Cops get leads on plane bomb

Cops get leads on plane bomb

Security personnel on high alert at the Thiruvananthapuram airport complex after a country made bomb was allegedly found on the Bangalore-Thiruvananthapuram Kingfisher aircraft on Sunday. PTI

In New Delhi, the Civil Aviation  Ministry  ordered an investigation into the incident. Ministry sources said the investigation would be conducted by the Bureau of Civil Aviation Security (BCAS). “We have ordered a probe into this serious lapse of security. The Bureau of Civil Aviation Security will investigate,” an official said.  The BCAS is the regulatory authority for civil aviation security in India.

Sources in Thiruvananthapuram say the city police have received some leads after they followed the trail of the Malayalam newspaper and the SSLC question paper in which the explosive was wrapped. This was after inspecting the X-ray images of the baggage of the flight  IT 4731 in Bangalore.

No such package resembling the one which contained the explosive was among these images which were later brought to Thiruvananthapuram and subjected to thorough investigation. However, the police have still not confirmed that the point of origin of the package is Thiruvananthapuram.

They are reported to have traced the area where the newspaper was distributed following which the workers who handled the cargo are being thoroughly questioned again.

Sources say that barring a couple of foreigners who were in the flight the profiles 27 passengers have been checked and nothing suspicious had been found.

Earlier in the day, a three-member team headed by City Police Commissioner M R Ajitkumar which went to Bangalore returned. They questioned the staff who handled the aircraft in Bangalore, checked the X-ray images and also inspected the CCTV footage among other things.

Meanwhile, officials from the CISF, Bangalore police and their counterparts in Kerala continued the interrogation of Kingfisher Airlines ground staff at the BIA.

According to preliminary probe, the needle of suspicion may point to airline handlers in Thiruvananthapuram as the Kingfisher Airline IT 4731,  sources said in Bangalore.
Basavaraj Malagatti, DCP (NE Division) said, “The device was wrapped in a SSLC (Class 10) model question paper of the Kerala State Education Board and a Malayalam daily. The leads point to Thiruvananthapuram,” he said.

“It is most likely an insider’s job... Only the catering staff, handlers, baggage loaders and cleaners have access to the aircraft...The ground handlers for the airline have different  unions at Thiruvananthapuram. A possible feud among them is also being probed. The device containing potassium chlorate, a forbidden item on an aircraft, is used by fishermen in Kerala,” sources said.

The BCAS office in Bangalore issued fresh guidelines on Monday, directing operators to intensify manual checking of handbags and scaling up of police patrolling.

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