| A bomb disposal squad member inspects a briefcase outside the Patna airport terminal on Monday. Picture by Jai Prakash |
Panic prevailed at Jaiprakash Narayan International Airport on Monday morning for half-an-hour as an ONGC official asserted that his baggage under scanner had a bomb.
The briefcase and the handbag of the official, identified as Udyam Prasad, were immediately taken off the X-ray machine and a bomb disposal squad official dragged them outside the terminal. Prasad, a schizophrenic, was handed to Airport police station personnel.
The bomb disposal squad official minutely checked the bag and the briefcase but there were no traces of bomb.
Prasad was released after few hours only after the police were sure that he dropped the bomb threat because of his ailment and had no evil intention.
Prasad was supposed to board IndiGo’s Mumbai-bound flight (6E 339), which operates on the Bangalore-Calcutta-Patna-Lucknow-Mumbai route. The flight was scheduled to depart at 11.15am.
The ONGC official reached the airport on time.
Everything was fine till he gave baggage for scanning at X-ray machine earmarked for IndiGo passengers.
A senior executive of IndiGo said: “After leaving his luggage near the X-ray machine, Prasad started walking. When our security official told him that his luggage was being scanned and he should wait, he replied that he was aware of it and there was a bomb in his luggage. The security official immediately swung into action and alerted the airport security.”
He added that letters about the bomb hoax incident were sent to Central Industry Security Force (CISF), responsible for the airport security, Airports Authority of India and Patna police.
A CISF official said: “We handed over Prasad to Airport police station personnel as soon as they arrived. As the bomb squad confirmed there was nothing suspicious in his bag, things limped back to normal at the airport within half-an-hour. The flight also departed on scheduled time.”
Deputy superintendent of police (secretariat) Manish Kumar claimed that Prasad was suffering from schizophrenia.
“His absurd reaction to the security staff at the airport was the fallout of not taking medicines for the past five days. He was not in sound mental condition and so behaved absurdly,” said Manish.
A sources said some passengers were scared at the airport when they saw the bomb disposal squad personnel dragging Prasad’s luggage.
“Few passengers asked security personnel if everything was fine at the airport. Those outside the airport turned shaky when they saw the bomb disposal squad official minutely checking the luggage of Prasad,” said the source.