Mumbai: Here's What Went Behind The Detection Of Bomb Hoax Call Inside BEST Bus

Mumbai: Here's What Went Behind The Detection Of Bomb Hoax Call Inside BEST Bus

The student Harshil Panwala sent the email to Wadala bus depot, due to increasing frustration of being unable to board the bus due to overcrowding.

Aishwarya IyerUpdated: Monday, May 06, 2024, 12:15 AM IST
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Wadala Bus Depot | Salman Ansari

With the arrest of a 21-year-old BSc Radiology student from Navi Mumbai, for allegedly sending a hoax email about a bomb being planted at the Wadala bus depot, the Free Press Journal looked at the behind-the-scenes that unfolded on Friday evening as soon as the police received the alert about the alleged email, that ended once he was placed under arrest. The student Harshil Panwala sent the email due to increasing frustration of being unable to board the bus due to overcrowding.

“It was around 6pm when we started from Mulund police station towards Mulund Check-Naka (toll naka), where the bus was supposed to pass,” said a police official. This matter is registered at RAK Marg police station. The email which was sent to Wadala bus depot main control via the BEST’s Chalo App, said that the bomb was planted on a 512 route BEST Bus, which plies between Nerul bus station and Mulund West via Turbhe, Vashi and Airoli.

The official continued, “The Navi Mumbai Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS), Thane and Vashi ATS were all deployed to Mulund check-naka, along with several local police personnel including senior police inspector, police inspector, assistant commissioner of police, police sub-inspector, three wireless police vehicles, two vehicles of Bomb Detection and Disposal Squads (BDDS), and BEST and depot employees. This is standard operating procedure (SOP) and we comply with this procedure at every bomb-related tip or alert.”

When the cops reached Wadala depot after the alert, the bus – 512 – had already left the depot. “We started to track the vehicle’s movement and even managed to contact the driver of the bus. We ordered the driver to stop the vehicle, evacuate the passengers, and check the vehicle, subsequently, a BDDS vehicle was sent to the bus’s live location,” a senior official said.

Police Ensuring Safety Amidst Bomb Hoax Investigation

The cops then decided to check other vehicles that left from the depot before 512. “At that time, the earlier left buses were at different spots, across Mumbai suburbs, and Navi Mumbai. We tracked them all down with the help of live location – nearly nine buses,” added an official.

Several buses had reached Juinagar, Ghansoli and even Nerul, which were stopped in between the roads, where passengers were evacuated without informing them about the motive behind the check-up, to avoid a panic situation. As the drivers cleared their vehicles, so was informed to the police team monitoring.

Police Efforts And Challenges During Bomb Hoax Investigation

Most of the police personnel involved were on a daytime shift that starts at 8am and ends at 8pm. “Our officers have been working since morning, and despite their end-of-shift timing, they couldn’t be relieved of duty as the search was going on till 9.30-10pm. The matter concluded after the ATS managed to arrest the accused,” the official added.

A senior police official, who was part of the case, said, “The ones who make hoax calls do not realise the waste of manpower and pressure of a bomb threat we (police) face, and they anyway get caught. But we yet do not have stringent punishment for such people. The court should be proactive with the conviction.”

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