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Hoax calls are on the rise

Some Delhiites certainly enjoy setting off false alarms. In 2007, 3,835 hoax alerts were recorded by Delhi Police. A year later, the number went up to 5,806.

delhi Updated: Sep 09, 2009 00:32 IST
Karan Choudhury

Some Delhiites certainly enjoy setting off false alarms. In 2007, 3,835 hoax alerts were recorded by Delhi Police. A year later, the number went up to 5,806.

And on Tuesday, the police were a case of the nerves as a prankster bombarded them with 10 hoax calls about bombs planted at various public places.

So, why do people make such calls?

Revenge, apparently, is one of the motives. On November 26, 2008, Southeast Delhi Police had arrested a middle-aged man who made 50 hoax calls and accused a woman of crimes like running an illicit liquor racket and planting bombs.

Last September...

A year ago, Delhi Police were swamped with hoax calls, September 15 was the busiest day by far:

7.25 am: At New Delhi House, Barakhamba Road.
10 am: Hansal Tower in Rajouri Garden. Some miscreant called the HDFC call centre to say there was a bomb in the building.
12 pm: In West Patel Nagar, somebody called the police control room to say there was a bomb inside a car bonnet.
5.30 pm: In the Tigri area, a scared person called the police about a polythene bag in a public toilet. The bag however had two brinjals with wires sticking out.
7.30 pm: At Rajiv Chowk Metro Station officials received a hoax call.

Dr Rajat Mitra, director of Swanchetan Society for Mental Health, said, “Such callers do get a sense of revenge. A real bomber would rarely make a call but a hoax caller cashes in on the fear which he strikes in the minds and hearts of people.”

Dr Mitra said, “Hoax calls are also made by people who are unable to deal with anger and humiliation.”

Like 22-year-old Prashant Pandey, who made a series of calls claiming bombs were planted inside different Metro stations. After he was caught, Pandey claimed that he made these call to revenge himself upon Delhi Metro. Apparently he claimed that once CISF officials misbehaved with him while frisking him at a station.

But how does the law regard such ‘pranksters’?

Delhi Police can book them under Section 182 of Indian Penal Code.

The punishment for the offence can take the form of imprisonment up to six months, or a fine of up to 1,000 rupees, or both.