The police on Sunday booked two British “plane spotters” detained for allegedly recording the conversation between pilots and the Air Traffic Control of Delhi Airport.
HT had first reported how security agencies detained Stephen Hampston (46) and Steven Martin (55) after being tipped off by Radisson Hotel on on February 15, where they had been staying since February 13.
“We have registered a case against them. They have been charged under Telegraph Act under Section 20 (read with Section four),” Joint Commissioner of Police (Southern Range) Ajay Kashyap.
If convicted, they will have to serve a prison term of up to three years and pay fine of up to Rs 1,000. However, their offence comes under bailable and non-cognisable offences.
According to Section 20 of Telegraph Act, no one can establish or maintain a telegraph within the country in contravention of the provisions of Section 4. The section allows only licensed ones to establish, maintain or work a telegraph, be it on ships and aircraft.
The Britons, who are employed with railways in UK, were confined to Radisson Hotel near the international airport here from Monday night and shifted to Lampur Detention Centre on February 17.
The Union Home Ministry had asked Delhi Police to find out the provisions of the Indian Telegraph Act violated by the British nationals and if so directed them to book the duo.
The duo claimed plane spotting was their hobby.
“Plane spotting is defined as observation and logging registration numbers of gliders, powered aircraft, balloons, airships, helicopters and micro lights,” said a Delhi Police officer on the condition of anonymity.
Hampston and Martin were detained with hi-tech equipment used for recording conversation between the ATC and the pilot besides using a high-powered binocular.