked it in.” “CISF has taken all the precautionary measures, as no such calls can be taken lightly. Bomb and Dog squads have been alerted. We are keeping a watch on each passenger and have increased manual checks too,” said Hemendra Singh PRO CISF.

Read Story: Mumbai, Delhi Airport authorities hassled by repeated threat calls

When mid-day called the number specified by the caller, it got connected to a lady in West Bengal, and also showed the name Raj on the caller id. Speaking to mid-day Suresh Vedak, ACP Airport Division said, “We have registered a case against an unknown person under Section 506 of the IPC (Punishment for criminal intimidation) and are trying to catch the caller. Though the call proved to be a hoax, security has been beefed up at the city side of both the terminals.”

A Taj hotel spokesperson said, “The Mumbai police conducted a thorough security check and have confirmed the call was a hoax. We continue to be highly vigilant at all times to ensure safety and security of our guests."

Threat in loo
Apart from the various threat calls received by the Air India call centre in Thane, a threat message was scribbled in the men’s washroom of T2 this year. mid-day had reported the incident, ‘Terror threat on men’s toilet wall rattles T2,’ (Jan 7).

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