New Delhi, Sep 21, 2017 : Spotting of six dummy improvised explosive devices (IED) at the Delhi IGI and Mangalore airports have sent the aviation security circles into a tizzy. Five of the bombs were detected during a scanning of cargo shipments today at the Delhi airport.
After the finding, the Bureau of Civil Aviation Security (BCAS) has written a letter to apprise the National Investigation Agency (NIA) of the bombs and has sought a thorough probe into the intent of people who planted the IED packages .
In order to apprise all the agencies concerned with the security, the BCAS has also alerted the Intelligence Bureau (IB). Sources from the BCAS said that the matter was flagged immediately after the first dummy IED device was detected during X-Ray screening.
According to sources, security staffer identified as Dharmender Chouhan, detected a suspicious IED-like object during screening at X-ray machine 5 at the new domestic terminal of the Delhi Airport.
The IED-like object was detected at around 7.11 am and immediately after an alert was sounded and the package was isolated. Preliminary probe showed that the package shipment bearing AWB 312-63426090 was heading to Dibrugarh district of Assam and was to be loaded on the IndiGo flight no 6E-591. The shipment to be sent as cargo was sent by postal service to the airliner.
Immediately after the detection the CISF commander Chandan Singh and the bomb detection squad were alerted. After arriving at the spot, the bomb detection squad inspected the object and within half-an-hour declared that the shipment was safe as it did not contain any explosive.
For second verification sniffer dogs were into service. As per BDDS inspector Ajit Kumar both tests for explosives produced a negative result. The package and the details of the sender and recipient of the cargo will be forwarded to the agencies to conduct probe.
Within a few hours another shipment failed the X-ray scan. The packages were opened and similar IED like Devices were found. The bomb disposal squad was scrambled and after checks they were found to contain no explosive but the wiring and other elements were found to be similar to an IED.
The antecedents of the senders are being investigated. Incidentally, the sender mentioned on one of the packages is Sai Baba Sansthan based in Nangloi. The other one is from a firm in Thane in Maharashtra. The details pasted on the package says that it contains a power bank used for charging mobiles.
On Tuesday last a suspected IED was detected at Mangalore airport. The device was detected by alert screeners at an X-ray machine for checked in baggage for an indigo flight. The passenger was detained by security agencies immediately after and an investigation is underway.
A top BCAS official said that the sense of alarm has reasons. He said, "this seems to be no ordinary prank. And we cannot take chances. Prime facie it seems that someone is testing our security systems. These could be dry runs."
What agencies have noticed is that all the detected baggage or cargo items would have gone into the hold area of the aircraft not cabin baggage. Lately at several airlines and security agencies barred all battery items from being carried in the cabin baggage. This was to ease the pressure on security staff which does the pre-boarding screening of passengers and their baggage.
Another officer said, "there is no reason why someone will go to the extent of creating a device like these. These have the circuits as in the case of IEDs which is created after dismantling the circuit in a power bank. The material stuffed inside may not be explosive but it’s filled exactly like an IED. And deliberately the outer casing is kept intact."
The sense of caution also comes due to the first incident which happened at the Mangalore airport. Mangalore has been on the radar of intelligence agencies for more than a decade now primarily because of Bhatkal city which is home to Indian Mujahideen (IM) terrorist like Yasin Bhatkal. The town in coastal Uttara Kannada district is home to other IM top guns, brothers Riyaz and Iqbal Shabantri.