June 12, 2009 1:36:06 am
US national Sellemeyer Larry,56,from Arizona was taken into custody on Wednesday night at the Chennai domestic airport for carrying a loaded .40-bore Austrian pistol,Glock 27,and 35 rounds of live ammunition in his checked-in baggage without proper documents.
He was arrested on Thursday evening.
According to airport officials,Larry had the gun loaded but packed. He kept it in his checked-in luggage that he claimed was not detected at the Indira Gandhi International Airport when he arrived here on May 26 by a Continental Airways flight and then left for Chennai by a Kingfisher flight the next day.
Airport sources said Larry was to board a Kingfisher flight to Mumbai at 5.40 pm last evening,with the loaded pistol and live ammunition of the Smith and Wesson make.
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Due to a delay in the arrival of the Kingfisher flight,Larry booked himself on the Jet Airways flight 9W 468. Upon screening at the Chennai Airport,a senior security officer noticed the pistol and ammunition,after which his baggage was opened and checked manually. Security experts said if the accuseds claims are true,it is a major security breach at Delhi,as the sophisticated in-line baggage system could not detect the presence of such heavy ammunition.
Ammunition can be carried in registered baggage only if the traveller has declared the same by filling a form and attaching with it photocopies of the requisite licences. It is a major security breach if the person managed to carry arms and ammunition without any declaration and failed to produce the documents when caught, aviation security expert C K P Sinha said.
Delhi International Airport Limited (DIAL),the airports operator and developer,opened the new domestic terminal 1D in April this year,from where Larry took a Kingfisher flight to Chennai on May 27.
We have referred the matter to the security agencies concerned, a DIAL spokesperson said.
The Central Industrial Security Force (CISF),manning security at Delhi Airport,said checking of registered baggage was the responsibility of individual airlines and the airport operator. The CISF has anti-hijack duties and is responsible for checking cabin baggage, CISF spokesperson Rohit Katiyar said.
Sources close to the investigation team have said that Larry is a painting and tinkering contractor in Arizona who had come to India for a surgery at Apollo Hospital,Chennai.
He has reportedly told investigators in Chennai that it is not mandatory to carry any document in his country.
With inputs from ENS,Chennai
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