A non-cognizable report registered by the police in the Bajpe region of Mangaluru over a bomb scare onboard an Indigo flight to Mumbai on August 14 through private WhatsApp messages between two 23-year-olds has been converted into an FIR by the police following clearances from a magistrate’s court. The duo was transiting via the Mangaluru International Airport.
The bomb scare onboard the Indigo flight 6E5237, that was being prepared for take-off to Mumbai, occurred on the morning of August 14 when a passenger on the flight Simran Shetty reportedly told the flight crew that she had seen a message on the phone of a co-passenger which referred to him as a “bomber”.
The investigations of the incident reported by the passenger after the plane was ordered to be evacuated revealed that messages shared by 23-year-old Dipayan Maji, a former student in Mangaluru, with his friend Simran Tom, 23, a student in Mangaluru who was at the airport to catch a flight to Bengaluru had used the word “bomber” in casual banter during a WhatsApp chat.
Initially, the Bajpe police registered an NCR in the matter and issued a warning to the two youths on the basis of a complaint given by an Indigo airport official K P Bopanna.
The police, however, converted the NCR into an FIR Monday and registered a case of causing alarm or fear to the public under Section 505 (1) (b) of the Indian Penal Code against the duo. The offense entails a prison term of three years or a fine or both.
According to the complaint, Bopanna said that he received information at around 11 am on August 14 from a fellow staffer that there were some suspicions raised about a traveller.
The inquiry revealed that Shetty panicked after seeing the word “bomber” used in the messages of Maji, said the police case registered in the matter.
Investigations revealed that Maji’s friend Tom, who was waiting for her flight in the airport, had messaged Maji saying, “Among all the Muslims you are the bomber” when she boarded the Indigo flight. In reply, Maji responded saying “Can you see me? Did you see the salute? So cute. Have a safe flight.”
According to the FIR filed by the police, the ‘suspicious messaging’ by the duo created a situation of fear and panic at the airport and the aircraft hence warranting a case under IPC Section 505 (1) (b).