An Indian-origin US-based CEO of an IT firm was arrested on Sunday, December 31, for apparently making a hoax call to Mumbai's Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport.
Vinod Moorjani claimed after his arrest that the helpline operator misheard him as he wanted to enquire about his flight status. The miscommunication occurred when he reportedly he asked for "Bom-Del" status — an aviation abbreviation for Mumbai-Delhi flights.
However, the operator claimed the man hung up after saying "bomb hai", following which she alerted the airport authorities. Moorjani pleaded innocence and maintains he hung up due to a disturbance on the phone line, thereby leading to the miscommunication.
Soon, the airport authorities notified the Mumbai Police, who identified Moorjani through CCTV footage outside a telephone booth in the airport area.
The police believe Moorjani was aware of the situation regarding the call as he intended to delay outgoing flights so he would not miss his flight to Rome, according to a Press Trust of India report.
Moorjani was accompanied by his wife and two children who were headed for Delhi, followed by a connecting flight to Rome, and eventually returning home to Virginia in the US.
Moorjani and his family were offloaded from their flight, soon after which he was arrested. He was later released on a bail after being produced in court. He was also slammed with a fine of Rs 15,000 for intent to cause fear in public.
The Mumbai airport code (BOM) had caused a similar concern during a flight from Ahmedabad to Mumbai in April 2016. The incident happened when a cleaning staff found a boarding pass with the word 'Bom-B' written on it. However, it was later found that the boarding pass mentioned BOM and gate number 'B-47' written adjacent to it.