On June 13, the JJ Marg police station received a phone call from a man claiming that he had planted a bomb. What followed over the next 14 days was a tale of revenge and panic as the caller sent Mumbai Police across the city looking for nonexistent bombs and dead bodies. The caller, identified as Razaak Shaikh (27), was tracked down to Gujarat and arrested on Wednesday for making more than 100 hoax calls to seven different police stations. As the officers took him into custody, Shaikh said, “I wanted to make Mumbai Police suffer for separating me from my family.”
Shaikh has at least 15 cases of robbery and theft registered against him. He lived with his parents in Pydhonie until JJ Marg police externed him from Mumbai and its three neighbouring districts in September 2018.
But after nine months, Shaikh set out to “take revenge” against the police he believed had forced him out of his home and away from his family.
At 3.15 am on June 13, Shaikh made his first call to the JJ Marg police station informing them that he had planted a bomb in a red car in Chor Bazaar.
“He kept calling the police station’s landline number, each time giving us different locations for the bomb. He claimed he had a remote control and many people in the area would die if he pressed a button,” said an officer.
After the regular force, the Bomb Detection and Disposal Squad and the Anti-terrorism Squad were pressed into action, the police eventually realised that it was a hoax call and returned to their stations at 4.30 am. “At the same time, we got another call in which he said he has planted a bomb at JJ Hospital,” said an officer.
For the next thirteen days, Shaikh called different police stations across south Mumbai.
On one instance, he posed as a Deputy Commissioner of Police and claimed that the police personnel stationed at a junction for nakabandi were not conducting proper checks and ordered them to pull up their socks.
“In another instance, he called the Byculla police station and informed them that a lady was murdered and her body was being transported in a car, so we roped in extra force to patrol the area,” said a police officer.
The JJ Marg police received another call on June 26, in which the caller said he had murdered two women at KGN Tower in Bhendi Bazaar. He added that an LPG cylinder was leaking in the apartment and it would explode any moment.“The call was made at 6.30 am, so we sent a team and the residents of the apartment woke up and started searching for the bodies with us,” said an officer.
The police said they had registered a case on June 14 after the first call, but the caller’s mobile location showed that he was in Kanpur. “We did not send a team then as we wanted to be sure of his location later. When his mobile location showed that he was in Gujarat, a team was then dispatched and he was arrested from Faizal Nagar in Ahmedabad,” said an officer.
“After we got hold of him, we realised that he was externed from Mumbai and had sought revenge against the police,” said an officer. Shaikh has been booked under the Indian Penal Code. He was initially remanded in police custody till Saturday but later sent to judicial custody.