A day after a laptop bag with explosive material was found at Mangaluru airport, police on Tuesday said it was planted by mentally disturbed man with a history of perpetrating bomb hoaxes.
The suspect, Aditya Rao (36), a resident of the Udupi region, was identified on the basis of CCTV footage at the Mangalore airport, a hoax call made to the airport on Monday, descriptions provided by locals who interacted with him on Monday and photographs taken when he was arrested in 2018, police sources said. He is yet to be arrested for the incident at Mangaluru airport, they said.
“The incident in the Mangaluru airport does not appear to be a serious one. A mentally deranged man who has a history of making calls to airports has been identified by the local police. The local police are confident he was the one who planted the bag at the airport,” a police official said.
On Monday, an unattended laptop bag with a crude explosive device was found at the Bajpe airport in Mangaluru. The crude explosive device was in a metal container within the bag, which was left near a ticket counter outside the airport premises.
Though the IED did not have a trigger, the police bomb squad triggered a controlled blast in an open field to defuse the explosive.
During investigations, police found CCTV footage of a man in a baseball cap, a white shirt and dark pants, who abandoned the bag at the airport and left in an auto-rickshaw. Further probe revealed that the man seen in the video footage at the airport and the man who made a bomb threat call to the airport on Monday mid-day — leading to the stalling of an Indigo flight to Bengaluru — was in all probability Rao.
Rao, who has an engineering and an MBA degree, and has worked multiple jobs ranging from sales at insurance firms to restaurants, was arrested by the Bengaluru police on August 29, 2018 for making hoax calls to the Bengaluru airport and railway station. He was also accused of robbing laptops in 2018.
He is adept at using the Internet and police are investigating if he learnt how to assemble the crude explosive online.
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