Man who threatened Ambanis is mentally unwell, says lawyer

Published on Aug 17, 2022 12:19 AM IST

Vishnu Vidhu Bhowmik (56), who owns a jewellery store in Mumbai and is a resident of Borivali, was arrested for making nine threat calls to the Sir HN Reliance Foundation Hospital on Monday morning.

FILE PHOTO: Mukesh Ambani, Chairman and Managing Director of Reliance Industries, arrives to address the company's annual general meeting in Mumbai, India July 5, 2018. REUTERS/Francis Mascarenhas/File Photo (REUTERS)
FILE PHOTO: Mukesh Ambani, Chairman and Managing Director of Reliance Industries, arrives to address the company's annual general meeting in Mumbai, India July 5, 2018. REUTERS/Francis Mascarenhas/File Photo (REUTERS)
ByVijay Kumar Yadav, Mumbai

The lawyer of the man arrested on Monday for issuing threats to Reliance Industries Ltd chairman Mukesh Ambani and his family members said in court on Tuesday that his client was mentally unsound and undergoing treatment, opposing the police’s plea for custody.

Vishnu Vidhu Bhowmik (56), who owns a jewellery store in Mumbai and is a resident of Borivali, was arrested for making nine threat calls to the Sir HN Reliance Foundation Hospital on Monday morning, according to a police statement.

Also Read: Mumbai man who made 9 calls threatening Mukesh Ambani is a 56-yr-old jeweller

“The caller had issued threat to Reliance Industries Ltd chairman Mukesh Ambani and his family members and also made objectionable comments and abused founder of Reliance group late Dhirubhai Ambani,” the police said.

Bhowmik had made the hoax call by allegedly using the name of Jaish-E-Mohammed terrorist Afzal Guru, unaware of the fact that the prime culprit in the 2001 Parliament attack case was hanged to death on February 9, 2013, said a police officer familiar with the case, requesting anonymity.

The 56-year-old was arrested on the basis of an FIR registered at DB Marg police station under sections 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.

On Tuesday, he was produced before a metropolitan magistrate court, where the police sought custody remand of 10 days.

Arguing for the custody, assistant public prosecutor, A U Sheikh, said: “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 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 is a habitual offender and had four cases registered against him in the past for similar offences.”

Bhowmik’s lawyer, advocate Vijaykumar Mane, however, submitted that his client had not made any direct call to Ambani or any of his family members and did not give them direct threats. “Hence, section 506(II) cannot be applied to his case,” he said.

Mane informed the court that Bhowmik was not mentally sound and was under treatment. He urged the court to allow his interrogation only under medical supervision.

After hearing both sides, the court remanded Bhowmik in four-day police custody.

According to a second police officer familiar with Bhowmick’s case, he had made a bomb hoax call to the MHB Colony police station in 2016, after which, his wife had taken away his phone.

She gave it back to him last month, said the officer.

Bhowmick regularly hurled abuses at policemen and government vehicles passing through the area, the officer said.

“We never took cognisance of his abuses, as we are aware of his mental condition,” the officer added.

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