| The missile systems recovered in the New Delhi house. (AFP)
New Delhi, Sept. 25: This Diwali, if you’re looking for some extra bang for your buck, try a house at Kalkaji. If you’re in luck, some missiles might be available and if you’re really in luck, they might be Israeli.
And the man to ask for is Dharmendra (not the Bollywood hunk of yore), House No. H/36A, Kalkaji, New Delhi.
If you’ve trouble finding the house, seek out Bramha Dutt at the local police station. Last night, the constable stumbled on missiles stored in the building while checking some houses ahead of the festive season.
Dutt didn’t know, of course, they were missiles: the constable had been tipped off about some boxes lying in the house.
Police raided the house after being informed by Dutt and recovered 16 cartons of Israeli missile systems without warheads, which means there were no explosives. Apparently meant for trial at an Indian Air Force base in Rajasthan, the police described the systems as those of air-to-surface missiles. But the air force declined to confirm this.
Dharmendra, a transporter, was engaged by the manufacturer, Israel Aircraft Industries Ltd, to ferry the equipment to Jaisalmer, the police said. But the Israeli defence and civil aerospace company did not participate in the trial which took place on September 16, air force officials said.
Dharmendra is being questioned by a joint team of officials from the IAF intelligence wing, the Intelligence Bureau and the Delhi police special cell. So is the Israeli company’s liaison officer, Abraham Bahar.
The accidental find of systems for three missiles in a residential building is deeply embarrassing for the government, first because a secret military trial has come out in the open and second, it involves the Israelis. India’s developing military ties with the country are causing flutters in Pakistan and the Arab world.
Guidance devices, electric and mechanical wires, batteries and other spare parts were found in the boxes.
“As is customary, certain equipment that was offered by the vendor was being moved in for the trial on September 16. The vendor decided to withdraw from the trial. Instead of keeping the equipment in safe custody, they moved it to a residential area in Delhi where it was checked and found by Kalkaji police,” IAF spokesman Squadron Leader Mahesh Upasne said.
He added that the vendor had requested the IAF for help in recovering the equipment.
The missile systems had landed at the Indira Gandhi International Airport early this month, but were held up for some time by customs. On Bahar’s direction, Dharmendra loaded the equipment on a truck to take it to the IAF base in Jaisalmer.
But, on September 17, Bahar reportedly told the transporter to offload the equipment by saying that more goods were to arrive and some clarifications were needed, the police said.
Since then, they were lying at Dharmendra’s house.
Lethal weapons like missiles and other armaments are supposed to be with the armed forces.