Twin bomb threats leave police, passengers on edge

Both turn out to be hoaxes; callers apprehended

October 21, 2018 12:11 am | Updated 12:11 am IST - CHENNAI

Taking no chances:  A member of the bomb squad scanning luggage on a train on Saturday.

Taking no chances: A member of the bomb squad scanning luggage on a train on Saturday.

Two separate threats to blow up trains from Chennai kept passengers, the Government Railway Police (GRP) and Railway Protection Force (RPF) on tenterhooks through Saturday.

Sources said the Master Control Room at the City Police Commissioner’s office received an anonymous call at 11 p.m. stating bombs would go off on the Bhagat Ki Kothi Express soon. The message also claimed that the Lashkar-e-Taiba was responsible.

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.

Deputy Superintendent of Police P.K. Ravi of Government Railway Police said the pairing Bhagat Ki Kothi Express — coming from Jodhpur — was stopped at Ennore.

“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. Only after clearance was given by the police, did the train leave for Mannargudi.

The GRP traced the caller to Triplicane and interrogated him.

A. Iqbal Hussain, 40, claimed he had sent the message to “become famous”.

In another morning call, a person told the control room that he had overheard three people talking about a bomb that was planted on the Chennai-Coimbatore Express and claimed it would go off soon.

The caller identified himself as Naveen Kumar from Vadapalani.

‘To catch the train’

The Vadapalani police managed to trace him to the Kodambakkam railway station. Initially, he told them that the call was a prank by his friends.

However, upon being grilled, he admitted his real name was Praveen Kumar and said that he intended to travel by train to Vellore, his native place.

As he had overslept and was about to miss the train, he made the call to delay it.

He was arrested and remanded in judicial custody.

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