Jewellery shop owner arrested for threatening Ambanis sent to four-day police custody

Updated on Aug 17, 2022 12:37 AM IST

The jewellery shop owner used Afzal Guru’s name to threaten Reliance Industries Limited chairman Mukesh Ambani without knowing that the Kashmiri separatist was hanged to death on February 9, 2013 in the 2001 parliament attack case, a senior police officer said

Mukesh Ambani Reuters
Mukesh Ambani Reuters
ByVijay Kumar Yadav, Mumbai

The jewellery shop owner used Afzal Guru’s name to threaten Reliance Industries Limited chairman Mukesh Ambani without knowing that the Kashmiri separatist was hanged to death on February 9, 2013 in the 2001 parliament attack case, a senior police officer said.

“We are investigating why he used the name of a dead terrorist. We have seized his mobile phone and will extract data from it to find out more about his online activities,” Neelotpal Basu, deputy commissioner of police, Zone II, said.

On Tuesday, Vishnu Vidhu Bhowmik, 56, was presented before a metropolitan magistrate court which remanded him in police custody till August 20.

His lawyer claimed that Bhowmik was not mentally sound and was under treatment for mental health issues and urged the court to allow his interrogation only under medical supervision. The defence also submitted medical documents to support his argument.

Between 10.39 am and 12.04 pm on Independence Day, the jewellery shop owner made nine calls to Sir HN Reliance Foundation Hospital. The caller issued threats to Mukesh Ambani and his family members and also made objectionable comments on founder of Reliance Group late Dhirubhai Ambani, police had said on Monday.

A case was registered at DB Marg police station and Bhowmik was arrested in Borivali. He has been charged with section 506(II) (criminal intimidation, if the threat be to cause death or grievous hurt or to cause the destruction of any property by fire) of the Indian Penal Code. The offence is punishable with imprison­ment of up to seven years, or fine, or both.

Police on Tuesday sought Bhowmik’s remand for 10 days.

“The accused has made the threat calls with proper planning. The police want to ascertain as to why he threatened the billionaire industrialist and probe if he had any links with any anti-social elements. We are also trying to find out if he has any partner or if anyone instigated him. We sought his custody as he was a habitual offender and had four cases registered against him,” A U Shaikh, assistant public prosecutor, said.

Advocate Vijaykumar Mane, representing Bhowmik, however, said that the 56-year-old had not made any direct call to Ambani or any of his family members and did not issue direct threats to them. Hence, section 506(II) could not be applied to his case.

After hearing both sides, the court sent Bhowmik to four-day police custody.

His motive behind making the threat calls is still unclear as he is frequently changing his statement, a police officer said.

According to police, Bhowmik had in 2016 made a hoax call to MHB Colony police station claiming that RDX (used for making explosives) was planted near the premises. Soon after this incident, his wife had taken away his mobile phone, but gave it back to him last month out of safety concerns, a police officer said.

Bhowmik resides at LIC Colony in Borivali with his wife and two children. According to the police officer and residents of the building, he has been at home ever since he suffered damage in the March 1993 bomb blasts. Bhowmik , who owns a jewellery shop at Zaveri Bazaar which he has given on rent, is known in the locality for hurling abuses at police officers and government vehicles passing through the area.

Police officials said the 56-year-old used to go for a morning walk and scream the moment he saw police vehicles. “We never took cognisance of his abuses as we are aware of his mental condition,” the officer said.

“We are always sympathetic towards him as he has not been violent or physical with anyone,” a resident of the colony said.

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