The National Security Guard (NSG) Director General, R C Tayal, on Tuesday mistakenly referred to a World War II shell as an improvised explosive device (IED).
Addressing an NSG function at Samalkha, Tayal claimed his men had defused an IED recovered from the high-security DRDO Bhawan after “no other agency” could do so. It, however, turned out that the IED was a vintage shell dating back to World War II.
Tayal’s claim, made in the presence of Home Minister Rajnath Singh, sent alarm bells ringing in the defence ministry, as an IED inside DRDO Bhawan indicates a serious breach of security.
The DRDO and the defence ministry immediately clarified that it was a vintage unexploded ordnance which was found by construction workers engaged in excavation for the foundation of a new building at Metcalfe House in North Delhi.
The DRDO, in its statement, said the incident occurred in April and the Delhi Police, NSG, Ministry of Home Affairs were immediately informed. “On advice of MHA, NSG lifted the ordnance from the site for safe disposal at their ranges. The area is now safe and construction of the building is in progress,” said the statement.
According to the home ministry’s daily report, three 120 mm shells of World War II vintage were found on April 14. The NSG’s bomb disposal squad took these to the banks of the Yamuna, where the only live shell of the three recovered was defused.
Hailing the NSG bomb disposal squad, Tayal said it was his men who had defused the “IED” when “no other” agency could do so. The NSG later issued a statement claiming that one of the shells was taken to Manesar where it was destroyed under controlled conditions.
Meanwhile, referring to the Pathankot air base attack early this year, Tayal said NSG commandos had killed the terrorists “within half-an-hour” after they “established contact” with them. The elite force had come under criticism after its operation stretched to 82 hours.