Four leading hotels in Coimbatore have received e-mails in the name of Al Qaeda threatening to bomb them and demanding huge sums as protection money. The police suspect this to be the handiwork a Nigerian gang.
The police said on Friday they have traced the mails, received in the last 10 days, to a computer in California and suspect the involvement of Nigerian gangs, which had been involved in online lottery fraud in the region in the past.
During inquiry, it was found that the e-mails threatening bomb explosions if the protection money was not paid had originated from a computer in California, police sources said.
The police got suspicious about involvement of Nigerians, as the Al Qaeda normally used to issue terror threats and never demanded money, they said.
Information by IT experts that the computer in California could be operated from here turned the needle of suspicion towards Nigerian gangs involved in on-line lottery cheating by sending SMS on mobile phones in Coimbatore and Tiruppur, they said.
The police have drawn up an action plan to zero in on the gang since in all the threats it had directed the hotels to pay the money to its agent in Mumbai.The threat was mainly to create a fear psychosis and confusion among foreign delegates who would be attending the coming World Tamil Classical Conference here and also to bring down the hotel business, police sources said adding if necessary, the help of Central Bureau of Investigation would be sought to trace the gang.