Mumbai: 'Human Bomb' gets bail, says he was trapped
SoBo man accused of uttering the words 'human bomb' at airport security check denies charges; says CISF trying to frame him unnecessarily
The 36-year-old Ahmedabad-based tour manager, arrested for allegedly using the words 'human bomb' during his security check at the Mumbai International Airport on Friday, has quite a different story to tell of the incident. At the court hearing for his bail on Monday, Akul Patel denied having used the words and claimed to have been cleared by security check the first time, before a senior officer called him back and cancelled his boarding pass.
"I was trapped into this whole thing and forced to sign an apology letter," Patel told mid-day after he was granted bail by the Andheri Metropolitan Magistrate court on Monday.
The bail was granted on the condition that he would not leave the country without the court's permission and that his passport is surrendered to the investigating officer in the case until further orders are issued.
CISF personnel detained Akul Patel on Friday evening and registered an FIR against him with the Sahar Police under section 505 (1) (b) (incite offence against a community) and 506 (II) (criminal intimidation) of the IPC for allegedly saying, 'I am a human bomb check me fast'. The accused, who was initially allowed to pass by, was called back after senior officials intervened. Patel, who works as a tour manager for a private company, was flying to Norway on Friday evening.
"After they turned me away from the security check accusing me of saying those words, I walked out from the security clearance area. Another officer then came out and told me that I had to sign an apology letter after which I would be allowed to leave the airport," Patel told mid-day, adding, "The officer kept pressurising me for an apology letter. I was forced to sign a letter mentioning that I used the words 'human bomb'. Since I was desperate to board my flight, I wrote whatever they said. My trip to Norway was crucial for my company and I wanted to get out of this mess at any cost. Shockingly, after taking the apology letter, I was taken to the local police station and arrested," he added.
'Got a clearance first'
Patel, who was supposed to board a flight to Norway at 10:20 pm on Friday, said that there were two officers at the security check area when he reached there. "One was checking everyone and the other one was standing behind him and looked a bit angry. I don't know why. If you check my boarding pass, the security official has cleared it first after scanning of my baggage and frisking me. As soon as I began leaving, the other officer asked me to stop and he checked my luggage and frisked me again. Nothing was found," Patel recalled.
He claimed that the officer then asked him three questions - name, address and destination. "While I gave him all the details, it was already 9:30 pm and there were constant announcements for passengers travelling to Norway. The senior officer suddenly cancelled my boarding pass and I was asked to go out. I didn't understand what was happening. I kept asking but was asked to leave," he added.
Patel pleads 'not guilty'
At the court hearing on Monday too, Patel refused to accept that he had mentioned the word 'bomb'. "I didn't use any such words. I was called back to give an apology letter after the security clearance. I was told that I would be shifted to another flight but was handed over to the local police," he told the magistrate court.
The Sahar Police has demanded further custody to interrogate him but the court didn't find sufficient grounds for it and thus granted him bail on provisional cash security of Rs 20,000 a personal surety bond of Rs 15,000. "The accused should present himself before the local police station of Ghodasar, Ahmedabad every Sunday from 4 pm to 5 pm till further order of this court," the court said in its order.
'Can't compromise security'
CISF spokesperson Hemendra Singh said, "Phrases like 'I am a terrorist', 'I am a suicide bomber', 'hijacking', 'I am carrying a bomb', cannot be taken easily in the entire civil aviation world not only in India. The person needs to be interrogated thoroughly, his background needs to be checked. In this case when the senior officer came to know about the incident, his boarding pass was cancelled and he was handed over to the local police as a part of the procedure."
Akul Patel "was not known to the officer who frisked him, why would we then have a problem with him only?" Singh questioned, adding, "Lakhs of passengers travel everyday from Mumbai. Such cases are being reported everyday across the country. People must be knowing about it. We cannot compromise when it comes to airport security."
Shashikant Mane, senior PI at Sahar police station added that there were other witnesses in the case. "We are recording their statements apart from the CISF officer's statement," he said.
Another officer too said that in such cases, "witnesses' statement are very important." The airport staff and CISF personnel will be spoken to and the CCTV footage will be checked to understand what exactly happened.
Even if there is no audio in the footage, we can check the lip sync with the help of an expert to understand what he is saying. The only problem in such cases is that the co-passengers mostly do not cooperate."
'My life is ruined'
"My entire family has not been able to sleep for the past three days. My life has been ruined for a mistake I never committed. I don't know what kind of law is this. If my professional life is affected now, who will take care of my family? My passport has been seized and I am not allowed to travel which is my primary job. I will face a lot of issues now to get a visa from any country. I will be treated as a criminal. Who will take responsibility for this?" he questioned.
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