Tuesday, March 23, 2010

The Kingfisher flight mystery continues

Two days after a crude bomb was found on a Kingfisher flight, various theories are being circulated regarding the origin of the bomb. While some say that it could be an act of terror, both police and Intelligence Bureau sources say it is a case of mischief.

A team of the Thiruvananthapuram police, who had come down to Bangalore, to probe the case have come to the conclusion that the bomb was sourced from Kerala itself and planted there itself.

The Karnataka police, too, are in agreement regarding the same theory.

It appears to be an insider job itself, the Karnataka police say and their counterparts in Kerala tell them that the consignment had entered into the airport as part of the firecrackers that are brought into the airport to scare away birds. It is certain that the entire operation was carried out in Kerala and the aircraft was clear when it landed and took off from Bangalore, the police maintain.

While the Karnataka police are certain that this was an act of internal rivalry, the Kerala police say that they would not rule out anything at the moment.

"It is our duty to explore every angle to the case," said P Chandrasekaran, Additional Director General of Police, Kerala.

Basavaraj Malagathi, DCP, Bangalore North, says that they are looking into the angle of internal rivalry. So far 20 persons, including the aircraft personnel, have been interrogated, but so far nothing concrete has come out.

Meanwhile, the forensic report found that the crude bomb on the aircraft contained sulphur, aluminium powder and potassium sulphate –a combination which is similar used by the fishermen in Kerala. However the quantity of the potassium chlorate in the bomb gives an indication that it was not planted with an intention of causing large-scale damage. Experts say 10 g of potassium chlorate in the cricket-ball like object can ignite with heat, but would not have resulted in any loss of life.

Meanwhile, some serious security lapses have been found and a report is being prepared in this regard.

There was a security officer present until 4.35 am when the aircraft had arrived. However his shift changed and there was no replacement which came in until 5.20am which means the aircraft was left unguarded for 45 minutes. Investigations have found that the aircraft was not locked too.

Another serious lapse that has been found is that not all the loaders and technicians go through the CISF check. Confusion appears to have been caused due to constant change of employees due to a contract system which is outsourced. It has been noticed that this has been causing confusion for the security personnel.

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