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Last Updated: Tuesday, 23 November, 2004, 17:00 GMT
'Politician's aide' in bomb hoax
A man alleged to be a politician's aide may face legal action for calling in a bomb hoax to Patna airport in India's northern Bihar state.

The hoax came after officials turned down a plea from the same caller for a flight to be delayed so his boss could board it, airport sources said.

The flight was grounded for four hours as it was searched for explosives.

Officials said the caller was an aide of ex-Uttar Pradesh chief Jagdambika Pal. Mr Pal denied any knowledge.

Bomb squad

The flight was allowed to take off after the call was found to be a hoax.

Two calls were made to Patna airport from a mobile phone, officials there say.

The caller first wanted the flight to be delayed but officials refused to entertain his request.

The officials then received another call from the same number with the caller telling them explosives had been planted on the plane.

This led to panic at the airport and a bomb squad was rushed to search Indian Airlines Flight IC-810.

After the search found nothing, airport officials called back on the mobile number and allege that the caller accepted he was a personal assistant of Mr Pal, a senior Congress leader and former chief minister of Uttar Pradesh.

The caller also allegedly accepted he had made the hoax call to get the flight delayed so that Mr Pal, who was late, could board it.

Officials say he also asked to be pardoned but that he is likely to be arrested.

Director of Patna airport, A Lakhiyar, confirmed the incident and said legal proceedings had been started against the caller.

Mr Pal has denied any relationship with the caller.

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