Irritated at having to go through multiple security checks, a passenger boarding a Chennai-bound Jet Airways flight at Delhi’s IGI airport on Monday screamed “I have a bomb”, sparking panic as the plane was carrying an SPG-protectee, Priyanka Vadra.
The statement, made in the presence of the Special Protection Group — which protects the Prime Minister, former PMs and their immediate families — was treated as a “possible threat”, and the passenger, a city-based exporter, and his travelling companion were marched off the tarmac and back to the terminal.
The aircraft underwent an explosives check and departed 90 minutes late. Priyanka Vadra, sources said, was shifted to another plane.
The incident occurred when passengers were being frisked at the base of the ladder — a recently added check due to heightened security in the city in the wake of several terror alerts — before boarding the aircraft, airport sources said.
“There was a long queue and this passenger got irritated when a restricted item (tobacco pouch) was found on him and he was asked to throw it away. He shouted ‘bomb hai mere paas (I have a bomb)’,” a CISF official said on condition of anonymity.
“Proper drill was followed to check the plane. The two passengers were later let off after being interrogated by a joint team of the Intelligence Bureau and Delhi Police,” said a senior police officer.
The two were off-loaded and not allowed to board the plane again.
The Central Industrial Security Force — in charge of airport security across the country — conducts the first passenger check at the entry gate, followed by a thorough frisking at the security check point. Due to the recent high alert, a secondary ladder-point check before boarding has been added as an extra security layer.