The Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) has launched a probe into the lapse in hand baggage checking at IGI Airport on Thursday which saw a man board a Goa-bound flight with a kitchen knife.
Once inside the SpiceJet aircraft, this person took the knife from his bag and showed it to co-passengers — including minister of state in PMO Jitendra Singh — and said he did this to show the chinks in armour at one of India’s most sensitive airports. “We have ordered an inquiry and action will be taken against the personnel found responsible,” a CISF spokesman said.
This lapse is being taken very seriously as the union home ministry had earlier this month asked airport security agencies to be extra vigilant in view of increased threat perception, including chemical attacks in modes of transport.
The MHA wrote on September 1 to all states, aviation ministry and other agencies saying: “Central security agencies have intimated that terrorists are planning a range of attacks against commercial aviation targets.” Based on this MHA alert, the Bureau of Civil Aviation Security had written to the top brass of CISF, Airports Authority of India and JV metro airports to step up security arrangements.
According to the home ministry, intelligence inputs indicate explosives concealed inside personal electronics, small appliances and personal items could be taken on a plane or even shipped by airmail. “Further inputs indicate that terrorists remain interested in small arms attack and physical assaults on airports and other transportation hubs… it is advised that security at airports and transportation hubs (railway stations, bus terminals, metro stations etc) be stepped up to ensure stricter screening of items mentioned above and frisking of passengers properly in order to avoid any untoward incident,” the MHA advisory had said.
But within a fortnight of this alert, the lapse at Delhi Airport happened on Thursday. Describing this, a SpiceJet spokesman had said: “A passenger on board SpiceJet flight SG 144 from Delhi to Goa on Thursday reported to the cabin crew that he had a kitchen knife in his hand baggage. The aircraft was at that point still on ground. The SpiceJet staff immediately brought the matter to the attention of the CISF. The passenger was offloaded and handed over to the airport police. The flight was released after all necessary checks as per regulatory guidelines.”