Bomb hoax at schools to disturb public order: FIR | Latest News India - Hindustan Times
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Bomb hoax at schools to disturb public order: FIR

By, New Delhi
May 03, 2024 01:34 AM IST

The investigation was handed over to the counter intelligence unit of the Delhi Police special cell, though a raft of agencies will be involved in the probe.

The hoax bomb threat sent to over 300 schools in Delhi and the National Capital Region (NCR) was meant to disturb public order in the city and create mass panic, said the FIR registered by Delhi Police, which on Thursday approached the Interpol’s Moscow wing and sought details of the sender of the mass email who used a Russian domain code, said officials aware of the matter.

Chaos engulfed Delhi on Wednesday morning, as school after school dialled the police and reported that it had received bomb threats over email. (Hindustan Times)
Chaos engulfed Delhi on Wednesday morning, as school after school dialled the police and reported that it had received bomb threats over email. (Hindustan Times)

“It appears the emails [that were] used to send the threats were made with the conspiratorial intention of creating mass panic and to disturb public order in the national capital,” said the FIR registered by Delhi Police’s anti-terror unit.

An officer involved in the probe said all the emails were sent from a single ID.

“All the information we have has been sent to the National Central Bureau in Moscow through Interpol. We have asked for details of the registrant such as name, address contact details, alternate email IDs, and complete ID logs,” said the officer. The Moscow NCB is the Interpol’s Russian wing.

ALSO READ | Bomb scare in Delhi-NCR schools: Waking nightmare for parents!

Meanwhile, the scale of the hoax threat, sent to 288 schools in Delhi, four in Noida, six in Gurugram and three in Ghaziabad, has also prompted the Union home ministry and central agencies to assist the city police in its investigation as well as prod Interpol to release details of the perpetrator, said two senior officers involved in the probe.

Chaos engulfed Delhi on Wednesday morning, as school after school dialled the police and reported that it had received bomb threats over email. Institutions were forced to evacuate thousands of students midway through classes, as security forces launched sweeping checks in campuses across the length and breadth of the Capital.

The threats were all sent from a “mail.ru” domain – which is based out of Russia, but can be accessed from any location – that was also used to previously send a bomb threat to The Indian School in Sadiq Nagar on April 12 last year.

“Central intelligences have also activated their channels in Russia and other international networks to ask the Russia-based email service provider to assist our probe,” said one of the officers, who asked not to be named.

ALSO READ | After hoax bomb threat, Delhi government issues advisory to schools

Though the international crime investigation agency declined to reveal the sender’s identity in the April 12 case last year, despite a request from Delhi Police, senior officers said they expect Interpol to respond positively this time because of the magnitude of the threat.

“It was not an isolated incident (unlike the previous instance). We are expecting a response from Russia soon,” the officer said.

Mail.ru is the email service provided by the Russian company VK, similar to how Gmail or Outlook are email services provided by Google and Microsoft. Just as with Gmail and Outlook, anybody, anywhere in the world can set up a Mail.ru account and use it to send and receive emails. It does not mean that the email originated in Russia.

To be sure, investigators have said the sender likely used a virtual private network (VPN) to mask their IP address, rendering it extremely challenging for law enforcement agencies to trace down a person’s location.

The FIR, a copy of which HT has seen, was registered under sections 505 (2) (statements creating or promoting enmity, hatred, or ill will between classes), 507 (criminal intimidation by an anonymous communication) and 120B (criminal conspiracy) of the Indian Penal Code, on the statement of inspector Brij Mohan, who was on duty at the central police control room (CPCR) as a flurry of calls reporting bomb threats flooded the phone lines.

“During my duty hours, 125 bomb threat calls were received from different schools at ERSS (emergency response support system) – 112 from 5.47 hours (am) to 14.13 hours (2.13pm),” Mohan said in his statement.

The investigation was on Wednesday evening handed over to the counter intelligence unit (CIU) of the Delhi Police special cell, though a raft of agencies will be involved in the multi-pronged probe.

Meanwhile on Thursday, district-level police teams visited all the schools that had received threats and collected hash values of the emails.

A hash value is a unique numeric code that corresponds to a particular piece of data. Essentially a digital fingerprint, a hash value allows enforcement agencies to authenticate the veracity of digital information and ascertain that it hasn’t been tampered with.

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