A couple were arrested by the Bengaluru International Airport police in the early hours of Thursday in connection with a hoax call made to the Kempegowda International Airport to delay the take off of a Cochin-bound AirAsia flight. The flight was delayed by over six hours. Police said that they have detained Neha Gopinathan and Arjun, natives of Kerala who resided at the BTM Layout in South-East Bengaluru.
The duo were detained after investigations showed that all the other 180 passengers had boarded the flight on time and the couple had enquired several times over phone about the flight, stating that they were running late to reach the airport due to a problem with their taxi.
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N Shivakumara, Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP) said that the police was informed about the threat call. “It was later confirmed that it was hoax and we have detained Neha and Arjun,” he said. The couple said they needed to be in their village near Cochin on Thursday morning since their engagement was scheduled in the morning.
Police said that one of their relatives called the airport from a public telephone booth in Cochin around 8.31 pm on Wednesday and claimed that there were explosives in the AirAsia flight to Cochin. The flight was scheduled to take-off by 8.45 pm but the operation was suspended on account of the hoax call. The explosive detection and disposal squad rushed to the scene and checked the flight and baggage of all the passengers till 1.30 am before the call was deemed a hoax. The flight finally took off from the Bengaluru airport around 3.30 am on Thursday.
Police said the couple are working as instructors at a private teaching academy and their engagement was scheduled for Thursday. They came to know that they can’t reach their destination in time for their engagement, they informed the same to their relatives, who planned the hoax call to ensure delay of the flight. A police team may be dispatched to Kerala if the couple fail to reveal who exactly made the hoax call. A case has been registered and further probe is underway.