Three Italians and two Indians were detained in Mumbai and Pune today after 24 cartridges were found from a room in a 5-star hotel near the Indira Gandhi International Airport where they were staying, police said.
Besides the live cartridges, two dismantled empty magazines of Italian make were recovered from the air conditioner in Room No 448 of Radisson Hotel by its staff on the evening of May 24 where the Italians were staying, Deputy Commissioner of Police (South) H G S Dhaliwal said here.
Police is investigating the motive behind the foreigners in bringing the ammunition here and whether they smuggled it into the country or bought it here. Investigators are also looking into their contacts in the country.
Giulio Ponetto was detained at Mumbai airport while Giovanni Ceccomello and Donato D'ngello were picked up from a hotel in Shivajinagar area of Pune along with two Indians - Rajesh Sethia and Sagaraj Suri - who were present with them in the same room.
52-year-old Ponetto was planning to fly to Munich in Germany by LH 765 Lufthansa Airlines to evade arrest, Joint Police Commissioner (Law and Order) Rajnish Seth said in Mumbai. He was handed over to Sahar Airport police by immigration officers at the Mumbai airport, Seth said.
According sources in Pune Police, the Italians and two
Indians were detained following an input received from Delhi
Police. "They claimed to be sales representatives of a
petrochemical company," they said.
The Italians, who claimed to be working with a petrochemical company, had checked into three rooms in the hotel on May 24 and left after seven hours, Dhaliwal said.
"They checked in at around one am into three rooms and left at 8:30 am. The cartridges were recovered from Room No 448 where Ceccomello was staying. They had no business here and they left the city in a hurry," a senior police official said. The Italians reached the city from Milan.
"The cartridges were recovered when the hotel staff went inside the rooms for cleaning. They noticed that there was an
unusual sound from the air-conditioner. A mechanic found the cartridges in a polythene bag in the AC shaft," Dhaliwal said.
Soon after, police was informed and a case registered under the Arms Act and CCTV footages as well as footages of baggage scanner were checked, a senior police official said.
"From this, we found that similar material was in the laptop bag of the Italians. A look out notice was issued yesterday and they were traced to Mumbai and Pune," he said.