Bomb scare at Maharashtra secretariat turns out to be hoax; farmer held

By PTI
MUMBAI/NAGPUR:  Mumbai Police personnel on Sunday conducted a search operation at the Maharashtra government secretariat here after a caller, later identified as a farmer from Nagpur district, claimed that a bomb was planted on the building, which turned out to be a hoax call, officials said.

“Around 12.40 pm, the Disaster Management Control, Mantralaya, received a call from an unidentified caller claiming that a bomb was planted on the Mantralaya,” Mumbai Police said in a statement.

Teams of police personnel along with the Bomb Detection and Disposal Squad (BDDS) reached the spot and conducted a search operation, but it turned out to be a hoax call, it said.

“Search operation at the Mantralaya premises is completed.

No suspicious object has been found,” it added.

Meanwhile, the caller was traced to Nagpur in east Maharashtra who turned out to be a farmer who allegedly made the call to draw the attention of the administration to his repeated pleas demanding compensation for his acquired land, a Nagpur rural police official said.

“The farmer was detained within two hours of making the hoax call. He confessed to making the call and said that for a long time, he was worried about the compensation of the acquired land. But no one was listening to his pleas. He made this call to draw the attention of the government and the administration,” the official said.

The farmer is identified as Sagar Mandhre (40).

Mandhre had owned seven acres of land in Makardhokda area of Umred tehsil in Nagpur district.

“He sold some part of that land to a man while some portion was acquired by the Western Coalfields Ltd (WCL) in 1997. The farmer told the Umred police that the WCL had not issued compensation to his acquired land,” the official said.

He said the farmer claimed that he was suffering from some serious bone disease and needs money for medical treatment.

The farmer claimed that he had been trying hard since the last two decades to get the compensation for his land and written several letters to the administration, the official said.

In the past, Mandhre had issued threats to set himself on fire on Independence Day and Republic Day on multiple occasions, he added.