An unidentified man, claiming to be a Pakistan national, dialled the Thane call centre number Air India last week and threatened to carry out a terror attack at New Delhi’s Indira Gandhi International (IGI) Airport, using a radioactive chemical, unless he was paid Rs 1 million.
The caller has been untraceable so far as the phone number did not display in the call centre’s call logs.
According to the Thane police, the call was made on August 30 to Sutherland Global Services, located in Wagle Estate, Thane, a business process outsourcing (BPO) firm that signed a contract with Air India in 2013. Following the threat call, an alert was sent to the IGI Airport, said the police.
According to a Mumbai airport official, the caller identified himself as Ahmed and said he was calling from Pakistan.
“The call was received at 3.15 pm on August 30. The caller said he would immediately blast the IGI Airport with plutonium unless he was paid Rs 1 million,” said the official, adding that the call lasted 9 minutes and the caller spoke in English. The call logs, however, did not display the number from which the call had been made.
A complaint was lodged by Air India at Thane’s Shrinagar police station where an unknown individual has been charged under the Indian Penal Code for committing an offence against the state likely to cause fear or alarm to the public.
The police have now termed the call a prank, with no such attack taking place that day.
“We are attempting to trace the caller and have passed on information about the call to the Thane Police Cyber Cell and central intelligence agencies,” said an officer at the Shrinagar police station. According to V B Chandanshive, Deputy Commissioner of Police, Zone V, the use of a SIM card from a foreign country could have resulted in the number not showing up on the call centre’s logs. “Even if the caller did use a SIM card registered in Pakistan, we cannot track him down because we don’t have a treaty in place. We are also probing whether he used a cloned SIM card to make the threat call. In that case, he could have made the call from anywhere,” he said.