A man named Iqbal Hussain was arrested by the Government Railway Police from Chennai on Saturday for allegedly sending a hoax bomb threat to Jodhpur trains in the name of the terrorist organisation, Lashkar e Taiba. He had sent the hoax message only to make it ‘sensational’ and to ‘become famous’, confirmed the police.
PK Ravi, Deputy Superintendent of Police, GRP, Chennai, said Iqbal Hussain of Royapettah, who distributes drinking water, used to forward text alerts to police personnel over a range of issues, including traffic and parking of vehicles which he revealed was mostly ignored.
Motivated by media coverage of Sabarimala issue and Amritsar train accident and in an attempt to get famous, Hussain allegedly sent a message, which read, “Lakshkara – E Thoiba threaten letter in that letter anytime bomb blast in the Jodhpur train. Intelligence issue high alert. Dg COP IGPINT”, to the police control room, which was purely a hoax message, the DSP said.
Subsequently, the master control room at the City Police Commissioner’s office also received an anonymous call at 11 p.m. stating bombs would go off on the Bhagat Ki Kothi Express soon.
The control room staff immediately alerted top officials. However, Bhagat Ki Kothi Express, which arrived from Mannargudi, had already left for Jodhpur from the Egmore railway station and had crossed the State border. Hence, the Andhra Pradesh officials were informed.
The pairing Bhagat Ki Kothi Express, which was coming from Jodhpur, was, however, stopped at Ennore, said, PK Ravi. “With 70 men from GRP, RPF and Bomb Detection and Disposal Squad, we thoroughly searched every compartment. The call turned out to be a hoax,” he added. About 700 passengers on board, had to get off due to the search. The passengers’ luggage was also checked. The search lasted for two hours and thirty minutes, and no suspicious material was found. Only after the police gave clearance, did the train leave for Mannargudi.
In another unrelated case, almost occurring at the same time, a man called up the Police Control Room over the phone and said that a bomb planted in the Covai Express would go off at 6.15 am. The caller claimed that he had overheard three people at Central Station talking about this.
After searching the train, police found the news was a hoax and traced the caller, who initially identified himself as Naveen Kumar, from Vadapalini district. However, on being grilled further he admitted his real name was Praveen Kumar and accepted that the threat call was a hoax. Clearing his intention, he said that he had missed the 6.15 am train and so he called the control room and issued the bomb threat so that the train may be stopped. He too had been arrested and remanded in judicial custody.