'Security lapse due to Wadia's stature'
While speaking to Hindustan Times, an airport official said people scanning Wadia's baggage might have casually passed it, reports Lalatendu Mishra.india Updated: Jan 20, 2007 23:59 IST
Was Nusli Wadia's high-profile status the reason why his baggage went unchecked? A senior airport official who spoke to Hindustan Times indicated that could be a possibility.
"It appears that the Air India staff manning the X ray machine on January 13 might have unsuspectingly cleared Wadia's baggage due to his stature. Since Wadia is a promoter of an airline (budget carrier GoAir), his officials have airport passes and might have known the person scanning the baggage. The man might have casually passed it," said the official, asking not to be named as he is not authorised to speak to the press.
He added, going by this a bomb could have also sneaked in but these were "hypothetical questions".
The revolver and live cartridges in Bombay Dyeing Chairman Nusli Wadia's baggage were discovered at Dubai airport.
Interestingly, just four days after the Wadia incident, one of the marshals of Antiguan Prime Minister Baldwin Spencer was detained by the Mumbai airport customs officials when they found a gun in his check-in baggage. "We had no information from the Home Ministry that Spencer's delegation would be arriving here. When it was cleared we allowed the marshal to go but he had to deposit the weapon with us," said a customs official on condition of anonymity.
Sanjiv Prakash, senior commandant, Central Industrial Security Force (CISF), said: "We have not been informed about any gun being carried by Wadia. But going by newspaper reports, it is a case of negligence. But a gun in a hold baggage in not a huge security threat as is being made out. If there was any major lapse then the guard of Antiguan PM would not have been apprehended."
Meanwhile Bombay Dyeing officials did not reveal the date of Wadia's arrival to India. Air India's inquiry on the incident is expected to be out on Monday.