An anonymous phone call claiming that both the current and former prime ministers of the country were on the radar of assassins and a seemingly innocuous text message, stating that a bomb had been recovered from a south Delhi mall, kept the Delhi Police on their toes till Wednesday evening.
The day-old call and the text message that reportedly originated from a BlackBerry phone coupled with a genuine mock drill aimed at testing the preparedness of the police and the fire department during a contingency in the morning, ensured that residents of south and southeast Delhi had a rough day at their favourite shopping venues.
"Last evening, our control room received a call from a man, claiming that he was going to gun down Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and former PM Atal Behari Vajpayee. It was later discovered that the anonymous caller, who had made the call from UP's Ghaziabad, had procured the cell phone number through forged documents and provided a fake address," said a senior Delhi Police officer.
Working in tandem with their Ghaziabad counterparts, the Delhi Police were able to ascertain that call was made from Sanjay Nagar. However, the police could neither find the owner of the number or his residence despite a protracted operation to track down the caller who had identified himself as Ram Avatar.
Meanwhile, Delhi Police officers participating in a mock drill at the M-block Market in southeast Delhi's Greater Kailash gave shoppers a rude shock, as they conducted a drill. Besides, a text message, claiming that bomb squads had conducted a similar drill at the Promenade Mall in Vasant Kunj and had successfully recovered a bomb, did the rounds.
"Our security in-charge contacted the local police about the text message after he received it around 2pm and the whole mall was shut down till 4pm," said Vijay Didwania, a store manager who was at work when entry to the mall was restricted as police bomb disposal squads sanitised the entire facility.
Deputy commissioner of police (south) Chhaya Sharma said no bombs had been recovered at the said mall and thorough checks of the entire perimeter had been made. Efforts to trace the perpetrator of the bomb scare are underway.