Tuesday, January 02, 2018

Flyer who said ‘Bom-Del’ booked for bomb call

Mumbai: "Bom-Del" may be one acronym that flyers ought to avoid while making a phone call. An apparent misunderstanding over a query regarding a Mumbai-Delhi flight's status led to the arrest of a flyer, the man's lawyer told a court on Monday. Vinod Moorjani, 45, a USbased CEO of an IT company, was scheduled to travel from Mumbai to Delhi and then fly Delhi-Rome on an Air India flight, en route to Virginia, along with his wife and two children.
Amid cascading flight delays on Sunday due to the weather, an annoyed Moorjani made a call to a toll-free number linked to Mumbai International Airport Ltd (MIAL)' s control room at 2.30pm. From here on, there are two accounts of what transpired. According to Moorjani, a US citizen of Indian origin, when the call connected, he asked the operator for "Bom-Del status", referring to the Mumbai-Delhi route.
The operator at the other end asked him what he meant. Moorjani then hung up. However, going by the operator's version, she heard Moorjani say "bomb hai" before he quickly disconnected without answering her, which heightened her suspicions. Two hours later, around 4.30pm, the caller, his wife and children were offloaded from the Delhibound flight. According to the police statement in court, Moorjani had made a bomb hoax call to disrupt schedules so that he could still get the late-night connection from Delhi to Rome in case he was late in arriving in the capital.
Investigators went through CCTV footage inside the airport where telephone booths are kept and found Moorjani making a call to an emergency number from one of the booths at around 2.30pm, said sources. The question that remained unanswered was how he could delay an international flight in Delhi by slowing down flights in Mumbai. Sahar police senior inspector Lata Shirsat confirmed the arrest and said Moorjani was a US national, who had been held for making a threat call.
She declined to divulge any more details. Moorjani was arrested at around 6.30pm on Sunday and produced before the Andheri metropolitan court on Monday where he was released on Rs15,000 bail. He has been booked under IPC sections 505 (1) (b) (intent to cause fear or alarm to the public) and 506 (II) (criminal intimidation). TOI learnt from a source present in the court that Moorjani's lawyer argued that his client's intention was not to make a threat call and that the woman in the control room had misunderstood him.
02/01/18 V Narayan/Times of India