The Chennai police had a busy day on Saturday, as they received two fake bomb threat calls in one day, both for bizarre reasons. In the first instance, a 27-year-old Chennai man, identified as Praveen Kumar, came up with a strange way to not miss his train to Coimbatore. Realising that he woke up late and would miss his train, the resident of Kodambakkam made a fake bomb threat call to the police control room, in a bid to buy himself some time to reach the station. He told them that he overheard some men at the Central station talk about a bomb being planted in the Kovai Express, which was scheduled for departure at 6.15 am.
A bomb squad rushed to the station with sniffer dogs and searched the train. They soon realised that it was was a hoax. It was too late when Praveen realised that he made the call from his number, which helped the Railway Police Force (RPF) trace and apprehend him as he was about to board his train at Kodambakkam railway station. Praveen initially identified himself as Naveen Kumar to the police and said that his friends had played a prank on his birthday. On further interrogation, he revealed his real name and that he works for a software company in West Mambalam.
The man, who was heading to his hometown in Katpadi for the weekend, confessed to the police that he had overslept and decided to pull off the prank so that he would not miss the train. The Vadapalani police registered a case against Praveen under the relevant IPC sections and a court sent him to jail.
In another unrelated instance, 37-year-old Iqbal Hussain of Royapettah sent a fake bomb threat to Jodhpur trains posing as a member of Lashkar-e-Taiba, a banned terrorist organisation. The Government Railway Police (GRP), who arrested the man, said that he sent the message only to make it â€˜sensationalâ€™.
According to New Indian Express, Iqbal, who distributes drinking water, regularly alerts police about traffic, parking of vehicles and other issues, through text messages. Spurred on by the extensive media coverage on the Amritsar train accident and the Sabarimala row, the man reportedly sent a bomb threat message to police control room, PK Ravi, Deputy Superintendent of Police, GRP, told the newspaper.
The GRP, RPF and bomb detection squad conducted a thorough search of Bhagat Ki Kothi-Mannargudi Express at Ennore. Later, train leaving from Mannargudi to Jodhpur was also searched at Egmore Railway Station.
Meanwhile, the Egmore GRP police sprung into action, traced Iqbal and registered a case. Iqbal was later arrested from Royapettah following subsequent inquiry.