All you frequent flyers, it may be a great idea to not use aviation codes for your next flight. Earlier this week, the Indian CEO of a US-based IT company was arrested at the Mumbai airport when he was waiting to board his flight to Delhi, and then over to Rome. He was eventually heading to Virginia.
The incident happened on December 31, 2017, when Delhi and north India was engulfed in thick fog, and hence, flight movements through the day were massively delayed.
The authority’s version of the incident states that he called a toll-free number from an airport phone booth and told the operator, “bomb hai”. They seem to believe that he wanted to stall flights to be able to make it to his flight to Rome. The operator said she heard bomb hai before hanging up and alerted the higher-ups. He was off-loaded with his family from the plane at 4:30 pm, after the people on the case went through the CCTV footage to see him make the call on the phone booths.
His version, however, is that he was just checking for his flight status, “BOM-DEL status”. Further, he hung up on the operator due to trouble in the connection. He has been charged with criminal intimidation and intent to cause fear or alarm to the public and was released on bail of INR 30,000. He pleaded non-guilty.
He told the court that the CEO called the toll-free number of the airport control room at 2:30 pm to find out about the status of his flight. He asked for the BOM-DEL status.
What beats me is the logic of how things are being construed here. How was an international flight in Delhi going to be delayed by asking such a question at Mumbai? Also, is the police overreaching their authority by laying their finger on a US national?
Mumbai police are known to overreact under pressure. For instance, they recently put a man in mourning returning from a funeral behind bars because a starlet alleged he molested her with his feet onboard, that too in a business class seat, from behind.
And while the police do have the CCTV footage, don’t they tape all the calls to the control room so that they can find out what really happened, because that is the only way they’ll know if the person was guilty or non-guilty?
Another thing that beats me is that they were so certain about the fact that the bomb call was a hoax, that they did not take the plane to an isolated bay and check it out fully, but just deplaned the chap and his family, and had the plane on its way.
Who do you think over-reacted in this situation? The cops or the CEO? And whose fault is it that BOM-DEL is the busiest route in the country?