A major security concern has been raised after the standby flight for Prime Minister Narendra Modi got into questions after a foreign particle was seen in the flight after it was released for commercial flying. This flight which took off from Mumbai-Hyderabad and finally reaches its destination Jeddah was found to be flying with a difused grenade that was reportedly detected after landing.
Though the Air India flight AI 965, a Boeing 747- 700 is said to be detected with the diffused grenade by the Jeddah airport Security personnel, the airline maintained that the flight’s crew found it.
Air India ion its official statement said, “Air India flight AI 965 of October3 2014 operated on the sector Mumbai-Hyderabad-Jeddah. On landing at Jeddah, cabin crew found a suspicious object and informed the concerned authorities. After screening the aircraft and the object which was found to be a plastic wrapper the Jeddah airport security cleared the aircraft for further operations thereafter. A committee, under the chairmanship of the Joint Managing Director, Air India and Joint Commissioner of Security, Civil Aviation has been formed to investigate the incident. Air India would like to clear that at no point of time was the safety of the passengers or the aircraft compromised.”
Just few hours after the airline issued the above statement the Civil Aviation Minister Gajapathi Raju contradicted it. Speaking to the press in at Vijainagaram said “It was a stun grenade that was left in the aircraft after a security drill. It is a failure that it was not spotted. An investigation has been ordered. We are going to investigate the failure and even the authorities at Jeddah airport are going to do the same.”
Sources from the ministry said, “Ministry of Civil Aviation will review security next week with senior officials of concerned organizations. Ministry admits of security lapse. The security review is to ensure no security lapse occurs in future. Meanwhile the ground handling officers and security supervisors suspended. Meanwhile there wasn’t any threat to passengers the grenade may have remained after the mock drill."
An officer from Mumbai airport close to the development explained, “ it s a major issue as it raises security issues both on the National Security Guard as well as AI. After conducting the mock drill the diffused grenade was left behind by NSG.” He further added, “The question here being didn’t the airline conduct a security check before giving it permission for commercial flying? The diffused grenade mentioned as a plastic wrapper by the ariline went unnoticed by both in Mumbai as well as in Hyderabad.”
Why was the flight important?
This flight was a standby flight parked in Delhi airport, which means if Modi’s flight faces some technical issue then this flight is ready for him. Top officials requesting anonymity also said that this diffused grenade was found in one of the side pockets in the business class of the flight which is all the more risky. “This can be extremely dangerous for the airline in the coming days,” said a senior Mumbai airport official.