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Abu bombshell on BSE

Mumbai/Jalgaon, Nov. 20: Abu Salem may be behind bars, but his name can still send a shiver down the spine of Bombay Stock Exchange. At least, so reckoned schoolteacher Rahul Omkar Sonar.

The seat of the country’s financial might, bombed by the don’s men 12 years ago, was stunned to receive this e-mail on Friday: “Abu Salem ki giraftari ko yeh pehli salami hain. Hamara manavi bomb waha pahunch chuka hain (Here’s the first salute for the arrest of Abu Salem. Our human bomb has already reached there).”

But police quickly traced the mail to Varangaon in Jalgaon district, and 28-year-old Sonar’s plan to spread panic in the bourse and make a quick buck went up in smoke.

A teacher with a zilla parishad school, Sonar ran a company called Reliable Shares on the side, helping people make small investments in the stock market. He had figured his threat would bring share prices crashing, enabling him to buy them cheap and sell them at a higher rate later, the police said.

Sonar, detained by the Jalgaon police for questioning yesterday, was being brought to Mumbai tonight. He told interrogators he had used the don’s name because “it would scare a large number of people since Salem is currently a hot issue,” a police source said.

The police dismissed any link between Sonar and Salem. They wouldn’t confirm whether the man had a hand in a hoax bomb threat made to the bourse on Thursday, when sniffer dogs had been called into the 30-storey building.

The market was unaffected by either threat, with the sensex continuing its climb. The BSE has taken terror strikes, riots and natural disasters in its stride, blanching only before political changes.

The sensex slipped 12 points after the Babri demolition and 11 after 9/11 ' and rose by 2 the day of the 1993 Bombay blasts. But after the Left-backed UPA won the 2004 polls, it fell 565 points.

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