Mumbai airport
[Representational Image]Reuters

The Hyderabad police on Thursday arrested a 30-year-old man who sent a hoax mail to the Mumbai police commissioner five days ago about a possible hijack of flights at Hyderabad, Chennai and Mumbai airports. The email had forced airport agencies to beef up security measures at all the three airports.

M Vamshi Krishna, who hails from Miyapur, was arrested from his house on Thursday morning. Vamshi sent the email to Mumbai Police "from a fake account in the name of a woman with an intention to delay the flight..., which he wanted to take to meet his girlfriend," Hyderabad Deputy Commissioner of Police (Task Force) B Limba Reddy told Hindustan Times.

Limba added that Vamshi was not in a position to reach the Rajiv Gandhi International Airport in Hyderabad on time. Therefore, he came up with this plan of sending the hijack threat mail to the Mumbai Police to delay the flight. It was earlier said that the email was sent by a woman. 

"He promised his girlfriend living in Chennai that he would take her on a jolly trip to Mumbai by flight but had no money to book the ticket," Hyderabad Police Commissioner M Mahender Reddy told the Hindu. He added that Vamshi was "unable to explain to girlfriend that he had no money for the trip, Vamshi decided to create a situation so that flights are cancelled."

Vamshi went to an Internet cafe in Hyderabad's SR Nagar a day before the scheduled journey and created a fake email id in the name of a woman and sent it to the Mumbai Police Commissioner. The Task Force of the Hyderabad Police Commissioner tracked the Internet Protocol address and traced it to the SR Nagar cyber cafe. Vamshi was arrested after he confessed to having sent the email.

The email claimed to be from a woman who wants to keep her identity secret. The mail stated she overheard a conversation by some six men planning to hijack planes at Chennai, Hyderabad and Mumbai airports on April 16. The police went on a high alert and the Central government directed the governments concerned to step up the security.

Airports in Chennai, Mumbai and Hyderabad were put on high alert on Sunday (April 16) following an email warning of "simultaneous" hijack attempts. Security at the airports had been tightened and a police investigation was launched. The email stated that three hijacks would be carried out by a team of 23 people at three airports.  

Director General of the CISF OP Singh had said: "A lady overheard six boys discussing a simultaneous hijack plan in Mumbai, Hyderabad and Chennai. The email could well be a hoax, but we didn't take any chances. Embarkation (boarding) security increased, anti-contingency plan put in place and meeting of all stake holders held." 

Even though the CISF and the airport authorities suspected the email threat to be a fake, they did not take any risk and immediately put several security measures in place at all the three airports. The Mumbai Police also began its investigation into the email and traced it to Hyderabad and informed city Police Commissioner Mahender Reddy. He then deputed the case to DCP Limba Reddy.