Man playing wingman for friends behind SpiceJet bomb hoax | Latest News Delhi - Hindustan Times
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Bizarre twist to SpiceJet hoax: A trip to Manali, two new women friends, and a ticketing agent

Jan 14, 2023 02:39 AM IST

He wanted to help his friends spend some more time with two women they had met on holiday in Manali, said officials. The women were booked on the flight

A day after a SpiceJet flight between Delhi and Pune was delayed over a bomb threat, police arrested a 24-year-old man for making the hoax call to help his friends spend some more time with two women they had met on holiday in Manali. The women were booked on the flight.

Abhinav Prakash, a resident of Dwarka Sector 22, works as a trainee ticketing agent with British Airways at DLF Qutub Plaza in Gurugram. (HT Photo)
Abhinav Prakash, a resident of Dwarka Sector 22, works as a trainee ticketing agent with British Airways at DLF Qutub Plaza in Gurugram. (HT Photo)

The threat, received at the airline’s call centre on Thursday at 6.30pm, delayed SG-8938 from departing at 9.30pm from the Indira Gandhi International (IGI) Airport and kept security agencies on high alert until it was dismissed as a hoax later that night. The flight eventually took off at 1.30am on Friday.

Deputy commissioner of police (IGIA) Ravi Kumar Singh identified the accused as Abhinav Prakash, a resident of Dwarka Sector 22 who works as a trainee ticketing agent with British Airways at DLF Qutub Plaza in Gurugram. According to police, Prakash made the hoax call after his friends, Rakesh (identified by only one name) and Kunal Sehrawat, requested him to come up with a plan that would allow them to spend more time with the two women they met on a trip to Manali.

Also Read: Man makes bomb threat to Dhirubhai Ambani school

An investigator probing the case said Prakash looks up to Rakesh and Sehrawat and “seeks their validation”, which is why he made the threat call.

After the SpiceJet call centre received the call, the airline informed the Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) and the aircraft was moved to an isolation bay.

“On January 12, a call was received at the SpiceJet office of a bomb in the aircraft scheduled to operate flight SG- 8938 (Delhi-Pune). The boarding for the flight had not yet started. The aircraft was moved to an isolation bay,” a Spicejet spokesperson said.

Also Read: 'All's well that ends well': How Air Force helped in Russia plane's bomb scare

DCP Singh said, “The information was immediately escalated to the CISF control room and was further transferred to IGI Airport police station. Teams swung into action, and the aircraft, with 182 passengers and crew members on board, was immediately taken to the isolation bay. All the passengers and their luggage were properly checked and frisked by CISF.”

The aircraft was also thoroughly checked, and no suspicious items were found, the police said. Subsequently, a case under relevant sections was registered, based on a complaint by Varun Kumar, manager (security) at SpiceJet Ltd.

After the threat was dismissed as a hoax, a technical surveillance team of the police discovered that the call was made from Prakash’s mobile. “Immediately, a raid was conducted and the accused was apprehended. He was subsequently arrested,” Singh said.

Singh said that Prakash revealed during interrogation that Rakesh and Sehrawat recently went on a road trip to Manali where they became friends with the two women. Both women were departing on the flight to Pune, but Rakesh and Sehrawat wanted to spend more time with them, so they called Prakash and asked for his help in delaying the flight to Pune.

“That is when the three friends decided to make a hoax bomb call at the SpiceJet call centre, with the motive of getting the flight cancelled. Prakash called the customer care number from his mobile phone and passed on a message that there is a bomb on flight SG-8938,” the DCP said.

When SpiceJet officials tried to reach Prakash, he stopped picking up their calls, the police said.

“After the flight was delayed, Rakesh and Sehrawat praised Prakash for his plan. The three then went to a local market and had a couple of beers to celebrate,” the investigator said.

According to Singh, the three friends, “to boost their false bravado”, also contacted the two women and told them that they were the ones who had got the flight delayed.

Sehrawat and Rakesh are presently absconding. “Efforts are being made to trace and arrest them,” Singh said.

Asked about what Rakesh and Sehrawat do for a living, he told the police that he is not aware. “He was also not aware when the two went to Manali. He only knew it was a recent trip. Further details will emerge once the two are arrested,” the investigator said.

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