December 5, 2008 9:40:26 am
The security at the Indira Gandhi International airport in New Delhi was thrown into a state of high alert in the wee hours on Friday following the reported hearing of gunshots.
The scare followed a passenger claiming to have heard sound of two gunshots firing at around 1.15 am near gate no 4, but there was no eyewitness, Udayan Banerjee, Commissioner of Security for Airports (COSA) said.
However, the airport was already on a high alert following intelligence warning that there could be a terror attack or a hijack ahead of the Babri Masjid demolition anniversary on.
The Quick Reaction Team (QRT) of the CISF swung into action alongwith Delhi Police immediately after the reported incident.
Subscriber Only Stories
“We received a call that some passengers heard a sound similar to two gunshots, but there were no eyewitnesses. No evidence has so far come up to suggest that it was a firing and we cannot confirm it as a gunshot,” Banerjee said.
“After the sound, the CISF and Delhi Police swung into action and intensified the checking at the airport,” he said.
The area outside departure terminal was completely cordoned off with AK 47 and INSAS rifle toting CISF and Delhi Police commandos taking control of the entire premises.
Banerjee said, while the checking was going on, a white colour Qualis car jumped the queue and sped away adding to the confusion.
Police gypsy chased the car, but lost it after some time, he added.
When asked whether the number plate was noticed, Banerjee said, “We are not really sure about the number plate but I was told it was an HR (Haryana) registration vehicle.” While the car sped away, the Delhi Police and the Haryana Police have been alerted for a lookout of the white vehicle.
According to the police, no bullet shells were recovered during the combing operation and neither any bullet mark found in the airport area.
Meanwhile, movement at the airport, including the flight operations were put on hold for nearly 45 minutes, he said adding it was resumed there after.
The normal rush at the airport continued with the passengers movement on the airport going smooth, an airport official said.
According to initial reports, the entire incident could have been a part of the mock drill to check the security preparedness at the airport.
However, the security has been beefed up at the airport with the deployment of additional security personnels.
Senior CISF officials have also arrived at the scene to take stock of the situation.
CISF officials said all preventive measures have been taken and a security drill has been put in place.
Airports across the country have been put on high alert in the wake of intelligence reports that terrorists from Pakistan or Afghanistan may strike using a hijacked aircraft even as the Indian Air Force said it was ready to counter a 9/11-type aerial attack on New York.
📣 Join our Telegram channel (The Indian Express) for the latest news and updates
- The Indian Express website has been rated GREEN for its credibility and trustworthiness by Newsguard, a global service that rates news sources for their journalistic standards.