The Special Task Force is investigating the case of two phone calls made to a meat trader and a farmer in Uttar Pradesh asking them to plant bombs in their respective towns.
Interestingly, both calls have been traced back to Iran, but were routed through the United States, suggesting that the calls were made from the US with SIM cards issued in Iran, the police said.
According to special Director General of Police Brij Lal, "The first call was received by Hashim Ilahi, a meat trader in the Ismail Nagar locality of Meerut city on July 13. It was followed by a similar call from another number to Vikas, a young farmer living in Soop village of the neighbouring Baghpat district on July 15."
Both Vikas and Hashim claimed to have been offered a huge amount of money to plant explosives and bombs in different parts of Meerut city.
"They made it a point to promptly inform the police about the calls following which the matter was referred to the Special Task Force, which is now looking into both the cases," said Lal.
Hashim told the police that the caller said that he was hand-picked to carry out some blasts because his phone number ends with the three digits, 786, regarded as auspicious in Islam.
Hashim said the caller offered him Rs 2 crore to carry out the mission that was intended to incite violence in the communally sensitive Meerut city.
Vikas informed the police that he has received two calls from the same number, but he preferred to cut the calls, switch off his phone and report the matter at the nearest police station.
Preliminary investigations suggest that both were prank calls. "Even though it was quite apparent that someone was playing a dirty prank, still we do not want to take any chances. As such, an STF team has been detailed to track down the callers," said Lal.
"Not only was it strange that the caller in both cases spoke in Hindustani, but it also appeared very weird that a terrorist outfit would make a call from an identified phone number and just ask anyone to plant a bomb," added Lal.