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BENGALURU: Gokul Macheri, 33, accused of making a hoax bomb call to Bengaluru international airport late last week to frame his friend Saju Jose, allegedly tried to manufacture an elaborate online trail to portray him as a terrorist with links to global jihadi outfit Islamic State, police sources said.
That night, Gokul also called a New Delhi-based telecom baron to place an extortion demand for Rs 10 crore, police sources claimed. He called the chairman’s personal telephone around 10pm. When that didn’t elicit any response, he sent a WhatsApp message that he was raising funds for the Islamic State and the honcho should pay the IS Rs 10 crore or else face the consequences.
The message gave a private bank account number for depositing the money and the number was of Saju Jose, sources said.
Gokul, a marketing executive with Indus Network, wanted Jose out of the way, and a terror link would put him away for some years. And in this time, he could pick up with Jose’s wife, where they had left off as teenagers. Gokul was still enamoured with the woman who had been with him in class 12 and through engineering college.
Gokul spotted an opportunity after pro-Islamic State Twitter handle operator Mehdi Masroor Biswas made headlines and was picked up in December 2014 for allegedly tweeting and re-tweeting propaganda material. He followed the investigation and scoured the net for posts by and in support of Mehdi, sources said.
“First, Gokul opened a Facebook account under the name ‘Salman Islam’ and posted material about IS and threatened to blow up important sites. Gokul was hoping cops will notice it and arrest Jose,” a source said.
Gokul hoped sleuths on Mehdi’s tweet trail would land at Saju’s door and book him.
He then got to work on the hoax bomb call plot, and began browsing details of various airports, sources said.
“First, Gokul planned to call only Kempegowda International Airport. He later decided to call Delhi airport too, as he knew that would bring national investigative agencies into the picture, and make it difficult for Jose to disentangle himself from cases emanating from two such distant places, like Bengaluru and Delhi,” sources explained.
Gokul also drew from the lessons he had learnt from Mehdi’s ISIS tweets. His WhatsApp messages to the KIA terminal manager read: “Islamic State wins” and “Get ready to see the fireworks above the sky today”, sources pointed out.