Cops probe calls from Iran to plant bombs in Meerut

July 18th, 2011 - 7:06 pm ICT by IANS  

Lucknow, July 18 (IANS) Uttar Pradesh Police are probing two mysterious calls that asked a meat trader in Meerut and a farmer in Baghpat to plant bombs. Both the calls have been traced to Iran but routed through the US, an official said.

This suggested that the calls were made from the US against SIM cards issued in Iran, the official said.

The first call was received by Hashim Ilahi, a meat trader in Ismail Nagar locality of Meerut city, about 400 km from here on July 13.

Two days later, on July 15, a similar call was received by Vikas, a young farmer living in Soop village in neighbouring Baghpat district, said state special director general of police Brij Lal.

Both Vikas and Hashim claimed to have been offered huge amounts of money to plant explosives and bombs in different parts of Meerut city.

“They made it a point to promptly inform the police about the calls, following which the matter was referred to the Special Task Force (STF) which is now looking into both the cases,” said Lal.

Hashim told police that the caller told him that he had been handpicked because his phone number ended with ‘786′, regarded as auspicious in Islam. He said he was offered Rs.2 crore to carry out the mission that was intended to incite violence in communally sensitive Meerut.

Vikas said he received two calls but cut them. He switched off the phone and rushed to the police station to report the matter.

Preliminary investigations suggested that both were prank calls. “Even though it was quite apparent that someone was playing a dirty prank, still we do not want to take any chances. As such, an STF team has been detailed to track down the callers and get to the bottom of the whole affair,” said Lal.

“Not only was it strange that the caller in both cases spoke in Hindustani but it also appeared very weird that a terrorist outfit would make a call from an identified phone number and ask any Tom, Dick or Harry to engineer a blast,” he added.

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