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E-mail threats to PM, Prez; security tightened in Kerala

Written by: Staff

Thiruvananthapuram, Oct 27 (UNI) Security has been beefed up in Kerala after some top officials received e-mails, threatening Prime Minister Manmohan Singh during his scheduled visit to the state capital on November 1 and also containing a threat to the President.

Two persons have been taken into custody for interrogation in connection with the threatening messages and the Internet Cafe from where the mails were sent had also been traced.

Chief Minister V S Achuthanandan told reporters in Ernakulam that two persons have been taken into custody for interrogation and that security was tightened in the state. The Director General of Police had been asked to take immediate measures in this regard, he added.

Home Minister Kodiyeri Balakrishnan told newspersons here that the e-mail message had originated in Kochi and a special squad headed by Deputy Inspector General of Police (Central Zone) K Padmakumar was being constituted to investigate the case.

Evading a direct reply to questions on the content of the e-mail, he said ''the message is that ... will do it when the Prime Minister comes.'' Referring to letter bombs received by certain persons during the period when President A P J Abdul Kalam visited the state recently and a few anonymous bomb threats to educational institutions, he said the Government would look into all the aspects. Police could trace the source of the letter bomb and have the technology to trace the source of the e-mail also. However, it would also be examined whether such threatening messages were released by some elements to divert the attention of the police, he said.

After a meeting of top police officials, chaired by the Home Minister, DGP Raman Srivastava told reporters that the brief mails contained an immediate threat to the Prime Minister and a long-term threat to the President, in case he visits the state again.

To specific questions, he said the mails had references to Afsal Guru, who had been sentenced to death in the Parliament attack case and People's Democratic Party Leader Maudani, an accused in the Coimbatore blast case and now languishing in a Coimbatore Jail.

The source of the mails had been identified and the Internet Cafe from which the mails had been sent were also traced, he said and added that the mails had been sent from the same address to multiple addresses and received yesterday by senior police officials.

Noting that it was being taken up very seriously, he said the police would ''crack it very soon''. He also said the state police was in touch with other investigating agencies. He also stressed that there was no threat to the Prime Minister's visit to the state and that there was no change in the schedule till now.

Regarding reports that one of the two terrorists arrested today at Bangalore had links in Kozhikode, Mr Srivastava said ''we are on that. We are in constant contact with Karnataka officials.'' UNI PN JJ VD HS1634

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