KOLKATA: A transport aircraft of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) air force that had landed at Kolkata airport for refuelling on Sunday evening was etained for carrying arms and explosives without declaring them, an official spokesperson said.
The UAE air force plane (C130J) was flying from Abu Dhabi to Hanyang in China and had landed at Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose International (NSCBI) airport here to refuel.
“It was a routine transit. They had applied for permission through the embassy and subsequently followed the necessary procedure by filling up an official form,” a Ministry of India Defence spokesperson said.
“But in the official form they didn’t mention whether the aircraft was carrying any arms or explosives on board. They just left that particular column blank,” MoD spokesperson (Eastern Command) wing commander Mahesh Upasani said.
He said, “When the customs officials from the airport boarded the aircraft to carry out a customary check they found a large cache of arms, ammunition and explosives inside, which was not mentioned in the form. They immediately informed the Airports Authority of India (AAI), police and the Central Industrial Security Force (CISF).
“Later all nine crew members, including the captain, were detained and the aircraft was parked at one of the airport bays,”
“The UAE air force personnel are being interrogated. The matter will sorted out through both the embassies mutually,” the spokesperson said.
Asked whether anyone can leave a particular column blank in the transit permission form, the spokesperson said: “No, they have to mention something. No one can leave a column just nil when applying for a routine transit.”