Eight days ago, on Sunday 21st March, a so-called bomb was discovered on board a Kingfisher Airlines aircraft at Bengaluru International Airport (BIA) early morning.
As usual, TimesNow TV tried to make a huge mountain out of a molehill claiming that a “bomb” was discovered and defused.
In reality about a teaspoon full of black powder, the type used in fire-crackers, was found wrapped in a Malayalam (the state language of Kerala) newspaper during the early morning checks of the aircraft before it began its day with a flight to Kochi, the commercial capital of Kerala state.
The five layer in-line security at BIA has been rated at par with the best European airports, and video recording of all baggage scans are archived. The recordings of checked-in baggage screening showed nothing extraordinary. The CISF which checks hand-baggage also found nothing unusual in their screening process.
Given the wrapping of a Kerala newspaper, it was surmised that the black powder package may have been placed in the inbound flight from Thiruvanathapuram (Trivandrum), the state capital of Kerala, and the last flight aircraft made before its night halt in Bangalore. It is possible that the security of Kingfisher Airlines may have missed this minuscule package during their anti-sabotage checks in the dark of the night.
It is but natural that this hot potato was bounced between the airline, CISF at both Bangalore and Trivandrum, and AAI Trivandrum and BIAL in Bangalore over the last week, with no one wanting it to land in their laps.
The newspaper wrapping proved to be the downfall of the mischief monger. Trivandrum police discovered that the paper was of an edition distributed in one particular village, about 25 km south of the capital, and yesterday, arrested Rajasekaran who turns out to be an ex-CISF cadre, now working for a private company providing handling services to Kingfisher Airlines at Trivandrum. Investigations are on-going as to his motive, but mischief appears to be the likely cause.
The last few days prior to this incident had seen a heightened security alert at Bangalore, and after the “bomb” discovery, security at BIA went in to hyper-drive.
I was travelling to Malaysia on 21st night and was carrying a bag full of some electronic test components. I was given the full once over by BIA security who stripped my bag down, even opening up the lining for a complete inspection. This is despite the BIAL terminal operations officials accompanying me to the security check-point to vouch for me.
Not that I mind, in fact I welcome such vigilant security and I want to report to the readers of Bangalore Aviation the stringency of the security at Bengaluru International Airport and that no exceptions are made, even to known persons.