Delhi airport normal after terror scare, investigations on (Second Lead)December 5th, 2008 - 1:05 pm ICT by IANS
New Delhi, Dec 5 (IANS) The Indira Gandhi International Airport (IGIA) returned to normalcy after being shut down for about 20 minutes early Friday following reports of gunfire near the arrival terminal. While the Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) denied any untoward incident, the Delhi Police said investigations were on.The alarm was raised after a white Qualis car reportedly breached a security barrier and tried to approach the arrival terminal from a restricted road around 1.10 a.m.
Vibhash, a 25-year-old employee of the Le Meridian hotel who was present at the airport, told reporters that he heard at least two gunshots from the direction of the unidentified Qualis car bearing a Haryana registration number.
“I have not seen any one firing but definitely heard sounds similar to gunshots,” he said.
“There was firing at the international terminal at around 1.25 am, but nobody was injured,” an airport employee told IANS on condition of anonymity.
When asked if the Qualis had breached a security barrier at the terminal, she said: “Yes, it happened.”
Following reports of gunshots, officials of the CISF and Delhi Police, both responsible for the security at the airport, swung into action and surrounded the airport.
The gates of the airport were immediately closed and an intensive search was launched. Three international flights were delayed because of the incident. The flight operations have resumed now as per schedule.
Delhi Police public relations officer Rajan Bhagat told IANS: “The two gun shots being heard by CISF constables or others and the white Qualis speeding away are isolated incidents. They may or may not be linked.”
“The car has not been apprehended as yet. Investigations and search for the car are on,” he added.
However, the CISF denied that any such incident had occurred.
“There is no proof of the reported firing. In our combing operations, we found no eyewitness to the alleged firing nor did we find any rounds of gunshots. There are no incidents of injury. Everything is normal,” Udayan Banerjee, CISF deputy inspector general, told reporters.
“This was not a terror attack. We are taking every precautionary measure and there is no need to panic,” Banerjee added.
Security had been tightened in and around IGIA as well as the Chennai and Bangalore airports after authorities had received intelligence inputs about a terror threat. Security agencies had been warned of a possible flight hijack that could lead to another 9/11 like incident.
Even domestic passengers had been asked to come in three hours ahead of their flight time to go through an intensive security check. Security personnel were scrupulously checking all carry-on and check-in baggage.