Police have arrested a man who allegedly made the bomb hoax call that led to emergency landing of a GoAir flight from Bhubhaneshwar to Mumbai at Nagpur Airport on Saturday morning.
The suspect has been identified as Sanjay Kumar Mishra (35), an animation professional living in Wadgaon Dhayari area of Pune. He is a native of Bhubaneshwar, Odisha.
According to the police, Mishra had also made a prank call to the Pune city police control room in the early hours of Saturday, saying the Pune railway station would be “bombed.”
Police said their control room received a call around 2.50 am, threatening to blow up the Pune railway station. The information was passed on to the railway police and the state’s Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS).
When the police probed the cellphone number from which the call was made, they found Santosh Mishra’s name and residential address in Pune. By the time they reached his residence around 6 am, he had left home in his SUV. His family told the police he was going to Bhubaneshwar in his four-wheeler via Pune-Solapur Road.
Police teams intercepted the four-wheeler at Daund and nabbed Mishra.
Interrogation revealed that he had also made a call to the Odisha police saying a bomb had been planted in a Bhubaneshwar-Mumbai flight. After this, the GoAir flight G8 243, which took off from Bhubhaneshwar for Mumbai at 8.20 am Saturday, was diverted to Nagpur. It landed there at 9.30 am. Police checked the flight thoroughly, but found no explosives inside.
Police said Mishra was not found involved in any terror activities, but seemed to have a mental problem and that “his family life is disturbed”.
Assistant commissioner of police (ATS) Bhanupratap Barge said Mishra was earlier booked in a similar case in Mumbai, where he had made a prank call saying a bomb was planted in a vehicle parked near the international airport.
Police said Mishra shifted to Pune three years ago and was operating Sai Animation Studio in Wadgaon Dhayari.
Meanwhile, a press release by GoAir stated, “GoAir flight G8 243 took off from Bhubaneshwar for Mumbai at 8.20 am, but after receiving the bomb threat call, it was diverted to Nagpur and landed there at 9.29 am.”
“All the 150 passengers were deplaned immediately after the plane landed and the security agencies carried out a thorough search of the passengers, their baggage and the aircraft. However, no bomb was found on board the aircraft. The aircraft has been cleared for departure to Mumbai,” the release said.