A Delhi-based businessman has been detained at the Delhi airport with 31 ‘pistols’, which he was carrying in his check-in baggage.
According to sources in the customs department at Delhi’s Indira Gandhi International Airport (IGIA), some of these pistols are exact replicas of original ones and it is difficult to tell the difference.
Sources said the guns have been sent to a laboratory to test whether they can be used as firearms. If the test confirms it, the passenger will be handed over to the police.
“Four days ago, while keeping a watch on suspected passengers, a man coming from Paris was stopped for checking. During physical screening nothing suspicious was found but while checking his baggage, we found 31 guns which he claimed are toy pistols,” said a senior customs official, requesting anonymity.
The guns were packed in different packets and looked exactly like 9mm pistols.
“They are of different sizes and are probably dummy guns. In a few of the guns one can change the barrel and use it as an original gun.
We have interrogated the passenger at length and he is claiming these are not genuine pistols. So we are waiting for the lab report,” the official added.
Sources said the pistols are available easily in Paris and costs R8,000 each. In India they can fetch almost double the money and demand is huge.
“In many instances in Delhi, toy guns were used to threaten victims during robberies. It is a prohibited item and even if these are fake, the passenger can be booked for carrying goods without paying duty,” the official added.
Sources said there is a huge demand for toy pistols in the grey market. Toy pistols are also used for movies and many of them can be used as genuine guns by some modification.
According to sources in the Bureau for Civil Aviation Security (BCAS), toy guns are banned for security reasons and even kids cannot carry them.