A 73-year-old woman passenger was found carrying thirteen live bullets of a 0.32 bore revolver at the Visakhapatnam Airport in Andhra Pradesh on Tuesday, police said. The bullets were found in her baggage during the baggage scanning. The discovery sent the security staff of the Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) into a tizzy. The woman, a resident of Visakhapatnam, did not have any license or valid documents. A case under Arms Act was registered against her.
She, however, claimed that she was not aware of the presence of bullets in her bag. She told police that she was carrying the bag of a relative who recently passed away. She was going to visit her relatives in Hyderabad. The woman passenger also told police that the deceased had a pistol license. She said he must have kept the bullets in the bag but she was not aware of this when she packed her baggage.
Carrying ammunition at airports is a non-bailable offence and time and again, authorities have circulated this message. However, every year, several passengers are found carrying arms and ammunition. A total of 51 such cases under the Arms Act were registered at the Indira Gandhi International Airport Unit in the national capital during the current year. Passengers were detected carrying ammunition inadvertently or knowingly during the screening process at the security check at the airport.
"As per the legal provisions, an FIR is registered against such passengers for the possession of ammunition illegally without a valid licence issued for Delhi or across India and he or she has to face criminal proceedings before a court of law. Further, such lapses affect the journey of the passengers badly since they cannot embark on their journey and the co-passengers and family members also face an awkward situation," DCP, IGI Airport, Rajeev Ranjan told IANS earlier.
Recently, a 41-year-old Surat-based passenger was apprehended at the IGI Airport with five live and two empty cartridges. The passenger was travelling to Ahmedabad and worked as a labour contractor. On questioning, he produced his arms licence and asserted that the ammunition recovered from his hand baggage actually belongs to his licenced weapon and he was not conscious about the presence of rounds in his bag. He also produced his licence, but the licence was valid for Gujarat state only. Hence, a case under the Arms Act was registered at IGI Airport against him.
Earlier in February this year, an Italy-bound passenger was apprehended by CISF personnel at the Delhi airport for allegedly carrying four live bullets in his baggage. Last year in November, a Bangkok-bound passenger was apprehended by the CISF at the Delhi airport for allegedly carrying a live bullet in his baggage. The traveller was not allowed to board the flight and was handed over to the Delhi Police as he could not produce any document for possessing the ammunition.
In October last year, a US-bound passenger was apprehended by CISF personnel at the Delhi airport for allegedly carrying eight live bullets in his baggage. The traveller was also not allowed to board the flight and was handed over to the Delhi Police.
(With IANS inputs)