x Abu Dhabi, UAE Friday 21 July 2017

Burj Khalifa bomb threat was plot to jail innocent man, court told

Businessman is accused of sending text to police officer threatening to blow up the tower if he did not get US$1m.

DUBAI // A man contacted Dubai Police headquarters and threatened to blow up the Burj Khalifa unless US$1 million (Dh3.7m) was paid to him, a court heard this morning.

The 38-year-old Indian businessman JF sent a text to a Dubai Police major on February 5 saying, "tomoro burj kaleefa blast arange no arrange 1oooooo dollar take", prosecution records show.

"I received the text message at about 4pm in very bad English, stating that someone intends to blow up the tower if he was not paid US$1m, and I contacted the operations room," Maj AJ testified.

According to prosecutors, JF's motive was to set up another person as the one making the threats and get him sent to jail.

Testimony from a barman at a Dubai hotel led police to JF.

"JF always came to our club with another man known as Chaudary," he told prosecutors. "Four months ago, Chaudary stopped coming to the nightclub and I asked JF, who said he did not know anything about him. A few days later, Chaudary's relative came to the bar and told me that Chaudary was detained by police for some case."

The barman said he later met with JF and told him he had heard Chaudary was in jail. He said JF told him Chaudary would never be let out.

Two weeks later he saw Chaudary and JF at the nightclub together again.

"He was boasting to me that he is a big businessman and he can put anyone in jail while pointing at Chaudary, who was standing away from us, he then told me that he sent a text message from Chaudary's phone that landed him immediately in jail and he can put him back there again," the barman testified. "I told Chaudary what was said by JF, and he took action."

JF denied the charges before Judge El Saeed Bargouth.

The next hearing will be on November 27.

amustafa@thenational.ae