'Serial hoax caller' is a teen with a head for numbers


On the first call he made, he asked for details of travel to Cape Town. The voice at the other end answered his specific queries with equal precision; airline call centre employees seldom say no. The caller knew this. The call went for 43 minutes, all details covered, including the fact that a credit card number has 16 digits and is backed by a three-digit CVC number. He hadn't seen one in his life.

On the second call, which came two hours later the same morning, he asked for the schedule between Mumbai and Bangalore. He asked for the flight number, the departure time, the terminal, the landmarks along the route, the number of seats in the aircraft. His queries were precise; tapes show he never repeated a question.

The third call was just around noon. He asked for sector information, and reconfirmed details collected on the earlier call. The call centre voice shows some fatigue, his doesn't. He had memorised every piece of information from the previous calls.

It was October 22, 2012, a Monday, and the first day of the week brings very high traffic, say airline officials.

The fourth call's recorded time is 3.30 pm, and it lasted an hour and a half. This time he gave his name as Vikas Yadav, sounded annoyed, and asked for floor manager Roger. He had noted the name of the manager from a call he had made on September 22. He would speak only to Roger, he snapped.

He was specific again, this time with a threat Jet Airways flight 9W2105 to Bangalore, leaving Mumbai's Chhatrapati Shivaji Airport at 4.10 pm, was to be hijacked by a passenger in row number 13.

With the security check-in already done, panic struck the airline cabin and the flight was moved to an isolation bay.

... contd.

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