Two foreign nationals were picked up from Radisson hotel in Delhi — situated very close to the Indira Gandhi International (IGI) airport — after intelligence agencies, which have been in a heightened state of alert after the blast in Pune, were tipped-off about them on Monday evening.
Security officials swooped on the hotel, where the two had checked, in on February 13 – and found that the duo was carrying sophisticated equipments – including a gadget, which when opened up, can be attached to an antennae and can be used to “monitor air traffic” and “capture details of any aircraft in the airspace at that time”.
Sources said experts were examining the equipment, which once functional, as disclosed by the two, could capture details of aircrafts hundreds of kilometres away. Also recovered from them were maps of the IGI airport downloaded from Google, binoculars, cameras and other equipments.
Multi-Agency Centre (MAC) has been intimated about the developments.
As per the initial interrogation, the two were identified as Stephen Hampston, who is in his mid-40s and Steven Martin, 56. The two, sources said, are British nationals. Their passport details are, however, being verified. Hotel authorities tipped-off security agencies when they found their activities suspicious. They were supposed to have checked-out on Tuesday.
The device, sources said, can be used to zoom-in on any airliner. “It is still not clear if the equipment had been used to gather information about aircrafts parked at the airport and movement of flights but this remains a possibility,” sources said. The two told interrogators that the equipment was used for “aeroplane spotting”, which they was their hobby.
Ever since it was revealed that LeT operative David Coleman Headley had visited India many times, Indian agencies have been extra-cautious.