The idea of making quick money in a jiffy by issuing terror threat to Bathinda's oil refinery backfired on two labourers. The police claim to have arrested two migrants who posed as terrorists and made threatening calls to the refinery's senior executive of security, and two others who aided and abetted them.
Even a few months ago, prime suspects Munna Tiwari and Pintu Yadav had worked at Guru Gobind Singh refinery. Tiwari was back as a labourer at the oil installation, and Pintu Yadav, who took a break to get married in Uttar Pradesh, arrived in Bathinda again a few days ago to look for job.
The other suspects, Mahesh Kumar and Tunna Kumar of Bihar, run a photo studio near the refinery. They are charged with providing Tiwari and Yadav with two subscriber's identity module (SIM) cards based on fake proofs of identity. From those numbers, threatening calls were made at the refinery.
The callers had asked for only Rs 4,000 to call off the threat, so the police knew they couldn't be terrorists. "We are neither terrorists nor into planting any bomb," said suspect Pintu Yadav, "Joblessness drove us to plan the hoax. I got married on April 25 in Uttar Pradesh and returned here on May 20. All we wanted was Rs 4,000. We told the refinery executive that we didn't want to attack but we had our orders."
Executive Shiv Nand Hote, who took the call heard Pintu Yadav on the other end, introduced himself as "Ansari". Tiwari called himself "Azmal". Hote reported the first threat on May 22 and set the police on a terrorist hunt. The callers' numbers were linked to a Tata Docomo SIM of the Punjab circle.
The input from India's intelligence agency Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) that some Pakistani
nationals planned to blow up oil refineries in the state, the Bathinda police had raised the level of security at the new installation. The state government had called the Border Security Force as well, and they are still deployed at the refinery.
Contrary to intelligence inputs, the Pakistani media said RAW's suspects were traders and security guards in their country. "The callers talked of no motive," said senior superintendent of police Sukhchain Singh Gill, "so we knew it was a hoax."
"One of the intimidators' SIM cards was issued in the name of Bisamudin Miyan, while the other name is yet unclear," said station house officer Gamdoor Singh. "Both calls were made on May 22, and then the cell phones were switched off. The suspects planned to earn money by playing a trick."
"We have orders to plant a bomb in the refinery," the callers had told the security executive. "We are forced, so save us." They did not ask the official for any money.