Panic gripped the state secretariat, Nabanna, and the airport on Friday after their offices received bomb threat calls, sending police into a tizzy. While police have arrested a Howrah resident in connection with the Nabanna incident and confirmed it was a hoax, thorough checks were being conducted at the airport after the call, though CISF suspect it to be a hoax as well.
Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose International Airport had received similar calls two days ago. This is the third hoax bomb threat made to Nabanna this year. According to police sources, the secretariat control room received an anonymous call at around 9.30 am. A male voice claimed that a bomb planted in the premises would blow up the building at 2 pm, said a senior officer in charge of security at Nabanna.
Several teams of the Bomb Disposal Squad, Dog Squad, Special Task Force and Special Branch rushed to the spot and security was beefed up. The 14-storied building was then evacuated and searched, but nothing suspicious was found, said the police.
“The dog squad checked the building thoroughly,” said Supratim Sarkar, Joint Commissioner of Police (Headquarters). Later in the day, police managed to track down the caller. Sumanta Bhowmick (29) was arrested by Shibpur police under sections 505 (statement conducing public mischief), 507 (criminal intimidation by anonymous communication) and 120 B (criminal conspiracy) of the Indian Penal Code.
“We are interrogating him to find out why he did it,” said an officer. Meanwhile, the manager of the international airport received a call at around 6.50 pm. Sources said that the caller, suspected to be a male, said in Hindi, “I am Sanjay, I will blast the airport.”
Security was immediately intensified and checks were carried out in the cargo and passenger terminals. On Wednesday, three phone calls were made threatening to blow up the airport. While the first two calls were made to the police headquarters in Lalbazar, the third one was made to Bidhannagar Police Commissionerate, under whose jurisdiction the airport falls. The calls turned out to be hoaxes. Police had arrested one person from Dankuni area and claimed that he was “mentally unstable”.
In February this year, the secretariat was evacuated after it received a call about a bomb threat, which was later found to be a hoax. In July, the police headquarters received a similar call that a bomb had been planted in Nabanna. Police had later arrested one Aniruddha Ghosh (52) from his Kalighat Road residence for making the call.