Hoax Call Blows Up in Cop's Face

Mumbai Mirror

Mumbai, Aug 1: An already embattled Mumbai police was in for a shock on Wednesday when a team from Thane police landed up at the commissionarate at Crawford market in the evening to question all officers manning telephones.

While investigating the series of hoax calls that have left cops jittery, Thane police traced one of them to the Mumbai police headquarters.

On July 29 at 2.45 pm, Ambernath police station received a call from a person who identified himself as a certain Razzaq. He told the duty officer that bombs has been planted at Kalyan and Ambernath railway stations, but before the duty officer could press for details, the caller hung up.

A 100-strong team of GRP, Thane police, railway protection force and state reserve police was swiftly assembled and they landed at the two stations with sniffer dogs and members of the bomb disposal squad. After a tense six-hour search the operation was called off and the call was termed a hoax. Furious at the man-hour wasted and the needless stress, Thane police decided to trace the call. The Ambernath police landline does not have a caller ID facility so enquiries were made with BSNL and within hours they were astounded to learn that the call had been traced to the Mumbai police commissionerate. More specifically to the MTNL number 22620111 which has fifteen extensions and is the number you call if you want to reach any cop station in South Mumbai from Cuffe Parade, Malabar Hill to Tardeo.

Two teams from Ambernath and Ulhasnagar police station then arrived in Mumbai and have since been questioning all policemen manning the fifteen lines. “It is difficult to track down the culprit as the number 22620111 has 15 extensions. We enquired with all the policemen who were attending telephones during that period, but did not find anything suspicious,” said an officer from Thane city police, who was part of the team that visited Mumbai police headquarters.

Police believe the prank to be an insider’s job as the caller knew that the landline at Ambernath Police station does not have a caller ID facility. “It has to be a policeman as the caller carefully chose the Ambernath Police station, all other stations in Thane have caller ID” said the officer.

Mumbai police commissioner Hasan Gafoor confirmed that the hoax call had been traced to the police exchange. “We are trying to find out who made the call as there are several extensions. It might take some time but the caller will be identified,” he promised grimly.


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