A bomb that wasn’t: Unclaimed bag creates security scare at Delhi airport
An unclaimed bag at the Delhi international airport, suspected to be containing RDX explosives, triggered a security threat and panic among security personnel for hours on Friday morning before it turned out that it had just clothes and other items of personal use.
Minutes after the bag was found and the initial test showed the presence of explosives -- particularly deadly explosive RDX -- the Central Industrial Security Force(CISF) informed Delhi Police and central agencies. The two agencies launched a joint probe.
The CISF put the bag in a Threat Containment Vehicle (TCV) and took it to a cooling pit, unsure of the nature of the explosives inside. The bag was kept in a cooling pit, built of concrete walls and thick metal sheets, located at an isolated area around 2-3 km from the airport. It is at least 8 feet deep and has a width of 4 feet to minimise the impact of an explosion.
While the agencies were frantically at work to solve the case, around 10 pm, a Delhi resident walked into the Indira Gandhi International police station and said he had forgotten a bag at the airport.
Deputy commissioner of police(airport) Sanjay Bhatia said the man claimed he had unintentionally left behind the bag, which contained clothes, chocolate, earrings, charger, and toys. CISF officers checked the bag from the cooling pit and found the bag contained the same items as claimed by the man, police said.
“The man is a resident of Ballabhgarh and travelled to Delhi from Mumbai via SpiceJet flight, which landed at around 12.30 am. He was accompanied by three more friends. He left the bag unintentionally. He works at a steel structure company,” said Bhatia.
According to the CISF, around 1 am on Friday, a constable spotted the unclaimed black bag near pillar number 4 at the arrival terminal after which the Bomb Detection Squad reached the spot.
“Immediately, an explosive vapour detective (EVD) check of the same (bag) was carried out and found a positive signal of RDX inside it. The baggage was checked by dog guide, which also gave a positive signal for explosives,” the CISF said in a statement.
By 2.55 am, the team took the baggage to a cooling pit in a threat containment vehicle. “The CISF conducted a complete search and sweep of the arrival area, after which the movement of passengers and vehicles was restored at 3.30 am,” the statement read.
CISF officers had on Friday morning said they would open the bag after 24 hours to check the nature of the explosives and diffuse it accordingly.
About the tests showing signs of RDX, a senior CISF officer, who did not wish to be named said, “There are times when the explosive vapour detection tests positive when there are narcotic substances in the bag. It happens about 5 out of 10 times.”
CISF officers said the man claimed he was not aware that his mistake had created a security scare. “He said he realised he forgot the bag when he searched for his cell phone charger,” an officer said.