Sunny Sharma, a 29-year-old salesman at a Gurgaon dry-fruits shop, had decided to test India’s terror preparedness. He made two anonymous calls –– one to the Gurgaon police on Wednesday, another to the Delhi cops on Thursday.
What followed was hours of panic and chaos, everyone’s mind still heavy with the Sydney siege and the Peshawar school massacre.
The police combed malls and metro stations in Gurgaon, intelligence agencies swung into action, a bomb squad was brought in, and news channels went live.
The Gurgaon police arrested the hoax caller on Thursday at his shop in Vyapar Kendra, Sushank Lok, tracing his location from his calls. Sharma is in police custody. He will be produced before a city court judge on Friday.
Sharma faces seven to 10 years in jail for attempting to wage war against the government of India, criminal intimidation by an anonymous communication and sending offensive messages (sections 121a and 507 of the IPC, and 66A of the IT Act). He told the police that he was trying to check their preparedness.
Besides Gurgaon -- Huda City Centre metro station, Vyapar Kendra, Supermart 1 and Arcadia complex -- he also claimed to have planted bombs in Delhi.
Sharma, a resident of Shiv Vihar, Delhi, is married and the father of two.
The police said the calls were made using an Orissa SIM card (8470011170) belonging to Saroj Kumar, a resident of Gurgaon’s Jharsa village. Kumar had lost the SIM on Tuesday at the Vyapar Kendra and did not get it blocked from the cellular operator.
Police commissioner, Gurgaon, Navdeep Singh Virk said Sharma had found the lost SIM card in one of the washrooms of the Vyapar Kendra on Wednesday. He immediately made his first hoax call.
Virk said the incident had given the police “a chance to introspect on the shortcomings in our investigation procedures”.