Narendra Modi bomb threat blasts serial hoaxer’s cover in Kochi

The letter was attributed to someone named N J Johny. The intel wing traced him to his residence in Kathrikadavu in Kochi. 
Prime Minister Narendra Modi waves at the crowd as he walks through a street in Thevara, Kochi, during a roadshow | File photo
Prime Minister Narendra Modi waves at the crowd as he walks through a street in Thevara, Kochi, during a roadshow | File photo

KOCHI:  A week before Narendra Modi’s Kochi visit in April, the BJP office in Thiruvananthapuram received a letter warning of a suicide bomb attack on the Indian prime minister. Kerala BJP president K Surendran alerted State Police Chief Anil Kant. He swiftly pressed the State Special Branch (SSB) intelligence wing into action. Meanwhile, the letter turned into a political hot potato. 

“The letter seemed to be a hoax, as it provided the name and address of a person,” says an SSB officer. “However, there was a lot of media attention and concerns about security lapses. Considering the prime minister’s scheduled roadshow, heightened security measures were necessary, and all threats had to be thoroughly investigated and neutralised.”

The letter was attributed to someone named N J Johny. The intel wing traced him to his residence in Kathrikadavu in Kochi. “Johny was stunned. After an hour of questioning, we confirmed that he was not behind the letter,” the officer recalls. “We then asked him if he had any enemies who might have written it to cause trouble for him.”

As the officers were leaving, he mentioned a fellow parishioner named Xavier Anjanikkal, who had previously sent an anonymous letter to one of Johny’s neighbours several years ago. “Xavier ran a catering unit at his house in the neighbourhood. The waste generated from the unit was frequently dumped into the drainage system, and that had angered local residents,” says the officer. 

“Johny and others warned Xavier to stop the dumping, threatening to involve the police. In retaliation, Xavier wrote an anonymous letter, falsely claiming that Johny’s brother was involved in an extramarital affair with a neighbour. However, the local residents found out that Xavier had written the letter.” 

Subsequently, the SSB officers conducted a search at Xavier’s house, and collected handwriting specimens. Handwriting analysis confirmed the letter was a hoax, and that Xavier had written it. He was arrested.   

“The motive behind the letter this time was amusing. Xavier and Johny had engaged in heated discussions in their church WhatsApp group,” says the SSB officer. “The letter was Xavier’s way of seeking revenge against Johny.” 

Xavier had a penchant for writing anonymous letters. He had also targeted UDF councillor M G Aristotle. “He wrote a letter to the corporation secretary, alleging that Aristotle had set fire to the Brahmapuram waste plant,” shares the officer. 

“Xavier claimed to have overheard Aristotle instructing someone over the phone to set fire to various parts of the plant. He employed a similar tactic in targeting some of his business partners, neighbours, and friends as well.” 

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