August 12, 2008

Bag Triggers Scare, but Bomb Squad Not Informed


MUMBAI: A bag lying unattended for almost an hour between departure gates B and C of the international terminal was not reason enough for the airport manager to summon the bomb detection and disposal squad (BDDS) for a security check.

At first, the bag invited only stray glances from passersby . Then, it caught the attention of a CISF guard. After waiting for the owner for 20 minutes, officials brought the matter to the notice of the airport manager on duty, P C Banerjee, but to no avail.

"We informed the manager about the bag. In ideal situations , the manager summons the BDDS team to conduct a thorough and specialized check. But the manager just didn't bother in this case," said a security official.

"As no BDDS team arrived, the passengers checking in were asked to clear the area and the CISF personnel cordoned it off on their own," said a witness. "They are, however, not equipped to check bags for possible bombs."

The drama ended after 50 minutes when the bag's owner came looking for it. "The passenger was travelling to Bangkok with a group of 16 people and had forgotten the bag in a hurry," said a security official. He was taken to the airport manager, where a fine was slapped on him.

Mumbai International Airport Pvt Ltd officials were not available for comment.

"In these days of terror threats and high security in the run-up to Independence Day, it is shocking that something like this happened," said a senior security official.

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